Relating with compassion…

So much of life is out of our control. We would LOVE for things to go our way, it would be so much easier! but it doesn’t always happen. One minute we are enjoying the clear blue sky and the trees, the next moment, we have hit a rock and are lying flat on our faces. The sheer unpredictability of life can be daunting, if we think about it. Of course, conveniently, we don’t. we pretend everything is stationary in time. and then when things change, we are disappointed.

It always surprises me, the resistance that comes up when things are going a certain way and then they change. I got to witness it (yet again! ) last week. My husband and I were on vacation, and I would have these blissful moments of peace. And then, suddenly without warning, it would change. (new realization – pregnancy hormones really do make your moods volatile!! ) And I would be sitting there in shock wondering where did that moment of peace go ?

We try so hard and do so much, but really we don’t have the tiniest bit of control. Take the body. whether you pay attention or not, the breath is happening. are you doing anything ? You may think, by becoming aware of your breath, that you are making it happen. But that’s not really true. So much activity in our body is happening without our knowledge. digestion, blood circulation, elimination. baby-growing (in my case). the sheer range of happenings in each moment is amazing, and this is just inside us! so is there anything we have a choice in?

The only choice we have, is in how to respond to what comes up in this moment. Not whether we have joys or sorrows, but how we relate to them when they arise. Do we want to relate to them with judgment and self-recrimination, or do we want to relate to them with softness and compassion ?

It has been quite beautiful seeing this new way of being played out in action. In the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to practice with Sharon Salzberg’s guided meditations and cards on loving-kindness in the CD (‘Unplug’). And what amazes me is the space and softness this practice of relating opens up.

To relate with compassion and softness, we have to cultivate the habit to do so. When you get up in the morning, don’t curse yourself for sleeping late (it doesn’t change a thing, believe me! ). When you feel fear, don’t make it worse by adding judgment. When you eat ice-cream don’t berate yourself after the fact.

Relating to ourselves is a journey of each moment, of meeting what arises with lightness, readiness and forgiveness. Of caring for ourselves enough to wish ourselves well. Of patting ourselves at the back for generosity and kindness, and forgiving ourselves for trespasses and hurts. So much beauty in this journey. and freedom.

May we relate to this moment with kindness,
With Love, S.


The ocean of possibilities…

How many of us haven’t played with the idea of perfection in our lives ? Many of us go through life with very high standards for ourselves, standards which, if we examined under the magnifying glass, would be impossible to fulfill. And yet we do it. We seek to be perfect in some imaginary way, and we cut ourselves short from happiness simply by doing that.

Being at a conference last week in Miami, I had plenty of opportunities to practice. My mind went through several different states, ranging from relaxed to turbulence. It made me realize that my general knee-jerk reaction when I am feeling tired or judgmental or moody is to judge myself further, for not being a ‘perfect’ yogi and feeling peaceful all the time.

Interestingly, during my week long stay, I also got to see the ocean in different states – from calm and relaxing to windy to just plain turbulent. On my last day, I went to the beach in the morning. The ocean was so turbulent, the waves huge and crashing with speed and strong gusts of wind like they would blow me away from my feet. It felt like the she was raging. As I watched the water, it struck me how much like my mind it was.

The sense you get when you are seeing the ocean is that somehow everything is okay. And turbulence is okay. It too passes. And my mind’s states similarly do. If I don’t take it personally, I could save myself further suffering and simply see my heart and mind for what it was. vulnerable, lonely and defensive. I wasn’t perfect and that could be okay.

I realized that this imaginary perfection whether in state of mind or in life, in work, has nothing to do with happiness. True, sometimes, doing something perfectly gives us a sense of satisfaction. Yet, it is not really essential to happiness.

Happiness has to do with the heart. and acceptance of imperfections. How willing are we to accept ourselves just as we are in this moment, unconditionally ? And how willing are we in accepting others for who they are, unconditionally ? And we start to find, the more we accept ourselves, the less we judge others. And the more we open to the capacity of our heart to feel. To experience the spectrum of emotions we are meant to experience, simply by being alive as a human being. And the only thing we can offer ourselves in this journey is kindness. Such kindness for the heart that is so fragile and in fact, defenseless.

May we trust our hearts and may we be kind,
With loving kindness, S.


The ocean so blue
so dazzling and beautiful
dancing, across great distances
To embrace me
with those large arms of hers.

She comes all the way
and stops just short
It is my turn now
to make the journey of a few steps
To meet her in her arms

To become one with my destiny.

The Ocean…

I have often written about the ocean. I dream of her sometimes. there is something so utterly vast and home-like about the ocean. how the waves happen over and over again. the inevitability of it. just like life. and how wrong we are when we think we can be in control of things. of life. and how beautiful it can be, when we allow life to happen. Sue in my yoga class last week spoke about allowing. to be a witness to life, relax and allow it to happen. somehow this allowing feels so natural when we stand in the middle of nature – and witness how all of nature allows change to happen. whether it be spring, ocean or the desert. if Nature can allow it, why can’t we ?

with love, S.

divine intervention…

I’m just returning after a beautiful vacation in the Caribbean. Standing on the sandy beach, listening to the ocean, the blue waves crashing into nothingness, the blue skies, the breeze on my skin, I could not help but think that this was divine intervention.

This vacation was nothing like anything we had done before. For one, it had happened spontaneously. just deciding we needed time together and doing it – without the usual rationalization and analysis and picking the right deal. Taking the window of time that suddenly seemed to be available, and going for it. The first day I was there, my mind tried to find various reasons for why I need a vacation. and suddenly, as I caught my mind doing its act, all of these reasons fell away.

There didn’t have to be a reason to go on vacation. It was okay to have a good time. It was okay to take time out. and most importantly, it was fine to just be. without worrying about it.

what a relief! This allowed life to happen. I had the most amazing time in the Paradisus Resort in Punta Cana. The most friendly people I have met. the warm weather. the feel of the cool water. in the company of the man I loved.

And as I step back into normal life, I can see why they call vacations, a recharging of the batteries. you don’t even realize that your batteries need recharging till it happens. and when they do get charged, how different it feels.

My gratitude to the divine intervention. may it happen more often 😉

with love to all the people in my life, S.