Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have been going through a difficult phase for a while now. My life is very uneven and I have been caving in on mindful care of this body that's been entrusted to me. I'm not sure what all accounts for this, but upon reading Eknath Easwaran's Thought for the Day today, I had an epiphany.
My choices...the toughness to take hold of my life...and the very disciplines that will aid me in that are some of the areas that I'm falling down in...meditation, hatha yoga, and exercise. I keep telling myself "baby steps" but I'm not even succeeding in the baby steps. Through my public acknowledgement to you, my friends on the Spark Journey, I hope to find a new pathway to begin, yet again in my never-ending quest toward loving care of body*mind*spirit.
Here is Easwaran's commentary that "set me on my ear:"
The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.
-- George Bernard Shaw
The real issue in life is choice. If you had a car that could only turn one way, would you say that it is free? If it ran around crashing into things, denting its fenders and wasting all its fuel, would you shrug and say, "That's the automotive nature. That's my car's mode of self-expression"? It would take you a long time to get anywhere, and where you arrived would not be up to you.
The other day I set out for a drive through the California wine country. With a car that did not obey me, I might have ended up about a hundred miles away at the River's End restaurant, where the Russian River empties into the sea. It is tragic, but many lives are like that. At the end of the line there is nothing to do but go inside, get something hot to drink, and recall a line or two from Swinburne: "Even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea."
Meditation and other spiritual disciplines are largely meant to give us the toughness required to take hold of our lives. Without this toughness, despite the better goals we may cherish in our hearts, we will not be able to take the road that leads where we want to go.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Friday, April 23, 2010
Just after reading Sandra's heart-wrenching sharing about a young woman who attempted suicide www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3151780 I watched the story of Dr. Aumatma Shah, who believes that health is SO valuable that it should be given as a gift. Moving beyond words and debate, she just started an experiment: Karma Clinic, in Oakland, California. I thought to myself, hmmm...would this resource have made a difference to Lorie?
At Karma Clinic, conventional and alternative medicine doctors see patients in need of healing the body, mind, and spirit. But there is no charge. Instead, each patient is given an opportunity to pay-forward for the person after them.
I find this kind of service in the world simply awe-inspiring...and it gives me courage to continue on, finding solutions to my personal conundrums as I tread the path toward freedom.
Karma Tube: www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=1922
And I LOVE being part of the Smile Cards community that Dr. Shah also participates in! I've been handing out the cards for awhile, an interesting experience to be sure, living in the heartland.
Friday, April 16, 2010
By doing service, you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, ideas of superiority vanish. Humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance, and mercy are developed. Sense of separateness is annihilated. Selfishness is eradicated. You get a broad outlook of life. You begin to feel oneness or unity of life. You develop a broad heart with broad, generous views. Eventually, you get Knowledge of the Self. You realise the 'One-in-all' and 'all-in-One'. You feel unbounded joy.
-- Sri Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh
Based upon my own path and philosophy of life, I have found that as I help others my own joy expands. That's not to say that self-care gets kicked to the curb. I've learned that loving others begins at home...and unless I serve myself in a loving way, my service to others is paltry at best and doesn't ring with the authenticity and joy that *beginning at home* will lend it.
So, I share this week's KarmaTube offering in this spirit, that as we serve ourselves we are better equipped to reach out to others.
The music is wonderful and the message is powerful:
I also have profound respect for the work of Paul Farmer in Haiti, whose life I have previously shared with you:
Argh...yet another book I must get hold of!
Here is KarmaTube's presentation about Dr. Farmer:
I challenge us all to balance serving ourselves and serving others in order to find the sweetness that life can truly offer us. There are many ways to serve locally and globally and they all are important and they all count!
Friday, April 09, 2010
Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
Leaving campus yesterday, thinking about my plan!
Here's the SparkTime I'm allowing myself for the week starting today:
~ Exactly one hour per day, for this week which ends next Thursday.
Yep, takin' *off* for the week!
This is what's going on:
~ I'm in a struggle (as you know) for control of my time/life AND
~ I have TWO mid-terms, TWO papers, and a complex oral presentation, ALL next week
I LOVE "Pink" Bud (I'm with LessBigBob on a campaign to rename the not-Red Bud), this tree in my neck of the woods. I'll take more time to smell the flowers...
