Yoga Therapy & Astrology Posts

I’m now in my seventh decade of life here, this time around, and find myself still firmly rooted in the same vicinity of my birthplace, Neptune………… New Jersey, that is. The fact that planet Neptune is located near the nadir of my horoscope is a constant source of amusement.  Synchronicity, you know?

During High School I was on the staff of The Megaphone, the APHS newspaper.  At one time I was the official “typing editor”.  Whatever.  Hanging around with would be writers, editors, journalists, and graphic designers was a good fit for me, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time.

From the getgo I imagined this blog as an expression of the moment as filtered thru this brain with an attempt to connect to who? what?  To self-publish anything and not have to go through the judgement and opinions of others was mind-blowing for this baby-boomer! I really learned a lot and education is never wasted.

As I repost this I remember that the birthchart for this post shows the moon at 26 Gemini which seems fitting with the nature of this post.

May all beings practice right speech.

 

1967 APHS

Asbury Park Blogging Dharma My photos

So, this is my Tiger.  Gonna try and paint her for the “year of the tiger”.  Already the month seems to be very ‘busy’.  Tigers are an active bunch, especially if they have a ‘purpose’.   More on that later.  February is a really good time to Feng Shui your environment.  Expand your thinking on how to use (your) space.  It’s important.

Namaste.

Feng Shui Holistic Health

I have a long, long history with all things “Kripalu”.   A search using the name will return a majority of posts that were the result of my activities in that weird pink brick building on the most beautiful piece of land I could get to, easily.  The blissful 3 hour drive on the NY Thruway was and still is a welcome diversion from the hustle/bustle jersey shore environment dominated by water., …everywhere. I live in a town called Interlaken named such because it’s and surrounded by lakes.  When I turn onto the street that leads directly to Kripalu Center I am on Interlaken Ave, in Massachusetts.   You can’t ignore or not see these markers when they show up.  What do they mean?   That’s a different conversation.  Needless to say, it’s been a special place for me for a long time.

One of the (many) reasons I fell in love with Kripalu is that I got to experience myself differently. (nature vs nurture) (fate vs free will)  When I first walked thru the doors I was a stressed out, spiritually starved single mom selling real estate to get my two kids thru college.  My mother had died, there was no other family nearby, and I just charged on.  What else was there to do?  My local yoga teacher urged me to visit Kripalu.

At the desk I remember them asking me to fill out some simple paperwork.  One of the questions concerned employment.  I stumbled on that one, which as I write this was a sticky question from the earliest days of my childhood….but that’s another story.  Although the world saw me mostly as a real estate professional, I had also started a side gig as a time and space consultant which primarily involved astrology, feng shui, and yoga.  Standing at the desk at Kripalu for the first time, I wrote in Astrologer as my occupation.  It really hadn’t thought it out and in the years to come it was fascinating to see the differences between my NJ-self and my newly born Kripalu-self.   There’s a couple bf memoirs in those experiences and maybe I’ll even write them?

So, taking on the persona of astrologer rather than realtor I experienced what a spiritual community looked like.  How they interacted with people like me.  How they interacted with those who they knew.  By the end of that 2 night stay I was hooked.  I needed Kripalu and began to reorganize my life to allow for frequent trips up the thruway into the Berkshires.

As a volunteer, one of my most favorite assignments was to work with the audio/visual team which was headed by a guy named Bob.  He was kind and very patient in teaching me about the all the technical aspects of Kripalu programming.  These were the days of analog, digital anything was far off.  The AV team was always around the musicians and that’s where my heart really wanted to be, with the musicians.  The music that I experienced live at Kripalu moved me in a way the Rolling Stones never did and they moved me too, truth be told.  Being an ‘assistant’ at most of the musical venues at Kripalu was heaven on earth for me.

Here’s a story I wrote about one of those times. 

Kripalu has re-opened and another incarnation of this community is about to be birthed.  So many changes.  Everywhere.

I’m curious to see what’s next.

 

 

Yoga

The book fell off the shelf and opened to this page when I picked it up.   When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times  by Pema Chodron   page 91

 

Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain.  We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top.  At the peak we have transcended all pain.  the only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind-our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals and friends.  Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.

In the process of discovering bodhichitta, the journey goes down, not up.  It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky.  Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward th turbulence and doubt.  We jump into it.  We slide into it.  We tiptoe into it.  We move toward it however we can.  We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away.  If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it i9s.  At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down.  with us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear.  At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta.  Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.

That’s what we do in yoga therapy,  we dive down.   It’s an exhilarating journey, if you are on a path of spiritual awakening.  It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in, there’s a lot to learn and discover inside your self.

Join us this Fall for Yoga Therapy for Grandma, An Introductory Course   On Zoom.  Are you on the mailing list?

