A Writer On Practice

You can dig a hole in a cemetery but that doesn’t mean you’re a grave-digger. 

Maybe read that again…

You can dig a hole in a cemetery but that doesn’t mean you’re a grave-digger.

It’s okay, I had to read to read it twice, too, when I came across it in “Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing” by Margaret Atwood. It was a Christmas present I’m late getting around to reading. It’s been on the nightstand with the next installment of “Outlander” I have assigned myself to read. Be very impressed I didn’t pick up “Outlander” first. I can’t wait to find out what’s happening with Jamie and Claire…

Do you give yourself reading assignments? Furthermore, do you give yourself writing assignments?

I do both. Currently, I am reading my writing assignment to see what in the hell was going on. If I lose a little momentum in a piece of work more than a couple thousand words long, I have to go back and be reminded of what happened. Perhaps this is why Stephen King’s main instruction for wannabe writers is writing equals ass in chair. It’s gotta be a daily practice or you lose your place. Excuses abound, of course; I had to get my hair colored, I sprained my butt, the air-conditioner isn’t working, the cat was mad at me.

Still, writing equals ass in chair. For more sound advice on the path of penning books read “On Writing” my Stephen King.

If I don’t write every day it’s the equivalent of digging little potholes in the backyard. Dig a little bit here, root a little over there. If you’re gonna dig a grave you’re got to mean business. Stay in the same place and remain focused until at least six feet have gone by.

I was eating dinner with Atwood’s book on the table. I peered at its cover, which doesn’t look anything like the title implies. Certainly, from the prim lady on the cover holding what looks like a teacup and saucer in her orchid white fingers, you wouldn’t expect her to be talking about digging graves in the first chapter.

I am always intrigued by the parallels between writing and yoga practice, and this is just one more enchanting example of how they have so very much in common. When I looked to this book over dinner I considered how the very Lord of Yoga Himself is often associated with cremation grounds and Himself lays out like a corpse beneath the feet of the Goddess of Transformation, Mother Kali.

Even without getting into the rich symbolism behind the funeral pyre and Shiva’s fiery dance, the importance of staying the course, digging deep and remaining devoted belong to both yoga and writing.

For the moment, let’s even exclude asana, the practice of postures most people think of when yoga practice comes to mind. You know, as far as yoga goes, there are many avenues down which the yogi might experience union with their highest Self. Downward dog is but one of many paths.

And actually, this is such excellent advice for whatever it is you wish to give your life over to. On the path you may be inspired and discouraged in equal measure. You might think that you’ve been wrong and be proven right.

But Elvis Presley said, “When things go wrong, don’t go with ’em.”

In which case, you keep digging.

I’d like to know what kind of hole you’ve dug for yourself and how you’re doing with it.

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Tonic of Longevity and Enlightenment

The first time I met my Teacher I was at Dragonfly Yoga Studies in Fort Walton Beach, where she visits to teach once a year. The room was full of folks, from professional yogis to curious visitors and everyone in between. I was in yoga teacher training and felt nervous and excited just to be there.

During meditation class she drinks from a large mug filled with some steaming substance. There is also a tall cup with water in it. Among the many things I’m intrigued by, I’m really curious about whatever is in that mug.

I imagine the concoction of herbs and exotica cooked for days over a blazing fire so seers can peer between the veils. I imagine blue flames licking the sides of a copper cauldron while this tonic is transformed into its magical brew. I wonder what color the rose petals floating on the drink’s surface might be. I want to know what special drink that is, made for Swamis only. Where in the world do these teas come from and how are they measured and prepared, no doubt in secret, prior to meditation class?

After a couple of years studying with Swami I still wonder what delicious brew is in the cup every time she teaches meditation class. By this time I’ve made friends with other students from the ashram. There are a few with whom I feel comfortable enough to ask my silly questions.

I’m at breakfast after class on a Sunday morning in Greyton Beach. It’s interesting for me to be anywhere having breakfast since this is not my optimal time of day. But here we are, friends with a Teacher in common dining at the crack of dawn (eleven thirty or so).

While asking about the seasonal detox that was coming up, I lean forward with a little conspiratorial whisper and I ask, “What’s Swami drinking from that mug?”

“Hot water.” My friend’s pretty eyes sparkle when she says it, because she knows… She knows as well as I do that I’d cooked up something outrageous and secret because maybe at one time she did too.

“Hot water?” I ask, sitting back in my chair. No secrets of the universe flying across this table at Another Broken Egg.

