Tag Archives: acceptance

The Only Way Out Is Through

January is oftentimes synonymous with making changes. The obvious start of a new cycle invites momentum to shift and patterns to change. While change is always taking place on macro and micro levels, making distinct changes in our personal lives can be supremely challenging. As I write this I wonder how many times in the last year I have told myself that tomorrow I will get back into regular practice on my mat. Each time I tell myself this I do eventually get back on my mat, just to find myself struggling to find steady footing. Only to find my practice once again slipping away, and once again telling myself, tomorrow.

We all are continuously navigating the journey from where we are to where we want to be. As we wake each day choices appear before us that will either take us to a new point of view or back to the one we so longingly wish to turn away from. While some of our choices may not appear to be new, the way we choose to respond to any situation can and does change our lives. Paradoxically in the midst of our desire for transformation is the need to accept where we are. I say need because without acceptance of where we are we are always in the struggle to change, to be something different, to be at odds with ourselves.

No one’s life is all rainbows and sparkles and unicorns. No matter how much we want it to be, it is not. This is the nature of the world we live in. Life evolves, transforms, and changes from one state of being to another. The process is for the most part not comfortable, easy, or desired. And in the face of this discomfort we attach ourselves to what makes us more comfortable. We attach to what makes us more comfortable because in our rational minds it is hard to comprehend that settling into our discomfort and accepting what is will alleviate the discomfort. Do I need to repeat that? In our logical minds we cannot comprehend that dropping into our discomfort will bring us more comfort. So, we attach ourselves to a perspective, a lifestyle, a desire, anything other than what we are experiencing, so as to avoid our discomfort. It is human nature to spend so much of our valuable energy attaching to what we are attracted to that by proxy we attach ourselves to our dislikes with equal strength. Such attachment to our dislike creates aversion which creates resistance. Resistance creates lost opportunity. Potential transformation is lost as a result of only being able to see one way to get there, the way that will be the least uncomfortable. Again I will repeat myself, change is uncomfortable. When we resist change, when we become impervious to the discomfort we miss the opportunity.

Conversely, when we accept where we are, while we are there, resistance naturally dissipates. Acceptance is not synonymous with apathy, rather it is the gateway to peace, the doorway from the darkness into the light. Through acceptance of where we are we have the invitation to feel less of a struggle on the journey from where we are to where we want to be. Through acceptance of where we are, we have the opportunity to look deeper into what it is we want to see change and ask the more pointed question of why. Such a question may lead to other whys, which in time reveal what is really important to each of us individually, not what we think should be important to us, but rather what really, truly, and authentically is.

What is authenticity if not being who you are. And who you are without the constraints of what society, family, and limited beliefs tell you who you think you should be. And how can you know who you authentically are if you refuse to embrace yourself as you are in any moment?

One thing that many people on a spiritual path have a tendency to do is dismiss more base needs for altruistic motives. Such a position allows no space to be who you are, to make choices that will enhance your authentic life, and to experience the whole of the transformation from where you are now through the process to where you are going. Rather, like resistance to discomfort, denial of your underlying true motives just continues the struggle, and perpetuates the choices and behaviors that have landed you where you are. The invitation with New Year’s resolutions or intentions is then about more than bettering yourself, it is rather to embrace the paradox. Embrace where you are as exactly where you are supposed to be, and simultaneously as the catalyst for the momentum toward where you are going. And be patient, all things happen in their own time.

