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Indulging Forgiveness

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

As the path of life, with its many lessons, converges with the yoga path each of us gets to discover and unfold.  Lessons are presented.  New concepts are explored.  Old behaviors show themselves to us (sometimes over and over again.)  Yoga gives us that extra moment of timeless nature to pause and reflect on it all.

Recently I have been pondering a concept of life, and at first the words “sinner to savior” came to mind.  Now granted Key West just finished 10 days of indulging, carousing, celebrating, creating and rabblerousing all in the name of FantasyFest!  Offering Yoga on the Beach each morning I found myself looking at how to market morning well-being, after the evening celebrations and late nights.

When the term “sinner to savior” popped into my mind I realized that thought was coming from a very old teaching, rooted in my Catholic upbringing, ripe with duality.  It didn’t seem to really represent where I was with this concept (only where I have been.)  My mind did a few flips and flops and I finally settled on “indulgence and forgiveness.”

That is the concept I’ve been searching for – to explore and to share – Indulgence and Forgiveness.  How do they play off of one another?  How are they one and the same?  When we indulge our way through life enjoying the moment does forgiveness have to be an after thought or action, or can it be right there in the moment, linked in a self loving way with our enjoyment? Indulging Forgiveness

Yoga helps me to continually look for the way of Unity. At what point does the sense of duality shift for us, as with these 2 dynamic energies, to create oneness – one thing?  Just as inhalation and exhalation (2 other very dynamic forces) creates breath, how does indulging and forgiveness blend to form one thing?  Indulgent Forgiveness

In each of us is a mindfulness that rises up to explore new concepts, to expand our awareness and consciousness.  Yoga is a practice in this process.  On the mat and off of it, in a group or by ourselves, we have the time, space and grace to allow mindfulness to embrace new concepts, and to discover the way of living life cooperatively.  When we are face to face with a decision, and we have awakened a level of mindfulness that is rooted in self nurturing, it is easy to have our life choices and challenges move from “sinner vs savior” to indulgent forgiveness.

Each and every choice is no longer an act of doing “bad” that needs penance. Instead your choices are looked at from a self- loving, caring and forgiving place.  How will this truly bring joy and a feeling of well being to me becomes the question?  Will I feel good in the moment, only to be followed by self hatred, disgust or a need to punish myself OR will the feeling of good linger and meld into the next moment of choice or life lesson?  Asking these questions on the bridge of decision helps us to cross the bridge onto the decisive side of well being.

Some lessons we choose to learn from watching others and mimicking in a very subconscious nature.  Here is one that you can raise to the surface of consciousness and make on your own every moment.  The lesson of Indulging Forgiveness, a moment to moment awareness of how your next decision will create long standing well being for you and linger around for a long time, while influencing many.  Pause, take note, feel and with your next breath choose with awareness your next act of Indulging Forgiveness.

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Receptivity – part 2

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

In August 2011 I wrote a blog post on Receptivity and today I’d like to revisit that concept, because today is a beautiful day.

Today is a beautiful day to take stock of your ability to receive.  Take a few breaths, and just notice, are you accelerating at a top speed of giving and doing?  Do you run through your day in high mode of action and reactions?  Are you exhausted, frazzled, tired, disgusted and just plain old fed up?

Today is a beautiful day to take one more inhalation, and then take a long slow exhalation and pause.  Take note of how you feel, and what it is you are receiving right NOW.

At first you may not notice anything, as you have been on action and giving mode for so long that you can’t be still and just feel.  You may start to wonder, “what is it I am supposed to be doing here?”  Just take note of what you are feeling and thinking.  Keep taking a simple, easy breath and allow yourself to slow down a bit.

When things settle a bit, start to notice your capacity to receive.  Take that next inhalation and feel how your body is receiving it. Does it feel tight or restricted?  Take another one and see how you can open to receive it.  Then reflect on the last time someone offered to help you out, or gift you with something.  What is your first instinct?  For many the answer is a form of rejection or resistance, similar to the sense of tension we breathe with.

Maybe you notice that you don’t feel worthy unless you are doing or giving yourself.   Or for some of us we only feel safe when we are the ones doing, and it feels too out of control when we allow someone else the space to give.

Today is a beautiful day to start opening to a graceful and grateful attitude of receiving.  Just as you may feel wonderful when you are giving, it is equally powerful to create the space for others to feel dynamic by opening to receiving their gifts. Sometimes even more empowering than gifting is the way in which we openly receive what is being offered to us

Today is a beautiful day to believe in how beautiful YOU are.  Express that beauty in BOTH the ability to give and to receive in a gracious and grateful practice.

