Archive | March, 2008

just needs a little yoga

31 Mar

I took the family out to Livermore today to take some measurements at the yoga studio and check out the construction process. It’s humming right along and as Mary Poppins would say, “It’s practically perfect in every way.” It’s feeling very zen, but it just needs one thing….

A little yoga.

Do you think I could get the construction crew to join in? I’m afraid I’ll get banned from the site! It’s hard to believe, but I think we’re going to make our goal of a mid-May opening date.


Debbie Downer

27 Mar

The other day, I was trying to remember what life was like for me in college. I was sad, thinking about how I viewed the world back then and how it kept me in such a state of dissatisfaction and sadness. Once I noticed the sadness, it just melted away and I started laughing hysterically as the image of “Debbie Downer” came into my mind’s eye. Rachel Dratch cracks me up! (click here to see.) Now I so dream of writing a Debbie Downer sketch for SNL where she goes to a yoga class and freaks out over the dirty mats and crazy poses, but can’t get enough of corpse position at the end of class.

Do you have any Debbies in your life? Be nice to them… they just might be the old me reincarnated – and it’s no fun to be her. Unless of course, you’re Rachel Dratch.

Little bean

26 Mar

On a hilarious follow up from last nights post:

Drew and I were singing again this morning. I never realized before how much we actually sing, or how badly we do! Anyway, this morning Drew says, “NOOOOO. Not that one. Little bean!” I went through a whole list of songs that she rejected with disgust. “No. Little bean.” She proceeded to sing a pretty accurate rendition of the Let it Be chorus with those illusive words “little bean, little bean, little bean oh little bean. Whisper words of wisdom… little bean….oh!!!” Feel free to join in, and by the way – it’s way more fun to go for that high last high note – especially if you can’t find it.

A New Earth

26 Mar

I’ve been fascinated with Eckhart Tolle ever since I read The Power of Now, years ago. The time I first read it, I would read and re-read passages, trying so hard to understand. I somehow knew that book would help me, and it did – but it wasn’t at all easy for me to grasp what he was talking about. Fast forward six years and a lot of studying and meditation later. This time around, reading A New Earth, and listening to recordings of Tolle’s speeches, it’s a joy. This book pulls together many of the thoughts I’ve had floating randomly around in my mind, as well as many of the concepts I’ve picked up over the years in my eclectic studies.

Lately, I look forward to Tuesdays. I get online in the morning and load my i-pod with the Oprah/Tolle webcast from the night before and enjoy my daily work as a chauffeur, listening as I drive. Last night, he made a comment that struck me as both comforting and true. A mother asked him how she could help her son and raise him to be a conscious human being. Eckhart spoke to her about how simply staying present with herself was the most effective thing she could do for her son. He would learn from the energetic connection she maintained with him as he struggled in life.

Here’s the part that really touched me. He said, (paraphrasing) “If you use these opportunities with your son to cue into your own state of consciousness, you will be far better off than having spent years in a monastery studying meditation.”

This, I’ve always thought to be true. It doesn’t sound nearly as enticing or as dedicated to simply shift awareness as it does to forsake worldly things, don the orange robe and wander off in sanyasi bliss. I have to admit, every once in a while it’s all I can do not to hop on a plane to India and pull an Elizabeth Gilbert – living in an ashram, or escaping off to find a quiet cave of sorts for myself to really be able to meditate without the interruption of tiny footsteps during my morning meditation. But when we really pay attention, we find that life provides us with exactly what we need for our own evolution. Every little tantrum, interruption and pause to wait for little legs is like a little bell ringing to remind us as parents to wake up. Every little annoying comment from a co-worker, every person in front of you who’s taking forever to complete a transaction or the car on the freeway that’s driving way too slow. Whatever is right in front of us is our “way in”, our best tool to a deeper connection to ourselves and our universe.

I’ve been singing Beatles songs to Drew at night, she loves them. Somehow I manage to channel the mystical joy of John and Paul even though I truly can’t carry a tune. By night-time we are so tired, but I try to really soak up the cuddles and her sweet voice singing “let it be”. So today at the beach, I had one of those magical moments, realizing how that connection had really soaked in with her. I was spying on her through my camera lens as she piled sand up over her feet making herself a pair of sand roller skates. She caught my eye through the lens and lingered there as if we were two old souls connecting. She leaned into the camera spontaneously and lilted, “All you need is love….”

The mystical and the mundane = a beautiful new earth.

all you need is love

All you need is love

Satya and Santosha

24 Mar

I’m fascinated by the two S’s, Satya and Santosh – truthfulness and contentment, and the interesting connection they have with each other.

My daughter’s middle name is Santosha because I figured, if you can give a person one thing, wouldn’t it be contentment? (my husband says he wished I’d named all the kids Santosha because she proved to be such an amazingly contented baby) When I am most present, feeling most like myself, that’s what I’ve got – joy and contentment. If you were to take on the niyamas: purity, contentment, austerity, scriptural study and surrender to the universe, like a list of chores it would be ridiculous. It may be a fine affirmation and intention to say, “Today I am going to be content. Today I will surrender”, but the truth is that it’s part of our human condition to struggle with being content and letting go.

