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We're all bowing to something.


We're all bowing to something.
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Whether you call it religion or spirituality, faith or god, work or family, Instagram or video games, we are all giving reverence to something.
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So what do you bow to? Whose "feet" do you kiss? Much of the time our devotion is on autopilot, and calling it devotion might feel weird. But you've got 24 hours in a day. A large part of that your eyes and ears and touch are all focused on certain activities-- deeply entrenched in doing that thing or being the type of person who does that thing. So today take a closer look at what you're bowing towards. Some I'm sure serve you greatly, while others... well, you know. Sometimes it's worth looking at those metaphorical (or literal) feet that you're kissing.
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And perhaps you are bowing to ALL of it! The trash, the trees, the TV, the lover and beloved, the coke cola, the McDonald's and the kale salad, too. See, there's something beautiful about bowing to ALL of it... acknowledging that God or divinity or grace or the universe exists equally in all things. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe there is no god and it's all just science. I have no clue, and despite your beliefs and assurances, you don't either my dear. And that's cool. So I bow to those that I love, and also those that I don't; I bow to the beauty and the disgust; I bow to my teachers and my family and the very ground beneath my feet. Let's make our bowing more intentional... to, at a minimum notice whose/what "feet" we are kissing, and also missing. Sorry. Had to rhyme there.
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So tell me, WHAT are you devoted to now.. and what would you LIKE to be more devoted to moving forward? Go!

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Do not take today lightly!

Do not take today lightly.
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Which is to say, do not miss a moment.
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We each check out in different ways; television, cell phone scrolling, sex, alcohol and drugs, food and EVEN meditation and yoga! I'm not saying don't do these things-- do whatever you like if it brings you peace. But speaking from personal experience, I've tried all of these things to avoid reality, to avoid connecting with people, to avoid heart ache and pain, and moments of just watching grace move a blade of grass or the sun across the horizon.
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I'm tired of checking out. And honestly it feels harder and harder each day to tune in! You can blame government, corporations, snarky advertising techniques, history, yourself or anyone/thing else for why things are as they are today.
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But remember, you have the choice in each moment. It takes getting very still, and clear and present to what is alive--you need to expand your perspective about what is possible, about what you're cable of. But IF you allow yourself, even for a breath to fully, completely, absolutely embody THIS very moment...you have an opportunity of a lifetime to change your mind, and thus your life.
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So I try a little more each day. I put in bits of effort and devotion and presence that add up. I stumble often, fall (get lost in Netflix land or a YouTube hole, or beat myself up about literally everything) and forget often. BUT, I remember to get back up. Not to get stuck in those places that pacify my mind and heart and body. I get back up for you, for me, for all of us. Because we ARE in this together. We've just got a little bit of time to do right by the gift of life that we've so generously been given. My practice is to keep tuning in. So, fall over, accept it, but then get up, begin again.

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Understanding myself


I realize that much of what I write about (aside from being long winded) is what I'm trying to work through to get myself back into alignment and back on "the path"-- to attempt to understand who I am, what is most important, why I keep doing the things I know are not helpful and what the heck we're doing here anyway.
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I try to bring it back to yoga because it's a useful tether to a wisdom tradition to orient all this mind an heart stuff...but often i'm just dancing around in the dark, sharing my own confusion, devotions, questions and curiosities. I really don't know the way, or what "the path" even is. The more i practice yoga, the less I seem to know about anything...and I LOVE that!
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While my ego hopes that at least some of what I share resonates with you, I'm becoming more unattached to what anybody else thinks. I've met and seen enough people and endured my own share of love and loss and doubt and fear and angst that I'm beginning to have some ideas about our collective human experiences from birth to death. I'll never really know what it's like to have lost someone you love deeply, or to experience your feeling of beholding your beloved for the first time, BUT I have had my own loved and losses and I know them well. There's something in our ability to feel that is out of the realm of communication and sharing-- It's so personal and beyond words when it's at it's deepest. So I know these words can only go so far. But I intend to keep speaking as authentically as I can, even if it hurts.
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All this to say, what I share is my projection of reality, it's my own trip--hang ups, curiosities, confusions, blockages and my own work. Thank you for mirroring me, for teaching me, for reminding me to be a student of life. May we continue to get out of the way, out of the mind (when we're not using it)and back into my heart--to the big love, to the heart the the Beloved.

