"Since the dawn of time, our bodies
have been at war with foreign
bacteria and viruses.
Since the dawn of knowingness,
our minds have been at war
with uneasy questions.
Since the dawn of wants,
we've been at war
with ignorance, which has not
had the time or knowingness
to realize that we have finally
ended up at war
only with ourselves -
So I ask you
what is it that you always
wanted to hold in the palm
of your hand since your birth?
Another Hand ?" by Emahó
I stumbled across these words on the internet written by Emaho, an American Indian from New Mexico who delivers seminars across Europe. Interestingly enough, to me, I had been "coincidentally" mesmerized earlier by my new deck of Native American medicine cards as well as working on a theme based on the Tibetan word "emaho".
The poem says "since the dawn of knowingness, our minds have been at war with uneasy questions"...
Why is that? The dawn of knowingness implies we had all the answers at that time; why do we allow the mind to intervene with what we know?
Bodhisattvas have a knowingness about them that solves problems from the heart. Not only do they recognize the solution through wisdom, they intuitively understand how to impose actions that will carry out the solution. This is where we often get stuck. We might be able to see the solution we or someone else needs, but we do not know how to get from point A to B. So we sit with our questions. If I do this, what will happen? If I talk to this person, will things be better or worse? So we stay in a state of inaction.
"The most sacred prayer is not coming from a book,
it's not coming from somebody else's mouth,
it's coming from your own heart." Emahó
I love this story taken from Lama Surya Das' book, "Budha is As Buddha Does":
A kindergarten teacher hands out paper and crayons and asks the kids to draw whatever they would like. She approaches one little girl and asks her what it is she is drawing. The girl says, God. The teacher replies but no one knows what God looks like. And the girl responds, they will in a minute.
The teacher is stuck in her not knowing; she most likely would not have attempted to draw God because her mind would be stopped in questioning mode. What color should she use? Male or female? and on and on. The girl, like a bodhisattva, listened intuitively to her heart and just illustrated what she knew.
Emahó teaches how "to see life through 'Life's Eyes' rather than through the eyes of the personality... Most of us operate from hurt and disappointment, though we might not know it. To reach the ability to see through 'Life's Eyes', Emahó suggests you seek simply because you have realized the goodness of life, not because you are desperate, lonely or hungry, the point at which most of us start searching. Rather than being spiritual it is to be a spirited human being in nature - to begin to wake up in your life and fight to be more alive in it." http://www.emaho.ws/page3.html
The word emaho, inTibetan, means beautiful, fantastic, wondrous. It is used at the beginning and end of Tibetan poetry, much like Om is chanted at the beginning and end of sanskrit mantras. How would Emaho bookend your day?
A Yogi's Adaptation of A Visit from St. Nicholas
By Sandra Coyner
'Twas the morn before Christmas, we all came to class
Peace of mind for us yogi's and thin down our--- (mass!)
We rolled out our mats on the wood floor with care,
Way in the back from the yoga teacher's stare;
Then pretending to sit still, staring down at our toe;
So she wouldn't make us move up into the front row;
Hands at our heart, intentions were set,
That next year's expectations, all would be met,
When from outside the studio there arose such a clatter,
I sprang past Nataraja to see what was the matter.
The candles all flickered in the wake of my breeze,
And the draft of the incense made some start to sneeze.
I left the class waiting to know the next asana,
While I peered at the glistening snow covering the "grass-ana",
When what to my wondering eyes did I see,
But a reindeer and Santa shouting out "Shanti!",
He came into class, minus yoga apparel
Not resembling the Santa in Elf with Will Ferrell.
A yogi at heart, the poses he voiced,
But practicing ahimsa he gave us a choice:
"Now, Down Dog! now, Cobra! now Puppy and Malasana!
On, Rabbit! on, Warrior! on, Headstand and Balasana!
He did the poses, as well, transitioning with a hop
Oh, the balance he had from climbing on each rooftop!
He offered us gifts, the non-attachable kinds,
Because he knew material belongings would just mess with our minds;
His prana so magical, a legendary mentor
He offered to balance each chakra energy center--
A strong sense of grounding when balancing our Root
So we focused our drishti on Santa's red suit.
In his pockets, carrots, a great reindeer snack,
And to balance our Sacral we focused on that.
Yellow, Solar Plexus and green for the heart,
No stranger to yoga he ignored someone's fart;
Without pause he held up an ornament blue,
And our throat chakras balanced all the way through!
Our third eye's saw indigo, we all looked within
and saw the bright glow underneath our own skin!
A violet light blushed as he balanced our Crown,
and healing enveloped us much like a gown.
He gave us great tips, like, naked yoga shouldn't be,
and never hang onto a wobbly yogi in Tree;
snoring, he said, in svasana's okay
because maybe it means you simply had a tough day.
And don't forward fold if your pants tend to slip low,
And non-judgmentally laugh if you fall out of Crow;
Your practice is yours, wisely saying "You'll see",
It will reveal your path on an amazing journey.
And don't hold your breath, you will simply turn blue
Your teacher does not want to CPR you!
That was it; with a mudra he went right out the door
As we sat in Sukasana on the hard floor;
To his team he gave a whistle as he sprang to his sleigh,
And we all bowed our heads and said Namaste.
But we heard him exclaim, as we all left for home--
“Merry Christmas to all" then a fabulous "Om".
New Year's Eve challenge based on the book, "One Word That Will Change Your Life" by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page.
