1/1/11 ~ New Year’s Day 2011

kona looking down from Kona's ButteWhen I wake, the world here is white.  Snow throws itself down toward the earth, piling up across the landscape, turning even the air, and the space between things white. This is not the slow, meandering snow that comes with big soft flakes. Not today, not this first day of a new year.  No, this is fast and furious, sharp at times, like a pointed white rain.  The new morning of a new day in this new year comes with its own intent, its own resolution.  Kona and I head out for a walk, letting the wet sharp cold exhilarate our moods.
little boxes
The early morning is quiet, few people stirring, the roads thick with tire pressed snow, the sky indistinguishable from the distant view. White, white, white.  Up on a hill we call Kona’s Butte, we look down over snow covered roofs on identical houses that stretch out deep into the whiteness, disappearing into forever. We climb higher up the hill, above the town, above the cookie-cutter houses to the east  (“little boxes… on the hillside… little boxes made of ticky-tacky…” )  and the manufactured and older homes to the west.  Up here – no houses – just sagebrush, rocks, a quiet meditation in the meeting of earth and sky.

Sometimes, to climb above a city is to climb in to a new awareness, a place of stillness above the metaphorical and literal noise, a place where the brain can momentarily cleanse itself from its ordinary busy-ness.  In today’s early morning, the town below is as quiet and still as the hill, and I walk and watch as  slowly there are signs of waking: trucks with snow plows begin to move over the roads, increasing numbers of cars traveling to and fro, people up and about… the new day begins.

I could be writing here about New Year’s Resolutions, and looking back at what was, making plans as to what will be.  There are plenty of posts to that effect (here is a good one from Tiny Buddha, if you want to read a different perspective on making and keeping resolutions).  It is a good time to take stock, to recognize who we are, where we are going, make adjustments based on future plans.  But then, so is every day.  That’s the thing to remember.  New Year’s Day is an arbitrary point in time, one we have collectiva bit of greenely designated as a reminder to take a closer look at who we are.  So use it ~ not to judge yourself for all your bad habits and make promises to yourself that you never intend to keep – but use it as a simple reminder –

A reminder that today, like every day, is new, a day that has never existed before.  Anything can happen. On any given day little shifts can create big changes.  We can make adjustments to our direction,  choices to be happy,  appreciate what we have, those we love, who we are, the bigness of this life that we live.

It’s never too late to step out of old patterns, to do the things you always dreamed you could do, to create new adventures, and live with great bigness.  Whether it is a new day of a new year, or any other day,  it is possible to make a different choice ~  and as Mark Twain reminds us:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Magnificent suggestion! Whatever you do, wherever you are…. live the big life, whatever that means to you.   Seize this moment – don’t wait. Live it fully with joy and gratitude, and let every moment be your resolution, your creation.

The sun is out now, and the sky turns a bright blue.  Contrast is restored to the landscape, colors re-assert themselves.  People are awake and moving, life turns ’round on itself, and today is a brilliant day to begin again (for the first time).

On this beautiful New Year’s Day, 1/1/11, I wish you the greatest of  joy, an abiding peace, and a deep gratitude that gives you the courage to live the life you choose.

Peace is every step.

The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles at me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

pure joy

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may my words, thoughts, and actions contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom.

Om Shanti

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 14:00  Comments (6)  
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Circle of Stones

Circle of StonesThere is a small path that leads into the center of a magic forest, a patch of Guardiansancient trees next to the beach. In the center of the magic forest is a circle of stones.  The trees are guardians here, and I am certain they can pull up roots and walk around when no one is looking. If you look closely, you can also see spirits in the stones. The light is magical too, and there is a sort of glow that you can only really see if you look sideways.  The earth is warm and moist, and if you walk barefoot here after a long night of rain and thunderstorms, you might want to watch the ground for gooey brown slugs that blend into the earth.  Dunno if they are magic, but i am not fond of stepping my naked feet on one. Glow

You can see more photos if you click here.

A Guardian We all need a bit of magic in our lives…  to let fall away everything we think we know, and open to unlimited possibilities is to allow a bit of magic to transform us, and to really begin to see in new ways.

“When we have the certain belief that our view of the world is the way things really are, we give tacit permission to ourselves to stop investigating life.”  – Brandon Bays

I say… Investigate Life! Be Curious!  and Today, maybe for just a moment, suspend all your beliefs, and see what kind of magic the world offers up.  You never know, you may just find a sacred circle of stones in your own magic forest.  🙂

Published in: on August 17, 2010 at 11:07  Comments (3)  
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Whatever I said in a previous post about bicycling yoginis may be true, but you know, there is still just nothing like a real asana practice. I love my hatha yoga, taking my body through movement and stillness, finding the focus in the breath, the ease and strength in each pose. Not only do I feel more alive and energized after a yoga practice, I also notice that i am more open to insights, both during and after the practice. Regular asana practice keeps me centered, and grounded, and I am remembering now how important that is…

Click here for an interesting site for anyone who might want to explore some new asanas, and maybe try putting together a simple home sequence or two.

I did not bring my yoga mat with me on this journey, and so I have been practicing on a variety of different surfaces… wood floor, grass, cement (ouch!) and carpets…  all these different surfaces make for interesting adjustments, which can lead to interesting insights…

During standing poses such as warrior II and triangle, we tend to really ground through our feet, and hook right into our sticky mats. That’s good, mostly.  But on slippery carpet, I am unable to rely on a “sticky” surface.  What I need to do to keep my feet from sliding out from under me is to draw the energy up through my legs and use the core of my body more.  The feet definitely stay grounded, but they cannot be my sole support.  Playing with this from a muscular perspective I find myself exploring the lift from an energetic perspective.

Try this next time you are in a warrior II pose:  Ground your feet. Find those points – base of the first toe, base of the baby toe, heel – and feel how they are connected to the ground.  Then, lift your toes. As you lift your toes, engage through your thighs. You want to engage in such a way that you feel the energy lifting upward, and carry that energetic engagement right up into the floor of the pelvis. One way to do this is to think about the legs drawing toward midline, without actually moving them. The pelvic floor draws up (think gentle mula bandha)  and allow the energy to rise all the way from the ground up through the pelvis.

I think this must be how dancers learn to fly.  What happened for me, as I played with this energy is that my legs were very active, and my feet felt solid – I could feel a lifting that would keep my feet from sliding out and away while still maintaining a sense of grounding.  Very interesting sensation.  Play with it, and try engaging and releasing different muscles of the legs and hips and see what changes.  You may even begin to feel the core drawing energy up into the spine.   Beware though, that you don’t allow the engagement to become “gripping.”  Notice the tendency to grip, then let it go.  Don’t forget to stay with the breath!

I tried this energetic lifting in downward dog as well…  with much the same effect.  With the shoulders wrapped, draw the inner arms together and use that drawing in to lift upward.  At the same time, draw the inner thighs toward each other, keeping them spinning in just slightly, and draw that energy up into the pelvic floor.  Once again, an amazing energetic lift!  Even with a slippery surface you can stay in downward dog… grounded and flying all at once!

Ahhhhh….. asana.  I love my hatha yoga practice.

When my body has been stretched and worked and opened, then my mind is better able to find the stillness, the meditation, and yes, even an energetic lift.

So next time you find yourself without a sticky mat and are afraid to do your asanas…. do it anyway, and let me know what happens!


Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 13:10  Leave a Comment  
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