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This, too, shall pass!

This, too, shall pass.
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This timeless reminder that it is all temporary. The light gives way to darkness, the sorrow gives way to joy, this moment to the next.
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There's very little we can say for certain about anything. However, we can trust that this, too, shall pass. The storm, the breath, the sadness, the peace, the heart break, the flutter of fresh love and life. It will pass.
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So when I find myself in both utter dispair or unparalleled joy, I remember: this feeling/moment/experience is only here for a bit; that soon enough, the wave will pass and I'll remember.
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So wherever you are, at this very moment, in your heart and mind stuff, remember, it's only here for a bit. Trust that this, too, shall pass.

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Sometimes in class, when we're (okay, the students) are in a challenging pose, or a core work 'moment,' I'll stop giving cues and just ask, "soooo how was your day?"
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I realize some folks hate this--it pulls them out of the zone, it takes them out of the present moment! And I preach present moment awareness all the time! What is going on? Why, of all things would I ask this question, or whether they're hungry for chocolate cake at such an intense moment?
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Well, there are many reasons, and maybe you have your own, but mine is this: to press pause on the DRAMA!
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You know the drama, right? The on-going, never ending stories we tell? Much of the time it continues through our practice. The dialogue may go something like this: "ah, finally made it to yoga! Finally I can relax from my busy day. Wait who is this teacher? Ugh I want MY teacher! And this music? Fine, whatever just breathe and go with it. Warrior 2... Oh man I'm so bad at this pose. Does the back heel go in our out? Did I put on deodorant? Shit I didn't. I hope my pants aren't see through. Oh yeah, breathe..." Etc, etc.
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Or perhaps you've managed to transcend all that stuff and your mind is clear, breath is always perfectly flowing, and you go from tadasana to savasana without a thought! Congratulations! You're done. You don't need to yoga anymore! πŸ™ŒπŸΎ
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If you're like most of us, the thoughts will still come and go. When I ask this question, my intention is to just briefly remind folks to be here now, by deliberately pulling them out of the swirl of thought, sensation and jaw-clenching intensity. For some people, I'm sure it's sweet and brings them back to the present moment. Others, I'm sure roll their eyes and don't come back. It's okay either way.
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All of this to say, find lightness in your life to soften the hard edges! Laugh at yourself and your absurd ways sometimes! You can take the practice seriously and do real work, and not take YOURSELF so seriously. I believe that in the quest for Enlightenment, or just flexible hips, joy, fun, play and humor is all part of it-- or it at least can be. Anyway, just play with it all. This life is a grand experiment. Begin again

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Thank you for this moment

Thank you for this moment
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Over and over and over and over, until I'm blue in the face, "thank you for this moment."
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Right now may feel like too much, or perhaps not enough...but it's neither. It's just right, because "it is what it is, and it is just that."
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So I trust, despite all my whining, through my existential angst and momentarily discomforts and discontents, that THIS very moment is my most sacred teacher. While my senses and mind may play all sorts of frustrating tricks on me, and mess with my emotional body, I know, deep down, that this, here and now, is complete and perfect. So I "try" to fight it less. I try to go deeper into this present experience, whether it's waiting in traffic, in an argument (with someone, or just a future or past one I'm imagining), or having the time of my life!
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And so I keep returning to thank you. And it's really hard sometimes, especially when my heart aches, or my body is beat, or I'm angry at the world, and dirty corporations, and Trump, and pollution, and global warming, and of course myself. Thank you for all of these teachers. Thank you for helping me look more closely and breathe into it, accept it-- and not in a passive way. If, in this moment there's something that I can do to reduce suffering for another, I'll either do it or realize later I could or maybe should have stepped up. But right now, I do what I can with what I have, and again say thank you for the gift of this life-- beyond the politics, drama (the world's and my own), regret, fear and whatever else is stopping me from feeling deep, deep contentment and even bliss just to be alive. Don't ever forget you are alive. While not everything is in your control (maybe nothing is?), I trust that I can choose how to be in my body, heart and mind. Let's say thank you and begin again. Right here and now. Heart full, breath wide and flowing, and a big stupid grin on our faces-- through ALL of it. I love you.

