Truth as I know it…

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TRUTH is risky.

Truth challenges you.

If you feel superior, or satisfied in YOUR truth then it is not TRUTH – it’s an opinion.

Truth, when first encountered, should shatter your status quo. It should unnerve you.
It will always keep you on your toes should you slip into sleep and become complacent.

Truth is not what anyone says or tries to convince you of. It is the thing that pings you in your sleep. And it is beyond conscience. It is beyond behavior.

Truth is Heart.

It is the Heart-ness of you. Not sentimental love. Not clinging, conditional love.
It is a giving of yourself. Who you think you are. Who you want to be and giving all of that away.
Truth is listening for gold as you put your ear to the ground.

When there’s an ache in your Heart that moves you to give of yourself – that feels risky – That is Truth.

Endangered Species

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Why have endangered lists for species on the edge of disaster – some may ask? Some think that it might be too much of a snowflake thing to be so concerned – especially at the expense of property, and commerce.

We are supposed to be guardians.

Aboriginal people throughout the world recognize this. Living so close with the earth’s rhythms, they understand the true ebb and flow of life on the earth. Abundance and then scarcity have always been the rhythm. It is an imposed, arbitrary and very ego-ic idea to think that there is only growth – like thinking that there’s only light, it undermines our own true nature and doesn’t inform us of how to live as Humans as part of the species on earth.

We are the only creature that takes and doesn’t give back.
We don’t have anything more that makes us greater than any other species on earth except one thing – our impact here due to our greed and appetites can and are devastating the earth at an alarming rate.
To give back – is to recognize this. We’re the only ones who can protect the earth and its life (including us) by recognizing our responsibility in wreaking havoc here. We are the only creature on earth that offers nothing back. We can only do it through our conscience.

The Continuing Saga of My Relationship with My Computer

Last night, I left my computer in the living room in the cubby hole space I have to do my practice in – I need it there to play music. I didn’t leave it there on purpose – I just left it there.

After my practice, I sat at my desk for about an hour without my computer in front of me. I had a feeling I had not felt in a long long time at my desk – breath, air, space. There was a feeling of such relaxed contentment that I could actually think! My thoughts were my own. I felt creative!

I was not deterred or distracted from just staring out the window or looking down at the empty page in my book. I was really there observing. Not partaking in anything that constantly needed my attention because there was nothing to do but to be in my space. It felt good – really good.

I think I’m going to do that every day for an hour – take my computer off my desk and sit there with my own thoughts. ahhhhhh.

When the World Turns Fearful…We Lose…

I feel so sorry for all of us. In light of the US mid-terms, I can only surmise as to what is happening in the psyche of the North American privileged western resident, and I feel so sorry for all of us.

The Legacy of the American Dream

I’ll go back to watching funny baby and kid vids on my FB feed and forget that I live in a place that has so many privileged individuals that are so blind and protective of what they think is their legacy that they can’t see the fraud – they can’t see that what they (the elite) have can’t ever be theirs – EVER.

But here we go – hoping and wishing and working so hard that our fingers bleed – as most people in the world do just to get a piece of that pie. Difference is – that we in the western (North American) world believe, however erroneously, that that pie – at least a piece – can be ours. Ha! It is not ours and can never be ours. And please don’t tell me that I don’t try hard enough or have vision enough or believe in the “Secret” enough. The system is not programmed for you or for me – we have to stop fooling ourselves.

And why would you ever want to be a part of it anyway. Horrible greedy individuals who would stab you in the back first chance they got – yeah I guess if you didn’t get to them first. Is that a way to live!? NO.

It’s All A Game

I feel sorry that we have to play this game at every turn – human rights, consumer rights, student rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, elderly rights, right to die, right to live, right to health care. We fight and fight and fail because fear is stronger, more resilient than any petition to save a whale or a prisoner’s life. I can’t watch any more.

It’s All Distraction

So as I sit here watching that sweet lovely little kid who’s parents dressed him up in a costume too big for him for Halloween – as I watch him fall over and with incredible compassion and absolute singularity ensure his parents “I’m OK. I’m OK.” I smile and say, in our own way we are all OK, yes but – the world in all it’s complexity needs us to know that not all is OK.

