don’t feed the marmots: ahimsa

You’ve seen marmots, right? I mean, besides holding the title of cutest rodent name, they truly are the cutest. Their little noses never stop sniffing, they bounce down trails like plink-o balls and they steal smelly hiking shoes for snacks. Adorable, svelt, glamorously silver and long legged. I want to share snacks and stories and sunbathe with marmots.

But omygosh did you know you can kill a little furry creature by sharing trail snacks? Consuming human snacks (on purpose or inadvertently) disturbs the natural cycle of sustenance and wild ecology so deeply that one cheeze-it can kill a marmot.

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I was recently reminded of the power of ahimsa (non-harming) during my two week camping trip in the Canadian National Parks. These landscapes are breathtakingly momentous and magnificent. They are pristine; hundreds of miles of wild forests and mountains and waterways are preserved perfectly.

And because Parks Canada treasures their wildlife so deeply, campers are continuously reminded how damaging it is to feed furry critters. I’m an animal lover. My first instinct is to call and cajole and cuddle them… even the ones with sharp little teeth. So I had to pay careful attention to all my actions: I couldn’t and shouldn’t just do whatever I wanted, which mostly consisted of having high tea with marmots and sharing chocolate with bears. I needed to appraise my actions from the viewpoint of ahmisa first.

Ahimsa, which means compassion and non-harming, is the first of the yamas (ethical considerations of yoga, discussed in previous post) and is the cornerstone by which we build and measure all of our actions. Our marmots, our snacks and our yoga practice are all connected.

We learn ahimsa on our yoga mat when we pay attention to the intimate connection of our breath and our emotions and practice in a way that is laced with gentleness and compassion. The more we practice yoga, the more obvious it becomes: we are SO connected with other living beings. And our actions are extremely important because we are a microcosm of the macrocosm.

Deepak Chopra says it so perfectly:

“If you recognize your individuality is intimately woven into the fabric of life—that you are a strand in the web of life—you lose the ability to act in ways that are harmful to others.  Acting from this level of your soul, you are incapable of being violent because your whole being is established in peace.”

And that is how yoga changes the world. We LOSE the ability to act in harmful ways. We are INCAPABLE of violence because we are established in peace in our hearts and truly, honestly, want to choose compassion in each and every way.  Take your next breath and notice: you are sharing this breath with millons and gazillions of other sentient beings and you are one amazingly awesome strand in the web.

Go establish peace amongst yourselves and your marmot friends.

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everything is always changing.

I love my new house. It’s super cute, it’s the perfect size, and it’s on the same street as Westport Yoga so I can often walk to work. I love the craftsman style woodwork, the lofted home office and the spacious kitchen (WITH a dishwasher!).  It’s seriously the best little rental for my little family. However, it was quite a different story five months ago. I didn’t want to move. At all. My Ironman expected to drag me out of our old house kicking and screaming. I wasn’t ready for change.

You know that saying: “The only thing constant in life is change”?

It’s probably true, but I still don’t like it.

new house

Last year, I thought I had the perfect set up: I had hand-tailored my yoga teaching schedule, I had refined my weekly walking routes with Russell Clive, I had regular coffee dates with a Mentor… life was good.  I remember saying, “Everything is perfect; I don’t want anything to change next year.”

 ‘Well, guess what, honey,’ the Universe said, ‘That’s impossible. So get ready.’

The worldview in yoga includes the belief that all of creation is in a constant state of flux. This means that what we see may not actually be permanent reality. The two Sanskrit terms used interchangeably in the Yoga Sutras to describe this are Drsya and Prakriti.

Prakriti is the opposite side of the coin to Purusha, the term for the Light of awareness inside each of us that is immutable and non-transitory (read about Purusha here.)  Prakriti describes ‘what is seeable’ and what we observe through our senses, which is then filtered through our citta (heart-mind field of consciousness.)

Grant Tetons National Park

The worldview in yoga includes the belief that all of creation is in a constant state of flux. Which is good, otherwise we wouldn’t have mountains and streams!

Why is this important?  Because most of us experience anxiety and distress when things change. Some changes may actually be positive (i.e. my new house has TWO bathrooms AND a dishwasher!) but we cling to old attachments and try to stop the natural progression of life; then we get frustrated when our efforts are in vain.

As scholar Nicolai Bachman writes, “Understanding the transitory nature of all things is prerequisite to letting go of expectations and attachments.”