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We're in the UNIVERSE!

How frequently do you remember that we're journeying through the UNIVERSE?!
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It's mind boggling to even BEGIN to think about the absurdity of what's happening at this very moment if we zoom way out.
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Most of us (myself VERY much included) are so consumed with the day to day stuff of living (the)life, that we normalize the the fact that we're cruising at around 67,000mph around the sun. Like...what?! When I even begin to think about that, or how infinitesimal we are amongst the cosmic soup that is the universe... well, it makes buying groceries, answering emails and even just getting out of bed to go to work or do anything seem absurd. The fact and (relative) reality of our existence floors me. It makes me want to cry. It's beautiful, and awesome, and absurd and jaw-dropping and...words don't do it justice. It makes me smile. It is a reminder that our stuff is so small in the scheme of things. That my own dramas--OUR own dramas, and dreams that indeed feel very real and huge and super important, are just the smallest of splashes in this unthinkably enormous sea of stars, planets, suns and space.
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So when all your own life "stuff" feels overwhelming and jaw-clenching in it's intensity, when the politics and injustices and wars make you want to slam a fist down, remember, you, my dear friend, are on the most Magnificent rollercoaster ride free wheeling through outer space, not so dissimilar to the dudes in Star Trek. Of course, tend to your stuff--CARE about important things and take action. BUT, maintain, or at least try to remember this perspective, and let go of the fruits of your doings and actions and labors. You are one trillionth the size of a grain of sand (ish?? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ) on a beach that is virtually immeasurable in size. And, you can tap on the screen of your iPhone and order pizza, ice cream or your new car in a few seconds. Welcome to space ship earth, where the most absurd and mind boggling things can happen immediately, or arrive via Amazon Prime in about 48 hours. Don't waste another second. Jump in baby, the water is fine! Happy Sunday you crazy alien, you! πŸ‘½πŸ‘ΎπŸ›Έ

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Answer the call

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." - Rumi
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Several years ago I found myself at this odd, but very lucid crossroads in my life. I loved my life and work-- I had fantastic friends, got to work with BOTH of my parents for a company that was helping fight malnutrition in children all around the world, I got to travel, learn new things, meet amazing people, I had health insurance, a steady, generous income and life was pretty comfortable. And... and I had a strange, powerful, aching longing to throw it all away, to alter course, to cast off the bowline from the famililar and cozy life. I wanted adversity and grit and new smells and colors and tastes! So I went to India with zero plan. Having had recently finished my first yoga training, I felt ready (πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ) to go off and teach the practice as I traveled. And I did. And it felt right. I was humbled and pushed everyday. I realized how important physicality, wisdom, devotion, play and hyper-sweet chai was to me--I found a buried connection to a spirit I previously "didn't believe in." I found my calling! Yoga keeps rolling out this red carpet, pushing me deeper into life in all the right ways, asking me to love harder, forgive, breathe more deeply, and say hell yes to right now-- to begin again and again.
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The call was so strong-- it IS so strong, and I feel grateful that my friends, family and teachers have trusted and supported me as I continue to leap and skip and also stumble along the unknown dirt covered path. And everyday I wake up trusting this leap-- this intuition, allowing myself to be "silently drawn" by the callings of my heart, still always ready to begin anew. Allow yourself to be taken by what is most alive deep inside your heart. Do not waste time acting small or settling for what you know is not YOU. When it's time, take the leap. Follow your bliss..answer the call!

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And just like that, he found joy in the most insignificant and silly of moments.


