Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Starfish Story~

The Starfish Story

Original Story by: Loren Eisley



One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. 
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.  The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?  You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”


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My sister shared this story with me last night.  I loved it.  I hope the rest of you do too.

Do What You Can,
Marcia

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Beginner At Heart~

In my perusing of the web for inspiration for life and classes and such,  I came across this piece by Denise Benitez,   a long-time teacher and Co-Chair of the Anusara Certification committee.  I think it is beautifully written and is obviously written from a place of deep knowledge and experience.

After reading this,  I am reminded why I always feel like a beginner.  The path and practice is vast and deep, profound and sweet, magical and mysterious in more ways than I can comprehend.  I follow the flow of the river and continue to get to know myself and learn to embrace the beauty of this world on a daily basis.

I am only scratching the surface.  I love that.  I love that there is more for me to learn and understand and incorporate.  Life and Yoga are both Great Adventures.  You never know what is waiting for you on your mat or what treasures you will discover in the sweet space of your heart.  Explore and Enjoy it all!

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The Fruits of Practice  
by Denise Benitez 

The amazing process of learning anything is a testament to the capacity of the human mind to evolve and grow in the course 
of a lifetime. You can go from a tricycle to Lance Armstrong; you can go from not comprehending the dots on a page of 
music to playing sonatas; you can be in complete confusion listening to a foreign language, and a few years later, be 
dreaming in that language. 

Most people who come to their first yoga class have a learning curve, which is to be expected. The forms, shapes, and 
words are unfamiliar. Yet, within a remarkably short period of time, and with guidance, yoga students become used to the 
subculture of yoga: the place to put your shoes, how to take your seat, the chanting of Om or an Invocation, the general flow of the 
class, and of course, the first Sanskrit word most students learn, Savasana. 

Then, is that the extent of the learning? From my experience, not even close. Learning the basics of a yoga class routine, becoming 
familiar with the key standing poses, understanding how to move into a pose; while this is all invaluable knowledge during your first 
few years of yoga, it is like learning the basic alphabet of a language. You have learned enough to think you know yoga, but you 
haven’t yet learned enough to know how much you don’t know. 

I have experienced this over and over again in my yoga teaching and learning life. I’ll reach a pinnacle of knowledge about 
something, say; how to do backbends, and think I have it figured out, and then I realize that there is a whole philosophical and 
emotional field to explore relating to the human heart, the expansion of the heart realm, and I’m back to the beginning...knowing 
more than I knew before, but awed (and excited!) by the vastness of what I don’t know. 

Because the field of yoga is so enormous (physical poses, anatomy, breathing practice, meditation, philosophy, lineages, etc. etc. 
etc.), we necessarily dive into certain streams of interest for a while, learn deeply there, and then come up for a breather, with another 
diamond of interest to turn toward. I am in awe and deeply honor the traditions and explorations that came before me; I also am 
informed by the rapid pace of innovation and creativity that Western yoga practitioners are adding to the stream of the practice. 

And yet I speak here from the stance of a life-long yoga practitioner and long-time teacher. For those who come to a yoga class 
once a week, and have other interests and busy lives, how do they learn about yoga’s depth and meaning? 

I believe that even someone who comes to only one class a week can learn and benefit from yoga’s profundity. The key is 
constancy; in The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali gives us the five qualities that must be cultivated in order to maintain this constancy, even if 
it is a commitment to a once a week practice: faith, energy, mindfulness, remembrance, and wisdom. 

Faith: You don’t know why exactly, but you always feel better after yoga practice. Next time you think about not practicing, you 
remember to remember that yoga affects us in mysterious ways, and you make a decision to trust the practice, to have faith in the 
many practitioners who have illuminated this practice, and to get on the mat or meditation cushion. 

Energy: Some commentators on The Yoga Sutras use the phrase “heroic energy” here, and that is what it feels like sometimes; the 
kind of emotional and spiritual energy that comes from deep inside, and is not so much about dominating and pushing through, but 
stepping into the stream again and again, turning your life force toward what is optimal and harmonizing. 

