yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

Monday, March 29, 2010

Resting Is Important

Usually I write a new blog entry on Sunday evenings, but here it is Monday afternoon on a rainy day.

Although I have a swirl of ideas, feelings, emotions, and thoughts I'd love to share, I am resting/recharging lately and allowing the mental/soul activity to settle before I plunge back into expressing myself here.

It really is important to rest. Sometimes we are forced into it (illness, depletion) or find we rest because we are just feeling a bit blue and that's just how it is. That's when we know that a change is under way. As is appropriate for springtime: In a cocoon, eventually a butterfly!

Will write again soon...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Justice: Reacting to Indignities

Everyday indignities seem to be in my field of awareness right now. I've always been one to speak my mind when I sense an injustice against me or another person, but have noticed my reluctance to voice my opinion for fear of not being "politically correct" and because I am weary of what feels like an endless stream of new and innovative ways we humans inflict misery on each other.

What brings this to mind is the "latest" in medical technology which I was introduced to the other day when I took my mother for an outpatient hospital procedure. I walked in the patient area to find a 1/2" x 2" metallic label stuck on the middle of my mother's forehead. I asked her what that was and she said she didn't know. She laughed it off, but I could tell it offended her, wearing what looked like a UPC code across her forehead (left on for a few hours). Finally, a nurse explained it is a thermometer. Well, that is certainly innovative. In our "self serve" society, not having to take a patient's temperature is convenient for the medical staff but damned undignified for the patient! Like those stickers on raw fruit and vegetables that seemed shocking at first and are now ubiquitous, putting a sticker across a person's forehead is to me very disrespectful. As a friend says, as if branded like cattle and ready for slaughter.

In many cultures and religions, the forehead is a sacred part of the body. In yoga, this is the "mystical third eye" area, where we allow vision, clarity, enlightenment, higher thought to flow. In India, married women paint a red dot between the brows. In Judaism, teffilin (black leather boxes containing sacred scrolls) are worn above the forehead by devout Jewish men. There is symbolic significance to the forehead in Buddhism, Taoism, gnostic texts, and western wisdom teachings as this is the location of pineal and pituitary glands. There is also the connotation of "dunce" or being marked as an outsider. The next time my mother has one of these things stuck to her forehead, I will speak up (with her permission) and ask to have it removed. In a hospital setting, patients get cowed a bit, I think, as you are trusting the staff to do what is "best" for you, and maybe don't feel able or allowed to speak up.

One should always trust one's gut. It never lies. If we see with our mind's eye as well, we become more aware. If we have a voice, we can speak out against injustice (even small indignities) and not stand aside but stay true to ourselves and our beliefs. We can look out for ourselves and for others who might need our assistance. I for one am tired of following "political correctness" and pretending to smile while inside I am angry about another slight, another indignity. We have so much to celebrate, too! But there is a balance. I know in my gut and have seen with my mind's eye that I get more bees with honey than vinegar. That is a way to peace in the world: Speaking with kindness, but speaking what is right!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movement: Where Is It?

A current topic of conversation for me lately has been whether this country is going down the tubes or not. For me, the answer is yes. But within the spiral downward, I am happy and optimistic about my life.

My husband and I were watching a PBS special tonight about Peter, Paul & Mary. They sang out against injustice in the early 1960s when the civil rights and the Vietnam War movements created a huge social rift. The program showed footage of them singing "Blowing in the Wind" at the 1963 March on Washington when Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The audience was a wave of people holding hands in the air, displaying a feeling of solidarity, of hope. Where is this sort of movement now?

Perhaps we have too many social and political problems in this country nowadays for any movement to grow up past grassroots efforts into a national presence for change. It seems that in my lifetime America has gone from the most prosperous country in the world (in terms of the average person living a quality middle class life) to a fractured land of too many opportunistic individuals focused on money and fame. I feel powerless, unable to express my frustration with the corruption and neglect I see around me, wishing there was a movement that I could join with my protest sign, singing "We Shall Overcome" or other anthem of change.

But, there is no movement. The children of the 60s haven't done much to make the world a better place. Every year we graduate millions of college students and is the world a better place? President Obama and Congress seem ineffective, "bought," or silenced by the Washington/Corporate Machine. Are people too busy to get out into the streets and protest like the old days? Too stressed? Afraid? Plugged into their iPods? I believe we are all trying very, very hard to hold onto what we have in fear of losing all that we have worked so hard to attain: Home, meaningful work, creature comforts, a safe community, education, transportation, recreation. With the economy the way it is, with people losing their jobs and homes and savings, I have to wonder how we can get ourselves--and this country--out of the situation we are in now. If there is a movement, please let me know. I want to join!

Today's entry on is perfect for this blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Decide to Be Happy

I have been thinking a lot lately about happiness. I realize I am very happy. When I consider all of the energy I used over the years being unaware of how simple and easy it is to be happy... well, I'm not sure WHAT I would've done! Traveled more? Had children? Been less self-critical? You might say that these are three things that are my decisions. Aren't they? Who has to give permission for me to travel more? Me, that's who. Happiness is this way, too.

When the Dalai Lama's book, "The Art of Happiness," hit the shelves a few years ago, I ran right out and bought it, ravenous to read through and glean the "secret" I felt had eluded me for so long. The book is an interview with the Dalai Lama and even though he was fine with answering the many questions posed asking him to elaborate on happiness, he insisted throughout that it was really very simple. Are you ready? The secret to happiness is: YOU DECIDE TO BE HAPPY. That is what the Dalai Lama says. The interviewer didn't seem to get it, I guess, because he kept asking complicated questions as if trying to squeeze all the juice out of a lemon.

Have you ever seen the Dalai Lama? Of course you have seen the smile he always has. He is ALWAYS SMILING. Why is this man smiling? He had to flee his country of Tibet within inches of his life, traveling an arduous route through the Himalayas. His fellow monks left behind have endured decades of torture, death, and the Chinese efforts to destroy Tibetan native culture. He has not been able to return to his country since the 1950s. The Dalai Lama has many reasons to be unhappy.

I'll bet you're saying to yourself, "Right!!! Happiness is not a decision. My life is complicated and this is childish." So, does that mean happiness comes from outside somewhere, like from outer space? Is it inherited? Is it given to you, or does it reside inside of you already, repressed perhaps and desiring to come out and play?

Bliss starts right now, right here, from wherever you are in this moment. You can decide to be unhappy and miserable and blame everyone and everything for your problems. Or you can simply accept how things are and have some fun. Do whatever you want. You have permission! No one will mind! In fact, you will attract more positive people and experiences into your life by being happy and upbeat. Not falsely. It can be genuine. You have one life to live. You can live it as a sour puss or you can be a glowing ball of happiness. This is important for peace: Everyone has a gift and your authentic self is crying out to shine and be free, and this spreads person by person. This is not a myth. Let's have a party!