Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

2014 (I Have Learned)

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 9.45.10 PM

And if you did not care deeply for me

In moments when I needed you most

Indeed you helped me find

The deepest place within

From where these calls for care rose

From here

I see now

I needed you

To help me find it

And when I saw it

The anchor dropped

The sand settled

Softly, perfectly

Around and around

My own limitations

And those of others

Now all I have to do

Is feel the current rock me

For I am always tied

To myself, most deeply

This sea is mine

And the sky is now the limit

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Can You Taste It, Yet?

the_moment_before__by_Pretty_As_A_PicturePeople can complain about it being the cause of all problems.

But frankly, the most annoying thing about ego is that it’s predictable.

Because it uses the moment instead of being in it, it’s really not so super creative.

It’s got a plan, it’s hungry, it wants to feed itself. Period.

If you watch it a while, you will think “why am I watching something not quite as exciting as CSPAN?”

And yet it gets really high ratings and people sacrifice a lot of time for it.

This numbing, predictable affair–with ego.

Watch it long enough and its pattern is clear; you’ll know what happens next.

You think you are doing a different dance, in a different place, at a different time, but when you dance with ego, it’s always the same, predictable gig.

Inside a closed bubble of ambition.

Some needless drama, as pattern overtakes innovation .., inspiring just a touch of insanity, assuaged by activity, producing more of the same.

So how do you get out?

You ask, and even demand to know!

If I’m such a smarty pants, what’s the solution?!

I guess I’m like anyone else, always inclined to engage in this predictable pattern, but awakening to the fact that if I stand away from it a bit, I can turn away from it.

This constant, superficial identity crisis that reinforces itself.

But what do any of us turn toward?

You ask me and I’ll say this:

The moment.

And if you ask me in five minutes, I’ll say the same thing.

Put all your senses on it.

Close your eyes, can you see it?

Close your hands, can you feel it?

Close your mouth, can you taste it, yet?

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Sit Down, Close Your Eyes, Watch the Movie

"A Time of Reflection--Crow"--credit: James Ayers Studios: http://jamesayers.com/original-artwork/sold-work/a-time-of-reflection-gallery/

“A Time of Reflection–Crow”–credit: James Ayers Studios: http://jamesayers.com/original-artwork/sold-work/a-time-of-reflection-gallery/

It’s a matter of time–your life.

Humans make the most of it through reflection.

That is the one power that differentiates us.

 

Was the movie good?

I’ll tell you in four days, when the scenes still play in my mind, or don’t.

Is that person important in my life?

I need time–to miss them, time to notice that so many of the things that they did and said still come to my mind, as if they speak them in the moments, when I remember … days, months, years later.

If we are smarter than the little part of ourselves–the part that wants to be king, that runs like a rat on crack–we catch a pattern.

We start seeing people in the moments: for what we predict we will feel and know, days, weeks, months later.

If we’re lucky, if we reflect, enough, we develop this capacity and we use it automatically.

It becomes a deeper drive, righting our interactions with others.

If we sit still. If we pause, again and again, we see these things.

We become human, and we split off enough from our animal, come to know, our godselves.

We develop the film of our life so that the picture gets clearer and clearer. In the darkroom.

In the quiet, dark, still space–behind our closed eyelids and between our palms, spread apart, setting aside, our time.

We gain the power, to start seeing, through time.

Some of us do this. I do this. It doesn’t make me special, it’s just what I have chosen to do. And so can you … for now …

It’s so funny to me … and sad to see … how it’s always been and will always be a matter of time.

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Is it … Desire?

My cat, Pasha--image and editing: mine

My cat, Pasha–image and editing: mine

Was looking at my cat’s fur, as I do often

How perfectly it grows

Most people think about how annoying its shedding is

I guess I like to think of how it grows

Where it comes from

 

There’s something so elegant about cats

Inspiring if you watch them

The way they move

Their very structure

Springy joints

Powerful, understated muscles

This fur

The way it lines his face

The tiny, short hairs growing along his nose

 

And I wonder and wonder

What makes this fur grow?

What holds all of the cells of his fur together?

What commands the molecules that join to make the cells?

