Saturday, December 28, 2013

Minnesota Nice Meets Manhattan

When in doubt, practice yoga in the subway station.
It took me a couple of days to adjust to the vibe here in New York City. Coming from Minnesota, I have been schooled in a passive-aggressive communication style, which not every region understands, or appreciates. Tips passed down through the generations include being overly polite, apologizing for no reason, and trying to keep irritation in tidy internal compartments. Garrison Keillor has made a career in lovingly pointing out these idiosyncrasies. I'm hoping this two weeks in New York might be just enough time to reset my "Minnesota nice" into a larger array of responses and experiences.

In addition to marveling at New York's get-to-the-point directness, I'm looking for some yoga classes to attend. Meanwhile, the anything goes atmosphere at the subway station, often accompanied by live music, will do just fine.

When personal space includes a full body press from strangers on every side (subway commute), you can be sure tolerance and compassion already play a big role in the lives of New Yorkers. Yoga in action is alive and well here. These observations and experiences are stretching my heart, and shining an appreciative light on all of us humans.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holidays with a Twist

Reflecting on your own divinity
     When it comes to the holidays, I have become one who craves a silent and holy night. A sacred time to both reflect and celebrate the divine within. The end of the year feels like a natural and mandatory reflection time. If it wasn't for the discovery of yoga communities, I would probably still be wondering where one could find a sacred space for such reverent reflection. Yoga communities everywhere roll out the "welcome to yourself" mats, celebrating the the season within.

Many will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I too, will honor him, who's spirit lives within my own heart. For me, this divine compassionate presence has many names. If limited to one name, it could be easily distilled to "love." In honor of Christ, who also suggested we look within, I celebrate his wisdom, and how he lived his life in love. His spirit simply keeps pointing to the breath, the spirit of love, and the connecting energy within me. Showing us the way, the truth and the light, within our own miraculous selves.

For many, the holidays are a time of tradition. I'm a traditionalist too. It's just that my tradition is to do things a little differently every year. Last year, my holidays consisted of having the Christmas flu. I felt like it was my body and spirit's way of saying, "you're not going anywhere until you sit in awareness of all that IS." Oddly enough, the flu was what I needed to take that time. This year, the holidays will be spent in a sea of mostly strangers. New York City will be the backdrop. A wonderful place to acknowledge the divine presence that illuminates everyone, no matter their lifestyle or perspective. It also happens to be a great place to find extra special holiday yoga classes!

"Vast inner solitude"
Wishing everyone real peace as the seasons get ready to turn again.
Rainer Rilke's words remind us not to underestimate the importance of finding time to sit with your own divinity:

              "What is necessary, after all,                                                               Is only this: solitude.
                Vast inner solitude.
                To walk inside yourself
                and meet no one for hours --
                that is what you must be able to attain."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Neutral Expressions

Natural Expression
     The last couple of months have been an experiment in living life at a slower pace. No longer having the desire to be everywhere at the same time. Every moment feels blessedly important, regardless of what is happening or not happening.

The mid-western autumn is as beautiful as I can ever remember it being. The trees are full and bursting with color, sometimes showing even more impressively when the backdrop of the sky is gray. The temperature fluctuates from day to day, along with my emotional reactions to the upcoming change of season.

On the colder days, you can almost see people moving into more contemplative states of being. Expressions on people's faces are becoming more neutral. Mannerly greetings on the street are being replaced with respectful silence. On the slightly warmer days, effortless grins return with the sun.

This time of year asks for our flexibility and acceptance of others, as we all adjust to change. The social expectation of smiling all the time seems to close for the season, giving our facial muscles a deserved break. I noticed this for myself on halloween, while wearing a mask for a few hours. I was struck by how relaxed my face felt behind the mask. Maybe the quieter seasons show us how to take a break from our own show.

Living in a challenging climate, there are no expectations of perfect weather, or perpetual sunshine. The phrase "it's all good," is understood as myth, probably invented by those afraid of the dark. Truth reveals that life is dynamic, changing, bright, empty, thunderous, bitter, colorful, foggy, clear, and so much more. Letting go of limiting concepts, ideas, and expectations of how things should look, we become as graceful as the twirling leaves.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jai Ma! A Tribute to Dixie

Flowers for Dixie
     Someone special has made a grand transition this week. She checked out of this particular world on the eve of Canadian Thanksgiving, which could not have been more appropriate. Dixie was the maker of delectable meals and the giver of constant thanks. She also happened to be Canadian. Her adult children and my dear friends, know how fortunate they are to have a mother that lives on in love.

We will continue to include Dixie in all things beautiful. I will miss her insight and opinions (always given with a grain of gourmet salt.) I admired the way she made an ordinary day feel like a special occasion. She brought an effortless elegance wherever she went. In her presence, I felt cherished. Her time here was too short for our understanding. I find comfort knowing the quality she brought to every moment, and to her relationships. I imagine her energy is now helping to heal the whole world.

Hindus also gathered this week to celebrate the Divine Mother. Since learning of Dixie's transition, the words Jai Ma (Victory to the Mother) continue to roll from my heart, out of my mouth. Victory to the Mother in all of her forms.