Thursday, January 23, 2020

ficus religiosa

























for the purpose of learning how to breathe

i spent one long and beautiful lifetime as a tree
to breathe and nothing else
to stand and let my breath pass
in and out of each soft wood cell
my fragrant core
my crumbling bark
my smallest translucent and finely veined leaf
and i breathed in this way
autumn upon autumn
summer layered on summer
as leaf upon drifting leaf
the years gathering quietly at my feet

it would seem good preparation to be human
but so little carries over
from one lifetime to the next
the amount of rain that catches on a leaf
i have forgotten how to breathe
how to stand still within my skin
yet i have a deep affinity for trees
and on days when a warm and steady wind
turns leaves
turns clouds
i could listen all day to the sound
and feel vaguely happy vaguely sad

                               ~ eileen o’toole

 ජය ශ්‍රී මහා බොධිය
jaya sri maha bodhi

the sacred fig tree
ficus religiosa
in mahamewna gardens ~
anuradhapura
sri lanka
said to be the southern branch
from buddha's awakening tree
sri maha bodhi in bodhgaya, india ~
planted in 288 BC
'tis the oldest living human-planted tree
in the world with a known planting date ..
'tis one of the most sacred in sri lanka ~

it is said..
there are three ways
to revere, adore, exalt the buddha -
a statue
a stupa
a tree

the living,
breathing,
rustling,
sussurating,
quivering,
of tree..
of bo tree
arrives most vibrant in my heart and bones..
most at home..most true..
to sit beneath one such tree -
to inspire and expire
the veritable rapture of the buddha
is to pulse the heartthrob
of its very own self..
the no self..
ridding me of self centeredness
emptying me of dalliances with delusion
freeing me from the grasp of mistaken identity
for one brief moment

shosoku -
japanese
the feeling one has 
when receiving 
a letter from home..

sitting beneath a bodhi tree..
jaya sri maha bodhi..
one receives such a letter..
a direct transmission of the buddhadharma ..
the transmission of sunyata..
the transmission of emptiness..
so absolutely full to the brim
with the way it is
with the this of that
~ the sacred calm which lights 
the lamp of awakening ~

the sound,
if one could even call it a sound
a moistening, maybe..
passing through my inner ear
so that when i sit,
when i take the seat..
deep listening opens to that very vibration
that very whispering
and
i am under that very tree, the holy bo
i am that very tree
there is no me..

moksha!

make your revolution in the invisible temple
make your temple in the invisible revolution   
                 ~ jorie graham









Sunday, November 24, 2019

the practice pack


eat
rest
rove in between
render loyalty
love the children
cavil in the moonlight
tune your ears
attend to the bones
make love
howl often
    - general wolf rules for life
        clarissa pinkola estés

i actually feel those who practice 
yoga together are a pack..
a wolf pack..a coyote pack..
the dictionary defines pack thusly -
a group of wild animals, 
especially wolves, 
living and hunting together
don't you think that sounds like us..?
living..the wise art of yoga
hunting.. the luminosity of momentary bliss
living..the yamas and the niyamas
hunting.. truth in the pathless land..
living... a joyous poetic life ..
hunting...bounty with the snare of gratitude *
yep! that's us, alright..
                                  *rumi

afterthought
such a precious human body,
difficult to rediscover;
such precious pain,
not difficult to discover;
such an old story
is by now a familiar joke.
you and i know the facts and the case history;
we have a mutual understanding of each other
which has never been sold or bought by anyone.
our mutual understanding keeps the thread of sanity.
sometimes the thread is electrified,
sometimes it is smeared with honey and butter;
nevertheless, we have no regrets.
since i am here,
seemingly you are here too.
let us practice!
sitting is a jewel that ornaments our precious life.
                ~ chögyam trungpa

...because you experience joy and celebration in your practice,
it does not feel like a burden to you.
therefore, you aspire further and further.
you would like to attain enlightenment.
you would like to be free from neurosis.
you would also like to serve all "mother sentient beings"
throughout all times, all situations, at any moment.
you are willing to become a rock or a bridge or a highway.
you are willing to serve any worthy cause 
that will help the rest of the world.
this is the same basic kind of aspiration 
as in taking the bodhisattva vow.
it is also general instruction of becoming a pliable person, 
so that the world can use you as a working basis for
their enjoyment of sanity.
                     ~ chögyam trungpa


