Festival Yoga; Where’s Wallydo? A People-Game; festival & camp food

OMG….AumMG, or ALLMG—I can’t believe I just lost all that writing…just when you think you got the best thing you ever wrote down, just when I was beginning to think, this is cool…zap. It just suddenly dissappears. Now I have to try to recreate it…2 hours later.uugh. must try…

This is about festival yoga, not to be mistaken with a yoga festival. This is about how festivals can be yogic. I often have wonderful yogic experiences at festivals and even though it wasn’t the best Canada Day I have ever attended, tonight I was moved to share…

Thankfully, I am still fairly energized, despite it being 3 am. (and despite the lack of sleep last night too), I am energized by being with so many souls who were sharing a certain level of shared or common consciousness at the Canada Day festivities on the lawn of the legislature tonight.

Shared consciousness is an interesting thing to contemplate at festivals. I have noticed that the degree of shared or common-consciousness seems to reveal itself in the way the vast majority acts. For instance and in particular, how they respect or accept others and respect personal space and property. People walk carefully around your blankets and belongings, and no matter who they are, if you talk to them, they are friendly, open and accepting. Fortunately this characterizes most festivals, it is what makes a festival–a festival. That’s why festivals can feel magical and are prime ground for some profound yogic insights and experiences.

On Canada Day, I particularly love the way the thousands of weird, wacky and unusual, red and white outfits cut strong contrast against the perfectly deep green of the meticulously trimmed legislature lawn; it is chaos against control, it is practically surreal and lends a rare, superficial “oneness” to a rather large and disparate body of individuals. This spontaneous, voluntary and positive form, is something we don’t experience everyday.

When I look at this mass of humanity, I like to think of them as various cells of single living organism, on Canada Day there are a few random coloured ones, but the majority are red/white cells…(ironically like red & white blood cells)
As with any living organism, all these cells are ultimately made of the same stuff: food & water (earthstuff); and are driven by the same energy: life, love & breath (pranastuff). But when you look closer you can clearly see via outer manifestations, that each cell has its own individualize and unique configuration of consciousness or soulstuff. While each one clearly a unique soul, they are all momentarily and obviously being connected by a certain level of shared conscious awareness, in this case awareness of Canadianhood and festivalhood.

Oftentimes when I attend a festival, I try to practice ultimate non-judgement, trying to see all the experiences and people around me as neutral, its hard not to judge people when they are wearing and doing “crazy” things (that’s judgement right there!) It is interesting how much of people’s egos and concomitant limitations become revealed to you, when you are not judging but just observing with heightened awareness and deep compassion–you can almost sense the issues they have faced and have shaped them. Once I see this clearly, I am moved to meditate, and to gather loving energy into my heart chakra and to send out blessings to the group en-masse. Usually I do this thru dancing and visualizing the loving energy being sent out thru my arms and hands

Furthermore, I like to imagine what it would take for everyone to find and operate from an even deeper level of common consciousness. What would that be like once it happened? What if everyone suddenly saw themselves as cells of the same living organism?

Sometimes I see that feeling arise in people. It happens more near the front of the stage where people are dancing altogether. When I dance with others who really dance (and I don’t mean “look good”, I mean “giv’er good”) I get a strong sense of our individual consciousnesses aligning. This often happens at festivals; by simply letting the rhythm and message of the song penetrate our soul we feel a closer resonance with each other within the field of consciousness; it brings us into a blissful and welcomed entrainment with each other. Tonight I found myself entrained to the amazing African dancers on the stage and boy did we dance–and when they spoke in french I felt french too! Energetically echoing their shout-out, “Oui! Merci Beaucoup Victoria!!”–and when I walked away and forgot my purse among the dancers; I was not panicked, sensing somehow that it would still be safe–and it was.

The other bands did not have me dancing so much–save for Trees & Towers–whose song “I have been released” is definitely going on my yoga dance playlist. So tonight I made up a game, a people-game. Actually I might not have been the first to make-up this game–I am making no claim, but I would like to suggest some rules for a game which is not only super fun but could enhance the shared consciousness experience at any festival.

First I want to say “Hat’s Off” to the creators of what we call “Where’s Waldo” and in Australia they call “Where’s Wally”; and since my first test-players were Australians I’ll call this game “Where’s Wallydo”–its very easy to play, for any age, and needs no equipment.

One friend bows their head to count to 60 (or more) at the tens they should put a finger up–telling their buddies how far along they are…meanwhile their buddies scatter among the crowd and find new seats where they can clearly see the counter/finder-(on occasion, they may have to move to stay visible)-in other words, hide in plain sight.

