April 30, 2012

A Day Off

Once upon a time, I blogged quite a bit. But of late, life has been pretty busy, and blogging seems to take a back seat. So long overdue for a quick update. This past weekend, we finished up weekend 4 (of 6) of Yoga Teacher Training. I was tapped to fill in for one of the assistants back in 2010 - and I've been assisting ever since. The weekend are incredibly long and difficult for the students, and also for the staff. Friday 5 pm - 11 pm, Saturday 1 pm - 9 pm, Sunday 12 noon - 9 pm. Each day starts with a long (~2.5 hour) practice in a hot room; and although I am not on the mat, assisting a class like that is almost as draining. Today should have been a recovery day but I ended up teaching two classes, getting a power class in myself (thanks, Linda!) and doing a few work reports and small projects. So Tuesday will be my day to collapse and unwind. I was able to sneak in three loads of laundry over the weekend and do the dishes, so I'm caught up there. The house could use a good cleaning, but probably will only nibble at the edges there. Sadly, a lot of my music and arts life has fallen by the wayside as I stay busy with yoga, my engineering work, and other pursuits. Each weekend that I'm off the grid for yoga or a retreat, I see the local social scene pass me by. I'll be back soon enough... Ballooning season is fast approaching, as is the farmer's market season with a pile of Guinea Pigs gigs.

April 15, 2012

Coming Home 2012

Just returned from Coming Home: A Mindfulness Meditation weekend for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer Communities. Led by Larry Yang and Maddy Klyne, it was a very interesting, and in a lot of ways challenging, experience.

The work was primarily based on Vipassana Meditation. So although my work in the yoga community, mindfulness, and enlightenment intensives have incorporated this sort of work, I am not sure I expected a full day of sitting / walking meditation. I do not have that sort of formal meditation practice, so there was some challenge there. Specifically, so much of the weekend vibed "enlightenment intensive" that I was ready to roll up my sleeves and dig in to one of the questions, such as "Who Am I?" - and that's just not the point of Vipasanna. It's all about letting go, softening, observing, cultivating a quiet and aware mind - and specifically not about getting somewhere. Maybe there is a quiet goal of opening, of awakening - but certainly not the drive towards a "direct experience of the truth" (with the laughter, tears, joy, awe, etc. that go along with that) of the EI.

So I struggled. As I stepped out into the walking meditation, I felt the urge to dance around. The TREE. Don't you see it? The TREE! (and any other thing that caught my EI-blown awake mind, there was much to distract, the Garrison Institute grounds were beautiful, and the weekend attendees were equally amazing) as the other attendees were watching their footfalls diligently in walking meditation. Although the direct experience fades as one lives ones life, I am not sure that one ever forgets the substance. I may not feel that blown open every day, but having felt that a few times, its hard not to feel like running ahead on the path.

Does a direct experience ruin one for the diligence and patient path of vipasanna? Must ask one of my teachers for his thoughts....

It was, for all that, a lovely weekend. Held in functional silence, I did not get much chance to mix, mingle, and network, but I have no doubt I would adore most of the folks there, give 1/2 a chance. I do wish there had been more space for getting to know people. The facility was wonderful for this sort of retreat. The food - amazing - vegetarian, clean, delicious.

There seems to be some interest in doing this again, and I suspect I will be there if they do!