Friday, June 27, 2008

Like you, like you, don't like you, like yo....

I got the job at the Queensway Carleton Hospital! They offered me full time or casual but I want the casual position and I'm switching to casual at my current job so I can work like crazy and then take the last week of the month off for climbing. So that's exciting and also a little nerve racking. I really have no clue what I'm doing in a hospital. Wish me luck.
On the other side of things I'm definitely off balance lately. I know I am because I find myself concerned with what other people think of me and worrying about whether I'm good enough and I'm irritated when I'm driving in the city and impatient with people in general. these are all the bad things that start happening when my personality stops me from just seeing the world as it actually is. That's an interesting human trait, the ability to apply good or bad traits to inanimate objects and people we don't know. Like the guy who cuts you off with his car is bad and the lady who holds the door for you is good. It's so funny to think we stereo-type whole people by their one action. But that's the whole point of finding my balance again, that way I realize that life is neither unfair or fair it just is. You can't stereotype experiences you're having as good or bad because what you're really doing in naming your reaction to those situations around you. Like the guy who cuts you off makes you feel negative and the person who holds your door makes you feel positive. Recognizing that these emotions are inside ourselves instead of projecting them on people gives us the power to control our reactions and not be as volatile to the world with interact with. So my goal is to sit for a few hours this weekend and meditate and do some yoga and when it's all said and done I hope to have balanced out some more so I can have a clear head when I view my life.
Have a Happy Canada Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Infinite Love and Attitude

This morning while I was getting ready I kept thinking of things to blog about, but by the time lunch roles around my brain has gone flat from all the crazy work and I can't remember what I wanted to post on.

My interview went well and I'm pretty sure the lady said if my referrals get back to her she'll let me know as soon as possible. I'd be starting training on the 14th of July so that's exciting and a welcome change.

Otherwise I'm back at my climbing training tonight. I had 3 days off and my body is not very appreciative. It's all stiff and sore. Reminding me how important it is to keep moving.

Lastly I'm reading Infinite Love and Gratitude by Dr. Darren Weissman because the shaman I'm starting training with wants to use information from this book as a stepping stone. I've actually read this book before (convenient), but always come up with the same road block- my own cynicism towards the mystical. This book does seem to ground some of it's information in the scientific but I know it is still what most people would call mumbo-jumbo. And I'm never really sure how to get past that. If I was applying Aparigraha to this I would tell myself I can't grasp to have all the answers right away. Even the medical profession doesn't have all the answers. It loves to make a decision and then go back on what it's said with other studies and there are no set answers for what will work and what won't work in health care. When it comes down to it if it works for you it doesn't matter what all the studies say, that's your truth.
So I'm going to read the book again and keep an open mind that maybe some of it's fooey and maybe some of it's true but I have to give it a chance and keep an open mind because the truth is not found with a closed mind. I'll have to write my book review later and get your opinions on how crazy the ideas may or may not be. It's always good to have a second set of eyes when youre walking into the crazy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A good, strong, non-grasping handshake

I'm going for an interview with the Queensway Carleton Hospital and I'm super, super nervous. I haven't been in the hospital in two years and haven't had to worry about medications or IV pumps or any of that junk in so long and now I have to remember it all and give the right answers back at an interview.
When I graduated I never really wanted to work in a hospital. I'm not big on the bandage affect I feel most hospitals employ and feel like people are pushed out the door so quickly you'll never get to truly help them. That being said most nursing jobs require hospital experience so I know I've already stunted my growth by skipping right to home care.
If I'm lucky enough to get this job the other plus side is I will be able to use some of the stuff I'm supposed to learn from my Shaman when I start training with him. All the information he will be giving me is more in the area of hands on and right now I'm pretty much 100% hands off. So it'll be good to have some situations to use my new knowledge.
So in order to get into the Aparigraha (non-grasping) tools I can use for my job interview I thought I'd underline some ideas I've had to make my interview go better, and maybe someone else can use some of the ideas too (or has some of their own).

Aparigraha for Interviews
-Stay in the present. That way you can hear the questions being asked fully and give your best answer.
- Don't try to give the answers you think the interviewer wants but instead give the interviewer your true answer in it's best possible light. If you lie about who you are you'll only create discourse later on.
- Don't tell yourself you have to get this job. That desperation in your head only creates more stress that makes it harder for you to stay present.
- Don't hold onto mistakes you've made in past interviews or jobs. Instead use the information you learned from these mistake to demonstrate personal growth you have achieved from what you've learned.
- Be positive. It's easy to hold onto all the crazy things that happened on the way to the interview but if you just focus on your breath you will go in with a much clearer head.
- At the end of the interview shake hands with your interviewer and thank them for their time. Behave as an equal so they can see you as an equal.

