Wise living and the art of being present.

As I write this third post of the month of April, I am listening to the full SNL show that paid tribute to Prince. I think the shock has worn off a bit and an amazing amount of appreciation has surfaced. In a time when the world seems to have so much chaos, we can honor a light that burned so bright. I can’t say enough about the now legend that is Prince.

I moved through detox week and was met with more challenge than I had anticipated. I made it four days with no coffee and mostly just veggies… I felt the full effects of my body cleansing and needing to rest. That was the hard part. Also, honoring the success of the four days and not feeling as if I had failed to have not met the week goal. This is a success that I feel will precede the next effort. This is a process right? Just taking action to try is huge. I feel good about the cleanse in general. My neurons became raw as I challenged my body to not rely on cravings but to re-align with the strength of my body and brain. Wow! What a boost and feeling of renewal, growth, and change. I think that this process, along with running, and yoga allowed me the space to be open. Open to the present and as Rolf Gates stated so eloquently, “to participate in life as it is happening”.

I also noticed something else quite amazing. I must give accolades to my teacher Annie Adamson Vogt. I have been studying with Annie now since September in the 200hr yoga teacher training. I admire so much the dedication Annie has to her ever evolving knowledge and understanding of yoga. I have learned volumes about yoga, studentship, sisterhood, and respect for one another. I have been focusing so much on the structure of my yoga practice and relearning how to practice the shapes and poses in ways that are safe and kind to my body. I have been working hard to strengthen, so that I may touch upon the grace of opening up into the shapes. I hadn’t realized yet how much all of this concentrated effort, and really taking in what Annie is teaching was effecting me.

I felt the practice come into play this weekend when taking Rolf Gates workshop. He kept saying to find the middle. The place between effort and ease. As I started the workshop I felt a bit weak, likely due to the cleanse. I felt like I didn’t have the strength to do the physical practice. But then something strange happened. I just moved into the practice anyway. I just allowed my body to be where it was at and let that be the determiner of where my middle was. As I let go of expectation and just enjoyed my practice I suddenly realized how much stronger my body had become and how much the poses felt so good in my body. I can actually see how all the concentrated effort of the last several months has actually changed and strengthened me. Through the guidance of Annie and my own effort I could finally just relax into it and have some fun with it. With that aside I was also present. I followed Rolf’s guidance somewhere in my middle and I felt as if I could just keep going. As this sheath of old self doubt started to move away from me, I could feel myself and my heart shining bigger and brighter. Loving kindness and compassion was all I could think of. My mind was calm and I could just enjoy the experience of my heart feeling full and open and I was able to let in the experience of the other people around me also enveloped in beautiful practice. It was amazing. This is how we help each other. How we let each other into our lives and form this beautiful heartfelt and intentional community.

I feel it is such a gift and an honor to be a part of something so positive. I believe that this is how we change our neuroplasticity, and generate new thought patterns that then ripple out into our everyday lives. This is positive change. All I could think was that I had found my joy and I wanted more of that. They say that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I am a student of life and have a deep desire to learn. Some amazing teachers have shown up in my life and I am learning. I have to also give accolades to teachers Todd Vogt, Chris Calarco, Carly Budhram, Winter Pemberton, Kate Smith, Natalia Policelli and all the lovely teachers at Yoga Union. Your commitment to practice and ability to teach is truly inspiring.

There are five days left in the challenge. I am fifteen classes in and feel that I will meet the goal of 20 classes. Every challenge is different and this one for me has been profound so far. So, I will end this post with a quote from the Tao Te Ching:

Verse 32
The Tao is forever undefined.
Small though it is in the unformed state, it cannot be grasped.
If kings and lords could harness it, the ten thousand things would naturally obey.
Heaven and earth would come together, and gentle rain fall.
Men would need no more instruction and all the things would take their course.
Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.
There are already enough names.
One must know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop averts trouble.
Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.

Danielle Boucher Quast.

One Response to “Wise living and the art of being present.”

  1. Charles says:

    I love this article! The poem at the end is particularly touching. I tell my kids quite often, “the hardest thing in life to control is…” then I let them answer “ourselves.” “And if we can control ourselves we can be a? Jedi.”

    I am really feeling the vibe right now, working hard, helping others, and being successful in the markets and playing poker – it feels like the ten thousand things are one… for moments at a time 🙂

    Thank you!

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