Are You A Spiritual Warrior?
SPIRITUAL WARRIOR, Native American Poem
Life offers us the opportunity to become a Spiritual Warrior.
A warrior is one who bravely goes into those dark areas within
themselves to ferret out the Truth of their being.
It takes great courage, stamina and endurance to
become a Spiritual Warrior.
The path is narrow, the terrain rough and rocky.
You will walk alone: through the dark caves,
up those steep climbs and through the dense thick forest.
You will meet your dark side. The faces of fear, deceit, and
sadness all await your arrival
No one can take this journey but you.
There comes a time, in each of our lives,
when we are given the choice to follow this path.
Should we decide to embark on this journey,
we can never turn back.... Our lives are changed forever
On this journey, there are many different places we can
choose to slip into and hide. But the path goes on.
The Spiritual Warrior stays the course, wounded at times,
exhausted and out of energy. Many times, the Warrior will
struggle back to their feet to take only a few steps before
Rested, they forge on,
continuing the treacherous path.
The journey continues. The Spiritual Warrior
stays the course. Weakened, but never broken.
One day, the battle, loneliness and desperate fights are over.
The sun breaks through the clouds; the birds begin to sing
their sweet melodies. There is a change in the energy.
A deep change within the self.
The warrior has fought the courageous fight.
The battle of the dark night of the soul is won.
New energy now fills the Warrior.
A new path is now laid before them.
A gentler path filled with the inner-knowing
of one who has personal empowerment.
With their personal battle won, they are filled with joy.
A new awareness that they are one with the Spirit beams
as they go forth to show others the way.
They are not permitted to walk the path for others.
They can only love, guide and be a living example
of the Truth of their being.
Bryan Kest ...
“A warrior needs a worthy cause as well as courage. The more virtuous the cause, the higher his calling ? and the cause of greatest challenge, power and subtlety is that of self-examination. A wise warrior of such virtuous purpose embarks upon the age-old practice of yoga. A practice that roots out the habits, addictions, and incessant redundant thoughts that dull perception and cloud the heart; a practice that celebrates perfection in daily experiences and clears the soul for a joyous and poignant interaction with life."
Decisions Are About "Who You Are"
“Every decision you make – every decision – is not a decision about what to do. It’s a decision about who you are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do.”- Neale Donald Walsch
Norman Vincent Peale wrote, "It is said that history turns on small hinges. So does a life. An accumulating series of decisions about large and small matters over a period of years make up your own history. But the catch is, you can never know when a seemingly small decision may prove to be from the prospect of later years, the biggest decision of your life."
What tools can we use when faced with a tough decision? We make decisions all the time; most we are not even aware of, right? I choose to order a salad for lunch. That is a decision but I did not have to think about it because I knew what I wanted. When we do not know what we want that is when we typically are faced with the tougher decisions. Should I take this path or the other? So, I have five words for you to consider when stuck in decision mode: quiet, mantra, Universe, intuition and trust.
When you are able to find internal quiet using a self-created mantra for focus, you will then be in a place to better hear the Universe's reply, which you will intuitively know through trust based intuition.
Let's break this apart.
Quiet- “The quieter you become, the more you can hear. ” - Baba Ram Das
Finding quiet does not mean stressing out over having to meditate for an hour. It may be closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths to turn inward. If you cannot tune in to your inner sense of peace, how do you expect to hear your voice telling you which way to turn? Check out the following website: thequietplaceproject.com It is a very interesting concept to finding quiet.
Mantra- Mantras are energy based sounds that create a vibration allowing for your intention to be heard. They also provide you with a place to focus your attention so you can find that quiet place. Make up a mantra. It could be as simple as repeating the word peace or it could be something like I will hear my answer. The root "manas" from mantra means mind and the root "trai" means to free.
Universe- You have to set your intention and ask someone! Thank whatever you refer to as a higher power for connecting you with your intuition and helping you see the answer you need. Keep in mind your response may not arrive when you think it should or how you think it should so trust and pay attention.
"All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark." Swami Vivekananda
Intuition- Know what it feels like for you when your intuition or gut feeling kicks in. This will require you to have trust and faith.
