i lived in Colorado for five months out of this past year, a tremendous change from living in metropolises like New York City and Tokyo, as i have primarily lived for over a decade. i was mostly stationed in the mystical land of Crestone, a unique and powerful place that is home to various spiritual centers of varying faiths and practices. (i just found this amazing article about Crestone while researching a link for you: Shambala of the Rockies: The Mythos and Power of Crestone. the writer captures its spirit so well.) i also traveled often to Ward, Colorado, which brought me to places like Boulder, Denver, Loveland, Fort Collins, and more.
~ Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back ~
three days ago would have signaled my 12th anniversary of moving to NYC. today i found this draft from September 16th, 2012 (written just a month shy of my 9th anniversary of moving to NYC). in a month, i will be back in NYC, briefly, after having expanded out into the world and living in all kinds of places and spaces.
in celebration of all these anniversaries, of a great love and struggle with numbers and time, and of breaking down the very notion of time itself, herein contains the post. it comes from the future, about the past, and, i don’t know about you, but somehow all this time travel puts me right here in the present.
Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight—how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly.
This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one’s self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting.
Every life and every death begins the same way, with an exhale. We come into the world with a cry and go out with a sigh, each of these expressions floating on the out-breath.
Buddha’s disciple, Maudgalyayana, taught his own student an important lesson by showing him a huge pile of bones. When the student asked, “What is that?” Maudgalyayana replied, “These are all the bones from the bodies you had in previous lives.”
The bones are always the first to go; it is how the earth element in our body dissolves. Water goes next, followed by the element of fire. Then our wind blows out. After the air element leaves us, the only thing that is left is our consciousness and finally that exits the body, too.
Abiding is an in-between experience. Because of that, it gets less attention. It’s not a peak event such as arriving or departing or even an intentional action such as accumulating or releasing. Lacking an obvious drama to pull you in, it is easy to miss or ignore or avoid.
But if you do place your attention on the liminal, allowing yourself to feel the threshold-space of richness of neither here nor there, you discover that this is where the magic happens. It’s when things start to cook.
A good yoga brew is made of the universal elements of heat and exertion, breath, sweaty muscles, and strong bones. In life, these same ingredients show up as tears and love, anger and fear, hope and confusion, sometimes nausea, sometimes heartbreak, sometimes joy.