Archive for the 'philosophy' Category

have you come over? there’s a contest!

My new site, Love Wasting Time, is up and running!

And now you have a way to sign up for posts — direct to your email or reader.

Have you been by?

If not, you’ll definitely want to check out this week’s contest (my first ever!).

You can win a weekend retreat with Pema Chödrön — in the comfort of your own home. This weekend the virtual retreat, Pema Live, will broadcast from the Omega Institute. Pema is teaching on Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change.

Come on over and leave a comment to enter to win.

Oh, and, Blogasana will self destruct in… well, never. But I won’t be posting here anymore. So come over to Love Wasting Time and get all the goods you loved here and more.

xo

 

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thought for the weekend

Reflections on Nothingness from Alan Watts. Take four minutes and thirty seconds out of the busyness of your weekend to consider: What really matters? What if it all turned to dust? What if all this hocus pocus is… nothing?

yes, salamanders are slow processers. and a free class on the truth.

I spend a lot of time being clever…

in my head.

The truth is I’m not too quick on the draw — I’m a slow processer, like a salamander. I prefer to mull things over thousands of several times before I feel prepared to respond.

I’ve learned to accept and even appreciate this, bar momentary relapses (usually when I’m not feeling grounded or connected, i.e., not taking care of myself), as with a recent conversation with an acquaintance.

She was sharing about how well things are going in her life. Something about it triggered me: I felt a shift in my heart rate, a slight tensing in my solar plexus and instantly a voice in my head said Say something clever, be charming!

Oh, the ego is so delicate.

For better or worse, I spent a good part of a minute trying come up with something to say. Of course, I couldn’t come up with anything. Today I can, but in the moment? No.

And thank goodness.

Not saying anything left the silence and space for her to play out her story (which turned out to not be all sunshine and cherries). And space for me to be in my jealously and watch it shift in my body and eventually move through, leaving yet more space.

I notice something similar when a friend is in need or making a decision. Ooo ooo, I know what you should do!

But rushing in with fixes rob us of the opportunity to let the thing run its natural course. And, like with teaching, how much better is it for a person to find their own way to an answer than for you give it to them? Claiming that you know for them is actually quite arrogant.

In the midst of this interaction I also remembered that we’re currently studying ahimsa and sayta (non-violence and non-lying) in the Enrichment Program.

It was a great reminder that these foundational restraints and observances are a choice. The mindful life takes practice and patience, effort and discipline (but that’s tapas and we’re not there yet:).

Anyway, chances are my acquaintance wouldn’t have thought I was as brilliant and amazing as I’d have wanted her to.

***

In celebration of being more honest with ourselves, here’s a free class practice based on satya. Play with the little ways you exaggerate or deny or camouflage. Let me know how it feels (honestly!).

Click to listen, right click to save or open in iTunes.

It would be great to have a strap or robe tie, padding for your knees, two blocks (or just use the seat of a chair) and a little piece of wall. Don’t let all the stuff scare you — it’s a pretty simple and lighthearted class based around Half Moon Pose.

Satya Beginner Class

.

be magpie’s guest

It’s easy to let people have ideas about who I am. As a yoga teacher, the assumptions about me are usually that I’m nice, kind, warm and generous. And, I am!

Of course, I can also be mean, petty, jealous and selfish. If you hang around Blogasana, you’ve read about the sassy tangos between these two sides.

Stepping more fully into this duality and exposing my darker side has been scary. And strangely freeing.

My guest post at Magpie Girl is no exception. When Rachelle asked me to write for her Relig-ish series about living a spiritual hybrid, the only answer that came was about my marriage.

This was the hardest and most honest post I’ve written and I thank Rachelle for the opportunity. Reflecting on my past, my beliefs and the path that has led me to this Right Now has been a lovely gesture of self-acceptance, integration and wholeness.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the Magpie post.

Happy weekend!

how sensitive is sensitive enough? and a free class

Two important parts of horse training are desensitizing the horse and sensitizing the horse.

Desensitizing to objects, sounds and places so the horse does not literally fear for it’s life, freak out, and accidentally kill you.

Sensitizing to your commands so the horse knows when you are talking to it and asking it to respond in some way.

Both pieces are equally important. You don’t want an over-sensitized horse who spooks at every rock, whistle and gesture; nor do you want a completely dull horse that is half asleep and won’t move when necessary.

The big ball

Last week Cowboy and I worked on desensitizing with a giant red and white ball.

Cowboy saw the ball as a big round predator. He was anxious and would not stand still when I rolled the ball toward him.

Eventually, though, he decided it was worth checking out.

After a few more minutes I was able to rub the ball on his legs. He was skittish and uncomfortable at first, but became more relaxed the more I did it.

By the second day of working with this (there’s no rushing a horse), I was able to pass the ball underneath his belly to the other side with no upset.

If you have a horse and a ball, all it takes is patience, love and some sweet talking.

Might we do well…

What if there were de/sensitizing exercises for humans?

Well, I believe there are.

Having an honest conversation with friend, family or lover.

Receiving constructive criticism.

Exposure to new people, places and sounds.

Stepping out of routine and comfort.

