What you want

IMG_0245 I love this guy. He brings the fun and laughter. I’m grateful for this life. When things get difficult in life, when we have conflicts, this is something that I can get in touch with, my gratitude for this laughter, this joy. This reminds me that really what I truly want doesn’t have to do with money or things, it’s the feelings that I have, peace, joy, happiness. These are things that come from within. These are the things that I want.

Urban Retreat – April 5, 2014

Wake up to a new perspective!

Saturday April 5th, 8 am – 12 pm

Soltan Banoo 4645 Park Blvd University Heights

IN THIS MINI-RETREAT, YOU’LL LEARN NEW TECHNIQUES FOR…

Releasing stress, physically and mentally
Slowing down and gaining perspective during times of anxiety
Increasing your mental clarity and function
Feeling more connected to your body
Letting go of guilt with eating, and truly savoring your food
Cultivating a sense of gratitude and joy

WHAT TO EXPECT

A gentle yoga practice, suitable for any body and experience level
Learning mindfulness practices that can be done at any time, anywhere
Mindful eating practice, followed by a wholesome lunch

REGISTRATION
Space for this one-of-a-kind event is limited. To register, please visit http://sdurbanretreat.eventbrite.com/

Cost $40

Mahalo

Sunrise at Kalani

We’ll start at the end of the journey: the last sunrise at the Point, where we would all practice qigong and then walk back to the Hale and practice together for the last time on this journey. The tears flowed at the end of this practice, it would be saying farewell for now to some old and some new friends.  But it would also be saying goodbye to this place, this very special place.

Kalani is on the eastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii.  From the Point, the horses would be grazing in the grass, fruit trees and flowers lining the path on our way back to our temporary homes.  The first day, I remember thinking ‘oh I could never live here, this isn’t home’. By the last day, it was a tearful good bye. The road to Kalani, winds along lava rock shores, sometimes enveloped with trees and hanging vines. The lava field at Kaimū

It’s an interesting feeling to be on land that  that once was a town, or was once under water less than 30 years ago. It’s like you’re seeing something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s your planet. It’s also the realization that it can all be gone in an instant, mother nature always wins.

There were moments of intensity. My body resisted practicing, my joints hurt, the mind would not commit at all. It was like I was detached from everything, and yet, showing up still. My teacher Arturo talked about this, when you go in with expectations and you show up and it’s not like it was before or fun or relaxing or whatever your adjective is for your expectation.  The point is to stay with it, it’s not always passion fruit and peace.Kīlauea

And we did show up to do yoga….

I just don’t think we were supposed to do it inside the Thurston Lava Hawaii2013 080tube, but I wasn’t alone in my ridiculousness.

We practiced together, ate together and went on shopping trips to the middle of lava fields together. Yes, we did. We laughed a lot, at our orientation we were warned of the wild pigs at Kalani. The destructive creatures would root up plants and destroy habitat, got the nickname of ‘delicious criminals’.  We found secret thermal pools and plunged into scary ocean currents at times, well, some of us (me) plunged right back out.  We shared food, and our thoughts. We discovered the surface was a false advertisement to riches of coral and sea life in tidal pools. And sometimes, ‘disappointment’ turned into beautiful experiences.

The last night, I went to the pool and saw one of the singing frogs in my path, perfectly still, frozen in fear. As I lay in the pool, looking up at the glory of the stars and the milky way, clearly visible in this land without lights, contemplating the vastness of the universe, and how we can’t all be just here.

Ganesha The first day, a beautiful retreat center, an open airy room, a symphony of frogs, insects and birds to sing me to sleep.

Expectancy, met with obstacles, internal and external. The body not willing, the mind, barely there. But who is on the altar but Ganesha….

By the last day my heart opened.

It would take a big push. It would take a big one.

Later on the path back from the pool, another frog, still. Not moving. Staring off. Got my attention, as would a few other things.

When I got back, I looked up frogs and their symbolic meanings:

  • Cleansing
  • Renewal, rebirth
  • Fertility, abundance
  • Transformation, metamorphosis
  • Life mysteries and ancient wisdom

There’s not a bone in my body that doesn’t know this to be true for my life right now.

Practicing the Present

Present:   being, existing, or occuring at this time now.
In this crazy, 24/7, non-stop media, facebook, twittering frenzy world it is hard sometimes not to be distracted.  Incredibly hard sometimes.  Add something difficult in life and become even more scattered or frenzied.  There have been times in my life where I have been completely fractured and really only paying attention to the distractions.  And there have been times when I’ve been completely self-obsessed to the point of not being able to hear the other person who is in the room.   There have also been times where my pain was louder than anything else. It’s those times that being present with what is actually brings more peace than trying to out-think, solutionize or rationalize.

Coming from those experiences, I have learned to watch out for different things and practice being present for each and every moment.  When I am in conversation with someone and my brain is rattling off things that I want to say or comments or being whitty or sarcastic, if I can stop and pause for a moment before I say something, I am more aware of my ego trying to speak.  Instead of obsessively thinking about a problem, I find some gratitude for what I currently have in my life.  When I am unhappy or angry with a situation, I step back and look at it and ask myself “Am I frustrated because I am afraid and responding from a place that doesn’t have anything to do with today?”  Taking that pause, stepping back, doesn’t make me ineffective, it creates space for me to pay attention to what is going on right at that moment.  And it gives me space to respond differently and look differently at my current set of circumstances.  If I take a moment to pause, I become more aware of what is and not what things should be.   In yogic philosophy this is the practice of Santosha or contentment.  And sometimes, what is is not such a bad place to be.