I Feel the Earth Move....


Here's my lovely hunk-a-hunk-a-horse! WHO is your mirror? Or maybe more accurately, who isn't?

So, this morning I had the lyrics "I feel the earth move under my feet... I feel the sky tumblin' down... a tumblin' down" running through my head. Makes sense--considering it is officially springtime. Officially. Not literally, however. But, cellularly? It's true.

My practice this morning undeniably brought with it the "vata" of the season... dry, windy joints. Stiffness and a sense impending change. I love the spring. I love the seasons, actually. They remind me of who I am... part and parcel of nature. Connected to the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space... and the ways in which these elements manifest in my body, and in my life.

Example:
Like most days, I went to the barn yesterday, to clean stalls and groom my most handsome, and only, horse, Indio. He is one hot hunk, that horse. And he feels me... and I love that.

He feels you?

Yep. He feels me.

When I am in a hurry... rushing to get in and get out, take him for a spin, and then launch him back out in to the pasture with the other horses, HIS breath shortens. HE appears agitated. HE even worries more (albeit about whether or not he's on the menu).

So, what does that have to do with the tattvas? The elements of nature?

Well, it's like this: my "wind"... throws him off course. My "air" leads him to feel unsafe, ungrounded, and nervous. My "fire", if I get impatient, awakens his rigidity, and his feet are rigid as if cemented to the ground beneath.

BUT if I am relaxed, breathing deeply and taking grounded, "earthy" steps, he does the same. If I am walking slowly--giving him "space" to breath... Loving on him and just being present, he breathes long and deep and his big, brown eyes open and close soooo sllllowwwwly. He relaxes, softens, and loves me back. Just like that.

I LOVE this! He literally is a mirror. All animals are. In fact, all BEINGS are... reflecting... shining back at us, what we are illuminating, and radiating forth, and whatever we are gripping and holding, we see in those closest to us. Truth is, it is never about them.

So, I like what I learn when he is not relaxed, bent out of shape, and all stiff-throated. I like that he is telling me that I need to relax each time I think he needs to relax.

And the best part of all?

I find myself take pause. And I realize that it isn't an isolated phenomena I experience with my horse. I also experience it with my loved ones. ALL of them.

Example:
When I am with my husband, I'll be darned if the same thing doesn't happens... If he is "stuck", tense, agitated, and stiff? I just better look to myself. Maybe he needs more space and room to breathe... If he is uncertain or weary, I just better look to myself. Maybe he needs to feel my solidity, my "earthiness".

Ahhh, but if he is relaxed, and present, and his big brown eyes open and close slowly... I, too, can look to myself. And HERE is where we become ONE... All of us. Where we connect... breathe... soften... and feel the balance of earth, water, fire, air and space. It is just that simple.

So try this...
Inhale: I am the world.
Exhale: And the world is me.
Inhale: I am the world.
Exhale: And the world is me.

Who's your mirror, Baby? Or more accurately, who isn't?

Happy Springtime!

Namaste,
Britt

Doin' What Comes Naturally: February 19: 1-4 PM


Join me for a small group workshop this Saturday at ClubSport Oregon.

It will include:
* Nutrition from a yogic / "eating with the seasons" perspective
* Focus on use of herbs (that you can buy at the market) for winter challenges such as achey bones, dry skin/hair, digestive challenges, lethargy, winter flu & cold
* The top 12 yoga postures for health/healing
* Breathing practices for insomnia, digestive health
* I will also be doing tongue and pulse evaluation on all students who are present... generally this occurs when I do 1:1 sessions and included as a fundamental component of a $200 package
* There will also be a variety of "show & tell" related products for living a more balanced life, in alignment with nature and the seasons

Hope to see you there!

Namaste,
Britt

Little Signs Along the Way....

I "visioned" having a horse again... a Paint.... and then this guy showed up, without warning... I even named my Paint in my vision... I called him Indigo. And then when this lovely horse arrived, named Indio, having just returned from India... I paid attention....