Remember the billboard in the movie LA Story that had personal mystical messages only for Steve Martin? Well, several years ago, in the midst of turmoil in my mind, I was driving behind a mini-van with a bumper sticker that was like a signpost from God. It lit up just for me and I really got the right message at the exact right moment. It said, Don’t believe everything you think. That was the day a little shift happened in me that has been key in liberating myself from anxiety and depression. Those words often come whispering back to me when I think I’ve got it all figured out! Contentment is always there, we just don’t see it because of maya, or the illusions that happen in the mind. The nature of the mind is to assert itself with all-encompassing thoughts and it will create world of strife that only exist there, in the mind. It’s given me a new perspective for the phrase, “it’s all in your head”.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”… said Gloria Steinam. I always loved this quote in it’s original context, but when applied to what goes on in my mind, it is hilarious because it is so true! I’ve noticed that whenever I am experiencing stress, tension or frustration, I can trace it back to a thought deep inside my mind that isn’t true. How do I know it isn’t true? Because it just isn’t part of reality. Whenever I come up against reality or life as it is, I struggle and suffer. Whenever I find those thoughts that sound like, “She shouldn’t do that, I wish it were different, or even – just get through this” I know I’m fighting against Satya – the truth of what is. How do I know that it should be that way? Because it is that way. How do I know that I’m meant to be experiencing this? Because I am. If I can really embrace reality, I’m finding that all of my suffering is occuring in a dream, or nightmare that is playing out in my mind. Whenever I can cut through those thoughts, realize that I’m living in my mind instead of reality, I find liberation and release. I experience strength and focus to deal with what is in front of me. It’s as if all of that negative energy morphs into constructive energy. With that release comes contentment.

My meditation practice has changed for me. It has become much more humorous! By embracing the truth of what is I can see the delusion in my thoughts and see how hilarious they are. (my kids shouldn’t fight, my husband should read my thoughts and my cat should be considerate enough not to puke on my rug) I’m finding that I can hear my Buddha self easier and get clarity faster. I’m also experiencing greater awareness during the day as my mind takes me here and there. My relationships with my family and others are more real, more connected and a bit lighter. I think as I experience random waves of joy and bliss, that I might possibly be experiencing Samadhi for a few minutes here and few more there.

Santosha can only happen with Satya, contentment comes with being honest with reality. Throw in a mix of Ishvarapranidhana, and you’ve got a beautiful day coming your way. But Ishvarapranidhana is another post. Or two, or three….


21 Mar

What the heck is bhakti anyway? Very simply, bhakti is the living and practicing of love and devotion. I stumbled across a beautiful explanation of bhakti and the 8 limbs on Rusty’s website. Click here for more.

who needs drugs?

17 Mar

I’ve never felt compelled to try drugs in the least, I find life fascinating and intense enough without recreational experimenting. Curious? Yes. Compelled? No.

 For example, who needs drugs when you can attend a 6am Ana Forrest class titled,  “Working with Fear”, immediately following a daylong workshop with Katie on dissolving thought patterns? I found myself extremely aware of my thoughts during Ana’s class today. Now, I have to admit, that I thought I was aware of my thoughts before Katie’s class. I might have been aware of the thoughts passing across my consciousness before, but the difference is I still used to believe them.

I’m sitting in class today, in very intense poses – very aware of my own breathing, my own aliveness. As thoughts passed by, for example, “my hip is tight today”, rather than accept it as truth I found myself ask “Is that true?” I was able to drop labels like that throughout the class and that process actually brought me into my body like I’ve never been before. I could feel the tightness/pain of the hip without associating that it was “my hip”, or that it was a true thought. As a result, I found a real struggle free practice today. I felt fully alive and fully embodied. My face and jaw were softer and I had no limitations. Just a quiet wisdom of when to exit a pose.

 At one point, I noticed that Ana pointed attention at one man in front of me, Brian. She called him back onto his mat several times and I had the thought, “She really picks favorites, she just won’t leave Brian alone.” I asked myself “Is that really true?” Yes, she’s really, truly is picking on him. She wouldn’t leave him alone. I thought I was making wise observations about the universe… ha! Later in the class, Ana was doing a demo. We were all huddled in a circle and she addressed Brian and said, “this Brian, not that Brian or that Brian.” Turns out, there were three Brian’s in a row on the same side of the room. No, I really couldn’t know that thought “Ana picks favorites” is true, because it is just a thought. And knowing doesn’t come from our thoughts, it comes from a place deep inside of us where there are no words.

Now I have a new understanding of the bumper sticker that appeared in front of my years ago just when I needed it, like a sign-post from God, “Don’t believe everything you think.” I might even change is to say “Don’t believe anything you think.”