Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Today is an orange ink day. I am noticing I am drawn to yellow and orange lately and fantasizing about filling my garden with yellow and red tulips. For many years I have been focusing on spiritual work and have been most drawn to jewel tones. My house has indigo, blue, purple and green throughout,even the carpets.Chakras or energy centers in the body are different colors.Jewel tone colors represent the heart chakra(green), the throat chakra (blue), the third eye center(indigo or purple) and the crown chakra( violet). These chakras represent such issues as relationships and love, speaking your truth and connecting with spirit. Lately I have begun to inhabit my body in a deeper way. Being in my level 2 yoga teacher training which is focusing on the hips and the pelvis is bringing up all sorts of stuff about what my body can and can't do. It is helping me to learn to accept my body as it is even when there is a huge temptation to compare myself to others. Focusing on accepting and loving my body draws me to the warmer colors.Red, orange and yellow are the colors of the three lower chakras. I am learning that they aren't lower because they are lesser. They are lower because the centers in the body are the base of the spine (red), the genital center(orange) and the abdomen(yellow). They represent issues about survival, sexuality, creativity, etc. These energy centers support us in being grounded in the world in a vital way.Writing this,I remember that when I was in my twenties my favorite color was orange. I had an orange down jacket and an orange V.W. bug.In college I painted my bedroom in my first apartment primary orange. Not exactly soothing,no wonder I had trouble sleeping.I guess this color thing has gone full circle. In my thirties I hated orange. It was my least favorite color. I have come back to my body with the spiritual awareness borne of thirty years of meditation.
I notice I am doing my yoga poses in a much more mindful way- learning to focus on my breath and be present-not just go through the motions. Doing yoga I feel my body, my breath and my mind uniting.Practicing yoga is the way I learn that I am a spiritual being in a human body. All of the colors of the chakras can come together and create rainbows. That is the joy of yoga.
I am excited about teaching my new class starting on Wednesday May 14th from 12 to one at Whole Yoga at 1735 E. 17th Ave. It is an all levels, drop in class. Beginners and non-pretzels are very welcome. Please come and tell your friends. I would love to share my passion for yoga with you.Together we can celebrate our rainbows.
So what about you and colors? What colors are you drawn to? How has that changed over the years? On these beautiful spring days with budding trees and flowers be especially aware of the color of things. Experiment with breathing the experience of color into your body.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Wow, I haven't written since Friday. I thought I had written on Saturday and my goal is to write every other day. When I was eating breakfast and thinking it seemed like a really long time since I wrote, I realized it had been. When I don't write I miss writing. Also it feels good to set an intention to write every other day and follow through. In addition there must be a built in forgiveness clause for when I don't do what I say I want to. Not following an intention can be a conscious choice. When I was writing every day and it became apparent that I was writing every other day I had a choice. Beat up on myself or change my intention. Maybe it is time to change my intention to say that I will write every other day as best I can. Is it kosher to put as best I can into an intention? Does that let me off the hook from following through with anything? I don't think so. It just builds in a little compassion. For instance, I have a 24 hour cancellation policy in my counseling practice which I wave for extenuating circumstances. It seems important to have clear boundaries and to have these boundaries allow for flexibility. Rigid boundaries are walls. If the flexibility comes from my intuition about honoring the boundary and being present with what feels right to me, it is a true boundary not some fixed rigid rule I have made for myself to follow. What is the difference between a boundary and a wall? When I draw my circle around myself it is a symbol of a boundary which protects me from the inside so I can keep my heart open. It is a marking of my own sacred space within which I honor myself first. That keeps me from erecting a wall to protect myself from other people by shutting my heart down to do it. Walls are impermeable to love. Boundaries let love in.
Yesterday in my singing group Spirit Song there were three of us chanting in my backyard. I was somewhat self-conscious wondering what my neighbors were thinking of me. I kept checking in with myself to see if it felt O.K. or we needed to go inside instead. My wall of fear about what other people think of me, that keeps me from being myself in the world, was yapping at me. "They are going to think you are crazy." "That may be true," I said to that voice. And it feels really good to be marinating in love and sending it out to my neighborhood." The boundary of my circle lets me know I am one with other people even though there is a clear line between where I end and they begin. Walls separate me and make my fear real. Even the two barking dogs in my back yard were quiet while we were singing. I think they felt the energy too.
In your life how do you use your circle? Can you see the difference between a boundary and a wall?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rushing and the Muse

