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Journal Post

Today marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. It's called Lamas and it signals the beginning of the harvest season. We are about to transition into Late Summer as we move beyond the peak of  summer. Before we do, take with you the lessons learned from your growth this year. Take some time to honor what you have accomplished before you begin to reap what you have sewn.
Not long ago, I was troubled to read in the Washington Post that local hospitals are having to expand to accommodate increasing numbers of aging, ailing Baby Boomers - a generation of which I and many of Willow Street's students are a part. We're living longer than our parents did, and of course we want to grow older gracefully. Yet even as health care is one of our highest concerns - as it is for people young and old - right now, we're most worried about our pocketbooks and retirement plans!
Warm your heart with the softness of a loving thought for billions of years of peace, prosperity and bliss for our children's children. Praise and bless them as peaceful, loving and evolved beings who live in an enlightened and sustainable society. This loving thought will make it so!
The summer after I graduated from college I headed off to fulfill a dream -- I traveled solo through Europe for two months. Sauntering on Parisian streets; sipping vino in Italy; snuggling under down comforters in Switzerland and Austria; and noshing on pastries in Belgium, and Prague -- I was finally free of all the obligations that my schooling had entailed and was embarking on the path of my adult life.
At least that's how things seemed on the outside.
One of the magazines that I subscribe to is "Body + Soul"--because it is beautiful to look at AND it has really great articles. I recently read an article in one of the issues called "Happy in Hard Times," by Frances Lefkowitz. And, since one of my passions is on the pursuit and emergence of happiness, I of course gave it a read.
The author gives 7 essential tips to rebound from a setback--super important for all of us! How to we get back on our feet after a bad fall? How do we stand in our own power again instead of playing the victim? (And, yes, sometimes it does feel good to wallow and wimper, we just don't want to hang out in that place for too long!).Here's what she says:
Maybe this post will be a little too forward, but in the interest of learning and growing I felt I had to share an experience from today. I know that as I continue on my journey to do good, live good, and be good, these karmas will continue to work themselves out and I will eventually find myself closer to my dharma. This is me, being the Capricous Yogi that I am.
"We are here to love each other, serve each other,
and uplift each other" -Anonymous
It is with practice and self-inquiry that we come to understand how yoga is much more than a series of poses and breathing exercises. In fact, we see quite clearly that the practice is about relationships, to one another and most importantly to ourselves. With continued practice we learn to serve others, creating an atmosphere of compassion, acceptance, and tolerance, and a more peaceful way of living.
The old saying "when it rains, it pours" seems ironically fitting for the past few weeks of my life. I've been knocked around by the Universe a lot more than I'd care to admit, and to be honest, I've had a hard time letting go. Of course, the logical part of me knows that these setbacks are only temporary, reminding myself that this too shall pass. However, the emotional side of me has had a hard time releasing and surrendering to the path before me. I've tried just about every meditation, pranayama, and visualization technique in my arsenal and hardly anything has worked to pull me out of my deep despair.
Do you ever find yourself holding on so tightly to a desired outcome that you are a filled with anxiety, tension or blind ambition? Have you ever wanted to do a yoga posture so badly so that you are literally obsessing about it and can talk of almost nothing else? This is perhaps the definition of unhealthy attachment at its core. Yet at the same time the driven mind directed at a task at hand is one of the most powerful tools we have to change our lives. So the question then becomes not how to rid ourselves of our desires or our drive but instead how to train our mind to work towards our desires without the unnecessary tension of attachment.
There is a point in every marathon where no runner quits and there is another point where the majority drop out. The quitting point is painstakingly close to the finish line and, when measured in terms of percentage points, sits at approximately the last five percent of the race. The drop outs' hurdle is the last stretch of the race where the end remains hidden from view. It is here where athletes have been working for a long time that all the major mental and physical obstacles set in. Doubt, anxiety, disbelief, exhaustion, dehydration, hunger, the feeling of no end in sight and physiological stress compromise rational thought and convince many to throw in the towel.
A couple of newsletters back I wrote about how the Unity Woods logo came into being and what my thinking was in creating it, and the significance of the various components. As there wasn't space then to talk about the three words that appear at the points of the triangle, I said I would do so in subsequent newsletters. In the last newsletter, I discussed the relevance of the first of the three words: health. Now we come to the second: serenity.
Join Kate Hallahan, E-RYT for a lecture on yoga for women's health. Issues such as depression, anxiety, PMS, menstrual discomfort, and menopause will be addressed. This lecture is directed towards yoga teachers, or for yoga students with their own home practice. [audio:http://www.ihanuman.com/media/audio/kate_hallahan/Kate_Womens_Yoga_Lecture.mp3]
All of us at Human Kindness Foundation had a rare privilege when we brought the Vietnamese Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tic Not Hon), into his first American prison to talk with inmates and staff about the practice of deep mindfulness. We chose Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown for this special event because Bo had been there recently and had been very moved by the spiritual sincerity and strength of the prisoner community. Many of the prisoners have taken the Alternatives to Violence Project training and have been involved with our books and tapes as well. (Special thanks to Emma Lou Davis, of CCSC in Hagerstown, for coordinating the whole event).
In a teacher training application recently, the participant stated that she had expressed concern to her first yoga teacher about the time and money involved in taking yoga, saying that she didn't think she could afford to do it. Her teacher responded, "You can't afford NOT to!" After more than 5 years of yoga she wholeheartedly agrees!
We are in challenging times with the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression, 2 wars, international terrorism, and global climate change. People are worried about their finances, keeping their jobs and homes, and the bleaker future that may face their children and grandchildren. Research has shown that stress is a major risk factor in just about every disease and physical condition. One of the most intelligent choices you can make in these stressful times is to invest in your most precious resource: your health and well-being. Making that investment through yoga benefits all aspects of your being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
July 20, 1969 was an historic day for our country and for the world. It was the day that we landed a man on the moon, and Neil Armstrong uttered his oft-quoted phrase, "One small step for man, one giant step for mankind".
We take space travel for granted now, but back then it was an awesome achievement. When President Kennedy set the vision in 1963 that we were going to the moon by the end of the decade, it was an almost unbelievable proposition. At the time the technology had not been developed to support the vision, but Kennedy had faith in the ingenuity and creativity of our NASA scientists and engineers. He trusted that they would be able to figure it out. He set the vision and the rest is history.
The second day of Judith's workshop was equally as informative as the first. The sutra study for the workshop was from Pada II v.16, "Heyam dukham anagatam" or "The suffering that is to come is to be avoided." It is a fascinating concept because everything we do in life is to put our anxiety at rest. We constantly try to control our circumstances to appease our anxiety and avoid suffering.
BRRR! It sure is cold out. Winter has finally arrived and looks like it is here to stay. Wintertime is a time when we are asked to be particularly smart and intelligent. Why? Because if you are not, you can freeze to death! Now, thankfully, most of us are not likely in a position to freeze to death but we do run the risk of leaking heat into the cold outside and therefore losing precious energy. Our immune systems can be easily taxed so we must preserve our energy to sustain us through the cold months ahead. We are no longer graced by the bounty of the summer harvest, so we must dig into our root cellars and preserved foods to carry us through.
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