I wish that it was as simple as a funny vid on FB – and sometimes it’s as simple as that. But when the powers that be around us are reacting and determining the structure of our lives out of fear and not JOY then we must be vigilant.

Fear Not and Open Your Heart

We have to act in spite of our fears not in servitude of them. Open your hearts to the world around you and see that there’s a lot of fight left – we have a lot to achieve – there are a lot of people suffering because of the attitudes of a few.

Living in fear of the unknown diminishes the rights of the many and makes an island of those who live in fear. Fear makes you powerful – because you will do anything to protect and that means violence. Resolve to be bigger than that. Resolve to champion those who are less fortunate. Yes – this does mean that I believe that the results of the mid-terms is a response from the elitist ideals of (North) America. Them against us. Resolve to include and not exclude. Give your life for the ideals of brother/sisterhood, ecology and love. Believe that life is more than your bank account and the protection of which you would sanction the marginalization of anyone on this earth for your own protection (without cause).

Like Warriors

I have watched and listened and wept at the discrepancies between what some in positions of power say and what they do. I have marveled at their tenacity and blatant disregard for the livelihood of those within their own borders let alone outside of them and I see greed and protectionism.

Yes – this is a response to an increasing disposition toward conservatism that strangles the creative impulse of the heart that seeks new ways to combat socio-pathic tendencies to control a nation by a select few (see Iceland). We need voices who crawl out of the burrows of stagnant pastures to give voice to those who would contribute greatness but have no standing. Give voice to those who would stand up against fear-mongering.

I feel sorry for all of us. These are dark times. Yes. I will look it straight in the eye and yell – Let’s do this! Bring it on! …

Wisdom

Old Woman

Photo Credit: Old Lady by Kevin Demers, Ecuador; cropped

Wisdom can come at any age. Aging just reminds us of it in the nick of time… You don’t have to wait for it to come upon you. The Life Within is constant but unseen to most like the water that flows under the crust of the earth. Dig deep and you will find it and be refreshed!

Link to article: http://www.ramdass.org/the-life-within/

 

 

What I Offer At The Studio Has A Lot To Do With What I’ve Experienced In My Life…

I grew up with the notion that women were less than. This attitude was perpetuated by both parents and then siblings. I did not believe this but was victim to it time and time again. I became quiet and reserved with my feelings yet expressed my opinions aggressively. I was confused a lot of the time about who I was and what I was doing, who to love and who loved me. It took me a long time to unravel the mess that was my childhood because it was all about me trying to appease those around me, rather than listening to myself… I lost sight of who I was.

My spiritual practice and training – once I realized that it was do or die, allowed me to become whole again. Through this work, I realized my fullness, and I was able to see a way through.

This is (one of the reasons) why I practice and teach yoga, meditation and offer Transpersonal Therapy.

I believe I can assist those who want it, to see a way through as well. I realized both victim and perpetrator are in constant protection mode because of their feelings of emptiness and vulnerability. I can guide the process of unravelling and then the reasserting and rebuilding that comes after.

I grew up in a family that believed that you have to be “crazy” to go to a therapist. But I soon learned that this is a process of growth and discovery (when done well) and not an exercise in labeling and pointing fingers.

I believe EVERYONE should seek out self-knowledge – to practice self-awareness/self-observation through any means – the best of which are: yoga (taught by a teacher that practices this not only the postures), meditation (taught by a teacher that practices to see passed the egoic nature), and therapy (facilitated by a person who believes that the spirit is a huge part of the equation and that it’s not about “fixing” you). All of this can bring you leaps and bounds into another and more full sense of self that calms the storms of self-absorption/self-centredness. (Self-observation/awareness is opposite to self-absorption/centredness).

Why am I telling you this? Because this is what I do. I offer those who seek it – wholeness through the therapy I offer, and the yoga classes and meditation (private or semi-private) I have at the studio. I believe I have experienced all this – the prejudice, the name calling, the putdowns, the self-doubt, etc. – in order to work through them and come out the other side with understanding and equanimity so that I can be a light to those who are still in darkness and who believe and feel that there is more to them than what those around them are saying, and who would like to live more fully and more present in their own lives.