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

Genevieve

 

Contemplations on Happiness, Peace, and Asana

The pursuit of happiness came on like a storm, furious, powerful, and unrelenting. I was in my teens when I decided that being happy was what I wanted to do with my life. I am sure it came about as a snarky response to the big question of what I was going to do with my life. It seemed like a reasonable goal in the midst of a maelstrom of inner confusion when facing the big teenage mystery of what the picture of my life might become. And as a teenager I believed that it did not matter what kind of career I had, what kind of lifestyle I had, how much money I would make, where I would live, all of that was secondary to the first and most important goal, happiness. Diligently like the idealist and rebellious adolescent I was I pursued this goal, finding myself in many wild and delightful moments full of happiness and yet always knowing something wasn’t quite right. Just because I was seeking happiness did not mean I was happy. Just because I thought that those other aspects of life were secondary to my happiness at the time did not mean that any of them were. In fact, as a low blow to my idealist rebel teenage self I have found that many of those aspects of my life are great contributors to my  happiness as an adult. In spite of my great efforts to be happy first I have often found myself unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and in a semi-constant state of inner tumult looking for that which would scratch my itch for joy. Having an itch after all is a natural part of life. We all experience desire and longing. However, as I eventually found for myself, the pursuit of happiness can become an unrelenting oppressive force menacingly disturbing the peace.

Unlike my youthful merciless pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of peace approached more discreetly, like a great novel, the first pages drawing me in, and the further in I went the more interesting and compelling the experience. Different from the blatant and obvious benefits of pursuing happiness the benefits of pursuing peace reveal themselves more subtly, almost clandestine in their disclosure. Leaving one satisfied at a taste of the mystery, its savory and sweet flavor lingering offering room for pause, contemplation, connection and serene delight.

Everyone comes to the mat for a different reason, yet it is probably safe to say that at the heart of all of our pursuits is peace. We cloak our desire for peace in the pursuits of happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, health, patience, generosity, strength, flexibility, resilience, our hunger for connection to others and to something bigger, the list goes on. However, we must beware that in these worthwhile pursuits is a tendency for obsession and myopia, discipline turned into obligation, and misguided attempts to better self at the expense of self acceptance. A very famous yoga sutra, and the only one of the 196 teachings to even mention asana, states:

2:46 Sthira sukham asanam.

Asana is a steady, comfortable posture.

 If it is steady and comfortable that we seek than we must stop looking for the places we can be better and contentedly accept where we are. In the practice of self-acceptance we can become more calm and peaceful, more relaxed and allowing. This does not mean complacent, but rather naturally cultivating the ripe and loving environment for transformation, rather than trying to force it. In the end everything will change, there is no question of that. So, in the meantime we have the opportunity to enjoy the transitions in peace. Practice effort and surrender. Notice how the trees effortlessly and gracefully drop their leaves, and in step with the season we are invited to drop our own leaves, whatever they may be, and settle into the steady comfortable posture known as life.

 

 

We live in a culture that affords little room for acceptance when it comes to the big green monster of envy. As children we are taught to feel shame about such a yearning for what another has. This leads to a whole culture who lacks language and tools for looking across the river and seeing something you like in another’s bountiful field. Step one in accepting jealousy is to distill this strange cultural conversation around shame. You are not a bad person to wish for something more, end of story. Step two hurdle: acknowledge the despair and self-pity that can follow on the heels of jealousy. To look with honesty at the situation often proves to absolve despair, and can even be an outlet for opening deeper conversation. By seeing that all is not entirely ruined, a path may begin to present itself. In this conversation, it is safe to ask “what are you going to do about it?”, and wait for an answer of empowerment and a plan.

Perhaps a new perspective is in order on the completely natural experience of wishing for what is out there. In the realm of pure potential, the teaching is to accept the possibility of anything you desire becoming real. This is one of the tenets of the yoga, yes? That with practice, over time, a human will be capable of breaking the bonds of limitation that a human form experiences and be immersed in pure unbounded bliss. Rarely, I think, do we as humans on the ground feel jealousy for such enlightenment, more like inspiration. This is a sweet teaching in and of itself. If the highest order of desire is something we see in another and only respect and admire, can’t we get past coveting the small stuff?

