Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Are you coming or going?

The world is upside down. How do you move forward when you're not sure which end is up? Sometimes we are floating in the ethers with no connection to the earth below.  Other times it feels like we're stuck in the mud with no hope of getting free. What we thought was up turns out to be down. The door we thought would lead to the next room only ends up taking us back to the room we are trying to get out of. We look for answers but find more riddles instead.

"Change is inevitable.....except with vending machines"

When all things we thought we knew suddenly seems uncertain we need to re-evaluate our beliefs and the direction in which we are moving. We were moving forward or was it back? We were moving up or was it down? Was that a right turn or a left? Even if it was the right move yesterday it may be the wrong move today.

It seems to me that trying to figure out which end is up with our minds is pointless and will only lead to more frustration. A more accurate compass for which direction we should be heading is our intuition.

The world may be upside down but when we turn to sadhana we are pointed in the right direction. The spiritual practice becomes the process of tuning into your intuition.  Each time we tune in we are given an opportunity re-evaluate and adjust the direction of our lives.

Remember that it's our thoughts that create our reality. That means it's our thoughts that create the upside down world we experience. Create a calm and clear mental state and we create a calm world in which we clearly see which direction to move.

Regardless of which way the world is spinning taking the time for sadhana will turn you right side up. Only be prepared because the right side might be different than what you thought is was.

"A set back is a set up for a comeback"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lead me from darkness to light

What is real?  Are you real?  Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?  What is real?  Do you walk the walk or just talk the talk?

What is real?  You talk about love but do you really love?  What is real?  Love and serve is on the menu but when you order it all that arrives is an empty plate.   What is real?

It's hard to see what is real from what is smoke and mirrors.  It's hard to see what is real from what is a facade.    The world around me seems too shallow for real swimming.  You can only wade in the waters but too dangerous to dive in.

What is real? My eyes see people extending a hand but when I reach for's not real.  It's an illusion.
My ears are hearing words of support and love yet when I turn towards's not real.  It's an illusion.

What is real? I've become so engrossed in the movie that when the lights come on I am shocked to find that I'm not  in the movie.  I'm only watching it.  "It felt so real!"  I believed that I was actually living a part in the movie!!  It's both a little disappointing to realize that it wasn't real but also a relief.  It's a relief to not have to play a role and to be real.

I'm still searching for what is real.  The more I turn on the light of consciousness through the daily practice of meditation the easier it is to see the reality from the illusion. 

The trouble is that my human heart still feels sadness when the realization that what I thought was real was only an illusion hits me.   The sadness of it overshadows the fact I should be rejoicing that the veils are lifting. 

What is real?  What you say or what you do?   It's not enough to talk the yoga talk.   What is real,  a  yogi who spends his days talking about love and service or the yogi who is in the background loving and serving when no one is looking? What is real?  Is love and support real when no one actually receives it? 

The illusion is no longer enough.  The dress rehearsal for life is over.  It's time to get real.  It's not enough to talk about love and service.  It's time to practice what you preach.  It's time to turn off the movie and start living your message. 

What is real?  Say what you mean..... Mean what you say.   Only offer what you are actually willing to give.   It's time to get real people!   It's time to live your message; wearing it on your shirt is no longer enough.  Don't talk about love and service unless you're ready to get your hands dirty and your heart involved.   Lip service is not real service.   It's no longer enough. 

In order for the message of love and service to be real it needs to be real all the time.  Even when it's inconvenient or when you're sick or tired.  

Are you real?  Or just an illusion?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking for beauty

Since writing my last post I've been thinking a lot about what I find beautiful. Today I wore my new red shoes. They didn't make me feel beautiful. On the contrary, they made me feel even more self conscious then usual.

A friend recently reminded me that I'm not going to find what I'm searching for outside of myself. Maybe the beauty that I'm looking for isn't out there either. As always, when I feel lost or confused I search for answers in a book. The book I'm reading now is called Seeing through the eyes of love by Eknath Easwaran.