“Yeah. Hot water.”

She goes on the explain it’s called Ushnodaka, pronounced not unlike it’s spelled, and is often used in Aryuveda as a therapy for dehydration, vata derangement and the various imbalances a human can experience. Aryuveda is a sister science in the yoga tradition that deals with balancing the human condition on all levels using food and lifestyle as affirmative therapies.

Since this conversation over eggs and toast I have participated in 5 detoxes with Swami and every time I am amazed at how wonderful the simple act of hydration makes me feel. Ushnodaka is a primary component in the 10 Yoga Detox and today is the 10 day of the Winter 2016 detox. I’ve been drinking hot water like crazy all week. I look and feel like an 80’s supermodel – ready to trounce around on the beach in my Body Glove one piece at a moment’s notice. Hydration can do that.

Recently I read an article where a woman decided to drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days to see what would happen. Curiosity is such a powerful tool on the road to self-healing and well-being! She takes a picture on day one and then one per week for four weeks. The side by side photos between day one and day thirty speak for themselves.

She looks like she’s been to the plastic surgeon, like she got a chemical peel without the rashy red skin that can sometimes follow. There seems to be some sort of filler in her wrinkles and like the crepey skin under her eyes got scraped off and replaced. The surface of her face has a more even skin tone and her eyes, which showed the greatest transformation, are sparkling and bright.

I saw this article just before the Winter detox began, at a time when I’d neglected my efforts at daily hydration. I redoubled my efforts knowing that during the cleanse water (both room temperature and hot) is emphasized.

That initial curiosity about Swami’s tonic she drinks while she teaches returns to my mind. I remember how caught up I was in its contents, so intrigued by what exotic and top secret tonic of longevity and enlightenment she is drinking.

Water, available to everyone and so simply vital to our existence. As this ten day detox concludes I’m going to try to maintain this wonderful level of hydration I am enjoying right now, where my joints move smoothly and my skin looks fine. If you’d care to join me in my efforts, I’d love to know how it works for you.

To visit the article to which I refer, please visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2480491/How-drinking-litres-water-day-took-years-face.html

 

 

 

 

Same Scaries

Habits are a powerful force in human behavior. Eastern literature and scripture talk about them at length and even give them their own name; samskara. This is a word for the things we do habitually. Think about the way you drive to work. If there’s construction and you have to take an alternative route it feels weird.

Samskaras can be so deeply ingrained that we’re not even aware of them. Most often, in fact, we’re not. Samskaras are likened to grooves dug by the repeated track of a wooden wheel. The longer the wheel drives the same course, the harder it is to leave the marked path and take a new way.

As an example, lets say I decide on Sunday night that I’m going to start my day with a large helping of warm water on Monday. I know, I know, this sounds way too exciting for most of you out there, but stay with me. I’m a devoted coffee drinker, and I’m not even talking about replacing the coffee, simple drinking some regular ‘ole water before I drink the coffee – you know, just to get a jump on hydration.

I am very brave the night before anything. If I’m gonna do something tomorrow, I’ll eat lightening and crap thunder! The day of the event is a little bit different, things change and the shift feels weird.

Staying with our example of yours truly drinking a large cup of warm water while the coffee brews, let me tell you how that really goes.

The alarm goes off at the ungodly hour of noon thirty, or somewhere around there. I am torn between two worlds when this happens. Oh, the cool sweet space of my sheets and stuffed animals, the wonderment of the turning fan and the crinkling sound of pages from the open paperback rustling from the breeze. The softly turning long bodies of cats draped over me, the sleep mask that blocks the light from my Scooby-Doo light night. Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream!

The alarm going off is just out of reach. Drat. I pull myself from sanctuary and pile hair on my head, secured with a black clip. The cats and I stumble over each other; them to get to the food bowl, me to get to the coffee pot.

I flip the switch and hear the gurgle of the first spurt of water get sucked into whatever mechanism is in there that both heats the water and turns it into something palatable, like coffee. I just stand there, cracked and burning waiting for the coffee to brew. Sure, there’s that cup I set out the night before near the electric kettle so I can drink my serving of water. This would be the perfect time to throw back that start to a well hydrated day – but no. I wait, and though I feel the nag of my best intentions, I simply wait, and growl.

So there we have it. I fall right back into the same groove I’ve been grooving since I was two. I don’t give it a second thought.

