how to draw light into your life. #MeditationThoughtMondays

???????????????????????????????

Author’s Note: this article was written while  Lisa was working in Zambia with Health-Ed Connect, a community-based organization committed to empowering women and children through Health, education, and advocacy.

Her house was surprisingly large for the neighborhood.  It featured a fenced-in patch of lush grass, something very uncommon for the neighborhood in Kasompe, Zambia.  The cement walls were painted a once-lively yellow, now faded and peeling with weather and wear. The front door was open; the white lace curtain was pulled back in invitation.  And the area was teeming: enough children to fill a soccer team played on the dirt path just outside the gate, a momma and baby girl sat on the front stoop snapping okra.  It was clear that life was difficult for these women; but in spite of this– the home glowed with happiness, lightness. 

New 028

It was a Friday afternoon and I was visiting this particular home with my friends the Kafwa, a group of women trained by HealthEd Connect with home health care and first aid practices on the outskirts of Chingola, Zambia.  The Kafwa women are truly the hands of God.  They volunteer faithfully– two days a week– seeking out the elderly, the sick, the hurting in their community and spend time in the homes of these people, bringing healing in the any possible way.  We were at this particular home to see Amiyah.

Amiyah, I was told, was born in 1912.  Which meant, at the time of my visit, her one hundred years of age had thwarted the average expected life span in Zambia by more than six decades.  On the way into the home, we were met with a warm welcome from Priscilla, Amiyah’s widowed daughter-in-law.  Priscilla, who runs the household, apologized profusely for not having time to sweep the stone floors of her sitting room for a second time that day, explaining that her morning was instead spent walking to the clinic for her ARV (anti- HIV) medication.  You see, even Priscilla was sick.

???????????????????????????????

We took seats on the small couch, careful not to disturb the hand-crocheted doilies covering the cushions, and waited.  Occasionally, a child would filter in to the room to be introduced as a great- grandchild of Amiyah.  Several women, dressed in T-shirts and the traditional ishtenge skirt also snuck in a greeting:  gingerly extending their hands to me, bowing with hushed respect.  These were not fellow “visitors”; in fact, all fourteen people lived in this humble home.  From behind a Power Rangers bed sheet hung as a door, Priscilla and her niece carried Amiyah out into the sitting room, gently settling her frail body on a sofa across from me.  This had been rehearsed many times: Amiyah had lost the ability to walk.  Amiyah came to be a patient of the Kafwa seven months prior, just after she took a fall in the marketplace, breaking her hip.  Because of her extraordinarily old age and the condition of her bones the doctors at the clinic were unable to help her: she was sent home to “recover” on her own—without treatment.  Amiyah is invalid, in pain, and mostly blind.

Despite this, her faith is strong.  She enjoys the regular visits from the Kafwa women and is humbled to receive guests in her home.  “Amiyah,” I said, “You have a lovely home and a beautiful family.  You must be very proud to have your great- grandchildren playing happily in the same home.”  She beamed with pride, her cataract eyes tracking the face of the Kafwa interpreter searchingly.  Amiyah replied, “Oh yes, I am so very proud to be alive.  I am proud of my family.”

???????????????????????????????

Often, the Kafwa women are able to bring a small gift to the family on their home visits.  These small gifts in the form of charcoal, cooking oil, or corn meal are purchased from a small emergency fund budget and are the physical effects of healing ministry. They are the necessities for life.  Today, we had nothing to give Amiyah or her large family.  As the head of the household, taking care of a 100 year old mother-in-law and seven grandchildren, Priscilla was obviously disappointed that our hands were empty.

Amiyah was the official patient of the Kafwa­­– her name was the one entered diligently in to their record keeping book; but Priscilla was just as much a patient.  The ministry of presence extended to the entire family struggling to survive and keep hope alive in the midst of strenuous circumstances.  As our visit drew to a close, gratitude was passed around in both English and in iciBemba.  I wondered what we could give to Amiyah, what we could give to Priscilla, what we could give to the rest of the family–the moms and the children?  I looked down at my lap, embarrassed and humbled.  The beautiful words from the mystic poet Rabia came to mind:

 “Our hands imbibe like roots,

So I place them on what is beautiful in this world.

And I fold them in prayer, and they draw from the heavens

Light.”

