Monday, June 6, 2011

Practice practice practice or adult spirituality

Wow, I am touched and thrilled as I read Christina Sell's ( newest book, My Body is a Temple. I picked this book up right when I needed it.

I have been hitting a wall I know very well in my spiritual practice. This wall effects EVERY aspect of my life and creates a familiar drama. I have wept and felt totally helpless around my practices.

Here's what happens: I get really excited about dedicating myself to some practice that Life is calling me to, I do it with zeal, make plans, have expectations for immediate change in my life (kinda like I used to with diets) and then, after about a week to 10 days I get depressed, let down, feel rejected by the Universe and obstinant about how I am different and it just doesn't work for me! Then my little drama that is playing in my head can be true: Once again, I am a victim. Once again, something is wrong with me. Once again, I knew the Universe didn't really have my back.

So, here is the part I keep forgetting: The discipline of practice, prayer, yoga asana, reading, meditation, etc., isn't about me getting the life I think I should get. My fantasy of a nirvana is so limited and adolescent. It is about no longer feeling the pain or whatever sensation I feel when I don't get EXACTLY what I want how I want it when I want it.

Practice is about aligning, again and again, with the Highest. As Christina says, "cultivating a state of remembrance: that our personal efforts are gestures of affirmation to help us experience ourselves as part of a larger spiritual flow" (7). Christina calls it the art of devotion, discipleship and conscious living.

For so long my view has been about changing me so I could finally make it in this world. I learned that I had to make me comfortable and it never occurred to me that my idea of comfortable wasn't always (or even often) that productive, healthy or life-affirming. I am reminded of what Paul Muller-Ortega calls,"adult spirituality". As an adult I get to choose what and whom I align with at every level: thought, word, deed, etc.. It is up to me to decide how I want to live and where I lasso my mind and choices/actions in to stay aligned with that which I hold as the HIGHEST.

This is so cool. Who knew? We really do have everything we need right inside us. The place where the Light lives. I get to choose to remember.

Go get the book people! I bet you can get it at C's site as well as Hohm press, amazon, Love shan

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Perfect Love


a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(House of Light)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Present Moment and Traffic Court

My longing for you
keeps me
in this moment
My passion
gives me courage
-Mevlana Rumi (1207 - 1273)

Today I went to traffic court to deal with a speeding ticket I got on my way to Asheville earlier this year. As often seems to be the case, Life has artfully arranged a way for me to see how I am living out of the present moment. I was contemplating why I got the ticket and how my mom and husband are often fearful when they drive with me. That is kind of embarrassing to admit, but hey, it is all in the truth right?
So why do I drive the way I do? I was talking to one of my teachers and she asked me if I was driving like there was no one else on the road. Yes! This is such a theme for me: it is all about me, I am in a hurry, I need to get my needs met now, I need to be heard now, etc. I was struck by how this blots out the sunlight of the Spirit.
There is so much good in this life. One of the ways I survived the craziness of my family when I was growing up was to try to control everything. If Life would just do what It was supposed to then I would be happy. If I could distract myself enough, stay busy enough, I wouldn't have to feel some unpleasant and scary feelings.
Now this system is outdated. I find that I feel distressed, disconnected and antsy when I am rushing around. I want to drink Life in.

"We whack away at the gorgeousness of reality with too many distractions."-Theo Gund

Here are some ways that I am working with staying in the experience of each moment:
-smelling the air outside
-breathing with conscious awareness and, when I notice I am stressed or thinking I need to hurry, remembering that this is just an old habitual pattern and I can slow down and breath. Everything will be fine.
-drive with great attention and patience
-remember gratitude. there is so much sweetness in my life. I want to remember this and utter a whisper of thanks again and again throughout my day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knowing Love

I have been aware for awhile now that the people I most admire, the one's that are living life in a way that I want to emulate, are people who pursue and nourish a relationship with Divine Self and a God of their understanding. There is not a time I can remember that I have not yearned for God. Not a time that I have not wanted to lean into and on the Great Love. As a little person circumstances taught me that it was much safer to rely on myself and my own best thinking. This worked really well too. However, as I became older, this thinking became the source of much suffering in my life.

I guess for me (I always have this story that this doesn't happen to you folks . . . whoever "you" are) this will a the place where there is a good bit of fluctuation: my willingness to lean into Love.

When I type this I feel embarrassed. Like, who wouldn't want to lean on Love? Well, I need a lot of reminding. Every morning I ask God to help me see Him/Her. Then I hear the birds singing and my sweet puppies shake their little bottoms and my cat cries for more food and I remember that there must be a great Love that holds us.

So, here is my work. May, I be willing to set myself into the hands of the One that I may not always be able to see in the ways I think I should be able to. May my thinking be cleared so that I realize that I don't even know how I think God should look, I just know that I have a lot of fear and doubt.

Finally,I want to share a small bit from Bill Mahoney's new work, "Exquisite Love" (available at don't walk folks). I pranam at Mr. Mahoney's feet for his faith and his work because it has spoken to my heart so profoundly.

"When I reflect on this song of creation, I sometimes picture in my mind a vast unbounded ocean of undifferetiated Consciousness. It is an ocean of pure life. Then, a pulse--Love Itself--moves within this infinite field of potential. Rays of love spread outward from this center, taking countless different forms as individual waves rise into existence, each refracting the light of Consciousness in their own particular ways and conditioned by various forces. The One becomes the Many, all of which also hold within them the essence of the One. You and I are instances of such waves in this ocean of Consciousness, at the center of which is Love".

