Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
When the going gets tough, it’s natural to reach for something outside you to numb the pain, or to avoid it altogether. Hope is one way of reaching. I am in an 8 car pile-up situation at the moment, and have come to despise the phrase: “All you can do is hope for the best.” So, I’ve replaced it with “All you can do is abandon hope.” *
Hoping for the best has served to make me more confused, stressed and frightened. Hoping for a situation to be any other way than how it is, is just another trick of the mind to steal your attention away from the present, thereby increasing fear of the unknown. I realized this once I decided to take some time with my fear, to confront it head on by just sitting with it for a while. Fear began to lose its power. I stopped hoping and starting being. By abandoning hope in times of duress we can be present with what IS, and as scary as that may be, it’s infinitely more productive than losing the moment to hope. Consider this quote from Chapter 13 of the Tao Te Ching:
"Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?
See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things."
Hope is just something that keeps us running from the present moment, from what is. Let's let it go and be present here, right now, together. It may be scary, but we are warriors.
This is what I’ve learned so far from the recent hiccup in my path:
It really IS not where but WHO you're with that really matters. I
flourish when surrounded by gentle, genuine, generous souls who
delight in the joyful experience of living this life heart wide open.
Living it to share joy, plain and simple. My people dance in their
underwear with hula hoops in a sea of bubbles, covered in glitter and sweat,
glowing with pure-sattvic luminosity. They don't mask it, they bask in it.
My people laugh with you, not at you. My people hug strangers with
the same love and compassion as they do their own child or
Are you my people???? If so,abandon hope and let's dance!!!
I am happy even before I have a reason.
I am full of Light even before the sky
Can greet the sun or the moon.
We have been in love with God
For so very, very long.
What can Hafiz now do but Forever
Monday, August 23, 2010
1/2 cup water
/2 cup unsweetened Soy/Almond milk
(this is my latest obsession, I buy the West Soy brand, but you can use any milk that your little heart desires!)
Honey, Cinnamon & Ginger to taste
Combine quinoa, water, and soy milk in a pot and bring to a boil over VERY low heat. Low heat helps maintain the integrity of the soy milk which has a habit of make a frothy, sticky mess when exposed to high heat. As soon as the liquid starts to boil reduce heat, cover and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, stir, then replace cover and let the quinoa sit for another 3-5 minutes (depending on if you want your quin(wh)oatmeal more or less liquid-y).
Add honey to sweeten, then sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger.
Why quinoa instead of regular oats, you ask? As advised by my Ayurvedic practitioner, Pratima; I am avoiding sugar and gluten as much as possible. Quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat are non-glutinous grains. I don't know much about cooking with the others, but I LOVE quinoa because of its texture and quirky look. Plus, it's super filling.
The possibilities for this dish are endless! You can add nuts, fresh fruit, dry fruit, agave nectar instead of honey. For a savory dish you might add some chopped veggies, herbs, and maybe some cumin and turmeric powder.
Smile and enjoy the creative and soulful act of cooking yourself (and friends perhaps?) a nourishing, healthy meal!
Monday, April 26, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Art & Spirituality…Musings on Theatre and Yoga
Jerzy Grotowski, was a luminary of experimental theatre. His views and work, cultivated in his “Theatre Laboratory” are truly extraordinary and inspiring:
“There is only one element of which film and television cannot rob the theatre: the closeness of the living organism. Because of this, each challenge from the actor, each of his magical acts (which the audience is incapable of producing) becomes something great, something extraordinary, something close to ecstasy.”
Indeed good theatre is cathartic, magical, even! The actors make mirrors and expressions of themselves in order that they (audience AND actor) may share this elevated experience. And, there is something special about the shared experience between the performers and the audience which I believe is incomparable in art. Grotowski , on the actor:
“The actor makes a total gift of himself. This is a technique of the “trance” and the integration of all the actor’s psychic and bodily powers which emerge from the most intimate layers of his being and instinct, springing forth in a sort of ‘translumination’.”
Grotowski believed that training an actor should involve a clearing away of negative habits, thought patterns, blockages. In doing so, through various physical, vocal and mental exercises, a state of “passive readiness” is cultivated.
I cannot help but think of Yoga here. And, incidentally, Grotowski drew heavily from the Yoga tradition in creating the exercises he experimented with, in his laboratory of theatre.
In Yoga, you must first create a firm foundation, space in your body, and from that effort toward stability and spaciousness the pose will naturally expand. I always think of a flower blossoming. Never forcing the pose happen, but essentially allowing the pose “do you”. It’s the same with a good performance. Once an actor has cultivated that state of “passive readiness”, the performance can then blossom forth from a place of intuitive wisdom, and spontaneity! The same can be said of other performance arts: music, dance, opera. If you’ve ever seen any live show and afterward felt like you just had a mystical, spiritual experience, then you know what I am talking about!!!