Louis Brown, Obligation To An Inner Voice
"my obligation’s very
listening to the inner voice
the one that's kind and gentle
that guides me step by step
perceives the right and wrong
before i reach the fork
call it conscience
or what you will
when i heed that source
i know the way
that little voice
is the bottom line
i listen close
and all is well"
Autumn: Harvest or Relinquish?
Tuesday marks the first day of Autumn. We feel a coolness slowly seeping in to replace the sun's warm rays. We see the grasses brown and the leaves transition from green to red, and orange then brown. We can smell the damp leaves and the wetness in the air. We can even sense autumn's arrival before our other senses kick in, like the birds that intuitively know when to migrate south.
"How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Autumn is definitely a preparation for change and, generally, we humans are not that fond of change. We use up a lot of our energy trying to hang on to what was, like random leaves that refuse to let go of branches. There may even be one straggler who stays attached until spring comes but that does not change the fact he will be replaced.
"At the heart of autumn's gifts are these twin energies of relinquishing and harvesting. It is a season of paradox that invites us to consider what we are called to release and surrender, and at the same time it invites us to gather in the harvest, to name and celebrate the fruits of the seeds we planted months ago. In holding these two in tension we are reminded that in our letting go we also find abundance." Christine Paintner
See all the amazing colors... "A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic upon the emerald carpet of fading summer." Judith A. Lindberg
"Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him." Hal Borland
We did a guided meditation in class focusing on the different colors of the leaves and finding peace as we lay back in a huge pillowy pile of leaves. Practice visualizing this and the art of just being.
"I know I am deathless. We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers. There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them." - Walt Whitman
This is the first time I have found a quote about reincarnation that gave me a little shock as the weather now has a new chill to it and we hear this winter will be bad like the last. But new hope quickly replaced last year's winter memories with what are the chances of living in IL again in my next life? It just can't be!
I stumbled across a TV show last night called "Ghost Inside My Child." I was extremely disappointed with the producers for the title selection and the haunting music they chose to accompany it; both, simply a ploy to attract viewers. I find the title to be completely disrespectful to the kids as they do not have a ghost inside them at all; they have memories from a part of their soul that most of us do not have. Luckily for them, it was actually the stories that engaged my interest. Each episode tells the story of two different children who have come into this life remembering their last. I watched two episodes in a row so heard four kids tell their stories. Some of them remembered right away from infancy, others kept getting visions, really memories, that finally added up.
There was a little girl who, by the age of three, was extremely motherly towards her older siblings and friends. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom and they live in a remote area on a farm yet, for some reason, the girl would start screaming every time her mom picked up the car keys to go somewhere. She also would withdraw if anyone touched her chin. When she was five, her dad brought home a guitar and the girl immediately picked it up, tuned it and started singing as she played. Her family was amazed as she had never seen a guitar before. She told her family that she used to be a singer. She began telling her mom that she used to live in CA but had then moved to New York. Her other family had all been killed by Indians as they crossed land in their carriages. Her sister died in her arms. The Indians took her back with them and she became a part of their tribe. It was her responsibility to watch over all the kids and, as a sign of being part of the tribe, the Indians tattooed a marking on her chin. The girl knew names and facts. Long story short, the mom was able to find the girl's past life written in a book about a pioneer woman taken by Indians named Olive Oatman that completely matched. When the girl saw the picture of Olive, she exclaimed she looks like me! This part is important so read it well...the 5 year old's separation anxiety in this life was so bad she had to be treated for it. She was labeled with traumatic separation anxiety. Our soul is a collection of all our experiences. Do not be quick to rule out current ailments as having nothing to do with your past lives.
There was another kid who, from a young age, knew an awful lot about the Civil War. As his story came together, he told his parents his name, which infantry he had fought with and how and where he died. He had turned to see if his friend was ok and as he turned back, he was shot in the neck. In this life, he was born with a unusual birthmark in that exact spot on his neck. His mom found information to confirm everything and they took a road trip to the battle sight. As they pulled up, the boy jumped out and took off running saying I know this place. When his parents caught up with him, the boy was so shaken and traumatized, he could not walk back unassisted. He wanted to get out as they passed a cemetery and he told his parents I know these people.
