Friends?

©MartaGertiser2015

©MartaGertiser2015

2014 marked the 10th anniversary of Facebook, so the Pew Research Center did a survey. The survey found that half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network and 15% have more than 500 friends.

Everyone likes to feel popular. That’s why Facebookers, especially in the site’s early days, hoarded friends like poker chips (never mind that most of these friends were rarely seen coworkers, distant relatives, vaguely remembered classmates, or unknown friends of a friend).

Until Facebook came along, nobody used the word “friend” as a verb. Now it’s not uncommon to ask a new acquaintance to spell their name so you can “friend” them on Facebook.  But is friendship such an easy thing?

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Our Practice is Our Prayer

©MartaGertiser2015

©MartaGertiser2015

The story is told in the Devimahatmyam of a dark time in history. It seems two evil kings came to power, wreaking havoc on a kingdom that had once been peaceful. As the darkness of their new power spread, life shriveled up, and all the things that allow life to flourish disappeared. The result was great pain and suffering throughout the kingdom.

In their despair, the people gathered to pray for deliverance. Out of the earth God appeared in the form of Devi, who took compassion on the people and went to battle against the evil forces. The battle was fierce and long; as we know evil has many resources and is quick and fierce with surprise attacks. But Devi was steady and enduring and eventually prevailed against the evil kings. Rightness was restored to the kingdom, and the people once again flourished.

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Pardon the Mess; Transformation in Process

©MartaGertiser2015

©MartaGertiser2015

I was once given a handout by a teacher that said in big bold letters: Pardon the Mess; Transformation in Process. We students chuckled and then dutifully put the handout in our binder along with our notes. As I sit in the chaos and mess of my home while it is being gutted for something new to take its place, I see the truth of these words. The question is, do I see the truth of this process in my own life?

The great teachers tell us there is something major that wants to happen to us; we are blueprinted to be transformed. Not the ego’s idea of transformation, but a transformation that is beyond our current understanding. This is why so often it seems we are regressing, not progressing as we engage our yoga practice. From the view of the ego, things are not moving along as planned or hoped for. But from the soul’s perspective, the process is perfect.

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Gutting the Mind

gutted bathroomWhen my spouse and I chose to buy a home, we settled on an older home, knowing that inevitably repairs would need to happen, especially in the bathroom. As things worsened, we could no longer deny that our bathroom had to be totally gutted. Water could barely trickle through the old plumbing. Mold, in spite of our attempts, continued to peek through the ceiling and spread at will. The crack in the bottom of the bathtub threatened to break through at an inopportune time. There was nothing salvageable. We had to do something drastic; this bathroom had to be totally gutted and re-made.

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Conditioned or New?

new babyI watch. My newest granddaughter is now 3 ½ months old. She is learning what it means to be in a body, to interact socially, and gradually to meet her parents’ and culture’s expectations.

I watch. I notice that this little one, so new to her body, is learning by exploring. She is alert; she is curious.  She wakes up and makes sounds, as if to see what is possible. How much variety can her little vocal chords produce? What are her little legs and arms capable of? I notice that she seems to do these things for the sheer delight of doing them.

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Did You Find Joy?

doug dayliliesAn ancient story depicting what happens after death, tells of two questions that will be asked each of us. The first is: Did you find joy? The second: Did you bring joy to others?

In a time when depression and discontent seem to be a growing epidemic, these are potent questions. Healthline reports that in the United States, the number of patients diagnosed with depression is increasing at the rate of approximately 20% a year – staggering numbers for a country that has so many resources available to it.

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Stepping into the New Year

02160914581It’s here again, that time of year when we can easily fall prey to self-judgment, taking a microscope to last year’s failures and idealizing our upcoming superhuman capabilities the moment the clock strikes 12. With goals in hand, we feel a renewed vigor that somehow faded last year.

But wait a minute; this doesn’t make sense. We have begun the journey into the New Year from a place of failure and idealism, two extremes that are neither supportive nor sustainable.

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Re-Focus

doug focusI was recently with my 2-month old granddaughter, finding myself captivated by her beauty and the marvel of new life. Mostly she slept, ate, and needed to be changed. Waking moments brought sounds and smiles, the exploration of movement, and an alert curiosity. They also brought a markedly different sound.

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