Magic

sailboat at dawnToday is a new day,
a day that has never existed before,
and never will again.

The morning contains all potential, anything is possible.  Today may appear to be the same as yesterday, repetitive, as we move into our habits and routine ~

But is it?

Right now, in this moment,  Stop.  Listen.

Insert an awareness of New-ness.

Notice: your breath, the air on your skin, the wind, or sun, or rain.
Notice: sensations in your body, the color of the sky, the shape of the day.

This is presence.

In this breath, aware of presence, aware of the fleeting nature of this moment, in this stillness…. we open, and create a little space for something we don’t quite know yet to come out of  potential and into being.

Today…heron's breakfast

Allow for Possibility.

Open to a Miracle.

Be on the lookout for Magic.

Let Life fill you,
from your toes to your head,
with wonder
and with amazing gratitude
just know
on this day,

that you are very much alive.

~~~

“you are here? you are alive? so this is very GOOD!”
echo the brilliant words of a cherished doctor named Mohamed

blue heron and duck

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 05:02  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Is

August 19, 2010

It is cold this morning, and Autumn is in the air here.  The sky is clouding over, and it will rain again today, like it does in this part of the world: Rain, unrelenting.  You have to wonder about the weather in a place where “wellies” are part of the fashion statement.  Yesterday, at the train station, a woman wore wellies with her mini-skirt, making my birkenstock clad feet feel woefully under shod.  It was a fore-warning: at the other end of the journey, stepping off the train in Osende, my body was completely drenched within 2 minutes, and my feet had the long forgotten experience of wading in puddles.  I really felt as if I should have a yellow raincoat, rubber boots, and matching umbrella, just like the pictures in children’s books.

Early this morning tho, back here in Humlegaarden, birds were chirping, chattering, lively.  Someone mowed the grass yesterday (there is nothing they don’t do in the rain here!) and so the birds were in fresh grass heaven.  Lying in bed, I heard the birds, and imagined a warm summer day….

Well, it’s not quite warm, but the sun was out for a bit, and before the clouds returned, we walked down to the sea and soaked up the bright blue sky and drenched ourselves in sun and sand.  By the time we walked back for breakfast the clouds were already returning, the wind picking up, the chill in the air.

What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? she asked.

Lots of things…

The sun, after days of rain.
Good conversation, easy company.
Yoga.          Breathing.
Teaching.  Yes, teaching.         Sharing with an open heart.
My cats.  and Kona.
Seeing new things,    learning new things.
Places i’ve never been before.
Writing, sometimes.          Morning coffee.
Sharing a laugh with jb.

Simple things.

I’m a simple person, really.

But here’s a truth.  None of those things make me happy.  I mean, sometimes I can do or be all of that and not be happy.  In fact, I can be unhappy, and do any one of those things and not come out the other side happy.

Here’s what I know: the happy comes first, and only then I can rest in the joy of the simple things.  The magnificence of morning sun only stirs the joy in my heart when I am willing to be present to it.

So what is it that makes me happy?  Being present?   Being open?   Where does happy come from?

I want you to be happy (she says, I say, you say) and I recognize that when we want others to be happy around us, it is really our own deep longing to feel our own state of natural happiness.

surise after a stormIt is true that when the sun shines, it is easier for me to tap in to joy.  And yet, even in the midst of deep fatigue, even in the presence of pain, even in constant rain, and with a gray day headache, or a migraine  –  I can stop for a moment, just stop, and breathe, and drop in to my center.  I can notice the beauty around me, notice the magic of a moment, and touch in to a place of “being happy” deep within my soul.

With that knowing, I can be happy anywhere, even in a clinic with crazy doctors, and radiology departments in hospitals where I don’t speak the language. I can be happy in the presence of pain, and suffering.  It does not minimize the pain, nor does it necessarily take away the pain, or the sadness, or the helplessness of any moment.  Maybe though, happy can exist along side the pain, along with the suffering.  Happy is a deeper state, a place of wellness beyond the sick, a place of joy beyond the pain.

We all have happy in us, somewhere.  Even in the depths of depression, happiness exists.  It has to.  Otherwise, what’s the point?  At our core, at our very essence, is laughter, and joy, and real love.  It is not based on anything outside of us… it is who we are.

How do we get there? How do we access that, and remember that truth?   When pain is unrelenting, when suffering seems the state of the world, when all it ever does is rain, rain, rain….  how do we drop in, and know that behind the clouds the sun is still shining?

Sometimes, we just forget, and that’s ok.  Somewhere, somehow, sometimes, we remember. In a moment, we see differently, suddenly present to the beauty around us, to the life that exists beyond stories, beyond pain, beyond identity…. and we remember, we awaken.

We are the Life that we live, we are the Love that rises up within us, unexpectedly. We are the beauty in a sunrise, the magic in a forest, the song in a heart.  We are here, having this experience called Life, with all its ups and downs, highs and lows, joys and pains… And we are the Joy that exists always beneath it… the pure joy of experience in this human body….

What makes me happy?

Laughing. Suddenly, for no reason.

Who knows, maybe pure, honest laughter is the cure for everything.

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 04:30  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Bicycle Yoga

This morning the sea is dark gray and opaque, with rough white capping waves.  At the beach, the wind and the waves create a comforting white noise that those (theoretically relaxing) noise machines can never truly imitate.  The skies are gray, with random raindrops…. very unlike the bright blue skies and warm sun of yesterday.