Ok, those are the best I've got so far. Just remember when you grasp onto something and won't let it go it's weight becomes a part of you and can keep you down. Enjoy what you have but understand that nothing is permanent and all things, thoughts and people are truly free to come and go. Just as you are.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So, it's not that I've forgotten my blog , just that no matter how much I try to preplan my life things still come up to shake up my plans. Which I'm trying not to get too upset about. Fortunately this coincides with my practice for the next two weeks. My last Yama to work on for a while is Aparigraha, non-grasping (or non-possessiveness), which really relates to a lot of different things I've posted around. Aparigraha and non-attachment go hand in hand and are locked down into the roots of our happiness. If we learn not to reach for things needlessly we can find a lot more joy in that which we already have. For example, the body needs food but if the restaurant is out of your favorite dish you don't let it ruin your whole meal (you're still getting the sustenance you need even if it's not in the form you would prefer). An easy way to practice non-grasping is by sitting still and training your thoughts on the moment, not on what you want or expect the future to be. It's funny how so much of the practices we should take part in involve being present in our now.

Because I'm short on time today I'll tell you the one big practice I've decided on for the two weeks and I know non-grasping will come up in my posts later in the week.
It's a simple yet challenging practice. Every time I feel or think of something that I want needlessly I stop and take 5 long breaths, focusing all my attention on the air moving in and out. After the fifth breath my brain has usually moved on and the urge to grasp at what I was thinking of has subsided. If it hasn't gone away by that time I consider whether I should be working towards what I was wanting in seriousness (I try to assess whether it is a need or a worthy goal, but the trick here is not to get attached to whether or not you get it). The interesting part about using the breath to clear the minds of the things I am reaching for is that a lot of our grasping starts with our breath when we hold it subconsciously. Even on this subconscious level your body and mind are wanting to hold onto things. So by keeping the breath moving you are letting go of what you are grasping at on a very primal level.
So let go and don't forget to breathe.

Friday, June 20, 2008

There's no place like OM...

I was feeling pretty down yesterday, thus the lack of blog (sorry), but have perked up today and been thinking about it, you know, the whole getting down thing. I've been ignoring my lack of prospects at this point in my life or at least not focusing on them, for the most part, but yesterday my brain caught up with me and started to point out that I haven't heard from Alberta (that's ok, I've given up on them anyways) and I can't really afford my job out here in Kemptville anymore, and even if I do get a job at the hospital in Ottawa (and there's no guarantee they'll hire me) the whole process will take a while and in the mean time I'm getting a bit of a sinking feeling. Needless to say when I thought about it too long I got myself a bit down.
But in retrospect of yesterday I've realized that blue emotions like this don't really have such a large effect on me because of the desperateness of the situation so much as the lack of feeling needed in my own life. I know most people need to be needed by their partner, but I'll be the first to admit work is my boyfriend and I take job rejections the same way most people take being shot down by someone at a bar. And if my job doesn't tell me I'm the best it's ever had I feel offended! (LOL)
Thinking about it, so many of us are out looking for this partnership in our life that will complete us. Be it a relationship or a job, we're all looking for that one thing that will complete us, and make us whole. I wonder where we grew this illusion that we're all half people walking around, about to topple over if we don't find our other half. But it's true there is this emptiness that exists, this longing to feel complete and living at our full potential. We look out to the very corners of the Earth to find the missing piece. Whole industries surround our search, trying to help us complete our hafling souls.
Thinking about this I had a Wizard of Oz moment. We make such great journeys in our lives in this search and I believe many great things have been found along the way but the only way to find your other half is to find you. You are your perfect other half, but it's so often not seen because we are scanning the horizon instead of looking inside. It's such a weird idea though, that for all our searching our other half is right here, waiting to let us be complete if we could just see it.
In retrospect it makes complete sense. Who else knows what will make you laugh better than yourself? Who knows what kind words you need to hear on a bad day? Who knows what music you feel like listening to and is willing to listen to it with you? If only we would just say the words to ourselves that we need to hear or lend ourselves the patience and comfort we all so desperately need. Yet again and again we look outside ourselves for someone to fill these needs. No one else will be able to anticipate your every need.
Obviously this sounds self-absorbed at first glance and by no means am I suggesting we give up on all relationships because we don't need anyone else. Just putting forth the idea that maybe your relationships shouldn't be about finding that person that completes you, only enjoying anther's company that enriches your already complete life.
And the same goes for my work too. I have to remember I'm already complete and there's no job I can receive that will make me whole.
On the plus side this whole train of thought put me back in a good mood. Just in time for the weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In a muddle...

