Sunday, March 1, 2015

....the patience of a snail

It’s back……  For some reason I believed that I was going to make it through the whole winter without its return.   Why wouldn’t I believe that?  February already drawing to a close with spring a mere three weeks away.  I was sure this year would be different.

But no. I was mistaken.   It’s back……..


I saw it as I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror.  The winter belly.

All of my life I have been fairly slim, with the needle on the scale never moving more than 10 pounds in either direction.  But when the needle is trending in the upward direction, the extra weight always settles itself comfortably into my belly.   A roundness.  Or as we women so affectionately call it (not!) the muffin top.  A sure sign of a long winter. 

Yesterday while walking through the back yard I stop to notice my garden.  Packed thick with crusty snow and ice, only the remaining brittle brown stems and leaves of last year’s plants poking through to form some contrast.  No birds.  No squirrels.  Complete and utter stillness.  A deep quiet.  A sure sign of a long winter.

The season of winter is the energy of Earth.  Grounded, quiet and still.  The energy of landing in this moment and noticing.  Nowhere to go, nothing to do.  Earth energy is the death……but is also the source of life.   Our beginning and our end. Earth is the field of pure potential from which we rise and to which we will return. 

I look a little closer at the garden.  Dead would be the word most people would use.  But is it?  How incredible is it that only 3 weeks from now when the snow has melted and I push aside the brush there will be new life rising to greet me.  I imagine it saying something like “Thank God!  I thought you might have forgotten about me!”.   The garden is dead only in that it has let go of the past.  Released last year’s flowers and seeds to make room for the new.   But as I sit here writing, the roots below are quietly continuing to strengthen and gain nourishment so that when the time is right, they can take what appears to be nothing, and create the stunning beauty that is my summer wheel garden. 

The Kaya Wellness studio that I go to in Rehoboth sent out an email this week that spoke to this late winter earth energy and its connection to the snail energy.  I liked this:

Snail medicine speaks of patience and steady progress towards a goal. Snails are also highly sensitive. Nature shows us that although spring is eminent, we practice patience not to emerge too soon and risk a damaging frost. The lesson for you to follow is to act when the time is right. You may be eager to throw the windows open and start spring cleaning, or don a pair of shorts for the boardwalk. Perhaps you have other projects in the eaves. Be patient. What areas of your life are you rushing through?

Snails call to us to practice awareness and mindfulness. The entire body and antennae are a sensory tool. As you beckon nature to hurry up to meet your demands, it is a prime time to observe your own being. What is keeping you from living in the now? What are you escaping? The shell of the snail is a spiral pattern that shows you the path inward.

As for my belly……..like roots, it too is being nourished and building an inner power so that when the time is right  I can burst forth and create the expansion I have been sensing.  But like the snail I won’t rush it.  For now I will continue to meditate, read, move slowly in my practice and notice my unlimited potential.  And….continue to have the 4 ginger snaps with my tea each evening. 

Accepting this moment exactly as it is,

SARAH

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

March Manifestation!

Join me for “March Manifestation”!

Yogis,

March is an odd month.  Not exactly winter, but definitely not spring.  A little taste of everything….. snow, rain, clouds, sun, cold and warm.  We venture out some days but are then pushed back into retreat on others.  A transition. 

March is like a doorway.  The frozen tundra of February behind us, and the promise of the light of April ahead.  A month where we begin to plant the seeds for what we want to bloom as the sun rises higher in the sky. 

So what is it that you want to grow in your life?  Join me for “March Manifestation” and let’s take this journey of transformation together!

March Manifestation
Dates:            Entire month of March
Cost:              
$15
Frequency:     Every Single Day
Time:              Minimum of 15 minutes (everyone has 15 minutes…everyone)
Where:            In your home
How:               Daily emails with meditation techniques, activities and manifestation tools
Who:               Anyone!  Forming a community to share questions, ideas and discoveries
End Vision:     Bringing what you desire toward you….creating your life

Often it can feel that life is happening to us.  This month is designed to shift us from merely observers to creators.  We will spend time seeing where we are, uncovering what it is that we want and then partnering with the Universe to move toward it.  No experience needed as I will guide you!

During this month of March I will help you design 15 minutes a day spent solely on the inner work required to create.  Create what?  ……whatever it is that you desire.