And just like that, he found joy in the most insignificant and silly of moments.
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It's right there, lurking behind boredom. It's dancing in the shadows of fear. It has a second cousin once removed, called angst. It's best friend, however, is presence.
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And in this presence--that is ripe as the sweetest, most precious of peaches (think James & The Giant one), he saw through it all; the illusion of separation, the smokey clouds of addictions and distractions and indecision and drama and consumption and corrupt politicians and and and everything that wasn't absolutely Truth. When he polished the mirror just a little bit, he saw what had always been there --HERE, right under all of our noses. This very moment contains the seeds of every birth and death, of an atom and an astroid belt. The Magnificent Universe is constantly putting herself on display for us to witness in all her sweet and furious glory. And if THAT everything-ness doesn't make you smile just a little bit, if it doesn't remind you of the grace and glory that is RIGHT before you, well, I'm not sure what will. Money and fame are temporary. Your beauty will fade. Your things will crumble. Your people will pass. Happiness is fleeting. But this, all of it in the now, as complete as it ever has been and ever could be...this is IT. This remembering is a constant opportunity to step into the river of joy. So dive right in!

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Do you float and flow through life?


Do you float and flow through life, or do you find yourself trudging through thick, sticky mud?
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Some of y'all I'm sure are just flowing-- you move through sweet and challenging moments and days and years so gracefully. Other folks, I suspect, really struggle through the whole ride; the world and your days feel like a battle, the traumas and obstacles and pain so bad that each day feels like a chore.
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Though, my guess (and i may be very wrong) is that the majority of people have, at times, felt both ways! One day, or week (or even years) feel easy and sweet: love, money, experiences, wisdom and happiness feel abundant and close. Then, the next day (or week, month, year-- or just moment), it all falls apart; our partner cheats on us, our crypto currency tanks, the weather is shit, we forget our grace and life feels just.. Blah.
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So... what?
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Yoga is one tool that has helped me more regularly return to that sense of flow, or "float" as this photo seems to say. And It doesn't always work. I could do hours of yoga asana, sit and meditate or chant for an entire day, and STILL my heart many ache like hell! But I'll tell you what: yoga gives me a home base to keep returning. It gives me this enormous, ancient set of tools and techniques and practices that have been passed along to help us come back. I have this glorious breath as a constant reminder.
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And when yoga fails to help me find my way back home into the "flowing river," I always will remember that this too shall pass. It puts my moments, and the moments of my country and politics and the whole world in perspective. It reminds me that this sweet or bitter is fleeting. It reminds me that my days and these breaths are limited and to trust that it's only here for a little while. So flow, and also fall. You'll keep coming back and falling over and getting back up and falling over until you'll fallen over for the last time. Enjoy the ride, and find some tools that help you dance a little more gracefully and deliberately though both the flowing sweet river, and the sticky icky muck!

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When the wind blows...

When the wind blows, listen and feel. When the sky rains, look up and allow yourself to be soaked to the bone. When the "breath" arrives and comes in (whatever it may be), welcome it, as if a friend who you've been aching to see. When the "breath" goes out, trust that it's time, and softly, kindly, slowly let it go.
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The "dance" that is your day-- this day, in fact-- is a "micro-dose" of the dance of your entire life. I don't know about you, but I forget that all the time. Even more, the experience of a one hour yoga class or meditation can be a training ground or a science laboratory to pick apart and study the road from birth to death! It sounds sort of silly, but really consider the ride you're on--where you've been and where you THINK you're going.
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Each day we start with some state of mind. Our consciousness is either contracting for expanding, retreating back to what is safe and familiar, or venturing out (or in!) Into the unknown and perhaps unknowable. You'll dance with judgment (anyone??), shame, guilt, anger, loneliness, indecision, fear, joy, elation, bordeom, strength, surrender and so many more-- ALL (sometimes) in a single day...or even just 5 minutes.
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So step into all of it. Use your yoga mat, your family/friends/lovers/strangers and your close observations of yourself in the space of a day. Where does your mind take you? Where do your legs take you? And your heart? Allow yourself to be guided by what is absolutely Truthful--authentically and unabashedly YOU! Let the fluctuations of your mind and heart be okay, lovingly guiding yourself again and again back to now. Just notice. How do these habits of mind seemingly roll on, from day to day. Use today to notice some of your deeply rooted "stuff." It's hard, but begin to dig and dig and dig and excavate all that muck that needs to surface. When you're all done, congratulations. You're there.

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Just relax already.

