quiet…

sometimes i have lots to share and feel full of girlie, swirly energy…

and sometimes i get quiet…

this is one of those times. i am introverted. feeling introspective and going deep. questioning everything…

over the weekend, my friend showed me a necklace that her mom had given her for her birthday and it says…

“you are meant to live aloud” and she is, she really is. and she does.

my necklace of late would say…

“you are meant to walk softly”

and that’s alright by me.

what would your necklace say?

renewing my faith in humanity…

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i want to say thank you to a stranger and send a virtual hug to them…wherever they are.

see, bryan brought this bracelet back from panama for me a couple of years ago. he brought 3 actually, each in a different color. i’ve lost my favorite one already (it was the same, only with silvery beads). they always seem to slip off and i hadn’t yet given any thought to how to fix them so that they wouldn’t. i tried to be mindful (practice, practice) when i wore them so that should they fall off, i’d know pretty quickly. but i guess i’ve been tempting fate recently and when sufi and i arrived at her house last weekend after sushi & starbucks (oh, the shame!) it was missing. was karma punishing me for that tall decaf latte?

i looked for it in the car and yard, and went through a whole range of emotions several times over – hope, sadness, frustration, acceptance, anger at myself. and as i was leaving, i asked both sufi and her hubby to keep an eye out for it and headed back home. having landed on the “hope” feeling as i was driving i decided to pop into the starbucks and just check on it (not to order anything, i promise, i was just looking). i pulled into the parking lot which was fairly empty and both my spot from friday and the one next to it were available. so i pulled in and decided to have a look around *the spot*.

and there it was.

all bright and shiny. laid out on the curb in a nice straight line. it’s a little beat up, i probably ran over it when i left, but it obviously had been placed carefully and thoughtfully by whomever found it. i gasped and picked it up…i was so, so happy. and so truly grateful to this stranger who found it for knowing it had some sentimental value. i mean, it’s obviously not expensive, it’s just pretty little beads, and because of that it might have been easier for someone to decide to keep it….this starbucks is frequented by teenagers so i can just imagine them singing finders, keepers to themselves. but no one did. this lovely person placed it where it would be safe and where it would be seen. it survived more than 28 hours of comings and going in a starbucks parking lot. waiting for me to come back.

this has been a hard week for me because of some stuff going on in my personal life…but somehow i felt that finding this bracelet was a sign that there are more people in the world with integrity and compassion than it may seem at times, and this small act of kindness, a stranger just choosing to do the right thing, was more than just putting a lost bracelet on the curb. it was much more than that…it renewed one sad girls faith in the goodness of humanity.

and that…

is priceless.

sufi…

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this divine beauty is sufi…well sophie…but i call her sufi because she really is divine and she loves to hoop, and sufism is the mystical side of muslim spiritualism and they love to spin! i’m leaving shortly to go visit her on the eastern shore to help her prepare for her 1st marathon. we’ll be having a full on protein bomb sushi experience today.

in the photo above she is just completing her first 1/2 marathon. and this sunday she is running in her first full marathon in virginia beach. i am so impressed and so proud. she says she only does these distance races because she needs a goal, and in her heart she is really a couch potato (and she is from singapore so you need to say couch potato with a british accent to experience full-on sufi). this i have witnessed. that girl can curl up on the sofa with a book like no other.

in all of the possible ways you could imagine… she is my soul-sister, my anam-cara, a sweet, spiritual being with one of the silliest personalities. and yet at the same time she is serious, and driven. she has a doctorate in film, but she can laugh with me like a little girl, she joined an all-girl band last summer ~ dirt road bitch ~ and plays the banjo. not one single member of this band knew how to play an instrument when they started. but one of them had a dream, and they all joined up to support her. that is the kind of girl she is…caring and willing and experimental and solid. a mish-mash of beautiful contradictions…how it is that our souls found each other i’ll never understand. but we did and i love her very much.

sufi…i’m so proud of you for all your preparations for this race on sunday. run well…

lovelovelove!

p.s. picture by her hubby, erin!