 

Here’s the article that inspired this note:
http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-women-arent-crazy/

Beauty in the expression of the body… that which transcends

Beauty in the expression of the body... that which transcends

another link to something similar… http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/04/26/tony-orrico-human-spirograph/

Conversations between two Yoginis…

Yogini:

How can I simultaneously be overwhelmed with teacher training and wanting to add more workouts?

I’ve been taking around 5-6 yoga classes a week, including Mysore, and I’m starting to miss a more well-rounded routine with a bit of running and strength training thrown in (also, I’d love to look really, really good for Mexico).

But at the same time, I have very little time, feel constantly tired, and I’m very stressed with work. Not sure how to work this all out in my head.

My response:

“The distance between what you desire and what your reality is, is in exact proportion to how much pain you’re in.” – Wayne Liquorman said something like this…

Meaning that your desire for what is not yet reality (that’s your belief): “to look really, really good for Mexico” or to have the time to have a “well-rounded” training, is getting in the way of you being fully and completely in the present moment. When we’re not fully in the present moment, meaning appreciating – those who are with us, or the task at hand, then our lives feel empty and we believe we are lacking.

As far as I can see, there are two things going on for you: 1. you are not appreciating (but trying to) your effort and work in your yoga training because you think – one, that you should be doing more, and two, that there is some goal you’re not reaching if you don’t run or strength train…, and 2. you are not aware of the work that is actually happening. You may be “constantly” tired because you worry about not doing enough and can’t see that you might be pushing you too much – perhaps.

Go deeper.

I used to think like you. I did yoga. I worked out. etc. But when I finally relaxed into the practice and did nothing else I found that yoga gave me my body back! I wasn’t looking like every one out there because I am not every one out there. I came to appreciate my body more and stopped fighting against it.

Really what I have to say, or anyone else, will not do anything for you until you (your organism – not your head) are ready for a change.

All you need to know – truly – is that: you are in the place you need to be right now at this moment. This is your moment – the confusion, the dichotomy – it’s not a bad place to be. Listen to it. Be aware of how it rises and falls this feeling of being not “good enough” yet… Be aware and give yourself permission to feel this way. Identify the feeling. Where is it? Then just sit with it.

Immerse yourself in the present moment. When thoughts arise about the future, let them go as quickly as possible and say these things: I am here right now. I feel my… (hand on my lap – insert what is appropriate), I see… (insert what is appropriate), I smell… (insert what is appropriate). Repeat this over again, siting different things. Relax into the not knowing of where you’ll end up.

Learn to trust the universe!

Good luck!

Peace!

Christine

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Learning from Ourselves… Injury in Yoga: Continuing the Dialogue

Hi – I’m glad you got something out of it.

This is my long-winded response to your question: “Can we break free of our old broken ways without hurting it (our bodies)?”

I hope this helps…

Non-Dualism/Advaita (not two)

It is my understanding and what I believe to be true (always have), is that all is god/divine/universe. It is known in studied circles as non-dualism or Advaita. You can study Advaita Vedanta which is a branch of Vedanta (philosophy) that sees all as One.

According to Advaita, in the universe, there is no this or that. No light or dark, etc.. So then when experiencing anything: behavior, injury, circumstances, god, etc., then nothing is bad or good. It just is.

Thinking Mind

Our minds have separated things out; Put them into little boxes and called them bad or good, hot or cold, light or dark. I suppose it’s true and necessary to do this when you want to distinguish between things as humans walking this earth. But it’s when you start to qualify them that gets us into our heads and we stop experiencing things for what they are in the present moment.

The Judgement

Our imaginings as to what things mean to us according to what we’ve experienced in our lives take over. That’s when you become burdened with the thinking mind. It’s like telling a lie. You have to remember exactly what you’ve told yourself in order to get on with life. That becomes a burden. When the water is hot or cold you will react differently according to your circumstance – your present moment – you think, but in fact our reactions to most things come with a lot of baggage. That baggage are the qualifiers both personal and social that we put on certain things. Now the dark is bad and the light is good. Sometimes snow is fun, sometimes it’s awful and we hate it. Injury is bad and staying safe is good. Or worse you’re bad because you injured yourself and those who take care are good. (does this sound like something you know?)

What Advaita teaches us is to see things as they are without judgement, without qualifiers. When you take things as they are, there is no this or that. All is one and there is no judgement or qualification to separate it out. No putting it into a box with a label on it. You see it as it is. It is just a happening.