A higher teaching on jealousy is to look to the immeasurable means of loving, mudita. Mudita translates to sympathetic joy and is an offering of the heart’s highest to look with happiness upon another’s good fortune. The principle behind this practice speaks to the Dalai Lama’s invitation that we raise the opportunities for joy by 7 billion plus by celebrating another’s good tidings. But this is a high form of peace. My offering today is to look for the good in the discomfort of feeling jealousy. Accept the gift it is to have a model for what you wish. It is truly abundance in reality to be able to look to another for an example of how to climb the peaks that seem so daunting and faraway. What a sweet gift it is to have a teacher, and imagine, gasp! We would bolster the courage to ask them for insight and guidance for the journey.

Love and Peace for what is, Suki

I bow.

I bow to all who have come before. To the thousands of years of yogis, the askers of questions and seekers of freedom and peace, thank you. I am grateful to sit in this web, held by the ferocious threads of eons of teachings that catch my breath and my bones when I feel I am falling, and coming to pieces. To the beginning, middle, end, and bare dream of another round of this story that I will write and destroy time and again in the course of this life, I am humbled.

I bow to the speakers of truth. To those who have said what is unkempt and dissonant, thank you. I am grateful to live in an age of such raw dissolution that we must build up our participatory love and capacity from the bottom. Each act, gesture, and vote, no matter what has come before, is a move forward into another circle ’round the sacred mountain. I recognize that my ancestors did what they could with what they had, and am honored to carry the basket of opportunity I have been presented in this twenty-first century, even when it feels colluded with technological cacophony and an overpopulated planet, struggling for breath. Now, as it always has been, is the time for healing, and I believe that 7 plus billion of us can commit, and make yoga and good reparation.

I bow to the open plains of the next moment, centuries, and generations. To those who will come forth from us and from the wellspring, who will stand with love in the face of destruction, thank you. I promise to do what I can with all that I recognize I have. And thank you for forgiveness for anything missed in the fray. May my acts today settle wounds within me and incite joy so that the next story circle can tell a fresh tale.

Sat Nam. Peace, Suki

 

Fancy Yoga Pants

It’s not what most people think it is, Yoga. Sure the most common concept of yoga in the western world is a great way to get exercise and stretch it out.   However, getting exercise is not what yoga really is all about. Yoga is about much more. Beyond the façade of the exquisite shapes and forms of bodies posted all over the Internet yoga is about stretching it out, but in a deeper sense. Yoga is something more empowering than long hamstrings and strong hand balances beyond the conundrum of fancy yoga clothes, popular classes, and famous yoga teachers. Yoga is something profound and deeply healing beyond the feelings of worth or shame that can be tied up in the struggle of dancing on the surface of a practice thousands of years old gaining popularity in a culture of fame and glamour. Yoga as a means to get to the heart of it is incredible medicine, whatever the heart of it may be.

Irrefutably yoga is fundamentally and most importantly a spiritual practice. Yoga is a multi faceted tool that includes a physical element in order to get to something more powerful and essential to the human spirit. Through dedicated return to asana a practitioner is able to access a state of transcendence of body and ego that places all of the valueless aspects of yoga in the west out of the picture of importance. Such a state of being enhances ones ability to then arrive at solving more profound questions of spirit like how to bring more love to the experience of life, how to serve with more selflessness, and how to be more accepting of what is and less attached to ego driven desires.

Knowing the difference between what yoga is and the common western cultural experience of yoga enables enough clarity of mind that permits a yogi to attend to their practice with or without fancy yoga pants, long hamstrings, the ability to do strong hand balances, and thousands of followers on instagram. Such knowledge is in itself power and can, like a viral video on YouTube, become common enough to change a cultural phenomena that has for the time being replaced ancient and beautiful teachings with vanity and ignorance. In the meantime, there is no need for condemning anyone for their journey, rather there is an opportunity to dive more deeply into the well of silent and expansive consciousness and invite others to gently and comfortably come along. And along the way may we not forget to do our yoga and to enjoy our fun and fancy yoga pants, our favorite teachers, practitioners who inspire us, and our gains in our asana practice as well as in our personal lives.