+++

update: she did it! she finished. beat her previous 1/2 marathon time and ran her fastest 6 miles ever. she says she’s happy that most of her body parts don’t hurt, but she does have some sore illio-tibial bands today. yay sufi! a hero to all of the couch potato’s of the world! love you, girl!

when i know that i am the ocean, i am not afraid of the waves…

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isn’t this just beautiful? i loved it instantly, but then the artists inspiration for it really took my breath away…

“when i know that i am the ocean, i am not afraid of the waves.”

penelope dullaghan is one of my newest heroes, and i’ve been reading her blog for a little bit now. i discovered that she will be teaching at the squam art workshop that i’m eagerly anticipating this fall. her “earth project” workshop is my first choice! she is selling a limited edition of these prints on her website today…for an amazingly fair price. if you are so moved…you should get one for yourself and support her.

“when i know that i am the ocean, i am not afraid of the waves.”

such a poetic and elegant way to express that ultimate knowing of the unity with all things that is the lesson inherent in the practice of yoga and meditation. and too, as a surfer-girl-in-constant-lifelong-training, i am always having to overcome my deep-seated, primal fear of the ocean, it has eased over time, and in fact my personal revolution time in yoga training was a period of evolution in my surfing as well, and i was lucky enough to do my training in nosara, costa rica, an amazing surfing village on the pacific coast.

but our girl here…graced with this knowledge that she is one with the ocean, lifts her calm, serene gaze out toward the swell that is heading her way, knowing exactly what she’ll need to do in order to ride that wave all the way to the beach.

she is an inspiration…and so are you penelope…thank you, for bringing her into our world!

love!

saying yes to the universe…

today…this was put into my mailbox and taken away by the postman. it’s definitely gone, i checked. this envelope contains my registration for an amazing art workshop this fall. four days on squam lake in new hampshire, with several of my new heroes. at this moment, i can’t think of anything more blissful* than art supplies, new friends, a lake, and the woods of new england in late summer. the workshop is brand spanking new this year and is the dreamy creation of my new friend. she knows the deal too, for real. she herself took this same big step a couple of years ago, claimed the term *artist*, met all her fears head-on, and dove into an art workshop. now she is in art school.

ART SCHOOL! so inspiring.

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so after i put my registration in the mailbox, hiked back up the stairs, sat down in front of my computer, and answered the phone, i looked out the window. and there. here? yes here! all of a sudden. i know for certain it wasn’t here yesterday and i would swear it wasn’t here 5 minutes before, but right then, right at that moment. right when i said yes to the universe that has been gently whispering, whispering, nudging, nudging…

grace intervened it seemed…

and springtime?

yup.

it

has

arrived.

{with a wink}

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so to all you northerners, or any of you buried in snow and cold, looking out your frost covered windows and waiting, waiting…it’s coming… from north carolina…with love!

a visible sign of invisible grace…

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some more inspiration from john o’donahue in his book anam cara.

the body is the mirror of the soul

the body is a sacrament. the old, traditional definition of sacrament captures this beautifully.

a sacrament is a visible sign of invisible grace.

in that definition there is a fine acknowledgement of how the unseen world comes to expression in the visible world. all our inner life and intimacy of soul longs to find an outer mirror. it longs for a form in which it can be seen, felt, and touched. the body is the mirror where the secret world of the soul comes to expression. the body is a sacred threshold; and it deserve to be respected, minded, and understood it its spiritual nature.

~~~

i’ve been reading this in my classes this week, and each time something new bubbles up. the idea of the body as this moving, breathing, work of art that is an expression of invisible grace, of the divine. that we ourselves are art in all our movements, our expressions. the idea that we can live a life of art (rather than an artistic life). the countless ways we can move and be still. the millions of ways we can express the invisible grace.

think of the possibilities of each moment… move in wonder!

love.

(& many thanks to swirlygirl & her sparkletopia for sending some new friends my way xOx!)

vanishing giants…

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A young mahout holds his elephant’s trunk at the ‘elephant village’ of Ba Ta Klang in Thailand PHOTOGRAPH BY PALANI MOHAN/REPORTAGE BY GETTY IMAGES
EXHIBIT DATES: March 8 to May 4, 2008
Open Friday though Sunday, 11am to 6pm, and by appointment
143 Main Street, Beacon, New York
Educational programs, please call 845 765 2199
or e-mail: info@FoveaEditions.org

 