So take the leap and join in!   Why not!  
Simply send an email to Sarah@SerenityCircleYoga.com and you will be put on my meditation email DL with a lot more info to follow!

It takes a month to make something a habit,
SARAH

Sunday, February 22, 2015

brushing my teeth

Yogis,
Five months ago I am sitting in the dentist chair and the hygienist has just finished up.  There is that infamous pause and I know what comes next……all of the things I should be doing more of, less of or differently if I want to have a healthier mouth, and it sounds from the tone of voice – a longer and much happier life.

My boys and I always have a good laugh after our dental appointments as we share what we were each scolded about.  That is how it  has always felt to me.  Like a good old fashioned scolding.  And do I make any changes?  No.   I rationalize. 

“Their lives are all about the mouth and they want me to spend all day there.”   “I don’t have time.”  “I already do yoga, eat well, meditate, brush 3 times a day.  That is enough.”   

But for some reason this time was different.  I actually heard her.


I have always been a side to side brusher.  Perhaps 50 years ago that was the going tooth brushing style.  Side to side along the fronts, side to side along the tops, and then side to side along the inner edges.  However, for maybe the last 10 years (probably even longer but I have blocked it out), I have been told/scolded that I should be brushing from the gum line to the end of the tooth….a one direction vertical movement.   The side to side movement was weakening my gums and causing some receding. 

I don’t know if it was that her tone was gentler, or more likely that I was in a place to hear it, but I walked out with her words swirly through my consciousness.   I was going to give it a try.

A try?????  No!!!  I have done that in the past with pitiful results.  This time  I was choosing to do it.  A tremendous difference in the energy involved. 

The next day when I picked up my brush I paused, reset my thinking and started to draw lines away from my gums.  Outside of the teeth no problem!  I can do this.  Inside of the gums….not so easy.  My shoulder isn’t sure how to get in the proper position for that motion, and when I reach the back the gag reflexes begin to kick in.  Ugh.  This is not going to be easy.  It is also taking twice as long.  But I forge ahead.  Three times a day and probably 10 gags a day.  Catching myself when I unconsciously move back into habit.  No longer could I just squeeze out the paste and brush away.  This required effort and awareness.   Awakening mindfulness. 

Five months later I am starting to sense I have created a new habit.  A new groove in the record. 

Although this may appear small, it was yoga in action.  A transformation.  Open to receive, “hearing”, choosing, doing, continuing forward through the uncomfortable, and the whole time seeing clearly what it is that I want and knowing with unquestionable faith that it will manifest. 

How we eat, what we think, what causes us stress, how we react, what fills our day, sleep patterns…..all of these habits ready to shift when we make the choice.  We are limitless creators but must recognize and harness this inner power. 

When choosing to live as a yogi, this is how life is lived.  Observing those habits that no longer serve you and rewriting the script.  One moment at a time. 

Watch for a note this week on “March Manifestation”.  A month of daily emails, meditations and activities to put this manifestation process in motion, creating what it is that you want in this upcoming growth period of spring.  $15 to join in.

Wonder if my hygienist will notice,

SARAH

Sunday, February 15, 2015

observations

Yogis,

Vacation is a chance to step out of our daily routines. To detach in a way.  In so doing we can view our surroundings, ourselves and our thoughts a little more clearly.  We are more present as we look from afar.  Below are a sampling of the observations that this particular trip offered.

Time
6:19.  6:19 am.  An odd time.  Not 6:20 or 6:25.  Always 6:19. 

When I chose to meditate daily 7 years ago I was told that I should select a time of day that I could be faithful to and I chose 6:30 am.  This happens to be the time during the work week that I finish my runs or my early morning classes.  On weekends, I knew I certainly wouldn’t have many conflicts that would stand in the way of sitting each morning at 6:30.  So 6:30 it was.  365 days a year.

After a short time of adjusting my alarm to find just the perfect amount of time which allowed for a moment of brain wake up, going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth and folding my blanket to set up my seat to be ready at 6:30…….6:19 was where I landed.   For this particular island trip only AT&T service will work (and only when standing in just the right location at the end of the beach on top of a rock) so I have a cheap pay-as-you-go phone that I bought 6 years ago.  I had it reactivated at the store before leaving.  When I turned it on the first night in my tent and went to set the alarm…..6:19 was already there waiting for me like an old friend.  I realized that all my clocks, phones and IPOD have an alarm set for 6:19 to cover me at home and on travel.    6:19 and I have a special relationship. 