Mindfulness: This can be thought of as getting to know yourself better and better, so that you are not in the thoughts that limit 
your capacities, but watching them. You can then see the right action in any moment, the accurate micro-adjustment in a pose, the 
true way to arrange your energy field in class, the perfect breath to take. 

Remembrance: It’s easy to stay small in our vision, and in our sense of our potential and worthiness. Remembrance brings us to 
practice, because it is joyful to step into practice when it means coming home again and again to our own beauty and dignity. 

Wisdom: True wisdom happens over time and is something that is deeply felt, rather than just an intellectual theory; you see the 
results of devotion to practice, to evolution, to meaning, to the ritual of your practices. As wisdom expands, you recognize it more 
quickly and closely over time, which strengthens your sense of trust and faith. 

There is a way to be in the flow of life and a way to try to stop the river. Practice is about trusting the flow of the river, using its 
energy to support you, being aware of the power of that energy and its magnificence, seeing that you are that river and that 
magnificence, and dedicating yourself to its freedom. Then, even once a week practice can contribute to a life that is beyond the 
commonplace. 

As Paul Muller-Ortega said in a recent talk, “Our strength, wealth, support derives from our practice. When times of challenge 
come, we have that to fall back on.” 







Friday, June 25, 2010

The World Is Conspiring In Your Favor~




I am sitting here this morning slowly waking up and hanging out with my boy.  I have been browsing the web, reading some blogs, simply enjoying what other people desire to offer or share about their life through writing.  I feel inspired and appreciative about my own life and what I have been blessed with so far.  


I was reading about Jenna's journey and the creation of her little yoga studio, JalaBlu.  It got me thinking about my own little studio,  Luminous Lotus, and how that all came to be.  It is an amazing thing to have that flash of insight turn into a vision, a dream that you make real in the world.  It is a single spark that sets things on fire and makes your heart beat faster with the joy of knowing what is next.  


I will say that I have been blessed with really good intuition that I have learned to trust and follow.  I think the beauty of inner knowing is that you always get lead to the most amazing things, places, people.  The point of all this is that in those fleeting moments of clarity it is easy to miss the message if you are not paying full attention. So... Pay Attention!  Be Aware because it matters. 


My flash of insight to open a yoga studio came with an image of a mural on a wall of Lakshmi.  I saw the studio.  After that vision of Lakshmi in a painting on a studio wall came to me,  I had this wave of creative energy wash over me.  Creating that studio, coming up with the name, the logo, the class descriptions and such was all I thought of.  I recall all these ideas and the making of it all being easy even though it required a fair amount of my time and energy.  Then, the most miraculous part was how the seed money came.  I / We, Jason and I, did not have the money to open a studio but a  great loan was offered to us from an unlikely and unsolicited source.  It makes me think of that quote,  "The world is conspiring in your favor."  I love this idea.  In fact,  those words and this idea that the world is for us and not against us makes me smile. 


So anyway,  when I think about this phase of my life when I was so full and pregnant with possibility, both figuratively and literally,  I am amazed and grateful.  In thinking about this time in my life, I am reminded that we all have the power to make positive things happen all the time.  Even when our life takes a turn and points us in a different direction then we think we should be going, have faith in the process.  Hold on to this idea that the world is working in your favor. 


I know from experience that even when it seems like you are going the wrong way or have strayed off the path, life is actually leading you the right way.  Sometimes, though,  it is hard to see what we need and hard to believe we are where we need to be.  I think the moments when it feels wrong or uncomfortable may have a something to do with our own resistance to what is and needs to be right now.


A perfect example of what I am talking about is my move from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Tucson, Arizona.  Our move to the desert meant I had to let go of the studio.  I wasn't ready to leave or let go.  I was just starting to feel settled.  I was resistant with a capital R.  At the time,  all I could think of was what I was loosing and in no way could see or fathom what I would gain.  


I am in one of the most amazing Anusara Kulas in the world!  Nearly 3 years of living here has allowed me the time I need to appreciate what I have gained.  I am amongst some amazing teachers and am becoming an amazing teacher myself.  You know that saying about when you ride with the best, practice with the best or teach with the best, you rise to that level.  Not only do I believe this to be true, I know it to be true.  


