November 11, 2013

I found this image online today.  I am reminded  that Veterans Day is tomorrow, November 11.  This day always comes out of the blue, kind of sneaks up on me.  Some friends have the day off, others are working.  I’m working.  I feel a little sad that there isn’t more happening to honor the men and women that serve and have served our country.  Perhaps those events are just not on my radar screen.  The bigger question is, even if they were top of mind for me, would they be a priority?

What I am reminded of today is that one of my brothers is a veteran and one is active duty.  Every time they have been deployed overseas there is a tangible constriction in our family.  We’re all so very proud of their commitment and desire to serve to protect our freedom, and at the same time, scared of what that commitment really means.  That they are willing to risk their lives to preserve ours.  The depth of my love for my brothers and their fellow service members also cultivates a deep respect and knowing that it’s my job to make the most of this freedom they work so hard to defend.

So, what does freedom mean?  What is Veteran’s Day about?  Here’s what some quick and dirty online research revealed:

Freedom:  The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.  The quality or state of being free: as. a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.

Purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a cease fire was proclaimed. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Excerpt from the proclamation declaring 11/11 as Veteran’s Day: ”Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and…”

What shall we do with this freedom?  As Moshe Dayan states, “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul”.  Today of all days honor and nurture what feels right in your soul.  Today, I will call my brothers and share my gratitude.  I will grant myself freedom from negative thinking and speaking.  I will see previous limitations as opportunities for growth and discovery…even if just for one day.

How will you exercise your freedom muscle?
 

 

A Complaint Free World

Today marks Day 1 of my attempt at 21 days of no complaining.  I achieved this 3 years ago as a part of a yoga program and am motivated to revisit the experience. This week I began to notice a low level irritation that plagued my thoughts, my interactions, and fueled a stinginess in the way I share and show love.  If you need to jump start your heart circuitry check out acomplaintfreeworld.org and join me on this journey.

My plan:
place a rubberband on my wrist

every time I complain, i snap the band, and switch it to the other wrist

return to day 1

My mantra:

I am kind, I am compassionate, I am grace.

Join me?  What else will you be doing?

Vision for A Complaint Free World:

We envision a positive shift in our world’s consciousness.

We see a day when people focus on and speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are.

We will  provide Complaint Free purple bracelets and inspiration such that 60 million people (1% of the world’s population) leave the toxic communication of complaining behind and experience an internal shift toward being more positive, hopeful and optimistic.

Every day, people interact with dozens if not hundreds of others.  Our helping shift the attitudes of as little as 1% of humanity cannot help but have a ripple effect which will become a cascade of positivity around the world bringing about greater harmony, understanding, prosperity and peace.

It starts with you.

 

Today, this inspires me:

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” 
 - Theodore Roosevelt
DO something, anything, or as NIKE would say, “Just Do It”.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, the trap of mediocrity, of being “fine”.  A favorite teacher of mine believes FINE is an acronym for “Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional”.  Stop being fine and start being fantastic.  Nature reveals many examples of the art of doing.  Seasons change, ocean waves roll in and out, seeds get planted and gardens grow and produce.
DO one thing today that shakes you up, that gets you out of your habits and routine, that just might move you from “fine” to “fabulous”!  Drive a new route to work, order a different coffee, go for a walk on your lunch break, jump in the crunchy fall leaf pile, eat dessert for dinner – go crazy!

Does being gluten-free make you more loving? read on…

Thank you Mastin Kipp for reminding me to have patience with all of my dairy, gluten, meat-free, lululemon loving friends….
How will you share your LOVE today?
MASTIN’SDAILYDOWNLOAD 

You got your green juice.

You got your lululemon.

You got your gluten free yummies and your raw delights.

Maybe you’ve even got your down dog perfected and haven’t had dairy in a while.

But here’s my question: how loving are you, really?

I’ve always said that I’d rather hang out with an atheist meat eating truck driver than the passive aggressive judgmental vegan yoga teacher any day.

You know who I’m talking about.

Spirituality isn’t about what you wear. It’s not about who your guru is. It’s not about your food allergies or your candida cleanse.

Spirituality is simply a measure of how loving you are.

Plain and simple.

Sure, I like green juice as much as the next seeker, but no amount of alkalinity will be enough for me to act in a loving way.

If you want to see who you really are in this moment, watch your words and actions.

Are you living with an open heart? Or are you closing down and holding on to certainty so much that you judge others who aren’t exactly like you?

Are you hiding behind that lululemon logo with a pretend smile that everything is all good, or are you letting yourself fall to pieces because right now, you just don’t know what’s going to happen next?

No amount of stuff can replace not feeling your feelings. No amount of spiritual garb will make you loving.

It’s a choice, in each and every moment, to stretch beyond what you thought was possible and dive deep into the priceless and vulnerable space of your own heart.

Can you let your ego die and let go of the need to be right instead of trying to keep up with the illusion of perfection?