"Doctrine of reincarnation is neither absurd nor useless. "It is not more surprising to be born twice than once." - Voltaire
And then there was a kid named Auguste. I am giving you a quick summation, but this kid at a young age would collect sticks and ask his parents for a knife. They were shocked and said he was too young to use a knife. He kept insisting he knew how to use one and needed it to sharpen his sticks. From a young age, Auguste never seemed to understand time. He didn't really get the days of the week or weeks in a month; he seemed not to have a need for this information. He told his parents he used to be a boy in a tribe and he had to hunt his animal in an initiation. He told her I know you are my mom but I had a different mom before you. He explained how he had watched her from above and chosen her to be his new mom and how he slid down a string to enter her through her crown. One day at a beach, he pulled something from the sand and ran to his mom saying he had found an arrowhead. She thought it was just a rock but he said no and that something was wrong with it. When she asked what he meant, he said it wasn't like the ones he used to use. They took it to a museum and were able to confirm it was an arrowhead and from which tribe. Fast forward to the kid turning seventeen. He said that he used to be really confused about time; that it seemed like he would blink and it would pass by. He said, "It is what you do between the blinks that defines you and remembering there's another chance for another life makes me want to do the best I can now and the main thing is just love I guess."
It seems all the stories I hear about or read about pertaining to near death experiences is that everyone comes back talking about love. Strive to learn this lesson well.
Randi Fine wrote, "One day we will all understand."
Pumpkin Seeds Symbolize...
Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread. Pumpkin donuts and pumpkin butter. Pumpkin spice soup. I know I am missing a lot on this list but these are just some of the pumpkin flavored foods I have seen or made (or consumed!) within the past 24 hours. It is beginning to be that season and pumpkin is everywhere!
Symbolically, pumpkins represent abundance. Some people write that pumpkins used to be symbolic of the whole world. Big and round, they have plenty of space inside to hold everything. (Very much like how Aum represents every sound in the Universe. ) And the plethora of seeds means plenty. The seeds themselves represent dreams. I would love to know how many people have actually had a dream about pumpkin seeds, but anything is possible!!! The point is, we may each have a lot of dreams but, if we do not plant and nurture them, they will not manifest into reality and will simply stay in dream form.
In Chinese culture, pumpkins represent "prosperity, abundance, descendant's luck, illustrious children, enchantment, fruit draws earth energy to manifest gold." (nationsonline.org)
Or, in the fairy tale Cinderella, Cinderella's dream is to go to the ball. Her fairy godmother turns a pumpkin (a full grown seed of dreams, if you will) into a carriage. The pumpkin literally becomes the vehicle in which to allow Cinderella to have her dream come true.
Now, dreaming about a pumpkin can mean all these great things: abundance and worldly wisdom. But, as in Cinderella, the carriage turns back into a pumpkin at midnight, which could be a sign to you that time has run out regarding a certain situation.
Of course, the most important aspect of all the pumpkin lattes and muffins and pies just may be to enjoy them. Stay present, savor every bite.
“Produce great pumpkins, the pies will follow later.”
"What's Your Bright Side?"
I was driving home in a torrential downpour. The rain was so heavy, I pulled over onto what I hoped was the shoulder until it subsided enough to continue on. I was only an hour from home but it took me two and a half. The tollway was like a parking lot and I decided to flip on the radio. I mostly listen to AM and as I pressed the buttons of stations I had saved, I heard a guy on WGN say, "Hello? What's your bright side?"
Intrigued, my hand dropped and I continued to listen. The DJ kept taking callers and saying, "What's your bright side?" One caller said his dog's diabetes numbers were finally balanced. A woman said she had been cancer free for 26 weeks. A man said he was no longer homeless because he just got a job. I found myself cheering them on! It was inspiring and such a role change from habitual complaining.
There's a song called "Yellow Light" and the lyrics are as follows:
"I'm looking for a place to start,
But everything feels so different now.
Just grab a hold of my hand,
I will lead you through this wonderland.
Water up to my knees,
But sharks are swimming in the sea.
Just follow my yellow light
And ignore all those big warning signs.
Somewhere deep in the dark
A howling beast hears us talk.
I dare you to close your eyes
And see all the colors in disguise.
Running into the night,
The earth is shaking and I see a light.
The light is blinding my eyes
As the soft walls eat us alive."