Saturday, November 2, 2019

thanks giving..


wanderer, your footsteps are the road, 
and nothing more; 
wanderer, there is no road, 
the road is made by walking. 
by walking one makes the road, 
and upon glancing behind one sees the path 
that never will be trod again. 
wanderer, there is no road ~ 
only wakes upon the sea.
                    ~ antonio machado

mother india grasps you firmly by the hand
leading you with such fierce tenderness
to an abyss of the unknown..
a nudge tumbles you off the edge -
as your whirl and twirl
reeling
down
down,
you see her arms open wide ~
she gathers you up up in a beneficent embrace
 ~ known and unknown are one ~
( i penned this on my very first sojourn to india
over 45 years ago...)

it has been 7 plus years since i last kissed the hem of mother india ~
though it may have seemed that i would not a' journey there again
after such misadventures of fever and hospitalization ..
one always returns to the mother ..
be it our precious birth mother
(or adopted mama)
a beloved mother country,
our wholly precious mother earth...

thanksgiving day practice -
thursday the 28th
9:30 AM
Crescent Moon Yoga
606 Morris Street
La Conner WA 98257

every moment of your life is infinitely creative
and the universe is endlessly bountiful.
just put forth a clear enough request
and everything your heart desires
must come to you.
                      ~  m.k. gandhi

while in the past we have donated the thanksgiving basket
to an honorable non-profit organization,
may i request this year's proceeds from practice
go toward fortifying a long awaited india homecoming?
please and thank you ~
( gift certificates for private sessions 
and practice series are available too!)

i'll take my leave after our practice on thanksgiving day
to drive south with mila rubie -
red prius extraordinaire - loaded to the max..
- after tucking her safely in..
on december 3rd ~
with a gladsome heart
on my way ~
INDIA!

every time you leave home, 
another road takes you
into a world you were never in.
                           ~ john o'donahue

it is astonishing to me ~ and delightful ~
the enduring enthusiasm i have in sharing
the practice of yoga and the deep dharma...
which i love so very much...
i am eternally grateful and bowled over
by the sustenance and sweet kindness
the yoga tribe extends in my direction ~ thank you ~
( have i told you lately that i love you? )

in the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying 
to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. 
in the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender 
before the miraculous scope of human generosity 
and just keep saying thank you,  forever and sincerely,  
for as long as we have voices.
                                                ~ elizabeth gilbert 

2 FREE COMMUNITY PRACTICES IN NOVEMBER ~
SUNDAY the 10th and  SUNDAY the 24th
5:30 - 6:30 PM
please join in for a sweet and easy practice ~
OM!

 blessed joy-filled thanks-giving for all and every!   



Sunday, October 27, 2019

all hallow's eve - dia de los muertos


fire is whispering a secret in smoke's ear.
this aloes wood loves me
because i help live out its purpose.

with me it becomes fragrance,
and then disappears altogether.

the knots untie and open into absence, 
as you do with me, my friend.

eaten by flame, and smoked out into the sky.
this is most fortunate.

what's unlucky is not to change and disappear.
                           ~ rumi

thursday october 31st..
all hallow's eve
dia de los muertos
samhain
the eve of all saint's day
halloween..

we  will light the flame to remember our ancestors ~
~ to honor, celebrate and enjoy our lineages and friends ..
~ to make an ofrenda..an offering..

crescent moon yoga
606 morris street 
laconner WA 98275

many ways to kneel and kiss this day..
** come early** around 8:30 or so
to help set up the altar..

bring pictures of your familiares..
those loved and gone before..
bring food, sweets, candles, cookies,
bread, copal, flowers (marigolds!)
lights, trinkets, treasures, holy objects..

**join in the regular yoga practice ** 9:30 - 11AM
** come to the sitting meditation ** 11:30 - 12:30PM
please arrive between 11:10 - 11:25 
to set up your cushion, chair 
we wait for them sitting down
** meet up @ santo coyote mexican kitchen** 1PM
201 morris street
may the feasting begin 
**all or any of the above**

costumes are encouraged ..
please join us!


