Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Humility- Back to Basics

If you look very carefully at this photo, you will notice fencing.  You will notice caution tape.  You will notice flowers, bouquets of flowers, stuck in the fencing, woven into the caution tape.

This is the Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch.  Initially it was meant to remind the city of war heroes.  Now I believe the meaning has taken on a new, and equally as humbling meaning.  A little over a year ago that huge earthquake struck Christchurch, shattering her foundations and essentially changing her.  The city has not yet recovered structurally.  Not really.

But there is a spirit here.  A spirit of recovery that is half impossible to comprehend.  It nearly shamed me and my American-ness.  These people have suffered unimaginably and have yet to wallow in it.  Instead of looting, rioting, and generally making a mess of things (yes this judgment I am passing on the way disasters are handled by citizens of other 1st world nations is indeed less than subtle), the people of Christchurch and the surrounding areas have instead pieced together a plan of hope.  As I visited the downtown yesterday, two years after the last time I was here, I found myself saddened but simultaneously so impressed.  Sad because the city is not and will never be the same.  Impressed because the people of the city have accepted that fact and are making the most of it.

For example.  Where once there were buildings and buildings of shops, literally rows upon rows of them- where now there are too many soft spots in the earth for buildings- there is now a container mall.  That's right.  Recycled shipping containers made into cafes and boutiques.  Temporary but testimonial.  And colorful- so bright and cheerful as though to brighten up the memories of everyone's day.  It is a reflection of the city and the people- currently in a state of flux but still bright, still beautiful.

Still very much Kiwi.

It is amazing what people can do in the spirit of rebuilding, rebirth, and healing; amazing what people can do for each other and for themselves.

Until next time, Friends.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Have Ashram, Will Travel"*

*Quote stolen but happily attributed to Devananda- Dee- one of my beautiful yogis- one of my courageous guides- one of my friends.

For the past twenty six days I have watched the sun come up into the trees at a remote retreat on the Coromanel Peninsula on New Zealands North Island- livening and awakening the earth and my soul.  I have listened to birds squawk themselves (and myself) into wakefulness.  I have witnessed my breath streaming out in front of me in a frigid tent in the dark before dawn, lit by candles and lanterns and love.

As I practiced my yoga this morning, I was filled with such gratefulness for this place, this land, these people who fill it, and the experience I have given myself.  New Zealand itself is a land of land.  It is vast and alive and I can't help but be filled by sweet longing for liveliness when I am here.  The earth is infectious.  It seeps into every bit of the culture and like tea, steeps into the soul, staining it with ruddy naturalism and prehistoric earthiness.  It is without equal, this quality of LIFE.

How could I not want to live?

For twenty five days I lived yoga.  I learned yoga.  I learned how to embrace what it is and make my life richer for it.  And learned how to teach it- to give this gift of yoga to others.  To have gifted myself not only this course, but this journey, saved me.  The distinct combination of this place and this practice literally saved my life.  Because it reminded me of what there is to live for- the bigger picture, the infinite expanse of possibility that is really only possible if I am still breathing.  The breath  is everything.

How could I not want to live?

More to come, Friends.  But my advice as of right now is if you don't feel like doing yoga- at least book a ticket to New Zealand.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love at First Light- or Valentine's Day 2012

Love in the pre-dawn darkness-
the slow rise of light,
pinkness, redness-purple-orange
I love at first light
   the birds, the squawking, chattering,
   chipping birds
who love me the same-
who love me at first light.
I love the sun
I love him at first light.
As I love the moon all night-
the perfect sun-the holy-one.
The beauty of all gracefulness-
contained in one holy-one moment
of sunrise
light, Light, LIGHT.
Love at the first- and I am loved in return.
God, what love.
What love at first light.

Happy Valentines Day, Jo.  And thanks.

*I wrote this poem in the middle of an evening discussion at yoga intensive.  As I did with the poem below but this one is a bit more about the amazing people surrounding me and loving me and caring for me than it is about me.

Cheers, all, and Happy Valentines Day.


Monday, February 13, 2012

A Poem

The most beautiful bounty
I keep hidden-
I hide
Without grace but with Shame.
I ground it
and grind it
and keep it milled-crushed-powdery.
I keep the mill always moving, always
Always crushing.
Like a coward- Like a fracture.
And within that fracture
I have spread the residue
of my most beautiful bounty-
sprinkling the detritus
of esteemed treasures
and packing it down so it cannot be found.
But what is the bounty?
But what is that most beautiful bounty?
But mine?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some Demons Never Die

Even in Paradise, some demons never die.

