Inspiration

Begin the Begine!

Is there anything more inviting than the first blank page of a new journal on a New Year’s morning? Such possibility spreads out before us! No messy squiggles, no regrets crossed out to mar a lovely landscape. The page, pure and hopeful lies empty, ready and wanting to soak up thought and prod creativity. I liken it to the empty mat waiting, longing for us to step onto it and begin, not knowing where it will take us. A Practice is a Practice is a Practice, be ye writer, Yogini, financier, painter, chef, gardener. We all show up to our ‘blank canvasses,’ awaiting eye, hand, tongue, and heart. When we are lucky, what calls us is an irresistible longing, an anticipation of revelation and manifestation that is hard to come by in the quotidian. Yet it requires that quotidian necessity of ‘showing up every day no matter what.’ Part of what makes a Practice inviting and …terrifying is we must be willing not only to begin fresh each time, but to plumb inner, secret spaces in new ways in order to make the invisible– visible. Yes, even a Yoga Practice. If we do it by rote, by the book, especially someone else’s book, we not only lose our edge, we eventually lose our Practice. A Practice, like the first blank page of a journal, the first day of a new cycle, an empty plot of ground, a just stretched canvas, all require not the talents of a Master, rather the magic made in the workshop of daily ‘worship’. When that magical worship combines with the courage to reveal what lies within then we have life-elixir, the true ability to change dross into gold. Asana: What is the pose that draws you onto your mat? Is there one, or two you……

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An Intimate Living

‘Intimate’ from the Latin, intimare/intimus, meaning ‘inmost,’ to make known, is a word we usually associate to mean closely acquainted with someone. All well and good, but we can also be intimate, or not, to our life, our breath, our time, our death. This requires a good deal of work. Turning inward to sit still and be intimate with any aspect, any person, requires not only conscious attention, but still-listening to exactly ‘what is.’ Intimacy is becoming harder to come by. Instead of having an intimate relationship with time, we feel we are abused by it, cowed and overwhelmed by our lack of it. Would that feeling change if we were to sit in intimate conversation, face to face with time? Try it. Ask what it means to you to become intimate with your time. Do you have intimate friends? Why not? What are you unwilling to give to make that possible? Do you have an intimate relationship with Self? Do you sit in stillness, honoring your relationships, willing to hold every contrary piece of your nature in close proximity, and allow exposure? Being intimate doesn’t mean having to like all of what is exposed, connected with, or related to. Being intimate simply means we are willing to turn inward with that person, that issue, or idea. We are willing to be known to them so that we can open to one another without barriers, or subterfuge. I suspect that this new year is going to ask more intimacy of us, ask us to be more present to a life that is flying by, more aware to what is dying, more compassionate to those not willing to be intimate with their lives. Asana: Ardha Matsydrasana/Fish Pose: Lie on your back, in stillness, willing to open the heart to self, to……

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Face To Face

Under the staggering gaze of the full moon, Her face the face I love Reveals cold weight of winter Illuminating purple snow And hills where geese wait. Her round largess at the horizon Sets off shrill squawking Silhouettes rise across her redolence. Do angels fly on such nights? Lovely as swans— white on white, Unseen, except as reflection. After the hill, the geese, the angels, We stare face to face She turns not from my scarring, The beauty-less form I shadow. Her white breath softens my face Her frozen light caresses my hair Daring me to reveal more.

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Dive Dive!

When we are not looking, sometimes remarkable moments enter by the side door. When we surrender to process rather than outcome, we sometimes get lucky when the outcome revels and reveals the magic of its process. When we commit to risking, and intimacy, and sharing, what gets created far surpasses the sum of its parts. Last Saturday’s first photo shoot was memorable in creating those energies, giving birth to the Daily Breath Journal that many of you through the last four years have been part of. It is because of you, my friends, my students, that Daily Breath was originally, and now because of your generosity, it is taking the next step to go out into the world. It is exciting to view hoped for product and see what was present in the moment of its creating, become present again through photographs. You see the chaos, the patience that allowed magical moments to bubble up, the intimacy, vulnerability and joy. In short, the best of Sangha/community. I was reminded again that creative chaos is like any other Practice, in that a large part of it is trusting it to develop beyond…well, chaos. You do all the prep you can. You steep and dream in hoped for results, you cultivate and care for those who are part of the journey, and then you throw the entire moment to the Gods and dive willy-nilly into the chasm, the mud, the sea…it matters not the medium. It’s all in the willingness to dive, offering up what lies between you and those Gods. Terrifying. Alive to that kind of fear keeps us moving. If we don’t Practice and terrify ourselves at least once a year, those muscles for creative courage atrophy, and the sharp edges where chaos and magic live, fade. Asana: First, melt……

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Legitimate Thanks

Often when the ego is diminished, we feel an ‘insufficiency of gratitude,’ sometimes heard of as ‘the mean reds.’ We feel in those times that there is little call for thanks, or giving. We don’t have enough Self to be expansive, generous, or grateful, having forgetten it’s just the ego, not all of Self. The problem lies in it feeling like all. It is in fact only the ‘little Self’ with the over-sized voice. (heard as whiney & over rated) “Why me?” “Why not me?” “How could they?” It should’a been me!” “ Me Me Me, ohhh ghrrrr, waaaghhhhh.” Loud, voracious, demanding and hungry for attention, it is a raunchy-red-voice that if it is grateful at all, it’s only for one moment before hunger strikes again, needing more strokes, more awards, more acknowledgement. What about a legitimate me? What about a timeless, open-hearted, Soul-Self that sits quietly in the dark behind ‘Big Red?’ Despite nay saying to the contrary, that dark-quiet Self is a complete compadre, a True self with whom we do, and we become extra-ordinary. It can be heroic, but most often it operates un-seen, and un-known, listening, nurturing, observing, saving. It understands all too well our needy-greedy cries, smiling at the Me Me Me-ness. When we turn toward this other entity, this silent, healing, surrendering Self, and move into its well of peace, we are home. We can even be ‘home’ for crazy making holidays, rooted in power that does not rise to the bait of old hot spots, and wound-poking. This lovely, legitimate Self is never diminished by failure, gluttony, or pettiness. And when we remember the shining abundance of this legitimacy, sitting at the head of our table, let us indeed offer up Grace for ‘all things bright and beautiful.’ Asana: Choose the Asanas you……

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The Wild Geese

The hill behind the house lies bare On dark’s descending ride, Leaves a figure standing lone with the North East wind inside. She hesitates, then hears commands, Sounds of squadron pride, Silhouettes on sunset’s wing With the arc of the world as guide. She waits, as hopeful beacon In silent calling –“Come by here!” Desire fixed on longing Seeks communion peers. The left wing Sergeant feels her And shears the squadron’s tilt Close by to let her listen Wing spans sounding silk. ‘Whish, whish’, holding breath to hear Then lifting, soon are lost Leaving golden tears In exchange for heavy dross. For faith, she wakes before first light Eyes fastened toward the hill Willing God to land in feathered, squawking drill. Muscled breasts stretch landing glides, Sentries stand the guard, Others settle and abide To dream the coming ride. Too long they’ve lingered on, Knowing she cannot part. They wait upon the signal, Her hope in a willing heart.

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