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,

Sutra II.3 aSu

Coming around the corner

You know that feeling when you see the curve ahead and you’re going a little too fast and you know it’s going to be a little wild and so you hold on tight and get ready to straighten her out on the other side?

I think it might be like this every month, every season, every day… ? Maybe I just drive too fast? Maybe travel too much? Maybe it’s not me.

The tension between “me” and “not me” (or at least what’s “not my fault”) has been the glue that holds me to this insight path. Spiritual teachers insist that there is no separation and that suffering springs from the illusion that there is. I find, there’s just as much suffering in the belief that there isn’t! Then, I really am, truly implicated, guilty as my Catholic teachers and preachers always told me I was!

In my efforts to counsel both myself and others through this existential muddle, I’ve been trying to figure how to direct this amazingly prolific and powerful emotion of GUILT for some good.

Guilt -> goal is the formula that I’ve come up with…

For example, feel guilty about consuming something that the body doesn’t really need (or want), realize, the feeling is energy to move you towards your intention and clarify what that is. Begin with the mental framework, in this case, it may be: May I be nourished. May I be satiated.

Practice repeating the phrase that you come up with throughout the day for several days until you have it memorized and it starts to pop up sometimes on its own… look for little moments where your mind might otherwise wander (stop lights, teeth brushing, dish washing, waiting) and insert the phrase here. It will be more effective if you practice reinforcing the intention not ONLY when you’re in the challenging situation.

Reflection on past experience doesn’t seem to be optional. We all do it! All sentient beings do it… chicken TV in our yard proves that! Some do it more consciously, thoughtfully, intentionally. We all do it subconsciously. It is the way that our brain decides what to do next.

If you’re motivated to help… consider that your subconscious (chicken brain) could use some, especially if you’ve had a sense that you’re stuck or moving in the wrong direction! Often the actions we direct towards others are just the things that we need.

Non-harming, reverence, posture, breath, mindfulness of senses, and concentration will steady and buoy our process. I’m both grateful for the ease down the stretch of summer and feeling that rush of the curve just ahead… the season is shifting and the momentum is building. It is time to anchor to the practice.

I’ll share a Facebook LIVE video practice for the Equinox and in Anchorage will have monthly New Moon practices for the monthly curve. For the daily and weekly curves… I’ll be practicing at noon on Tuesday and Thursdays at the G Street Studio in downtown Anchorage, and, at 5:30pm on Wednesdays.

If the philosophy is what you want more of… you’re with me!! I’m gearing up to share a new subscription based Sutra study with you soon! You can email me and let me know that you want to be on that list: It’s going to provide such resonance for our curiosity and passion! I can’t wait!!! (But, I’m “patiently” waiting while my site gets ready…)

Such love, till next time!



Sutra Study

For the curious… a new way to approach your week. These threads of wisdom, 196 in all, have been woven through the ages.

They are just at applicable today as when written, thousands of years ago. You are probably already familiar with some of this collective wisdom and with closer examination, will be able to apply the teachings to the everyday situations that you face.

Each week, Margi will weave in another thread and a new sutras will be revealed and discussed. An accompanying movement, mantra or question will be offered for you to practice and Margi will be available to answer questions and celebrate insights with you as you go!

Get ready for a wonderful journey of self-discovery as you find and reinforce connections to the wisdom that you already possess!