Sunday, November 23, 2014

.....she let go

Yogis,
A quick exercise before you read on……..

Take a long conscious breath, exhaling completely.  Roll your shoulders back and let the shoulder blades melt down the back of your body.  Draw the fronts of your shoulders away from each other, spreading the front of the chest and tip the heart upward slightly. 

Bring your awareness to the area around the heart and observe the breath as it flows through there, giving the heart more space.  Now imagine you are turning on a light inside the heart, filling the chest with its brightness.  Finally open the window in front of the heart and let the light shine out. 

Radiating heart energy….the energy of gratitude and love.  The energy of who we are!

The energy of the heart is expansive, high vibrating and boundless.  We feel it when we love someone, love our children, love our house and love nature.  But love is so much bigger than even all of that.   When we open the heart we move from loving to “being love”.  Here we love everyone, everything and especially ourselves unconditionally and always.  No longer a need for anyone or anything to trigger it.  The light shines brilliantly and lights the way for everyone in its path.

Part of tapping into this power is learning the art of surrender.  Surrender.  When you hear the word what images does it bring to mind?

Surrender is often portrayed as giving up.  Head down.  Shoulders rolled forward.  Maybe even cowardly and filled with fear.   But that is certainly not the surrender I speak of here. 

This surrender requires amazing courage.  Head high.  Shoulders back and heart lifted.  Inner strength that doesn’t waver (this is why we worked with fire first).   Complete and utter trust that the Universe does and will support you no matter what may happen on the path.   This is the surrender of …….letting go…..letting go…..letting go. 

We have uncovered our desires, formed them into visions and planted them in the infinite space in front of us that is unwritten.  We know and see what we want and are taking steps toward it.  Now in the heart it is time to let go of the reins with faith.  Releasing control.   I heard Jim Carey say this week, “Why not give faith a chance”.   Why the heck not?  We let go of hurts, angers, judgments, worry, sorrows and doubt.  Taking chances, knowing in every fiber of the body that we will be ok, no matter if we stumble or soar, ride high or sink to incredible lows.  That we are held, supported, and..…loved.  Trusting in the benevolence of the Universe.    

So how do we learn this trust in the Universe?  The same way we learn to trust anyone or anything else….we first form a deep and committed relationship.   A partnership.  We will begin working on this with the throat energy next week!

This poem appeared on my path this week.  It says this all so perfectly.

She let go.
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…
    ~ 
Rev. Safire Rose
Sigh,

SARAH

Sunday, November 16, 2014

falling for fall......

Yogis,
I led “A September to Remember” with the intention of noticing the days during this transitional season of fall.  Allowing each day to be exactly as it is.  What follows are two fall reflections.

Clearing away the old
So I am one of those few holdouts when it comes to leaves.  I rake.  I don’t own a leaf blower.  I don’t hire a group of men who come and magically whisk the leaves away to some unknown place while I am out running errands.   I rake.  And rake.  And rake some more.


This week marked the beginning of my raking season.  For four days I found an open ½ hour to go out alone and rake.  Not being overly ambitious by attempting to rake the whole yard…….just raking for ½ hour, or until my body told me I was done for the day (and listening).

I noticed that unlike my corn on the cob eating technique…which is circular, going around and around the cob beginning with the larger end….my raking technique is linear.  I start at the house and rake away in a straight line, like spokes.  Clearly marking a distinct line between that which has been raked and that which has not.  I then walk back to the house to begin again.

I hear leaf blowers in the background, planes, cars and voices.  Yet somehow it seems silent as I rake.  Only noticing the steady rhythm of my trusty rake landing and then carrying the leaves, while at the same time giving the grass and the earth a nourishing back scratch.   I believe the grass loves the attention.  It appears to smile.

When I feel complete for the day I take 5 minutes to lie down on one of my rocks.  Slowing down the breath and the heartbeat while noticing the now dulled colors of the leaves against the sky.  The lines I raked already polka dotted with freshly fallen leaves as I walk back to the warm house.  That’s ok.  More chances for me to watch my thoughts.   

