Category: <span>Blogging</span>

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 The Lunar Cycle

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

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

Tanpura - WikipediaIt was midnight of the third day when the chanting ended.  Jan 1, 2008.  We’d been at it, 2 hours on and 4 hours off, around the clock. After the first 24 hours I felt myself slipping into an altered state that felt amazing.  For the entire 3 days, the chant never left my mind…there was no room for discursive thinking, worrying, obsessing, analyzing, wondering,. There was no past, no future, just the chant. …there were no thoughts…just the chant…   Looking it up for the first time I discover that the moon was conjunct natal neptune/ketu.  It feels good to *know* that.

I was one of the musicians alternating between harmonium and tamboura.  This was my first time on a harmonium for ‘performance’ and I was nervous about that.  The tamboura however was sheer joy for the memories it brought up.  Years before I accompanied a local sitar player with his gig at the nearby Indian restaurant.  He needed the droning of a tamboura to play his best. He had one and taught me how to play it.   Loving all stringed instruments I was eager to learn and quickly mastered these 4 strings.

The tamboura I was handed at Kripalu was an entirely different instrument.  Little did I know that tamboura’s could be female, like the one I learned on, or male, like this gigantic gourd that was bigger than me!     The powerful, resonant, droning sound could project throughout the entire Main Chapel at Kripalu with only the most gentle touch.  I’m in trouble I thought, for I always err towards loud.

I was grateful for the time we spent together earlier getting to know each other, learning the chant, practicing with the instruments, and rehearsing the ‘changing of the chanters/musicians’ from one shift to another. Although I had received many invitations to join this team, I was only able to participate twice due to family responsibilities

I remember the first meeting of our team.  We sat in a circle on  dusty pink velour cushions and listened to Bhavani & Atma lay out the program and how it was going to work.  After time spent on the logistics, Bhavani brought out the instruments and introduced the chant.  I can still feel my excitement at being one of the musicians.   Although the Sanskrit was short and simple to say, the melody was difficult.  It required good breath control, along with some notes that were hard for me.  I was really impressed with those on the team that were the lead chanters and yearned for a voice as beautiful as theirs.

Over the course of the next three days we would chant Om Nimah Shivaya in Swami Kripalu’s chapel.    It was my favorite room in the whole building with it’s soft pink carpet and cushions.  The light wooden paneled wall behind the riser was rounded.   In one corner was a supply closet hidden behind a wooden door that matched the paneling.  On the other side was the space that housed the artifacts from Swami Kripalu’s time in the USA.  This was also the room where Amrit Desai, the founding Guru of Kripalu Center, would have his most intimate gatherings, I supposed.

On the last night, without missing a beat or a syllable, we moved ourselves to the expansive Main Chapel on the 2nd floor.   The backdrop to the riser we were sitting on displayed a huge OM symbol. Behind the OM backdrop is a mosaic left behind by the Jesuits who previously owned the property   The alcoves on both sides were open with the a/v station on the left.  I am sure that it looks very different today.

Everyone from the surrounding area of Lenox was invited for the final 2 hours of live chant and they began arriving soon after we began.  Slowly the room filled while all 20+ of us, all dressed in white chanted away.  I was grateful not to be the tamboura player for that last session as I was so high from bliss using a “gentle touch” would have been impossible.

There were easily 500 people on the floor in front of us all chanting and swaying away.  I saw thefamiliar faces of teachers, mentors, fellow students, and strangers that I have come to love in my years there.  The entire room was one with the chant.  You could feel it.  Everywhere.  Surrounded by sound & vibrations.

And then,

finally,

we chanted the final Om.

I understand now how “Silence is deafening”.

I don’t have the words to describe the exquisite experience of those silent minutes.  I don’t remember how long it lasted.  It might’ve been 2 or 20 minutes?  Time stopped.  Tears streamed down my face adding to sensory experience of this silence.  It became easy to understand the devotional Bhakti path if this was the reward for practice.  Of course, I had been immersed in it for 72 hours, not 2, a realization that took some time to comprehend.

Eventually, the sounds of bodies moving and voices whispering spread throughout the room.  Most of the audience had only joined in for 2 hours and maybe occasionally during the 3 days in the other chapel.  I wondered if they were feeling what I was feeling.  There was no way to know.