Here I am, in the most beautiful place I've ever been, surrounded by outstandingly nourishing people who really seem to want to nourish me and help out, learning and new skill and teaching myself acceptance and having perfect PERFECT moments... and I still find myself comparing myself to everyone else.  Like a highschooler- those dark thoughts of 'why don't they like me?' trickle back in.  'Why don't they act that way around me?  Am I not funny enough?  Am I not esoteric enough?  Have I not done enough mind-altering drugs?  Do I not keep a clean enough diet?'

Isn't that funny?  I'm twenty seven years old and have WAY bigger fish to fry than popularity contests amongst burgeoning yogis but nevertheless, I am doubting.  I am comparing, contrasting, thinking actively negative things. I mean, it could just be the lack of sleep, but come ON.  I'm not a kid anymore.  This kind of stuff should go away...

And here's the fun part of the blog.  It totally never does.  I have always believed that high school is the best preparation for life.  It really does the trick.  Because all of life is high school.  No one ever really grows up, we just get more creative about torturing each other and ourselves endlessly and needlessly.  The popular girls will always be just so, the jocks will always do that thing, and me...

Well, I will continue to try.

I continue to try.

Until next time, dearhearts- Cheers.

And I promise photos soon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

An Email*

*This is an email I wrote to my parents and my yogini with love, with power, and with intense happy tears.  Bear that in mind as you read, but do read on.... 


I have been waiting to write this email to you guys because I haven't really known quite what to say.  (Don't freak out, it's not bad AT ALL) 

So here goes.  

We get up every morning at 530 to be ready for 6am Sadanas (our personal practices) which we then do for an hour and a half.  Needless to say I am not exactly the most chipper of all folks but I committed to this so I am committed.  This morning we had a self-guided session... which does not mean we were on our own but instead left alone to read through and perform a series of postures in silence.  I quite enjoy the self-guided ones we've had so far.  I actually, honestly, quite like the silence.  It's quite calming and nice.  But anyway, I go to Sadana and had this... experience. 

Especially today.  And I still don't know how to put it exactly so I will transcribe what I journaled:

"I had a moment with myself this morning during my Sadana.  I went away from myself.  I WENT AWAY FROM MYSELF- I was absent from this physical plane, so deeply engaged in my practice.  And when I came back into awareness and back into my surroundings, I realized that for those twenty minutes, or however long it was, I had experienced self-acceptance.  Peace.  Harmoniousness.  I had not been this person that I have created that I hate and have hated for such a long time.  I has the being that existed before that.  I was the being that was created, not the one that I created.  

For 20 minutes today, I loved myself and I was at ease, still in my place in the universe.  I LOVED MYSELF TODAY.  For 20 minutes.  I was without and within and existing everywhere at once and at peace.  The universe was me- I was it, it was me, I love it, myself, my whole being.  

GOD how I wish I could describe accurately this feeling.  I wish I could explain the emotional, devastating RELIEF that I finally felt."

So that's what I wrote.  I don't know if any of it will make sense at all.  But needless to say, I very nearly had to leave my practice to go outside and have a good cry of happy tears.  Of blissfully happy tears.  And I have been itching to share this but I literally, I mean I still don't, feel like I can't verbalize it.  It was such a gift, you know?  To have this grace-filled heartbeat of a moment. 

Okay.  That, I think, is all for now.  
I hope you are all doing well and that everyone is healthy, happy, and feeling good.  

Lisa, I can't wait to come home and do aromatherapy.  and I love you. 

Mom and Dad, I just love you and love your support for me and the home you've given and sustained for me.  


PS.  How the hell do I blog that?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


For all you witches out there... today/tomorrow (who knows, I'm on an amalgam of East Coast, West Coast, and New Zealand time) is Imbolc.

And it's all about healing.  Isn't it weird that all of these themes in my life are converging around healing, and peacefulness and true grace (although, it's going to take some grit to get me to grace, I think).  Imbolc marks the beginning of the Spring, of the growing season proper.  So essentially we are beginning growth.  We begin to grow things- plants, gardens, ourselves- and we blossom in the warming conditions and the lengthening sunlight.

Anywho.  Healing, growth, deliciousness.

Cheers loves,
And until next time.