Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Green fists of the peonies: Shri, life, manifesting


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?

Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~Mary Oliver

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anugraha and Dreams

Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.

This quote, and another lovely passage, was sent to me via email from my dear friend and fellow yoga teacher, Kelly Blaser (Santa Cruz, CA). Kelly shared her year's theme, Anugraha, which means 'Grace" in Sanskrit. Anugaha fits as a perfect title for my year as well.

As Kelly wrote:
Anugraha is the deepest kind of grace, that can well up in any situation, no matter how unlikely. Anugraha is the clear chartering of a course, and simultaneously is the grace that allows a course to be changed, even against fierce odds. In the midst of chaos, under pressure, at the mountaintop, up against the wall, grace. This is my dream. Under all circumstances and under all stresses, may we each find grace in our own hearts, and may grace also be bestowed upon us from the place beyond our knowing. May we remember that Anugraha, grace, comes from the convergence of Anu - which means holding tight to - and graha - letting go of... thus- the capacity to know what to hold close and what to release is the essence of grace, and each of us holds the choice in our own hands.

Recently the Anusara Teacher Training that I was planning on attending beginning in mid March was postponed until fall. Being extremely pumped up for the year long training to begin, I found myself very disappointed, and along with several other students, rather devasted. But alas, grace in the unfolding... Anugraha and Bhavana will prevail... I can follow through with a 30 hour teacher training out west, while also providing my son and his father an opportunity to spend precious time together. I got a great deal on both our airfare and the training, now my only problem will be missing work in my territory and finding an economical way to stay and be fed in San Francisco for a week. Anugraha help me stay the course!

If we all set a course with ample grace -Anugraha, we will be better able to accept the consequences that come along with the inevitable zigs, zags, dips and snags, peaks and soars that come our way. By being cognizant of our purpose and present in the process of practicing grace we will no longer be reaching for some distant success, but rather we will be living in graceful recognition of our dream's unfolding- Bhavana.