I’m on my yoga mat; my head is resting on my outstretched legs. It’s very quiet - except for the last drops of the morning rain bouncing off the roof. Melanie’s soothing voice is guiding me and the rest of our small group to surrender into a “Caterpillar” - a classic Yin Yoga pose. “Find your edge...just be present with the sensation. Keep breathing...”
My hamstrings feel like they haven’t been stretched for decades, but as the minutes go by I feel how they begin to open up. My whole body is relaxing. My mind is becoming calm and serene. I love Yin Yoga.
When the class ends, I walk silently out of the yoga hall, to put my mat away. Breakfast is waiting for us. I’m relaxed, energized, and very grateful to know that fresh fruits, cereals, yogurt, eggs, and tortillas are waiting for me in the dining hall.
I walk in silence. The wind turbines are looming overhead, their blades cutting through the wind, swooshing rhythmically. A narrow asphalt road is leading us into the green horizon. I’m reminded of what a perfect day this has been. I have come to some powerful realisations in the circle this morning, and I am still feeling overflowing with joy and love.
As I feel the bliss rising with me, bubbling like a beautiful fountain which just wants to explode through the crown of my head, I notice my mind trying to make sense of it all. Even though our walk is supposed to be silent, I find that I just can’t hold myself back any longer. I have to share this joy. I turn to one of my walking companions, Simja, a trainee staff members at the centre, and I say to him “I think I may just explode with so much joy!”
“Resolving your own personal conflicts is the first step to ending global conflict.”
- Joseph Eliezer
I appreciate this thought, and would expand it to say that:
Healing the addiction to conflict that lives in my mind is the only thing that will heal the conflict, that seems to be going on, out in the world.
I’ve thought about this often in the last few years. Two things that have brought it into focus for me are recent school shootings and the rise of Donald Trump’s popularity as a political candidate in the United States.
When I first started hearing about school shootings, they were far from home. I recognized
Remember, bliss is my birthright and whether I claim it now or not matters not one iota, but since it feels so much better... why would I not choose that now?
The last weekend I had the great privilege of spending a very intensive time with the Beyond Addiction Team at a Vancouver workshop. The Six Step Process was introduced and practised by all with the result we at Choose Again are so familiar with: “Wow, this is so simple!” and “I can’t believe how much I shifted in just a matter of minutes!” Sat Dharam is a stern task master and she asked me to have a sign- up sheet for one-on-one sessions, fifteen minutes each, I agreed. Well, that meant that I ended up doing twenty two sessions in two days, certainly a new record for me and one that left me stumbling over my eye-lids by the end of Sunday.
A nickel for your thoughts...
I was listening to a local radio station recently when a DJ brought up the hot topic of the day: there had been a study done in Finland by a woman named Salli Antonnen, focusing on why people hated Nickelback so much.
Apparently the author of the study wanted to figure out the root cause of the mass popularity of this peanut-gallery phenomenon by researching over 14 years of music reviews, given worldwide, over the course of the band’s career. The conclusions to the author’s study was that:
“Nickelback is too much of everything to be enough of something. They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation, but also not well enough, which is
I was talking with a friend on the phone recently, and the topic of computers came up. She had mentioned how she was going through a period where there seemed to be always something wrong with it, and was surprised over how much emotion was arising as a result--with anger being the predominant expression. This frustration inspired many a nick-name for the electronic box, none of which would be considered flattering. After some laughs, she then asked me directly, “Why do we do this?” [referring to the personification and projection of anger towards objects], and “Where does it come from?”
And it got me thinking...of all the times I have cursed my malfunctioning electronics, forswearing buyers-allegiance to their line of product in favour of their competitive
"The willingness to trust and follow your heart - not the reactive ego that is often interpreted to be the heart, but the heart that longs to know God - this is a tell-tale sign of whether or not one is reaching maturity".
(from The Way of Mastery)
This quote reminds me of the importance of distinguishing between the guidance of the ego and the guidance of Inner Wisdom. A few years ago it became popular to speak of being "guided" to certain decisions or actions. As I listened to my own mind, and the minds of others, it began to seem as if there was often a hefty dose of self-delusion involved. I saw how easy it was to simply follow the dictates and compulsions of the ego, and to believe that I was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is an aspect of the spiritualized ego.
Conversely, sometimes people have told me they asked for guidance and received it, but
We are seeing so many changes at so many levels and my own healing has continued or, perhaps, accelerated.
I had the great pleasure and privilege to teach a one-day workshop and give a talk with Dr. Gabor Mate in Vancouver. He is an internationally recognized pioneer and expert on addictions and being on ‘stage’ with him was, well, a blast.
The event was also evidence for the fact that while at one time we, Choose Again, were
This week marks the tenth anniversary of Choose Again in Costa Rica. Ten years! It is quite incredible to me that the idea of a spiritual residential center in a strange tropical country, underfinanced and without marketing of any kind would take form and not only that, that form is growing in scope and breadth. The original funding for this idea came from Veronica Dahl, Christine Walters, Greg Lynch and Eric and Anne Andrew. Why they jumped in and said YES with such conviction and love, I will never really understand but gratitude has been my state of mind on many a day when I look at what we have collectively
Last November I realized how tired I was of my grievance-filled relationship with Christmas. For many years, feelings of resentment, anger and despair would begin to surface around November 1, right about when Christmas music started playing as I stood in line at Starbucks for my short dark roast.
The approach of Christmas has been a cue for me to find ways of spending as much time as possible alone, away from the frantic activity and busy-ness, a mini-retreat from it all. Which would have been a wonderful experience, except that such a spiritual sounding idea was based on so much ill-will! I realized, with a sense of shock, that I had the option to participate in the season, and to enjoy every moment of it, the same as every other day of the year. This was welcome but it left me with a large gap.
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