Friday, April 01, 2016


To accept whatever comes, regardless of the consequences, is to be unafraid.
John Cage

Headstand turns the world upside down (the inner world and outer world.) When you do it every day, it reminds us nothing stays the same. Ever. 
 Balance is achieved between movement and resistance. To balance we must move. If we are rigid, we fall over (and that hurts!) Holding still brings tension. Moving helps us perceive the world.
Moving can denote a strong feeling especially of sorrow or sympathy (he was moved to tears) and describes a stirring emotion. 
Move along, move aside, move on, move on up. Move is a verb that means to proceed or progress, to advance or shift or change position. 
Move is also a verb that implies inspiration or stimulation; it connotes affect, to impress, provoke, and rouse. And it means to change, to budge, to shift one’s ground or change one’s mind or have second thoughts, to make a turn.
Balance is an even distribution of weight enabling us to remain upright and steady; it is the stability of our minds or feelings and it implies equal or correct proportions.
Balance in art is harmony of design and proportion. 
If something hangs in the balance, it is uncertain and at a critical stage. When we are balanced poise and grace dominate. 
Head balance delivers steadiness. To be in head balance we have to be in a steady position so that we do not fall. 
We need to transcend our limits and self-transformation has its limits, yet I do not like to think I have reached mine. I do not want to set limits on what I explore, not inside and not outside. When we set limits we miss exploring what really matters.
The compass I use searches for the center. The clarity of the extremes is that the center is within. From inside emerges the balance and it is always back and forth, back and forth: going out and returning in
It is always back and forth, back and forth: going out and returning in. Head balance.

Thursday, March 03, 2016


I believe in curiosity, in diving into others, into the dissimilar and deep into myself. I am a seeker. 
I have the compulsion to try and connect with something just out of reach - like trying to catch a tiger, a search for something that constantly eludes me, searching for something I refuse to let go of.
I want to taste the deeper currents of existence, an occasional privilege. Gobble gobble.
The body is the framework for all our bodies; the outer body is the frame for the organic body.
The physical body is a window into our interiors where there are involutions and evolutions like Nature, like temperature and rainfall and fire, clouds and sun.
We are like the Big Island of Hawaii where nine of the world’s eleven climate zones exist on one island. Our body is like a mass of climate zones.
We have fiery brains, warm and cold hearts, warm and cold hands and sometimes cold feet.
We express these manifold interior bodies in our skeletons and through our skin.
We extend through our hand gestures and the set of our mouths as much as the words we voice, text, and think.
Our handshakes and hugs are the intersections of our emotional body, mental body, intellectual body and body in space.
The world wobbles: it spins on an axis that is moving and long ago scientists noted that this axis also wobbles.
Scientists believe that tectonic plates of the earth's crust drift around the globe like, for instance, the Pacific plate that is the Hawaiian Islands.
The islands are like a gigantic raft and have been in the process of creation and dissolution for about twenty million years. Kaua'i has moved 350 miles since it was born and now is less than half of its original size.
Some day like other islands, Hawaii will have moved on. We do not know where it will sit eventually.
If Hawaii, why not us? What do we know about where anything will be eventually?
We wobble. We move around and the world moves around us. The word ‘forever’ is the miracle of gliding on and being reborn.

Friday, February 05, 2016



We forget things collected mechanically by the brain and always remember events in which we are somehow emotionally wrapped. We remember striking moments of our lives, exciting moments where beauty and love are condensed.
But we also sink back especially, where we have been psychologically hurt and wounded and where fear was present.
We hold these wounds like precious jewels. It is weight that does not drop easily from our shoulders.
My friend told me a story about her daughter and her pet bunny. The little girl doted on the bunny. One day the bunny got sick and died.
The child had fits of crying and hand wringing. My friend helped her daughter bury the bunny with an elaborate funeral. A few weeks after they buried the bunny, my friend’s daughter came to her and asked if they could dig up the bunny.
The girl wanted to see it, to indulge her wound. She wanted to gaze repeatedly at her loss, turn it over and touch it, feel it, again and again. Human.
The Amygdala is the dark aspect of the brain formation that is storage of emotion and memory. It is the encoding and retention of emotional information or learning, particularly the information relating to survival. It is the brain’s muscle of memory.
Memories are different than memory. The part of the brain in which our memories reside is encrusted with all sorts of images, mostly of the past, covering our head like a veil.
When something new is dropped on to that thick layer of thoughts and remembrances, it gets more difficult to recall. Like a sponge. It absorbs the things we live most intensely, sucking them up.
There is a Zen story that tells of a Japanese master who received a university professor.
The professor came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in, the Zen Master, served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and he kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.   
“It is overfull. No more will go in!”
  “Like this cup,” the Master said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” (Gary Zukav, The Zen Lee Masters.)
Some people let shadows of dark events stay in their minds dragging the past into the present while others chose to get rid of them and continue on with life.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Samuel Beckett