Something I give a second and third thought to is language. Lately I have noticed the way I speak and the samskara of habitual usage. Verbal ticks change from generation to generation. The fill in the silence catch phrases are vastly different today from what they were in the eighties.

Need examples?

Um (“um….A Scooby-Doo night light?”)

Like (“like….I don’t know”)

Yay (don’t know what to say? say “yay!” it works)

Amazing (you ate at the Taste of India buffet and then took a hot yoga class? Amazing.)

Most of the examples that come to mind for me are words that are used when a reply is expected and I don’t know what to say. That’s not to say the use of amazing, literally and like aren’t also valid. Something can literally be like the most amazing thing you have ever seen. I have seen it. So this isn’t a treatise against use of these words.

I have noticed my proclivity to use these words in place of paying attention. Ah! The grooves and habits of personal interaction. I’m guilty of listening to someone and watching my mind disengage. Attention will slip to the right and out the side door. I’ll see myself thinking of that time my mom and I drove to south Florida for Thanksgiving and how much fun we had, even though it was way too warm and felt strange to be away from my sisters for a major holiday. Not that I’m always prone to wandering attention, but when I do it’s amazing.

I’ll suddenly lock eyes with the person I’m supposed to be listening to and pray my eyes have not betrayed me. They are looking at me for a response. Oh hell! They’re done saying what they were gonna say and now I’m supposed to say something back.

My thought process is outrageous. I smile slyly and reply, “Amazing.” They are pleased. It seems whatever they were talking about was the culmination of amazing, and I hit the nail on the head.

Amazing is my go to.

I don’t know when I discovered this. Maybe when working on a story and I saw it appear too much in the dialogue. Right there in black and white. Amazing.

I wonder what other grooves there are in my communication skills, but decide to start small. I recall a passage from The Eleven Karmic Spaces, a book by Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, Guru, Teacher and Guide in Kali Natha Yoga – when she talks about changing one thing.

I love this teaching and appreciate it so much because it takes the pressure off to change everything all at once. That’s how I go about things, you know. I’ll identify one small thing (like the need to drink more water) and decide in one grand sweeping gesture I am going to change everything all at the same time (I will drink more water, write a best seller and buy a summer home in Atlanta – tomorrow).

Luckily, application of Yoga’s teachings are infinitely more simple than that. Just change one thing. Changing just the one thing is refreshing, simple and attainable. From this shift, awareness will grow, supporting more growth.

What have I decided to do with my revelations?

I’m going to replace amazing with something even more amazing – er, with a synonym.

Synonyms for amazing include astonishing, astounding, surprising, stunning (I like this one) staggering, stupefying (also a good one) incredible (reminds me of the circus) extraordinary, sensational and stupendous. I like unbelievable, too, but it wouldn’t always fit. In an effort to simply override a verbal tick I want to keep it simple.

I go with stupendous.

I figure when I’m about to say amazing, awareness will kick in and I’ll pause as my mind re-calibrates. Amazing will get kicked out, stupendous will go in its place and in the space between these two words awareness will grow. The cart can change directions, after all, proving we aren’t at the mercy of patterns. This, my friend, is Stupendous.

November Scarab

beetle

The symbolism of the scarab represents renewal, forward momentum and the cycles of regeneration. These beetles roll balls of dung that become their food and home. Interestingly, these little guys and gals will roll their dung into a ball following a straight line no matter the obstacles set before them. They are creatures whose very livelihood is dependent on fierce determination.

Sometimes I feel like every turn is up hill and I’m not doing a very good job with my ball. These instances are rare but can come upon me like a sudden summer thunderstorm. During these times I will sit in front of my meditation table with a cat or two near my side and we’ll try to talk about things. We’ll vision board and mind map and do pranayama together; mine sort of a deep wailing technique and theirs a quiet purr of discomfiture.

Eventually my eyes alight on the black spine of a journal with Ganesha on the cover. It was an impulse purchase my mom made at T J Maxx a few years ago. She saw it and thought of me. Thanks Mom!

Sometimes a journal will be special to me because it is a gift from a parent or a beloved friend. I don’t have the heart to jam it full of maudlin thoughts or melodramatic dialogue on my less enlightened days. So I assign these journals special tasks. A green journal my dad gave me for my birthday goes with me to see Swami. I write mantras and meditations and teachings that are especially meaningful to me.

This Ganesha journal my mom gave me became a gratitude journal. At some point in the evening I’ll write things I’m really grateful for. I try not to repeat the same things too often; God totally knows I’m grateful for my nephews, nieces and the cats. It’s good to stretch gratitude to include more nouns.

