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.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Into our hearts

What a lovely morning it is here in Athens, GA. The birdies are busily chatting away and the tremendous storm seemed to blow away some of the heat . . . at least for the moment.
Speaking of tremendous, I am feeling tremendously inspired as of late. Thank God. It is a much welcomed reprieve after many months of feeling disconnected and less than inspired. The lovely Christina Sell graced Athens this past weekend and that just helped to fuel my fire. I learned so much and my body feels challenged and open. Yum.

Lately I have been pondering the glorious possibility that it is through the body that we come to our hearts. Christina has a quote from Douglas Brooks on her blog(May 9, 2010), "If you want to lay claim to your whirling mind you have to lay claim to your body". Coming from a family and, I believe, largely cultural, belief that the body is just to be shaped and controlled to make us more "presentable", more "worthy", I am so heartened to hear talk such as this. It has certainly been my experience that my body and my relationship with it is one of my greatest teachers.

I have been reading this blog, "Out of the Blue". The logger describes the awesome potential for healing and moving more deeply into the heart of who we truly are:

The blogger is speaking of asking Annamalai Swami a question:

"As a young lustful yogi I had the termerity to ask him what remains to be done for realisation. Through his radiant translator, Sundarum, he said simply “Pay attention to your vasanas.” I replied “Duh. What’s a vasana?” “Tendencies of the mind. ” This is the most simple and the most difficult of advice, and has entwined me in a lifetime of sadhana.

So vasanas are tendencies of the personality, what makes me particularly quirky and distinct, is what produces the habitual modes of action, that makes me do what I do in spite of myself. Feuerstein describes them thus, ” If we liken the psyche to soft wax, vasanas are the karmic imprints left behind by our psychic activities. Vasanas are chains of similar karmic activators (samskaras), deposited in the depths of the mind through actions and volition. They must be dissolved before enlightenment can be attained.” (2001:460).

And this leads me onto Anusara yoga, to my little sacroiliac lila of late, kleshas and the pathway into union with the Divine.

A major key that unlocked why yoga is an essential part of sadhana, which took me a long time to understand was seeing how the afflictions or kleshas operate. I have a natal sun square pluto which means I am particularly well endowed with affliction. Thankyou Divine. i.e. Periodic meltdown and radical transformation, like it or not, and let me tell you, mostly I do not. I am brought to my knees regularly and still I do not see.

So to embody the blessings of practice, is to unlock this contracted energy, this resistance to life. In yogic terms the vasanas and its associated trauma penetrates deeper than the organs and tissues. This energy of these vasanas are hanging out in the pranamayakosha, or the subtle energy body. Yoga philosophy speaks of five afflictions that keep us bound to reality. Ignorance, I-ness, craving, aversion, clinging to life and fear of death. The energy of these afflictions collapse in on themselves like a dying star, or a black hole and are embedded in the subtle energy body. They reflect in the mirror of the physical body. Until these energy cysts are treated the structure and function of the tissues will continue to reflect them. Svoboda says vasanas can be inherited from ones ancestors, or perchance a past life. Regardless they seem to be largely there when we are born. Bummer. They clearly show up as my cramp.

Yoga unwinds these patterns. Sadhana unwinds these vasanas. This is why yoga makes me feel so peaceful, so sane. And why Anusara reveals the body of Light, and a possibility greater than myself. How practice dissolves these “subliminal activators” that keeps us having bad hair days. Sadhana then is the path of peace, the path of heart. The only choice …"

“Be strong then and enter into your own body.
There you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully
Don’t go off somewhere else.
Kabir says this.
just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things.
And stand firm in that which you are.” Kabir

May I accept the offerings of Truth my body offers so generously. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So today started beautifully. I had a very inspired practice at the studio and even got in touch with some uncomfortable feelings that had been lurking around in the ethers of my body/mind. It was quite wonderful actually as I was able to sit with the feelings and process them out instead of stuffing them back down. Due to this, and the wonderful students at class today, I had a delicious time teaching my 9.30 a.m. class. I felt clear and connected.

