Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Patanjali's Sword

Just last night, I was reading Patanjali's Yoga Sutras thinking, "I wonder when Jennifer's going to teach us the Ashtanga Opening Chant." When I showed up in class today, she said, "I feel intuitively it's time for us to start learning the chant." And so we did.

Jennifer talked a little bit about the chant and Patanjali. Patanjali is the sage who we can thank for the Yoga Sutras, and therefore the living tradition of yoga. Jennifer says he's depicted holding a sword, (and other things too) and his sword is the sword of discernment. This symbol points to the true guru being  you; we are the ones who decide what is true for ourselves.

Ohmygosh, totally. I have been thinking about that so much lately. A few weeks ago, I was telling my teacher Jen (different Jen from the Jennifer mentioned above!) about something that happened and she told me that I could have done better by that thing that happened. Listening to her feedback, I just knew in my heart that what she was saying wasn't true for me. I knew I had done the best I could have, at that time, with that particular hand I had been dealt. I thought about telling her, "No, you're wrong!" But I decided it was OK, although I respect her opinion infinitely, what really matters, is what I think. That very same day, I was at an intersection about to make a left turn. The car driving towards me had its left turn signal on. Entering the intersection, the car slowed down, I presumed to take the left that it was signalling, so I began slowly to make my left too. Wouldn't ya know, that car came barreling through, not left, but straight and thankfully, I stopped before it plowed into my car. The lady in the car was not happy, she clenched her fists in the air and yelled something at me. To my great surprise I was only a tiny ruffled by this incident and not at all by the lady. I knew she had her turn signal on. She thought I was wrong, whereas I knew I had done everything I could with all of the information that was presented to me.

Baron Baptise is with me on this one, "You don't need people's permission or approval to act on what you know in your heart is right." But, as always, use caution when heavy machinery is involved.

Friday, July 25, 2014


"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." --Dorothy Bernard

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

To Make An Altar

 I'll never forget the day that my friend Pepper first came over to my place almost 10 years ago. She looked around confused and said, "Where's your altar?"

At the time, to make an altar was exactly the project I needed to connect me to spirit and to remind me of spirit, right there in my tiny apartment. A few years later, I went to yoga teacher training, where it was a requirement to have an altar. If you didn't have one, make one pronto, and thanks to Pepper, I felt ahead of the curve. These days, I even bring an altar with me when I travel: a few reminders I set up after I've arrived where I'm staying.

Lots of times, I ask my clients if they have a meditation practice. In B.E.S.T., we do lots of the learning about how our body's are constantly physiologically responding to our thoughts. Taking time to meditate: to connect with breath (source) and witness our thoughts is a great reminder that we are not our thoughts; we don't even have to think our thoughts and we certainly don't have to believe them.

If you don't yet have a meditation practice but you want one, make an altar somewhere in your home. Mindfully place a book of inspirational quotes, a picture of someone you love or a stone that reminds you of whatever you believe in. Pepper and I promise you that the creative power that created you is worth spending some time with.

Friday, July 18, 2014

This Fabulous Client of Mine

The other day, I asked this fabulous client of mine what else she does (besides B.E.S.T.) for wellness. 

She replied, "EVERYTHING, even if it's bad for me." 

Word up and such a good reminder. 

Writing tipsandtricks when it's past my bedtime, skipping meditation or exercise, or having a glass of wine is a way to practice wellness. It's called balance, people. And we can go out of balance in *any* direction.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Focus on Yourself

I drew the Four of Swords card again today. Its message is so different now than it was two and a half years ago when it came up on the road trip with Melissa.

Thanks to Al-Anon and even to spending more time with Tarot cards, I am so much better at focusing on myself. Way back when, the Truce card seemed to be about situations with other people, and of course, it still could be. But the "four peaceful principles" that it refers to, are such a great way for us each to relate to ourselves. Who better to experience a truce with than yourself?

I will use the Truce card as medicine for everyday. Everyday, I will: 1. Show up 2. Pay attention 3. Tell the truth (especially to myself!) and, 4. I will (do my best to) not be attached to outcomes.

I don't always like it, but *everything* is a reflection. If you want other people to be present with you, be present with yourself. If you want other people to pay attention to you, you need to pay attention to yourself. If you want other people to be honest with you....you get the idea. I am by no means an expert on this, I still need a lot of practice, and it can still feel very challenging. But I sincerely agree with Aldous Huxley when he said, "There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." And before I can improve myself, I need to show up for myself.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"And Above All..."

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." --Roald Dahl

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Few Things I Love

I love Elena Brower. Her reminders to soften will never get old; I think she is exactly the teacher so many of us need right now. At the end of all of her classes, during "Namaste," she bows to "all of our teachers and to our families."

I love Caroline Myss' book, Anatomy of the Spirit. Holy Moly, you guys, that book is so good. In the course of the book, Myss takes the reader through "seven stages of healing and power:" the chakras. In the first chakra section, we deal with tribal power, the power we were born into by being born into the tribe that we were born into. Myss says, "Our tribes 'activate' our thinking processes...[And] The process of spiritual development challenges us to retain the tribal influences that are positive and to discard those that are not."

In B.E.S.T., we learn that in order to heal from something, the first step is to find the good and to be grateful for whatever it is we are healing from; only then can we be transformed. Thank you Elena, for your constant reminder that I am so grateful for everything I received from my family of origin. And thank you Ms. Myss and Al-Anon for giving me permission, even inviting me, to "take what I like and leave the rest."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Magic Everywhere

In another totally unprecedented turn of events, I ended up being in a picture that looks exactly like a tarot card. The magic of this was totally unintentional; I did not realize I looked like a tarot card until many hours after the picture was taken. I am learning that if I take the time to connect with myself, I can find open doors to healing, by myself. I'm also learning that, although it is fun to have someone else read my tarot cards, I might not need them to, and for that matter, I might not even need the cards! What does help though is the great The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien. I would have no idea what these ancients symbols stand for without it.

"The Hanged Man represents the universal principle of recognizing and awakening to repetitive patterns that bind, limit, and restrict our growth and evolution. The Hanged Man is a pattern breaker. In order to break limiting patterns, it is often necessary to take a distinctly different posture, or stance, such as turning ourselves upside down to get another view of a restrictive pattern or stuck place in consciousness that is being experienced. The Hanged Man represents that state of consciousness which requires that we move beyond ego and trust deeper aspects of who we are. This is the state of surrender and acceptance which is the preliminary step required before we can free ourselves from destructive and limiting patterns we experience in our lives...This symbol ultimately teaches us that there are always many more options, solutions and perspectives to consider than those in which we are currently invested" (Arrien 1978, 69).

I could definitely use a little trusting the "deeper aspects" of who I really am. A Course in Miracles has a prayer, "I am willing to see things differently." I see a yoga pose, a tarot card and magic everywhere.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Only Love is Real"

 "Ever'thing there is but lovin' leaves a rust on yo' soul." --Langston Hughes