Monday, May 31, 2010

Learning to Live in Love and not Fear

It is amazing.  I thought my home was perfect the way it was.  I liked when people came over and they commented on how the colors and the decorations were very me.   I thought that there was no more room for I had every wall covered with a picture or shelf or piece of furniture.  But then I met my fiancée and I looked forward to him moving in.  I was moving up in the world—trading in my college-like uncomfortable futon couch for his cushy adult sofa.  But with every box, every large piece of furniture he dragged in, I thought to myself that this won’t work.  I was protective of my space, fearful and couldn't imagine how his stuff would fit in.  Then slowly he found a space for it, by cleaning up a cluttered closet.  Then I began to give up a shelf here, a picture there, and soon it looked even more homey than before.  A small shelf for books when taken down, turned into a nice space for a bookcase of many of our books. 

And in the midst of all these furniture growing pains, I realized that this is what it is like to live in love. 

For love isn’t finite, it is an expanding room.  It is like a child with her arms wide open saying, “I love you this much times infinity.”  Guruji has said that he loves us unconditionally.  He's also said that love is not a noun it is a verb.  Love expresses itself  through service, I've learned from Guruji.  And I think I finally understand what he means.
And so please come on down to our garage sale this Saturday because I have a lot of love to give away, as well as a few tables, picture frames and a futon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comic Adventure #2 Not Yet A Saint

The Adventures of
Yoga Girl and Swami Cat
(A fictional series inspired by life’s daily lessons and
the teachings of my Guru, Rev. Jaganath Carrera.) 
*If you’d like to read part one, or have it performed live please let me know.  Hopefully some day soon it will be a video series, but for now it’s part of my blog.  I hope you enjoy.  Please send feedback or add your own life lesson of the day!)

JACKLYN’s Yoga Diary
Swami Cat asked me to keep a Yoga Diary.  He wants me to notice how much Japa and Pranayama I do.  So here I am at 5 AM in meditation.  Trying not to think about anything.  Stop thinking.  Can think about my “to-do” list later.  Right now, inhale lower belly, middle, upper, exhale upper, middle, lower.  Ah, bliss.  

6 AM            Did a full hour and a half of Hatha Yoga.  Feel great and centered.  I love the world.  Today I will give back to society.  Pick up trash.  Maybe I’ll help my neighbor by walking her dog.  Maybe I’ll go volunteer at a soup kitchen.  I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

7:30 AM  I feel great.  I am ready to share this peace with the world.  I sing Kumbaya and dance over to the fridge for some fruit and almond milk.  I’ll just whip up a quick shake before I spread the peace and joy to the world and… “Ahhhh!  Ants!”  Crawling on the countertop!  Who do they think they are?  This is my kitchen!

7:35 AM   Took a deep breath, remembered Yogic Principal of non-violence—Ahimsa.

7:37 AM Looked up on the Internet for humane organic ways to get rid of ants.
Says to spray ants with apple cider vinegar and water.  Also mentions sprinkling cinnamon in cracks—they do not like the smell of cinnamon.  Hmm, I love the smell of cinnamon.  Okay—I’ll try it.

7:45 AM  Sprayed ants with vinegar.  Smells very much like a rotting orchard in here.  But threw down gobs of cinnamon in cracks and that smells great.  Watching ants walk around drunk on apple cider, and trying to get away.  Uh oh—they won’t go back through the cracks because they hate the cinnamon.  I’ve ruined their escape exits.  They didn’t tell me to pick either cider or cinnamon on the internet!  Ahhhh!

8 AM  Felt like ants were crawling on me.  Itchy.  Took shower. 

8:30 AM  Clean and I just checked-- the kitchen is now free of ants!  Hooray for the Internet!  They really don’t like cinnamon!

8:45 AM went to wash out blender from fruit shake and surprised to find an ant family reunion in my sink!  I don’t think—I act—I turn on the faucet and watch the water rise, taking down ant by ant—Die Ants Die!  My blood boils with hate as I sweep more and more into the water.  I talk to myself.  “They shouldn’t have walked into my house.  It’s not like they have a soul.  They’re vermin.  Pests.”  Where have I heard that before?  I stop cold in my heartless tracks.  The Nazis said Jews were vermin.  That they didn’t deserve to live.  I—I am an Ant Nazi.  I am committing an ant holocaust right now.  They’re all slowly taking their last ant breath and I caused hundreds, maybe thousands of deaths in one instant.  I hate myself.  

