Restless Spirit Blackboard #2

Restless Spirit Blackboard #2

Restless Spirit Blackboard

at 688 Richmond St Ground Floor, Toronto

I’ve had this on the board for about a month. I’m going to change it this week.  I post something different at least once a month – soon I think every two weeks.

Peace!

Christine

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.

We document everything these days… I have a question…

We document everything these days... I have a question...

I’ve always been the type of person who would give someone the quarter, dime or even sometimes dollar they need at the cash register, or pick up a hat that someone dropped or call the last called number on a cell phone to ask the person on the other end to inform the owner that I found their phone. I’ve always opened doors, pushed cars out of snow banks and have sat with a person who was grazed by a passing car for the ambulance to come.

While I really appreciate the sentiment (click on the photo for the link) and what it’s supposed to be about – I have to ask the question…

I ask this question respectfully: Do we have to document everything we do now? What does this say about our society? What is it that we’re looking for when we inform everyone of our “good deeds”? Are we so inundated by bad news with video clips that we need an injection of goodwill to remind us of what it means to be human? A real one? Are we so out of touch with our hearts? Maybe.

Let’s not over do it ok? – I mean telling everybody on FB or Twitter or wherever. Otherwise – like yoga, the word ‘awesome’, that thing you do with your fingers to form a heart – “acts of kindness” (good deeds) will become so mundane, so trite, so saccharine that they will be rendered passé and thrown into the trash with ‘been-there-done-that’.

Acts of kindness are things to be witnessed – so don’t hesitate to do them just for the sake of doing them. Let whoever witnesses it be the one to sing your praises… that’s a risk I’m willing to take…

 

Spiritual Life…What It’s Like…In the Real World…

Spiritual Life...What It's Like...In the Real World...

It’s like being the ocean.

The surface of the water because of its saltiness stays buoyant. It doesn’t know the depth of the ocean – of itself – and stays happily afloat to tend to it’s comings and goings.

Then it is churned up by a storm or a big wave and is brought under and gets caught in the current and so becomes aware of its own depth and a whole new world it didn’t know about (or had forgotten about) opens up (awareness).

Perhaps the once surface of the ocean would like to stay down and discover this vast weightless, calm embodiment of Self, but because of the nature of the ocean, constantly churning and changing, reacting and flowing, the surface of the ocean will have to once again at some point become the surface. Once it’s been churned and tossed around a bit, led and cradled by the depth of it, it will bring to the surface with it a part of that depth – it is no longer what it was.

The changes will continue to occur as long as the surface of the ocean allows itself to be taken to its depths. It will always resurface until one day, it is no longer the same as it started. If the ocean is stagnant – resists change – then the surface will forget its depth.

Let the wind, rain, storms, and currents of your life take you to your depths.

Peace!

Ashtanga – Primary Series – Practice

Ashtanga - Primary Series - Practice

The past two weeks, I have focused on the Primary Series. Haven’t done it – consistently – for a while. Wanted to get back into it – really missed it. It was so hard to do in the beginning years ago when I first started to practice. My body and system did not like all the forward bends. It really effected me – and not in a good way. I remember how I would not be able to do ALL of the postures. It took years upon years of practice to get me to a point of feeling good in the practice.

But it came at a price. I mangled my body and stressed it out just by working into the postures.

I have a very sensitive system – even my bodyworker whether it is a chiropractor/thai massage/SOT therapist, says that my body has extreme reactions to adjustments. In other words, the work that I do in my practice can really set off a chain reaction of pain. Shoulder pain, back pain. Stiff neck and back. Sore hips and aching legs. So I had to lay off for a while.

Now – it’s all back. The shoulder pain especially. It’s because my right shoulder leans more into the forward bends and it puts it out every time. Even when I am totally conscious of it.

That’s a part of the practice then isn’t it. The physical practice is easier – I know the postures I can get into easily, I know the postures I can get into with some effort, and I know the postures, for my body’s sack, I shouldn’t push. It is a part of the practice to know these things.

I need to work like this for a while and let my body slowly work out the kinks again.

I know that if I were in Mysore practice I would try to push myself too much – spurred on by the energy of the room. Although I really love that – being with all those people. It has never served me.

Today I practice quietly in my home – I’ve got a great little spot – breathing and working through the aches in my body with a clear and calm mind. I do not push. I listen and learn. And I love every minute of it!
Peace!

Restless Spirit Blackboard #1

Restless Spirit black board

I painted and framed a blackboard at the entrance of the new incarnation of the studio, Restless Spirit. I will post a new quote every couple of weeks.

Lessons of a Yogini

Lessons of a Yogini

The body is a funny thing. Every day is different. Last year I was able to almost reach the ground: about 2 inches to go. Then all of a sudden I was unable to get low at all. My inner thigh muscles were excruciatingly tight. No warning. Nothing. They just didn’t want to play anymore.

My first reaction was – sadness – not anger. I was sad because “I’ve worked so hard…” etc. I was sad because I have the type of body that snaps back and sometimes can’t do things I suppose a ‘normal’ body can – or what we think a normal body can – it snaps back and I basically have to start pretty close to the beginning again. I was sad because when you get to a certain stage in your practice there’s a kind of flow that allows for that elusive sensation of freedom in the body which can be viscerally experienced and I lost that – at least I thought I had. I still feel it – even when I’m tight and my body seems uncooperative.

As I get older, I’ve realized a few things:

That this is really as far as I can go – physically. There are postures that I will never be able to do “successfully” – whatever that means.

That I know my body so well, that I can feel the small changes in my body which can be very satisfying, and therefore I work very smart these days.

And that what I was chasing in my early years of practice are not important anymore. Oh that doesn’t stop me from working postures to the point of a good sweat or at least feeling satisfied with my efforts. But that pendulum swing back and forth of emotions about what my body looks like in the posture does not equal my efforts doesn’t drive me.

I am grateful for all those years of effort though. The wish to be the best teacher drove me to really get to know postural yoga in a different way. In a way that was about asking the question: When I do postures, what makes it an aspect of YOGA? How am I expressing YOGA in an ‘imperfect’ body? Perseverance, courage and humility are the foundations of practice – am I expressing those? What is the difference between:

perseverance and greediness?

courage and ignorance?

humility and self-consciousness?

With those questions and more inspiration I became very attuned to my body, mind and spirit.

Back to the task of practice: it is more now about practicing and working on things as a matter-of-course rather than trying to get somewhere…fast.

So with the help of a combination of postures in my practice – including some unconventional ones like squatting sideways, with warrior twos and side angle, some seated and lying down hip openers. Now with a few months work I am slowly making my way down again. First time in months I am able to place my chest on the floor.

I am very content with my body and my practice these days. There is a certain amount of calm. That I suppose is what it means to really do YOGA.

Peace!

The Meeting: Maharaji and Ram Dass

The Meeting: Maharaj and Ram Dass

This is a beautiful story. I love hearing it. It is the magic of meeting your teacher.

Photo: Neem Karoli Baba courtesy of the internet

Creating From Limitations = Boundless Creativity

Creating From Limitations = Boundless Creativity

Great vid!

A TEDtalk about an artist and his Art process. A lesson for life.