Wise Little One
By Laura Mills
I turned around at the sink and locked eyes with my two-year-old. She sat straight up at the kitchen table, pointing to my empty chair, glaring at me. It was one of those mornings where I had hustled her out of bed and down to breakfast, my plan being to grocery shop and run a few additional errands and then make it home in time to take advantage of her naptime window. I had eaten my breakfast and now, while she scooped the last pieces of cereal up from her bowl, buzzed around the kitchen washing dirty dishes and sorting clean ones.
That morning she had told me to sit a few times before, but not quite so emphatically. Each previous time I had answered her with something like, “I can’t right now, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen.” This time, though, I just stopped. Manners, Honey. We don’t talk to other people like that, I thought, and the words were nearly on my lips when I stopped again….
How many times while teaching yoga had I instructed my students to slow down, to pause, to just breathe? How many times had I preached that what seems important in a frazzled moment may not really matter? How many times had I reminded my students to cherish the blessings of everyday life, to tune in to what’s right in front of them, to remember the spaces between the lines on their to-do lists?
Holding my daughter’s eyes another moment, now I took a deep breath. I took my teacup from the counter, pulled out my chair, and sat next to her at the table. She held her sippy cup out to me, and I clinked my teacup against it in salute. Never having trained to teach yoga, never having even attended one yoga class…she still knew, still possessed the inherent wisdom I had lost with the years.
“You’re right, Honey,” I said. “Thank you for reminding me.”
DOING NOTHING IS ENOUGH IL BEL FAI NIENTE
March 29, 2011. The practice of yoga is not about doing more or asserting more effort it is actually an experience where we try to make the smartest least effort or effortless effort. There is this space in a pose where we find that sweet space of "doing nothing." That is something I know well from my Father who was born in Italy and the Italian people have a deep respect for the philosophy of enjoyment. This is the idea of IL BEL FAI NIENTE which means "the beauty of doing nothing." Remember this passage from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love "Generally speaking, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. Of course we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure.) Americans don't really know how to do nothing. But against the backdrop of hard work, il bel fai niente, has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this."
"My own ambition, my deepest and truest ambition, is to find within myself someday, somehow, the ability to do likewise, to do NOTHING - and find it enough." Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Another way I personally experience this doing of nothing is going to Moab. Utah. When I am there I understand what Edward Abbey is writing about since that is where he wrote the book Desert Solitaire. There is a quiet in the desert unlike anything I have found elsewhere in the world. And the joy of mountain biking or practicing yoga there feels so in the flow of this effortless effort that you come away from any excursion with more energy and calm. I can't wait to return April 16-19 to introduce a new tribe to the beauty of Il Bel Fait Niente! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
*To join us in April or in October in Moab visit www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com or facebook Alchemy Tours
BE A DREAMER
January 1, 2011 Yesterday I posted my last blog of 2010. I have included it at the bottom of this final newsletter of the year in hopes it inspires your own dreams. And really that is my invitation to you: "dream a dream with me." Time on the mat helps us stay connected to what inspires us. So here are some of my favorite quotes from a book given to me by my sweet friend Anne titled Dream by Susan Bosak. May they connect you to spirit so you can awaken your greatest dreams ever in 2011!
Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
"Whoever would one day learn to fly must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." - Nietzsche
"The Possible's slow fuse is lit by the Imagination." - Emily Dickinson
"A hundred million miracles are happening every day." - Oscar Hammerstein
"The difficulty in life is the choice." - George Moore
"Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes
"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity." - Marie Curie
New Years Day Schedule:
5am-7am Sadhana Kundalini (FREE)
10am Level 1 with Wendy
11:30am Level 1-2 with Wendy
1:30pm Restorative Yoga with Samantha
PS - Join me January 14-15 Living Your Yoga Workshops
December 31, 2010 Blog by Silvia Mordini: Adventure, Remembrance, Victory!
