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.
DOES WORK INTERFERE WITH YOUR YOGA?
Dear Beautiful Friends,
Why is it so hard to get to yoga class this Fall? No really I'm asking... I've had a harder time than ever building a routine, a regular yoga schedule for myself.
Every day has been so different and unexpected. And if I was really honest with myself the real culprit to consistently getting to group classes is staying at the computer (aka work). Now I had a great summer yoga schedule, really I did! But now? It is all over the board. And doing two classes in one day is no replacement for spreading those out in different days.
Making ourselves a priority is the Yoga of real life. And as a real person first thing I recognize is how much I need yoga. We all need yoga. And the beauty is that it is a practice, we do what we can in any given class and there are never any pre-requisites to be met. Yoga loves us unconditionally. So fire up your Yoga, get the calendar out and make yourself some "yoga dates" and as always I am happy to be your yoga buddy. Invite me along to take a class and I'll be there because I'm first and foremost a student. And if you go I'll go. Heck even Oprah talks about having workout buddies. So why not have a Spiritual Workout Buddy?
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS. And I love learning from all our teachers at TBY!
WHAT COMES NEXT? OPENING TO GRACE & SURRENDER
Monday May 17, 2010, SO WHAT COMES NEXT? I am so inspired by life, my students, my friends to bring the best yoga ever this week! I thought we'd dedicate this week to The Power of Grace and how we can tap into our own inner strength to face the unknown of life. Marianne Williamson says: "When we surrender to (Grace) we surrender to something bigger than ourselves - to a universe that knows what it is doing."
The key words I’m meditating on this week are:
This idea of Opening to Grace is a term often associated with yoga practice. It is a way of living life with an open-hearted attitude of infinite possibility and universal support. A way of seeing the world as being on our side and not against us. I especially like this expression of "Opening to Grace" from Marianne Williamson's book, "A Return to Love".
"To open to Grace is to ask that only loving, helpful thoughts remain in our minds, and all the rest be let go". When we surrender to (Grace) we surrender to something bigger than ourselves - to a universe that knows what it is doing. When we stop trying to control events they fall into a natural order, an order that works. We're at rest while a power much greater than our own takes over, and it does a much better job than we could have done. We learn to trust the power that holds galaxies together can handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives".
So you see this is a yogic paradox, to open and let go all at the same time. But it makes sense, we have to create space for what comes next but none of us knows exactly what that is. We are for sure co-creating with the universe but even with our hand on the tiller going along in our little boat we don’t know what the current of grace has in store for us. It requires a great deal of our own best strength to commit to participating in our lives with both feet in and simply believe that that in if we wake up the dream will be our reality. Or in the words of Krishna Das, “Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. Join me and take that next step into your best life ever! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
YOGAPOOLOZA – THE DASH POEM
JANUARY 26TH, 2010: To learn to be intimately present to oneself is at the heart of yoga for this practice is a study of oneself. Kornfield writes, “to learn intimacy is not an easy thing. Growing up in a culture marked by our wounds and longing it is hard to be present.” This is repeatedly true on a day to day basis. To just stay awake to one’s life and be present is difficult. In this practice we did a million poses just once to see if we could be totally present in that one time shot to the best of ourselves. No repetition, just one time, that’s it. Then on to the next pose. This is the actual pace of life. We don’t get to do any moment over again. We only get once chance to live to our fullest in that singular moment. It is living to our fullest potential that yoga inspires within us. And maybe, just maybe we realize through this practice that life is how we spend our dash. And quite honestly, as the loss of two beautiful yogi friends reminds me….it goes all too fast. So wake up! Create the reality of your life right now and then really enjoy it….love your day, love yourself, love your life! Silvia
Here is the poem given to me by a loving student that I read at the end of class. It is by Linda Ellis, titled THE DASH:
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
RECEIVING: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
OCTOBER 29, 2009: This morning I was having a little talk with myself during morning meditation about giving and receiving. I actually reached out to a dear friend about this topic as it relates to putting on hold things in my life I’ve deferred for a while. As I wrote to her I realized that what I was focusing too much on was what “I don’t want” when as I’ve said to you all many times “stop majoring in minor things” or “stop putting energy into what you don’t want.” Oh yeah, that’s right.
As soon as I realized what I was doing then I felt a total shift in energy. I needed to focus more on RECEIVING. Spiritual maturity has us focus on What We Do Want, not the other way around. So I ask you What Do You Want to Receive in your Life?
I bet if I took a survey of us all asking “are you better at giving or receiving?” Most of us would consider ourselves best at Giving. But hold on there...Are we really that good at giving if we so often don’t make time for our own well-being. We have to learn to be brilliant at giving to ourselves which means we have to allow ourselves to receive. So instead ask yourself, HOW GOOD A RECEIVER ARE YOU? Could you be more open to the opportunities, jobs, people, places you experience? Because the spiritual law is this: when you are more receptive to life itself, the more wonderful your life appears to be (Robert Holden, Be Happy)
What we can do to become better Receivers is as Robert Holden writes:
Give up the struggle; to receive is to be willing to give up all unnecessary struggle
Give up resentment: shift happens when you let go
Give up fear: stop worrying about the unknown
Give up pride: release your ego
This is not asking us to change anything. This is just a simple recognition (like what happened to me this morning). A realization of asking the universe for what we want and that is enough to make us better receivers and welcome all that we desire in our lives! Now may we have the courage to Ask for what we want to receive. Love in all ways, Silvia
PERSPECTIVE: YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU!