I feel so rushed. It seems there is so much to do. When I am rushing it is hard to be mindful of my choices. Taking this time to write seems really challenging because so many other things are calling for my attention. I know, however, that I will feel better after I write this. Partly I will feel better because focusing on the creative process brings me into the present where there is no rush. If I draw my circle around myself (I just did)
and concentrate on writing this all of my thoughts about rushing to the next thing have no room. When I focus on my fingers on the keys typing this and interrrupt my judgemental thoughts I can be in the flow. When I let myself be distracted by my thoughts of the future, the flow of my typing leaves and I start to make mistakes. It makes sense that indulging the extraneous thoughts that pull me away from my center, creates an obstacle to being in the creative process of writing this blog. The energy of rushing myself to finish
writing this makes writing so much more difficult. Rushing actually slows me down. I kindof of knew that that was true because when I am rushing I trip over things and break things and forget things and miss exits on the highway. The energy of urgency makes life less enjoyable because I am not experiencing what I am doing when I am doing it. It is cool to be in the actual experience of how rushing makes me tense and anxious and actually less productive and efficient. I breathe slow deep breaths and bring myself back from the sense of urgency. Rushing breath is short and choppy and shallow. As I breathe I feel my body relaxing. I can be here and let the writing flow out of me rather than forcing myself to think of something to write about and then censoring it as being stupid.
I feel the joy of being here writing, moving through my body. I write because writing teaches me to be in the experience of writing. Being is so healing in a world of Doing. I am grateful to my creative muse for always being there patiently waiting in the wings for me to take the time to move out of my own way and let her send the words from my mind through my hands. Thank you for the opportunity to write this blog. Thank you for reading this blog. What happens when you move out of the sense of urgency? What's it like to connect with your muse? Your muse may be waiting for you to take the time to slow down, breathe deeply, ask to connect with her and listen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

beyond the story

I walked to the bank today to make a deposit. It is very satisfying to do my errands on foot. As I walked I was starting to obsess and I realized that the content didn't matter. Whatever story my mind was weaving was bringing me out of the present. I could use it as a vehicle to come back no matter what it is.

I can even be grateful for my worries if I can see them as a signpost that I have wandered away from my center. Then I can draw my circle around myself and breathe into my body and bring myself back. When I want to pick my nails I can notice wanting to pick my nails and bring myself back to the sensation in my body. I have been practicing today. When I want to pick my nails or eat when I'm not hungry I am anxious. If I can embrace the anxiety and be with myself with it, it is possible to interrupt the behaior before it happens. It is empowering to show up for myself and see these behaviors as a strategy to avoid being present with what is. They keep me from experiencing and releasing and moving through it. My ego tells me that whatever is in my experience is too scary to feel or it won't do any good anyway or that I am weak for feeling it in the first place. There is a world of difference between bullying myself to"Get over it" and compassionately bringing my attention to myself saying, "I understand that you could feel this way. I care about you or I care about your suffering." Bringing my breath to whatever I am experiencing and moving down from my head to my body allows me to be present with what is. I am learning I can use anything that comes up to return myself to the present. I don't even have to criticize myself for thinking what I am thinking,"You're thinking THAT again". Even if I do I can use the criticism of my thoughts to bring myself to my breath. I learned some strategies to avoid being present. Then I learned some stories about those strategies and some core beliefs to keep them in place. In my circle breathing into my body right here and right now, I remember who I am beyond all of that. With it I forgive myself for not remembering. I am learning to recognize when I am calling for my own attention and actually giving myself the attention I am calling for. I remember a quote by Eda LeShan that I used in my book. "The little girl inside me just wanted to be loved, to be held to be listened to. I gave her food instead." What do you give yourself when what you want is your own attention? When could you take a moment to draw your circle around yourself, create a boundary for you to be with you and give yourself that attention. I am going to stop writing now and go hang out on my living room floor in my circle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