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

dia de los muertos ~ all hallow's eve ~ 2019


notice that autumn 
is more the season of the soul 
than of nature.
                    ~ nietzsche

we will be putting on an ofrenda..
an offering.. to honor our ancestors
thursday, october 31st..
setting up an abundant altar
before our yoga practice @ 9:30am
please come !
crescent moon yoga
606 morris street 
laconner WA 98275

bring pictures of your familiares..
those loved and gone before..
bring food, sweets, candles, cookies,
bread, copal, flowers (marigolds!)
lights, trinkets, treasures, holy objects..

the veil is delicate these days -
we shape shift our vision
to welcome our ancestors..

we will have our usual fine time of yoga practice..
thereafter, those who wish to take their leave, will -
those who choose to stay..
two sessions of sitting in silence
perchance a kinhin - walking meditation -
chairs are available
those who wish to join in only for the sitting
please arrive before 11:30 am
there is no charge for the festivities and sit ~
dana (donations) and costumes are always welcome ....

come! come!
place your heart upon the altar..
join in merriment and celebration!

this is love:
to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils
to fall each moment...
                    ~ rumi

IF THOSE PARTICIPATING WOULD LIKE TO
MEET AT SANTO COYOTE MEXICAN KITCHEN
FOR A MEAL THEREAFTER,
WE WILL ALL BE HUNGRY GHOSTS BY THEN, EH?
i will cheque in with the kitchen to let them know
there may well be a group of us..
(THOSE WISHING TO JOIN IN FOR MEAL ONLY - COME ON!)



In this special month,
Where all is party and dance,
We remember with love
Traditions and make praises.

It is necessary to remember
That with our pure faith,
we know we will meet again.
We welcome our ancestors.

For our loved ones
We build an altar,
For their souls and heart beats
We sense them coming back!

We celebrate them and praise them
With tasty bread and sweets -
Placed on altars
With flowers, candles, mezcal!

These exquisite gifts,
That are bright  and colorful,
Of sugar and skull shapes
We leave for them.

To make them happy
In their fleeting visit,
In this land of love
Our pure memories linger.

For us it is a great gift
To be able to find them,
On such special days
to be able to enjoy them.

If our dead ones knew
How much we miss them,
They would come every day
And it would be simpatico!

We wait for them sitting down
And know we’ll converse
These two nights full
With warmth and treats.

Dear happy souls,
Knowing that we love you,
We remember your presence,
And await your arrival!
                       ~ unknown




Monday, September 16, 2019

strike the match - ignite september 20-27


meditation is old and honorable, so why should i
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world?  because, proper-
ly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is sug-
gestion.  can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause?  i don't think so.

all summations have a beginning, all effect has a 
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
thought buds toward radiance.  the gospel of
light is the crossroads of --- indolence, or action.

be ignited, or be gone.

~ mary oliver  what i have learned so far


this early morning..moon cloud hidden..
peeping out again and again
a watchful eye to catch a glimpse of earth..

earth speaking plainly through fragrance
scent of moist soil dug in deep with wet weep
rains calling for wake up..

i felt certain i smelled the fresh watery voice
redolent with the perfumes of faraway lands -
incense, dung, spice and herb
fire, ice and countless living beings
requesting heedfulness of hands feet hearts

earth implores with the whiff of rising tides
come stand with me for me
kindle the tinder of care
vox terra ~ vox populi
ignite or be gone ~

Friday, September 20, 2019 • 11:00 AM rally / 12:00PM march
Bellingham City Hall • 210 Lottie St, Bellingham, WA 98225
Contact Info: 350bellingham@gmail.com
youth led all ages climate strike on September 20th.