 

Ancient Wisdom Buddhism Yoga Yoga Therapy

Feeling kinda beat up, exhausted, and emptied out.  The adjectives attached to (Hurricane) Ida were quite negative and unpleasant to hear/read/see.  Verbal abuse from every quarter with no regard to my feelings.

As a facilitator for mind/body experiences it’s been a fruitful time to practice what I preach.  I watched myself talk back to the newscasters and explain why it could be a good thing to be:  relentless, forceful, and rapidly growing.  I tried not to take anything personally….nor, to swell with any pride about my strength, persistence, determination.

The story continues, and will for a while.  I think Ida will go in the history books for reasons we haven’t even realized yet.

 

As for me, my lunar return is in a few hours so the best self-care I can think of right now is a nap.  There’s a long to-do list waiting at the next new cycle.

more later….

 

Namaste.

Blogging

I’ve been hearing and seeing my name on every type of media for days. Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming memoir:  Becoming Grandma.

 

 

 

 

Becoming Ida………………….

I’ve had a rocky relationship thru the years with my birth name, hating it, loving it, wanting to change it somehow, spell it different.  It’s such a simple name.  I’m anything but simple.

I was named after both Grandmothers.  Ida, was a derivative of Gaetana, my mother’s mother. Fae, the ‘middle’ name’ by spelling but meant to be attached to Ida as one name,  was my father’s mother, Fanny.  Both had passed on before my birth so I had no living role model for being  an Ida Fae.

As soon as I was old enough to read (early ‘50’s) I began to search for my name in print. I remember feeling sad that I could never find a magnet or a card or anything with my name printed on it.  My mother sent away for some small fabric labels with my name on it and sewed them on my clothing for sleep-away camp.  That didn’t count.

Throughout high school I did see my name in the newspapers a few times.  

It wasn’t as if kids made fun of me regarding my name.  I never experienced that. No.  My experience was more of an issue around being seen and heard and  feeling invisible. Who am I if my name isn’t included by those that make things with names on them?

Although I would not meet another Ida until I was 45, I met lots and lots of people who had an Aunt Ida, a grandmother Ida, or some other older elder who was greatly loved.  I never met anyone who didn’t like Ida if she had one in her life.  Hmmm.  I wonder how I’m doing?

The first significant meet-up with another woman named Ida happened at Kripalu Yoga Center during  one of my earlier visits.    And, then, again at Kripalu  I met a 2nd Ida.  We had a wild moment when all 3 of us were in the same place at the same time!  Their experiences of being named Ida was similar in context but not in content.

“Who I am”  would become a life-long search in and of itself.  Never mind that Ida is quite prominent in sanskrit.

Although I’ve traveled the country and a bit of the world in recent years, and I’ve yet to find a magnet, or a mug, or any kind of chachke or card for a generic Ida.

That said:

In 2009 Hurricane Ida hit the Jersey Shore.on the day before my birthday!  There were headlines everywhere.  “Ida’s Coming!” was one.  I couldn’t get out to buy the paper but it’s online here.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Ida_%282009%29

In 2015, Ida won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 2016, I spotted this book in Barnes & Noble and Ida dies.  There was so much synchronicity for this story at that time that it’s hard to believe it’s coincidental.  The same could be said of the movie, too.

………..   end of excerpt

 

 

 

 

 

And now, Hurricane Ida…..strikes again.   Hard to be invisible these days.  I guess it’s time to re-think who I am.

Namaste.

 

Blogging Creative Non-Fiction

How to draw? Click here.

My love affair with geometric drawing continues with this recent rendition of a jaali screen with ‘tabla’ (drum) design found in Akbar’s Tomb, Northern India.

Drawing out dual-level patterns is another level of complexity that can be frustrating and satisfying at the same time.  Over time it’s easy to train the eye to see different levels or layers and inscribing that on a 2 dimensional piece of paper using just a compass and straight edge.   Measurements not allowed.  I completed the pencil drawing early May.  And then, as usual, it sat there, unpainted and ignored for months.  Each time I saw it in my unpainted stack I waited for inspiration to come.  I’ve looked at thousands of pictures of patterns and their coloring, or lack of.  So many possibilities!  Choosing colors is the best and most confusing part….there’s a beauty in every color when used creatively.

Then, after a stressful week of turmoil, grief, and exhaustion, I needed to play with my watercolors.  Just watching the water carry the pigment around is meditative and soothing.  No ‘trying’ to “paint a picture”.  Recognizing my turbulent mental state, I decided to limit my palette to only three colors. Structure helps.   However, at the very end of this process/painting I did add those antique gold lines for just a little bling.  Otherwise, it’s all about: Ultramarine Blue,  Yellow-Deep,   and Burnt Sienna  mixed in varying proportions. A lovely neutral palatte that eliminates all that unnecessary picking and choosing of what to dip the brush in….just mix…add water….paint…..repeat…    and there are no freehand or biomorphic swirls here either,  just lines. Follow the lines.   A Mindless, Magical, and mesmerizing meditation to paint.

