Monday, March 23, 2009
This amazing poem...that's all:
Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. ... Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!
Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe." She knows, she knows!
Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!
The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe,"
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.
-- Delmore Schwartz
(Last & Lost Poems)
Honoring Mr. Schwartz' gift: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delmore_Schwar
Friday, March 20, 2009
Old? What IS "old?" Is it the aging of the eternal spirit...but how could THAT be? The gradual falling away of this encasement for the spirit is but a shedding to allow new life. Thank you Rainer Mari Rilke for saying it so well....
I WANT A LOT
You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.
So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.
But what you love to see are faces
that so work and feel thirst....
You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I left the Health and Fitness Center Saturday in tears, having decided to NOT attend the 9:00am weight training class I had arrived for. I won't go into the morbid details, but the demons of feeling defeated by my mortality, my age, my body's ostensible limitations and the limitations my mind imposed upon me all reared their ugly heads and jeered at me, all at once, filling my mind with negative, self-defeating thoughts. Saturday was a downward spiral, a day of reckoning.
I'm happy to say that in the ensuing days I have recovered from it in a healthy manner, and developed a plan to combat that feeling of overwhelm, of not being enough, of being *over the hill!*
So here's my strategy: 1) Besides vinyasa yoga three times each week (a very demanding class), 2) I am going to begin aquatics aerobics, and 3) continue doing the Kathy Smith strength training DVD. 4) I'm also going to increase my bicycle use again!
AFter this major meltdown Saturday I've been reflecting about the WHOLE reality of life and death straight-on. In the book Multiple Reflections, Swami Venkatesananda says, "Remember GOD and remember DEATH both together. Then you are established in the CONSTANT and your are able to participate in the CHANGING. Then you are able to live your CHANGING life but realise the ETERNAL here and now. That is Truth."
And the Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "Around the bones is built a house, plastered with flesh and blood, in which dwell pride and pretence, old age and death. Even the chariot of a king loses its glitter in the course of time; so too the body loses its health and strength. But goodness does not grow old with the passage of time. A person who does not learn from life grows old like an ox: the body grows, but not the wisdom."
As Jude so wisely advocates, I will honor my spirit and my body by giving them what they long for: Love and acceptance. I strive for an optimal state of wellness, while nourishing the spirit through meditation, peaceful and easeful ways of being in the world, and staying tuned into the ETERNAL here and now: May it be so!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Yesterday I attended a Pilates class, a form of exercise known for working with the core -- the solar plexus. As I conditioned the body's core, I reflected on the more esoteric meanings of working with *the Core:*
In Yogic Cosmology the third energy center, located in the solar plexus, is known as the Manipura Chakra -- identified with the Fire Element, Ego identity, oriented to self-definition. This chakra is known as the power chakra. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. WOW!
It's so relevant that I look at this because I am dealing with these very issues at a very basic level right now --
~ make sure the metabolism, the "fire" of digestion, ignites, allowing nourishing food to properly digest, assimilate and fuel this organism so that my spirit is fueled. Certain yoga asanas and pilates directly impact this "fire" of the solar plexus.
~ domination of will -- so that conscious healthy eating becomes an everyday habit in spite of emotional ups-and-downs and so that meditation becomes as second-nature as conscious eating. Yesterday I decided to take a "fast" from recreational computer use, a statement of who's the boss here.
~ personal power -- to disengage and co-exist in a personally happy, healthy manner with my wounded, ill housemate, who I believe has PTSD with bipolar disorder. This is a delicate balancing act and a situation requiring continuous awareness to be sure my core needs are being honored and my spirit exudes joy.
~ self-definition and autonomy -- to fuel joy and fend off anger and hostility; to effectively determine my future without engaging in co-dependent behavior based upon the fluxuating behavior of my housemate.
I just completed an update on my SparkPage which I'm placing here because of the realization that BODY-MIND-SPIRIT is served best by the Core values of "energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power:"
As of March 1, I qualified through Medicare to join a regional well-equipped fitness center with a great pool and many classes of all types (various aerobic, strength training, yoga, pilates, core strengthening, etc.). So far I have been taking classes...I will begin expanding my exploration soon.
With my housemate's approval, I just remodeled the kitchen I share to make it a more user-friendly environment. I am $375 poorer, but I have been creating tasty meals with whole, organic foods for about two weeks now. YAY!
Both the university and the fitness center are less than 5 miles from my place of residence, an easy ride on my trusty Trek, and further motivation to make use of my bicycle in yet another circumstance of life.
I have also decided to complete a second undergraduate degree, in Spanish, since I can attend any AR state university under a seniors "tuition waiver" program. This decision feels right for various reasons -- it will eliminate my sense of social isolation, it will challenge me intellectually, it may even result in some interesting income-making possibilities, and it gives me a sense of mundane purpose for a time-limited period (it should be over before I get bored!).
I am working with my level of computer use and how it can be a "cop out" when there are other, more pressing things on my plate. It is one of the ways I compensate for the challenging living situation I'm dealing with with as well as my sense of social isolation. Staring at the monitor too much zaps my motivation for other tasks. I have declared a "fast" from recreational computer use for a period of time as one means to free up real time and psychic space for these myriad tasks. It's tricky, because limited use is beneficial and I'm so good at sabotaging myself. But I'm *on it* daily -- assessing my behavior -- celebrating my successes and pondering my failures. I'm experimenting with creative ways to become more pro-active in finding healthy, joyful solutions to my dilemmas.
I have been struggling with consistency my sitting practice and decided to use Lent as a tool to set an intention of 40 days of daily meditation practice. I'm participating loosely with the Awakening Team in this 40-Day Challenge.
I want to be fully present for all that the Divine has to offer me in the continuing adventure, in the subtle and not-so-subtle twists and turns of my anything-but-*normal* daily life. Enhanced BODY-MIND-SPIRIT health will help attune me to that "still small voice" within that is signaling the way to the next signpost on the Path.
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