“Tell the truth about feelings and experiences – the good and the difficult – and see the golden road appear that immediately connects you to others. It’s my favorite alchemy: this turning the garbage of shame and pain into the gold of understanding and friendship.” -an amalgam of thoughts from Katie Horn, my verybest friend from 7th grade

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Shake the Dust

This is for the fat girls. This is for the little brothers. This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them. This is for the former prom queen, this is for the milk-crate ball players. This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters. Shake the dust. This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them, for the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns, for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children, for the nighttime schoolers and the midnight bike riders who are trying to fly. Shake the dust. This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. Shake the dust. For the boys with the beautiful beautiful sisters, for the girls with the brothers who are going crazy, for those gym class wall flowers and the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers, for the kid who’s always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers, for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust. This is for the hard men, the hard men who want to love but know that it

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13 Grandmothers

Jonah and me with Grandmother Mona Had an inkling that this would be a very good idea, an evening with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers at Urban Zen, and that it would be an even better idea to bring Jonah, my almost 5-year old son. To see his face, full of awe, watching these women speak; to see his body move when the music and blessings commenced, was affirmation enough. The 13 Grandmothers, a Council of women from all over the world who descend every six months on one of their homelands, sink into every culture, honour it fully, and encourage the preservation of its wisdom. These women stand for our future, for the environment, for our children. They urge us to harvest good relations, so that we can experience love for our Creator and love for the beauty all around us. Bernadette Ribenot, a grandmother from Gabon, said “Once we heal our inside, everything else will heal; I remain optimistic. Even when I think of the difficulties, I just face them. We speak for the cause of our children and grandchildren who are born into a world very different from the one we were once born into.” Maria Alice Campos

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“The body has the capacity to effect permanent alchemical transformation at the level of being. It has a higher instinct, a God-given, nonlinear, nonrational intelligence, that only has to be tapped, or brought to life, through the yoga… the body actually initiates us into a true life of vibrance, radiance, clarity, compassion and wisdom.” Hohm Shaj Mandir Study Manual Volume 1, with thanks to Darren Rhodes

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To my mother, hers, to hers and to hers; to all the mothers across this earth, “The most important prayer, the prayer that comes from the deepest wisdom, is THANK YOU.” -Sylvia Boorstein

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Reactions are just moments when we’re not in relationship. Reactions are moments when we are resisting the love, when we are choosing to be separate. Choose to RELATE to the person in front of you. Be a kid. Build a bridge. No more running. Cherry Blossom Yoga, Spring 2011. Photo: Chris Gindlesperger

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As Before

“Come Prima” [“As Before”] I know there is perfection in the being of my being that I am holy as stars or paperclips that the universe, moving from void to void, pours in and out through me There is a point, only itself, that fills space, An emptiness that is plenitude A void that is all being, a being that is void I am perfect The wind is perfect Ditchwater, running, is perfect everything is. I raise my hand -A.R. Ammons

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Lately I’ve noticed that what we do is not nearly as  important as our state while we’re doing it. And what  we say is not nearly as important as our state while  we’re saying it. Your state is your position, your situation, your status,  your circumstances. Consider someone saying something when it’s decidedly not what they mean-difficult to watch. Our task as those who practice paying attention is to make sure that what we want to receive from others is the state we are cultivating within ourselves. Take the next 3 minutes to practice cultivating your state. Smile softly to yourself. Breathe from your belly up into your heart, all the way up to your head and exhale it back down. Notice if you have a thought, greet it, and return to your breathing. Repeat these few steps three or four times. Check out your state now. With this practice, we choose our state, and teach people how to treat us from there. If you’re in a state of doubt, folks will doubt you. If you’re in a state of calm, you’ll be met with relative ease. Try this attention-building exercise once a day – you’ll see results in every interaction.

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