They will likely find, that they need to ask permission to sit next to some strangers, or at least have to explain their presence to a fellow festivaller–sharing & promoting this friendly game even more. It is a good opportunity to have a nice little chat with an erstwhile stranger, while keeping your eye on the c/finder. When the c/finder sees you they raise their hand at you, and you rejoin them and also begin the silent search for those not yet found, each person gaining points for those they find first, or gaining a point for not being found.

If you are not found, you should raise your two hands until someone sees you, proving that you were in plain sight.

Ultimately the best hiders will likely be those who can integrate themselves the best with the strangers in the crowd, in other words; the more friendly you can become, the more camouflage you will gain.

It is important for conscious people to connect as much as possible with other people, ALL people, to build and grow a bigger web of consciousness. In time, this will be the only way to shift humanity into a new paradigm of living in consciousness; we know webs are stronger than they look.

A good Festival is one where people feel strong communitas. Communitas is a Latin noun commonly referring either to an unstructured community in which people are equal, or to the very spirit of community. It also has special significance as a loanword in cultural anthropology and the social sciences.
com·mu·ni·tas
[kuh-myoo-ni-tahs]
noun from Anthropology .
The sense of sharing and intimacy that develops among persons who experience liminality as a group

Liminalty, in terms of social structure and time, is an intermediate state of being “in between” in which individuals are striped from their usual identity and their constituting social differences while being on the verge of personal or social transformation.

A great Festival is positive and prime ground for liminalty and the bringing on of a strong sense of communitas. It can provide a good, living example of personal and social transformations. Great festivals can give us a benchmark of new rules and behaviour. Rules and behaviours we might want seek to emulate in wider and normal daily life.

Since our Hugelkulture garden is going-off like crazy, my Summer Festival & Camping Food, uses plenty of organic veggies: (sorry no pictures yet)

SIMPLE CURRY FRIED POTATO HASH
onion & garlic, made translucent by frying in
coconut oil, then add
curry paste & solid coconut cream
boiled potatoes, not stirred too much so that they brown, add
chopped chard
& basil

salt & pepper, to taste.

GOOD HOT OR COLD
with or without CHUTNEY

GRILLED PESTO VEGGIE PASTA SALAD

grill a variety of veg:
zucchini, onion, eggplant, mushroom, peppers–cool and chop, add to
cooked penne pasta, add
chopped chard
plenty of purslane (if you have it)
quartered canned or marinated artichoke hearts
black olives
minced basil
feta & parmesan (or similar)
almonds slivers or pumpkin seeds

dress with:
crushed garlic in salt, with olive oil & lemon juice
add salt & pepper to taste.

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Paul Becomes a Yoga Teacher June13/2013

Windows Photo Gallery Wallpaper

So I have this photo of paul doing a standing bow pose (not very well I must confess…) on the top of mount prevost taken over 2 years ago; and then about a year ago, maybe more…I stayed up late one night and played with it on photoshop…I decided to enhance it, with rays of “sunlight” emanating from him.  I didn’t spend enough time to make it look pro…I just wanted to make it funky, put it on the desktop and use it to inspire him in his practice.

This week the photo is up on the desktop as a symbol of accomplishment. Paul has just  graduated from Ajna yoga 300hr teacher training. what a revolution!! 

Imagine, last fall i was setting up sun lotus as a yoga b&b, without an in-house teacher…sounds strange doesnt it…but i figured, we could just share our own journey and practice with others, and not neccessarily be credetialed. I figured that i know enough philosophy and theory to keep the knowlege flowing and i figured other teachers might just volunteer to stay and teach for us. but then, late last winter, we attended the victoria yoga conference–on a sunday (i havent had sundays off in the winter in several years–usually i am doing wedding viewings).

At first it was just  karla and i  going, but then paul said he wanted to come too…Ok i said, i guess i will sign you up for the last yoga class of the conference–called recovery yoga. Karla and i attended kirtan and yoga dance.  while paul was in class, karla and i perused the vendors and went for tea. When paul finished his class we said goodby to karla and jumped in the car. how was class i asked. its funny he said, i thought i wouldnt like it because it wasnt bikrams, i thought it might be too boring for me,..but i loved it, i really did, in fact i think i just love yoga all yogas!”  that was cool. i asked then if he had the chance to fill in any ballots for the draws for half-price teacher training–we had recently been tossing the idea of him taking yoga teacher training–since he is the more physical of the two of us, and with his dyslexia, a hands on, practical kinesthetic class might be right up his alley & give us both something to offer our guests–he said everything was closed when he was done. oh well i said, i filled out a few…i guess if we win, that will be a sure sign we are on the right path. he agreed.

