Presence, Patience, Simplicity

Mindfulness. It’s become such a buzz word, much like “yoga”. And yet, the practice is popular and now mainstream precisely because it offers simple methods for cultivating greater awareness of the present moment.

In other words, mindfulness empowers us to more fully live our lives by fully embodying our experience from moment to moment. Not escaping into illusion or delusion, addiction or habit-patterns, mindless scrolling or empty gossip.

Mindfulness, heartfulness, pure consciousness, heart-centered awareness. Semantics. Yet words can help. Concepts can be of assistance. Eventually the words, techniques, concepts, ideas, opinions, memories and plans for the unknown future fade away. There is just this One Love.

Yet alongside this miraculous beauty is a dark shadow side, a seedy, shady, sad, sick side. We must bring light to this shadow and deal with all the -isms our society has created, all the borders and security measures and rules and regulations and political correctness and the racism, sexism, patriotism, narcissism, consumerism, capitalism, careless shortsightedness and destruction of Mother Earth.

Mindfulness, you see, is not all lollipops and rainbows. It encompasses all, everything that arises and passes away. With practice, we learn to see things on a continuum, within a vast spectrum. We expand our consciousness and raise our vibration. We tune in more and more with the One Love of All That Is. We serve others, giving of ourselves for the betterment of beings less fortunate, less lucky to have been born into wealth or at least not into poverty.

Present-moment-awareness is gorgeous and simple. There are many anchors that can bring us back right here and now when the mind wanders. Of course, there are also times when it is good and helpful to contemplate and reflect on the past or plan and set goals for the short and long-term future. Most of our days, however, are ideally spent focusing on the present, being kind to ourselves and others, cultivating compassion, peace, balance and wisdom.

By paying attention to whatever is occurring in the present moment, we can connect with a sense of gratitude for the gift of breath and life, a sense of wonder for what this day or experience is here to teach us, and a sense of open-minded curiosity for what adventures await us next.

The Path of Beauty: Yoga & Writing Weekend Retreats

pathofbeauty

Yoga has altered my life, for the better, for more than two decades. I’ve been teaching for the past sixteen years. I’ve also been writing pretty much since I can remember. Diaries, journals, blogs, poems, essays, articles. So I’m beyond thrilled to be offering a few weekend retreats in August & September that are all about yoga and writing — and gratitude and practice and community and love and kindness and laughter and the path of beauty.

YOGA & WRITING WEEKENDS at Villa Sumaya in August & September!

{2 day/1 night, Saturday & Sunday affairs} * Suitable for ALL LEVELS!

Join me at the divinely inspirational Villa Sumaya for a weekend getaway to relax and recharge with a heart-opening yoga practice designed to accommodate all levels, ages and body types. Participate in a writing circle, focused on introspective journaling and optional sharing, clarifying your life goals by tapping your creative muse and inspiring new growth.

AUGUST 18-19        SEPTEMBER 1-2        SEPTEMBER 22-23

We’ll start Saturday at 11am with the opening circle, followed by lunch, free time, afternoon workshop, dinner. Sunday we’ll gather together for morning practice, breakfast, and finish with a closing sauna ceremony.

About the Instructor

Michelle Margaret Fajkus is a longtime yoga teacher, writer/blogger, and heart-centered human being. She has been  joyfully teaching yoga for over sixteen years and has facilitated yoga and mindfulness retreats in Guatemala since 2010. Her classes are suitable for all levels, ages and body types and incorporate hatha, vinyasa flow, dharma yoga, yin yoga, pranayama/breath work, chanting, mindfulness and relaxation.

Details: http://villasumaya.com/event/group-retreats-michelle/

Discounted day passes available for lake friends!

Men go into Caves; Women are like Waves

Recently, a friend gifted me a copy of three chapters, well-used and stapled together, of the classic relationship advice book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Published by counselor John Gray in 1992, these yellowed pages had a surprising amount of helpful wisdom.

