“...nature is our respite, our sanity, our supporter, and our connection with each other. Our commonality lies, at the deepest level, in the fact that we all share the planet, share the beauty of the planet. She unites us. She is our "go to" whenever we are sad, happy, lonely, fulfilled, ecstatic - everything. Don't forget her.” -The Oracle Report
Friday, April 25, 2014
(a page from my application to yoga school, circa 2006)
I have a good friend who told me recently that she'd gotten away from her spiritual practice, and that she wanted to figure out how to get it back. When we spoke about it, she was not living in her own space, and her job and routine were undergoing a transition. I don't want to discount at all how challenging that can be. But thinking of her lately, I realize how everything can be a spiritual practice.
Sometimes if I'm in a funk, I soak at Ojo. I soak just like anybody else is soaking, I don't make a big show of it, but my intention while I soak is to release all of the negative vibrations I'm holding onto that are no longer serving me. Sometimes a walk is my spiritual practice. Sometimes, just being present is my spiritual practice. When I'm present, I see all sorts of wonderful things, like how someone graffiti-ed the number "21" on a road side near my house. 21's my lucky number. If I'm present on my walk, I notice the donkey we walk by came over to the fence, hoping I'll pet his nose. When I'm present on my hike, I notice the stillness and silence in nature and that helps me to remember the stillness and silence in me.
The other day, I was hit with a double dose of anxiety and insecurity so I went out to jump it away on the trampoline. After bouncing for a while, I stopped to lay down and look up at the sky. The cloud right above me looked just like a bunny. It happened to be Easter and my mom, who usually calls me Turtle had just texted me to tell me she wasn't going to call me Turtle on Easter, but rather, Bunny. The perfect bunny-shaped cloud reassured me somehow, saying, "Right place, right time, right practice." So I bounced some more and then settled back down to look at the sky. It was suddenly blank of clouds; not one single cloud for as far as I could see. "Stop interpreting everything so much," was the message the cloudless sky told me. "Good one," I thought, to stay more open and not put so much meaning on everything is a great idea when you're me. That day, the clouds were my tea leaves. And anything and everything can be your altar.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 2:25 PM
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The great teacher Rolf Gates says, "The posture never ends." He talks about how he teaches "flow yoga" and how in flow yoga, the transitions are the poses just as much as the poses are the poses. I love his simple quote because it is so easy to to imagine how yoga moves off the mat: me getting off my mat is the pose, me putting my mat back on the shelf is the pose, me sliding my shoes back on is the pose, me getting my car keys, walking out to my car and on and on from there, is all the pose.
Rolf says, "I am in the posture when I look into my wife's eyes, and I am in the posture when I look into my waiter's eyes. Both are holy interactions. The illusion is that there is separation, levels of importance, beginnings and endings."
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 1:45 PM
Friday, April 18, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
A few months ago, a client of mine was talking about a really important decision she made regarding her kids. She said, "I don't know if it was the right decision, but it's the one I made, so, I guess it must be the right one." "Good one, " I told her. Her simple words have stuck with me; they have such good wisdom in them.
Rather than agonizing over whether or not I made the right decision, I would like to do a better job of trusting. And giving myself permission not to have to make the right decision. How I am supposed to know? What if there is no right? What if it's all just experience? What if I can change my mind? Wait! I can change my mind!
The most important part of yoga class comes at the very end when we "do" something called savasana. "Sava" means corpse and "asana," in a nutshell, means posture, or pose. We're "doing" a lot of things when we do savasana: we're practicing meditation, we're practicing dying and while we're doing these things, we're letting the body TOTALLY relax. As the body relaxes, it receives the benefits of all of the other asanas we have done during the practice.
It's not lost on me that savasana is a much nicer way to punctuate the end of something than to sit around obsessing about whether or not I did that something right. And savasana is something I'm actually pretty good at. Next time I want to go back in forth in my brain for hours about whether or not or this or that, I'm going to knock it off, I'm going to get out my mat and corpse pose it.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 2:37 PM
Friday, April 11, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
My car has been in the shop for the past week and a half and it's going to be in the shop for one more week. I love my car and when it came time to make the decision about whether or not it was "worth it" to keep, I felt that it was. "It's a Subaru;" everyone says, "those last forever." And I do feel like we have at least a couple more years together.