What?

 

Those molecules, those atoms, they can do whatever they want

But something commands them, to become, his fur

 

And then I start to think, about everything, this way

What holds anything together?

Is it …

 

What if it was, desire

What if I sit here and type

Because of desire?

 

The two cells that started what I am

They were held together by something

Their molecules

 

The molecules, the atoms

That could be doing whatever they want

Somehow, they come together

To do something very specific

 

Scientists will laugh at me now

DNA child, it’s DNA

But with this mind of a child

I will continue ceaselessly

As if it were a matter of my favorite toy

On the shelf

 

The answers

Like that toy

Will never satisfy

As much as inspire

More and more

Questions

More and more looking

At more and more toys

More and more answers

That never complete

This … desire?

 

I’m going to keep on asking

Like the scientists do, too

Because maybe I’m not just a child

Maybe I am one of them

Maybe we all can be

 

What brings that DNA together?

What commands those molecules?

What is it?

 

Look at anything around you

Ask yourself–what is it?

 

Whatever it is, you are a product of it

So am I

 

And if it’s desire, shouldn’t we tune into it?

I mean, if you do something you don’t desire

Aren’t you going against it?

 

If two people don’t share a desire

It is incomplete

Nothing will hold together

It will break apart

 

If someone stalks you

You will ask the police to come

You will tell the person to fuck off

A million times

Even if their molecules

Construct an ego

That won’t listen

 

You are part of this desire matrix

Telling molecules what to do

Your molecules

Someone else’s

 

The configuration we are discussing now

My fingers and your mind

As you read this

There is a command of molecules, atoms

 

The electric attention of your mind

If a video can travel over invisible space and time

To reach your phone

Why can’t desire bring this message to your mind?

And your mind to draw its own conclusions?

 

I’m not convinced

Never convinced

And if you read my stuff you know

I don’t believe anything

So that I can study everything

 

And today, I wonder

 

What is it?

Is it … desire?

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free, Yoga & Spiritual

Please Don’t Forget

There will be people in your life who love you in a way that sends you on a quest to find your very self.

Because they’ve found you worth so much of their time and all their customized attention.

And you wondered why, you wanted to know why … so you began to dig.

And then you started to discover why, why you were worth the time and have always been worth the time.

Sometimes we forget, until we remember those people.

Even if they are not around us.

Even if quite the opposite sentiments may sometimes surround us and fill us.

It is our duty to remember.

What they took us by the hand, led us to the doorway to ourselves, to find.

They would never want us to forget.

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free, Yoga & Spiritual

The Blue Star

Image credit: Iribel on Deviantart.com--"Center of the Universe"/Extensive filters/editing: mine

Image credit: Iribel on Deviantart.com–“Center of the Universe”/Extensive filters/editing: mine

Quixotic

All the chances

Body languages

Mine

Your mother tongue

Oh animal

 

Before I change my mind

Another time

You wait

Amused

 

Ducking low

You watch my silly movie

Walking softly, nimbly

Unsuspectingly?

Through tall grass

You see everything I am

I can only smell you

Very close

 

My mind runs

Yours salivates

Lurching forward

 

The chase delights us

Makes us laugh

Say hmmmmm

Say anything

Say everything

Just right

 

You move in

Velvet piston legs

Push your hot breath

Into my living neck

 

Its perfect form

Exposed

A fragile freeway

Of vessels designed to bleed

All the bits of stars

Back to Earth

 

You feast on my guts

My eyes point to the distance

They’re still glistening

Feeling everything

 

There is no word

For the opposite of pain

The mind has no business

Here

 

Edges of Earth

All shaved and paved

We fly away

 

But I always turn around

Look back

To see

More than you

 

A burial ground

The buzzards play

My love for them

Eating bits of bone

Flying me away

To my next life

 

I no longer care

If you ever see

If you ever know

What I do

What I give

And what I get

 

It is enough

That I give it all

To show you

 

That some animals

Are more than animals

 

I visit that place when I want

When it wants me

When it needs us

To die

 

I go where we go

And leave it behind

 

Stardust never settles

 

Never forget

You are

I am

Human

 

And humans know themselves

Can die to themselves

Rise again and again

 

I only see you when I feel like it

When you feel like it

And lately, we  just happen to

Lately, we just happen to

 

Every time you think I’m dead

I’m human

I’m watching you

And I know you’re watching me

 

When memories come

Running through the bush

I watch them close

Find their patterns

Chase them down

Admire them deeply

Aim assured

Shoot them all, dead

 

Crumple what we said

On paper

Under some twigs

Haul in a log

Start the fire

Burn everything

Into the light

That dots the sky

 

It’s a succulent feast!