"Ah, Lord God, thou holy lover of my soul, when thou comest into my heart, all that is within me shall rejoice. Thou art my glory and the exultation of my heart: thou art my hope and refuge in the day of my trouble"

There! there it is, the beauty I've been looking for, in the words of an inspirational passage. Ever since I can remember I've been escaping into the world of books. I get swept away by the words into another world. Words are powerful. I am very much effected by words. Reading beautiful inspirational words always fills my heart with joy. I feel the heavy mental congestion lift and clear.

I remember falling in love with my 9th grade English teacher. In hindsight I realize that it wasn't him that I was in love with. I was in love with the beautiful literature he was introducing me to. Listening to his soothing voice as he read to us effected me so greatly.  Although I don't remember the words he spoke, I do remember the feelings of love and sweetness that it invoked in me.

Words are powerful beyond measure. A beautifully written passage can easily send my heart and soul soaring into the heavens. Sending me into ecstatic states of bliss. Unfortunately, just as easily my heart and soul can be crushed under the shoe of words spoken in anger.

I don't  find beauty in red shoes but I do find beauty even in Nachiketa's dialog with death in the Katha Upanishad:

"Hidden in the heart of every creature exists the Self, subtler than the subtlest, greater than the greatest. They go beyond sorrow who extinguish their self-will and behold the glory of the Self through the grace of the Lord of Love."

I guess my friend was right. I'm not going to find what I'm seeking outside of myself. Not in the shoes, not in the books. Only in the Self. The way back to the Self is through the practice of meditation. When the heart and soul roars into ecstatic states of bliss reached through the practice of meditation the effects are everlasting. Nothing, not even the harshness of a thoughtless word can crush the heart that is filled with joy found in yoga.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Red Shoes

Om Shum Shukraya Namaha

My teacher once said that when someone reads your astrology chart it's like you're standing in front of them naked.  Since this post will be brief I guess you could consider this just getting flashed!

Anyway.... One of the remedial measures I was given at the time of my vedic astrology reading was to strengthen Venus.  So I was instructed to offer a white flower to a female teacher on Fridays.  Chant mantras to Shukra (Venus).  Beautify my environment by surrounding myself with beautiful things.  I was also instructed to take care of myself.  To do things that help me feel good about myself.

Finally! I thought, I have fun things to do instead of  the usual depressing kapha instructions like giving up all the foods I love, skipping the Sunday afternoon naps and not including savasana after asana practice.

It wasn't until I started doing those things that I realized how out of touch I was.  I am a very practical, straight forward kind of person.  I was more concerned about practicality than beauty.   I'd much rather spend the hour on the meditation cushion than in front of the mirror primping. I didn't see the value of surrounding myself with things that will only end up broken or lost. Or even worse....collecting dust.

It isn't as easy as it sounds, believe it or not.  I've discovered that for some people beautifying their environment and them selves comes very easily.  Take my mother for instance, even the simple act
Of making pizza becomes a work of art with each ingredient placed perfectly to insure it looks beautiful.   She can make any room look beautiful  in minutes even with just the stuff already there. If she sees something she finds beautiful she has to have it.  I'm content admiring it and leaving it at the store.

I've been working at this for nearly a year.  Offering a white flower to a female teacher every Friday and chanting the mantra for Venus has become second nature.  Beautifying my environment by creating my beautiful new yoga space was exciting and I do really enjoy spending time there.

I've spent the last six weeks creating new healthier habits that are helping me feel good about myself.   And Today I did something completely out of character for me.  I bought something so impractical.... Drum roll please......
Red shoes!

What I've discovered about myself during this practice of strengthening Venus is that I'm not comfortable with attention.  I prefer to stay in the back-ground.  Now the question is why?  Why is it that some people LOVE attention and demand attention while others, like me, avoid it at all cost?  

Here comes the flash.....Pay a little attention to the wall flowers  in your life and you'll be amazed at beautifully they bloom!!

Om Shum Shukraya Namaha