time soup

if we had never forgotten
and were in a state of
always remembering

there is no mistake
in being here

we might fall
to our knees
in praise of a bee’s buzz
– their sting –
and harvest

we might be easier
about shitty behavior
and traffic
and rather, focus
on how
to heal a planet
a sick society
our children’s lungs
and their heartbreaks

we might
raise one another
up

it is
quite a magic thing
that any of us
are breathing
can laugh still
and ever
fall
in
love

that these miracles
go down alongside
the nightmares
and the way my heart fibers have known
a version of each
is enough proof

for me

time is a bending
resilient
thing, like us
brewing in
a well and slow-cooked broth

bones and aromatics
bubble away with
dreams
as garlic cloves,
bursting

days
duly become decades
and sip themselves
into
the eternal marrow of a
fortified invitation
to do something
with
and within
this living
simmering
soup

Love from the bubbling broth,

Suki

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A Love Manifesto

To be made of Love, unquestionably

   To question everything in the search for Love

To walk in fullness, breathing deeply everyday

To touch the earth and everything living with defenseless courage

   And give thanks for every opportunity to love each other

To dream unconditionally and act Honestly

To create fearlessness where fear is Tempting

To be a fountain of Light where confusion abounds

To liquefy all that is solid in our hearts

    And enliven all that is weary

To listen to the crying of our sisters

To listen to the crying of our brothers

   and not grow bitter but strong

   with unwavering compassion and

   confidence, go forth in the direction

   of Freedom

To Honor our truest selves and remember

   Our spaciousness in Spirit

To celebrate each other uninhibitedly

   with the laughter and Love our deepest thirst is for.

                             Amen (Anonymous)

Home Fires

I’ve been putting off writing this and I know why. It’s an uncomfortable subject, perhaps not for you, the reader, but certainly for myself. The subject is homelessness. Not as an abstract idea, nor as a cause for social justice but actual, physical homelessness- specifically my own.

I spent a period of roughly two years homeless, victim to my own addictions and lack of skills necessary for coping in regular society. It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always hard. There were moments I wouldn’t trade for anything and there are memories I’d much rather not revisit. When you’re homeless you’re either anonymous or conspicuous. One turns out to be no better than the other. Engaged in the business of survival, it’s easy to forget that there’s a world beyond basic necessities or that you might have or deserve a place within it. This, then, becomes the crux of the matter; deserving, feeling worthy of . Yesterday when I awoke it had snowed five inches at my house. For a good twenty minutes I struggled with the question of whether to light a fire or not. It would seem a logical thing- the house was cold, I planned on being in it for the majority of the day, so why wouldn’t I? The why not is because I have conditioned myself over years to get by with less, to remain as unobtrusive as possible, to not be in the way or demand too much. Sure, the house is my own, the wood too, harvested and split and stacked by my own hand- but it doesn’t seem to matter. Somewhere within my being is a residual message telling me to deal with it, to not make a fuss.

Enter Yoga. So much of this practice for me is assimilating myself into a culture that I never thought I was allowed to be a part of. A culture that not only allows but encourages, nay, celebrates, self care. I sometimes tell the story of learning to take baths. Baths as opposed to showers. Luxuriation instead of utilitarian. The smallest things are the biggest things. This Yoga, this practice, to me at least, is about introspection. It’s about manifesting the best possible version of yourself so that you can be of service. That you might be available for what the world is asking of you and make no mistake, it is asking. You are necessary in the grand orchestra and divine play unfolding before you.

On Saturday evening, we will gather, as a community of caregivers, of ourselves and others. We’ll share stories, ideas, perhaps some tears. For the moment, I’ll be tending the fire.

In Love, Clint

 

Winter Poem

 

Winter Poem

Darkness closes in now

Cold, long nights

Crows call

Do not be fooled by bright days

They say

Winter is here

 

Stay in the stirring

Breathe

Deeper

 

Hold fast to center

Hug

Squeeze

Tuck

Yourself

Into yourself

 

It won’t be long

Before the days are long

Breeze

Cool like breath

Skin

Wet with heat

 

Prepare now

Sort seeds

Plan plots

Tend to tools

 

And dream

Bright, Wild, Beautiful Dreams

 

~ Genevieve Oswald

 

A good long rest

Good day and hello from the waning twilight of the year. Solstice is coming and the days are quick to finish here in the northern hemishphere. In the depth of the dark is an invitation, silent, invisible, palpable. When our outer eyes are intercepted by darkness, the gaze is turned inward, naturally. By turns, looking in can be calming and soothing, or intense and flashy (literally, flashes of light and images that reveal themselves when the outer eyes are closed). What do you see when you are not looking for anything? What presents itself to your mind and heart when you pause? What sensations do you feel when you are still?

