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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).

Mar 30, 2012

Jasmine in Waiting

All quiet on the western front is a phrase that keeps running through my mind.

I have been very quiet inside (and about as noisy as usual on the outside). I feel like a simple plant waiting for spring without any particular idea of what spring will look like.  I am teaching my regular classes and tending to various work projects and to the details of business, but all of it has a feeling of simply maintaining while I wait - much like I keep on brushing my teeth on a daily basis.  Meanwhile, what is alive in me - fundamentally - is a dynamically poised sense of waiting for conception without preconception. 

I like a teaching I originally heard from Paul Muller Ortega. It describes and gives meaning to this poised sense of waiting I’ve been experiencing. The image is of a jasmine bush which has survived the winter, stolidly putting up with the cold weather, lashing rain, and absence of sunshine. It looks decrepit and beaten down (please – no comments here – let’s not link this image too closely to me personally).  The jasmine looks and seems as if nothing at all is happening. But deep in the roots something is definitely, albeit invisibly, happening. Life is poised and waiting to rise up.

With the arrival of early spring, the jasmine bush suddenly produces buds.  But then……..more waiting. It takes its time, concealing its fragrance early in spring.  More time – more waiting - more preparation – until finally it fully blossoms in all its beauty and fragrance.

Paul likens this image not just to a particular season or a particular life, but to how we have all – through many lives – persisted through the lashings of a sort of karmic winter.  Springtime is certain. And it will bring an awakening and remembrance of our true nature. 

So……I’m in a holding pattern……not yet to the budding stage…..and hopefully not looking too decrepit.

Since I last wrote, Part III of Immersion came to a close, wrapping up a long and dedicated process with a truly amazing group of students. Through the Immersion, in order to provide clarity and information to the Immersion students, I stayed in conversation and awareness of the Yoga world at the national level and of Anusara on High. But I was able to glean only a very limited idea of what is going on. I hear from my friends who are more connected, or who are on the steering committee. But even what I hear from them seems vague and insubstantial (to me) at this point.  So….. that is just another front on which the jasmine bush is waiting.

After Immersion and after I dug myself out from a backlog of desk-work - and kept brushing my teeth every day too, I had a couple of days that were so entirely spacious as to be disorienting. (I liked that).

Next Friday - Good Friday - I leave on retreat and will be gone for 3 weeks.  A few days ago, when my dentist asked me what I was going to be doing in Arizona, I happily told him that I would be in the high desert, off the grid, without internet or cell phone, and would not be seeing another soul and would be spending all day every day in meditation, yoga and contemplation. He looked at me as if perhaps he had waited too long to do that dental work and the problem had gone to my brain. 

I will be in retreat in Northern Arizona, outside of Pauldin. The retreat center is named Treveni and is a non-denominational retreat center built under the direction of my spiritual teacher, Lee Lozowick, specifically to serve as a practical means and support for practitioners of any spiritual tradition to seek inner sanctuary in order to “remember and reset”.

So - I will wait for Spring in the high desert, without any particular idea of what that will look like. And I will keep brushing my teeth. I might write again before I go....I'll have to wait and  see if the jasmine has any thing to bud about or not.

Thanks for reading!

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