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

Genevieve

Creativity as a cave and you, a candle.

The smallest amount of light can dissipate much darkness, but what is the danger of the darkness? I have to ask as we approach the twilight season, and the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur when light is cast into the beginning of the new year, what, pray, is wrong with the darkness? It is in the dark where our ideas are seeded, in the dark where they take root and begin the slow and earnest process of seeking a path toward the light. Long before the early blooms of spring flowers arrive, the dark womb of the earth holds space for life to move and shake beneath the surface. In this antipodal season of Autumn as the plants begin to wither and fall away, there is still ferocious life-force flowing, though slowing, beneath our skin. It is our work as yogis to honor an interval of less velocity by continuing to stoke the fires of life-force within. With practice, we learn to keep the deep channels open for prana to flow as our leaves begin to fall, so to speak.

It is the murk of unknowingness, the quieted senses harvested in stillness and meditation, and the screaming for change that swells from our darkest days that impels transformation. In the Hindu Goddess tradition, from Kali’s timeless, terrifying cave, Saraswati emerges. Saraswati’s pure course mothers inspiration, learned craft and arts, knowledge, clarity, intuition, and creativity. But the pulse, the drive to create is what comes before in the dank and quiet cave. In the predawn tickle of sounds and bare beginnings, harmony is formed. It is in these places of unfinished business, even untapped resource, that creativity dwells in her ferocious garb.

The just-before-moment, when words swell at the tip of your tongue is the time when yoga, a connectivity to the source and creative force of the Universe is most ripe. Enjoy the overcast, shadowed, and fearful caverns of imminent announcement that rise, curling like smoke from the slow-burning fires of verve within you. Settle in and enjoy the flavor as best you can, for without attuning to our deepest urges, the pleasure we experience on the outside is but a sprinkled on a shell. Cast loving light into the cave of your heart, your fear, and your silence and watch what rolls out from there, with each measured breath.

To your darkest hour, I bow.
Love, Suki

Legs.

Legs.

Loving on our bodies in general is not exactly encouraged in our culture. The pressure for us, as spirits in form, to perfect the form, rather than tend to the formless, is real. We live in a weird time and place where the focus on the external is far sharper than support for the depth of process it takes to look at what lies beneath. Pockets of pure perspective (like a community at your local yoga studio), do exist. Seek them out. Find a yoga teacher who inspires you to look with respect, rather than mistrust, into your body, as a step on the path of awareness. The following practice is all about dissolving the confusion and negative language around legs. Let’s call it “leg-loving-life-giving-practice”.  See what twenty minutes or so of exploration, stabilization and gentle stretches can do for your legs, those amazing limbs that carry you about all day long.

Put your feet up.

Legs up the wall helps to drain excess pressure, like the kind that builds up after a lifetime of mostly living on your feet, from your lovely legs. Lie down on the floor and kick your feet up. Five minutes.

Fold forward.

Find the position of your pelvis that allows your spine to move toward the earth with gravity in a forward fold. Start standing, using the strength of your legs to rock your pelvis forward and back, and get familiar with both actions, as they are both useful. Then, apply the forward tip of the pelvis to your forward fold. That means that your lower back is below your tailbone as you reach to touch the earth. Bend your knees as much as you need to maintain that alignment. Your back will thank you and your legs will actually be stretched (not stressed). One to two minutes.

Strengthen.

Harvest the power of all the muscles from your feet to the core of the pelvis. Hug muscles to bone and draw, like you are pulling on spandex, from the furthest points (toes), to the nearest (pelvic floor and base of spine). Play with keeping the muscles strong, and softening skin around them, to avoid over-strengthening, or becoming rigid with power. If you can breath and move, the power is good. Thirty seconds in a couple of standing poses with this fluid strength will build confidence and grace.

Lengthen.