When we feel trapped by sad stuff, stressful stuff, etc, we can feel this way...as though there were sharks swimming around us and beasts in the dark. We have to remember we each have an amazing inner light and to keep expressing our bright side. Yoga Sutra 1.24 states, " The Divine consciousness is self-effulgent like the sun." When we are in connection with our inner light, we cannot stop that light from shining out on others. When we get in our "stuck" place and rely too heavily on the light of other's to carry us along, the light will eventually seem blinding because it is someone else's light reflecting upon us; we must move on to find our own.
Ellen DeGeneres: " In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better." With light, comes clarity!
I had each yoga student write down their bright side of life for that day. Here's the beautiful list:
*For a very supportive wife
*In 16 days I will be FREE
*I crowd surfed last night!
*Son's baby coming in three weeks
*2 beautiful summer days in a row!
*I saw a baby fawn on my bike ride and it stopped and stared at me- beautiful
*Healthy stress-free life
*I learned to shut my mind off
*The family all love each other
*I laughed today
*I've got a FREE day!
*Good health in ALL of my family
*My family is all healthy
"Someday perhaps the inner light will shine forth from us, and then we'll need no other light." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What's your bright side?
Energy and the Harvest Full Moon
"The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand." ~Frederick L. Knowles
Are you ready for the energy that is associated with the full Harvest Moon? A full moon typically brings a surge of energy with it but, this one in particular, might invoke a little more...
I, first, want you to visualize a large beautiful full moon. It is at its grandest in beauty, perhaps, and at capacity in appearance and clarity. You, too, are at your peak of clarity under the auspices of a full moon. The energy is a pranic upward flow that helps you obtain your desires and meet your goals. Hopefully, you already set your intentions prior to the full moon because this is the time to act and set your energy towards the action required to meet your goals and wants.
“I give myself permission to change. I create a new life with new rules that totally support me. I am ready to change!” – Louise Hay
The full moon tonight is also called a supermoon because this full moon is occurring when the moon is closest to the earth. Astrologists are saying that this full moon has the added element of occurring in Pisces. I do not claim to know much of anything about astrology but, I do know Pisces is a water element sign. Water can be so releasing in its cleansing abilities as it helps us to let go of what we no longer need. Water signs are also very emotional. Sonia Choquette says water spirits will cry over anything! So, you may want to be prepared for a huge emotional swing as well as energetic. Tears of joy, tears of release, and tears of sadness might all accompany this full moon.
A full moon is also symbolic of our own lunar shadow sides. We often obstruct people from clearly seeing our light as the complete moon is often obstructed from the sun's immense light. Use the full moon as a reminder to yourself to not put up walls obstructing light from your life.
“The past is over. I choose to love and approve of myself now.” – Louise Hay
As you allow this full moon to help you let go, "out with the old, in with the new, remember that the Pisces element may serve to bring up old addictions and old hurts.
“I easily and comfortably release that which I no longer need in my life. I give it over to God/universe/the light/Jesus/Buddha, the Divine, etc…” – Louise Hay
15th Century poet Kabir wrote:
"The moon shines in my body, but my blind eyes cannot see it:
The moon is within me, and so is the sun.
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; but my deaf ears cannot hear it.
So long as man clamours for the I and the Mine, his works are as naught:
When all love of the I and the Mine is dead, then the work of the Lord is done.
For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge:
When that comes, then work is put away.
The flower blooms for the fruit: when the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself: it wanders in quest of grass."
Try this mantra during this high energy period...“I let go of all judgment towards me. I love me and I am grateful for all the gifts that I bring to this world each and every day.” -Mawu Yoga Angels (MYA)
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope
I don't watch the news a lot; there is a good reason for that. Because, lately I have been watching and find myself so distraught by all of the hatred. It seems to be accumulating and I worry as to what "our" part is in that. What is our government doing that is offending others that "we the people" don't even know about? But, I don't like worry. It manifests in a pit in my stomach and it has nothing to do with my "present", so the only response I can come up with is send out more peace. Send out love and light, send healing. We have to be the instruments of teaching peace but, first, we have to know it.
Today's theme is about peace and the shanti mantra.
Shanti means peace, generally inner peace, in sanskrit. We cannot achieve shanti if we are in turmoil. I cannot be harmonious with you if inside I am not at peace with me. So we need to start with ourselves. Buddhists refer to this practice as The Path of Peace.
