Monday, March 26, 2007

Catholic yoga: A Hail Mary with your Halasana

I stumbled across this article tonight and found it quite wonderful. I've always wondered what some of my Catholic friends really think of my yoga practice. I enjoy it more than words can say, and I feel more complete while I am integrated in the practice. For me, it is a way of prayer. A way to step back from the chaos of life and spend time thinking. Thinking through my poses. It's amazing how much clearer I can think after a good yoga practice. It feels the same when I walk out of the church after quiet moments of prayer.

Catholic yoga: A Hail Mary with your Halasana

Namaste and God Bless

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Symphonies and Grief

Tonight I went to the symphony with some friends. It began with selections from Walton's Facade which includes narration. Poems written by an English woman, Edith Sitwell, who apparently was the naughty lady of English poetry in the early 1920s. Her poems were absurd and irreverent and she spent a lifetime scandalizing English society. It was her brother's idea to set some of her poems to Walton's music. The result was Facade--a setting of twenty-one poems. (thankfully we only heard about six this evening). Not that it was terrible, but it was very interesting and I didn't quite get it. Maybe it's because I'm not quite sophisticated. ;-)

The evening continued with a local composer's fourth symphony, Living Breathing Earth. The composer was a middle-aged woman with a serious hippy vibe. She introduced her work and expressed her extreme concern for our "sick and dying planet." I know that we all should (and could) do a little more to encourage presevation of the planet, however, the way she spoke seemed almost artificial. I do believe that she is extremely passionate about this and loves nature very much, but when she spoke it didn't come out very genuinely. I don't know if that makes any sense, but when Stacey talks of pulsing with the universe and living as part of the earth, she sounds real. She sounds rational. This woman sounded weird. Anyway, her first movement was entitled Call of the Cicadas. To me, it was a little chaotic. But that's me. The final three movements were actually quite wonderful and beautiful. It's amazing how music can really transport you.

Then the main event. Marina Lomazov, faculty at USC, beautiful Ukranian-American woman, who plays the piano as if she's dancing with it. I couldn't take my eyes off of her the entire time. Her stage presence is hypnotic. Somewhere during the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23 I realized that I am going to be okay.

My last four months can be described exactly as follows: LIVING IN DENIAL. Most people reading this know that my relationship ended at the beginning of December and it threw me for a whirl. I thought my life was planned out--I was ready to make enormous steps, sacrifice everything and give of myself completely. The grief I felt when the rug was pulled out from beneath me lingered for weeks. Now, looking back, I realize that during these past four months, I have been living in serious denial. Denial (and isolation)...stage one of grieving. I have denied that I was let go. Denied that I had no significant other. Things had changed, yet not severely enough for my teeny tiny brain to realize that it was really over. Somewhere in the depths of my little brain, there was hope that it was all a nightmare, that it hadn't really happened. I told myself I was cocooning--pulling away from the world in order to emerge stronger, more beautiful, more powerful. Now I realize it was plain old isolation. I'm ready to come out of hiding now.

The past few days I have graduated to stage two of grieving: anger. I am so angry. I am so angry at him. I am angry at myself for everything. The rage I feel inside has to escape. I know that the only way through it is my yoga and my prayer. In the glorious words of my most beloved St. Paul, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31

Dear St. Paul pray for me!

St. Jude

Due to recent events, I have begun a novena to St. Jude. 9 nights of prayer to the patron of hopeless cases and things almost despaired of. Prior to this week, I knew very little about the life of St. Jude. I didn't know that he was one of the 12, a relative of Jesus, and the one who carried the famous shroud to King Abgar of Edessa at the request of Jesus. He is often referred to as Thaddeus and his brother St. James is another of the original apostles. His first name Jude means "giver of joy" while Thaddeus means "generous and kind."

I wear my St. Jude medal and pray to him and beg his intercession. While I feel most hopeless and alone, I have received an enormous amount of support and encouragement from my prayers to the most holy apostle, Jude. "Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings..."

Whenever I am able to return to Rome, I will most definitely make it a point to visit his tomb beneath St. Peter's Basilica.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saint Patrick's Day

A few friends and I managed to get to Five Points today for some of the St Patrick's Day festivities. I wanted to hear Seven Nations, and I did hear about 1 1/2 songs, in between bathroom hunting and beer gathering. Oh well, at least I did get a picture with Kyle McLeod, the lead singer, who I think is quite dreamy.

When I got home, I talked to GP for awhile. It's so funny how he can always make me feel so much better. I just wish that we'd had this kind of relationship while he was still here. It's interesting to me how my relationships grow deeper after people have left. But I am grateful despite the distance. He is so great and I really look forward to talking to him each week.

Tonight is a quiet night, there's a Three's Company marathon on...right up my alley! So it's time to wash my face, say a few prayers and hit the sack. Tomorrow is church, baseball and yoga...doesn't get much better than that! The three things I will miss most from Columbia.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Friends, New Markings

Went to lunch today with a new good friend. We sat down by the river and it was really really great. Great to get away from work, be outside with nature, and have a nice discussion with a friend. It was great because before we sat, he gave me the choice of sitting with the river flowing toward me or away from me. Being the great yogin that he is, I understood his question and chose to sit with the river flowing away from me. I feel as if I have to let go of certain things and situations, certain dreams and desires. So perhaps the river took some of that with it today.

