Sunday, July 27, 2014

the gift of this moment

Dear Yogis,

I’m back!  Sun kissed and ready for a regular schedule of classes this week!

The yogic path is one of learning to live in the moment.  The ability to be right here…..right now.   It’s what we are asked to do in yoga classes.  We are told it is what we should be doing in meditation.  I know I give the queue consistently in classes.  In a way it is almost becoming one of the new buzzwords.  “Being present”. 

But what does it really mean.   And how do we do it?????  ………..and do I even want to?

 Let’s do a little exercise to get a sense.

Take a pause from reading now and tune in to this moment.  See how many things you can notice in the next 30 seconds and note them or jot them down on a piece of paper.

Here is mine as I sit in the grass pod in the middle of my garden:
·         Cicadas are humming and two squirrels are in the trees watching me.  One black and one gray. 
·         There is an odd smell that I will have to investigate
·         The air is very damp and heavy and the sky is now cloud filled
·         Three chickadees landed on the eucalyptus tree, as well as mommy cardinal
·         The garden is blooming in shades of orange, purple, yellow and pink
·         The woods are calling me
·         I am tired from traveling
·         Someone ate most of my chard while I was gone
·         Uh oh…..it is now raining on me (and my computer)

So much in such a short time!  And all things that would have just passed me by if I was instead thinking about how I should go back inside and unpack my suitcase, return emails, figure out what we are having for dinner, blah, blah, blah…..

When we consciously choose to be in this moment our awareness shifts downward – from the thinking mind down into the feeling mind – which is throughout our body.  See how many of your senses were involved in what you had in your list.   All 5 senses sharpen when we land in the present which automatically slows our thoughts.   And just the opposite – when we have busy mind, our senses dull.   Days become a blur.  We can become comfortably numb.

Test that.  Try to listen for the most distant sounds.  Or rub your hand on an object to see what it feels like.  Notice how difficult it is to do those things and be thinking about the past or future at the same time.    Then switch to thinking about what you have to do tomorrow, and notice how everything else fades quickly into the background.

One of the simplest anchors we have to connect us to this moment is our breath.  By simply watching and feeling the next five breaths, you will arrive right here.  Right now.  In this moment.  And only when we are here do we see, hear, feel, smell and taste things clearly……as they are.  The richness of life.

It is a practice.  Our minds would rather be replaying the past or planning and worrying about the future so you have to choose to be here.  Yoga is one path.  Meditation.  Sitting quietly in nature.  Setting an alarm for several times a day to remind you to watch your breath.  Slowing down when you walk.   Having a 10 minute “do nothing” built into each day.  Or just doing the exercise we did above with a journal each day. 

So why do I want to do this?

The only moment that is real is this one.  The past no longer exists and the future is a clean unscripted slate which will fill with each new present moment.  Right now is where all of the action is.  This moment is full, complete, juicy, vibrant and perfect.  It is patient and will wait for you to notice her.  But don’t wait too long.  Like a snowflake, every moment is unique……so you don’t want to miss even one.

And best of all......it's free!



·         A warm gentle breeze on my skin – feels like a hug
·         Can hear that the baby wrens are still in the birdhouse
·         The sun is once again shining!

The more aware you become, the more you will experience.  I for one want to feel it all.

A large hawk just soared past me.   So glad I was “here” to experience it,
SARAH

Sunday, July 20, 2014

the birds....and the bees

Yogis,
Did you feel it?   Did you feel the shift this week?  Summer settled herself in, around and on us. 

The cicadas began their daily drone.  The bees buzz picked up in intensity.  Now that many babies have left the nests the birds have settled into new routines.  The scream of the foxes startling in the late night.  And the summer noises now filling the dark hours as I sleep with the window wide open.  Summer……. Filled with aliveness……



Summer is the season of fire.  Heat.  And when we embrace it and let it in, we naturally relax and slow down - think of the people who live in the islands.    Don’t let your summer be days of going from air conditioning to air conditioning.  Be hot.   Be even a little uncomfortable.  And the heat makes us more flexible – think of how open we become once we begin to sweat when we exercise.  Our schedules can loosen up just a  bit.  Maybe pancakes for dinner.   It is the peak.  The top of the inhale. 

