Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Feng Shui Touching Everything

One thing that you might not know about me is I have a boyfriend who's really smart at feng shui. A couple weeks ago, we were talking about one of my favorite topics: cleaning. He mentioned something about how according to feng shui, it's good to every now and again to touch everything you own. "I want to do that!" I thought, "Gosh that sounds like just the thing." I knew I couldn't get away with just touching everything I had, it would be my inclination to clean it.

My dear sweet readers, I did this feng shui touching everything the other day and it felt SOOOO good. I live in a small studio apartment with very few drawers, which also functions as my office, so I keep it pretty neat, but there were some things I hadn't touched in forever. My cross country skis were cobwebbed in the corner of the deck, the silverware had tiny granules of salt and pepper all over it, and some of my hair ties were getting dusty.

Sometimes when I want to get a whole bunch of cleaning done, I get kinda crazy, skip meditating and rush through the cleaning; that program inevitably leads to exhaustion. On my feng shui touching everything day, I woke up early enough to meditate, do a little yoga, and not rush through my project. It felt like more than just cleaning, kinda like a ritual. I got rid of a bunch of stuff I no longer use, and my house feels lighter. The next morning on my walk, I realized how clear and unanxious I felt. Kids, I kid you not, I think it's cause I touched everything; maybe it's harder to feel overwhelmed when you know you can touch everything you own.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Muse

 "Breath is the outer world coming into one's body. With pulse--the two always harmonizing--the source of our inward sense of rhythm. Breath is spirit, "inspiration." Expiration, "voiced," makes the signals by which the species connects. The voice of inspiration as an "other" has long been known in the west as The Muse. Widely speaking, the muse is anything other that touches you and moves you. Be it a mountain range, a band of people, the morning star, or a diesel generator. Breaks through the ego-barrier." Gary Snyder

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Each Moment is an Opportunity to

Occasionally, I feel challenged by this one relationship I have. But lately, I've been pretty alright about looking at the challenges I feel, taking responsibility for them, and practicing forgiveness. As a result, I've been enjoying some transformation. It dawned on me the other day, "Hey, why don't I just use this relationship as an opportunity to become a better person? I'm sorta already doing that anyway." And so the intention was set.

Yesterday in my 11 am class, there was an eighty year old woman with immobile hips, a 6 year old boy, a pack of girls who were better at yoga than me, and a lady whose neck was bothering her. Feeling ambivalent about what to teach, I decided, "Heck, I'll just use this yoga class as an excuse to become a better person." Turns out, "to become a better person" is a super clarifying and meaningful intention to teach from.

I guess that, actually, each moment is an opportunity to become a better person: to slow down, to feel grateful, to smile, to notice what's new, and to laugh. Surely it's not the answer to absolutely everything; it seems too easy, too good to be true, but it sure beats the heck out of being anxious and in a hurry.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Love and Success Charms

When I lived in New York, any chance I got, I would go a store on East 9th St called Flower Power. Geez that store is cool, especially if you like magic and flower essences.

They used to sell Love and Success Charms; little circles of beads and flowers meant to put on your altar for your prayers and wishes. Totally recyclable: when your prayers are answered, bust out a new piece of paper, write your new hopes and intentions, and put it inside of your Charm. No kidding you guys, if you spend time with your altar everyday like I do, it totally works. And it is so good for us to be clear about our intentions: what we want from today and/or everyday for the rest of our lives.

Being clear isn't always easy. I remember once a few years ago, I really wanted a boyfriend; but I felt kinda embarrassed or something, so I didn't put "A Boyfriend" in my Love and Success Charm. Then one day, I walked through a street fair that was specifically geared towards young Islamic people (yes, sometimes I really do miss NY) and most of the people there were wearing t-shirts that said "Single and Looking." "What's my problem?" I thought, "there's absolutely nothing wrong with being single or looking. Why am I being so weird and stuff?" I spoke with my teacher Jen about it and she assured me there was no way in heck I was going to get a boyfriend if I was judging myself for wanting one. On further examination, it was too soon after I had broken up with my last boyfriend and so no wonder I was feeling confused about it. Whatever you want, as long as it's not harmful to other creatures or beings, is more than ok, you can have it, get clear and ask.

Maybe you have no idea what you want, and that's totally cool too. If you want to know what you want, write in your Charm: "What do I want?" When we ask, answers look to find us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

High Notes and Low Notes

Holy geez, my voice teacher is so deep. We start all of our lessons practicing silence. Then we sing. I'm working on a really hard song called, "If I Were a Boy." Don't worry, I don't try to sing like sing like Beyoncé; the point is to put my own spin on it. I don't have back-up singers or anything, it's just Liz playing the piano softly while I sing. Even still, it goes pretty high. So when we're warming up, Liz super big time focuses on getting me to be comfortable singing low. She says that "when we deliberate on the lower notes, it's easier for the higher notes to open up." I know! She's super deep.

My friend Alison wrote on facebook "More and more I think we're not here to DO but to EXPERIENCE. So the question then, is not 'What should I DO with my life?' but 'What should I EXPERIENCE?'" Well said Alison. And it's easy to think of big stuff like, goals, careers, you know, whole-life stuff when looking at a question like this. What if we opened it up to feelings, sensitivities, just tiny little everyday stuff? I can experience the stress of trying to get too much done in one day, I can experience the grudge I feel when someone isn't that nice to me. Then maybe, just maybe, the "higher notes" can open up: I can experience the elation of being present during my morning hike, I can experience the enjoyment of laughing with my friend, I can experience the trust I feel when I know everything's going to be ok.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Love Cannot Be

"[Love] cannot be created or manipulated. Love is a gift."-Anne Wilson Schaef

Friday, July 5, 2013

Today is My Altar

I've been having lots of feelings lately. One feeling I had was a deep deep sadness about what happened to the firefighters. The other morning, I got side-tracked reading articles about them online and I didn't have enough time to meditate. Instead of being super cranky at myself for not getting 20 minutes in front of my altar, I decided, "Today is going to be my altar."

Turns out, that was a pretty good idea. While I was driving, I didn't listen to music: the road was my altar. While I was teaching my private client: our practice was my altar. And when I was making chocolate pudding: my kitchen was my altar. I tried to be the activity at hand, to notice the tone of my mind, my body and my breath and not to take those tones too seriously, cause they're always changing. Sometimes, I was happy and sometimes I was sad, but mostly I was just witnessing each moment, like how I witness my thoughts when I sit and meditate. Yeah, pretty good idea.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy July

from; of
(used in French, Spanish and Portuguese)

something that makes things visible or affords illumination