Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

it begins at this moment October 23, 2008

Filed under: comfort,growing up,life,optimism — Jenny @ 1:47 am

The saying goes that yoga begins at that moment when you want to come out of a pose. Your leg starts to shake a little, the heat your building up seems to increase exponentially. You aren’t in pain, but you sure as heck have been more comfortable in life. You feel like you’ve been holding for ages and your brain gives a tiny squeak, you think, “Just let the instructor say ‘release’, already!” But instead the instructor says, “3 more breaths.” You think, “Three more breaths?! Is this a joke?!”

Yoga starts.

You stop your brain from screaming and you focus. You turn inward and you breathe, and you survive. You move on to the next sequence.

I never realized until tonight, how much this would come in handy outside of the yoga studio. I’m not in pain, but I sure as heck would say I’ve been more comfortable in life. Admittedly, I needed my time earlier today to be upset, and I was. I felt a little overwhelmed. But underneath it all was this sense of calm. I know it’ll all work out, this is a hiccup. This is my thighs burning in Warrior II. But it always starts with the little brain scream, “Is this a joke?!” and then, just like in class, you breathe. I’m breathing through it. I’m calmer because deep down I know. I know that I’ve done a lot to surprise myself, and there’s no reason this shouldn’t be another example.

And there’s always this one thing to look forward to: before I even know it, the instructor (should I capitalize that word?) will say, “Release” and it’ll be time for the next sequence.

The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with me.
The first I graft and increase upon myself…. the latter I translate into a new tongue.
Walt Whitman

 

i take a hint October 18, 2008

Filed under: adventure,being present,life,mindfulness,spontaneity — Jenny @ 3:21 am

“Be prepared for a few scheduling hiccups, today. Suddenly, an unforeseen event could limit your free time and make you feel a little bit like you’re under the gun. But have no fear! This rapid change of pace will not send you down a stressful path. Instead, it will be invigorating and bring out your competitive, aggressive nature. This will be a fun day, full of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat — and ready for the next curveball to come your way!”

At 7 am, I was at work, reading my horoscope on MSNBC, thinking “Yipes… I don’t know how I feel about this one…”

At 1:30 pm I was thrilled to only have an hour left of work and looking forward to errands, the weekend and lots of yoga classes.

At 5:35 pm, I was standing at the corner of Barker and Mt. Vernon, looking sadly at the front bumper and headlights of my car lying in the middle of the street, cleanly detached from the body of my car. Another hour or so and I was watching my precious darling car being towed away. Fast forward another half hour and I’d gotten a ride home and was making reservations to pick up a rental car in the morning.

It wasn’t until after dinner that I remembered my horoscope this morning. And then I reflected on how I’d been feeling quite scattered and distracted all afternoon. My brain was moving a million miles an hour and literally seconds before my accident tonight I explicitly recall saying to myself that I needed to get out of my head and focus on life as it was happening in front of me. I remember thinking these words exactly, “You just aren’t paying attention to the world outside of you tonight.” That was an understatement.

Then it occurred to me… in my last blog I was talking about how happiness is always there for us to touch 24/7, if we’re just mindful and aware we’ll see it. I think tonight was a gentle (?) suggestion from the Universe to broaden that idea. Not just happiness, but life itself. Thinking back on the day… I almost feel like I should’ve seen this coming. Starting with my horoscope, which I generally just read for fun and don’t actually use as a guide. And then there was my own advice to myself to focus on what was happening in front of me and to stop living in the world going on in my head. I was very in tune with how distracted I was this afternoon. In fact, I was so in tune with my distraction that it was distracting… Clearly…

It was like the Universe was saying, “Yes, Jenny. Happiness is there to be touched 24/7, but that’s only because Reality is there to be touched 24/7. Truth is there 24/7. Just listen to me and you’ll be able to be there for all of it. Happiness, chance, even disappointment.” I had forgotten that in order to recognize you are at the mountain’s peak, you must also recognize that there is a valley far below. They are both there and they can not be without the existence of the other. And there was the Universe, all day long trying to tell me what I needed: to be aware, to be mindful of it. But I simply wasn’t listening for that.

This has been a very interesting lesson I’ve learned tonight. I’m also proud of my reaction to it all. I’ve surprised myself by being so calm about everything. To speak truthfully, I think this is almost a good thing that has happened. Sometimes I recognize the extent to which I cling to a routine and I have been known to get very agitated when my routine is interupted. Yes, I realize this changes the plans I had for the weekend a bit. Yeah, it sucks I missed yoga tonight and I’ll miss it in the morning. But I can accomplish nothing if I focus strictly on how I wanted things to go and how they didn’t go accordingly.

Life happens and all that there is to control is how you react to it. You have plans and sometimes the plans have to change. You make the best out of what you’re given.

And you learn to listen. To all of it.

 

shine it inward October 14, 2008

Filed under: happiness,healthy spirit,light,thanks,words to live by — Jenny @ 12:38 am

I don’t want to dote on about the same thing two posts in a row, but I really just am impressed with the past 4 days.

I’m full of gratitude for the time I got to spend with Laura this weekend, for starters. It was great to have her here, in the city I’ve called home for the past 10 months. We did things, exploited the area more than I would’ve ever done if she hadn’t visited. Consequently, I developed a new appreciation for the state and city in which I live.