The following monday when i woke up, i wondered to myself how long will it take for them to tell us we have won. needless to say, i was not the least bit surprised to open an email from ajna yoga to find out “one of us has won teacher training” it said one of us, because I had also put Pauls name on the ballot, to ensure that we would both qualify for the prize.

This is not the first time what i have pictured has come true.  One of the most significant images i have created was a painting on the door of Pauls Iguana Bus.

painted 5 weeks after knowing Paul, I stepped back and saw my future

painted 5 weeks after knowing Paul, I stepped back and saw my future

I had only known him for about 5 weeks, when he contracted me to redecorate his bus…on the door, i had this desire to leave some of the original paint show thru the new art & to attempt to break out of a habit of being so precise, so I attempted  to paint an Iguana by painting the negative space around the iguana without a contour line to work from. This created a much more abstracted iguana than i would have normally drawn, the first one turned out ok-ish, but i thought i might do better a second time, then a third…I thought  i would paint out the one’s i didnt like.  when i stood back from the painting, i saw a very clear & startling vision of paul, myself and our child represented as these 3 iguanas heading into the fire (a life of risk & adventure) how true that  has turned out!!

 

 

One day seven years ago, i had a vision of peacocks meandering around our grounds “oooh how lovely, i thought…I would love to get some peacocks” 2 weeks later a young male and female peafowl suddenly walked on to the land and stayed. Although we have gone thru an assorment of females, Mr Blue stayed with us for over 7 years. He was part of the land here, a symbol of sanctuary, beauty and peace. He was very close to us, living on our decks constantly watching us thru the windows, following us around the gardens and hanging out wherever we were settled down. It turns out of course, that peacocks are very symbolic in yoga, hinduism and many other cultures, representing rebirth, love and immortality as well as:
Glory
Vision
Royalty
Spirituality
Awakening
Refinement
Incorruptibility
Nobility
Holiness
Guidance
Protection
Watchfulness
integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavor to show our true colors.
In Hinduism the Peacock is associated with Lakshmi who is a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.
Similar to Lakshmi, the Peacock is associated with Kwan-yin in Asian spirituality. Kwan-yin (or Quan Yin) is also an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good-will, nurturing, and kind-heartedness. Legend tells us she chose to remain a mortal even though she could be immortal because she wished to stay behind and aid humanity in their spiritual evolution

Contemplation on the powers of the Peacock can supposedly bring you more vibrancy and vitality in your experience. The Peacock can also help you on your spiritual Path, and breath new life into your walk of faith.

The Peacock can rejuvenate self-esteem levels too. If you’re feeling “blah” and blue, imagining the glorious, techno-color display of the Peacock supposedly provides us a proper mood to embrace our own nobility.

Peacock Feathers have been used for healing for tens of thousands of years in every culture throughout time. They are said to carry Spiritual Healing Energy that can be used to assist people seeking balance and harmony in their lives. With the proper guidelines of use, they allow the individual to connect with the Universal Healing Energy and use this energy to heal people of all of their complaints, imbalances and disease.

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Well, sadly on one of Paul’s very last yoga classes, we have had to move Mr Blue to a beautiful park by the ocean. Our neighbor just couldn’t bear the thought of the damage he might do while he occassional sat on his roof–and was completly acting mental over it, and since Mr Blue had lost his last girlfriend he was lonely and crying out alot.
I miss him alot and still cry for missing him…the place isn’t the same without his stunning beauty and peaceful noble nature…he was too good to be true, we really really loved him, as did everyone else who visited here and got to know him on a personal level.

I know he must be happy at the park, with all the beautiful gardens and tourists, it must remind him of home…and now at least he has lots of new friends.

As it turns out, peacock is “my animal” on my vedic astrological chart…Mr Blue was definitely here to serve a purpose, with Paul’s Yoga teacher graduation and the opening of Sun Lotus as a yoga B&B, I guess his job was done, But I will never forget his voice…LEEE-YON…LEE-YON…PEEEK-KOK…

(at least I got my wish to finally hold and pet the lovely guy before I saw him off…we had a long cuddle in the back of the van…good by Mr Blue, I hope we meet again.)