That feeds my growing bones

Stronger than before

In every new place

We found together

To break

 

What is over

Never ends

To me

 

And one day, darling, I will say

What stars don’t need to

And won’t

 

Did you ever dream to see

How lucky we said I am

Become so pitifully odd

To recall

When you know

And feel a hunger

That might never end

Except

 

Oh

How lucky you are

To hold stardust in your hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

A Deeper Love

blue-labradoriteYesterday, a colleague asked me:

“How did you come to love yourself?”

I sat for a second and then said something almost exactly like this:

Well, that’s something that I’m still working on, but it’s an interesting question and forces me to think.

I guess what I know for certain is that I didn’t start loving myself or even know how until a couple of years ago when somebody I loved dumped me.

And I stopped eating. And I stopped sleeping. And I was completely lost.

And then one day–as bizarre as this might sound–I was in Yoga practice, and I was on my stomach, with my forehead on my mat. And I was getting ready to do a pose in a series, and I closed my eyes, and I knew at that point in time that I was at the lowest point in the deepest part of the ocean.

This was a place that I didn’t know how to get to in my imagination previously–didn’t even know I could go there. So the pain forced me into that place, and I saw a light there.

I saw a really, beautiful, white, opalescent light. Something soft–not glaring or beating you over the head–just inviting and bright.

And I knew that was me. That light.

This light.

And I knew two practical things as well in that moment. I knew that from that point I could only go up. And I also knew that I was, I am, I always will be fundamentally alone.

So those two things really catalyzed me loving myself, because I started to work my way back up, alone. Rebuilding, gradually, my emotional life, from almost a scratch-point, but a deep point.

Because that deep place was mine and mine alone, I realized that it doesn’t matter if someone despises me, says mean things or nice things; it doesn’t matter if anyone praises me.

While those things do affect me somewhat, they’re never going to be deeply hurtful or satisfying because they can’t touch that deep point–i.e., I tend to operate out of that point now, so those things don’t really have as much of an impact.

So I started building out from that point, what I have come to define love as.

Love is a matter of staying.

In times of big stress, and even in the smallest instances, I have learned to stay with myself. This is instead of how I used to operate: every time I was ashamed, embarrassed, anything, I’d just assume myself unworthy of even my own support and love. I would beat myself up and abandon myself in a way.

Now, I’ve worked my way up to staying with myself about 85 percent of the time, and that number is growing. I have a new self talk, and through being awake in a bunch of situations, my system is improving–the holes in it, that used to let my love out to people I put above me for whatever imaginary reasons–mostly repaired.

Sure, I listen to people, because that’s good for me, and I can make my own decisions about what they say.

The point is, I come first. It starts with me. Everything, since that day two years ago, became more and more for me. And it’s not as if I’m acting selfishly at all. I love to serve people and do things for people because delighting others makes me feel happy and joyful and connected and satisfied. But honestly, I don’t do those things for them as much as for me–because if I did these things for them, I’d always be disappointed and misappropriating expectations.

Everything over the last two years has been part of a construction project, resulting in increasingly loving myself.

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Have I Grown Up Yet? (this is not a poem!)

Image credit: mine

Image credit: mine

I would be lying to say that the past couple weeks were not a washing machine of “didn’t I already pass this test?!” and “are you f&^%$ kidding me, universe?!” moments.

And yet, I prayed–through the shadows cast continuously by this series of personal retrogrades–that there was indeed a reason for all of it. Strangely, situations that were familiar and disturbing at the outset saw unfamiliar resolutions based on a new level of clarity. Something I played a lot of life, hard, to win. And as the days have passed since a lot of the storm settled, I am starting to get it. There’s always a delay–always!

