Stepping Back for Ease. A Gift. The holidays can be amazing and complicated; jubilant and crazy-making; overstimulating and lonely all at once. Even when we're joyful, there’s the added stress of finding and paying for gifts, and often many preparations. For some of us it might mean attending holiday events with difficult family members. For others of us, whose family circumstances have changed, it might mean spending more time than we wish alone. This year, I can check the box on all three of these categories! A nearly 50-year spiritual practice of yoga and meditation has not immunized me from stress, grief, disappointment or betrayal. But I have learned a few strategies over the years. I know that if I can [...]
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So far Liz has created 36 blog entries.
Loss in a time of Thanksgiving. 💔 When life upends our plans, and the love and companionship we’ve cherished explodes into a toxic cloud, or we face some other inconsolable loss, there are two options: We can numb out and put one foot in front of the other. Or we can stay present and put one foot in front of the other. Either way, we keep going. Choice number one constricts the heart, literally putting us at risk for heart attack and immune system dysregulation. The second choice risks us burdening our friends with TMI, blubbering at inconvenient moments, and spending too much time in bed. Having spent way too many years unconsciously tamping down my feelings (a childhood habit [...]
Where is home? This summer was unforgettable - from the desert Southwest, to battlefields and southern mists, to the great Atlantic shore. It's been a while and I covered a lot of ground cross country! I camped along a river, visited family, tasted regional treats, and made wonderful memories. Do you ever feel that way after a temporary move or while traveling? Sometimes I don’t remember if the nightstand is to the right or left. And the bathroom…where is that? Down the hall? In the room? It only takes a few moments to orient myself to my current location and time zone, but in those seconds, if I let go of trying to figure anything out, I can truly know where [...]
Perfection, Acceptance, and Dogs :) We would love to be as accepting of life as it is, as our dogs, right? Jordy, my neighbor’s dog has leukemia and has only a few weeks to live. Yet she still loves to chase rabbits, go for walks, receive a good belly scratch and come to my door for treats. If she’s uncomfortable, she isn’t complaining. She doesn’t resent her owner when he says “no” to more treats, and she could care less that I have a Mezuzah on my doorframe. I’ll never be that comfortable with the here and now. We humans are works in progress. Perfection is the enemy of love. I wish I could help my precious granddaughter understand this [...]
A Contemplation for Comfort. Each morning, the Daily Meditation from Richard Rohr, Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation arrives in my inbox. Recently, this paragraph moved me: Ultimately, we do not earn or find God. We just get ourselves out of the way. We let go of illusions and the preoccupations of our smaller selves. As the cheap scaffolding falls away, the soul stands revealed. The soul, or True Self, cannot be created or achieved by our work. It just is, and it is already. The soul is God’s “I AM” continued in me. “The Soul is God’s I AM continued in me.” Dear Ones, Whether you’re an agnostic, atheist, or a believer, the physicists tell us that we are all [...]
Facing what is. We can back away from the world, both our own personal dilemmas and the times we live in. But when we face them with presence, we can use these very same troubles as a pathway into a deeper connection to Self, to the place within us where we are deeply connected to each other and to the energy of the universe. I really do mean “the universe,” because if the physicists are right about the Big Bang, we are all the stardust of those first atoms. This chaotic world--with myriad crises and uncertainties, seems nonstop. This fog of collective unease, underlying our constant pressures and priorities is exhausting. Yet, when I was asked to write about releasing dread, I [...]
How do we feel vibrant, ageless and alive? For me it’s when I feel a loving connection. I can feel my heart expand when I am attuned to Shoshanna, my seven-year-old granddaughter, whether I have that rare opportunity to be in her presence, or even when I conjure up an image of her in my heart’s mind. Science corroborates my experience. Our hearts literally swell when we feel love, and they shrink when we grieve. Grieving is a natural part of our lives, not to be tamped down, but there comes a time when we must turn our faces to the sun, when we must let joy flow through the grief, even if it’s only a small stream. For the [...]
Staying Steady Through Instability It may be a challenge to go within when outside events are tumultuous and frightening. However, now is the most critical time to continue or begin your spiritual practice. It will see you through whatever tensions our world is offering to us all right now. For inspiration think of the suffering experienced by Thich Nhat Hanh during the Vietnam War, his escape and life in exile. Think of Nelson Mandela, struggling to end apartheid in South Africa and suffering abuse and incarceration for 27 years. They each had a profound inner connection to silence. I believe many survivors do. Whatever your practice looks like. consider these points: ✦ Practice a little EVERY day. It doesn’t matter when [...]
When I suffered from depression, I felt numb, not sad. I lived in a fog of unfeeling. Now, when sadness hits, as it invariably does, like it did today when I heard that a friend is in ICU with Covid, I feel it. I didn’t always understand how important it is for my mental health to feel all my feelings, not just the “good” ones. If I can let myself cry, the release opens the channels for joy to flow. If I feel the barbs of life and breathe them into my heart, they pass through me. If I let myself feel the hard stuff with an open heart, my heart stays open to feel the good stuff—the pleasure of dancing, of [...]
Dear Ones, Today, we remember a teacher, mentor, and friend, Ruth Adeline Hartung, who died last week. Director of Seven Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona for over twenty years, Ruth was known to her students as Sraddhasagar —Sanskrit for Ocean of Faith — and that she was. She was a force for good and an inspiration to me. Sraddha’s devotion to serving took her often to the Middle East, where she trained yoga teacher trainers to help embattled and traumatized people through the nightmare of ongoing conflict. Her commitment to core yoga teaching included philosophy, diet, shatkarmas and kriyas, in addition to the more common teachings of asana and pranayama. This made her program, Influenced in part by the great Rama Jyoti Vernon, [...]