Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

just be September 30, 2008

Filed under: being present,perfection,yoga — Jenny @ 2:42 am

Another reminder of our ideas of perfection showed up in yoga class today. I mentioned it before, about the bread: I had to let go of the idea of what “perfect” bread would be and once I did that, I discovered that what I had made was perfect because it was made with intention, concentration and mindfulness. Today, one yogi asked our instructor for tips on coming into a pose with more ease, such that it would “look right” or “look better.” It lead into this conversation about what is “right” in yoga and the lesson came up. What is right? What is perfect? There’s freedom in letting go of this notion. Once you can do that, you can see things as they are in this moment. Where your body is in this moment, that is perfect. What your body can do in this moment, that is perfect. When you lack the notion of perfection, you lack the notion of failure. When you lack the notion of beauty, you lack the notion of ugly. When you lack notions, you gain the freedom to simply be.

Ironically, all the moving and bending and stretching that we do in yoga is to prepare our bodies to be still. We are doing these postures so that we can meditate, so that we can just be.

Namaste,
j.e.n.

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zen and the art of baking bread September 28, 2008

Filed under: being present — Jenny @ 2:08 am

Today I made bread. It was a process that took me the better part of 4 hours. It consisted of mixing, stirring, waiting. Stirring and waiting some more. Stirring and waiting some more. Molding and waiting some more. Baking and waiting some more. It took patience (and a surprising amount of physical strength, might I add!).

When it was done. It was splendid. It’s no secret that I tend to get stressed out when I cook. If it’s not perfect or how I envisioned it to be, I can get upset and deflated. But, in another illustration of the freedom of non-expectancy, I started working on my bread with this attitude: “What’s the worst that could happen? It might be inedible. So I’ll try it again, if that’s the case. This won’t be a failure, or a disaster. It will be an attempt.” And it was spectacular. Does it look “perfect”? No. But it’s beautiful and it’s delicious, because I made it with my own hands. It took me an entire afternoon. And when I ate it, it wasn’t just any old bread. I savored it because I worked on it. I am a part of that bread.

It was made with sincerity. I was present as I made my bread. I focused on the stirring, the kneading, the shaping as I was doing it, and nothing else. I was eating dinner, then, and I was really overwhelmed with happiness… and yes… it was because of my bread. It was like I could taste the presence. I was appreciative of everything non-bread that went into making that bread.

Sincerity is the quality where your imperfections show.” Zen Master Edward Espe Brown

 

lotus in full bloom September 27, 2008

Filed under: healthy body,healthy spirit,thanks — Jenny @ 8:40 pm

If there’s been anything about my life that has been a struggle this week, it was with some health issues. I’ve made it no secret that I previously struggled with an eating disorder. I’m extremely proud to say that it has been more than one month since I’ve even had a thought about restricting or anything related to anorexia. A new outlook of mindfulness and working on the habit of happiness have done wonders for me. Unfortunately, there are still daily reminders of my past that take the form of health ailments. My negative mind created negative effects in my body, in my physiology. Last week I was upset with myself. The realization that the reasons for my discomforts were self-inflicted was very saddening for me. I couldn’t believe that I had done this to myself, that I had so disrespected myself. In the past month I’ve experienced for the first time ever, the beauty, strength and power that is my body, yet here was this reminder of how I had been damaging that.

Tuesday I went to the doctor. My attempts to remedy these problems on my own were not sufficient. This is just the beginning but I can feel myself, my organs getting stronger again. Some medicine plus some ayurvedic natural remedies combined to give my body what it needs to function. Today, I was blown away by the realization of my own resiliency. My spirit has bounced back and now, my body will too. For that, I am ever grateful.

I’m grateful for a strong mind, that decided enough was enough and back in July 2007 determined it was time for a change. I’m grateful for the continued strength to walk down a rocky path, constantly reminding myself of what was waiting for me at the end. I’m grateful for the support that my friends and family offered me all this time, despite being themselves confused by my behavior and unsure of how they could help me. I’m grateful they didn’t leave me alone. I’m grateful for this body, that I battled against for so long but that didn’t leave me either. I’m grateful for this whole fight, this whole struggle; it has delivered me to a great place in life. I’m grateful for ever-growing mindfulness, patience, flexibility, compassion.

I’m grateful to you, to me, to the earth, to energy, to resiliency, to my breath, to impermanence, to continuation, to inter-being, to the present, to the past.

This is the habit of happiness.

Namaste,
j.e.n.