~~~

i just received notification of this exhibit opening in ny this month, and i hope to see it while i am there in april attending the omega yoga conference.

asian elephants and people…hmmmm.

elephants are such magical creatures. so wise. so emotional. so ancient. so strong and yet so fragile. their lives are so dependent on how we choose to live ours, connected through the web of life as we are. unfortunately, i am aware of the problems associated with the domestication of elephants (but that is another post), and i would imagine this exhibit will speak much about this issue, while at the same time celebrating the beauty of this man and beast relationship. there is such a balance, i think so many of us struggle with wanting to enjoy relationships with creatures great and small and yet also wanting to honor their freedom to live as the wild creatures they are. i know that even in my relationship with duncan, one of the greatest joys is watching him roam the beach, following his nose and his instincts. this also reminds me of what momma zen said in my previous post when speaking about watching her daughter grow up. she feels her job is “to be close, just be close by. to feel everything and prevent nothing.”

~~~

in my yoga teacher training, there was a woman, surya, who worked with an elephant in a circus act in vegas for years. she spoke often of their relationship and tears would come to her eyes when she remembered her beautiful ganesha. ganesha was creative, coming up with her own tricks for them to learn and practice, and also very perceptive. she knew when surya was having a down day or needed to be nurtured. she would create a little seat with her trunk for surya to sit it, and ganesha would rock her back and forth.

*sigh*

oh, to be held by an elephant… or better yet…oh, to allow an elephant to live wild and free.

love.

to all you mommies out there…

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in my own personal quest to learn everything i can about motherhood, i keep getting book suggestions. this one has been recommended to me by several friends. today it was also featured as an interview with the author, karen maezen miller, in one of the blogs i’ve been reading. like karen maezen miller, i have sidestepped the issue of children for a long time. i guess i’ve been in a bit of denial about my advancing age (i’m now 37) but for many other reasons, too…fear and the what-if mind game being just a few of them.

this is one idea that got me in the interview:

What’s your greatest challenge in motherhood right now? Your greatest joy?
My greatest challenge is what it has always been: me. My limitations, my breaking points, my anger, my ideas, my ambitions, my judgments, my fears, my stinginess, my stubbornness. My greatest joy is always my daughter Georgia just as she is. Such pure life! Such whimsy! Such honesty! As she approaches age 9 I see how eternal is our vigil; how tricky the steps. My job now is to watch her turn and not run after, to watch her jump and not buffer the fall; to see her question her place, her heart, and even her body. My job is still to be close by, just to be close by. To feel everything and prevent nothing; to let her life unfold.

wow, what a gift to give your child… the chance to be fully, a child. i suppose it’s about finding that balance between protecting them and allowing them to make their own mistakes. i think this would be such a tremendous practice, as our {my} urge is to protect is so strong. my heart leaps into my throat just watching the children on my street play on skateboards or swingsets. they aren’t even my kids and i’m a nervous mother.

i loved this answer too…

When do you feel most happy?
Now. What other time could there possibly be?

you can just imagine the twinkle in her eye when she says it!

if you’d like to know more about the book, you can also visit her website www.mommazen.com. i particularly love that she used cheerios as her little icons!

if you read it, let me know what you think!

xox

p.s. she also wrote a great article called the dharma of barbie that you can find on her site…

a blessing for the senses…

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may your body be blessed.
may you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful
friend of your soul.
and may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
may you realize that holiness is mindful, gazing, feeling,
hearing, and touching.
may your senses gather you and bring you home.
may your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe
and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
may the eros of the earth bless you.

~ john o’donahue from anam cara

anam cara means *soul friend*…and to me these are the people that appear in your life that are kindred spirits – you may know them the instant you meet them, or perhaps your love for each other grows over time. but these are the people you can’t imagine living your life without. the connection is deep and lasting…

do you have an anam cara?