Missed Opportunities

The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

Today, I was unwinding and enjoying some quiet time, shopping at the local market, intent on a selection of delectable dinner fixings. Food for the soul: mundane but comforting after a flurry of activity over the past week. Sadly, what really elevated this day into a strange cataclysm of emotions was a simple interaction at the checkout counter.

As I approached the Cashier who was assisting the Gentleman in front of me, I overheard the employee sharing an unfortunate incident that she had experienced earlier in the week, all the while elevating her voice so that the whole checkout line could share in her harrowing tale. This Lady had hit a motorcyclist, almost changing the destiny of the young man involved. Fortunately, both lucky souls walked away relatively unscathed, although the motorbike was totalled and the Rider was undoubtedly shaken AND stirred. Who knows what emotional scarring may have been experienced by either party involved? All I could do was listen intently with compassion. Until the Cashier blurted out that she had no idea why this bike or Man was on the road at this time of the year. She started purporting that motorcyclists should stay off the roads in the Fall & Winter, and the Gentleman with whom she was conversing exclaimed that they should ban motorcyclists entirely. She nodded her head in agreement, smiling & exclaiming at the craziness of her misadventure. I was thinking … what next? Ban pedestrians from crossing the road? Outlaw cyclists from ever being a nuisance? Hinder any attempts at free will in a democratic society? What really blew me away was the Cashier’s total neglect for taking responsibility. She had in fact hit the motorcycle, seemingly (and obviously) unaware of her surroundings and of him.

Yet I suppose, what really stirred me were the emotions coursing through my soul at remembering my brother who had lost his life in a motorcycle accident, 22 years ago. One of the less lucky ones. 🙁 My family crawled away, scarred for life, losing a son, brother, artist and mentor.

As the transaction was completed before me, I remained calm, quiet and somewhat terse when the Cashier asked me if I was okay. I nodded numbly, turned away quickly in the midst of my tears and briskly walked away. In this moment of quiet angst, I had lost an opportunity for sharing my story. Such was the potential for education that could have ensued on a matter that wreaked of crazy bias and self-righteous indignation. But I was too afraid to speak, lest my emotions runneth over into something uglier than what I was witnessing and hearing.

Sigh. A missed opportunity to be sure, but this was a point of reflection for myself that shifted me. Surprisingly, I moved into a sense of compassion for the checkout Lady, once I was able to step away from my trigger point, assessing what had actually transpired before me on this beautiful Fall day.

Have you ever missed such an opportunity for growth in conversation where you held your tongue, for fear of emotion overtaking your sense of duty to educate and communicate? Or worse, spoke your mind in anger or judgment without really allowing room for conversation? Life truly does begin at the end of ones comfort zone.

I feel that it’s so important for all the involved parties to take a figurative walk in the other person’s shoes, rather than expressing theoretical proponents of insight that are most likely non-relevant to the situation at hand. Informed insight is a far better way to educate oneself, learning through experience, than by espousing our self-imposed belief system. Knowing that we are all imperfect, human and hopeful allows room for growth, trust and the potential for mutual understanding, in a life worth living, with every sense that we can muster.

The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

As Colin Wright has quoted: “Think. Do. Learn. Share. Grow.” Add in ‘Breath’ and ‘Repeat’, and here I have myself a winning formula to a life full of exploration and positive development.

I feel that it’s our duty to humankind to create a better AND kinder world for those around us, one loving and compassionate breath at a time. What do you think?

One full week

BabajislaDE and I have been at the Mount Madonna Center for one full week. So far the time on the mountain has given me a chance to:

  • become evermore curious about Baba Hari Das (a silent monk) and this exciting community that he has built here at Mount Madonna;
  • recognize familiar faces and associate the names behind the friendly features {many community members have chosen Sanskrit names — not an easy task to remember them all, let alone pronounce people’s chosen moniker);
  • discover the vegetarian menu as it unfolds (there seems to be a cyclical and rotational consistency to the menu with moments of surprise and awe thrown in);
  • develop a beautiful routine within these amazing surroundings ~ daily walks in the Redwood forests, a consistent yoga practise, evening visits to the magical garden, etc.;
  • feel comfortable and safe within this spiritual and yogic community.

menuI love that this communal environment, so far, has given me an incredible amount of space and flexibility to discover / accomplish whatever it is I have come to MMC to do (whatever that may be! I’m still assimilating and digesting this new reality). I’m learning such a wealth of information about the history and philosophical principals of Ashtanga yoga within our weekly gatherings, and at the same time, I’m flourishing within my own spirituality, exploring on so many levels, beyond the schedule of my volunteer tasks. Karma yoga in it’s most beautiful form!

Since finding the strength to participate in the early morning Pranayama classes, I haven’t missed a beat with my daily yoga and dinacharya session. This is such a fabulous fresh start to a new year. Not that I made a resolution as such, but rather, I wanted to give the full-on experience of this lifestyle a dedicated effort with supreme love, attention and devotion. I must admit, it’s been good for me, despite my continued and petulant flu / cold sickness. This nasty bug persists unrelentingly despite my daily efforts of Ayurvedic attention and nurturing. Time to be at peace with what is and know that I am doing my best to quell the beast within my body :). Hopefully it won’t drag on for months like it did 3 years ago. If the chesty cough and flemmy goo still lingers on for another week, it’ll be time to schedule a doctor’s visit.

Solstice Blessings

With each change of the season, it is wonderful to reconnect with the fortunes and grace which fill my life and body.
reverenceThursday was the 20th anniversary of my brother Kenny’s death. A day of reverence for me, to the higher power which giveth light, darkness, life and death. A lesson to be acknowledged each and every day …. Life is so very precious. It is everywhere, filling us from the inside, surrounded by the world’s creation, enveloped by a spiritual hug.
Yet in our daily lives we are usually carried away by our forgetfulness, anger, and worries, lost in the past, unable to touch life in the present moment. When we are truly alive, everything we do or touch is a miracle. To practice mindfulness is to return to life in the present moment.” And so, with the reminder of our mortality, it is vitally important to celebrate my vitality; life as I know it is fleeting, a blessing to be appreciated and honoured, with each and every breath of awareness that I can muster. To be alive, thriving and healthy …. WOW! Yoga helps me to reconnect with this cognizance.

Yesterday, the Solstice, was an amazing opportunity to yogically connect with the greater good, through a charitable yoga event which brought together a community of people willing to share their life blessings. slaDE~ and I were fortunate to have the instruction of Kathy Nash; she skillfully guided us beyond the physical asanas, coaxing us into a deeper understanding of the greater relationship that binds us all together within this Universe. Letting go of attachments to my life as I know it is a challenge throughout my yoga practice. Injury persistently hounds my senses, and trying to breath through that pain and discomfort is so extremely challenging. Somehow Kathy breathed fire into my core, and I achieved an impossible awareness that has been lacking since my beginning days of yoga. Solstice. Blessings. Connection. Breath of life and fire. Healing. All coexisted yesterday on this staggeringly beautiful day.

On this Solstice, I wish for you a deep connection with not only your inner light and grace, but also with Mother Earth’s divinity. I wish for you celebration of your fullness, shining magnificence and radiance. I wish for you peace, prosperity of heart and the wisdom to make profoundly exemplary choices for you and mankind.