What to write about? Sometimes it is good to see what comes even when I have no idea what to say. Today was a gorgeous spring day and I got to walk for two hours with a dear friend. It is such an expansive experience to be with a person who I can be honest with and free to express myself as I am. We talked about many things both mundane and sacred. At the end of our walk we began to talk about aging and what a challenge it is to age gracefully in our culture. That was also one of the topics we shared about in the women's spiritual support group that I facilitate. In the past in this country older women were diminished. Our sphere of influence was narrowed and we were taken less seriously. Now more and more powerful aging women who have found their voices are available as role models. As we age we can know that beauty ages also. We can see beyond our wrinkles to the radiance that shines through our faces. We can know that our definition of a lovely body needs to include flesh that has seen decades of experience and exercise. Being a crone means there is much richness to share with others, born of the challenges, suffering and triumphs of a lifetime. Aging is an opportunity to become bitter about the inevitable deterioration of the physical body or to develop compassion and acceptance for what is. Though it is disconcerting to have my body and energy level changing I feel more content with myself and less driven. Maybe that is one of the possible benefits of aging: that it is easier to accept what is, as good enough and not be always looking ahead for what will make me happy. It's clearer to me that This is it, not what will come tomorrow, if I only try harder. I have mixed feeling about the silver streaks in my hair. Sometimes I think they are pretty and sometimes I use them to feel scared about how quickly my life is moving and that I will miss out somehow. I want to ask myself what I would regret not doing if I didn't do it and prioritize the important things in my choices. I want to open to my fear and sadness and joy about aging. What does it mean to age gracefully? What do you notice about the aging process? How do you resist it? How could you open to its challenges and its gifts?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I can

Yesterday was a big contrast to Friday. In my five hours of yoga teacher training I felt engaged and excited and strong. My passion for yoga had returned. Rather it was always there and I returned to it. There were still many asanas that I'm not flexible enough to do. It was easier to accept myself and my body and be loving with myself. I honored my body's recovery process from my operatiion. When I am caught up in the "I can't" pattern everything feels awful. I feel grateful that I realized what was going on after only several miserable hours. Yesterday in the training other trainees also shared their struggles. This level of training is extremely challenging physically and emotionally. It is focused on the hips and pelvis and doing lots of difficult hip opening poses is bringing up strong emotion for some of us. I am glad to be taking this training in an atmosphere where it is safe to talk about feelings. It's good to embrace the ebbs and flows in this training and in life. "This too will pass" is always true. I ask to be able to remember that sooner and sooner.
Last night Gary and I went to see my daughter Monnya perform. She is an aerial dancer and was performing in a bellydancing festival. Monnya flies across the air with such grace and skill it takes my breathe away. I am so impressed with the fruits of all of her years of practice. She is beginning to support herself with her artform and I am so proud of her. She has always been willing to practice long hours and take great physical risks to perfect herself as an artist. This creative performance was a new act and a new costume and new music. She has matured in her performing. I think it was dazzling. She is an inspiration to me to push myself to my edge beyond comfort. Maybe it will help me to think of her when I am caught up in "I can't". Maybe it would be good to remember a time when I clearly felt," I can. " I climbed a fourteener by myself about ten years ago and when I got to the top I exclaimed, "This is for me." It was a clear "I can" moment. Do you remember an "I can" moment. Remember back to it. Let yourself reexperience it as if you were there again. Notice all of your senses. Breathe it into your body. Let's practice reimagining this" I can" moment in order to have it under our belts to use as inspiration when needed. Let me know if it is helpful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Can't

