seeing the light (milkweed seed)

a milkweed seed (photo by Jeff Goldberg)

Don't know why I feel light.
My Mysore practice had to be aborted this morning. It was a mess. Could feel that the SI-femur joint had slipped out again, so back and shoulder movements hurt and had to be restricted.  (Wished for my rubber mallet to bang it back in.)

Why I feel light
Tomorrow I will see chiropractor and get my joints back into gear. Andrew Hillam is sensitive and wise!  His teaching reflects and channels Sharath's compassion and care. My practice feels much improved, and I feel so much better since coming here that I am doing a happy dance/asana!

Don't know why I feel light.
After the dreams and meditation on the irretrievable (1/26/16 post), I was revisited by three separate, painful memories relating to my mother, a friend, and a student—where I was a screen for their projections.
It seems there is a type of wound unique to us as individuals. Perhaps because it is an injury that has recurred for generations or incarnations, it always cuts deep. I met a young woman at Deer Park a few weeks ago who was clearly suffering. The details she shared involved a problem with her boss, resulting in her being fired—though that was not the source of her pain. She was hurt by how her boss had treated and spoken to her. Recognizing the depth and quality of her suffering in myself, I also saw the particulars as unique to her.
When the day's sessions ended, I looked for her, wanting very much to give her a hug and good wishes. Heartache that I was unable to find her. 

Why I feel light.
Like most people, without knowing it, I block emotional hurt. My own revisiting painful episodes was different this time. Observed straight on, it was not pleasant; and while there was a strong (even nauseous) urge to turn away, I was able to allow it to be. Am I healed? Don't know. But like a traveler who has lost her luggage, I am vulnerable, durable, and much lighter.
Dear Deer Park woman, may your path forever more be filled with love and peace.     
Why I feel light.
It is a glorious day, going to be 78 degrees in Encinitas. The Super Bowl will be on later, so I will have a quiet time beaching at the ocean today. The thought of a vegan meal at Natural Foods and talk with friend C makes me smile. 

I feel light.
Also ideas for a new project are floating up—Monarch butterflies and milkweed seeds are filling my brain—with delicate, simple and elegant themes.

Feel light

milkweed seeds fan out
floating light hearted ahead 
emptiness a head
Substitute "life" for "yoga" and "practice":
When we start yoga we experience many things—ups and downs in our practice. If there is pain, enjoy the pain also... Experience both good and bad: take sukkha* and dukkha* equally. —Sharath Jois
**Sanskrit: happiness and suffering  

May all the worlds be free of suffering. 

by Jean Valentine

In blue-green air & water God
you have come back for us,
to our fiberglass boat.

You have come back for us & I’m afraid.
(But you never left.)

Great sadness at harms.
But nothing that comes now, after,
can be like before.

Even when the icebergs are gone, and the millions of suns

have burnt themselves out of your arms,

your arms of burnt air,
you are with us


Dreams Yoga Suffering Art Life Dreams

Encinitas, day 13

I had two dreams last night. One was about losing my bicycle. Realizing that I had probably left it by the fence where I had stopped, I drove miles back to where it was and yes, there it was—my maroon Davidson custom-made road racer,  leaning against a picket fence, lovely in the evening light. I approached it with pleasure and relief, but when I looked up again, it had disappeared. 

Awakened with angst and dismay by the irretrievable, I wondered, what am I afraid of losing in my daily life? Wham! A lot! From very long ago to yesterday. But these past few days—it has been of losing asanas and never getting back to where I was before this injury. 

What are you defending and holding back?

Oh, Ego! I threw you a distraction, a bone—you were supposed to be tamed and under control! 
And you say—"Well, I was fine with doing First Series forever; but then there were these three teachers in one week who said it was 'time.' And after that—there was such pleasure doing new poses well and feelings of success. It's not my fault!"

Ego, you grabbed that bone, ate it, and then became it! Now who are you? 

A sand castle being washed away. 

Experiencing fear and resistance to what is (truth), and I'm suffering—ha! even in my dreams! And what is happening on the mat, is also (always) happening off the mat. The yoga good news is that Andrew Hillam is sensitive and aware (and his Sanskrit chanting is *beautiful*). He has seen my practice at its worst/weakest, so I have absolutely nothing to hide from him or anyone else. It's too soon to say, but it seems I'm shedding some stuff, letting go of a LOT from the past. Noooooooooooooo! (That was the voice of the disappearing castle.)

never getting back to where I was

Also, am meeting some lovely people, ones who understand the underlying truth of yoga, meditators, and others who share from the heart. Today while mailing a letter to my brother, talked to a woman who is a master gardener. She has planted all native Southern California plants in her gorgeous yard and is a birder. So we talked about birds, plants, Asheville, and what to do about those "protesters" in Oregon!

