The question is: What, most simply, can you surrender to this week? Maybe program related, maybe not.

This week I had to write a bio and did a list of writing prompts to get me started. “Where can we find you when you’re not working? What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon?” I was whizzing right along and waxing eloquent on all the previous questions about my work until I stopped cold at this one. I pondered, I tried to recollect what I liked to do before I got this busy. In my kinder moments around this question, I celebrated the fact that I love my work, how it is incredibly woven into the fabric of my life, that a big part of my community is students and other teachers. How beautiful to be so in love with my work!

But after this kinder moment came a slide into despair as I realized that my busy-ness has totally stolen my “free” time for a snuggle up with a good book, getting my hands and feet packed with dirt digging in the garden, cooking up something totally impromptu in my robin’s egg blue kitchen, wind whipping by me on a bike cruise, a quiet pause of me and nature and breath and nothing else to do. And how the moments I cherish the most and seem to have so little time for have everything to do with family: a walk in the park with hubbie, grandbaby’s hand nesting in mine, my son building me some sushi, my daughter and I sharing a rare moment alone on the couch, a phone call ending with “I love you” from my dad.

So what I wish to surrender to this week, this month, this summer, what the heck—forever, is an attentive practice of pausing, of taking each moment for the precious work of art that it is, of getting my priorities back in order. I knew that when I signed on for this teacher training it would demand a shift. I have absolutely adored the weekends and the homework, the deep dive into a home practice that blossomed into a life of its own. Invaluable, precious, just what the doctor ordered. And the pendulum is very ready to swing back toward the middle and I am ready to surrender to this swing.

Blog 2 – We had a very full weekend – what is still lingering, resonating, buzzing?

We spent three hours Friday night with an aruvedic practitioner, not my first exposure to this unique medical slant. Love to consider nutrition an integral step on the optimal health pathway and my personal approach has been moderation, balanced diet, as much local and organic as possible. I have done raw, done vegetarian, done vegan…for spurts of time….always come back to the middle ground. I am such a foodie, love my creative time in kitchen and garden, was totally born into it, both of my children are total cooks…it is just a huge part of my life.

So when someone suggests taking a look with a different perspective I watch myself be intrigued and be in total resistance at the same time. This little character who likes to hide behind the curtain and peek out, afraid to commit lest something will have to change in my precious ordered existence. I count on my native animal instinct for nourishment choices and the whole idea of questioning my intuition bugs me, that somehow what I am drawn to is the worst thing for me. The whole concept of “like increases like” begs a re-frame of intuition. Maybe I have to corral my intuition and point it in the direction of balance. Novel concept. Maybe our intuitive eating takes us out of balance, that yoga needs to counter our instincts, that knowing what is good for us and acting (eating) otherwise is the root of disease.

“Prajnaparadha” is the Sanskrit term for “crime against wisdom”, our very human propensity to choose against what we know is right. I didn’t know there was a term for this. It has been a topic of discussion with my patients and students for years. I watch my own tendencies to know what I need to do on the mat and then turn the other way and choose to not do it. There is nothing wrong here, it is the way we are built, and being in observation of it, being gentle with ourselves in that moment, not getting out the whips and chains…I know this is the only compassionate response that will eventually deliver us to what we need.

So many things to consider in diet that are “crimes against wisdom” and what I have taken on this week, what so obviously cools the fires of digestion (why would we want to do that?) and what I have always been drawn to for cooling my own fire….iced beverages. A big aruvedic no-no. That makes sense in a back door intuitive kind of way.

I was supposed to blog about what was outstanding from the anatomy lesson on Sunday but I had to miss this weekend of training. California Spirit Fest was simply amazing and I missed the camaraderie and stimulating learning that has become part of my life since early in January. So this blog reflects the three qustions I answered about svadhyaya—the niyama that encourages us to take on self-study as a lifelong habit.

Svadhyaya

a) This teacher training is a beautiful well-mapped road in self study. Svadhyaya is my nature and has been as far back as I can remember. I have self-reflective poems from when I was ten years old, philosophical book reports from way back and a memory of deep listening to and reading from Baba Ram Dass well when I was but 18 years old. I don’t feel the need to make a plan for continuing education for when we are done with this course work because I will always be sniffing around for the next attention puller. That being said, it would be really useful to pull each asana sheet out and keep honing it. I dig around and find what is ringing true in my personal unfolding and that investigation becomes in service to what will come forth in the classroom. Each week in this current chakra journey has been like that. Now that we have really rooted into that instinctual survival, that ancestral lineage, and discovered the 2 bellies–tender & powerful—I wasn’t sure where to go with anahata. But during the memorial service in Sedona, I felt how the free flow of emotions happens when the heart channel is clear. That all the stuff that brews in 2 and seeks expression in 3 needs to funnel through 4 unabated—no forcing, no holding back, the way it is with children (thank you Rilke). I never quite felt it like this before; I could circle the chakras 50 more times and keep learning. Same with the yamas/niyamas. For me the key is keeping my awareness perspective all inclusive and broad. That way when something grabs my attention, I can naturally zero in and investigate.

b) I suppose I really don’t have much patience for super-challenging writing so I looked for a sutra translation more spoon-feeding nature. I am more interested in getting the basics, just enough to send me on my way to feel what is in it for me. Too much information or information I cannot really access frustrates me. I appreciated Mary Paffard’s out of the box slant on the sutras that challenged me to take on a new perspective, a great source of inspiration.

c) My deepest teacher of the last dozen years has been Gabrielle and even in her death, she continues to inspire me. She was never someone I was close to, a very private person, holding herself distant to most students, though not all. There was a clique-like atmosphere around her, an edginess, a danger I was aware of, did not know what it was really about but it drew me in, along with the substance of the teaching. I had been a good girl a long time and this wicked sensibility really intrigued me. Now in her passing the information is tumbling out and it is all much more clear and every day she becomes more and more human. I went through some real anger (and still am moving through that) along with deep sadness and there is a healthy dose of fear about the future. All of this unraveling has paralleled this training…quite interesting. So I would have to say that she was so NOT a serve it up on a plate teacher. She kept you moving until you were so fucking empty that whatever emerged had to be your authentic truth because nothing else was possible. I am grateful for the hours and hours I spent under her careful tutelage but none of them were simple or easy or spoon fed—every moment was held in the spirit of investigation, she was part of the circle of trackers, no one was in the middle or at the top. She took the life long seeker that I was, stripped away a lot of the baggage, amped up my awareness, honed my attention, crafted a keen witness and set me free. Grateful.