Tuesday, June 26, 2012

With New Eyes, Time Is Infinite

Is there ever enough time? Will we run out before our life is experienced and tasted fully? Is living a 100 years or more enough to absorb all that life has to offer? Life must be touched and felt beyond the surface and there never seems to be enough hours to uncover its secrets.

And yet, the only the thing we have is this precious moment. We cannot pack the future into our suitcase, like we can mementos of our past. 

I journal and document with photos because I fear I will forget my past. My memory is sketchy at best. And, I tend to recall only the vivid seconds that make my heart pound with dread or joy. Will I one day forget the name of the flower that was in my grandmother's hat at my wedding and smells like fresh morning after the rains? Or the name of the fruit that I ate in Thailand until it stained my fingers a bright red as I pried the hard shell open? Will I remember what my beloved looks like or how his face feels after a shave? 

So I write and remember. As I read the words, my own history, I evoke how deeply I felt in that very moment. 

I was lovingly reminded today by a new friend that there is only here and now (Eckhart Tolle). Speculating about the future only invites anxiousness and fear. When I hold back from making plans, is it so I do not have to choose? Am I waiting for God, luck or "the Universe" to unfold my plans for me? Why is making a choice so hard? 

I found that living in indecision was slowly chipping away at my soul. As soon as I moved forward, fear was replaced by a sense of conviction and a clarity that revealed my path was there all along. As if there was a trail guide clearing the path with a machete, one swift cut at a time. The only thing visible through the jungle vines was the very next step. 

As I view the life that surrounds me here in Thailand, I am reminded of the words of Marcel Proust. "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes...but in having new eyes." It is with these new eyes that time feels infinite, with no past or future. 

"Open up the broken cup
Let goodly sin and sunshine in
Yes that's today."
Things Behind the Sun by Nick Drake

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Amazing Grace Is Pouring Down

The Dalai Lama says " We can best tell if our practice is working after five, ten, twenty-five years".

I don't want to wait that long. I am impatient. If we are honest, most of us are. We want what everyone else has: a stronger core, a different body, power poses, more of this or maybe we just want to be the person we thought we were in our 20's. Or we want to be someone, anyone but ourselves. For me, I want to stop belittling myself and wishing, hoping for something I don't have. 

When will I to learn to accept where and who I am today? A big part of the process of acceptance has been influenced by the unfolding of my yoga practice, and it's infusion into my life. 
"When you feel the urge to leave a path, try to honestly assess if you are running away from hard work or self-confrontation, or if you have indeed completed what you came to do." Elizbeth Lesser, The Seeker's Guide
When is it time to move away from a type of practice that no longer serves me?  To retreat from a teacher that has taught me what I needed to learn, and I know I have reached the edge of growth through their teachings? Or, is it simply time for a shift in other areas of my life so that a new season may begin? 

By allowing myself to feel these things, even with a twinge of reluctance, there will be freedom.
"To go with the drift of things, To yeild with a grace to reason, And to bow and accept the endOf a love or a season." ~ Robert Frost's poem, Reluctance
May we all go with the drift of things. Allowing ourselves to yield with grace and to "be a light unto yourself". (Buddha). 

"Good and great teachers will help you become such a light. ... ultimately, you will find yourself wondering what took you so long, and why you kept searching for something you had all the time." 

Good, really good teachers give us a thread of light that allows us to discover that the brightness is within. It's been there all along. 

I am grateful for those that show me the path and light my way toward acceptance. Amazing grace is pouring down. 


Welcome Enter One Playlist*
Amazing grace is pouring down. 

