Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Gratitude

Boston, MA - On the eve of Thanksgiving, I'm taking this moment to share for what I am most grateful. My short list includes: family, teachers (Shiva Rea and Paul Muller-Ortega), friends, a newfound path of health, and abundance in the forms of employment, housing, food, clothing, and transportation.

Highlights of the year with those for whom I'm grateful are a big family reunion in the Philippines in June, assisting Shiva Rea's Summer Pranification Teacher's Retreat in August, meditation retreats in Sedona, AZ with Paul Muller-Ortega, and Uhuru Afrika, the best monthly dance party in Boston created by DJ Adam Gibbons.

At the end of class last night before sitting up to chant OMs, I invited the students to take a moment and bring into their awareness something for what they are thankful. I chose to create that opening because in our fast-paced life we need to occasionally make conscious efforts to connect to the abundance that we already possess rather than experiencing loss because we cannot have something or haven't reached a certain point in one's life.

As pithy as is the story of the Pilgrims, the ritual of family gathering is an important embodied action in which we must participate or else we create our own separation. So, I wish everyone a warm and heart-filled holiday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Thursday, September 24th - It's just a few days into Fall and I'm still riding the bliss of hosting a wonderful Global Mala on the Boston Common on Sunday, September 20th. With Fall and the associations with harvest, I am reminded to reflect on the many things that make my life so full. 'There is so much magnificence' as the Steve Gold song goes.

In this season with my almost yearlong Neelakantha meditation practice with Paul Muller-Ortega, I am renewed by a quality of abundance rather than the past seasons experiences of deflation and wishing for more or changing things in my life.

I've had a full summer. I visited the Philippines a second time in June. At the end of July and the first week of August, I spent the week in Venice, CA assisting for my teacher, Shiva Rea. Then, I attended the first ever Bhaktifest in Joshua Tree, CA in September.

To top it off, at the 3rd Annual Global Mala Boston, over 100 yogis from the Boston area descended on the Boston Common to practice for peace and raise consciousness as well as funds for organizations working on important environmental and social issues. After last year's event which didn't raise any money, I was reluctant to help organize this year's event but the urge returned in July.

I was cognizant that organizing the event had to come from a well of joy rather than obligation. There are too many things in our life that we sometimes end up doing against our truest Self and we end up deeply exhausted rather than enthused.

I was happy with the turnout and further pleased when it turned out that Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits who were in Boston for the Ratha Yatra Festival could join our event ending kirtan (see photo above).

Living in the flow of life take skill and one of the skills that we can easily practice is living in abundance.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I'm back in Boston after a whirlwind trip to the Philippines, the second in six months after ten years of being away. The meaning of the trip is still steeping and insights are yet to come. On a side note, the trip was a family reunion where all the Lims (including my sister's husband, Jason, and their two children, Skylar (9) and Riley (5)) were present together which was the first time in 30 years when we moved to the U.S.
As I move into the home stretch of my 'samaya deeksha' initial year of study with Paul Muller-Ortega, I'm compelled to write about a concept central to the non-dual form of Kashmir Saivism, a branch of Tantra, in the big tree of the Yoga Tradition. This concept is vikalpa-samaskara or the process of refining and dissolution of those parts of us (or behaviors) that either keep us in contracted states or limit our greatest, most authentic Self.
As a new student to this philosophy, I humbly place my understanding at the surficial level but give myself credit for almost 40 years of life experience where each breath and experience is a refinement of the previous one. Vikalpa-samaskara is not as easy as it seems and blogging about it is a disservice to it since it deserves a direct teaching from Paul Muller-Ortega himself. But, I consider myself a bridge and invite you to research and learn about this concept yourself and see how it fits into the matrix of your practice.
So, vikalpa-samaskara has been in my mind space, well, because my perception of life in the past six months has been quite different than before I started my practice in the ways of meditation, scriptural study, chanting, and contemplation by Paul Muller-Ortega. Again, like my previous post, unless you've had your own direct experience, this concept will remain a theory.
But consider the image of the furnace melting glass as a parallel to our practice of meditation melting away those "hard" parts of us or purifying away things we cannot even see or fully know. Paul has more than once said that 'we have to be able to stand in the fire of our meditation practices.' So, in these dynamic times, we cannot help but to refine ourselves as standing still may a source of suffering. May all our practices be for the benefit of all. Peace. Namaste.
Image credit: Ms. Kathleen, Glass Blower, Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO

Friday, May 8, 2009

Forgive and Be Free

Lately, in the whirl of my consciousness, my focus has settled on forgiveness. If you haven't had a recent life self-initiation experience into forgiveness, the concept has probably taken a back seat in your consciousness and it has as much meaning as a used tissue.

Then, if you're like me, someone raised in the Catholic tradition which was chosen for you by your parents, you have a dissonant relationship to the concept of which the amplitude is further increased by the messaging by over-the-top religiousity.

As a yogi on the spiritual path, I find myself relearning and adopting new meanings for deep concepts such as "forgiveness." (Hmm, idea for a series of blog postings).

