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Everything we do speaks, whether in conscious or unconscious ways.  Maybe you have very deliberately pondered your legacy, what you want your life to have been when you back at it in old age.  I certainly have, and I’m still working to develop my views of what I want my impact on the world to be, and to take actions and shape my life accordingly.  But what’s easier, more tangible and needed every day, is to consciously shape the ripples we create in every day living, through every action we take.  What do we want the impacts of those actions to be on the ones around us?

I’ve been biking to work recently, and on my way to and from I see a lot of other commuters, particularly in the mornings.  I watched last week as a woman on a bike gave a huge smile and a loud “good morning!!” to everyone she passed.  Many looked back at her blankly, some smiled back, most seemed to be a bit caught off guard.  But, most interestingly, I then heard more “good mornings” between folks after she’d passed by.  To me, this was a concrete example that one person’s simple action affects others.

Asana recommendation:

Bring more awareness into each action you take in your asana practice today.  Focus on moving deliberately and on the spaces between the poses.  These spaces are the unconscious ripples we create in daily life, whether we scowl or smile as we move through our lives.  Keep the sides of the torso long, lengthening the distance between the hip bones and armpits, make space for the positive.  Carefully place your hands and feet in alignment and watch the way you feel.  Try to share any good that comes out of your asana practice with those around you.

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Since childhood, The Lorax has been one of my favorite movies, which I hope you’ve had a chance to see again recently.  I’m quite inspired by the Lorax character, who speaks for the trees.  Though fictional, he represents our ability to stand for what we believe in, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.  Often, we are caught in a place where we want to help, but our ability to actually make a difference seems so limited we don’t actually do much, or anything at all.  For example, I absolutely do care that there are people living in poverty around the world, without clean water and a stable food supply.  But other than donating my money to food aid groups occasionally, what can I really do to help?

One of my teachers shared this quote recently:

“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
– Edward Everett Hale

May we all be inspired, like the Lorax, to learn what it is we stand for, and to do what we can.  Still I am one, and still I can do something.

recently i tried something i’d previously been afraid to do: i traveled abroad by myself.  i learned a lot from the experience, namely that i was a lot stronger and more independent than i’d thought.  i have had several friends who have traveled alone before, some for months at a time, and i always thought, wow that’s so cool (…for them, i could never do it myself).  then circumstances arose where i had time and resources to do a bit of traveling and i went for it.  and it was very cool.

where do you have limited views of yourself?  in this case i wasn’t really even aware that i’d held this limited view, it just wasn’t something i thought of regularly.  but when i had time to travel and my friends and family didn’t, the opportunity to expand presented itself.  the best part of doing something that scares you a little is that when you actually do it and overcome that bit of fear, other opportunities to expand present themselves!

we each see the world through the lens of our own experience, values and perspective, which is natural and normal. when that lens becomes too cloudy with our emotions and our ego’s response, we may misinterpret what we see or hear. i think we can all relate to having heard what we wanted to hear (or what we feared we would hear), versus what was truly said. sometimes at least for me, i find myself going into a conversation with an expectation of how it will go, what the other person will say and mean, how she/he will react to what i have to say.

this is allowing my ego to cloud the lens of my soul, and it’s very dangerous; it can result in misunderstanding and hurt feelings. first, i try to recognize when this is occurring, when my personal view on something is interfering with clear communication.  then, i try to see myself in the other’s shoes, and ask myself if i’m hearing what they are trying to communicate, or if i’m hearing though the filter of my own experience.

one of the best ways to ensure the lens is clear is to really pay attention to yourself, and deal with issues as they come up, difficulties, resentments etc.  it is important to be truthful with yourself about biases you may have, and how they got there, to ask you if they are truly serving you.  equally important is to really pay attention to what is actually in front of you, to try to see it from another angle, and to ask yourself what is real and what is not.

 

Support yourself with what serves you well.  Draw into, collect that which serves you well, and release that which does not.  Let go of the rest – focus on what empowers you.  So often we focus on what we want NOT to do, what we give up, what we push away.  By focusing on what we are giving up (sugar, swearing, whatever), we in fact elevate its importance, and spend mental energy on it.

In contrast, by focusing on what serves us, what makes us happier and healthier, turning direction in this positive way, we move forward and can sweetly release what’s not serving.  Focusing attention on what we DOES support us, what we do want, we focus energy and attention on the positive 🙂

in reading the bhagavad gita for the first time, accompanied by douglas brooks’ book poised for grace, which interprets the gita from a tantric philosophical perspective, a few thoughts really stuck with me.

brooks states that krishna is telling us about the connections we all share, all living beings.  he says “we are always connected and have always been connected.  yoga creates the power to experience that connection fully, deeply, richly, and with all the complexity that human embodiment promises.”

i think in our hearts, we all sense the connections we have to one another, but often it is hard to feel them with the prakriti and filters for thought that we have built up in our lives.  brooks’ statement crisply solidifies why we are seeking yoga, at least why i am; to remember what’s always been there.  as suzie hurley said in class last week, we are always whole, we always have all that we need within us, inside us, at all times.  yoga is remembering this wholeness.

in the bhagavad gita, chapter 7, krishna (incarnation of the divine) tells arjuna (symbolizes all of us), “there are four kinds of men who are good, and the four love me, arjuna: the man of sorrows, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of something he treasures, and the man of vision.  the greatest of these is the man of vision, who is ever one, who loves the One.  for i love the man of vision and the man of vision loves me.”

i think all of us who practice and are aware of pursuing something deeper through our practices can be considered seekers.  brooks refers to the seeker of something he treasures as wealth-seekers; but if you interpret krishna’s statement a little more literally, to mean something one treasures, then i characterize myself as a seeker of something i treasure.  i am looking for something more, some purpose to this life, something beyond what’s offered itself to me thus far in my journey, to contribute to and to wrap my life experience around.  that’s the seeker a lot of us are; what’s the meaning and purpose of my life?  not so much what’s the purpose of life overall, i’m not ready to tackle that question and honestly i don’t know how anyone will ever know they’ve found it, even if they have.  but what is the purpose and meaning of my life – what’s the best way for me to contribute to the rest of this human experience, with whom i am intrinsically connected.  while staying authentic to my true self and my true calling (s) as krishna reminds arjuna, what will be my contribution?

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