Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back Home

If you look very closely at the picture, you may be able to detect my proud tan lines. I spent time outside! I was not in front of a computer or on a phone or anything. I did nothing. Just ate and slept and walked and played in the sand. John and I invented a game we called "driftwood" but it didn't appear to catch on with the other people along our beach and it did result in a lot of sand in the bikini for sure, but it was fun.

I was hoping to come back all rested and I guess I am, but it was somewhat diminished by the 6:30 pm arrival time turning into a 3 am arrival time back to Ottawa. Pulling an all-nighter takes something. But we had fun and it was definitely relaxing. Only one person spotted me as a yoga teacher from Rama Lotus and I felt pretty anonymous at our beach. It was fun.

The next trip is to Huntington Beach to visit my grandmother. I'm taking Remi along for this one and we leave in a week. Just over, but it's about a week. We'll do Disneyland and Surf City as we can walk to the beach from my grandma's place. A whole other scene. From the DR to Orange County beaches. Culture shock for sure!

The only thong bathing suit I saw last week was worn by a man. If my memory serves me correctly, my bikini will be considered quite modest by the SoCal locals. I'll report back.

On another note, I hate flying. I'm happy to fly to get to where I want to go, but the whole being on an airplane thing freaks me out. I could tell you many stories of my trips and flights that were "notable" and the truth is they've always been fine and I'm here and have been many places in the world and don't have the slightest bump from being on a plane. But there's something about being in turbulence that has me face my death and I can tell you right now I don't want to go. I don't want to die. I'm not done, I'm not ready, I don't want to. I don't want to say goodbye to this beautiful life and at some point I'm going to have to do that. So I appreciate being able to face that fear and feel it and look at it and sit with it for a little bit. And I don't like it.

And next week I get to do it on 4 flights as we have a stopover in Chicago. Great. But really, the great part is I get to take my daughter on a really important trip to see her great-grandmother - something we haven't done together in the last 7 years.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In the Dominican Republic

I got an internet connection for a few minutes here at the hotel, so I thought I'd say hi. I'm not on a yoga retreat and although yoga is offered as an activity, I have not checked it out yet.

I'm in the Dominican Republic in a community/complex called Playa Dorada and it feels a bit like South Africa and I'm not sure how I feel about how it's all working out for the surrounding community but it is warm and there are a lot of Canadians and people from Ottawa here. It's working out weather-wise for the moment in any case. I don't see how the "all inclusive" life will work for the host country in the long run, but for the visitor, it's a great deal in a lot of ways. I won't go into it now...

It's been nice out and the weather's awesome and I'm spending time with someone I care about and I'm learning a tiny bit of Spanish and otherwise I should be home rested and refreshed in a few days. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Office is Still Messy

Okay. So I did clean up some more this morning like I said I would. But not enough that it made a difference that John could detect at first glance. When I pointed out the parts that had been "cleaned" he agreed that some stuff had moved, but I admit it isn't like I have a clean office now.

I'm going on vacation tomorrow morning and I'll be gone for a week. I'll be tempted to post to my blog while I'm away and maybe I will. But I'm leaving for a week. When I get back I will keep cleaning up my office. Before the next Yoga Teacher Training weekend there will be a noticeable difference. I promise.

In the meantime, here's one of those messages that makes a difference. Someone sent it to me this evening and I just watched it and I cried. I was moved about how he said it was for his kids. And if you're like me, you'll want to know how he is now. Here's his current situation. The 10 minutes watching could have been spent tidying some more, but I think this was worth it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Purity Project

Okay. I'm really tackling my office. I told the people in the Yoga Teacher Training yesterday that as part of my practice of saucha, purity, that I would clean up my office. I even scheduled it and said I would do it Tuesday morning.

Luc dropped in on his visit between living in Hawaii and moving to Fiji and said he didn't think a morning was going to do it and that I would probably need much more time than that. Thanks Luc. But he's got a point.

I actually got a head start on it and I did a bit this evening. So there. I'm ahead of schedule. Or behind, if you count the other times I said I would clean my office. But I have really cleaned my office in the past. The thing about cleaning spaces is that they need to be cleaned again. Like cleaning up relationships as I've said before. Cleaning up relationships is easier to me than cleaning up my office.

I'm not even going to take a picture of my messy office to show you. Trust me. It's messy. And it's functional. I pay my bills on time, I have computers that are hooked up to the internet, I can find things I'm looking for given enough time. But the main thing is that it bothers me. I notice every time I walk in that it's not the way I want it to be. And there's the rub. It's out of my integrity to have it be so messy. It doesn't really matter in the big scheme of things, it just matters to me. And then the vrittis go wild in my citta and I'm not in yoga! No peace there.