So far my Brahmacharya practice is going medium well. I've been cleaning 1/2hr two times a week but my email checking still keeps slipping over 3 times a day (I think I have an addiction). I should render this impossible soon though. I'm getting tired of waiting for the Alberta job to come through and feeling a tad on the rejected side and a tad on the poor side as well so I've contacted the hospitals around here and I'm going to look into doing casual work in the hopes that if I can swing it I can work like crazy the first three weeks of the month and take the last week of the month off to travel and climb. We'll see how this plan works. I'm beginning to feel like I'm being cut off at all turns. The world won't be happy until I sign myself up for a crummy full-time hospital job that sucks my time and climbing away. We'll see how this goes. I'm also hoping to get a hold of the home care agency that I used to work for to see if I can convince them to let me provide a weekly yoga session for their burnt out workers (care for the caregivers, very important). First I have to get my main job figured out though. I don't know if I should just be more patient with the Alberta thing, but it's been 2 months and I just can't sit around any longer.
I'm not sure how much of my impatience is practical and how much of it's personality.
I've been thinking about the constrictivness of and how who we decide we are becomes how we decide to act in situations.
I haven't been meditating as much as I'd like to this past week and I really notice how far I'm getting away from my Atman. It's like all these little nuances that make up my personality are deciding my actions. And I know this is a bad thing because your personality is biased and made up of a whole bunch of experiences and events in life that I've collected together like an outer protective shell and instead of recognizing the function of a personality I'm letting it call the shots. But after my teacher training I know that all these little things aren't who I am so I can't let them become deciding factors for how I act.
So I think I'm going to really work back into the meditation this week. I don't like feeling this moody.
The rain doesn't help. Hopefully I'll get everything straightened out.
*Muchos hugos*

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hate is such a very strong word.

I went home last night instead of going to Coyote for training because I was falling asleep at my desk at work and thought it would be better if I just went to bed. I laid in bed for an hour and never managed to fall asleep. Instead I was up until almost midnight and didn't get my sleep back in order.
It's too bad too because I can see the obvious difference in the way I react to things when I'm this tired. My sense of humour and patience is not as good. I don't want to do the little things I should like clean up messes and follow-up on phone calls. And I notice I get irritated at really stupid things. I'm awake enough to notice I'm acting irrationally but I still end up continuing down that path because my mouth speaks before my brain hears it. I begin to wonder why sleep has such a large effect on a person's personality.

As I was driving to work today I saw this truck car hybrid thing. It had this slopey front, sort of like a VW Beetle and then the back had a truck bed. And do you know what the first thought to pop in my head was? "Eww, I hate that!" Then I was thinking about how moms always say hate is such a strong word. And it is. I mean it was only a truck. It had me thinking though. Why is the first thought in my head hate? And I know it's not the only thing I jump to such a strong dislike towards.
I never have as hard a time decoding my strong dislike for some people, the jump to negative emotions is usually a sign those people threaten or remind me of something I'm sensitive about in myself. But an inanimate object? That makes no sense! What's the truck threatening in me?
I've noticed once I have one negative thought the other negative thoughts come so much more easily and my brain just spirals towards negative. So I know it's beneficial to stop thoughts like that early on. But I still want to know why a inanimate object can inspire such a strong emotion. It seems silly. I'll have to keep trying to figure out why.
Swami Rama says when you hate it contracts your world and when you love it expands it. Just another tidbit to add to my thought process...

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Happiness Crash n Burn

That was a really nice weekend. Got out for some island camping and some outdoor climbing and despite the occasional down-pour I didn't end up getting rained on once. I got a bit of a tan, a thousand bugs bites and all in all feel happy still from the good weekend even though Monday came and decided it was a good day to go to work.

I received an interesting and unexpected email today that made me think of happiness too. The email had me thinking about humans and the funny ultimatums we put on our happiness- "I'll be happy when I finish university." "I'll be happy once my show is on." "I'll be happy when Friday is here."... Poor happiness, we always hold it hostage to our demands instead of just letting it free.