A prayer for hope, for healing, for strength, and for thanksgiving: that is what we had to give.  I held the hand of Priscilla, my Kafwa friend Doris held the hand of Amiyah, and together we “drew from the heavens light.”

As I prayed for healing to light the life of this family, I knew that full recovery of Amiyah’s mobility was not realistic, but I also knew that this was not what mattered most.  What mattered was that we were growing the roots of hope deeper into the soil of this home.  We were drawing light into our hearts, and together offering thanks for that light which sustains life, even in the midst of loss.

???????????????????????????????

From the heavens, draw light today.

-lisa

LOVE. #MeditationThoughtMondays

love sign bwThere is one simple rule: if you want more love in your life, then you must participate in LOVE.  Today, your MeditationThought is simply this: LOVE.

Sit in quiet, breathe, let the word “LOVE” become alive with every breath.  Let it permeate your thoughts.  Let it grow stronger with every moment.  When you walk down the sidewalk, imagine that you see the word LOVE posted on the light pole.  Imagine it plastered on the car that is parked too close to yours.  Imagine it written on the T-shirt of the person walking through the parking lot.  Imagine Love surrounding you.

Today: Fall in Love.  Practive Loving Kindness with this Guided Meditation from Sharon Salzberg.

love sign bw

this image will take you to the guided lovingkindness meditation

Happy Loving,

-lisa

special event: February 18. candlelight flow vinyasa class.

Image

candlelightflow class feb 18Join us for a SPECIAL CLASS to welcome the Lenten Season and celebrate Ash Wednesday (pun intended)  at Westport Yoga KC.

Candlelight Flow Vinyasa Class
Wednesday February 18, 2015
7:30 pm at Westport Yoga KC

(All Levels Welcome.  Regular Class Prices Apply.)

The Lenten Season is a time to welcome change and renewal into your life.  This Special “New Moon Candlelight Flow” Vinyasa Class is designed to bring you into a state of deep meditation through movement.  All Levels and All Ages of yogis are welcome to practice with us.   Not sure what ‘Vinyasa Flow’ is?  Learn more here.

Westport Yoga KC
4304 Bell Street, Fl 2
Kansas City, MO 64111

 

candlelightflow class feb 18

freeing the heart. #MeditationThoughtMondays

Image

View More: http://janamariephotos.pass.us/lisa-ash-yoga

 

“Freeing the body leads inevitably to freeing the heart.” -gabriel roth.

 

It’s as simple as that.  When the pain has subsided in your body, you automatically feel free to choose healing and compassion in your heart.

Go.  Find Freedom. Move, run, laugh, talk, breathe, hug, and be free.

-lisa

live with intention. #MeditationThoughtMondays

Image

View More: http://janamariephotos.pass.us/lisa-ash-yogaLast year, I proposed this question: “What would you do if nothing stood in your way?”

I got great responses from friends and students: “Travel the world… spend more time loving my family…worry less about what other people thought of me… learn to cook… take better care of my health… quit my job and move to California… run a marathon… set aside more time for myself…start a new hobby and stick with it… practice yoga every day”

But the question still remains: are you living with intention?  Intention is powerful. (read my suggested intention at the beginning of yoga class).  Thoughts are powerful.  Your thoughts are powerful.

Sometimes bedtime arrives and I can’t remember how I spent my day.  Or I arrive at work and can’t remember driving there.  The ‘monkey mind’ is always wandering. That’s it’s job: to think ahead.  To plan and problem solve and be in constant motion.  But it can be exhausting.  When our thoughts distracted, our bodies feel fragmented, anxious, and bored.  We may walk through our entire day thoughtlessly.  But: What if everything you do today had a specific intention?  I call these: ‘micro-intentions.’  For example:

“I intend to eat this breakfast and savor each bite.”

“I intend to start my car and drive to work safely.”

“I intend to be productive, efficient, and compassionate during this meeting.”

“I intend to rest soundly and sleep deeply for eight hours.”

I believe that with these micro-intentions, life runs more smoothly.  And my day takes on more meaning.  And I have more energy to devote to moving forward to achieve my goals, as if nothing stood in my way.

Here’s your challenge for the day and your first #MeditationThoughtMonday

live with intention.

View More: http://janamariephotos.pass.us/lisa-ash-yoga

I dare you.

-Happy Meditating,

-lisa

(Have you heard about #MeditationThoughtMondays?  Check out ‘How to rid yourself of the ‘Case of the Mondays’)