It’s Time

I had a great weekend spent with Sharon and Selena, hanging out, recording a podcast or two and attending Selena’s first but I am sure not last, event. The weather was perfect and it felt like it was “time” for a sense of community to awaken once again.

Summer Solstice reminds us that time is now retreating in the opposite direction. The days will get shorter and the weather will get colder but not yet! We still have plenty of time to enjoy summer and all the active moments we can capture.

During the event I pulled three cards just like Sharon. 

The first pull was an overall themed card which would tie everything else that happened after together. It was the “Time” card represented by the celtic goddess Arianrhod. Legend has it that she is involved in determining the fate of individuals as they cross over. She is connected to the moon and the North star. She is from Eastern European descent. Hmm..just so happens I am too. I have been thinking about how to spend my time lately. We have all accumulated “saved time” over our lives now it’s the moment in which to cash it in. Decide what will bring me the most fulfillment as I dole out my hours in a new form and space.

Time is an interesting thing. We try to save it, we make sacrifices in overtime activities such as work or away from loved ones. We are taught that time management is important. I do have to wonder why though? Can you really save time or manage time? The clock is set with only so many allotments of duration per 24 hour cycle. If you save time, it’s not like you can put it in an investment or bank account and withdraw it later. If it isn’t used for one thing it will be used for something else. Hopefully there is a balance to your favour as you use it. In most mystical teachings, including yoga and shaman practices, time is subjective. Passage of it can come and go without any attachment to mankind’s measurement sticks. 

Overall Theme Card

I am in a transition of time. I have spent over 40 years of my life feeling like I had little or no control over “my” time. I do now. I am awake and present and have a sense of the value of time spent.

The next card I pulled was for purposes of “release”. The image was of a woman lying on her back in a cosmic space. She appeared to be meditating. The card read “star bathing”. I wasn’t familiar with this nor the practice. I have been spending lots of time lately doing the opposite of this. I have craved the sun and the solar energy it brings. Maybe it’s time to get nocturnal? 

Star bathing is connected with the crystalline grid of the Earth. Find places where the vortex of energy is felt and meditate there to unlock the energy. It’s time to travel I think and the great part is I don’t have to go far. There are plenty of vortexes here in Western Canada just waiting to explore. 

The last exercise was about embodiment. I pulled an image of a dragon. At first, I thought it was related to dragonflies but now I am pretty. It’s about dragons. In the yoga practices at the ashram I learned a bit about association and the need to explore the setting, the characteristics and the behaviors of the symbols and not just the image. Dragons…are hoarders of precious things, they are loners, they come out at night mostly (the night theme again). They destroy things. They live in the mystical realm and though they are very powerful to dream about, they aren’t real. The dragon in the picture isn’t breathing fire and doesn’t appear to be a threat to the valley it occupies. Now, interesting enough, I was born in the year of the dragon. I have found myself drawn to the space between the earth and the cosmos. Maybe on my adventures to find the vortex’s and star bath I will encounter a dragon?

It was a wonderful expenditure of time! To get out and connect in an actual group of people you can see instead of envisioning through a camera lense was nostalgic of the ashram. I think that’s one of the things I miss the most is the community.

I hope you feel your time spent reading our blogs and listening to our podcasts is well spent. I look forward to more exploration of the meaning of the cards and their connectivity to my present.

Namaste

OK Universe, I’m listening!

The universe is speaking to me again. No – actually – it’s yelling. It’s doing all but grabbing me by the collar and shaking me.

Today, I attended a Summer Solstice Celebration hosted by our friend Selena, of Luna Terra Soul. She started the celebration by having us choose a goddess card. My goddess was Hecate – the Greek goddess of crossroads and the in-between. In the book accompanying the cards, it states:

You are standing in the liminal spaces between what was and what will be – who you have been and who you are becoming…You’re being tasked to carefully choose the direction of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions….Now is the time to understand the responsibilities require of you as you move forward in a new version of yourself that is as yet unformed.

