Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pizza for Haiti

I've been thinking about heaven and hell a lot lately. I am not going to get into much of it here, so you can relax right now. And even the last Pope admitted that heaven isn't a place you go when you die, rather it's a state you're in on Earth, in this life. Again, I'm not going to go there this evening. But it has had me thinking...

So here we are in Canada, enjoying all the kinds of things we enjoy. One might say we live in heaven here. Our ancestors would for sure think we live in some kind of heaven. (If I have to jiggle your imagination just think about computers and air travel, heated seats and hot showers and try describing them to your great-great-great grandparents. Seriously, give it a go, start talking.) The thing with heaven is that it co-exists with hell. (If you have trouble imagining hell, click on any link to Haiti at the moment.) The thing about heaven is that it has to hear about hell.

And when we are in heaven and we hear about hell, what are we going to do? Keep eating? Keep counting our money? Keep enjoying our heaven as though perhaps we've earned it? No. If you're like most people I know, you're going to be sitting a little less comfortably in your throne in the clouds and actually get off it and get your hands dirty.

Don't get me wrong, I notice the Haiti bandwagon thing happening. I live right beside the Shepherds of Good Hope and I know they're still hungry there, and even though there was a big earthquake someplace else making everybody else throw parties, they're still hungry here, (plus it's really freaking cold out tonight and people are going to freeze if they don't go inside). So having a disaster as big as a massive earthquake in Haiti happen shakes us, wakes us up. We get into action and raise money for Haiti, even if it's just for a couple of weeks. We have pizza parties in our homes and yoga classes in our studios and big concerts in our countries to raise awareness. And some of us will keep noticing that we live in heaven and hell is right there. For some of us, we live in heaven and hell at the same time. They co-exist. It's weird.

I happen to believe that for the most part, heaven and hell don't come as a matter of external circumstances, but are rather states inside of us. (We can all probably recall times when we had little but were happy and miserable while there was abundance.)

In any case, I ate some great pizza tonight and gave some more cash for the cause to help the people of Haiti. It's about time these people got some help and I think it's truly awful that it took such a massive catastrophe to get us to look their way and act like we care.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Wednesday, it's Late

I know it's late. I'm about to retire for the evening but I thought I'd take a moment to breathe. To relax. To allow what's there to be there. And tonight, to be grateful. There's a lot going on as usual in a life, but right now I choose to narrow my focus on a couple of things that really feel good. Often those are things that are outside myself, like I had my hair cut today and that feels good, my Mac is on its way (it made it from Alaska to Kentucky today according to UPS), I have people writing stuff to me that feels so creative and adventurous, I've got great people to hang out with, and those are things that are outside myself.

On the inside I have access to realms that are not impacted by the outside so much. I notice myself and who I am no matter what's going on on the outside. That Self that watches my life with me, that's there all the time. The Self that's the same as when I was 16 or 26 and I expect when I'm 66 and beyond. I'm still listening to Caroline Myss, and the repetition of her teachings takes me to new places each time. My meditation is too easy now, like wow, and I think I'm also sitting in some of the benefits of that.

Oh, and there's this little trip I'm taking in just over a week. There's seems to be a benefit to having something in your future to look forward to that seems to make the Now a little more fun. So maybe that outside bit is impacting the inside bit. I don't know.

In any case, I close the evening grateful.

Oh, and here's a video Remi made while I was out for a bit. She went to bed happy too, pleased with her little creation.

Bloopers from Remi Amazing on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Schedule Change

There has been a recent change in my schedule and it has me thrown off a bit. I used to teach a Hatha Intermediate class at 5:45 and then whip over to the Hatha Beginner class down the hall that begins at 7:30.

A new room is opening up at Rama Lotus this "term" but not for another week. I decided to try a new class that will begin at 4:30, which means I won't be leading the 5:45 Intermediate class anymore. But the schedule started before the room was ready, which means I'm feeling like I'm supposed to be somewhere but I'm not. Next week I'm supposed to be somewhere, but today I'm in the right place, which is at home at my computer working on the business plan for the iPhone thingee and blogging to y'all.

