Listening to the Inner Voice Workshop

Cultivating Your Own Conversations with the Divine-A Two-hour Workshop with Kaye Khalsa.

Friday, October 15, 2010, 6:30-8:30 pm,$25 PrePaid, $30 at the door. At Franklin Yoga & Wellness, 1256 West Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038 508 520-4515

Are you feeling disconnected? Have you lost your enthusiasm for your work?  Do you find making decisions challenging?

Using breathing, guided visualizations, meditation, and mantra, Kaye will assist you in creating a clear connection to your inner voice, the gentle positive voice of wisdom available to you. It’s only a matter of finding the right muscles, and finding the habit and method which works for you.  Kaye will instruct you on how to tell the ‘right’ voice from the ‘wrong’ voice. You will leave the 2-hour workshop feeling relaxed, grounded, connected and more hopeful.  All are welcome.

Kaye is the director and co-founder of Franklin Yoga & Wellness. She has taught many hours of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, Hatha Yoga, and Meditation classes. She is certified in a number of body work modalities and specializes in ‘listening to the body’s wisdom.’ She has been communicating with the Divine since she was a young girl and loves nothing more than turning others onto this amazing resource.

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Sadhana Memories

It really works!! Really. Really. A little over a year ago I decided to challenge myself and do 365 days of Sadhana, that is, to get up before the coming of the light (yogis refer to it as the Amrit Vela-time of great nectar), practice some yoga and meditate, by chanting the mantras for the Aquarian Age (total 62 min).

I’ll begin with the failures or, more gently, my stumbles. I mostly succeeded in keeping the promise I made to myself in that I did it every day but one, Valentine’s Day. In a benevolent act of self love during the most inhospitable time of the year, I chose to skip my sadhana on the day of love.  Towards the end of my challenge, in the middle of the longest days of the year, I did not rise before the sun on numerous occasions. She just couldn’t coax me out from under the covers, even with her sweet summer, morning breezes, much before 6am.

Okay here are my victories. It has been a very remarkable year for me. I began my journey in the expansive, endless-sky, desert town of Espanola, New Mexico, long-time home of my spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan. I took my meditation journey home to Massachusetts, and to my ever expanding joy, realized I was able to sleep a little later each day as autumn began shortening our days here in New England.

For two chilly November days, I woke in the whee hours and did Sadhana with my inspiring step son in upstate New York at the ‘Castle,’ of a famous actor who hired him to do some detailed wood-work.  Back at home during the darkest winter months, I chanted with other yogis in Millis and Franklin and was lucky enough to be part of introducing 18 amazing teacher trainees to the group sadhana experience.

Early spring brought me to Pura Vida, the pure life, of Costa Rica where I rose and stepped out on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the pulsing rain forest every morning for seven days.  I timed it so that as I began chanting the sun’s rays would graze the tops of the trees and the world would open up before me like the colorful flowers punctuating the landscape. Pure Bliss, just like waking up with God at your side!

June found me at a Reserve and the rambling Martha’s Vineyard family home of dear friends and fellow teachers, where we lead a weekend workshop.  We woke to hundreds of swans landing in the brackish waters of Great Pond. The Fourth of July holiday brought me together with very dear friends on the Island of Chincoteague, off the coast of Virginia. I find meditating on islands  yummy– with the ocean surrounding the land and all those wonderful negative ions clearing out those unwanted thoughts.

Château de Chenonceau and Me

My dreams came true at the end of July, when I woke up in Paris and still did my Sadhana, sneaking peaks at photos from the prior day’s travels. In August I was pinching myself as I opened my eyes in various towns along the Loire Valley in France.  I love France! I won’t even begin to get into what I love about France here because this post is getting too long as it is.  Let’s just say I was very, very happy there.

The summation: 365 days of Sadhana made me stronger, more resilient energetically, healthier and happier.  I was less tired and less crabby. I ate better and had a better outlook. We even made more money for part of the year.

It is a panacea. Honestly, I believe it can cure anyone of just about anything.  Go figure.  I had no idea the power of that regular a practice.  I found the closer I woke to 4 am, the better my day was as a result. The days I woke up later and felt less enthusiastic about my practice were not so good.  I found I could anticipate certain challenges and in a sense work through them during the meditation, clearing my emotional system for the day.

I want to thank my husband, Guruatma, for his unwavering daily support, participation and leadership.  (He is leading Sadhana several times per week at our yoga studio, Franklin Yoga & Wellness.)

Try it, you’ll like it.  The only caveat is that it takes about three weeks 21 days or so to get over the super tired feeling.

