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SUNDARA is sanskrit, meaning "beautiful" Here we talk about . . . "making life beautiful". . . YOgA, MeDITaTioN, HeaLInG spaces, SpIRitUaLiTy, InTuiTioN, PeaCe, JoY, LoVE - at HOME, and in daily LIFE !

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part of a grander plan

On the walks I take every day, I listen to songs that inspire me and this one has definitely been over played!  I’m the kind of person who keeps an open mind to signs and divine guidance, which keeps me in a place of believing in what is possible

I was walking along the road, noticing the cracks and how they lead toward the edge into the grass, the wild flowers blowing in the wind, tree branches reaching up to the sky, and how the whole scene winds around to somewhere I can’t yet see until I walk a little further. And while listening to this song, I thought about how there is a grander plan, and that God has blessed this broken road.

This moment filled me with gratitude for every relationship I’ve had, (siblings, friends, parents, lovers), for they have all made me who I am today, and led me to where I am now. Like northern stars, each one has been a guide. Then that thought created a gentler, forgiving version of the past, and a feeling of peace in my heart.

We don’t always see the signs, but like the song says, bless the road that might seem broken, for it is in this imperfection that a grander plan is coming true.

Aha moments! Oprah; a trip above the clouds

This year has been a year of shift for the world, and I had my own nudge from the universe; I took some time away from blogging to take inventory of my life and make changes, so I may relaunch my creative dreams. A few months ago I had the opportunity to see Oprah, in Hamilton, Ontario, and then wrote about that experience. This blog post captures Oprah’s theme and her quotes, and the message that she expressed to her Canadian fans. I have written it from my perspective, like as if the reader could be me, so I hope you enjoy the trip….

“I’m on edge of Glory and I’m hangin’ on a moment with you.

I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hangin’ on a moment of truth.”

The Lady Gaga b-e-a-t, Edge of Glory, infuses the atmosphere as we enter the coliseum. Women huddle together to take group pictures, giggling and laughing like spirit-soaked devotees. The vibration feeds my veins with adrenaline, and I’m feeling a slight vertigo as we ascend to our seats on the second balcony.

I’ve had a career in the film and television industry for over a decade, so I’ve experienced first-hand, many famous people. I believe I have a certain ability to be grounded and maintain perspective when it comes to celebrity. Still, I found myself hypnotized by the buzz in the building, pumped to see Oprah Winfrey in person, and be inspired perhaps to take away some words of wisdom. And that’s exactly what happened. Inspiration came streaming through, one life example after another, in true Oprah style of “aha” moments.

“Why are you here?” Oprah asks. Shifting in my seat, I observe, that I am one person, among some 15,000 now all in sync. “Aha” moments speak to inspire us all, but they impact each individual in the context of their own life. Oprah wants us to turn up the volume of our life, so loud that we will hear our calling speaking to us, and ignite our passion so to be about the business of doing it.

The only difference between you and a person of fame, she says, is that more people know her name.  And that her salary makes news headlines regularly. But Oprah has earned every salary as she rose to her position today, having her own network: OWN TV.

She cooks on the weekend. She doesn’t have to. But she wants to, because she enjoys it, along with a little merlot! So how did a girl from Mississippi, USA, journey from there to here, tonight, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada?  It’s rather an awesome thought, don’t you think?

Oprah has paid attention to why she’s here. “We’ve all been called. Your lesson is that you are here.” We all came the same way, (served up with a little humour).  Our job is to hear our calling. That thing, that voice in the quiet of our minds, when we’re not playing the roles that we play.

“I am a whisper on the breath of God. I am a human living within and through divine intelligence.”

When you’re in alignment with your purpose, you begin to notice the threads, which reveal the links in your life. It’s not one thing – it’s everything leading up to this moment. “Find the link that sows together the pattern of your life, and let it reveal the clues to your purpose.”

“Because the privilege of a life-time, is to be who you are. And after all, the fact is, you are here! You are HERE!” she says, as the entire audience surges into cheers. Yes, I am here. Without a doubt, we all have a story that has brought us to where we are today. Over a year ago a concussion created life-altering events, forcing me into resolving, choosing, taking inventory, letting go, the moment-by-moment adjusting of my emotional GPS, and now I begin each day with gratitude.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” Life’s trials, Oprah says, are sent to show you who you are. When life seemed surreal and I wasn’t sure how to get through, I can only say that there came a time where I learned to let go, and surrender; on my knees, sitting silent, or lying in any position possible that gave relief.

