Ketchup, lol! Just a little levity for your day.
“Catch-up” for two weeks of intentions; so, yes, it’s a little long, feel free to read in the span of two days!
Two Weeks Ago:
Michael J. Fox describes his approach to living with Parkinson’s disease in this way, “If I let it affect everything, it’s going to own everything. I don’t deny or pretend it’s not there, but if I don’t allow it to be bigger than it is, then I can do everything else.” This is an inspiring description of the power of acceptance of life as it is.
Acceptance of all of life and attempting to stay present through it all, how do we do this? Especially when things get tough?
In class, we used the pushpanjali mudra to embody this wisdom in our hands. Pushpa means “flower”, anjali means “hands joined together in reverence”. To see it, click here. This Mundra plants within us that sense of staying open like a blossoming flower, and allows us to appreciate life exactly as it is in the present moment, without looking back, nor looking forward, but to just be here now. One great quote from one of the many articles that I discovered through this intention is the following, “I accept everything as it is right now”. Another quote, “I am at peace as I am”. Using the mudra and these mantras can be actions you take that support you in acceptance and staying present through anything.
In his discourse on Patanjali’s 15th sutra, first chapter, on aparigraha*, Swami Satchidananda reminds us about practicing for the “sheer joy of practicing”. And, if I can be so bold as to add to his wisdom, when we practice, to not be forcing, pushing, or expecting anything, but to just be in the practice, allow its unfolding, and therefore allow our own unfolding.
And of course, as I always like to remind myself and others, this way of acceptance is not a giving up, nor is it an end. This way of acceptance is an embracing of everything and a reminder to actually be in the moment and to be with just what you are doing as best you can. Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, says the following, “Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction”. I love especially that last piece; that we not be attached to inaction because it invites us to actually take action when we know the time is right, when our whole heart is in it, and when we know it is for the betterment of all beings.
*This way of action also reminded me of the Yama called aparigraha. Aparigraha is often translated as non-attachment, and non-possessiveness. Graha means “to take, to seize, or to grab”. Pari means “on all sides”. The ‘a’ negates the word itself. So, aparigraha means “not to take hold on all sides”. As we considered surrender and letting go throughout this practice, I also felt to simultaneously be embracing ‘parigraha’, and to actually seize the moment, to take hold of it on all sides and BE IN the moment!
I rounded out all of these thoughts through the lovely words of swami satchidananda again, “We just spend a little happy time together, that’s all. We just talk about something or do something in the name of yoga. Yes, that is the secret. There is a joy in being together, that’s all. So that is the life of detachment. There is no expectation. …We just come together. We are all as one family, what else do we want in this life? And that is yoga.” I especially feel resonance with these words at this time during the pandemic and physical distancing. It makes me even more grateful that we still can be coming together in yoga, in union, and sharing this wonderful practice and life together. Thank you all so much!
This past week:
From Mark Nepo and his book, “The Book of Awakening”:
“There is a vastness that quiets the soul. But sometimes we are so squarely in the midst of life’s forces that we can’t see what we are a part of.
The truth about morning is that it is the small light of the beginning breaking through, again and again. It is a wisdom so large and clear, one which carries us through our lives so quietly and completely that we seldom see it.
Day after day, we are covered with the dust and grit of what we go through. It tends to weigh us down, and then we think and scheme and problem solved. then we worry if it will all really work, and if it is the right thing to do. It all makes us dark and cluttered.
But despite our stubbornness of concern, we tire and must turn what has happened over to the hammock of night. This is a good thing. For no matter how unfinished we seem, the letting go into sleep is nothing short of a quiet miracle.
…We must surrender to the quieting of all intent and regret, so that the small light of the beginning can rise in us again and again.”
I attributed a metaphor to that letting go into sleep as being a letting go into the present. And, for me, these words kept coming up, “lay it all down”.
He went on to write in the same offering, “So whenever you feel urgency or overwhelmed, whenever you feel pressed to figure things out or to rethink the unthinkable…rest… So that the endless beginning–which soom call the voice of God–might break through what has happened. And you will wake feeling like dawn.” (*A reminder to place any other word there that resonates with you for the term God; whether it be love, collective consciousness, or other.)
I find for myself, and most likely for most people, that it is in those moments of quiet and stillness that we can hear Source speaking to us, communicating with us, and to even hear that which is Source within our own heart and Higher self. I find that sometimes it’s through the movement of my body in the physical practice of yoga that brings me to more deeper mental quiet spaces. And then in other moments, I need the physical stillness, and I need deep silence in order to be able to more freely step into that vastness that is within myself; that is the same as the universe.
I invite you now to step into the vastness of the dawning of your heart. Just like that slow dawning of the sun the begins to pick up over the physical horizon, and then begins to shed its light upon everything, bringing life with the light.
There is respite in the darkness and in that hammock of night, but I wish to leave you with that dawning…
Here is a meditation:
As you become quiet and lay your body down to rest, whether you lie down or sit, let go and close your eyes.
Taking some slow, steady breaths and allow your hearts rhythm to slow.
Begin to imagine a vast horizon in nature and the beginning of the twilight just before the dawn.
Watch as the hues of the beautiful myriad of colors in the sky change as the sun begins to appear.
Slowly, the sun begins to rise as if from the Earth itself.
Feel it’s light and its life and warmth against your cheeks.
Thank goodness for it’s slow, steady journey which allows us to adapt to the ever changing brightness. The slow and steady that allows us to acclimate, rather than to be shocked or overwhelmed with too much stimulus all at once. Let this be a reminder to your own lifes journey; take it slow and be gentle.
Taking in the vast expanse before you, behold a feeling of awe and wonder. Allow yourself to be amazed by life itself.
Remember all that you are a part of life. Remember how important and integral you are as a part of this whole!
Now rest in this knowing.
Let hope, and a sense of rebirth that is that “breaking through again and again” happen every day this week, as best you can. What is dawning within you?
*On rebirth: that’s the reason I chose Maxwell’s birthday photo from 5 years ago, yesterday! Photo credit to his dad! Happy Birthday max! Mommy loves you!
I know there was so much more for both of these weeks, but a lot happens in the inspiration of the moment in my classes, and rarely are two ever the same, even with the same intention. So, apologies for leaving anything out. 🙂
Also, apologies for any lack of coherency here, lol!
Breathe and Believe.