For legs that go on forever, connect them to your solar plexus. Rather than the very limiting idea of legs ending at the tops of the femur-bones, give yourself an extra foot or so of gam by expanding the concept to the center of your body. It’s a literal connection, you don’t have to make it up, just change your mind about where things begin and end. From right around there, the psoas muscle extends, giving freedom of mobility and stability to your legs. See how it feels to move from here (above your navel, below your heart, deep along the center-channel of the spine), and allow your spectacular gams to grow. Take some time to shift your perspective, on and off the mat.

Relax.

Either with your knees over a bolster, supine, or returning to legs up the wall, give your limbs another sweet respite. Five minutes.

Yours,

Suki

Meditation on (what you) love.

Perhaps the practice of meditation has left you daunted and alone, hung drying from a rail of judgement and ill-communicated invitations.  Meditation is not supposed to make us feel unworthy or incapable, nor does it seek to laude the wiser ones, and leave the rest of us lost forever.  Meditation has no goals, no means and no attachment to us, and so, therefore, is for everyone.  Kahlil Gibran’s “On Love”, reads “Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.  Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.”  If you have been presented with meditation as a discipline you cannot live up to, two things for today:      1.  the person who presented it thusly was rude and unfair in their sharing, perhaps driven by ego?                        2.  You are free to create your own destiny around meditation and its influence in your life.  A little is good, a lot is only better if it serves, and no other practice will be as potent as the one that feeds your soul and is of your own wild creation.

According to wikipedia, which, like meditation, is in and of itself a funny and beautiful example of a user-owned and managed operation, meditation is “a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”  This says nothing of the how, just the goal, which is also up to the individual.  The wiki waterfall goes on to light upon various modes of spiritual and religious tradition, each with similar and perfectly unique definitions of what it means “to meditate”.  In Patanjali’s ashtanga system, dhyana – meditation, occurs after dharana – concentration, and only when the concentrator witnesses the object of their devotion as a part of a whole and unifying force.  In the subtle shift from mindfulness in relaxed breath and body to a deep state of blissful consciousness and peace, the line is fine, perhaps immeasurable.  But the alteration comes from a particular shift of attachment to the external world, liberating the thinker to become a non-thinker, and a lover.  Concentration on a candle flame is dharana.  Concentration on the light within, burning and flickering, steadily glowing as the winds of universal breath wash over, is dhyana.  Rather than counting the backs of the heads in front of you on the bus, counting the cadence of your breath and noticing minute alterations as the bus rolls over potholes, is dharana.  Watching the bobble of everyone’s head over the potholes and recognizing a shared cadence of respiration in everyone on the bus, a shared destiny of inspiration and expiration in each individual’s breath that merges into oneness with the pulse of an entire city, is dhyana.  The big difference?  The I.

In allowing your egoistic attachment to what your meditation must “be” to float off like a fart, meditation can begin.  “Now we will meditate”, only rang from on high for me when the idea of what it might mean to meditate had become so blurred and illegible that I surrendered to continuing to sit down and see what happened.  Sometimes the old standbys of candle-gazing and counting the breath are a welcome respite for a tired mind.  The purpose is, of course, to awaken from the slumber of unconscious drudgery.  To not forgive oneself for coming to the practice stuck in the mire of unconscious drudgery is equivalent to expecting one five minute meditation to change the whole world.  On some level, every moment changes everything, yes, but we are often too distracted to see any effect whatsoever from our actions, especially the subtle ones we spend alone, breathing lightly and sitting still.  If the purpose of the meditation is to weave an individual consciousness with one that is universal, representing all that is immeasurable and god-filled, rather than empty, then it seems sensible that the object of focus leading to integration would be just that universal God energy.  Herein lies the rub: for many, God is a virtually impossible image or feeling to conjure up.  (That’s why I’m meditating, geez.)