Oprah has BIG faith; she describes it like a sunrise. “It’s like that moment when we rise above the clouds.” Life’s common threads are what make us human. We all feel it, even famous people; sadness, grief, pain, love, joy. Out of a dark place of separation or loss, low self-esteem, tragedy – we’ve all been there.

“Let our deepest practice be gratitude.”

Riveted by Oprah Winfrey standing on stage, glancing at her familiar face on the big monitor, seated on the second balcony with fellow OWN Ambassadors, I felt grateful. In fact I was feeling entirely blissful, and my spirit was elevated. Was anyone feeling this too? (adjusting in my seat again) Was it vertigo?

I’m on the edge

the edge

the edge

the edge

And suddenly, I felt myself falling, metaphorically, induced by a wave of sweetness, drifting, as if the air became lighter. “These experiences we all have,” Oprah says, Nothing gets unused. The events that happen to you all hold energy – use it. Instead of letting it use you. ”Forgive yourself. “Forgiveness – (we all join in), is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”

My emotional free-fall was accompanied by Oprah’s narration of a beautiful poem, Love After Love, by Derek Walcott.

The time will come,

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the others’ welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

I hadn’t brought tissues.  Mock my words, or just believe it when I say: it was a moment. I loved listening to Oprah tell her story, and laugh, cry or sigh as I heard that inner “aha.”

We soar to these places above the clouds, and appreciate the moments of glory, all the more in knowing that we gained strength through our struggles and persevered. What’s your story? Why are you here?

(this story was published first at http://canadasownviewers.com/?p=1031)

Double Header Sunday at Chopra Yoga Centre

Summer YellowThese days in Toronto it’s a bit of a fashion crisis, figuring out what to wear when one day the temperature is 20° Celsius, and another day it dips to 6°. Today is a perfect cool-ish sunny Sunday,16° (feels like 10°), and I’m heading out to Chopra Yoga Toronto, to participate in one of their community events, in the hot yoga studio, where the temperature is set to 32° (feels like 32°).

In so far as Sunday’s go, I often take the day to disconnect from the grid, but remain connected with people, if you know what I mean. I don’t have a garden to tend, or perhaps my earthy side might be digging dirt, or planting flowers. Sometimes I go for a walk and find quiet places for contemplation or meditation.

Today, I’m called to a different kind of “double-header,” Power Vinyasa Foundationclass, followed by a guided Meditation. According to Deepak Chopra’s “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” today is the “Law of Pure Potentiality.”

“The source of all creation is pure consciousness … pure potentiality seeking creation from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realize that our true self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe. Pure potentiality is the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity.”  ~ Deepak Chopra

As I place my mat down, with all the essential accoutrements, I am aware of my belief that how we are on the mat is a reflection of our selves in the world. I give thanks that I’m here after a long hibernation period, and just in case, (I become overwhelmed or verklempt), I’ve brought plenty of water, a towel, bolster, and blocks for support. I am feeling vulnerable, but trust the process, and I know that even if I simply sit on the mat, there is power in support from the energy of the group.
Power Vinyasa Foundation is a slower practice, geared to beginners or anyone wanting to take more time to review the asanas. Ultimately, any level benefits from the intention to slow down and connect.

Here in this moment I surrender to spirit, and forget about any worries, relationships, the weather, other stuff, (over which I really have no control anyway), and focus on the mind-body connection instead. This reflective Sunday, my escape to engage pure potentiality, helps me lean into my body, noticing areas that need tending, not unlike gardening, watering a plant, or deepening roots.

After the class, there’s a break to enjoy some tea in the tea lounge, a little snack and some conversation. The event is hosted by “Lole” active wear for women, a Canadian clothing company which aspires to motivate well-being and peace. Besides being a clothing brand, Lole is committed to giving back to the community. This summer they’re taking their cause on tour, stopping in Toronto on June 22, 2013 (www.lolewomen.com/whiteyoga). Aptly named “The White Yoga Session” where everyone dresses symbolically in white, it is a practice dedicated to peace: “peace in motion.”

“The White Yoga Session represents us, creating space to come together and to share one message, one emotion, which is peace”  ~ Grace Dubery, (Yoga Instructor leadingthe #LoleWhite, Toronto)

Part two of the “double-header” is a meditation. Sitting comfortably, the warmth of the room and candlelight is soothing.  After the vinyasa class I can feel my body settling and more relaxed,

Leading the meditation is the Director of Chopra Yoga Toronto, Vivian Wong.

“You don’t have to have all the answers today, but take the time to ask the questions and they will manifest when the time is ready.”

“Who am I?

What do I want?

What does my body and soul need in order to be nourished?

What is my dharma? What is my purpose in life?

How can I serve those around me with my unique abilities?”

