Tag Archives: inspiration

For The Love of Baltimore

IMG_5152Events over the last couple of weeks in Baltimore have gotten extremely volatile with the suspicious circumstances surrounding Freddie Gray. What we know is that there is a massive race issue begging to be looked at in the USA, especially when it comes to the approach the police have towards the African-American community. The protests that have ended in rioting and a state of emergency officially being declared are slowly dwindling as calm is being restored in the city, and I’d like to take a moment to speak to the community I was welcomed into at M·Power Yoga exactly one month ago.

We did some serious personal digging last month going through the Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Astavakra Gita, Hindu & Yogic Mythology and meditation techniques and approaches. There were underlying concepts and insights to all the work that we did together that spoke to our individual and personal challenges and struggles. We discussed the need for every single on of us to begin the healing process using practical tools that can bring us closer to shifting from being cemented in the human experience to spending some time in the spiritual and energetic aspects of who we are and why we’re here. We also discussed how stories of battle and war, like in the Bhagavad Gita, are representative of the battles that are waged in every single one of our minds every single day, and that the tools that Krishna offers Arjuna in the book are the tools that we are meant to use to find our own way through life with peace and light, respecting universal laws and concepts.

There are some very fresh wounds in your city with the events of the past couple of weeks. There is collective healing that needs to happen in Baltimore. It pains me to see this occur in a city that was so welcoming and inspirational with its “phoenix-from-the-flames” resurgence I was witness to. And as I remind others of whenever life seems to dip closer to the darkness and further away from the light, our responsibility in moments like these is to rise up and meet the darkness with equal doses of light. We do this by practicing the universal laws of love and mercy: placing the welfare, concern and love for others above the love of the self AND forgiving the errors of others. This may seem impossible to do given the suspicious circumstances surrounding Freddie’s injuries that led to his death, but for the sake of your city, for the love of Baltimore, just do it. Healing will not take place right now with the vibration of chaos that has been stirred up. With peace one has clarity and perspective, the two essential building blocks needed to build a sold structure of community and unity.

You at M·Power now have your work brought to your doorstep. It is yours specifically to do, on a scale you probably never thought you’d be exposed to. You have been presented with a massive opportunity to put into practice what we have theoretically gone over. Ask how the events have affected you and how you have experienced thoughts and sensations of protest, anger, rage, chaos and violence in your own life up to this point. Ask how you can be a vessel for light and how you can help heal this tears in your community. Go out into your city and do your work. Your students need you. Your city needs you. Be a part of the enlightenment that is inevitable following dark passages like this one. Go our there and light up the night with what you know to be true, and do it for whatever you believe in: peace, community, love, unity, your personal dharma. Dedicate your efforts to something bigger than you. It’s your time. For you and for Baltimore.

I’m sending you energy and whatever else you need…I may be back home, but I’m with you. Have no doubt about it.

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Minority Rising

 
In this moment in time, a moment of almost daily terrorist attacks and overpopulation somehow leading to unheard of statistics of isolation and loneliness, we have a responsibility. 

In a moment in time when women fighting for education and equality in war-torn countries are being raped, tortured and killed for it, in a period of history when unhappiness bleeds into daily life and our leaders react by stripping away basic human rights, in a time when children with every luxury available to them are losing their childhood to the overt sexualization of a society with no direction, we have a responsibility.
In a world where technology affords never-before-seen methods of communication and yet we have an inability to speak face to face about issues that affect our happiness and well-being, we have a responsibility.
That responsibility is to be a source of light and connection to each other, to focus on hope and togetherness, to love bigger than anyone has ever proven capable before. To rise up out of the cesspool of our own dramas and bitchery, to recognize how blessed we are and ensure we stand up and speak for those whose voices have been muted, to prioritize peace at any and all costs.
 
We, in this part of the world, are in the minority. We are the minority who can speak our minds and engage in stimulating debate and not be shot for it. We are the minority who can pursue our dreams and goals and not be struck down in the process. We are the minority who can love freely, without shame or fear, and not tremble as we wait to be forcibly separated and punished for the simple act of loving. We can study, regardless of gender, and we can voice our opposition to our governments and not disappear mysteriously, never to be seen again. We can inspire and be inspired and actually make our lives better through that inspiration.
 