What is there to lose by trying and failing? 
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to our courage (as opposed to our possessions).
When we hold our hand before our eyes, we can conceal the greatest mountain, just as our little earthly life hides from our glance enormous lights and mysteries of which the world is full. The person who can draw this little earthly life away from before his eyes, as one draws away a hand, beholds the greatest shining of inner worlds.  
We must be our own teachers. To teach is an act of love. In ancient Indian tradition, the teacher was placed at the very apex of the hierarchy. Even the King consulted teachers for advice. When nothing is required of us and we can do whatever we want, who are we?
A few years ago I decided to go on a trip alone. I wanted to leap into the dark, into places I had never been. Every stranger and every street beckoned with mystery.
I read about a woman who gave herself ten articles of clothing to wear for one year and decided that would be me for three months: unencumbered; finding as much as possible in as little as I could.
The trip meant taking a risk. I did not know if I was going to be lonely or struggle with the unknown and the unfamiliar. I wasn’t sure if I could find my way by myself. How can we know if we don’t try? 
The further I went, the more ‘out there’, the more I was unmoored and the more I wandered, the stronger my inner anchor. I grew secure by getting unfastened. My travels took me to extremes. The clarity of the extremes is that the center is within. From inside emerges the balance and it is always back and forth, back and forth: going out and returning in.
When I returned people asked me all kinds of questions like how much it cost; wasn’t I lonely? Wasn’t I afraid to travel alone? The most common – and most annoying - question they asked was, “Where did you like best?” 
My answer was “inside”. 
We learn to walk new in the world when we step out. How can we prevent disappointment and protect ourselves from injury while being pioneers? The path of discovery is a razor’s edge. It can be fraught with danger and uncertainty. 
Growth is a redrawing of boundaries so that we include more of the outer world and the inner world. It makes us less secure, more fragile. In the end it makes us more stable.

We must be willing to live ‘imperfectly’. 
The practice of going within frees us to live the kind of life we desire which is to be pointed to the horizon, toward whatever appears; to penetrate and probe and venture forth; to express our chest where the heart resides. Ultimately, we draw a golden thread through all we witness and pass through.

Friday, November 06, 2015


Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.
-       Anonymous

One summer children were digging in the sand on a nearby beach and uncovered the head of a whale. First they exposed the tip of a smooth white bone that turned out to be part of its skeleton. Everyone thought the whale probably washed ashore during one of those mythic Cape Cod hurricanes, maybe forty years before. Scientists came to do carbon testing. They determined the skeleton was at least five hundred years old. The entire head weighed four hundred pounds! Sand, blown by the wind over centuries, covered – and then uncovered - this leviathan that for generations was waiting to be revealed.
Pain is the constant chaperone of living. Everyone I know has it: back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, arthritis pain, headaches, heartaches and loss. We cannot always change this but there are ways to live with courage. Get the hang of being still; stillness that does not depend on what happens. Let a new wind blow in without knocking us over.
Spend time on any beach. Shifting sands are real. The beach where I live in the summer has gone from being covered with sand to being covered with rocks and is now morphing again to sand. We are that beach. Who knows what will be revealed over time that for the moment is hidden? It could be a whale of a thing!

Monday, November 02, 2015


Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. 

Can we imagine walking backward through life? If we want to go forward, do we take steps backward? If we want to see what is ahead of us, do we look behind? There are no eyes in the back of our heads.  In fact we have to swivel our necks to see what is behind us. And we know how tired our necks can get from looking back.
Who has not heard the saying 'that for every door that closes, another opens; that sometimes a disappointment can lead to a new road?'
 How can we see the door or the new path if we are turned around; if we are not looking ahead and instead thinking about the past?
We live on the front part of our bodies. Everything about us points forward: our eyes, our nose, our mouth, and our shoulders, hands, and chest. Surviving the challenges of life has to be eyes straight ahead. We have to go onward without looking backward. At the same time we must not drag the past into the present.
The past inspires the present. We are never really without our past and never without our future. In Yoga in the great warrior poses, the back leg is the ‘brain’ of the pose. Keeping the back leg strong and articulate gives stability. Then we move forward with intelligence and grace, balanced and secure. There is no need to look back: we have a strong leg like an anchor to rely on.
Our eyes look ahead to see what is ahead. A sailor steers by keeping the horizon in sight. The horizon is always moving (there are only twenty-two miles to the horizon no matter where you look.)
Mostly we are pointed in predictable directions, straightforward and positive, but there are more difficult times. We need more attention and care to keep from stumbling. Sometimes we need to side step or be still.
There are special features in our human necks that enable us to keep our heads still (but not stiff). This gives us an advantage: it helps us avoid falls and injuries. Stillness is pause without rigidity or going in reverse.
Do not be like Lot’s wife. Lot was the nephew of Abraham. Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back. We do not want to be a pillar of salt or have a sore neck. We not want to be ‘stiff necked’.
The past, present and future are not today what they were or what they will be. These are the mysteries. Go forward one step at a time. Without looking back.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


An ounce of practice is worth a ton of learning.
Doing poor or feeble practice in the worst of times is far more meritorious than doing a good practice in the best of times.
Prashant Iyengar                                                                                                                                               
Practice is a taste of the sacred. It is about health – mental, psychological, physical and spiritual health. Fitness happens quickly with a big energy output. Health takes a long time. This is where practicing comes in. We learn to do it by doing it.
You cannot imagine the conversations I have convincing myself to practice. When practice is intended for the end of day, often I procrastinate as long as I can until I might not do it at all.
People who know me cannot believe this about me. They always tell me, “You’re so disciplined.” Little do they know that the conversations I have with myself give meaning to the word struggle.
What I know from years of practicing is that it transforms me. There are dragons to battle in the world - frustration, despair - as well as demons within. But there is a possibility of transfiguration with practice. Practice makes me different. I know how hard it is. If I don’t want to do it, I do it anyway.
Think of practice as having a flashlight to explore dark (scary) places. The more we practice the more our eyes get used to the dark. The challenge is to switch on the flashlight
 The glory and splendor of practice is like a telescope with immense power, opening gradually and incrementally when the sun sets and the dark presents itself. The greater the opening, the greater the space, the more observation, the more we can see ‘in the dark’.
There is so much more to being a human being than we realize. When we penetrate inwardly, we make a connection to the divine. We meet our true selves. 
Ultimately, what I learn from practice is that it does not make perfect and that I can not control anything - except what I put in my mouth, literally and figuratively. Yet practice gets inside like the most delicious food.