And with the shift this week, we moved from the perfectly manicured plants put out in May, to bushy, overgrown,  spreading, messy gardens.  Summer is not a time of tidiness.  It is wild.  And you should be too J  Let your hair frizz.  Let your nails get some air and light.   Get dirty.  Perhaps no makeup????    (BTW I stopped wearing all makeup 2 years ago and at that time I said I would let you all know how it went….well, it is so much easier,  it is cheaper, I can rub my eyes whenever the heck I want, men still flirt and just as many people love me)

Summer.  Open…Feeling everything……Fully alive in our bodies..….Hot……Strong…....Creative.   Where winter is a time to look inward with no distractions from nature…… Summer is the time to look outward, see clearly and move forward.   The earth is providing us now with  a dizzying array of color, smell and sound.  Be sure you are pausing to be immersed in all of it.  Drenched.

Be sure you are looking.  See close….

And see deep……


Notice what is right here beside you……..



And notice who is watching your every move…..



By the way.  Have you been outside barefoot in your yard yet this summer????  If not…..DO IT!!!   Get out and be.   Sit by your flowers and let the bees buzz surround you.  They help set your vibration.  Lay in your grass and watch the world go by.

Finally, as I came out to sit with the bees this weekend I startled baby bunny and he ran into the woods.  But even he couldn’t resist the chance to come back for a photo shoot…..


I love summer……and I love all of you,
SARAH

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What to expect when you are expecting......

Yogis,

Expect what you expect.  What do you expect?

The word “expect” has been showing up in my life lately.  When I paused to observe it, I noticed that it has many levels of meaning, yet it gets used often and loosely without a lot of thought.  But when you stop to really feel the energy of the word…..it is quite powerful.  It, by itself, is a statement.  An intention.  I expect……


What do you expect?

Definition:  regard (something) as likely to happen.  Anticipate, await, look for, bank on, envision, predict. 

What do you expect?  Because whatever it is that you are expecting……be it good fortune, money issues, being taken advantage of, amazing experiences every day,  or another night of no sleep……expect it to happen.    Expecting takes all that I have been talking about and rolls it up into one nice package.  Seeing, moving toward and trusting.

So expect with intention!  Be conscious of what you are going to expect….and expect it!! Can you feel what that is like?

I realized in my dancing with the Universe last Friday that I expect many things.   I expect excellent health, my finances to work out, and the animals to trust me more each day .  I expect to be sexy, my garden to flourish, and to be able to heal any injury I get.  I expect to be love, to age gracefully and to learn and grow until my last breath.  I expect to be guided by the Universe.   I don’t ask for it, or hope for it……I just expect it.  From very deep within.  Central to my being.   Living from that space.

I expect………

I hadn’t realized that I had all of those expectations.  They just have seemed right to me, and I guess I assumed everyone expected them.  And when I close my eyes and sense what true “expecting” feels like, I can see that is has nothing to do with thinking.  I haven’t thought out my health, my aging or the best way to get the plants to grow.  In fact, if I start thinking about it all I can quickly begin to second guess my expectations.  So I don’t let that happen.  I move away from the brain and back into the body…the feeling mind. 

I expect……..

The flip side which is quite common is to expect the worst, but hope for the best.  And then wonder why the good isn’t happening.  Worry is an example of this.  I heard a terrific quote this week.  Worry is “planning for a negative future”.   All you have to do is check out Weather.com to see how our world feeds into that way of thinking.   I check it quite often just for a good laugh to lighten my day.  About 90% of the time there is some dire headline.  I just checked and today’s is:  Dangerous threat to East Coast revealed!

The other way “expecting” can go awry is when we set expectations for others or for the world around us.  That is the fast lane to suffering.  Others have their own expectations and they are all doing the best they can with where they are and what they have at the moment.  So they don’t need our will placed on them.    Simply see them for who they are.  What you expect should never be dependent on another.

Other definition of expect:  regard someone as likely to do or be something
Synonyms:  Suppose, presume, think, imagine, assume, surmise   - Notice how ungrounded those all are??

Shakespeare said:  “I always feel happy.  You know why?  Because I don’t expect anything from anyone.”  However you can expect for example to be treated with respect, but that comes from you and how you live and the vibration you send out, not by your setting parameters for the other.  You expect respect because you live with that vibration.

Does all of this mean that life won’t throw some unwanted, unexpected, unwelcome or uncomfortable circumstances our way.  Well…..no.  But does that mean I should live my life any differently.  Well….no. 

Expect.  Expect the moon.  Expect miracles. Expect more.  Expect happiness……and a life worth living. 

