embodied practice: alice walker quote

 

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Celebrating the power of sangha and all who commit to the practice of:

Showing up for ourselves so that we may be present and available in heart and mind to show up for others.

Speaking our truth.

Listening with open hearts.

To be in the presence of such companions is fuel + balm for the soul!

May we seek and be blessed with the gift of wise companions!

May we learn to be a good spiritual friend to others!

 

 

 

my sunday kind of love!

my sundays are extra sweet because of the sacred time i spend in the full embrace of sangha.

the nourishment i receive from “listening to each other listen” sustains me at the cellular level. today, we contemplated the practice of Beginning Anew to honor the lunar new year as well as the seasonal mid-winter shift which heralds the return of the sun. we basked in that energizing and healing light and began to see ourselves clearly — our tender places and tight knots (samyojana) to which we offered loving and patient awareness and the spaciousness of breath so that those gnarly fetters may loosen, unfold, and be transformed. we watered flowers by celebrating our commitment to showing up, paying attention, telling the truth, learning to abide in the process rather than being attached to outcome, and trusting our capacity to begin anew again and again.

 

“self-love is the foundation for your capacity to love the other person.”

this day is all the more precious for my family because we celebrated my husband’s birthday with gifts from heart and hand: a card, my first attempt at scratch-made brownies (so yummy i had to get them out of the house and share them with the rest of our family), a trip to the local sledding hill (where, by the way, we both played as children), and an amazing dinner (i won’t taunt you, as i did my sisters, with that mouth-watering plate!) that i whipped up.

as thây’s quote above reminds us, tending to our well-being is crucial. when we practice cultivating love and kindness for ourselves, it fortifies us to be present and available for our beloveds…not just on “valentine’s day” or special occasions but each and every day.

Happy Buddhist New Year!

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On Sunday, February 14, 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha will enjoy the mindfulness practice of Beginning Anew in celebration of the lunar new year.

Join us in cultivating authenticity and accountability as we shine the light (to see, understand, and transform unskillfulness) and water flowers (to honor our gifts, talents, and contributions) on our spiritual aspirations.

11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue, in Lansing.

for us + spirit

under a dark moon
we gave ourselves the gifts of Time and Space
— an immersion in the experience of self

from the nothingness arose storm and shadow

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with steadied hearts and swords unsheathed
we eased forward

pulled away the veil of disappointments,
longing, fear 
and peered into sorrow
until pinholes of hope pricked tears from our eyes

on the other side of this pilgrimage
into being and unknowing

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a
soundless
luminous
expanse

we broke free

 

 ❤ to my sis-in-spirit
{through her eyes: moon.flower.medicine.}

Winter Immersion: February + March Study Schedule

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To “blow the dust” from each other’s eyes as we walk the path of love and understanding is indeed the suchness of sangha!

Join in the practice of seeing clearly and listening deeply to foster compassion, wholeness, and safety through these important and often difficult explorations into matters of inclusion, freedom, belonging, and healing.

Study Schedule

February 14th ~ Beginning Anew : A Mindfulness Practice in Celebration of the Buddhist Lunar New Year

February 21st ~ Toward Wholeness: Inclusion + Freedom + Belonging [Part I]

February 28th ~ Toward Wholeness: Inclusion + Freedom + Belonging [Part II]

March 6th ~ Toward Wholeness: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part I]

March 13th ~ Toward Wholenes: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part II]

March 20th ~ Toward Wholeness: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part III]

Recommended Group Readings

Check frequently for updates to this list!

Buddhist Peace Fellowship:

Gender Dysphoria and The Dharma

White Privilege + the Mindfulness Movement

 

Everyday Feminism:

9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist + More Accessible

I’m Not a Person with a Disability. I’m a Disabled Person.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel:

I Can Breathe: A Meditation Surviving Acts of Hatred

The Way of Tenderness

Relevant Magazine:

4 Misconceptions About Mental Illness + Faith

How Church Can Lead Racial Reconciliation

Why Are Sunday Mornings Still So Segregated

The Body Is Not An Apology:

Did You Do Any of These 6 Activities Today? Then You Have Class Privilege

Lucky To Be Alive: The Everyday Ways We Tell People with Disabilities They Should Not Be Here

Nobody Bothers To Ask: The Challenges of Being Sexual in disabled/trans/genderqueer/etc..Body

angel Kyodo williams:

Social Justice + Buddhism

Tim Wise:

Fighting the Normalization of Inequality 

Larry Yang: 

Directing The Mind Towards Practices in Diversity

Remembering What It Means To Be Gay

Toward A Multicultural Buddhist Practice

Winter Immersion [1/24]: Faith + Discernment

“For faith to be alive and to deepen we need to use our power to inquire, to wonder, to explore our experience to see what is true for ourselves. This requires us to approach life with an inquisitive, eager, self-confident capacity to probe and question. It requires us to examine where we place our faith, and why, to see if it makes us more aware and loving people.

To develop VERIFIED FAITH* we need to open to the messiness, the discordance, the ambivalence, and, above all, the vital life-force of questioning.

