Yoga and the Friendly Skies | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred - Part 2

Archive for May 2010

Yoga and the Friendly Skies

May 16, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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I’m doing something this weekend that I very rarely do– I’m getting on an airplane and flying to Chicago to take part in a family member’s wedding. I say rarely because I last flew nearly three years ago and that seemed like a good place to leave it.  Yet, here I go again, and of course it’s not going easily.

People who fly without the white-knuckled, jaw-clenching anxiety that I endure before flying seem like the bravest, shiniest people in the world to me.  I, in contrast, often feel like Hoggle from Labyrinth as I enter the concourse – shabby, muddy, troll-like, and in need of a place to hide.

In the scramble to soothe my nerves prior to this upcoming trip, I was poring through Bill Moyers’ Healing and the Mind.  In the section Healing from Within, Mr. Moyers interviews Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who specializes in using yoga as a means of stress reduction in his patients.  Dr. Kabat-Zinn says this about the real value of yoga: “If you do this (practice yoga) for any period of time, lo and behold, you’ll find the real value of yoga: to work at your limits non-judgmentally.” Read more »


Living Spiritual Depth with Miranda Macpherson

May 15, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Teachers, Teachings

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June 20-25th join Miranda Macpherson at Esalen Institute for Living Spiritual Depth.

This is Miranda’s most extensive retreat of 2010 and takes place in a beautiful natural environment on the ocean cliffs of the California coast where redwood trees and healing hot springs meet the sea.

As a retreat participant you will join in spiritual community and receive support and guidance in diving beyond habits of suffering to access more of the peace and freedom within. We will also discover how to allow our realizations to take deeper root in our daily life.

Miranda teaches and transmits embodied Self-Inquiry, powerful meditations and devotional practices in a style that is profoundly allowing and real. Additionally, she will share her methods for ongoing practice to support deeper liberation and more substantial access to Grace.

For bookings and further details email programs@esalen.org or visit www.esalen.org.


Power Drinks: Green Smoothies

May 14, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mind Body Spirit, Raw Food

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If you would have told my ten-year-old self that I would one day snack on green smoothies I’d have said “yeah right”. But a few decades later and my taste for health and vitality holds as much decision making power as less noble appetites. In pursuit of a nutritious and balancing way of eating that is also delicious, I’ve fallen in love with green smoothies. Before you too wrinkle your nose and say “yeah right” just give it a try.

Green smoothies are an especially easy and delicious way for women to consume plenty of hormone balancing cruciferous veggies each day. A bunch of kale blended with frozen blueberries, bananas and cacao powder is a treat to sip throughout the morning and by lunch you’ve already had several servings of antioxidant-rich produce without having to chew through a big bowlfull of leaves. Not that salads aren’t a pleasure to eat – but it’s great to mix it up and keep things interesting, especially when a commitment to a new, healthy habit is still setting. Read more »


Being Here

May 13, 2010 By: Sherry Ruth Anderson Category: Aging With Grace and Glory, Sherry Anderson, Teachers

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The only place to start is here, which is to say, in the middle of a life that has no true markers, however much you might try to find or create them.  Here has no need for markers.

It’s a center with no perimeter.  Which is a relief actually—to not have to worry about patting down one’s edges (that are always fraying anyway), or pulling them in or otherwise having to keep track of that fictional construction of I that we’re always fussing with, checking in the mirror to see if it’s still there and how much it has deteriorated since we last looked.

When did I start to notice that all this fussing and checking and tending was such a chore?  I think it happened backwards.  It was after the walls that were keeping here boxed in relaxed themselves, as if the tension that had held their molecules together couldn’t be bothered to get it up anymore.

It wasn’t dramatic.  It was, in fact, a very gradual and tender sort of process.  But at a certain point I noticed that my usual sense of hurtling through the backyards of life on a Bullet Train was gone.  Evaporated.  And here was the only place to be.  I was going to say, The only place I wanted to be, but it wasn’t like that.  It wasn’t a choice.  Here was, and is, what is real and everything else seems to be beside the point.

I hope I’m not driving you crazy with this.  I’m just trying to tell you how it is these days over here in Cronehood or Cronedom or Elderville or whatever you want to call this most interesting time of being alive in my late sixties.  And to explain why the idea of my making a map makes me feel like the handless maiden.  Read more »


Sacred Poetry

May 11, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry, Sacred Art

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By the Time a Woman Ripens

By the time a woman ripens
She’s climbed many a mountain
To get over the hill
And into the promised land.