Keeping a gratitude journal is a cool and effective practice for getting a person out of the dumps because of neural plasticity, a theory that states that whatever the mind is asked to recall will cause a chain reaction of seeking out more of the same from its daily environment. So if at the end of the day I make a list of things for which I am grateful, then during the next day in anticipation of that practice my mind will scan the environment for things to add to the list.

As the mind starts looking for a reason to say thank you, gratitude grows. When we spend more energy being thankful for our lives we expend less energy in despair, or at least begin to see light breaking through those dark clouds.That’s why when I can’t seem to pick myself up from whatever storm of malcontent my mind has whipped up I’ll dust off the ‘ole gratitude journal practice again.

Because Thanksgiving is upon us this month, I thought it’d be interesting to dedicate the month to this practice. We’ll be like little dung beetles adeptly rolling up great big balls of poop, but instead of poop we’ll be increasing our gratitude day by day, line by line; it’ll nourish and house our hearts.

Here is a magnificent scarab with a giant ball of poop. He’s been working hard.

scarab

In addition to discussing gratitude in yoga class this month, I’m going to talk about a mantra my Teacher introduced during the seasonal detox I participate in at Kashi Atlanta, where I study.

Om Hrim Namo Bhagavati Maheshwari Annapurnee Swaha

Swami said in the daily email, “In the Sanskrit language ‘anna’ means food and ‘purna’ means full or complete. This is a nurturing mantra invoking the healing essence of the divine mother to create health, fullness, satiation and satisfaction. I like to think of the words going into the ghee and sending all that healing, mothering energy into my body.”

For many people I know, when asked to gather ’round and give thanks there is a challenge to reconcile their path with the expectations surrounding a traditional Thanksgiving prayer. It’s nice, when mingling with family and friends of different faiths, to have something sweet and simple to offer when asked to say Grace. This mantra is a beautiful example of that.

In honor of gratitude and our ability to move mountains with our fine determined Selves, this month on Saturdays at 2 pm the Kali Natha yoga class at Uru Yoga and Beyond we will practice The Grateful Monkey asana series. This series is devoted to Hanuman, the monkey general from the Ramayana who embodies the path of Bhakti (love and devotion) and service.

In Rama’s story, Hanuman flies to a far off mountain range to find the medicinal herb to revive Rama’s brother who has taken ill on the battlefield. Hanuman cannot recognize the exact herb that is needed and in his haste, lifts the entire mountain to take to the physicians so they can gather the healing herbs themselves. Rama’s brother is saved, the demon defeated and the queen restored.

The Grateful Monkey asana series teaches the Yogi to move the body in gratitude, so that every interaction is an offering and every gesture is a mudra of Thanksgiving. I look forward to practicing together. Please visit URUYOGA.COM for schedule up-dates and class descriptions.

Hanuman mountain

List Maker

Sometimes I’ll make a to-do list to cut mental tension. I’ll use the list like a slippery wet rope handle I can wrap ’round my wrist for a short time before climbing the rest of the way up the water slide steps. Because my spine felt shortened by some imagined weight, I decide to make a list of simple silly words written one above the other…

buy cat food

practice yoga

make lentils

dust meditation table.

Everything on this list will probably get done sooner rather than later whether they are on the list or not. I think this is sort of the point; they take attention away from what ought to be on the list, or worse, what I don’t know should be on the list.

Working smarter, not harder should be on the list. I’ve been meaning to put my two weeks in at the restaurant where I work on the weekend for the last five years. Also, become a better business woman. Buy new socks. The unlisted items are a nebulous gathering of unspoken ideas playing peek-a-boo between sheets on my mind’s clothesline.

I had a particularly harrowing work weekend. I didn’t even work very hard, which bothers me in spite of that whole work smarter not harder item that ought to be on the list, but ain’t. This particular night at work creates a crossroads where some decisions need to be made and I don’t even know where to start.

So I made a list….

write a poem

brush the cat

read the poem to the cat

make coffee

practice yoga.

The list made me tired, because of what was behind it. The unspoken list that’s born from wild longing is spooky and real. This weariness made my spine feel shorter from the imagined weight of it all. The spine, my spine! The home of scintillating light and presence felt compressed. Yoga practice should help. Good thing it’s on the list.

