Love For Certain Work

rain puddle
Traveling is as refreshing for some
as staying at home is for others.
Solitude in a mountain place
fills with companionship for this one,
and weariness for that one.
This person loves being in charge
of the workings of a community.
This other one loves the ways
heated iron can be shaped with a hammer.
Each has been given a strong desire
for certain work, a love for those motions,
and all motion is love.
The way sticks and pieces of dead grass and leaves
shift about in the wind
and with the directions of rain and puddle-water
on the ground, those motions
are all following the love
they have been given.
~rumi

Yoga For Scoliosis Workshop – Two Back to Back Saturday Series

If you or someone you know has scoliosis (a curvature and/or twisting of the spinal column), do consider this special 2 week back-to-back workshop series November 3rd & 10th from 1-4pm.  During these two Saturday sessions, we’ll explore a variety of yoga postures as well as breath awareness that support greater alignment and more physical ease in the body with scoliosis.

Practitioners also learn helpful modifications to yoga poses that support the needs of one’s unique body, and can limit, rather than intensify the condition of scoliosis within the yoga practice.

Come if you’re new to the practice or well seasoned, and embrace your beautifully imperfect self.

November 3rd & 10th from 1-4pm at It’s All Yoga Studio in midtown on 21st Street between Broadway and X Street.

Cost $95

Register on-line at http://www.itsallyoga.com, or call at 916- 501-4692.

 

When You Can Endure

When
The words stop
And you can endure the silence
That reveals your heart’s pain
Of emptiness
Or that great wrenching-sweet longing,
That is the time to try and listen
To what the Beloved’s eyes
Most want
To
Say.

~Hafiz

What if…

“What if our religion was each other,
if our practice was our life, if prayer our words?
What if the temple was the Earth, if forests were our
church, if holy waters ~ the rivers, lakes and oceans.
What if meditation was our relationships,
if the teacher was life, if wisdom was self-knowledge,
if love was the center of our being?
Ganga White

Loving-Kindness and Meditation by Pema Chodron

“When we start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline, we often think that somehow we’re going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are.  It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I had a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.”  Or the scenario may be that we find fault with others. We migh say, “If it weren’t for my partner, I’d have the perfect marriage.”  “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.” And, if it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”

But loving-kindness – maitri – toward ourselves doesnt mean getting rid of anything.  Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry.  We can still be timid and full of feelings of unworthiness.  Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better.  It’s about befriending who we are already.  The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are.  That’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

Curiosity involves being gentle, precise, open – actually being able to let go and open.  Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves.  Precision is being able to see clearly, seeing what’s really there.  Openness is being able to let go, and open.  When you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and good-heartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving kindness for yourself, and others as well.”

Pema Chodron

Life and Death

There’s a great tree in my backyard, it’s been standing a long time, likely before my house was built.  The tree is filled with leaves, awash with green against a blue sky.  There are 2 large holes in this tree, deep holes, and a few weekends ago, I cleaned them out and drilled a small hole through the bottom so that collected rain water could drain away.  When I reached my gloved hands inside (the holes are about head height) I was taken aback by my discovery.  The rotted tree smelled of earth.  The wood inside had composted nearly to dirt, and each handful hosted a number of fattened earth worms.  My backyard tree is slowly dying.

When I moved into this house, the people who lived here before me stated that anything I planted in the ground would grow.  As spring has lazily emerged I see that their assertion was true, everything here is alive and is growing profusely, more so than I’ve ever seen before.   The soil encompassing this house is fertile and rich, it’s quite magical, all of the varied species that flourish – I have a flower stem coming out of a lily plant that is higher than my outstretched arms and just as thick as one of them.  In considering the magic of all things green and growing here, it struck me that this grand tree is decomposing from the ground up.  I had this imagining of  her many enormous roots turning from a resource of food for the tree, into a resource of rich food for the soil and ultimately all of the other species that are planted here.  As she surrenders her own life, she deeply nourishes the lives around her, lily and willow, geranium, lavender, bamboo,…all abundant for this mighty tree’s energy and surrender.

I think of my Grandmama, Mary.  She sipped her last breath in August at 94 years old.  I had her for 35 years of my own life.  Today I am 36.  Someone said to me in jest, “you know from this point on, we’re really all just dying”, and it is true that  I am gradually parting with unwrinkled skin, a scratch that heals in a day, eyes that see clearly, joints that don’t creak.  I am, along with the rest of us, slowly progressing toward death.  Today, it’s not a morbid thought, I feel fantastic, joyful and grateful, vibrant and full of life.  I saw my Grandmother in this way, deeply grateful, vibrant, and full of life.  While she was here, she poured herself into me, sharing her enthusiasm, her affection, her secrets, her wisdom.  I was romanced by our connection, each time I would leave her presence, I’d find myself feeling full, energetic, connected, peaceful.  She’s been gone 9 months now, and while I grieve her loss, I’ve also been very much aware of how close to her I’ve felt.  When my hands are in the earth or I’m walking about in nature, I feel her, as close as my own breath, as close as the hummingbird that whirls about my hair.  Of late, I’ve been feeling as though the absence of her body has increased the energetic connection I sense from her, within me, around me.  I feel a quiet strength and power residing within.

On this day of celebrating my own 36 years of life, I connect with gratitude for all I have expereienced, all that has shaped me, and all that I have been given.  I connect with the unity of life and death, that for as much as they are inseperable, they also give themselves, one to the other.  My tree is living and dying all at once, but it is through her dying that she imparts nourishment to all of the life around her.  And so it was (and is) with Grandmama.  And in this culture where the unknown of death is feared and rarely dealt with (until we’ve nearly arrived), I celebrate death this day, I celebrate it as life, as an outpouring of one life for the nourishment of many lives.  I celebrate, believing that the secret of death lies in the heart of life – just as much as the secret of life lies in the heart of death.  I am nourished.  I am full. Om shanti shanti shanti.

Love

The garden of
Love
is green without
limit
and yields many
fruits
other than sorrow
and joy.
Love is beyond either
condition:
without spring,
without autumn,
it is always fresh.

— Jelaluddin Rumi