A Prayer

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God, Goddess, Spirit that be,
I pray this night watch over me.

Hold me in the arms of angels,
Safely from all harm and danger.

Bless all those I deeply love,
And tend their needs from up above.

Thanks to you for the gift of life,
Courage and patience to journey through strife.

My gratitude from deep within,
Please open my heart with your love, Amen.

*I wrote this prayer in 2007 and came across it in one of my old journals yesterday. It always surprises me when my writing has more profound, personal meaning, years later. The photo is a retablo of Our Lady of Guadalupe by New Mexico artist Lynn Garlick.

Vulnerability

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First, inspiration

A consuming fire

Relentless and tangled

 

Then, writing

A tentative rain

Of keyboard clicks

Slowly intensifying

 

Fire and rain argue

Until sparks turn to steam

And soften into grace

 

To find inspiration

And write from source

Feels easy, free and pure

 

Baring my soul

Not knowing

To whom I am opening

Showing petals and thorns

 

Is the artist’s way, I suppose

Until inspiration

Ignites again

First Time for Everything

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In yoga teacher training, one of my wonderful teachers, Geri, talked about the joy and responsibility that being someone’s first yoga teacher brings. She said that if we share the practice confidently with new students by offering our enthusiasm and support, they may come back for more.

Yesterday, I taught a class at Yogaview in Chicago and had the privilege of leading someone through his very first yoga class. Honestly, I was scared. I was worried that he might not like the class and I didn’t want be responsible if his first yoga class was also his last.

So, I tried channel Geri’s wisdom and share my excitement and love of yoga. I want to remember this experience because I think it is important to teach every class with that same energy and dedication.

In case you are wondering, my new student did amazing and seemed to enjoy the class. I can only hope he will be back for more.

Buddha Seated in Meditation

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Today I spent a lovely winter afternoon wandering the Art Institute of Chicago with my husband.  In the Alsdorf Galleries, there is an impressive sculpture of the Buddha seated in meditation from India, c. 12th century. Along with many other people, I spent some time studying the piece, reading about its history and listening to my audio guide reveal an unseen story.  I marveled at the Buddha’s size, condition, and gentle expression and thought about its journey to Chicago’s art wonderland.

As we meandered all over the museum, I passed the sculpture several times, the last just as the gallery was about to close and was nearly empty. I stopped to take a photo and felt more connected and inspired by the Buddha than my previous visits. It struck me that in meditation it is hard to allow thoughts, ideas, details and crowds to fall away. And then, occasionally, if I wait long enough, there are quiet moments bursting with stillness, inspiration, love, connection and maybe even peace. It has been several weeks since my last meditation session, but today, watching the Buddha diligently seated in meditation, juxtaposed against the surrounding chaos, a little bit of tranquility found me.

Grandma Jean

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Grandmothers are special people. My Grandma Jean was a wise friend, reliable confidant, engaging storyteller, vocal cheerleader, expert baker, tradition keeper, hard worker, savvy shopper, warm hugger, fierce protector, and more. I am grateful to have been her granddaughter and for her friendship and love.

Since her passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about our time together and the small, thoughtful ways she made everyday special. A crystal donkey dish filled with Hershey Kisses set out for me and my sisters, warm grandmother hugs and favorite story books, getting tucked in at night with kisses and the scent of fresh laundry, shopping for shoes, and long talks while baking oatmeal raisin cookies and burning a few, on purpose, for grandpa. I never want to forget those memories, or her.

“You won’t. I know a little about that. When you lose someone they take a bigger place in your heart, not a smaller one. Every day it grows because you don’t stop loving them” (The Shoemaker’s Wife, Adriana Trigiani, page 78).

2012 Reflections

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Two thousand and twelve, the year the world ended. Okay, not really. However, the past year has been full of life changes, joy, loss, adventure, uncertainty, fear, accomplishment and love. A cross-country move with my husband and kitty cat, making new friends, completing yoga teacher training, job and soul-searching, personal reflection, writing, starting a blog, art-making, volunteer work and the passing of my dear Grandma Jean are a few personal milestones from 2012. And in a way, the world has ended for me since 2013 is the birth of new dreams.

I don’t typically set New Year’s resolutions. However, in yoga teacher training, we read  The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron. Her writing is bursting with insight, but there was one passage in particular that I found inspiring and am re-reading as my resolution and meditation for 2013.

“The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it’s a brand new sun. It’s born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again. As soon as the children are old enough to understand, the adults take them out at dawn and they say, ‘The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.’ Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to reconnect with our basic joy” ( p. 33).

Do you set resolutions? What are you meditating upon as we end 2012 and move into the New Year? As always, with love and gratitude to you for reading.