Sitting at a traffic light on a frosty, icy morning, I wait. The yoga studio is less than a mile away, but I must cross over the river. The light turns green, we inch our way up a bit closer than it’s red again. We sit. We wait. I am here, in the midst of freezing rain and snowy roads. Now is not the Now I want to be in. Drifting off into the realms of my imagination I dream of green trees, warm temperatures, and dry roads.
I could sit and bemoan the fact that I will be delayed in arriving to class. Being here, I could fret and fuss about the current driving conditions or curse the driver in front of me for going slow. Instead, I chose to casually drift away to a place of peace. Avoiding the Now is calling me to calm instead of chaos. Breathing in, I relax. Breathing out, I release.
There are moments in our lives where unpleasant activities occur. We must be in places that are physically or mentally uncomfortable. These are opportunities for practice. We practice remaining in a balanced state, while our surroundings are in confusion. Using tools from breathing and meditation, we observe the happenings without engaging in them. No need for reaction, we remain in tranquility. Staying in a state of serenity, the time passes and the light turns green.
Susan J. McFarland
February 28, 2019
A new teacher arrived at my yoga studio. First of all, most of the teachers are female. This teacher is a male. English is his second language, so he can be hard to understand. He is from India. His yoga teachings are authentic. Chanting OM and Hindu prayers, we began class. Feeling unsure, I followed instructions to the best of my ability. The class was challenging. Losing focus at times, I became impatient. The next day I was sore but happy that I was able to experience this form of yoga here in the USA. It was a gift.
Learning that this teacher is starting a yoga teacher training class with the owner of the studio, I was intrigued. Having considered yoga instruction as my next step, I started to inquire about the details. Asking questions of the studio and myself I pondered the idea of receiving authentic knowledge and ancient wisdom from India. Is this the right time and place for me to begin this journey? Am I up for the challenge? It would require a large time commitment. Pushing my body, mind, and spirit to its limit would be the reward.
We can become complacent with our lives. Once certain abilities are mastered, it is easy to remain in the comfort zone. The constant push and pull between ease and challenge, is the “yoga of life.” In poses, there is rest and effort. Some asanas are easy, others require extra endurance. This is the Yin and Yang of yoga called balance. Yoga teaches us to go beyond the confinement of our perceived limitations. A yoga practice is about personal growth and expansion, literally and figuratively. Some days, we exert more effort, while other days we might need to take it slow. Where are you in life? Is it time to challenge yourself? Authentic challenges can bring freshness and vitality to your soul.
Susan J. McFarland
February 21, 2019
As I sit here on Valentine’s Day, home with a sick daughter, I am coming to realize the true meaning of Love. Love is holding space for another when they can’t hold it for themselves. It’s going to the med center at night after a long day or bringing a hot cup of tea to soothe a sore throat. Love is allowing your baby, even if she’s a teen, to rest on your lap, risking illness of your own, just to give her a moment of comfort. Cards, flowers, and chocolates are nice, but they are only mere tokens of the deep and abiding Love of a parent for a child. God’s Love goes beyond this. The Love of the Universe is vast and ever-present. We just need to know where to look?
My older daughter asked if Valentine’s Day is just for romantic couples. No, I replied. It’s about bringing awareness to the Love in your life. It could be the Love of friends, family, pets, or even Nature. Love is all around us, but it’s especially within us. Love of others, nature, and life starts with self-love. Self-love is not something outside of us, but lives inward, near the heart. Search today for Love, find it, not in the external trappings of the world, but in the genuine and internal Heart of the Universe.
Susan J. McFarland
February 14, 2019
In its complication, winter has a way of simplifying life. We have had two days of school in two weeks due to snow, ice, and now power outages. I’ve created a simple morning routine of reading, yoga, writing, and language lessons, before the day begins. Since I’m up early with three cats, sleeping in is not an option.
We’ve lost power the last two days. Thankfully it came back both days by nightfall. Appreciating the simple things, like electricity, running water, and heat has reduced the complications in our lives. Waking up to power, I’m in a state of gratitude, as the temperatures are now dipping into single digits. The girls, with less school stress, are bonding together, like never before. Having a grocery store a mile away, has helped to simplify life, without an oven or a refrigerator. I didn’t need to worry about dinner this week! In the end, we managed to work together to stay safe and warm.
For now, I will learn from Nature. She asks us to examine our lives, by slowing way down to the fundamentals. What really matters? What truly needs to be done? We add so much to our lives, in order to gain an elusive feeling of worth and connection. It appears the reverse is true. It can actually be found, by simplifying life to our core needs, often found right in our own home, certainly found within our own spirit.
Susan J. McFarland
February 8, 2019