Dark days, inner light

Your inner light lights up your outer world. - Matshona DhliwayoIn the long, dark days of February, it’s worth remembering that we can create our own light. The greyness in Copenhagen is sometimes oppressive (the clouds hang so low!), but we can tap into our inner light and allow it to illuminate our outer worlds.

“Your inner light lights up your outer world.”

~ Matshona Dhliwayo
Canadian-based philosopher, entrepreneur and author

Thankfully, the days are starting to get longer and the promise of Spring is creeping closer! And, even more thankfully, I have the joys of chatting with family, teaching yoga, spending time with friends, walking the dog, enjoying food and drink, practicing yoga and loving my husband to fuel my internal light until the Earth’s rotation around the Sun brings on more daylight!

A wish for bravery & joy

A wish for bravery and joyI’m stealing a New Year’s wish from Neil Gaiman to share this year. He posts these kind of wishes most years and they’re all really lovely!

This one rings particularly true as I step into a very unknown future! There’s a whole lot of newness to look forward to in Calgary (job, home, yoga studio, friends, climate), very little that’s nailed down, and infinite possibilities for happiness!

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

Neil Gaiman, author
New Year’s wish from 31 December, 2011

 

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and an incredibly brave and joyful 2015!

Walk into the dark without fear

Permission to be yourself

You need no one's permission to be yourself.While at an isolated yoga retreat, I read an article in Quartz about a three-day work week. In this very business-focused publication was a gem that fit in perfectly with all the self-help peace-love-and-happiness philosophy that a yoga retreat implies:

You need no one’s permission to be yourself.

Mohit Satyanand
Entrepreneur, mountain-dweller, actor

At least in this instance, the business and spiritual worlds agree: discover who you are and don’t let anyone prevent you from being true to that.

Magnetic nature

Believe in the subtle magnetism in NatureIt was quiet on the Heide (heath) this morning. Just a handful of other walkers and a few joggers in the distance. The flock of sheep that appeared a few days ago had vanished, leaving only droppings and scents to entice my dog, Sofie.

Sofie ran and sniffed; alternating between joyously sprinting and burying her nose in the grass. I ambled along, taking whatever path struck my fancy or following Sofie when she ran ahead.

We had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Free to drift along enjoying the wide open space and revelling in a bit of solitude.

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.

~Henry David Thoreau
American author and naturalist

Sofie on the HeideIt’s wonderful having the vastness of the Heide so close. Sofie loves her daily off-leash walks here and I love the directionlessness of the space. It’s possibly to feel truly lost, despite the buzz of an unseen highway along the edge of the field and the knowledge that the Heide is enclosed by development.

At the centre of the Heide the surrounding apartment buildings and nearby stadium are no longer visible. There are few markers, which makes navigating fairly random, and often paths peter out, leaving us wading through tall grass.

In the end, though, we always find our way back home.

Maybe it’s Sofie’s homing skills or maybe it’s the subtle magnetism of nature.

 

Lotus in the mud

Rise like the lotus from the mud
Background photo from Adn! via Compfight cc

The first studio I taught yoga at, Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre in North Vancouver, is closing on June 30. While I no longer live nearby and haven’t taught there for more than six months, I acutely feel the sadness that comes with its end.

I took some amazing classes at Bound Lotus with some phenomenal teachers. I was honoured to teach incredible students and still keep in touch with a few. I attended many wonderful events and even slept over as part of an overnight gong bath! I spent hours there helping with administrative tasks, working with the founder on planning, or simply sitting at the tea table chatting.

Even my dog, Sofie, loved being at Bound Lotus. She enjoyed participating in meditations, relished the adoration she received from students and teachers, and eagerly came with my husband to pick me up after teaching. I know Sofie picked up on the energy of the space and felt welcome at the studio, just like students did.

Sofie relaxing at Bound LotusBound Lotus felt like my yoga home for many months – I lived just a couple blocks away and it sometimes felt like I spent more time at the studio than I did at home.  Although geographical distance now means I won’t notice its absence so acutely, I will certainly feel a void knowing that the space is no longer there.

If geographical distance isn’t an issue for you, I hope you’re able to get to Bound Lotus for a yoga class, meditation, or the Summer Solstice event before the end of June. Breathe in the smell of the homemade Bound Lotus tea chai tea, luxuriate in the wealth of colour-coordinated props, soak up the atmosphere… and maybe think of me.

I hope that the community will carry on in some form once the studio doors close and that something beautiful will come out of this sadness.

There is the mud – and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.

~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
Vietnamese monk and teacher

My wish for every that person who ever attended a meditation, practiced yoga, taught a class, drank tea, celebrated an event, or simply passed through the doors at Bound Lotus is able to rise gloriously and beautifully – just like the lotus from the mud. And my wish for Heather, the founder of Bound Lotus and the person who loved it most, is that whatever comes next is made even more magnificent through the grace of all the goodness that was Bound Lotus.

The cure for boredom

The cure for boredom is curiosityMy dog has been particularly curious recently. Lots of sniffing, cautious cat approaches, and lingering looks towards where rabbits used to be.

Maybe it’s the effects of longer days and more sun, but it’s certainly lifted whatever winter ennui Sofie had been feeling.

It’s made me think of the Dorothy Parker quote below as there’s certainly no cure for Sofie’s curiosity, which borders on obsession!

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

Dorothy Parker
American author