On a once In a blue moon day, I was asked, how do you get the sparkle back in your eyes?
In your average yoga class, there is no talking, at least not on the student’s part. In the Boulder County Jail I find it difficult at times to settle down a little occasional class conversation. I try not to encourage it, but at times it creates connection, understanding and even a deeper sense of our shared humanity. Stories always do this, and if there is value for everyone in them, why stifle that?
The story on the blue moon day was that of a student whose grandmother asked her mother where the sparkle in her daughter’s eyes had gone. Her grandmother said that her granddaughter used to “have the light.” The woman who shared this story was this child, and seven at that time. I had to ask if we all didn’t lose some of our sparkle that most pre seven year old children glow with. Do we somehow get taught not to sparkle? Does growing up in our culture tend to dim the light of childhood?
I do not know the answer to this, but I imagine it’s a very lucky child that doesn’t lose some of their light. Often children are settling in front of a television, or computer. We are living in a culture where it isn’t considered safe to run free and play without adult supervision. Even as a child who was allowed this freedom, I feel my sparkle was dimmed. Dimmed by the adults who found the pressure of daily life too great to bear, and were unhappy. None of the students in the jail that day felt alone in having lost some childhood sparkle.
How do we find our sparkle? My answer to this question is yoga. Yoga can bring us back to our light. I truly believe in my conviction about this. This is why so many individuals are flocking to yoga classes. They come to get fit and find personal freedom and transformation. Even as people push through Westernized yoga with a focus on postures, something beckons them into the vast yogic call toward happiness, a greater sense of self, even enlightenment. At first it’s the exercise, but then gently the teachings, the stillness the call of peace sneak and settle in. The sparkle in the eye of childhood returns. Even in a jail cell, I am told; people find strength, stability and inner peace, with the practice of yoga and meditation.
The benefits of a mindful practice lights us up! I hope that EVERYONE can leave yoga feeling better than they felt before getting started. That there is a sense of being more centered and able to be more connected with that inner sparkly child.
As a dancer I find I am easily lifted into this place through dance as well. It is not about the physical movement, but more about the freedom of expression and play involved. The meditative state I enter as I move. I for one could not live without yoga and dance. For me, it’s as vital as water or breathe. It’s the sparkle in my eye.
Today the screaming stopped. The room felt different on entry to my adaptive yoga class in a group home. There was a stillness that made me wonder, but I didn’t ask.
Two weeks ago I walked into the same house with the walls vibrating in a scream. I looked into your eyes and wondered what it was like inside that body. I practiced the grounding that had calmed the storm before and after about 15 minutes of screaming and thrashing about a quiet set in. Balance was temporarily restored and even a glimpse of laughter replaced it. Those eyes found focus close to my face. You reached for my pants, and the colors that matched your socks.
You rocked in time to MC Yogi. Oh dear one, you touched my heart.
But today it was quiet, and I see you as this cloud quietly drifting off and away.
Your withered body that no longer wished to eat has released you.
I’m so grateful that I had the chance to find that sweet woman inside the body that seemed so troubling to be inside. You were a gift to my life, and I’m glad I took the time to look beyond the screams.
I’m so blessed to have gazed into your eyes and held your feet and knees in hopes that you would find a little connection.
You were a beautiful gift to me, and I’m lucky that we met.
I love the desert. I love the vast open space and that fixes my internal gaze and stills my wandering mind.
I find expansion in the stones and the dirt. The colors in the rocks and the tiny bursts of plants are vibrant. The plants themselves seem to beat all odds just to come through the rugged ground. The trees twist and turn against the wind, seeking the sun.
Nature so impresses me, I never tire of her announcements to live.
The last time I visited the desert I discovered places where the bones and plants from the Jurassic period were left imbedded in stone to view and to allow my imagination to wander back millions of years. I could almost feel the breath of sauropods on my neck and feel the earth tremble beneath their feet. I wonder if we are making our way toward a vast extinction again.
Who will miss us? Who might just dig us up and place us in museums as a creature of the past?
So, as my inner gaze quiets it begins to burn back in time. I search for meaning in the madness we humans have come to witness as everyday life.
I love the desert
Yesterday I was honored to witness my dear friend’s exchanging vows. It was a joy to see the deep love and passion between the two of them. The energy between them was thick and dreamy. It held the kind of contentment we all hope to find in this lifetime. It is obvious and unshakable the way that they complement each others lives.
Together the two become one.
I am often moved at weddings, but something was different here, in that the two are women. That was a first for me as weddings go. It just seems a sin, so to speak, that anyone would consider this coupling to be wrong in any way. Bravo to Colorado for allowing these two to wed. Shame on anyone who would be opposed to two people so right for each other becoming legally bound if they so choose.
My heart is full in seeing such caring support of friends and family.
Something opens our wings.
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness. ~Rumi
Feels like a lost a piece of time. Lost weeks.
I’m wrapped up in blankets with the summer heat of the outdoors beckoning me to break free from this wintry state of mind
Days turning to night filled with colorful, dramatic dreams
And night turns again to day drifting in and out of slumber
I’m uncertain which day of the week it is
And this is how July flutters by with a dozen plans taken.
Or is it a dozen plans shifted?
Missing weddings, performances, workshops and visits with friends.
These events that go on wonderfully without my presence
Blown away from making memories, as if a flame ignited them
What can come from these ashes of ill?
Some peace and quiet for soul searching
Some captured recollections of my vacation spent by the sea
A recollection of who and how
I long to be on this journey ahead
Remembering for the days ahead that will find me
The lost piece becomes the newfound peace.
“Open your heart” is a statement we often hear and wonder about. I wonder sometimes if my heart is open, and sometimes I’m sure I don’t think I want it to be.
In yoga, we do a lot of heart openers. Sometimes I do sequencing around the idea of opening the heart chakra, the Anhata. Does this leave practitioners vulnerable? How open does a wounded heart want to be?
Sun salutations and back bends open our heart, can we open ourselves and at the same time feel protected? I think so. I think we can blaze our energy out in all directions and still hold a container of safety around ourselves. We can claim our space, allow our energy to fill the space around us and maybe even have it bounce right back in. This makes us stronger and sure of our selves, not more vulnerable. We open our hearts for our own personal healing, not just to give it all away.
If we build our strength aligning and opening our body and mind with an open heart, my hope is that our strength and personal integrity make us more able to protect ourselves and face obstacles, not less.