Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just for Today

Thanks to Rich Young

Just for today, I will try to live through this day only,
and not tackle my whole life problem
at once. I can do something for twelve hours
that would appall me if I felt that I had to
keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to
be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that
"most folks are as happy as they make up
their minds to be."
Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind.
I will study. I will learn something useful.
I will not be a mental loafer. I will read
something that requires effort, thought and
Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is,
and not try to adjust everything to my own
desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes,
and fit myself to it.
Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three
ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and
not get found out. I will do at least two
things I don't want to--just for exercise.
I will not show anyone that my feelings are
hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not
show it.
Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look
as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low,
act courteously, criticize not one bit, not
find fault with anything and not try to improve
or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today, I will have a program. I may not
follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will
save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all
by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
sometime, I will try to get a better perspective
of my life.
Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I
will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful,
and to believe that as I give to the world, so
the world will give to me.

                                ~Kenneth Holmes

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thanks to Rich Young

                                                       We look with uncertainty
Beyond the old choices for 
Clear-cut answers 
To a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment 
At the brink of death; 
For something new is being born in us 
If we but let it. 

We stand at a new doorway, 
Awaiting that which comes...
Daring to be human creatures. 
Vulnerable to the beauty of existence. 
Learning to love. 

                                                                    ~Anne Hillman

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Thanks to Stacy Abbott

As swimmers dare 
to lie face to the sky and water bears them, 
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them, 
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace, 
knowing no effort earns 
that all-surrounding grace.

                                                                                   ~Denise Levertov

No Fear

Abhaya Mudra (gesture of no fear) with Dana Flynn at Floyd Yoga Jam, Sept 2, 2012.
This moment changed my life, I think.

     When sorrow comes, let us accept it simply, as a part of life. Let the heart be open to pain; let it be stretched by it. All the evidence we have says that this is the better way.

     An open heart never grows bitter. Or if it does, it cannot remain so. In the desolate hour, there is an outcry; a clenching of the hands upon emptiness; a burning pain of bereavement; a weary ache of loss.

     But anguish, like ecstasy, is not forever. There comes a gentleness, a returning quietness, a restoring stillness. This, too, is a door to life. Here, also, is a deepening of meaning-- and it can lead to dedication; a going forward to the triumph of the soul, the conquering of the wilderness. And in the process will come a deepening inward knowledge that in the final reckoning, all is well.
                                                                                          ~A. Powell Davies

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Soooo, this last year or two has really been about challenging my ideas about what and who I am. For a long time (I mean a LONG time), there was this extremely narrow slit of a window that I THOUGHT represented what I could do and was able to devote myself to completely.

At some point that notion began to shift. I've noticed (in retrospect, naturally) that I make my best decisions when I don't overthink. I'm not talking about which color flip flops to buy or whether to buy the $3 dish soap or the $3.99 dish soap or whether to "like" someone's status update. I'm talking about big decisions.

1. Buying our house. Ben and I went to an open house, toured it, didn't talk, went outside, stared each other in the eye, and said, "this is it." Was it perfect? Did it have the granite countertops, the perfect colors, the exact layout, the immaculately landscaped yard? No. That's all stuff we added later, in many many layers, and are still joyfully layering, as finances and time constraints shift. But I have never for one second looked back. We made this decision together, on our intuition alone, and it was the right one from day one.

2. Entering teacher training with Rolf Gates. One weekend (February 20, 2010 or so), a month after completing my 200 hour and sending everything off for Yoga Alliance approval, I was reading Rolf's book, Meditations From the Mat, and on a whim decided to visit his webpage for the first time. I quickly noticed that his 500 hour training had just begun in Virginia Beach, only 100 miles from me. Without a thought, I emailed him, and upon finishing all the required paperwork, was enrolled and entered the program late (I missed one weekend which I made up a year later). This was a life changing time period for me. I was searching for a way to "pull down" and this was it. From Rolf, I learned so many essential elements of living a life on purpose (not WITH purpose, which is an important distinction, I think).

3. Beginning Project Yoga Richmond.

4. Starting Yoga and 12 Step Recovery classes (in progress).

5. Teaching Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga classes here in Richmond.

There's lots more expansiveness happening-- all the time-- just remaining open to it. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Hug that Heals

"Muscular energy heals." ~Niki Schemmel, friend, mom, amazing local yoga instructor

Niki said this the other day when I asked her advice about a student of mine. Sometimes, words-- even those casually thrown out there-- have a way of burrowing into my very consciousness. I'm coming to realize that the things/events/themes/situations that pluck my strings, come up frequently, or cause a shift in my perception are the ones the most worthy of examination. So when these words plucked a particular thread for me, I realized this was the summation of an experience I had recently.

I spent weekend before last in Houston, where I attended the Texas Yoga Conference along with several friends (Jeanie, Melissa, Tami, Chrys) I hadn't seen in a long time. I made lots of new friends, one of whom, Jennifer, a yoga teacher trained by Anusara instructors in Houston, was kind enough to put me up in her beautiful home for the 5 days I was there along with several other awesome yoga chicks. At one point she made the statement, "I love to give hugs... I'm a hugger." (She does give fantastic hugs... and even wore a t-shirt that said "FREE HUGS.") Turns out she is a fantastic Acro-Yoga base as well! She is the very definition of love and support and kindness.

I think we often can let ourselves be put off by what we initially see in others... or in situations... and undoubtedly, that can block our growth. I know that there's a part of me that feels threatened by boldness in others. It's like there is a built-in laser beam that hones right in on these qualities and initially, I may shy away from connection because of it. But with Jenn, her realness, intelligence and wit, so sharp indeed that I might otherwise have been put off, immediately gave way to her warm and radiant smile that just drew me in. And then, I was lucky enough to get to learn what an incredible story she has and how almost maddening personal challenges gave birth to this beautiful, amazing soul who gives and gives and gives. She is the very essence of the lotus, opening to beauty from the muddy water.

Her actual story itself, here, doesn't matter (plus it's not mine to tell anyway)... The lesson here is what has stayed with me... This idea that when we allow our defenses to soften, our hard outer edges to relax, we become open to so much beauty.

John Friend has had a rough go of it lately, and I don't mean to opine on his recent legal and moral situation in this post... but the one thing I do want to bring up was this quote, from his workshop in Pennsylvania in November 2010: "If I had only one thing to teach you, one thing to leave with you this weekend, it would be this: Soften the limiting ideas you have about yourself. Open your heart to something more. You are worthy of living this day fully."

I learned a lot about myself that weekend... that I actually love therapeutic basing and flying, Thai massage, and teachers that do seemingly crazy things (putting me up on your feet for a long flight right before the Sean Johnson workshop? thanks Mateo! holding us in Frog for the entire length of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"? thanks Les! moving from Lunge to Eagle to a "made it up when I was in the shower" pose called OMG to Bird of Paradise? thanks Dana!)

Even if that's not necessarily the teacher I am... I can so appreciate it. It's a little like a vacation from being me for a while, getting out of my own super-grounded, often heavy ways so I can float around for awhile. I can embrace being "whatever" for a while because I know who I am. And maybe, little bits of what I experience will begin to shift and change me, in the most amazing ways.

My weekend in Houston was an exercise in Muscular Energy. Pulling in from all that's around me, drawing it in, to strengthen, lift, bloom, become... heal.