Later, stuff just didn't quite go exactly as I wanted it to. I began harboring some resentments (or some old ones re-surfaced) and then I began to think I was not good enough. The old, "if only I was "blank", then I would be happy" routine. Uggh. No no no fun.

So, I called a friend and she listened sweetly. We talked about possibilities for where the anger was coming from and what needed to happen so I could clear that "stuff" up. She also suggested that I consider a gratitude list. Honestly it is hilarious how strongly I will resist practices like this when I am "in a funk". I was like, "okay, I am miserable feeling like this, but do I REALLY want to let go? do I really want to try another way?" Sometimes folks,I just like to bitch.

So, knowing that this is not truly who I am, or all that I want to embrace I have decided to try a gratitude list for today. Here goes:
1. I have a wonderful partner in my husband
2. It poured rain today-I love big thunder/rain storms
3. I have plenty to eat/drink and shelter.
4. I am doing the job of my heart's dream (yoga!)
5. I have two of the best puppies
6. I am healthy
7. I have tons of loving support from people who want to see the real me (hubbie, friends, family)
Honestly, now I am thinking I could go on and on. I don't want to bore you, but do want to invite you to join me in Opening to the Grace in our lives. I feel better already. What are you grateful for today?

Two reminders:
-Group practice at 5 Points Yoga (www.athensfivepointsyoga), 5-7 p.m., Saturday, June 5th
-Christina Sell!!!! 5 Points Yoga, June 11-13

Finally, this lovely quote is from Olga Rasmussen's insights on her blog:

"Peace is found in surrender to good through devotion. People who are loving, who practice stillness, who delight in meditation and good actions are really peaceful. Peace is the altar of God, the conditions in which happiness exists...

Live each present moment completely and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant. Practice the presence of peace. The more you do that, the more you will feel the presence of that power in your life..."
-Paramahansa Yogananda

When you day does not go as planned - and even when it does - practice peace!

Posted by Olga Rasmussen on her lovely blog:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My life has been so full of "growth opportunities" lately that I have not felt that I could translate my thoughts and experiences into blog world. I so admire the simple, eloquent and honest manner that my favorite blog writers share their truth with (see:Christina Sell, karen Sprute Francovich and Maria Christina).

Suffice it to say that I have been pushed, by the grace of God, to take a real look at if I am truly living what I say I believe. And then, of course, do I really believe what I say I believe? My therapist has told me many times, "Shannon, it is easy to preach spirituality. What is true and simple, but not always so easy, is LIVING and BREATHING what you preach".

Here is what I have come to: I do believe what I say I believe. I fully celebrate the Anusara philosophy as I understand it. I believe that I am intrinsically good, that in my heart lives everything I need to know for bliss in this life. I believe that there is an all powerful Source of everything and that I am deeply and thoroughly connected to Its power and the pulse of all of Life through It. The question for me becomes: am I willing to do what it takes to maintain a conscious contact with this Supreme Intelligence?

Anusara philosophy teaches that each of us, at our core,is expansive, full of bliss and, connected to the One Source of all freedom, all bliss, all Consciousness, all goodness. The Great Pulsing Heart of all hearts. There are certain things in my life, habits of thought and actions, that limit my conscious connection to the One that lives in me. At this point in my life, I feel that I am being called to stand in spiritual discipline (Paul Muller calls this, "adult spirituality"). I think I have had huge rebellion to and suspicion of "discipline". You know, "no one is going to be the boss of me"--sounds real adult huh?

Truth is, in my family, discipline was about a child being bad. I didn't receive a positive picture or example of discipline. Now talk to me about disciplining myself from a place of fear and I can show you one disciplined lady. I have definitely lived self-discipline, just not in the name of love, not around aligning with a benvolent higher power and with my own heart.