This afternoon I got to see the contrast of not being in the flow. I went to an intermediate yoga class that is part of my yoga teacher training. I had no business participating with my neck being so recently operated on. I stubbornly attempted to do several difficult poses. The instructor's voice was too quiet for me to hear and after I asked her to speak up twice I resorted to craning my neck to see what she was doing. My neck wasn't at all pleased with this and soon I felt nauseous and dizzy.At that point I had the good sense to go into a resting pose. I felt very discouraged and spiraled down into this all too familiar place I call "I can't". It goes like this:
I can't do these poses, what am I doing in this program? I can't teach these poses because I can't even do them. What is the matter with me? What was I thinking? This is a wrong choice. Maybe I shouldn't be teaching yoga at all. I can't really teach yoga anyway........ Etc.This "I can't"pattern can carry me deeply into negativity. Just writing it out is helpful. I can see that the content of the pattern varies and the purpose is to let myself know there is something wrong with me. After class I felt very discouraged. I took myself out for some food and overate to stuff my suffering. It helped momentarily but soon reinforced the pattern. When I got home I went for a walk telling myself the story of what I would say to the head of the yoga training tomorrow and fantasizing about quitting the program and not teaching yoga anymore. I did notice the beautiful evening and take a moment to be quiet and say my water prayer by the stream. Being in nature is a good antidote to the pattern. I said to myself, I can understand that you feel this way and I care about your suffering. That helped too.I breathed into how sad I felt and allowed it to be there.I could feel the sadness underneath the I can't pattern beginning to lift. When I got home from my walk I lay down on the floor and read my favorite magazine, The Sun, and didn't make myself do anything I didn't want to.Gary called and I told him how I was feeling. He listened and didn't try to fix me and then appreciated things about me. By then I felt relaxed and ready to enjoy the rest of the evening.I am grateful for the flow. It is always there even when I choose to go against it. Going against the flow gives me an opportunity to return to the flow. My "I Can't" pattern is a vehicle to return to the flow if I can be mindful of it and have compassion for myself.Do you have a pattern that you use to convince yourself you suck? What might it be? Would you be willing to use mindfulness and compassion the next time you notice yourself caught up in it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Surrender and surrender again

OOO it's good to be writing again! It would've been hard for me to imagine that surgery could be such a positive experience. I am so blessed that I could go to Tampa to a surgeon who has created a unique procedure that simplifies the operation and the recovery. Everyone who I dealt with in the whole course of the surgery was kind and knowledgeable. Well, there was one guy who was brusque and knowledgeable. I was aware that his part of the procedure was the most stressful . It was further evidence of the power of kindness to create safety and relaxation. I want to remember to be kind the next time I feel impatient for another person to change something. This trip was about being in the flow. Gary planned and manifested this journey like the true master planner he is. He even managed to find a Whole Foods in Tampa after my surgery so I could have my veggie juice and kombucha. After all of the anesthetics it was great to have my tonics to support my recovery.
This trip was about receiving, which is often very challenging. Gary was really there for me and I let him be. I am very grateful that he wanted to come with me. I think it would've been scary and way less fun if I went alone. Letting another person in, in a way that feels emotionally vulnerable has always been daunting for me. If I open my heart maybe I will be rejected or disappointed or abandoned? It has always been easier to keep my distance, have one foot out the door, and stay protected from being hurt. I also stayed protected from experiencing the peace of letting go into love. This trip I felt less careful and more willing to let go of control and relax. I really love Gary and I let myself surrender to that love
more than I have before. I have been clinging to my pictures of what I wanted my partner to be like that Gary wasn't. I am learning that his kindness and ability to love deeply matter the most. Also he cops to his own stuff and is getting very skilled at hearing my feelings. We both did well with noticing our defensiveness and bringing ourselves back. I am realizing more and more that when I get scared I get critical. If I realize that I am scared and can communicate that to Gary, I get heard in a way different way than if I angrily point out what I think he did wrong. We were both fat kids who relied on our intellefcts to feel good about ourselves so we can both be stubborn about letting go of being right. I am starting to see how much sweeter it feels to be close than to be right. I think he is too.