Just relax already.
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I know, I know...there's no time to relax. There's too much work, needy kids and partners, things to learn, complete and accomplish. There's literally ZERO time to just do this ☝️
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I get that. I have a pile of books that keep growing, waiting to be read. I've got too many emails and messages waiting for me to respond to, the thought of going to the gym nagging at me and all sorts of work and commitments that are always quietly tapping me on the shoulder to acknowledge them. And sometimes I do...but I really like when I don't! When and where can you blow off a couple things that are maybe not essential right now? Where can you steal 10 or 30 or 60 minutes in your day just to BE?
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Every so often (and it's happening more and more) I give myself the gift of just relaxing..I give myself the treat that is time to just do a whole lot of nothing! I set down all the stuff that I've been lugging around in my literal bag, and also the "bag" that is my heart and mind and body. I put my body in a bed, or on a bench or a beach or a park or a sauna or anywhere else that feels kind of stress-less, and just lay there for a bit. I leave my phone in my pocket, I don't even pull out a book or an iThingie. I just soak in the sky and the birds or the bricks next to me. I let myself ponder the nature and grace of God in everything within and without of my awareness, even though it feels like a philosopher's koan, or a rich man's luxury. I let my heart and mind and soul dance freely, without getting caught in too many earthly things. I deliberately relax all my muscles -- from my feet to my jaw, and take a few big sighs. I tell myself I have nowhere to go, and nothing to do (even if, in the back of my mind, I know I sort of do). I just give my nerves a rest for a bit to enjoy the immense and absurd nature of this crazy life/reality thing I've so generously been given.
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So, would you take a little chill pill sometime today? Even 5 minutes can be just what you needed. It's medicine, and it's completely and absolutely free!

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Open up to the many possibilities of your life.

Open up to the many possibilities of your life.
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Our days and breathes are limited, and you only have a certain number left. So just remember that if you want to -- if there's an itch in your heart that craves to do something different, well, then, you simply must!
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Life is too short for all the "shoulds" (except, perhaps, you really should brush your teeth, wear sunscreen and also seatbelts!). I was fortunate enough to learn early on several things in work and relationship that didn't work for my personality, constitution, or even my Scorpio nature if you want to get all astrological. I decided to really listen. My gut and heart yelled at me, and for some time I didn't answer the call. I was blinded by paychecks, beautiful partners that I knew deep down would never last, friendships that made me feel small or not enough or just not me. There came a time (and it continues to come) when I was ready to follow my heart. To shake off fear and doubt and just trust that I couldn't mess up--even if it felt like an enormous mess up in the moment (and it sure has!).
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The important thing is to get really honest with yourself. Ask yourself: do I enjoy how I spend my days? Do I really truly like this person, or is spending time with them just what I've done in the past? How can I move just a little bit out of the thinking analyzing mind, into the honest, and truthful heart? How can I be more receptive to the infinite possibilities of my life???
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And yeah it's hard. But making these shifts will be the most important thing that you do. And you'll know that it's time when it's time. Just quit burying it already--for everyone's sake, and take the first step of owning the truth of the thing. Then, as gracefully as you can, do that really hard thing that you keep shying away from but know that you must do. You dig? .
What have you been pondering doing/changing in your life that you've been putting off?

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Everything is just what it is

"Everything is just what it is. It can be as light or as heavy as you make it moment to moment. We get to choose each moment and how we want to live in it. How do you want it? It's the biggest deal of all, and yet it's not a big deal. It's just life and death." -Bhagavan Das
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And this makes me think of a line from a poem that I love: "... It was what it was, and it is just that." We add the window dressing of happy/sad/frustrated/angry/like/dislike, etc. But the moment just IS! Those thoughts and feelings, however real to you, are not part of the thing or event itself. How we respond is up to us. All the things will happen. You're going to die, as will your people and pets and plants. But you don't need to carry that weight around. You can, of course, if you want to... many of us create our ironclad identities around the stuff of how we respond/react to the things that happen to us or others. But just remember that your thoughts and the story you tell yourself is ultimately up to you. The event doesn't have to be as heavy, or as light as you initially make it out to be. It's hard to change our mind-- to alter our perception of how we view an event or circumstance. But this is the great work, challenge and indeed opportunity of our lives. I choose to view events and circumstances through a certain lens. Each day, each moment you choose how to see reality. Choose wisely. ❀️

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happy" ... It's fleeting..