In plain English: I went through a bunch of shit that I had been through a long time ago, in very abbreviated ways, so that I could ensure that the situations ended totally differently based on the level of maturity I have attained.

Like most westerners I know, I need some kind of definition or reason–as dumb as that sounds considering my size and life’s importance in the grand scheme of things–and so if I must have this I would preliminarily say that all this bullshit lately is to show me that indeed I have grown up.

I mean “the proof,” the universe seems to say, verbatim, “is in the fact that you are going through the same scenarios but the endings are better: more about a long-term solution and a win-win scenario.”

Me: Am I growing up? Am I? Have I changed? Why do you want me to go through these dumb things?

Universe: How the heck would you know without a repeat of stuff you went through 20 years ago, in extreme fast-forward motion, with a completely different resolution and very little reaction on your part while it all went down?!

Me: Ooooh … yeah; I guess you’re right. (laughing)

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

All Together Now

472424a-f1.2If there was a checkbox for me, to choose, I would tick undefined. But somehow in this world we must define ourselves. What on Earth kind of paradox is this? How do you define a human being?

Tags, IDs, social security numbers … sounds tidy, as per the usual epic fail.

How then? Writer, lawyer, teacher, occupational therapist, plastic surgeon, engineer, scientist, tour guide, relief worker, programmer, dentist, DJ, circus performer. Really? Is that really who you are? What about yogi? Honestly, it’s time we all got a life.

Yes, I spend time practicing yoga and teaching it–learning just as much each time I do.

What I’m trying to get at here actually, as I sidewind my way into the point, is that just because I do this, doesn’t mean that a lot of other things people glue to these termed-yoga activities are true. Same with any title–they’re all about as misleading and temporarily reassuring as a Klondike at 2 a.m. when you’re trying to lose a few pounds.

So many people look at me as someone who has some answers. Someone who can help them. And to a degree I can, but only to the point that guides and demonstrates how they can help themselves. Because it is through these practices that we “yogis” do just that, for ourselves.

Specifically, we bend, stretch, open and, basically, tenderize ourselves. We aim to explore ourselves and interact with the world from a more raw yet deeply faithful place. It’s like moving into high def about life, yet developing, through, shitloads of practice every day, more wherewithal and strength to detach and realize it’s just a TV and all of these melodramas are inevitable programs.

The challenge is that, with this perspective, we have to get real grounded into the role we play in whatever series we find ourselves. It’s not an escape. There is no escape from what we were born to do.

This, in a very crude nutshell, and in my humble opinion, is the pursuit of someone practicing yoga in a deeper capacity.

And yet!

Expectation hangs in the air–that I have it all together. I get it from guys I date, friends who are just getting to know me, people who just discovered my classes. I’m the lady who has it together and will teach people how to have it together. It’s really interesting. I bet a lot of people, in other healthcare professions, know exactly what I am talking about, too.

This month I hit a new personal record on things I thought I could accomplish. I will spare you. Just imagine James Bond is a woman and she’s in Doha and it was so intense that it could only be handled moment by moment, with the big picture in mind. My gears all but burned out … and my composure let in some light through a few cracks toward the end of it all.

Last night I realized–over a glass of wine at a party–that I don’t feel home anywhere and at times totally rely on the logic and reason of people I have grown, over years, to trust to tether me to the closest idea of home a person can ever truly have–human connection.

Yes, I am a practitioner of yoga. But this month really waved it in my face that this life is not at all about having it all together.

Newsflash: you only think you do–stop thinking that for just a second … before life forces you to do it … to see something important.

This gig gets really good when get a sense of when to be strong and when to be vulnerable. When to take care of ourselves and when to surrender to the love around us, the help of friends.

When to get it together. And when to get it all together.

I looked into quite a few eyes over the past week and was utterly rocked by all of the comfort, understanding, deep perception I saw. The few words spoken in passing to help me along.

