"All things are meltable, and replaceable. Not at this moment, but soon enough, we are lambs and we are leaves, and we are stars, and the shining, mysterious pond water itself.”
― Mary Oliver, Winter Hours
Andy Goldsworthy Touching North, North Pole 1989
FIRE & ICE
I am riding that edge. Watching the beauty of California be stripped bare...fires in my home town of Napa, flames wiping across the home of my creative muse, Los Angeles. Deep burn. Dark ash. I am feeling chasms of grief as homes are burned and lives are shattered. Dancing in the flames of confusion. Lately, I too, have been many times down the path of ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Planetary revolution. What of these constant cycles?
Here I sit in the protective ice pack of the Pacific Northwest, fresh snow capped air, towering Sitkas, monumental grandfather Sequoias, the far-awayness of it all ...surreal. I am teaching my students how to hold these tragedies, these misfortunes with grace. I ask them to breath in beauty and breath out suffering, to nourish their jagged edges. At times, I feel like a fool, asking them to open their body, mind and spirit and hold the paradox of these difficult times, to allow themselves to feel, to use their yoga & meditation practice to help themselves and others heal. Yet, I believe these simple ways make a difference and can create a lasting shift in what we take for granted.
This moment is the perfect teacher. Each day we are given opportunities to open up or shut down. Its that simple. What do you choose?
Most of us do not take these challenges, these painful confusing situations, these tragic events as personal teachings. We run. We rant. We hate. We fear what cannot be easily explained or resolved. We collapse. I too crawl and fight my way out of my inner darkness. Yet, it is our awakening to the unpredictability of our lives, Baudrillard's inescapable, sentimental "prick" of awareness, that brings us to surrender.
Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron reminds us that "Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives."
Surrender takes courage. Our lives feel the chaos. Our hearts the confusion.
Can you surrender to to what "is" at this moment, surrender to who you are at this moment. Surrender to the truth of what you are feeling. Surrender to beauty. Surrender to suffering ~ Can you choose to let your heart be penetrated by life's endless spirals of fire and ice?
When we are able to see when we fight, run and hide, we have opened a door; we have illuminated the darkness of ignorance and allowed a light to shine through; a light of vulnerability, a lamp of loving kindness that heals.
The forces which move the cosmos are no different from those that move the human soul.
~Lama Anagarika Govinda
Embrace the fires that are sweeping our lives and our planet clean. Blessings and Prayers to people of Los Angeles, Ventura, and still waiting Puerto Rico. May they find ease in their suffering, knowing that forests naturally thrive on fire, and ashes bring the phoenix of new life and vibrant rejuvenation.
Embrace the icey silence of winter as it takes us deeper into its healing darkness. Embrace the chill and winter whiteness. Drop into what truly matters and find who you have yet to become.
"What disturbs and then nourishes has everything we need" David Whyte
Buddhist Ice Stupa, Ladkh, India
Wonderous discovery today! After years of studying Buddhist art, I uncovered the presence of this magical Ice Stupa. The sacred mountain in Buddhist temple form, reaching upward, dazzling multi-colored prayer flags promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.
Artists featured in the Winter Inspiration Series here at Spirit Yoga Lodge ~ Sandy Haight is an award winning watercolorist here in the Northwest. Deep, vibrant and powerful, her meticulous work resonates with the practice of mindfulness. Marcus Maria Jung, German born Los Angeles sculptor and eco-activist, his photography and sculpture evokes the sacred majesty of nature. Featuring classic and avant garde work by contemporary artists feeds our senses with beauty.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Fire & Ice by Robert Frost
Click images for details.
We gathered on Thanksgiving Day to give thanks for the abundance of our lives and to take our practice off the mat and into the world ~ We raised our awareness & over a $1000 for The Foundation for Tomorrow ~ a life changing organization that gives education, life skills and wellness to the children and families of Tanzania.
Moving to the great sounds of Julian Walker's Gratitude Playlist, our bodies tuning in to the flow of heart opening asana & the sacred depths of meta meditation, we generated healing "heart" centered medicine for our families and communities. Thank you Spirit Yoga Lodge for your amazing generosity!
We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet.
~Thich Nhat Hanh