I've been driving this rental car, which is expensive, and getting my car repaired is expensive, and if anything happens to the rental car, well that's going to be expensive too. I realized the other day that I've been in a low-level-state of high-alert-mode every time I drive the rental car.
Sometimes I think of this nice man who came to visit Taos from Paris. He was learning English AND he had never seen a place like Taos before. He LOVED the expression "the middle of nowhere," which, when you think about it, really is a great thing to call somewhere. And Taos could be considered the middle of nowhere. I do lots of the driving on dirt roads; the other day when I was on a particularly bumpy dirt road on my way to Aura's house, a tree growing out into the road scraped the rental car a little bit and I totally almost lost my marbles.
Somehow I was reminded of this article I read in New York Magazine, written by Alec Baldwin called "I Give Up." According to Mr. Baldwin, it's been a rough year in terms of media attention and public scrutiny. So he's "giving up" public life. I didn't quite catch how he intends to give up public life, but I imagine a certain amount of letting go of what the public thinks will have to be a part of it.
I decided "I Give Up" too: my extra concern and caution during rental car driving aren't helping anything. All I can do is my best, the best job I can at driving at any given time. And lucky me, I know how to do that! I know how to do my best. I put a little Ganesh altar in the rental to remind me of my higher power and to officially give up my low-level-state-of-high-alert-mode. I've got my higher power and my best, and no time for extra-curricular fears.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 12:42 PM
Friday, April 4, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
In a totally unprecedented turn of events, I had a private client who wanted to do Restorative Yoga this morning at 6:45 a.m. out at Ojo. I'm an early-girl, so I was game. Driving out to Ojo in the predawn light, I saw a dog (maybe a coyote, maybe a fox!) run across the highway, way out in front of me. Then I saw another one, a few minutes later, standing awfully close to the side of the road. "Be careful, you guys!" I thought, worried.
Gathering speed again after I'd taken a left turn, a bunny rabbit came darting out from the right, directly underneath my car. I felt a thump-thump, and my heart dropped. I had been listening to a wonderful podcast on Mindfulness and decided to turn it off and keep driving. I was deeply sad, and I couldn't help but pray for how sorry I was. I cried a little bit. I loved that rabbit. I know, I'm weird, but it's true; I was heartbroken that I killed it.
It felt good to be in silence with my sadness and prayers; and eventually, I got over myself and turned the podcast back on, got to Ojo and had a great session with the client.
On my way back to town later, I waited to see the roadkill I killed. There was nothing there, not even a stain. Maybe the rabbit made it! Or maybe the vultures did a superlative job cleaning up. I guess I'll never know.
Oddly, this whole "me killing an innocent creature before 7 a.m. on a Tuesday" reminds me of one time when I was on a date. It was maybe a second or third date with this guy in New York, and the restaurant where we planned to go had a gigantically long wait time. We were both hungry, so we left in search of another place. I suggested a cafe I knew of nearby. All I remember is that we were crossing 23rd St, and whatever he said in response to my idea, hurt my feelings.
Okay, so I'm weird and super sensitive, but I think maybe what he said was kinda rude. We were hungry after all! The great part is, it doesn't even matter. What matters is, for the first time ever in my life, on that date, I was able to acknowledge that I got hurt and to be with that hurt. I crossed my arms around my chest and gently rubbed my hand back and forth along my arm; this silent acknowledgement was my way of telling me I was going to be okay. And I was able to carry on and actually have an alright time despite hanging out with a complete and total jerk. Just kidding, you guys. :) That guy was perfectly nice.
The point is, "you gotta feel it to heal it."
(And the hope is that I didn't kill that rabbit. Cross your fingers for me.)
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 4:24 PM