I could have just gone to the class and taken it, thereby keeping myself in a schedule and I even really thought about doing that, but then I stayed where I was, all warm and at home. I did some yoga right here in my livingroom, in my jeans I might add (I tell you, you do not need fancy clothes for yoga), and now I'm about to get ready to head over to lead the class at 7:30. Weird.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Not Too Late to Have a New Year's Resolution

If you've been thinking it's time to get back to yoga or you're thinking it might be time to meditate, but then you noticed that it's getting to the end of January and you missed your chance to start the year off right, please think again. It's okay to start now! Anytime is a good time to start a practice. Any day will work to begin.

I'm always so impressed by people who come to class for the first time. They just get it together, get themselves to Rama Lotus or wherever, fill out the forms, pay, get changed, find their room, and then actually get into a class for the first time. Amazing. I think it takes a lot of guts to do that and I try to make it as comfortable as possible for people who do show up. So if you haven't come before and you're thinking about it, just come. And if you've come before but it's been awhile and you just need to get back into it, just come.

If you need to ask me some questions beforehand, fire away. If you want a reminder, just send me an email and I'll remind you. If it's your birthday and you need me to sing Happy Birthday to you in the class, just let me know, we can swing that I'm sure.

So just come. And if you get stopped, just keep going. Come late if you have to. My hatha classes are especially easy to come a few minutes late to unlike the Bikram classes. Just come. Wear whatever (my site has a description about that However you are will work.

See you tomorrow night at 7:30!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Outside My Comfort Zone

I'm feeling a bit outside my comfort zone and I think it's a good thing. I posted that earlier today on my Facebook status and a bunch of people "liked" it, gave me their thumbs up, and without knowing any of the details I figure that's a vote of confidence.

I'm still processing a lot of this Caroline Myss stuff. She said we go around asking for guidance and then we ignore it when it comes. A while back I wrote a bit about what I call my "Gurubelle," like my higher self voice. I first heard this clear voice when I was about 24 while I was living at Kripalu. I could tell you all about it and maybe one day I will, but just know that after it told me that it was there and what I should/could do in my life, I promptly told it to shut up and leave me alone. And the higher self voice went away.

And then it came back by me sort of asking if it was still there and it said it was. Never left. The thing was that if I wanted this sort of presence to remain in my life I was going to have to let go a bit. I didn't want to do that. I was a mother, I had responsibilities and what if this little mission Gurubelle was going to send me on made me drop everything and walk to California or something crazy. Gurubelle wouldn't make any promises that that wouldn't happen. "No deal," I said. "Forget it."

After the year I had last year, I figured might be a good time to see if that voice was still around, still willing to guide me. "Yep, still here." Hmmm. The guidance I get leads me to different resources and opportunities. It resonates with what Caroline Myss says that started today's topic. It encourages me to work on alternative projects, to take trips, do things differently and that takes me outside of what I normally do. The guidance encourages me to spend money in different ways, to listen to my gut, to notice where I'm not present. It has me use the tools I've gotten from yoga, meditation, Landmark, and put them to use.

So I feel a bit wobbly as I take a step out. I also feel quite confident and excited, but the part of me that loves being comfortable with my reasons for being the way that I am and the part of me that likes things to stay the way they are, clinging to my past stories and hurts and my symbolic safety blanket, is feeling really sleepy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More on Non-Attachment

I think that attachment gets a bad rap. Sometimes attachment is a good thing. Consider parenting, for instance. If we didn't get attached to our kids, we wouldn't take care of them. In fact, improper attachment at birth can make growing up really difficult. So attachment itself isn't necessarily the problem.

In healthy relationships, some kind of attachment helps to form a seal so a container is made that hold things. Like life. Experiences, feelings, businesses, families, poetry, all kinds of things. The attachment itself can be like glue and is useful. The hard part comes when the attachment is broken. How do we respond when we don't have the thing we're attached to? Or does fear of loss come up just from being attached to something?