We don’t grow in the light. Looking to the plant world for inspiration, we see that all growth happens in the dark, much occurring beneath the surface of the earth in root systems long before sunlight kisses sprouts. Photosynthesis, like the upright, day-to-day process, feeds us incredible amounts of information and room for growth. But without pausing in the quiet dark to rest, without digesting, all the details become scattered fields of data.

All this to remind you that with the commitment to come to the mat thirteen times in the next moon cycle, you guarantee yourself as many chances to integrate all the information you are harvesting in your life and practice, in savasana. I, personally, am committing to offer longer savasana in my classes through the end of the year. Yum. That’s a promise for everyone, but especially a branch extended in respect for all the To The Moon & Beyond peeps. Join me in movement, probably a whole bunch of caturangas, and stillness to steep in the brew.

Bowing to new beginnings with the coming solstice,

Love and Peace,

Suki Ola

No More Bah Humbug

There was a time when the Holiday season would really spark a deep agitation and discomfort within me. I was quickly the first to state I was a Humbug. My hum buggery at the time was grounded in what I considered sound mind, reasonable beliefs, and a fear of repeat past experiences. Bad past experiences.

I am happy to say my previous resemblance to Ebenezer Scrooge has morphed into something less severe and absolute. Not that I have swung so far across the pendulum to the other extreme, I am still far from a Holiday season lover. Nevertheless, the agitations I experience at this time of year are no longer glaring, constant, and without relief. I tell this tale of my past because from the Humbug’s point of view, a commitment to a yoga practice during this time of year is a great antidote to Scrooging out.

This year I’m not sure what I will do on Christmas day, but I do know that for the week leading up to Christmas and for the week after I will be getting on my mat in the company of others. I do know that such a commitment will create room for whatever experience I am having to be bigger, softer, smoother, fiercer, more relaxed, more pleasurable, or whatever the moment calls for. I know this from experience.

I know that through a commitment to the practice during the Holiday season, my own experience has become more bearable. I know that my commitment to practice during this time of year has enabled me to continually make more room. Not only in my body but also in the limited belief structures of my mind which were stifling my ability to previously experience these holidays with joy. Yoga does that, it makes room in the body, mind, and spirit.

While this year I am still not putting up a tree, nor will I be wrapping many gifts, I won’t be saying “Bah humbug”. That’s a thing of the past. I will be saying Namaste, 13 times or more, as the moon waxes to full and the year comes to a close. I will also be saying prayers of gratitude for all that has transpired for each new day to pass. I hope to share my gratitude, my Namaste, and Holidays with you.

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,

Genevieve

 

slating time for magic

Perhaps the idea of adding another thing to your plate this holiday season is : tremendously challenging to get excited about, daunting, and even seems the impossible. Me too, a little. I feel a juggler, often, hurrying from one meeting and item on the list to the next, and reviewing at the end of the day an unpacked project that has been waiting in the wings, ignored, and calling my soul. I am a modern-day stress bug. Yoga seriously helps by for real slowing down my roll, especially when its crash-coursing along at a fever-pitch. Sometimes I literally crawl onto the mat, waiting for inspiration to come, and indulging in the pure space of a pause. Most of the time, the pause swings back around to movement. Some days, I just lie there, hardly moving a muscle on purpose.

They say that yoga actually expands one’s capacity and creates time, rather than gobbling it up. But if I pitched that to entice you to join me, I’d feel a bit of a pushy jerk. And to my individualistic and bullheaded brain that all sounds like a big should, which maybe makes you feel like running, faster. So I’ll just say I’m with you. In the middle of the holiday rumble, I am willing to make life an experiment and leave something left open for interpretation. The rest of the agenda is pretty clear – work, party, obligation, commute, blah blah blah. And the thirteen times slated for yoga are hours left free for the divine mystery to fill. And all we have to do is show up? What a relief.

Love, Suki Ola

We Choose To Go To The Moon…

We chose the theme of the To The Moon Challenge because it was a sweet little quip on the scheduling of the event in relationship to the procession of the moon. The name also lends some momentum to invigorate New Years Resolutions, and support end of year completions. In quick succession 321… Launch became the continued theme for a workshop Suki and I will offer on New Years Eve. (Details on our website.)

All this moon and rocket talk has had me thinking about the race for space and the literal journey to the moon. Inspired, I went on an internet journey and came across the famous John F. Kennedy Moon Speech at Rice Stadium on September 12, 1962. I had never heard or read it before. Nor had I come across any excerpts or quotes. Surprising for a person with a penchant for inspired quotes, of which this document has more than a few. What a treat it was to read.

I was so inspired I thought I would share

Following is a self edited, largely abbreviated version. For the whole document you can go here https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm

With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,

Genevieve

‘We meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

The vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

We mean to be a part of it–we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man.