 

saying my peace September 25, 2008

Filed under: peace,yoga — Jenny @ 3:05 am

Global mala weekend left me feeling like I’d been on spa holiday and it’s carried over through this whole week. I feel pretty serene and calm. Global mala invited me to work on building compassion, to send out positive energy into the world. Karma reminds us that the energy we put out into the world will return to us, whether it is positive or negative. On my mat last Saturday, I stopped doing sun salutations just to be doing 108 of them. Instead, I dedicated every movement I made to someone I love, to people I know, to people I don’t, to people who need peace all over the world. And this week, I am peaceful. I’m amazed that I was capable of creating this energy. It transforms me every day.

“I’m a human being. Not a human doing, not a human thinking. A human being.” Deepak Chopra

 

global mala September 21, 2008

Filed under: happiness,healthy spirit,om,sangha,yoga — Jenny @ 2:31 am

Well, if I didn’t know it before, I know it now. I realized Friday morning as I was doing my practice before work that I had a sangha- a community- in yoga. The last few yoga classes had seen all of us students talking more and getting to know each other. But tonight takes the cake.

Together we were one entity, completing 108 sun salutations, as did so many other yoga practitioners across the globe, in the name of world peace. Afterwards, we ate dinner together and it hit me like a wave again. I have belong to a sangha. We sat there, people of all ages and walks of life, with this one, amazing link between us that goes deeper than you might imagine– our yoga practice. We talked about what it meant to us and how we got into it to begin with. We talked about completely non-yoga things. But no matter what the subject, I couldn’t help but feel this sense of one-ness with all these people.

Chris ends every yoga class with this phrase, “I honor the light in each of you that is the same light in me. Namaste.” That’s what the one-ness felt like. Honestly… I don’t think I’ve passed a more content night in Evansville since I moved here. I’ll tell you what, too: I’m not going to miss much about this city come January, but above all of it… I will miss my sangha.

namaste,
j.e.n.

 

my body is a temple September 17, 2008

Filed under: healthy body,healthy spirit,yoga — Jenny @ 1:41 am

This week I’m praising my body. I know I’ve been working up to it for a few weeks, but it just feels like over night my body has suddenly become able to do things it couldn’t before. It’s stronger, more limber. It’s amazing.

I’m proud of the changes I’m seeing and feeling, and what’s more, I’m realizing, finally, how much respect my body deserves. It’s precious and I’m going to treat it that way.

 

his trikonasana is such a turn on September 12, 2008

Filed under: change,divine crush,goals,life,yoga — Jenny @ 1:00 am

In life, there is such a thing as a “non-sexual crush,” which is essentially an umbrella. Under this umbrella is the all-important “intellectual crush”. And today I’d like to add a new category. I think I’ll call it a “divine crush.” What’s this all about?

I have a divine crush on my Wednesday night flow yoga teacher. He’s tall, lanky (very bendy, you can imagine), a hippie. He’s cute enough, I suppose. You can tell he’s full of tranquility and calmness. Very endearing. These are all good qualities, sure. But where it’s really at is in the spirituality of it all. Not only do I leave feeling absolutely amazing, tall, and physically fit… but I leave feeling so mentally sound. Now I realize that I generally leave um… EVERY yoga class feeling this way but he’s the only guy teacher so he’s an easy target. Any guy that spends an hour and a half making me feel that way is definitely going to find himself as the apple of Jenny’s eye, that’s for sure. Mmmmyogateachergurummmmmm.

In other news. Plans are pretty much official now, so, some of you know and some of you are hearing it here first: I’m moving back to St. Louis in January 2009. A whole new chapter of my life is going to be opening up and I really couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m not ready to reveal all the plans just yet, but I’ve figured out what it is I actually WANT to do for the rest of my life and St. Louis is where I’m going to start.
In the wake of this great place of stability in which I’ve found myself, I’ve also found that my attitude towards St. Louis has changed too. It doesn’t represent the younger, more naive, more dependent Jenny anymore. Now, it’s the new horizon. The Gateway to the Rest of My Life. It’s going to be good. I have to thank Evansville for what it’s done for me. I’ve changed for the better, and I wouldn’t have gotten here if it hadn’t been for this city. I’ve learned so much about myself. But in January, I have to go. Evansville, I discovered, was just here to serve a purpose in my life. It fulfilled it’s duty and it’s time to move on.

Again I remember the quote about preferring the journey to the destination, and I think that this just might be the most anticipated journey for me yet.

namaste,
j.e.n.