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finding our way

This is our yoga studio, most people comment that they’ve never seen a mirror ball in a yoga studio…but when you do ecstatic dance its a nice touch…we just painted the floor–meant to be burgundy, came out fuscia…I don’t know if its the right look or feel yet…its a bit intense!

I dont even know where to begin. We are just about to say goodbye to the first 3 guests of the season at Sun Lotus, they are 3 beautiful souls from the UK and they have been here for a few weeks. I just want to cry, its all been so lovely.

Sarah and Mandy have been the most beautifully willing students, the sacrificial lambs–they are the kind of students inspire a teacher to teach. Knowing that we are just begining to teach they have been more than eager to encourage us to spread our wings and go for it. They can be credited with legitimizing our endeavors, keeping us to our ashram schedule, and giving us sincere feedback as we needed it. Their enthusiasm has been inspiring to say the least, they whole-heartedly participated in asana, meditations, chanting, fasting and yoga dance–with virtually no prior experience. Their discipline and dedication were truly inspiring. Within the first days here they added their own pre-bedtime asana practice. For the whole time they’ve been here–even when it had been offered by others, they avoided caffeine, alcohol and meat (totally of their own accord, and apparently for the first time in their adult lives!) They turned our lounge into a study hall full of yoga books from our library, they asked questions that showed deep introspection and curiousity, they even bought their own books, they watched documentaries and before my very eyes became two truely gorgeous young yoginis.

Jody, the young fellow from the UK with an obviously old soul, is a soon to be kundalini yoga teacher. His presence has been a real blessing for all of us, he has been a true source of knowlege & inspiration on many levels. His selfless devotion and countless hours of creating a beautiful & consistent new look for Sun Lotus thru promotional materials, facebook, twitter, wordpress and website design is truly an inspirational model of karmic work. (I can only repay him with love and a deep commitment to teach yoga to all who find their way here–sat nam!) He also lovingly makes & serves wicked hot drinks (honey garden-mint, almond-milk chai latte, honey lemon etc) and inspired us all to fast on the full moon–which was a great idea and saved me one day of cooking–thank you my love!

In some magical spontaneous collaboration of spirit, Jody and I discovered a style of meditation that I will forever refer to as the “jazz of meditation”–easily moving between the two of us as facilitators, we had an unforgettable 4pm meditation sitting out on the stumps overlooking the pond listening to soft sacred music in the background. I began by suggesting that we either close our eyes or keep a drishti (soft meditative gaze) gently we began to do some small stretches for our neck, back and arms, then some breathing excersizes, from the kundalini tradition offered by Jody, we then relayed back and forth with different suggestions for contemplation or movement, each of us offering insights direct from our present experience…the girls sat in quiet cooperation, following along in our natural flow–the hour passed completely unnoticed. When we wrapped up, Sarah, who had been struggling with meditation, joyfully exclaimed “I think I like meditation now…” Jody and I both knew it had been a special kind of experience that we were not likely able to repeat, but we would now use as a benchmark and a new perspective on teaching meditation and yoga. I was truly inspired & full of gratitude; the possibility of having such a wonderful experience with a wide variety of individuals–particularily other teachers who might pass thru Sun Lotus is truly exciting…what a sharing, what a gift!

The definitive highlight of this opening season, has been the yoga dance on the full moon friday night. Without too much thought on thursday night i lay in bed and quickly put together a playlist from my limited selection of danceable sacred music and suitable pop music. At 8pm on Friday evening we cleared the studio of mats, set out water, played soft sacred music, burned inscense and carefully lit ALL the candles. I have had this incredibly strong yearning to combine dance and chant and to teach it to others as I beleive it can open the doors to heart and spirit on so many levels. However, I am still a little uncertain as to my ability to bring people along in the dance journey and this was only the third time that I facilitated an ecstatic yoga dance.

We had listened to a wide array of chant up till then but as usual the girls, like most new yogis were reluctant to actually use their voice in chant–I was hoping that now, with their previous exposure to some of the songs, combined with their previous practice, new understanding and the conduciveness of the environment, they would perhaps let go of that niggling little bit of ego that says “you look/sound weird doing this”. Conscious dance is strange for most people. Jody had experience, loves music and dance and his energy was uplifting and easy to feed off, but the girls admitted they would not normally dance unless they had a “few drinks’inem” so I was half-expecting it to be a bit of a struggle. I hoped I made the right choices in music, pacing and timing.

