Stuffing My Nostrils

Another amazing Zen story:

A devotee of Krishna used to worship and pray in front of a statue of him every day.  She waved incense and offered flowers, but her prayers never materialized.  In frustration, she put him in the corner and replaced him with a statue of Rama.  The next day as she offered her incense and said her prayers to Rama, she noticed how the smoke drifted towards Krishna in the corner.

She stuffed Krishna’s nostrils with cotton and said, “Not one whiff of incense from me!”

At that moment the statue came alive.  Krishna said, “My dear, what can I do for you?”

The woman replied, “After all these years, why now?”

Krishna said, “When you stuffed my nostrils with cotton, it was the first time you treated me as real, so of course I had to answer your prayers!”

I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one and I adore stories that lift away the mist that leaves my mind cluttered and anchored down.  This is a story about being in the present moment so that whatever you offer up…a prayer, intention, dedication, support, love…you do it from a real place.

I am struggling with the synopsis of my book (any advice is appreciated) but I am staying the course, holding onto my dream and the merit of my story.  This blog keeps it out of the corner.

What nostrils do you need to stuff… 🙂

Bargaining

An old Sufi story:

A man lost a valuable ring.  He prayed for its return, promising that he would give half the value of the ring to charity if he got it back.  When he finished his prayer, he opened his eyes, and saw the ring in front of his face.  He thought — never mind God, I found it myself!

How often do we bargain with our prayers, asking our friends and family for help, the local market, our own self image? How often do our requests get answered and then we forget our part of the deal? And what happens when we bargain and we don’t get a response or the answer is no?

I wrote this old sufi story in a journal dated back in 2006.  The journal was titled “Yoga Thoughts,” and I wrote a couple of entries.  Underneath this story, I wrote GO DEEPER.

What an interesting phrase to write without further exploration. What did I mean back then and what does it mean for me now?  I was in a different place 8 years ago for sure and so I could guess my reasons, but I’m more interested in this moment.

What happens when I pray, ask, reach out without bargaining?  Without giving anything in return? How much space opens up when I go deeper and realize that the asking is enough just as the giving is enough, and that when we bargain with our dreams, we end up giving them away…

 

“I hate to think life is just facts and laws.” Ang Lee

My book is anchored in magic realism.

Before defining it (as I understand it), I must first give the highest praise to the seminal work, “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  He didn’t invent a new world, but rather showed us the magic in this one.  He, basically, made the genre acceptable to a mass audience (beyond Latin America, where magic still is seen everywhere).

We all sink our feet into what reality is as a community, culture, society, etc.  Red light means stop, green light means go.  If the cost of milk is $4.20 and I hand the cashier $5, I’m getting 80 cents back.  That’s reality…but if I went into the store, and bumped into a man who stole my mother’s happiness, and became terrified and when terrified, my fingertips burned others…well, then you’ve added some magic.  I still would get the same amount of change back, and the milk would still be on the same spot on the shelf BUT the magic doesn’t need to be explained just as the cost of milk needs no explanation.

My book, “Inside the River,” begins with the fish forgetting their pact of silence and popping their heads up and singing to Ana; she knows they want her to dive in and away from the suffering endured by her mother.  The reader has to suspend reality or as I like to think of it, perceive reality in vaster, more creative ways, in order to enter the world of my book with an open mind.

The reader gets to interpret the magic or can just let it be part of the story. You can think how alone Ana was in her pain, the silence too unbearable for the fish and so they sang to her.  You can think that the fish were waiting for the blue-haired girl so they could show their magic and help her access her own.  You can think the singing fish was really Ana’s voice singing her freedom to the world.

Or you can just think that sometimes fish can pop their heads up, and when they do…please listen to what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

I have Yoga butt…there, I admitted it

The anatomical explanation of my yoga butt is (can vary a touch in others but in same general area)a pain in the insertion of my hamstring which is right under my buttock, trigger points in my piriformis, and tightness in my hip flexor with bouts of sciatica that runs down my leg and numbs my toes.

Yoga butt happens to many who do a rigorous and consistent practice of vinyasa yoga.  Sometimes we rely on our flexibility rather than aligning our joints properly and using our muscles to strengthen such alignment.

Sometimes the pain would be a whisper and sometimes a scream; but recently it got quiet.  It didn’t have to make noise because I could hear the silent tearing and I knew if I didn’t drop my ego, my pride would force me off the mat. Now I put a block in between my legs for every pose I can and the irony is that not only am I getting stronger and feeling the ease of conscious alignment, but I am also healing myself at a rapid pace.  I am loving the refinement of this new practice after 14 years of thinking I knew…beginners mind is always a gift.

So why is it so damn hard to admit to an injury and modify?  And here is the yoga on and off the mat…we suffer physically, emotionally, spiritually, on a daily basis.  We know it hurts and sometimes we can pinpoint exactly where or exactly why, and yet we continue with our routine, triggering the pain and adapting to its effect as if it is normal.  Suffering is part of life, but prolonging it and doing nothing about it, is a choice.

It’s also hard to admit and modify because we are, I AM, getting older and my yoga party tricks prove only that my ego is still on my mat.  And off the mat, when I live in the past, I allow fear and anxiety to cloud my present moment.  As the expression goes (that many of us yogis have heard repeatedly) “Honor where you’re at.”

So here I am, admitting to the hurt and doing something about it.  I am honoring the practice of life, not the perfection of it.

I invite you to join this party!!

xoxo