This hit home. My marriage is done. My son doesn’t require “parenting” so my role as a mother is changing. I’ve recently bought and moved into my own home. Who am I ? What kind of life do I want to live? What do I need to let go of to move forward? These are questions I’ve been pondering.

Selena took us through an exercise to release what no longer serves us. I identified ‘resentment’ as what I needed to release. I was hanging onto resentment towards my ex-husband for the lies, denials, and unwillingness to truly work on our relationship. Even though I now understand why he acted the way he did, there is hurt. I released it today. It no longer serves me.

While we were journalling about what we released, Selena gave us another card from a different deck. This time, it was “Inner Earth”. The statement on the card was:

You’ll survive this. New solutions and new beginnings.

Whoa.

Last night, Selena and Vanessa were at my place to record some podcasts. Selena brought her animal spirit cards. As I was shuffling the deck, two cards fell out. One was the Lion – “the living mascot of self-transformation…This card reminds us that self-mastery is available to all, no matter where our quest begins.” The other was the Frog – a water element. “This card serves as a reminder that water helps us cleanse, forgive, and release.”

So, to pull those two cards last night and then get these two cards today, I know I’m being told to release, forgive, transform – and the universe is telling me it’s going to be OK.

But, that wasn’t enough. Oh no, just in case I still wasn’t getting the message, the final card given to me this morning was from a third deck. It was “Letting Go”.

Life is constantly changing. Nothing ever stays the same…You have the innate courage to acknowledge the situation and know that change is inevitable. It also brings with it newfound freedoms and spiritual growth.

The “Letting Go” card tells me my mantra is: “I am ready to free myself from situations that no longer serve me.” – and I have.

For the past two years, the cards were telling me to find wisdom and hinted at a transformation to come.

Well, it’s happening. I’m on my own. I live near water. I’m doing things that fulfill me without having to justify what I’m doing to anyone. My partner, Martin, tells me he’s enjoying watching me discover myself again. He has dubbed 2021, “The Year of Sharon”.

A few minutes ago, I looked for a summer solstice image to share. The one I’ve posted jumped out at me. It’s the same message.

I don’t believe in coincidence. The alignment of messages is simply too strong to ignore, so I won’t.

I’ve let go. I’m starting a new life. One where I’m not defined as a “wife” or “caretaker”. I’m learning it’s OK to be selfish as long it serves me without disrespecting or harming others. I’m finding peace and contentment within myself, which is making me want to try new things.

I still have some work to do to fully let go of the past, but I’m embracing the future. After today, I feel the Universe is on my side.

White Blood Cells

May’s theme is to “Follow Your Dreams”

Laying in Savasana (Corpse Pose)

There is a body. It’s laying on a carpet of green grass in what appears to be a room in a house. It’s face up, hands with palms up and at its side. I can’t see the face clearly.The cavity of the body is open and I can see the internal organs. On the right mid abdomen side I see what I think is the kidneys but it is made up of white milky egg-like objects. They are translucent and bunched together like grapes.

The view shifts and I am in another room talking to someone. I am frustrated and angry that I had to go pick up the body from somewhere else. The person says that the body has lost its memory. I don’t understand the comment as I saw the white egg-like objects. I understood that they were its memories.

I woke up at that moment confused. I wanted more dreams and here is a doozy. Not really clear as usual but interesting enough to want to pick apart.

I just happen to still be my dream yoga class. Yesterday, we used the Kundalini system to analyze our latest dream edition.Using the method the first thing I did was write down as much as I could remember of the dream, date it and sign it. The next step is to describe what was going on prior to having the dream.

A couple of things have been coming up for me lately. One, I have been thinking about my relationship with my dad. It wasn’t a great one. He was loud and a lot of the time it was embarrassing to be with him in public. You tended to try and distance yourself and hide when you were with him. He put himself first most of the time. That made it difficult to grow any feelings of being supported or safe when you were with him. Since I had rescued him several times throughout the years I could easily understand if the corpse was his and I resented having to go get it. 

