Mantra for March
By Laura Mills
Gloves, hats, and scarves in March? Maybe…but so late in March? With spring’s arrival, spring break approaching, and Passover and Easter right around the corner, the extra-frosty air and brutal wind seem quite out of place. Sure, we had a stretch of really mild weather back in December when we expected cold…now that the weather is “supposed” to be warming up, though, the cold just doesn’t seem to want to leave.
But yogis, take heart! 2013’s weather so far has much to teach us. The lingering cold invites us to continue our practice beyond our mats, as unexpected challenges like this lead us—if we’re open and accepting—into new ways of approaching life, into places where we need to return to our breath and revisit our intentions. We slow down, look inside ourselves, and observe what’s there at the present moment. Meanwhile, the spring kept at bay invites us to step up our practice of patience. Not the strained patience of a parent or teacher begging Mother Nature to ease up so the kids can play outside, but rather the patience of a seed just under the earth, frozen, dormant, waiting for the perfect moment. This is a patience that reaches deep beyond the choice of how to respond; it reaches into the realm of following nature’s cues, of letting nature lead. To the seed, when it’s time, it’s time.
Remember that, no matter how we perceive our weather and its changes, winter never just gives up and spring never just takes over from there. Instead, winter flows away, and spring flows in. Any given year—when it’s time, it’s time. The planet breathes and moves in a practice all its own; no matter how long it holds any pose, it always encourages us to join in.
By Laura Mills
Even though I enjoy the fall, at this time of year I notice a tremendous decrease in my energy. Yes, I do believe that to feel my best I should attend to nature and follow its cues on cycling with the world around me. However, in spite of this and in spite of my sentiment for fall, I find I hold tightly to summer; among other things, I still eat lots of cold foods and drink many cold beverages, and I don’t always utilize the extent of my fall outerwear. No wonder that this year so far I’ve felt cold and sluggish inside and out. Even though fall is in full swing, I have yet to “change my colors.”
I don’t believe that choosing hot soup for lunch or bundling up to run errands will instantly improve my energy. But I do believe I would benefit if I stopped fighting myself and instead, as nature does with seasonal change, flowed along with it. Am I tired? Then I should breathe and slow down. Am I cold? Then I should change clothes. Am I hungry? Then I should ask myself what my body really wants. And to assist in all these areas, I should re-think my yoga practice. I know I cheat myself on the days I push my cold and tired body through vigorous Vinyasa…I also know I can nurture myself with gentle practices and meditation on the days when energetic asana isn’t the way to go.
I’ve heard it said that much of living involves finding comfort with where we are, not reaching a different place. I believe it, and I'm trying.
As the weather transitions at this time of year, I start to droop much like the potted flowers on my doorstep. I hunch over, cross my arms, bundle up as much as I can, curl up into the smallest space possible at every opportunity, and desire more than anything to stay indoors until the next warm, sunny day.
So when Nature blesses us with that once-in-a-while Golden Day, I rejoice. We've had a few recently: fall days when the sun highlights everything with an extra glow and the slightly-more-comfortable-than-usual air hugs us like an old friend when we step outdoors. They're days when we almost donít mind heading to the yard to rake the lawn. Such days enliven me, and it seems many others, for I truly feel an all-around happy vibe as with sudden enthusiasm I go about my usual activities. I think at some level, on these days most of us feel some sense of having received a special gift.
At least for the time being, which is, I think, the most crucial aspect of Golden Days. Itís what makes them so precious. Like so many wonders in our lives, theyíre here and then gone. Today might be golden, but tomorrow might easily be gray. If we miss our opportunity to relish what Nature gives us at the moment of the gift.
Every day, golden or not, take note of the ìtime beingî and really live it. Never just watch from indoors as it passes.
JOY AND FREEDOM BEAUTY IS EVERYWHERE!
I was at the Chicago Art Institute yesterday and so inspired by the beauty of the art, the people looking at the art, the kindness and respect of folks enjoying this sharing together. Just amazing. But what touched me most was outside the art institute in
No different than invoking “wonder twin powers” to change the form of yourself into something else but in this case the change is mentally how we think about a person, situation or thing. You wave your wand and presto!! The way you think about it changes your response, your emotions and your reality. The sutra reads formally “when understood as illusory (Maya), nature (seen) and her attributes the gunas exist to serve the Divine Self (seer) with both enjoyment and liberation.” Our nature in other words is to be happy. This is our way of being. The illusion is to delude ourselves into believing that we want things to be different all the time and are in this state of stuckness. Nope, no need to preoccupy ourselves like that. Instead be with what is and wave your wand turn all things into joy. Turn some bread and cheese into a party! See that beauty is everywhere inside you, outside you and in all things (difficult or sweet). Love your day! Silvia