Vacation as a barometer for life
Vacation is quite a good indicator of how life is going for you right now.  Actually the return from vacation is the true barometer. 

The final day of a vacation has a drastically different energy then the others.  Images of home begin to sneak back in as you pack and do everything “one last time”.  It is in this energy that you get a peek at your life’s gauge.  Viewing your own life from afar.  Feeling everything from:
-          Dread….of the cold weather, the job, the daily routine, the pace, an unresolved issue, or all of the above
-          Anticipation…..to get back to doing since relaxing doesn’t come easy
-          Peace…..vacation was wonderful but now ready for the newness of being back home; living vacation but also relaxing back into life

On this trip my gauge was set to peace.  I loved every day and everything we did, but looked ahead and saw Phoebe, my home, my classes and my half-finished jigsaw puzzle waiting for me and it felt right to be heading back.  It has not always been that way for me.  For right now I am in a good place. 

I step out and they step in
Each year my parents come and stay at the house while we take our winter trip.  First it was to watch the kids, then the dog, then a year to watch nothing because they had grown to enjoy the tradition and didn’t want to end it…and now back to watching the new dog.  This year they visited friends and family, had the boys over for dinner, ate out, saw 5 movies, and walked the dog a total of 40 times.  At 77 and 80 they amaze me and all my friends. 

But it doesn’t stop there.  While I take this week each year to completely step out of my life for a pause, they step in and keep it coasting along for me.  Smoothly.  So naturally.  They handle the CSA veggie pickups, take care of my mail, pay the cleaners, visit my elderly neighbors to check in on them and even handle the meeting and greeting for the yoga classes that continued in my absence this time.  When I return the laundry is done, my bed has fresh sheets and a few of my jigsaw puzzle pieces have found their places.  Nothing missing a beat.  A true gift.

People
Suddenly it was clear as I sat on the beach and observed a man on his boat. 
People who like to hike and camp also like dirt.  Earth.  Mud stained clothes and soles of the feet.  Dirt under the fingernails.  Grounded.  All ok.  All feel fine.
People who like to sail also like the wet.  Water.  Everything always slightly damp.  Baths taken by leaping from the side of the boat.  Breeze filled with sea.  Wrinkled fingers.  All ok.  All feel fine. 
There are those who like the air.  Feet off the ground.  Flying.  Clean, light and dry.  Unbounded.  Free.
The fire people are those who poke, stir  and keep the flame blazing.  Fearless.  Moving toward change.  Power.  Hot.  All ok.  All feel fine.   

Finally……

Like sex in the shower
Doing yoga on the beach is a lot like having sex in the shower.  Both sound so romantic and adventurous…..but both are fraught with many challenges.  When practicing yoga on the beach, what once appeared flat magically transforms into a mountainous rutted surface.  Every inch of your body instantly a sand magnet.   The breeze, such a blessing while seated upright, turns into a full body sand exfoliator while resting in Savasana.  Sea salt and sand also do not like to let go of their comfortable connection to the grooves of your mat. 

As for the challenges with sex in the shower….I think most of you already know those. 

Noticing life,
SARAH

Sunday, February 1, 2015

the perfect gift

Yogis,

No note next Sunday as I will be bathing in the sun.

So are you still with me? 

For the past 16 weeks we have worked with each of our main energy centers – our chakras – to open and balance them so that they spin freely like pinwheels in the summer breeze.  We opened our hearts with trust, voiced our intentions and then took time melting the mind muscles.  Clearing that final, stubborn obstacle of the contracted busy mind.  Then we relaxed and opened the crown of the head, like sliding back the sunroof of the car letting in the light.  Letting the outside, in.

So here we now stand as if an empty paper towel roll runs through our very center.  Open to receive.  No difference between what lies on the inside or the outside.  
Well….if there is no difference between what is on the inside and outside, how do I affect change to my outside life? 

Yes!! You make changes on the inside!  That is the path of yoga.  Creating the life you desire on the inside so that it flows through and projects on the outside.  Life is merely a reflection of our thoughts.  No waiting for life to change.  Being the change.

Stop, open, listen, hear, choose and move.  Stop, open listen, hear, chose and move.  Like dance partners, you and the universe so Intertwined that you can sense each other’s every step in the waltz of life.   In unison.  Moving as one.