I came across a post today in Olga Rasmussen's, "Aligning with Grace" blog (she's another AMAZING blogger/teacher:-)) in her notes from the certified gathering with John Friend:

"Grace is the yogic discipline of remembering"-Bill Mahoney, Tantric Scholar, Davidson

For the vision of my heart to flourish, for my relationship with myself to continue to grow in fondness and intimacy, for me to continue to step into my power and who I truly am, I must now move more fully into Adult Spirituality Land. Discipline in this sense isn't about being punished or controlled or told that there is one way I must believe in order to be "right" or loved. It is not about being able to see God if I jump through hoops that make me pure, etc. Discipline is what Christina Sell wrote so beautifully about in her blog: it is the purposeful binding of one's self to the Light.

And there is a discipline here. It means I make certain choices about how I live because I know what best serves my coming closer to the Light and what takes me further away.

"God doesn't fulfill our desires-this is the view of those still trapped by limited understanding-rather God is our highest and most sublime desire."
Douglas Brooks,Poised for Grace

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Dr. Howard Thu

Everything in the universe conspires to help us awaken. I know John has said this, Paul Muller-Ortega has certainly said this (he, in fact, says, "the shakti will burn that which is no longer of service to you").

It is vitally important for me to remember this when difficult times arise. Lately I have been dealing with some internal stuff that has really challenged me. It is easy to just be down. Not that feeling crappy is bad . . . what I mean is that when I do feel down I tend to turn to stories like, "I am always going to be down" and, "there was never a time when I was happy," and, "I am different than other people" on and on. yes, this is anava mala healthy and well in my life.

Anyway, I have been studying the 5 acts of Shiva for a series of classes that I am going to teach on the 5 acts of Shiva :-) and I am remembering why myth and symbols are so vitally important. Like Douglas Brooks says, "these stories remind us, help us know, the deep complexities that live within us".

I sooooo easily forget that for something new to be born, for creation to continue occurring, the entire life cycle must circle its way through Life. The stuff that I am dealing with is uncomfortable, yes, but it is the dying, the threshing of that which is no longer necessary in my life. That which gets in the way of the new.

Wow, Anyway, this gives me so much hope. Reminds me of what joy and provision there is in the great cycle. On Namah Shiva!

I will publish my 5 Acts of Shiva dates soon!!!! Hope my students can get out of bed for it . . . you know who you are . . .

Monday, March 15, 2010

John Friend on how to get lucky

Barritt, Mary Virginia and I went to Columbia, SC to see John Friend. Wow! He never fails to inspire and refresh me. On Saturday John talked about how to get lucky. Hee Hee. Really, he did. Here's how:

First, John reminded us that when we are in alinment with the great Maha (great)Sakti (the active manifest power that creates the world) or Nature or God (really, whatever it is that is the One to you)then great things happen. That which appears to be random, in fact, is not.

Okay, getting lucky:

1. Be completely open to what is. Perceive the situation as a beginner.

Remember that Supreme Intelligence is intrinsically good. It pulses in everything in the Universe.

John said that because of Source's intrinsic goodness, if we are suffering we have to look at how we are aligning with Nature. It (the One) is not random, It is orderly and intrinsically good.

I have to add a personal side note here. When I first came to Anusara I got really triggered because I interpretted this philosphy to be saying that life is only good like there is not any pain, suffering, etc. What I have come to understand is this: EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is ultimately born of the One. The One is all goodness, all bliss, all light. At our core we are all good. We can,however, choose to align with darkness. Some of us more than others. We all do this. We belittle ourselves, we are cruel to someone, we ingest substances that harm us, we shut down our feelings. Then there are the big ones like murderers, etc. Darkness is part of life. Bliss at the core of all things does not mean there is not Life on Life's terms. There is no magic Anusara pill that makes everything, "okay". We can begin to understand that there is a Great Power that is ALWAYS present under EVERY circumstance and we can choose to align (and re-align, etc) with IT. We can remember that this Power is in us, is flowing through us as us. This helps me to remember that I can be with all my feelings. That none are to be poo-pooed or pushed down. If I try to push the feelings I don't want to feel down the Great order just helps them come into my life again and again :-) so I can grow and continue to awaken.