Flower from my Marshmallow plant
I expect to be able to see the good in everyone (because then I do),
SARAH

Sunday, July 6, 2014

sunrises, fire pits and stars

Yogis,

Air, lunchtime, and the full moon.  Birth, water, and the color white.  The inhale and the exhale.  Life and death.  All part of the circle…..all part of the rhythm of the Universe.

Last night under a spectacular clear sky and a brilliant half moon, about 30 of us gathered to christen and bless my new fire circle.  Earlier in the day however, I realized that I had never properly done the same for my medicine wheel garden….my first sacred circle….so the ceremony I led was for both.   And if was the first time in a while that I talked to invoking the 7 directions – a Native American tradition of inviting in the presence of the spirits – and in doing so it brought everything full CIRCLE for me.

The circle is a spiritual shape.  No true beginnings and no end.  No corners for anything to hide in.  All together.  All one…each of us just in different sections at different times.



The East.  The sunrise.  The beginning of the new day and of the inhale.  Bringing in light where there was none.  This is our childhood.  A time of innocence, learning everything for the first time, play.  Beginners mind.  Fresh.  Seeing our lives stretched ahead of us.  The element of air and the colors yellow and orange.  Morning.  The early song of the birds.  Awake and eager.

The South.  Midday.  The top of the inhale.  Heat.  The element of fire.  Here is where we make our babies,  raise our children, pursue our careers, and do.  Action.  Full.   The color Red.  Vibrant.  Ripe.  Seeing clearly what it is that we want to manifest in our lives and taking steps toward it.  Allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable.  The coyote lives here.  Expansive and growing.

The West.   Ahhhhh…….we begin to exhale.  Letting go.  Slowing down.  Beginning to switch the direction of the journey from outward expansion and growth, to inner reflection.  Middle age (which somehow has been given a negative connotation in our eternal youth loving society – but I am finding it blissful).  Discovering who we really are as we shed the many masks we have worn to suit those around us.  The colors blue and purple.  The element of water.  Our subconscious.   Our innermost desires for that which will fulfill us.  In the west we learn the art of surrender.  The bear lives here.  Trust and faith.

The North.  Our elders and wise women live here.  We should listen much more closely to what they have to teach us.  Insight.  A place of quiet and stillness. Meditation. The night.  The bottom of the exhale.  Dreams.  Here we find the Owl and other animals of the night.  Discovering our life’s purpose.  Here we return to the Great Mystery in order to be ignited once again with the new sun in the east.  The color white.  Knowing.

Below we find our past and ancestors.  Mother Earth.  The womb and creation.  The Goddess is found below.  Above we find the energy of Father Sky and its infinite unformed potential.  Expanded consciousness.  The God is found above.  But it is in the 7th direction that we find “me”.  Center.  The gap between the breaths.  A channel connecting the earth and sky.  A hollow reed through which the Goddess can spiral up to connect with the God.  Perfection. 

The moon, the tides, the seasons……. each day, our lives, and each and every breath all follow the path of this circle.  Spring, summer, fall and winter. The rhythm of the Universe.  Our rhythm.  Notice it. 

Recognize the moment in the afternoon where you feel the energetic shift from the intenseness of summer action to the cooling receptive energy of fall.  Become aware of the damp cool grass on your bare feet when you first awaken and the south sun has not had its chance to warm.   Always know which phase the moon is in- taking the weeks of the waxing/expanding moon to begin new projects, the waning moon to slow down and visit the West, and the new moon to shed that which no longer serves you…..in order to begin anew with the first glimpse of the sliver moon in the east.  Sleep when it is dark and rise with the birds of the east. 

I have always been a very early morning runner.  Yogis always talk to the auspiciousness of that time of day.  The hours of 4 to 6 am.  This week at the end of one of my runs I realized that time is truly when the shift from night to day begins.  Still so incredibly still, yet the hint of the rising sun and the song of the early birds provide glimpses into the unlimited  possibilities waiting.  The void.  The pause.  Empty yet incredibly full.  I like being there for that.

Live and move in these rhythms.  They will lead you well.

I love to dance,
SARAH




Sunday, June 29, 2014

my choice

Yogis,

I am everything…….and everything is me.  I AM THAT!

That was how I ended my writing last week. 