happy" ... It's fleeting.
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It comes and goes with the tide. Contentment, however, can last. It's an "okayness" which is always available. Even for a moment, we CAN set down our stories, our angers, our guilts, our shames, our self-hatred, our 'not enoughs.' It's very hard, but I think, even for just a few breaths, whatever is happening out there, I can soften my mind around it and just say, well, this may not be good or great-- in fact, it feels quite shitty and difficult...but it's okay. And in that space I can find peace.
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So quit chasing happiness. I know it's been ingrained in us for many years, but I think it's misguided. You'll catch it and lose it again just as quickly. Try, for a week perhaps (and then a lifetime), striving for deep contentment in your life, with your days. Will you try it?

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Whenever you're down...

Whenever you're down, whenever you are sad or scared, lonely or lost, unsure or uninspired, whenever you're stuck in your head creating (or tapping through IG) stories that are not real or your own, pause. Just stop.
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Look up from whatever you're doing (namely looking down), take a deep breath in--and then a little more, and slowly, completely exhale. For an extra moment dwell on this empty space. Soften into it. And then come back in to remembering--recognize you're grace.
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You have been blessed with a human life. You've been given at least a couple limbs to move around, a few senses to take in your environment. You've been given food and water and some sort of shelter for many years. You're on this incredible and diverse rock that contains multitudes. You've got this amazing brain that thinks that we're beginning to sort of understand, and a consciousness that is mostly a giant mystery. You are breathing and heart beating among billions of other human beings, and trillions of other creatures on a journey through the universe! You've been given all these wondrous things to help you survive and widen your aperture of awareness a little more. Watch a branch rustle in the wind, or a child squeal with glee, or the sun dance on a crystal, or a puppy just looking so immensely cute. You're IT. You don't need to do or be anything more. You are plenty.
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Now, if you'd like, return to those previous sticky emotions and mental swirl. Return to what was holding you back and felt so yuck and wrong and painful and distracting. I hope it doesn't feel quite as strong. That you've remembered, even for a breath, that you are absolutely Divine and part of a magic beyond anyone's comprehension. You can always come back into remembering.

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" A feather on the breath of God."

" A feather on the breath of God." -Hildegard of Bingen
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The sufis say that there are three journeys: the journey from God, the journey to God and the journey IN God.
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The journey from God is the journey of forgetfulness. We get caught in the stuff of life--in the millions of things that pull us away from what is true and real and important and beyond our momentary personal dramas. Most of us are stuck in the stuff of life.
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And then, perhaps, there's a moment of waking up. Sometimes it happens in tragedy, other times it shows up as a present, or a slap or making love, or in a quote you read, or a thing you see. It--this remembrance often arrives at the most perfect time, and often in the most uncomfortable or alternately loving of ways.
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The question is whether we actually listen to that calling -- whether we follow IT or ignore it, yet again. So this becomes the journey TO God. We shift into a place of listening, and moving closer to the Divine where the many becomes an interconnected One.
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And so the journey IN God is a life of service. It's seeing God in all. It is following the Divine will of your life, and not just our addictions and habits, compulsions and fears. It is the absolute commitment and dedication of living a life of Love--of just getting out of the way.
Hold whatever religion or faith that speaks to you--thats your outward sharing, but this is about your personal and unique relationship with God.
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God is a tough thing to talk about, isn't it? It --the mere idea of this immensity and abstraction and also just the word scares many of us away. It pulls others into a very specific idea or memory or association. But I like the idea of God as everything-- as my beloved, as beauty and grace and auspiciousness but also of the dirty and profane, as the horrible and terrible -- beyond and also inclusive of everything and absolutely, necessarily unknowable.
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So where do you find yourself in this journey? I'd love to think im dancing IN God. But really i'm usually forgetting, trying my best to come back into remembering.

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You get to be ALIVE today! Don't mess it up!.