We have a responsibility to focus on everything that cannot be taken from us: love, peace, spirituality, kindness, faith, trust, brotherhood, sisterhood, light, hope and certainty. 
 
Remember that responsibility. Every day of your life. Don’t let yourself get complacent. Remember how good you have it and remember your responsibility. Don’t get tricked into believing that all is lost. We are found through intention and unity. We are found through the ties that bind us one to the other, not through our differences. We are found through the simple energy and act of love.
 
On this Easter weekend, remember your responsibility and focus on everything you’re blessed with, and send a prayer out for those struggling for a fraction of your blessings. Love huge, and be peaceful.

A Prayer for A New Year

IMG_5331On the cusp of the new calendar year, we ask that we be guided to clarity as often as possible, so that we can see events, people and circumstances for what they are and not what we think they should be.

We ask for presence of mind so that we can remember to love, as often and as fiercely as possible, so that we can know and express ourselves to be energy born of love and incomprehensible wisdom.

We expect that “bad” things will happen, and ask that we remember to love in these dark hours while also remembering that they are simply hours, not eons.

We ask for the presence of mind to think for ourselves, to not succumb to the banality of evil, to expectation, to division, to the tsunami of stupid that continues to wash over humanity and keep people greedy, silent, ignorant, afraid, asleep and blind to truth.

In the knowledge that not everything will go according to the plans we imagine for ourselves and the world we live in, we ask for the certainty of knowing that we will always end up where we are meant to be, regardless of whether we would have chosen it for ourselves.

We set an intention to invoke truth and authenticity into every possible moment so that we can show up in the world with our own individual voice and expression, in full knowledge that the world is waiting and starving for it.

We go forward into this new year with the knowledge that beneath the realm of appearance and separateness there is an undeniable current of unity that connect us all. We pray for the well-being and safety of everything and everyone in the knowledge that what happens to one of us happens to all of us.

We ask that we be blessed with the presence of others who reflect back to us truth, empathy, inspiration and cohesion and we set the intention of emanating all of these things for the reflection to occur.

We offer our existences up as offerings so that we may be used as channels to bring light into a world of encroaching darkness, healing to those suffering and connection through cooperation and collaboration to those muted by loneliness and isolation.

We move forward into this coming year as bearers of light and ask for the strength to see that light and allow it to refocus and re-centre ourselves as an example for others, especially when we are faced with our own battles.

Let this year be the one that changes everything. Let love obliterate everything else. May all of us be blessed with happiness, health, compassion, peace and understanding.

Where I Am

I’m lying on a plush, king-size bed in a cozy little room in a cabin nestled deep in the mountains adjacent to Vancouver at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge in Egmont, British Columbia. I once again find myself speechless at how beautifully generous and thoughtful Lululemon is, as I’ve been invited to the 2013 Ambassador Summit as one of a select group of 27 other yogis from around North America.

We were met at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel by a welcoming committee in a conference room set up to help us relax upon our arrival with yoga mats, food and drink. After eating, we were whisked off by taxi to the harbour-front port where seaplanes flew us over the coastal mountains for 25 minutes before landing at the dock of the hotel. We climbed the short hill to the front desk, got our room keys, and scattered to relax and prepare for a yoga class.

The coming days will be an opportunity for us all to be inspired by the galvanizing words and tools shared by the incomparable Susanne Conrad, the Director of Possibilities for the company, a woman who understands the need to dream as much as she understands the importance of a profit & loss statement. Interspersed amongst our lectures and activities with her are yoga classes, hikes through the jaw-droppingly beautiful forest we’ve burrowed into, and the opportunity to get to know each other. I don’t take this opportunity lightly: meeting others who do what I do from different parts of the continent and realizing just how vast and far-reaching our community is. I feel so insanely lucky. But I also know that luck has nothing to do with it.

I work hard. I infuse every ounce of myself into what I do, and I’m beyond grateful that that effort and intention continues to be acknowledged and honoured. Lululemon must have seen something in me early on in my career, because they’ve been backing me up and encouraging me for over 4 years now. And yet even with all that support behind me, I now find myself in this room on the other side of the country, being treated like I matter. I appreciate it, obviously, but for different reasons than you might think.