I am the playfulness of the chipmunk, the curiosity of the titmouse, and the timidness of the cardinal.   I am the breeze created by the blue jay and the abundance shown to me by the raspberries.  The warmth of the sun and sensuality of the moon.  I AM THAT….as the world outside mirrors my world within.

As that realization settles into my bones…..I could comfortably stay in my garden and see in the mirror only that part of me that I embrace…..but that isn’t what this is all about.



I am also climate change.  I am the reason that few have everything and many have nothing.  I am the struggling healthcare system and the gridlock in our political process, the greed of the oil companies and the commercialization of all that I hold dear.  I AM THAT!

No….I don’t want to see that.  They are creating that.  They are the problem.   I will fight them.  I will argue.  I am good…..they are the ones that are bad.  The others.

But it doesn’t work like that. 

If what I see in this mirror of life doesn’t fit who I am, then I  am the only one who can change it.  I am that powerful.  Maybe I can’t solve it completely in a moment, perhaps not in  years, maybe not even during my time in this physical body,  but I can move mountains if only I take the steps .  But first I must accept the responsibility, when it is so much easier to point outside. 

Then I must believe I can…....or not. 

But I can’t fix climate change, or poverty or healthcare.  The problems are too big, too complicated and not under my control.    It is so overwhelming to even begin to think through it, and no one is going to be willing to make the changes anyway.  Those in power are controlling everything. The others.

Ok….then I can’t.  We can’t.  The world can’t.   If I can’t….. then it won't happen.  I AM THAT.

I can create change.  I believe I can tap into the inherent goodness in all people and begin a dialog.  I see it.  I begin to drive less, buy less, eat locally.  I look people in the eye.  Understand their story.  Serve others.  Share my vision.  Begin to live my life AS IF.   Desire it, see it and move forward.  Each of us.  Together. 

I must believe that I can……or not.  My choice.

I can.  We can.  The world can.  If I can….then it will happen.  I AM THAT.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
                   ~Peace Pilgrim

Each of us contains the power to change the world,

SARAH

Sunday, June 22, 2014

....tuning in

Dear Yogis,

Find something in your line of view.  Anything at all. Look at it.  Really see it…….
  • ·         How did it get there?
  • ·         How long has it been there?
  • ·         How many different people were involved in it finally arriving in that spot?
  • ·         How many hands have touched it?
  • ·         What is its purpose?
  • ·         What is it made of and where did those material originate from?
  • ·         What would it feel like to run your hands down it?

See it, as if you are seeing it for the first time…….because you probably are.  Thousands of things pass through our line of vision every day, but how many do we stop to truly SEE?  But when we do we create a new relationship.  A bond….not only with it, but with ourselves.


Last week’s image was the straight, unkinked garden hose connected to source - in that case water.  When we open the crown of our heads and connect to our source -in this case the Universe, the divine, the Great Mystery, God, or all that is – the breath is the flow.  Uniting all of us.  The ultimate connection.  No longer separate.  All drawing from the unlimited pool of everyone’s thoughts, feelings, experiences and dreams. Collective consciousness.

Beginning to feel the beauty in everything that we see……because we are no different.  

Friday night  as I was preparing to leave town I spent time out in my garden to say goodbye.  I miss my garden when I am away.  Everyone and everything in it have become quite close friends.  I have a relationship with the garden, the plants, the animals and the trees.  Each one unique.  Each one special.  Seeing everything about each one. And learning about myself from them all.

The Cardinals have become even a little more trusting.  But it’s the male taking the chances while the female observes from the tree.  If I turn my back and lean down to do some weeding he will quickly land to grab a seed, perhaps even pausing there on the ground until I look over.  I just keep letting him know it is ok to come.  Moving slowly.  Teaching me patience.

The chipmunks are very dependable.  Always there.  Always gathering food to bring home.  Upbeat.  But when two get in the same path, watch out!  The chasing and tumbling are like a high speed chase – often over my feet or through my legs.  Ah!  I scold them for scaring me.  But they are so darn cute.  Teaching me to be ok with the unexpected.

The titmouse……the one with the black spot on his lower left chest.  He arrives when he wants seed, looking at me with a cocked head.  He follows me to the garage, landing on the handle of the rake, then on the light, then on the garage roof, watching my every move.  He follows me back to the center of the circle where he will land on my hand for food.  Very picky.  Wants only the light beige peanuts.  A funny bird.  A sense of humor.  Bossy….but in such a sweet way.  Teaching me to be lighthearted and silly.


