22 August 2009

circle of life

"I did not begin when I was born,
nor when I was conceived.
I have been growing, developing,
through incalculable myriads of millenniums.
All my previous selves
have their voices, echoes, promptings in me.
Oh, incalculable times again
shall I be born."
--Jack London

I will die in India....

and be reborn in Africa.

this I know in my bones.

time for old paradigms to die.

the end of the beginning.

21 August 2009

stay in paradise before your yoga adventure

I have exciting news to sweeten the yoga adventure in Africa pot!

To chill out after the craziness of the Kumbh Mela and before Tanzania, I will engage in some island time on Zanzibar.

The Blue Oyster Hotel will graciously give Yoga Adventure in Africa participants a 10% discount off 2010 prices when you book for a minimum of 5 nights BEFORE the retreat. The Blue Oyster is a small family-style hotel directly adjacent to the white sandy beach of Jambiani, picturesquely surrounded by coconut palms…

Mention “METTA YOGA” and you get the discount. There are only three or four sea view rooms and two courtyard rooms available for this time period so act fast! This discount is available to Yoga Adventure in Africa participants ONLY — proof of retreat participation must be shown at Blue Oyster check-in.

There ya have it, yoga peeps -- you have their choice of a beach paradise BEFORE and/or a safari AFTER.

This is a yoga experience of a life-time...a yoga camp with international yogis, visit a Masai village, and help support an eye clinic. For complete details, visit Metta Yoga: Mind-Body Education.

See you in paradise.

20 August 2009

no turning back now

There's no turning back now from METTA YOGA'S YOGA ADVENTURE IN AFRICA, February 26-27-28, 2010.

This is the ad that will appear in the September-October issue of Yoga Chicago magazine.

For complete details about the yoga camp and two safari options, see here.

A Midwest winter can be rather brutal, at least it can be in the Chicago area. So you have your choice: a Chicago winter or OMing in a private acacia forest under the African sky.


12 August 2009

because my spirit moves me

...because my 55th year on this planet will be a year of world travel for me....touching ground in 7 countries in 9 weeks...from here to Abu Dhabi to India to either Qatar or Dubai to Kenya to Zanzibar to Tanzania, back to Kenya and then landing somewhere in Europe before flying home....

...because plans are in the works to teach in Australia and Bali next year....

...because I was given travel brochures from Spain and was told "put your group together and go for it", "it" being a yoga retreat in the Pyranees, in a place where there are no border guards and you can walk back and forth from Spain to France...another sign that this is what I am meant to do....

...because I saw the movie Julie & Julia yesterday, a movie about two women -- one young, one who was my age when she found herself -- finding their passions and rebirthing themselves....

...because I will anoint myself with water from the holiest river in India....

...because I dance with wildness knowing that I would rather fail at the right thing than succeed at things that are not right for me....

...and because I like Dead Can Dance.


The Invitation
(Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

10 August 2009


I want to acknowledge the two yogini bloggers who awarded me the MeMe Award. I am in good company with all of these blog award winners!

Thanks to girlwarrior of it's all yoga, baby who said that I am "sassy, opinionated and sincere in her practice", and thanks to Brooks at Yoga, the Mind and Culture who said "she's really doing her yoga, and shares inspiration and road bumps along the way." Thank you, thank you, thank you! I especially want to thank the yoga bloggers who supported me during the Troll Event -- you know who you are!

I'm not really into rules but the rules to this award are that I should (1) share 7 tidbits about myself and (2) share this MeMe Blog Award with 7 blogger friends. As for those tidbits about me, I think if you read LYJ from the beginning you will certainly glean more than 7 tidbits about me (!!), but here goes:

1. My first OM was with Beat Poet and Buddhist Allen Ginsberg in 1973 when he came to my junior college for a poetry reading.

2. I've been green since the first Earth Day in 1970, many years before being green became the thing to do. I helped organize my high school's Earth Day celebration and I ordered the Earth Day flag decals (they were cool!). I've never seen decals like that again.

3. I am also a garden designer. My business is Loba Landscapes...Gardens With a Touch of the Wild. My niche is native plants in the home landscape and eco-gardening.

Yes, that's my backyard.

4. I was in a riot in 1970. Sly and the Family Stone were supposed to play a concert in Grant Park in Chicago and in those days Sly was known to show up late or not at all for concerts. People got upset and a riot broke out. I ran from the police just as they started to tear gas us. Ah....those were the days...the smell of tear gas and major doobage in the air, flowers in our hair....

