Archive for the ‘Philosophies’ Category
The following is a clunky metaphor, to be sure. Don’t think I’m not aware of it. But it is a picture I recently drew for a student caught up in the type-A push and pull of yoga practice: how to be patient and remain present in the process when all you want is the freedom of a quiet mind.
Imagine you encounter a dog. A big dog. Let’s say a VERY big dog. This dog is not tethered, is not leashed to any stake. You like the look of this dog, your heart is joyous and full at the prospect of petting and loving and squishing this beautiful dog. And the dog knows it.
The dog gets VERY excited and begins leaping up onto you; paws in your face, tongue in your nose, your ears, your mouth. You try to push it down but it leaps at you again. You try to make it sit, stay, lay down, but it insists on climbing all over you. In it’s desire to please you and love you and be your companion, it actually pushes you away. You leave, quickly, and it takes a long while for you to approach another friendly dog.
But what if this same dog had discipline? What if all of that eager Love were channeled inward and tethered the dog to it’s seat? If you encounter this dog, his tail wagging wildly, bobbing gently from side to side, you may be drawn forward. As you approach this dog it lays down and offers it’s belly to be scratched, so ready to accept your Love instead of imposing it’s Love upon you. You bend down to him, rub his belly, scratch his ears, curl up with him on the ground and cuddle and play. You find that you and the dog have engaged yourselves, together in the moment. One has not overpowered the other, there is no control to gain. When you both are exhausted, you can walk away and the dog curls up in his place and naps.
Now I invite you to roll this around in your head. What if you were the dog and the person was your practice, your quiet moment, your mindless freedom. Which dog do you want to BE?
As I drove through Eastern Washington into North Idaho on Friday, I was overwhelmed with memory. Not specific memories from my youth, but a visceral memory.
The trees of the Inland Northwest are different than in the West. The topography flows at a different rate, with different shades of green and gold and brown than exist around the Puget Sound. These are the colors I grew up in, the textures that I remember with the soles of my feet. Basalt rock covered in dry patches of lichens and weedy stalks of course grasses–grays and blacks and browns instead of bright green.
The Puget Sound is a land of Water, surrounded by water, built by water frozen or flowing. Floods occur each year in an endless cycle of wetness falling, flowing and filling our basins; spreading itself over us and through us, our land our bodies, our nature. This place is bright with green in a way few places are green….saturated and sprawling green, everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and she told me a story about her job. She told me how she had thrown herself into the opening of this new restaurant with gusto. She committed herself to the owner and the business. She worked long hours and dealt with the drama of the kitchen and wait-staff. She literally threw herself into this job.
In only a few short months, the long hours ate away at her energy and free time. The relationship with her fiance felt strained. She never saw her friends Read the rest of this entry »
Many new yogis find the practice daunting and even unnerving as they venture off the street and onto the mat. If you haven’t studied up on the practice and it’s potential components, and you just don’t know what to expect, you may feel intimidated by the things you don’t know: sanskrit names for postures, what that breathing thing is all about, and maybe most of all, the chants and words stated or sung at the beginning and end of class. Here is a primer on a basic class and the meaning behind “namaste”. Read the rest of this entry »