readings: a selection of personal favorites from my themed yoga classes
May these beautiful words fuel your soul. May your library of inspiration be ever full.
“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This where the respect and devotion and the love come in. That we do it to God and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” – Mother Teresa
“A life in yoga is a blessed life. Taking precious souls by the hand, the yoga leads them toward the natural order of things, the inherent goodness that permeates nature, a healthy body and a tranquil mind. Experience this enough and it reveals to the practitioner the way your Creator wanted you to see yourself and act. Gradually the once shattered process pieces of the old self are reassembled. In the process you are becoming more alive, wiser and less alone. Something wonderful is guiding you. No doubt you’ll still experience gain and loss, love and disappointment; but something is instilled in you so that even your struggles are serving a purpose. You blossom. You’ll still laugh and cry but meanwhile this new you is able to remember, more than ever before, to dance - to be aware of the joys of living and celebrating a blessed life.” -Yogarupa Rod Stryker
"Each breath is an invitation to begin anew, to have a fresh start. The pause before the inhale gives us an opportunity to be still, listen, and determine how we can best show up with integrity, purpose, joy and service in living - on the next inhale; the pause before the exhale is a resting state to assess what we can let go of, disidentify with, declutter or release as we allow a little death of the ego - on the next exhale, in preparation for our transition from this life. We inhale at birth, we exhale at death. Our life is one extended breath. As we bring conscious attention to each breath, we bring awareness to the whole of life." - Sat Dharam Kaur ND
creating positive change
Positive change comes from working at the edge of your comfort zone. If it was easy, you would have made the change years ago. If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible. - T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
creating your own reality
A Sioux creation story says that long ago the Creator gathered all of Creation and said, "I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality."
The eagle said, "Give it to me, I will take it to the moon."
The Creator said, "No. One day they will go there and find it."
The salmon said, "I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean."
"No. They will go there too."
The buffalo said, "I will bury it on the Great Plains."
The Creator said, "They will cut into the skin of the Earth and find it even there."
Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, "Put it inside of them."
And the Creator said, "It is done.
Clearing by Martha Postlewaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
When Death Comes by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes like the measle-pox;
when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
“You need to challenge your fear of life becoming unreasonable - because it already is unreasonable. In truth, your life has never been reasonable, it’s just that you keep hoping tomorrow will be different and that you will find a way to bring more control into your world. Recognize that life will always be full of challenges and crisis. The wise way is not to attempt to find one path that promiese you will never have to endure the pain of loss and illness, but instead to learn how to endure and transcend when unreasonable events come your way. Learning to defy gravity in your world - to think, perceive, and act at the mystical level of consciousness - is the greatest gift you can give yourself, because it is the gift of truth. And as we are bound to learn again and again in this life, the truth does indeed set us free.” -Caroline Myss
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It cannot be any other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” -Albert Einstein
Everything Is Waiting for You by David Whyte
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
Sweet Darkness by David Whyte
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your home tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
Fear and excitement are two sides of the same edge. Standing on the precipice of a new life venture, an turn into the unknown, or being thrown down a road you never imagined traveling can be simultaneously the best thing and the worst wrapped up into one. Think about falling in love, your heart has jumped with open arms forward into a situation where you know that you will simply not be able to control the outcome. Yet you close your eyes, open your heart, and set yourself free. Today's yoga theme is Freedom. Called Kaivalya in Sanskirt the freedom that is the essence of the spiritual path comes when you are no longer bound by the past and your spirit is the guiding light of your life.
Freedom is the ultimate act of surrender that says that you don't need to know the whole plan but that you are willing and able to trust that all is good, that you are exactly where you need to be, that each moment is a blessing. The highest truth of the inner self sets you free from material desires so that you will never judge your sense of self worth by someone else's standards. Think of all the limiting thoughts that are running in the subconscious mind and preventing you from taking the leap of faith into the life of your dreams. What are you willing to let go of today so that you can close your eyes, have faith and fly?
