• An overview of the past year….

    RIP Tent #1

        We’re approaching one year on our property, and what a year it has been!  We encountered five hurricane-strength storms during the “dry” season of 2016 along with multiple periods of torrential rain which created Lake Webster right in our front yard!  By the way, I HIGHLY recommend Coleman tents!  Ha.  Even though we are on tent #2, those suckers have made it through some CRAZY weather events.  We have made our property “home” by burying two beloved pets in the back yard, and rescued a cat that finally had enough of our dogs and recently adopted our dog-free neighbor; it’s cool, we have visitation rights.  But the joke is on him because the neighbor just got a puppy!  Lol.  Additionally, last night a neighbor gifted us with two kittens…ah, country life.  On top of homeschooling the boys, teaching weekly classes and leading two teacher trainings, in January I went back to school to finish my BA in Psychology after a decade-long break…I have two papers and two finals left to complete by Friday at midnight but I desperately needed a break from academic writing this afternoon…and even though most days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head a

    Current state of construction

    bove water, I am grateful for the opportunity to return to school, even though I am equally thinking “what the hell did I get myself into?!”  I am looking forward to the retreat in Montana, which will be a perfect way to unwind, and I am excited about

     

    reconnecting to friends like Jon, Lisa and Donna!  Shortly thereafter, the boys and I will take a much-needed trip to Indiana to visit family.  Most importantly, at this (nearly) one-year mark:  FINALLY! Gratefully!  We have started building our house!

     

     

     

     

     

    (sigh) Boys…

    My little monkeys

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mauna Loa is hidden in those clouds!

    Ok, so what’s the point?  The past year has become a living practice in surrender, commitment, faith, respect for nature and steadiness in the face of turmoil…environmental, personal, familial, professional, and political…these are the recurrent themes and lessons in my life.  Even though I (along with Keoni and the boys) have been committed to a simple lifestyle for many years, this year has revealed the boundaries between attachment and non-attachment, and between abundance and deficiency.  From this experience and from being mostly “unplugged” in our daily lives, and looking at it in light of both yogic and sociological perspectives, you know what I find most unsettling?  That Americans are referred to as consumers…rarely as “citizens”…and most of us have bought into that lifestyle without being conscious of it.  There is definite value in being a part of the institutional framework of society and to having material security; but no matter how “off-grid” or self-sufficient we choose to be, we cannot fully separate ourselves from the structure of society.  This is the first period in my lifetime that I have truly feared for future generations and been sickened by the impact of the US’ consumption patterns on other countries of the world, and consequently, I have found myself examining our habits of consumption much more closely than ever before.  Honestly, in the past several months I have also found myself questioning the act of teaching yoga (not for the first time!), examining rationality versus spirituality (conclusion: these DO NOT have to be mutually exclusive!) along with narcissistic new-age bullshit versus authenticity and reality (this one is going to make my brain hurt for a very long time!), and untying a long-standing personal knot of depriving myself to serve others…I think that’s a complicated issue for many of us.  I recently read that men are conditioned to expect abundance and women are conditioned to deprive themselves…yeah, that sounds about right…can we please work together to change this?!  Regardless of what you practice, if you practice, how frequently you practice, can we all make a commitment to practice paying attention?  Making informed choices?  Practicing kindness?  Spending more time taking care of nature rather than exploiting it?  One of my favorite frameworks in the yoga tradition has gotten me through the turmoil of the past year and it is something I reflect upon regularly…I hope you find it helpful, too. :

     

    The Four Goals of Life:

     

    1. Dharma: find purpose in your life. This doesn’t have to be some grand “predestined calling” and should not be confused with your profession, though your profession can definitely be an outward expression of your purpose.  The idea is that you figure out what you believe in, and then reflect those beliefs and values in your everyday life through your actions and speech.  The more congruent your purpose, actions and speech; ideally, the less stress you encounter.

     

    1. Artha: “Having enough.”  In all its idealistic beauty…When you speak, act and live purposefully, you will have enough resources to meet your essential needs. Sometimes, that requires you to examine what you truly need versus what you think you need and what you want.  For instance, do we NEED a 2,000-square foot home?    Should we feel guilty if we have that?  No!  But is the act of maintaining or funding a 2,000-square foot depleting your financial or energetic resources when a smaller home may be enough?  That’s for you to decide, and that’s the kind of questioning this precept can help you evaluate.

     

    1. Kama: Contentment.  This is a continuation of the previous two ideas.  If you are living purposefully, meeting your essential needs, allowing you to live with vitality rather than stress…contentment is a natural byproduct. 

     

     

    1. Moksha:   This doesn’t have to be a grandiose notion either.  If you have minimal stress, you are freeing yourself from anxiety, excess (which almost always leads to depletion at some point in time) or deficiency….and what’s not to like about that?!

     

    I’ll be on Oahu this weekend, I hope to see you at Mindful Matters!  Flow classes, backbend workshop, yang/yin, POWER flow on Sunday (looking forward to this, as it’s been a long time!), and yoga nidra. There are still spaces available for the Montana retreat; please contact me if you’re interested.  Best wishes to all of you!

     

    P.S.   THANK YOU for participating in teacher trainings…you are like bursts of light in the sometimes dark world of navigating the yoga community, and outside of raising our children, leading these programs is my favorite activity. Without you, I would have quit teaching yoga long ago.  😉

     

     

     

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