...and bushes, like this exquisite wisteria (swoon), also in my neighborhood.
SOOOOO...here's my plan:
~ 30 timed minutes of SparkTime in the morning (or as/when able) to spin the wheel and post gratitudes, and communicate with friends as able within that time
~ two additional 15-minute periods of online time each day
~ study, study, study! AND:
I am continuing with my weekly Sun through Sat April Baby Steps Goals:
~ minimum of 20 min. of aerobic activity 5 days/wk.
~ minimum of 20 min. of strength training 3 days/wk.
~ minimum of 15 min. of hatha yoga 3 days/wk.
I have been consistent with all of them except for strength training this first week, which I haven't done at all. Tomorrow I intend to do a session, which means I will have one day of ST this week, instead of none!
Here are a few campus photos between Irby Hall, where all my classes are, and the parking lot.
Irby Hall, where I sit for my three classes -- Composicion espanola avanzada y analisis textual, Civilizacion Latinoamericana, y Linguistica espanola
Can't avoid 'em (as if I'd want to)...I pass these on the way to Irby. The campus is literally bursting with blooms of flowers, bushes and trees.
My first campus view (Irby's back right) as I cross the street from the parking lot.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
-- Bob Marley, Redemption Song
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The slippery-sliding slope of careless habits is so easy to fall back on...and unfortunately I've landed there with a big *PLOP.* That's part of why I'm cutting back on my Spark time. Ironic isn't it that the site that offers me so many resources for vibrant good health is also the temptress (because of all the peripheral toys and SparkFriends to play with) that cause me to "while away" valuable time that could be better spent FOR INSTANCE on my Trek or doing strength training.
But I certainly can't give all the blame of having found myself 20 pounds over my goal weight to my excessive SP time per se...my crazy out-of-control mind is hugely culpable as well. Controlling the monkey mind is my big challenge in this life. If I control it, it is my best friend, if it controls me it is my worst enemy, as the Bhagavad Gita so wisely says in chapter six (and I love Sri Easwaran's translation -- tinyurl.com/ye2w76p )
Eknath Easwaran's Thoughts for the Day are a huge source of pithy wisdom for me. Yesterday this arrived in my InBox:
"The first wealth is health."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here is Sri Easwaran's commentary on Emerson: "When you regard your life as a trust, you realize that the first resource you have to take care of is your own body. This can be startling. Even your body is not really your own. It belongs to life, and it is your responsibility to take care of it. You cannot afford to do anything that injures your body, because the body is the instrument you need for selfless action. That is the fine print of the trust agreement: when we smoke, when we overeat, when we don't get enough exercise, we are violating the terms of the trust.
"If you want to live life at its fullest, you will want to do everything possible to keep your body in vibrant health in order to give back to life a little of what it has given you."
I must also share today's Thought, because like the preceding commentary it too is SO on-target for me here-and-now:
"If one who enjoys a lesser happiness beholds a greater one, let him leave aside the lesser to gain the greater."
-- The Buddha
Easwaran comments: "The Buddha, the most practical of teachers, says that wisdom is essentially discrimination -- the precious capacity to see what is important in the long run and then choose our course of action accordingly.
"Most of us are vigilant when making big decisions, but less so when dealing with little ones. We forget the cumulative effect of all those missed "little" opportunities. It is precisely on those thousand little occasions, and over a period of time, that the mind is taught to be calm and kind (and make everyday wise choices) -- not instantaneously or by great leaps. In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives."
The instant gratification of short-sighted behaviors has gotten me into this *trouble.* Getting my eye back on the goal, which requires that I release those immediate pleasures that ultimately result in long-term grief is what I'm about these days.
This means, for instance, that although I will appreciate and profit from any and all comments that these words might *Spark* I may not be able to take the time to respond. I need to be smart about my priorities if I intend to reach my long-term goals.
Gotta' say though, that the friendships I've made here on SparkPeople are amazing and strong and just as important to me as my dear 3-D friends (and at least nine SFriends have transformed to 3-D friends all across the country, with more to follow hopefully during my summer camper adventures!!!) Bowing in gratitude to all of you for all you offer as we tread this path to better health of Body*Mind*Spirit together!
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