Is time flying?

The wind taps against my windowpane.
Words like opportunity,
To new roads untraveled.
Signaling softly, quietly,
But persistently,
That time is flying by.


Between work and chores and obligations, the days seem impossibly short. Momentary. Fleeting. Coming and going so fast, how will we ever catch up?

But the simple truth is: Time is not flying. We are. 

If you zoom, mind and body, through each and every minute, make today the day you slow down. Just a notch at first. You may find the span between sunrise and sunset stretches a bit longer than you imagined and that it is rife with beauties you never noticed.

After all, life is not about efficiency. And richness is absent from rushing.

Self help II.

The way we approach our asanas – the things we carry onto our yoga mat – reflects our negative samskaras, the repetitious ruts and potholes of our lives. But, in that reflection, is also help: Because asanas occupy the body and still the mind, each posture cultivates awareness. Physical. And mental.

The beauty of all that consciousness is: it opens tight places. Creates space, so that space can make room for insight. And so that insight...can spark ideas for change.

But sparks alone aren’t enough to lift us from bad scars and patterns. What is familiar is also powerful, and the ideas that come to us during asana are easily resisted or cast aside when we roll up our mats and return to everyday life. 

What to do? Set intentions. First, make it about your practice. Then inch it into other parts of your life. When you wake up. When you sit down at your desk. When you get in your car to drive down the road.

Though intentions are described many different ways, I believe them to be a self-promise. Something you’d like to embody. Devote yourself to. For a moment. For a day. Maybe even forever. Everything you then do is done with your intention in mind.

Grace and artfulness.
I want to be well.
No anger today.

What’s beautiful about intentions is: When they mean something, you carry them with you. The feeling you created. The presence. The vulnerability and the hopefulness and the accomplishment. Suddenly, samskaras that seemed impossible to shed soften, and happier samskaras slowly take their place. On the mat…and off.

Self help.

Lately, except for moments of centering here and there, I've been letting myself get swept away – not just a corner of my mind – but all of it. Allowing it to follow someone's off-the-cuff comment. Chase an old idea. Circle back around my worries again and again, letting them take center stage.

Samskaras are powerful patterns, both emotional and physical. Scars. Good, like the taste of an early summer peach. And bad, like the time you pretended not to see someone in need. To me, it seems like the key to a clear mind, to self help, must live here, in our samskaras. Understanding our ways of doing, being and thinking that have, yes, lifted us up, but also where they have jarred us to the core – moments and life experiences that have carved ruts along our road. Deep potholes we are afraid to relive if we take a chance, step off the societal straight and narrow or even make the smallest, most simple of change.

To be continued...Helping the self get past samskaras.

The Wisdom of Yoga

Several weeks ago, my friend and I were instant messaging about Rudi, a character in Stephan Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga. This little piece stuck with me:

i read a line in the book about rudi i liked. it's in my phone. one sec
rudi's happiness had a good deal of sadness in it
the happiness that embraces sadness
is it bad to relate to that statement? 

no. i get that entirely.
when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
how can happiness exist without its opposite? how can anything?

The value of opposition. So easy to forget when life throws us a curve ball. When the going gets tough. Or when it feels like nothing will be right again. But without turmoil, peace would not be so gentle. Sweet would have no context without bitter. And, of course, with no sadness to call upon, happy wouldn't mean quite as much.

Life and Bubbles

Yesterday I pulled up to a stoplight. Heavy rain had just paused, and out my window, water ran down the curb toward the drain. 

A large bubble floated on top of that steady stream. At first, it seemed unaffected by the moving water. Its own self, in control and stronger than the elements around it. 

Before long, though, the water set it in motion. Carried the bubble away. For a while, it went with the flow, looking not much different than the second before. Silently, I rooted it on. Maybe it would last. Defy the natural order of things. 

When it popped, I felt a loss.

The distractions of everyday obligations make it easy to forget: All that's living is fleeting. "Kiss the joy as it flies."*

*From "Eternity" by William Blake
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.