Sunday, May 30, 2010

Peonies in Springtime, Bursting with Lifeforce and Inspiration. And an Acceptance of Impermanance, with a Recognition of Grace and the Divine Within.

Prose for Peonies, from Mary Oliver... (also sited in my March 2009 blog)


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

It's been a tough month or two, or three... Rhode Islanders are still recouperating from the flood, but I feel are ready to raise from the murky water to a blooming and abundant summer, full of more preparedness, aka acceptance, patience and Grace, less struggle.

And with spring in full force, inspiration is everywhere- in the life affirming blooms, green grass and fully open leaves. People are on the bike paths and driving less, hiking and surfing more- and not just the internet, but the waves of life and the waves of the Atlantic. Free from the dramatically detrimental Gulf oil spill, we must feel grateful for our still pristine wetlands and shore, and send out our hopes and prayers for the people and wildlife of Louisana. It's a scary time, but one when more than ever we must grasp the eternal, as we accept the impermanant, like a Peonies fleeting beauty.

My father, Allie, has not been well; since early April he has been in the hospital in FL, post op after lung cancer was removed along with two thirds of his right lung. Our Rhode Island and VA family members have been lovingly and sacrificially at his side. I am so grateful for them, and for the time that I was able to go and be with him, if only for a few days. I held his hand, and had mine squeezed all night, while he was in intense pain from an infection. I knew he wanted me there through the night, and I knew that was the only place I wanted to be... with him, and as closely as possible. I still wish I could be there.

I am grateful I was able to speak to him of love and Grace, and to feel his love back so deeply, and to see his smiles between the winces. I heard his whispers over the trache, read his lips, and his often terse or sweet and tender words perseveringly written on a clip board. Ah, he is a courageous one, stubborn as any Swamp Yankee has ever been, but a fighter with a true, and authentic heart, earnestly dedicated to his loved ones. He is also absolutely adorable, with his teddy bear like stuffing, fluctuating with his grizzly bear attitude, and muscular still strong physique. A superman. He's always been a doer for sure, and raised seven children, and a landmark business, while maintaining a loving relationship with my mother for the majority of their over 58 years together. He is still learning to let go of his anger, fear and might, so to reign in God's Grace and ever present compassion. I love my Dad, especially for his mostly positive example; his life is one full of inspiration, and even when I disagree with him, I learn from him.

On Saturday a local farmer brought Peonies to the Alternative Food Coop where I work, and their silky, lace-like beauty impressed me from the start. On Sunday I went back for them, then forgot them at the register. Slowly fading, their example of Shri, like my father's, is staying with me. In my heart, I am knowing how their scent and presence makes me feel even when they are not in sight, like the hero I see my father as, they inspire me. But surely my peonies' petals will wilt, their tips will brown, and the Shri will fade away with the wasting of a picked blossom does, as it is pulled from it's source.

I am memorializing my peonies before their time, but as the weekend of appreciating those whom inspire us, or fight for us, is upon us, my flowers are symbolic of the glory in the jewel like beauty of the presence, that Rumi speaks of. I will always be one with their Grace, because I have known it, and I will always be thankful for our mutual connection-the Shakti within us- that aligns us with the Divine. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Friday, May 28, 2010

Returning to Source, Body Flowing out of Spirit, Spirit Flowing from Body... In Memoriam with Hope

Listen to the story told by the
reed of being separated.

'Since I was cut from
the reed bed
I have made
this crying sound.
Anyone separated from someone he loves
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.

At any gathering I am there,
mingling in the laughter
and the grieving,
a friend to each.

But few will hear the secrets
No ears for that.

Body flowing out of spirit
spirit flowing from body.

13th Century Mystic Poet

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Working as a Flute & The Law of Least Effort

When you work you are a flute through whose
heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
... And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your
heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth....
~Kahil Gibran, The Prophet

Everyone has a purpose in life ... a unique gift or special talent to give to others.

What Kahil Gibran prohetically wrote is of an exultation of spirit that arises when we are being of service to others, the ultimate goal of all goals. Drawing the threads of our day from our heart, our life's work can be worn like a cloak by the Divine.

It is a fortunate thing to be able to work for a good cause, or to involve oneself in work that moves energy and people towards positive actions. Life, even in the best of circumstances, isn't always perfect though, which can be a good thing if we grow in times of challenge, but if we feel stuck, then how do we get back to the flute weaving our work into music?
When we feel our spirit is crushed, or we feel derailed from purposeful tasks, how do we regain the rhythm of the heart? Sometimes the workplace is not a healthy place. Ask your self how you feel, content or undervalued? appreciated or manipulated? When do we know when to move on, or how to move on to more fulfilling occupations of our time? It is so important to do what you enjoy, but also to enjoy doing it.

Sometimes in the workplace we spend wasteful energy defending our position, or we become aware that others are being ineffectively defensive. The cycle can go round and round. The weave of threads in our day gets knotted, and returning to Grace with a responsible harmonious word, action or deed is our soul way back to the fluid weave of flute-like days.

