“Yoga begins with listening.
When we listen, we are giving space to what is.”
~ Richard Freeman
Greetings from the Land of Enchantment!
Our time in New Mexico has been a powerful reminder and a beautiful gift. Its nourishment has come from connection . . . connection to friends whom we love, to this land, to self.
As we move into a new year, I hope we all find ways to become still. And quiet. And explore what truly nurtures.
Listening in during my morning meditations has been powerful. Allowing everything in isn't easy. Staying disconnected seems simpler. But, I know that where there is shadow, there is light; I open myself up to it all.
I look forward to connecting with each of you in 2022; may we all be deeply nourished in the new year.
Honoring shadow and light,
"Rest and be thankful."
~ William Wordsworth
Thank you. Thank you for showing up and shining your light.
Special gratitude to everyone who supported the Saugatuck High School Interact Club and the kids of Batey 106. Thanks to you, our Sangha raised over $1500 for the Playground Project in the Dominican Republic! My heart is full, and my whole being is smiling. The energy at the Saugatuck Yacht Club last Saturday was gorgeous!
Apologies to anyone who tried to donate via the GoFundMe page. The technical details of that whole situation are beyond me, and as I write, they have yet to be resolved. Sigh.
But, I want to return to the light. Now that we have crossed the threshold of Winter Solstice, each subsequent day brings a few more moments of light. So, what are you going to do with that extra bit of light?
Click here to examine how you move through your day.
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed."
~ Maya Angelou
Happy holidays, beautiful yogis!
This week, I am dedicating my newsletter, and my Saturday morning class, to a phenomenal cause: the Saugatuck High School Interact Club and their decade-long effort to support the children in Batey 106, Dominican Republic.
First, a little background. A batey is a small village home to sugarcane workers and their families. These people typically have immigrated from Haiti, and the low wages earned from cutting sugar cane aren’t enough to match the cost of living, let alone get ahead.
Sugarcane production is the Dominican Republic's largest and most important export, and there are an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Haitians working in the sugar industry.
The Interact Club at Saugatuck High School has been working with, Batey 106 since 2012. Over the years, the Interact Club has raised money for the following:
Yes, Batey 106 benefits from the work of the Interact Club and its donors.
And, every student who works on the project and makes the trip . . . is transformed.
Click here to see how you can join the Holly Jolly
“Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude
of compassion and loving-kindness.”
~ The Dalai Lama XIV
In last week's newsletter, we struck up an internal dialogue about our relationship to aparigraha. A quick refresher: aparigraha is the 5th, and final, yama. The yamas provide our society with an ethical code and give us communal guidance.
Aparigraha is commonly translated as non-attachment; you can also think of aparigraha as freedom. Freedom from greed, possessiveness, or covetousness. I love that another translation for aparigraha is generosity or awareness of abundance.
If you want to easily re-visit last week's letter, you can do so here.
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to deepen our practice of aparigraha. I'm so excited to share with you a few of my favorite techniques.
Click here to turn your abundance into kindness + freedom
“Letting go is not the opposite of receiving, letting go is receiving.
These are not opposites. They only seem opposite to the mind.”
~ Anand Mehrotra
It's an honor to connect with you today; thank you for meeting me here. I am grateful for your time.
I have a difficult time processing the number of emails I've received since last writing you. Pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, Extended Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday . . . whew! It has been a lot. People clamoring for our attention. Most trying to convince us we "need" whatever it is that's being sold.
This seemingly endless push to buy more got me thinking about my own relationship to stuff. It was time to take a step back from that next online purchase. I entered internal investigation mode and started checking in. As always when I want to learn about myself, I try and do so without judgment. For me, loads of curiosity works much better!
My inward gaze brought me into the yogic concept of aparigraha. Aparigraha is the fifth of the five yamas. If this is your initial introduction to the yamas, it's time to get excited! These guides to our community behaviors are both powerful and wonderful.
Aparigraha is commonly translated as non-attachment and, as always, the English translation from Sanskrit leaves a lot to be unpacked. And, while “non-attachment” may sound daunting, you can also think of aparigraha as freedom - freedom from greed, possessiveness, or covetousness.
Another translation for aparigraha is generosity or awareness of abundance. Whoa! I love this examination from the other side of the same coin. And, it is said that a deep practice of aparigraha delivers enormous freedom, self-reliance, and contentment in one’s life.
I like that! Sounds worthwhile.
The word aparigraha means not taking more than is needed, practicing non-acceptance and non-accumulation.
Hmmmm. If you’re like me, at this point I start thinking about all that I have accumulated, and the attachment I have to my stuff. I start asking myself: “Do I really need that many shawls? But, I like all of my lovely shawls. Am I supposed to give all those up? Am I supposed to deprive myself of the things I love having around me?”
It’s true. This inward gaze can get uncomfortable. And challenging.
And that’s okay!
See and read more by clicking here . . .