Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

In these challenging times, may this form of compassionate prayer bring you some measure of peace.

LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

OM SHANTI SHANT SHANTI

 

May all beings have freedom and happiness, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my life contribute in some way to that freedom and happiness.  Peace. Peace. Peace.

To hear the chant:  https://vimeo.com/400370987

Love In All Directions

“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life.  So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically.”
–Neil deGrasse Tyson

We are in the Universe and the Universe is in us, literally in every way.  Chaos and order, in everything.  With one element to bind it all together, to balance it out–love.

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
–Ram Dass

While we all may not be able to create change in the world on a global scale, we can work within our personal sphere of influence.   Being the change begins with ourselves.  Being in love, existing in the flow of love, manifests as compassion, kindness, responding (rather than reacting), speaking and acting from our hearts.  I believe the doorway to being in love begins with ourselves–be good to yourself first, then others.  It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask.  Until you do that, you are no help to others.  Self-care may take the form of exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep.  But, it also means taking time to manage your stress, practicing mindfulness, and self-compassion.   Sometimes the best self-care is to step away from everything, and go for a walk; or, simply sit and watch your breath for a few minutes.

Personally, my two most essential “go-to’s” for managing stress are dedicated time on my meditation cushion, and a good solid cardio session either at the gym or outdoors.   Exercise literally moves energy, burns it up, moves it out with each exhale, with each step taken.  Think of stress as energy that is stuck, needing to be transformed.  I take that stuck energy, and give it back to the universe in the form of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and water vapor.

What form does self-care take for you?  How is love manifesting in your life both for yourself, and for others?  Can it be found in the form of a child’s laughter, or the purring of a cat?  Perhaps it is in the form of a hug, or listening to a friend as they talk about their sorrow.  If we look with open hearts, it can be found in everything, and everyone.

See you on the mat!

Faces of Love

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”  

–Mary Oliver

February is the perfect month to consider the many faces of love. Historically, in old world traditions, the beginning of February was marked with festivals (such as Imbolc) that celebrated the first hints of Spring.  Daffodils and crocus begin to push fresh green fronds through the cold earth, trees start to produce buds, and birds search for nesting sites in anticipation of the age-old pursuit of fertility and new life.

Love has many faces–passion and compassion, kindness and loving, soft and fierce, fiery and sweet, unconditional (but never conditional), unlimited and full of boundless possibility.   What would it be like to immerse ourselves in this infinite flow of love?

“And consider, always, every day, the determination of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.”  –Mary Oliver

This is the path of yoga:  always turn toward the sun; examine all sensations, feelings, and thoughts; extend a hand to someone in need; be fierce but also kind.

This month we will be considering what it means “to do no harm,” to ourselves and others, and meditating on Loving-Kindness (Metta).

See you on the mat!