As I reflect on this past year, which was one of intense personal change one of the things I am most proud of is making a pilgrimage to Moab, Utah twice. Both times to help nourish my spirit and connect to the quiet sense of adventure that exists for all that visit Moab. For a while I forgot what it was like to make adventure. This was the year I remembered again.
And that is really at the heart of yoga. This practice helps us remember to remember. We all sometimes experience spiritual amnesia. Getting on the mat is that reminder of celebrating life and enjoying this time in this body on this earth right now.
Edward Abbey writes in one of my favorite books about Moab titled Desert Solitaire "Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
I will never again put my heart in a safe deposit box, I'd rather take chances in love, in life, in traveling and even in my poses so I can be a more active participant in driving my best life forward rather than sitting in the backseat waiting for it to happen. I will until my last breath run and cycle and yoga and explore and discover the small victories that exist in taking pleasure in life! And I hope if you have learned anything from your yoga that you will find this true for yourself as well. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Happy New Year, Silvia
PS Join me on an adventure with Alchemy Tours www.alchemytours.com or visit my website to keep up with upcoming retreats www.silviamordini.com
HUGGING AND INTENTION
December 10, 2010. As you breath and enjoy this holiday season make time to set an expectation for your life this next year. Are you on the right path so far? And whatever you decide just know we are all evolving in the direction of happiness. It is our right. Freedom and the pursuit of happiness is your destiny! It is like what’s written in the Alchemist,“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” And when you need time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go get on the mat where you’ll always discover you have the power, the heart and the energy to achieve anything you want!
This is what we mean by hugging in. This practice of yoga helps us practice strengthening our connection to what we want and who we really are as authentic human beings. And just like a hug between two people takes trust, so does meeting yourself and making the healthy decisions that will propel your life forward. Love yourself, love the day, love your life! Silvia
Visit my website to learn more about my retreats classes and workshops www.silviamordini.com www.alchemytours.com
THERE IS NO FAKING IT
November 25, 2010.
Beautiful Namaste Friends,
I learned early on in my yoga practice that you have to decide whether you want to go about faking your life or whether you really want to live Your life FULL BLAST. A Yoga teacher friend said to me "REMEMBER TO HOLD THIS TRUTH: YOU CAN NOT FAKE PRANA, FAUX PRANA IS VANITY WHICH LEADS TO INSANITY."
Either you are breathing for real with total consciousness, or you are trying to fake it, doing your life (even your breath) based on what it looks like to other people. So look for all the ways you are faking your life: do you dress differently from how you want to; do you fake your talk; do you fake the music you tell people you like; do you fake your political opinions; do you fake your love, in yoga class do you fake savasana (final relaxation)? I can tell you from personal experience that it's not worth it. Pretending to live life will lead to insanity because it is not natural. Remember you can only ever be the 2nd best at trying to be someone else; you are always #1 being YOU.
Either you are kind, loving, real or you're not. You can't fake it. So today stop faking it with your friends, family, colleagues. And you'll find your truth. Folks ask me "how can you do that pose" like the one pictured above and I tell them the answer is I'm just being me full hearted, open and real and then all of the poses are yours to experience as you. The poses are like truth serum, the body never fakes it. The heart always knows!
Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
**For active life coaching join me and Alchemy Tours on retreat. Make the change to be YOU in 2011, no more waiting, no more faking it. Visit www.alchemytours.com or my personal website www.silviamordini.com
LET'S STICK TOGETHER NO PUSHING OR PULLING
Happy Day Friends!
So thankful for all of you who shared your practice with me this morning and can't wait to see you Friday 9:15am Level 1-2 and 6pm Level 1; Saturday 9:15am Basics or Sunday 7:45a Level 1-2 before my flow takes me to Europe and back.
The meditation in my heart is about why some pull or push in life when the experience of just "being" is so much easier. And so I went back to the source, before I learned about the yoga sutras, I learned really great rules about not pushing or pulling in Kindergarten. I share these inspiring words from Robert Fulghum and hope you can join me for loving, easeful practices where we do it together because really "when we go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together." Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia (Hey don't forget to friend me on facebook, like me under Alchemy Tours or Alchemy of Yoga)
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:
- Share everything.
