Friday, September 28, 2007

Power Animals! Who'd A Thunk It?

I have been a creature lover since... the beginning of time! I love all creatures except for mosquitoes (sorry mosquitoes!). Once, when I was very young, I was strolling down the street with my family in Provincetown, MA when suddenly they realized I was no longer walking with them. (In those days this was not quite as alarming as it would be today.) My family backtracked and found me in a biker-y bar hugging a Great Dane. I saw him and just walked right in and latched on without so much as backwards glance! Also, I have always talked to creatures. Not like an animal communicator, I just talk to them. I like to think they get the drift but, if nothing more, I suppose that they feel my respect and love. It is my wish that every creature feel these things. Anyway, as usual, I digress and digress and...

If you've followed either of my blogs you will note that eagles come up quite often. I have a whole mess of em living near me and flyin' around above me. I see them pretty much every day now. I find that I actually feel incredibly strong feelings of love, gratitude, peace and joy when I see them. I also feel power surging through my being. Not wild raw power but what I can only describe as graceful liquid power. Often times I will see them when I am doing my yoga practice on the grass and it's like drinking a power drink. Seriously. I am not certain if my words do the experience justice. Alas! I only have my words to convey my feelings!

So, the other day several eagles came flying across the lake and I stopped to gaze upon their glory. I was pondering my infatuation with these majestic creatures and it occurred to me that eagles really and truly are my power animal! My mom had a boutique for many years that sold Native American art and 'stuff' and I've read plenty of books that include references to and stories about such things, so power animals are not a new concept for me. However, until I had this experience I honestly never really understood how real they actually are. I do indeed get power from seeing them. Whether they are 30 feet away or a mile I get the same intense jolt every single time I see them. It's very difficult to take my eyes away from them. Now, as much as I love creatures, I've never had this reaction before. I mentioned my revelation to my dad and he said that this had occurred to him as well.

Lately I see eagles almost everywhere I go, so far, in about a sixty mile radius. I see them pretty much every time I drive. Two or three times I've had one pause for like five to ten seconds directly above my head. They truly are masters of the wind! Sometimes they fly through the yard only twelve feet or so off the ground which is very cool. Finally, I'm sure this is not as fascinating for y'all as for me, one time I had one land on a tree close by. Amazingly I'd remembered my camera, which I grabbed and walked as closely as I could get to him/her (there was a fence between us). I talked to the beauty and snapped photos for about ten minutes. (That's him/her to the right.) I figured that eagles must be making some kind of a massive comeback but I looked online and so far I've found no information supporting an eagle boom.

I decided to write a little something about my experience so I jumped online and googled power animals and found a lot of interesting info. My favorite site is Shamanism ~ Working With Animal Spirits Core. They have a list of animals and their particular wisdom. It's a beautiful site and quite informative as well. Here is what the site says about Bald Eagle;

Bald Eagle's Wisdom Includes:

It's pretty cool. I actually do have really keen sight. When I go to the eye doctor they tell me to read until I can't read anymore and then they always stop me and tell me to stop showing off! I've been told my insight ain't too bad either! And as for the rest of the list, well, I definitely have the capacity for all of them and I would certainly like to cultivate those qualities and fully realize and embrace their potential in myself! What a truly wonderful life!

Through my further research on the subject I found out that we may have several power animals looking out for us and they can change over time. When we disconnect from one we may form a new bond with a new friend! I remembered having feelings similar to my eagle 'infatuation' with Pelicans, oddly enough! And at that time a Pelican landed about a foot away from me and just sat there for about ten minutes. I felt so incredibly privileged but I did not consider the possibility that he was a messenger or helper. Duh! So, today, I clicked on Pelican and here's what it said;

Pelican's Wisdom Includes:

I was going through a very difficult time with my (now) ex-husband when Pelican came to call. We were having some money troubles and I was beginning to see that he had some very serious personality issues that I'd not realized before. It's hard to explain but when I read this list the whole Pelican experience made sense to me. I still love Pelicans and I hope that they will always be here to help me out! So there you have it, gang, power animals are very real... So if you see a creature and have a strong emotional response, check out Shamanism ~ Working With Animal Spirits Core. They might have something very interesting to convey!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Transcendental Ornamentation!

The other day I went to the Harvest Festival at Bethel Woods (at the site of the Woodstock Concert) and there was a lovely woman with a very cool tent giving henna tattoos. Michelle Dawson is the artist of this beautiful tattoo'd hand, her card reads Henna Body Art by Michelle. She offers private appointments as well as parties and special events. In India women get henna tattoos for their wedding and it's soooooooo beautiful! If I get married again I think I will give Michelle a call! Check her out, she's a very cool woman!

Early in my teens, as well as off and on in later years, I worked in a record/paraphanalia /punk clothing and accessories store in Montpelier, Vermont. The store, Buch Spieler, is still there. The owner, Fred Wilbur, remains to this day my absolute favorite boss of all time. I could write several posts about my times at Buch Spieler. So, anyway, most of my friends at the time were either 'punks' or 'hippies' and I was probably somewhere in between but I was always a little too fashionable to be considered either. (I've always loved fashion.) Many of my friends got tattoos and piercings but I never had the desire to do either, beyond the three holes in each of my ears which I'd already had for several years. I've always loved body art but it just was not something I wanted for myself as a teen.

Then suddenly in my mid twenties I had the desire to get an Om tattoo. I was living in an ashram at the time and the idea would just not leave my head. I sat on the desire for about six months to make sure that it wasn't simply a passing fancy. When I was certain that I would not change my mind I asked an artist friend of mine to design my tattoo for me. He searched in books for inspiration but nothing was jumping out at him. Finally, one evening we were talking on the phone and for no particular reason I casually picked a book up off of my bookshelf. It was an old chanting book that I had not used in years. As I picked it up a small gift card fell out. It was a card from a gift that my spiritual teacher had given me when I was about twelve years old. My spiritual name, Nitya, was hand written on the front and at the end of the 'a' an Om was drawn with great flourish. I had never noticed the om before! I could think of no better inspiration, so I rushed over to my friend's apartment and showed him the card. I got my tattoo shortly after in Woodstock, NY at Pat's Tats.