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ross Rayburn and loving you

Okay, so cutie-pie and Certified Anusara Instructor, Ross Rayburn does not know me from Adam. However, if you have seen him then the title of this entry caught your interest. No, really, not only is he a doll, but he is a humble, gifted, wise teacher in the Anusara tradition.

Believe it or not I am not writing this post about Ross. I mostly just thought I was being funny AND I am inspired by something he said AND my last post (August, 2010, but who's counting) was inspired by him as well.

Here's the real thing I am writing about today. This was inspired by Olga Rasmussen's entry on something Ross said in a workshop she attended:

"Are you maintaining your relationship to your goodness in every thought word, and deed? This is the whole ball of wax in yoga! And if you do not become a better person through your practice, then do something else. "

And then this beauty:

Immerse yourself in the rapture of music. You know what you love. Go There.tend to each note, each chord,Rising up from silence and dissolving again. Vibrating strings draw usInto the spaciousness of the heart. The body becomes light as the skyAnd you, one with the Great Musician,Who is even now singing usInto existence. Verse 18. The Radiance SutrasVijnana Bhairava Tantra (

Huh! I don't need to say anything really. YOU! BEAUTIFUL YOU.

"You, ONE with the GREAT MUSICIAN"

May we be soft and sweet as we tend to each note of us, each note of our lives y'all.

This is yoga.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The triadic adventure

Today I was blessed to be able to attend Ross Rayburn's practice in Atlanta (thanks so much to Gina for hosting him!). I love how the universe conspires to help us awaken . . . this was exactly what I needed.

So, Ross said his theme for this year was the Triadic Adventure. He spoke about how important it was for us to remember that to everything there is a beginning, a middle and an end. This was so potent for me because lately I have been jumping to the end (which is completely imagined by me I might add) instead of being with what is.

I love Anusara because its principles are so beautifully relative to living a good life while accepting Life on Life's terms. Ross spoke to how we can learn to skillfully align with the Bigger energy in order to manifest the life we desire.

So he used the three goddesses, Kali (darkness, "the rumbling of beginnings and the chopping up of our expactations" as Ross said); Saraswati (goddess of orderliness)and
Laksmi (the goddess of beautiful expression) to demonstrate how to skillfully align with the Supreme Energy.

He said that first we must always soften and let go of our limited ideas and expectations. Next, after we have become still and settled we must create order, we must think about what our choices are, what the highest action would be to take--instead of simply reacting to what Life has placed in our paths. Finally, after aligning with the Higher Intellegence, we come into the beautiful whoosh part of the wave. That innate beauty that is able to express itself fully and freely.

Ross's message was so powerful for me as he reminded us that if we are too busy dwelling in the end, trying to get to the Laksmi (or beautiful part) of the experience then we actually miss the Light. We are so busy trying to get to the beauty, get to the Light, that we miss it completely. He said we must be willing to start at the beginning. In the darkness, or Kali, in order to really see the Light.

Let me insert a personal note here (well, I guess this is all my personal note, but you know what I mean . . .) and say that I have been so caught up in the drama and seeming whirlwind of some rather challenging and stressful personal circumstances that I have turned on my iron grip to try to "handle" (i.e. control) everything. Now, intellectually, and in times of less stress, I gleefully remember that when I am clinging and grasping to something I block the Sunlight of the Spirit. When I am scared or feel threatened however, I often throw all that out the window and move into fight or flight mode as fast as I can.

This week I am going to work with getting settled. First settle, and then, big ole' heart softening. Then, pray, skillfully align with the wisdom within. Make room for the Light. Make space so the Light is not blocked.

This should keep me busy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unfolding to Grace

Grace was not a theory that was taught in my home when I was growing up. I think my family mythology was that there was not a such thing as abundance or Divine help. Goodness that flowed in our own hearts and all around us as a real force that we could tap into was just not an option in the Frank household. I always think it so wonderful, so heartening when I see my friends raising their children with hope, with the notion that there are endless possibilities and they have support to try them out. The first way we learn about Grace is from our parents and how they relate to the world. We all know this can be wonderful or, not so wonderful :-) I digress.

Grace is defined as, "the unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind; divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong; a special virtue, gift, or help given to a person by God". (

The 1st principle of Anusara yoga is "Open to Grace". This principle reminds us that before we exert any effort, make any plans, move a muscle we are to soften and open to the bigger flow. We remember God 1st, we surrender, we remember there is help, and then we move forward. So cool, huh?

"Know that Grace has the power
to transform everything you aspire to,
so aspire to the highest
and offer yourself to Grace."
~ John Friend

Opening to Grace means we become available to the flow of our lives and we know and consciously tap into the force of goodness that is ALWAYS there supporting us. This flow is called Grace.

"Grace will hold you
every step of the way."
~ John Friend

Olga Rasmussen says that Opening to Grace means, "saying yes to the whole river of life in all its permutations . . . . "

It is my prayer and my deep (and often challenging) work at this point in my life to hold the discipline of practicing connecting with the God of my understanding and surrendering at the beginning of every day. When I do not do this I feel disconnected, not as clear, and eventually I begin to wonder why I do not feel as, "in the flow". Well, it is because I have walked away from it.

Grace offers gerself to us boundlessly. May each of us walk into her arms.

I will be teaching a 2 hour class this Saturday, June 26th, on the 1st principle of Anusara, "Opening to Grace", 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Class will be all levels.