As for art—the other part of my Pacific coast "retreat"—it is always everywhere. Placed three 360 Project bottles, and got two responses, one of which was from a monk at Deer Park. Will share a part of his beautiful essay below. (his entire response and his painting can be seen at: http://www.360circleproject.net/#!circle/tc5rr 
scroll to Bottle #115)

gratitude! metta! 

excerpt from monk:
Aspirations 2015-16 To be the wonder-filled, perfectly flawed little wavicle that I am, and nothing more, nothing less. Trusting as much as trying, being as much as doing, deeply knowing as much as learning. Maybe this is my Job on Spaceship Earth with a capital "J", to carefully and aimlessly relax with one-pointed concentration into being me just me.


Encinitas : Mini Mysore

Which ones of these pictures were taken in or near Mysore, India and which in Encinitas, California?

It's technically a new year, 2016, but EVERY day is a new year! 
May all beings be happy and well.

Leaving for Encinitas soon. Agreed, it's SO not Mysore, but it might be the closest one can get in North America to the spirit of Gokulum. Think—serious yoga, palm trees, great vegetarian food of all kinds, sandal-wearing weather, good people—ocean, orderly traffic, and very expensive—oops! those last three are only Encinitas. And of course, without Sharathji there is no Mysore Magic in Encinitas or anywhere else (humble opinion.)

India or Encinitas? 

Yoga, art making, reading, and lots of silence (won't know anyone) will make a wonderful 6-week retreat. Am picturing self after yoga, at beach reading Rebecca Solnit's "The Faraway Nearby," which I am trying to save, but it's hard to put down. 

And the practice? The back has mostly healed but the practice has suffered. Not to be dramatic - but it pretty much sucks right now. 
This is me doing First Series last week. 

Will see where the renewed practice goes. It can only be up!!

Here's a lovely New Year's wish for all - and especially for my ailing brother and friend Katriel:

May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”



Like a Rolling Stone (No Direction of Its Own)

A Meditation: We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon 

- Joni Mitchell 

Inspired by energies that resound and pound gently with heart, I have found some calm after being stunned and sickened by gunmen in Paris, San Bernardino, and elsewhere

What started this particular mind thread was: 
Life is change; that's how it differs from the rocks.
—Jefferson Airplane
This quote, sent by a friend, did not sit right. Really? Rocks don't change? Of course they do! They ARE alive. They just change at a different rate. And aren't stars just big hot rocks? (or burning masses of oxygen and helium.) If we are all made of particles of hot rocks or more poetically, star dust—then we are all—star, saint, holy person, sinner, terrorist, cockroach—the same. 
(NASA scientist in video: when the stars die what remains? NO THING—form and emptiness. Us, dead stars? Not poetic, just scientific.)
However, what do star rocks or rock stars have to do with yoga or me? Who better to answer the Airplane than Bob Dylan? A FB friend asked for titles of great literature to describe their yoga practice. (She chose War and Peace.) The final redemptive verses of Dylan's classic were in my head:

You used to be so amused

At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used

Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse

When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose

You're invisible now, you've got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel, ah how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone

There is exhilaration in having nothing, without anything to lose, being invisible and without secrets. Yielding to what is—on and off the yoga mat has been a gift: I'm on my own, no way to get home, a complete unknown; can't hide flaws, and at my age nothin' to lose—a rolling stone! 
Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan     
(Dylan's lyrics are brilliant, so poetic and so unapologetically angry, genuine!) 

The rolling meditation leads to my brother and a friend whose pen name is Katriel. After hearing about my brother in hospice, he dedicated his poem "Stone kicking" to him. 

Stone kicking
the stone he was kicking along the road
through a grille into a drain
bending  for another pebble
he found a truth
and put this in his pocket

I carry this in my coat
sometimes my jacket
it tells me who I am, hints who I was
anchors my present

like stone it is not cold
it hums and vibrates there
alive, it will outlive me
says to take love
the only thing that lasts

the stone sits like a cat
on my papers
but holds them in place
without judging

This poem is dedicated to Gary – in kinship
 Katriel, Constitution Road, 18 March 2012

The thread now rolls toward Laurie Anderson's movie "Heart of a Dog" (itself a meditation on life, love, death:  "Heart of a Dog" Preview ) where Anderson tells her Buddhist teacher that she is not sure that she loved her dying mother...

And finally back to stone, stars, and terrorists. Until recently, I had not even a sub-atomic particle of understanding of anyone responsible for the extreme and brutal acts around the world. Why could or would anyone do such a thing? Often feeling helpless and heartbroken by world suffering and tragedy, I asked, 
What can I do?  
WE are stardust!  
We all dream of butterflies.

I will let Joni Mitchell explain, as a conclusion to this round-about:
I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me...
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm gonna try and get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But ya know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion-year-old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

And this too is yoga...and art...and rock n roll...and grass...and birds...and clouds....and stars...and bugs...and ...

love to you who see 
the meandering metta 
by and by all ways

note: I cannot get this google blog template to do anything I want. The fonts are all messed up, the wrong size, etc. I apologize and plead innocent to this visual mess.