The grace and elegance that people demonstrate when they reach out to help you is one of the most incredible displays of magic and beauty I know. I drove through the city–sensing the pulsing clubs and house parties at full throttle yet enjoying the quiet roads–totally baffled by hindsight reflection on the loving tentacles of spirit that reached out to grab me lately, despite my dire need to be a strong, yogi, leader type.

So many people smiled and said: relax, relax, relax … like the cheer lines along a marathon.

We are so much alike. The differences so slight, only made bigger when we think and believe we have it together and always will. Ha! Well, honey, you will see it all for what it is when you don’t. When you’re truly tied to everyone you’ve tended to loving, or the people in the institution paid to love you.

For life, it seems, is designed to teach you what it really means to have it all together.

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Music/Book Reviews, Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

We Will (Wear the Satin Jackets)

Seems to me that one of the greatest mistakes I’ve made so far is to assume that just because it feels and felt so good to be close to them, that any of the loves of my life provide me with answers.

On the contrary, upon their attractive entrance, they open new lines of inquiry: into myself, into life itself, into what it means to love, into my past, into my deepest fears, plunging me deeper and deeper, lifting me higher and higher, below and beyond an outdated recognition of self.

In fact, as we draw closer to anyone, we are pulled into the unconscious, the out-of-control part of ourselves. All our little secrets from ourselves, once anesthetized by comfortable solitude are awakened and name-tagged by a connection that precariously and paradoxically tempts us with our oneness and announces our division.

If we live in love, if we live bravely, we are always being stretched.

We can run away. We can cling too tightly when the lessons are done. Many do. I know I have, sometimes. Then comes a time when the soul gets hungry for what it needs, overrides the silly and pointless aversion of nature and all of her gracious, healing elements.

In this staying, with anyone, we realize that it’s the conscious gestures that are the rudder and the sails on our soul in a massive sea of self-and-other navigation–we learn through trials and pain to balance amidst the incessant stirring of these unconscious waters by relationship.

Essentially, the things we have conscious control over are the means to making what is inherently unpleasant–the tilling up of our most rigid personal soils–bearable and even enjoyable.

From the smallest, unseen, secret, subtle gestures to the most overt displays of affection–our conscious effort offsets what is natural with mechanisms termed civil … even, superficially, “loving.” Be they efforts toward the self or other, stuff that comes easy or changes that are tough, they are conscious.

In the end of the day, however, it is the submersion in this shadowy, unconscious sea, brave and ready for regular humiliation, that is the ultimate act of love in a universe held together by it.

I know today, who I am. But I’m ready, always ready, for you to change me, love. Because whether I surrender or not, you are doing this with every thought I think, every feeling I feel. Whether I want you to or not is irrelevant. Because you gave me life itself, we will.

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

You Know You Never Know but I Know You Do

Krishna_ArjunaSo many people like to say “you never know”

Really? Never?

Somebody must know something–I mean how the hell else did we get here?

Today I realized that there is this massive matrix

People of all different shapes, sizes, colors, inclinations, histories, karmas

When I notice myself, I realize something

I realize that I am exactly the way I am supposed to be for my soul to accomplish its purpose

My

•Height

•Weight

•Hair color

•Genetics

•Birthmark

•Achilles heals

•Suffering

•Relief

•Ego

•Obsession

•Secrets

•Family

•Accolades

•Triumphs

•Destiny

•Faults

•Desperation

•Clown-around smile

•Limits

•Whispering to the light when I am not crying out loud

Humans, we have this ability to think about ourselves

To doubt ourselves

To compare ourselves, perpetuate suffering

To fight the flow of what we were born into

Think about it

Think about yourself

This is your outfit, right here

These are your surroundings, right now

These are the thoughts you think

For the reasons you do

For the chance to drop or embrace them

Feeding on feelings, right or wrong

We were all born into a bed

We all sleep once in a while

Everyone does

Everyone dreams against their will now and then, if not more often

When we wake up, we start thinking

Inspired by doubt, we wonder: are we somehow not the way we are supposed to be to get where we are supposed to go?

Are we late for a big party where we finally accept ourselves?

Many of our actions spring from this doubt as well

But really, come on, there are so many ways to be and yet we are truly, exactly how we are supposed to be!