I was thinking of the ultimatums that I place on my happiness and how much I limit myself with them. For me it's always been "I'll be happy when everyone else is happy." So much so that when ever I get a chance to make a wish my first wish is for everyone else's happiness. And then I put a lot of energy into this wish and make a lot of decisions around other people being happy, but really all the things I do are never going to stop other people from having crappy days. And then because I've decided I'm not happy unless they are on their bad days I'm unhappy too. And really I was probably unhappy before they brought me down because I can't steal their happiness and use it as my own.
It reminded me of the saying I'm sure most people know- "As you sow, so you shall reap." So if I plant all my chances at happiness in someone else's garden then I'm leaving the responsibility of caring for it in their hands. And most people have enough to care about with their own happiness and don't have time for mine. Really I think part of me just finds it easier to place the responsibility of my happiness in another's hands. That way if it doesn't work out it's not my fault. Kind of the wussy way about it eh?

The other part is I truly believe that if everyone looked after everyone else before themselves the world would be a awesome place. Which might be true but good luck getting everyone to agree to that plan.

So when it comes down to it I think it's important to base your decisions in life on what you'd like to achieve and see and do and if you have energy left over after that then of course help others.
But it's a bit like on a plane when they tell you in case of an emergency secure your own air mask first before helping anyone else, because if you don't you may pass out before you can help another passenger.
I think that's true of happiness too. If you don't take care of yourself what good are you to the people around you.
So enjoy the rest of your day, you only get it once.
*yoga hugs*

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do your Oreos have a white creamy centre of happiness?

Happy Friday the 13th! Remember your luck is what you make it... sometimes the bad things that happen seem bad until you realize they set off a chain of events which bring about the things you want or need in life. And also it takes bad stuff happening to make the good stuff noticeable. If things were always awesome we'd lose appreciation for them.

On that note I was listening to Live 88.5 this morning (as always) and they had a psychologist on from Carleton University because Carleton is holding a seminar this Monday specifically around finding joy. Not that I can find anything on it when I zoomed around the web (??? advertise peoples), but I'm sure the radio wouldn't lie to me. So I thought this sounded pretty interesting, I mean people are always looking for happiness right? So the only guy who is actually from Carleton and is presenting at this seminar is this Pritcher (I think that's his name) guy, and he explains that he's a personality psychologist who studies procrastination (insert joke here). And the reason he studies procrastination is because he's done studies that show that success is the main source of happiness in humans and what comes between people and success is procrastinating. So at this point I'm half and half as to whether I think this guy's on the ball. I mean he's got half of it making sense but the other half is kinda convoluted. If success is truly the key to happiness then why are all these rich famous people so unhappy. I mean they got off their butts, climbed the ladder and now they've achieved their success and yet, hmmm, not all of them are happy. But this is the way we're taught to find happiness in our society. The path to happiness we're taught goes like this- Want hot sports car, work your butt off to buy hot sports car, drive around and make people jealous while you're in your new sports car (car breaks down/has horrendous mechanic bills/is bad on gas....). I mean in all truth he's right in a sense. If you want something badly and you go and get it then your brain releases the chemicals that make you happy. Like when you want an Oreo cookie and you go all the way to the grocery store to get a bag of them, then you get out to the car and rip the bag open and pop one in your mouth, you feel happy. But then what? Eat another cookie? Figure out something else you want? Go and get it? Insta-happiness, just add water eh? But it doesn't last. So do you really want to run around chasing 10second happiness spurts the rest of your life?
On the other hand the guy is right about not procrastinating. That will never bring you happiness either, as you well know, because if you are putting something off it bugs you while you're trying to do other stuff. Or at least it bugs you when ever you think about. It's like walking into a kitchen full of dirty dishes, you stop wanting to walk into the kitchen and now you can't make yourself a nutritious dinner cause you don't want to go in the kitchen. So you order pizza and find momentary happiness in that box... You get the idea.
Yoga teaches us that happiness is achieved simple by being happy and living life. The minute you stop saying if I get this or I do this I'll be happy and just realize you're happy right now under all the other things you tell yourself, you will be. But sitting still staring at your dirty dishes won't let you be happy either. So keep working on your life goals and your little goals but don't let them decide whether you are having a good day. You can have happiness with out success and you can have success with out happiness. Or you can have success and you can have happiness. They aren't actually dependent on each other. They're separate entities.
Choose to be happy today, just for today, you can go back to being unhappy tomorrow, but on this lovely Friday the 13th why not??

