February 2018 - Valentines Day & The Power of Love

Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

February! It's a month to celebrate love in all it's forms

It's easy to think of Valentines Day as a celebration of romantic love, but really, if you look past all the greeting card, jewelry and candy advertising, how lovely and powerful to have a holiday to celebrate love- not just romantic love, but love in all it's forms - self-love, compassion for all beings, unconditional love, universal love, love as a force or an energy that we can tap into and share, love of community like Martin Luther King Jr's Beloved Community.

I invite you this month to look beyond the superficial aspects of this holiday, to spend some time exploring the deeper aspects, possibilities and power of love to change and enrich your life, the lives of family and friends and your community. It all begins with you. The world needs your love!

Here are few jumping off points:

INSPIRATION

Love after Love
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 other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
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.
       Derek Walcott

All love and compassion begins with self-love and self-compassion and this poem is a great inspiration. Take some time this Valentines Day to honor and deepen your own relationship with yourself. Practicing yoga & meditation is really just a process of befriending yourself. You can use yoga & meditation practice as an inquiry into Self-Compassion and Non-Judgement, maybe paying attention to your internal dialogue and making an effort to drop the judgement and be more compassionate and friendly with yourself. While self-love is something we can practice and cultivate in our lives, Yoga teaches us that Love is also our true nature and birth-right.

PRACTICE

Guided Metta (Lovingkindness) Meditation - This guided meditation is just 20 minutes and it is designed to cultivate first self-compassion and then allowing that circle of compassion to expand out, eventually to all beings everywhere.
 

give yourself the gift of self-care....

Join me for:

Yoga Nidra for Self-Care & Compassion

Sunday, Feb. 11

at Westford Pilates
288 Littleton Rd #16
Westford MA

5:00 6-:15 PM
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep. This deeply restful and restorative practice has ancient roots in the Yoga Tradition and yet is perfect for helping us to unplug from the distraction, busyness and stress of living in our modern world. As you untangle the knots of physical, mental and emotional tensions your natural state of love and peace rises up the your state of deep presence. Learn More...

RESOURCES

*Sharon Salzberg's new book Real Love : The Art of Mindful Connection shows us how to redfine our limited definition of love and offers numerous mindfulness experiences and meditations.

Real Love : The Art of Mindful Connection By Sharon Salzberg

*Brene Brown's Book The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embracing Who You Are offers guideposts for living wholeheartedly with a sense of worthiness.

The Gifts of Imperfection

*Inspired by the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the essence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and work was LOVE and nowhere is it more obvious than in his teaching on the beloved community. Enjoy this On Being Podcast with John Lewis......

https://onbeing.org/blog/we-are-the-beloved-community-john-lewis/

Hope to see you on the mat soon.

Much love,

Marie

 

You Belong

belonging is who you are......

belonging is who you are......

Wildflowers

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free

Run away, find you a lover
Go away somewhere all bright and new
I have seen no other
Who compares with you

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free

Run away, go find a lover
Run away, let your heart be your guide
You deserve the deepest of cover
You belong in that home by and by

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries
You belong somewhere you feel free
You belong somewhere you feel free
                                     ~Tom Petty

 

In honor of Tom Petty I thought I'd share the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite songs. You may have heard this in class before, it's on couple of my playlists. When I was going through one the lowest points in my life I would sing this song to myself. It was part metta(lovingkindness) meditation, part prayer and part pep talk. And just like a metta meditation, a prayer and a pep talk it help me to settle my mind, to open my heart and to carry on. So, a deep bow and many thanks to Tom Petty.
I didn't realize until many years later that the most powerful words in this song are 'You Belong.' Is there anything more painful or heartbreaking than feeling like we don't belong? One of the greatest gifts of a yoga and meditation practice is the dawning of the recognition that we belong, period. It's a crazy paradox that we can spend so much time and energy trying to fit in, trying to please people, striving for acceptance, approval & belonging, when the only way to true belonging is let go of all that striving. The truth is that belonging is not something that is bestowed upon us from the outside or something we need to earn or achieve. It is a realization that comes from within, from self-inquiry, self-acceptance and self-love. Belonging is who we are. It is a deep knowing that we are not separate and alone. We are connected to all that is.  Through the practices and teachings of yoga & meditation we learn to let go of all that striving for belonging in the outer world, which is the only way to learn to rest into our natural state that is always belonging, period.
Take a moment to listen to Wildflowers and feel free to sing along and make it a meditation, a prayer, a pep-talk or a matra ~ You belong!