I'll keep you posted as to how it's going.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spammy Comments

So lately there have been comments that are spam showing up on my blog. If you do read the comments, I suggest you do not click on the links if it's someone saying "check here." Don't bother. I will delete the comments as soon as I see them, but it may be a little while before I catch them. I've just edited the comments area so now you have to register with Blogger as well as do an eye test before being able to leave a comment. Sorry for the inconvenience, but apparently it's necessary or else you'll get hit. Bummer.

Family Day is tomorrow. My family will be with my at my yoga classes, so come out to the Rama Lotus lunchtime class and meet my kid! Maybe she'll do some poses with us. Bring your kids if you like - it's a beginner's class and is only an hour.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Chocolate = LOVE?

Happy Day-After-Valentines-Day!

I bought chocolate to give away to people. One of the differences I notice between young people and older people is that young people will take as much chocolate as they can get their hands on and older people will only grab a couple. I realize I'm generalizing and exaggerating and that grownups will do things differently when someone's watching versus when they're alone. But I bought a couple of big bags of kisses and I was hoping to get rid of them in my classes yesterday but instead more than I was expecting came home with me. I love chocolate but I also try to get rid of it because I understand and appreciate its power and I know that if I have it, I will eat it and I will keep it and store it in my body!

And there was more chocolate to come. Other chocolates were given and received and eaten and like that. Yum.

Apparently there's something in chocolate that makes you feel the same as you do when you're in love. And I heard on the radio that the effect of chocolate on the lips is the closest thing to a real kiss that we have. Personally I prefer the real thing, but if that's not available, chocolate feels good too. In moderation, of course.

Practising brahmacharya around these Hallmark candy holidays is difficult because I want more than one. More than 2. Lots and lots! Restraint isn't always possible, so I try to give it away, or wind up with just a limited amount on hand. Happily, there are other people who love chocolate here who are willing to help reduce the stores we have on hand so I don't have to do it all by myself like seems to happen with the ice cream. (Why am I on my own with the ice cream?)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

LOVE is in the Air

Today was a fun day. Remi came home with her big construction paper heart full of valentines. To make it even and fair, everybody brings a valentine for each person in the class. That makes more sense and takes away the competition aspect. What is funny to me is the style of valentines people give out. There's all kinds. There are even Harley Davidson valentines now and some creative kids make their own. I'm going to take a picture to show you. What a sweet tradition!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letting LOVE In

I don't know about you, but I spent a lot of time in the past wishing people loved me differently than they were loving me. I used to make fun of how they loved me. I'm talking in particular about my parents, but it included other people as well. (I'm now recalling a certain lamp from my sister that was way more her than me, and my daughter even recently changing my cursor from the functional arrow pointer to a flying heart, which initially irritated me until I shifted to appreciating it.) My mom used to knit me sweaters for instance. And at the time, I didn't always appreciate the gift because I was judging the colour or pattern or something about the sweater rather than noticing that she'd spent a big whack of money and time on something to give to me as a gesture of her love. My dad lives far away and has for a long time and he sends me emails with cute animals and prayers and I think you know, "those" emails. The kind you're supposed to pass on to 5 friends. In the past I would have judged the email as tacky and not thoughtful and whoever is passing those on is cluttering up the system and like that.

And something has happened as I've gotten older, as I've deepened my own practice and studies, and that is I've allowed people to love me the way that they love me. I love that my dad sends me those emails now - and I totally read them (but rarely pass them on). I have kept the sweaters my mom gave me, even 25 years ago, as symbols of her love. I know she loves me. And I know that if I want to talk to my dad on my birthday, I have to call him. If he doesn't call me it doesn't mean that he doesn't love me. I know he loves me.

When I went looking for a mate in the recent past, I had a list and basically went out shopping. Seriously. And I met a lot of people and had a really great time getting to know Ottawa and the people in it. I came out of my "shopping" phase quite impressed with all of us and how interesting we are and how great and brave we are. And the man that I "picked out" just loves me. He's not like me, we don't share a lot of the same interests, we don't have the same taste in music, or sports or a lot of things. But what I feel around him is so totally loved. And it might be that he's a really loving guy and I finally found that kind of guy, or it might be that I've become more sensitive to the love around me and have become more loving myself. Perhaps it's a bit of both, but whatever it is, it's working.

