The Poetry of Retreat

Wake up well before dawn.

Set an alarm, just in case. I don’t want to miss a moment of the five a.m. sadhana.

Under the veil of darkness, stroll along the starlit, lapping lake to the candlelit temple where White Tara beams down upon us all every day and night.

Location: Sumaya, which means “a long awaited dream come true”; a.k.a. paradise found.

Akasha shares his personal practice with us, in such a down-to-earth, accessible and friendly way. Casually imparts the wisdom of years and decades of practice. So humbly, with the authenticity of actions and the nebulous precision of words. The time flies by.

Breathing, chanting, moving, holding, listening. Paying attention.

Sun rises, pastels paint the sky. We invite the morning light. The lake’s daily awakening. All the sounds, the water, the boat motors, voices, birdsong.

And now, a series of seven-minute chants. I read from the sheet and marvel at all the people in the room who has these long strings of Sanskrit syllables memorized.

Mid-morning Ashtanga practice. Powerful. Right effort. Knowing boundaries, challenging limits. Mountain men and women gaining strength, vitality. Soaking up inspiration from our teacher and his teacher’s teachers.

Just one week, and yet we go so deep, transforming energy on all levels. Strangers swiftly become sangha, friendships are forged over meals and spirit animal tarot cards.

Healing circle, full moon, New Year’s Eve evening; glowing hearts, positive energy, splendid synergy. Giving and receiving.

Inner transformation, outward evolution. Deep bow of gratitude, dream come true. The closing of one chapter leads to the opening of the next.

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Thank you. I love you. Please forgive me. I’m sorry. Namaste.

how to reverb

“Reverb11” is a month-long daily writing practice with prompts each day. I participated last year thanks to my writing coach, Jeffrey Davis. About 1,000 writers “reverbed” when blogger Gwen Bell created the Reverb project in December 2009. Over 6,000 participated last year.

Reverb is a means of reflection on the year that has passed and looking forward to the coming year. It provides us with an opportunity to celebrate life and mourn losses together.

We will offer 31 prompts for the month of December. Each of those prompts will be posted right here (and hopefully on many other blogs as well!) starting mañana, December 1st. Join us! You don’t have to write a novel, or even a poem. There are no rules about word count. Challenge yourself to publish on the topic each day. Post your link in the comments section. (You can shorten it using bit.ly for ease of sharing on social networks). Use the hash tag #reverb11 if you’re on Twitter.

The key is to support one another through sharing, and commenting on, one another’s writing.

That’s where the YAM TRIBE and Elephant Yoga Community come in handy. (More details on both of those as the month progresses…)

Below are some buttons you can use to share with your readers that you are Reverbing with YAM in 2011! Stay tuned throughout the month for each daily prompt, as well as lots of great inspiration from the community that we create.

new year’s solutions

“If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after so many things.” ~Ryokan

Part 1: Reflections and reverberation.

I love a new year. Even though it really doesn’t mean that much, it’s neat to have a calendar-based opportunity every 365 days to look back and look forward, and then sit where you are and consider what changes to make. Years ago, I read in O Magazine that instead of resolutions we should make new year’s “solutions.” Some may consider this a worthless game of semantics, but to me the subtle difference is both catchy and powerful. Because, as conscious, evolving beings, aren’t we over making resolutions that fade into obscurity by February?

I used to write dozens of detailed resolutions and even publish articles on how to best create resolutions and intentions. The tough part was prioritizing and sustaining the necessary energy toward achieving all those goals.

In 2008, I thought I’d be revolutionary and set just one resolution: lose 30 pounds.  I’d do all the right things for a while but then allow some hitch in the routine to derail me for months, resulting in a net gain/loss of zero.

So, my 2009 “Solutions” were simply to do more of what inspires me and less of what saps my precious energy. More yoga (teaching and practice!), more meditation, more writing, more walking/jogging/biking, more healthy cooking/eating. Less complaining, less worrying, less eating junk, less surfing the internet instead of exercising or writing. That approach suited me better but was still missing something.

Read the rest on Elephant Journal!

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