My two week sojourn on the midcoast of Maine is drawing to a close. As I look out from my cabin porch into the vastness of sea and sky, I am filled with as much awe and gratitude as I was in 1996 when I first started coming to Greenwoods. Though I haven’t returned each and every year, when I walk onto the deck of “my” Mountain Spruce cabin overlooking the Penobscot Bay far below, it’s indeed a coming home – a coming home to my heart above all. (See photos from this beautiful space in the bar to the right!)
It is not only an awesome place of beauty but a haven to reconnect and source Spirit within and without. Settling into the profound quiet of the woods, waking to the pungent smells of pine and spruce, swimming in the chilly Penobscot Bay or resting by a clear lake, hiking the Camden Hills or scrambling over the huge rocks below me, eating the most delicious lobster rolls ever – these are all experiences that continually open me to Spirit and expand my awareness of the Infinite.
As I head back in a couple of days to the busy-ness of my life which I also love and am ever grateful for, I know I will take much of the stillness and silent Presence that is so profound here. How can I not? That very same silent Presence is who we are under the noise of the mind and the bustle of our lives. As we begin to live and abide more and more in this eternal wakefulness, separation and division begin to drop away. An intimacy with all things, a quiet happiness and sense of peace pervade, even under whatever turmoil may arise. And yes, it still arises!
I look forward to sharing what I’ve gained here with our Spirited Women in our upcoming retreat on Emerald Isle, NC, in the latter part of August. This will be our tenth SWR with my dear friend and political and climate savy colleague Betsey Downing. It is so inspiring for us to be with amazing women each year and learn, love and evolve from our shared strength together. For more information on this, please click here. (and we do have one shared space left!)
Fall will bring yet another change to my schedule at Willow Street, as John and I make our slow transition to Oxford on the Eastern Shore of MD. I gave up my Yoga 3 class last Winter Session and beginning in the Fall Session I will give up my Monday night Silver Spring Yoga 1 class. That will mean I spend 5 nights in Oxford and two in Silver Spring. No plans to give up my remaining three classes in Takoma Park for some time however, as we also get to spend time with the grandkids on Tuesday and Wednesday. I will also be teaching a 6-week special on Core and More in the Fall after my Yoga 1/2 on Tuesday evenings. Please go to www.willowstreetyoga.com for information onlots of great classes and opportunities. And thank you Joe and Natalie for all you continue to do to make Willow Street Yoga a warm and welcoming school of excellent alignment-based yoga.
On the Eastern Shore I will begin 8 week sessions of both Beginning and Intermediate classes on Saturdays at the Oxford Community Center. Oxford continues to bring us peace and joy, both in the wonderful friendships we’ve cultivated, and being in a more natural environment. We still love kayaking and biking everywhere, as well as getting out on the rivers in our old 17’ Boston Whaler Newport. For Oxford class times and dates, please click here!
I will celebrate my 72nd birthday in October, and gratitude overflows for a healthy body and fairly sound mind on most days!! Good genes play a part for sure, but my continued yoga and meditation practice are the key. After almost 40 years of practice, it still holds magic for me. I am still blown away by how even 20 minutes can shift me back from forgetfulness to remembrance. This Presence or Awakefullness, the I Am, Consciousness, the Divine…so many names for our own true nature which can never leave as it is what we are. It is human nature to forget and to let the ego run the show. It is our practice that brings us back again and again.
2017 will bring our annual Jamaican Yoga Vacation. It will be the second year for Maria Hamburger and I to lead a group to the Cliffs of Negril. We will be at Sunset on the Cliffs from January 28 to February 4, where we will do asana, meditate, swim, eat great food, laugh, dance and joyfully celebrate ourselves and each other. Rooms go quickly so register early by clicking here!
Betsey Downing and I will be giving our 2017 Spirited Women’s Retreat in the summer again and are finalizing plans for it now. It looks like it may be very convenient, in Northern Virginia at a wonderfully inviting retreat center. More info on this to come soon!!
And then because, as it turns out, it looks like I have really no retirement plans, I’ve decided to take a group to Italy in October of 2017. This will be an adventure in Food, Wine and Yoga and it may not necessarily be in that order. It can actually be in whatever order you prefer!!! (LOL) We be in the beautiful countryside of Umbria, where one of my former teacher trainees and a long time Willow Street student, now lives. I must say he has made this so easy, I couldn’t refuse!! The day trips will be fabulous and are all included. It is a great price, especially if you’re an early bird. Click here for more info and registration form!
One more thing. It’s an historic political year. More is at stake in whom we support for President than at any other time in our lives. Our children and grandchildren will be most adversely affected by climate disruption, but all our lives will be impacted by the leadership of the next 4 or 8 years. As President Obama so succinctly put it in his amazing speech at the DNC, “Don’t boo, Vote!” But do more than vote – donate, volunteer, knock on doors in PA where it’s needed, make calls, drive people to the polls, help in any way you can to get the vote out. I know some of you are not overly enamored with Hillary. But hold your nose, do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump does not become our next President. Know you’re voting for the greater good, and know that a vote for the Libertarian Party or for Jill Stein (and I do like her platform) is a vote for Trump. They are not viable candidates – it’s that simple.
I will leave you with a poem that I read for my Dad’s eulogy. He was instrumental in my life for showing me by his example how to live from love rather than fear. He died on Thanksgiving Day morning in 1995. I think these words apply more than ever today.
The Choice for Love ~ Emmanuel
“What does the voice of fear
whisper to you?
Fear speaks to you
in logic and reason.
It assumes the language
of love itself.
Fear tells you,
“I want to make you safe.”
“You are safe.”
“Give me symbols.
Give me something
I can rely on.”
Loving truth says,
“Only give me
Fear would walk you
on a narrow path
promising to take you
where you want to go.
“Open your arms
and fly with me.”
Every moment of your life
you are offered the opportunity
love or fear,
to tread the earth
or to soar the heavens.”
And Love Trumps Fear every time!