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ok, so here's to trying something new....
I'm going to copy an uploaded MP3 of me leading you through Savasana (Deep relaxation) and also copy up my written version.
This is my first time trying recording and Adam had to do a lot of editing on it (Thank you Adam) mostly because my equipment isn't pro and my cat is a loud eater.
Hope this works for you...

Here's the written version...

Savasana- Final Rest (Usually done for 3-7 minutes to allow the body to integrate all the poses and prana (Breath-energy) that the sequence has stirred up.

Read before performing:
Come lying down on your back on the floor. If you want you can put on a sweater or socks so you don’t get too cold.
Separate your legs and let your toes fall away from each other.
Rest your arms a little ways from the sides of the body with the palms facing up.
Begin relaxing the whole body starting with the tension in your feet. Tense the muscle group on the inhale and release it on the exhale. Keep moving up the body tensing and relaxing muscles until every muscle has been relaxed.
Release you weight into the floor and let your mind focus on your breath. Stay here for 3-7 minutes (Use a timer if needed).
To come out of Savasana slowly bring awareness into your fingers and toes by wiggling them.
Begin rolling your ankles and wrists and when you’re ready inhale the arms up over-head, stretching your entire body.
Roll onto your side into fetal position, cradling your head in your lower arm.
When you are ready come to sitting. Sit here breathing with your eyes closed for a few breaths and then relax.

Boy, really stretching my computer-bilities to the limit, hope this all works out. I gave it a shot anyways.
Namaste for the patience.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weight of the world

I shouldn't have even started thinking about it. I got my thoughts pointed towards the whole what-to-do-for-work thing and now it's got me worrying and feeling down. I called Alberta last night but the lady only works part time so I'll have to try her again tonight. In the mean time I've been looking at the Ottawa Hospital website and trying to talk myself into sending my resume in. Then I get all this doubt stuff coming up like maybe I won't be any good at hospital work anymore or what if it makes me so busy I have no time to train or teach yoga. Or what if I should really go look for work other places, or what if, what if, what if.... Ya it gets the head all spinning.

I was reading an article in a yoga magazine yesterday that brought up the importance of Savasana, deep relaxation. That's where you lay on your back at the end of a yoga session and let your body totally relax (It doesn't have to be at the end of a yoga session, it could be anytime). The article was talking about how many teachers don't use it, which doesn't surprise me because it can be tedious to just lay still and the human mind tends to reject the idea. On the other hand Savasana is really important for becoming balanced and helping to manage stress, as well as tons of other benefits. That was really drilled into me in yoga teacher training so I always include it, but I never seem to find time to include it in my own practice. When I thought about it I haven't done any deep relaxation in a while, I always just meditate and pretend it's the same thing. So I did it at the end of my yoga session yesterday and it does feel a lot better. It's nice to lay down and not let the body strain or hold anything up. It's nice to let go of the world around me.It's not common in society today to let go of everything and just trust the world around you to stay solid while you let go of the experiences around you. I think a lot of us feel like if we stop paying attention to the world the whole place will fall apart.
I don't have my write up for Savasana on this computer but I'll get it tonight and add it either to this blog or another. We all deserve to just let go sometimes so I'll see if I can get this up for you guys...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I've been putting off blogging all day. I don't have any specific point of focus today and I worry about putting out a bland all over the place posting.
It's funny because I've been picking up so many little yoga practices lately that I'm not focused on one big idea today but just a bunch of little ones that keep guiding me back to my path in their own way. On top of that I have little life things on my mind, but again no one huge huge concern. All in all I feel content at the moment, so maybe I'll use this blog just to update you on what I've been up to.
For those who are curious I have not heard from Alberta yet (I know it's getting ridiculous) but am not surprised because of the whole fact that the RCMP have a delay on security checks. Just the same I plan to try calling the Alberta lady tonight because I would like to know if they're still considering me because if they are not I need to make some changes in my life.
I gave my two months notice for my apartment and they wrote back that I wasn't allowed because I signed a one year lease. First I was just surprised they wrote back because I haven't heard hide nor hair of them since I moved in. No one shovelled our snow or has emptied the garbage container or replaced the burnt out lights at the door or hall. Apparently they're quicker to respond when it comes to money. Anyways, it's no big concern to me because the tenants act says I can get out of any lease with two months notice, but since I'm still not sure if I'm leaving I'll sit on this one in case it ends up I'm staying in Ottawa. If that's the case though I'll need a roommate. I think this will be my most daunting task because it's hard to find a good match, but I'll just have to have faith I can figure something out.
On top of that if I'm staying here I want to start teaching yoga. It's been driving me crazy not teaching. I'm tempted to offer free sessions at the climbing gym just because I'm there anyways.
And last of all if I'm staying I might want to start working at the hospital (Well, not want to but make myself), because I really feel like I'm getting out of practice as a nurse and I'm afraid it will stop me from getting the jobs I want later.
So as usual I'm all up in the air, but I'm kinda liking it here. Some days anyways.
So no major yoga thoughts today except stay present. I was thinking that in the shower this morning. It was weird- out of nowhere I thought "You can only giggle in the present..." and then I started giggling. I know, I'm a dork. Must have been too early for deep yoga thoughts.
Love ya alls. Stay cool!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Wow! That's warm. I woke up and thought I was underwater. I get to work and of course our water cooler is broken and you can't really drink the local water (not if you're afraid of growing extra digits) so instead I find myself hiking it to the nearest store 20 minutes away in the noon sun. How does our weather manage to go from frigid to boiling in 2 weeks? Ok, ok, enough complaints about the weather.