I have also been struggling with getting the COVID vaccine. I do want to travel, I want this pandemic to go away and I want some sense of being free to connect with others to return. The type of vaccine available for someone like me in my area is controversial. There have been some reported cases of people dying from getting it. I am reluctant to put myself in that scenario.I am not an expert here. I can only make decision on the type of vaccine for me and no one else.

Conscious Concerns- The body is frozen in place at the moment, corpse like in pose. The memory of something seems to be missing. The lack of “motion” has become “emotional”.I have been worried about getting the wrong type of vaccine and having negative consequences. Being pressured into it and regretting the outcome. I have been frozen in fear,reluctance and lack of trust.

Picking of three symbols- Memory loss, White Cells, The Corpse Pose

Memory Loss-

What had I forgotten? During the class exercises it hit me clear as day. For the first 4 years of my life I was isolated in doors. I was born with low white blood cells and had low immunity to childhood diseases. I haven’t had any normal childhood infections like chicken pox or measles. I have lived this type of pandemic existence before as a child. I had forgotten. I required outside medical intervention to grow more white blood cells and increase my ability to be immune. Being closed off from others had triggered this experience to come up for me.

White Cells

Through the class I started to understand what the white milky like eggs were. White Blood Cells are essential to fighting off bacteria and infections. They rush in to help fight off illness. The dream reminded me that I have had a history of needing help to fight off infections in the past and that this time was no different. Whoa right?

The Corpse

If you are a yoga type you know this pose and enjoy the Savasanas. What I have been missing is the connection to the pose and what it does for you. Lying in corpse pose and practicing savasanas helps to calm you. Induces relaxation and peace to help distance yourself from your emotions. Think about the circumstances in a clear and rational way. The body wasn’t my dads, it was mine. I should know this by now as every time I am more than one person in the dream I can’t make out faces or gender of the “mystery person”.

Putting it into action

It’s ok to be frightened and cautious of the type of vaccine you get. Do your homework and decide what is best for you by yourself. Be informed and choose what feels right. Remember you have tools and practices that have become life changing. My husband mentioned to me that I have started to chant or hum in my sleep. My inner guru must be working overtime to keep me on the right track. I was bummed that he didn’t recognize the melody or that he didn’t tape it. I said next time to please record it as I would love to know which mantra is being repeated when I am unconscious. 

Surrender control and trust that you are making the right choice by getting vaccinated. You will be able to reduce isolation sooner and start building the community you crave. I want to stay open and willing. I have been given the opportunity before. I am a walking example of being born without immunity and by the gift of science and medicine being given a second chance.

My dreams have become essential gifts of wisdom and knowledge. I eagerly await the opportunities to learn and grow from them. We, at midlifearieses.ca have dedicated the month of May to following our dreams. I hope you will join us in this adventure!

Namaste.

Can You Read The Signs?

Photo of night sky at Yasodhara ashram

Dream Yoga

I have been home for a few days now and trying to settle. If I am honest, which I think is a good thing to be, I am a little freaked out and worried. I feel pressure to make sure I don’t lose all the progress I have gained from being at the ashram. Friends and family are looking at me. I can see them assessing if they notice any changes. Physically, I have lost about 20 pounds, mentally? I feel I have lost extra baggage that no longer is helpful in my life. It’s easier being in a place where your meals are prepared for you, you go to a board and it has the day planned for you. Not much stress about thinking how to make the most of your day. You are contributing to the welfare of the community, have chores, yoga first thing in the morning, opportunities to chant with others or meditate alone. Now, I am the program director and the days contributions are up to me to decide. I can see why many people just put their head down and go to work. In a lot of ways it’s easier. You have many distractions to keep you from delving too deeply into your psyche.  I am finding that patience with myself will be key to making this work outside of the “box”.