Without putting down a mat or clipping up my hair, I just sorta lower to the floor like I’m bowing to a queen and don’t know really when to stop. At the bottom of the bow I crumple and envision myself the old woman who lived in a shoe. I hope, listlessly, that it is a very nice shoe.

Not sure where this new crumpling style of yoga is taking me, it doesn’t take long to realize my body is making its way very naturally to corpse pose. I’m not being funny, that’s a real thing and usually at the end of a yoga practice. Seems that’s where I’m starting.

Savasana, the posture of the corpse. I feel myself stretching out on my back with the sensation of the jute rug bristling comfortably against my skin. I tuck my shoulder blades beneath me like tired wings folding against aching muscles. My feet roll away from each other and my jaw becomes slack, just as I often cue students to at the end of each yoga class; there’s nothing left to be done but to lay there and play dead.

Sometimes I cue people to let the idea of their bodies completely drop away. Instead of seeing themselves on the mat, imagine all they can see of themselves with their mind’s eye is a horizontal streak of light on the mat. Just see that aquamarine white shot of lightening stretched out and pulsating in the space of the physical spine. When I remember this I see it in myself; light reclining against light.

high frequency 1

Stretched out as I am, one of the cats comes over to check on me. She settles near my head as I watch the ceiling. I feel restful and my skeleton starts to elongate some. The pressure is off. I see that streak of light in the middle of my body. I think of Shiva, wild sweet Lord of Yoga, who when nothing else could be done lay down at the feet of Mother Kali.

My to-do list dissolves. My spine feels taller, like a Yogi’s ought to.

Holiday

Is It Hot In Here?

20140402-104958I think we all know by now that hot yoga is a thing. People like it, they want to practice it and it’s here to stay. Hot yogis walk into the studio with a beach towel, gallon jug of water and a sweat band across their forehead; there is no need to inquire as to which class they are there for.

You wouldn’t expect me to be teaching a hot yoga class on the schedule at Uru, mostly because I haven’t been able to warm up to the practice – yuk yuk. I mean come on, it’s hot in there! Then there’s all that planning. You’ve got to take a change of clothes or drive home naked so you don’t soak your driver’s seat with sweat and all those toxins you’ve excreted.

Also, please hydrate. If you don’t, you’re looking at a headache later in the day or evening. Also, without enough water you’ll experience tiredness that requires a ten to twenty minute nap with the cats to cure. Admittedly, the napping part is pretty nice.

So let’s talk about what happened that lead me to this….moments before teaching my first hot yoga class ever.

hot yoga

That room I’m sitting in, looking at ten people on beach towel covered yoga mats with gallon jugs of water near ’em, is about 98 degrees. If you look closely there’s a bit of sweat already on my brow.

It started when I took a hot class at Uru on a Wednesday. Normally, I am at home on Wednesdays because my Teacher has class in Atlanta and they stream it so long distance students can participate. The end of August, first of September, she is on retreat, so I decided to take a friend’s hot class at Uru2.

They have those infrared heaters at this studio. I didn’t think there’d be a difference between one hot room and another, but I knew there was something going on when I sat on my mat directly beneath one of these ceiling panels and felt a descent of warmth something like a late afternoon stream of sunbeams alighting on my skin.

I am not kidding.

My friend teaching, Dave, really is a great teacher. He says such nice things and makes everyone feel like he’s just so glad they came to class. So when the next Wednesday comes around and my sweet Swami is still on retreat I go back to Dave’s hot yoga class.

I even have my own hot yoga towel now. I don’t know who I am. It’s like I’ve discovered some type of drug that I have to spend all day preparing to take – hydrate hydrate hydrate people!

In class I stretch in two directions balanced on one foot in Warrior 3 and feel the radiant heat evenly distributing warmth across the entire length of my right leg from the sole of my foot to the small of my back. I feel rather like a goddess illuminated by the flames of a distant star.

I email the studio owner when I get home. The email begins…”I hope you’re sitting down, there’s something I need to tell you.” No doubt she thinks I’m about to put in my resignation or to admit to wrenching a student’s arm out of socket in a mis-guided adjustment, neither of which occurred, fortunately.

The email goes on to tell her that I don’t know what I’m doing exactly but I may want to teach one of these hot classes in which the room is heated with infrared plates in the ceiling; a totally different way of heating a room. My previous experiences with hot yoga have been with air heaters in the corners of the room, which effectively heat the room, but with a different quality of heat.