It’s an interesting symbiosis to reflect on: the place where art & spirituality cross paths. Without acting I would not have found Yoga, and it turned out to be acting & the theatre of all things that helped reinvigorate and inspire my yoga practice.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
I was at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch, an ashram in upstate NY, and it was my last day there. I had some free time after brunch and I wanted to hike the trails behind the property, which sits on 100 acres of beautiful forest in the foothills of the Catskills. The only problem was, there wasn't an organized hike and the head of the ashram had warned us not to hike the trails alone because they were not marked very well.
Nevertheless, I stood at the head of the trail weighing my options. It just seemed like the perfect thing to do to mark the end of my time there. I had just had a magical asana practice, and I wanted to take a walk in nature to reflect upon it.
As I was standing there contemplating, I hear a rustling behind me; of the four legged variety. The black lab (one of the animals who lives at the ashram) came padding up next to me, paused, and then trotted about 30 feet ahead of me. Then he looked back, went another 10 feet, and looked back again. Was this dog telling me to follow him??!! Either way, I did.
We walked together like this along the trails. He would run ahead, never more than 50 yards or so, look back, wait until I caught up a bit and then he would run ahead again. Astounding! He guided me toward the big field next to the entrance of the property, where the cows live. I perched on the gate while he galloped in circles around the sacred creatures. This seemed to be a favorite activity of his. I smiled and giggled to myself, to see his joy and the cows' indifference. After a few minutes like this he came out and resumed guiding me along the trail.
While I walked I reflected on his kindness and how touching it was that he chose to help me. How did he know I needed his help? What energy did he feel? I didn't want to leave!
As soon as we reached the end of the trail, and the main building of the ashram was in view, he took off running.
Afterward, I sat under a tree outside the temple and wrote this poem:
the trees are talkin'
to each other
and my mind is dancing, with a butterfly on my nose;
in a field of wild
the colors of
grace, god and love.
the colors of this
moment. a divine moment.
i can talk
to black dogs
and read scottish minds.
if i could put duct
tape over my heart
to stop this feeling
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
White Bean, Rosemary, and Kale Soup
2 cans White Beans (drained and rinsed)
4 Cups vegetable stock
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
½ small yellow onion (chopped)
2 clove garlic (chopped)
Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup cubed parmesan cheese rinds (optional)
Bunch kale, stemmed, chopped and rinsed (you can use ANY thick leafy green! I like to use whatever is freshest at the store or market)
salt & pepper to taste
Into a medium pot on low heat, add the olive oil and butter until the butter is melted. Add the chopped onion and let sauté on low heat until the onion is translucent, 10-15 mins. Then add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in the white beans, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are super tender. Remove the herbs, and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point you could use a hand held blender to blend the beans into a smooth textured soup, or you could transfer to a blender (carefully, with the hot liquid), I don’t have either and I personally prefer the texture of the whole beans.
Now, add the lemon zest and cheese rinds and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Now stir in the greens until bright green and slightly wilted. *
*an option for making the soup FRESH every time if you’re not going to serve the whole pot all at once. Ladle the soup into a bowl and THEN stir in a handful of greens. Let the soup cool and then transfer to a tupperware container and refrigerate, place the rest of your rinsed greens into a big zip lock baggie with a paper towel, and then add a handful to each serving when as you reheat. Otherwise the greens get unpleasantly wilted and slimy as you continue to reheat the soup.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A force of nature; B.K.S. Iyengar is one of the greatest living yoga masters and a profound inspiration in my practice and teaching. I want to share a quote of his with you, dear yogi's and yogini's. It's from an interview with him that Yoga Journal ran a little over a year ago, and I just came across it in an old journal. When asked what his practice is like now (He just turned 91 this past December), this is how Mr. Iyengar responded:
Friday, January 22, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) is said by many to be THE most therapeutic yoga posture of them all. Donna Farhi calls it "The Great Rejuvenator", and says "If you have time for no other practice, I recommend this one." All you really need for this puppy is your beautiful self and some wall space. If you've got rrrrrrrreally tight hamstrings, you may want to have a chair handy. If you'd like to use your mat for cushion, great, if you don't have a mat that's fine too. I prefer to practice any pose I possibly can without a mat because I feel like it gives me a deeper connection to the surface that I am practicing on, which is representative of the earth. Also, for this particular posture practicing without a mat makes coming out of the pose much, MUCH easier.