reshaping the ordinary

dance artist, jivamukti yogini, raw foodie, doula and lover, traveling to perform, create and share my light with the world.

Category: health and wellness

CHOICE

 

this summer communication has been my primary focus. i’ve been approaching day to day interactions as a social experiment of sorts. witnessing how the CHOICES i make, in how i direct my actions in the world, my use of spoken words, even more subtly how my thoughts directly influences the situation.

if i walk in to a situation where everyone is stressed out, but i am calm and joyous, it has the miraculous power of rubbing off. the whole room becomes lighter. in this way we really can create the reality in which we want to exist. we can do and be what we want to see.

i often find myself suggesting “do what you want” both to myself and others. and then there is a pause and a moment to check in,

what do i want

(a very important pause and reflection in this time of speed and multi tasking).

recently a friend reflected back,
what do you mean by “you do what you want”? what’s the emotion/drive behind it?


probably more layers than i acknowledge, this prompted an exploration of what it means to “do what you want”

  • it’s repeating something i’ve heard said 
  • it’s a softening (of my own deep seeded desire to control) 
  • it’s freeing and sweet 
  • it’s aimed to be a reminder that in the play of your life, ultimately you are (if not the director) the assistant director.
    if you don’t like the way a scene is going, YOU have this amazing ability to change the script.
    if the play goes differently than you expected, that can be a wonderful thing,
    if you are present, if you are checking in, if you ask, is this what i want, both for the immediate present at hand as well as for what lies ahead.
     
  • it’s a reminder when we are busy making plans and choices god laughs at us for thinking we have that ability to control anything…. 
  • it’s a hope, that we will listen to the heart-mind, and act from a seat of compassion, not from a seat of anger, jealousy, or fear.

  • it’s a space from which i see limitless possibilities
  • it’s an i love YOU, not who you think i want you to be, and an invitation to be YOU, so i can meet that

my dear teacher Sharon Gannon teaches we can have anything we want in this life, if we are willing first to provide it for others.

this teaching, so rich in it’s simplicity, is the recipe for magic. whatever it is you want, create it, share it, and then there it is in the world.
if you want world peace, act more peacefully towards others, suddenly the world has more peace in it. simply, be what you wish to see in the world.

If we want to be free, then it seems we shouldn’t make a slave of anyone. If we want enlightenment for ourselves, then we must begin to see others as holy, enlightened beings. Through such purification of perception, one becomes enlightened, because ultimately, it will take an enlightened being to see another enlightened being (it takes one to know one).  -Sharon Gannon

 

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staying the path

as a Bhakti practitioner, or in general as a Yogi, or as any human being who has decided to dedicate themselves something with this precious time we are here on Mother Earth, we start by setting goals, that part is easy… and then life happens. inspiration can fizzle out like a bad romance…. 

seemingly it is so easy to find inspiration these days, just do a search for #inspiration and countless articles images and poems will pop up.
or you can be more specific about what kind of inspiration you want,, #fitspo #inspireart #yogainspo even #inspireconsciousness pulls up a few hits….

but does this ocean of inspiring words and images leave us more inspired or simply more overwhelmed.

unnamed

Krishna as seen floating from my rear-veiw mirror.

 

 

i find the great mystics, the enlightened ones who have come before us provide the greatest of inspirations, some of their texts i call upon daily, to inspire my practice, such as the  मधुराष्टकम् Madhurastakam the Song of Sweetness in praise of Krishna, composed by the Bhakti philosopher-poet Sripad Vallabhacharya, and Tulsidas‘s stotra to Hanuman-ji the  Hanuman Chalisa.
reciting texts such as these, written many years before my time, inspires, ignites and works as an access point to the divine mood (click this link to see Shyamdas-ji’s beautiful description of this bhav, divine mood).

but from there where do we go?

an idea recently presented to me (obvious though radical) is what do YOU say. it’s wonderful to learn the mantras, and the prayers, and the protocol to devotion. but as practitioners of Bhakti yoga, the lila, the play comes in with our own mood, our own ras, our own unique flavor and taste.

hanuman_yantra

Yantra to Hanuman including some of Tulsidas’ Chalisa

 

so i invite you, write your own prayer. your own love letter to the beloved one. devotion is a practice of surrendering, giving yourself completely and with great abandon to something outside of your own ego-ambition. try doing it in your own way, then let me know how it goes!

Jai Shri Krishna

#stopsuicide

There are two wolves who are always fighting.One is darkness and despair.         The other is light and hope.The question is:  Which wolf wins?  . . .      The one you feed.”

and we have the amazing opportunity to choose, what we feed.

every day we have a choice, many choices; what to eat, who to associate with, how to spend our time, where to dedicate our precious faculty of attention.for those who practice mindful living, everyday is a day of reflection. every single morning a chance to begin with gratitude, and progress with deepening self-study, and improvement in our relationship to others, to ourselves and ultimately to God.
living mindfully includes awareness of our thoughts, our words, our actions, what we eat, and how our behaviors affect our inner and outer body/environment.
however, mindful living is not normal. in this speck in time it is quite extraordinary to have even an inkling of this attitude. depression, addiction, anxiety, these are quite more accepted and “normal”.today is Yom Kippur יוֹם כִּיפּוּר  known as the Day of Atonement. in Judaism it is considered the most solemn day of the year, essentially it is a day of forced mindfulness. you fast, you wear white, you avoid leather, you pull away from worldly distractions and focus on elevated intention setting for the year ahead. emphasis is placed on the themes of atonement and repentance. in-fact it is not just one day of mindfulness, it is a week, called the Days of Awe, a period of time set aside for serious introspection, a time to consider the wrongdoings of the previous year and ask for forgiveness, from yourself, from others, from God before the start of the new year.as i sat in Yom Kippur services this evening, reflecting on the year, hearing the wonderful, radical, female Rabbi discussing how difficult it is to look honestly at the mistakes we have made over the year, i felt a surge of joy, yes, of course it has been a hard year. of course there are things, many, many things, i would go back and change if i could. and yet, i feel i have been mindful in my practice, in the practice of living. not ignoring the shame or pain or guilt as it comes, but in each moment working consciously to, pause, breathe, and make an active choice in response, rather than in reaction.
the wonderful Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön teaches to look to the pain. she says suffering can be a great teacher for us because if we look at whatever is coming up for us; whatever hardship or confusion or misunderstanding we are having, we can often discover the source. what is lying underneath that pain, what is the underlying fear or doubt that we are having and just by concentrating on finding that, we can begin to resolve it.it’s like when the house starts to get a little messy, if you spend 5 minutes tidying it up everyday, the mess never gets so out of hand. but if  you leave it, and leave it, and leave it till another time, when you have the time, when you have the time.. suddenly the mess becomes so large it will take a crew hours to clean…. our internal clutter is the same. on this day, many moons ago, my brother fed the wolf of darkness and despair. the mess had been growing too long, become too large, and unfortunately the resources to clean it up were beyond his mindfulness capacity. suicide is an individual, family and community public health crisis with more than 40,000 people dying in America each year. and it IS preventable! the suicide prevention professionals recommend that we ACT:

  1. acknowledge
  2. care
  3. treatment

i recommend that we dedicate our practice, we dedicate our life, every day. that we hold ourselves accountable and seek the association of others who will help us with this project. that we hold close in our hearts those who we have lost, and those who are losing the battle with darkness and despair. and do not wait for one week a year to reflect on our lives. every day show gratitude for even the smallest gestures. every day apologize to those we have hurt. every day remind ourselves to live gently in the softness of our own hearts.