The Honourable Hour

This week of yoga training has been physically and emotionally demanding.  Almost every teacher got a chance to teach a full yoga class and rarely do I have the opportunity to practice 4 classes a day, over a span of a week. My body really enjoyed it and I’m really grateful to be able to dissect and analyze their classes and be in the presence of so many diverse and impressing teachers.

When it came time for me to teach among this group of teachers, I experienced anticipation, excitement, preparedness and elation. It was not until almost the end, when I knew that I had gone over my 60 min time frame and started psycho analyzing the expression of the students faces did I begin to doubt the effectiveness and experience of the class that I offered. Why do they look like they want to fall asleep? People are dropping off like dead flies. Was Savasana long enough, should I chant here or just stay quiet? Are they angry that this class took so long? Were my jokes too dry and corny?

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A assessment of myself is often highly inaccurate and contaminated by self deprecation and reservation. And why is that? It’s challenging to step back and observe from an objective unbiased point of view, and so my thoughts want to go directly to critique: what did I do wrong, I probably should have done that, and I wonder what they think now? All of which comes from creating meaning about something that someone said, did that has no direct evidence for relevancy or truth.

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What I discovered from the feedback from these teachers is that the thoughts that I had of myself and the reality of what actually happened were inconsistent and delusional! Sure there could be a person or two who agree with the concerns I had, but that narrow focused thinking took away from my ability to see the positive things that I also offered.

My expectation of myself and the contrived conclusions of people’s responses lead to negative beliefs about a false reality of who I am, and, also of other people. To misread (and even read into) how you feel is unjust to your character and creates an invisible wall between us before having even had a chance to truly meet. Can self-deprecation, (this need to be perfect and feeling not enough,) create unnecessary challenges in connecting with people? Is this way of being blind me to my own greatness and of others?

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Subconsciously I don’t want to come off as being arrogant. It’s the Leo in me that wants to outshine. What’s worse than someone who thinks they’re the shit, they know it all and not consider what other people think? I guess what my teacher has brought to my attention in this training is what’s equally worse than false pride, is false humility. To not step into greatness and allow oneself to shine is like being a gloomy cloud in Vancouver, no one likes that either. Too much and you cause a drought, not enough just makes you depressed. Neither is fun to be around, so how is one to expect to connect and engage in conversation if those are the cases. It’s not a moral question of which is right or wrong because it’s just learning which is required to suit the appropriate occasion.

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I’m confident in my teaching, and I’m hard on myself,  which is a common mantra among other teachers in the room, and perhaps a predisposition of many people in the general public as well. I critique and strive to improve myself because essentially, I want to be liked. Digging even further however, comes a deeper truth of my desire for an intimate connection with you, to feel a sense of oneness and compassion. To no longer be burdened by my judgment towards you and of myself, to really experience life in greater freedom. I choose to love and accept who I am because ultimately, this is the only way for me to connect in a genuinely powerful relationship with you. May the wholeness of me bow and honour the wholeness of you. Namaste नमस्ते

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The Perks and Pains of Frequent Flying

I am sitting in the passenger seat of an aircraft again to attend yet another teacher training that I’ve been patiently long waiting for. There is something therapeutic about looking out the window of a steady moving vehicle, like a solid hand to hip adjustment or a timely counter stretch. Watching clouds or streams of nature pass by calms my manic mind. Perhaps it knows that it has a temporary hour or two to forget the time, to sit and people watch. I delight in that simplicity. Whether the destination is of pleasurable play or practical business, my body and soul enjoys the moving sensations of travel, enclosed in the safety and silence of a metal flying test tube.

Travel has its memories, of vice vacations, transnational adventures and even just the epic nightline crossover of the Cambie street bridge.  The musical soundtrack plays triumphantly in the background and I feel like Oscar on the red carpet podium. The world sings to me and life is the movie mattress in which my dreams sleep upon.

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Perhaps the physics of movement and travel simply mimics the excitement of an ever-changing landscape in which life presents itself. Be it an undiscovered or newly recovered relationship, it sparks a fond fantasy of arriving at a stop where endless possibility awaits.

There is a melancholic mood to window watching, rain dripping, grey clouds and coffee sipping that’s reminiscent of past partings at airports. To witness lost love pass through gate 55 or leaving behind a long overdue lifestyle at the baggage carousel, either or, it’s a piece of myself that’s too heavy to carry-on.

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The grind that grounds my motivational coffee gets stale and so the refreshing air of the head-out-of-the-window rush sweeps the dust off my daily dashboard. Distant travel windshield wipes the glass that separates me from the outside world so that I may see life in greater clarity. The moments of transportation sitting, is like that of meditation. Trees and clouds which fleet and float on by, are the thoughts of my mind, which have no meaning other than for observation.

I know on return, it will feel like a weeklong inspired breath that requires a few dazed days of sighing exhales. Life has been altered and it just can’t be seen the same no more. A breakthrough backbend or a breakdown broken heart beckons for a breath to break before stretching out beyond what I thought were my boundaries. I am grateful for the opportunity to move, from pose to pose, stage to stage, place to place, & person to person, to see something newly or a recognizable visit.

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Yes, life on the move excites and delights me like dark chocolate after midnight. But its transient nature that melts, wishes that it would settle more permanently in my hand. Could I not stay in this pose just a yin minute longer before I vinyasa through to another. This car seeks to park aside a seaside shore to postpone the setting sun and give to you its glorious glow. I camp to gaze at constellating stars, to see what wonders wash ashore and listen for the murmur of an ocean maid. Life is like a box of sea salt chocolate caramels, its contrasting bittersweet tones of savory flavor keeps me reaching back for another more.

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The Hallmark of Teaching

June 1st marks the second year of teaching yoga and I have to say, my life has been flipped around, tossed and turned, cleaned up and folded neatly like laundry since. I’ve discovered a path that I never thought I’d go down or  learn so much about myself. There are few things that I choose to dedicate myself to because of the flexible and curious personality that I have, and so I find myself fleeting from one interest to another. But when I come across something that has the potential to transform me, I pour my heart in it till the glass is full.

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I knew that the yoga practice would have that potential and it continues to satisfy that, but teaching exceeds my expectation. Teaching has opened up such incredible opportunities like travel, teacher training, working with Lululemon, Landmark, creating a DVD, meeting amazing people and so much more. But on the level of self and evolution, the drive and passion I have for the path of teaching has propelled me to be a person I did not imagine I could be.

By nature, my predisposition is to be introverted. I enjoy time alone and doing things by myself, like going to movies or spending my weekends inside. I prefer to have one on one conversation and avoid parties or big social gatherings. I could live in a cave, as long as there’s central heating. Teaching yoga develops an act of extroversion that would otherwise be inauthentic if asked to be that way outside of my teaching environment. It’s just not in my comfort zone, but teaching somehow is.