As each new year rolls around, I encourage people to set intentions rather than resolutions. Resolutions are fallible and they set us up for failure and disappointment. Intentions are requests from the heart that we can keep working on and, since they come from the voice of our heart, cannot let us down.
In the book "One Word...", the authors suggest carefully choosing one word that will be your focus for the entire new year. The word should represent something you strive to work on or simply be more conscious of.
The following is a link where you can hear the authors discuss how this idea came about, what some of their words have been and meant, and how to choose your word. I strongly encourage you to listen to this interesting conversation.
The only "rule" is that you do not get to change your word mid-year; the word stays with you until next New Year's Eve. It is not a race to compete or win against your word; it is an exploration of the journey this word leads you on.
The authors strongly suggest putting your word where you can see it every day so you are reminded of its (and your) intentions when you chose it, though its significance to you may certainly change as the year moves on.
So, here's the challenge! Choose your word wisely and post it on my FB page...Inspired by Earth Yoga and Reiki with Sandra. If you can't find the page for some reason, friend me on FB and I will send you an invite to the yoga page. If I may not know you and you stumbled across this challenge, add the word challenge to your FB friend request. If you do not use FB, you can post directly to my website as a comment to this theme.
Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life might be? Do you already know? Do you feel your purpose remains constant or does it change as time passes? Perceptibly or imperceptibly?
Let's compare this question to constellations. Constellations are shapes we humans attribute to the stars to help us remember how the stars are grouped together. It is a way of taking the big picture, the sky, and breaking it down into more manageable puzzle pieces. For a constellation's shape to remain the same, the stars would have to remain in a fixed location. However, they do not. Though it would take many of our lifetimes, for sure, to possibly notice a star's movement, astronomer Edmund Halley noticed a change in star locations based on Greek charts made 1600 years prior to his lifetime. And if the stars are moving, so are the shapes of the constellations we attribute to them.
If the constellations serve as reminders flickering in the night sky, maybe our intuitive understanding of our "purpose" becomes clearer every now and then when we need guidance or a reminder to stay on our path.
Rachel Naomi Remen refers to our purpose as "The giveaway". In much the same way, author Dawna Markova relates if our purpose doesn't include others it doesn't have branches. Branches are essential to our individual tree of life in much the same way our arms are essential branches in tree pose offering balance. If your purpose is only about you and for you, where is the balance?
"No one can tell you how to find your purpose. It can only be found, slowly, in your own dark sky, in whatever is sacred to you, be that church or woods. It can't be found by searching around for a role model or learning how cultural heroes handled their difficulties. It is seldom found by following anyone else's rules. It lives in the rest in the place where music is born, the fertile void, the silence between notes. It is simple and basic. It emerges slowly as a sunrise, as we search through our gifts, our darkness, our losses and loves. Your job and mine is to be quiet and alone from time to time. To be present to ourselves and the natural world, and to be in conversation with what is hidden in us in such a way that we can explore what brings us more alive."Dawna Markova
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning."
Playful, happy dogs ran down the Arubian beach as my daughter sat building a sand castle with six year old Kayla. The dogs were closely followed by a man wearing a donation bag who occasionally stopped the dogs, asked them to sit and then offered treats in response. My daughter, being one of the greatest animal lovers on the planet, immediately gravitated towards them. Gravitated might not be the right word as it was more like a run but it had the same magnetic pull that would not release her from its grasp until she could get her hands on each homeless soul.
She knelt in the sand so Brownie could put her paws on Sam's shoulders and lick every inch of her face. I laughed as the girl who doesn't like to get wet was pushed over into a wave by the exuberant dog who couldn't get close enough to her. My daughter was covered in nail scratches, but she didn't care. At first, I thought she was bleeding from one of them but realized it was her hair dye running down her back since her hair had gotten wet.
Back where Kayla and her mom stood, a woman approached and chastised Kayla's mom for letting Sam get licked by the dogs, let alone even pet the unvaccinated creatures. The dogs were well trained by the man who rescued each from starvation and who patiently walked them up and down the beach all day long hoping for someone to adopt one. They were happy dogs, though ribs showed through their fur, wet from chasing balls into the ocean.
Kayla's mom simply said, "Do you see the woman standing five feet from Sam? That's her mom." And the matter dropped. You can live by fear or through love. When it comes to any animal, Sam doesn't just live through love; she lives through LOVE.
Dawna Markova, author of "I Will Not Live an Unlived Life", wrote about a similar story. When her son was five, they were in Venice in a town square filled with pigeons.
"He stood covered with gray and white pigeons enrobing his arms. My mother whispered in the dark hallways of my mind that they were filthy creatures. But he didn't know that. He kissed each one with tender lips. As I watched, they seemed to turn into doves. Actually, pigeons are kind of dove, but I didn't remember that until he smiled as if swathed in blessing, and kissed them. What is loved reveals its loveliness."
Here is a poem I found that will challenge you to truly consider whether you primarily live in love or fear...
LOVE Versus Fear by Sarah Nean Bruce
LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)
LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)
LOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)
LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)
LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)
LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)
LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)
LOVE GIVES (fear resists)
LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)
LOVE IS COMPASSIONATE (fear pities)
LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)
LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)
LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)
LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)
LOVE CREATES (fear negates)
LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)
LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)
LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)
LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)
LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)
LOVE DESIRES (fear Joneses)
LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is nervous)
LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)
LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)
LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)
LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)
LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)
LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)
LOVE WANTS TO PLAY (fear needs to control)
LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)
LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)
LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)
LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)
LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?