Monday, April 30, 2012
I love coconut. I love coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut ice cream, coconut cake, coconut frosting, coconut cream pie and of course, coconut dipped in chocolate. Unfortunately, I must confess, I have always settled for these coconut byproducts, because I have been completely intimidated by coconuts. Seems, I have also settled for love stories, romance novels, reading about love and writing about love. Perhaps, the truth is, I was shelled from true love and happy to settle for these byproducts.
The heart is like a coconut. The tough shell does a great job of protecting the juicy interior: the flesh, the meat, the delicious fruit. As long as the shell stays on the coconut, it provides risk to those who come in contact with it. After all, you are more apt to trip over one or get hit the head when one falls from a tree, then you are to ever taste it with the shell on. A coconut in its shell, brings limited joy, except for the occasional imaging of the potential of the fruit inside. Ultimately, if never cracked open, the coconut will dry out and fail to reach its greatest potential. The same is true of the heart.
The fruit of the heart is the love that is contained deep inside. Often hardened by pain, suffering, anger, doubt and fear, the ego creates a protective layer, much resembling that of a coconut. A closed heart can lash out and cause great damage like a snake spewing poison. True love is that selfless love that is hidden beneath the layers. Once the heart is cracked open, that love can flow freely and take infinite forms and bring great joy to many.
Recently, I decided that I didn't want the aftermarket, processed coconut products, I wanted to enjoy coconut in its truest form. I decided to approach that hard nut and attempt to crack it. There, I learned that the way to open a coconut is to find one of the three eyes located in the small side and feel for the soft one, essentially that tiny area of vulnerability. Simply press into it and allow the juice inside to slowly drain from the small opening. Once it is drained, gently tap on the side until it cracks open. Then, crack it into smaller pieces and gently use a spoon to pull the flesh out.
To really connect to someone's heart, you must realize that it too may be hardened like a coconut. The shell was created in an attempt to protect the heart from further hurt. The shell is not personal and didn't develop overnight. To tap into someone's heart, look for that small soft spot and connect. Let them slowly pour out some of their pain, at their own pace and just listen. Judgment will stop the flow and you will not be able to crack the coconut or open the heart.
Just as I could keep eating coconut byproducts and fearing the work to crack a real coconut, you can keep reading about love, writing about love, dreaming about love, watching movies and love stories on television, or you can learn to crack open your heart and the hearts of those you love so you can enjoy more than your imagination and tap into the most powerful vibration in the universe: true love. If you want to bring more love into your heart, practice cracking coconuts. Be willing to allow that small soft eye of vulnerability to be exposed.
Once you realize that your own heart has characteristics of a coconut, you will know that so do the hearts of others. Don't be intimidated by the hard exterior of anyone or anything. Trust the good stuff is buried deep inside somewhere.
Stop settling for byproducts. The real thing is waiting! Go ahead do the work. True love is waiting inside of your toughened heart. Let your pain out and love in.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Coordinating and facilitating the Gracious Living Yoga & Surf Empowerment retreat was an amazing experience. Bringing together a group of openhearted and likeminded individuals from Canada and the United Stated was a powerful way to help others to see that the world is full of wonderful people with shared truths. For me it was empowering to create space for others to heal and bond in a safe environment.
It wasn't until the group left that I embarked on my reflection and transformation journey. What began as a surf lesson has become a life lesson. With some instruction, I entered into the Pacific Ocean and was quickly humbled. Years of training in the martial arts and yoga, put me at an advantage with balance, flexibility and agility. However, rough water and riptides quickly overtook and I was thrashed about. It became obvious that I was a first-timer.
As a yoga teacher, sometimes you forget that the simple act of a half sun salutation is foreign, awkward and even painful to a first time yoga student. They feel off balance, tight and must deal with their ego, which is as powerful as the ocean waves. Being a good surfer is about finding your center, while respecting what is going on around you, tuning into the sounds of the ocean and surrendering.
Teaching yoga is about surrendering your own ego and connecting to your students. Tune in with your heart and see if they are following. If they are not, back off. Yoga is not about the poses. It is about the connection of mind and body, body and soul and then the individual consciousness to the collective consciousness.
This morning I was blessed with a wonderful teacher named Paul. He may have appeared as the student, but by watching his movement, I could see where he was resisting the big 'waves' and flowing with the small ones. When the poses became too challenging, he would greet them with anger and tense up. If your students are tense, no one is practicing yoga and you are not teaching yoga. The benefits come in releasing tension, not displacing it from hips to forehead.
Instead of seeing a man struggle with yoga poses, I saw myself struggling with the ocean waves. Learn to teach with Compassion and you can open even the most locked up hearts. Find compassion by constantly placing yourself in situations that are new, awkward and uncomfortable. Humiliation keeps you humble and humility is where all hearts connect.
See humiliation, not as something to avoid, but something to embrace. For me, surfing was an opportunity to reconnect to the beginner's mind, an opportunity to soften and remember what it feels like to move into the unknown. When people stretch out of their comfort zone, it becomes uncomfortable. A good teacher recognizes their is strength in softening and surrendering.