OCTOBER 24, 2009: “Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.” (John O’Donohue) What an amazing practice and I thank each of you from 9:15am for your honest beautiful sharing related to how you see the world and what you are grateful for right now. I mentioned how in talking to a friend I had said to them “gosh I am so lucky, then they responded that they felt lucky too. And together we then created this feeling of gratitude for each others friendship. Our perspective was that we were fortunate to know each other in this moment and by recognizing and seeing the other we were both totally present.
This yogic practice discussed in Chapter 2:26 “The means of attaining cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment” challenges each of us to SEE what is HERE right now in front of us and INSIDE us. However, we often go so fast speeding up life or making unimportant things important that we can’t hear the secrets of our own hearts from the inside and as a result are blind the blessings in front of us.
We can even have a perspective of majoring in minor stuff!
When we do this it means we are clinging to a singular view and we end up limiting ourselves from seeing what is before us. Judith Lasater in her book Living Your Yoga says it like this “Enlightenment in fact is nothing more and nothing less than a radical change in perspective. Life will continually challenge us. If we pay attention those challenges can broaden our perspective.” So this means that if our perspective is one where there is only one “right answer” or one singular outcome and then this doesn’t happen we feel like a failure. The reality is that none of us can control the outcome of any situation and whatever happens happens and if its hard well then use that challenge to broaden your perspective.
On the mat that’s why we move and breath and then we pause to step back and reevaluate. As much as I love being in the water, swimming around we all have to come up for air. Funny thing is that when you are the bottom of a pool looking up through the water it is a totally different perspective than when you are floating on top of the water looking up at the heavens. So your life is as it is, how you feel about your life is up to you, no matter what life is serving you for dinner tonight.
“May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love!” Own your perspective live in love, Silvia
UNFOLD THE MYTH OF YOUR OWN STORY
To help us find where we might see ourselves through the eyes of myth rather than reality we used the “Double Basic Vinyasa” inspired by a friend of mine for double the fun. And a whole lot of core cultivation! But this served to ignite 3rd chakra more and in the words of Rumi “Set your life on fire.” So this was about coming home…making the inner form the work of our soul selves the real story and not just the outer form. And as always it is all about LOVE. So wishing you all the best love, the best lovers, the best life, Silvia
"You that love lovers,
This is your home. Welcome.
In the midst of making form,
love made this form that melts form,
with love for the door
and soul for the vestibule.
Their dance is our dance.
You are the soul, the universe,
and what animates the universe.
Human beings, you have a great value
inside your form, a seed. Be led
by the rose inside the rose.”
REVEALING THE TRUE SELF
MARCH 4TH, 2009: “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” -- Chinese Proverb
Svadhyaya is the yogic term that means 'self-study'. It is one of yoga's five Niyamas and fundamental yogic philosophies. Svadhyaya, as much of yoga is intended, is an effort to allow the sadhaka (practitioner) methods for greater insight into their own true nature. While on the mat we realize things about ourselves. If you break down the word 'realize' to 'real-ize', we see that it means to 'make real'. Svadhyaya is the practice of realizing that our life is really real; it is a practice, but not a dress rehearsal.
The process feels something like this: 1) time in quiet contemplation allows you to reflect on all that you’ve learned up to this point in your life. Every event of your life has offered its lessons. We see what has shaped us so that we stop being prisoners of our pasts and instead become architects of our futures! 2) Anchoring in our bodies helps us to be present to ourselves, to ask the right questions, to listen to the answers: what do I want for my life? What do I need? And this is what forms our intentions for making real what our dreams are. "Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives."
A wonderful Rumi writing to continue to inspire you to see yourself as you really are and not settle for less, not a moment more! Love, Silvia
All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
And I intend to end up there.
This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place I'll be completely sober.
Meanwhile, I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
But who is it now in my ear, who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes?
What is soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home!"
I WISH YOU ENOUGH
AUGUST 3RD, 2008: When I first started practicing yoga I dressed like an Eskimo. I was all covered up, dressed head to toe in black. In the corporate world I had similar “armor” I wore with the black power suit, serious glasses, hair, briefcase (for those of you who remember briefcases). Then as I practiced I started to let go of my own defenses and relax a little bit being “me”. It was not easy taking off my external layers to experience the freedom of not hiding behind any barrier whether it be job title, clothing, or lifestyle. But it changed my life.
As we practice yoga it is important to remember that we are not practicing to be perfect. We are simply practicing as we are in an effort to reveal our most real selves. In each time on the mat I wish you enough so that you not expand too far to fast. Take your time, don't rush it. Love, Silvia
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough.