I spent the morning typing up my outline for Tuesday’s book club discussion on The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, and I thought maybe I would share a nugget or two from his book in class this week. My problem though has been trying to figure out which nuggets… I’ve practically underlined or *** every other sentence in this book?!

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Yet, I keep coming back to this one passage that ties in so nicely with Surrender. I’ve been sprinkling surrender into most classes this month since it is Sacred Thread’s theme of the month and my personal focus for the year. So, Campbell states that your life is the fruit of your own doing. The problem is not to blame or explain but to handle the life that arises. To “love your fate”. Perhaps most crucially, he says that if you say no to a single aspect of your life the whole thing begins to unravel. Whoa.

I know. I can hear the argument now – “how can you say that XYZ terrible thing is MY own fault?” I get it and I would never say that to anyone. But, can you see how quickly we look for a way to assign blame for the yuckiness in our lives and how quickly we take credit for the good in our lives? How much additional suffering does this cause – this constant need to blame or take credit for?

Can you imagine, just for a second, how it might feel to let go of the need to assign blame/credit and just be with what IS? To say yes to the good and the bad equally for the sake of living a fully experienced life. I’m not suggesting that this is easy but is it a valid exploration? I’m going to argue that yes it is and I’m inviting you try it out one day this week. When that thing arises that we immediately start to blame on someone/something else, can we open our mind & heart to this experience of our life and be with it? Surrender to it. Be soft enough to accept the moment as it is without needing to change it, and be strong enough to interact with the moment with integrity.

Thanks, Joseph.

Cool It Down

July 22, 2013

While this Summer definitely hasn’t been the hottest we’ve seen, there have definitely been several days lately where I’ve been feeling the heat.  As an already fiery person most of the time, extra heat can be a bit of challenge so I love to find ways to eat that help bring the temperature down.  Recently, I’ve been a bit obsessed with this breakfast smoothie; I swear I can actually feel myself cooling off from the inside out when I drink this.  If you don’t like cilantro, try substituting watercress which I hear has similar cooling properties to cilantro without the strong taste.  If you do like cilantro, you are gonna love this!

Coconut, Cucumber & Cilantro Smoothie

1/2 cup coconut milk (I use canned organic.  If you are scared of fat you can always go with the light brand but if this is all you are having for breakfast, give yourself a little fat to keep you full until lunch)

1/2 cup almond milk (any plant-based milk will do)

1/2 cup cilantro

1 cucumber, peeled

1 tsp maple syrup

3 ice cubes

Throw it in a blender and enjoy.

Check it out – another yogi, another cilantro smoothie!!

 

Last Friday, I had the lucky privilege of taking Octavia Raheem’s gorgeous Yin yoga class and, as usual in one of Octavia’s classes, she said something so beautiful and profound that as I sit here even now (Monday morning) I’m still turning it over in my head.  To paraphrase, essentially what she said was that we so often sit on our mats and work to “fix things”, to “explore” and “grow”.  I say these words to my classes ALL the time, and that is all good and wonderful… BUT, Octavia rightly pointed out, that rarely do we let go of the need to fix and improve in honor of enjoying and celebrating the moment as it is.  I know, right?!

Lately, I have been all about my work on the mat.  My practices have felt introspective, deep and quite hard; Friday night in class I was truly struggling to let go into the practice, instead I was gripping with both hands.  It didn’t feel great.  But then this idea of relinquishing the idea of improving, even just for a moment, settled into my brain overnight, and Saturday, oh my gosh, I had the most enjoyable practice I’ve had in months.  It felt fantastic to move and breath without trying to focus on any one thing or make it deeper or more important than simply breathing and sweating on the mat.  I saw in an instant how much I had been clinging and forcing my practice to DO something rather than just being with my practice.  What a difference.

Lake Oconee

This morning, as I type this up, I am sitting on the deck staring at Lake Oconee.  We are enjoying a very brief few days away so I won’t be in class this Tuesday morning.  Maybe you can start on this idea without me though?  Get on the mat and let go into a practice that doesn’t have to DO anything.  Let go into a practice that allows you to be perfectly ok right now.  Then let’s talk in class on Wednesday and Thursday.  See ya then, yogis.

xo

The Wettest Rain

July 8, 2013

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I’m not one to complain about rain. I love practicing in the rain, I love writing in the rain, pretty much doing anything aside from driving in the rain… But, we have had a lot of rain. WABE even told me it was the fourth wettest June EVER (sorry to Saturday’s class who I told it was the second wettest…). So it is fair to say that perhaps we’ve been cooped up too long; not gotten our fill of sunny vitamin D. And, yet I noticed a funny thing this week…

The hubs and I live in a townhome so our front yard is about the size of a postage stamp, but he is a horticulturist so naturally our front yard is crammed full of luscious plants – Gardenia, Azalea, Phlox and even a Lemon. Normally, by July everything is pretty much burnt to a crisp and hanging on to sad bits of faded color (remember how hot last July was?). But, this year, thanks to all this rain, our yard is heavenly. Literally, our postage stamp collage is growing so large that the sidewalk is all but crowded over, the color is so vibrant it inspires words like “technicolor” or “shimmery”…

Isn’t this the silver lining of rain? That with the onslaught also comes the most fertile ground? For growth. For new life. For shimmer?

On the mat, it rains too. Through sweat, the groans of muscles too tight, joints too stiff – but still we practice. Every time that pose comes up in class and you think, “Sh*t”; you do it anyways. Sweating and swearing your way through the rainy season. Until it stops raining. Suddenly, Camel posture doesn’t feel like a nausea-inducing torture device; it feels a bit like Christmas. Or like a postage-stamp-sized garden so big and lively you can’t help but pause in the rain to admire it.

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A Summer Celebration

July 1, 2013

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share the menu I put together for a little vegan dinner party I am hosting for the holiday.  These recipes are from some of my favorite go-to sites for healthy, delicious and creative fare.  I hope you enjoy!

A Fourth of July Festive Menu:

Lemon Anise Slushies

Smug Salad

Sloppy Lentil Joes

Watermelon slices

The Power of Myth

July 1, 2013

Yoga Book Club continues this month with The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.  We meet the last Tuesday of every month at 8 p.m. at the Sacred Thread Ashram.  You can join us at anytime – whether you read the book or not.  Hope to see you at our July 30th meeting!

 

Amazon.com review:

Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell’s most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars‘ mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell’s encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now. –Gail Hudson

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