Here is the song list we used, and the way it came together…the list is just under 2 hours with 28 minutes of much needed savasana included:

Become like Pleasant Music 1:10 this is a nice little intro from Sadhguru Vasudev

Ganesha Mantra – Wah 4:30 invoking ganesh at the begining of any practice to help remove obstacles which may impede the path to the highest self–we began with a little kundalini breath work breathing up energy from the earth thru legs to moola chakra

Liberation Dance- Shiva Rea 5:53 perfect voice over intro into conscious dancing

To Be Free-Mike Oldfeild 4:22 spirit, melody and lyric are so beautifully matched in this lovely song that even though paul overplays it, somehow it never loses its magic…they groaned, “we know this song…but its so good anyway” this really broke the ice, we began the song with more breathwork breathing up to the sacral chakra

Ang Sang Wahe Guru–(artist needed) 3:18 this has a great voice over at the begining “the Dynamic loving energy of the infinite source of all, is dancing in every cell of my being….”–we balanced the brain-hemispheres with walking around in circle with our eyes following our swaying hands

Radhe Bhaj Soulshine–wah! 6:20 a song about love with lots of voice over–we did breathwork up to solarplexus chakra

Give Love–MC Yogi 3:10 a very upbeat, with almost a juvenile energy, very ‘solar plexus’

Good Feeling–Flo Rida 4:30 with perfect timing Mandy finally freed her throat chakra by sqealing out “oh my god, I love this song“–it was becoming dusk, i turned on the mirror ball, hit the lights and we danced and hollered out the words to this very freeing song….(end of mirror ball experience)

Hey Diwani, Hey Diwana–Dum Dum Project 6:09 this song gave us a chance to cool down, drink water consciously recognising where the water had been before and observing it entering our body and then dancing as a body of water, dancing as a body of energy, moving our molecular bodies thru the molecules of space and recognising that we too are mostly space…

Don’t follow the Guru–Ganga Giri 6:27 this was a perfect song for third-eye chakra, it is energetic and fun, and speaks of recognizing your own inner guru, your own ability to see the truth/reality–your third eye.

Ma Chant Kali–Wah!4:22 gently energetic, lovely voice over with messages about grace etc.–I beleive this might have been when Jody introduced the idea of feeling the energy between your two hands before they touch (it feels like reverse magnets…) and we all became fascinated by this for a while…Particularily Sarah!

Ocean of Mercy (hare Krishna)Jaya Laksmi 5:53 this song is the most beautiful rendition of the maha(great) mantra “hare Krishna” the gang had heard it before and despite its deeply devotional nature its catchiness is inescapable…we all danced enthusiastically and I think I saw them chanting along…but I am willing to bet they had at least one stray thought of
what the hell am I doing, dancing around singing hare Krishna –I wonder what my friends at home would say…”
then the next song came on….such a contrast!

Dancing in The Moonlight -Toploader -3:46 this was unexpectedly received with a very vocal and critical “oh no, not this song…this was so overplayed back home” I asked “when?” because its from 1973 and these guys are only 30…but apparently it was a huge-hit in the UK being covered in 2003 by toploader…”anyway, I said, check out the moon”…by now–as if by some divine intervention, the moon had magically appeared over the pond, shining like a giant orange orb enhanced by drifting wisps of mystical blue-grey clouds…we gathered into a tight group at the doorway where it was clearly visible and re-started the song and together sang it as loud as possible–the words were a perfect fit!
…”when that moon is big and bright its a supernatural delight, everybody is dancing in the moonlight….everbody here is outa-sight, they don’t bark and they don’t bite, they keep things loose, they keep it tight…everybody feeling the moment right, its a fine and natural sight, everybody is dancing in the moonlight”…I could not have timed this better nor chosen a better song, this was obviously a divinely inspired moment~really really special….I get goosebumps just thinking about it…I was so taken away with the magic of the last moment the next few songs were a blur for me, anyway they provided ample time to cool down, bring the energy down and get ready for savasana…

Mere Govinda ✬ Jai-Jagdeesh 9:40

Sada Sat Kaur – Gobinday Mukunday 9:55

Heart Sutra 7:32 Wah!

In Sunlight by Tina Malia 5:43–we begun to pull out mats, blanket etc and lay down for savasana

Ong So Hung 22:15 The Guru Singh Experience–the nice long length of this song, enabled be to complete our session with a smudge, and a little leg/foot massage for grounding…

whilst in the throes of this dance, I had some exceptional revelations come to me; for one, I literally felt like I had become some kind of witch-doctor or shaman, then I felt I was channeling Shiva, I could see myself with arm bands on, wild hair flowing, stripes across my forehead–dancing out the old incarnation of Sun Lotus and dancing into creation the new vision, I felt very alive and very much in the flow–I felt since I had put so little time & thought into making this playlist, that It must have been inspired by something beyond myself…I felt I had come home, and merged the burning desire to teach esctatic dance with the sudden capacity to do so…I could see myself doing it over and over again, teaching it to many…It blew my mind!! It took me two days to recover.