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I step into the room knowing that I am called to outwardly express myself, for the sake of the student’s experience and my inward nature gets out of its way in order to do so. In fact, I feel my time alone seeks balance and wants to be around people, and when in that environment, my heart is fully present to listen. What does this student need and what is she really saying when she says she’s busy and stressed? How can I help this raw beginner feel at home in a place that might be foreign and physically intimating?

dsc_1052Now, with a target in mind, of who I want to be and what I want to do, a majority of my energy goes towards continually becoming a more effective teacher. As a consequence, my focus is placed on the material realm of manifestation and creation. In contrast to my past years of traveling, I am nostalgic of the days spent in contemplation and meditation, of a deep yearning for an inner truth and a connection with Divinity. A lot of that has been lost due to my own lack of action, but I currently feel a connection that I didn’t experience before. And that is a healthy connection with the modern world.

Beautiful-Night-Shot-of-Gastown-Downtown-Vancouver-PhotoThe experience of teaching has helped me to be more compassionate, really see a person for who they are, not their body, not even their mind. With that comes the clarity around no longer reading a story about them, but experiencing life with them, and from that, a much deeper level of relationship, respect and genuine care for each other has happen. The commitment to teaching grounds me to willingly settle in the western world and has given me a higher appreciation for the family I live with, the technology that I interact with, the lap of luxuries I’m pampered with and the growing pains of society I’m beginning to empathize with.

Although I’m nostalgic of those days of being the freedom traveler in a trance with universal flow (in which I considered to be my sense of spirituality), the tangible result of connecting with the divinity in human beings draws me right back to the present reality. It is not that spending less time in meditation with the names of God or reading books of western mysticism has made me less spiritual, I have just found that time spent enhancing the spiritual experience in a physical body has made life real and enjoyable under the current circumstances in which I live in.

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I attribute much of my present way of being to my two years of teaching, and really, I don’t feel I have much that’s worthy of teaching. The immersion in the role of a teacher simply requires me to realize a higher potential and this excites me. This could be fulfilled through any endeavour, be it skydiving or becoming a chef de cuisine, but as of now, I recognize this in teaching for me, and I am continually overwhelmed in delight and surprise and indebted to a lifttime of gratitude for this extraordinary path I am given. May you and I continue to be inspired by the teachings that life so generously reveals in profoundly auspicious ways.

When is TMI, Still Not Enough?

I recently purchase a new car and like my old one, I really want to tint my windows. I remember a few years ago, going to the tinting shop, the owner asked me, “so why do you want to tint your windows?”

I wanted to say, “Cause it’s cool.” but he might not get that, so I just said “to prevent theft and block out the sun to make it easier to see.”

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He convinced me to pay for the higher grade tint film because it would also reflect 50% more UV light, and protect my body from skin cancer. I don’t know if that’s true, all I know is he’s a good darn salesman. No wonder my skin is so pale. At least my car looked cool though.

So what’s really the purpose of all this tinting business? Perhaps I’m trying to hide something from you , is there something that I don’t want you to see? I’m afraid you’ll break into my car and steal my petty change, worse, you’d take my heart away. Best to cover up so you can’t see whats really going on inside of me.

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Is there a part of me that wants to be cool, so I put on a show and act a certain way? Is there an appeal to a mysterious silhouette that keeps you looking but never really seeing through to who I am? Maybe its the comfort of not having to really show my face to the world.

I guess it does make things literally cooler when I tint my windows though, less heat from the sun gets into the car. So maybe the heat of being fully transparent to the world, the responsibility of being authentic makes me feverish. It’s always nicer to see the world through tinted windows or sunglasses for that matter. It calms and tones the brightness of reality to a palatable level.

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To experience life through full transparency and wholehearted honesty can rid the vision of cataract delusion or far sighted fallacy. The intensity of a full spectrum reality brings forth a clarity to things I’ve never really seen before. Does a two way window create an opening for light in seeing others more fully?

Where’s the line I need to draw though? How much do I really divulge to you? Are there just some things you don’t need to know? Certain things just aren’t so pretty to talk about. Consider though, there’s no part of the world where life exist where the sun has not shined light upon (I think) and if a situation calls for transparent honesty, then it might be my responsibility to reveal truths that shine light on forbidden territory.

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It’s a skill I’d say, that requires tact and responsiveness. I’ve said things that’ve hurt people before. I’ve also hidden things just so I wouldn’t feel left out or embarrassed. I’ve also shared things though that has helped you and I understand each other more deeply that before. There’ll be days you peer into my car and it’ll look like I’m hoarding yoga equipment and food wrappers. There’ll also be other days you’d be able to have a salad on my dashboard. I guess what I want you to see is to see it all and come along for an amazing road trip filled with honest conversation and fuel stops to fill up on authenticity. Tint your windows but don’t be afraid to roll them down to stick your head out to experience the freshness of the naked truth. 

Your Poop Don’t Mean a Thing to Me

The long awaited DVD that I’ve been chirping about for so long is now truthfully, 90% to completion. The stamps for the cover are being picked up tomorrow, the DVD is being duplicated, the inside jacket is being printed, if not already done, all the supplies are ready to roll and all it takes now is a good day to put it all together. Life is good when the finish line is in sight.

Who would have thought that my timeline from 1 month turned into 6. I thought I’d be done before Christmas so I could give them out as gifts! Then again, I wasn’t exactly loosing sleep each night trying to complete it. I’ll be honest, a large part of what took so long was my procrastination, but taking that further, it was my insecurity. I mean, c’mon, who likes to hear their own voice being recorded. “You mean I sound like that? ew, gross.” I couldn’t stand hearing myself say “stretch you right arm up towards the sky and take 3 deep breathes” over and over again from all the retakes because I either said the left arm instead of the right, or I coughed, or I didn’t like my adolescent, bordering young adult voice.

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It’s also hard to look back at a video recording of some of my poses because in my head, it could always be better. I would change that pose for that one, or I would have stretched that muscle further in that direction and so forth and so forth. “Should I  videotape it all over again? Will anyone notice that mistake? I think its good, its good enough, right?”

So you can probably see why I might have taken a lot longer time creating this DVD. 1) I’m a perfectionist and nothing is ever good enough, and so to escape the inevitable paradox trying to be perfect but unable to be instead of confronting it, 2) I procrastinate by going to a yoga class, followed by lunch with a friend, go have a coffee while browsing my desktop to look for nothing and then take a well deserved nap.

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I guess I could go on and on and you’d could probably recommend a book for me to read to solve my Father-Son complex of not feeling enough, but remember, I’m a perfectionist, I’ve likely read it already! DESPITE all of the psychological poop that runs through my head, I’ve gotten lots of great feedback and recognition and I can honestly say that I’m very proud of what I’ve created. This is a product that I stand by because it really is an expression of my who I am. The creative process in bringing this DVD into fruition has surprised and continually excites me as it comes closer and closer to completion.