We didn’t invent ourselves, now did we?

What’s all this perverse behavior about?

“You never know,” you say?

Well somebody must, somebody must … and sometimes I really do, and so do you

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Mr. Mister

heart5

Photo/art credit–Desicomments.com

When I first became an expat I said:

Everything has changed, but I am the same

Days passed into months, months into years

Conversations into contentment into disillusionment into strategy into deeper surrender

Again and again, a drum, guaranteed

Same blood through the same heart, beating

Keeping time when I forget my watch, or throw it in the toilet

Different faces, different cultures, different priorities, luring me through a looking glass

To be born into a world

Where the masks all drop and love is always mine

Hands in pockets, eyes to the moon, now reflecting

Will I see you again?

Like I did the first time, when you were someone different?

More than anyone else?

Detachment–hundreds of feet in the sky, where your can see, so many things

Round and round, that race … like gnats in a jar

Looking at each other–seeing themselves

Was I doing that?

I wonder what scorpions eat …

Everything is the same

But I have changed

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

See

DSC_0797

There is a sadness in true love. A sadness I have come to depend on, inspired by separation. The closer we get, the more we realize we are somehow apart, and yet we strive all our lives to overcome this.

The meantimes, the space, fills with sadness and longing. Why are these feelings like bastard children? To me, they are at the table, feasting on my adoration and, in turn, feeding my dreams, my art, my imagination with all of their truths. Sadness reminds me we are born into duality. Longing reminds me have the capacity to see beyond this–into spirit–through the eyes of the soul.

Our unity.

We grasp for each other. But there aren’t enough kisses. There aren’t enough words. There aren’t enough tender touches. Silent moments. Shared breaths. There aren’t enough poems or paintings; songs, plays or films. There never will be. There never should be.

Look into my eyes. Stay. See. Now. Only now. There is enough of everything.

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Nothing is in the Way Except You

Pasha

Pasha

Hello!

Today is a good day to tell a story.  I was practicing in the morning, as I do very regularly. Pasha came, as if he appeared magically–I did not see him enter, I simply turned to the front of my mat and saw him sitting there.

He used to do this all the time. And until recently, I always responded the same way. I would gently pick him and move him off the mat. He grew to know that he was not allowed. Sometimes he would just come and put his one paw on the mat and squat down, watching me practice. Sometimes he would choose a nearby chair to sit and watch.

But recently, he became more insistent–some days he has really needed to be on the mat, too. He persisted–even when I picked his sagging, reluctant body off the space and coaxed him away, he tried again.

His will was stronger than usual, so finally I let go of my reasons and changed my mind. I decided that on the days he does this, practice is supposed to be different. Practice is supposed to include him.

It’s not every day. Just some days. And when those days come, we observe a special occasion.

As I’ve practiced around him–jumping through my hands and lifting my feet high to avoid kicking him, stepping delicately around him and leaning over him sometimes very closely–he has remained still and at complete peace.

In his world, I am a giant. He has a soft belly and tiny bones. He has only his nerve and reactions to protect him. Even in these moments, with a huge giant jumping and leaning all around him, he sets all defense aside–sleeps, purrs or just looks into the expanse of the room around him.

In my world, I see something very profound. I see what happens when I stop viewing what comes unexpectedly as a nuisance or something to ‘take care of’ or ‘get out of my way.’ I see that I can set my reactions and even thoughtful response aside. And in doing this, I allow everything around to embrace me closely, as I embrace it–I am a part of everything because I let things be … and moments are so much more beautiful when considering someone else, when sharing with someone else.

We all know this, but the simple demonstration of a soul in a tiny package can wake us up to it more fully.

There’s a magic in this practice–when you temporarily shed your own point of view and take on one that is more collective. You detach and see yourself in the scheme and how you can just blend into it and let everything around you come in snug.

Pasha–my little Love, my magical dove-faced angel. I don’t call him Guru P for nothing.

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Yoga & Spiritual

Your Guru, Your Gita~transcript excerpt from Krishna Das workshop, April 25, 2014

Krishna revealing his infinite power to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

Krishna revealing his infinite power to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

Krishna Das [KD]: All we do is think about ourselves, all the time.