The wrens.  Fun.  So alive.  Tiny.  So beautiful in their singing. Raising their families in two of my birdhouses, finding food from underneath the brush, and landing on the eucalyptus tree to announce their return.  They have taught me not to look directly, but to feel them and send my vibration…..with just a quick occasional glance when I have praise I want to share.  Teaching me how the clearest voices can come in the smallest packages. 

Now the Blue Jays have begun to arrive.   Big and strong as they swoop down – sending a breeze through my hair.   A large presence.  Come off as being a bully.  But I won’t allow first impressions to taint me.  I will watch, feel and see.  Teaching me not to judge.

My swiss chard has taught me not to harvest too soon, my wild raspberry bushes showed me that if I prune them back they will delight me with a larger harvest,  and the whole garden has spoken loudly about the gift of sharing plants with others….and so I have.

Everything is me.  I am everything.  I AM THAT.

……and look who arrived this week.



Teaching  us all to slow down.  There is nowhere to go.  Everything we are searching for is right here within us.  We just need to open the connection and receive the flow.

Tuned in to the best channel,
SARAH

Sunday, June 15, 2014

....getting the kinks out


Yogis,

This week we moved up to the final stop on this journey…..the crown of the head.  Sahasrara Chakra.   But even here at our final stop, the movement is still up.  Not an ending……merely a gateway to another way of living.

This particular spiritual journey that I guide uses our seven major chakras as teachers, guideposts, barometers, and mile markers.  Each one stacked in succession above the other drawing a straight line right in front of our spine through our very center.  Although there are many spiritual paths, this is the one that not only spoke to me, but cleared the way for me to see and live life as I believe it is meant to be lived – as a limitless creator.  Less struggle and more flow.  Being me and creating life as I go. 

From earth, up to water, then fire, to air, ether, sound and light, as we awaken and balance each of the chakras our energy begins to rise.  Lifting and removing obstacles in its path.  Clearing the way so that when it reaches the crown of the head it bursts right through.  Connecting us to all that is.  To source.

Which brings me to my garden hose……


I have a very large garden.  Yet even with its size I quickly ran out of space within its borders and began carving paths into the edge of the woods in which to sow seeds, used the wall behind the air compressors to create a new line of flowers and herbs, and placed dried gourds under the bushes so their sprouting vines would wind out into the grass.  The whole back yard has become a garden.  Thus the need for a very long garden hose!!

My old faithful hose finally needing replacing so I went to the hardware store and decided to buy the 75 ft “Kink Free” hose (all of you hose users will understand the draw.)  That afternoon I hooked it up and dragged my end all the way across the yard to the right.  I began spraying from my additional purchase – a new nozzle.  A powerful soaking shower poured out and I was quickly done with that section.  I began my trek across to the other side, pulling the hose behind me.  I sprayed again.  Full force…..then a little less…..then less…..less………..a trickle………and finally nothing.  I looked back over my shoulder and I know you may not believe this, BUT the Kink Free hose had a dreaded kink!!!!


Ugh.  Of course it is WAY BACK by the faucet.  I try to twist the hose.  I try whipping it like a lasso to see if the ripple will take out the kink.   I pull it more towards me.  Nothing.  I have to physically go back over there and tend to it.  There is no short cut.  It will not just “work itself out”

We are like a garden hose.  And we get kinks.  The ones that cause our flow to sputter, weaken or even come to a grinding halt.   That long held fear of there not being enough is a kink in our earth energy.   The unexpressed anger causing overheated fire energy that plays havoc with our digestive system.   The stored grief in the back of the heart that we hope if we wait long enough will dissolve on its own.   Or the busy mind that is so in control that no flow – no matter how powerful- can pierce through that kink.   We keep going.  We shake, twist and pull the hose.  But eventually we must go back and work to release the kink, the holding, the blocked energy ourselves.

That is the work we have been doing in each of the chakras.  And it all comes back to a very simple premise – Letting Go.  Letting Go.  Letting Go.  Living life relaxed. Releasing.  Emptying.  Holding onto nothing.  It sounds so easy.  It’s the opposite of struggle, of “grit”, of hard work, which are all the things our society seems to reward.   But it takes trusting that there is more.  Trusting that if I let something go I create more space. 

And when we do that…….when we let it all go…..and open the crown of our head to connect to source, the flow is powerful, clean, clear and strong. 

…….and feels a whole lot better.


Opening to receive.

SARAH