I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” -John F. Kennedy

Open to all the possibilities

The point of the To the Moon and Beyond yoga challenge is as you like it. There is no intended goal beyond an invitation to take a peek – a glimpse into what might benefit you to bring into your life, and what might be ready to drop away. We’re banking on the idea that in the stages along the way from dreamy conception of a commitment to practice thirteen times sandwiched between the new and full moon, to the dripping pomegranate seeds of culmination with the full moon and new year, there is magic in the mix that couldn’t have been imagined at the outset.

Personally, I’ve not seen the end of the yoga tunnel. There have been fruited apex moments on the mat, sure, and progress and happiness in relationships off the mat that I have been able to cast clear linking lines to the yoga. I can only truly say that thanks to my time exploring this yoga stuff I’ve : gotten better at moving in my skin; gotten better at dealing with conflict; gotten better at taking deep breaths when I’m stressed, when I’m resting, and when I might otherwise retreat into headspace and check out; gotten better at taking care of myself and others; I’ve gotten better at being me. And there is oh, so much more coming down my line and more fruit, for sure.

I’m curious to see what pops up with the commitment to be at the studio a whole bunch, to forgo other things in lieu of the grind of practice, to sit with what is stirred up to begin and what the gates will close in upon and finish, and to be with other people embarking on their similar and all the way original journeys at the turn of a new moon cycle and year. All in the light of the magic, reflective, and constant love of the moon, for who better to witness the outer work of all that asana on the surface, and to measure the profound alchemy that just might unfold in the dark cave of our hearts?

Ready.

Love, Suki Ola

The Threads Of Consistency

After all these years, I still find coming to the mat to be the most nourishing thing I do for myself. Though it isn’t always easy to get to the mat. Or even enjoy what is taking place beneath the surface of my skin while I am there. No matter the texture of the experience I am always grateful to have done it when I am through. Beyond gratitude in my heart there is in addition a general calm peace of mind and a quiet relaxed quality to my body. Type of practice, time of day, time of year, what is taking place in my life, what is taking place in my mind, are all variables that contribute to the quality of my peace and calm post asana. Yet, however fleeting, in all cases the nourishing calm holds me and reminds me of the unconditionally loving spaciousness of spirit.

I’m not sure this is anyone else’s experience but I like to think most are in some way similar. This is why yoga asana has become, and continues to be, so very popular. All that twisting, bending, breathing, and stretching really works. As some wise sage once said “quiet the body, quiet the mind, enjoy the spirit”.

Though I know all this to be true it is still not always easy to get on the mat. I have watched myself through the years avoid my practice at the hardest times when I knew it would benefit me the most. Perhaps that aversion is similar to holding onto anger. We hold onto anger to not have to feel the pain it hides, and coming to the mat always reveals what’s lingering beneath the surface. Other times coming to the mat has been the only solace in my life when everything else felt out of control.

No matter my own inconsistent habits and behaviors, I know that consistent practice is really where it’s at. Consistent practice cultivates nuance and growth, maturity and patience, fortitude and humility. Consistent practice sets a tone for everything that takes place off the mat as well, enabling the deep integration of what is garnered from practice and remains long after the asana has gone. With consistency asana practice becomes a long and steady candid voice narrating the story of truth, consciousness, and bliss through one’s life.

Cultivating any new behaviors or habits requires effort. For this reason, doing new things with the support of others is beneficial. Groups and buddy systems keep people motivated to accomplish a goal, as well as accountable for not showing up. In addition is the joy of the shared celebration of triumphs and successes.

In Sanskrit the word Kula translates loosely to community. A Kula is a group of people with like-minded focus. The community of a yoga studio is a Kula. Sharing growth on the yoga mat with a Kula enriches not only the relationships inside the studio but also beyond. Every time we learn to be vulnerable we empower ourselves to experience more intimacy in our lives. Yogic journeys are by nature vulnerable. The shared vulnerability in a yoga class transforms fear of intimacy into openhearted courage and a desire to truly know others with the ability to connect, another powerful gift of a regular and committed practice. And a Kula is not limited to the community within the walls of a yoga studio. The yoga Kula is world-wide and as diverse in its stylized forms as the world of people who practice.

This holiday season we at Shree invite you to join the Kula and commit to practicing through the season as a gift to yourself and your spirit. As Suki so beautifully wrote about recently we are offering a special yoga challenge which will support this gift to yourself. (All info on our website.) However, you don’t have to be here in Taos or practicing in the walls of Shree to participate. Feel free to play wherever you are. Connect with self and others. Remember even if fleetingly calm that nourishes, expands, and stokes the fire of your heart.  I’ll be there and I hope you will too.

With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,

Genevieve