I have never regretted getting my tattoo and I have been ruminating on another for several years now. I have a design that I actually created for that came from a tattoo I had wanted to get. I had given up on the idea because I couldn't find the right design. Until, one day, I stepped back from the design I had done and realized I'd drawn it myself! I hadn't thought before that I could draw something so detailed... Eventually I will get my Phoenix/Feng Huang! (You can see the design in the August post "Aaah! The Power of Wisdom and Intention".)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Need A Boost?

I was feelin' a tiny tad blue this morning... no big thang, it happens. Anyway, I turned on my computer and opened a photo that my brother had sent me yesterday. The photo is of me and my nephew, Sundar. It boosted me right up! I am incredibly blessed with a wonderful family and superfantastic friends. When I think about it I feel such beautiful gratitude and joy naturally ensues. So... No more blues! Gratitude works everytime, without exception.

Another favorite mood booster of mine is Coldplay mixed with nature. I put on my iPod, cue up Speed of Sound from Coldplay, go outside, sit down on the grass and look up. Luckily for me I have about seven eagles nesting near my house. If I sit tight for a wee bit o' time I usually get the awe inspiring experience of an eagle or three soaring above me. Once I had the good fortune of having one land in a tree next to me. I adore eagles. I never knew this until I saw them in 'person'. So go outside and look up! Who knows what you might see?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Feelin' Groovy!

Yesterday I was waiting in line at a pharmacy with my dad. There was a woman at the register apologizing for taking so long because she was paying with cash. She reminded me of a commercial on television that I do not like. It is the exact same situation. Everyone is moving like robots quickly and efficiently in a line to pay for... whatever. Suddenly one person dares to search in their wallet for some cash and everyone stops and glares at them as though the inconvenience of waiting twenty extra seconds was just unbearable! Someone please tell me that I am not the only person to find this ad disturbing. So yesterday, as on many occasions, when the woman apologized for holding all of us up I told her that it was okay, that we were not in a hurry and to please take her time. Every time I remember this and tell people this I feel so good. As my dad and I left the pharmacy I sang out loud some of the words to 'Feelin' Groovy'.
"Slow down, your movin' too fast. You gotta make the morning last now! Kickin' down the cobble stones.Dah dah dah, daah dah dah daah, feelin' groovy!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finding My Inner Yogini

I had my first Hatha Yoga experience somewhere around the age of eleven or twelve. I was visiting my father at the ashram where he was living. My cousin had introduced him to her Guru and he never looked back. From that time on he lived primarily in ashrams, in the United States as well as in India. Slowly family members began following his lead and soon my entire family were living at the ashram. The clothing in the ashram was extremely modest in those days, the Hatha Yoga teacher would wear a floor length skirt and a long sleeved blouse and the demonstrator usually wore a punjabi. I remember most clearly the guided savasana and the powerful effect that her words had on my body. I actually still use several of that teacher's phrases in my own relaxation. I can still hear her soft reassuring voice in my head as I guide myself into Savasana.

I have spent most of my life traveling and moving around, first with my family and then on my own. The longest time that I've spent living in an ashram was a little over two and a half years, I am the exception in my family. Anyway, it was during that particular time that I trained to be a Hatha Yoga teacher. For a brief period I taught my own classes but I preferred giving private lessons and adjusting for other teachers' classes. I do not really enjoy public speaking and simply feel more comfortable working one on one with people. At that time I was living in India and the rooms the teachers were given to practice in were in a beautiful small house surrounded by Plumeria trees. If you are unfamiliar with Plumeria trees they are flowering trees and the blooms are gorgeous and fragrant! It was a heavenly experience to be sure!

At that time I had a truly fantastic and wonderfully motivating teacher. His depth of understanding the body and the postures as well as his conveyance of that knowledge into his students' bodies is truly phenomenal. He has his own school now and I could not be happier or more grateful to have worked with him. Digressing! Since then I have moved numerous times and arisen from many an ash pile as the Phoenix reborn! Hatha Yoga pops in and out of my life like a good old friend that doesn't need constant attention to stay close to my heart. Also my old teacher's voice has never left my head. His words and his principles were so firmly planted in my body that every time I practice, if I focus, my body practically self adjusts!

About a year and a half ago I began to recreate myself yet again! I started keeping a gratitude journal, taking better care of my body and mind and meditating regularly again. I also started playing with my dog as a form of exercise which I highly recommend. After awhile playing with my dog opened out into really just spontaneous playing. I started skipping around and doing cartwheels and somersaults, like a young girl! In the winter, my precious pup and I would tumble and roll around in the snow. I learned that I could actually enjoy cold weather, which I never had before. It was amazing and inspiring and it helped me to open up my heart to my own self! Wah!

Finally this Spring I was playing with the dogs outside when suddenly I just felt like breakin' into Surya Namaskar... so I did. Now I do my yoga practice outside, right on the grass, nearly every day and I have never enjoyed Hatha Yoga more. At 39 I feel more connected to my body, the postures and the shakti than I have ever felt before. I am also stronger and more flexible than I've ever been and people tell me I look fantastic, which isn't neccessary but it certainly feels good. Through the ebb and flow of my ever-changing life, I will always have Hatha Yoga to come home to. I've found my inner yogini this summer and though it's likely that she will disappear again I know she'll always be there when I truly need her. Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jai!