Rumi writes, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”
One could look at wrong doing and right doing as judgment calls. If we were to eliminate judgment and get to the root of the spirit, then maybe we can understand each other better. Somewhere in the middle, is there a place of unified understanding of spirit? How do we connect as human beings and help make a change towards peace. I am appalled by the recent beheadings going on; it worries me (there's that word again) that these people have no sense of the word peace, inner or outer. It is time we embody the definition and send it outward.
“Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.” Robert Fulghum
The shanti mantra is always repeated three times and is interpreted to mean "threefold peace" as in body, mind and speech. It is not enough to always speak peacefully if I don't mean it in my heart. Peace must embody your entire Self.
Buddha said, "Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without."
A Lake and a Bear
Today, I am going to tell you a story. It takes place in a mountainous woodsy area, somewhere like Colorado, perhaps. It may be a true story; it may be not. It doesn't really matter. The importance of that is up to you. But, it is early morning and there is a vast glassy lake. A gentle fog has settled in over the water and its banks. The sun has not yet risen so it is almost hard to tell where the lake meets the fog and where the fog meets the air. The horizon is blurred like a sloppy wet brush disrupting the precision of a painted stroke. You...are seated on a park bench beside the water. There are other people scattered infrequently around the lake. It is quiet and everyone is taking in this experience in their own way.
Some people are truly utterly present. Let's call them the Be-ers. They are aware of breathing in the fresh air, their lungs filtering the new as they exhale the old. These people are aware of the sheer calmness to the lake. Yet, when a sleepy frog slides back into the water, the be-ers do not miss a ripple. They hear everything their ears can tune into and the rustle of leaves is not lost on them. They are so present to their surroundings, they can close their eyes and still see everything. They acknowledge passerby's with a subtle nod of the head respecting the quiet space of each human soul that walks by. Life is good. Really good. And even if something unexpected were to happen, life is still good because that's all life knows to be. When it is time to leave, the be-ers take the lake with them.
There are other people at the lake. Let's call them the movers. They are there as early as can be to get in their morning run. Some of the movers are be-ers as well, enjoying the repetitious contact of each foot upon the ground. They hear the crunch underneath their feet and honor the breeze that encourages them on. The other movers are not so present. They are there for the run and the checkmark on their to-do list. When the run is over, they will not be able to tell you what they saw along the way except for the large obvious things like the lake. Their thoughts were on getting home and showered and moving on to that next place to be. They are so happy to have a place like this to move in rather than running on a cement street in a city but their mind has not connected the vibration of this place with the beat of their heart. When they finish, they get in their cars and leave the lake behind.
You are still sitting on the park bench. You take out a journal and begin to write. You write what you see, what you hear, what you feel. You write today's goals, tomorrow's goals, and the next day's. You write what you should do and what you really will do. You write random thoughts and poetic verses that you may someday return to and work into a poem. You just write.
In this story, true or not, the fog is lifting and what wanders out from amongst the trees surprises even you. A bear cub trailing behind its mom meanders out of the denseness that covered them before. How long had they been sitting there watching you? The people around you will react differently. I suppose it may have more to do with their proximity to the bears than anything else. Some will stay frozen in the moment to admire nature at its finest. Others will begin to create more space between them; while other people get excited and will continue forward to see how close they can get. Some will be frightened, others nonchalant, and others at peace. You add this all to your journal. So, how is it all these people at the same beautiful spot in a place somewhere like CO, can all have completely different reactions and observations and experiences? Isn't it true we all come to every place bringing our own stories?
So, what happened with the bears? Did they attack, did they leave, did they stay???
Quoting Paul Harvey, "And now for the rest of the story..."
This morning my son's bus came early and he missed it. Driving him to school in the morning traffic cost me a good half hour; time I had planned to use on coming up with my yoga theme. I glanced at the 6 presets on my AM radio. I decided to click through each station for about 10 seconds and grab what word stood out to me. I heard lake, park bench, journal, bear, people, excited. But, in those six random words, I made a connection and created the story I wanted to.
You are going to cross paths with a lot of people today. Probably most will be strangers like those you barely glance at while walking around the mall. But each person has a story. And like those 6 words, it is extremely likely that you have a connection with everyone you pass, if not for the fact that our humanness links us all and our spirits are connected beyond even that.
Be present. Notice people. Smile at them. Feel united (yoga means unity). Write your story.