Perhaps if our attention is just focused on the things and the ones and the feelings that we love, shifts will begin.  In the Narada Bhakti Sutras, the way that we love food is distinguished clearly from the way that we love our people, and also from the way that we love God.  And yet, all are love.  If we can learn to apply the way that we love something, anything at all that truly gathers the full force of our heart, to higher forms of loving, then we are in a state of meditation.  To begin, bring to mind the bits of your life that elicit joy.  Pick one and think on it.  Allow the sensory experience of your mind to flood and then ebb away, leaving a sweet residue of retained happiness.  This is at the very least better than feeling an evil and elusive club of meditators have perfectly ornate pictures of a godhead in their minds and hearts at all times, leaving your silly frazzled self standing outside on a doorstep, waiting.  Separation hardens a heart and Love, in any form, softens a heart.  Meditation draws a mind from states of darkness into the light, then into the well-prepared and softened, loving heart.  In time, love for a cat, or catnaps, can merge and blend with infinite bliss.  Let the people on the other side of the door (who are you), know that exclusive behavior is lame and step in with an open heart.

Love, Suki Ola

21 Days of Yoga

Below is a personal accounting of a student's recent journey through her just completed Autumn Yoga Challenge.  So powerful is her story that we felt compelled to share it with everyone.  Thank you Kelley.

I have been practicing yoga off and on since my early 20s when my sister and I used to go to the Solar Yoga Center in St. Louis. It was there that I learned poses. It was there that I learned to take a cold shower with peppermint soap before committing to meditation. I still love the smell of peppermint soap because of it. I never took my yoga practice any deeper than that, but I have continued to practice off and on. I ended up at Shree for one of those occasional classes.

Then at the beginning of September my husband had a major surgery, my beloved dog died, and my beautiful youngest brother, he was 22, unexpectedly died. There was day-to-day to manage. As a firm believer that life comes as it does, I tried keep moving. But my ability to focus had come to a halt. My sleep and waking time was blurred. As a writer and thinker, I have always relied on words to help me explain my emotions. I have relied on words to help me figure things out, but now I was at a loss for how to deal with the pain. There were no words to “talk” through the sorrow. It seemed simply to sit in my body. In a silent and what felt kind of random decision, I joined the 20 classes in 30 Days-Autumn Challenge at Shree.

Continue reading 21 Days of Yoga

Pause And Enjoy The Present.

This summer I miraculously grew a watermelon. Last spring without too much attachment to the outcome I flippantly stuck a couple seeds in the ground. I was not so attached to the outcome because in the past I have tried to grow melons, and until this summer have met with tomato sized cantaloupe success, which I consider minimal at best. My husband who knows more about these things says growing this giant watermelon is a spectacular feat at our altitude. I based on my minimal experience largely agree. He harvested it yesterday, before whatever was chewing on it enjoyed it before we could. In my garden much is going on this week, the harvest of the watermelon, the squashes fading from absolute abundance to one or two, the corn fully grown, brown peaking out amongst what was all so green only a few weeks ago, has notified me that a transition is taking place.