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I mean yes, those thoughts I described were there, but I think its natural to want to hold back when something is created that exposes who you are to vulnerability and uncertainty. For me its no different than art or expressing love, there will be people who like it and there will be people who love you and there will be people who just plain don’t, and that’s okay because the process of putting myself out there, like teaching yoga, is not about my insecurity anymore, its expressing myself with the intention to connect with you and to give you something that might put a shiny sticker on your life. Who knows what could happen? I just know there’s bigger things than myself and I choose to overcome my sense of lack in pursuit of that.

When I made it okay for my DVD, succeedingly life as well, to not have to be perfect, sh*t started getting good. I mean, its kinda like not having to feel awkward anymore about whether I should somehow address someone farting in a class by making a joke  because its a natural thing for people to do. I have the freedom now to wind-release my imperfections on life because its natural to make mistake and its no reason to be embarrassed. Perhaps the flow of life and our bowel system are mutually related, which is why fibre is so highly recommended, especially when life gets kinda sh*tty. (bad joke, I’ll end it here)

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Elevator Ride from Mediocrity to Greatness

I’ve been asked to write about “How Do I Elevate the World from Mediocrity to Greatness?” and my first thoughts were, to what standard is great and is what I do, great enough?

There are many things I have left to yet achieve. Many of my personal goals are exactly that, for my own personal interest. I can’t say that I want to save the world or start up a charitable non-profit. I’m just not geniunely there yet, but those ideals I’m in full agreement with. Perhaps my work in greatness shows up in other ways. I’m vertically challenged, but I’d like to say that I don’t fall short of playing big in the small things in life. I honour most greatly my relationships, whether it be friends, family, romantic, community, teacher to student or business to business.

I once heard on an audio CD that the purpose of life was to build meaningful relationships. For me, there is truth. I make the bold assumption that this is what all people want and based on myself, I yearn for the experience of love and being understood, to grow within and with others. If I can create that experience for you, by seeing you as exactly as you are and relate to you at our highest possibility, then I have met you with greatness.

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I am committed to friends like conjoined twins. Inseparable like a harness is to a mountain top climber. No fall is too far and no peak is too high. I am that which pulls you up by your hip strap, to never looe sight among a sea of clouds, the vision you have to see the world from a summit’s view.

My existence owes to family and I honour that like a general’s badge on my jacket arm sleeve. I proudly wear bloods stains of hand-me-down habits and heroic happenings as a part of the fabric sewn into my DNA. My greatness is your greatness and I relate to you not as just family, but as my first teachers.

hero-challengeI promise to remain romantically unreasonable, in a way which leaves you touched, moved and inspired. You as a partner, potential or past, are neither first or last, I am unconditionally committed to your happiness for lifetimes after life.

I gather communities of yoga teachers to support the possibility of students standing on their heads and hands. I weave in and out of mats with the intention of weaving your practice with life, to take a stand, on your own two feet, in conscious alignment with your tallest self.

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I endeavour to create greatness on the level of self, and from there, inspire a breakthrough in the greatness of you. If I can take my mediocre thoughts and transform them to greater speech, then I have elevated the way in which I see the world. If I have given you a greater sense of self, even through the exchange of my money for your mediocre coffee, I can be at home with that. If we can speak to our hidden hearts, through silent words or the handshake of our eyes, then we have presently played our rightful parts in elevating our world from mediocrity to greatness.

Spring into BEEing

I’m sitting to wait, at the YVR to discover where life can be above the clouds. The airport is a flower and I am its pollen, waiting for the flight of a bee to carry me away. What use am I but a pretty pedal if my potential points me to a place filled with milk and honey. For you, your favoured flower may be your neighborhood studio, a chiming church, your green grass garden or a singing shower. What place allows you to simply bee, when your mind is busy buzzing?

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The season that springs, literarily springs me in to action. Too long were the periods of hermitting in a hive at home in the wonderful winter.  Wonderful you say? Yes, to wonder fully, what do I want when nature call’s me to action? When not knowing what the forecast of my life will be like,  challenged by wet weeks and cold climate, I find out want I want from discovering what I don’t want. I don’t want my environment to narrate my life, I don’t want my fear of failure form my future, and I don’t want to be stuck at home, I just want to fly! It’s become a budding time for serious seeds to straddle the stalk and blossom brightly. If Mr. Kelly believes that he can fly, I don’t see why I can’t touch the sky?

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When I permit to freely fly, above rhyme or reason, there is a chance I’ll end up in sticky situations. But what this risks is beyond what is measured, and I am creating a life made from possibility. Whether you’re a worker bee or the queen of the world, are not our goals the same? Perhaps more money, but better yet, life fulfilled, sweetened by honey? There are bitter times that have been steeped for days too long, but there’s change that’s happening that takes time to get from spoon to tea. A strange sweetness arises when leaving my pod that I call home, to discover the unpredictable ground.

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Spring says to me: “get out and get down with your downward dog, go create what your dreams are made of, bloom for the pure sheerness of beauty, and don’t forget, this is just the beginning of your flight over the post meridian sun.

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Bee Folkore: scientist have studied the nature of bees and have come to the scientific conclusion, that based on the measurements of the weight of a bee, the size of its wing and laws of physics, bees are aerodynamically incapable of flying. So what has given the bee the power and ability to fly? Who knows, but its a good thing bees didn’t listen to reason. 

On The Road – Japan, Kyushu

Being here in Japan is like coming home again. I’ve been told during my previous travels by new-agest and psychics alike that in my past life I was a samurai. I can see to that possibility, of being a warrior in Japan, and perhaps this is where my fascination and appeal towards Japanese culture comes from. It’s up for speculation, but something feels familiar about this country, which brings me here to further explore.

Dedicated to my family – with a continually higher appreciation for the people that you are.

We’ve arrived, as a family there to travel for two weeks in the Kyushu prefecture, and it’s 24 hour experience of a bittersweet symphony. A vacation sometimes requires a vacation within my vacation when traveling as a family. We eat, play and love each other of course, but the alternate reality is we’re a living sitcom that I’d like to watch and laugh at my absurdity. The melodramatic replay is a condition of every family vacation, no?
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I shouldn’t be complaining, (but I shamefully do). After the initial familial pubescent breakouts comes the mature moments of toilet talk and facts of flatulence. Eating, and talking about eating is a main staple of our travels, and I’ve certainly been eating well. No doubt have I’ve broken every restriction in my dietary rulebook of being gluten free, diary reduced, sugarless, organic when available and coffee cutoffs. If the price my belly pays for sharing one-in-a-lifetime meals with my beloved family, then I will gladly eat from every food stand that fills the streets and its the sacrifice I’m willing to make.

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We’ve decided to rent a car and drive around the country side from town to town and if you’ve ever driven in Japan, it’s kind of like teaching in a new yoga studio for the first time. New rules and new streets, but what’s even more confusing is having to drive on the other side of the road. If you know about yoga teachers and having to teach as a mirror, then you can maybe relate to this, as your right hand is my left hand and your left turn is now my right turn. I get the hang of it eventually, but it doesn’t serve my self-esteem to have a teenage police officer on his bicycle blow a whistle at me for illegally turning right just five minutes from pulling out of the rental station. I’m a good driver, I swear, I make sure to drive slow and cautious when cutting people off.