Focusing on the breath, the mantra we use is “so-hum.” I first learned about it from one of my favourite books written by Deepak Chopra, “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire,”  but he often explains the mantra in his teachings, as well as in the 21-Day Meditation practice, offered online 2-3 times throughout the year, (https://www.facebook.com/ChopraMeditation).  So-hum is the mantra of the breath; as you inhale, the vibration is “so” and as you exhale it is “hum.”

We focus on our breath, with eyes closed, inhaling (so) and exhaling (hum), where gradually our breath becomes very quiet. It’s ok if thoughts come into the mind, just observe them and let them go. Soon the breath is so quiet and the silence in the room is like a blanket, gently wrapping us with love. At some point I forgot I was sitting in a yoga room full of people, and yet I always notice a stronger vibration of relaxation when I meditate with a group. After about 15- 20 minutes we release the mantra and return our focus to the room, and feeling freer, lighter to carry on with the day. One thing I know forsure is that I always feel better after yoga, and after meditation, than when I arrived.

Pausing to let life catch up with you is nourishing to the soul… Yoga has always been an outlet, for me to connect with people, and to myself, turning inward. Since I’ve been away from the practice for a while, I was curious to hear about something new and different happening in the city. I have taken part in yoga fundraisers, yoga in the park, and yoga festivals before. There’s a kind of feel good, a la flash-mob, fun feeling about“The White Yoga Session,” and I’m down with that.

No matter how I look at it, there’s a sort of natural orchestration, being outdoors in the park, which appeals to everyone, whether you are participating in yoga or simply witnessing and enjoying the weather. Today, 24° (feels like 30°).

Related Links

For more information on The White Yoga session:

Twitter: @LoleWhite  www.lolewomen.com/whiteyoga

View upcoming events at Chopra Yoga:  www.choprayoga.com/Toronto www.facebook.com/ChopraYogaToronto   Twitter: @ChopraYogaTO

(article published first at

http://www.choprayoga.com/toronto/double-header-sunday/

 

 

meditation practice reveals and guides

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There are times when I fall out of regular meditation practice, and it’s mainly because life takes me that way. Certain things occur in my day-to-day experience which cause distraction. It could be stress from a job to a family situation or a change that is taking more of my energy. What flows naturally when I reach a tipping point, is a need to sit and get grounded again through meditation. However, that process did not always flow naturally. I enrolled in group meditation classes many years ago, (learning from an experienced teacher), and have always enjoyed participating in events where a community meditation takes place. I’ve spent time with a few friends where we met once a month to do a healing meditation, and I’ve attended yoga classes that focus on deeper meditation. In recent years I took a course in Primordial Sound Meditation from a Chopra certified instructor. I believe that meditation is helping me by guiding me, through conscious awareness; where I discover things that come to the surface, realizations and synchronistic events, after several days of consistent meditation. I highly recommend learning something about meditation if you are thinking you might like to try it – after all, knowledge is empowering.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Yoga Friendly | Top Five Tuesdays | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal

Its been a while since I posted anything, and after some time I feel inspired to begin again ! …why not start with an awesome entry about dedicated yoga spaces at home from YOGA JOURNAL !!!!   5 Ways to Make Your Home Yoga Friendly | Top Five Tuesdays | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal.

. . . follow your own voice, heart & intuition

I’ve been inspired to share this post from TED talks. . . with STEVE JOBS – you never know where life will take you, and you can’t really connect the dots going forward… you just have to trust and move forward…..and then in looking back, you can see how everything connected. So many things make sense to me as I look back… I can recall times when I knew in my gut but didn’t listen to it! At those crucial times life was telling me something…  so, “you’ve got to find what you love” and if you haven’t, then don’t give up, keep going, keep pursuing, be true to your heart ….

. . . making life beautiful !

April 2011   Starbucks, Yonge & St. Clair, Toronto Ontario “Spring Fling”  ART DISPLAY

Time sure flies  . . .  spring can’t come quick enough . . . I hear it’s going to be a nice, warm Sunday ? Well let’s hope the weatherman is right !  I’ve been hibernating over the winter, that’s about the gist of it, but the sun is shining and I gotta smile on my face…  I have a lot of new and fresh ideas to share, beginning with a new art show at the local Starbucks . . .

My art is a meditation, it transforms the space I’m in, so that it radiates higher frequency feelings, of happiness, brilliance, love abundance. From the fragrance of a flower, to the single passing moments in a breath, a glance, a thought, I am present and alive.