It is all about the process and breathing thru it.  Yoga & Art…  Within each layer are mistakes, judgements, opinions on how it’s coming.  My attachment to ‘outcome’ rears it’s ugly head at times.  And, then I remember.  The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  The difficulty lies in when to put the brush down?  When is enough?  There is a line between too little and too much.  Looking for that middle ground where balance and harmony co-exist.  That’s art.

namaste, everyone.   stay safe.

Dharma Geometric Art StudioIFC Watercolors

Our one-day retreat during the Summer Solstice at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ was a wonderful way to be together with my sangha after such a long, stressful separation.

We found a wonderful nearly-private space under a grove of Apple Trees and reconnected to nature, to those we know and love, and to strangers passing by.   We sat on the ground, picked at the grass, rolled around and rested in corpse pose. We practiced our co-listening skills by breaking into small groups and answering some thought provoking questions.   We sat in one big circle for breathing practices and meditation.   And then, we broke up for awhile and explored the grounds in what ever way we felt inspired to do so.  Some took pictures, drew sketchs, wrote in a journal.  Others used their time diffently.  All was perfect.

By the end of the day it was hard to say goodbye.  The connections we make with our spiritual tribes are deep, comforting, and nurturing to the human body/mind/spirit.  It’s just the way it is.

I’m looking forward to facilitating more events that help us move thru these unprecedented times.

We are in a process.  That process continues.  Breathe.

Remember the practices for the Brahma Vihari’s    “…the only emotions worth having”.

Om shanti.

 

REBIRTH
What brought you here? Rebirth: Kang Muxiang

 

As I was putting our curriculum together I was eager to find this sculpture.  Over the course of the day  as I wandered around I looked for it, with no success.   However, after we completed our final OM and said our goodbyes, and I dizzily headed towards my car  I saw it….re birth….and the others by the same artist….all in group, yet alone, too.    It was a perfect day.

 

 

Blogging Yoga Yoga Therapy

 

During the winter months I took a writing class with Ann Randolph and the prompt was

Think about a time that you were wild and green in the ways of the world…the whole world was before you, green a newness, a novice, sense of adventure, anything was possible…a curiousity, maybe stumbling and fumbling during this time too…excitement, anticipation, or maybe the wild and green in the ways of the world got you into trouble….if you think about the phrase Wild & green in the ways of the world…is there an openness & Curiosity to that now…and if so, what does the picture look like? we just to a future moment of being wild and green  in the ways of the world…what would it look like for you, in this case green= learning something new that brings you joy, delights you, brings you adventure? 

A month or so after that I participated in an online watercolor class where we would learn how to paint The Green Man using various techniques involving crackle paste, ink, and other stuff.  Purist that I am, I prefer to limit myself to one medium.  Choosing colors is complicated enough.  The Green Man is part of Celtic lore and gets Spring up and running. 

Green is the color that aligns best with the Heart (4th) Chakra. Anahat in Sanskrit. Within the heart space are the Four Immeasurables (also know as: heavenly or divine abodes, divine abidings, or the four Brahma Vihari’s.

Equanimity,

Compassion,

Sympathetic Joy,

Loving Kindness (Metta)

The philosophy and practices that focus on these four *states of being* have attracted millions of *followers* who *like* it a lot, to use a modern-day cliche. the instructions are simple. stabilize your mine through: mindfuness, or calm abiding, or meditation. Then bring each immeasurable to mind, first to yourself, always, and then over time extending out toward all sentient beings.

Many have said that these four are the only emotions worth having.

June 21 is the Summer Solstice and I guess I’ll have to find a different face to paint? For the solstice I will be facilitating a one day retreat at the Grounds for Sculpture. I can’t think of a better place to connect with nature, art, silence, space, and the heavenly abodes. Namaste.

Blogging Buddhism StudioIFC Watercolors

Drawing lines is (sometimes) easier than writing words. So I’m posting these pictures to show you what I’ve been doing  This video tells the whole story in 30 seconds.

The artist is Richard Henry and I’ve been taking courses at his school since the pandemic locked me down.  There’s something very soothing and fulfilling to drawing lines, straight & curvy.  Using a straight edge and striving for perfection can be easily witnessed.  And, letting go brings joy.   The whole of the process can be, and frequently is a meditation.

This particular geometric pattern falls into the category of 8-fold.   It’s a common pattern seen  and pictured here in an archway at .Humayan’s Tomb,  Delhi, India .

Often, it is used as a pattern for a jaali screen.  Here we use shades/blinds/curtains to adjust the amount of sunlight that enters a space.  In other places……jaali screens.    

This is as far as I’ve gotten.  Soon, it’ll be transfered to watercolor paper and then the fun really starts!

It’s a full moon…….  See the Light.

ps.  see that shaded out shape.  It’s called a tabla.             

Om shanti,

 

Geometric Art Watercolors Yoga