• Consciousness,  Ego,  Inner Work,  Practice,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Levels of Identity

    It was in a first year philosophy class that I first heard the famous Socrates quote “Know Thyself”.  I kinda thought I did.  I was a rural Albertan girl with all the hard work  values of a redneck, the social morals of an activist and the naive dreams of a hippie.  That sums it up right?  Almost twenty years now I’ve sought to embody Socrates words – words that have become an incantation of sorts living just beneath the surface of perceivable thought.  Like any good incantation the pursuit of self-knowledge bubbles up from the cauldron of my unconscious inciting questioning, feeling and understanding.  I am truly spellbound by it…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Embodiment,  Inner Work,  Practice,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Culture

    Expanding Possibilities, Liberating Life Force

    One of the major contributions yoga can make to greater mental and emotional well being is its capacity to develop new ranges of feeling and expression. Like a tree that wants to grow into full expression, in the directions inspired by its natural ability, we also have a myriad of potential for feeling into and expressing our aliveness. But, like a tree forced to grow inside a box, we are hampered in our expression by cultural norms and expectations as well as our socialization. From a young age we are taught what kind of emotional expression is acceptable and will secure us the affection of our caregivers and peers. We…

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  • Ego,  Embodiment,  Nature,  Practice,  spirituality,  Yoga in the Everyday

    Skinny dipping in the ocean

    Yesterday I stripped bare on a secluded beach on the West Coast of Canada and threw myself in the ice cold ocean.  I had to shed it.  My clothes, my better judgement, the ought to’s and shoulds of culture that weigh on me daily like an ascetics hairshirt.  I had to strip it down.  The cloak of expectations and duty to a social order that wants to break me of my wildness.  I had to become naked and swallowed by sea so I could emerge a starfish, an anemone, a grain of sand and know myself as the natural thing I really am. As I flopped and swam like a clumsy fish amidst the gentle…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Yoga Culture

    Body Positive Yoga – Another perspective in an ongoing dialogue.

    This post is my contribution to the attempted dialogue about body positive yoga involving Melanie Klein of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and Kathryn Budig. For background, Melanie’s “Open Letter to Kathryn Budig” can be found here (An Open Letter to Kathryn Budig) Melanie, I feel impelled to reply to your Open Letter to Kathryn Budig as I believe there are few essential points that have not been touched on. You’ve presented one part of a very large issue on celebrity culture in yoga, body image and privilege. The first point I want to make is this: you state that Elen Bahr’s tweet “Say NO to Kathryn Budig as…

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  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Inspiration

    Grateful – The Natural State of an Open Heart.

    One of my Enneagram teachers once said that the natural state of the heart is that of gratitude.   An open heart receives the impacts of life, moment by moment, like the ocean receives raindrops.  No rejection and no coveting of any single drop – just the absorption of the part into the whole. Like this, our heart has the capacity to open to suffering and joy with equal tenderness.  In fact, this is what it calls us to.  The secret of the heart is that it wants to feel everything.  It wants to be fully alive and learn all that it can from the trials and celebrations of life.  Our…

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  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  spirituality

    On Happiness

      What is happiness?  I’ve been contemplating this for weeks.  It seems the notion of happiness can have so many meanings, across paradigms as well as within me.  Patanjali spends a great deal of time talking about the nature of “bliss”, the ultimate happiness.  But for him it is lifetimes of work to realize the stillness of being associated with it.  Buddhism is similar.  Happiness is possible only in the cessation of cravings or desire.  And yet for other systems, desire is central to moving our human organism toward meeting our needs.  For me, the pursuit of happiness exists on both levels.   I know that I have a propensity toward…

  • Book Review,  Ego,  Inspiration,  Practice,  spirituality,  Yoga Culture

    Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi

    The following is by Guest Contributor Brian Leaf, M.A. on the Keys to Happiness –  the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com. During my first two years studying at Georgetown University, I realized how deeply stressed I was, and that though I knew how to get As, I knew little about how to be comfortable, relaxed, and happy. I wanted desperately to feel more at ease. I wanted to feel more loving and more free-spirited. So I started doing experiments to learn how to live. pandora earrings,pandora…

  • Ego,  Intelligence,  Practice,  spirituality

    Lessons From A Leaf

    It is our last camp-out of the year.  Warm, sunny days mark the end of September and the sun refracts in the vibrant colors of Fall making the day even more beautiful, surreal even.  Every once in a while a breeze moves through and we are showered by falling leaves from the giant birch trees that surround us.  They make a peaceful descent toward their eventual disintegration and I feel both amused and inspired by that.   As I watch them fall I am reminded of the times in my life been asked to let go.  Those times when some aspect of myself or my life has lived its season and…

  • Ego,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice,  spirituality

    Living a Spiritual Life

      Today my daughter and I were home sick with the flu.  As I sit down to write this post on the nature of spiritual living I can see – in living color – the collision between human and divine.  How do I muster the fortitude to talk about the sublime amidst the drudgery of snotty noses and piles of dirty laundry?   It’s not easy, sometimes, for me to see daily life through a spiritual lens.  It’s work.  Despite the contrary claims of  so many new age gurus, knowing Spirit amidst the mundane requires pause, practice and an ongoing desire to tend to my suffering in a way that is…

  • Consciousness,  Ego,  Non-duality,  Yoga Culture

    Wanderlust – A Meditation in Darkness and Light.

    What can I say about Wanderlust?  I write this with some hesitation because not all I have to say is full of the love and bliss that was the incessant mantra of this festival.  Carl Jung said “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious”.   It became clear to me over the last week what it really means to seek enlightenment by imagining, conceptualizing and talking about unity, love and bliss – sadly, I think, at its own expense. Don’t get me wrong.  The festival had some lovely components – wonderful music, lectures and earnest practitioners gathering in community as an expression…

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