*Wear green, all day, anywhere






Saturday, August 10, 2019

totem



in the end, all you want is someone to long for you 
when it comes time to put you in the ground.
                           ~ tea obreht

i pick up road kill..
moving it to a soft grassy shoulder
or laying it out under a shade tree..
sometimes i actually carry it home
for a different burial
totem 
picking them off the roadway of fast wheels
i always stop.. most always stop ...
to remove the remains to the side ..
to keep scavengers from meeting the same fate
to whisper some prayer of release and love
to ask forgivness for our human speed

the dead are celebrated. 
the dead are loved. 
they give something to the living. 
once you put something into the ground,
you always know where to find it.
                        ~ téa obreht

it is said..
one becomes a totem to the very animal
one has lifted up..
and the animal beomes a totem for thee

one comes to be clan..
nindoodem - my clan 
                     ~ ojibway 

our last breath informs the first breath..
take note of the inhale and the exhale..


some nights back..
with the cool heat sifting thru my open windows
i heard a strange sound in the wee early hours
of the last night's new day..
piercing my heart and wide-waking my eyes..
a bark of sorts.. a keen..
was it a dog?
some strange human animal texture -
mournfulness and yearning co-mingled

puzzled and straining to hear a known name to place it..
it ended in the unmistakable yip of coyote..
silence
the cry - so unnerving -
the still - so loud -
the vibe of it kept me on alert
before slowly turning me back to slumber ..

as i drove out the road, the following morning..
i see ..
i see the sound i heard..
in the middle of the road
it is a coyote kit
the colour of wheat
the colour of sun
a pup  - new to the world..
soft pelt, clear eye

at the very same place in the road..
the very next day..
an elder..grey and sun-scorched..
following the footsteps
of the one thus gone..
both laid out in the deep grasses

a long while ago..
when i was teaching
at the swinomish spiritual center
- still living in anacortes -
driving home one evening
i see a raccoon .. hit..
circling back, i pick up the heavy carnivora
and place it under a tree just outside town..
as i rest it down, the palms touch gently together in namaste..
stunned and moved beyond the beyond..
prayers come easy.. tears too..
all autumn long as i drove by..
i watched the body
mulch its way back to clay,
to gaia mother..

last summer i scooped up
2 babe masked marauders
- heart -  broken-open for days -

lifetimes before..
traveling the laconner-whitney road
great blue heron met its demise..
upon lifting it up .. still warm
holding the great wings to me
the warmth of life deserting its expanse..
i carried it home for some unknown reason

a friend who knew the art of preserving,
honoring and tending the winged ones
crafted the wings for me ..
the pinions were huge and aloft with power..
i lived in the attic of the nantucket at the time..
daily i would stretch the wings out on the rich brown carpet
and lie down upon them -
receiving the power and the glory
of one such majestic avian dinosaur -

just before my walkabout to california..
on a night that held a throbbing energy,
i awoke to hawk..
spread eagle..butterflied on the front lawn..
as if it had been laid out for me..
in full feather finery..a red tail..
again i took the splendiferous one
to my pal and she crafted a hawk fan -
she strung a lone feather on my cap
for protection..
we laughed that it would save me
from birds pooping on my head..
and indeed it did..
to this day, my gaze is hawk-eyed
to every raptor along the hiways and byways..
in the most obscure nooks..
i am linked heart and soul to hawk..

like a bird on a wire..
the swallow
fussing and chirring..
with such passion..
keening a lament ~
on the ground just below..
a squash of feather
nary a form left to lift ~
a partner, a pal, a lover, a mate..
bearing witness,
i could not move a muscle
until the sorrowful bird took flight

liftting crow up and off road..
a murder gathered -watching
silent at first
then bellowing their thunderous raucous
that only these black birds can muster
after i placed the fellow corvid
in a tender lush spot ..
they encircled the corpse
wailing the wake

cats, flickers, bunnies, snails, possums
all totems for me..

let us please slow down
we are in no hurry

.... if you are making your journey in a hurry, 
you are making it poorly.
                                  ~ téa obreht, the tiger's wife

pray that you shall not harm another..
on the road or off the road ~
yet the whirr of wheels and the speed of light..
the karma and dharma of birth and death
might slip sideways into action..
if so ~ here are two  mantras
that will ease the pain of the all and every :

OM MANI PADME HUM 

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA


* grammer police :
dunno if i got the lay and lie
the laid and lain 
all in proper places..
do send out a warrant, if need be..