Password: Effort Ease
By Laura Mills
Technology-loving friends chuckle at my techno-phobia. I present a classic case: I understand next to nothing about finer online search strategies and the fancy ins-and-outs of social networking. I longingly remember my box of cherished cassette tapes whenever I attempt to download a new song. As time has passed I’ve found myself farther behind, and I’ve struggled with balancing adaptation to technology with acceptance of my jitters. On one hand I want to keep up with the world, but on the other I’m frustrated that as soon I acclimate to one technological marvel a new, more advanced one appears. (As I type this, my computer is downloading automatic updates and my security software is scanning. Yikes!)
Happily, though, I find encouragement in the yogic idea of combining effort with ease. On our mats as well as off, we are called to find the point at which we have strength and softness, the place at which we can strive as well as let go. The gurus teach us to breathe through sensations until we reach our edge, but then we relax and open to the reality of what exists for us in the pose—or, off our mats, the reality of what exists for us in the circumstance. Easier said than done, I know, but we learn from our yoga practices with time. And with time, just like in our yoga practices, we travel deeper.
We already know the way.
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
11 WAYS TO SAY YES IN 2011!
JANUARY 31, 2011. MORE YES! Here we are in the beginning of the year. Eleven months more to go which means there is still plenty of time to set the foundation of YES in your life in 2011. Let's start by saying YES to a little quiz. First question to ask yourself is (1) are you conscious and alert to your Yes choices? (2) Do you say Yes more than you say No? (3) What do you say YES to?
In Tantric philosophy we start with "yes". It is our first choice. We say yes to opening, softening, receiving and lay the way in understanding that YES IS DOING! Or as is written in the Alchemist, "There is only one way to learn, it's through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey." You see Yoga is learning to align with nature rather than resisting it or trying to over control it by saying No all the time. This spiritual practice is about saying YES as the immediate response to life. Wayne Gretzky is so right on "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Yes means taking the chance, risking it all for love, for a happier life, for a happier YOU. Will you get hurt? Maybe. Is it worth it? YES! So join me in aligning 11 INTENTIONS to 2011, in these eleven remaining months of the year.
So here are 11 things to say YES to in 2011
- Yoga, Cycling, Culture and Wine in Tuscany, Italy June 19-26, 2011 or October 16-22, 2011
- 10 minutes of meditation 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening
- Practicing patience with the one person you love
- Walk or ride a bike for 15 min a day
- Yoga, Mountain Biking and Adventure in Moab, Utah April 16-19, 2011 or Oct 27-30, 2011
- Take a Private Yoga Session
- Taking a few deep breaths before sending an email, text, or phone call. What is your intention for communication and does it come from love?
- Start reading the Yoga Sutras (Secret Power of Yoga is one of my favorites!)
- Get some Beach Therapy. Yoga in Xinalani Mexico Feb 26-March 5, 2011 or Big Island Hawaii Dec 18-23, 2011
- Practice gratitude daily. Write or think of 3 things you are grateful for each morning or before bed.
- SMILE more!
Take to heart that doing something is the Yes. And when you decide you are clear on what you say YES to, then everything is there to support you. It is as is written in the Alchemist "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." At the end of the day what you say YES to isn't even as important as just doing it! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
PS - Join me on retreat www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
WHAT DO YOU SAY YES TO?
NOVEMBER 20, 2010. What do you say YES to? Are you conscious and alert to your Yes choices? Do you say Yes more than you say No? Or do you just pick the stuff that is the most convenient?
We are in many ways organisms of convenience so what Pema Chodran writes hits home, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
"There is only one way to learn," the alchemist answered. "It's through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey." (The Alchemist To Santiago.) In Tantric philosophy we start with "yes". It is our first response. We say yes to opening, softening, receiving and...
YES IS DOING!
Take to heart this blessing: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky is so right on. Doing something is the Yes. And when you decide you are clear on what you say YES to, then everything is there to support you. It is as is written in the Alchemist "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." At the end of the day what you say YES to isn't even as important as just doing something, saying YES is your commitment to living the moment full blast! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
Join me on retreat www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
LIVING LIFE WITH THE BRAKES ON WHERE ARE YOU RESISTANT
OCTOBER 1, 2010
The resistance to the disturbance IS THE disturbance. ~ Siddiqui Ray
We all have that feeling of living inside a snow globe and having it shaken up resulting in utter chaos, stuff flying everywhere! Yeah. That happens. Yoga philosophy helps us to see that the stuff flying around is not the problem. The resistance to the disturbance IS THE disturbance. We may not be able to control situations or people but we are responsible for how we think about the situation, person or thing. And if our minds choose to fight which is resistance then we are in effect creating the disturbance. Does that make sense?
So how do we know if we are resisting life? Just ask yourself a real, simple question: “Are you happier today than you were yesterday, last week, last month?” Well, are you? And if you're not then you are producing resistance in your life because the Yoga Sutras say that our lives are constantly evolving towards greater experiences of happiness (if we get out of our own way). Let me put it like this. In Seattle in August I was driving my best friends stick shift Element on hilly, steep streets. I was so afraid at times I was going to roll backwards into the person behind me that once I got going I'd be driving around wondering why I wasn't going faster or smoother and then realize I was driving with my brakes on. (Ok don't tell him ok?)