What a lovely and extraordinary realization to have on such an ordinary Friday morning.  


Have a great day and if it is not so far,  make it so!


Ask, Believe, Receive,


Marcia


Luminous Lotus ~
http://www.luminouslotusyoga.com/article_index.php?articlePath=22_28&osCsid=ftofs3a2cm6sd2ui7utr6r8sk1

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pictures from Italy ~

Here are some pictures from our trip to Italy.  Enjoy!













Pictures from Italy


A few more ~














Friday, June 18, 2010

Things Change

Where to begin?  Well, my family and I were going to spend the weekend in Flagstaff but our plans have changed.  Jason was going to do a mountain bike race called the Barn Burner but a fire broke out near the event site and the smoke is too much so it was canceled.  We could still go up North to see our friends, but Jason still has some obligations to a couple of his athletes who have decided to come down to Tucson.  We have a couple other reasons for our decision but that doesn't really matter.


Admittedly, I am little bummed about not going as I was looking forward to getting out of town for a break from the heat and a visit with some friends.  I suppose an actual trip to visit with friends in Flag is in order.

There is talk about us still going camping for a night but nothing is in motion as of yet.  So for now it looks like there will be a fair amount of time spent in the pool this weekend.  I am still taking Sunday off from teaching to spend with my boys on Father's Day and am looking forward to it.

The heat has been rising and has been hard to adjust to.  I am feeling the effects of the high temperatures because I have been feeling very tired and have had a headache everyday.  The headaches don't really seem to go away so am working to resolve that.  Maybe I am dehydrated.  Maybe I'm stressed. Maybe my diet needs a change. Maybe I am holding back or holding to tight to some thing I need to let go of.  Who knows?  I bet it's a combinations of things rather than just one thing.  

Come to think of it,  I have noticed a lot of tension in my jaw lately.  In fact, while I was practicing the other day,  I noticed that every time I would lower to four-limbed staff pose (chaturanga dandasana) I would clench my jaw.  Clearly, there is a misalignment and am working with this in my practice.


I know this sort of a practice doesn't sound as exciting as if I said I was working on Scorpion,  but I find it rather intriguing.  The best part about this little realization is that I noticed I am tensing my jaw and jutting my chin forward all the time!  Also,  I often find that my tongue is pressing up against the roof of my mouth, and I have to continually remind myself to relax that area and move my neck and head back in line over my spine.  I see some studying and practicing of skull loop in my future until I get it.  ;)

I am sure it doesn't help to have so much on my mind as this only increases the pressure in and on my head.  However, I seem to be in this place of looking over my life.  It's like I am reviewing things so I know where I'm going and what it is I want because things have changed over the years.  In some ways, I feel like I am breaking with my past and letting go of this idea of who I thought I was in order to allow myself to be who I am. 

For some time now,  I have been asking myself why I never hear from certain friends even though I try to keep in touch.  I think it's time to stop asking what I'm doing wrong and trust that it is all right.  I guess life simply takes each of us where we need to go and sometimes paths diverge, so we say so long and best wishes to those we part ways with.  I feel a tinge of sadness in writing that, but I think I am beginning to understand this is just part of the process.  


I am learning that I need to allow life to happen without me trying to figure it out all the time.  Don't get me wrong, I think that some contemplation is good but too much is not, as my aching head will tell you.


Besides,  I always find I end up where I need to be whether I know where I am headed or not.  I suppose this is precisely how I found my way onto a mat.  From there, the rest of the story continues to unfold.  ;)


Best,
Marcia





Thursday, June 10, 2010

Breathe in, Breathe out~

It's late. I should be in bed but am feeling the need for some solitude. It took a long time to get Liam to sleep tonight, so I got out of his room around 9:45. I feel drained. I love to hang out with my monkey reading him books and cuddling, but I also need time for myself to just do whatever it is I fancy doing. Anyway, I am tired and want to sleep but don't feel ready to crawl into bed just yet.

I have a lot on my mind these days and it feels like I am in some sort of time warp. For example, I was out of town just over 2 weeks ago and it feels like much longer, like it has been years not weeks. I am not sure why that is or how that is, it just is. On my mind are thoughts about my family, the direction I am going in my life, teaching and practice and whatever else it is that will bring more joy and balance into my life. I have these moments where I am so clear on what I want and what I am focused on and then my clarity turns to confusion.