It didn’t take too long for the holiday cacophony to erupt.  It was New Year’s Eve and the kitchen had prepared a feast that everyone was eager to partake.  I didn’t have a bite.  Even though I hadn’t eaten much that day, I was filled up with something that left no room for food.

The next day, we met again to say goodbye and share our experience of that year’s Saptah.  After the hugs I floated out of the building and made my way back home, a 4 hour drive.

 

This year Bhavani & Atma will be leading the Saptah Chant on Zoom & on Facebook.  I’m excited to participate in this way!  I don’t have a tamboura or a harmonium, so I’ll use my harp & a drum for some musical accompaniment.  The chant itself is a difficult one and requires a lot of practice to do it well.  At least that’s how I felt about it 10 years ago.  That said, the melody has never left my mind even though I haven’t heard it anywhere since that night in the Main Chapel.

I’m not sure how long they’ll keep the Facebook link live.  There may be some issues around “recording” this particular melody?  That said, I’d recommend to those who are serious about their seeking to keep the chant on repeat until the clock strikes midnight of 2021.  Om Nimah Shivaya.  Jai Bhagwan.  Jai Gurudev.  Namaste.

Blogging journal entry Music Teachers Yoga

Back to the drawing board….. that’s a phrase that comes to mind whenever I have to start something…again…from scratch…   That’s what it feels like these days..like I have to re-create my *life-plan* again.  Who knew a global pandemic would upend life and country in such a way? Surely not I, even with the decades and hours of study and practice of ancient wisdom traditions.  Oh well.  One breath at a time is a good way to live these days, as long as it’s a long one.
I’ve been taking online courses on geometric art.  Some teachers are well versed in Sacred Geometry and they weave the ‘teachings’ of that ancient science as they teach us how to draw patterns.with only a compass and a ruler.  It is a fascinating combination of spirituality and science.

Sacred Geometry caught my attention when I was learning feng shui & vaastu shastra.  With half the solar system in earth signs at my birth, my connection to all things ‘earthy’ is embedded in my DNA.  Geometry is sacred because it enables us to turn time and space into matter.  It’s interesting because there is no Sacred biology, or Sacred trigonometry, or Sacred chemistry.  Physics is believed to be the bridge between matter and energy, but we don’t call it Sacred. Yet Sacred Geometry has been understood as such for thousands of years, probably more because if it’s sacred it’s origins are likely beyond our understanding.

I stumbled into this current artistic obsession while looking for instructions on how to draw the Sri Yantra.  I found a course on Udemy and in no time I was hooked!  Because of the pandemic many of today’s masters of this art have put their classes on Zoom.  The first class I attended in March had 300 students from around the globe all eager to learn the ways of the compass and straight edge.  Many are well versed in Sacred Geometry and can articulate the metaphysical symbolism inherent in the basics shapes/forms of the patterns.  After the geometric pattern is completed biomorphic motifs are added.  In this way masculine & feminine elements are combined to produce a finished pattern with harmony, balance, and satisfaction.   It is fascinating process to engage in and it’s become part of my meditation practice. Start with a dot.  Draw a line.  Draw a circle.  Keep going.  Om Shanti.

[easy-image-collage id=5730]

 

 

Ancient Wisdom Blogging Geometric Art StudioIFC

So, we’re in the middle of two eclipses and five planets are retrograde.  You don’t really need to know much about astrology to get a sense of the epic time cycle we’re living in.    It really doesn’t matter where you look there’s change, upheaval, and fluctuating conditions mostly everywhere.  You can try to block it out using whatever methods/medicine/magic you have at your disposal.  But relief is temporary.  There really are some terrible things happening if we are to believe the images and words on our screens.  It’s important to check in with the people around you since many are feeling fragmented, confused and hopeless.   Anyway, it’s  an auspicious time to Inquire Within and the stars will guide us accordingly.  It might not read as a “fun, summertime activity” but, for those who understand how transmutation and transformation work, the opportunity provided to you from this upcoming program is priceless.

 

more later.

Asbury Park Astrology Blogging Holistic Health Yoga Yoga Therapy

2019, SYTAR conference was inspiring, validating, and rejuvenating.  I was inspired to be part of this international community of yoga professionals bridging the gap between Western medicine & Yoga. There were 500 of us.   Many who attended had completed research projects with hospitals, universities, governmental agencies, non-profits, and large corporations.  The results easily confirm, without a shadow of doubt, what all of us who’ve practiced already know,  and that is that Yoga works.   It works as a stress management tool, a time management tool, and a vault of knowledge stored in our higher chakras that we can access at will…….  as long as we practice.  …every chance we can.