It has been nearly five years since my husband and I began "visioning" our home and retreat center. The process is unfolding, one step at a time. Plans have been submitted to the county, and we will break ground this spring. We designed (with the help of the most amazing architect, Andy) a sustainable, late 1800's farmhouse replica, with Vastu Shastra as our guide. The elk fence is beautiful (I know, sounds absurd but I promise). And yet, it is sloooow going. Everything seems to take longer than we expect, and there are road bumps, and challenges, and plenty of moments of feeling discouraged.

But there are also little signs along the way...
I've shared with some of you, that in my visioning process, I fully stocked the barn yard, with a milk cow (Betsy), three goats (LuLu, Mr. Wiggles, and Agnes), chickens (Zelda, Beatrice, and Gertrude), a rooster (Dick) ... sorry about that one, a mule (Beezus), a gray barncat (Lucy), a golden retriever (Surya), a Rhodesian Ridgeback (Shumba), and two horses: one named Tejas (of the firey red/brown variety--probably a tall, tennessee walker), and another... my favorite... a Paint, mountainous beauty named Indigo. For nearly a year, we hung these photos of retreat center, animal guardians, and other detailed visions, above our bed as we slept... The following spring, when we put our house on the market, we opted to take them down to avoid being thought crazy by potential buyers touring our house. But, whether the photos hung on the wall or not, the seeds were planted. And, let's just say, they are most definitely germinating.

So, it has been almost four years since I named the animals... scouring the internet in search of the perfect barn animals to fit the names I had selected, carefully copying and pasting them, printing and posting them. And they hung for about six months before I took them down and filed them away. Occasionally I think about them, recalling their names and photographs, and recognizing them as our animals and land stewards.

About two weeks ago, I was online, somehow surfing Craigslist for a classic airstream trailer (that's a whole/another story). I found myself search "horse" in farm and garden (no idea how that happened), and up came this horse. I saw his photo, read his gig, and then saw his name. Indigo. No, Indio. It seemed to put my dream of Indigo, the wonder Paint, and my recent journey to India together in a perfect union.

So, what to do? We went to see him. We went to see him again. We went to see him again... and now he lives 2 minutes from my house. We are boarding him across the road until we can build him his own barn, to share with Beezus, Gertrude, Mr. Wiggles, and the rest of the clan.

Someday, he will be on our farm, at our retreat center, Deva Darru, at the end of Keasey Road... where we share the yoga of life with anyone who wants to visit our country club... But for now, I just keep noticing the little signs along the way... the synchronicities, as I see them, are really little light posts. When things feel slow, and stuck, and so close to quiet that I wonder if there is even any life left... if I look closely, listen intently, soften my heart and open my mind... I can't help but know I am right where I belong, chasing the dream that is meant to be mine, and shining my little light wherever it can be seen.

May you shine brightly, my brilliant, divine journeyers. May you slow down, and hear, see, smell and taste what signals you toward your dreams. And may you feel the indigenous roots of your soul.

Pay close attention to these little signs. They are indicators that God is listening to you... and that whatever you want in this life is yours if you ask for it... Be careful what you wish for, and follow the signs that lead to your heart... follow the signs that lead to yoga--the simple place where your heart, mind, body, and spirit collide and illuminate this place you call your life.

See you on the mat...

Namaste,
Britt

Oh, Lord... Forgive Me for I have Plagiarized....


Om.... I must first own up to the fact that I am completely plagiarizing, and that I am doing so in the hopes that if I send you to the amazing source of this tongue in cheek article, that I will not acquire any unnecessarily bad karma :) The article is by Alex Smith, a writer for www.elephantjournal.com

A little side note.... I have been retreating a lot lately... amidst green juicing, macha, arm balances, and bhakti.... and then I came across this, and am reminded why I do yoga in the first place. More on the cleanse, the joy, and the lightness of being coming soon...

UPCOMING EVENT:
Kitchen Table Yoga next week, August 10th at ClubSport. Open to everyone: Call 503-968-4500 and ask for the activities desk for more details and to register. Super special recipes for the summer, and a yummy raw chocolate dessert. Super Food here we come! In Ayurvedic style :) Space is limited.

Now, on with the truth about being a Yogini. I can't wait to share this article with my husband. I am not sure if he will laugh or cry :)

OM....