Okay, back to getting Lucky!

2. Application of knowledge

John said, "luck= L:living U: under C: correct K:knowledge"

3. You actually have to do it and work your hardest

We do have to show up. It's like if you want to get better at a pose:

1st, be open like a little kid. Have you noticed (do you remember in your own body?) how kids are so excited to see what they can do? They rarely (unless they have been taught that they are not enough) doubt their body's ability to play. Why can't we move back into this brilliance as we approach life?
Om Namah Shivayah: I open to my goodness

2nd, we apply the principles of Alignment. First, go back to step one. I am open ALL the possibilities (A.k.a. I am open to my head touching my foot in eka pada rajakapotasana)

3rd, I have to practice the pose in order for it to happen! I show up on my mat and work hard. I pratice, I get help, I listen. It will not fall from the sky . . . there is work, feeling and practice.

Finally, John reminded us that we cannot control the Mystery. We can be in line with It. As soon as I think I know I narrow the possibilities.

May you enjoy this shimmering day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The heart is the hub

Hello! It has been so long since I have posted and lately I have found myself timid about posting because I have waited so long. Ahh, but here I am. Life has offered me some painful experiences lately and processing those has taken a great deal of time and energy.

My pattern during times of challenging emotion is to look anywhere and everywhere but within. I have spent a great deal of time, money and effort in my life to try to escape myself and my feelings. Through personal work, the Grace of the Universe placing a spiritual path before me that speaks to my heart, the support of like-minded friends, family, my dear husband Steve and the practice of yoga I return again and again (sometimes begrudgingly) to the altar of my heart.

It seems to be the way of us mortals/Americans. The tantalizing call of what lies "out there". Surely rest comes in some outside, made up, futuristic ideal. My dear friends and I were talking this weekend about how often we live in pursuit of the next idea/thing that will make us safe and happy when the truth is that our lives are full, abundant and beautiful right now.

So, all of this to say that the path in my own life always leads to the doorstep of my own heart. THIS is the unchanging residence of the One that is always with me (and you). There is NO WHERE out there that will lend me the everlasting companionship of my own heart. When Swami Muktananda said, The heart if the hub of all of consciousness" he was not playing around. The guy was on to something. He told us, "to go there", "to ROAM there".

Sometimes I try to buck up and try my old ideals out. Dang, all they cause is pain. The answer is here.

My friend Suzanne reminds me there is no "right" time to meditate. Be with yourself for 5 minutes. Just do it. Life continues and the One is with you right now. Much love.

We will be practicing LOVE filled backbends in class tonight at 6 p.m.(5 points Yoga). Hope to see you there.

The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot." You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.
- John Burroughs

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Muscle Energy and the core's longing

It's Thursday and Steve and I are in the lovely town of Chapel Hill, NC. Steve is attending a Yin yoga training with Sarah Powers and I am, well, enjoying the heck out of unadulterated free time. Before I tell you the thrilling activities I am taking part in I want to state that it is so lovely to watch my partner (and husband!) find and follow his spiritual path. Before I dated Steve I made a list of must-haves in a partner. At the top of this list was that he be actively developing himself spiritually and emotionally . . . . that, whatever his spiritual path was, it be one he followed with commitment and zeal. It is amazing how the intentions of our hearts are heard and I am ever grateful and in awe of the satisfaction and delight it brings me to be with a partner that listens and follows his heart's and soul's yearnings.
Quickly, I went to Paul Sobin's class this morning and it was SO fun. He and his wife Sommer (who is a full 9 mos. pregnant and will deliver any minute now) are both certified Anusara teachers and hold Immersions and Teacher Trainings ( This was a level 2 practice class so Paul practiced with us. I love practice classes as they inspire and delight me to no end. I also, as quite a talker and social butterfly, like the casual and encouraging atmosphere cultivated in a practice. It is always great to see how my teacher practices . . . I ALWAYS learn so much. Today we did scorpian handstand, a pose I have never done. I love how the Universal Principles of Alignement (UPAs) are always opening and revealing a new way for my body to feel, express, open and harness energy.