I had a dream a couple of days before I left Yasodhara. There was a little blonde haired girl trudging up and down the concrete stairwells of a big stadium. I followed her and asked if I could help? She said she lost her parents and was looking for them. I followed her up and down the stairs. She told me that she didn’t trust me to keep her safe. I protested that I was an adult and more than capable to keep us both safe. She said I didn’t know the dangers out there. She didn’t have confidence in me. We tried a couple of off shoots from the stairs but ended up back on the stairs going up and down. I woke up with no resolution in the dream.

I wondered what had gone on that I missed? When I tried the dream yoga method I had learned at the ashram I started to understand. I picked 3 symbols from the dream. The little girl, the stairwell and the absent parents.

The little girl. Well she is me or at least she is my “inner child” and my desire to hold onto what I have learned. She is young, maybe a bit naive and yet aware enough to know that I can get distracted enough to lose my way sometimes. She is beautiful inside and out and glows with inner light. When I looked at her I was saddened that any parent would leave her there alone.

The absent parents. Where are they and why have they not come to claim the child? I can see myself here also and my parents. Getting busy and caught up in other things, other interests or other desires. Opportunities to nurture and maintain all that I have gained comes with discipline and constant awareness. I mourn for the loss of those moments where I could have been there for myself, for my children or for anyone who needed a parent with unconditional love. I could easily blame my parents for being absent most of my life. They were physically there often but very emotionally absent. I understand how it can happen. My compassionate unconscious is warning me that I need to stay diligent in guarding that child or I will lose that aspect of me that is very precious.

The stairwell.

I reflect on the stairwell and what it could symbolize. I think back to the dream. Did I miss the signs that were usually so clearly displayed in stairwells? Where was the exit sign? The directions to seating areas or the stage? I know I was looking down lots or at the back of the child’s figure. Why didn’t I look up and read the signs? Do I do that in life? Miss the signs, get lost because I am too stubborn to watch for help or ask for directions when I need them? I am guilty of this for sure. The child saying she doesn’t trust me hits home. If I can’t trust others to help lead me out of my self induced wanderings, can I be trusted with the safety of this child?

The dream packed a good wallop for me to ensure I understand that I am a “work in progress”. That’s ok, the child in me knows that already. I am hoping she will have patience and empathy for me. She did stay with me as we wandered up and down, so that’s a good “sign”. I know I can lead us out of the stadium If I look up and read the directions. I have the map, I have the desire and I have the responsibility of caring for this little girl and her well being.

Namaste

If you are interested in learning more about dream yoga, the Yasodhara ashram has virtual life classes being offered on the website. I am finding this type of inner work very beneficial.

The Empty Pool, The Snake Charmer & The Cobra

The practice of dream yoga

March 11, 2021

I am sitting in an empty pool in lotus pose. I notice a snake charmer in the distance and he is working with a cobra. I can’t make out his facial features or too much about his physical characteristics. His being is blurry. The snake, however, is quite clear and vibrant HD quality. The snake comes towards me and I keep expecting the snake charmer to call it back. This doesn’t happen. Soon the cobra is raising up right in front of me. I keep expecting the snake charmer to do something but he is silent. The reptile presses its snout into my cheek. I feel the pressure and become terrified that it’s going to bite me. It puts more force behind the action. I try to jerk back but realize the response will get me killed. The snake has poisonous venom leaking from its mouth on my cheek. I am frozen in place. I hear the snake charmer in the distance speak in a quiet tone. “Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out”. It’s all I have right now so I start to control my inhalation and exhalation based on his advice. Soon, I start to calm and the snake eases up a bit on the pressing. I feel that as long as I stay calm and control my breathing I will live through this experience. The cobra loses interest and backs away. I watch as it slithers into a crack in the pool. I feel it hasn’t completely gone just given me some distance for now.