Ok, boys, gentleman, not so gentle men, knights in shining armor, pimps and playas.

You’ve see us in the gym, in yoga studios or magazines or on TV. Maybe you’ve even taken our classes–we yoginis, the flexible dare-devils on a spiritual mission who seem to float around the world so freely. We’re a different breed. Most of us are born travelers, nomads even. Most of us don’t like societal rules and conventions. And most of us don’t adhere to them and have dedicated our lives to living outside boxes in some way or another.

This is a beautiful thing that many men find intoxicating and exhilarating— until they realize that it also scares the shit out of them. This is true especially for the kind who look good in ties.

For the multi-talented beautiful Yoga Goddess, finding a life partner who is traveling down the same road or wants to walk hand-in-hand with a Yoga Goddess on her journey is much more difficult for her than any forearm balance.Yoga Goddess, more specifically, a woman from a Western civilization who teaches yoga for a living, especially in a metropolis of some kind, is a complicated creature who has elected to remove her Western goggles and instead apply and be guided by Eastern philosophies and practices of self-actualization.

This makes her an intriguing and complicated creature to most men, but I assure you, she is not entirely inscrutable. You have only to understand that underneath her yogi persona, your Yoga Goddess was probably fed fairy tales for most of her life, where damsels in distress waited to be rescued by the Prince. Now she is grown up and she is a Yoga Goddess, a yogi who has discovered her dharma ( this is the Sanskrit word for one’s “virtuous path”)and a devotion to God which has eased her existential distress but probably not completely relieved her of the distress of the romantic variety.

A Yoga Goddess can appear to many like an untouchable, statuesque, ephemeral, mystical, zany, Aphrodite-esque theatrical mess on wheels. To many men, she is bewitching and beguiling, she can unsettle you with her eyes and bring you to tears when you least expect it. A Yoga Goddess can see souls. She knows how to make you feel things you may not want to feel, which leaves many men feeling too vulnerable in her presence to ever feel good enough. Know that the Yoga Goddess of your dreams is not out to emasculate you but that it is her wish and it is within her power simply to help you open your heart. Sometimes, a Yoga Goddess forgets her own power and forgets too that a man might not want the woman he is pursing to have that effect on him. Know that she knows this but can’t always help it. Her soul work goes deep. The tricky part is, as a highly sensitive healer and woman with deep compassion for human suffering, she no doubt has walls of her own that you will have to be willing to tear down for her to feel safe enough to let you in. Therein lies her beautiful complexity.

So, here are some essential things you should know before you set out to win the heart of a Yoga Goddess of your dreams:

1) Get over the fact that a Yoga Goddess is probably someone who is a little bit dangerous to take home to meet your mother.

It occurred to me recently that this picture alone might actually have been why my last relationship didn’t work. If you want your Yoga Goddess for your very own, you must grow up and get over needing your mother’s approval. Yoginis are sparkling, creative, charming, intelligent, beautiful, sexy, highly intuitive and charismatic women who your mother might not love at first and will come to love eventually. But we’re also wild and free-spirited, with a lotta bit of hippie hell raiser on the inside, which has the potential to feel threatening to many mothers who just want their son to settle down with a nice girl who won’t make too many waves. The good thing is that these qualities are usually countered with equal parts compassion, faith, and altruism. Yoginis also have chameleon qualities, so it is possible that your Yoga Goddess might be willing to dim her light for a meeting with the parents, but do not be surprised if your beloved Mumsy gives her the snake eye for reasons you cannot and will not ever understand. It’s a witchy woman thing.

2) Yoga Goddesses don’t do small talk.

Yoga goddesses usually cut the shit and get to the stuff that matters. Questions like, “What do you feel? Where do you feel it? What do you believe? Have you surrendered?” are a Yogi Goddess’s version of small talk. A woman who has chosen a spiritual path and dedicates her life’s work to helping people unify their mind, body, and spirit in profound and transformative ways is just not very good at shooting the shit with strangers and will tend to fire away questions that get right to the heart of the matter. If you need her to tone down the yoga talk, simply brief her before dinner with your boss. You can take her to work functions and she will do just fine for a while, but you might hear her take very deep loud audible breaths throughout the course of the night to manage her sensitivity to the noise and heavy lifting of bullshitting. Keep in mind, in her line of work, she meets people for the first time on the floor in sweatpants and spends her days reading about God and breathing. So, don’t be surprised if she might need to go and do a headstand in the corner after a few vodka tonics to handle the change of scenery and relax her face from all the fake smiling.