Joan of Arc in the Loire Valley in 2010

My intent in traveling to France was to visit the sites where my beloved heroine, Joan of Arc, traveled. I felt richly rewarded and awed by the love and reverence the French had for her.  I find it poetically ironic that the very institution which put her to death, honors her so in all of its churches and mighty cathedrals.

I drove 2,000 kilometers along roads and highways lined with acres of sunflower farms, to Orleans, Tours, Blois, Ambois, St. Catherine de Fierbois and Chinon.  My favorite drive was the back road which followed the Loire River from Blois to Tours.  With the river on my right and fields of varying shades on my left stretching southward and the endless blue sky, I could almost hear the rapid cadence of the horses hooves galloping along the same road nearly 600 years before.

The land felt gentle and the picaresque towns serene compared with life in New England, USA. I fell in love with the high puffy lavender clouds and expansive sky, the rolling fields, the limestone architecture and the modeled trunks of the Sycamore trees. A part of me felt at home and at peace.

Here are a great number of photos of the numerous and varied statues erected in her honor.

Finding Joan in France

Kaye & Joan for the First Time

July 21, 2010.

On our first day in Paris we wandered toward the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.  From the banks of Seine River you can see it’s Gothic square spires stretching towards the puffy white and gray clouds.  Even the sky looked French with it’s Louis XIV opulent blue. Two children, one boy and one girl, stretched out their arms, and with small pieces of a baguette held between their fingers, birds- sparrows I think, began to land on their arms and hands for their evening meal.

The queue moved quickly and before I knew it we were passing under the carved arches and between the mammoth wood and wrought iron doors.  I don’t know why the builders of cathedrals make the doors so huge.  A man on a horse could pass beneath with another man on his shoulders.  Maybe the doors are so large merely to accommodate God.

Up on right side of the transept, in view of the huge altar, stood the first real-life Jeanne d’Arc statue I had ever seen.  This would be the first of many.  There she stood, silent, proud and ever-inspiring, with an eternal view of the altar, and the gigantic rose window stretching over her head. This would have made her very happy.

Stay tuned for more photos and details on Joan of Arc and my trip to France…

Disconnect, Connect

For more than forty years (I won’t say just how many years after forty) I have walked in this body, slept, ate, made love, had babies in this body and even walked on hot coals, and all too frequently, I feel like I am not settled in my body.  During these times I feel beside myself, like I’m tagging along unwillingly, merely observing with my attention elsewhere and not fully engaged.  I long for the ease of dropping in and feeling securely seated in my loins.

I think it’s trust, or rather, the lack of trust which keeps me suspended thusly, half in and half out of my body.

It isn’t hardship, starvation, torture or any of the usual painful body events which would make one want to vacate the body. On the contrary, I have everything I need in terms of food, shelter and clothing.  I even have to admit, as far as bodies go, I was given a fairly good one.

So, this force which keeps me separated from my body must be my mind.  Yet, I still waiver.  This barrier has density, a heft, a palpable thickness.  It must be molecular, something physical.  I use my will and my practiced, meditative mind to force myself deeper into my cells and sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

As I write this, I am remembering.  Effort- movement, walking, writing, yoga- initiates the penetrating process.  The barrier begins to soften and yield.  But, the feeling of separation is self-perpetuating and keeps me from moving.  I feel without propulsion.

When I successfully overcome this lackadaisical malaise and get my butt off the chair, I immediately feel better.

I move, walk, run, write, stretch or breathe and I begin to slip in, settle down.  I am connected once again and it’s bliss.

Summer Solstice ~ Day of Dreams

Today not only feels like the sunniest and brightest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere it also feels the most luminous.  The light is crystal clear and vibrant.  It’s as if the air is filled with prisms and the brilliant light is refracting all over the trees and the plants of my yard.

It’s on these days that most anything feels possible.  This is the day to wish upon the light just as we would wish upon a star.  The term Sun Bathing bespeaks the feeling of being washed clean when we allow the sunlight into all of the dark places within our bodies, renewing and refreshing us right down to our bones.

My heart feels lighter and my future looks bright; I hope yours does too!

June 8th is World Oceans Day

Happy Dolphin

Seventy percent of our earth is covered in water. Each of us is comprised of the same ratio of water to earth elements (carbon compounds)  – 70%. Our brains our actually 90% water.  One molecule of water can travel hundreds and thousands of miles on our weather system. This molecule could start in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and end up on the farmlands of Idaho or in a reservoir in New York, finally to end up on your table in the form of a potato or a glass of freshly brewed iced tea. Through the miracle of evaporation we share water molecules with everyone in the world.  The seas (and our air) are our life source.