Spring is here and transforming the environment with brighter days, warmer temperatures, and ultimately, smiles – while we let go of the old, dark winter parts of our lives …

Come out to the Starbucks for a java and enjoy springtime on the walls !!!


meditation space ~ soul sanctuary . . .

Some time ago, I walked past a construction site in a cemetery, where they were building a new monument to house those family members, “resting in peace.” The overall square footage looked approximately the size of a small studio or maybe a nice kitchen, depending on the size of your house.

The church down the street has a sign outside, “Open for Prayer and Meditation;” the yoga studio around the corner challenges you to “reconstruct your body, mind and spirit;” the day spa across the street offers “pure bliss” for sixty minutes of relaxation.

Meditation spaces are more than just naming rooms. They involve transforming vibrations of a space dedicated to the purpose of creative activity such as music, dance, yoga, art, prayer or meditation. The space is a separate room or a simple space that allows you to quiet your mind and detach from external influences.

A meditation space may consist of objects from your travels, calming colours and soft seating, a water feature, plants, natural fibers, crystals, Tibetan singing/toning bowls, deep chimes and perhaps a native drum or two, (but, no particular religious influence is necessary). A sound system could be as simple as a few speakers, or a high-tech surround-sound of birds in nature.

“A building is no more a Temple unless you are aware of its environment,”  (Tibetan monk). We can transform the energy of a space through, sound vibration, multiphonic chanting, dynamic movement, and an awareness of the elements of balance, truth, harmony and liberation from “ego syndrome.” Beautifying an environment, releasing negative energy, represents a progression to deeper levels and implications of spiritual experience.

In a quest for well-being, meditation spaces promote beautiful healing and inspire positive attitudes toward life. In certain parts of the world, (such as the Himalayas, Sedona, Machu Picchu, Lourdes), discoveries of energy vortexes cause a shift in one’s body and psyche, leaving one feeling uplifted and energized. Research shows that time spent at a destination spa, a retreat, or holiday, helps to deepen our awareness and takes us away from the mundane of regular life, yet when we return home, unless we know how to maintain it, that feeling slowly fades.

Meditation spaces are like a sanctuary for the soul; an expression of self, that nurtures body, mind and spirit . A dedicated space in your home can provide a very successful, enjoyable experience for maintaining good vibrations.

 

pay it forward . . . NOW

All Together NOW Fundraiser in Toronto!!!!

All Together NOW is the first city-wide fundraiser of its kind to be held in the GTA, possibly in Canada! It’s tomorrow!!!  Sunday, it is not too late to join in!

Click here to see participating locations >>>>>>    http://now4youth.org/events/all_together_now/

Sunday October 17, 2010  – THAT’S in less than 24 hrs!!!   For the past year I have been volunteering as a Recruitment Committee member for NOW4Youth. It has been a rewarding experience to meet with the team each month, and more often than that as we went through the process of letting the community know about the training opportunity for youth, and then interviewing all the applicants.

The Yoga Fundraiser, is just one of the events created by NOW4Youth, to raise funds so we can provide this opportunity and introduce new courses to youth “at risk” who kinda need a little help…. and it’s just the most awesome feeling to see them shine, and take on a new direction in life !!!

PLEASE help me as I do a 2 hour YOGA CLASS in support of the NOW4 Youth programs !!!

MY LINK https://donationrelay.com/NOW4Youth/AllTogetherNOW/donate/index.php?sec=cl&cid=842



… finding compassion

Quoting Marianne Williamson: “Deeply grateful about the Chilean miners rescue operation going so well. Cried like everyone else as I watched men arriving on the surface. At the same time, I marvel with sorrow at how 33 men trapped in a mine can inspire such compassionate action from the entire world, while 17,000 children starving every day gets a sort of “Too bad, but what can you do….?” attitude in comparison.”

I feel compelled to republish this quote by Marianne Williamson, and give my response to it, as it provokes in me very deep feelings. I for one, am not who I am today without faith, hope, trials, loss and love. . .

. . . saving the 33 Chilean men is an amazing victory of hope and compassion -“in comparison” 17,000 starving children feels overwhelming -perhaps we can build a stronger foundation for saving the children by taking on a perspective of helping “33 children at a time” ?? – that feels more manageable, and clearly it is possible. Also, not to be too comparative, (and not to be too religious, because I follow more of a spiritual nature), but 33 is the age that Christ died on the cross and rose again –

An astrological explanation is well made by astrologer Phil Booth, of Toronto, who explains the series of harsh alignments at the time of the mine collapse, and where the alignments are now: http://boothstars.com

This is a great time to tend to our own deepest fears, and create compassion in our own lives as well… and to rise above to the light of our own lives, and our own dreams …

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