3) Yoga Goddesses consistently crave and create adventure for themselves and others.

Yogis by nature are adventurous so if you’re not willing to be adventurous, in all kinds of ways, if you need to play it safe because you’re afraid of what people will think, then the Yoga Goddess is not for you and she probably won’t date you anyway. For the Yoga Goddess, it is not enough to simply like the idea of adventure. She will test your strength, she will keep you on your toes, she will love it if you surprise her just as much as she surprises you. If you’re a stable, steady kind of man, she will love you for your groundedness but ask you to abandon it on occasion in the name of faith, courage, and wisdom. That’s just how it goes. One of the most romantic things you can do for a Yoga Goddess is to plan a trip for the two of you and surprise her with it. She is used to taking the lead with plans and orchestrating events. To be cared for in this way is a Yogi Goddesses’s dream. And yes, the adventure extends to the bedroom, naturally. Don’t be scared. Yoga Goddesses are very gifted and patient teachers and healers.

4) A Yoga Goddesses will turn your world upside down.

If you fall for a Yoga Goddess, it is very likely that she will very gracefully turn your buttoned-up world upside down. Afterall, she has been called to teach people to see things from another perspective, to look at things differently, to encourage people to challenge their ideas about who they are and what their lives should look like. This is probably why many men will date Yoga Goddesses for a time but never marry them. The potential for change is too great for many men who are intrigued by the possibility of being with someone so free-spirited but who are ultimately uncomfortable with what life might look like with someone who is so comfortable with uncertainly, so in tune with and guided by spirit. Someone who possesses an ardent faith in things unseen can feel too intense for someone who is not prepared or interested in a spiritual journey. So, while your Yoga Goddess can be playful and fun-loving, she takes her life, her vocation and her spiritual path very seriously. A man who earns a Yoga Goddess’s love must respect and admire her work, understand its value to humanity.

5) Yoga Goddesses are mysterious.

Yoga Goddesses do not go out of their way to be mysterious, they just are, simply because they have surrendered to the mysteries of life, have given up searching for answers for why things are and very comfortable living the the gray areas of life. If you are a rigid thinker, the Yoga Goddess is not for you. She is a free-thinker, open-minded and open-hearted. She prizes authenticity over knowledge and accomplishment and leans into the mystery of life at every turn. In my experience, this terrifies and confuses many men. Yoga Goddesses are not good planners since they are usually out doing God’s work, will entertain detours if led by spirit to go left instead of right or to be late for an appointment because of a chance encounter with a mystical stranger who seems to have an important message for her. She will require your trust and patience and she will return the favor tenfold. If she keeps you waiting, chances are she will have a magical reason for it, a wonderful story that keeps your faith in things unseen alive. She’ll tell you about it while giving you some kind of exotic massage. She cannot be rushed. And she will not let anyone else set her pace for her.

6) A Yoga Goddess is the hostess with the mostess.

She will cook you things to balance your doshas and if you don’t know what those are, she will help you identify them. She will play amazing music from all over the world that will transport you into other galaxies. She will know what to do with your body in many situations as well as what kind of oils to rub on it and where to make you feel like the God you are. She will create a house of harmony, health, balance. She will want to care for your mind, body, and spirit. She can’t help it. It’s her job.

7) A Yoga Goddess is still a material girl.

A Yoga Goddess is not immune to desires of the flesh. Though she has probably made the decision, at certain points in her life to disengage from the material world as part of her spiritual training, she does still enjoy earthly comforts like jewels and fancy dinners and unexpected trips to exotic locales. And she is still a girl looking for a boy to love her, honor her, and ravish her

8 ) A Yoga Goddess cherishes her freedom and yours.

