Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thank You Prayer

"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
 ~ Meister Eckhart

" There are really only two prayers, "help me, help me, help me" or "thank you, thank you, thank you".
 ~ Devarshi Steven Hartman

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to pause and give thanks for all that we have. I think sometimes it is easy to see what I wish I had, or what I still need, what I want, the next thing. It is easy to get caught up in external achievements, possessions, and desires that seem to promise happiness, but as soon as they materialize the happiness quickly fades and some new desire takes its place.

This is the realm of "help me, help me, help me",  which is sometimes the prayer that is truly needed. Sometimes we need help, to see clearly, to get through, or to get by.

However, even when things seem bleak, or when things don't go my way, I can choose to see the abundance that is here and now. There are things I take for granted sometimes that deserve that second prayer every moment of every day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

 for my breath that has always been here guiding me, nourishing me.

 for my body and all its beautiful movement, expression, feeling.

 for my family; my parents and siblings, my husband and my healthy beautiful children and all of my ancestors, we are all one family after all.

for my friends who share laughter and sometimes tears, and whose support is priceless.

for music, song, dance, poetry, yoga and all the multitude of things that make my soul sing and lead me towards ultimate joy and liberation.

for nature, my church and my sanctuary. When I am lost inside, I go outside and find myself again.

for food on my table, clothes on my back, shelter over my head. So many don't have this.

for my teachers, ALL of them; those who hurt me, the experiences that shaped me, the good, the bad, the ugly. Most of all those who taught me about God and showed me miracles big and small, those who gave me my path of yoga and gave me back myself.

for Swami Kripalu, a yoga master, a pilgrim on the path of love, whom I truly believe watches over me and who I do my best to follow

for the miracle of this life; all the joy and heartache, the triumphs and defeats, for feeling, seeing, tasting, touching, EXPERIENCING this rich tapestry.

for all of these things and so many more I am truly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!    


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Confessions of a Mess: Measure of Success

Well, I have neglected writing for a number of weeks now. There are many reasons I can point to for that falling away, busy teaching, busy being a mom, busy managing a home, busy, busy, busy. Honestly though, it is mostly because I have been in what I call a funk. Some things have happened, or more accurately, not happened, that have made me question whether the path I have chosen is really my path, or have I mistaken myself for something, someone, I am not?

I have been questioning my value, my gifts, my very identity. I have sunk into the old storyline of failure.

In a period of a week and a half I experienced three planned workshops that I had invested time, energy, excitement, and very dangerously, expectation in, have not enough, or even zero people sign up. Another class I offered had only one person participate. My yogic values came into my mind, non-attachment, surrender, compassionate self awareness, but I could not get them into my heart which felt like a dagger had been plunged into it.

I tried to reason with my heart, "don't take it personally, all experience has wisdom, trust the path". My heart needed to feel this though, feel the loss, the heartache, the questions.  The ultimate question came through, "Who am I?".  These measures of success, and these identities I try to fill, are stories I have been offered and that I have bought into. They are so powerful that they take me away from my true nature, they separate me from my soul identity. When I forget who I am it is like putting a neon sign on my heart that says, "SUFFERING, HERE PLEASE!".

Satisfaction or success that relies upon external measures is always a vulnerable success. True satisfaction comes from within, by aligning with the deeper self, the true self. You might call it inner source, inner light, spirit, or soul. When we nourish that space, connecting to it daily, it becomes easier to navigate the constantly shifting landscape of life, to ride the waves of coming and going with ease.

The only sure thing about life in the external world is change, this inner realm though, is constant,  secure, and peaceful. It is easy to lose sight of it, to forget, and get caught up once again in the stories, the evaluations, the criticisms.

Once I processed this and came home to my heart, I was able to shift my perspective. I was able to appreciate the courage it took to put myself out there, the benefits to my own evolution in creating the curriculum of these offerings, to trust my gifts and that a future opportunity to share will come. The universe has perfect timing, and so as I wait, I continue to create. Instead of withdrawing I will look for the next open door or window.

In fact, just this past weekend, I trusted and moved through this doubt and taught a class to a Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training class and the feedback I got was so amazing and uplifting. I walked away re- inspired in my teaching, reaffirmed in my value. Another wave, this time one of support and renewal. And so life goes, I will try to remember this and shine the light inward, and when I forget, I will feel again and forgive again. That is success.