Have you ever reflected on this Native American saying?
“Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in their moccasins.”
The essence of this saying has been spoken and written many different ways. My 98 year old mother and teacher, Stacy had it hanging on her entry door. It was the first thing you saw as you turned the knob to enter. We often spoke of how this saying related to our lives, and the thoughts and beliefs we had about other people. Changing the conversations we have with others, especially those who have different ideas, beliefs, and life situations, can open us to new ways of being. Perhaps we can learn from each other if we take the time to walk in another person’s shoes.
Someone recently posted this video from the Cleveland Clinic on Facebook. Taking the time to watch this video brought me back to the ancient Native American saying that graced Stacy’s door.
The internet has created a global community. Our eyes and ears are touching the lives of so many different people living around the world. Each day there is something that makes me pause, and when I reflect there is a flood of empathy or compassion for what I am witnessing. Emotions and thoughts may surface as I breathe, feel, relax, watch, and allow them to happen. The core teachings of my early Kripalu trainings and practices have helped support me, in this inquiry, as well as iRest® Yoga Nidra. To be able to meet, greet, and welcome everything just as it is, helps me to open the door for a more spacious inclusive conversation. There is nothing to fix or change, no problem to solve, simply “being” with everything just as it is. At that moment I remind myself to reflect on the saying on Stacy’s door. And then if action needs to be taken my heart will be included.
A friend recently stopped by around the holidays and left a package by my door. Inside was a beautiful balsam fir candle from another friend who has left the island for a warmer climate, and a card from the messenger friend. The card was especially moving with a tranquil photo of the boat Grace which sits in Vineyard Haven Harbor quietly awaiting it’s crew. Or not so quietly as the winds of winter have been sweeping the island lately.
I paused, took a breath, and read her words: “May the days, weeks, months and years ahead be filled with the goodness that your grace deserves.”.
I often speak about transition, the natural flow of the seasons, and how we can learn from observing nature. This winter I am staying on island with the swaying oak, naked in the winds of change. Transition has settled in my bones as my entire being is pointing me in the direction of mindful change. The years of teaching yoga as a discipline of asana (yoga poses) and standing on my head are over. How can I say this after 45 years of falling in love with downdog and the triangle pose? As yoga has become popularized in the west, and yoga studios flourish, I’m taking the ancient practice and deepening my inquiry of “simply being.” I must say the ego has a hard time with this one. [click to continue…]
As fall begins to tap me on the shoulder with its cool nights, I notice how this season brings with it a sense of drawing inward. The outward expansion of summer is receding naturally. I seem to be holding on more than ever this time around.
Why is this happening? What am I noticing that is different this year? I ask myself these questions because all aspects of myself: body, mind and soul simply want to “be”. There is no business as usual. I’m inviting the mystery into “being” as I experience this time of transition.
I can’t define or describe the mystery. My sense is that all of us discover it in our own way, and in our own time. Over the past forty years, I have chosen to ground myself in many different spiritual practices. The transition that is taking place for me now, seems to be about stepping fully into living the practices: calling forth the reality, rather than memories of times past or living in the illusion of the future. Pausing to simply “be” is bringing me face to face with my undeniable presence. [click to continue…]
What would your life be like in this moment if you realized that there was nothing you had to fix or change about yourself?
Why not pause for a moment, right now. and consider the possibility of simply “being” with everything “just as it is”. What do you see, smell, hear, taste and feel in this moment of “being”? When I pause to refresh and begin again, I notice….Life unfolding, seasons changing, and colors vibrantly appearing out of nowhere. Each one of us has our very unique way of perceiving life. Sometimes my day unfolds progressively with all kinds of tasks to complete and check off my list of “to do’s”. My most treasured days are the ones that begin with the sun rising and I am directly engaged with each moment unfolding organically. On that direct path the house wren lights on the railing and communicates in a language of trilling sound. The resonance travels through my nervous system and I hear in a language that directly communicates within my heart. At that moment, I am the wren and the wren is me.
Yoga in action, when there is no separation, total union and oneness of being alive in the moment. This being alive is precious and each moment is a celebration of the miracle of life. When I indulge in mind chatter that tries to fix or change me the magic disappears and the merry-go-round of self help projects begins. There is nothing I have to fix or change about this magnificent universe inside or outside. The past drops off and the future stays steeped in the mystery. Loving myself enough to cherish each moment is the most profound spiritual practice I’ve experimented with to date. When the experience is direct the meditative inquiry flows as the essence of life flows. I invite you to share one of your moments of “being”.