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Now having returned, home becomes a feeling of being lost in a foreign city. Its like my compass speaks another language. Driving in a car with a family being my backseat drivers was like a cocoon at times and now I am confused as to what I am to do with our new found transformation. Each and every time I go away, whether its to the Gulf Islands or a flight overseas, I come back with a shift in perspective that leaves me in a dazed coma of awe and delight, kind of like being born again and gazing at life with baby eyes. I leave with a smidgen of guilt for abandoning you folks, but I return with a greater sense of gratitude for the rare opportunity to travel with my family and experience life outside of my bubble wrapped world. Its those moments that “pop” that makes the uncomfortable changes in life worth bursting open for.

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You’ve must have heard that if you really want to know someone, all you need to do is travel with them. It’s safe to say that I’ve gotten to know, and understand my family a lot better, inside (literally) and out. I’ve come to acknowledge that families cannot be void of its conflict or discomforting moments, nor does life, but that also brings to light the moments of growth and laughter. Family need not be something to be sacrificed or compromised for, it is a willingness to let go of myself in service and contribution to a greater group. Its not a blood bond that creates a default connection, but a conscious choice to bite my trivial tongue and speak that which only matters. The yoga of family is paradoxically chosen to challenge, and also free me from myself. The mastery of yoga is not just at a studio or on my mat, its in the comforts/discomforts of my very own home. 

Full Circle

Reflecting on the “busy days” that I’ve been having, I am continually humbled by the many things that I can be grateful for. I really am a fortunate man, to live in a house that I do, to have the relationships that I have, to do the kind of work that I do, yet I continually ask for more. And its not that I’m unhappy with what I have, but something tells me there is always more to be had.

It’s not to say that I look over the fence, and the “grass is greener on the other side.” But perhaps its our biological nature to continually flourish and evolve, to expect a flower to blossom as life should. But at this point, I’ve lost track of which stage of the life cycle I’m living out. Its like life shot on National Geographic where the birth and death are all filmed in fast forward and framed half awake.

Transformation of any kind, like that of the common caterpillar to that of butterfly brilliance is not without a kind of responsibility to the self and one’s environment. Gone are those days of lazy lounging, factory foods, loathing language, dirty doubting, marking below the benches, and selfish sabotage. If butter could fly, would it spend its time on toast and baked potatoes, wasting their life to be melted away when they could fly to far away lands and live the crispy life of chocolate croissants. But when butter does fly, sometimes it’d rather be creepy crawling and eating leaf, but other days it seeks to know how to fly faster through space, say teleportation.

Changes and new ways of living has its limits. Everything is but a novelty, no? My love affair with coffee and complimentary pastries will evidently end in a stalemate, no? Exploration of knowledge, pursuit of happiness, growth of relationships, fulfilling life’s mission – it’s marginal utility served its purpose for the time, but what to do when it starts falling off the graph? Do even these strong states of stature need to be changed like diapers from time to time? The pungent smugness of my underpants are probably due for a new pair.

And so I’m finding I’m that mandarin tree that feels so tall and great, to produce so many mandarins, but perhaps not all have seeds to continually grow. And what was my purpose for even growing mandarins? To make mandarin pie? To speak a language I’d never use? Was I even a mandarin tree, or did my goals of being oranges become stored away in fridges to be peeled for another day?

Nature is a common thread. Seasons change, hot to cold, low to peak, peek below. Who’s never heard of things being created in circles? Things never really change, because they don’t really need to, its always going to be there. The essence of tree, the essence of me, always comes full circle. Beyond all the outward expression and organic energy for further reaching, comes the human need to finally come back to knowing oneself.

The Universe loves to play and I am Its hand in motion, it creates out of nothing, something made of miracles. But when the games are over and its time to come back in, does It ever ask Itself, am I the player or the hand? Why does It asks those questions of why It plays or who’s hand is it anyways. Would one throw everything away just to find it all over again? A fool poses such silly questions, but its only rule is to reveal to himself his own concealed spiritual truth.

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If You Think You’re Just A… Well Just Consider

If you think you’re just a singer/song writer, well you’ve forgotten that your alluring art scores the soundtrack of my melodramatic life

If you think you’re just one of few postmen or ladies, well remind you your my link to love-inked letters to my dearest lover

If you think you’re just a gasboy convenient store girl, don’t forget that your the stops to feeling full before going places man or woman’s never been before

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If you think you’re just a baker, your half-baked chocolate croissant smacks my lips with a punch that knocks me off my high chair

If you think you’re just a short cup espresso maker, well you’ve sat me contemplating still, chin in hand, elbow rested on window sill

If you think you’re just one man or less of a woman, I invite you to tea to see that your an infinite matter to this limitless life.

 

Time Will Tell

Thank you for taking the time to sit so briefly to read this post. But perhaps you’ve already started to think in your head how long this post might be. Maybe before you’ve even finished reading this sentence, you’ve already scrolled to the bottom to see and evaluate whether you have the time or not to read on about my arrogantly presuming thoughts. I apologize if you’ve come this far to read these words. I truly do appreciate your trouble for time.

To not waste any more, I’ll stop with the fatherly lecture and get to the point of it all. Time just doesn’t matter. You might be thinking, “oh you yoga teachers, who work just 10 hours a week and nap till noon, of course you’ve got time.” I won’t deny that truthful comment as I shift my pillow after hitting the snooze. But I too am conscious of time, as a tardy teacher is a unpaid starving one. I’m thin enough as it is.

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A friend so elegantly expressed, that time is like the sand she tries to hold, but slips through the cracks of her grasping hands. And these are the days of our lives. But time in fact so abundantly falls and soothes my feet as I casually walk through life. I used to think it be worth hoarding it in jars because I never thought that there were enough time for me to create all the castles in my life. Whether I build a capitalistic fortune or organically grow towards fame, it all washes away with a sweep of wave that’s indifferent to my superficial success.

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Yes, it feels like time is accelerating at a speed that a dashboard can’t read, but that’s only because the rate of change between you and I is something that can’t be measured. I kinda wish that I’d have infinite hours with you to skillfully pick at your brain, but quite honestly, I’d rather just jump straight to the ER and open each others hearts to see what’s really beating. I kinda wish that I could read every book and know every person on the planet, but this lifetime just wouldn’t allow for that to be possible. But quite truthfully, the stare of your beaming eyes, tells me the shortest story about the truth of every person, that at the end of every hour, we’re all humanly the same, in the best of every way. I kinda wish that I’d have the money for a round trip flight across the wonders of the world, but time tells me that I’m far too late.