As we sat talking about things that matter and things of less importance, the idea of tattoos came up. I've had my mind wrapped around getting one for awhile now, and my new friend has convinced me to go forward. It always helps to have someone offer to go with you too! Since I've been at work this afternoon, I've been looking around trying to find the perfect symbol. I'd had it narrowed down to two. I have firmly decided on the symbol of the heart chakra. I read a lot about it this afternoon and it resonated. It looks something like the picture at the top of this post.
The heart chakra is the fourth chakra (of seven) and is called Anahata in Sanskrit. It means "unblocked, unhurt, unbeaten." It represents love, joy, happines, honesty, respect, compassion, understanding, and generosity. It is linked to the ability to make decisions outside of the realm of karma. In Anahata, one is making decisions based on one's higher (highest) self.

At the center of the symbol is the Sanskrit letter for the bija mantra YAM. A bija mantra is a sound that has certain esoteric powers associated with activating a centre within the subtle body. The twelve petals represent 12 vrittis (different tendencies that come to our mind without our conscious knowledge), and the triangles represent creativity and consciousness (Shakti and Shiva) and the force of matter upward to liberation and the force of spirit moving into manifestation.
Through the opening of the heart chakra, one can attain freedom to escape a preordained fate and can determine one's own destiny. How do you open the heart chakra? Through the breath. Through meditation. Through centering prayer. Through the Grace of God.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Euchre: The Musical

So Margaret has come up with an amazing idea--rather than write a sitcom based on our weekly euchre game, she's decided to go to a musical. We were tossing out ideas all night for various songs that correspond to our lives. At first, we thought of doing a Village People-inspired musical...all music from the Village People. You know, YMCA and Macho Man are pretty easy to incorporate. However, after much discussion, I think we are going to use various artists for our lives.

If you have any suggestions--please let me know!


We had tap class tonight-I think we're getting pretty good. I am still a little apprehensive about our recital--but those of you who are going to be in town, mark your calendars! Saturday, May 19 at the Township Auditorium. Time is TBA still..we'll find out in about a month what program we are in--either the matinee or evening. We've also been offered free dinner afterwards ONLY if we stay in costume. Some meals are more expensive than others, that's for sure.

I actually talked to my dad last night for the first time in...I don't even know. We've always had an awkward and unusual relationship and I do hope and pray with all my might that he stays sober this time. I've read about it, heard about it and known other people who have gone into rehab, but it just feels different when it's your own father. I didn't know how to react when I first heard. I was happy that he actively accepted help, but at the same time I pitied him. I ask myself what can I do? What could I have done? And then I realize that he is his own person and makes his own choices and no matter how involved or not I am in his life--it is HIS life. He will do with it what he wills.

I am so angry at him, yet I know that being a Christian is about offering forgiveness. How do I completely forgive someone that hurt me to my very core? And not only forgive, but forget. Start with a clean slate. Isn't that how God is? When we confess our sins and we are absolved, God gives us a clean slate. How mighty is our God!

I feel right now that if I were to forgive him I would have to cut him out of my life is that forgiveness? I could perhaps let go of my grievances and pain only if he promised to disappear. How Christian is that? How can I honor my father when he has ripped into my soul?

Fr. Thomas Keating in his book, Heart of the World, he says "Vulnerability means to be hurt over and over again without seeking to love less, but more."

I pray for strength and guidance. I pray that he may walk the straight path for the time being and hopefully forever. I pray for the compassion and sacred heart of Jesus. How far I have to go...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Essential Authenticity

Revealing Your True Self
Identity is an elusive concept. We feel we must define ourselves using a relatively small selection of roles and conscious character traits, even if none accurately represents our notion of "self." The confusion surrounding our true natures is further compounded by the fact that society regularly asks us to suppress so much of our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual vibrancy. Yet we are, in truth, beings of light-pure energy inhabiting physical bodies, striving for enlightenment while living earthly lives. Our true selves exist whether we acknowledge them or not, often buried under fears and learned behavior. When we recognize our power, our luminosity, and our divinity, we cannot help but live authentic lives of appreciation, potential, fulfillment, and grace.
At birth and throughout your childhood, your thoughts and feelings were more than likely expressions of your true self. Though you may have learned quickly that to speak and act in a certain fashion would win others' approval, you understood innately that you were no ordinary being. There are many ways you can recapture the authenticity you once articulated so freely. Meditation can liberate you from the bonds of those earthly customs that compel you to downplay your uniqueness. Also, communing with nature can remind you of the special role you were meant to play in this lifetime. In order to realize your purpose, you must embrace your true self by letting your light shine forth, no matter the consequences.
Rediscovering who you are apart from your roles and traits takes time and also courage. If, like many, you have denied your authenticity for a long while, you may find it difficult to separate your true identity from the identity you have created to cope with the world around you. Once you do find this authentic self, however, you will be overcome by a wonderful sense of wholeness as you reconcile your spiritual aspect and your physical aspect, as well as your inner- and outer-world personas. As you gradually adjust to this developing unity, your role as a being of light will reveal itself to you, and you will discover that you have a marvelous destiny to fulfill.