Some days I wake up feeling as though I have somehow lost my direction. I don't know if the miscarriage has anything to do with my feeling turned around or not but maybe it does. I don't know. At least when I was pregnant, I knew what to focus on and knew what was coming to a certain degree. Now, I am in this place of just practicing taking each moment as it comes. And believe me this is not something that comes naturally for me. Breathing in each moment and sitting with the sounds and sensations and contemplations is a practice for sure! Breathing through the challenging moments of raising a sensitive 3 year old when I am sensitive too takes constant vigilance on my part. And, frankly, some days I've got it and other days I don't.

Also on my mind and in my head is this notion that I should be further along in my practice or in teaching or in the certification process than I am. I may be further along than I think but my mind doesn't seem to want to go there. It's like there is some glue on my brain that these old, random beliefs or thoughts are stuck to, and I need to figure out a way to unglue myself. It's like sometimes I don't even see who I am. I feel me, I see me, I think I know me, but sometimes I don't really see the me that other's say they see.

I know that I am rambling and this may make no sense at all but, oftentimes, my meandering and writing of words shows me something I need to see. So I write to figure it out or to at least see a pattern. What is coming clear is that I need to change my view and thinking of myself. I need to shift my perspective on a few things. To add to that, I need to trust my intuition and inner guidance more fully. I think I get hung up on the world's idea of how things should be done when I don't feel inclined to run along those lines at all.

I know that life is vast and swift and moving and am aware that I must ride the waves as they rise and fall. Sometimes, though, I just want to float, to be still, to not think at all. Maybe that's just it. I think I have to do something to get to some place that I don't even know that it is I want to be except for this ache in my heart that is asking for more. The longing leads me on.

Maybe all I have to do for now is rest on my back, close my eyes, float, feel the rhythm and trust that I will be carried to where I need to be. And when the time arise for me to paddle, to move, to work, I will know. I will work. For now, I feel the need to sit with my eyes closed and breathe in and breathe out and simply allow for the discomfort to dissipate.

Breathe Deep,
Marcia

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finding Joy in the Everyday Things~


"Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day." ~Author Unknown
It feels like it's been a while since my last post so this will be more about getting back in touch and sharing what I've been up to for the last couple of weeks, which isn't all that much. Lately, life has been full of the everyday stuff like: catching up on laundry, cleaning the house, getting back into our regular routine at work and home, and tending to all the other things that need tending to. So really the last couple of weeks have been about readjusting and realigning on all levels. My husband refers to this idea as getting back to ground zero.


Traveling abroad was both strange and wonderful. To me it felt sort of like I flew through some portal and ended up in some strange new land. Really, the return home sapped me energetically, so I felt pretty wiped out and a bit out of sorts by the time we made it back. The week following our return was busy so time to rest and get settled took more than I thought it would.


All in all, it still feels good to be home with my little monkey, Liam, and back in a familiar environment. My classes are going well, and I am feeling more rested. Unfortunately, though, I got pinkeye this last week which was a total surprise and something entirely new to me. I knew something was wrong with my eyes right away so went to have them checked. Thanks to my rapid response to my body's request for some love and rest along with some eye drops and tea the pink, gooey mess has nearly cleared up. ;)


Over the weekend, I had planned to attend Bruce's Therapeutics Alignment training but didn't end up going. I simply didn't feel right showing up while contagious and then showing up for only the last session. I was bummed to miss this training but know there will be other opportunities in the near future. I suppose a tired body has to make it's point somehow and pinkeye certainly got my attention.


Since the heat has kicked in, Liam, Jason and I have been spending time playing in my parent's pool. Playing in the water does make a hot day more bearable. It looks like Liam and I will again make our way up the hill to spend the day at my parent's house because our cooler stopped working last night and is need of some repair. Jason hopes to get the cooler up and running by this evening.


I guess that about sums things up. Right now, it's all about finding joy in the little things everyday, staying cool, and embracing each day fully.


Joy,
Marcia