The main takeaway, which is not rocket science or anything—though I appreciated the clear and simple way he explains the differences between men and women and the way we communicate, express ourselves and deal with difficulty—is that men go into caves, while women are like waves.

Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed. Women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.

When men are struggling with a problem, feeling upset or angry, they often “go into a cave”, get silent and need space and time to process alone. Women, from the other planet, go through cycles or waves—going up, feeling good, fulfilled, motivated and loved, and then doing down into the trough, crashing down into emotional overwhelm, worry, frustration or confusion.

Like I said, it’s not a revelation. These are simple metaphors, and they make sense. The more you know…. Now I can let my partner go into his cave when he needs to and not try to elicit conversation from him until he has emerged. I will watch my own wave and be more aware of my tendencies to go to extreme highs and lows, seeking greater balance and moderation in my daily life. Hey, maybe I should read the whole book!

Don’t Despair ~ Raise Your Vibration

By raising our consciousness, rising above partisanship and drama and the endless, outrageous narratives, both personal and collective, we can certainly lift up own vibration and maybe, just maybe, inspire others to do the same.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing everything you read or see in the news. Don’t fall into a mindless addiction to the news, a need to know, now, every gory detail.

Don’t get lost in despair. I’ve been there. It’s not a place you want to be. It’s not a place you’d wish upon your worst enemy.

Depression, despondency, despair: they can be difficult to avoid for a breathing, thinking, feeling human being on the planet these days.

Although perhaps it is an exaggeration to say “no news is good news,” the fact is that most news is bad news. There is a dearth of stories of goodness, virtues, transformation, growth, generosity and kindness. Why? Because these kinds of uplifting stories are not as dramatic, they don’t sell as well and they don’t feed into the System’s desire for the audience to remain indefinitely very afraid.

It’s the Trump Show. We are all watching: many aghast in horror, his fans/constituents cheering him on, whether publicly or privately. He is polarizing. He is hated or loved. He is abysmal or “tremendous.” I have lived outside the U.S. borders, living and loving the expat life in Guatemala, for nearly 9 years. Never have I felt so ashamed of and embarrassed for my country of birth.

It is just outrageous! It’s an outrage!

However. Instead of feeling desperate about the endless cycle of depressing news about the myriad ways in which the rights of anyone who is NOT a rich, straight, white, male are being violated or desecrated, I am choosing to focus on expanding my own consciousness. Following the news in a balanced way (not going to either extreme of shutting it out nor watching too obsessively), speaking out through my writing.

I am choosing to rise above. Still I Rise. (Amazing poem by Maya Angelou. Go listen to her read it on YouTube, ASAP.)

By raising our vibration we are thereby also raising the vibration of all of humanity, with our one grain of sand.

I am sending loving kindness to myself, my community, all beings, no exceptions. Praying that more and more people wake up to the harm we are doing to ourselves and our Mother Earth through our current, consumerist, corporate-capitalist-driven always in a hurry hashtag busy hashtag soblessed … wifi microwaves frying our brains meanwhile zombies mesmerized by screens needing apps just to be able to meditate 5 seconds a day…

It’s scary how much technology has changed us, is changing us. Point being: expand your consciousness. See beyond the little ego identity. Get a glimpse of the ground of being, your buddha nature, innate goodness, golden heart.

How to Raise Your Vibration, and thereby Humanity’s

  1. Breathe deeply
  2. Pay attention to the present moment.
  3. Let go of what needs to be let go.
  4. Focus on what needs to be focused on.
  5. Keep an open heart.
  6. Drink pure water, herbal tea, goodness and eat local, organic, natural foods lovingly prepared.
  7. Buy local; cultivate local community; support small & independent local businesses
  8. Spend time outside in nature, contemplating trees, mountain, sky, water.
  9. Cultivate compassion for self and others.
  10. Practice loving kindness for all beings including oneself.