Worry About Yourself

Whether it is food on the plate, activities engaged in, or decisions made, August has some good advice, that I think we all find it hard to head at times.

Worry about yourself.

Teaching others is a wonderful goal, but it’s not the same as bossing others or getting in the way of letting them make choices for themselves or find their own way.


The Joy of Growing

This month, in yoga classes at Yogawood, we have been focusing on the theme of tat tvam asi. This basically means “Thou art that.” But, the “that” is the divine or holy or universal – it’s the THAT.

It’s not, for me, about a particular religion or religious orientation, but about the idea that, regardless of what we believe about creation, the bigger force was that created the universe is in us. That may be a god/gods or God whose holy vision is enacted through creations such as us. It may be the energy/matter of the big bang. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, energy arises from matter, thus we are all part of the matter that was “here” in the beginning.

Alternately, or simultaneously, we can think about this as the unlimited potential in us all. Whatever characteristic we wish we could have, it exists in us in some way. Want to be kind? You are. Want to be flexible? You are. Want to be an athlete? You are. Often, we just have to get out of our own way to realize that potential, or direct it appropriately (nope, we can’t all be President of the U.S. but we can all lead in important ways). We know this when we look at an infant and see all he/she can be. We just forget it in our own lives as we grow up and begin to feel like our “selves” have been determined.

Gardening is a wonderful beautiful amazing cool example of potentiality in all being. There is a plot of bare dirt and you throw a little seed in it that is no bigger than a fingernail. And then, time passes and amazing things happen. All the potential of the seed flowers, literally.
What started out as a germ of an idea of food becomes a part of a meal that sustains your being and becomes a part of you.

It’s inspiring to see how so much can happen from such a small bit of visible being. How many seeds of potential are there in all of us that just need a little tending to grow? What part of you should you give some light and care to germinate?

Tat tvam asi!

And a bonus recipe round:

Quinoa with Black Beans

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 tomatoes deseeded and diced)
1 jalapeno diced
1/2 onion diced
1/2 red pepper diced
2 T olive oil
Salt to taste

Rinse quinoa and add to vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. While that is cooking, add olive oil to a pan and sauté onions and peppers. When soft, add tomato, cumin, salt, and black beans and simmer until quinoa is done. Combine. Serve with fresh cilantro and vegan or regular sour cream.

A Body Incredible

Image: Body Electric by Atomicjeep on Flickr

I am not always happy with you, body. You have bits that wobble in a way that I don’t like. You have marks and discolorations that annoy. Your blood pressure is fussy. You have rheumatoid arthritis and the associated pain. Your hamstrings are tight and your lower back is too. You grow hair in places I could pass on, but not in the areas where I would like some. Some days I would happily trade you in for another.

But, look what you have done:

  • 46+ years of heart beating, 60-100 beats per minute or more, on and on through over 24,500,000 minutes.
  • The same length of time in breathing, in and out, chest rising and falling knowing on your own when more is needed or less.
  • Countless meals digested and processed into energy to power the movement, the breath, the heartbeat, the thoughts.
  • The care and growing of six full beings. Six FULL beings that developed there, with precision, with care.
  • Moving through waiting tables, bartending, teaching, and other tasks with little obvious direction required.
  • Accomplishing the art of balance, mostly on the soles of two feet that represent a tiny portion of the overall surface of the body, micro-movements occurring in every instant to maintain the fragile balance. Sometimes even balancing on hands or head or one leg, or on a narrow surface, or while negotiating a tricky path.
  • Shifting and changing to accommodate the life changes around, belly growing and shrinking in pregnancy, center of balance moving when needed, producing this hormone or that one, more stomach acid or less, heart pumping harder or slowing.
  • Helping me to find my way to new modes of being in the body that create and support new modes of being in the mind and the heart.
  • Healing wounds and bruises and viruses, mostly with only the internal mechanisms of cell growth and immune response.
  • And so much more…

And still more to do.

So, body, you are pretty impressive.

O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women, nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul, (and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child’s, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s, young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

~ Walt Whitman, ‘I Sing the Body Electric’