initiation…

yesterday was summer solstice. i was buzzing for 2 day straight. taught 3 yoga classes on tuesday….got up early on wednesday morning and did sun salutations on the beach, jumped in the water after. it was freezing…and

baptismal.

from there i went to teach my own class full of surya namaskars…saluting the sun within ourselves, the sun that warms and energizes this water planet.

later, i went went incognito to a yoga class of another studio that i had never been to. it was ashtanga, which i had never had the opportunity to practice. i was blown away. it felt so good to be a true student again after such a long time. to close my eyes, and be guided rather than lead. to be adjusted, if my body slipped out of alignment. it was so freeing.

i went home to a setting sun and an outdoor shower with candles. as i looked at the stars, i asked the universe to send me a sign, that i could create my own reality, show me. and i waited for a shooting star, but it didn’t come. and i felt bad for challenging the universe, for asking for proof.

then drying off listening to the cicadian rythms drifting along with the peaks of the waves coming from the sound. coming to lay in the hammock. doggie beside me. both of us breathing. intoxicated with life and love and solitude in unity with the world…in yoga we call it rasa…to be fully present. filled up. heightened awareness. like a plant that has just taken on water….

as i went to bed i decided to pull a tarot card to see what was in store for me with this change of season, this new beginning….and i pulled “initiation” which is traditionally the star card. so beautiful, a favorite card of mine. full of positive images and ideas. there is no downside to this card. and it means that good things are coming, but that you have to bring them about. take the necessary steps.

and this i believe was the universe, answering my question after all.

The 1-2-3 game.

20 years ago I…
1. Had a punk rock haircut
2. Worked at the Mall
3. Drove my mother’s car illegally for a year because I was afraid of the driver’s ed teacher.

10 years ago I…
1. Brewed my own beer from blizzard snow.
2. Somehow managed to eat sushi 3x a week on a college budget
3. Got my doggie Duncan and he’s made my life happy.

5 years ago I…
1. Had my one year anniversary at National Geographic TV
2. Had a raucus, hellbent night of drinking and carousing in Capital Hill after a concert.
3. Took a 2 week road trip with no destination in mind. Ended up at Acadia National Park in Maine.

1 year ago I…
1. Decided for the 50,000th time I needed to make a major change my life
2. Had a dark night of the soul on the front porch one evening.
3. Made some important changes…

So far this year I…
1. Have proudly become a vegetarian again
2. Received my yoga teaching certification, and purchased a yoga studio (!)
3. Traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico

Yesterday I…
1. Took the whole day off!
2. Went surfing, watched the sunset, laid around. Read an entire magazine article.
3. Went to sleep happy.

Tomorrow I will…
1. Teach three yoga classes
2. Get my period
3. Love on my doggie

Next year I will…
1. Travel more
2. Smile more
3. Get me some more happy (and maybe some more love) (too!)

Your turn.

Lead with your heart.

This has been my mantra this month, in all its various meanings and manifestations. In yoga class we often say it to describe how best to come into a particular posture — lead with your heart as you come into your upward facing dog, into your virabadrasana I, your pigeon. But I noticed this month, that these words were dancing around in my brain as I drove along the bypass, or planned my classes, or sat in front of the laptop, or played with the dog. What does it mean?

In yoga, the postures are often metaphors for life. And if we stay in the present moment we can notice, or examine even, the metaphor. Our mothers told us to stand up straight, keep our shoulders back…and notice what happens when you do this. Your heart moves forward. Leading with your heart. How wise, our mothers. By standing straight we impart confidence, and grace, and with our heart leading us forward we make good choices. Inevitably we all make mistakes in life, yet if we keep this in mind…to lead with our hearts, then the intentions behind our actions will remain good and pure and peaceful. It’s when we forget, or lead with our brains, or our egos, or our pocketbooks, that we could end up making mistakes that are regrettable. I’ve heard it said that peace of mind is what people want most in life, and by leading with our hearts perhaps we are one step closer to attaining it.

As I pondered all of this, it reminded me again, how forward thinking the original yogi’s were as they sat together in the forests and shared their combined experiences. Like the Constitution, their teachings are timeless. It is fascinating to me that today, 6,000 years later, their ideas and words can be interpreted with great meaning that resonates with our modern world.