9 AM  Leave the kitchen for a moment to regroup.  What else can I do?  I can’t let the ants live there.  I won’t be able to eat.  I won’t be able to sleep, thinking they’re crawling on me.  No, I must do something. 

9:01 AM  Swami Cat enters.  “You know, Swami Sivananda walked with a broom to wipe away bugs so that he wouldn’t even accidentally step on one.”  He scared me half to death.  I didn’t know that you he was there.  Swami Cat noticed that I jumped out of my skin and said calmly as he always does, “Yes, awareness needs work.”

9:04 AM  Well, I don’t feel as enlightened as Swamiji yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  But today I head out the door for the motels that ants check in and they don’t check out.  Makes it seem almost cozy in there.  I can’t think about it too much.  Maybe its their karma to go on to their next life and I’m helping them.

9:55 AM  Swami Cat is staring at me as I put the ant traps down.  He looks disappointed. 

9: 56 AM  I apologize to Swami Cat and the ants.  I will try for absolute Peace and acceptance tomorrow.  I’ll say my mantra as I put down the ant traps, is that better?  Oh, how hard it is to be a Yogi in the real world.  Ohm, Ohm, Ohm Shanti.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Combating Bridezilla-ness

A few days ago I was online and unfortunately I have to go through Yahoo’s homepage to get to my emails. I say unfortunately because I sometimes waste valuable time and energy reading the quirky- made to sucker you in- “news” articles. I clicked on an article about how the way you sleep tells your personality type. If you sleep on your back you are one type of person. If you sleep on your side, it means… Okay I don't remember.  I only remember what pertained to me.  I focused in on what it means if you sleep on your stomach because even though it is not good for my neck and probably not good for my back, I inevitably turn on my stomach some time during the night as my comfort position. The article stated that you if sleep on your stomach it is tough for you to accept criticism. I balked at this notion. I pride myself on being able to accept criticism as a writer. I’ve been going to playreadings for so many years. I’ve seen writers defend their writing and deflect any suggestion as if it is a personal attack on their being. I pride myself on the ability to act more professional than that. I listen, write down the critiques and thank the person for the feedback. I feel very open and willing to accept criticism. But am I really that way all the time?  I thought I was. 

And then planning a wedding happened. Whomever coined the term Bridezilla was brilliant. I do feel a little bit like a monster who when family or my fiancée says something about one of my plans, fire roars out of my mouth, nose and ears. It’s a little scary how attached I am to material things. It’s very personal and I’m working so hard at being healthy for the environment, for the guests and for our bank accounts, but I’m not being so healthy for my emotions.

As Guruji says often, go to the teachings and so I did. In Guruji’s book, Inside the Yoga Sutras there is a very handy sutras by subject index. It didn’t have anything specifically about accepting criticism but it does have a whole page and a half on emotion. The index states that “Emotions belong to the mind, not the Self. They are reactions to external or internal stimuli that impact perceptions of our security and self-image. We fear, hate, or express anger at anything that threatens or belittles us.” That’s it! I feel so strongly that this wedding should express our unique creative, earthy qualities that when someone says something that goes against it, I feel he is going against me personally. I don’t like this about myself. I find it horribly annoying, and very much against the Yogi that I am trying to be when I create this “green” holistic wedding. Boy Oh Boy, the Yoga Life has some challenges!

The index goes on to review that the emotions should not be suppressed but analyzed. If it is rooted in ignorance then our goal is to transcend it. So how to do this? Guruji also mentions what Sri Patanjali suggests replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
As a good friend reminded me yesterday, “This is a party and everyone who is going to be there loves you and wants to celebrate with you.” I told her I need a t-shirt or button made of this so I can remind myself this every day.

Also as I have been feeling the need to do lately, Sri Patanjali suggests returning and going deeper in the practices. “Through purity comes cheerfulness of mind.” (Sutra 2.41) and “By contentment supreme joy is gained.” (Sutra 2.42)

And now I will go do a full Yoga class for myself so that the fire that might come out of my mouth turns to smoke—I’d much rather be Puff the Magic Dragon than Godzilla. (Hey I wonder why Godzilla was named Godzilla? Did the creators mean to put God in his name and if so why? Anyone know?) And instead of Bridezilla I will just enjoy the fact that my family wants to help me, are around to help me and that I have a wedding coming up in the first place. Isn’t that the positive that I should hold in the front of my thoughts?

And so my question to you this week is, what do you to combat your bridezilla?