Sunday, March 22, 2015

.....scratching the surface

Dear Yogis,
“Oh my God, he’s got me!”

That’s me yesterday crouched over in the mud trying to upright a badly leaning 6’ tall rose bush.  He had my ponytail.  I had crawled under and was using my upper back and shoulders to gently push him up to stand while I attempted to reset the metal trellis that had originally been his base.    A deep forward fold with my face looking backward between my legs and my ponytail now intricately woven into the thorns.  Help!

My husband came running just as I managed to extricate myself from the grip.  He cautioned me not to get that close…..as any seemingly rational person would have responded when faced with a gangly thorny rose bush.  But it caused me to pause.

“That would be distance gardening” was my response.  I had one of those “aha” moments where I understood that I am anything but a distance garderner.  When I am with my plants….I am all in!

We are in the process of selling our home of 24 years next door and with a Sunday open house looming, the ground now finally visible, clearly needed some attention.  Sticks, branches, composting leaves and mud……lots and lots of mud.  So for several hours we raked, spread mulch, trimmed and spruced. 

Now the rake can get around the base of the plants and bushes, but leaves a clump smack dab in the middle.  This is where the real work comes in as it requires climbing back into those dark, damp, somewhat scary places that we all have behind the bushes, in the corners, under the porch.  Crawling in the mud, reaching through the spider webs and being ok with a slug ending up in your hand. 

By the end of the day I have dirt from head to toe, am covered with a thin layer of sweat and can feel the flush in my face.  This is when I feel the most alive.  No distance for me…..going deep.  Just like life. 

There is so much stimulation in the world today.  We are all “connected” by technology and can pay people to do everything for us.  Our “friends” are on facebook and the internet provides snippets of everything going on everywhere.  Guides on how to be thin and beautiful, pills that will keep us healthy.    It has become so easy to live on the surface.   But I don’t want that.  I want to scratch beneath the surface……………..

I want to feel it all.  I want to be connected to others at my core where no words are needed.  I want to dance so freely that I tingle.  I want my heart to be wide open where I can befriend not only joy, but the deep sorrow as well. I want to put myself out there even at the risk of being rejected.  I want to quiet the stimulation so that I can sit in silence and hear the stirrings of my soul. 

As I peeled off my gloves I saw the dirt deeply embedded under my fingernails.  Hmmm…..  Looks like I am digging deeper. 

Only when I am silent and lean in can I hear the plants,

SARAH

Sunday, March 15, 2015

...my new bff

Yogis,

I CREATE MY REALITY

I do.  All of it…….


I didn’t always believe this.  No, I take that back.  It wasn’t about believing.  I didn’t even know such an idea existed!  I thought we all just lived our lives, enjoying the good parts, making the best of the bad parts, and somehow getting through the lows.  In some ways this made things easy.  I could complain about others and choose not to see my role in the world around me.  My focus was narrow and didn’t involve responsibility. 

These past 7 years my view has changed!  I now know that I CREATE MY REALITY.  I not only feel it or believe it….I do it.  Daily.  Certainly can’t say I am an expert at it by any stretch of the imagination.  More like a middle school student.  I understand the basic laws of the Universe that make it work, I can visualize the path, I have felt the results and I am excited by its potential.  But just like school, I have to go every day, practice what I learn and do my homework.  This is a path of study that I am motivated to follow through to the master’s program!  Maybe even a PhD in manifestation!

But this creative potential requires a partner.  The Universe.  Your co-creator.  You can’t do this alone.

One clear example of this is planting. Your vision is to turn that barren corner of the yard into a  small garden.  You place seeds under the bare earth and the Universe delivers the rain and shines its sun.  In almost no time at all living beings rise.  The new plants each with their own personality….the welcoming sunflower, the romantic rose, the calm lavender and the clingy burdock.  The squirrels and birds drawn in for food and shelter, their pecking and clawing aerating the soil.  You weed and trim, placing cuttings in a vase to bring some of the joy into your home .  The colors attracting the bees and butterflies who then spread this new life far and wide in their travels.  Together you all took nothing and created an oasis.  You and the Universe…hand in hand.

This relationship is no different from any other.  It is one of give and take, respect, humor, consistent and honest communication, and spending time together.  There are so many ways to deepen it…….here are just a few.