So this week is a new Yama practice Brahmacharya. back when yoga was practices 1000s of years ago this originally meant celibacy which says to me that yoga was first practiced by men. I don't think I'd find the practice of celibacy that challenging. In the old days they said the practice of celibacy cleared the head and helped a person to focus their energy. In today terms we translate Brahmacharya to me self-restraint or moderation. It can apply to all kinds of things like drinking and eating habits or lifestyle habits, pretty much anything that causes damage or problems in your life because you're doing it all the time. And that's not to say if you volunteer all the time or something that you should do less, but if you start getting sick because you take more care of other people then yourself that's when you need to consider Brahmacharya.

So for my practice this week I'm going to bring back a practice I tried last time but I failed at. This time I hope to have more resolve.

For my first practice I am going to work at only checking my email 3 times a day. When I'm bored at work I just keep checking again and again because it's better than doing boring stuff like cleaning out old files, but it looks like I'm going to get those files cleaned out now.

For my second practice I am going to take 1/2hr to clean my house on both Monday and Friday. I know that doesn't seem like much but I keep putting it off and putting it off because I'm never home so I'm going to show some self restraint and clean on those two days. It's getting a little gross with the cat hair and all.

I haven't come up with a thrid practice yet, but I'll keep thinking about it and if something comes to me in the next two weeks I'll add it. And if anyone has suggestions I'll take them.

Keep cool guys.

*Sweaty hugs*

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two week review

So my keyboard just turned french on me again, if you notice any weird accents or misplaced punctuation that`s totally not my fault.
I hear I`m going to the mud drags this weekend, whatever those are, the weather seems to be accommodating for the mud part anyways.
So it`s the end of my two weeks Asteya practice, next week I get to start in on Bramacharya and a whole new set of challenges.
My first challenge of listening to people and not stealing from them by assuming I know what they`ll say went pretty decent. I found I noticed a lot more facial expressions and indicators when I wasn`t spending all my time already knowing what they were going to say. It lead to some insight and I learned a few things I didn`t know about those people before.
My second practice of not coveting what other people have was a little trickier. I don`t even notice I`m doing it, but obviously it never brings me happiness to feel myself wanting what others have instead of enjoying what I`ve already got. I think I need to keep working at this one to bring it more to the forefront. I think a lot of the time we watch what other people have to help us decide what we want with our own lives, but it becomes a problem when it makes you discontent with what you`ve achieved already.
My last goal of sitting content with myself instead of always looking for others to distract me was worked through ok. I don`t really have a ton of free nights and when I did have free time I spent it reading a book. I don`t know if that counts as hanging out with myself or ignoring myself. I guess it`s debatable. Maybe next time I`ll go on more walks or write more.
Over all the main lesson I learned with the practice is that I steal from myself most of all by not letting myself try the things I want to achieve and by doubting my own worth. So I feel like I got something out of the two weeks and that`s what matters most.
Have a good weekend Folks!
*Happy Friday Hugs*

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Passion: Are you getting the five finger discount on life?

A quote to start out from Swami Jnaneshvara: Desire without passion is empty. Passion without desire is the means to Freedom.