She’s also fallen off, been thrown off,
Flown off a few jagged cliffs in her time

And has come to know
That it is in the broken bones
And the breaking of her heart
That she has learned to free-fall
Into the satin blackness of Eternity,
Radiant deep peace, the promised land.

You see, if a woman is lucky,
By the time she ripens,
She has joined Inanna, gone down
And been hung out to dry, to fry, to drown.

Some scars you can see with the naked eye.
Others, like the underground belly wounds
You can only sense the fragrance of lotus flowers
Beginning to bloom
In an emerald oasis beyond time.

You see, by the time a woman ripens she is really this:
A skydancer made of dazzling starlight,
A sacred flame made of golden threads,
A wave in the ocean of God
Lapping the shoreline with You.

~ Ahria Wolf

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When the ants come marching in…

May 10, 2010 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit

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Would you let ants hang out in your kitchen?

Assuming your answer is “no”, then why do we let negative thoughts roam around in our precious brains?! And the damage is SO much more detrimental:

  • feeling bad about ourselves
  • imagining all kinds of unfriendly thoughts from people
  • feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty, powerless etc etc etc
  • spending lots of potential fun time on worry, worry and more worry
  • generally missing out on life – how can we be present to enjoy it when we are all lost in our little ant piles?

And it’s a choice! Granted, it doesn’t feel like a choice at this time, but indeed, it is a choice. It is a choice based on awareness, intention and action, all of which comes beautifully to light through the practice of meditation. Read more »


Featured Artist: Deb Scott

May 10, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art

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Spirituality and meditation are an important part of daily living for sacred artist Deb Scott. When working with a design she thinks positive affirmations and blessings while placing elements into the design. Deb’s hope is that the jewelry she creates will bring about feelings of calm, joy and harmony to the person who wears it.

Of her creative process Deb says:

Intuition, visualization and mother earth are primary players in the creation of my designs. The color and shape of the materials I work with seem to speak to me through the depth of color, subtle vibrations and texture of the

material.

There are times when I have a distinct design in mind when creating jewelry, however most of the time I will go into my studio and look through my supplies until something “speaks” to me.

Visit Deb’s page in our Sacred Art Gallery to view more of her lovely designs.

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Yoga and the Power of Breathing

May 09, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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During spring housecleaning this week, I came across notes I had taken during an acting workshop several years ago with a teacher named Carol Fox Prescott. Her approach to acting technique is very much in line with one of the key elements of yoga practice: the practice of breathing. In her work, the connection of one’s actions to the natural rhythms of their breathing is the true fuel for the individual actor’s creativity.

The notes my younger self had made that captured my attention were these: “Breath is power with this work. Using breath to inspire you will create freedom. You can take inspiration from anything, in any position or circumstance. Breath can give you inspiration by allowing you to listen. Take a breath to listen, to regroup.”

Read more »


The Freedom of Mindful Eating

May 07, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Raw Food

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After I read Celedra’s post on her journey toward raw/living foods I began to reflect on what has inspired my own journey toward a decidedly non-Standard American Diet as well as the spiritual aspects of this path.

My parents raised my brother and I vegetarian from birth and we regularly ate things like brown rice and lentils purchased in bulk. Dinner usually included lots of fresh produce cooked into soups, stir-frys and other vegetable-based dishes.

But we also frequently ate dairy products and processed convenience foods (that of course my brother and I begged for). It wasn’t until my late teen years and my deeper intuition began to develop, that I realized how poorly I responded to animal and chemical ingredients on all levels: body, mind and spirit.

Going Raw? Process, Progress and Intuition

Coming to the understanding that my body required a different quality of fuel wasn’t as simple as heeding the warning of physical symptoms because often symptoms could surface many hours or even days after eating the food. Sometimes certain undesirable foods (ice cream!) honestly left me feeling fine yet I knew they didn’t really support the kind of mind-body-spirit health I was after. Read more »


Sacred Poetry

May 06, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry

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Outer Space.
Inner Space.
Possibilities of Space.
In the Metaphor of our Existence,
May We All See the Light
Of Infinite Space.

- Jan West




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