But the question of resistance is one of whether or not WE ARE LIVING LIFE WITH OUR BRAKES ON. I know at times I have found this to be the case for me. Instead of a full blast effort something less because of fear, worry about what others might think or some other equally old story. And then this practice of yoga wakes me up and I realize that I am holding back and only making it harder. At that point everything changes and the flow returns and I feel grace carrying me once more on her easy current rather than fighting my way upstream. So today, take a good look at yourself, where are you living with the brakes on? And get out of your own way and try easier. It is what you think about your life that either creates the disturbance or lets you move forward gently. Love yourself, Love your day, Love your life! Silvia
The resistance to the disturbance IS THE disturbance. ~ Siddiqui Ray
*Spaces still left for Moab Nov 4-7, $250 OFF, hope you can join me and Alchemy Tours now or on one of our 10 retreats next year! Friend us on facebook and learn more.
RELAXING OUR EFFORT: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JULY 24TH, 2009:
Relaxing effort and fixing the mind on the infinite (asana is perfected). Yoga Sutras 2.47
To me this sutra is about how we relate to the questions and answers seeking in our lives. In class it is that opportunity to stop working so hard at finding answers for life (why things happened in the past as well as reassurances for what is going tO happen in the future) and just be in a state of now. Some psychologists call this “easy speed” This is that place of just pure awareness of the questions of our lives instead of the constant striving for the answers. This is the advanced practice.
A right effort an effective effort and why the poses need not be exotic to effective. I want the poses to be familiar enough that we can find the ease and all the technique becomes effortless so we can be here right now on all levels (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual). So let the poses be the questions, be the breath and unite your focus to breath and move. This then allows us to love the questions as poet Maria Rilke says in her poem:
From "Letters to a Young Poet" by Maria Rilke
I want to beg of you much as I can to be patient
toward all that's unsolved in your heart,
and learn to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms, or like books that are
written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you,
because you would not be able to live them,
and the point is to live everything.
Live the question now,
perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.
When we find this infinite state then the unknown becomes less scary. We are in the isness of now (as Eckhart Tolle puts it so well). So let yourself feel your emotions around the unknown. Remember all of us are wondering about the future (it’s a trick and delusion of the human psyche). The thing is none of us know the outcome of any given day, the future is an illusion. Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious…” The way to avoid suffering is to learn to be present in the isness and be less afraid of the unknown so we can relax our effort and simply enjoy being here and seeing what is real and beautiful! I love you all, Silvia
A Meditation on Letting Go
If you let go a little
You will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot
You will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely
You will be free.
I meditate often on the words of Danna Faulds, She writes, “Let go of the ways you though life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations — Let it go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith: the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.”
I thought for a long time that Spiritual Seeking meant looking for answers. It does not. It is the experience of life that fulfills the spiritual seekers mission. That experience of the unfolding. On the mat we put this into practice time and again. Each day so different, no reason to be upset with what we can do with our bodies today that is different than yesterday – there is likely exact explanation anyway. Instead enjoy the experience of your soul self as you are. Let that be enough. Love in all ways, Silvia
PS When you forget just say this mantra to yourself:
I won’t wear my effort on my face
I don’t let my effort overwhelm my breath
I pace myself to enjoy my life
PATIENCE AND COURAGE: EFFORT & EASE
FEBRUARY 26TH, 2008:
DECEMBER 17TH 2008: Weird but sometimes we overwhelm ourselves on purpose. I don't understand it, especially the "on purpose" part but I've done it too. In my life this has led to illness, to a diminishing of my spirit and a general malaise where I was just "getting through it".
We can use the practice of yoga to really be kind to ourselves. To TRY LESS.
Now that might seem like apathy but it is not at all. Yoga is wise energy management. So consider where in your life you are trying too hard and leaking energy, depleting yourself, now ask yourself the same thing in a pose. The key here is the idea of being in the pose. For it is not about getting into and out of the pose but the pose CHANGE YOU while you are in it. This is where you get to try less and soften the edges.
As you know I love the Thesaurus and I looked up the word TRY. It said Struggle, Strive, Attempt. So today go easy on yourself STRUGGLE LESS, STRIVE LESS, ATTEMPT LESS AND ENJOY MORE! Another way of seeing trying less is as a means to fight less, to meet challenges not with fists raised armor on quills raised but meet lifes challenges as they are in a more peaceful way, arms down.
Swami Satchidananda says, Look within, if you don't see the peace inside you you won't be able to see the peace outside. You have to have that peaceful vision because it is you who sees the world outside." So try less, receive more, fight less, relax more. Thinking of you, Silvia
TOPIC: PACING OURSELVES TO ENJOY LIFE MORE!
Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to this when he writes "In the West we are very goal oriented. We know where we want to go and we are very directed in getting there. This may be useful, but often we forget to enjoy ourselves along the route."
His words remind us that LIFE IS NOT A RACE. We don't have to RUSH on the mat or off the mat. A pacing that allows us to savor life lets us be more fully present. We don't want to go at such a break neck speed that everything is a blur. We are in charge of our lives so we can choose to live making an easy EFFORT, that means without strain. You too can work in a way so you can LIVE more fully! So today keep these powerful Mantras handy and repeat them to yourself as needed:
I won’t wear my effort on my face
I don’t let my effort overwhelm my breath
I pace myself to enjoy my life practice