My angle of entry into the vastness of forgiveness starts is the hard-time we give ourselves when we drop-the-ball on something that we said we would do (i.e., getting up early to practice or meditating in the evening to compliment your morning meditation). The list could go on for pages or many bytes where we pile onto ourselves an elephant's weight of guilt and negative self-talk.

As practioners, I suggest that we replace "let go" with "forgive yourself." I find that "letting go" and "surrendering" are concepts to which some people may not have traction, thus are unable to enter into that "liberated" state we are all seeking.

The second and more important part of the process requires receiving "forgive yourself" into your deepest self. "Receiving" requires taking a conscious moment of present awareness for the experience to have true meaning.

I leave you with a quote from Gurumayi from a copy of DARSHAN that I recently picked up.
"Once you forgive, truly a great alchemy takes place within yourself, and you feel so free, so good. You can breathe deeply and really appreciate the leaves on the trees and the sunlight and the sweetness coming from people. You open yourself to grace, and then grace comes pouring into your life."

PS. Thanks to Edgerton for the picture. You can find him on Flickr as well as many other artists who ply their art anonymously. Try typing any word and see how many people visualize it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


You know the expression 'well you never really miss anything except when it's gone.' Today, after my third wave of some type of sickness, I am experiencing the 'fog' of my perception lifted, a little bounce in my step (i.e., don't feel heavy), and a sense of vigor to work on my tasks and projects at work.
So, I'm grateful for being in this body and living in these times and grateful for all my connections in this world from family to yogis and yoginis far and wide to brief acquaintances (i.e., the woman who joined my conversation about my Klean Kanteen yesterday with a stranger at Whole Foods). I take a moment to say a prayer for all beings to be liberated even for one moment from what ever ails them so they experience this freedom.
For what are you grateful today?
Take a moment to be still and allow yourself to hold that vision to linger like steam slowly wafting upwards from a warm drink.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Friday, March 20, 2009

Balance Is Not a Static State - Spring Equinox

MARCH 20 - Today is Spring Equinox which carries with it many symbolic meanings besides being a day where the amount of daylight and night time are equal.
The theme of balance is one I often use in my practice of teaching. My experience of balance has been deepened in my studies with Shiva Rea, my teacher, who weaves in primarily ayurvedic concepts.
As western creatures with many expectations and endless desires, I contend that we have been conditioned to find the magic bullet or the instant solution. Yoga, however, teaches us that balance is not a static state and varies depending on our current state when we got onto our mat or meditation cushion.
So on this Spring Equinox, allow your inner teacher to speak and tailor your practice to find inner and outer balance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

There Is So Much Magnificence

The title comes from a song on Shiva Rea's most recent compilation Yoga Sol.

I was in Tulum, Mexico last week co-leading a retreat from Sunday, February 22 to Saturday, February 28 with my friend Deborah Spielman.

Retreats are a great way to drop into a state of relaxation as you get separated from your daily life (wherever that is) and usually stay in comfortable accomodations with food prepared for you.

We mostly had picture perfect days with warm temperatures in the 80 degrees Fahrenheit though it did get windy in the afternoons.

Teaching and practicing yoga in a retreat environment is ideal because it takes less effort to let go of stress and truly enter a meditative state whether it is sitting in meditation or is practicting asana.

I contend that it is in this state that we get to experience expansive qualities that is a contrast to the sometimes contractive qualities of daily living with its challenges.

My current explorations in Kashmir Saivism remind me of Shiva's dual, non-dual quality of expansion and contraction, and revealment and concealment. I consider myself still a student of Kashmir Saivism, thus my wisdom is not at a state to articulately express this idea further, but I return to the title "There Is So Much Magnificence."

I do know that to be true and it's just a matter of continuing to practice (whether it's meditation or asana or both), then you truly believe from the inside-out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's been three weeks since I've been back from the Philippines - the Motherland, but the experience of the trip still percolates in many ways.

Last September, I had a dream that woke me from my sleep. In my dream, my aunt (Tita Dodie) died. Tita Dodie had been battling cancer all last year even travelling to China for treatment based on a raw food diet. So, I knew that my mother was travelling to the Philippines in January and I let her know that I wanted to join her. Little did I know that my dream was prescient because Tita Dodie passed away in November.

I had not been to the Philippines in almost 10 years when my cousin Clar got married, so I was due for a trip to be in the presence of my elders. My mothers siblings, Tita Mely (84), Tita Laly (70+), Tita Nina (70+), and Tito Teddy (70+), were still alive and kicking, so it was pleasant to share meals with them and be honored with a going-away dinner with over 20 relatives some of whom I had not seen since I left when I was 8 years old.

The above picture comes from Batad, a rice terrace nestled in a valley in Banaue, a mountain region about 9 hours drive north of Manila. The picture does not do it justice as the rice terraces were about 180 degrees of viewing. These terraces are over 1,000 years old and were developed by an indegeous tribe called the Ifugao.