I have nothing against gluten free alkaline yoga bliss – I love all these things and practice them myself.

But regardless – the same question remains whether vegan, allergic to dairy or not – are you Loving or are you not? Is your heart open or is it not…

And if not – why not?

The answer to that question is where the real work is.

What’s your answer?

The Universe…

I have a 50+ year old friend riding her bicycle from Canada to Mexico.  This inspires me.  What she emailed today, inspires me more.

Here it is for you to ponder…

“if one can really spend a day along the ave of the giants with the towering redwoods and honestly just feeling nothing, absolutely nothing -

then i suppose one might really be an atheist

for me, the “giants” have always been sacred ground

my eyes are drawn upward – nature is all but screaming at me to do so 

look up, up!
 
the thunderhead clouds in Washington State had the same effect….the clouds were SO powerful, massive and omnipresent during the storms

nature forces our eyes UP at times, i see others doing the same

and i, for one, wonder about the possibility of other dimensions….. “
Thanks Nancy.

I think we had our first fight…

Last year I had a yoga student approach me after a class and say,”You don’t know this, but we just had our first fight.”  Her tone of voice was serious, the expression on her face was intense, and then she just lit up.  She said she hated me and loved me all at once.  At the time, I had no response.  I just listened and smiled and knew instinctively that this exchange really wasn’t a bad thing.  As luck would have it, a friend, fellow teacher and student, approached me with something similar last week.  Click this link to read what Father Brian has to say about the subject.

While hearing and reading this feedback is unsettling at first, what I’m reminded of is that the peaks and valleys of yoga, life, and relationships is what makes life beautiful.  Anything that I’ve had to work hard for has always been worth it.  And now, after “we” have our first fight, I feel alive and confident that we’re only more connected.  Love rules.

Through the eyes of the Maasai…

Read this article from the New York Times this morning:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/travel/through-the-eyes-of-the-maasai.html?pagewanted=all 

Thank you Michael Benanav.  It brought me right back to my own experience.  The Maasai village, the people and the culture are so authentically described.  I hope it sparks something in you as you read.  If so, ask me about coming to South Africa in 2015!

Enjoy these photos from my own trip.

Jumping Maasai

Jumping Maasai

IMG_2252 IMG_2208

Kenya Reflections

My favorite questions upon returning home from Kenya:

Q1. Student: Did Africa live up to your expecatations?

Me: No, it exceeded them beyond my wildest dreams.

 

Q2. Student: Who inspired you the most?

Me: There’s a long list of new friends that inspire me.  Top of the list are Phillip and Jackson.  Two Masaai warriors and yoga teachers that I met on my second day in Nairobi.  They joined us at the airport for what would be their first time in an airplane (they are both in their 30’s).  They exhibited such confidence, ease and wonder.  Embodying what it means to gracefully step out of the comfort zone.  I intend to move through my own challenges more like the both of them and to be present for more “firsts” in my life.

 

Q3. Student: Has anyone pointed out the obvious to you?

Me: No?

Student: Now you know why Africa is shaped like a heart.

Me: Ahhhh.  Yes, yes I do.  There are no words to describe the feeling I now carry.

Africa Outtakes!

  • Millipedes are everywhere, I mean everywhere.
  • Monkeys are cute and not friendly.
  • Africa is shocking: Our cuticles were stinging when we washed our hands in the sink.  We asked the hotel and they said it was because of the salt in the water.  After four days of this, we inquired again.  Turns out, there was an electrical current running through the water!  Yes, we continued shocking ourselves for four days!
  • People in Africa have the world’s biggest and most genuine smiles.
  • My friend Kerry saying, ”We are going to look for Lions!” Me, “What?!”

Want to hear more about it and come back to Africa with me in 2015?  Stay tuned…

Africa Photos

Lions!

Lions!

 

Big boy!

Big boy!

 

A bit too close!

A bit too close!

 

Elephants!

Elephants!

 

me and the rhino!

me and the rhino!

 

Rhino up close

Rhino up close

 

Distant Giraffe

Distant Giraffe

So, lots of you have been asking about photos….here they are so far.  I took over 700 shots.  Hopefully some of them capture the beauty and wonder and freedom that is Africa.

Enjoy.

Love these trees

Love these trees

Hippos

Hippos

Pile of hippos

Pile of hippos

Distant Masaai

Distant Masaai

Zebra Day 1

Zebra Day 1

Buffalo Day 1

Buffalo Day 1

Ngerende Airstrip in Masaai Mara

Ngerende Airstrip in Masaai Mara

Tami coming off our little plane

Tami coming off our little plane

7.10.13

Favorite Quotes from Today:

“When you are addicted to being right, you lose out on the possibility of being astonished.  When being right is more important than anything else, you lose all power.” – Baron Baptiste

“Would you rather be right or be happy?” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I am so conditioned to think in “right” and “wrong” terms.  Today, I give up being right.