I don’t recall a lot of my dreams and yet, since coming to the ashram I have started to have more of them that are coming to the surface. Last week we started in a workshop series on interpreting our dreams, their symbols and sage advice they can give us. We were given some instructions on how to set up an environment around us to prepare our sleeping area to best encourage dreams to occur, capture and recall the details and then think about the events that lead up to the content of the dream. Once the dream has been recorded in as much detail as possible, you can start to work with its message and symbolism.

We were asked, in the workshop, to pick three symbols in the dream to work with. I chose the pool, the snake charmer and the cobra. The next exercise was to try and define what each of those symbols could represent to you. Our dream language can be quite different than our reality. Objects, words, colors, tones are not necessarily what they seem or are they literal in their use within the dreamscape journey.

Interpreting my dream

What was occurring that led to the dream? 

The day before the dream I went to a Hawtha yoga class. I was feeling like I might never be able to do the poses in the limber way of some of the others in the class. My body is stiff and tight and resists the stretches every chance it gets. There are many reasons for me being at the ashram some of which are because I am out of shape and in need of a regular routine of exercise, clean eating and living. I lack “know how” and discipline with my spiritual practices and I have been trying to create habits that will help me to sustain my growth after I leave here. I have been feeling very supported, encouraged and reminded of the benefits of establishing positive routines, rituals and habits.

Initial Thoughts About The Symbols

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to make of the dream at first. It was short and to the point and I didn’t think it was very significant other than reminding me of my lack of flexibility in the cobra pose. As I worked with sequences, chanted and meditated on possible messages a theme started to appear. It took several tries and some discussion with others to help me realize the potential learnings my subconscious was giving me. 

The Empty Pool

A pool is a confined space. It holds fluid. You can become weightless once it’s filled with liquid. It’s meant to be used to exercise the body. It’s relaxing,comforting and a safe space. An empty pool can mean “potential”, a controlled space that contains a substance that normally wouldn’t be easy to keep for long in one place. At least long enough for it to be effective. I started to think about the ashram and how it can be compared to an empty pool for me. I have many options as to what I can fill my “pool” with while I am here. 

The Snake Charmer

Why is this person blurry? I think it’s a man but not really sure as I can’t make out any details of the figures appearance. I get the vibe that it’s unsure of its ability to control the snake. I am irritated by the lack of confidence and feel that the person could try harder to help me. They only become useful when the threat gets to a point of crisis. The snake is about to kill me and then I hear the voice to breath. This symbol I got wrong a few times before I started to zero in on understanding what this could mean. My yoga practices has been a hobby in the past. Something I dabbled with like so many other things. I know a little about a lot of stuff. I lack confidence to help myself sometimes out of everyday challenges. In a crisis though, I come to life and I am able to manage my way through. My practice is the snake charmer, they are vague and need commitment and regularity to become more effective.  

The Cobra

The snake is pressing hard into my cheek. What am I supposed to face that I am not? On a walk with my guide, we talk about the dream and the cobra pressing me hard. I am very afraid. She asks me “How do I feel about facing my fears?” The light goes on in my head. Facing my fears. The anxiety is real, the F.E.A.R.- false expectations appearing real, has been with me for a long time. I have a safe space, I have the start of a practice that can help me with anything I chose to use it for. I have the opportunity to face my fears head on and learn what is real and what is false about them.

Now, the conclusion to this dream sequence. What can I do with this message? Like life, interpreting what our inner self is pushing up to the surface is tricky and takes patience, time and determination. Swami Radha, who founded the ashram, has a useful book called “Realities Of The Dreaming Mind, The Practice Of Dream Yoga”. In the book, it gives a practice to follow and details of how to start the flow of information from our inner guru.

Dream yoga opens up the opportunities for us to speak with the guru within us. I want to continue this practice as well as others that are pouring into my pool. They keep me resilient and buoyant on my life journey. I know that cobra will always be present somewhere and yet, I am less afraid when it comes into view. My inner snake charmer is growing in confidence and clarity of self and tools associated with its craft.