bicycle
Last afternoon, I borrowed a bicycle, and rode into Helsingor, a ride of about 8 kilometers.  It was a beautiful ride, along the coast, through tiny beach towns.  Many bicyclists, people walking dogs, sunbathing on the beach, swimming, picnicking, the deep blue water speckled with white sail boats, and closer to Helsingor, the ferries.  bicycle round-a-boutThis is a great place for bicycles….  not only are there pedestrian paths, but there are bicycle paths everywhere (even in the round-a-bouts!)  It is a very accepted and common mode of transportation here.

And can I just say….. Granny bicycles rock!  Ok, you hard-core bicyclists out there may disagree, but I think the old “Granny style” bikes (which is what Sven, a patient here, called it, as I was picking out a bike that would fit me) are definitely the way to go.  You know the kind… picture the bicycle ridden by wicked old Miss Gulch from the Wizard of Oz, basket and all.

Ok, so it probably means I am a pleasure bicyclist and not a sport bicyclist, but I really like sitting upright: spine long, heart open, smile on my face. It’s gotta be better on the body than being all hunched over, intent on the destination, forgetting about the journey.

And that’s the joy of it – not only is the bicycle something to get me from point A to point B, but it is also something that allows me to enjoy the journey… To see the sea, to smell the air, to open to all sensations…  feeling the breath, completely in the moment, this too is yoga.

Yoga is not all about asanas, although I love asana practice. Asana practice, hatha yoga, is invaluable for learning how to be in the body, how to be in the moment, how to be present with breath, and to stay centered in the midst of stress and chaos.  When you learn the focus of hatha yoga, you begin to see yoga in all of your life….

like on a bicycle.  Of course any activity can be yoga, or not.  I can take that same ride, and be lost in thought… thinking about yesterday,  and wondering how to make things happen in the future, and not be present to the air, or the sea.  That would be good too, and it would be healthy for the body, and good exercise, but it’s not yoga.

My preference is to take that same ride, and feel the air on my skin, the breath in my body, smell the sea and ride right out of time…. letting it become a meditation, a grounding activity, connecting me back to source.   Life giving, life affirming yoga.

When I can do that, on a bicycle, in an asana, in a sitting meditation on the beach, with joy, then I can also remember to ground and center even in the chaos and stress and pain that life may bring.

A street in Helsingor

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 05:39  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Thank You, La Pine Yoginis

Live Large. That’s what I would leave you with. Live Big. Live beyond limitation and expectation, and continue to feel the expanding breath within you.

Together we have played with this thing called yoga.  We may have come to it thinking it is all about physical posture and fitness, yet we found it to be so much more.  Together, we played with the deepening breath, found new ways to feel asanas, encountered limitations, moved beyond them. We have explored the edge, and discovered the surrender that takes us deeper. We have met ourselves in difficult poses, noted the impatience, the anger or frustration, the tendency to want to quit, the places we say I can’t, or I won’t.  We have courageously held those poses, felt those feelings, watched as we found ways to transmute, to release, to relax and strengthen simultaneously.  We have learned that a smile makes a pose feel easier, while struggle and tension makes it more difficult. We have learned how to use our breath to release the effort, and to move through uncomfortable places.  We have learned an amazing thing about yoga…. that all of this is useful when we encounter difficult and uncomfortable places “out there.”

We have discovered, maybe, that “out there” is really all about “in here.”La Pine Yoginis

Notice my use of We. (Whee! or maybe Oui!) I have been your teacher, yes, but I have also been your student, and your class mate.  You taught me how to teach, guided me when I veered off course, kept me to what it was you needed, and maybe not surprisingly, what I needed.  It’s no accident, no coincidence that we came together when we did. This was a journey that was meant to be, and while it changes now, it does not end.

Once, many years ago, I was on an airplane,  intent on my destination.  In the row behind me, there was a little boy, maybe 3 or 4 years old.  The airplane began to move, picking up speed. I heard a squeal of delight from behind me, and then as the airplane angled up, lifting off the ground, the boy sang out:  WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I laughed out loud, delighted with the boy’s delight. Yes, I had a destination, but there, in that moment, it was all about the journey.

Years later, in an unlikely yoga class in an obscure little town, during a spinal roll, a spontaneous WHEEEE! rose up out of the class.  HA! Yes! Here it is again! You, yoginis of La Pine, know a secret of yoga… one that it takes many people years to understand.

It’s all about the journey, it’s all about being here, right now, and loving this moment of life.  Yes, we have things to do, places to be, plans to make…. but if we focus too  much on the destination, we miss the entire journey.

So Live Large, Yoginis of La Pine! Feel everything, fear nothing, use your breath, let your yoga shine in your every day life!  Through ups and downs, hard times and joyful times, you know the power of laughter. You know the power of this community you have created here. You know the power of your breath, your movement, your Love.

As I leave you now, I carry you with me, always in my heart. I don’t yet know my eventual destination, but I guarantee you this: Forever on my journey, I will hear your voices in my head singing…

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With deep gratitude, Namaste, my friends.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
— A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

La Pine Yoginis

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 23:41  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,