The Two Kinds of Darkness

This epic super moon eclipse on the vernal equinox has me thinking about darkness. This is what I’ve been thinking: There are two main flavors of darkness in our life. Because its easier to see what happening in the world outside us, rather than the world inside us (although I think they are the same), I’ll use meteorological metaphors to…

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Receiving Gratitude

This November, it seems like all of my Facebook friends are writing gratitude lists: every single day, expressing appreciation for everything they have, from nice weather to tasty dinners. My reactions range from a light smiles to subtle groans: “Oprah wins again.” My mind is so screwed up that I feel guilted into gratitude practice: “I should remember what I have more. I should appreciate the…

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The Veil is Thin

This time of year, we sometimes say “the veil is thin” — the division between the waking world and the sleeping world, the conscious and unconscious, the embodied and transcended.  Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) gives us a chance to remind ourself that we’re all just dressed up in costumes and masks all the time.  My teacher Mitchel Bleier once suggested that…

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Die in a Fire: Kali, Full Moons, and Transformations

“Go die in a fire.” It’s one of my favorite off-the-cuff, half-joking missives. I try not to use them so much anymore, especially in mixed company, but my Edward Gorey-loving self still holds on tight to those passive aggressive idioms. This morning was a “blood moon eclipse” – which even if you aren’t superstitious sounds pretty foreboding.  According to astrology experts…

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Never Without Fear

One of the more common mudras in the yoga tradition is the Abhaya mudra.  Bhaya is often translated as fear, and a- is the negative modifier, so the abhaya means literally “No Fear.”  The gesture means “be not afraid,” or “have no fear.” It’s a welcoming, inviting mudra, and we often see the murtis (statues of hindu gods) with one of…

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Into the Bhav: Bhakti Fest Day 1

The sun wakes me for Day 1 of Bhakti Fest. My bed is positioned perfectly for the sunrise glow to gently wake me — which I love.  One step out of bed says the pain in my knee from yesterday is not temporary.  As my teacher Heide says at home: if the pain lasts for an hour after your practice, it’s probably okay….

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The Transition

The transition from Mardi Gras to Lent is always a tough one. Yet, I see it as a microcosm of life in New Orleans — and life in general,  but everything in New Orleans seems to be distilled. Someone once described New Orleans to me as a city of Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. It’s a city full of intense…

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The Greatest Love Affair You’ll Ever Have

It’s February.  So we’re going on the obligatory love story trip.  But instead of getting stuck in the commercialism of Valentine’s Day that reinforces everything we lack, lets turn the paradigm on its head.  Let’s look at the life-long love affair that each of us can develop: the one with ourselves. Before you throw up in your mouth a little,…

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Everyday Gods and Goddesses

Things are a little crazy down here in New Orleans. We are hosting one of the biggest parties in the U.S. just a week before Mardi Gras, the other biggest party in the U.S.  Everything is a little out of control.  And now the tourists are coming. And this party is here to watch two teams of grown men aggress…

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Sankalpa

So after a month of teaching, I’m going to finally offer an explanation of Sankalpa — feel free to comment below where I err.