As Deepak Chopra states in his early 90's best seller, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success , "When you feel frustrated or upset by a person or a situation, remember that you are not reacting to the person or the situation, but to your feelings about the person or the situation."... "These are your feelings, and your feelings are not someone else's fault." ~ Deepak Chopra

One of the components of Chopra's Law of Least Effort is responsibility. "Responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself. Once we accept our circumstance we then have the ability to have a creative response as it is now."

ALL PROBLEMS CONTAIN THE SEEDS OF OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CREATION OF SOMETHING NEW AND BEAUTIFUL, AND EVERY SO CALLED TORMENTOR OR TYRANT WILL BECOME YOUR TEACHER. Reality is an interpretation. And if you choose to interpret reality in this way you will have many teachers around you, and many opportunities will evolve. Deepak Chopra's The Law of Least Effort

In your yoga practice on and off the mat, try the The Law of Least Effort. Practice using a creative response to turning your problems and obstacles into a teaching experience, an opportunity for growth. And if you are not sure what the lesson is you are to learn, try this piece of poetic advice from Rumi:

Hear the wordless subtleties, and understand what catches not the understanding.

It takes meditation.
Before your yoga practice, set an intention to meditate on the silent subtleties.
Each morning, set an intention to meditate on what catches you, or what you choose to ignore.
Plant a seed, take a creative response, and Work as a flute, with the Law of Least Effort.

My father used to say how much he always liked to get up in the morning, because he loved what he was doing.
Twenty plus years of rolling dough, cutting doughnuts and selling thousands a day at his namesake business, Allie's Donuts, was what occupied a huge part of my father's best years (and mine growing up). These years were filled with people working hard along side him, with music and conversation, sweat and sometimes very heated arguments, but still the days were lively, and every one was different, though the patterns of the day stayed fluid. The fluid predictability of the day and the sounds of the bustling "backroom" and friendly "frontend", with its lines of anxiously awaiting, but profoundly patient Rhode Islanders in lines out the doors, was a weave of many thoughts, actions and deeds. People getting their Allie's dozen, jimmy donuts, glazed crullers, hot honey dip and chocolate frosted raise for a relative down at the beach or a nice neighbor. Serious stories were told while my sisters and I powdered donut holes, or silly jokes were shared to pass the monotony of trays of raised yet to be frosted. It all sang.

When bad moods arose, the moment would freeze with tension; the radio still played, but the music died. It was only when someone took responsibility for the moment, usually with humour or kindness, that our creative juices would continue to jam, and the customers would feel the positive, buzzing energy and we'd all be served a little more love.

This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again,
and fillest it ever with fresh life. This little flute of
a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and
hast breathed through it melodies eternally
new .... Thy infinite gifts come to me only on
those very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and
still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

~ Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali

Friday, May 7, 2010

M'aidez Art Show and Mother's Day Gratitude

I'm so grateful to be a mother and to enjoy parenting so much. Today I volunteered at my son's school and at the end of the day they had their monthly Recognition Assembly. Well I'm glad I was there, because apparently for seven months my son has sat through his fellow classmates getting recognized for various achievements, which although happy for them, he's shared was also upsetting, an obvious unsettling to his self esteem, wondering, " why not me?" Well after talking to him about goals he can achieve with a little more effort, he got that it just wasn't his time to be rewarded. But today he beamed, happy and proud to finally be recognized, and he was So glad I was there! His turn and smile towards me lit up the world.

Another day to be proud and pleased came with great weather on top of it. Last weekend was absolutely gorgeous, and after a Saturday morning receiving a 7 am produce order at the Alternative Food Coop, and teaching an 8 am yoga class, I returned to beautiful downtown Wakefield with my son to enjoy a stroll along the Saugatucket River Walk admiring many splendid works created by South Kingstown's elementary, middle and high school art students. Above are some shots, my first graders piece that was selected he self titled, "Symbol of Life". Kids got some depth. I love it. I love him.

I love being a proud mom and a mom that's needed for the tough times too, like teaching him to return the coins from the money counting cup in his classroom (he wanted to give it to me because he knew times were tough and I needed money- oops!). I explained how "Instant karma's gonna get ya", as John Lennon sings, if you don't return the change and rid yourself of the heavy feeling of doing something you shouldn't have done. Well, he lost his DS charger soon after, and he does think it's his dishonest action of taking the change, as well as his inefficient clean up of play space, that has made him pay a consequence of no DS game playing for a while. (Yeah!-it's limited and not good, I know.)

Discussing karma, honesty, efficiency and respect, as well as compassion and love for all beings, are great value gathering moments. Memories that are deep seeded lessons, reflecting my love and concern for him. These times are just as moving moments of motherhood as are occasions of pride and joy. I wish such moments and impressions to all- may you experience the gratitude that comes with pride, joy and nurturing others. Happy Mother's Day!