After the long savasana, we sat up around a candle and talked about our experience, I was heartened by Mandy saying “oh my god, I could so see myself with my girlfriends dancing around our apartment like this…” I hope to inspire others to take up yoga dance…I hope to be able to host Yoga dance at Sun Lotus at least once a month!

Blowing my mind into a million little peices…

So I did my last chakra (Kundalini) dance class last night. Christy the facilitator, said I looked extra light that night–I hadn’t felt that special before I left the house, but as soon as I arrived at the class I was overcome by some mysterious happiness! I really did feel good. Maybe it was the great yoga class in the morning, maybe it was because I ate so “lite” that day–it been a few months since I replaced drinking coffee-with-gobs-of-cream, to lots of, mostly green or herbal teas; weeks since I stopped eating wheat and meat….(well I still eat a little meat here and there–its all about moderation too!) But she was the 3rd person in a week to say that I was looking somehow “brighter-Lighter-healthier-happier” or something like that… Great to hear as I approach that 42nd birthday…

Now its time to fill in a little history, I will talk a bit about Paul…he used to be made of water, he drank tons of it and nothing else–his mouth used to taste so watery…he used to mountain bike incessantly, skillfully and frightfully—he is true dare devil. in 2007 he got into a minor car accident, being rear ended and suffered whiplash…this was at a critical time in the development of our business as we were opening up the first season to do weddings….well this just put us into a tailspin, he was in great pain, we lost plenty of money and mind in the couple of years to follow…him being down and out, really put a funk in me to–with having to take care of all the workers, my 1 year old, the tax auditors, the new wedding business, my ailing husband, money troubles and general malaise that was coming over me due to the dwindling compassion and passion between us. It was looking like all was lost and I was almost ready to throw in the towel (a couple of times…)

Paul had become terribly lethargic, and his addiction to TV, cigarettes, alcohol, over eating and anything else that held out a promise of momentary escape…became worse and worse. His mood became so gloomy, he talked of nothing else but his problems (to people whose lot was alot less than ours!) I couldn’t stand US anymore…we could not communicate, we could not stay on the same groove for more than minutes at a time…Paul seemed to me a spinning top, his energy completely scattered, his restlessness permeated his presence–his unhappiness was a cloud that hung over him–in the meantime I was losing all zest for life, was feeling old, over-worked, overstressed, under appreciated, misunderstood, out-of-control and totally unfun.

Spring 2009 I started reading yoga and within weeks I saw the light–truly I had a spiritual awakening…well I realized that I had seen it before, so it didnt take much for me to snap out of my delusions of misery and start to realize the blessings that I truly had…well, finally I had a moment to reflect–and thats what I needed–that what everyone needs–reflection is very important.

Paul went to Holland in November, and I took that time to think whether I was going to ask him to move out when he returned…I had been changing for more that 6 months, but paul had been stuck in his old habits, practically oblivious to the changes–in fact, he would often respond really negatively to any benign interaction with me–that’s when I started thinking–he’s a lost cause–he can’t hear me, he can’t see me…he only hears and sees what he believes–no matter what I say….then he came home from Holland with a fresh set of eyes.

He really tried to understand what yogic philosophy I could relay to him and he seemed to understand what I was talking about…then he came up with the great idea to do subject himself to a 30 day hot yoga challenge, even though he had only tried it once before in march 2009 and totally hated it and me–for suggesting it.  This idea was revolutionary–and I was totally excited about the prospect of it. Weeks passed and pauls enthusiasm waned, dwindled and died. I stopped talking about it…

So up till a few weeks ago, Paul was much the same as described above…except that things have defintely been getting better between us–mostly because I had taken my yoga studies so seriously, and have voraciously read every yoga book I could find; and since our season came to a close last September, I have been faithfully practicing  Hatha Yoga ( posture practice)  in earnest 3 to 4 day a week at a hot yoga studio (my prefered method of practice)…AND get this, Paul said that yoga was working wonders for me–I was much easier to live with…I was thinking yoga was working wonders   “its much easier to live with Paul”–in truth it was both.  I had increased my happiness, my patience, my detachments, lessened my need to control…and could watch paul from a distance, instead of getting quagmired with him in his emotional baggage, ensnared into dramas, or deflated because of his lethargy. I was able to take a:  sit back and see what unfolds…type of attitude that was impossible for me before.   I was on a path…and the path was good.