If we thought about other people one millionth of the time, we’d probably …

… if we could treat other people, the way we want to be treated, we wouldn’t have a problem in the world.

So love is the Guru, real love is the Guru.

When we are not thinking about ourselves all of the time, we might notice that we can feel that love. But if we are only thinking about ourselves all day long, there’s no space for love to shine in. So somehow we have to calm those thoughts.

So what we do when we practice [mindfulness/kirtan/meditation], you know, we’re trying to catch raindrops. You can’t catch raindrops like this [turns palms down]. You catch raindrops like this [presses sides of palms together with them facing up], you can like this.

So after a while, you get some water here.

Audience Member: I guess I ask the question because I’ve heard it said that you have many teachers, but in the physical form you have one Guru … and not two, and that’s why I’m asking your specific take on that. Just curious.

KD: Well, I’ve met Babas who have consciously taken new bodies. One Baba I knew left the body when he was 250 years old. Didn’t mean that his physical body was 250 years old–that was his third body. He consciously went into … he was born, reached a certain stage, wanted to finish his work so he needed a new body, did it again, three times. He died in ’89 …

So if they can do that they can do anything. They can take a body right in front of you right now if that’s what you need. Do you understand? A real Guru has one motive only: connection. They don’t need anything. They don’t want anything. They’re only available for us when that’s what we need, when that’s going to be the best thing for us. And it’s not about physical time.

… For a being like that there is no physical. But for us there’s physical. And the idea is you have one Guru, that’s the idea. But the physical part is a misunderstanding. That Guru can come to you in every form, every shape. A bird. A dog. All these …

 

 

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Music/Book Reviews, Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

‘On Being Spiritual’– transcript excerpt from Krishna Das workshop, April 25, 2014

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Krishna Das (right) and his drummer, Arjun–what an honor to sit close to him for the afternoon

Audience member (AM): Hi.

Krishna Das (KD): Hello.

AM: My question is: Do you consider yourself as a spiritual person? Because, I would say that your sense of humor, seems to me quite cynical for a spiritual person.

[Audience breaks out in laughter]

KD: It’s me, it’s not you.

AM: I wouldn’t expect that …

KD: Would you define spiritual person since you don’t think I am one?

[More laughter from audience]

AM: A spiritual person in my mind …

KD: Wears white, talks very sweetly …

AM: … Yeah!

KD: Those are the people who wind up … [hesitates, looks down and smiles]

AM: … About unconditional love and …

KD: Those are the people who don’t have any shadows in their life, and they’re happy all the time, well then that’s wonderful, but that’s not me.

AM: Like, would you … uh … think of changing that in you? Or … like …

[Laughter resumes loudly throughout audience]

AM: … Some person to be spiritual.

KD: I’m not concerned with whether I’m spiritual, or worldly, or anything like that. There is no … those words mean nothing to me. I am looking for love. I am looking for unconditional love. Everything in my life is leading me toward that place of unconditional love that is God, that is the Guru. And that’s what my life is about. I don’t define it any other way … whether it’s spiritual or not.

I can say shit and fuck and all that stuff and still be perfectly happy. [Loud laughter from audience, especially me;)] My Guru said that as well … so.

AM: You seem to be too realistic.

KD: I don’t think you can be too realistic. If you don’t deal with reality, it’s going to deal with you. You need to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you are, and you can’t tell stories to yourself, because you have to live. And if your lying to yourself about who you are, what’s going to happen? So I try to deal with myself with as much honesty as I can.

Because lying to myself, why? Why would I do that? Who does that hurt besides me? It hurts everybody around me if I’m not honest with myself. So I try to be honest with myself and I lean toward the cynical side [big grin spreads across his face] for a little self protection. It keeps people a little further away, because they look at me and go ‘he’s not spiritual’ and then they go away, and I love that.

[Laughter and applause erupt from the crowd]

KD: My Guru never put us in any shape. He never made us wear white clothes and be good little boys and girls. The beauty was that he loved us as we are. That was so liberating and so wonderful, because he knew everything [whispers:], everything–and he loved us, just as we are. So that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to love myself as I am. Not some fantasy about what spiritual is or anything like that.

