Can Christmas Day be perfect when you’re quarantined sick in bed?

 

Photo on 12-19-2015 at 1.08 PM
The view from my bedroom at the Ashram.

Two years ago at Yasodhara Ashram in the Kootenay Mountains of Western Canada I had the perfect Christmas. A walk alone on the beach followed by a beautiful brunch with my good friends, a gift exchange, helping cook Christmas dinner and then after dinner time alone reading books. It was the perfect balance of time alone, time in nature and time with people I loved.

Continue reading “Can Christmas Day be perfect when you’re quarantined sick in bed?”

Healing

DSCF0466

Two weeks ago I chipped my heal bone doing a front flip and for the first week it was improving substantially each day but then last weekend I went a little bit overboard with activity (walking, dancing) and this week the healing seems to have plateaued.

So I began to ask myself – what is healing? How does it work? And how does the body heal?

It seemed like a fitting time to read the Yoga of Healing by Swami Radha again and as I begin to read a message rings out to me loud and clear.  Do not ask for a miracle, if you’re not willing to do your part.  Don’t ask for spiritual healing if you’re not willing to rest your foot, get enough sleep, eat well.

Bone healing takes calcium, rest.  And so this week I work from home to save the travel, take Friday off completely, use a cane, drink more smoothies.

Radha then goes onto describe the practices taught at Yasodhara Ashram as tools to aide healing.  Meditation, relaxation, pranayama, yoga.

And I remember that I know these tools, I have these tools.

And as I reflect on my injury, I can see it as a reminder to do what I already know is healthy for me.  To eat well, get enough sleep, rest, and make time for meditation and relaxation in my daily life.

And I wake up, again, to what I know.

108 Poetry Challenge to raise funds for the Young Adult Program!!

Garden - Singing

Fall 2014, I participated in the 108 Poetry Challenge to raise funds for the Young Adult Program at Yasodhara Ashram.  The Young Adult Program supports young adults to explore their ideals and bring them forward in their lives.  It had an incredible impact on my life and hundreds of other participants who have moved through the program.

My goal was to write 108 poems in 6 weeks and raise $1000 for this amazing program, both of which I completed. You can scroll down or click here to read my poetry!

And if you still want to donate – you can even though the official fundraiser is over – click here :)!!

Asana

I stand in the mountain
strong and still
quiet and alive
hollow but not broken

I feel my heart beat
blood coursing through my veins
and I am full of blood
from the tips of my toes
to the tops of my shoulders
to the tippy top of my head

coursing
vibrancy
the blood rushes
my breath moves
in and out
up and down

my rib cage rocked
by the waves of breath

and this is asana
moments with my body
where times stops
and I become whole again.

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.

Prasad

for two years
I have lived
in the mountains

growing food
growing hearts
growing dignity

people started as strangers and grew into friends
an eclectic family
brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles

they understand
some matter of my heart

and we’ve worked and argued and come to agreement
we’ve been through our fair share of trials
emerging stronger, clearer, brighter

and as my departure draws nearer
a sweetness is emerging
of learning, living, loving
this people
this place

learning, living, loving
learning, living, loving
learning, living, loving

thank you.

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.

Goldfish

I go to the pond to sit
but they’re gone
taken away

the pond feels like a ghost town
where did they go?

my heart is broken
crushed
abandoned
what now?
I keep walking
and sit at the edge of a cliff
over looking the lake

there is stillness here
and I know
that my heart
will heal.

 

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.

Experiments with God

DSCF0596

Recently we had a fire at Yasodhara Ashram where I live.  The roof of our Temple was burnt and it has had a big impact on the community.  Now we are in the assessment phase – asking is it structurally sound?  What is the best way to rebuild?  What has to come down before we can build up?

I have also been reading a book about the coup in Chile and all the awful things that the human mind is capable of manifesting.  And it’s got me thinking that there must be something bigger – there must be something more than emergencies and torture and lies.  And its rekindled the desire in me to connect to this something more.

The main symbol that we use for the Divine at the Ashram is the Light and we talk about the light of understanding and the light of wisdom.  We also refer to the symbols from the Hindu tradition – Krishna – the blue god – a playful trickster who plays the flute beautifully and will steal your heart, Tara, who is young and playful and brings compassion, and Durga, a fierce feminine force that rides a lion and kills the demon of egoism and pride.  These symbols represent the particular qualities of the Divine personified so they are easier for the human mind to grasp.

And so my question is – how do I create a personal connection to something as intangible as Light or as foreign as a blue flute playing god?  How can I bring this something more into my life?

I start where I began.  My first experiences of feeling really connected to something greater than myself occurred in nature, in movement and in listening or participating in amazing music.  And these are three ways that continue to help me to feel connected.  So I start with what I know and go for walks, spend time at the beach and remember to play music for myself.

And then these other ideas that are less familiar become trials – experiments in my life.  Can I see the light of understanding in myself? In others?  And does this really help me to feel connected or does it become an intellectual game??

And where does playful compassion come into my day?  And what happens if I write a letter of all my sorrows addressed to the blue god? How do I feel afterwards?  And what changes in my day if I visualize a fierce warrior riding on a lion walking along beside me as I work ready to pounce on judgmental thought patterns?

Trial and error.  Experimenting and figuring out what helps me to feel connected and what doesn’t. What works and who works?  And how do I keep this connection alive?

Because what I’m learning is that it’s easy to say that I want to stay connected to this something more and it’s easy to feel the connection at the perfect moment but remembering that I want it and keeping it alive day to day is very challenging.

And so my experiments continue.  No conclusive results yet but there is exciting quality to the mystery of the search.  What is the essence of drifting piano melodies?  What is the essence of the stillness in the forest?  And what is the purpose of my life?