It seems the signs were there….

"stay on the path" sign for the Island

one of the two new signs I made last summer

Inukshuk sign: "I have been here before and the path is good"

the other sign I made in 2009

THESE ARE TWO SIGNS I MADE LAST SUMMER…

ONE FOR THE ISLAND WHICH READS  “STAY ON THE PATH” AND THE OTHER FOR THE INUKSHUK CORNER , WHICH READS: ‘ I have been here and the path is good”

THESE SIGNS PENETRATED MY MIND FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON….

In January Paul once again decided he would do the yoga challenge as he could see I was really finding my happiness and peace with my practice. I was elated as he dedicated himself without grumbling to 9 straight days of yoga–he loved it, his eyes became bright, his skin was glowing, he was calm, thoughtful and sensitive, his mojo was back–what a change–what a revolution!!!  happiness, peace, health, abundance, bliss…its all coming together!

…then he hurt his back–putting Ginger into time-out.

The Chiropractor suggested he take a few days off…after a couple of days, I kindly asked him if he was going back tomorrow–and he rammed his head down my throat to be sure I heard him say “I’ll go back when I feel ready and I dont want any pressure from you, so back off!” well….somebody needs yoga again….

So 12 days pass, yesterday Paul hits up his first class again, I went in the morning and he in the afternoon–then I did that last kundalini-chakra dance class–the one where I looked “light” and felt so happy. It was good, perhaps my happiness was from seeing paul return to yoga and seeing him have that glow again!

Later last night I witnessed thee most EXTRAORDINARY thing I have ever seen Paul do–and I have seen him do some pretty amazing stuff!!

Paul and I started hanging out, chatting  on the couch (no tv on, just internet radio SOMA FM: “suburbs of goa”)—then the THEE most remarkable thing happened…Paul was starting to have an anxiety attack, so he stood up to do some stretching, then he did this really beautiful series of flow yoga postures in front of me for about 20 minutes and then sat cross-legged and went into a deep meditation, in the middle of the living room floor for a solid hour….IT WAS THE MOST REMARKABLE THING I HAVE EVER SEEN HIM DO!!

he sat perfectly still. no tv. no restlessness.

He has never done anything  like that in front of me–EVER. (the new age indian music really seemed to be taking him away…)
I sat and just watched him for the whole hour (I cried a bit-smiled alot) and thought, holy cow, I really am CHANGING this household… it is like EVERYTHING I want is totally starting to happen…it blew my mind into a million little peices!!!!!  REALLY. truly.

I am still sweeping up the remnants from the living room floor.

It occured to me during my bewildered observation of Paul that I have a “calling to teach and promote yoga (philosophy and as an activist, not asana/postures per se)” …but,  I suddenly realized that I can totally see Paul becoming the asana teacher, and us working in conjunction–very harmoniously.

When he came out of his meditation he said:  that he sees himself as if he has been given this big tool (our property/business) a bigger tool than most people have at their disposal…and that we have to do something with it…how blessed we are when others are suffering (he’s been cying alot for the children/people in haiti) and he wants to do something remarkable with this tool…he said he needs to step out of the darkness and into the light…

wow, I think I might have just witnessed his total spiritual awakening!


how yoga teaches me what i need to know

So on my way to hot yoga today, I was thinking about a certain yoga practitioner who has her own website. She had collected pictures of her postures since 2oo2 and you can really see her improvements over the last 8 years of practice (I used to practice with her in Victoria in 2003–and she was amazing back then!)

It really made me realize that you can always do better with practice—and the prevailing philosophy of yoga: to perfect the form before the depth, is all important…the depth will come in time; and then it will be perfect.

This reminded me of all of humanities growths and developments…we always want the depth, before the perfect form is achieved…hence we overproduce crap at the expense of the globe and our health, instead of perfecting our means of extraction or production and then expanding…

EG: If only we worked on ways to perfect the manufacturing & extraction of wood products—before we completely annihilate the forests–then we could grow with that production in a way that was not harmful to the environment…if only we, as a society had spent the time to create the perfect natural products for cleaning, rather than rushing to create more swiffers and magic erasers, bounce sheets, febreez’s, comets, etc etc….by now everyone would only have these perfect natural products.

work on the form, before the depth…..reminds me to perfect my little spheres, before I hope to expand further…

Lotutopia begins at home.