This whole journey was about surrender. It helped that it started with surgery in which the choice was so clear that I could either surrender or suffer. Out of this initial surrender it made it easier to surrender to the physical pain afterwards and to hang out with it gently. As that eased I got to enjoy the ocean and have two days of vacation. Life is sweet. Thanks for listening and sending all of your healing thoughts my way.
What do you have the opportunity to surrender to? What might be in it for you?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pain body

This is the last blog I'll write before I return from surgery. Yesterday I was listening to Eckhart Tolle talk about the pain body. The pain body is the energy of all the accumulated repressed pain from the past that we hold in our bodies. It can get triggered by events in the present. He said that one way to recognize that the pain body is activated is when our reactions seem out of proportion to the situation at hand. He says to be mindful that the pain body is activated and to be with the arising feeling gently and lovingly. Sometimes when Gary and I have been apart for a long time I will get triggered by old abandonment fears. In those moments I feel like he doesn't understand me, doesn't hear me and doesn't at all fit my pictures of who I want to be with. I can be very critical and judgemental and unkind. Tonight we were on the phone and I could feel myself getting very impatient and frustrated talking about the details of our trip. Instead of spiraling into criticism I recognized I was frustrated and told him and asked to feel more connected. We did a ritual where we both said what we appreciated about each other. As we were doing the ritual I could feel myself getting small and being afraid. That fear was underneath the automatic pilot reaction of criticizing him and creating distance when I want closeness. As I explored further I felt strong fear about my surgery and that something awful would happen to me. I have never had surgery before and I was spinning a worst case scenario about not being able to talk anymore and how that would effect my life. I was able to share my fears with Gary and he really showed up. He acknowledged my fears and then reassured me. Validating that he could understand that I could feel that way and pulling himself back from his knee-jerk reaction of getting defensive and jumping in to fix me was enormously helpful. I was able to release my fear by experiencing how scared I have been since I was a kid when I feel out of control. Instead of feeding my pain body by avoiding the pain it was bringing up and criticizing Gary, I could release a layer of the pain. I felt relieved and closer to him and more positive about the surgery. I am excited about using the awareness of the arising of the pain body as a vehicle to get closer to myself and Gary and to grow. What do you notice about your pain body? Sometimes it is much easier to recognize another's pain body than your own. It might be useful to ask someone you feel safe with for help. I hope all of you have a growth-filled week and some fun too. I look forward to writing on Friday and sharing my adventures with you.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I just returned from my level 2 yoga teacher training. Tonight was an intermediate yoga class on hip openers which I was apprehensive about. My hips are considerably less flexible than most other yoga teachers. I don't qualify as a pretzel even the soft squishy ones. The class went well and I was able to do some poses that I didn't think I could do. My attitude was more relaxed than usual and I think that made my body follow suit.
I watched part of Oprah and Eckhart's latest web class today. Eckhart told the story about a zen master watching a group of monks do archery. The master commented that one of the monks was draining his own energy by wanting to win too much. Oprah talked about when she ran track and would look back to see what the next guy was doing and lose her focus.
In yoga class I sometimes glance over at others and compare myself. I often feel better than or worse than them by doing it. I also lose my centeredness and inward focus. Than I can judge myself for being so competitive and un yogi like.
Today I still looked at others and I gently brought myself back from my comparing as soon as I noticed. That felt so much better to me. I don't have to be perfect, serenely focused on my deep slow breath the entire time. That expectation creates so much suffering. In fact so much suffering comes from expecting myself to be or do something I am not being or doing. I would like to carry this over to my yoga teaching so I could relax more and know I am doing a good enough job, more of the time. This is one of my goals for this level 2 training and for my life in general. How does wanting to do it perfectly or having unreasonable expectations of yourself create suffering in your life? How could you be more gentle with yourself?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


