Tis the season for…Habit Energy!

Things have been pretty quiet on this blog lately – when in reality life has been bustling!  Having just finished another semester of graduate school and then bouncing into work, room to breath got put aside!

I had a reality check this week, something I know happens in life and often I can see it coming: I over commit – get exhausted – loose perspective!   I find it so crazy – I’m aware of feeling overwhelmed and filled with information and action, aware that the candle within is dimming due to lack of oxygen…yet habit energy persists!  This time of year is especially known to be full – it’s like this full bubble slowly approaching that feels inevitable, yet there is always choice…and it seems I often choose too much!

One of the commitments right now is a course with Michael Stone looking at the precepts.  We spent the last three weeks engaged in inquiry and exploration of ahimsa – non harm and satya – honesty…! In those times of being a witness and striving to integrate and practice these two precepts, habit energy persisted and appeared to get stronger when striving to open and redirect the patterns.  The interesting part was having a subtle awareness of habit energy, yet choosing to live into it because I did not have the space for attention to live with clear intentions.

And honestly – I know practice can become habit too.  I have seen it within…that sense of routine, even boredom has crept in!  And the lesson that came up was, pay attention.  It seems simple – to notice and have attention so I can be mindful of my choices, mindful that this “habit” is causing no harm and coming from an honest and authentic place.

Attention resides within intimacy and intimacy rides upon my breath that returns to attention.  Maybe it’s this spiral of awareness that will crack my codes of habit energy…I think the spiral is a powerful natural design that carries that wisdom of this planet within it, so maybe it can serve in this situation…

…but the most important ingredient is – s p a c e .

If I draw a spiral on a piece of paper, I would not see a spiral if it wasn’t for the space between the circles.  If there was no space, it would just look like a blob or a coloured in circle on a page.  So in order to see a spiral – on a page or in nature – there needs to be space for light and colour, shadow and texture to show up.

The Practice of Social Action.

Be, don’t seek.

Sit warmly open,

lightness in your brow,

not questions.

Be ready for the quiet

when it comes,

and the creaking

of the house’s bones

and the wind’s music

playing the notes of the trees.

Be, don’t brood.

Don’t wait for life

to announce itself

in capitals

or high garb.

Be available to it’s whispers,

know how to listen

when it tells its true self

and not the lies

you’ve dreamt up.

Be able to breathe

and let go of your breath,

let go of life as you wish it to be

and take in the simplicity,

the facts-

The sky is.

The day is.

This sparrow is.

Be, don’t try.

Your weariness must have

shown you something by now.

Stay seated in your soul,

remember the sun is there,

truth and time are there.

Be, don’t seek.

You’ve already found.

You already have.

You already know.

You already are.

Elizabeth Page Roberts 2008

So much talk about social change and social action…often this leads to so much time and energy invested to solve problems, so busy, so much burnout, so much talking, not so much listening…

Is that not the process of living into the notion of progress, an ideology that frames present day society?

When thinking about ‘change’ there have been a number of moments in recent times that consistently return me to this one effort – that is…

…to be.

We hear it time and time again, in famous speeches, from spiritual leaders, from our community.  So I think about it, consider, contemplate, question – then life gets busy!

But what is it to truly be, to surrender to the essence of the moment?  Or maybe the better question for us in this day and age – how the heck can one ‘be’ when there’s so much to do?

…And what does this have to do with social action?

Consider the practice of social action is stillness.

Consider evolving stillness and quietness within supports engagement with the intimacy of life, attentiveness to the subtle gifts always present, an opening to the essence of non-harm – the practice of meeting each moment as it is.

Consider meditation is the practice supporting social action.

Be, don’t seek.

Invite the moments of creative suspension to honour each situation as it unravels.

Gratitude…

How deeply can we sink into the ocean of gratitude?

We strive for joy and happiness to complete our lives, the essence of feeling truly alive…and I wondered what was beneath that?  What supports happiness or joy?

I had an experience in life that felt quite profound at the time – I say at the time because I believe this experience is possible to relive within many moments.  With time, space, and on going reflection of this moment…the experience continues to open new doorways.

Are you curious about the moment?…it was actually several moments of living, breathing, being, feeling the swells of the deepest, most abundant and expansive tide of gratitude stir within.  It was as if the full moon evoked a spring tide, pulling the deepest currents to the surface of my consciousness to be embodied within the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual planes.  Everything made sense.  Life had accumulated and continues to accumulate – all the impossibilities, challenges, riches, burdens, loss, gifts…

…it left me curious and with questions.

…is it possible for the essence of gratitude to be found within the layers and hardships?

…what is required of us to explore this essence during times of crisis and hardship?

…consider what contribution gratitude may bring within the moments of abundance or moments of darkness?

How deep is the ocean of this essence?  How can one tap into this ocean at any point in life?  Is it possible?

How can gratitude shift consciousness?

How can gratitude support being myself?

Sooo many questions…any answers…any feelings or thoughts?

Yoga contributing to social change?

Yoga contributing to social change.

Yoga as a tool for social change.