If we don’t, our faith can wither. If we don’t, our faith will always remain in the hands of someone else, as something we borrow or abjure, but not as something we can claim fully as our own.”

~ Sharon Salzberg, “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”
[*emphasis mine]

THE DHARMA FOR REAL

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sarasvati + durga (a card i received from a friend last fall)

It’s been a tough season for so many of us navigating illness, loss, uncertainty, and atrocious acts of injustice that get closer and closer to home. Anger, fear and doubt easily arise. It presses on the soul and depletes our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.

So grateful to many, many loved ones who bolster me with laughter, inspiration, and perspective. Offering special appreciation to a dear friend + interspiritual minister, Holly Makimaa, for immediately suggesting and sharing her copy of Salzberg’s book on faith when I spoke with her about sangha’s study and practice of the 5 Spiritual Faculties.

FAITH (Pali: “Saddha” with TRUST or CONFIDENCE offered as surrogates for those who are less comfortable with the deeply religious connotations of faith) can feel the heaviest and most complicated — as frustrating and elusive as any attempt to meditate when the mind feels restless and foggy!

Last Sunday, we contemplated CONCENTRATION + DILIGENCE with a fresh understanding that the root meaning of the latter is “love, take delight in.”

Calling on the energy of delight how might we “brighten” and “verify” faith (a trajectory that Salzberg delineates in her book) and sharpen discernment through our practice of mindfulness?

Join us this Sunday, 11 – 12:30 PM, at Heartdance Studio for 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha’s final dharma discussion on the 5 Spiritual Faculties as we explore the relationship between DISCERNMENT + FAITH.

NEXT PRACTICE: February 14th ~ “Beginning Anew” to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
RSVP on Facebook ~ 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha | Winter Immersion

#WholyHappyHour: Winter Immersion Series

In 2016, we’ll extend our studies, expand our rich conversations, and immerse ourselves in engaged and embodied spiritual practices with three gatherings each month until Spring.

Schedule:

January 10th, 17th, 24th ~ 5 Spiritual Faculties: Trust, Discernment, Mindfulness, Concentration, Diligence

February 14th ~ Beginning Anew (Buddhist New Year Practice)

February 21st + 28th ~ Mindfulness, Inclusion + Wholeness
**Recommended Group Reading: Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s “The Way of Tenderness”**

March 6th, 13th, 20th ~ Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality
**Group Reading Continued: Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s “The Way of Tenderness”**

#WholyHappyHour [Sunday, 10/25]: “Holding Space” + Cultivating Skillful Communication

This Sunday at Heartdance Studio, we’ll continue our month-long discussion of “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another” by looking deeply into the practices of Loving Speech + Deep Listening as the grounds for building skillful understanding, trust, authenticity, compassion and accountability.

ON THE HORIZON:

Nov 1st | 11 AM – 1:00 PM ~ Inviting Mindfulness: Reconciling with the Body at Just B Yoga.

Nov 8th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 15th | 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM ~ Conscious + Fit: Building Body Awareness at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 22nd | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

 

#WholyHappyHour [Sunday, 10/11]: “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another”

After a wonderful season of Walking The Labyrinth, I am excited to delve into the deep inquiry and rich discussions that follow our sitting practice.

This Sunday at Heartdance Studio, we’ll explore “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another” and share our curiosities, concerns and insights about cultivating community through spiritual practice. #GoodSpiritualFriends

We will also have in attendance a researcher from The Religious Soundmap Project at MSU who will record the practice as part of a collaborative effort “to demonstrate the diversity of religious beliefs and practices” in our region.

MORE THIS WEEK:

Oct 7th | 7 – 9 PM ~ I’ll lead the dharma discussion at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community on the Second Mindfulness Training – TRUE HAPPINESS.

ON THE HORIZON:

Oct 25th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 1st | 11 AM – 1:00 PM ~ Inviting Mindfulness: Reconciling with the Body at Just B Yoga.

embodied practice: Zenju’s Meditation on Surviving Acts of Hatred

In the wake of the Charleston massacre, I led a dharma discussion for my sangha, Lansing Area Mindfulness Community, on being ‪‎good spiritual friends‬ and reflected on ways we can take care of ourselves and one another in the face of racism, bias, and injustice. I shared passages from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s book, The Way of Tenderness, which I had been studying since its release last winter, and invited all to deeply penetrate the body as nature:

“Seeing body as nature is to directly see form
as nature, as of the earth.

It is to see the pure form of life without the distortions…
Rage springs up when certain embodied forms of life–blackness, queerness, and so on
–are not recognized and honored as part of nature.”

Once again, Zenju offers healing wisdom through an embodied practice of breathing. I hope you will share this far and wide with others who are seeking to reconcile with and find refuge within the body…as nature, as home:

“May the great light of this Earth surround me,
May I be released from past harm and imposed hatred.
May I come to recognize my existence in the true nature of life.
May I come back to this breath, to this body,
as the sacred place in which I remain awake

and connected to the fragrance and taste of liberation.”

May our healing continue…

Read Zenju’s full post here:  I Can Breathe: A Meditation on Surviving Acts of Hatred