Reflections From the Threshold

Here we sit, the threshold of the new year. It is only tomorrow, an arbitrary Friday, another day, yet it represents something greater — hope, newness, perseverance, renewal.

As I sit in final reflection of 2020, I look backward at the incredible sadness and grieving this year brought for so many. Lives lost, jobs lost, security lost, spaces lost, communities lost, rituals lost — so much loss. The structures of our society shaken, the foundation of our security may never be quite the same. 

I have grieved, adapted, persevered, cried, shouted, cursed, accepted, resisted, given up, started again, evaluated, hoped, dreamed and stayed put when I wanted nothing more than to fly away from my life. Indeed, though, there is no where to go and nothing to do. I have done the very best that I can.

I have surrendered the things I cannot control, tried to control them, and surrendered once again. Read More »

The Space Between The Thoughts

Meditation is the royal road to the attainment of freedom, a mysterious ladder that reaches from earth to heaven, darkness to light, mortality to immortality. ~Swami Sivananda, on Raja Yoga
 
Yoga is defined in yoga sutra 1.2, “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” Vividly I recall listening to that verse chanted in the background as I practiced yoga by CD with my first teacher. I remember wondering what exactly “cessation of the fluctuations” meant, having had no experience with cessation of my own mental fluctuations. When the first sip of mental clarity occurred, it was truly life changing.
 

When defining yoga, I prefer a simpler interpretation of verse 1.2,  “Yoga is the space between the thoughts.” This is brilliant! When we are enslaved to the habitual patterns of the mind, we will undoubtedly be tossed about, identified with our story. The practices of yoga provide the tools with which we can step out of the reaction to our thoughts and into a space of clarity and freedom. 

Inner freedom, according to yoga, occurs when our presence in the moment (prana) grows so strong that we let go of our inner narrative and become the watcher of our own awareness. Moksha, or liberation, occurs when we release ourselves from the patterns or grooves of the mind, unraveling our unconscious patterns. When moksha is reached, we are released from the bonds of karma.  Then we are truly free. Read More »

Lingering At the Threshold

“We have unlearned the patience and attention of lingering at the thresholds where the unknown awaits us. ~ John O’Donahue

This quote spoke to me and I posted it on a bulletin board next to my desk last fall. As a human who likes to walk the line of safety and adventure, tethered equally to both, this quote felt true and wise. Lingering over a cup of coffee and a beautiful sunset I could do; loitering at the hearth of the unknown–that was something I felt inspired to work on.

And now, here we are, not just Lingering at the Threshold, camped at the Doorway of a Yawning Chasm. Rather than patience, I would be happy to cultivate something three shades to the left of panic, terror and constant worry.

Clearly the Universe misunderstood my intentions by posting the quote next to my desk. I wanted to call up a deeper ability to let go of things–like my IPhone, my plans, my inner dialogue. I wanted to pause in the great mystery of stillness, basking in a sweaty glow, mesmerized and fully present without heed to uncertainty. I desired to return to the simplicity of idle conversation and untie the strings of technology.  And now, as community, sacred spaces and daily rituals dissolve into thin air, I stand aghast. I didn’t ask for this kind of Lingering or this Unknown. Sometimes when I look at the quote I feel angry, a true deep down fury. Read More »

Black Lives Matter | The Yoga of Action

I may not have the exact right words to say, but I am compelled to address the sadness and outrage reverberating through our communities and the tremendous injustices in our society that oppress and devalue people of color. I don’t know about you, but I am reeling from the events of the past weeks. And I’m not talking about coronavirus. I am referring to the events leading to the loss of the lives of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so very many others who have died as a result of police violence and racial injustice.

Without addressing the brutality that is being experienced, I cannot ethically hold the space of the teacher, guiding others to breathe while throughout the country people of color are crying out “I CAN’T BREATHE”.

This morning I received an email from Shannon Roche, the CEO and President of Yoga Alliance containing the following:

“Breath. We who practice and teach yoga understand breath, in a deep and intimate way. We know that breath is life-giving, that it is life-changing, and that it is shared, equally, among every living being on this earth. We know exactly what George Floyd’s last words, which echoed those of Eric Garner nearly six years before—“I can’t breathe”—meant, and exactly what was taken from him.”

As the past days and weeks have shone a spotlight on the inequities in our society, from the impact of the coronavirus on people of color to the social injustice resulting in the loss of lives, I have been percolating in a sea of intense emotions–anger, frustration, hopelessness, and incredible sadness. Read More »

Doing The Best I Can: Empathy and Self-Compassion

Yesterday was a struggle. I resented the sunshine and just wanted to spend my one day off doing a bunch of nothing. I watched the news incessantly, binge watched a new show and finally took my mat outside to lie in the sun. Eventually B and I made up a soccer game in the living room to get moving and to entertain ourselves. Overworking is difficult. Boredom is real as well.

One of the things I have become aware of is that I am personally up and down with EVERYTHING right now. Taking a business to a brand new online model in 3 days is not what I would call “relaxing”. For me boredom has not been a thing until yesterday. Life has been nonstop problem solving, learning and teaching.

That has led me to reflect on how every person I speak with is experiencing this crisis in different ways.  Read More »