If you ever have the opportunity to take a surf lesson, I encourage you to have this experience. It will certainly soften your soul and allow you to connect to other souls. At the very least, keep your approach fresh by trying new things. It will make you a better yoga teacher. The more people you connect to through the practice of yoga, the more you elevate the consciousness of the planet!
Be Humble! Be Happy Healthy and Fit!
Take your practice to a new level! Come to the Bahamas for a Yoga & Sport Course May 12-16th
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Change happens every moment of every day. Clouds move, the earth moves, one plant is blossoming while another is decaying, an egg is fertilized, a child is born, a loved one passes, an opportunity arises, another one disappears, it rains, it snows, the wind blows and waves crash. Each occurrences thereby changing the planet in some way. The only possible way for things to stay the same would be to freeze everything in a moment of time. It seems ridiculous and unnatural to ask nature to stay the same.
Change is a part of growth and growth is a part of life. Growth by definition requires you to leave something behind that is keeping you stuck or limited. A seed must leave its shell behind in order to blossom into its potential. You must leave your fear behind to blossom into your potential. Fear of change in relationship, job or location is enough to keep you stuck in your less than magical life situation. Everything is in a constant state of movement, so trying to hold onto to your situation is like a seedling hanging onto the seed covering. You must let go to get in the flow. Release what no longer serves you.
The best way to gain confidence in your ability to adapt to change is to move fearlessly into new opportunities when they arise and then to create opportunities where none exist. Humans are designed to survive. Embrace Adventure. Moving into the unknown is tapping into creativity. After 2 weeks in Nicaragua, I can see how what seemed foreign, strange and undesirable just a short time ago has quickly become the norm.
At home, you may not imagine eating something because it has fallen off your plate. Here, in Nicaragua, the wind blows during the dry season and brings some dirt right to your food or drink. You would not imagine, not eating or drinking it, it simply is the way it is. By the third day, it is the way it has always been. The same is true of any situation. It only seems like change while it is happening. Within 3 days, the new way will be the way it has always been.
If you fear change, I strongly encourage you to go on an adventure. You will be amazed by just how adaptable you are. The moment you have confidence in your adaptability, you may move fearlessly in the direction of your dreams. Having just finished leading a group on a Yoga & Surf Adventure retreat, I feel forever richer in friendship, experience and wisdom. For those, who I didn't even know just a few weeks ago have left an imprint on my heart. Adventure is the path to Expansion!
If you are going to have fear, fear staying the same! If you aren't growing, you are dying, not just in mind and body, but in spirit.
Being Happy Healthy and Fit means embracing Adventure. You don't have to leave the country or do anything crazy to test this out. Perhaps your adventure can be going to a new restaurant or movie alone. It can be starting a new business or joining the board of a non-profit organization. It can be starting a conversation with a stranger. Adventure is anything that takes you out of your comfort zone and into your Creative Zone!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Surrounded by monkeys swinging from treetop to treetop, watching the waves crash in on the coastline of Nicaragua is an amazing time for reflection. Are you a dreamer or a doer?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Being in Nicaragua has reminded me the importance of the Universal Language, the language of Love. Upon landing here, I realized that my Spanish is non-existent. For some reason, even the very basic word Hello or Ola has slipped my mind. The nighttime two and half hour taxi ride from airport to hotel was a sobering event
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I love yoga because it makes me feel so good. I love teaching yoga, because it makes other people feel so good. If I feel good and someone else feels good, together we have just elevated our consciousness and thereby contributed to a more peaceful planet.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
As a yoga student, practitioner and teacher, I have observed many magical transformations over the years. Relief from physical pain, as well as emotional pain and other limiting vibrations like anger, fear, worry; doubt, shame, sadness and uncertainty seem to melt away.
Yoga provides all the amazing benefits that you secretly seek in a magic pill. Imagine being at peace with your body; loving the way you feel and look. Imagine an existence free from anxiety and regret. Imagine feeling fully energized and inspired, while relaxed and comfortable in your own skin. Imagine seeing the whole world as new friends who have come to your party, you just haven’t met them all yet.
Sound crazy? For thousands of years, yoga, by definition has been a skillful means to attain all those magical results. Yoga is the yoking or union of mind and body to soul and the yoking or union of the individual soul to the universal soul. Yoga is the path to self-love and self-mastery and ultimately universal love.
Stop Imaging and start celebrating! Enjoy a daily yoga practice and you will you know daily magic!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Like a King's belly full of the richest foods in the land, my heart is content with joy and my spirit rich with possibilities. Resuscitating a plant that had been left for dead inspired me to get busy with spring planting. For with belief, attention, love and light thoughts and seeds will transform out of their sedentary state into their greatest potential. You too can feast on life's infinite possibilities.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Spring is a wonderful time to reflect on the cycle of nature and process of life.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Are you too distracted to be happy, in love and free? What if the only thing in the way of you is you?
Monday, April 2, 2012
After reading an article about the title winner of the second USA national asana championship, it has left me contemplating the paradox of seeing the words yoga and competition in the same sentence.