The Pause

You know that feeling when you’re in the middle of a vacation, or a winter, or a weekend? It’s that moment when time actually feels suspended. For me, it’s like that moment high on the arc of a swing, hanging in midair for a moment before the rush of movement pulls me. It’s like time slows down, or even stops and everything becomes more clear. Sounds, smells, and a visual snapshot of the scene get impressed on my mind and heart. 

It’s what happens when we pause. The pause, the moment of transition, is part of what we do. It is part of what we must do because this existence works like that. These bodies work like that. 

We don’t always notice the pause. We don’t always like the transitions, interuptions, changes… But, they’re still there. Just like our bad habits and annoying relatives… they’re opportunities. Learning to linger… to tolerate and investigate, to listen and to look around with genuine curiosity, with loving awareness, can take a lifetime to realize has actually been happening all along the way. Consider a toddler on the trail, a teenager with their friends… you, doing what you love..

It has been the greatest blessing of my life to have these teachings put in my path. It has given me more life, more time, more love, more gratitude and ease than I ever imagined. It has given me the opportunity to live a life of abundance, even when the lists are long and the balances are low. Which, they still often are.

Do you find yourself caught up in a narrative of scarcity? It’s one I know all too well. Now, I recognize it.

Practice

Listen to your thoughts (and words) and see if you can here it. See if you can start to entertain an alternative. Consider the possibility that you have everything that you need. You don’t have to (and likely won’t) believe it when you first hear it. Maybe there’s a parallel with something else you’ve learned: how to play an instrument or do a yoga pose.

We can learn to see that we have time and every day are choosing how to spend it. We can learn how to say no in order to preserve time and energy for what’s most important. We can linger… we already have some idea how to do this… We can enjoy the flavors, the colors, and the nuances of life even when movement is just behind us and just about to return.

One of my favorite techniques, especially when outdoors, is to simply look up. 👀⬆️ Also, set a timer (lingering doesn’t have to equal running late!) ☺️

This is what we do on retreat. We give ourselves time to arrive, to linger, to prepare and to depart gracefully. As we become more adept we can do this more consistently and over time it becomes, not a break from life but the nature of life itself. We can find this bliss in each breath. We KNOW instinctivly to breathe deeply when we need to slow down.

Practice breathing slowly helps too… try noticing that you’re breathing right now. Ideally, stop reading so you can focus on your breath but don’t think that you can’t ALSO notice and slow your breath while you’re doing other things.

I’ve been trying to find ways to scale the retreat experience to make it more and more accessible, wherever you are in your practice or in your experience of scarcity/abundance. A few that I’m currently offiering (in order from least to greatest investment required from you):

Level One

On-line offerings include guided meditations that are from one minute to 30 minutes long and, for when you need to move more… the 10 Essential Postures course will give you some guidance. FREE!

Level Two

The latest offering in Anchorage is a series of mini-retreats on Sunday afternoons: Jan 26, Feb 23 and March 29 from 2-5pm. You can come for one or for all three. You can use a Health Savings of Flexible Spending Account to pay.

Level Three

Our annual Brooks Range Retreat dates have just been confirmed and another Alaska summer weekend retreat is in the works. These are usually 2 nights, 3 days and involve some cool travel and unique accommodations. Space is limited.

Level Four

There might just be one spot left for our April 26-May 2, 2020 retreat to Umbria, Italy. And, we’re going to Mexico October 31-November 7, 2020. You can save $250 by registering for the Mexico retreat by January 31. Click here to see all current retreat offerings.

Level Five

Coaching, counseling, consulting and teaching are how you can connect with me individually. This is where you get the most personalized feedback and is certainly one of the best ways to practice. Time is our most precious gift. I gladly share it with you.

Practice noticing the pause. Practice noticing that what you need to coming to you and what you don’t has already gone or will be on its way soon. Practice noticing that all this is impermanent and only here NOW for learning and loving and living. Forgive.

Look for links in the text above to connect to more information on the site. Contact me directly: yogamargi@gmail.com if you have comments, questions or need some support. Call our office for administrative help: (907) 277-9642. LOVE!

not seeing clearly

The obstacles

Obstacles get in our way, slow us down, interrupt our progress and, depending on our mood can “grind our gears” or “harsh our mellow.” And, they seem to be everywhere.

Other people (traffic, lines, phone calls, tantrums,) the weather, technology, furniture, fatigue, pathogens… all of these might also show up on your list of obstacles. They get the blame and we fall their victim. Click here to link to a previous post about the “difficult person.”

Apparently, obstacles have been around for a long time, even before technology and traffic jams. The yoga sutras were written thousands of years ago and outline the path of human experience with startling relevance and insight. The two below outline what is common.

Sutra II.3

avidya asmita raga dvesa abhinivesah klesah

The five obstacles, also known as afflictions or troubles, are lack of wisdom, a sense of separateness, attachment to pleasure, aversion to pain and clinging to life.

Sutra 1.30

vyadhi styana samsaya pramada alasya avirati bhrantidarasana alabdhabhumikatva anavasthitatvani cittaviksepah te antarayah

There are physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual obstacles which may distract consciousness. They are disease, lack of perseverance, doubt, pride, laziness, sense gratification, delusion, and a lack of commitment.

These afflictions and obstacles are the source of our suffering. They may be active, intermittant, or dormant and can be pleasant or unpleasant. The point is that they disturb our sustained loving awareness and prevent realization of what may be described as the eternal bliss of complete absorption.

Awareness of these obstacles, willingness to acknowledge, and, language to describe them, can help to restore and strengthen the connection between our conscious intention and subconscious motivation.

To practice working with the obstacles, start with avidya. It means “not seeing.” It may also be understood as innocence, ignorance or lack of wisdom. It suggests that our efforts to better understand our experience will clear the path to awareness. Use your senses, ask questions, use words, images and colors to describe sensations. Talk, write, listen, read, look around. Expose yourself to various perspectives, opinions, climates, postures.

Be especially curious about extremes. If it “feels awesome” or “feels awful” or if you are convinced that you (or someone else) is “awful” or “awesome,” consider the alternative and see what you find.

A connection is likely there. Compassion may flourish there.

Perseverance, patience, perspective and poise are available to us. We must practice. That which we practice becomes embedded. These states of being become traits of longtime practitioners.

The Sutras are a brilliant guide to support us on our way. I am so grateful to have received them from my teacher and to pass them on to you. If you want to learn more, please register for my on-line course where we’ll walk through the sutras together.

Click here to link to the course. And, linger a while on what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling today…

Truly seeing you for the complex and complete being that you are and so touched by our connection,
Margi

Sutra II.3 aSu