To walk around in complete detachment isn't really human or very realistic. It's also one of the symptoms of being a sociopath. It comes in handy to be able to detach when it's time to let go for sure, but to be afraid to get in there and feel and love and connect just because we're anticipating the one day when it's all over and how rotten that will feel, is sort of sad. Knowing how to detach effectively sounds to me like the skill to master. Be attached when appropriate, and be unattached when appropriate. To generalize and say all attachment is bad and everything in life is the same as every other thing isn't allowing for variety, our preferences, our particular voice to be heard or raised.

To distinguish this, sometimes we consider the difference between commitment and attachment. Being committed gives us direction and purpose and freedom for the thing we're committed to to happen or not happen. Being attached implies there will be some clinging if the thing doesn't happen and that there will be some pain involved if the thing doesn't happen. Commitment implies being present whereas attachment implies being stuck in our ways, which is not being present. And on the other hand, some people have a lot of trouble with the word commitment, as they get it mixed up with attachment. Keeping them separate is helpful at understanding how to be FOR something without being ATTACHED to it. Get it?

One of the ways to find out if you're committed to something or attached to something is to reflect on how it would feel if that thing were not around anymore. That cup of coffee. That person. The job. What if your car were stolen (Gasp. Bun-bun!), or you lost your stuff in a fire, or you simply left your lunch bag on the bus (true story, you know who you are!). The earthquake in Haiti can show us how we're all attached to the stuff we have - all we have to do is imagine trading places, but we're also committed that people get clean water and have medical care and are reunited with their families. When we're committed we can keep going in the face of failure because we don't have to stop and process our disappointment. We keep going.

Monday, January 18, 2010


We're at that point in the yoga teacher training program again. The weekend where we talk about non-attachment and then come up with a practice for it. Some people plan purging rooms and boxes of files. Others plan to stop drinking coffee. Some people just can't seem to come up with an area they think they're attached.

We always recommend doing something that shakes up your routine a bit and totally within moderation. Just notice where you're attached. It doesn't mean you have to be totally unattached. Just notice that you're attached! Like the coffee thing - you could give up coffee altogether or how about just on Mondays? Thursdays? How about don't have it one day a week until noon? Just something to show you where you're tied.

And Caroline Myss mentioned in the tapes I'm listening to again, Energy Anatomy, that when we talk about being honest, we often are willing to point out where our flaws are but not our strengths. And with that, she says we need to be responsible for using our strengths, for knowing what they are and putting them to use. But back to non-attachment, she reminds us to unplug from the things that are draining us and remove importance and significance from old memories and ideas and let them go by calling our spirits back to Now.

Landmark Education says that life is empty and meaningless and it's empty and meaningless that it's empty and meaningless. All of that importance is stuff we put in there. So to practice non-attachment is to become aware of the games we're playing and knowing where we're hooked. Pema Chodron would say we're hooked in places and when we're hooked, there's suffering.

There's always an opportunity to notice where we're attached and see if it's possible to give it up. Sometimes we can't. That's okay. Knowing we're not letting go is closer than not even knowing we're attached. As Anthony deMello puts it, you can't become unattached until you've really experienced attachment. I didn't read the group the passage from the book, Way to Love, that I often do. It's a good reminder that finding yourself totally attached is a great place to be because it's not likely that you'll let go of something if you don't even know you're holding on and it's holding you back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some People Still Don't Do Yoga

I met some people tonight who don't do yoga. Weird. Do you know any people like that? They've heard of it but aren't about to try it? Even my Mac trainer yesterday was like, "if I get a sore back I lie on the couch." He was only sort of kidding.

Some people don't exercise at all! Bizarre. Then again, I remember when I was younger and I didn't have a habit of exercising and I just didn't do it. Sometimes I lived in places that required me to get "natural exercise" by having it built in - tree planting, living in an ashram, working at Omega - and I could get away with not doing formal exercise.