I still loves me some Sly!

I am sure 1970 must sound like the olden days to many of you but throw the peace sign up, it will do you no harm!

5. I was named one of Illinois' best high school poets when I was a junior.

6. Besides being an activist for the environment, I've always been an activist for women's issues. I know some of you don't remember the days before Roe v. Wade, but at that time when I was in junior college abortions were legal in New York City. As a member of a women's liberation group at that time, I helped a few women get to New York City.

7. I am clairsentient and clairaudient.

I give this award to:

Shelley, for caring so much about India's children;

Svasti, for being so real and open and honest and brave (we are both survivors);

Nadine, for being a fellow KYM-er, for being sweet enough to consider me her "yoga mother", and for becoming a friend;

Amanda for supporting me and also becoming a friend;

Flowergirl, because I love her stories about India as much as I love India and because she has become my thankachi;

Fernanda, because she is as passionate about our Mother India as I am, and for becoming mi amiga (and who is trying to get me to teach in Brazil, YAY!);

YogaDawg, for obvious reasons!

Blog on!

04 August 2009

the Universe and the Monk

"It's truly a sight to see when the inhabitants of any planetary civilization cross the tipping point and begin to individually accept complete and eternal responsibility for their own happiness.

Yet, this hardly compares to the mountain quaking, body shaking, polarity-flipping, hero-making occurrences that transpire when such inhabitants graduate to accepting complete and eternal responsibility for their every twinge of unhappiness.

Yeah, the second one is a lot trickier."

Regular readers of this blog know that I get a daily email from The Universe, and I got the one above just the other day. Yes, THE Universe, and sometimes they are so right on it's scary.

I've noticed over the years (and yes, also in myself, but not so much anymore) how many times people blame others for the troubles in their lives. "If only" we had the right man, the right car, the right clothes, the right whatever. "If only" we had done one thing over the other. "If only" we had the money to do whatever.

As I stood in line at the supermarket today I noticed the tabloids and the magazines like Oprah's and others, and every one of them screamed a message that somehow WE ARE ALL LACKING. IF we do THIS, we will get THAT. That's probably why I've never seen the movie "The Secret" although everyone raves about it....because to me the premise seems to be that we are inherently lacking in abundance so we must "manifest" it. That's nice, but how about first living your life with an attitude of abundance instead of living like you're missing out on something?

As for myself, yes, I'd like to live in Northern California instead of Northern Illinois (for the most part because I love the ocean), but when I look out onto my gardens, I feel absolutely blessed for what I have and where I am in life. Grace is not something we're going to get unless we realize that we are already surrounded by it.

I've begun studying the Buddhadharma one-on-one with a Theravadan Buddhist monk, in the traditional way. Our next meeting will be about the First Noble Truth and the teaching about dukkha. Bhante said that although dukkha is often translated as "suffering", the actual translation of the word is "unsatisfaction." He said that people have a hard time being told that they "suffer", especially people who think they have a "good life." Sometimes a "good life" for people means having lots of stuff and the ability to get the next best thing. But how many people are satisfied? I always throw this question out to my students: why is it in a country that has so much food, so many opportunities to stay fit and healthy, so many things that can make us "happy" (do you really think any other country has so many choices in toilet paper?), why is it that so many are so sick and unhappy? I saw a headline today about the increase in antidepressant use among Americans.

Yes I know that horrible things happen to many people like sexual assault, abuse, the death of a child or another loved one. I am a survivor myself. But still...we do not have to suffer. What is the difference between two concentration camp survivors who both suffered the same tortures and who both lost their families in front of their eyes...what kills the heart of one and makes the other become a Nazi hunter?

A wise-ass Buddhist (not me) said that life sucks but suffering is optional. I say, life is suffering but pain is optional.

Bhante said that people don't like to be told that they suffer because "suffering" is a dirty word in America. When we think of suffering we think of someone lying in bed dying from AIDS or a half-dead dog in an Indian street or a homeless person. That certainly is suffering.

But all of us suffer on a daily basis from our own dissatisfaction, wishing that our reality was something different from what it is, with the idea that there is always something "out there" that will make us happy or at least happier. Even yogis. Always searching for the next best thing instead of being still and knowing that it is already perfect.

"Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside." --Sri Ramana Maharshi