This is really hard to do if you don’t like change. (Join the club.) In fact, understanding the transitory nature of all things and being ok with it is probably my principle challenge right now. I understand that I am the ‘seer’ and all that I ‘see’ is being filtered through my emotional (and very busy) citta, and I understand that everything I perceive and feel is according to my perspective. What I think of as a heartbreaking change (like moving out of a house I loved) someone else may think of as an exciting and fulfilling new adventure.  It’s all in perspective, just like the time I had to practice on top of a picnic table.

But how the heck do I not get upset when things are changing and I liked them just the way they were?

What the Yoga Sutras tell us is that we can alleviate some of our suffering by distinguishing between what changes and what never changes.

Basically, if it changes, grows, shrinks, ages, dissipates, erupts or ultimately goes away, it’s probably in the Prakriti category, and it won’t help us move toward clarity and enlightenment if we hold on to it for dear life. Even extremely distressing emotional states such as grief, depression, and anxiety will evolve, change and dissolve over time. Just like Thich Naht Hanh told us in this post, suffering can be transformed, and it won’t last forever. However, if what you are experiencing is part of the conscious, permanent inner light of awareness that pervades our impermanent reality, then it belongs in the Purusha camp. That, we can rely on.

I am NOT AT ALL the Master of this concept, but I’m trying to get it. I’m trying to view material things as manifestations of an ever changing world, and think: “That’s just life, moving right along, and I am a small part of it!”

And maybe next time I move to a new house, I’ll look forward to the change.

What changes are happening in your life right now? Are you able to welcome these changes or are you resisting them? Are you able to separate what is part of the ‘seeable world’ (drysa or prakriti) and what is made of pure conscious awareness (purusha)? How can these two concepts change your world view?

Happy Changing,

-lisa

make no plans.

desert free

I landed at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with virtually no prepared plans. I had a Hertz rental reservation and one night booked at a random motel in East-Jesus Nowhere which looked a little bit close to Sedona on Google Maps. I had 36 hours of complete disregard for schedules and expectation before I was due at my Yoga Medicine Training retreat. My only ‘had-to’ was to cram-study for the anatomy portion of my training; I’d been so caught up with studying, finishing up work, and teaching yoga in the weeks leading to my departure that I practically forgot to think about how I’d spend my first two days of free time once I got to Arizona. I didn’t have any plans. My plans could change at any moment.  I had no idea how to make this work. But somehow, I made it work.

Sure, some things were not-so-ideal: my phone died 5 minutes into a 2 hour hike; I had no GPS navigation for half the day so I actually had to (shocking! I know) read a map, remember directions, and show up at a restaurant without thoroughly exploring their menu prior to choosing it.  My e-reader wouldn’t connect to the hotel’s wifi to download a new book to read so I actually had to (shocking! I know) eat an entire meal in silence, savoring each bite, with nothing to read or distract me from the sun on my face and the nourishment in my salad. The only Voltage plug-in to be found in my rental car was in the trunk, so I had to drive for hours without Pandora music and bear witness in silence to the red rolling hills and desert brush playing tag with cloud shadows. My iPhone was still dead as I snuggled between the hotel pillows that evening, so I had to go to sleep without checking InstaGram to see what I’d missed during one day away from Real Life or setting an alarm for the next morning. My non-plans were clearly more nourishing to my soul than my plan-plans would have been.  

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this is me, before my phone died. wanted my IronMan and Russell Clive to know I was safe and covered in sunscreen.

I read once that an adventure without a mishap is just a vacation.  Does it go the other way around? Can a vacation with a mishap turn into an adventure?  

When did you most recently venture into the unknown, without a schedule or a plan or an expectation?  When did you most recently open yourself up to the possibility of an adventure stumbling into your day? When did you most recently vacate your plans and just allow the day to reveal itself?  What did you feel when you set down your schedule?  What did you see when you set aside your device?

What happened when you showed up with no expectations and no plans?  You may want to try this on the yoga mat.  

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Personally, I have huge admiration for students who show up to my Vinyasa and Hatha Classes.  They have no idea what to expect, (other than excellent, alignment-based and anatomically-wise sequencing, of course). They aren’t sure if I’m going to decide to teach a class focused on inversions or balance or strength; if I’m going to stop the class in the middle and tell jokes (I am one of the top 5 funniest people I know, after all); or if they will leave class emotionally raw from the deep Soul questions pose during meditation.