Today is a beautiful day!

 

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3 Guardians of Yoga

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Tapas, Isvara Pranidhana, Svadhaya

These 3 forces of Yoga are part of the teachings from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras called the Niyamas (the personal attitude for our yoga practice.)  Each time I come to practice or to teach yoga I hold these guardians of Yoga close to my heart and mind.  Each one of them is a concept of inspiration and intention, while their interdependence is powerful.  For many yoga practitioners there may be a familiarity with them, without actually knowing the terms or concepts, but you have discovered along the way their influential benefits.

 

Tapas refers to the way of transformation through action.  It speaks of the fire we use to create the changes we desire.  In Chinese tradition it is the Yang energy of the Universe.  Culturally we know this well, as it represents the doing side of things that we are so conditioned to.  “Just Do IT”, is the tribal song of our culture.

Isvara Pranidhana is the counterpart to Tapas.  It is the sweetness of surrender, the Yin to Tapas’ Yang. Leslie Kaminoff refers to it as “…finding some phenomenon to which the only possible response is surrender.” We believe that something greater than ourselves is at hand, and we become part of it.  When we feel connected to something great and flow with it we are practicing from a place of Isvara Pranidhana.  Maybe you have felt it when you rest into a bone in a pose, or surrender all of the effort into restoring yourself with ease during your practice.

Wondrously, as we practice Yoga we come to see ourselves and are given the opportunity to examine who we truly are.  This is Svadhaya, the bonding element of Tapas and Isvara Pranidhana, which allows for reflection and action, discovery and choices, transformation and acceptance.  Within the time of our practice, in the devotion it inspires, we come to open to the infinite nature of who we are.  We transform that which no longer serves us and surrender to the spirit of our soul.

The fiery nature of Tapas is powerful enough to dissolve the shadow that denies our divinity.  The reflective nature of Isvara Pranidhana gives us the space and time to accept what is, and the clarity to see the infinite opportunities of our choices.  Svadhaya anchors us into understanding, wisdom, compassion and self care which nurtures our explorations into those immeasurable prospects we discover along the way.

One element that is often overlooked is the beauty and keystone, Balance.   There is a fine and subtle blending of these 3 Guardians that infuses the alchemy that creates transformation.  The disparity between actions, reflections and understanding that nurture a deepening of your habits, or create the change you are inspiring, lies in the ability to find a balance of these “horsemen of apocalypse.” Revelations inspire releases, which infuses our next action.  Keep an eye of awareness out for when you may start to over do any one or two of these, neglecting the other(s).

Then off you go.  On the mat or off of it you will begin to see how these 3 Guardians instill each moment with new awareness, intentions, and opportunities.   In a confrontation you may see when it is time to simply listen and understand, or time for action.  An old behavior may begin to wane as you have watched it (Svadhaya,) honored it (Isvara Pranidhana) and make new choices (Tapas) that inspire the transformation that suits you now.  Gratefully and gracefully there is change.

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Change

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Anyone else notice that there is a shift in the way of the world?  Change.

Faster, quicker, more often seems to be the way of change for so many of us these days.  Some speak of it in terms of the astrological alignments we are living through, while others see it as the results of the technology we are governed by.  Regardless of the why, the sooner we can be aware of it the easier it is to ride the wave.

Like death, change is one of the few absolutes that exists.  You may not know when, what, where or how but you sure know it will happen.  The challenge for so many of us is how you adapt to the changes when they do happen.  How to be creative in the light of the shifting nature of time, circumstances, choices or opportunities is one of the challenges you are being asked to face.  There is a deep calling for us to develop, evolve and mature the habits that are our initial responses to change.

Take a moment to think about your immediate reactions to change.  Do you want to fight it, deny it, fix it or pretend it isn’t even happening?  Do you freeze like a deer in headlights? Our initial response to change is often one that is born from the hypothalamus, in the brain, which houses our fight or flight response.  NO, is the internal scream of our mind/body/spirit when we function here.  We tend to react impulsively rather than respond.  Again like death we go through stages of “grief” with change.  Starting with denial, then anger, then we move into a phase of attempting to control what’s happening.  Eventually we come to a sense of defeat or depression, which if we are blessed rises into Acceptance! This has been the way, but it is not the ONLY way.

