"I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk. But it's spring and the thrush is in the woods, somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is signing. And so now I am standing by the open door. And now I am stepping down onto the grass. I am touching a few leaves. I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field. And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening is the real work. Maybe the world, without us, is the real poem."
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
On a fairly regular basis, I forget that everything's ok, that I'm fine, and that feeling like I need to connect with someone else, usually just means I need to connect with myself. Sometimes, I get lucky and the days that I feel that way are holidays. Like last weekend, when it was Summer Solstice; that was the best.
Nature Speak comes with its very own meditation to do on Summer Solstice. I hiked to these beautiful mica mines and sat down and read the meditation. Some of the meditation was pretty far out, lots of visualizations, but I can go there, and it was all about connecting me to me. Towards the end of it, it asked me to imagine being at a table with fellow truth-seekers about to have a meal, "As the bread is passed around, with its taste comes the awareness that you will never again lack for loving guidance." I turned into a weepy mess. It's just so true that all of the answers and connections that we could ever need are right here, right now, within us. It just takes time, like all things take time, time and love. And mica mines help too.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 12:14 PM
Friday, June 20, 2014
"Enchanted worlds still exist and the doorways to them are hidden within Nature.
These doorways may be more obscure than in times past, but we can still seek them out.
Every flower has its fairy, every tree has its spirit, every woods has its Lady of the Woods and caverns do lead to nether realms.
At the change of the seasons, Nature reveals the doorways
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 7:44 PM
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Lately I've been thinking about listening and the Yamas and the Niyamas. I will be co-teaching a 200 hour yoga teacher training this fall, and I've been spending lots of time looking at my yoga texts and asking myself what I want to impart.
One of my first yoga teachers had the task of giving the great living yoga master Dharma Mittra a ride from LAX to a yoga festival called the Yoga Crib. Alone with him in the car for a while, she asked him something big, "What is yoga?" His answer was just two words, "Yama, Niyama." Turns out they had more time to talk about other stuff.
The Yamas and the Niyamas are the guidelines the The Yoga Sutras lay out on how to treat yourself and others; a map that if followed shows us how to do the next right thing.
The first Yama is ahimsa, which is translated to "non-violence." It is an often discussed yama and it is interpreted many ways. Some yogis use ahimsa to remind themselves to be kind to themselves on their mat. Other yogis (like me!) take ahimsa as their guide towards ethical vegetarianism.
Deborah Adele, who authors the book The Yamas and Niyamas, has a more subtle spin on ahisma which I love: "Thinking we know better for others becomes a subtle way we do violence. Nonviolence asks us to trust the others' ability to find the answer they are seeking. It asks us to have faith in the other, not to feel sorry for them. Nonviolence asks us to trust the others' journey and love and support others to their highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them. It asks us to stop managing ourselves, our experience, others' and others' experience of us...There is nothing to fix or save in another; there is only the gift of listening."
That's a big one for me. "There is only the gift of listening."
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 5:35 AM
Friday, June 13, 2014
"God be in my head and in my understanding
God be in my eyes and in my looking
God be in my mouth and in my speaking
God be in my tongue and in my tasting
God be in my lips and in my greeting
God be in my nose and in my smelling/inhaling
God be in my ears and in my hearing
God be in my neck and in my humbling
God be in my shoulders and in my bearing
God be in my back and in my standing
God be in my arms and in my reaching/receiving
God be in my hands and in my working
God be in my legs and in my walking
God be in my feet and in my grounding
God be in my joints and in my relating
God be in my guts and in my feeling
God be in my bowels and in my forgiving
God be in my loins and in my swiving
God be in my lungs and in my breathing
God be in my heart and in my loving
God be in my skin and in my touching
God be in my flesh and in my paining/pining
God be in my blood and in my living
God be in my bones and in my dying
God be at my end and at my reviving."
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 12:26 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
A piece that my super cool friend Johanna wrote for xoJane reminded me of this one time I went to a silent retreat. That week my mind felt clear and open for lots of reasons. One was that I wasn't talking. Two was that I wasn't listening to anything but dharma and meditation instruction from masters. Three was that all I was doing was meditating, sleeping, and eating, and four was that I was not using my phone at all, no emails, no Facebook, nothing.
Over the weekend I was camping in the mountains outside Jemez Springs with Mike and Smokey. We didn't practice silence; we talked to each other, and to Smokey, and about Smokey a lot. We went to bed early, and we went on long hikes. I left my phone turned off and in the car from the moment we left until we were almost home. I didn't take any pictures, and I didn't miss a thing. I felt more connected than I have in a long time.
Frank Lloyd Wright said, "I believe in God, only I spell it Nature." Mr. Wright was super smart at spelling.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 3:39 PM
Friday, June 6, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
There's lots of articles online these days about how successful people start their day early and positively with exercise and meditation or planning. Sometimes, these articles will mention the power of starting the day with an intention. I try to have an intention everyday. Sometimes my intention feels specific like, "Today, I'm going to try and be nice to myself," and other times it feels more open: "Today, I intend to be in meditation and love. All day." Lately, it's been my intention to listen.
I know I'm guilty for getting excited about the thing that I want to say while the person I'm with is still talking. Although I think I'm getting better at not interrupting, often times I'm thinking of how I'm going to relate what I want to say to what so-and-so is saying instead of listening, which is, actually, its own kind of interrupting.
More and more lately, my intention is just simply: to listen. To listen to what the teacher is saying when I'm in yoga class, rather than thinking about whether or not I want to say that when I'm teaching. To not jump in every time so-and-so takes a pause, maybe they're not finished. And most especially, I am trying to listen less to my own thoughts--those things are crazy. The more work I do to clear them out, the better I feel. They other day, I was in a huge funk and my mind was telling me all kinds of awful things. Finally, I laid down for a while in savasana, and imagined all of the energy in my neck, face, head and brain clearing away. "AHHH," I remembered; I can listen even when I'm all by myself, I can listen and be guided by the voice of God.
Posted by Ashleigh Beyer at 11:59 AM