By the way, hot yoga was totally awesome today…I still  feel completely wonderful and yummy from it…I think I’ll go tomorrow too.

I would love to get as much in before my 42 birthday in about 12 days…Paul also starts back at it again tomorrow, after his 12 day hiatus from his little stint.

I read today about the crown chakra–since tomorrow I  have Kundalini dance class and thats the chakra we are addressing.  Apparently it usually opens between the ages of 42 and 49, I guess thats why I am writing this blog now.  Last year, you wouldn’t have known that I would be into all this–I was not the same person 1 year ago. I really have had a spiritual awakening…and this after having so many years of pent-up disdain  for spiritualism or anything of the like…

I really am different now. I totally understand now, I even have a new compassion for religious folks…as I know they are all just seeking yoga too.

Yoga= Uniting with the divine/oneness/cosmos/your god/however you define the greater energy that causes life….

a touch of yoga

So there I was, about 22 years old, sitting on the roof of a restaurant, in Nepal…all my recent friends departed for trekking and it seemed I was the only foreigner in the tiny mountain top town.

For the next 5 days, until well into the night, I would simply sit on that roof and think, think think…think of the way I was raised, about my troubled childhood, about the Jehovah’s witness religion that my mom had introduced into our life at the age of 12? could that be the right religion? my gut told me no.

As I looked around me, at the breathtaking view of the lake, the sun, and the surrounding Himalayaian mountains I could sense there was a greater energy at work…perhaps not a person per-se, definitely not a person–I mean, come on!
But a force, a force beyond our control, I could imagine the entire globe spread out beneath my feet and that everybody, in every country, had their own interpretation of what was going on, most believed it fervently or didn’t know what to believe at all…I thought then, “I am okay not knowing all the answers” I know this, I am a small part of this thing called humanity that exists on this planet alone, dependent on the beautiful balance of nature, dependent on the sun, dependent on each other and dependent on the energy-force that we breathe in and call “life”…I feel as if I have been here always, and will never leave….I feel this is a closed system–a single living entity from the core of the earth to the farthest reaches of the universe–I am simply one integrated part of this organism…a temporal manifestation of flesh–and I am okay with that…for now. I felt a calm come over me, a release of fear and guilt and worry and a strength of conviction I had never known before.—it was yoga. But I didn’t know that yet.

Life moved on from then, I studied anthropology in university–which really helped solidify my emerging cosmology–since I realized that everyone just makes up a story that suits their cultural values–so when my mom asked me if I was ever going to go back to JW’s; I was adamantly not. Explaining to her that everyone thinks they have the truth…and that I am ok not having all the answers told to me…one of my biggest queries was this, if there was only one truth–wouldn’t it be just so APPARENT that it couldn’ t be denied; and wouldn’t I be able to experience that truth myself without it being spoonfed to me? it seemed only logical.

Flash forward past, 6 years of university, 8 years of a crushing love relationship, 2 years of deep depression, 2 years of wondering what to do, 1 year of re-birth after moving to BC, 7 years of working incessantly to create a beautiful, practically magical guesthouse, 7 years of a deeply committed, yet tenuous and stressful love affair, 3 years of motherhood….to the day I finally decide that I have worked enough, that life has settled down enough for me to finally relax, pick up a book, and learn something new–expand my mind into new dimensions. I pick up the JOY OF YOGA, a collection of writings on yoga…and I realize I have come full circle.

Love, peace, abundance, health, bliss–how to get it all.

Here I am.   How can I make a difference before I leave? …the time is now.

Lotutopia is my dreamscape concept of a community based on yogic values…a vision of a better tomorrow.

I have a 4 year old daughter called: Ginger-Soleil, and I want to do what I can to change the world now–so that she, and all the children of the earth inherit a planet already enroute to repair.

We have started, in earnest,  becoming “model-lifestylers” about 6 months ago…and by “model-lifestylers” I mean living the way we all know we ought…

with care for our environment,  care for eachother, and care for ourselves.

I am motivated to blog our family’s transformation from relatively normal, unconscious-consumer citizens, to “model lifestylers”–“pace setters”–“social shifters” in an effort to help accelerate the positive changes in human lifestyles that is not only neccessary, but inevitable and is already in progress….so, chin up, take a deep breath and lets get on board…

It all began when I picked up a book on Yoga…which showed me that it actually all began many years before that, on rooftop in Pokhara, Nepal….