Grace & Gratitude
“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.” … Grace [is] the force that infuses our lives and keeps letting us off the hook. It is unearned love – the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. It’s the the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you.
Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there…
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. – Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
The purpose of life is to watch and experience living. To enjoy living every moment of it. Just to be. The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful… Great and Full. That you are alive and you enjoy it! - Yogi Bhajan
goddess, help me!
There is much talk these days of masculine and feminine energies, and how we’ve been taught to be one-sided in how we engage the world. When we are dominated by our male side (over-rational and stoic, never showing our feelings), our feminine side (our deeper creative, receptive energies) becomes strident and stifled…We struggle with these energies inside ourselves.
As our yoga practice helps us become more integrated in body, mind and spirit, we also become integrated as a singular wave of both masculine and feminine. We learn to use our male/yang energies differently, more in concert with our feminine/yin. Too often, under the guise of being prepared and mature, we are seduced into watching over living, into naming over feeling, into understanding over experiencing. Yet, as two hands cup water to the mouth, we need both masculine and feminine energies to drink fully of this life.
(Prayer): Where you were taught to understand and name things, may you now more fully experience and feel things. Where you were taught to frame and articulate things at arm’s length, may you now more fully embrace and absorb what is before you. The difference is between painting a bird and flying. -creative licenses taken from Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening.
My life force is linked to the heart
My heart is linked to the truth within
the truth that is eternal
the eternal which is unending bliss
My true nature is the heart
The heart is my true nature
I am the bliss of the heart
The heart that I am is the unending bliss of oneness.
“Let your sweet soul uncurl its flower and show its divine heart to the world. Your fragrance is singular and should never be bottled or bound. Open and mist us wildly, you phenomenal dew.
Honey and poetry. That’s what the whole world wants from you. Break open your heart hive. Set your sweetness free. Your Love is not a small fire in a big world. It is the world’s entire lights. Be our sunrise.
During your miraculous, precious, delicate time on this earth, pour out your Love. All of it. In every sweet moment granted you. Every soul you encounter dearly, secretly need your Loving nectar. Every single drop.
Leave your Love song everywhere. Especially inside yourself. Your Love is a gift whose blessing you cannot fully know. Leave its divine pollen on everything, on moments, on hearts, on suffering. Let it birth dawns. Leave Love letters all over the world.” - Jaiya John
A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native American said, “I hear a cricket.”
His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”
“No, I’m sure of it,” the Native American said, “I heard a cricket.”
“That’s crazy,” said the friend. The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.
“That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have superhuman ears!”
“No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”
“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”
“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk.
And then, even with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs. “See what I mean?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”
What’s important to you? What do you listen for? If you are in tune with the Great Spirit, you will be able to hear when He speaks.
Yoga is all about purifying your consciousness, says Alan Finger, and from there, meditation becomes easy. “You’re able to sit and do nothing, which is remarkable,” he says. “Because when you’re doing nothing, you’re actually tuning in to unbound, universal intelligence. That’s where inspiration, intuition and insight come to us.”
Consider the possibility that you are not you. Or rather that you are not the little self that you perceive yourself to be, with your small story and your passing struggles.
Consider the possibility that you are an instrument of the greater You of the universe, of the vital energy that longs to spread and stretch through the cosmos, reaching all the way back to the beginning and all the way forward into forever.
Consider the possibility that you are infinite and real. Drop your small-minded obsessions with your transient self and struggles. Invite the vast vitality of the world to flow through you. Have faith. Live big.
Be bold enough to reclaim your birthright as a strong and beautiful messenger of life. Serve the world as an instrument of its kindness and peace. Shine brightly as life plays its sweet and soulful songs through you. -Claudia Cummins
May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. - Saint Theresa's Prayer
All this is full. All that is full. From fullness, fullness comes. When fullness is taken from fullness, Fullness still remains. -The Upanishads