What I have learned is that the infrared heaters warm surfaces in the room as opposed to heating the air. I am better able to breathe in this heated environment, as the space doesn’t become muggy. I have been looking at studies on infrared heat and its effects on pain management, clinical use for treating inflammation and depression as well as its effects on  cell regeneration (as in wound healing) and relaxation. I am deeply intrigued.

I have also been thinking quite a bit about yoga teachers who I spent time with who were greatly opposed to hot yoga and everything it involved, including hot yogis themselves. There were yogis in my life who were very outspoken against hot yoga and I realize, in retrospect, I took in their opinions as my own. I have been known to be outspoken against hot yoga, too. I don’t like the heat, the risk, the puddles of sweat on the floor.

It wan’ts until I was wandering aimlessly on a Wednesday in need of someone to say nice things to me that I ended up in Dave’s hot yoga class, not because it was hot but because it was Dave, and I gave myself an opportunity to really give the experience a chance. The warmth – of both the ceiling panels and the instructor – were catalysts for the change of heart that would put me on the schedule at Uru3 teaching hot yoga there.

I’m excited and a little nervous because it’s all so new. Learning to teach yoga in a completely new environment enhances my ability to instruct in all environments. It’s interesting to be humbled by admitting to a change of heart and mind and it’s wild to see this whole new group of people in my class. People who simply will not take class in a room temperature room. It’s very nice to meet them.

I have learned there is no distinction between hot yogis and temperate yogis. We are all Yogis, just some of us need to have a change of clothes on hand and an extra towel to mop up that puddle on the floor.

Yoga, the umbrella term under which these physical practices lie, gives us limitless opportunities to grow. I have to say this hot yoga experiment has been a really cool opportunity to grow. I hope you join me on the mat, either basking beneath hot panels like a long tailed Komodo dragon or in a nice, cool room with a steaming cup of ginger tea near your mat. Either way is good.

Your Labor Day Homework

RuPaul-You-better-work

I like to  follow the weekly posts on the Kabbalah Center. Of course, the information and language is wrapped in a culture I’m not entirely familiar with, so there are somethings I don’t all the way understand. That doesn’t matter, necessarily – Many paths, one God and all…

On Labor Day I’m teaching a special class. I normally guide two classes, the first at 4:30 is an open level class and the second at 6 pm is a grab bag class. Sometimes we’ll clear the chakras while moving into and out of yoga poses and sometimes we practice restorative yoga. I have been known to teach handstands in there, where even the most reluctant yogi gets a little lift off!

It’s a holiday schedule this week on Monday, so I’ll teach one class at 5:30 pm, preceding Tara’s bon voyage class at 7 pm. If you’ve never had a class with her, this is your chance before she moves away!

I was thinking in what way I might make this Labor Day class a little different. I thought about a play list that started with Working in the Coalmine and ends with RuPaul’s You Betta Work! (which is the inspiration for the class title, anyway).

While I’m thinking of fun stuff to do in yoga I catch a glimpse of the news. A great heaviness drapes round my shoulders and it’s a sad sick feeling. In that moment I felt a little weak and very ineffective. I had to sit down and breathe deeply for a few minutes.

In this breathing I had an idea. It’s small and simple and I can’t take credit for it; it totally came from The Kabbalah Center. But it’s good. It’s Reinforcing the Good!

Our assignment is to list talents and abilities that we’ve been given to do good in the world. Talents and abilities we’ve been given to do our WORK! What gifts do you have that make you an effective instrument of the Divine right this second in your small corner of the world?

List these talents and attributes, shine the light of your awareness on them, and bring forth that radiance and share it with folks. They will shine more brightly because of you, and the ripple of goodness that starts small can carry its currents of Grace on directly to those who will most benefit from it, maybe circling all the way back to you.

We’ll talk about this tomorrow, it being a homework assignment and all. You won’t get graded on it, of course, but we can talk about it if you want to. I figured homework on Labor Day is acceptable.

I asked Google what Labor Day is about, and it told me that it’s a holiday held in honor of working people. Well whatdya know? A Yogi’s work is never done! This class title is going to fit in nicely, after all. We’ll work on moving with the breath’s current during yoga practice, even when the practice is hard, you’re up-side-down and rolled neatly into a salty pretzel. This will be great practice for remembering all your special talents and abilities in those moments in which it is so easy to forget, so your Light will shine even under pressure.

“We are all pieces cut from the same cloth.” We all have similar desires, similar hopes, and dreams. And we are all looking for the same Light. – Karen Berg