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There’s an urgency that makes me frantic sometimes. Which one to do first, or do em all? I can’t decide, so none is done at all. The life I have, so precious it is, just can’t be wasted. I say to you, Time, I appreciate you so much more I make this commitment to you, to never leave you for any other moment but this very one. I honour you by singing the song like that of my last performance. I bow to you by pouring every drop of my love drunk heart so you may never thirst again. I respect you, Time, because our time spent together is one which is fixed, I dare not limit what I could do, at this very second, every second.

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Deep-Fried Soul Dip

I’ve most recently connected with new and old friends. New friends that feel like I’ve known for a long time and old friends that I feel like I’m meeting all over again, in a very familiar and relatable way. And very much like fermented cheese or a fine wine, it’s as if we’d let our old friendship age over time, and we’ve just now taken it out of its cellar, experiencing the full flavour and wisdom of our experience.

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And I find it fascinating how simple and easy it is to have such instant rapport with someone. “As if it were only yesterday,” or “I feel like I’ve met you before.” True or not, it doesn’t matter, the heart of the matter is the ability to connect so quickly. A friend noted its perhaps our ability to put “our shit” aside and just see each other for who we exactly are. I’m not hiding anything, are you? No? Okay, sweet, let’s chat for real now.

In that exposure of being completely open, there certainly is the sense of vulnerability. Of course, we’d like to sniff a person out or test the waters with our toes first, but the first couple dips already, we realize, “Hey, the water’s actually warm, lets dive in and see how deep we can go!”

I think that when two people are interested in the discovery of one another below the surface, then we have the opportunity to dive deep, together, into the ocean of each other’s heart/soul, and see the many colours, species, formations, hues, shades, shadows, beauty that we experience that would not be possible if we not open to the risk of deep-sea soul diving. But I can openly admit, diving, of any kind can be scary, which why I’ve never done the physical kind, but if it’s just as exhilarating as the emotional kind, I’m all toes in.

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But hey, I love also the pleasure and play of skimming the surface and taking deep breathes above water. I won’t refuse a lie on the beach either to hang with my hommies. There’s just a time and place. You can’t really compare it like apples to apples, if you know what I mean.

This same friend also related a connection between two people and the kinds of music they like. Her and her partner and I, and even mutual friends are all quite fond of what I like to call “Emo Epic” music. And this kind of music, for me at least, has this rawness that pulls and plays with my deepest emotions for both things sad, yet blissful. Most often, these kinds of artist will speak of a sadness from which they’ve experience through heart break or loss, and I may not relate exactly to their situation, but their open expression and security in instability is what I relate to and from hearing you, I feel what you feel.

Your song has opened up the door to your figurative heart and I’ve had the chance to walk around in your home, through your shoes to realize, “Okay, you’re a human being and I see you for who you are and I fully understand. Thank you kindly for sharing and inspiring this emotion and aliveness in me…” Who would have thought such a song of epic emotion could profoundly change my relationship and connection with a person I may not ever meet, but then to inspire me to be really and fully human with others.

What is it that brings people together through music? Why is there this connection through similar tastes of sound? Perhaps, who this same friend so elegantly expressed, the frequency of the style of music that we share is really just the same frequency in our state of being we relate upon. We both crave the same feelings we get from hearing the same kinds of music. Would it be possible that if in the same room, listening to a song in which we both enjoy that it be enough for us to understand and be more compassionate towards one another? Will it have felt like we had hours of conversations without saying a word? Or have read each others heart history books?

I don’t really know, and so I can’t fully explain to you what it may be, but I am amazed by and grateful for the opportunity to connect. To really hear and get what you may have said to me, even if I’ve never experienced it, or even agree with you, I still understand and relate. I don’t just see one side of your face, I also see what its like when alone. We’ve so generously ripped open our hearts like a bag of chips and shared it around the table for everyone to get a taste of the unique flavours in which we have designed. The sweet, salty, sour and spice of what life has to offer.

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Death by Ego

Christmas time, is an amazing time, where people get together, to laugh, to eat, to simply be together. But there’s something that’s just not okay enough for me to believe that it could possibly be something real. I laugh, I eat, I’m alive for the most part, so what does it have to do with green and red colours.

I’m not a pessimists around this holiday, I just need to be clear about it. It isn’t right nor is there something wrong, but the power and effect it can have is profound enough for me to want to be clear and see more truthfully what this time really has to offer.

If this is the time where its meant to be for giving, could I give to you my forgiveness? And would I be willing to receive yours whole heartedly. And if I could give you something that really meant something to you, would I bother to even write it on a cardboard card. I’d want to stop you in your shoes and hold you by your shoulders and shake you once or twice and look at you with a sense of urgency and desire to express myself so fully that I end up saying nothing, and that is the extent of most of my days.

Godly Gift Giving

I’m pulled either way to buy you this shirt and give you these pants and I am happy to give you warmth and I see that you appreciate it. And we’ve bonded from just the simple act and the smile that follows, but like the snow after its fall, it fleets and fumbles to its distance past. What could I really give to you so forever everlasting?

I want to say that “I love you,” in its singular and plural form with overwhelming emotion of tears and joy. But quite truthfully, I don’t know how or what to do. I don’t know how because I’m still grasping hold of the life I have. If life tomorrow was a yesterday, then I’d so freely tell you all the things I’d want to say, and do all the things I’m meant to do.

Perhaps this is what it means to “seize the day”, “to live as if there was no tomorrow”. Because what if Christmas never came, would I just continue holding on to the gift to give until it did? How much longer can I hold on to anger or argue and finally gift you the surprise of love and laughter.

Baby Jesus cames to us on that special day, the gift of life so preciously contained, is also the gift of death so absently minded. I so easily forget that life and death come together like pairs of socks. That only things feel right when both are on. Thank to life of this apple, but evidently death to you, as well, so that my belly be full. Goodbye to you, a disease of death, so that life can be more easeful and free.

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Give to me the gift of death of what’s not needed, so I no longer have to grab a hold onto life so strongly. I’ll never then forget of death’s potential, every moment is a dying one, what was present is now past and the future could never come. Every moment is a moment to bring to end, something that I don’t want, and bring to life a possibility. If my day is a dying day, I want to bring to end my critiquing ways and doubtful days and bring to life a baby and their wife. I no longer fear you, death, because I understand what you are here to give. You give to me what can’t be wrapped in fanciful floss or re-gifted bow tie bags. You give to me 3 gifts: a perishable prize, a pertinent push, a realful rawness with such timely presence, the lighting of a star that leads the way. 

Dear death, of all things impermanent, you help me realize what it means to be living, to feel what I feel and to be what I am, in this time, all 365 days of it all, the gift of giving because that is what life just is. 

Going, Going, Gone.


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I had an amazing day yesterday.

Not just because it snowed and that I love that. And not because I got a chance to go into the Lululemon store and work and discover the genuine concern for one another that they have. And its also not because I got to reconnect with a very old friend, in which we were very different, but now indifferently alike. And to be at a vegan potluck where I could eat everything amongst a group of delightful strangers is also not what particularly made my day amazing, although they all certainly did attribute.