·         Pick a tree that is in your yard or on your daily walk.  One that you see often, but now “see” it.  Stop and give it your undivided attention.   Say hi.  Touch the bark.  Stand at its base and look up to its top.  Sit beneath it.  Take a picture of it.  Be friends with your tree. 
·         Sit by a river or creek and watch its flow.  Stand above to see your reflection.  Throw in some rocks and notice how it “receives” them.  No pushing back. Observe a leaf or stick floating on its surface and watch its path. Put your hand in.
·         Each morning as you wake up, look out the window.  Good morning Universe!
·         As you lie down to go to sleep, look back over your day and find the little golden nuggets that you weren’t expecting.  The call from a friend, a hug from your child, the laughter, the new song you heard on the radio.
·         When you walk outside, stop, close your eyes and feel the breeze on your skin.
·         Lift your face to the sun and soak in its warmth.
·         Lie in the grass and watch the clouds sail by.
·         Always know what phase the moon is in and where it will be when you wake in the middle of the night. 
·         Talk to your plants and smell the flowers as you pass by

The Universe, like all of us, loves to be noticed and loved, and anything that you give will be returned, and then some.  Hang out together.  The closer you become the more you will be taught, the more you will laugh (the Universe has a fantastic sense of humor), and the more you can create.  And you no longer ever feel alone.  Imagine feeling that the Universe, with its infinite potential, is your best friend. 

Hhhmmmm……what should we create next?  The Universe is all ears.



Best friends forever,
SARAH

Sunday, March 8, 2015

...the turning tide

Yogis,
For those of us in the eastern part of the US we are in the shift.  Did you feel it?  Just like that we went from days on end of bitter cold and frozen ground to the hint of spring in the air.  You could feel it yesterday as soon as you walked out the door. The brilliant sun blinding as it reflected off the snow. Rubbing the sleep from the eyes as if awakening from a long slumber.

The animals of course felt it too. Robins hopping across the lawn and the black squirrels scampering through my garden in search of seed. A new sense of lightness. Neighbors emerging from their homes to walk their dogs.   A defined shift in energy which told us clearly that although we may still get some, or even many, very cold days or some flakes falling from the sky….winter is now moving into the rear view mirror. 

The flow of the Universe.  The hum.  Did you feel it?
 I am leading “March Manifestation” this month, a program of learning and playing with several of the natural laws of the Universe  that allow us to consciously create our reality (since we each create our lives we may as well do it consciously).  We are on day number 8, deep in the energy of water uncovering what we truly desire.  Not “wish for”, but WANT from an inner place of longing. Wanting, when it is from within and not from the mind, is the soul’s desire to move forward.  To create.  To pull towards.  An ache.

So what do you want?  But here is the key question……what are you willing to change for? 

We each individually create our lives.  But on a much larger scale we do this as a population.  Even as a species.  In the media we are always seeing displays of what we collectively want, but are we willing to change for it?  Hunger is a perfect example.  There is enough food for all of us.  All of us.  The blockage is found in money, politics, distribution channels, crime, education and so on.   So we all say we “want” to end hunger……and have been saying that for a very, very long time.  But it won’t be, it won’t manifest, until we collectively want it from within.   Not a wish.  A longing.  When it is no longer even imaginable to us that one of our own is starving.  Then we will feel the shift.

I liken it to the current marijuana shift in the US.  I don’t read the paper or watch the news, so I get snippets from when I log in to mail, or talk to a friend, or overhear conversations in the store.  I felt it.  Strongly.  The shift in energy.  Not just because one state made it a standard commodity, but because whether you personally are for or against legalization, the tide has shifted.  The criminalization is quickly moving into the rear view mirror.  The government didn’t do this. “We” decided that it is ok to personally choose to partake or not and therefore created the change.  We crested the mountain and now it feels like the beginning tremors of an avalanche.  Gay rights and marriage have also turned their tide. 

So what do we each want for our own lives (because in order to help others, you yourself must be complete)…….and then what is the next house of cards we as human beings want to shake at its base?  What change do we long for, and more importantly are willing to change ourselves for.   Nothing changes on the inside without the shift on the inside.

The flow of the Universe.  The tide.  The hum.

Mmmmmmm….I can feel it,
SARAH

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