- Play fair.
- Don't hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don't take things that aren't yours.
- Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
- Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
[Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]
www.alchemytours.com and www.alchemyofyoga.com
OCTOBER 22, 2010.
A quick summary of the highlights about Pushing and Pulling, Dvesa and Raga. Take to heart the words of Judith Lasater who writes, “in life we are pulled between trying to get what you want and trying to avoid what you don’t want. Pulling and Pushing away both limit our freedom.” What is freedom? To me is about learning to BE. The aspiration is towards beingness.
Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 7
Excessive fondness for pleasant experiences causes longing. Attachment (Raga) which is PULLING
Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 8
Excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences causes disdain. Aversion (Dvesa) which is PUSHING
On and off the mat we can be aware of what we are thinking:
Where are your thoughts PUSH energy. Push thoughts are things like “I don’t want to hold this pose, I don’t want to try this new or difficult variation”.
Where are your thoughts PULL energy. And pull thoughts might be things like “I want another Sun Salutation, I should be able to do 35 vinyasas per class no matter what. Bring on side 2, I'll take it on.”
And the way this travels with you into your life is how you treat your family, your friends, you partner.
Every time you push your partner, he or she must pull back, and the pressure is now on them to not only react to your pushing, but to do so with accuracy, without overcompensating for the initial push, in order to come back into balance. Think if you just stopped pushing or pulling at your partner how the beingness would be so much easier.
Peace out, Silvia
FEARING NOTHING DURGA BABY!
NOVEMBER 20, 2009: I know this much, Life is a celebration and it is our responsibility to enjoy it to its fullest! But I also know to enjoy life you must renounce your fear and anxiety. I spent a good portion of time being terribly afraid (afraid of not being perfect, afraid of what others might think, afraid of failing, afraid someone I loved would leave me if I didn’t do my life right according to them, afraid perhaps of really being fully happy, afraid of being myself). I don’t want that for you. I really don’t. Life is happening right now so stop waiting, stop wasting time, stop being afraid of living it on your terms because life is already here.
Next month I am learning how to surf. I have been doing my homework, reading up, talking to everyone I know that has surfed, watching DVD’s. It both energizes me and sometimes I get a little nervous. However because I feel free in my choices I am not frightened. In February I went skiing for the first time in ages and here at the end of the year I am again in water…why not? These are my soft spots. (Stay tuned next I go rock climbing!)
Rinpoche talked about how we all have a soft spot and that fear and fear like responses such as worry or resentment occur because we are trying to cover up that soft spot. We tend to hurry past pain but this hurrying causes more tension instead of healing. If we spend more time with what we fear we can look into that pain and release some of the tension. We practice vinyasa flow and enjoy the repetition to feel relationship between poses, we feel power of flow, becoming more confident, growing more fearless. Use this to heal and release fear.
When folks ask me how did I get past a way of fearful living I tell them I practiced a ton of yoga. I came to the mat, going upside down, trying holding a pose into sensation like bending my knee deeper in Warriors or balancing on one leg and by facing me fear on the mat I then was able to recognize that fear off the mat and do something about it. The Buddha says, if a person is struck by an arrow and is in a lot of pain there is that but what if a 2nd arrow hit the person in the same spot the pain would be 100 times more intense because he/she was already wounded. If you recognize pain and fear or worry then you can help STOP another arrow of fear or worry hitting you in that same spot.
The time on the mat helps me to prevent the 2nd arrow. I have slowly grown more confident and now I “practice with elegance and openness so as to open the body in a resplendent expression of my hearts inner luminosity.” You see you guys when we cultivate fearlessness we experience our hearts as more open. I also repeat this mantra to myself
I AM FREE
I AM NOT FRIGHTENED
I AM NOT HUMILITATED BY GUILT OR WORRY
I AM IN LOVE WITH THE MY LIFE!
