Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My teaching & personal practice theme this week seemed to center around offering gratitude. Quite appropriate since Thanksgiving is tomorrow! For me, it is easy to offer daily thanks for the blessings in my life. Over the years, I have also discovered deep peace from offering gratitude for the obstacles in my life. My obstacles are people, places, things or in truth - a state of my mind. Whether an attachment, a disappointment, a frustration, a nuisance, or a heart ache - each obstacle has been a teacher and a light on my path over the decades so that I can focus & see myself more clearly.

Being fully involved in family life raising 2 children, I often long for pockets of time away - so I can "tap in" & "tune in" with out distraction -- and see myself more clearly. And I think because of this strong desire, lately, I have been fascinated by individuals who lived in caves over 1,000+ years ago. These cave dwellers from various religious beliefs were on a spiritual journey & deeply seeking. They were basically hermits. The other night, I watched a documentary on discoveries of ancient scrolls and cave art in Tibetan caves. And, I am currently reading Thomas Merton's Wisdom of the Desert - a compilation of thoughts from the 4th Century cave dwellers of the Middle East.

Merton writes about a story of a monk named John who claimed to be "beyond all temptation." He was "advised by shrewd elder to pray to God for few good solid battles in order that his life might continue to be worth something."

Wisdom of the Desert is compiled from an ancient scroll called Verba Seniorum. I particularly loved this translation...

"Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and according as I am able I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingertips became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not be totally changed into fire?"

May our fires burn bright. May we be luminous so others may see the way.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Your Attention, Please

Last Spring, I spent a weekend shifting with Glenn Hartelius. I recall him stating that many of us have "sensory motor amnesia." We have lost contact with parts of our body. Through his training, Attention Dynamics, he taught us how to regain access to our insides and what we are able to perceive. Glenn gave us easy techniques to locate "deep center." He first asked us to find our attention; focus our attention; and then shift our attention. During the weekend, he also enlightened us on what he called "energy ethics." He said that energy is not like flower petals that you bestow everywhere. Energy impacts other people. If we do something energetically, then we must be responsible. From what I understood from Glenn, he firmly believes that energy does work. Energy has impact. Energy is intimate. He clearly said that just sending someone "positive thoughts" or "good energy" is not ethical. We must exchange energy with consent. I distinctly recall him stating, "Covert energy work is not cool." In the 6 months, since studying with Glenn, I have grown to more fully appreciate my weekend training with him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wisdom & Fearlessness

Last night, I witnessed my Yoga Two class use their ever-present deep wisdom while fearlessly balancing on their hands! It's a wonderful class theme that enlivens & empowers students. In our early years, we are often fearless - even reckless. As we move through the decades, we tend to become fearful. We hesitate (and sometimes for very good reasons) to back flip off the high dive, bungee jump, or pull out into on-coming traffic. The benefit of having quite a few decades of life behind us is that we are not just smart - we are wise. And if we balance it just right, our wisdom enables us to be fearless.