I am always in awe at how much trust my students have in me; I feel humbled every day when they drag themselves out bed at 5:30 am or leave work 2 minutes early in the evening to make it to class on time. They have plans, no agenda, no expectations for what they will encounter. They leave their security blanket (aka SmartPhone) at the door when they step into the practice room and open themselves up to the yearnings of their soul.

What a humbling expression of trust.

Not knowing what’s next on your agenda or what’s next in your life can be terrifying, but it can also be freeing. Sure, your phone will probably die and you might get lost, but your non-plans will probably end up being more exciting, more adventurous, and more nourishing to your Soul than your plan-plans. Summer’s almost here. I dare you to plan a micro-adventure with no plans, show up on your yoga mat with no set sequence in mind and play around with movement, and do something new and terrifying every day.

Let me know how your adventure goes, and what you notice when you allow life to reveal itself you to.

Happy Trusting,

-lisa

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sometimes, the unknown beckons

thoughts like a calm ocean. #MeditationThoughtMondays

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I’m not a strong swimmer, I’m sea-sick in boats, and I’m creeped out by fish; but I love the ocean.  Hearing the waves crash against the shore and rhythmically recede back into the water makes me sigh with wonder and relief. (What makes you happy every time you heard it?) When the waves are gentle, I imagine myself floating in the center of my experience and am reminded of the magnitude of the ocean.  I’m reminded that nothing is forever (even my suffering) and everything  in nature undergoing continual transfiguration thanks to the waves and rhythms of the water.

When my family and I went to Hawaii in February, I found myself transfixed by the waves.  I didn’t actually spend that much time IN the ocean (I did get to swim with giant sea turtles, though!) but I could sit for hours on the beach, listening to the water rush over sand and wash over the beach.  In a few places, it washed right over a rock, moving it slightly, depositing that same rock only a few inches away. The rock didn’t seem to mind.  It seemed to float in the middle of its experience and remain calm. 

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Through the practice of Meditation, we can do the same.  We can learn to float in the middle of our experience– despite the enormity of what we are feeling– and learn to sit with our experience until we feel a sense of calm.  I’m not saying this is easy.  It is most certainly a challenge for me when I am experiencing fear or anxiety. But I can’t figure out anything else that works better to calm myself down than sitting, focusing on my breathing, and staying in one place until I feel like my thoughts are a calm ocean.

This guided Meditation is adapted from Matthieu Ricard’s book Happiness and is one of my favorites.  You can use its imagery as a way of nurturing an uncomfortable emotion so that you don’t get washed away in the storm of the emotion.  There is no time limit to this meditation.  You’ll want to sit with it until you feel as though you are floating in the center of your experience.

There are three district stages of this Visualization Meditation. If you aren’t a fan of being in the ocean, visualize yourself on the beach near the shore (I’ll be sitting there with you! That water is too cold!) Allow the images to crystallize in your mind’s eye as you visualize yourself floating in the center of your experience.

Ocean Meditation

            1.  Dive in: Watch your thoughts come and go.  Do not control or manipulate.  Do not change or rush.  Notice that the thoughts are like waves.  They arise out of the ocean of consciousness and then dissolve right back to where they came from.  They were never separate.

2.    Get Wet:  If there is one wave that is particularly strong, big, or threatening, do not turn your back on it. Allow the wave to wash over you.  Even if the wave crashes on you, as if the emotion is particularly strong, stay with it.  Do not swim away.  Let the wave crash and the water droplets re-join the ocean.

            3.  Float:  Whenever new thoughts arise, like waves raised by the wind, watch them dissolve back into the ocean.  Allow yourself to float in the center of your experience.  Eventually, your thoughts will be like a calm ocean.

When you feel ready to integrate back into your daily life, do so slowly and mindfully. Take a few minutes to be on vacation from worrying and then float through your day.

Happy Floating.

-lisa

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dream away.

ipod old 001 (13)It’s still the beginning of the New Year, so I’m still asking students, friends, and you, dear reader, to DREAM BIG.  Defining your dreams, writing them down, making concrete your innermost thoughts and desires builds a scaffolding for your life. The life-changing decisions (where should I live? what should my next career be? etc.) can then fit into this foundation.

I think this quote says it best:

 

“You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”  – alvin toffler

I have three real dreams in my life: to teach, to travel and to love.  

These are pretty BIG DREAMS.

