December 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
In the midst of the desert in Israel sits a mountain out of legends. Masada, the site of a notorious example of human nature in the face of death. And of course it’s a tourist site like you’ve never seen. The flat top of the mountain is home to rather humble ancient ruins, yet every day before dawn and from then thereafter, busloads of tourists flock to the foot of the mountain, to travel up in the cable car, climb up the stairs, or go the “dangerous” route of the snake path.
The truth is, the place should have some kind of deathly terrible air about it, because of the mass death that took place on the mountaintop in the name of never surrendering, yet the energy is entirely different. It pulsates with pure, raw energy. In fact, there’s nothing fearful or deathly or even particularly joyous and uplifting-it simply exists, and is so stolid in its existence that its mountainous energy radiates and vibrates at such a powerful frequency that it is impossible to resist.
I’ve been to the mountain twice. The first time, I went for an extremely common tourist occasion in Israel (a beautiful one, nonetheless)- watching the sun rise from the mountaintop. We climbed up the safe stairs because it was already too hot in Israel in the middle of the desert for us to take a long hike, but we made it to the top, and our tour guide played The Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” as the sky began to lighten across the horizon and light began to peel through the darkness, identifying the difference between earth and water and sky. The peace and stillness of watching a sunrise, even in the midst of one of the most tempestuous nations on earth, knowing that this same sun is rising all over the middle east and has risen around the world and will continue to touch every other single living being on earth, is experiencing the truth of living, and I was struck breathless with the knowledge that we all share in this same light as I watched the fiery ball crawl higher and higher into the ether over the Jordan River and the land beyond.
The second time I made it to Masada, I decided I needed to hike up the trail, because, like, no big deal, right? Isn’t that what all the tourists do? So of course I can, right?
Except for my fear of heights and my fear of myself sometimes. So halfway up a steep and snaky, stony path, I froze, clinging to the side of the mountain, fearful of the next step I would take, certain of breaking an ankle or at the very least, falling (oh how terrible). And I froze. And I froze. I shook, I giggled nervously, my breathing was coming to me in ragged gasps. And of course, never missing an opportunity to self-abuse, I reflected on how many other, probably less healthy people had made this same trek, and how stupid I was for A) being arrogant enough to think I could do it and B) being scared enough to keep myself from going. And as I sat there, pondering my options, I had to remind myself no one was going to come for me. No one was going to carry me, no magical hero on a horse (or gladiator on strong legs) was going to come out of the rocks and lift me to safety. And then there was the matter of being halfway up already anyway- there I’d still have to walk all the way back down.
SO I just kept going. And going. And going.
And there, in the midst of a moment I entirely dismissed, was the moment of self-discovery, the first time I ever contacted the inner wellspring of strength that I’d never known myself to possess. I found it when I surrendered to the knowledge that I had to be reliant on myself, and that the only true option was simply to continue onward.
December 28, 2011 § Leave a Comment
May I find a way to understand what “compassion” truly means.
May I find a way to learn how to dissolve the unhealthy attatchments and walls I’ve created in my life. May I find a way to be strong enough to face the things I don’t like about myself with a kind and loving heart. May I find a way to be accepting of these things, and be wise enough to understand that letting go and forgetting are not the same thing, and that healing requires care and devotion, not further aggravation.
May I find peace in chaos and peace in stillness. May I learn from pain. May I share my blessings with those around me. May I always, always, always remain absolutely thankful, because I truly have so much to be thankful for and so little to be disappointed about, if anything at all.
May I be willing to look past my ignorance and fear to be able to truly connect with the people and the world around me. May I be accepting of the fact that ignorance and fear are natural patterns developed over a lifetime and that they need to be unlearned rather than brushed aside.
May I stop judging myself for my shortcomings, even when I judge myself for my shortcomings.
May all that I do contribute to the happiness of all other beings. May all living creatures be happy and free. May all beings find peace. May all beings bask in the brilliant light in which we all share.
December 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
Good morning friends!
I woke up to an email from a fellow yogi in Spain, Wari, who was in New York over October photographing the yogis of New York City for a project in conjunction with Yoga Journal. In that email was a link to the following video, a really beautiful compilation of the yoga community in New York City and how we navigate and adapt to the concrete environment.
I was lucky to meet him because I was fortuate to be asked to join the incredible Shiva Rea in a photo shoot in Central Park one morning. You can actually spot me twice in this video, too, but seriously, watch this! I’m so blessed to be in New York where I can study with all of these incredible people!
December 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Aaaaaaaaaand it’s December 1st. Cool. I’ve had an INSANE year and the other day I was checking out ElephantJournal and noticed this kinda cool writing project about to kick off that totally fit what I was looking to do. So I’m Reverbing in December.
REVERB IS A MEANS OF REFLECTION ON THE YEAR THAT HAS PASSED AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THE COMING YEAR. IT PROVIDES US WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE LIFE AND MOURN LOSSES TOGETHER.
Hosted by Yoga Freedom, thirty one prompts will be posted for thirty one days of writing. I’ll try to do them all, no promises. If you’re interested, get in!
Anyway- being that it’s December 1st, I guess I should get started.
December 1 – Palabra (Word)
Encapsulate your 2011 in one word. Why that word? What would you like your word to be for 2012? Why?
Ouch, really? The first prompt of a writing project is to pick only one word? I’m not a fan of this prompt, because I am so overtly verbal, with no shame, that I don’t know if I can really just pick one. And besides, you pick one word, then have to explain it, so is that really just one?
Fine. I have to “define” this year – I have just one word. Evolutionary. I am somewhere I could have never predicted eleven months ago, not even the slightest. So many massive, explosive changes in my life, I literally feel like I’ve erupted into a newer, higher, more adept and adapted version of myself. Maybe that’s part of moving out of the uncertainty of being immediately post-college and understanding that life goes on, regardless of occupation or definition, and when the definition no longer fits, it will only be a short time until a new one comes along to uphold the need for identification.
From unemployed, uninspired, unmotivated, to full-time Pilates instructor, fully devoted yogi, and early morning meditator. Really? I like this me. Looking forward to the changes and evolutions of 2012.