What if there is no need to rush? What a novel idea. What if everytime I think otherwise and am rushing around I used that awareness to focus on my breathing. Rushing breath is short and choppy. Rushing breath is more likely to be through my mouth. I was in the dentist's chair yesterday willing the procedure to be over and I noticed that. I wondered how many times in my life I had willed a certain experience to be over, running from being present with it. This time I used my awareness to breathe through my nose and slow down and deepen my breathing. The pain I was feeling lessened and my fear about whether I could bear it released. What if I could use that technique when I'm not in the dentist's chair? It also helps me to draw a circle around myself in the air, a symbol of sacred space, the space that's mine and mine alone. Often when I am rushing I have jumped out of my circle and left myself.
Drawing my circle around me when I notice I have jumped out of it is very comforting. It is as if I am saying to myself "I am here for you." Taking the time to focus on and slow down my breath gives me the message that there is plenty of time for me and that I deserve this time.
The next time you notice yourself rushing and focusing on the next thing to do, use that rushing as a vehicle to bring yourself back to your circle and your breath. Before I sat down to write tonight I was rushing around thinking I had no time to write because there was so much for me to do. I became aware of the energy of the rushing which feels ungrounded and chaotic and scattered. I often feel overwhelmed. Usually I get little done because I have left myself for the rushing energy. It's difficult to accomplish things well when I'm not really there. Going through the motions or being on automatic pilot doesn't lend itself to satisfying results. When I breathed into the rushing slowly and deeply I realized I really wanted to write and that I had time to. This has been very satisfying and nourishing. Whenever I use whatever I am experiencing as a vehicle to move back to presence I feel a healing.
I am healing all the times I have given myself the message with my behavior that I don't deserve my own time. I deserve my own time. I deserve to clean up the messes I have made by over commiting and to show up for myself. That is the only way I can truely show up for others. I've probably said this before and noone at the end of their life ever says I wish I had gotten more done on my to-do list. When you are rushing, and you become aware of it, use the energy of the rushing to breathe slowly and deeply and come back to yourself . Your presence is the reward.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I am eager to write to you tonight although I'm not sure what about. I am leaving for Tampa for my surgery on Sunday and I won't be writing until Friday. I will miss writing and also welcome the opportunity to rest from everything I regularly do.
Today was one of those days that just flowed. There were several opportunities to react when I didn't. I spilled cooked vegetables on the floor including beets which really made a mess. I noticed my frustration and cleaned it up using the ten second rule that my sister taught me. If something(or in this case a lot of somethings) falls on the floor and is there for less than 10 seconds it is O.K. to wash it off and eat it. May not be very scientific or even sanitary but it works for me.
Also I had the task of downloading the manual for my yoga teacher training on to a disk to go get it copied. To say I am not very computer savvy is a great understatement. I figured it out with a little help and without succumbing to my impatience and frustration and the insistence of my little "you can't do this!" voice. It is so empowering to do something I think I couldn't possibly do. Have you found that to be true for you? How so?
Today I moved more slowly and got more done.Being unrushed and more free of my usual sense of urgency my thinking was clearer and solutions appeared. Time seemed to be smiling on me today sharing herself with me generously.
Maybe being in the flow is one part being less reactive, one part being calmer and therefore thinking more clearly and three parts noticing the flow that is there. Is it possible that noticing the flow, the flow appears? What is this flow? I think it is how the universe holds us. There is a process unfolding moving us toward consciousness.We can either get in the way of it or not. One way of getting in the way of it is to believe in the illusion of control. If only I would try harder things would work out. Noticing I am in my own way without judgement is my vehicle to be kind to myself. Kind enough to say to myself,"I understand that you could feel that way. I care about your suffering." I am learning that I can say this to myself about ANYTHING. It really does help. It is especially helpful in being able to embrace what I am feeling with compassion. When I embrace what I am feeling something softens. Even the voice that is saying that I always write the same thing every time I write on this blog softens.
There I got the purple print back. It disappeared seemingly of its own accord and became black and small. It took several tries to get it to go back. When I am in the flow I trust that things will be O.K. Does that mean that they are actually more O.K. or that I have broadened my definition of what O.K. is to include more things that happen? How do you notice the flow in your own life? Would you be willing to look for it and to see if it finds you?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chewing vs. Chatting