A revolution beginning in the heart…

A revolution expanding into communities and beyond…

For many years I have been tumbling these thoughts around my mind, rounding out the edges of ideas, massaging the questions, and observing…

The west continues to tighten its grip on ‘yoga’ – stretching the imagination of classical Yogi’s in India.  The practice reaches across a broad spectrum of possibilities in present day culture.  Many people are drawn to yoga for a diverse spectrum of reasons…and westerners continue to flock to studios to catch the craze!  All generations are exploring the practice, from little people experimenting with their flexible young bodies, to the elderly aiming to soften the edges of aging.  The practice is not limited to any one ethnicity or cultural background.

The invitation is out for anyone who is curious to move, breath and observe…or embrace the stillness – all qualities of the natural order of life.  The dharma.

Prisoners are practicing.  Seniors.  Under-served youth. Veterans.  Survivors of life threatening illnesses.  Injured bodies.  Those with damaged minds.  Those with hurt hearts.  Those wanting to participate in life…and so many more…

All this being said – if we look to the beginning of the eight-limbed path of Patanjali’s yoga, we return to the restraints and observances…the ethics and morals possible to integrate into everyday life.

So what could be possible if those named above or those who went to simply stretch, get fit, exercise, socialize, move, breath…invited a curiosity investigate – why yoga?

What if their practice deepened into an inquiry of their expressions, postures, breath – into the layers of restraints and observances…compassion, truth, and integrity that reside within?

AND –

What if the looking inward at all the layers of gifts, manifested outward into community and daily life?

Could yoga contribute to social change?

Could yoga be a tool for social change?

Could yoga start a revolution beginning in the heart?

Could this revolution expand into communities and beyond…?

With the practice touching so many lives and integrating into western culture – anything is possible!  Right!?

Strive for the impossible, for what was once impossible is now possible!

November = shoulder season!

How did it get to be November!!?  A month considered the shoulder season in Canada – unpredictable weather, not quite enough snow to play in and a wide range of temperatures making it hard to plan outdoor adventures.

So if moving in synchronicity with the season, sticking close to the biorhythms of Canada’s shoulder season – then perhaps it’s a good month to explore shoulder stands and inversions?!!

All kidding aside – within western context, shoulder stands and inversions aim to improve circulation and promote metabolic balance within the body.  We spend our days standing and walking, allowing the predictable pull of gravity to do its work on our musco-skeletal structures, fluid, and energetic layers.  Taking time to turn the body upside down stimulates our nervous system and supports the increase of mental alertness and clarity.  In yogic philosophy, inverting the body supports the flow of energy through our central meridian.  In anatomical terms, the central channel connects to neurological pathways linking to our endocrine system – inversions support balance and irrigation of these pathways.

…And an inversion can be done at any time…you don’t have to warm up for a restorative moment!  At the end of a long day in my head or on my feet, I often return home to a few minutes with my feet up against a wall, my back resting on the ground, arms out stretched!

During a time of year than can be dreary with lots of cloud and rain, temperatures dropping, we begin to turn inward.  A simple posture to reawaken a foggy mind or tired feet can be a blessing as we transition into winter!

The tension within coexistence…

Aside

Image

“Coexist.”

That was the first word the stranger said to me, a provocative introduction between souls!  She sat down with me at the lunch table, stating the sticker on my laptop – and the synchronicity continued to reveal itself!

The night prior, her Tibetan Buddhist meditation group had focused on coexistence, an exploration of the concept – accordingly, the foundation of Buddhism is grounded upon the concept of “interdependent co-arising”. The conversation continued to expand into the nature of modern day society – the reorientation of ‘connection’ and isolation within this technological era.  This transitioned to discussing the possibility within shifting human consciousness, a revolution birthed out of an interdependent co-arising!

I wonder to myself, are we far from that arising?

What are the steps and possibilities within this?

Definition: peaceful coexistence

…without war, or a policy of peace between nations of widely differing political systems and ideologies.

Is coexistence simply to accept one another and tolerate living in harmony?

I’ve heard peace defined simply as ‘the space that exists between war’! However, often within a yoga practice, the mantra Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti will be heard. Om is considered an essence, a vibration of the universe with no direct translation and shanti, directly translated to mean peace.  However, we don’t call out Om Peace, Peace, Peace – because shanti is also considered a vibration within a mantra that calms and removes the obstacles of physical, divine and internal nature.

So what is the vibration possible within coexistence?

Could coexistence be more than the definition offered above?…consider the unity of opposites, the balance found within healthy tension, the interdependence required within an organic system – we have a responsibility to the planet to transition and transform habits of tolerance, of power over, and the beliefs of individual freedom.

If resistance to any entities that make up a system is present – on a cellular, individual, community, national level – interdependence is forfeited.  Granted, change is constant and ongoing, a constant tension is an integral component of coexistence.

So practically speaking…

On a global scale – coexistence with the planet has been and is still present within some societies (slowly coming closer to extinction!) however, with an overarching system that fundamentally believes in individual freedoms, separating the parts…the change and transition begins within a person.

What does coexistence look like in practice?

Are the terms coexistence and unity closely related – could coexistence be the space between our inhale and exhale, the tension in relationship between our breath, body. and spirit?

Perhaps the ‘vibration’ within coexistence is the tension present amongst the interdependent relationships within a dynamic planet.

Keep exploring the possibilities!