So may we use today to notice our lives right now, facing them as they are, learning how to stop avoiding ourselves but instead BEING OURSELVES. This may be the most courageous challenge we can possible accept. Free yourself, be your own knight in shining armor. You need not be afraid of anything. Love and light, Silvia
TRUE SELF IS OUR BEST SELF
OCTOBER 23, 2009: It is a Spiritual Truth that TRUE HAPPINESS REQUIRES HONEST SELF-REFLECTION. THE MORE HONEST YOU ARE WITH YOURSELF, THE GREATER HAPPINESS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE. So let’s start by simply blessing ourselves for being present enough to give thanks for the opportunity to be ourselves. Enjoy these words of John O’Donohue.
I give thanks for arriving
Safely to a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life
I often say in class the hardest pose we do is being ourselves. The body does not lie so in a pose on the mat its just us, we have no one to point fingers at we can’t make excuses there is nowhere to run. We have to come home to our lives in that moment. And whether its hard or easy is irrelevant. The greater purpose is through the breathing and postures are you learning how to be honest with what you are feeling instead of denying it. The sooner we are courageous enough to be our TRUE SELVES then this inherently is being our BEST SELVES. And the more we are ourselves the greater happiness we will experience. Start today, love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
A great exercise I offer you from Robert Holden who wrote Be Happy is this:
- Self-Awareness. You will always feel like something is missing, you will always feel inadequate until you learn to know yourself better. Life isn’t about getting more it is about being more of who you really are. Authenticity is the perfect antidote to split desires and to negative comparison. And the more real you are with yourself, the more you will realize what you really want. This is important because as Eric Hoofer put it “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
- Self-Acceptance. For as long as you do not accept yourself, you will always want more than you have. If you will not accept that happiness is your true nature, you will search for happiness for the rest of your days. And if by chance you discover some happiness, you will not let yourself enjoy it unless you have learned to accept yourself. The fact is, more of anything or everything will not be enough until you choose to be happy.
- Self-Accountability. If you think something is missing from your life, it is probably you. The idea that something is missing in your life, in your relationships, in your work is a projection. This projection is based on the fact that you are not fully present. True happiness requires you to participate fully in your life now. Do a self-inventory based on three questions: 1.) What am I not being? 2.) What am I not giving? 3.) What am I not receiving?
THE HARDEST YOGA: BEING YOURSELF
JANUARY 7TH, 2009: The hardest pose we do is being ourselves. So we started practice with partner shoulder openers but swapped out 3-4 times so we could get the feeling of as Jon Kabat Zinn says, “Wherever you go, there you are.” We had to be nothing but ourselves with each different partner. So right now as you read this, close your eyes and turn inside. Breath in a way that feels like you today. Begin to see how during this week you have been true to yourself, reflect on how many times you have chosen to act in a way that serves you fully.
In the Bhagavad Ghita, Chapter 3 it talks about being AUTHENTIC: “It is better to fail at yourself than it is to succeed at being someone else.” It is essential to our health and well-being not to live our lives according to the outline demanded by other people (even those that love us) but to make our OWN opinion the most important. I know this. I lived for a long time worried more about what other people thought, what looked good, how to appear successful than actually living my own life. Now I lost time but I don’t want you to. When you come to the mat, whatever you are feeling as Benjamin Disraeli says, “Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. “
Own your truth, embrace your funkiness, fly your freak flag this year! We have been given the gift of life the only real tragedy would be not to life in a way that enhances our spirit or stays true to our dreams. Take to heart the words of William Shakespeare who wrote: “Learning to trust ourselves is a worthy practice, the practice of authenticity. This is the work of aligning the standards we have for ourselves with our deepest passions and dreams. It’s the work of making promises to ourselves and keeping them. It’s the work of knowing who we are without judgment.”
Ultimately, the more each of us practices being ourselves the more we give permission to everyone else to just be themselves too. So I make that promise to you, I will be me more than ever before and I hope that let’s each of you know that it’s more than ok for you to show up and just BE YOU! With hands up in the air, JAI! Love, Silvia