Daybreak Vision, Carlos Nakai
If Melancholy were music, Fabrizio Paterlini (beautiful. he offers free downloads on soundcloud.)
Lotus Flower, Radiohead 
Towers, Bon Iver
Long Ride Home, Patty Griffin (someone I admire adores Patty Griffin, this is for Mike, yoga teacher + heart giver.)
Clean State, M. Ward
Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol (sweet longing)
Nothing Left to Lose, Mat Kearney (for Phuong)
Home Again, Michael Kiwanuka (a must listen)
Just Breathe, Pearl Jam
Hand Covers Bruise, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (beautiful instrumental)
Something beautiful , Alexi Murdoch
Make Your Heart, Azure Ray (thank you Rose for the gift of this song. it inspired me to write about my mom for mother's day.)
Enter One, Sol Seppy
Try, Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore  (gorgeous version on Daytrotter)

*The playlist from my last yoga class at Lulu Lemon City Centre. It's been a joy to represent Lulu and to get to know such a sweet, friendly crew that you have there. Loved every moment of it. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Soul in Flight Amongst the Clouds

"The body has death, but not the soul. The body sleeps, the soul flies." ~ The Gita

You have been here with us in Thailand. 

I felt you on the floating cottages last week. A sudden, cool rain blew in and refreshed our sunburned bodies. I felt your spirit smile, knowing we were completely without electricity, running water, or technology with the ability to slip off alone to find a peaceful spot to meditate.

In the temple yesterday, I felt you in a monk that passed through the narrow iron gate. You carried a round brass pail ready to receive offerings of food.  
While sitting on the steps, I flipped back in my journal to what I wrote at the time of your memorial. "Life lived in moments. Brief snippets of time as if I were watching it from the outside in. Like a vivid, brilliant movie, these moments go fast, and then they are gone. How could we possibly know when our last moment will be with a friend? And if we could, what would we alter?"

Glancing up, you walked by again, another monk, orange robe spilling over your shoulder, sweeping. Your eyes caught mine and with a soft grin, you turned and continued to push the dirt and leaves to a pile just near the temple steps. 

After returning home from your memorial in May, I slept. This is significant since I generally do not sleep and if I do, never well. It was as though you gave me the rest my body craved and needed. 

And here in this beautiful city, I am reminded of you again and again, when I find myself rested or as I gaze into the trees that surround this city of smiles. Not just because you were going to take this trip with us at one point, but because I feel your spirit at rest in the blue and grey wispy clouds that periodically hide the massive beauty of Doi Sutep mountain.

You once said you were really happy in how you "turned out to be." How many of us can say that in this very moment? It looks as though you would not have altered any moments. Death, while hard for us here on earth, seemed to be on time. Thankfully, your soul is still in flight amongst the clouds.

Jeff Goodman's favorite quote:
“The kindness I have longest remembered has been of this sort, the sort unsaid; so far behind the speaker's lips that almost it already lay in my heart. It did not have far to go to be communicated.” ~Thoreau 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thailand, a healing expedition

Last year my journey to Thailand was a healing expedition. My goal was to learn the beautiful art of Thai Massage and in the process I began to let go of my past and uncover a path that both revealed and liberated the fragments of myself that I had kept hidden for so long.

A friend I met last year in Thailand sent me Buddhist prayer right before my return trip. Her timing was perfect, as I had unresolved things pop up yet again like berating myself when things did not go well or when I have not met someone's expectations. Or even feeling bad for taking this journey so far from my children and loved ones. With these negative emotions and circumstances, I'm constantly thinking about and interpreting my internal voice and allowing it to perceive a situation not as it really is but how I think it is. And, even when I know I shouldn't, I take these things that happen deeply to heart. 

A question that keeps returning over and over in different incarnations is "am I living a whole-hearted life?" "Am I doing what I love and moving toward my own beauty right now?" Life is moment by moment and so precious. How can I live any other way than with the knowledge that it is here and now, not later or one day? 

My Thailand journey this time feels so different. Still healing but no longer pushed along by fear of the unknown, I'm emerging on a new path. Beginning to find my way but now with a reborn view and a deep forgiveness of myself. Navigating a whole hearted life has opened me up to become vulnerable to love. That love has allowed me to bloom.