I work to inspire, encourage and elevate people. I aim to bring people from a place where they’re mainlining to a place where they’re constantly being one-upped by the beauty and the highs that life has in store for each of us. It can be hard work, very demanding, and requires me to stay high energy for those I’m teaching/mentoring/lecturing to, etc… I often have moments where I feel depleted, where I need to refill my own cup before I can authentically and honestly go into the next teaching environment and inform others on how to refill theirs. Lululemon’s constant and unwavering support, consistently putting the company’s money where its mouth is, helps me refill my cup. I feel inspired. I feel honoured. I feel like it’s no accident that I’ll be spending my 40th birthday here on Thursday, an age which many faiths and belief systems attribute to the anchoring of the soul in the body. I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I want to thank every single person from Lululemon who has contributed to my being here. The list is too long to get into here, but you know who you are. I don’t take ANY of this for granted. I am aware of how fortunate I am to have people listening to me and giving back what I work so hard to initially offer. I’ll be back in Montreal at the end of the week and will have more to share from this moment on the edge of the country. For now, love to all.

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Guises of the Guru

As a yoga teacher, I have often been perceived as having attained an ongoing state of enlightenment, one that has brought me out of this human body and ego and that sets the example of where all yogis aspire to be. Let me take an opportunity to shatter that perception 🙂 I am as much of a work in progress as anyone…I consider myself to be a student who teaches, someone who is always seeking and learning, with the aim to pass on that which I find pertinent and relevant to living a conscious, productive, inspiring life. As part of my learning curve, I find myself being taught lessons and being offered insight from all over the information spectrum…from people I know, and those I don’t, from animals and humans alike, and from the whispers of intuition I find myself hearing every now and again.

Last week, for those of you who weren’t already saturated with the exposure, U2 spent a few days here in Montreal to give 2 shows to 160,000 people, and while in town, they stayed at the St James Hotel, which is a few blocks away from Centre Luna Yoga, where I spend most of my working and practicing hours. I was coming to work on my scooter and stopped at the red light right on the corner of the hotel, where about 100 people were staked out, waiting to catch a glimpse of the band members, and the anticipation was palpable. The mood seemed edgy, like people were ready to pounce when finally they would be afforded the luxury of seeing the band for a few seconds. As I drove by, my first thought was, “Don’t these people have something to do? Don’t they have a job, or somewhere they’re supposed to be?’ It was a moment of real bewilderment for me, and absolute judgement. I was 100% judging the people staked out there, while being completely incapable of understanding why they would waste their time like that to catch a brief glimpse of people they didn’t know and probably never would. I wondered what they could possibly be getting out of the experience, aside from a sore lower back and sun stroke. Then I got to the studio and shared the experience…and I got schooled.

My fellow Luna Yoga teacher (and certified Jivamukti instructor) Dawn Bailey was already at the studio when I arrived and after I sat down, I shared with her what I had just driven by, and expressed my astonishment at why those people would be hanging around like that, which led into a rant about our irrational fascination as a society with celebrity. I ended my comments by asking, “Why would someone choose to just waste their day like that?”, and Dawn replied. And I found myself speechless. Dawn answered my question by saying that as much as she understood my point of view, she could honestly say that if she knew that Jivamukti creators Sharon Gannon and David Life were staying at a local hotel, she would probably hang out waiting to see them as they walked in or out on their meanderings. She told me that the opportunity to be privy to their aura, to the energy they exude, would be worth every second of hanging around waiting to see them. And in that second, having heard her words, I understood. I understood that the people I look up to and with whom I’d love to spend time, those whose energies I find attractive and inspiring, are my U2. I don’t think that I would ever find myself waiting patiently to see one of my idols walk by me, because I have something inside me that drives me to want to meet them on a more professional level, where I’m not just a gushing fan showering them with praise. Nonetheless, I understood Dawn’s remarks, and it showed me something. It showed me that I’m still very quick to judge. It showed me that my gurus may not be shared by others, and vice versa, but that doesn’t devalue these people’s abilities to remove darkness in the lives of their followers. It showed me that those who have accomplished incredible things and who inspire the world with their magnificent energies are able to infuse that energy into other by simply being in close proximity. That is makes a difference to those ready to receive it. Most of all, the experience showed me that I’m still learning, and I hope I never stop.

Thank you for being a teacher for me, Dawn 🙂