By Laura Mills
In the process of organizing recent vacation photos, I revisited and fondly remembered each moment. But of course, regardless of the feelings generated by the photos, my actual experience on the trip was far more spectacular. No matter how hard we try to capture our experiences on film, I don’t believe any photo is ever totally accurate. A stunning vista may awe and a world-famous site may impress, but as soon as we lift our cameras to our eyes we separate ourselves from the moment. Clicking the shutter captures merely a two-dimensional view; later, when we review the photo, something’s missing. What would happen if we put down the camera and experienced the world with our senses, as we were meant to experience it, in real time right in front of us as it happens?
On a day-to-day basis, yoga helps us put down our mental cameras, the ones through which we analyze days gone by and attempt to compose “perfect” snapshots. We’ve all heard it said that dwelling in the past removes us from the present; speaking for myself, I wonder how different my life would be if I always lived it looking forward, without reviewing the mental snapshots I’ve taken all along….
Maybe it’s time to close the album, once and for all, and keep my eyes directed in front of me.
I'm not a Barista
By Laura Mills
Weekends I frequently find my husband and me at a coffee shop, where one of my favorite drinks to order is a latte. This past weekend, though, on a whim, I ordered a cappuccino. Now basically, both drinks include espresso and steamed milk; the only major difference as far as I know is that a cappuccino includes a foam cap while a latte doesn't. The drinks may be served or presented differently, depending on the restaurant or venue, but once a customer sips past the top of the mug the basic beverages taste more or less the same.
What I find interesting here is that merely the addition of that foam cap is enough to create a completely different menu item with a whole new identity. I'm guessing baristas will tell you some customers only ever order lattes and some only ever order cappuccinos; is it truly because theyíre particular about the presence or absence of foam? Why else might a customer prefer one over the other?
Speaking for myself, I realized this weekend that I've usually ordered lattes simply because it's what I've always done. I actually enjoy cappuccinos just as much. It's a small realization, yes, but still a clue that maybe I should take time to look past something's name and the top of my cup at all the wonderful stuff that's really out there.
TRUST AND SURRENDER AS SPIRITUAL ALCHEMY
March 11, 2011. There is this spiritual alchemy where we move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outside us.
Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural spiritual alchemy when we practice ishvara pranidhana.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredents are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. For me the hardest practice is wanting to rewrite the past instead of just letting it go. I waste time wishing things had been different which pulls me out of the present. And when we are not living in the present there is No trust for other people or the universal energies that support us. This really messes with my people relationships and so I come to the mat to get beyond this.
"Sometimes in order to be happy in the present moment you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past."
Can we practice our life in a way that if something doesn’t work out the way you want it to we don’t fall apart? Can you endeavor to life your best life without attachment to the outcome but instead a trust for what is? Or as Judith Lasater puts it, “The best practice is that that asks us to believe without proof of the future, without confirmation that the outcome will be what we want it to be. It just is, it is a state of being. A place of being present and allowing the next thing to unfold. Yoga teaches us that place of not knowing.”
This is the idea that we can practice experiencing each moment not needing it to be different but to trust what is unfolding and enjoying it fully in that state of trusting a greater energy, Ishvara Pranidhana. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
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LETTING GO TO CREATE SPACE FOR BEST LIFE
September 25, 2010. Vairagya is the sanskrit for letting go. Or relinquishing attachment to what actions we've already taken directly or indirectly. It is by letting go of the past that we create space for right now our our future intentions. This time of year is an excellent reminder because nature shows us that everything changes and comes to its natural end. The leaves are falling, nights are getting longer, days shorter. It is a unique time where we look back at the year and recognize all that we got done and all that we didn't and have to decide what we want to let go of.
I was speaking to a friend who is moving and since I did so in June she asked my advice how to prepare. I advised (1) pack the things you absolutely love and want to take with you first in your best boxes and (2) choose those things that you know won't serve you in your next home and let them go (don't deliberate, just decide with heart). Try not to grip at all of it for that will make the process more difficult and by releasing some things you create space for what you really want that fits your situation today.
This is an art form. This is yoga, knowing your heart well enough to choose wisely.
This practices goes on to challenge us to let go of the emotions associated with those things that didn't go the way you wanted them to. As Teitur says, all my mistakes have become masterpieces. Everything actually becomes the fertilizer for your best life. Instead of replaying old stories or reacting to past issues find a way to let go of attachment and create the space for your best life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
LOSING THE PAST OPENS THE FUTURE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2010.
Losing the Past Opens the Future. It is such a simple statement and rolls up yogic philosophy so easily....and yet not always that easy to put into practice. Our humanness boasts to us in little mental self talk that of course we can rewrite the past! Why wouldn't we be able to? But we intellectually know we cannot. And until we surrender to our own letting go known as vairagya we cannot fully welcome the best future of ourselves.
