devote yourself

So many things on my mind lately:

Ambiguity
Grief
Uncertainty
Attachment

These things have been taking me away from my work. (Worries can be so demanding…)

In an effort to refocus, yesterday I made a list of things to bring attention to this week. One of my list items is

devote time to new website.

I spent a while looking at the word devote.

Devote, devoted, devotion.

From the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 Verse 26:

Whatever is offered to me with true devotion — if only a leaf, a flower, a fruit or a sip of water — I accept it because it is given with love.

It’s not what is given, it’s the feeling and heart in the giving.

Perhaps even my worry, my grief, my non-productivity is my offering. That is what is here, what is real — it is what I have to give.

There is also a devotion that comes from discipline and commitment. Moving through resistance and into my passion — which will be captured on this new site — connects me to my heart’s work, and there is nothing more devotional than giving from the heart.

The Gita continues in 9.27:

Whatever you do, make that an offering. Whether it’s eating, sacrificing yourself, giving help, or even your suffering, offer it to me.

It’s not about personal gain or getting something in return. It’s an offering. A gift.

Devoting time to the new website gives it the time and attention it deserves. The inspiration was offered to me; it is my responsibility to put back into it equally.

I like to think of joy and play and pleasure here as well. There’s joy in giving yourself fully to something, and play and pleasure can be beautiful forms of devotion.

How different would my life be if my actions came from a place of offering and devotion rather than personal gain or guilt and force?

1.  I would practice my guitar with a spirit of play rather than perfection.
2.  I would sit it the morning not because I have to, but because it is my way to offer peace to the world.
3.  I would work on projects from a place of service rather than what will I get out of it.
4.  I would cook (and eat) in celebration and appreciation of this body and what I am able to do through it.
5.  I would reconnect with teaching as a service to other people instead of harping on my preoccupation of how I am perceived.

And the list goes on…

How would your life be different if your actions were a form of devotion?

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17 Responses to “devote yourself”


  1. 1 Anna Guest-Jelley May 3, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Such a lovely reminder, Michelle. I would also be more present in my relationships coming from this perspective.

  2. 2 Susan Davis May 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Beautifully written, Michelle! I would experience less fear because I would have nothing to lose.

  3. 3 Emma May 4, 2011 at 12:02 am

    i would be more patient. i could be present in every moment, even ones where i am waiting in line (which i am very very bad at).

  4. 4 Nancy Alder May 4, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I adore this.. making a concious effort to see the desire to be where you are as a joyful thing rather than a chore. So perfect!

  5. 5 Thais May 4, 2011 at 12:43 am

    if i lived a life of devotion – i would not waste one precious moment outside of the now. i would be so fully here, so fully aware in the beauty of the present that i would cease to exist. i would just BE. that is to me the epitome of devotion. letting go of all in order to be all. beautiful post!!

  6. 6 Madeleine May 4, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Oh, so good. Thank you.

  7. 7 blogasana May 4, 2011 at 3:12 am

    so lovely to read your responses… thank you for sharing from your awareness of devotion!

    @anna – ya, that’s a big one, huh? makes me think of my half-listening moments… yike.

    @susan – wow, so true! nothing to lose because nothing is being risked…just offered. so beautiful – thank you!

    @emma – patience. wow, i hadn’t thought of that one. yes… thank you!

    @nancy – “rather than a chore” — that’s it exactly for me too.

    @thais – mmm, the unity that would come from it – gorgeous! thank you!!

    @mads – <3

  8. 8 Leili Learning Life May 4, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Just a moment ago I said to B that my intention of doing yard work was mainly to avoid any complaint from the HOA…! Even as I said it, I knew that I was coming from the wrong place. If I acted from devotion, my work in the yard would be an offering to myself and my neighbors to share in the beauty of our created landscapes. And isn’t that what I really want? Living from a place of devotion connects me more deeply to what I have to offer, and also to what nurtures me.

  9. 9 Bob May 4, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Wonderful and timely! I would savor each moment a bit more. And it would be easier to see that giving and receiving are the same thing. It is only separateness that makes them seem different.

