Category: Personal Updates

I sometimes forget that transformation is a creative process which often moves in surprising directions. How we interpret life’s circumstances can either overwhelm or enhance the flow of creativity.

To honor the truth and to transform suffering into life affirming behavior, is a natural, creative path. Nevertheless, the process of moving from suffering to transformation can seem mysterious, even impossible at times.

Today, winter light pulled me outside, reluctantly at first. Following the outline of long forest shadows to the garden fence, I found myself inside an oblong of December sunlight, more precious because its warmth is subtle. Repeated circumambulation became a walking meditation, beyond the pain of suffering faces, the pain of loss. Light became a vehicle for transformation.

That night I dreamed I was learning how to play the violin, meaning I thought, a creative need was calling out to me. I got up to meditate. Afterwards, I turned on the Tranquility Music Channel and practiced Hatha Yoga asanas, beginning with a traditional sequence but soon continuing with positions that occurred intuitively and spontaneously.

Insight at last; I thanked powers beyond my comprehension for assistance I had not even known to ask for on this anniversary of my mother’s death seventeen years ago.

 

December 7, 2017

Gudrun Mouw aka Krishnaprema Jyothi (c)

Journal Entry Personal Updates

I was intrigued by the article, The Historic Road That Never Was in the fall News from Native California magazine. It initially piqued my interest, because of where I live. There is a monument along a mission dirt trail nearby claiming to be a portion of the old mission days, “Historic Road of the El Camino Real.”

Mission time accounts say there was no marked “Camino Real” road (Spanish for ‘royal road’) on any early, historical map that connected the currently popularized, commercialized and much visited 21 California missions. There was only a trail that connected a few points.

There were numerous cultural, deflecting, romanticizing and, thereby, capitalizing reasons for the El Camino Real myth to arise, according to several of the early writers. This article was an eye opener for me, and I was very moved by a comment made by Marcus Lopez, “Let’s celebrate Indigenous peoples by telling the truth….”

 

October 31, 1017
Gudrun Mouw (c)

Personal Updates

The 2017 documentary called The Island President, is a portrayal of President Mohamed Nasheed as he works to save the people of Maldives from a rising sea. He is a democratically elected President who had been a political prisoner 12 times, suffered solitary confinement and torture by the dictator who had been in power for 30 years.

The Maldives islands are visibly disappearing. At the climate change summit of Copenhagen in 2009, President Nasheed pointed out that carbon emissions should be a concern to everyone, since Manhattan is at the same sea level as the Maldives.

He tells those major powers who are reluctant to come to any climate change agreement, bluntly, “You are not really listening, not paying attention to the right thing.” His persistence is key.

He continues to address climate deniers, “Yes, there are also people who don’t believe the world is round. Sea levels are rising whether you choose to admit it or not….We had to get democracy, because I didn’t want my children to be in solitary confinement. Now, I don’t want us to be climate change refugees.” As a result of the climate change summit in Copenhagen, we achieved the world’s first climate change agreement.

Around here, the west coast climate also seems to be shifting, dramatically, from years of drought to relentless rain, flooding, mud slides, tornadoes and other surprises. I notice a spell in the downpour and calm myself with a walk through the forest. My hope is that enough people do not get stuck in panic and paralysis but stay activated in whatever way they can for the greater good.

 

Gudrun

Personal Updates

I am reflecting on the healing process these days. I recently had a wake up call type health crisis that required difficult changes. The question I am asking today is, does healing come mainly from a mental shift, or does it come from physical adjustments and a natural progression of the body healing itself?

As I was experiencing the body’s debilitation, I noticed how my mental and emotional landscape changed. There was less less joy, more mental and physical fatigue even after the initial crisis. Though this wasn’t surprising, it wasn’t easy.

Once I fully acknowledged the situation, I made a conscious determination to focus on what I’ve learned over many years through meditation and yoga. I replaced negative thoughts with positive ones, utilized various mind calming practices, and kept an open mind about the future potential for well being and continuing productivity. This allowed the body’s natural healing ability to take hold more effectively.

Yesterday, as I began to feel my recovery happening, I made the decision not to go into my usual routine as quickly as possible mode. I promised myself to step back from all that saps my energy and concentrate on that which rejuvenates and uplifts. Today, I listened to one of my favorites, a video of Leonard Cohen singing, Hallelujah, and experienced a surge of hope and optimism.

That is my wish for the New Year to all! May we not reside in disappointments, frustrations, or anger, even as we may need to make hard choices! May 2017 carry us towards greater understanding, strength and perseverance. And may we have the courage to stand up for a greater good.

Personal Updates The Spiritual Journey

cropped_meadow_skyYears ago, I had a website with a page I called the Yoga Weather Report. The idea came from experiences I had with my teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda Yogiraj. He would return to Santa Barbara from various national and international destinations and talk about the condition of our prevailing psychological climate. He would say things like, “the weather is stormy” at a time when our local California weather was quite sunny and warm. His students learned to look deeper into what was going on.

Some nights ago, I had difficulty sleeping. This was quite unusual. I woke up a number of times; then, I had a hard time going back to sleep. For several days, I had been watching news about the presidential debate. I had also seen replays and commentary on the Internet where someone posted that there could be a new “medical” condition called, “Election Anxiety Syndrome.”

Initially, I did not put my experience in this category; however, after talking to friends and family members, I came to think there may well be a pervading sense that “the weather is unsettling.” We’d also been having intense wind conditions, which didn’t help. Palm fronds fell all over our courtyard. A sharp acorn, during yoga class, hit my car and cracked the window. There’d also been international reports from other countries anxious about the possibility that we might elect someone who is temperamental and psychologically unstable.

Yes, perhaps, there has been a good reason to feel uneasy. As a result, I am using the practice of conscious breathing and other yogic principles to calm the mind. I slept well last night, and I feel a renewed confidence in the intelligence of our electorate.
October, 2016
(C) Gudrun Mouw

Personal Updates

This week as I prepare for going back to teaching yoga after a summer break, I am posting a review I wrote of Sharon Salzberg’s book on lovingkindness. I am having fun posting my reading list and reviews (about two a month) on Goodreads. You can friend me on Goodreads, or check out my other reviews on my Goodreads Facebook page. And I will be posting less often while I’m teaching, probably twice a month.

 

Loving-Kindness is a treasure I first read a while ago. It is one of those modern classics that invites more than one reading. Metta Practice, or Loving-Kindness Practice was a favorite during my years immersed in the Vipassana Buddhist tradition.

My current favorite section of the book is ‘Developing the Compassionate Heart.’ It took me a while on the spiritual path to get that I no longer wish to endure suffering in the name of compassion. This understanding has changed everything; for that I am grateful.

This book can be life altering. I highly recommend an open-hearted and sincere reading.

-Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg and Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Gudrun

Personal Updates