And I've told my parents that I used to reject their loving gestures and what a drag that must have been to be loving someone who's pushing back their gifts. I don't do that anymore. I let people love me the way they want to love me. Sometimes I have a request about what I'd like, but generally I'm into just letting the love in the way it shows up.

Here's a gift from my dad yesterday.

What Love means to a 4-8 year old . .
Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?'
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined See what you think:

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that.
They look gross when they kiss'
Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents
and listen.'
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'
Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'
Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'
Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'
Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)
Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.'
Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'
Jessica - age 8

And the final one
The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
'Nothing, I just helped him cry'

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.
Heavenly Father, please bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! And may their life be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with You. Amen.
Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you. Within hours you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.
P. S. Five is good, but more is better.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Week of LOVE

Okay, so it's getting close to Valentine's Day and the topic of love came up yesterday as we were doing a metta meditation during the Learn to Meditate workshop, so I thought I'd stick to the topic of love for a few days because it's in the air!

Some months ago I published the link to Anthony De Mello because he wrote some inspiring works about love before he died. He was a jesuit priest living in India and has a yogic perspective mixed in with his Christian beliefs and I found his teachings really accessible.

Here's what he says in his article from The Way to Love, called "Love One Another."

"What is love? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?' Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could only do that by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature-even the one who seeks to cut it down. So this is the first quality of love: its indiscriminate character."

And he goes on. Part of what he says is that love is not something you DO but rather it's something that you BE.

"There's nothing you can do. But there is something you can drop. Observe the marvelous change that comes over you the moment you stop seeing people as good and bad, as saints and sinners and begin to see them as unaware and ignorant. You must drop your false belief that people can sin in awareness. No one can sin in the light of awareness. Sin occurs, not, as we mistakenly think, in malice, but in see this is to acquire the indiscriminate quality one so admires in the rose, the lamp and the tree."

And the second quality is that it doesn't ask for anything in return.

If you have time and want to get another hit of a love conversation, listen to an interview with John O'Donohue before he died. He speaks of love and soul mates and friendship and many other things. Here's his website.

Both of these guys were priests and had the opportunity to be with people in a very intimate way as they went through live changes and losses and both examined their lives and love and the role it plays in all of our lives. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I'm in resistance right now to doing what I said I would do. And I'm doing it anyway. But I don't want to. I don't want to do my homework for my course, but I'm doing it. I don't want to go to Montreal tomorrow morning early and I'm going anways. When I don't want to do something, a little voice in my head goes off and comes up with really good excuses. "This is a dumb course." "You don't really want to finish it." "You're not going to make it anyways, might as well quit now."

And the truth is, if it weren't THIS course, it would be something else I want to do that's difficult. I've heard that voice before. It's not the first time. It's been going on for most of my life. I've learned not to always believe it. I loved the movie, A Beautiful Mind, for the part about how in the end the voices were still talking to him, but he chose not to listen to them.

My girls in the Eating Disorders Program watched that movie too. We have that voice that tries to talk us out of things. In Landmark they call it your "it." I used to believe it. "You can't do that. It won't work. You're not good enough." And that voice stops me from doing things that stretch me out of my comfort zone. It's not just yoga that stretches us. And yoga stretches aren't just physical postures.

Using resistance as a tool for self-awareness is very powerful. We've started the period of Lent and that's when traditionally people give things up for a while until Easter. So Tamsin for instance, is giving up chocolate. Not that it's bad to eat chocolate. She just wants to give it up for a while and watch what happens. Notice the resistance and the patterns that come up to be let go, and then hopefully it all settles and then the Easter Bunny comes and she'll get to eat chocolate again in a few weeks!

So giving something up, or taking something on, that brings us into some resistance, can be very useful. Of course too much of a good thing is not good. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about choice and commitment and not force or pressure. It's coming from within. And chances are when we look at what's stopping us in one area of our lives is what's stopping us in other areas too. And it's usually a part of ourselves - not our boss or someone in our family or some external factor that's making our circumstances awful - it's right inside us! People say we get in our own way. We do! So get out of the way! I'm moving over...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tony Robbins and Deeksha

So awhile ago I mentioned that Luc was doing his deeksha training at the Oneness University in India. It must have been almost a year ago because I remember he was gone in March. Well since August he's been in touch with Tony Robbins' people because TR wants to set up a Oneness University in Fiji because a lot of people don't want to go all the way to India and he's totally into it. Go figure.

So Luc has been in conversation with them at Tony Robbins Enterprises or whatever all of this time and today he had his 4th interview and is going to find out if he's the guy to be a liason between the "dasas" that go to Fiji and the people who come to receive it. Wow. It's so out there and so cool. So Luc's waiting to hear back from someone who's going to be talking to Tony Robbins about it today. Cool!