Namaste

Cold Splash of Vulnerability

I started the today in the Beach Prayer room. It’s called that because it’s basically on the beach and over looks the lake. I have been a bit nervous about this evenings Satsang as my guide has asked me accompany her on my piano for singing and chanting. I got in one practice and hope I interpret the songs correctly. I started my meditation with the Om Tara I have been working with while sitting in the prayer room. As I sat and chanted I began to think about my 5 senses. Then as I chanted more and wondered why I was thinking of them literally instead of how I use them when going on a shaman journey. They are tools that can help filter out what barriers are coming up for me.

We see many things in our dreams or when journeying or mediating that don’t exist anywhere else. I have smelt sage burning or the perfume of a flower where none should exist. Sound is a conduit to heal I am learning. I have been thinking that I have spent too much time playing music while here. I now know it’s part of meditation.

I didn’t get to play tonight. Part of me is relieved part is bummed. It was determined that I was too new to the ashram and should be able to attend a few more sessions before diving in.

My guide didn’t know this protocol and when she came to tell me she seemed a bit nervous now. She would be playing and leading the session herself. She was told that satsang isn’t about performance it’s about a creating sacred space. She looked vulnerable and I saw that she was learning just like me. We are all on our personal journey. I have seen so much about human interactions here. How to live where all your senses are eager for stimulation.

I started the day in the Beach prayer room and I ended it there also. Sitting in the dark with another karma yogi just after we had took a dip in the ice cold Kootenay lake. All my senses came alive and it felt vulnerable but invigorating at the same time.

I am learning more than I ever thought possible about myself and about how I interact with others. I am learning I can live without a lot of space. Since I only have spotty internet connections I am writing this blog post on my phone. Another first for me to put my thoughts on such a tiny screen.

The mantras are filling me with strength and insight. I am excited to explore them further. OM OM OM

Taking Up A Smaller Space

All moved to my new “tiny space” for the next two months. I get the day to settle in then join the community this evening for Satsang. Since COVID the ashram has had to split up Satsang into two locations. Everything seems more complicated with this virus. I am grateful, to be in a community setting.

My room is about 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. Great practice for my desire to live in a van. Space is an illusion I think. I seem to have plenty. There is something soothing about a confined space. Freud might say it has something to do,with being in the womb? I am at the very North end of the property now closer to the gardens. The birds are chirping right outside my window. Good thing I brought earplugs for their AM wake up song. I spotted a group of deep blue, blue jays perched in the birch trees. They remind me of the swamis robes which are a similar blue shade.

I decided to move and get settled in so I could relax. It’s quiet right now as everyone is still out doing their karma yoga. Soon, I am sure, the building will be bubbling with activity.

I am ready to start this next leg of my journey. Joining into a community when I haven’t been part of any type of, in person interactions for almost two years. How does that happen? Easy when you go virtual and work from home. We are so disconnected these days. Consumed by accumulating space and stuff to fill it with. These little pockets of only use what you need and occupy as little space as possible are truly an opportunity to practice minimalism. Let’s making a short blog today to stick with that intent. Practice taking up a smaller space and filling it with abundance.

Namaste

Moving Day

Patience

Last day of quarantine

It doesn’t take long to become conditioned to a routine. At 6pm every night, I check a website to find out what I will be doing tomorrow. I knew that today was probably going to be my last day of isolation so I had a mixed of anxiety and excitement to see what the website would tell me was planned for me, my last day of quaratine. I checked at 6:05pm, nothing, 8:00pm still nothing hmmm. My night was restless knowing that I was the last to arrive in my cycle of Karma Yogis so I would be the last one out of quarantine. I didn’t sleep well. The wind howled all night, it rained and the hill side gushed with water towards the lake all through the dark hours. I woke up at 4:00am and tried to go back to sleep. I drifted in and out and then finally got up at 5:30am. I decided to recite my new mantra and then meditate for a while. I felt better after and eased into a morning yoga flow. I like the idea of setting an intention for the day. I decided that “Patience” was going to be needed. So patience it was. I got a call at 9:30am wondering why I hadn’t shown up for karma yoga…lol. I had been waiting with patience for further instructions. Now I put my jacket on and hiked up the hill to help with more wood cutting and stacking.

