Happy Summer Solistice

Happy Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where the days are longer, the sun shines brighter, and the temperatures are warmer. Well, it is suppose to be that way, however, as we greet the day in Colorado most of the state is cool and there is even a fair amount of snow as low as 9,000 feet above sea level. Not so sure what this says about our climate, but for certain it is representative of climate change. My own mood has followed the weather a lot lately, and I am not always certain that is a good thing . . . or not! Giving in to the rhythms of nature is perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves. Bowing down to the Earth and rooting ourselves can help us weather the storms of life. When we still our mind and remove our human mask, we might hear the ancient whispers in the wind, the voices of all our relations. Free your soul, open your heart, and listen to the wisdom the Earth is trying to teach and the healing it can bring. On a day like today in Colorado when we think it should be something that it is not, therein lies the message to slow down, enjoy, savor it all and take a moment to pause and give thanks for all that is now. Tomorrow everything changes.

Once the World Was Perfect

By Joy Harjo

Once the world was perfect, and we were happy in that world.

Then we took it for granted.

Discontent began a small rumble in the earthly mind.

Then Doubt pushed through with its spiked head.

And once Doubt ruptured the web,

All manner of demon thoughts

Jumped through ~

We destroyed the world we had been given

For inspiration, for life ~

Each stone of jealousy, each stone

Of fear, greed, envy, and hatred, put out the light.

No one was without a stone in his or her hand.

There we were.

Right back where we had started

We were bumping into each other

In the dark.

And now we had no place to live, since we didn’t know

How to live with each other.

Then one of the stumbling ones took pity on another

And shared a blanket.

A spark of kindness made a light.

The light made an opening in the darkness.

Everyone worked together to make a ladder.

A Wind Clan person climbed out first into the next world,

And then the other clans, the children of those clans, their children,

And their children, all the way through time ~

To now, into this morning light to you.

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Letting go of Fear

Love is what we are born with, fear is what we learn.

How do you grow strong at your broken places? We are all broken and wounded in this world. Some of us choose to remain broken. What keeps us in the darkness? Most often it is fear. Fear can stop us from living our best life, from going after our dreams, speaking our truth, doing the things we long to do. Fear can be paralyzing and controlling. It keeps us small.

When you look underneath painful emotions like anger, shame, and depression, you will often find unresolved fear. To release these fears and other self-defeating patterns, which keep us small and isolated, we can practice mindfulness.

There are a number of books written on the practice mindfulness, and many ways to incorporate it into daily life.

As a yoga teacher, this is precisely what I try to share with my students. Coming to your mat isn’t just about the physical asana practice; it is also about learning to quiet the monkey mind. I teach The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to my students in an effort that they might carry a little bit of their practice off their mat and develop a practice of mindfulness. I feel it is important to use all the yogic tools we have access to, in addition to meditation, to alleviate discomfort (fear) and bring us closer to a sense of steadiness where we might shine the light of awareness on the fluctuations of the mind.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe kleshas as impediments to spiritual growth. There are five (5) kleshas, or negative mental states that cause suffering. Yoga Sutra 2.9 specifically classifies abhinivesha as fear of death. As one of the kleshas, abhinivesha works to block enlightenment and liberation. Many yogis also interpret it as general fear and anxiety that causes suffering. This fear can prevent one from living their best life. Yogic practices, such as meditation and pranayama breathing exercises, provide methods to overcome abhinivesha.

Personally, I believe that the clinging quality of abhinivesha holds priceless insights into what really matters to you. As you let go of the things you hold dear, you gradually affirm that each one is not, after all, as important as you once thought; and as you progressively let go, your life’s goal and ultimate purpose becomes more and more clear. Just like coming to one’s yoga mat, it is a practice that one must come to over and over.

To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around. ~Richie Norton

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Loving the Earth

Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” has long been a favorite of mine, and seems most appropriate for Earth Day. Let us come together in an effort to be better stewards of our Mother Earth while allowing the world to offer itself to our imagination every day.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting ~

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

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Kia Kaha Christchurch

For my son and his wife who lived in the beautiful land of Aotearoa, for all my friends there, and for those that lost a loved one, my heart is heavy and I am sorry for such madness.

My heart has an ache today, not unlike all the other days that came before it whenever I was made aware of some senseless act of violence. It is hard to fathom the depth of hate and cowardice that it takes to shoot people in prayer, just like it is hard for me to fathom any act of senseless violence. We humans are so fragile, and yet we treat one another with such disregard. Anger is everywhere, from the person that flipped me off last week while driving, to the man who is supposed to be the President of our country, a nation founded on FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY.  He calls out hate and further instills this madness of white supremacy, as do many others similar to him. My heart is broken. Where are we going my friends?  Hopefully we can move ourselves into a place where  we live the personal reality of peace, from which point we can become peacemakers. Our individual energy will then be able to align with the realities of other peacemakers, generating a wave of goodness throughout the world. This is how the phenomenon of faith within our awareness joins with others and becomes a great agency of transformation that creates a new, peaceful reality.  We can continue to shift this energy and create a new peaceful reality, remembering that there is no separation among us and that we all belong to each other.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~ Mother Theresa

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Sisters

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Love

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Kindness Warms the Soul

A kind word is like a fire in winter, it warms the soul.

So often we travel through life existing on the surface of everything, rushing here and there, always busy. It appears the aid of technology, which has been heralded as an advantage to save us time, has made this situation even worse. We are harried, worried, and stressed humans living in this 21st Century. What if we pause for just one moment in our day, and remember to say something nice to someone? Ask the checker at the grocery store how their day is going, and be prepared to listen to their response. Compliment a total stranger. Say hello, hold a door open; the options are endless when it comes to kindness.  When we practice kindness and generosity, it also helps us to become more resilient. When we cultivate generosity, it allows us to see things more easily, to accept change, and to accept the truth of the present moment.  Look what one woman was able to do when she opened her heart; she was able to warm many souls.

 

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