This time of change is inviting us to rise up, and I do mean that literally as well as figuratively.  The cerebral cortex of the brain is above the area of the hypothalamus, and houses our higher consciousness responses.  Our ability to process information, be creative, be aware, develop perceptions, and raise our consciousness is all housed in this area of the brain.  When we access our cerebral cortex we are more likely to be able to accept what is happening, and then create our life possibilities from the starting point of what IS rather than from what was.

In the moments when life changes appear, take some time to pause, assess and access.  First pause and take some time to recognize your life landscape has shifted.  Assess the new landscape, including all of the familiar that remains, as well as the new that has appeared.  Then access your ability to perceive clearly rooted in this moment, right now.  Be conscious of ALL that is rising up or dissolving, and begin to process all of the potential that is present.  It may take a lot of effort in the beginning to make this shift, as you will be exercising your mind from its old patterns into a new way!  But after a while, blissfully, it can become easy, like sliding on a new pair of shoes.  Once they are worn for a bit they can get very comfortable.

One more thought, sometimes your impulse to run around and “fix” things or do something about what is happening is more destructive than constructive.  It is the gut responds of the hypothalamus to do something, and quickly!  Allowing time to pause, access and assess will give you the space to let your awareness mature or rise up.  Once you do, get ready to experience the bliss of higher consciousness.  A becalming sense of serenity and peace will envelope you, and all those who come in contact with you.  This gift becomes you, and anyone who you share it with in your presence.

To Change and Beyond….

 

 

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Posted in Healthy Planet, Inspirations from Class, Spirit, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Fairy Godmother or Dream Squasher?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The power of Yoga permeates our practice no matter which angle we approach it from.  As we stretch, breathe bigger, quiet the mind and/or challenge our bodies things begin to change. A broadening of ourselves cracks open and we begin to see new possibilities on many levels.  What we believed to be impossible at one point in our lives begins to seem not only possible but is already happening in our lives and all around us.  We begin to dream of new possibilities, and see them realized.

As I was biking the island yesterday I began to have these thoughts and images around how we relate to one another when it comes to dreaming.  It seems that there is a cultural conditioning, which is well accepted, to be what I will call a Dream Squasher.  We may not realize we have that habit, or condition.  We may even validate our actions with reasoning like, “but I need to help them out so they don’t get hurt,” or “I need to speak my truth.”  In the end what we are inflicting on one another is another opinion (often unasked for) that pulls the rug out from the dreaming process.

Do you recognize this behavior in yourself?  Want to set it free?  First recognize your habitual responses that start in the gut and find their way to your tongue that are less than supportive, or down right undermining.  You’ll also need to be clearly aware of when someone is sharing a dream, notice your conditioned need to squash it, and take a breath.

Here is your time to step onto the platform called supportive.  No Fairy Godmother (nor Godfather) leaves home without this bit of magic.  If you want to become a Fairy Godmother then first you will need to learn to charge your responses and words with the magic of support, inspiration and empowerment. These powerful three are the fairy dust we all are brightened and encouraged by.

Support is the way in which we keep something or someone “upright”.    We sustain and provide help when asked for, and belief in the dream.   We even stretch our own awareness to see how this dream will and can become a reality.

Inspiration is a stimulus energy that helps the creative process to mature.  It is like compost that nourishes the dreaming process.  There is the moment when we first begin to share our dreams that catches our breath, and we await the next “inspiration.”  The Fairy Godmother gets to stimulate that inspiration, that intake of new ideas, and breathes energy into it.

Empowerment is the fine art of creating space for power to be declared.  We bring the quality of esteem alive by giving high regard and consideration to another’s ideas or dreams which is like hypercharging the concept.  With great dexterity we step aside and create the space for the manifestation of another’s dream.   Pow!

Our transformation is complete as we begin to hear our words transform from discouraging, disapproval, and disempowering to our magic 3 – support, inspiration and empowerment.  Responds like, “what are you thinking”, or “did you consider…” become, “wow, that’s sounds wonderful” or “I love hearing how excited you are with this idea, and I know you can bring it alive with the passion you are feeling.”

As with many transformational processes, the “feel good” quality is symbiotic.  The benefits are felt by both the dreamer and you.  There is such a rush when you are dreaming your dream and someone else creates the space and energy for it to be realized.  As you support another that rush flies through you as well. I guess that’s why it is often called divine.  Here is to more of us on the path of Fairydom.

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