So, I’m setting this foundation and filling it in, decision by decision, to build my dream life.  Here are some of my 2016 dream blue prints:

  1. To expand my Workshop and Special Events offerings.
  2. To Camp in the Cascades and Yoga in Yellowstone (family reunion 2016 here I come!)
  3. To actively nurture my friendships with “The Girls from Lamoni” and make new friendships along the way.
  4. To lay the foundation for a healthy and happy marriage (less than 8 months till the Big Day!)

This is just an overview.  My blueprints are actually much more detailed. The daily decisions that remind me to keep my dreams in sight?  Call one friend every week, just to chat. Schedule 3 workshops in 2016. Spend quality time with my Best Friend RussellClive and my Iron Man, while being mindful of what really matters and letting go of stress.

How are you dreaming big?  What Small Things can make your Big Things come true?

Happy Building the Life You Love,

-lisa

dream big. #MeditationThoughtMondays

dream big start now

Dream Big. Start Small. Act Now.

It’s here. Finally! The Yoga Teacher Training Retreat I’ve been eagerly awaiting for over a year!  Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for five years.

2015 was devoted to professional development in our household.  I undertook the next leg of my yoga teacher training journey to earn my 500 Hour RYT certification and my Ironman passed professional development engineering tests like they were no big deal. Suffice it to say we logged a fair few hours of early morning and weekend studying. But we have big dreams, so we have to start somewhere small and act now.

The retreat is near Napa, California, (don’t worry, most of my regularly scheduled classes are still taking place) so I’m spending twelve days in one of my favorite places on Earth.  With other yoga teachers.  Nerding out on spinal anatomy and stockpiling fresh mountain air to bring back to the Midwest with me.

Five years ago, I flew to Portland, Oregon to take classes with a Vinyasa Teacher named Tiffany Cruikshank.  She is the founder of Yoga Medicine and a foremost leader on using Yoga and nutrition to return Optimal Health back to the body.  The Yoga Medicine brand was still in its infancy when I first met Tiffany, but I loved her vision and craved her expertise.  I couldn’t afford to take a retreat with her at the time. (And I was headed out of the country the following year to work for HealthEd Connect.  If you haven’t read some of my Zambia stories, start here.)  Since then, I’ve been saving pennies for the opportunity to study with Tiffany and the Yoga Medicine Team.  It’s been a Dream Big.  That required a multitude of Small Acts.

It’s my dream to become the healthiest I can be and to inspire others to become healthier through my teaching.  It’s my dream to contribute to the health, happiness and wholeness of my community by sharing wisdom and encouraging my students.  It’s a Big Dream.  That requires Small Acts.  And I’m Starting Now.

What’s your dream?  What small act can you take today toward your dream?  What small act can you take tomorrow?  I can’t wait to hear about it!  I’ll see you when I get back….

Happy Dreaming,

-lisa

 

vacate. daily. #MeditationThoughtMondays

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vacate daily

 

Try this: Every day you wake up, consider it a vacation.

A colleague gave me this idea a few weeks ago and I’ve been trying it since.  On a vacation, I wake up feeling cozy in bed full of lush pillows and I think: “Today is going to be a perfect day.”

On a vacation, I consider my list of ‘activities that constitute a perfect day’ and choose a few of those activities.  I wake up with a smile and cuddle up on the couch with a good cup of coffee; I read a good book that challenges my mind; I take a leisurely walk and find something beautiful to appreciate; I savor the act of preparing a delicious, healthy meal; I spend moments laughing with someone I love.

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i truly love my lake house getaways

Generally, when I think about my ‘perfect vacation day’ I’m at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Southern Missouri with my girlfriends.  Free from tv, internet and phone distractions, I love to get up early and practice yoga on the dock as the sun rises and then spend the day laughing with my best friends.

I hike, I enjoy nature, I eat chips and salsa, I read a novel, I sit around in my pajamas, I laugh; in short: I feel nourished.  It’s the perfect day.

So, what if I thought of EVERY DAY as a vacation?  Instead of getting all worked up and thinking: “I have SO MUCH to get done today!”  and thus inciting anxiety over the ample workload and not-so-ample time to complete it… I could think “I’m going to get my work finished in a timely manner and find a moment or two to vacate.”

