Tuesday, November 16, 2010


What does it mean to be courageous? Someone commented that I was courageous for going to India alone, on my own. Actually, I never thought of it that way. I just thought, it's not possible to go with the group I planned, so I will go anyway... all will be well.

What is it that makes some choices seem braver than others? 

Bravery to me is: to ask for what you want in life, handle conflict with truthful dignity and respect for the other & yourself, move to a new place, drive in an unfamiliar city, introduce yourself to someone you don't know, learn a big new anything (language, job, craft, etc.), give up control, selfless service, fall in love and choose to stay in love or move on. To be a parent or mentor: to take a life and teach them what you know or don't know (thank God for google)... seems to me like a very courageous endeavor.

I can think of a least a half a dozen amazing friends right now doing one of the above... to each of you, I am so grateful for your loving examples of how to live bravely, day by day.

overlooking Santa Barbara, Hwy 101
It's brave to follow your dreams and take a leap into what you love rather than what everyone expects you to do. Taking that leap can be scary, lengthy and lonely but you know you're heading in the right direction it doesn't feel like "work", and it feels more like a hunger inside that needs to be fed by doing what you either know to be the right thing or brings you joy. "It is better to do your own dharma (calling) even imperfectly, than someone else's dharma perfectly." Bhagavad Gita, 3.35

Courage in action is when I commit my whole self to a choice. I find that my highs will be high and lows will be low but life feels so much more tangible and fully lived.

I'd like to say that I'll blog while I'm in India, but I think I'll just use some pen and paper and fill you in December... I'll be in an ashram following the customs there: meditation, asana, lecture, ceremonies at the river, yoga nidra (sleep)... repeat for 14 days. Then, off to Sri Lanka to see a dear friend who I know from living in Kuala Lumpur. And a lovely surprise, 2 other friends from KL will be there at the same time. From winter in Rishikesh to summer-like weather in Columbo, it will be an amazing journey... just me, my large pepto-bismol pink backpack, and my camera, of course. Not courageous, just adventurous.

"If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for."- E Lesser

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Advanced Practice

"When we realize that what we are advancing toward is not some physical form but an inward recognition of the truth of who we are, then we will not feel ourselves to be failing if we cannot attain difficult postures. "Advance" practice is any movement that brings us closer to this recognition of our true self."
~ Donna Farhi, Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living

Sandy, OR

have to say, I'm more comfortable in my own skin now than I ever have been. But, I occasionally think about the "what if's". I feel myself in a tug of war between trying to get what I want and trying to avoid what I don't want. And when I start to go there and feel frustrated, I try to remind myself that it's all temporary. Everything. Change is the only thing that's certain, right? If I can be a steady rock, and watch the stream flow past me, I will be washed by the water and touched by what floats by without having to respond or worry over every little twig, piece of trash, or boat that comes and threatens to move me. 

LIFE: I'm almost 40 years into it, and it's still hard... to ... let ... go of my need to be perfect and validated (click "like" syndrome)... I have to go back to what I love, what I know to be Truth within me which is in essence, "advanced" practice. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010


"Living well is not about being calm; it is about being present. Practice just being present with your emotions without reacting to them. Notice how they come and go." Judith Lasater

Some days are more emotional than others. Yesterday a friend said, I just feel emotional today. Earlier this week another friend, I've just been crying on and off all day, and it feels good. And yet another friend, I'm tired of feeling emotional all the time. This morning, my 9 year old was in tears, completely dramatic over a spelling test he hadn't prepared for. A full out toddler-like fit of tears. 
Ally Marie,
contagious laughter @ Love & Service retreat
Heightened by lack of sleep or circumstances beyond our control... sometimes it just takes one small thing to trigger an emotional release... tears or laughter. In our partner yoga class this week, as the minutes flew, my students seemed to get more and more comfortable with each other and laughed easily when their arm got caught t
wisting the wrong way or with something as ordinary as a stomach growling. Suddenly, the church giggles 
. (You know when you laugh in church for no reason when everyone else seems to be worshipful and quiet?) 

Expressions of tears and laughter IS being in the present moment. It's our body's way of telling us it's come to the edge, and it can longer hold it inside. It is what we are feeling in that very moment. The spilling over of what we were containing in our hearts that we could no longer hoard, but out of necessity and sometimes preservation of sanity are able to let go of. I think when we are constantly training ourselves to not react to our emotions, they have the potential to build inside or sometimes seep out in destructive ways. The secret is in how we act on our emotions... I think the tears and spontaneous laughter came because they were released in an emotionally safe place. And, in that sense, they were raw displays of what our hearts were saying at the time.

My heart is full and at this point, I'm ready to laugh or cry. I'm not particular, whichever one comes first is fine.