It is my intention to write about the 5 Universal Principles of Alignment. Mainly for the Athens, GA gang. I find that as we grow as a group of Anusara students, there are many people who really dig the practice and would like to study the alignment principles but may not know all 5 principles or understand them. First, this is an ongoing process (which is part of the delight) that is ever-unfolding and revealing itself to each of us in varied detail. Second, I cannot recommend an Immersion enough if you would really like to be a student of the Anusara principles in greater detail. Ask me if you'd like some direction on Immersions.

So, today is the 2nd UPA, Muscle Energy. (My last post was the 1st UPA, Open to Grace)
Muscle Energy's emphasis, as stated in the Anusara Teacher Training Manual, "is to draw all the parts into one whole with the attitude of self-embracing".
John Friend talks about Muscle Energy as "not merely moving from periphery to core (as it does), but as the core, in its longing to know itself, drawing all of the parts of the self to it". (from the amazing

The UPAs are so cool because they are an elegant system of taking care of ourselves. Honoring and remembering the Spirit that shines within us. Anusara suggests that God created us out of a yearning to know Itself. Likewise, we have the opportunity to know ourselves more fully (and this helps us know Creator more-it just rolls like that) :-) We must hug to the principles that we know to be true. By remembering this longing to know our fullness more we express our unique hearts and this is a beautiful gift and service to the entire Universe. Okay, I feel myself climbing onto the proverbial pulpit, but I just have to say this: Don't give up! Keep hugging in. This is where it is at . . . YOU, beautiful you.

The following is straight from the ATTM:
Muscle Energy has three main directions of flow which occur in the following sequence:
1. Hugging the core evenly on all sides. Specifically ME flows from the outer circumference to the core lines of the body. The energy flow is from skin to muscle. Ex: Hug your skin evenly on all sides around the muscles of your legs.

2.Drawing the arms, legs, and neck toward the midline or medial core of the body. In whatever initial position the appendages are in, they are isometrically drawn toward the midline via the shortest possible route. Ex: "shins in": hug your shins isometrically towards the midline of your body

3. Drawing from the extremities of the hands, feet and head into the Focal Point of the pose. Ex: From your fingertips, draw the head of your arm bone into your shoudler socket.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Opening to Grace everywhere defines grace as, "the freely given, unmerited favor and Love of God."
Honestly, need I go on from here? How awesome is that? You know, I was not raised in a family that taught Grace. I do not think either of my parents knew Grace for themselves and, although they did the best they could, they certainly did not pass on the notion that Grace both existed, flowed all around us, through us, even as us. The knowledge that Grace is something very real that we can actually invoke and tap into was not taught in the Frank household.

So, here are some ways I am looking at opening to Grace in my daily life as based on the Anusara Universal Principles of Alignment:
-PAUSE and soften-become sensitive to what I am feeling, sensing, hearing before speaking or acting
-REMEMBER the One that has my back-that has all our backs. As I heard Anusara teacher, Elena Brower say recently, "Move into my back body before I say something."
-Expand from the inside. Connect to the bigger energy and remember my own worthiness.
-As John Friend says, "Firmly step into the currents of grace with a solid foundation and a heart open to the infinite possibilities."
-Remember the highest intention of my heart

Aren't these wonderful? What if we moved from this place always, everywhere? We can begin this practice NOW. Anusara invites us to practice this in each asana and we can continue off the mat.