The past and the future energies cannot fully occupy the same exact space. How or what happened yesterday is done. All we have now is this moment and the intentions for the next moments. Replaying things past only clutters our minds, leaks our energies and prevents us from engaging life right now. Through physical practice we let go of the old stories stored in the tissues of hurts, frustrations, disappointments and clear the way for our best experiences. And yoga works all day long mentally and emotionally to help remind us to lose the past, whether pleasant or unpleasant, so the world opens us up to the most magnificent future.
it is up to us not to hold ourselves back, to not remain stuck, but to create the space by letting go that opens the future.
I work on this everyday and I've experienced amazing results. it is still often very hard and sometimes easier but nevertheless always really powerful in letting grace and love flow towards my open heart. I wish for all us to find the courage to lose the past, and open to your future. Your best life. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS If you feel like you would benefit from more dedicated time to do the serious work of letting go then join me on an upcoming yoga retreat in Moab, Italy, Oregon, California, Colorado, and more! www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
SPRING INTO NEW BEGINNINGS
MARCH 22, 2010
March 20th was Spring Equinox, and we know intellectually this means that the shadow of Winter moves on. But still that lingering bit of heaviness continues to remain, we are still wearing all our layers of warm clothing and you can feel the tiredness in the air. We have had a 2009 that was colder than usual, a lost summer and finding the getty up and go this Jan/Feb/Mar may have seemed insurmountable because of the record breaking number of grey days. So let's acknowledge the darkness and see it as the fertilizer making our souls more fertile for the new beginnings of Spring. We only make a new beginning by acknowledging the endings in our life.
Often/sometimes/who am I kidding most always challenge rides along side positive change (paraphrased from Sadie Nardini). Instead of denying we still feel a bit peaked let's stoke our fire gently. Think about how you want to share in the new beginnings of Spring. Do you want to see your life from a new perspective? Do you want to make a fresh start of things?
On the mat we practice in waves that each have a beginning, middle and end to feel this natural cycle. For many of us endings are harder than beginnings. Or maybe you think they're both hard. I get that. We have even in each breath a CLEAN SLATE to breath in fresh air and rejuvenation. And yet so often our human tendancy is to RECREATE THE PAST (breathing in an old way, thinking in old paradigms, living the old stories). Just know you don't have to.
To begin again, to start afresh isn't always popular. As you change your energy impacts those around you and if they are resistant they may not see you as the superstar you are. This doesn't mean we have to keep doing what everyone else is doing and letting your life decisions be made by default. That way of life is staying in the Dark. It is living life unconsciously. Let go of making the opinions of others more important than your own. You're never going to get everyone to agree on how you should live your life anyway.
I didn't transition into teaching yoga to be popular or to be controversial, I simply taught because doing so brought me into full alignment with living a more loving life. When I made this new beginning one Spring many years ago I certainly was going against the grain of popular opinion (why leave a highly paying, glamourous corporate job with international travel for less money, less time, less travel?) But I had to follow the light and make my own choice. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. And eventually friends/family who really love you for you will appreciate any new beginning you wish to make.
Know this, when you come to TBY, we come together in Satsang (community) that is like minded. You will be with other people who want to make richer discoveries into who they are and through this self-discovery make more conscious choices. And that is the well-spring of all new beginnings! Love your life don't wait. Peace out, Silvia
TAKE TURNS WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
MARCH 9, 2010: So I read this great article abou Gary Lauder's clever idea to reduce traffic accidents: a traffic sign that says "Take Turns". I love this. It's solo yogic! It's simple, cheap, smart and kind. And if 50% of traffic accidents happen at intersections it could save lives. The yogi in me takes this suggestion and applies it to our emotions. So imagine you approach the intersection of your emotions (just like you would in your car) and you look around and politely allow the emotion you are feeling to cross over. Then the next emotion takes its turn quite politely. Splendid!
Yet as human beings we often push back our feelings creating in the flow of our lives a flood at some point of pent of emotions. Or we deny what we are feeling trying to run away from it. Neither of these works. When we allow our feelings to take turns we are really CARING FOR OUR FEELINGS. As Rumi writes; "It's good to leave each day behind, life flowing water, Yesterday is gone and it's tale told. Today new seeds are growing."
This is really getting to the heart of a Tantric practice which encourages us to embrace all of who we are. The sadness and the joy, the tiredness and the vigor, the fear and the love. This is a nondualistic approach to see that there is not a winner/loser or bad/good that we don't have to battle our emotions, thoughts or feelings any longer. Running away from what we feel will only prolong it. And all of our feelings can be put into 3 buckets: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. So as hard as it might be to heal and remain in a state of being healed we are taught through yoga to embrace your feelings, care for them.
A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let's say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness "breathe - I am taking care of you now." Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go. Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one. Take one at a time and stay with the flow taking turns. Most importantly know that whatever you're feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself. We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought. We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care for how others feel.
If we can take turns in our emotions we can allow others to feel what they need to feel and take turns appreciating them too for their humanness. Through this we create a more polite world. A world of peace and authenticity. Love yourself, Love your life! Silvia
A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let's say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness "breathe - I am taking care of you now." Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go. Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one. Take one at a time and stay with the flow taking turns.
Most importantly know that whatever you're feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself. We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought. We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care for how others feel.