The Learning

For instance, I have a small hairline fracture in my fifth metatarsal. It happened as I was teaching a very fast vinyasa class. Fun! About 15 mins into the class, I noticed a sensation that there was something under my foot and didn’t notice the swelling until after the class. I went home put some ice on it, kept my foot up for the evening and next day and taught that evening and again the next day and the next. The “injury” told me one thing – that I was putting too much stress on my back foot in Virabhadrasana Two. It was not “preventable” because until the moment it happened, I didn’t know I was. In fact, the stress came from the tightness in my hips which taught me that I had to work from my hips/legs more in open hip postures – especially standing. My “injury” taught me how to work better. Now I’m not saying that everything is a teaching – but in this case I did learn. Meaning I became more aware of how my body works and reacts in certain postures. I do not think of it as injury and something to avoid. I think of it as injury, yes, and something to embrace and know that that is how my body needs to work itself out.

Our Experience

Our bodies have habits from the time we are very young. Our movements, how we walk, reach for things, jump out of the way, stand, sit are all set pretty much early on in our lives and are determined by who we mimic (our parents), and what we experience (physically, emotionally, psychically). These physical movements and their baggage are what we’re up against in our asana practice. Even being very flexible is something to overcome in practice. (I can tell you more about this later if you’d like – just ask.)

Consciousness

So the long and the short of it is this: as long as you are moving in the consciousness that is available to you at this time, then the work and the results of that work are all a part of the divine plan. If you are aware of how and what it is that you do then there is no this or that. There is just you doing the work. Your body will unfold in the practice as it needs to. Sometimes injury is a part of that unfolding.

Deeper Understanding

Richard Freeman (well-known guru of Ashtanga) says that he’s never had an injury. Well, bully for him. I know no one else and I know a lot of people in yoga. I believe that because of my struggles it affords me a deeper understanding of what most people are going through. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t move head-long into injury. I don’t like the recovery time and it always is that I have to start pretty much all over again. But even saying that – every time I start over – meaning, that my trikonasanas look like I’ve never done them before – I go deeper into the posture and feel a more profound connection to my body and my practice. That is worth all the struggle and hard work, for sure!

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Letting Go…

Letting Go...

Vulnerability IS the human condition. Yes – You ARE vulnerable to EVERYTHING.

We get on a plane – we can catch a cold or worse. We could fall out of the sky – yet we fly!
We live, work, ride on buses, drive on highways, interact with people who are in variant stages of insanity (including us) yet most of us get home every night. By the GRACE of the Universe, we do not live in a war zone!

We get up every morning and we step into the world in some form or another.

We are by virtue of being human – Vulnerable.

What a cruel joke it is that at a moments notice you could be gone – heart attack, stroke, getting hit by a car – simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time… or is it right place at the right time… There are countless stories about people ‘cheating’ death in one instance and weeks/months later It catching up with them.

Our hearts are vulnerable – how many of us have lost those near and dear to us, family, friends, lovers one way or another? Everyone has! Being in relationship is part of the human condition which is what makes vulnerability a part of the human condition. You can’t “fight” it – it is not “like height”. It is not measurable, it is not material – it is as it is.

Stop fighting it. Let go!

Beyond the layer of fear is a place of warmth that is the embrace of the Divine. The Ecstatic Surrender. Do this and vulnerability will not be your enemy. Look at the sculpture of the “Ecstasy of St. Teresa” by Bernini – it is her surrender to the Will of God – Ecstasy through Grace.
To know and live through your own heart is to know the Divine – and isn’t that ultimately what we are here for!?

Give up the need for control. Shit happens for better or worse. If you must, learn from it. We always want reasons for everything – ‘why’ is a question that can never be answered. Especially to our satisfaction – so let go.

Everything makes sense when you die to your own idea of yourself. Fear of vulnerability comes from an Identification with the small self. Me and I; an attachment to you and your physical and mental ability to stave off intruders. To protect oneself at all costs – to the cost of one’s Heart (not the sentimental heart though).

Non-attachment is key.

This energy that we live, flows through us whatever we are masquerading as – take it off – take off your costume and live as you truly are.