Wind In My Sails…

On the way to Vimy Ridge just outside Waterton Park May 2021

One thing that is a guarantee about living in Southern Alberta is that there will be wind involved when planning any outside activity. You would think after living here for over 50 plus years, I would be used to it by now. Ugh! Living at the ashram taught me that weather should be secondary to keeping yourself in motion outside. I walked trails in snow, mud, rain and didn’t let it get me down. So what’s a little wind in my sails then? Well, to be honest, it’s more than a little it can get up 70km/hr easily before you know it. The gang has decided we should focus on “adventure” this month and I am up for many as the month progresses. I bought an inflatable kayak and have been delighted in testing it’s ability to stay a float on some pretty easy local lakes. It was on a calm day I have to admit and I will probably stick to calm days while kayaking. My husband and I decided once to take our canoe out on St Mary’s reservoir. It was calm when we started out and not a cloud in the sky. We paddled around the lake and were really enjoying the day when we noticed in the distance some ominous black clouds building. We knew we wouldn’t make it back to our original starting spot so decided to go a shore by the East bank. This part of the lake has big boulders and not much else. I clammbered up the rocks and huddled by the canoe while my husband went to get the truck.

When it rains it pours. The universe loves to make the most when it catches me out in nature without anywhere to go but to stay put and grit it out. Boy did it down pour. The wind whipped around me and the rain felt like nasty pellets stinging my bare arms. I held onto the canoe which at some points wanted to fly away. It seemed like hours before hubby came with the truck but it was only probably minutes. So you would think that maybe I had had enough of that type of boating? Nope, I decided to go even more adventurous and trade my sturdy, hard bodied canoe in for an inflatable kayak. I hope to try it out soon on some rivers and lakes in the local mountain area. I need to go shopping first for a good life jacket and longer kayak paddle.

Wind or no wind, I am determined to get out there this summer and enjoy this amazing playground I have been blessed to live in. I hope to see you on the river or lake or on a mountain trail. Either way, if nothing else, this crazy time has proven how lucky we are to be alive. Why not get the heart pumping!

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

The Offering

The halfway mark coming quickly approaching for my time at the ashram. Time is clocked differently here. At times it seems to stand still at others it disappears in seconds. I have learned so much about myself, about co-existing with others, about living in a dorm like dwelling. If I ever was regretting going away to school and living sorority style then I can check that epic moment off my bucket list…lol.

Some mornings the karma yogis get together for chanting and discussion. There, a question or exercise is posed to carry throughout your day. This morning the discussion was around “What is an offering?” Is there a difference between helping and an offering? What defines the difference?

So what is the difference?

When I look back at my life and think of when I have helped others I had to really ponder whether what I was doing was selfless or self-serving. As I pondered the question during my day of cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, then doing dishes I began to get a glimpse of what I think is the true meaning of the words “offering”.

In the past, I have looked for a form of recognition when I help others. A thankyou,  a word or two about being grateful or recognizing that I did something for them. It didn’t matter what it was from borrowing money, to helping them move, or even taking on the task of caring for a parent or relative in life and then in death. All that time I could have alleviated my resentment for any lack of acknowledgment from others that I did something they should take notice of. As I think about it now I can’t believe my behavior. I have had many opportunities to offer up service to others in need in a form of less self and more service. I can now let go of my self-serving attitude towards doing things for others. It opens my heart to genuine kindness and pure light.

Many may call my “ah ha” moment non-attachment. I am starting to get the meaning of this and what a profound difference it has made in my feelings towards compassion and empathy.

If the next half of my stay here is as life changing as the first I am indeed lucky to have made this shift. Change is hard for many of us. Some of us let fear and the pain of potential loss over power the desire for something more. Change happens whether we participate or self medicate with our heads tucked firmly in the dark corners of our minds. I am loving the light. The warm divine light that sustains me here. The muscle memories are finding new poses. I have unlearned almost as much as I have learned.I know it’s a fraction of what the potential for enlightment can hold space for me. My cleared space has expanded and now reached into the cosmos. 

I am sharing this blog with you today as an offering. May you be healthy. May you be whole.

Om

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.

Life Seals and Life Strategies

Happy Valentines Day! Let’s celebrate by loving ourselves.

Today is a day of rest and reflection at the ashram. We have been given some homework for review next week. Since next week is looking more like addition of integration into everyday life as quarantine comes to a close, I figured I would do the homework today while I had the time and energy.

The assignment reads “to embark on a journey of finding out more about yourself, where you are now and where you want to be we are going to explore the strategies for getting there”.

Exercise 1- You need crayons, scissors, tape and timer and trust in the process.

Draw a symbol for your 5 senses. You have 15 minutes don’t think too much about it and use only the crayons that have been provided. Ok, I can think of 4 of the senses-taste, touch, sound, sight hmmm what am I missing? I don’t want to cheat so I don’t google it. I think about what I rely on for senses. Intuition comes up. Ok I have at least 5. Now draw them.