I haven’t perfected this technique yet, but it’s working a little bit.  I’ve noticed that when I think of every day as a vacation, I’m actually more productive.  And I still take a few moments to ‘vacate’ daily. Currently, those moments of vacation are the 4 minutes it takes me to water my herb garden. I do it with care, thinking of this time not as a chore, but as a celebration of nature.  Those moments of vacation are the times I stop on my walk with my RussellClive and enjoy my neighbor’s daffodils.  The daily walk could be considered a chore, but instead it’s a vacation.  I haven’t figured out how to incorporate washing to dishes into this ‘perfect vacation day’ but maybe one day that won’t feel like a chore either.

One of my favorite poems suggests that every day can be a perfect vacation.

“On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.  Today is such a day.”

I challenge you to consider what makes YOUR perfect ‘vacation day?”  

1.  Make a List of all things you like to do on vacation.

2.  Tomorrow, choose to do one of those things.

3.  Tomorrow, ‘vacate’ the stress of your every day routine for 1 minute.    Wake up and think: “Today is like a vacation!  I’ll still do all my work, but it’s going to be perfect!”

If you don’t know where to start, at least start by sitting still for one minute and draw more light into your life.

How was your vacation?  I’d love to hear about it.

Happy vacating,

-lisa

Tiny Peruvian Pilgrimage, part three: walking slowly.

Tiny Peruvian Pilgrimage, part three: walking slowly.

I’m a really slow walker.  I’m a painfully slow walker, according to my sister.  I love to dawdle, and gawk, and sigh, and look, and hum, and sing, and pray, and meander.  And maybe take a few steps forward.  Slowly.  Guess where this was not super welcome/ expected/ appreciated… on a four day trek up the Salkantay Mountain pass in the Cusco region of Peru.  Apparently, when you have more than 30 miles and 12,000+ feet of elevation gain/descent to cover in a few short days to get to Machu Picchu, you walk at a quick clip.  Even if you have short legs and are still sick to your stomach from some apricots bought in a local market the week prior.  No time for meandering.  Only to time for putting one foot in front of the other.  Again.  And Again.  And Again. 

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walking into the cloudy abyss…

The four day trek (sleeping in tents along the way!  yay!) through the Salkantay Mountain Pass in Peru was the highlight of our Peruvian adventure (see this post to figure out why I was in Peru).

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our camping sites along the trek in Peru were insanely beautiful

The trek was challenging.  My adventurous spirit was squelched by altitude sickness.  But it was remarkable.  Why?  I learned, for the first time, how to truly offer every step I take as a walking meditation.

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one step at a time, for many days and many miles

We left our backpackers hostel in Cusco at 3:45 am on a Peruvian winter morning and by lunchtime we were deep into the remote trails of the Andean cloud forest with our native guide Edson and a group of seven fellow hikers.  We did not choose the traditional-tourist ‘Incan Trail’ hike to Machu Picchu.  We yearned for a more secluded, intimate experience.  The Salkantay Trek follows a remote footpath and pilgrimage route for native Peruvians who paused to worship the glacier capped ‘Savage Mountain’ on their way to Machu Picchu.  For hundreds of years, Quechua, Incan, and other tribal Peruvians have put one foot in front of the other on this same trail.  They probably walked much faster than I did.

 

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the landscape was rugged and gorgeous

In Andean cosmology, mountains are Gods.  Their peaks are the highest point of contact with the Milky Way, which is the most sacred living space of Spirit.  Nevado Salkantay summits at 20,574 feet above sea level and the Southern Cross illuminates its highest peak at the height of the rainy season.  Rightly so, Incans believed this wild, uncivilized, unconquerable mountain governed the fertility of the region.  Had I known that the mountain pass I would stumble up (thank goodness my Ironman carried our water in his backpack) was christened ‘unconquerable,’ I would have prepared for the physical demands of the hike more seriously.  (As it was, I mostly prepared by walking our dog Russell and up and down our hilly block a few times.  Better luck next time.) But I did it.

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In Andean cosmology, mountains are Gods. Their peaks are the highest point of contact with the Milky Way, which is the most sacred living space of Spirit.

 

The weather was pristine.  The day before we arrived at the pass, trekkers were caught in a snowstorm; Salkantay hid behind dark cloud cover.  I’ve read narratives from Peru-lovers who’ve hiked Salkantay three times (masochists) and never been granted a clear view of its jagged peak.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when we turned the corner of the trail and landed ourselves in the shadow of the most sacred mountain in the region.  We were blessed.

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There was Navado Salkantay or ‘Savage Mountain’, just over the next pass.

