I’ve become more and more dedicated to the inner practice of Yoga Nidra, something I had been interested in years ago through connection with Swami Rama. When I saw that the YWCA in Vancouver, an unlikely spot for inner yoga work, was featuring a class on Tuesday afternoons on Yoga Nidra, I was very excited and have been a regular attendee. The gym is filled with people lying down in savasana, covered in blankets, perfectly still and practicing Yoga Nidra.
Innerly, the process is extremely useful and can be a very high meditation. It also gives equillibrium, great peace of mind, stress relief and profound relaxation. The instructor for the class is very knowledgeable and gives clear, direct and no-bullshit instructions. There is no overlay of the kind of so-called spiritual advice, but rather a direct guidance to the straight goods, for you to find out for yourself.
After taking the class regularly, I interviewed Yogachaitanya, the instructor, for the project I was working on at the time, Open Source Spirit (this site is now in transition.) I’d include a video here, but wordpress.com won’t let me post it. You can find a link and CDs of the instructions for this Yoga Nidra, here at his site.
This practice of Yoga Nidra has been particularly helpful to me in the past few months, when my mother was so ill, and I was travelling back and forth, visiting her at the hospital and then at the hospice, and then after her passing. I just followed the instructions on my ipod and there was immediate relaxation and peace of mind that persisted within me through the days during one of the most stressful and intense times of my life. Using these instructions from the CD was a godsend, and kept me in the spirit of the process at its most meaningful, and the practice has remained helpful to me to this day.
Normally, I am not a fan of guided meditations, which I feel are more a form of hypnosis than training, and there comes to be a reliance on them, rather than self-aware involvement that is your own. In this situation however, I was very grateful for the assistance, and the leading of my conscious awareness into the openings of spirit.
I’ve been heartened by the expansion of urban gardening, food growing, here in Vancouver, which has been visible more than ever this summer. This year I’ve grown a some veggies on the roof (more on that in another post) – more than a few tomatoes and basil this time around! – and I’m considering ways to grow lettuce and kale hydroponically in the winter.
Cuban urban gardens are a terrific model for everyone these days. Check out this BBC video:
And more lyrically, here is Andrew Lavigne’s video on the Pine St. garden in Vancouver. (You’ll have to click through the links, my wordpress blog doesn’t seem to embed.)
8,000 Sacred Drums Ceremony
March 21, 2009 2:00-5:00 pm Victory Square Park (Cambie and E. Hastings)
This is a worldwide call to Indigenous Peoples and Humankind to join together. According to a 500 year old Otomi (Mexico) Prophecy, the day when the sounds of eight thousand sacred drums join together an intense healing Healing of Mother Earth will commence. The earth we share today is in total disequilibrium. Let’s work together so we can live together on the road to Sacred Peace, in harmony with the Universe, Mother Nature, the Community, the Family and our own Hearts.
** PROGRAM:** – Gather at 2 pm – Elders opening, followed by speakers – 3 pm: Drumming circle (ALL NATIONS, PLEASE JOIN US!) – 4 pm: Elders/youth storytelling and sharing circle hosted by Indigenous Action Movement and No One Is Illegal
Organized by the Indigenous Action Movement with the support of No One Is Illegal, Anti Poverty Committee, and BCGEU.
Email: email@example.com or see Event page on Facebook:
My new tea blog is now up and running! I was going to keep the whole topic of tea as part of my personal blog here, but it seemed like it wanted to stand on its own. Obsessing me. Only those of you who have got into tea will understand what I mean by that.
So now, documenting my adventures with tea in Vancouver, is my new and quirky blog called Cha-Cha-Cha. If you have any tea loves, tea dislikes, tips, tricks, comments, oddities, you name it, please join me for tea at Cha-Cha-Cha (http://teavancouver.com) and add your news and views.
What I’ve discovered so far is that tea opens to the world. Based in Vancouver, I open to the whole world by looking to the culture of tea. This is a world of past and present, with histories both personal and global, both implied and explicit.
My black Necchi Nova BU is now running smoothly, thanks to Surinder Dutta of United Sewing Machine in Vancouver. The first zigzag machine ever in North America, this machine was made in Italy in the early 1950s. According to Surinder, it should run forever, with a little TLC.
I’ve been looking at video of Taylor Mac on YouTube – he’ll be performing at the Push festival here tomorrow and Wed. night. When we were in NY years ago we saw him at Fez – I was transfixed. The video doesn’t at all convey the raw open exposure that is his remarkable work.