Being Clear
For the last few years I have shared each fall that I am trying/working on/attempting to shift my view of fall, from one of “tunnel to the darkness of winter” to one of enjoying the gifts that fall offers. Yesterday I had an “aha” moment.  Some clarity.

What I live and teach is in line with the spiritual law of attraction.  That we must feel, see and speak that which we desire with vivid clarity – in the present tense.  And then live as if it has already manifested in our lives.  I have not been doing that with this desire to embrace fall.  I have been telling the Universe that I want to love fall, am trying to love fall and am getting better at enjoying fall.  Hello!  That is therefore what the Universe is supporting.  Plenty of “wanting”, “hoping” and “trying”.

From now on……I LOVE FALL.  In fact I am going for it……. I LOVE WINTER.  I SAVOR the dark to have more time for reading.   I BATHE in the moonlight that shines unobstructed without the filter of the leaves.  I WELCOME the brisk cold air on my skin.   Moving toward that which I desire……


Learning the differences between a Raven and a Crow,
SARAH

Sunday, November 9, 2014

stoking the fire

Dear Yogis,
So I am not convinced that when we “grow up” we are supposed to lose our childlike ways…………….

This was the second week working with the energy of fire and it only intensified the feelings I was having last week.  I want to rediscover that side of fire that is fun, feisty and free. 


As children we live so freely.  Coming home from school, throwing down the books and heading out to play.   Building forts, wading in streams, climbing trees and riding our bikes with our arms high in the air.  Kids explore, move forward, grow and test each and every day.  They have yet to build their “box of rules” so can continually step out.  Effortless.

When we become adults we of course have more responsibilities, but even when our time is ours we have a tendency to spend it in the known.  Creating new to-do lists as soon as we finish the final item on the last one.  Cleaning out that next closet, going shopping or checking the internet.  The “have-tos”…… although I challenge that many of them are self-created....fill our space.   When we do decide to try something new we often over think it, plan it out, weigh out the costs and potential dangers.  We put it off….until some unknown future time. 

Where our children’s fire energy is spent in self-exploration, ours becomes bound in stress.  Both the exact same energy, simply directed in different ways. 

I was out in the mountains this weekend on a hike and group after group hiked by us carrying their backpacks, tents and sleeping bags.  I have always wanted to do that.  Since I was a child.  But I haven’t.   Why?

I have wanted to drive cross country without an agenda set in stone.  But I haven’t.  Why?

It makes me feel restless.  Fire energy needs a release.

I am sitting here in my fire circle.  Interesting that this is what my vision was earlier this year, huh?  It has gotten some wonderful use, but I realize that what I saw involved even more.  Gatherings, dancing, ritual, sharing circles, celebrations.  A place to come.  A place to let go.  A place to rekindle the childlike ways.  I hope you'll join me.

I say all of this to get you thinking.  In the element of water we uncovered our desires, what we want.  Fire is then seeing it clearly and taking the steps forward.   So…what is it that you want?  And are you moving toward it?

These don’t have to be large life changing events (although they certainly can be).  It can be diving in the ocean in late October to get the rush of sensation.  Or going for a walk in the pouring rain, and yes, letting your hair get wet.  Hiking a new trail or turning up the music when you are alone and dancing.   Try a cartwheel!

Fire…..free, fun, feisty, fresh, filling, forward.

The old buck has walked right past me 2 times as I have been writing this – so I believe I am on the right path.

I’m getting hotter,

SARAH

Sunday, November 2, 2014

.....adding in the spice

Yogis,
This week we shifted awareness upward to the belly…..our gut, our center, our second brain.  The energy of fire.  The fire energy is our movement forward.  Action.  Inner strength.

The eyes are the organ of action here as we turn the desire we uncovered in the hips, into a vision.  Bringing what we want into focus and creating a clear, full color picture of what it will look like once it has manifested in our lives.  “Seeing” what we want and projecting that image out into the Universe.  Over and over.  Starting the conversation.

