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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Sep 12, 2011

Diving in to the Middle

It's been so long since I posted that it has begun to feel like writing a post should be a BIG deal......a BIG beginning for which I  had better have something BIG to say. Since that is not the case, I'll follow Rilke's lead and jump into the middle:

“It is a tremendous act of violence to begin anything. I am not able to begin. I simply skip what should be the beginning.” Rilke

Yesterday was a complex tapestry of a day. At 8 am I launched "Joy Ride" which is essentially Advanced Immersion studies (open to Immersion graduates).  We focused on deepening study, contemplation and practice. We did not focus on teaching - as sometimes happens when a lot of teachers are in a context together.  I love teacher training......but I am excited for Joy Ride to be a context of support for deepening into practice. In the end that will serve to deepen teaching too but teaching is supposed to be secondary to, and flow out of, the rich depth of one's own practice. I'm down with that.

So....Joy Ride was a Joy. That seems to have been a consensus opinion. We chanted, did asana, looked into the Vijnnana Bhaivrava Tantra and did a study and practice of pranayama. There was so much experience and openness in the room that we went places in understanding and practice that I certainly hadn't planned on going....kind of like a joy ride.

I didn't get as deeply into where I had planned to go with the Vijnnana Bhaivrava Tantra. But we did begin.  And will continue.  I am seriously grateful to Paul Muller Ortega for any and all understanding and insight I have into that amazing text.

At noon we ended.  I went home and introverted for a bit, and then Leo and I went to visit my mom and dad. Nothing new there. It has been almost 6 years since Mom had her stroke.  The whole family has been sure - several times - that she was about to die. But she is still here. Very fragile - but also very alive and relatively clear in her mind. The nursing home is a good one. The care they give Mom is inspirational. But nevertheless the whole setting is so depressing. My sister and I agree that we get strangely overwhelmed with fatigue when we go there.  Dad is there every day - all day - rain or shine. 

After the nursing home, Leo and I went to his apartment (which he shares with Eli ) and they made me dinner.  Sort of. Actually, I brought most of the dinner. Not because they wouldn't have made a good one - but because I have not yet quit acting on my compulsion to care for them in a very body and bone sort of way.....make sure there's food, see if they have shoes. It's sort of ridiculous but at least I am honest about it and laugh at myself. I mean - I can't imagine HOW they survived their travels in India  - without me looking after their food and shoes :)

We had a good meal, a good visit. I got to preview Eli's lesson plan -- he teaches his first Yoga class at Gonzaga tonight. He's going to be great. (Biased? Yes. Accurate? Yes.) 

After dinner and visiting, I drove home to a very quiet house (Chris is in Reno visiting his mom and dad) and a very lonely cat.  It still seems weird to me that Eli and Leo call a different place "home"......not depressing......just weird.

Recently I launched a study group focused on the teachings of Lee Lozowick . I am very happy about this.  It is a project and process that is close to my heart and overdue, but I had to wait until I had enough bandwidth to initiate it and see it all the way through (and since there's no official end date, I've had to be calendar-cautious).

I am grateful to be diving into the Autumn teaching schedule of Studio classes, Immersions, Joy Ride, etc. It puts everything into its right perspective for me. I lost some perspective this summer following a couple of experiences and a handful of conversations / interactions I'd had.  I was more aware of - and more discouraged than usual by - the popular culture of Yoga: the media hype with  increasing focus on sexy athleticism, over-the-top marketing,  super-star teachers, and so on................all the ways that popular culture has once again vampired something Real.  

As soon as the Autumn schedule at the studio went into gear, I was able to let all that go.  It drifted away away from my awareness like smoke, thanks to this lovely, local, REAL and strong Yoga community, the teachers and students, the dedicated space, good company, good work. I thought "Oh my gosh....what was I thinking?! I really would not be happy working at 7-11.

On Wednesday I leave for a week of meditation and study with Paul Muller Ortega.....wrapping up what has been a 3 year process of study that I started just a month or so before going to India. I can't quite believe that 3 years........which in addition to 2 months in India included 8 retreats with Paul, many retreats to the Ashram to be with Lee and Sangha, Mom and Dad's situation, Eli & Leo traveling, moving & starting university, and lots and lots of work.  As I write it, and it tallies up in my mind, I feel nervous in ...."whoa.....that's way too much". But here I am.  For now I still tend to run my life on the more "intense" end of the continuum.  Everything is OK.

Thanks for reading.


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