Align With Your Why
When we think about what we really want, we don’t always consider what we’re willing to endure to make it happen. In fact, the seemingly insurmountable challenges that inevitably arise along the way force us to prove our commitment to the path. Life likes to test our resolve. If the why behind our efforts is not compelling enough, we might not find the strength to see it through.
The Space to Feel
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines asana, or posture, as both steady and easeful. The third step on the eightfold path towards Self-realization, sutra 2.46 originally described the seat for meditation; it should provide a structure to support the practice, but should also be comfortable so as not to contribute to the mind’s penchant for distraction. Within the context of modern yoga, sthira sukham asanam applies to the full spectrum of postures and invites the practitioner to find a balance between effort and ease.
Isn’t it funny (and sad) how certain rituals that once shaped who we were and how we saw the world can completely disappear from our lives? I used to paint. I worked mainly with oil, but I also loved watercolor, charcoal and pastels. I didn’t make a lot of original art; painting was really a form of meditation and relaxation for me more so than an outlet for self-expression. I liked to copy photographs (which I guess, through my eyes, was original art) or the works of other artists. Even if I was just doodling on a scrap piece of paper, art consumed my soul. My creativity has expanded in different ways over the years—cooking, arranging flowers, and creating my home have taken the place of my paintbrush, but I have to admit, I miss making art.
Blackberry Farm Retreat
I recently had the sincere pleasure of leading a yoga retreat at a very special place with some very special people. From the moment I stepped foot on Blackberry Farm I thought I had died and gone to heaven — if heaven had a 160,000 bottle wine collection and bred its own Italian truffle hunting dogs to sniff out what would later be shaved onto your dinner plate, which I’m pretty sure it does.
So like I said, heaven.
There were so many things I loved about Blackberry Farm — that the obvious focus on luxury was never ostentatious, but rather an expression of understated simplicity; that the sprawling 4,200 acre property felt untouched, almost wild, despite its quiet paths and endless miles of white fence; that the food was beyond words, although I will try my best to do it justice. What I really loved, though, were the people. Much like my beloved Jungle Bay in Dominica, the people who work at Blackberry Farm seem like they’re part of one big family. Each member of the staff, from the waiters to the farmers to the artisans, treat Blackberry Farm as if it were their own property; they each display a genuine joy in welcoming you into what feels like their home. This is rare, and it’s what makes Blackberry Farm so special. You feel like you’re a part of the family.
Rodney Yee defines discipline as being a disciple of something. His teacher, Ramanand Patel, says that the traditional idea of discipline is an imposition on the mind, arguing that it’s impossible to force the mind to do anything. “If you want proof, close your eyes and don’t think of a black cat!” Ramanand suggests that rather than trying to be disciplined, we should devote ourselves to something meaningful.