Rather, I finally can say I stepped into environments where I’m usually not always comfortable, and actually felt incredibly comfortable and alive and from that place, could hear others. I was able to approach people from a space of emptiness, void of self-doubt, judgement and insecurity and be present to exactly what the other person was communicating to me.

I stood and sat next to people and was able to look at each eye individually and see inside of them the ” inherent good in everyone” that yoga so openly speaks of. I heard her when she said she was afraid to do Landmark. I heard him when he said that he’s grasping for a way to cope with life in his current state of consciousness. I heard him when he spoke of his deep passion for music, and his desire to discover his purpose, but struggles through self-doubt and the distance he still needs to walk. I heard him when he said he’s really glad that he’s moved back home and now able to bond with his mom. I heard her when she sang her song, the pain of motherfuggin’ lovin’ him. I heard her when she said she’s busy and needs more time. I heard him, how this one man and his books completely transformed his life into who he is today.

It was an amazing day because I was present. I’m not in any way saying I was enlightened or acting differently. I just felt that I was there, alive, and the only thing that really mattered was that moment, the moment standing, or walking, or talking or not talking, listening, eating, & being. And doing just those things in the present moment allowed me to just fully be my self, fully self-expressed and to a greater extent, though with greater work, selfless. You may have said words to me, but I felt your emotion and I understood. You may have looked at me and made eye contact, but we saw each other. We may have hugged to show appreciation for being there, but my appreciation for your being happened much earlier when we showed each other who we were, intimately detached and untouched.

And now, to have written about aloneness and its pain and virtue, I was freed from its illusion. I am not alone, and never was. People were always standing at my doorstep, but I felt for safety, the need to lock the door. But from this blog, I’ve taken 108 steps towards my front steps and finally turned the key and opened the door to a life beyond my four walls and a roof. I have opened it to the fresh air of possibility and the warming fireplace of company and listening. This blog is my house in which I welcome you to see, the cobwebs in the top corner crown moulding, the dust beneath the whitened rugs, and graciously offer the grand tour of this multi-level townhouse complexity. Please sit down so I may host you with tea and cookies and leave you with the comfort of conversation.

To my dearest readers, both sporadic and frequent, you are the kindest of young man and woman who takes the elderly in hand safely across the street from where I was to where I am now. Your readership is my courage to trust living in a home with wide open doors and clear glass windows. Your comments, online and off, your yoga classes, your listening, your teaching, your guidance, your criticisms, your honest truth is my inspiration for so many of the things I’ve written, directly or indirectly to you, and from that, has taught me so much, and continually to do so. I may see you only once a month, once a week, or have never even met you, but I feel that I have connected with you so profoundly that when we do see each other, words would only surface us from this deepen place of bonding that we have reached.

I am not finished, and it has not just begin. I am simply going. That’s it and thank you most sincerely for your presence in this journey.

Rose Water Soda Pop

Sometimes the transformational things in life, Landmark, your yoga practice, teacher trainings, etc. can be like a can of pop. *Psst, *glug glug glug,* *ahhhh (sigh)*. That first gulp of soda is the most refreshing and at its fizziest. But with time, it gets stale and flat, much like the rest of things that lose its novelty.

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So its important to shake up, not only our diet coke, but also areas in our life to revive that bubbly feeling we get inside. Shaking things up might just mean asking more questions, enquiring about why it is that I do what I do? Why am I teaching yoga? Why do I like this person? What motivates me to continue doing this, or that or not that?

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And when I do that, I kind of feel like Jim Carrey wearing a suit of question marks. I get this sugary high feeling of knowing why, and placing meaning to something, that might not even have meaning. And sometimes I feel like I’m getting to the bottom of things and diving deeper but only to realize that the sweet tasting beverage is really just water, carbon dioxide, high fructose corn syrup and colouring. (sorry to pop your bubble if you didn’t already know)

I’ll look at relationships and wonder what drives me to have one? The caring side of me is the greenhouse gardener that tends to the flower, that everything she is and does, blossoms beautifully. The riddling side of me whats to know is that motivation a selfish desire, to have this flower for myself to look at? Maybe like Christmas treats, one can indulge in too many questions and forget what it is we’re actually celebrating.

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Well, look at the story of the Flower Sermon. A Zen Buddhist teacher is giving a lecture to his disciples. He lifts up a white flower, says nothing, and that is his teaching. Only one student smiles, as he “gets it”. The rest are all left questioning. Maybe its both, its caring for that flower and very simply, revelling in its natural beauty. That’s it. I think I…. “get it?”

Perhaps relationships are meant to be little bit shaky. Bartenders and bubble tea baristas know what I’m talking about. Its an alchemy of two potential flavours that might not have previously been combined before. But when done right, it lends for a cool smooth drink.

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But if you’re not like James Bond where you like your life shaken, not stirred, then you can mix your carbonated beverage with other things. Stale pop + ice cream = classic root beer float. Flat 7up + non alcoholic vodka = Flat 7up + non alcoholic vodka.

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Are You Eka Pada Sure?

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In trying to bring my foot behind my head,
I’m learning to be more compassionate.

In sitting on a cushion and closing my eyes,
I’m learning that my mind has many thoughts that I don’t have any control over.

In writing entries in this blog,
I’m learning more about myself than I expected to.

There has certainly been times during the 108 days of home practice where I didn’t practice at home, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve either forgotten or was just too damn lazy or distracted. I’m also can’t hide the fact (because I’ve blogged about it) that there was a time when I threw my hands up in the air and said, “forget it, what’s the point anyways?”

What I have been so keenly reminded from fellow walkers of this path, is that when we feel we’ve veered from the path, gone backwards, and even ran in the opposite direction, that is actually when we’re given the opportunity to  learn something profound about ourselves. Perhaps this is how.

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I felt like the path I’ve been so focused on has suddenly changed and a dark cloud has casted overhead. I’m now lost in the woods and there’s no sign of which way is north or south, that’s when I’m screwed, I’m lost! When I’m lost in mental confusion of meaning and purpose, I am at a stand-still and I’m forced to look around, forced to look back and see where my missteps were. And sometimes these stand-stills in my practice, relationships, career can be disguised through roadblocks, periods of illness, self-doubt, hopelessness or resignation.

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What it offers though is the time and chance to evaluate, is the direction I’m heading, really where I had actually intended to go. Is this the best route to take, or is there a path of lesser resistance. For all I know, the seemingly wrong turn astray, might actually be a step into the right direction. I mean, seriously, who knows where were all going when there’s no clear printed roadmap as to how to live the perfect life? Because if you’ve got a GPS system that’s guiding you, show me where I can get one, cause I’m always lost. But now I know, being lost just means I’m going places I’ve never gone before and here is an opportunity to check my internal compass and to keep on trekking, because… life is a journey (bet you’ve never heard that one)

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And so, It doesn’t really matter to me where I am in my practice or in my life, up or down, lost or not, if I look hard enough, I can find a diamond in the rough. In the midst of an argument comes the opportunity for acceptance and vulnerablity. In the midst of feeling alone or longing for another person comes the opportunity to deepen the relationship with myself. In the midst of self-doubt towards my practice and teaching comes the greater realization of why I’m doing it in the first place. In the midst of making a U-turn on the path, comes the discovery of a walking stick, that offers a handle in which to hold onto, as I move forward in confidence towards the unblazed trail ahead.