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."~ Anais Nin 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sabai Sabai, สบาย สบาย - เบิร์ด ธงไชย

The Thai seem to be living in their own sense of time. Everything in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the land of smiles, has a feeling of elasticity. Moments stretch out and give the illusion that the journey is just one long day. It is difficult to remember when you did something. Was it was yesterday or the day before or last week? As time melts my experience into one, it teaches me that if something does not get done today, then perhaps tomorrow or the next or the next. After a few days of unplugging on a rustic cottage on the water where baths were taken in the river, lights were candles or flashlights, no phones or computers could be connected and meals were prepared with a kerosine stove, my cluttered and chaotic mind was replaced with a calm that feels other worldly. Nothing else mattered. Or sabai sabai, meaning not a care in the world.

As our retreat is waning, I can feel the group begin gain urgency to do whatever it is they set out do. Some are finding solace in shopping, others, the temples or Thai massage foot rubs. There is this notion that we could find something wonderful around the next corner. The city is a burst of color combined with buildings and temples that seem to be crumbling at the slightest touch. Every corner full of things to be explored with our own extraordinary gems to uncover.

It is a blessing to return to place of "happy" and sense of ease. For the Thai, happiness is not a state opposite that of sorrow. Rather, it is more analogous to tranquility. Sitting by the river watching the breeze gently make the wind chimes dance is sabai. Enjoying a book or simply wading in the water with no where to go, no sense of urgency is sabai.

Mai sabai (not sabai) does not mean sad. It actually means sick or to have an illness. The word dee means good and when you put together with sabai, you say: sabai dee mai which means "are you well?"

Sabai sabai is wellness beyond words, it is a life that is all good in the present moment. No worries, all is well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yoga Playlist: Love is the "why" of life

Playlist from my last Texas yoga class at Blue Tree Yoga which benefitted the Alzheimer's Association where we raised over $350. Thank you all for sharing in this special class. Special appreciation for Heather, Phuong and Aline, such beautiful Thai assists and Jenny for hosting. 

"Love is the "why" of life"
Inner Voices, R. Carlos Nakai (almost all my playlists begin with Carlos. I love this Native American flutist) 
Calling Wisdom, Karunesh
Free In Your Love (Purna), Steve Gold (this mix is a little heavy on Steve Gold, however, his songs are  beautiful and perfect)
The Wilhelm Scream, James Blake (dub step that feels flawless)
So Sweet, Steve Gold (yes it is)
Give Thanks And Praise, Bob Marley
My Foolish Heart/Bhaja Govinda, Krishna Das (so foolish, indeed)
Lifeline, Steve Gold (a personal serenade)
Higher Love, James Vincent McMorrow (gorgeous falsetto voice and remake of this song. better than the original Stevie Winwood version.)
Something Beautiful, Alexi Murdoch (thanks to Kimberly, I have this song. can't buy it anywhere but is you tube-able)
Enter One, Sol Seppy (the song everyone asks me for/about. Rhia, what a gift you gave me, thank you.)
Live In Me, Sol Seppy (is available on itunes, unlike Enter One which you'll just find on you tube.)
Restaurant, The Cinematic Orchestra
There Is a Light, Steve Gold
Om Mani Padme Hum, Wah! (the jewel of the lotus, a prayer in a time of suffering to offer refuge)
Be Here Now, Ray LaMontagne (BE here NOW)
Compassion, Peter Kater Compassion (one hour compilation that just feels like your floating when you listen to it in Savasana)

The poem I shared was given to me by Jennifer Plessner, friend and fellow soul traveler, who also hosted my love and service retreat at Elm Flats (dates for next year: Jan 4-6, 2013).
Thank you for sharing your heart and life so freely with me.

“There is a desire within each of us,
in the deep center of ourselves
that we call our heart.
We were born with it,
it is never completely satisfied,
and it never dies.
We are often unaware of it,
but it is always awake.

It is the Human desire for Love.
Every person in this Earth yearns to love,
to be loved, to know love.
Our true identity, our reason for being
is to be found in this desire.

Love is the "why" of life,
why we are functioning at all.
I am convinced
it is the fundamental energy
of the human spirit.
the fuel on which we run,
the wellspring of our vitality.

And grace,
which is the flowing,
creative activity, of love itself,
is what makes all goodness possible.

Love should come first,
it should be the beginning of,
and the reason for everything.”
― Gerald G. MayLiving in Love