It is so good to be writing again. I returned from the Insight Meditation retreat very slowed down. I didn't realize how much I was in an altered state until I stopped for gas, neglected to retrieve my gas cap from the top of my car and heard it roll off and hit the pavement. I stopped to retrieve it on the side of the road and continued on my way much more carefully. Three words to describe this retreat are nourishing challenging and centering. It is always humbling when I sit for an extended period to realize just how noisy my mind is. It was a challenge to be mindful of my thoughts, my emotions and the sensations in my body and attempt to greet them with compassion. Sitting for many hours a day with my fifty eight year old body was quite daunting. At one point I thought my hip joints had gone on strike and would refuse to support my body in the cortortion of a cross-legged sitting pose any longer. The next meditation period I tried sitting on a chair and noticed a cold draft on my neck in that part of the room that felt like sitting in a refridgerator. The next sitting period I returned to my cushion and tried kneeling with lots of support under me. That was much less painful and therefore less distracting. This retreat was entitled Living with Change. It stressed the nature of impermance and how we can trust things to not be the same from one moment to the next. This was comforting to me as I knew if I just focused on anything it would soon pass. In my clear moments I knew that both the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of my experience were temporary and worthy of letting go of. Returning to my breath felt like being held in the arms of a trusted friend. Except when it didn't.
I felt such gratefulness for the other retreatants and the teachers sharing this experience. It is such a delight to sit with over fifty other people who are dedicating themselves to practicing together. The silence of the retreat. made it very cool to hang out with a group of people and not worry about interacting socially. I enjoyed eating my meals with my focus on chewing instead of trying to chat. This morning when I was meditating and noticing my usual challenges I imagined all of the others surrounding me and it really helped. I feel incredibly grateful for meditation and a renewed sense of commitment to regular practice. My mind needs more than half an hour to quiet down and I want to create forty five minutes regularly to give it a chance. The quietness of my mind spills out into my life and informs everything I do and everyone I interact with. Why not maximize the odds of showing up as a me I really like? I highly recommend regular meditation practice. The duration is not as important as the constancy, says Lloyd Burton, one of the retreats' teachers. Start with five minutes or two for that matter and sit every day. Why not today?
This blog just froze up and I didn't know wheather I would lose the whole thing or not. I noticed that equinimity is also temporary. My sense of serenity and acceptance is also impermanent. When I thought I would have to rewrite this entire thing the last four days faded. It did seem that I dwelled less on the worst case scenario and moved to action more clearly.
Maybe that is the best to be hoped for. That each new experience will leave us with a more developed toolbox of skillful means to return to the present. That is a lot.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Yoga Class

I am excited about my new yoga class. It will be starting Wednesday, May 14th from noon to one. It will cost five dollars and meet at Whiole Yoga at the corner of 17th and Williams.( Today, Satya the studio owner and I had a great talk. We realized that the time I was offering my class wasn't working and came up with this new plan. Please pass this on to anyone you know who could benefit from it. Or better still come yourself!
I love teaching yoga and the low attendance of my class meeting from 10:30 to noon has been very discouraging. Letting go of the class I have been teaching allowed the birth of the new one. It may seem like just moving it up an hour and a half and for me it is symbolic of releasing what isn't working and allowing what will work to emerge. When something is blocking the door the door can't open. I am grateful to be offering a lunchtime sanctuary of peace. It will be an opportunity for me and for my students to reurn to the afternoon relaxed and energized. I love the way the universe supports me and I appreciate how well I am doing at getting out of my own way. Acknowledge yourself for three examples in your life of getting out of your own way and allowing the universe to smile and say "yes."
I am leaving for my meditation retreat tomorrow and I will be gone until Sunday night. I will write again on Monday. Even though I have fears and doubts I am so glad to be taking this time to be still and to give my mind a chance to be quiet. I am using my worries as an opportunity to validate my feelings"I understand that you could feel that way." and to have compassion for myself,"I care about your suffering". Are you practicing self-validation and compassion too? Worry is the story that is on top of fear. Will I be able to eat the food? Will my body hurt the whole time? and on and on. With compassion I can go down into my body and find the fear and breathe into it. I am stopping my typing right now to put my hand over my heart and create space for the fear to be there. It is O.K. to feel the fear about this or about anything. I can show up for myself and embrace what is. " I am here for you with this fear." The ego is going to bring up worries about whatever I am about to do, especially new things. It is my challenge to use the worries as a path to the fear. The true bodily experience of the sensation of fear is a vehicle to move through to the expansiveness and peace beyond it. From that place this retreat feels so right. Excitement and fear are part of the same continuum. I am sure I will travel along that continuum a great deal in the next four days. I am also sure there will be periods of peace and probably a bit of everything else I can imagine. It all comes down to MAD SAD GLAD and SCARED. My intention is to be present with all of it as much as I am. I will miss writing this blog. I will miss connecting with you. See you Monday. Love to you, Andrea.