Just a few miles earlier on the trail, our group paused to perform a native Andean ceremony.  It was the most remarkable moment of the entire journey.  It was a welcome respite, a much needed break.  After several mornings of pre-dawn wake-up calls, wearing mittens to breakfast, and eating pancakes by candlelight in the cook tent, I was a little tired.  (Actually, the wake-up calls were one of the best parts of our fully-guided trek.  At 5:00 am, we’d hear a gentle knock on the outside of our tent and a sing-song “Buenas Diaaaas” signaling that steaming mugs of coca tea would magically appear right outside our zippered door.  That’s room service.)

Still, after two grueling days of hiking at altitude (much, much faster than I would have liked, thank you very much.  It’s not that walking is difficult.  It’s that walking FAST is shockingly unnecessary), I was tired.  I was ready to give up.  I was counting steps.  I was making myself deals and setting impossibly low standards:  just make it to that next rock, just make it through the next five minutes, just make it to the next micro-break, just make it through the end of the next story this chatty Santa Cruz hiker is telling.  I was exhausted.

Finally, we stopped.  I sat down.  I sat my meditating-loving butt on a mossy boulder and refused to get back up.  My Ironman prodded me to get stand up and bundle up.  My day pack transformed into weightlessness as I layered on extra vests, gloves, hats and adorable Peruvian knitted legwarmers, struggling to keep my body temperature comfortable.  (Why I actually thought this trip would be comfortable is still baffling.)  The view was stunning.  I decided I was staying right there.  I didn’t know where ‘right there’ was.  In fact, turns out it was six hours away from camp.  I still had an entire day ahead of striding up hill and tottering downhill:  putting one foot in front of the other.

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Our guide Edson gathered our group together to teach us an ancient Andean tradition.  Even though I didn’t want to take one more step, I got up and hobbled over to the group, eager to participate.  Edson spread a small stash of coca leaves in a wind-protected crevice of a nearby boulder.  He showed us how to choose the best leaves; two leaves in the right hand and three leaves in the left hand.  He explained that we were approaching the mountain pass and it was now the time to offer our journey as a sacred pilgrimage. 

 

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it was now the time to offer our journey as a sacred pilgrimage.

It was a light bulb moment.  My job is to teach people that movement is prayer.  And here I was: treating this hike as arduous– something to be conquered and endured.  The Mountain was not be conquered, it was to be revered. The trek was not to be endured, it was to be offered.  I held the coca leaves gingerly in my mittened hands, and remembered this poem:

 “I appear in the wind, in soil, in stardust, in the sun,

I appear in mountains and desert rain

am the star

and I am the stone.”   

(Find it here: ‘Be Love Clothing’ )

These words eloquently remind humans that the Spirit of creative forces is manifested in every phenomenon, not limited by our cognition and rational mind.

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It was a light bulb moment.  I learned that experiencing the living pulse of nature, in true reverence, is learning to hear in my own racing heartbeat the rhythm of the living earth.  It means listening to the wind.  Listening to the moving water.  Listening to the hummingbirds.  Listening to the stories written by hundreds of pilgrims’ feet scribed in the mud of this footpath.

My mindset changed completely.  Moving forward was no longer a battle of will.  Walking forward was now an act of deep reverence.  Every step was an offering.  I was honoring Creation in every step.  For the next six hours, I barely spoke a word.  I was immersed in continuous meditative prayer, using this mantra with every step:

“I offer you the breath in my lungs.  I offer you the sound in my heart.  I offer you the sweetness of my Spirit… Let me be silent.  Let me be still.  So that kindness and grace may hover over me.”  (Adapted from Carolyn Myss and Andrew Harvey.   You may need this book.)

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With this mantra, I was not struggling.  Now I was on a pilgrimage, sharing this experience with the history of the Mountain and the Spirit of nature.  I found renewed energy.  I actually wanted to walk forward, to move, to breathe, to offer.  I wanted the trek to never end.  (Until I saw our campsite off in the distance.  Then I was super excited to curl up in my tent and nap before dinner.)

It was the most powerful experience, to practice true walking meditation.  I hope that every day I wake up for the rest of my life, I will remember to use this mantra:

 “I offer you the breath in my lungs. 

I offer you the sound in my heart.  I offer you the sweetness of my Spirit… Let me be silent.  Let me be still. 

So that kindness and grace may hover over me.”

What can you offer today?  Think about and let me know.  Thanks for listening.  Stay tuned for the next part of our journey: the Sacred City of Macchu Picchu!

-lisa

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We made it. Two thumbs up.