Getting lost.

Being injured or sick.

Learning something new: knitting, guitar, French.

And of course, meditation and yoga asana practice.

Sensitive enough to respond appropriately; desensitized enough to not be alarmed by every new thing.

All it takes is self-directed patience and love. A little sweet talking doesn’t hurt.

________________________________________________________

Want to jump right into sensitivity practice? You can download two yoga classes for free. These are live, as in unscripted, there are um‘s and sooo‘s, references to the room, student questions, etc. Practicing along would be a great desensitizing exercise!

Both classes start with the story about the horse. Both classes are focused around hip work. Right click the link and “Open with” iTunes.

This is a 75 minute, lighthearted, beginner-friendly class.
Blanket or towel padding for the knees and blocks (if you have them) will be helpful.

Sensitize – Beginner Yoga Class

This is a 75 minute more intermediate flow class.
Blanket or towel, blocks, a bolster or blanket roll, and a golf or tennis ball are all referenced. If you do not have these things, just interpret the poses without them.

Sensitize – Intermediate Yoga Flow

In any yoga practice, I believe we hit at least 95% of the human de/sensitizing exercises listed above: it’s like a very honest conversation, you’ll probably be out of your comfort zone at some point and you might get completely lost.

But, like Cowboy, I hope you aren’t spooked by the shadows and shapes out on the trail. Have a safe ride!

don’t be so sure


{photo}

A couple of years ago I did a Rolfing series with the wonderful Lisa Biow here in Sacramento.

The 10 sessions are broken up roughly by parts of the body. When we got to the session on the lower leg and foot, I gave her my typical pre-massage spiel about a knot on my lower shin:

Ya, there’s this spot here on my leg… I don’t like it to be touched… I think it’s some old scar tissue from a fall when I was a kid… it’s always been there… did I mention I don’t like it to be touched… so you’ll just want to work around it.

Lisa nodded, Uh-huh, ok, and replied, very respectfully, Just to let you know, I’ll be getting in there.

And she did. She worked that knot around, despite my moaning, until it was almost gone.

When she was finished she asked if I wanted to feel it. What had felt like half a good-sized grape was now more like a lima bean.

And the strangest feeling came over me:

Who am I now?

Who am I without this knot on my leg? Who am I without this story about this knot on my leg?

It’s all about perspective

Finding out that a story you’ve told yourself about yourself — or better yet, a story someone else has told you about yourself — isn’t true is completely disorienting.

And when two people’s stories collide, the potential for bewilderment increases exponentially.

It’s like having a conversation with another person about a piece of art… and finding out that they’ve been looking at a different piece of art.

Or getting directions from your house to the grocery store… and finding out that the directions are for another town.

Completely disorienting.

The sages say…

Don’t be so sure. Don’t be so quick to pound your stake in the ground.

Don’t make an identity around a knot on your leg.

Absolutes are stifling. There’s no room for discovery, evolution or the change we know is inevitable and essential.

I mean, is anything certain?

 

CERTAINTY

Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines.

Dears, there is nothing in your life that will
not change – especially your ideas of God.

Look what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
into gold.

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and
greed.

God once said to Tuka,

“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond
Myself,

what I may have once put my seal upon,
may no longer be
the greatest
Truth.”

~ Tukaram

what’s your story?

{Photo of Cowboy completely unrelated to post}

—————————————————————————————————-

Voices

There are two ways to tell a story. You can tell it from the voice of The Reporter, or you can tell it as The Commentator.

In her beautiful workbook called Finding Your Voice, Jen Lee differentiates the two:

The Reporter sticks to the facts — what’s happening, where, when.

The Commentator offers explanations and interpretations.

While The Commentator often offers meaning and context — which most of us are very interested in and seek in our lives — sometimes we rob ourselves of raw experience. We generate conclusions and step into The Story without being aware of, let alone actually feeling, what’s happening.

The Reporter, on the other hand, takes notes, interviews witnesses, and gathers all the facts. The Reporter doesn’t make assumptions or snap judgments.

The Yoga Reporter

I believe we need more Reporting and less Commentating in yoga practice.

I feel a stretch in my hamstrings
rather than
These damn hamstrings are never going to give and I’m always going to suck at forward bends

I feel fatigued right now
rather than
I’m so lazy and I just need to push through

And instead of stopping at one or two main details (usually the ones The Commentator thinks are important), we would benefit from Reporting the whole story: How’s the breath? What’s the expression saying? What amount of effort is present, is needed?

What is happening rather than what it means.

Observations rather than conclusions.

We all have them

One of my stories is that I’m weak, not very “hardy.” It’s a story from my childhood, told to me by my family. I’ve spent much of my life compiling evidence to support this story.

My Reporter has a stack of facts that reveal giant holes in the story. I don’t feel weak. Although I need and like to rest, I also have great stamina and can do a tremendous amount of work in a day. My heart has expansive capacity and holds many sorrows and joys.

Come to find out, this story is not true.

Even this guy

This is a favorite poem for the vivid imagery and surprise at the end. I hope you enjoy.

Fake by Jordan Grumet, MD


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