Just last night we heard on the news that World War I ships dumped drum-fulls of chemicals such as mustard gas and other harmful toxins in our oceans off the coast of Massachusetts and who knows where else.  I wonder how much our oceans can absorb before they reach that critical mass.  Already our oceans are becoming more and more acidic – acid rain, coral reefs are bleaching, and sea animals are ingesting our poisons every day.

Just because you don’t have the ability to clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico or dispose of the polluting chemical drums dumped in the ocean decades ago, you can help by cutting back on products that contain chlorine, pesticides and any other chemicals which would pollute your drinking water.

WE NEED YOU! If we as consumers changed the way we spend our money and only purchased items which were environmentally friendly we would effectively make the change needed.  The problem would not be solved over night but we would be changing the way we regard the oceans and our water.

It’s not nature we are protecting it’s us!

The Human Heart ~ Day 290

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here and I feel guilty of neglect. Blog neglect. Perhaps it was all the rain in April, or the new green growth, or some other shinny object pulling my attention. Anyway, I’m back.

It’s the surprising capacity of the human heart which continually bouys my faith in humanity.  Just when I think the world is a cold and isolating place, I read a story or hear a song in which someone has gone against the current cold and calculating flow of life on this earth, and opened their heart, and sometimes their wallets, to another in need.  These moments are joined together like a mala and just like a prayer or a chanted mantra, bring me from one challenging event to the next.

The movie The Blind Side, which I’ve seen twice, is one of those movies in which a family opened their hearts and home to a young boy in need of both.  The results are successful for all and moved me to tears a number of times. Yes, I am an easy mark, I guess.

My wish is that these heart experiences were more frequent and more ubiquitous.  Honestly, I think I’ve gone days, weeks and even months and not been moved by anything or anyone.  Some of the positive thinkers or new agers would say it has nothing to do with my outer world and everything to do with my inner world.  They are probably right. However, my inner world becomes uplifted, held, soothed and made whole again when evidence that an open human heart has crossed my path.

Lifehouse’s song Everything has lifted me out of the doldrums more than a few times.  Just the words “how can I stand with you and not be moved by you…” are incredible in their devotion and reverence for another-even if it was a fleeting or short lived moment.  These lovers are bound to disappoint one another as we all do.

So, perhaps it is the job of each and everyone of us to contribute just one of these uplifting moments which will join with others and create a path of stepping stones across life’s turbulent ocean.

Day 229 ~ Appearances Are Deceiving

My sadhanas have been pitiful since my return from Costa Rica.  I wake just minutes before sunrise, sit up in bed, squeeze in a few stretches and begin chanting only to check email on my ipod when I hear the seductive ‘you’ve got mail’ bleep.

Though something tells me that I am still benefiting by this slipshod sadhana practice.  I’ve been feeling generally safe these days. Quite a feat for me as I typically felt threatened or fearful on some level even in the safety of my own home.  Even my lazy sadhana is working behind the scenes for me in places and ways I have yet to notice.

This is generally true with life and especially true with my husband who has a long, full beard and mustache.  While driving on the Mass Turnpike into Boston to teach a yoga class a man pulled up beside my husband, glared at him and then spit out his window.  My husband happened to have on his big white turban.  The man had assumed my husband was a Muslim and reacted with vehemence.  Not two days went by when my dear husband sat in the parking lot of a nearby gas station and a man, after climbing off his shiny crimson Harley, gave my husband a smile and the ‘up-nod.’ As if to say, “ts’up brother.” This particular day my husband wore his graying hair down in a pony tail which hung out of the back of a baseball cap.  My husband, who thinks he’s more of a Ford Mustang guy, but actually drives a Toyota Prius, never straddled a motorcycle in his life.

Both men assumed things about my husband and were wrong.  I find this very true of life.  How many times have you looked at someone with jealousy or pity and later on found that your assumptions were incorrect?

Appearances truly can be deceiving and I am thankful that they are.  It keeps me on my toes, reminding me not to judge others.

Day 222 ~ Saibung

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Saibung or Saibhung means Self-Illumined.  I love this concept. Or, is it an elemental state?  Technically, it’s only an adjective, but what a powerful one.

Self Illumined. Lit from within. Radiant. Needing no outside source.  This is the Yogi’s way of describing one of the myriad qualities of human beings.  But how often do we come across someone who truly allows their light from within to shine? Not often enough.  It seems complaining, suffering and grudges abound.  All of these states of mind diminish the light within.

Marianne Williamson captures this light hiding phenomena beautifully in her book A Return to Love:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.