Monday, November 27, 2023

A Rainbow Bridge

Photo courtesy Kayla Kingston
A shimmering rainbow in the woods. A bridge of color and light between here and there. In Nors mythology, Bifrost is a rainbow bridge made of fire, water and air. It is the pathway that connects the mundane world we live in with Asgard, the world of the gods. As children drew rainbows during the Pandemic to bridge us from the challenge of that time into one of hope, we can use the image of the rainbow, or anything in nature that speaks to us, to link us from wherever we are into the present moment.  

Beauty especially occurs in the meeting of time with the timeless; the passing moment framed by what has happened and what is about to occur, the scattering of the first spring apple blossom, the turning, spiraling flight of a curled leaf in the falling light; the smoothing of white sun-filled sheets by careful hands setting them to air on a line, for the broad expanse of cotton filled by the breeze only for a moment, the sheets sailing on into dryness, billowing toward a future that is always beckoning, always just beyond us. Beauty is the harvest of presence.

~ David Whyte, Consolations

The Vijnana Bhairva Tantra, an ancient Sanskrit text, describes 112 ways to enter into the universal and transcendental state of consciousness - into presence. One of my favorites is the wonder and awe I find in the natural world: rainbows, fall colors, sunsets, snow crystals, a weed poking it's way through cement, ladybugs and flowers.  Where ever I look and pay attention, beauty is there.  In yoga, we use our bodies in the shape of poses to create a bridge to connect us to the beauty that exists outside as well as inside us.  Yoga invites us to the harvest of presence, here and now.  So much beauty awaits our attention.



Monday, November 20, 2023

Gratitude and Equipoise by Chaya Spencer

Thanksgiving is a reminder of our capacity to move into the wonder and awe of all that is around us and that we are part of.  A fellow yoga teacher shared inspiration from Dr. Roland Griffiths, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research and a pioneer in studying the therapeutic potential of psilocybin. He recently passed away at 77.  Oprah interviewed him four months before his death.  He expressed such joy, wonder and awe at life and the mystery of being here.  He said he has never felt more gratitude or equipoise than at this time in his life (after his terminal diagnosis).  Watch the interview here:

As I look out my window at the profusion of all fall colors, the incredible beauty around me, I want to share a poem written by my brother-in-law, Barry Klassel, and how we each have the opportunity, every day, in every moment, to be fully awake to the awe and gratitude of life.  Read the full poem below.

     I can’t wait

     ‘Til each day is as ordinary as a wedding

      As momentous as taking a breath

Photo courtesy Herb Benkel taken 11.3.23 at Shree

Certain holidays and life events awaken us to what is already here.  Why wait for these? Or, for a terminal diagnosis? Griffiths wishes to explore: “The benevolelnt mystery of what it is to exist.”  Let's practice marrying the day and awaken to each breath as momentous and precious, full of wonder, gratitude and awe.  Happy Thanksgiving every single day.

 I, Alone

    No one beside me

    No soothing touch

     Rootless and restless

     I’ve lost the way

     To consecrate this day


      Television, not my vision

       Breakfast, cold spoon in cold cereal

      Chair, table, mug, tepid tea

      I let the water run endlessly

      Dip my hand, splash my face

      I, alone, in the whole human race


What to propose?    

      I will marry this day before me

      So each step’s down the aisle toward my lover

       What is my lover’s name?

       The same. the same

       Each deed a ceremony, for better or worse, for sickness, health

      What music to march to

       Processional, Recessional

       Night covers my retreat

       Then repeat


      I can’t wait

     ‘Til each day is as ordinary as a wedding

      As momentous as taking a breath


      I take thee, my shy one

      I marry this day. For better or worse

     ‘Til Death do us part.


©Copyright 2023 Barry Klassel

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Beauty is the Harvest of Presence by Chaya Spencer


Beauty is the harvest of presence, the evanescent moment of seeing or hearing on the outside what largely lives far inside us…

~ David Whyte, Consolations

I love this: "Beauty is the harvest of presence." As I sat outside one Sunday afternoon listening to the birds, feeling the sweet air against my face, watching the fall leaves wafting down, seeing people out walking and my husband pottering in the garden, I felt invited into presence. The world called me to attend: to see, to hear, to listen, to smell and to feel. Attention reveals the beauty that is always here. It’s the way we step fully into life, both inner life and outer life. And yet, our attention is called away by our devices, social media, distractions all around us that move away from what is happening in this moment.

Whyte continues…the eyes, the ears or the imagination suddenly become a bridge between the here and the there, between then and now, between the inside and the outside; beauty is the conversation between what we think is happening outside in the world and what is just about to occur far inside us

Our yoga and meditation practice is about cultivating presence.  When we get on the mat we are invited to pay attention to our breath, to the movements, sensations, muscle action and our inner world which we often miss in our busy, often distracted lives.  Practicing on the mat then lends itself to practice off the mat. Yoga off the mat is about being present with whatever shows up each day: the easy and the hard. It's about witnessing the outstanding acts of human kindness and generosity as people step forward to help in big ways and small. It’s about noticing the wonder and awe of the mystery of this world. 

Let's pay attention to nature unfolding the season all around us, to humanity's goodness, and to our own inner strength and beauty as we strive forward with our lives.

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