Posts tagged ‘grace’

Finding North

The recent celebration of Valentine’s Day put me in mind of some of the sweeties of my past.

In high school, I had a friend who became my boyfriend for a few months in our junior year.  He broke it off after a brief but wonderfully sweet time dating.

His reason he thought we should no longer date was that he felt “like a compass going by another compass” when we were around each other.   At the time, as a sixteen-year old girl, my reaction was–and this is a problem?  I thought it was true love.

He however, even at sixteen or so, had the wisdom to know that you always have to know where north is.  Whatever is happening around us, whatever life brings our way, we have to know where north is, stay with our own center, not be blown off course by the winds of life.

Now, I understand that when you throw a mortgage payment and a child or two and having a career and continuing to learn and grow in life into the mix, two compasses next to each other doesn’t make for a good match.  A spinning compass has a hard time getting the credit card bill paid and putting dinner on the table, much less living life with grace.  Though I love my husband deeply, our lives are complicated enough without that spinning compass feeling that I thought was so great as a teenager.

That I remember Andrew’s words indicates not the depths of my broken heart, as I liked to think at the time, but that some part of me recognized the wisdom they contained.  It took me years–and a few more heartbreaks–to understand them, however.

So, I remembered them again on Valentine’s Day, as I cleaned our bathroom floor, grateful for the all the kinds of love in my life that I give and receive that help to keep me on course, steady, aware–in most moments, if not every one–of where North is.

February 21, 2011 at 6:54 am Leave a comment

Ahimsa

Someone in Vermont has a license plate that reads AHIMSA.  I see it from time to time as I drive around.  I’m always jealous that I was not clever enough to have thought of this idea–what better place to remind people to be nonviolent than in our cars (surely I am not the only one who has cursed at the car in front of me for driving too slowly when I am running late on my way to yoga class!)?

Ahimsa, which is often translated as nonviolence, is one of the yamas, or ethical guidelines, of yoga.  Although they each have a strange-sounding Sanskrit name, they are all principles we’ve heard along the way: to practice gentleness, and truth; to not covet the things or talents of others; to remember that each breath is a blessing.

The yamas are meant to govern our conduct with the world–the rules of the sandbox so that we can all get along with each other–but I’ve found it helpful to also think about how they apply as I interact with myself.

Am I gentle and nonviolent with my body when I come to my yoga practice, when I choose what and how much to eat, and to drink (ahmisa)?  Do I see my reflection in the mirror of truth, or do I allow it to be distorted by my own judgements, and expectations of what I “should” be (satya)?  Do I give myself credit where credit is due, stepping into the bright light of my own goodness (asteya)?  Do I pause to feel the satisfaction with who I am and what I have in life, instead of looking for what’s to come (aparigraha)?  Do I see the spark of the divine within myself, the light that shines out from my own heart–that piece of God within me (brahmacharya)?

In my classes, as in most yoga classes, we “Namaste” each other at the end of the practice.  This simple and beautiful word holds so much meaning–the light of the divine within me, recognizes and honors the light of the divine within you.

When we practice the yamas not only out in the world but also within our own selves, it is as if we are giving ourselves that greeting, Namaste.  I see myself as a spark of the divine.  I honor myself, in all of my grace, in all of my potential, in all of my perfection.

Namaste.

November 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm 2 comments

Grace.

The dog and I are resting on the porch.  She has her nose in the sun and the rest of herself in shade.  I’ve got my legs in the sun.  The rest of me—and this computer screen—are in the shade.

We’ve had four days of my ideal weather.  Hot sun, cool breeze, and nights chilly enough to need a thin wool blanket.  It’s easy for me, on days like this, to feel that life is a blessing, that life is full of grace.  That I am full of grace.  And certainly, of course, the dog is full of grace.

I imagine grace is a quality within our hearts.  It describes the times in life when we feel afraid and do the thing we’re afraid of.  It describes the times in life when we say the perfect thing in a difficult situation, or when we say the wrong thing and forgive ourselves for it.  It describes those days when we feel the sadness in our hearts, and the beauty of the day, and the two can rest there, side by side.

Grace may look like the face of a baby, a well-tended garden, a beautiful loaf of bread.

I taught to the theme of Grace in my yoga classes this week.  One class is a group of friends who meet once a week in the summer to practice.  Some of them are new to yoga, some of them have a steady practice year-round, some come to their mats only when we meet for this class.  They watch, learn from, and help each other with a sense of fun, and kindness, and ease that is a joy to watch.  This is Grace.

Now, can I bring Grace along for the ride when it gets up into the 90’s again, as the weather tells us it will by the end of this weekend?  Blech.  We’ll see.

At least weather in the 90’s is perfect for wearing an uppup tank.  Check them out at http://shop.uppupyoga.com/.  They make a great gift if you know any yogis with a summertime birthday!

Have a grace-filled week.  Thanks for visiting.

Sometimes Grace looks like Luna, resting on the porch.

July 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm 4 comments


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