To top it all off, there was a splendid Monday. The work day wasn’t overwhelming so I could ease my way back in after a long weekend of fun. And, if it couldn’t get any better, I had a private yoga class with Chris tonight. Not on purpose, I just so happened to be the only one who could make it to the 4:30 today. So it was whatever I wanted to do, tips specific for me and my abilities and the chance to practice more advanced poses that you don’t normally get to practice in regular classes. I did a handstand and a headstand. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I did. Talk about a boost of confidence.

So what I’m saying by way of this recap, is yet again the Universe is taking care of me. It causes me to wonder what I’ve done to deserve this. But then… when I think on it. I wonder if it’s a question of “deserving.” Like I said last time, this is here for us to touch 24/7, we just have to be mindful of it. So maybe it’s not that I had to “earn”it, it’s that I had to get in touch with it. With the Universe. The Universe in me. Maybe, once you put your energy inward, positively, you see that the Universe is always offering you what you need. You just have to listen and accept it and be grateful. You have to realize it’s in the “small” things just as much as the “big” things. You just have to realize. To be. Maybe it’s not about being fearful of a god, repenting or walking a straight line. It’s not about deserving or earning it.

When I consider that we inter-are, then I question that idea of sacrificing and asking for happiness and good fortune. If we inter-are, then it’s all inside of us already. We just have to be there for the happiness. We don’t have to earn it. It seems to me that the Universe (in us) wouldn’t actually force us to earn happiness if it is us as well. That would mean it’s forcing itself to earn happiness equally as much as it forces us, and well… why would anyone want to be put to the test for happiness? Don’t we all just want it? Yeah.

And it turns out we all have it. There needn’t be a fight for it. There needs to be a light on it. Turn the light inward and we’ll each find all it is that we need.

~~~~~~

Joy requires one to be awake,
Adjusting the heart’s ambience to bright.
Some prefer the dark, as is their right,
On grounds of agony, and to forsake
Not only bliss, but all that’s blessed by light.
-Nicholas Gordon

We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light.
-Earl Nightingale

I used to love the darkness
But the sun is my new best friend
As soon as I embraced him
He put my misery to an end.
– Abbe Yeux-verdi

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

i begin to wonder October 8, 2008

Filed under: Energy,healthy spirit,meditation,yoga — Jenny @ 1:13 am

Sometimes I go to yoga class and I really can’t help but wonder. Sometimes I have something really pressing on my mind and Chris’ closing zen phrase will seem to address me directly, as though she knew. Sometimes I build my intention mentally before class and that night’s instructor will ask as a class that we build that very same intention on our mats for that practice. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what it is… How, how, HOW is it always seeming to be in tune with exactly what is going on in my mind? Tonight, our teacher was Mark, who hasn’t been to instruct us in 5 weeks. Just last week I realized that my upper body strength was improving vastly. No… I still can’t do a push up, but I realized I can lower myself with impressive (to me) control, leading with my chest instead of my hips and… what’s more… I can hover. I can hover. I can hold myself an inch off the floor for about 10 seconds without struggling. Wow, I never thought I’d see the day.

Anyway… sure enough, Mark walks in class tonight and almost as though he knew I was mentally tooting my own horn about my great arms… he humbled me. Not with spite, obviously. And not in a way that made me think, “Oh, I’m not so strong as I thought after all.” There was no mental frowning. He humbled me but he gave me confidence. He worked my arms. He let them show themselves off (again, only to myself) but he also seemed to let them know that they certainly aren’t done. I’m digressing, but it was exciting. It was like my arms were getting a chance to be excited about the adventure that lay before them. Lucky for me Mark will be teaching the next 2 Tuesdays, so they’ll probably get some more action, those arms.

The point is… I am beginning to wonder. How much of this “speaking to me” is just chance? How many times can that happen? Could it be that the message is just all encompassing, so it could speak to anyone in any situation? (The thing is, I know I’ve been skeptical about this kind of stuff and I’m very, very hesitant because the words I’m going to have to use, for lack of any better, are going to have a religious connotation, despite my not intending them to have one at all.) But I really just don’t know if I think it’s all chance anymore.

Laura said in her blog the other day, “I believe in energy.” And I loved that. Simply and beautifully said. So now I’m really thinking I’m on my way to tapping into that energy, that it’s really there. I think it’s energy that goes by many different names: God, Brahma, Allah, Mother Earth etc etc. But tonight I think I realized it’s there. I believe in it. I believe in Energy. It’s there for us to touch 24/7. It’s speaking to each of us in every moment. All we have to do is come to the moment, to learn to be alive, and it can be ours.

 

breathing in, breathing out October 7, 2008

I’ve decided to start a meditation routine in addition to my yoga practice. There are moments in class that I am in deep relaxation and I feel like I can feel the tiniest bit of real, true presence and I think that’s something worth developing and reaching for. Thich Nhat Hahn said in Buddha Mind, Buddha Body that unless you are present in this moment then you aren’t really alive because you’re living in the past or the future or in a fantasy. But presence, alertness, mindfulness in this moment… that is to be alive. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we’re worried about and some place that isn’t right here and we’re just losing all this time… all these moments… all these nows… exactly where life is happening. I’ve been one of those people and it’s caused me suffering. So with diligence and intention, little by little I’m going to learn to be really, really alive. Not threatened by the silence, but amazed by the vastness. Not a slave to my mind, but a master of it. Not reactive towards my emotions but just simply aware of them.

Slowly but surely, I’m going to learn to be.

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”
Thich Nhat Hahn