Exercise 2

2 strengths and 2 weaknesses. You have 12 minutes. Wait, wait…do I draw these or just think about them? Write it down? Doesn’t say so I draw them

Exercise 3

Draw a symbol for you Mind Chant. You have 5 minutes. Right away a symbol comes to mind. That one was surprisingly easy as the symbol has popped up in many shamanic journeys and meditations.

Exercise 4

Draw a symbol of your Essence Chant. You have 5 minutes. Hmmm this one is harder I have an idea and start to draw it. My fingers fight me and draw something completely different. Ok must be right.

Final Exercise

Cut out all the drawings and arrange them on the big canvas provided. This ends up being quite interesting and not what I expected. My unconscious mind/will has created a pattern I wasn’t aware of.

I arrange the symbols on the big sheet of brown paper provided and stand back. Adjust the order until it feels right. I had assumed that the order would stay in the same sequence as the exercises. It didn’t. As I contemplated each piece and it’s placement I realized many things. The universe was trying to tell me bits of the puzzle I had been missing. Information about myself. How I had relied on my senses, my mind and my lack of checking in with my essence to confirm my direction.

I hesitate at this point to show you and describe my outcomes just in case you decide to try this yourself. I have decided to go ahead though because part of my journey is to share my insights as they are given to me in this community. So, if you want to try this exercise stop reading now and go for it.

Stop here if you want to try the exercises…If not proceed…

For those that chose to continue here are my insights about Life Seals and Life Strategies. There is a caveat though, I haven’t been through part two of this exercise yet. That will come on Wednesday next week when the group gets together to discuss it and gain any clarity that is needed.

The exercise, for me, lead to a lighted path pretty much down the middle of the canvas. One, I noticed quite quickly, I could step onto and walk/meditate on each symbol or step that I had created. I was excited and decided to try them out.

In the direct route of the path,which ended up in bright colors subconsciously, was the Mind symbol first, then Intuition(sense), Essence symbol then finally at the top Resilience(as a strength). Those stood out as being vital to my Life Strategy.

In the meandering path the colors were black, browns and yellow and weave back and forth from the main artery. Need to control (weakness) was to the right of Mind, Taste to the left, Sound to the right, then centered back to Intuition. Next came Trust ( weakness). I was curious about my choice of symbols here. I chose a cross, why? I am not religious. I believe in energy and surrender to the universe but not necessarily a god. Yet, blind faith kept popping up in my mind. My Essence symbol is centered here with Determination (strength) to the left guided by touch and sight. At the top I decided to put Resilience(strength).

I closed my eyes and walked the labyrinth a few times to test it out and see how it felt. I am confident I could do it again in meditation also. Which I am excited to try.

I encourage anyone reading this to try it and see what comes up for you. It took an hour and a half to put together. I feel changed by honoring it’s process. I would love to hear from some of you what comes up out of your unconscious mind.

We will learn on Wednesday whether the intent was anywhere near my experience. Either way it was time well spent.

Namaste

My version of Life Seals and Life Strategies by Swami Radha

She Who Splits Wood

Fear is something I have had an intimate relationship for most of my life. Fear of not being in control, fear of loss of a loved one, fear of not being employed, fear of not being loved and fear of not being enough.

Surrender and learning how to trust are tools that I have known were available to me but I lacked the courage to put into practice on any regular basis. I have gone out of my way in life to take control of my situation. It gave me a false sense of stability. It was like, if I could control what was happening, plan for most contingencies, then all would be right in my world.

How did that turn out for me? In the moment, it gave me space to breath. A bit of stable ground under my feet. Yesterday, at the ashram, I started the day by striking cuts in the ice on the paths with a blade then filling them with dirt. I was pondering the cuts and thinking about control. The cuts alone wouldn’t help to control people slipping. I had to add another layer of dirt in the cracks to gain some resistance. Even then the theory wasn’t a 100% slip proof there were so many scenarios that could happen where you could still fall. Control is a nefarious beast don’t you think? Can you really ever be in complete control?

I have run myself ragged trying to be everything to everyone. The only person I forgot to include was me.

We did two cords, it felt wonderful to be so physical

The groundskeeper took us through a demonstration on how to use the wood splitter. There were four of us, so I was pretty sure I could slip into a comfortable job of tossing the wood into the trailer. We had a rhythm going and it was working efficiently until he says “switch places”. My heart starts beating quickly as I am next at the control switch. This time I don’t want control. Everyone shifts and I find myself staring at the machine. “Nice and easy now” he says. I take a breath, straighten my big girl panties, lift the lever and push down the throttle. I did it! Yeah big deal, now keep going.

Here’s the thing, it’s not about being in control. It’s about letting go, having the courage to trust in complete strangers that they are there for you. Is that easy? No. Will someone always catch you when you fall? No. Should you keep expecting to trust those around you who don’t show up for you? No.

To me, it’s more about finding my way while I try to establish connections with others who values of give and take match mine. I will still encounter harm, moments of distrust and being alone in my struggle. Life has taught me the hard way that you take a chance when you step up to split the wood. All kinds of things can go awry. Yet all kinds of things can show you that you are stronger than you think. By some miracle, there are still people in this world that are trying just like you to help each other without an agenda. You take a chance when you step up and trust someone else to give you what you need. It’s those times when all goes well that I crave. You lean back and they catch you.