With a fire based practice we do lots of planks, chaturangas, arm balances, long holds…….all creating that inner fire.  We push into the uncomfortable to work with relaxing and becoming comfortable there.   As humans we like comfort and often struggle against that which puts us in the uncomfortable – physically, mentally and emotionally.    So I tend to associate fire with a more serious inner determination that I can, and I WILL. 

But a student sent me a note after a class this week saying how she noticed how “fun” fire was.  That it made her feel free.  Hhmmmmmm……. That caused me to pause.

She was right!! 

  

I am a fire by nature – a Pitta in the Ayurvedic doshas.    What slowly began to bubble up from that note was that what I have always described as my wild streak is my fire burning. 

When a party is good, I can’t understand why everyone begins to leave at midnight while I am just getting my second wind.   At a wedding I am often one of the last ones on the dance floor (typically with my father) wondering where the after gathering is going to be.  And when I stumbled upon Susun Weed’s web site 2 years ago and saw her offering a Green Goddess Intensive which would entail sleeping in a tent, long hard days, being yelled at and walking barefoot all week, I jumped at it. 

I am by no means one who enjoys or goes toward danger or likes to stay up late, but there is something about coming to an edge of feeling that makes me crave more.  That joy of “throwing caution to the wind”.   Feeling free.  Having pure unfiltered fun.  Things I don’t believe most of us have enough of in our daily adult lives.

I find it when I dance with abandon, or crest the peak of the first hill on a roller coaster.   When I have worked in the garden carrying rocks, spreading mulch and digging holes for several hours and my hair is loose, my skin wet with perspiration, my clothes covered with dirt  and my heart pumping.  I find it when I kick up to handstand and find that perfect alignment, even if only for a brief instant. 

Being comfortable is nice.  I like it.  I easily settle in there.  But too much of it and life begins to taste vanilla.  After a while I want cinnamon and ginger and curry. 

Outside of our comfort zone is where we find the spice of life.  The heat is what transforms our lives and takes us toward that which we see in our vision.  It makes us want more.  Our passion.  Our inner light.

What is it for you?  What makes your body flush with heat and your eyes sparkle  And have you stepped into it lately?

Fire…..Free…..Fun  Stepping out of the confines of my personal box of rules. 

Universe……please push me.  I am a little too comfortable.

I’m hot,
SARAH

Sunday, October 26, 2014

...riding the waves of emotion

Yogis,
For the past two weeks we have been working with Svadisthana, the water chakra.  The energy of water is our movement, our moisture, our flow.

My message was that life comes to us in waves.  Things, people and events flow toward us……and then flow away.  Sometimes over long stretches of time and sometimes in the blink of any eye.  But the flow of anything in one direction is certain to shift the other way.  Life and all it contains is in constant movement.  Expansion and contraction.   Impermanent.  The flow.

When that which we like flows in bringing us comfort and pleasure, we attach.  So its inevitable movement away causes us to suffer.  Likewise, when that which we don’t want comes our way we often struggle against it, which is like trying to hold back a wave……a useless endeavor…..and again we struggle.

We work with the water energy to learn to ride the waves – lying back on a raft, feet up, letting life be exactly as it is at the moment and feeling it deeply.  Trusting that everything is as it should be.

 

Little did I know I was teaching myself.

Thursday started normally.  A run with Franklin, meditation and a shower.  But then life took a turn.  Franklin bit someone that had come to the house.  That moment, vivid in my memory moved in slow motion.  My smile turned to fear and then to tears in a matter of minutes.  A wave had arrived.

The next few hours are a blur.  Them off to the hospital for shots, phone conversations with the adoption coordinator and my vet who had just met Franklin the day before, and calls to my family as I was all alone……all done while sobbing.   Options were provided.  He could be put on Prozac, we could do blood work to see if there is an underlying illness causing him discomfort, he may need to be quarantined, we could bring in a trainer, and on and on and on. 