The yogic path is often called the quest for the jivan mukti, or the soul’s liberation. A woman who is on a yogic path understands that souls want what souls want and that a relationship is meant to be a place where those desires can be expressed without shame or guilt. This can make her seem like she has the potential to be so free-spirited that she just wants to be free-wheelin, free-loadin and free-lovin’ her way around the world. Not so. A yogic-minded woman simply understands for herself that we are all here to be each other’s teachers and students and that there is no better place for the expression of that dynamic than in a loving partnership.

9) A Yoga Goddess probably won’t ask you for help when she needs it most. This is her weakness.

A Yoga Goddess forgets that her man is not always as intuitive as she is and might not feel comfortable asking for help when she needs it most. As a Goddess, she might have a great deal of pride in her power and might find it hard to make herself vulnerable to a man since she is so used to doing things for herself, by herself, and for others. To win a Yoga Goddess’s heart, pay attention to what she needs to do her job and live her life. To win her heart, try to support her lifestyle in any way you can. She is a giver and has been trained to do and give the same to you. She is the ultimate nurturer and caretaker so while her standards for being taken care of well are high, simple gestures of kindness, appreciation, and thoughtfulness go a long way. Massages at beautiful spas don’t hurt either.

10) A Yoga Goddess will worship God first, then you, if you’re lucky.

A Yoga Goddess is comfortable being alone. The spiritual journey is a lonely path since the road less traveled is never crowded. She is used to solitude, comfortable with its pleasures and pains and has used time alone to contemplate and commune with God. A Yoga Goddess has taken the time to know and understand herself and her relationship to the divine and it will be nearly impossible to share a meaningful life with her if you are not inclined to do the same. Don’t waste her time and don’t lead her to think that you have more spiritual depth than you actually do. A Yoga Goddess prizes authenticity in spiritual searching. A Yoga Goddess has a connection to the divine that preceded you and God is the center of her universe, not you. Chances are, if you are even considering a relationship with a Yoga Goddess, you are most likely already on a spiritual path, even if you don’t know it yet. She does not attract many people into her world who aren’t.

I hope this has given you a lens into the heart and soul of the Yoga Goddess. Do not be discouraged by these truths. A relationship with a Yoga Goddess can be one of the most thrilling, heart and mind-bending adventures of your life if you are ready for the ride.

And another thing, truth be told, a lot of Yoga Goddesses were also at one time good (or bad) Catholic girls. So, you’ve got that imagery to work with too, gentleman.

The mac daddy of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius said, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” I don’t think Ignatius got any hot yoga booty, though. He probably could have used a light from a smokin’ Yoga Goddess. Just sayin’.

It’s all about balance. This article was written by Alex Smith, and totally stolen and reprinted here, by me. You can find it and other cool articles at elephantjournal.com

More coming soon... love you all!

Namaste,
Britt

SPRING YOGA & AYURVEDA RETREAT

It is that lovely time again.... Time for our Spring Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat in the coastal range....

Yoga is for every body regardless of age or abilities. The power of yoga is in exploring the techniques and practices of age-old, and integrating that which brings you into balance and personal power under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Getting away for a retreat in the country, brings you back to your core, back to your heart, and back to your true nature. This is what we call Sattva. This is harmony--our natural state.

***** YOUR YOGA AND AYURVEDA RETREAT PACKAGE INCLUDES *****

* 3 nights accommodation at Cedar Ridge Retreat & Conference Center
* 7 organic, vegetarian, home-cooked meals
* Morning and afternoon yoga classes, and sunrise meditation
* Pranayama, meditation, mudra, and mantra instruction
* Unlimited hiking, walking trails, creekside meditation, walking Labyrinth, time in nature
* Puja Ceremony around the campfire with chanting -- new moon falls on June 12th this month -- a time for new beginnings
* Lots of growth, laughter, self-exploration, and time to breathe and to BE Loved!!!

Here are some of the specifics to expect during this Spring 2010....