I think about deeksha and how the claims it has are the same ones I've heard about in yoga and Landmark Education - all of which I can say I have actually experienced and I know what they're talking about. But deeksha sometimes seems so "out there." And there's no one doing it in Ottawa yet. I suggested to Luc that he stay in Ottawa and do it here to build up a base and to help people here get the benefits. The deeksha is so energetic and doesn't need talking or working things out or anything. It works at the level of Being and then new relationships are generated from it. Communities are healed because of it. I'll give links to the studies they did in India. I can't find any at the moment. Here's a link to something else.

Personally I like to see my practice in action and feel the results right away. It's like when Luc told me about his visits to John of God in Brazil. This is a guy who does "psychic healing" and you could either have a physical surgery or a psychic one but they would both have the same benefits. Wow. I get it in a way, but in another way I don't, so I would probably need the physical one for me to get the benefits. If I were to get either surgery - again, it all seems so "out there." But John of God came to Omega this year - it's all getting closer and closer! Seems like another world to me...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Favourite Things

I am so impressed by a couple of my favourite things at the moment that I wanted to share them with you. Firstly, on Thursday I had an experience with my cell phone provider that was memorable - both good and bad. It went from incredibly bad customer service to they saved themselves a loyal customer. In the deal I got whatever phone I wanted for nothing. So I went for the biggest, baddest phone I could find. And ta-da! Here it is. The phone of my dreams.

I have some BlackBerry using friends who have told me for years I would love one. When I'd go into the store the people would discourage me from getting one because of the price and the "hassle." Wow. No hassle. It's like my new boyfriend. I love it! I was being so unconscious in my cell phone usage that I was paying more and not getting much phone for my money. Telus would occasionally contact me and suggest I change my plan so I could get a better deal. This phone was my companion in NYC and en route and it's fantastic and I'll give you the link so you can find out for yourself if you're interested.

The other cool thing I want to brag about is the results of a photo shoot I did last Monday with Robin Andrew, the same photographer who did many of the shots on my sites of yoga poses. She's so much fun and you can bring wine if you want to and just do whatever you want. We had a blast and didn't want to go home! Even Zara the dog was comfortable there and we had some great pictures of her turn out too. Totally worth the trip to Carelton Place.

The Financial Planning for the Rest of Us workshop is this weekend and the ad I placed in Our Town in the Citizen generated a phone call, so it's really happening and I hope you're all coming!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cleaning up Messes

I just got back from my very inspiring, extra-transformational weekend in New York City. It was the 4th weekend in my Landmark Education Introduction Leaders Program. Wow. I get so much out of those weekends.

You know when you think you've taken care of something, said sorry, and then it's all better and you think it's done and you're finished cleaning up and maybe for good? Then you find out that you've got more to clean up and you realize you're probably going to forever be in a state of cleaning up? I got that even more this weekend. I've known before of course, but I was making calls to my mom especially this weekend to clean up how I've been with her even recently.

Like in yoga. If someone told me they did yoga last year, that would be great. But it would be kind of like someone saying they went to the bathroom last year. It needs to be a regular process. Like cleaning up your house. It's not like you clean up one day and then it's done. The dishes get dirty again, the floor needs to be mopped and vacuumed again. And again. And again and it's like that.

Sometimes I get the impression in my relationship with my mother for instance that I'm done. And that's the wrong impression! Tending that relationship is an ongoing process and when I give up it goes to pot!

The girls in my CHEO class were talking with me about that this afternoon. They've learned they need to clean up messes and that once they've cleaned up a bit it gets easier because now they have the dishrag in their hand. Cool! I'm amazed at these girls and how much they're growing and healing in their program here in the Eating Disorders unit. We've all got to be cleaning up regularly...

So I'm all clean with my mom today. It will need to be cleaned up again in the future for sure. And with other people too. I'm not perfect and I've got garbage that builds up that needs to be put out. We talked this weekend in the workshop I was at about integrity and how its natural state is to be going out. Like once you've got your integrity straight, it starts to go away and you need to be putting back, restoring it, regularly.

Yoga and meditation can help us restore our integrity. At some point we're going to need to deal with the people in our lives straight on and not in our heads in our own minds. But out there in those real relationships we have. And that's why I say in my classes that it doesn't matter how long you can keep your arms up overhead - can you keep your cool at the dinner table or in the parking lot? That has a greater impact in my life, in my friends' lives (because I'm not reacting all the time or I do it and admit I've done it) and with everyone I come in contact with.