And by  following this path we unearth our unique gift.  Digging it up and polishing it off.  Our gift.  Something we do unlike anyone else in the world.  And that gift, which has been with us since we were a child, is tied into your purpose.  It is perfect.

For me it is tied to my teaching.  I loved to play school.  I had the large chalkboard, markers, books and of course, the attendance sheet, and my poor younger sister had to sit quietly while I gave her many classes.  When my friends came to play I vaguely remember giving them turns to be the one up in front of the class but I think their tenure was quite short before I jumped back action…..into my spot.  Where I felt  the most natural.  Where I was “supposed to be”.

But in the late 70s teaching was not the path most followed because it didn’t “pay well”.  So instead I become a copier sales person.  Hmmmm….  So here I sit 30 years later listening, hearing, choosing and moving, and where I am moving is right back into the teacher role.  Finally this gift, this passion, is finding expression and its flow is effortless.  Time ceases.    No struggles to create as I am led in what to do.  The music, the movements, the words I place on paper all weaving together in order to serve others.  No boundaries.  My purpose. 

So what is your gift?  Listen within and let it speak to you.  Give it the space of this clear open channel in which to play and grow. If the mind jumps in to judge, ask it kindly to relax.  Let go, follow the signs and watch where it takes you.  Go for the ride!

The other thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a pig farmer…..

Wondering if Cabin John is zoned for pigs,
SARAH

Sunday, January 25, 2015

positioning the satellite dish

Yogis,

If you haven’t yet (or care to again), please visit my article on Elephant Journal!  2000 views will move it to a featured article.  http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/one-way-we-can-take-the-pain-out-of-suffering/

As beings of energy, our third eye center is like the electrical outlet.  Our fuse box.  Where we plug into the energy of the universe.  Making the connection. 

So if the third eye is the plug, the crown of the head is the receiver.  Our satellite dish through which we can receive the infinite, ever flowing  guidance and grace from above……and below, and around and beyond.  

But we must be open to receive. 
I am going to walk you through a visual to explain this better.  Imagine an empty paper towel roll.  You can look through one end and see out the other.  You can blow into it and your breath will pass though.  Water can be poured into the top and it will rush out the bottom.  There are no obstacles. The tube is clear, free from barriers.  It is empty.

But is it?  If you look at what is inside the towel roll – the air, the space, the light – is it any different than what is on the outside?    The roll itself, like our physical body, is not a boundary.  What is on the outside is merely a reflection of what is on the inside.  Life flowing through its center while it flows through life. 

Now imagine that you take a sheet of paper towel and crumple it into a ball and stuff it in the top of the roll.  No longer can the light, breath, air, and wind pass through, no matter how hard you try. This ball of paper towel is your busy mind.  Energy pouring in from above (always) but immediately hitting a roadblock.  Like rain hitting a tin roof.  It isn’t that the rain isn’t pouring from the sky, it just isn’t being allowed in.   

Visualize now that paper towel roll inside your body running in front of the spine from the tailbone up to the crown of the head, with the energy line that I always speak to, running directly through your center.   Ask the mind muscles to relax.  A softening.  Not a stopping of thoughts but a gentleness that allows for space between them.  Kind of like the difference between a few goldfish swimming back and forth in their bowl vs the Washington beltway gridlock during a Friday rush hour.  One simple way to do this is to bring your awareness to this moment. 

Finally we open the crown of the head…. a flower bud coming into full bloom. And just like the satellite dish, positioning it energetically to receive a clear signal.  Steady.  Away from life’s distractions that can cause static.  Waiting patiently for guidance without expectation.  Guidance will come.  It always does.  Signs appear in our path.  We suddenly know what to do.  Wisdom visits.

Eventually with practice, faith and trust you can begin to lead life this way.  Less thinking and more feeling.  Ask, open to receive, listen, hear and move.  The breath as the faithful broom to sweep away any inner build up.   Empty so all of the wonder this life offers can pass through. 

No separation between the inner and outer worlds,
SARAH

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My article was published!

Yogis,

My most recent article was just published on Elephant Journal!

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/one-way-we-can-take-the-pain-out-of-suffering/



If you can find a moment to visit it there, I would be very grateful!

Sending me out,
SARAH