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Life really is just a dance, one step back, two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward. Three steps left, four steps right, four steps left, three step right. Take one giant lunge back and see what’s really on stage, shine on me the truthful spotlight, in the places where I’ve missed a step, but cue me in so I may dance again in perfect rhythm and beat.  Let me take your hand so we can dance, the dance of life to the song of love, but there’ll be times I’ll stumbly step on your precious toes, but trust me if you will, the strength of my will to lift you up and spin you on your heels. 

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A Swan A Dozen

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I feel like birds are the ascended humans.
They’ve evolved beyond the land and are no longer bounded by two dimensional traveling.

But like us humans, they migrate from place to place, country to country.
I can relate, I understand the exhilarating freedom of going wherever the wind takes me.

And like us humans, they’re searching too.
But instead of money, more or meaning, they’re searching for food.

And birds fly together, die together, bad birds for life.
They roll in their V shaped vehicles, posses as one.
I’d like to say I carpool, but I don’t.

There’s no surprise a swan’s a dancer,
soaring limitlessly with grace and effortlessly still.

Bird and I, you’re a dancer and I a yogi,
we’re not that much different are we?

When I spread arms wide open to allow
for the wind of Grace to carry me through,
there’s an effortlessness to stillness.
Rather than minding matter always moving,
stillness grounds me in place to take me around the world and back.

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Mad Dash to Infinity

Counting down 19 days. After thoughts of integrity to my commitment, it not much sense to “give up” now. The weekend resignation gave me juice for that one final stretch to the finish, but its not really a line I’m crossing for the win, its a circular track that never really had a start or end to begin with.

And so its not about the quick sprint to liberation, but the enduring marathon that lasts a lifetime. There’s going to be times where were going to mad dash instead of run, speed walk instead of jog, long stride instead of stroll, and walk backwards instead of stand still. Either way, we’re on the track for the long haul, for our own reasons and there’s no one else competing with you beside yourself. There’s seats in the stands and watching is great, but the only observation that’s worthwhile is of my self.

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Engaging muscular energy in plank, no problem. Staying true to my word, 100% of the time, needs practice. I want to say I’m better when its for another person, but I’m a person too, so who am I lying to anyways?

I want to also say “so what?”  if I didn’t practice for a day, or two, maybe three, cause its easy to beat myself down and harder to be self-accepting. I want to say “so what?” if I did practice, cause its easy to be conceited and proud and harder to be humble.

Anyways “sigh”, I’m not perfect (have I mentioned that before), but I do love myself (smiley face). See you along the way towards the infinite end.

Action/inaction for the final sprint forward:

conscious moments of stillness
silence
seeing people
self-acceptance
honesty
asana when desired

Toilet Tricks

For times when magazines and books that were given to you as a Christmas gift and no longer provide entertainment value because they’re over read or just plain boring, do this yogic hand mudra:

While resting your elbows on your knees, bring your hands to touch

Slowly take your palms away from one another, keeping only the tips of the fingers touching, as if you were holding an imaginary ball

Start to rotate the ball slightly forward so you can see your finger prints

Bend the middle finger of both hands about a quarter of an inch

Depending on the size of your hand, narrow the gap between your 3rd and 4th fingers by a smidgen

Keeping that, bring the hands to face a blank wall
Look at the space between those fingers and using something called your imagination – what do you see?

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A seagull

Presence & Cobwebs

I sometimes feel like a kid who’s just downed his mother’s coffee. Jumping from one thing to another. When’s my next lesson, what should I be doing now, who am I meeting up with this week, I need to eat, I need to wake up, I need to rest, which Christmas party am I going to this week?

And from that, the feeling of presence so easily fades like tumbled washed jeans. Why is it so difficult to sit alone and do nothing? Presence can be so fragile like a spider web. The slightest disturbance and the matrix has to be rebuilt all over again. Its something that’s so precious and subtle and delicate that the preservation of it takes so much care and consciousness.

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As cobwebs cannot be recreated by human hand (from what I know), presence cannot be recreated from the mind. For me, its the absence of mind, no thinking, no doing, just being. I can do lots of things, can I just be though? Can I just be with someone or no one?

In high and low moods, perfect and imperfect conditions, can this web of presence remain intact? Is the lines of integrity strong enough to hold its form and shape. Not quite yet, my fuzzy eight legged friend.

 

O’ and Sometimes Kay

Am I complete with the idea of being alone?
Whether I’m with or not around other people, I am at ease with being by myself

Am I okay with the idea of sitting at a hypothetical table with two chairs,
And I silently await for another to potentially sit, watch without expectation the possibility of this seat becoming warm.

Perhaps this alternate chair was just imagined
And I look down to see a true pair of eyes beneath this table

To honestly see, what am I really capable of giving in a relationship as opposed to what I can get,
Because what I can get wouldn’t really relate to who I am with.

How long am I capable and willing to stand with arms wide, but sometimes crossed
Reaching or pulling at the arms of passer-byers, but letting freely go

But truthfully anyways, its not even a game of woefully wishing
There’s just no rigid rules that predominately play

I don’t mean to be truly madly & deeply waiting in a romantic stance for chance
Because why does it even matter if a heart gives solely to one or soulfully to many.

If I can really sit for a while and understand the value of being alone
I can maybe realize that I’ll always be alone, in some way
And that everyone has to be that way, and that’s the way
And being that way lets me see that I’m not that distant from you, actually.

When I’m away, I’m away
And when I’m with you, I’m with you.
And both play the part in relating.
Am I okay with just that?

Be Honest

 

Day 84: Who knew that this blog would take me here. To be honest, because honesty is my current theme for the week, I haven’t been practicing as I have said I would. I’ve completely stopped placing energy to practicing at home, because at this moment, it doesn’t matter to me. And yes, to be truthful, this is my escape route from my word, but I am content with how my life perspective has shifted.

Are there poses that I’m able to do now that I wasn’t able to do prior to developing my home practice, absolutely! Would I have been able to do those poses if I hadn’t practiced daily but rather found space in other areas of my life,… maybe. Does creating more flexiblity in relationships help you open your hips to get into lotus pose? Does finding courage to speak your mind and express yourself give you the strength to kick up into Pincha Mayurasana? Maybe, I don’t know.

Is my asana practice progressing at a rate that is relative to how much physical effort I put into the practice? It doesn’t matter because I don’t really care anymore. I don’t care anymore not because I don’t care about my body or what I’m teaching, but its actually the complete opposite. I care about myself enough to resign from the role of the dictator and to stop forcing toothpaste out of its tube when its not ready to come out. Expectations is just a messy stain on my teeth that I can’t clean up. Its a waste of my dental and energetic resources.