My mind started to get involved.  “You can’t give him up.  You adopted and committed to help him.”  Self-judgment.  “How will I tell everyone?  What will they think?  I am not strong enough”   Making a plan.  “I can have a trainer come to the house.  I can make this work.”  Guilt.   I wanted so badly for someone to TELL me what to do.  I yearned for a way not to have to make this decision alone.  I felt hollow.

It took 4 hours of emptying through tears to be able to see within with clarity.  I had known the second it happened that I could not keep him.  Yet it took all of that time for me to allow that inner knowing to bubble up to the heart and to have it still the mind enough to give me the inner strength to say the words.  To make it real.  And then I actually had to do it.

In classes I had been saying – When you are sad…..feel sad.  Well on Thursday I did and still do. Deep emotion.  Tears are coming much further apart now, but when they do I am letting them flow.  Water is for healing.

This was the right decision for both me and Franklin.  I have a home where all are welcome and Franklin was simply not ready for that.   Now that we know more about him the rescue group will find a family that can provide what he needs.  And in time the dog that is meant to be my partner will arrive.

I think I need another tissue,

SARAH

Sunday, October 19, 2014

....a new boy in town

Yogis,

One year, four months and four days after losing my yoga assistant, partner in crime, canine soul mate and breath guide, Molly, I have ventured into a new relationship with Franklin………….



Last Sunday morning I woke up free as a bird.  No kids, no pets.  My time my own as I lounged in bed and watched the sky.   A mere 4 hours later after attending a lab rescue adoption event I was once again being stared at as “mom”.  Franklin has lived in at least three or four homes/settings since his birth only 5 years ago.  Today marks our first week of settling in and getting to know each other.  Amazing how much change there is when one new personality enters into your life – especially an 85 lb one.  And where there is change, you can always look for growth and new learnings.  I have already had several………………….

Franklin has many wonderful qualities.  He walks well on a leash, sleeps through the night like a champ, gives great kisses (I just got one in fact, right on the face), has a sweet temperament and good breath.   On the other hand, as he has gotten more comfortable he has shown some a little less endearing ……….picking up his water bowl when it is half full and pouring it out,  small anxiety episodes and barking ferociously when anyone walks in or comes to the door – this in a house where no less than 50 people come in each week, typically without knocking.  Oh my. 

I found myself saying several times that Franklin  has the potential to be a great dog, but then caught myself.   He IS a great dog.   He simply has some challenges he needs to work through.  No different than any of us.  Franklin, just like each of us, is perfect.  Life with its ups and downs has just piled on some layers.   But with patience and a lot of love, the perfection that I see when I look into his eyes will shine brighter and brighter.  If only it was that easy to see the perfection in each other as we move through life.  That recognition that the one we are looking at, like Franklin, when we can see beneath life’s layers, IS great.   

We just finished working in class with the energy of earth.  Earth energy relates to our sense of being safe.  That everything is OK.  Feeling grounded and nurtured.  It is our childhood and our past.  Our history.  When we lose our connection with earth energy we are anxious.  Fear and anxiety are symptoms.   As I watched Franklin last night during an anxiety episode I realized that many of the symptoms I was witnessing, which I was concerned about during the week, will most likely fade away over time as he senses that he is now safe.  That his basic needs will be met and that he can count on us as his foundation.  His tribe.  Once again it is no different with us.  A sense of belonging, either to our biological family or our spiritual family or to the Universe at large, brings us comfort and peace.  Trusting without a doubt that the Universe will always provide for our basic needs allows us to relax.  And when we do……the outward symptoms gently fade away. 

Everyone has of course asked about Franklin’s past.  I know about his last 4 months, but everything beyond that is vague.  This week I thought I should ask more questions to find out why I was seeing some of his behaviors.  What caused them?  Where did they come from?   That I should know more about his history.  But again I caught myself. 

