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.