You get to be ALIVE today! Don't mess it up!
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This is admittedly advice to myself...as are most of my posts. I forget the profundity of "today" quite often. I forget that waking up relatively healthy (let alone waking up at all) was not guaranteed. I think we're each full of this deep well of wisdom from our experiences and ancestors that just knows when we are off course. Yet when we try to make the changes on ourselves, for ourselves, we stumble and mess up again and again. And yet, when we hear those words from someone else, at just the right time, in just the right way, perhaps it finally hits us, and we pull it together, step back on (or off!) the path... we remember.
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I can't even begin to count the number of days I have been "sleeping" -- numbed out by addiction or distraction or laziness or regret or maybe just fear. We tend to normalize today and our lives, as if it were not something absurdly Magnificent and necessarily Divine and mystical and beyond explanation. It is a privilege to breathe this air today.
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But don't waste today. Maybe tomorrow (if it arrives) you can binge watch Netflix, if you must, but don't squander today. It's a very special day to be alive and breathing this air. I promise not to waste a moment of this day. I'll tune in more completely-- I'll do the hard stuff because it's important. But let's be fully awake, together, to this gift of today. Will you join me?!

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I used to think my job as a yoga teacher was to "make people feel better."

I used to think my job as a yoga teacher was to "make people feel better."
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Quickly I realized this was misguided. I placed myself in the role of "healer," "helper," "fixer," heck, even teacher feels kind of off-- as if I somehow knew better. No, feeling better is YOUR work and practice. But I am no healer, and I can't make you feel better. I can keep opening doors--putting you in difficult situations that challenge you physically, emotionally and spiritually, but YOU do the work. I am just as much a student of yoga and life as you are.
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Trust that I mess up countless times everyday. And I think studentship in this discipline isn't just about getting into crazy contorted shapes: it is about actively looking for our blindspots, telling the truth even when it's hard, doing less harm in all relationships, being kind and compassionate, forgiving, regulating our thoughts. Being a student of life is my work and practice. I happen to use yoga as a framework --as a set of concepts and practices to guide me more gracefully through each day and moment.
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So if and when you feel "better" after a yoga class, don't put that on me. I am not the doer. The teachings arise in many ways and move through each of us. YOU walked through the door. YOU stepped on this path and unrolled your mat. YOU are teaching me how to be a good student. Do not confuse the teacher herself with the seat of the teacher and what that represents. A useful mantra that one of my teachers has shared that I often say to myself before teaching is: "it's not about me." These words remind me to TRY to get out of the way and let yoga be expressed as it has moved from my teachers and their teachers to and through me and my unique experiences.
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ALL this to say: be your own teacher. You do the work. You say yes, or often better, no. Okay? I love you sweet thing.

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PSA To Yoga Teachers

Yoga teachers: When you share the practice, use the fullness of your heart.
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Whether your style is Vinyasa, Yin, Kundalini, Restorative, Ashtanga or Iyengar, share it from the deepest wisdom that you have available. Bring yoga to life, each and every class, not only with your front brain, alignment/sequencing/energetic mind, but also your heart that has loved and lost and is still trying to figure it all out... Show your vulnerability and absolute compassion for those beings in front of you.
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And I know, it's easy to fall back on familiar words, cues, sequences, metaphors, blessings, beginnings and endings. But try to bring your most authentic awareness of yoga and life into every class that you offer. You can still be consistent without going on autopilot.
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I suspect many of you are thinking, "but Peter, dude, I ALREADY do that!" ...to which I would say: Maybe! Just flip the script a little. Because if you teach yoga often--5, 10, 15, 20 times a week, I suspect you get into habits of speech in your classes. It's hard NOT to when we share the practice full time. It can become sort of wrote, and kind of stale.
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So recently I have been trying to dig a little deeper into my "well." I've been hunting for words that feel absolutely alive and authentic and uniquely ME in that very moment. The wisdom has been passed along from my teachers and their teachers, but I'm trying to keep my voice and unique perspective and feelings alive in the room. I'm trying to share the potency of the practice in that very moment I am sharing it--with words that are breathing and seething, right there.
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It's a practice of course. And sometimes I'm not inspired or clear, and I do have words available that are always accessible and fit just right. But I'm trying to make it all just a smidge more alive. Remember that our job and work as students, practitioners and teachers of yoga is to keep refining our craft--to keep studying life THROUGH the lens of yoga. To keep going. Keep digging through the story and words and find our truthful voice. So give it a go, and shake it all up, would ya?

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