The Pennsylvania Hotel finally has opened its doors – providing housing for 44 people needing homes in the DTES.
I took videos of the opening, posted them to Youtube and over to the Carrall Street Journal, so check them out.
By the way, I decided kept the Carrall Street Journal going after all. (Of course, now I have double postings – will have to sort that out soon.)
Angelic transformation. Snow on all black branches piled high. Slowly steadily tiny flakes fall in a continuous mist-like freefall. No cars on the road at 8:15. Morning blanketed quiet – streetlights show the falling snow.
No vision in the distance – cloud is touching the tops of the buildings. This is winter. Christmas eve.
Morning tea – orange dulce.
A snow shovel scrapes the sidewalk below. The little white walking man sign is like a snowman. The red don’t walk hand is like a fire. Once in a while a black bird flies through the snow, a bus goes by or stops, a person calls out to another. I hear my ears ringing in this exquisite quiet.
The street lights just went off. It is officially morning in the city now. A branch too heavy with snow bends just a little to spill large accumulations onto the street.
Inside the fire in the gas fireplace burns fuel from ancient lifetimes. The turtle climbs to his platform to bask in artificial light. Plants and stairways are decorated with tiny xmas lights. A candle that was burning on my table has secretly burned out when I wasn’t looking. I pour a bit of milk into my second cup of tea.
In front of me – white at the window.
Behind me – white at the window.
Even downtown in the built-up human-created world Nature now dominates. She whispers,”I am earth, I am your mother. I love and respect you. See now my power over you and your fancies.”
A white seagull swoops through the snow in an arc. Another large lump of snow falls off a heavy branch. A truck, a car, an amber light, red light, green light, snow man, fire hand.
I am enfolded in this enormous being.
A crow flies left to right then returns again. A gull lands on the top of the street light. Great sheets of snow fall from two branches at once, and I hear distant voices.
This morning is more quiet than any dream.
All the birds have awakened from somewhere, fly back and forth, stay perched on snow-covered wires above the trolley lines. A small black flock flies by, I see them through the upper window. Are they all looking for food, or just enjoying the human quiet, the lack of machine noise?
I sit closer to the window, and look down onto the street below. 8 people are standing under the awning across the street, holding coffee cups, shuffling from foot to foot to keep warm. The lights are on at the methadone clinic behind them. A police car stops at the light. Someone in the clinic has a santa hat on. Some of the folks have crossed the street and gone home -wherever home is and I do hope it is a home.
The big red and white Eagle West condo-building crane has become visible. The clouds must have lifted. More cars on the road, more people walking from place to place. The gull on the street light. The crow on the wire. The snow. The endless blessings quietly patiently and continuously drift down now from above. A woman does up the jacket of her friend in front of the clinic. I sit closer to the window, stop writing, and gaze at the snow.
Becoming a tea-lover, tea-freak, tea-lady, tea-connoisseur, you name it – I’m suddenly fascinated by all things tea. At first I thought I should have a tea blog, then decided to just include it in this blog along with all my other fascinations. But if you like tea too, then by all means let me know what you love, why you love it, how you brew it, how you do it.
As I dash this off, I’m sipping Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast tea – they call it ” a robust wide-awake blend of English Breakfast black teas.” I don’t know if it is that robust, actually, but I do love it – and I also appreciate their delicate fabric teabags.
Another favourite of mine, and I know this sounds very anti-elitist, is Kirkland green tea. Yes, Kirkland green tea with matcha, in tea bags from Costco. It has exactly the right combination and zap. I love it, especially at around 3 in the afternoon. Just what the doctor ordered! Clarity of mind? Absolutely. Delicious? Oh yes! But then, I may as yet have an undeveloped palate. For all I know, this Costco green tea might be dreck, even though I enjoy it.
That’s it for the day’s tea report, with this one exception: I met an old friend for tea on the weekend. We went to the beautiful Farfalla, here in Vancouver, and had some exquisite French Earl Grey tea. We’d almost selected a smoky Earl Grey, but once we caught its scent, we knew that it would be too campfire-tasting for us, and went instead for the floral Earl Grey. I know we weren’t supposed to have it with milk, but they gave it to us anyways. Delight!
And for fun, here’s another BFI video, this one on how to make the perfect cup of tea (in 1941, that is!)