Finally, a quote on the beginnings of Anusara:

"Understanding how Friend came up with Anusara Yoga (a-nu-sar-a) is a little like dipping your toe into the very deep well of Tantric philosophy. The name comes from the Sanskrit anu- the process of being in and sara -the flow, which is taken from a verse in the 1000-year-old Kularnava Tantra: "Shakti-nipata-anusarena sishyo'anugraham-arhati". UUUS-based Tantric scholar, Dr. Douglas Brooks, translates this as "Flowing with Grace (anusarena) we experience our inner worth, we align our bodies, our minds and hearts in the current of the Divine flowing through us, we celebrate life itself as we touch the Divinity who pulsates within us as our every thought, feeling, and experience." (

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

LSD and a blade of grass

Did this catch your attention? :-) Oh, I have not posted in 11 days, I just haven't had the words. Now I do. I will try not to go too long.
So, Saturday Steve and I were driving to ATL to do a workshop with Martin Kirk. Martin is an amazing Anusara Yoga® instructor ( a zeal for life, a deep kindness and a gift at making the UPAs (universal principles of alignment) accessible. I was reading the intro of PATHS TO GOD, a book of lectures given by Ram Dass on the Bhagavad Gita (thanks Richard) aloud and it brought up a discussion between Steve and myself about Ram's, Timothy Leary's, etc. use of LSD to try to reach God. BTW, if I haven't mentioned (I feel like I met the biggest movie star), I met Ram while we were in Maui (not like he invited us over for dinner or anything, but still).

I love what Krishna Das said at a Kirtan workshp in ATL last year as he addressed his time using drugs. He said, "yes, I could feel like I was one with a blade of grass so I did get the experience of being one with everything. However, in order to keep that feeling of merging with the One you have to commit suicide because you will inevitable overdose on LSD to keep the feeling going." So, Krishna said he had to come to a way to know his union with the One without the prop of psychotropics.

Let me say now, if you have not seen the movie, "Fierce Grace" you must see it immediately. It is about Ram Dass as a young Harvard prof. along with T. LEary, etc. and their psychotropic experiments. Eventually Ram was led to his teacher Maharaj-ji and the story continues into the time of Dass's stroke. It is a beautiful, heart-opening piece and it was life changing and affirming for me.

Okay, back to the ride. Basically Steve and I were just recounting how the tantra teaches that each of us is a manefestation of the One creative, supreme energy and how do we support that memory in our daily lives without using harmful props like LSD. Can we remember that the One chose, just for It's delight, to pour out in unique expression as everything and everyone? So, everyone you and I encounter today, every kitty cat, every Farmville user, every bank teller, every chirping birdy . . . they are all the One expressing itself . . . dancing the dance of creation.

This is what it is all about.

God comes to us disguised as our lives.
- Paula D'Arcy

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, Dogs and "Invictus"

This morning our dog, Dori, was happily awake and ready to go at 4.30 a.m.. Her bed is in our room so she just thumps her tail against our bed and puts her face right in ours when she is ready to wake us up. I told her to go back to sleep to no avail. Steve and I both decided to get up.
After stoking the woodstove and feeding the dogs (they returned to their beds directly after eating) we each sat for meditation. I started by remembering all that I have been given this year. I have been working on really feeling and opening my heart to the fullness of Life and all the abundance that has so freely been given to me.
It was a beautiful early morning-bright with the moon. When I took the dogs out I heard an owl blessing our day, "whowho . . . whowho".
I am happy to be moving forward into the Light of a new year.
Yesterday afternoon we saw "Invictus". Do not miss it. It is such an inspiring tale and perfect for the beginning of a new year. The most powerful part of the whole story for me was this: Mandela was jailed for his plans to sabotage the S. African government who continued to oppress blacks. "Mandela - a lawyer by training - told the court earlier: "I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites."
After 27 years of imprisonment in a small cell without even a mattress, afetr 27 years of back breaking quarry work as a prisoner, Mandela maintained a peaceful and forgiving stance. He lived Gandi's famous teaching, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world."

The most potent scene is when Matt Damon's character says, "He was imrisoned for 27 years and came out ready to forgive his oppressors."
This year I want to embody this way of living. Change starts with me. When I am in touch with my own light, when I am embodying the change, I will serve others naturally.

It has come to me through so many messengers, including this movie, that my heart and soul's work is to nurture my own self-knowing. From this place I align with the powerful flow of Grace. I will know where to go, what to do next, how I can best be of service to my fellows.
I leave you with one final Mandela quote:
“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” Nelson Mandela