On the first day I learned about yoga therapy and cancer care.  There are many who are working within this community and doing some amazing work with evidence-based results.  On the second day I attended a 2-part session on yoga therapy and cardiac care.  Nischala Joy Devi was a familiar face at Kripalu over the years of my training, yet I was unable to attend any of her classes.  But here in Newport Beach, CA  I was grateful to spend time with her.

On the third day I continued to learn more of ayurveda, which is providing me with good info on aging & longevity.  The last session I attended, appropriately titled, The Last Breath offered up yoga therapy for dying.  It was the second best presentation of the weekend and was exactly what I needed.

The best presentation of the weekend for me was Keynote speaker Dr. Margaret Chesney  She and Larry Payne, were the speakers who touched me the most.

The event was well worth my time & effort and I’m grateful to my daughter for providing me with daily transportation to and from the event.  It was a wonderful experience overall.   I look forward to sharing all I’ve learned in the months to come.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like some information on how Personal Yoga Therapy can help you.

Blogging Yoga Yoga Therapy

Blogging Geometric Art Meditation

I was running late to class and hobbling still on my sore ankle.  I’ll remember Mars turning retrograde at 4 degrees Aquarius (ruling  zodiac sign of ankles) for a long time!  As soon as I got to the top stair and turned the corner to the studio I saw it, a large white shopping bag with a big pink post-it to Ida…and a heart drawn with red markers.  It was sitting on the chair in the hall by the door to The Sanctuary.  I looked in the bag and saw a bunch of books with a piece of paper on top.  There was no note or card or any clue at all as to the giver of this gift.  I grabbed the bag and hobbled some more into the studio.

 

My curiosity was stoked!  The bag held a delightful assortment of astrology books, most very old, but well kept and well read with pages dogeared and jacket covers marking pages.  I already had a few of them but some I’d never seen before.

In addition to the books was a piece of paper with what might be a natal chart but there’s no name or birthday or birthplace or any personal data at all.  It didn’t look like any other natal chart or chart form I’d ever seen before, and I’ve been seeing charts since 1970 something.

The other item in the bag was an aspectarian, and that item lit me up like a firecracker!  But, that’s another story.

Students began to arrive and I put the books away holding aside Dane Rudyhar’s, An Astrological Mandala – 360 Symbolic Phases.  I have a yellowed paperback held together with a rubber band at home.  I can use this hardcover one for sure.  Usefulness is important when you have Mars and Saturn in Virgo like I.

Another Solar Eclipse was due on Aug 11 at 19 degrees of Leo.  I look up that degree in Rudyhar’s book thinking it would be a good reading for the class and might offer some timely discourse.

Class begins.  It’s a struggle, at first, to pull my mind away from the mysterious gift.  But, by the time we got to “OM”, we were all centered, grounded, and ready for our yoga practices.

After class, we chatted some and I remembered how I wanted to share the page on 19 degrees of Leo,   Instead, I opened the book to the page that was marked with the book cover.  I looked and it read Phase 279, 9 degrees Capricorn. An Angel Carrying a Harp.   Stunned, I looked from the page to the beige nubby carpet up to the creamy tan wall and over to the small, Wm Reese, fully levered, maple lapharp perched on her stand in front of me.

Was that page marked for me?  Even the remaining students in the room were curiously mystified.

After they left I considered what to do with the bag.  I pulled out the piece of paper and the aspectarian, packed the books up, and left it at the studio.

Later that night, I looked at what I brought home, and it does appear like a natal chart of someone born in the 40’s or perhaps early 50’s.  Sun in Sag, Moon in Taurus (?) the symbols here are unclear, Capricorn is rising.  I can’t think of anyone offhand that has that astrological signature.    But, Scorpio’s love mysteries.   Sometimes.

Is this a gift from a peer, an admirer, or a stalker, or someone who has found me on the internet and chooses to remain anonymous for nefarious reasons, or what?

I am well acquainted to what an imaginative monkey-mind can do.  Yet, the bag was left anonymously, on purpose?

Anyway, if you’re still reading this and you know who left it, would you please let me know.

Meanwhile, the solar eclipse has passed and we can now try to make sense of all this summer has revealed…….so far.

Om Shanti….

 

Astrology Blogging Creative Non-Fiction Yoga