Transitions make us ansy, even for someone like me who likes change, changing bunkhouses, assigned duties, new group of people takes a few minutes to adjust. Luckily, the ashram gives you a day to move, understand the new pace and rest before you begin, again. The girl staying in the side house of the cabin moved yesterday. You can tell when someone has done this before. They gave her a day to move and she took the whole day. I asked her whether there was a time she needed to be done by through the closed door. She said she just needed to sleep in her new place, other than that there wasn’t a specific hour. Now there was patience. Squeezing every moment of peace and solitude that comes from having your own space and not giving up a second of it.

I shake my head at myself. I mopped the floors yesterday and cleaned up the kitchen. Today I sorted my laundry and organized what I was going to wear tomorrow. I am so used to deadlines whether at work or when traveling that the organizing starts a day or two before my vacation is over. Why do we robbed ourselves of those final hours of bliss before we need to immerse back into the chaos?

Patience. Tomorrow I will slowly make my way over to my new lodgings. Maybe take a few things and go check it out after breakfast. I have one of the only tubs that is available at the ashram. The other bathrooms are showers only. So I plan to take a bubblebath before doing the final cleaning. I have a few pages left of my book to read and some contemplations to record in my diary. Maybe even sit and soak in this wonderful little cabin of paradise for one more day. I hope I remember this if travel ever becomes a resonable option again as we all could use a little patience.

Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha

Finding a mantra that resonates

The above sandscript translates into english as: praise to Tara who removes all fear and grants all successes. 

I am writing this blog Sunday morning as I sit at the cabin kitchen table. I ponder synchronicity and timing of things. As I struggle with what is the right thing to do in my life I know I have been given a gift by being here in the right moment with the right opportunity. I am aware of this place, stretch of time and state of desire to explore an alternative path.

Every day, my vision is clearing. My space is becoming infinite.  A focus that magnifies aspects of my life, existence and behavior. The first day of arrival I saw a lake and shoreline across the water. The third day I saw a lake, shoreline, road and powerline. By the 5th day I saw a lake, shoreline, signs of life across the water, waves changing colors from white, grey and shades of blue. On the second week I experienced a shift of perspective. I still saw all of those signs of life and more. Everyday I am able to split through a little bit more of the outer layers of my view to start to understand what is really there for me to see.

Sight is an interesting one of the  senses. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and determination to clear many years of conditioning. We learned at a young age to trust what we see. The challenge is, what do you really see and do you trust it?

I chanted the mantra “Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha” for a moment this morning to give me the words. I opened my eyes and an eagle flew by, swerved and headed back out onto the lake. It’s been snowing this morning so the view is a bit muted against the clouds. When I saw the eagle I stopped writing, grabbed my coat and went outside. I wandered down towards the cliffs and stood out on the summer house balcony below me. Searching for the direction the eagle had gone. It was nowhere to be seen. Sigh, am I so easily distracted? Is this another test of my undisciplined mind?

The heart of the message, in this blog entry, is about discipline, practice and trust in a process. As I learn more about mantras, chanting, symbolism, life seals and life strategy it all comes to nothing if I don’t take the tools and apply them to my healing. Apply them to stripping away the layers of my life experiences. I am starting to feel like those memories have been learned for me and yet they aren’t my now. The mantras and chanting can help me to channel new thought patterns.

In a class we talked about some of the main Gods that the Yasodhara ashram studies such as Shiva, Krishna, Tara and Radha. We went through a mantra that is attached to each and then were asked to work with one that resonated with us.

I chose Tara. More research on the deity provided me with some intuitive reasons why this one was standing out for me. Green Tara ( apparently there are many versions and colors) the goddess of healing energy that brings awareness and relief from negativity, fear and ignorance. She embodies bounty in nature and the energy of growth and regeneration. Sounds like a good goddess to start practicing with don’t you think?