(I will post more bits from Krishna Das’ talk during the workshop over time and publish excerpt sound clips on YouTube.)

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Yoga & Spiritual

Devotion (Everyone’s Magic Power)

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Was just talking with a dancer the other night, and we discussed how interesting it is that people get starstruck about what we do.

We talked about how we’ve gotten caught in a cycle of being used or using this. Suddenly an onlooker wants to get to know us better, really bad. But to evolve past this point (rather than try to parry the person off or, worse yet, engage them for utilitarian reasons), I have grown to realize that it’s important to deflect that person’s ambition so that it points toward their own life.

It’s only natural that people would think “wow, how do they do that?” But I’m here to say that such a question, in my mind, is quite mislead.

The real question rather is “what would it take to do that?”

It’s the same with parents of healthy, happy kids. I don’t have kids but when I see these parents with their kids I think “what would it take to do that?”

This question represents a powerful shift from wonder to action planning. And if you don’t want to do exactly what is before your eyes, you can at least imagine how far you’d go with your own pursuits if you chose. None of us are more endowed with magic powers than others.

When you shift the question, you acknowledge that you could do it too, given that you apply what it takes to do it.

In the case of advanced yoga, dance, being a parent, knowing a second or third language, the key to doing any of these things is devotion.

The moments you catch someone in these moves, poses, or interactions with their healthy, happy kids, it all looks kind of easy and straightforward. But when you try it, you see it is not. You’d never be dropped into any of this, however. It’s a gradual progression to get to it. Some days, some practices, some performances are better than others. The point is that you consistently give what it takes.

Magic is the product of devotion, it’s that simple. And we, my friends, are magic if we so choose.

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Yoga & Spiritual

Go Deep: Kapotanasana

I love how Yoga Journal describes this one as a ‘chance to lift the spirits’ … I mean, that’s totally true, but. Let’s just say that it’s really, really challenging to do right and get to that bliss/natural point.

Today though I had a bit of an epiphany while doing it and felt the need to share. If you’re working this one, all of what I say will make sense. If not, bookmark this and save it for when you get there.

So the key among keys with this one, to avoid injury, is to focus on the integrity of the pelvis and the downward tilt of the pubic bone combined with the upward scoop of the coccyx–this energetic balance is absolutely crucial to avoid crunching the lumbar and getting injured over time. To get in touch with this, start with camel and really focus in on that area, pushing the pelvis forward and lifting up out of it.

Head into Kapo gradually–do it at least three times to make all that opening/negotiation with the body worth your while and to get to that zone where the head rests in the soles of the feet.

So you hang out with the hands up, exhaling and reaching back and down–ahaaaaaa! Then, and this is key, when your hands hit the mat behind you, walk them in and keep lifting the head off the floor. Do not plop the head down and drag it toward the feet. Instead walk the hands toward the feet slowly and zero the attention in on the strength residing within the pelvis. Use all of the strength down there, the Mula, the balance between pubic bone and coccyx, to lift, from there. Lift, lift, breath! Walk the hands, keep the head off the floor and keep going like this as long as you can. I started to feel really, really great in there, actually.

Then, when you get the head hanging above the feet, lower the elbows, lower the crown of the head and keep tightening between the legs and in the quads: this is your stability, this is where the Asana is focused. Look into the bottom section of Yoga Journal’s description. What do you see as the organ of benefit? Uterus. (Sorry guys but then again, it’s good for you, too, you’ll see!!)

As an aside, and as I mentioned before in an earlier post, this pose has reduced cramps so much for me that I barely take pain meds. So there is really something to it.

I am writing this because I think people get really hooked on Kapo because it is, as YJ rightly puts, super uplifting. But there are so many ways that it can go wrong in terms of repetitive stress injuries. You gotta keep the spine long in it and you have to start somewhere in stretching it as you bend it. Start with the pelvis. Get in touch with Ms. Mula. Go deep and find her there, waiting to make your poses a lot more enjoyable.

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