* MUDRA--the sacred gestures or "energy seals" that can be used to strengthen our focus, clear our mind, and achieve specific health results
* MANTRA--delve into the Gayatri Mantra, the great mantra of yoga, and embody the benefits of this sacred chant
* AYURVEDIC FOCUS--Kapha... no matter what your dosha, Kapha is best attended to in the springtime... An optional seasonal detox cleanse will be offered

It's especially important to balance kapha in the spring, because kapha accumulates during winter and can create diseases by the time spring arrives. As the world becomes colder and wetter in winter, your body mirrors these kapha-like changes. You tend to eat, sleep, and stay inside more during winter, which can result in a "winter coat" of insulation. In spring, you need to shed this excess kapha or risk becoming vulnerable to seasonal allergies or head colds. You might also gain or retain weight or succumb to a general lethargy or emotional dullness.

Your Ayurvedic prescription for spring is to do an internal "spring cleaning", develop a rhythm and routine that helps you gradually lighten up physically, mentally, and emotionally without disturbing the stable virtues of kapha. We will offer an optional seasonal 24 guided cleanse, to help to recalibrate the body and embrace the fresh, new life of springtime/early summer.

*******************************************

The retreat is priced to be in alignment with yogic principles. $199. The ancient teachings tell us that one should not profit from another's hunger nor illness. May we embody this wisdom as we journey together....May yoga and ayurveda be accessible to everyone.

I hope to share this time with you, if you are called....

Om,
Britt

LIVING YOUR YOGA

Here is an upcoming Yoga workshop that you may be interested in attending. The price is right, and we will cover many of the ways we can increase harmony, happiness (without reason), and vitality in our lives through living along with Yogic principles. If you can't make it and it sounds interesting to you, please pass the word along....

LIVING YOUR YOGA
Tuesday, May 11th
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
$15 members / $20 guests
ClubSport Oregon

If you have felt the benefits of Yoga on the mat, come discover the ways you can apply the ancient wisdom of Yoga off the mat. Yoga is an age-old resource for living in balance, dealing with unwelcome change, and living a joyful and healthy life. Deepen your understanding of yoga’s therapeutic approach to lifestyle including nutrition, medicine, emotions, illness and injury. Uncover the way Yoga honors all spiritual paths and provides methods for living a peaceful life, no matter what.

Namaste,
Britt

Come On Home


Om Suasti Astu...

I am sitting outside our perfectly small loft apartment as the morning sun rises. Cat, the beautiful spirit and yoga teacher, who is renting our apartment beginning Monday, is deep into her practice a few meters away. I am sprawled out overlooking the jungle and terracata and banana fibre rooftops. I am world-bridging the gap between my heat-place, here on this land, and my native home, in the Pacific Northwest, where we will go to in a few short days.

I am happy to be coming home.

I don’t know that words can offer what this place has done for myself, Larry, and our sacred union, this time around. A favorite poet of mine's words resonate: "I will never be the same having seen the moon rise on the other side of the world"...

Truth is... words would only confine the experience to the mind, and what has happened here, for me, is truly "mind-blowing". In the literal sense. A few of you have visited, and without doubt, know exactly what I mean.

I will be teaching at ClubSport on Saturday mornings beginning April 3rd. Once a week will be my schedule... I have a feeling April 3rd will bring magic.

Here's my schedule:

Saturdays:
10 am Nia
11 am Yoga

Let's make this an amazing day together!!! Wanna pack the house with me? You can manifest JUST that... Call your friends, forward this email to others, turn seekers onto the BloomLetter, invite member and non-members (they can be your guest for a small fee: you can call 503-968-4500 for more information on how much and how to...)

Come dance with me... I AM SOOOOOOOOOO FULL OF LOVE that is yours for the DANCING!!!!

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

I so look forward to seeing you….

Namaste,
Britt

Tantra Immersion


Here we are... all "goddessed up" and ready to go out!... It is definitely a different world on this side of the planet!!!!

So, I attended my very first Tantra weekend retreat last weekend. And all I can say is thank you thank you thank you. It was a wonderful experience to share the essence of being a woman with seven other incredible souls. To share our fears, our holdings, our emotions, our pain (at times), our laughter, our food, our sisterhood, our deep connection as women on this planet. The workshop was taught in English, but I was the only one for whom English was my mother tongue. Interesting to be with so many others speaking a second language. Sometimes it made it even more rich because the language was simple.

