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A New Home for TrueBodyMindSoul!!

25 Jan

 

Hello friends and followers!!

I am excited to announce a new home for True Body Mind Soul!

I have purchased the domain, and started a new blog (well, a continuation of this blog!) at truebodymindsoul.com

I hope you will come check out my new site for posts about yoga, meditation, mindfulness, health and happiness.

Here is one post, for example, that you should definitely read : )

Ten tips for starting a hot yoga practice (2)

Ten tips for starting HOT yoga

Hope to see you soon!

Best,

True Soul
(Amber)

Image

Rumi

13 Sep

no-religion-rumi1

Rumi

22 Aug

fan-your-flames

Hot yoga is fanning my flames : )

365 Challenge Day 14 – Nature

29 May

I am self-proclaimed City Girl.  I like being around lots of people.  I like being around lots of stuff.  I like knowing there is a 24 hour pharmacy walking distance from my house.  And because I live in an awesome, progressive, and diverse city, I like going out to eat and having lots of vegan, and international options.

But, even being a City Girl, I love Nature.  I am especially fond of urban nature.  This means I love to go for walks and see trees and flowers and flowing water, but still know that all my people and stuff are nearby : )

I live in a city that has a great combination of both.  I wouldn’t be able to live in a concrete jungle like NYC, even though there are so many awesome and amazing options there, it’s just not pretty enough for me.

Here there are parks, ponds, and rivers, landscaped green areas, and lots of houses with beautiful front lawns.

Nature is always in the present moment; our minds can be all over the place, and spending time in nature can bring us back to the Now, and ground us.  Nature is so beautiful!!  I love the four seasons; the amazing colors of spring, summer, fall, and winter all inspire me.  Nature is tenacious, and will find a way to thrive in harshest and most unpredictable conditions; like the blades of grass that push through cracks in the concrete.  Nature is adaptable; I always marvel at the tree trunks that grow right through a metal chain link fence.  Nature is fierce, and real; there is no sugar-coating the damage and destruction nature does with its earthquakes, tsunamis, and storms.  And nature is all-encompassing; everything in us and around us, even the most garish “man-made” objects, in their origins are derived from nature, and will someday return to it.

I feel grateful that I work in a place where I can step outside and go for a walk along the river.  Today I ate lunch at my desk and then spent my entire lunch hour out walking, enjoying the bright sunshine, and the vibrant green leaves and new flowers of spring.  I took these pictures on my walk today.

photo 2

photo 3 photo 1 photo 3

photo 2

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
The moon in autumn.
A cool breeze in summer,
Snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
~Wu-men

Rumi

22 May

Woke up this morning thinking about Rumi.

Do you think he somehow knew that our very cells are made of stardust?

rumi-15

photo credit: http://glad.is

 

Truth – Kabir

18 May

kabir-truth1

credit: poetseers.org

A Spiritual Transition (Crisis)

15 May

I don’t know if it’s a transition, a phase, a shift, or a spiritual crisis! Maybe all of the above! But things have definitely changed dramatically for me over the last year.  In retrospect the change was not so sudden, it was slowly bubbling under the surface for many many years, and finally reached a full boil.

I don’t even know where to begin.

I had always been extremely drawn to the Buddha’s teachings, from the first time I saw them at eight years old.  Every time I would hear the teachings, I would just have a feeling of coming home, of resonating with Truth.  It was love at first sight!  But somehow I was never able to connect to the community.  Even after being extremely involved at the Buddhist centers where I’ve gone for 15 years, it always felt like something was missing, and like I didn’t quite fit in.  Basically I felt like there was no community to connect with or fit into!  I have many friends from the centers, who I adore as individuals, but somehow, as a group, it doesn’t work for me.  People at my center tend to arrive, meditate, and leave.  Even though there are over 500 members (maybe because there are over 500 members!), there is very little socializing.  And I definitely had a hard time figuring out how to involve my children.  I thought to myself, Where are the celebrations?  Where is the community service?  How would we come together to help each other out when in need?  I made many attempts to create community while I was there, but it always felt like an uphill battle, and a battle that I didn’t want to be fighting, a battle I eventually gave up on and lost.

The final straw came last year when I learned that the Buddhist family retreat my children and I have been attending for the last 8 years is being cancelled, forever.  The board decided that being a center designed for silent retreats, they could no longer accommodate the additional planning, workload, and disruption, that the family retreat brought.  The retreat had been ongoing for more than 35 years.  This was devastating for me.  I had really invested in raising my children in this practice, and this was the only spiritual community they had.  I felt like my children were being kicked out the community.  I felt horrible for having raised my kids in a community where they were no longer wanted.  They are too old to start something new, they would never accept even if I could find something.  My mama bear instinct came out, and it really pissed me off.  I thought, Fuck you.  You don’t want us?  Well, guess what, we don’t want you either.  I’m done.

I’m trying to be diplomatic, but truth is, I’m sick of it.  Twenty plus years of practice, and I’m fed up.  I know I have benefited IMMENSELY from the practice, and I actually continue to go on retreat with my teachers who I still love, so I’m trying not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say.  But I’m tired of the pretense, I’m tired of the underlying, unspoken assumption that things need to be quiet, neat, orderly, and perfect in order for us to “practice”.  I’m tired of the belief that having children is a hindrance to the practice.  This is after all a monastic practice that has been passed on for millennia by the celibate monks. Even the Buddha himself abandoned his wife and newborn son to start this path.

What I am trying to reconcile, is the Buddhist truth that attachment to desire leads to suffering, and the truth that I am living a life that involves attachments, to children, friends, and lovers, and even more “menial” attachments, such as to my car and house.  I don’t want to give up my attachment to my children, if that comes with suffering, I’ll take it!!  And I have to admit I want a nice house and a working car.  That’s the life I’ve chosen, I’m not a nun!! I see too many people using meditation and retreats to numb themselves out of feeling.  It becomes a spiritual bypass.  An escape.  I believe our practice should enable to function better *in* the world, not make us feel we need to escape from it.

I’ve come to see the Buddhist tradition as a turning away from life, retreating.  I want to be fully immersed in life.  I want a spiritual practice that embraces the noise, the messiness, and the chaos of life. I don’t want to put out the flame of desire, I want to feel the pain and the joy of it.  I couldn’t say it any better than this:

You are the Essence of the Essence,
The intoxication of Love.
I long to sing Your Praises
but stand mute
with the agony of wishing in my heart !

~ Rumi

Laughing At the Word Two – Hafiz

26 Jul

 

Laughing At the Word Two

 

Only

That Illumined

One

Who keeps

Seducing the formless into form

Had the charm to win my

Heart.

Only a Perfect One

Who is always

Laughing at the word

Two

Can make you know

Of

Love.

~Hafiz

 

Inner Peace

24 Jun

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these things,
Then you are probably the family dog.

~ Unknown

(If anyone knows the author of this, please leave a comment, I couldn’t find it.)