Anyways, it doesn’t matter if I can get my foot behind my head by next week. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. Because transformation kind of happens like that. Its in the instantaneous and effortless moments. Its like kicking up into handstand in the middle of the room and you stick it for a half a second. Once that’s happened, its happened to you for life. There’s no turning back and it’ll continue to happen to you whether you’re upside down on your hands, or right side up on the top of a mountain. The moments that change my life are often unexpected, unsqueezed, unpushed, unforced, unreachable, unanalyzable, it just happens unknowingly, but secretly wishing and wanting.

Once you’ve balanced on a bike, you’ll never fall the rest of your life. Once you’ve had Revolver coffee, you’ll never have another kind the rest of your life. Once you’ve fallen in headstand, you’ll never be afraid the rest of your life. Once you’ve told someone you love them, your relationship will be transformed for the rest of your life.

My intention of course is not to bore or annoy you with this continual talk of “transformation” (although you are reading a blog that is based on that), as I honestly appreciate your readership and your willingness to know me. But I feel, quite honestly, the body of this blog is not the heart of the matter anymore, the heart of this blog is the heart of the matter, and I hope to continually share with you my heart, both on the net and off the net.

Teachings of the Tapestry

It’s hard apologizing to other people. There’s fear they won’t forgive us, and the thought of the shame and regret I’d might have to live with would be enough for me to keep my mouth shut, but whenever I’ve opened my heart to someone, they’ve always opened theirs back, and those were both relieving and beautiful moments.

Its challenging to admit my mistakes, not so much because I have to let go of my thought of being right, but because I must see the person will full acceptance and love of exactly who they are, and who they are not. And its often when I refuse to see clearly in this way is when resentment, animosity and blame occurs and it never really goes away, even with time. It just gets tucked away in our back pocket, like useless items piling up in a garage. There’s just no space for new opportunities to arise. I wish I could just call 1-800-Got-Junk to do my dirty work for me in my relationships, but it just doesn’t work that way. I guess that’s what counselling or self-reflection is for.

For me, the experience of completing relationships has been humbling. Its cleared the skies of a clouded reality of myself and has brought to life relationships I’ve long forgotten. It’s slapped me across the face to see my imperfection and to show that to another person mades me feel vulnerable and naked, but there’s a visceral rawness in that opportunity that binds two people like Adam and Eve.

From the little knowledge that I have of Tantric philosophy, it is that I am in relationship to everything -whether I realize it or not. And if this is true, and I have left relationships with people or situations and even objects incomplete, then how can I be whole? I can’t say that I’m proud of everything that’s happened in my past, but bringing everything to full circle has opened space for an Amazing Grace and a wholeness in my relationship to self and others that I did not know was previously possible. To put into the empowering (and mawkishly sentimental) words of LF – The possibility I’m inventing for myself and my life is the possibility of committed relationship of intimacy and wholeness.


I have chosen to connect to you, because I want to be in relationship with you. I relate to you because we are no different. We love for laughter and we cry for suffering. I am in relationship to you, because, I am in relationship to you, and that is enough to love you.

There are thoughtful threads between us, and knotted clumps of fragmented fabric become a weaving wonder of pairing patterns to create the relationship I have with you, in which I call the tapestry of life.

Landmark

Generally my rule of thumb is to step into something without expectation is, especially when it comes to experiences possible of transformation. I stepped into the Landmark Forum relatively open minded but slightly doubtful it would produce anything that I haven’t already felt before.

Lectures speaking of the mind and its stories, who is the I and who is the observer, taking responsibility – particularily in relationships, living a life of integrity, distinguishing between the content and the context of a situation, the power we have to make our own choices which lead our life – almost all things I’ve either read, heard and know of.

Day 1 – I was glowing. Of course I was, I knew things that other people didn’t and that made me feel good about myself. I just looked around the room at confused faces and I just listened attentively to the speaker, nodding my head off because everything just made sense in my mind. Piece of cake.

Day 2 – Ideas became more abstract, moments became heavier, discomforts both physically and emotionally began to arise. I was asked to look back into my life in areas which I left incomplete. Relationships which I avoided or held resentment towards became real to me, from not wanting to deal with them previously, making excuses and complaints or being ignorant of the way I was treating these people.  One person after another came popping into my head and I felt irritated, scared and remorseful, now realizing my actions which I justified in my own head. I needed to speak with these people and complete with them something I didn’t have courage to admit before. A piece of cake has become a mouthful too dry to swallow on its own. I needed to bite the bullet of this undesired dessert and do what was needed for myself, but most importantly, the people I cared about in my life.

Day 3 – The lump of dough was still stuck in my throat. I had resistance and I held on. I wasn’t willing to digest and let go of something that I had unknowingly held on to for this long. But I knew I had to. As if stepping out of a walk-in freezer for the first time, with jittered hands and clenched teeth, I nervously dialled. I spoke from a presence and a truth that I didn’t know I had. I felt my heart thaw and a warmth I haven’t felt in a long time. Water dripped and things began to become so much clearer, like that of a February day, when snow melts and skies blue.

A literal burden was lifted off my shoulders. My physical body became so much more relaxed, the mind was so much more ready to receive what was being taught. The hours of sitting and listening, reiterating and relieving, crying and laughing was to prepare oneself for this one final moment, like that of a peak pose in a yoga class that one would work so hard towards.

A climber who’s ever tackled a perilous mountain must have courage and trust. And when it reaches the top, to witness the breathtaking climax as he/she stands on the summit would be what I imagined to be the presence that I felt. I can’t describe how I got there, or articulate what it was like when it happened, but a switch, a transformation occurred. And there, standing at the peak, nothing before or nothing after mattered, just being and witnessing was simply enough. A silence I’ve never heard before, fell over the room and  a collective unity so rarely experienced left me feeling a profound love and compassion for people I hardly knew, an acceptance of who they were and were not, unconditionally.

I always knew, intellectually, that the caterpillar is also the butterfly. They are the same insect, just in different forms. I have heard of what butterflies looked like and what it meant to fly, but for me, the forum was my cocoon and those enduring hours led me to experience a transformation which has helped me see the possibility of flight. A non-competeting power, commitment and presence to life, and to the betterment of the people around me. I knew of Bhakti and Karma and have read it again and again in the Bhagavad Gita, the service to others. But only now do I realize, in the body, what that means. The commitment to creating greatness and joy in the people in my life, however small or big, near or far.

I am not enlightened, or any smarter or wiser. I’m not better or different either. I can only speak of my experience and I feel that I am transformed/ing, to be more present than I was before, present to my life and present to others. I see life newly and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful to Lululemon for this opportunity and particularily to Sheila, Brittany and Ashleigh for their continual support.
I am thankful for all the teachers and friends in my life, and to Bill, Rebecca and Shelley for their encouragement
I am happy to have the family that I have and love them for everything that they are