It's about the sisterhood. Realizing that everything that exists is Shiva. And Shakti. Peace and Power. Everything. And that there would be not life here, as we know it, without both the feminine and the masculine. Many western cultures tend to become weighted in one or the other, and usually it is the masculine... to conquer, to produce, to project... and we forget that as women, we are in balance and we heal... ourselves and others... when we feel the rhythmic calling to rest quietly, to share in circles with other women, to prepare food together, to laugh, and to listen, nurture, and care for one another...

Here is a pic of a few of us, just before we went out for dinner. We got all "Bali Goddessed" up and had a lovely night out together. It was very very nourishing.

May you take the time to be with other women and share with one another all of the gifts that you have been given, as women... and Men, may you provide space for your women to do just this.... you will all receive the rich, juicy, benefits!

Namaste,
Britt

The Giving Circle

Here is an example of the giving... a feast I had with some lovely women from around the world... with flowers, and pancakes, and pie, and coconut and chocolate! Can you imagine such a heaven? It is all of ours for the taking... As Maya Tiwari says, "Life IS simple. We just make it complicated. Healing comes naturally when we return to the simplicity."

Om.

I went to Yoga class today with one of my revered teachers. This particular class was more about the embodiment of the essence of yoga than postures. In fact, we do not do any asanas in this class, except to practice sitting, and quieting the body.

Instead, we chant, listen, and integrate. Sometimes I don’t understand what we are doing or saying, but I always leave class feeling supported, unconditionally loveable, and more relaxed than when I arrived. (Not bad, huh?) The premise of all of his teachings, as I was reminded by a Blog comment yesterday, is that we are perfectly loveable as we are, in this moment, and that we are whole. Nothing needs to change. Everything is alright. In spite of my limitations, I am happiness itself. In and through my life, I am whole and complete.

Class today was particularly juicy. We sat down to wait for his arrival, as we do, and when he came in, someone had written him a personal card and left him a small gift on his seat with a couple of fresh flowers. He looked at the bounty for a moment and then looked to us. He was obviously touched.

I can’t remember word for word what he said, but suffice it to say that I felt touched also, drawn to tears simply from feeling the love that was overflowing from his heart. So, here is what touched me in his teaching, as my heart recalls…..

Every day we have an opportunity to touch someone else’s life. Sometimes we do not know how much of a difference we can make just by sharing. Every emotion in all of God’s grace comes back in the culmination of gratitude in our hearts…. Through the pure expression of giving. Sharing kind words, kind deeds, kind intentions. When we look into another’s eyes and see brightness, acceptance, and understanding, we give and receive a thousand fold. And it is in our receiving of another’s gratitude that is so rich… as we allow it to come into our hearts and bless us….

There is no greater gift than connecting with the eyes and the heart. No greater asset. … No amount of money will ever bring us that kind of happiness--guaranteed. We will want something… then we will get what we want….. and then we will see something new and exciting that we want, or something will be invented since we last said to ourselves, “if I can just get THIS, then I will be happy.” But we keep wanting. The wanting doesn’t change. Only the amount of money we have changes….

In spite of this “wanting”, happiness is available. It is available in the complete acceptance of what is. In this moment. As we are right now. With no need for ourselves, others, or the world to be different than it is. From this place, we can give of our hearts…. And when we are finished giving, we can give some more. It is to give what we have. Our gifts. Give what we have… our time, our ears, and our open hearts to receive the gratitude that comes back to us. Our hands, our support. Give all we can of our hearts and then feel the fullness that comes back to us. There is no other abundance so great.

Every day, we can choose to give of our hearts in every interaction as if it is our last moment, because the truth is that we never know. So many of us, we live like we can wait to give more, love more, offer more…. tomorrow… But we do not know. And this moment is the only place where we can give. It is the only moment we have available to us. And the beauty of this all is that as we give, we learn that there are no limitations. Only the false perceptions within us that says otherwise. This universe, divine grace, is unlimited. We will not run out. Go to the well each morning, your practice of prayerfully taking care of yourself so that you can give freely… Prayerfully take care of your heart, and you can then share your overflowing heart with others… To give all that we can with each interaction. In each moment. And when we are done giving, we practice giving more. That is the practice. There are no limitations. We will not run out. This is an unlimited universe that holds unlimited happiness, acceptance and love for each and every one of us. Without exception.