But a day did come when it didn't work for me to not work my body. And then a day came where it did not work for me to not work my mind. Spirit's day came too. Especially after all of that Caroline Myss stuff recently!

Anyway, if you have a thought that perhaps a friend you have might benefit from yoga, please encourage them to do so! Bring them to class! Get them a (my) DVD! It really makes a difference.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Official - I'm Short Again

I've got lots I could say about yoga today. I've got lots I am not talking about - family stuff is going on, it's the New Year, there's a lot happening - but the really big news in my daughter's world is that she has officially surpassed me height-wise.

I'd show you a picture, but apparently Mercury has gone retrograde or something because all of a sudden applications are crashing, photos won't load, and I just got a message saying my photos are locked and I can't access them. As if. So I'll have to sort that out...

A big thing I did this weekend was finally listen to some Caroline Myss tapes (yes kids, cassette tapes!) that have been on my shelf for years. I fell asleep to parts and I intend to re-listen to the whole thing because what she said, although some of her chats about illnesses are a bit dated, was pretty awesome. One of the things that stuck with me that I've been bringing up in classes today is her invitation to ask yourself "where's my spirit?" To me it's the same thing as noticing where your awareness is and when you notice it's in the past or the future, bring it back. But to ask, where am I leaking energy? Where is my spirit right now? What do I have to let go of to be completely present? Those are good questions.

So I've been asking them to myself over the past couple of days and I have to say it's left me feeling pretty "empowered." In fact, I'd say the whole six-tape set was about empowerment.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Skype Meditation

Sometimes we need some support for our meditation. I sure do. And when I shared that with my old ashram buddy, Mindi, she could totally relate. Company can be lots stronger than willpower. When Michael was here in November, it was way easier to practise because he was doing it too. Last year when I was doing the Presence Process, that was also much easier because it was short and it was doable. But when that little program was over and when there aren't people here, I can get busy and distracted and stop.

As I've revealed over the years of my blog, when things go badly and I meditate, it helps. But then things start going better and I stop. The trick I'm working on is meditating even when things are good or basically I'm working on being consistent in my practice.

So Mindi and I made arrangements last night to meditate together for a few minutes over Skype today because we do not live near each other. I still did my morning thing I'm working on, and then I added a few more minutes in the evening.

Sometimes we need to just ask for help. Ask for what we want. And sometimes we'll get it. So don't be surprised to hear that people you think are strong in something need help too sometimes!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yoga App

So you know I've been working on a yoga app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. And it's just sort of in the background. I'm not thinking about it all the time or obsessing about it. I'm just making plans quietly for it and appointments and going to work on it and it's coming along. Not like other things in my life, which I think about and don't plan for and get all excited and weird and everything (see the karma installation below).

And yesterday I actually got tentative funding to make this thing happen. I've got some paperwork to do and a couple of hoops to jump through, but I'm quite confident that I can muster up those things and get the thing approved. And then there will be people helping me and you'll hear more about it, because there will be something to show and talk about.

But that's not what I think about. I think about what's not working. I don't focus on what is working. Hmm. Interesting. It's what I think I want that I don't have that I worry about. That's what takes up my mental space a lot of the time.

I know I'm not alone in this mental pattern. I get emails all the time and all sorts of messaging from motivational speakers wanting to coach me into focusing on being positive or something. There's some big Secret - I know - I watched it, read it, blogged about it, appreciated it even. And still, I think about what's not working. Or I just think about what I think about and sometimes it's in a state of working, and sometimes it's in a state of not working.

Sometimes it's pleasant. Sometimes it's unpleasant. That's life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Video Blog

I'm taking lessons at the Apple store on things I'm into. Like making little movies, for instance. This one is really not very good, but I'm practising! This incorporates the rough footage taken this past weekend in Florida, it has a soundtrack made from another clip later in the trip, plus I did voiceover. And put it up here. Right before heading to teach the Beginning Yoga class at Rama Lotus tonight at 7:30!