Thursday, May 30, 2013

Is What You Want Worth the Wait?

All this yogic talk about being "in the flow of life" or allowing "The Universe" to provide or reading into everything as a sign to "let go" (aka quit) has me a little annoyed.

Yes. I certainly believe it's easier to ride the flow of life than to row upstream. However, I'm seeing this "in the flow" talk being used as an excuse to take the path of least resistance. 

Be willing to wait. Wait.

There is something to be said about the passage of time and the experience you gain because of just plain old practice, hard work, sweat and patience. Instant gratification is instantly gone. Working toward a longing or goal that takes not only effort but the passage of time has a sweetness to it that you can only taste after a period of time. Certainly not right away. 

It's a balance of intuition, letting go, focus, vigorous effort and self restraint. 

Dig in and wait. 

What's your hurry?

Good things will come. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Am

"When the mind settles on the mountain, it becomes the mountain" ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Determined. Focused.
As each distraction comes up,
like a leaf, in the stream
it is carried away by the ever cleansing water.

The water is my blood and
my body is the river.
I feel the movement within me.
I don't want to run or paddle up stream.

The urge to resist the current is strong.
Stronger is my desire, finally, to let go.
Following the river where it naturally flows, I find myself
at home within me.

I Am as sure as a mountain of my uncharted days.
All this certainly stirs within me, and I become what I already am.
Steady. Free.

~ Melissa Smith

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Savoring Simplicity rather than Slaying Dragons

Now, the teachings of yoga.
yoga sutra 1.1

Thank God I teach yoga. Otherwise, I might never practice it on the mat itself. That's a huge admission right there. 

I love it. My body craves it. With the demands of this fast forward life where I just hope to stay one step ahead of what's coming in the next hour, I often hear how do you fit it all in? 

I don't. I can't. Can you? I just make a choice to do it.

"To live is to so startling it leaves little time for anything else." ~ Emily Dickinson

Simplicity. I'm afraid I do not know Simple. She's not been the easiest relationship. She's actually made it complicated to get to know her. She calls out to me when I view the pile of work on my desk and the piles of books half read next to my bed and the piles.... everywhere. She offers me no directives on in how to embrace her. She just says come. As you are. Leave the piles, and come. 

Some days, it’s not about passion and courage. It’s not about heroism and drama. It’s not about slaying dragons or conjuring exotic visions… Some days, it’s simply about the delicious act of doing simple things, simply. ~ Jack Ricciuto

Embracing the simple today. Eating the elephant one-bite-at-a-time, kind of day. Savoring the small accomplishments. 

What gets done gets done. What doesn't will be like an old friend waiting for me when I'm ready. It won't talk back or scold me for being late. It will just patiently sit, abiding until my heart is ready to be submerged in the not-so-simple again.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

the big picture

Come, come, whoever you are.Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, yet again, come, come. –Rumi

I woke up this morning and realized the year is nearly half gone. June is around the bend and what have I accomplished? A lot. A few weeks ago, I jotted a list from last year and explored my vision is for the rest of this year. However, a quick review revealed I'm already drifting away on some tangents. 

To not torture myself with the past, vows broken or when I repeat patterns of distraction and to celebrate what I have done and be grateful for what went right in the past year is at the heart of viewing the big picture. 

Gently exploring times in the past when I wasn't fully the person I wanted to be, I turn to a ritual I use to help me let go: Writing. When I jot it down, then, worries are soon forgotten. Sure, there's a few things I cling to. Ok, I admit, I'm cling wrap on certain vices, but for the most part when I pour out my thoughts onto a page, I begin to see how to make the necessary changes. It's like I can see the forest through the trees. 

There's a beautiful video circulating documenting astronauts about their experiences in space. At first some thought that seeing the moon from outer space for the first time would be the most transformational thing about the mission. You know, one small step for mankind... 

Instead, it was The looking back. When they turned around and viewed the earth from outer space they marveled at the vastness of the universe, the fragility of our planet and the significance of what they were witnessing which revealed a "new kind of self awareness": we are one. 

It's great to have a plan for where you're going but then to be able to look back and be awestruck by the miracle of being alive and the profoundness of what you have created, that's the beauty. 

It's the beauty of your impact and the ripples you create in this world. 

May each of us vow (again and again) to be more loving at home and at work; to make goodness cool and kindness hip; to take a stand for justice; and to be awestruck by the miracle of being alive. To come, wherever we are and view the big awesome picture.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Imagine a World where No One Complained...

If 1 % of our world was complaint free... what would happen?

We would realize that every child is our child.


We would stop blaming people for our mistakes.

What if we laughed more frequently?

or had the courage to touch to each other... it would be just the beginning of paradise.

~ Maya Angelou

Friday, May 3, 2013

Is That So?


"The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.
Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parent went to the master.
"Is that so?" was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin.
By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer.
She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?""
Is it possible to be as humble and selfless as the man in this story?  The message behind it is one of grace and understanding even when we are not grasping the totality of a situation or circumstance. The gift of mercy. 
"I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about people, to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa." ~ Lauren Oliver.
How many times do I react or jump to inferring the worst, seeing the world only from my tinted lenses. As Anaïs Nin puts it: "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." 

How often do I just stop, quit or lose interest because it's uncomfortable, not easy or monotenous. Or do nothing and walk away, ignoring the obvious because I feel it's somebody else's mess not mine. Withholding compassion when my pride flares up. 

While none of us are Zen Masters, we are the master of our own life. I'm not looking for purity, just balance between the dark and the light. Wholeness that comes with the discernment of time and experience. 

What if instead, I stayed? If what I persevered even when it's not "in the flow", and I waited instead? I can go with my gut reactions and run, or I can stop and pause and see what may come. Be with it, whatever "it" is and make peace. 

What if I simply said, "is that so"?