Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!

This morning, I enjoyed Winter's call to sleep in late and linger in bed for longer than usual. And I reveled in the stillness of the morning to sit in meditation longer than usual.

Winter beckons us to slow down and nurture ourselves like the womb nourishes a fetus. It is a call to go inside, to inquire into our true nature, to get quiet and listen to the wisdom of our beings and honor what we discover. Although we are returning to longer days, this is still the darkest season. It is in nature's flow to honor this precious time by reducing busyness, spending time with loved ones and practicing restorative activities like yoga and meditation that help us renew and rejuvenate before the Spring.

May you cherish this rich opportunity for inquiry and self-honoring. May your Winter Holidays be blessed with much love, deep presence and the radiance of the returning light.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Compassion and Kindness

- alternate version of 12/11 newsletter
I love this holiday time where we practice opening our hearts towards others by giving gifts to loved-ones and generously making offerings towards those in need. In Yoga, one of the highest practices of generosity is to generate compassion and kindness for all beings, but especially for those people who trigger you the most.

I've recently been faced with the opportunity to practice this quite a bit! While it has been very unpleasant to feel somebody's frustration pointed towards me, I've been able to appreciate the unique growth that has evolved from it. I've been watching my impulses to react defensively against the perceived threat; my ego wanting to defend it's position or wanting to counter-attack. This kind of response is so natural, so human. And yet as a conscious being, I've been doing my best to choose compassion and kindness instead. (Using e-mail has greatly facilitated this process as it's given me the space to think before I respond).

As I've shared in classes this week, what helps me to respond with kindness is first generating compassion (karuna) for this person. I try to see the ways we are alike and I try to feel how I imagine this person is feeling. I remember that it is because of their suffering that they are being unkind to me and that helps me to feel genuine compassion. Once I experience compassion, I can more easily respond with kindness.

I always feel better when I generate compassion and kindness than when I react out of my habitual or animalistic tendencies. And I know my words are much better received that way as well.

May you experience the true compassion that supports your kindness towards all beings