    Reading this post reminds me of “faith”. Faith never had any meaning for me, until I discovered Yoga. You comment how an aspect of devotion comes from discipline and commitment. True, but the ability to devote is also supported by faith. To me, faith is the recognition that there are things out there that I don’t understand, but trust in and aspire toward. Through a lifetime of conditioning, I tend to come from a place where I need answers, and seeking answers tends to lead to more questions. Those questions lead to doubt and fear. Faith supports devotion by providing a way to sidestep doubt and fear.

    Where do you find faith, and how can that support you?

  10. 10 Michelle J May 4, 2011 at 3:59 am

    I would sit in the hammock and read instead of working on my to do list.

  11. 11 Y is for Yogini May 4, 2011 at 8:55 am

    beautiful, M. i’ll be chewing on this one for some time. i operate mainly on “shoulds.” time to change this.

  12. 12 Amy May 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Sometimes, life feels like a series of “shoulds”. I like this shift in thinking. Gorgeous post.

  13. 13 Cassidy Castleman May 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Wow! This is such a wonderful post. Clearly you are devoted to inspiring so many of us that are blessed to know you and read this blog.

    I remember daily devotions as a child, so I associate that word with God.

    I recently had a spiritual awakening of sorts where I laid in bed and begged God to take over my life- totally uncharted territory for me. Ever since that moment my life has been completely flipped upside down. I feel as if I have been swimming upstream my entire life, and now I have finally turned around to “go with the flow.” The results have been astounding!

    An old nursery rhyme we all remember has taken on an entirely new meaning now:

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream.
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
    Life is but a dream.

    Last night I wrote this little poem as a sort of daily devotion to keep me on track.

    Today might be my last
    it would be a good day to die
    but its also a good day to live- and live fully
    Just for today

    Please God
    grant me the strength and guidance
    to carry out your will
    Just for today

    And forgive me for my shortcomings-
    my selfishness, laziness, and cowardice
    so that I may better be of service
    Just for today

    And help me be grateful
    for the people and challenges
    that make life worth living
    Just for today

  14. 14 Elizabeth May 5, 2011 at 3:44 am

    *deep inward breath*

    Thank you for this. I am going to go and journal about it immediately. I was reading Wayne Dyer’s Real Magic at the bookstore earlier this week and he talked about shifting from outcome/results to purpose. I’ve been thinking about what that might be like in the back of my mind. It seems similar to this, but I couldn’t exactly see how purpose would apply to everything and I can definitely see how offering/devotion will.

    If my actions were a form of devotion, I would put all of my heart into them and appreciate each moment because each moment would be my offering. Truly, I cannot think of a better way to live.

  15. 15 Tracy May 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    As always, beautifully expressed, Michelle! These are great guidelines for living. More & more I try to approach everything from a place of love and heart opening. If my actions were were devotion I would stop to dwell even more deeply in the present moment. Lately the days have been so full… more mindfulness moment would be on my list. :o)

  16. 16 blogasana May 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    so grateful for all the sharing. so beautiful…

    @leili – mmm, caught yourself! that’s great to notice. i’ve been noticing more too, and can then (maybe) reframe. i think it will take some training :)

    @bob – this is so beautiful, bob. yes… faith. wanting answers really resonates with me right now. and without faith, there’s a lot more angst about not having them. so rich… thank you.

    @michelle – i see you in that hammock!!

    @miss y – oh the shoulds!! the other day a friend said “shoulding all over yourself.” i used it in class and they did think i actually said the other :)… but i loved it and have been saying to myself lately. makes it a little lighter. xo

    @amy – “shoulding on yourself?” :) i hear you. where’s the joy, man?

    @cassidy – that sounds like a really powerful experience… and a powerful response. i would guess that most people do not have (or seek) this kind of experience of opening and new way of seeing. and the poem… wow!!! thanks for sharing with all :) just for today… that’s all we can do. beautiful.

    @elizabeth – mmm, i can see how they are similar, but devotion/offering feel better for me too. ‘purpose’ feels a little goal oriented. i can’t think of a better way to live either :)

    @tracy – oh… i can just feel the pause in that. the ‘dwelling’ in the moment… thank you! xo

  17. 17 Jodi April 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and
    I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last part :)
    I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.


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