Marinade in that for a while.

Namaste,

Britt

It's a New Day!

Here is a photo I took this morning of my altar in the corner of our apartment in Ubud, Bali. Today you see Ganesha, but sometimes you will see Jesus, Shiva, St. Francis, the Buddha… each form of the Divine has a personality that embodies aspects of our being that we are unfolding… whomever brings you closest to God is the one God calls you to recognize.

It’s a New Day

Ahhh… it’s a new year. I often find this time of year to be a tad bittersweet. Not being one to make “new year’s resolutions”, I still recognize the power of the collective conscience. This time of year, when there is a wave of people intending to release, and to refresh something of value in their lives, I can’t help but choose to ride the wave with them. The difference, this year, which subtly unfolds each January 1st, is an increasingly deep knowing about where I choose to place my intention. There are a few aspects to this:

1. Empty vessel: First, I realize that in order to be filled, naturally, with the riches that are available through right intention, I must create room for this to happen. However, this itself is a bit deceiving because I can’t really “do” this. Instead, I must create an environment that creates space for space. As it is, the emptiness that we feel when we are quiet in mind, calm in heart, and relaxed in body is the only place/space into which a nourishing, juicy intention can blossom. Sometimes we get so busy trying to “practice this healthy behavior” or “stick to commitments” that our energy dissipates, without having first established fertile ground for our words, thoughts, and deeds to firmly root.

2. Nourishing intention: I choose to devote my mental, emotional, and physical energy to something that will still nourish me long term… 5 years, 20 years, 80 years from now, will I still be experiencing the merit of this choice? If I look at what I choose as an intention, I realize quickly whether or not it will offer me long-term, real, true nourishment. If there is any question about it, I choose differently.

3. One prayerful day: It seems that I can really get myself gnarled up in a big mess of commitments, failed attempts, and hard/fast rules if I start thinking too far in the future. I cannot begin to count the times I have made a commitment beyond this day, later to find myself falling away from it entirely. So, instead, I choose to focus on this moment. This day alone. Just one prayerful day. And then tomorrow, I’ll assess and recommit.

4. Altar my consciousness: I find that one of the best practices to help me bring consciousness, and keep consciousness, as my guiding light is to create and go to my personal altar. This is a space, in my home, that is the same place each day, where I create the intention to lay down my fears and anxieties, as well as my need to control what I cannot. Your altar is your own. You can place upon it photos of your ancestors, a candle, a bell, even a deity of your liking; one through whom you can connect to your creator, call it God, call it Ishwara, call it Christ, call it Buddha, call it Ala. Whomever speaks to your heart. Place flowers, incense, readings, prayers, rice, pine cones, maple leaves, herbs… whatever connects you to nature, your true nature, and to Divinity. Let this be the place you go, same time/same place each day, to worship and to rejuvenate.

5. Let them all in: And then, as I create space, realize my right intention, stay focused on one prayerful day, and visit my altar to reaffirm the path I have chosen, inevitably, there will be visitors. Some are welcome guests, namely power, joy, peace, and prayerfulness. Others I have a tendency to shut out – not so welcome are laziness, judgment, greed, and procrastination. My work here is not to shut anyone out. Instead, my work is to open the door and let them all in…. there is a yogic practice when preparing food: always make enough food for an unexpected visitor. This is how we realize that God can and does show up in any moment, and that anyone else who shows up is an opportunity for us to know God, and to know ourselves as completely acceptable exactly as we are.

Rumi says it quite beautifully here in the poem called “The Guesthouse”

This human being is a guest house,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all,
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows
Who violently sweep your house
Of all its' furniture.
Still treat each guest honorably.
She may be cleaning you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing, And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.

May your 2010 be filled with grace. May you realize your fullness, and accept yourself completely without any need to be anything other than what you are right now, in this moment. May you realize that everything that you wish you could become, you already are, and may your intentions unfold this truth.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Namaste,

Britt