My thoughts are floating around the idea of passion today. I look around me and often see people divided into two groups. Those of us who have found a passion for something in life and are following it to the bitter end and those of us who are still looking around for theirs and are kind of floating aimlessly. And it's funny how finding that passion can change a person, make them look a little shinier and braver.
For the rest of us I question why it's not that easy. I can think of a couple reasons. Maybe we're looking in the wrong place or maybe we're narrowing our focus too much and missing the obvious signs. Or maybe we do know what our passion is except that it's not a good passion by society's standards. Maybe we feel our passion is not important enough or maybe it's not normal in society's books, so instead you just keep looking.
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati says:

There may be many things you want in the external world, but here you want to have a key principle that you, yourself are seeking at the deepest level of the inner chamber of your heart. It needs to be your word, not just that of somebody else, not something that was read in some book, or is popular in the culture....
...Choose a keyword for yourself, some word or phrase that really captures the spirit of what you are longing for. It's probably hidden deep in the inner world, underneath all of the seemingly countless other desires and words that have been programmed in as acceptable, proper desires. It's a longing that has been there a long time, a very long time. It was probably there in early childhood. It was with you in adolescence. It is still there. But what do you call it? What is that single word or phrase that draws you back to that felt longing.

That makes it seem so simple, to find one word. But the funny thing is that I knew what the word was when I really thought about it and it makes sense when I start to organize my life around it.
I think it's easiest when your passion is commonplace, but even then there's the challenge of the things in life which must be compromised for it.
All of it relates back to my Asteya practice of not stealing from myself the opportunity to do what I want to do. Hope you're not stealing from you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gas Prices, Neglected Health and Fire Breath.

Grey days, taking my climbing away... Oh well...
So as proof of just how lazy us climbers are I have just taken the sandbags out of my truck I was using to weigh down the back tires during the winter. Obviously I've realized fuel economy on a truck is poor to start with, and then with 300 extra pounds in the back it wasn't getting any better, but sometimes it takes a bit of omph to get myself to do something like move 300lbs around.
The whole rising gas prices is an interesting thing. I like seeing all the different changes that occur related to the rising gas prices. I remember when I used to work at the gas station in highschool and prices were in their 50s or something silly cheap like that. People would come cruising in in their huge buicks and built-up trucks and they'd be in everyday cause back then it was affordable to go for a drive at night, just cruise around or road trip, whatever. Now people have started carpooling and buying little hybrid Toyotas and taking the bus. So these are all good changes and when you think about it they're all activities that should have started before the gas hike.
The whole thing reminds me of how so many of us look after their bodies. When you're younger you eat badly, you get little sleep, you drink to excess and you work out only when you feel like it. As you get older you start to feel the reprocushions. You're sore or you get back problems, a bit of a gut... Stuff like that and the worse these side effects to your life style become the more you consider changing your life style. With my job sometimes the people I see don't start making the changes until way after the obvious signs for a need for change have come. So it's a lot like the gas prices, it's only when you feel the noose around your neck start to tighten that you grudgingly admit the time has come, when really you watched the hang man walk your way for years.
I finally had my arm twisted far enough back and removed the sand-bags from my truck (yes I know, it's about time).
So I thought I'd leave you a little yoga excercise that helps you get your energy up and calms the mind so you can make the changes you need to. My yoga teacher Robert said if you do this excercise a 100 times a day it will keep 100 illnesses away. Hard to test, but the rhyme is nice...

Agni Pranayama (Breath of Fire)
1. Sitting comfortably bring your attention to your breath as it goes in and out of the body. Breathing through your nose.
2. Exhale and then inhale half way.
3. Exhale quickly by pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Inhale and let your belly relax. Repeat breathing at a quicker pace then you normally would, about the rate you would breath at during a slow jog.
4. As you breath try to keep your inhales and exhales equal length.
5. Continue for 50 breaths (if you can) and then let your breathing return to normal. If you begin to feel dizzy stop your practice otherwise after breathing normally for a few breaths complete another 50 repititions.
6. Sit for two minutes after you've finished with your eyes closed just feeling your breath in your body.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I didn't do it, God did it!