I feel for my friend Sharon. I can see where she is at with the cycle that I just recently completed in the last few years. My sister’s passing, my dad’s dementia,estrangement from his kids and then passing. Being the only relative left to care for him because he had made it impossible to be around him. My mother in-law passed next and then the final chip at the ice came in 2019 when my mom passed away. I thought that I could rely on close family to take up the chisels and make the path stable for us all. That others would gladly fill their buckets with sand and sprinkle the way with support. It didn’t happen. At least it didn’t feel like it to me. Brene Brown talks about “meeting people where they are at”. I have been pondering that aspect of expectations of others. Maybe I have expected too much from those around me. I know that I have never been that great at expressing what I need. One of the messages circulated here at the ashram is that “we aren’t mind readers, you have to say what you need”. They go a bit further and express it’s not only good practice it’s vital to the success of community living.

I hope to get better at saying what I need. Trusting that others will help me to step up to the wood splitter and take my turn. As I look at the fire in the fireplace I am full of gratitude. Knowing, for probably the first time in my life, that I am in a place where others want to help me. I can let go of some of the control and surrender.

Namaste

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

You Gotta Learn How To Trust

Day 2 at the Ashram

It’s day two at the Ashram. I slept like a newborn baby. The quiet is different here. There is a certain lack on ambient noise you can’t get anywhere else. Yesterday I was introduced to “Ruth” she is going to be my guide and help me to acclimatize to life here.

COVID has changed so many things. Even an Ashram can’t get around the challenges of how to mitigate protocols and a continuous cycle of people coming in and going out of the community.

How do you make and keep connections when you are trying to reduce the amount of time participants are using their phones or smart devices?

I am not a big texter, right now those that know me are saying “that’s an understatement, she never answers a text or a phone call”. So the constant transfer of information via text, zoom or website has caused me to increase my screen time instead of reduced it. Hah!

The connection to Knechtion (see what I did there…lol) is ironic. My guides have been very attentive asking me if I need anything or how I am finding my experience so far. I said I was a bit concerned because one of the doors to the house doesn’t have a key to the lock. I had asked a couple of people that had texted me and the response was the same. “We don’t lock our doors here”. I had brought some expensive computer equipment with me and, if being honest, hadn’t ever stayed anywhere on my own where i hadn’t locked the door as soon as I could for the night. I decided to “let it go” and not think about it. Ruth had brought it up today and asked if I slept ok knowing the door wasn’t locked? Truthfully? I didn’t even think about it and slept deeply. What she said next struck me profoundly.

“You have to learn how to trust”

Whoa, when did I unlearn that? It took me back for a few moments and I think she saw the reaction on my face because she raised her eyebrows over her mask and looked me square on.

“That’s really good advice” I said.

I am learning to ask for what I need. It’s an adjustment being in a quarantine situation for 14 days. It’s even more challenging when you are trying to make connections and get to know the community. They have been very attentive and I feel safe and wanted. I can’t wait to bust out of the isolation period and start Knechting.

Namaste

Non-attachment

Be in the world but not of the world

I had a dream a few years ago and it has stayed with me. I am weeping because my husband has told me he sold our home and we were moving. I wasn’t upset about the house nor its contents. That, I was perfectly fine to let go of. What hurt my heart was to leave my gardens behind. I have spent years in development of my outside spaces. I have created a space full of fruit, flowers, havens for bee and birds. It is my own little oasis. My paradise. It’s an interesting attachment. Perhaps even a little unrealistic as plants, earth, rocks and wood can all be recreated anywhere. Yes, it would take time but it isn’t impossible to do.

In buddism there is a practice called “non-attachment”. The gist is to not allow your sense of wellbeing to rely on anything other than your own presence of awareness. “Be in the world but not of the world”.

Be in the world but not of the world

Buddha

We spend much of our time seeking out the approval of others. We are addicted to “Likes”. We are on a perpetual quest for acceptance, recognition of contribution, confirmation that we matter. We have lost reliance on our own awareness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to check in with those we trust to make sure we have a good grip on reality. Opinions, though, are a tricky thing. They can come from a place of love. They can be contructive and they are attached to someone elses perspective.

So what’s the point? The month of Januarys’ theme has been “clearing spaces”-mind, body and spirit. I have been working on the connections between mind and spirit. Pulling up past traumas to examine it with the lense of being present and self-aware (as aware as possible). I know I have choices to consider. I can blame others for how I think and feel about me or I can practice non-attachment.

If my gardens ever disappear from my life, I know I can recreate them in my heart and mind. I am master of my universe any time I choose to be. I have proof this is possible projecting memories and spaces in meditation and dreams at will. I can do the same with how I think and feel about myself. Learning to rely on intuition, empathy and a sense of “self” to guide me perhaps to a new oasis non-attached to a world or space that no longer relevant to my wellness or growth.

Are you ready to “let go” and practice non-attachment?