One thing I really appreciate about nature is that even in it’s inconsistencies it’s pretty consistent. The nature of nature is cyclical, and in fact all things are cyclical, though it is more evident in some places than others, growing seasons, birthdays, and yearly calendars. Viewing the nature of creation in all of its forms through a cyclical journey clarifies an understanding of the ever expanding and contracting cosmology of the universe and all life. From nothing all things arise, the barren earth before a planting, the unknown before the big bang, an empty womb before conception. After the seed has been planted, the rise of manifestation is an expansion into its fullest state of being, like my watermelon. The high point of manifestation in its fullest forms is like the fullness of an inhale, alive, vibrant, mirroring qualities of our life’s journey that resonate with emotional feelings of love, satisfaction, elation, joy, and contentment. Holding to the pleasure that exists in such full-filling experiences is a natural desire, however it is as futile as holding onto our breath at its fullest point. Were we to hold our breath we would eventually pass out and our body in its own intelligence would return to breathing. The bottom of our exhale, like the top of our inhale reflects another aspect of the nature of this conscious, animate, feeling journey we call life. In the emptiness there is an echo of the lower emotional states of being such as sorrow, discomfort, distaste, grief, frustration, and other experiences of this nature. It is human nature to want to resist spending much time in these experiences, being drawn to the full and bright feelings that reside at the top of the inhale, and to not wish to pause in places that are dark and cold and scary like the basement at the bottom of an exhale. Yet life is not so stagnant, so simple, so one way, life invites us to experience the flavor of the dark and hard times so that we can have the contrasting experience of the full and bright moments of elated delight. It is in fact the harder, more challenging and difficult places in our lives that are the birthing ground for the desires, motives, and intentions that eventually become the joy-filled satisfactory moments of our content.   Exhaling metaphorically and literally therefore, is a necessary part of the bigger equation of the cycle of manifestation, from the height of a manifested expansion begins a contraction. The watermelon is harvested, eventually it will be eaten, all its life digested and composted into the energy of the barren earth or body from which something else will arise. Our Universe will continue to expand until it changes course and turns in upon itself in a black hole. Each of us who has the great opportunity to be alive, will die. Our lives, no matter how much we may try, we only have little control of, because life is a series of happenstance and circumstance. The Earth will continue to tilt on its axis and rotate in the habitual pattern it has displayed for millennia and the growing season will only be so long. Having awareness of the nature of seasonal timing and knowing that the only control I may have in my ability to grow a garden outdoors requires responding to the opportunity to grow in good timing and to harvest in good timing. Like growing a watermelon most of life is a dance with a partner who is doing their best to guide us through the steps of our lives with as much ease as possible, and like learning to train a dog, we come to see overtime that this dance partner has a language of its own.

Part of nature s language is that it is cyclical, another piece of the puzzle seen in nature it that all things that manifest into form manifest from the inside out. Seeds contain all of the information for a fully grown plant, they root in the deep dark earth from where they unfold and break out and through evolving eventually into their fullest potential before the contraction of their inward turning spiral. One common thwarting conception of us humans is to perceive ourselves from the outside in, which in many ways dims the brightness of our individual and shared journeys. This is because not unlike nature we grow and expand from the inside out, not only in our waistlines, more importantly in our mental perceptions of life and our emotional responses to it. When we are mentally small our emotional responses mirror our mental perception, therefor the journeys into the underbelly of life’s experience we see as an act of victimization rather than a seed of good fortune and joy being planted. When we allow our perception to be expansive enough to see the good, the potential of the good, and our own ability to be resilient and adaptable our emotional experience reflects this with a feeling that is brighter even if our life circumstances do not appear to be this way on the surface. When we come to understand the cyclical nature of life, the expansion and the contraction, we become less resistant to dancing with a partner we cannot see, and more comfortable witnessing the present moment which is always a transition of some form or another.

Noticing that things are always changing, always in transition, invites us to acknowledge that we don’t need a special moment to pause because in fact any moment can be a special moment of pause. Taking that pause invites an awareness of the present. The awareness of the present, is where the gift is, that is why they call it the present. Pausing and reflecting at the end of a growing season, a multi year cycle of life, a midday in a week of work, or any point in a round of breath is the foundation upon which we get to choose our perception and our response to life’s invitations, which most often is the only control we really have in this dance. What we may witness in that point of self reflection may invite us to enjoy a moment of satisfaction, or to plant sooner next year. Either way this awareness allows us to move like nature from the inside out, from our hearts into the world.

Like harvesting a giant watermelon in a high altitude kitchen garden, the potential to live a life of joy, meaning, value, and satisfaction is always present, no matter the appearance of the circumstances.

photo

Fat Cat, Fat Watermelon, we grew them both!

With Love, In all ways, Always in Joy,

Genevieve