I was flipping through the yoga teacher blog and I followed Kaisha's link to an article about Sharon Stone's comment on the Earthquake in China, and how it was their karma for suppressing Tibet. The article was pointing out that Sharon had made the common mistake of confusing Karma with Poetic Justice. It was really interesting to me how this article pointed out the common mistake of taking bad things that happen to people and just saying "Oh well, they deserved it." There are two faults to this logic. 1: This implies that there is only one factor influencing one thing at a time. This ignores the obvious truth that life is not a controlled science experiment but a multi-faceted experience, and to say that this action in the sole cause of that outcome takes us back to our childhood days where touching a hot kettle equaled getting burned. I mean I think that was the last time things were ever that simple. 2: This kind of logic still implies there is some over-lording higher power which hands down punishment for bad behaviour. Which is ironic considering the idea of karma is shared by the Buddhist religion which has no God like this in it's practice. And even if karma was decided by a God why would we think that his punishments are so simple as you do a bad thing you'll get slapped. Ya, we're totally twisting the karma thing.
Which of course got me thinking because how many times has bad stuff happened to me and I've gone and said "Oh I deserved that for doing this or that before." See same thought pattern- Bad stuff happening to me is just my punishment for my previous actions. So I thought I should read into the karma things some more. Swami J to the rescue (This guy's got all my answers)...
After reading his article on karma I remembered how in teacher training we were always told Karma simple means action. An idea that is brought up parallel to this is the concept of Samskaras which is a word for the deep impressions in our subconscious. In yoga our actions or karma is caused by our Samskaras, whether they are good or bad. And then when we have karmic actions we create more Samskaras which further affect which actions we take in a vicious loop. These Samskaras can be created in many forms, such as in the form of memories or opinions or ideas or preferences and then they are stored in our subconscious where they can influence the choices we make in our lives. So how do we break this loop? By becoming aware of all the the influences these Samskaras have on our actions (Not an easy task). As we begin to do things in our life with out all these Samskaras making our decisions for us our actions become less and less karmic and we become less influenced in return by our karma (be it good or bad). But seeing as this is no easy task until such a time that we can see all our Samskaras influencing us we can try to make choices that are good and kind because at least that way the Samskaras we create in our psych will be positive ones.
I really liked this whole new look at karma because blaming the bad things that happen to me on some karmic retribution of a higher power is just a cheap excuse for me not to be responsible for my actions. No one is out there trying to punish me, but sometimes I subconsciously punish myself when I don't handle bad situations as well as I could.
So there's a little food for thought. Just remember no one has good things happen to them all the time. Everyone has bad stuff happen to them it's just not the same bad stuff that's happening to you and maybe they deal with their stuff differently. You can't choose where an earthquake hits, just how you deal with the aftermath...

Monday, June 2, 2008

One finger at a time...

So my brain is swirling around on the idea of non-attachment (Aparigraha) and I'll get to visit that idea in a couple weeks with my Yama and Niyama practice but it's always an ongoing thought in my head. I gave my two months notice on my apartment because I really can't afford it, but just the same it's hard to let go of a place you like living in as much as I like this one. It's amazing how quickly I (and most other people) get attached to things. And it's not just the apartment, it's all kinds of things. Like the fact that not having my cat if I go to Alberta makes me miss him so much already. Or there's the people in our lives or the activities we like to do. They're all so easy to get attached to, and attachment's such a natural thing for us. It's starts when we're so young. We have our favorite teddy bear or blanket and if anyone tries to take them away we throw a fit.
Yoga tries to teach us that attachment equals suffering. This proves itself to us again and again. As a really simple example think of your favorite TV show, you know the one you come home early once a week to make sure you see. Then one day it's cancelled and you actually miss it, you feel bad because your TV show is gone, now there's a gap in your life and you can feel it. But it was bound to happen, nothing lasts forever and eventually everything ends. I think we assume if we aren't attached to things we won't really enjoy them as much. But everything in life can still be enjoyed even if we're not trying to own them.
And that's really where things get messy. We get attached to something and we build it in to part of ourselves. We make it part of our ego. Like me and my truck. I tell myself I love my truck and my truck makes me who I am. And that's why if something happens to my truck I'm so upset because with out my truck I have this false impression that I've lost some part of myself.
And even though I know how much damage I do to myself by getting attached to things and people, instead of just enjoying the time I have with these things while I have it, I still insist on making them a part of who I am.
But like I said it's human nature to attach to things. So I need to give myself a little forgiveness in that area. I think the best thing is just to become aware of these attachments and try to see how they affect my decisions in my life because it's hard to make the best decisions about things when you're worried about the suffering that will come from losing the things you're attached too.
So my apartment is mine until the end of July and I have time to work on letting go until then.
I can tell there's going to be a lot of that in the upcoming months.