the bridge is out
time is the raging river
between us and the life we think we want
which doesn’t exist
we invent a future in which we are better than ourselves,
but what’s possible is in front of us now.
Listening for the moment, you’ll find it’s there.
Open a space in it with your breath.
We are swimming in time.
Don’t fall asleep.
Don’t forget to breathe.
Be a choir.
Be the pitch reverberating.
Be the blessed echo.
I took a break from podcast work because October is the beginning of my busy season, with friends visiting all month, a huge annual Halloween party, and this year, a very special wedding of two beloved friends in November. Then life took off running, and I had to catch up, so it’s been a long time since I posted an episode — sorry about that!
The good news is that I’m back today with a new episode in which I chat with my friend Stephanie Rhodes. Stephanie is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner like myself. One of the things I love about Stephanie is that she embraces spirituality while having a pretty low tolerance for bullshit. I think you’ll love what she has to say about her personal journey, and I hope you’ll find her as refreshingly open and honest as I do.
Here’s where you can reach Stephanie and learn more about her work:
I believe we are genetically programmed to want enlightenment.
We are bliss-seeking creatures, and we’ve heard good things about nirvana.
The absence of suffering and confusion.
But clarity sorta sucks. Sometimes it brings the suffering of others into excruciating focus. You’re hit with a barrage of emotions, and then clarity is gone.
You have to learn to be still amid the chaos, to avoid stirring up all the shit, to look life in the eye and say, “okay,” and let go.
So that’s why I meditate.
Because I am a shameless spiritual junkie. Because someone said life is suffering, and I’m the kid trying to prove them wrong. Because I know if I am still, right here and now, I can find quiet. Because I just got back from a week-long visit with my family, and I didn’t fight with my dad or anything! Because I was looking for truth and someone said, “inquire within,” and it’s by far the most useful piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
In just a few days, I’m offering my first Introduction to Meditation workshop at Shakti Studio in Arnold, MD, and I would love beyond words to have you there.
Here’s how you register:
Go to this link. You will probably be prompted to create an account. Do that, and then you’ll see the class schedule, etc. Click the “Workshops” tab at the top of the page, and you’ll see several workshop descriptions including the “Introduction to Meditation.” Click the blue button that says, “Sign up now!” Follow the instructions from there.
Also, join the Facebook event for the workshop so we can get in touch. There, you can ask me questions if needed or get in touch with other workshop participants.
If you have any trouble signing up, please send me a note or just show up early so we can get you all squared away.
by Tatoli ba Kultura -- CC-BY-SA
I want to tell you to love yourself, but I also want to tell you to love other people. And I don’t mean like putting others first in all things because that becomes painful very quickly.
But practice seeing the good in other people. And beyond that, see that they are vulnerable. See that their anger comes from fear, and love them. See that their bad behavior comes from ignorance, and teach them.
Don’t make yourself their victim. Be prepared to walk away. And yes, you’re allowed to walk away from people you love. It doesn’t mean you love them any less. It just means you can’t save them. But if you can stand to give some compassion without killing yourself, do it. Look another human being in the eyes and accept them for who they are. Don’t try to be better than them; everyone else is already doing that. Realize that they are as good and worthy as you are and that the most important gifts you’ve been given — food, shelter, education — were largely granted to you based on no merit of your own. Realize that if you deserve that kind of goodness in your life (and you do), then they deserve goodness, too. Now treat them that way.
However, if you can’t believe that you deserve goodness in your life, you’re going to find it very difficult to extend that generosity to others. When you catch yourself judging others, ask what it says about you that you are so irritated by someone else’s imperfections. Are you bothered being around people who don’t meet your specific standards for beauty, intelligence, morality, or social status? If they aren’t hurting you, there’s a good chance your feelings about them stem from your own anxiety and insecurity. But if you start to say, “Ok, it’s fine for that person to be the way they are, even if it’s not what I would want for myself. They still deserve to be happy,” that starts to change the way you view yourself. Eventually, you’ll realize that because you’re a human just like the other guy, you probably deserve to be happy, too.
In other words: Loving other people teaches you to love yourself, and loving yourself makes it easier to love other people.
I have this crazy fantasy in which everyone in the world learns to do yoga or meditate or practice seva. Everyone in the world decides, “I’m not perfect, but I really want to live in a more peaceful world, so I’m going to try really hard to love other people and to accept them and myself as we are.” And things get a lot better. It starts out small. Grocery stores are less stressful. Traffic jams still happen, but people honk less. Gradually, gridlock eases thanks to increased carpooling. There are environmental and financial benefits all around. People stop buying products whose advertising tells them they’re not good enough, and as a result, we spend more money on things that actually make us happy. There is a major economic shift toward positive industries — scientific research, environmental repair, health and wellness — and organizations such as nonprofits to alleviate homelessness experience a surge in funding as people realize it really sucks to let some people live in poverty while others have all the fun.
And in this fantasy, we’re still not perfect. We still fuck up. But when we do, we say we’re sorry, and we do our best to make it better, because that’s what you do when you love somebody.