I have a couple more days in quarantine before I will be relocated to the general population. I am excited and nervous. The solitude has been exactly what I needed to gain footing before I join the chaos.

The snow has stopped and I see a patch of blue sky starting to widen. I won’t go chase the eagle as I know it’s moved on. It only wanted me to know, it’s there when I need it. I may, though, find a secluded spot to chant my newly learned mantra and give thanks to Tara and my many blessings that have come to me through the divine light.

Namaste

PS as I proof read the blog post the eagle is back…sigh. My discipline is a work in progress for sure.

Dishes and Berries Equal Food On The Plate

Day 4 at the Ashram Karma Yoga

Day 4 at the Ashram and on the agenda was, for me, a reintroduction to Karma Yoga. My first practice of this type of yoga can be enjoyed in another blog post called “The Karmic Carrot”.

The agenda for each day pops up on a website at 6 pm the previous evening for a reason. It doesn’t give you too much information and whole lot of time to decide if you are going to like doing the task or not. Don’t think too much about it, is the advice given by the yogi. Good advice.

Before we suited up in our winter wear to battle the balmy -9 degrees outside, which is necessary for most activities while we are still in quarantine (I came from Lethbridge which is -32 right now) we were instructed to watch a video by Swami Radhananda. The Swami talks about many things in the video but focuses mostly on Karma Yoga and why the Ashram began to incorporate it as part of their practice over 45 years ago. She muses that people pay to come here and do service in this way. The practice is built on the principles of light, social action, compassion, evolution, health, surrender and love. It’s believed that if “something needs to be done, you should do it!” I especially love the example she gives of no job is too small or insignificant to complete. You pick the berries and wash the plates which leads to something to eat and a vessel to enjoy it. It’s pretty simple right? Another interesting point she makes is around work and what we value. Most of us go to work from 9 to 5 then go home and do our personal work for the rest of our awake hours. Here at the Ashram, you see more of a connection between the work that gets done during the day and the immediate consumption or usefulness of that task.

A trendy label these days is something called “an essential worker”. Everyone at the Ashram is essential to it’s sustainment. We could learn a thing or two about how the world functions and what is actually essential to do and what is not.

Ok, back to the Karma Yoga. After I watched the video I was to come up with an intention to ponder while I practiced being in service. There was a ton of great nuggets to ponder and yet the one that stuck out for me was this “limitations cause us to rethink and change”. The Swami was referring to the necessity to constantly adapt. Not very many people are permanent residence at the Ashram, therefore as beings are switched out, the ecosystem has had to learn to rethink, adapt and change over and over again. Some folks have been invited to stay for a longer term and a few are here to stay. Can you imagine a life where everything changes all time? Practicing non-attachment would be easier I would like to think. The same theme as yesterday came back up today in the video “you learn to trust”. No wonder, in a place where you rely on that next helpful resource to pop up out of nowhere you have to “let go” and “trust”.

There is a desire for action and it’s moving the place toward a strong commitment to a connected community.

The Karma Yoga ended up being putting sand on ice covered trails. Good use of time. I am forever falling on ice and I am amazed that I don’t have a cracked skull or brain damage from hitting my head. Ouch! Normally I would have went off on my own and meticulously covered all the trails I could find with a nice coating of sand. I rethought my actions today and changed up my practice. Another newbie was on a trail and I joined her a few feet apart. We chatted and poured sand. We learned what we had in common and what made us unique. I realized another intentions as we walked. I miss people, other human beings that I can stare into their faces in real life instead of a webcam. It was overwhelming to realize the depth of loneliness that this pandemic and working from home had caused in my existence.

Karma Yoga has migrated me towards a community who are embedded in a shift towards Ideals, Intentions, Goals and Focus and it’s feel wonderful.

“I want to be who I want to be…I want to help”

Namaste Swami Radhananda, may you rest in peace, divine light and love