So many people have said how lucky Franklin is to be joining my family.  That everything will be good for him now and all will work out.  As if this present moment can somehow erase his first five years of life.  And you know what?   They are right!  I don’t need to know his history, just as I don’t need to know yours.  He doesn’t need a therapist to work through whatever he has experienced in the past.  The past no longer exists.  What he needs is to feel loved, trusted and held in this moment.  Once more….same thing for us.   Every moment is brand new and a chance for change in whatever direction we, or he, choose to take.  Only we can let the past hold us…..or let it go with a long slow exhale.

Why is it so much easier to see all of this in an animal than in myself?  I think it is because they are simpler.  They don’t overthink everything,  blame their parents, or hold a grudge.   They are transparent with their feelings and don’t hold back.    And they aren’t us.  Yet they are such wonderful teachers. 

Yes he is lucky to have me……but I am equally, if not more, lucky to have him.  There are no coincidences.  Thank you Universe!



Lots of exhales for Franklin,
SARAH

Sunday, October 12, 2014

...so don't worry about me

Yogis,
I was asked to tell last week’s story on worry and compassion from Betty’s perspective.  So I have asked her to share her thoughts with all of you:

Hello, Betty here!  I understand you all know about my surgery.  Honestly I have been very hesitant to let people know what I am going through because I don’t want everyone worrying about me.  Worry is a heavy load to carry and mine alone feels like ton of bricks without piling on everyone else’s. 

But it’s deeper than that.  I want to live my life.  I don’t want every conversation to begin with my latest test results and even worse I don’t want that look you have in your eyes when you worry.  You know the one I mean.  It makes the air between us thicker, when all I want to do is talk about the wedding we are going to or sit together in the garden listening for the owl.  When I walk into the neighborhood store I don’t want to be viewed as the ill one and hear the hushed whispers.  I would rather you come over and invite me to the next goddess gathering. 

It isn’t your fault.  Worry, although we tend to link it to the other person, is deep down the fear that it will happen to us.  Whatever “it” is.  Compassion on the other hand is you hugging me with your light, love and healing energy.  All things I can use a lot of right now! 

Also, not worrying in no way translates to not doing.  Or not helping.  The meals that my friends have delivered have been a godsend.  The unexpected flowers on my doorstep, recommendations for good books, and the play dates for my girls all touch me deeply.  It has almost made this fun.  Worry and doing are entirely different and distinct energies.
 
But someone asked me how I am working with my own worry.  My anxiety over the future which is still unwritten.  More challenging than shifting away from worry about another…..because I am always here.  Can’t get away from myself!  Unfortunately no “out of sight, out of mind” for this situation. 

But in reality is it that different?

First I watch for those telltale signs that worry is creeping in.  I notice.  Everything around me becoming dull and distant while what’s in my mind becomes sharper.  I notice how my body begins to tense and I hear the stories my mind begins to spin.  Then I turn to my tools….
  • Breath.  My anchor.  I shift awareness inward and begin to watch the rise and fall of the breath.  Always there.  Always centered.  The breath is the quickest way to bring me back to the present moment.
  • Noticing this moment.  Turning on my senses to hear, see, smell and feel what is happening right now.  Here.  And what I have noticed is that in almost all cases, this moment is fine.  Worry tends to be about some unknown future moment.  But in this one – I am OK.  I like that.
  • Tuning in to my natural state.  I am not ill.  I am healthy and whole.  My body is simply experiencing an illness.  But the illness is not me.  "I" am healthy and whole.  I close my eyes and feel that.  I begin to vibrate at that frequency.  Visualizing myself with complete health.
I am discovering that illness is a teacher, and I want to learn what it has to show me.  When all is fine I can be outward focused, but right now my journey is within.

It is a practice.  I do it over, and over, and over.  Not allowing my present moments to be darkened with worry because I……just like you and everyone else….don’t know for sure how many I will have, and I don’t want to miss out on even one!

What we think is what we become,