Archive for August, 2014

Heart Seat Share


winding corridor to my heartThis past week I attended a seminar presented by Saniel Bonder titled “The Sun in Your Heart is Rising–Activating Your Embodied Awakening, Wholeness, and Unique Purpose.” Nine people attended the five-day event at Kripalu Yoga Center in western Massachusetts. One of the exercises in the seminar is called “Heart Seat Share.” Each person in the group speaks for seven minutes about what is going on in their lives and their process of awakening with time allotted for feedback from the teacher and group members. I decided to write my heart share down and read it to the group.

Here I am.  It’s my time to share.  Please excuse me if I repeat some of the things I said in the small group.  Wait a minute.  I really don’t want to repeat myself.  Why don’t I just check in with myself to see what’s happening.  I can go deeper if I write this all down.

I imagine myself walking down a long flight of steps in my throat. I arrive on the first floor of my chest cavity.*

Leaving the first floor stairwell, I encounter a winding corridor with abrupt ups and downs spaced randomly for no apparent reason, maybe just to keep things interesting.  Fortunately, I’m walking along a single corridor with no doorways or branches where I have to choose which way to go.  I just need to put one foot in front of the other and have faith that these very same feet are taking me to a place I want to go.

Finally, I see a doorway in the distance.  The overhead lighting becomes increasingly bright as I reach my destination.  It’s a plain, wooden door, not a wrought iron gate, no carvings in the wood or lettering, not even a white coat of paint.  I wonder why the door isn’t more elaborate.  I’d certainly make it so if I were writing a story.  But this is sharing.  I don’t have to impress anyone with my incredible powers of imagination.  I simply have to say how it is.

I grab the plain brass handle on the plain wooden door, turn it, and nothing happens.  The door is firmly locked.  I knock a few times and wait.  Seconds go by and then a full minute.  No response.

“Anybody home?” I call out.

Total silence. Not even the sound of air-conditioning.

“You know, I’ve come a long way to get here.  The least you can do is answer the door.”

I’ve traveled this way many times before.  I’ve come to realize this place is the door to my heart.  No big discovery, no unique metaphor, just the plain old door to my heart.

I’ve been told by numerous teachers that someone or something dwells deep within the recesses of that heart.  I’ve always believed this to be true.  I never doubted it.  Yet here I am, standing here like an idiot, all by myself.  I’ve heard some vague rumblings from time to time from the other side of the door.  I’ve had a few inklings, maybe even heard a few burblings, but that’s about it.

“This is getting embarrassing,” I say to the door.  “I’m here in front of the class, and I need to sound halfway intelligent.  Can you please give me some material to work with?”

“Like what?” a voice says from the other side of the door in a slightly irritated tone.

I almost fall down in place.  These two words are more than I’ve heard in thirty years.  It’s a clear, unmistakable, somewhat irritated voice.  I quickly regroup before the voice loses interest.  I must take advantage of this opportunity.  I have to get right to the point.  I imagine whoever is speaking to me is quite busy.  I’m not even going to imagine if it has a shape.  I can’t risk wasting its time.

“Okay,” I begin.  “Can you tell me why we haven’t met yet?”

“It’s a very long story all having to do with you that we can’t get into now because it would exceed your share time.”

“Okay, okay.  Well, then, can you tell me when it might be possible for us to meet.”

“I really can’t believe you haven’t figured this out yet,” the voice answers wearily.  “I suppose I’ll have to spell it out for you.”

There is a long pause before the voice speaks again.

“You aren’t ready to meet me.  And PUHLEASE, don’t ask me when you’ll be ready.

Another pause.

“You’ll be ready when you’re ready.”

“I feel like I’m getting ready,” I say like a little boy holding out a shiny apple for the teacher.

“Good.  Keep it up.  Let me give you one word of advice: Patience.  Everything is timing.  Have you heard that one?”

“Of course.”

“Then practice it.

I wait for more words of wisdom.  There are none forthcoming.

“Is that it?

“Yes, David. I must say you’re doing quite nicely.  THE SUN IS ACTUALLY RISING IN YOUR HEART.  Hang in there.  You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

*The first floor of my chest cavity is actually the highest floor in relation to my feet.  The floors numbers increase as you take each flight of stairs down, which is the opposite case in most buildings.

**The construction of an elevator is underway.  Please pardon our dust and debris while we make this a better living space for your comfort, convenience, and safety.

***Photo by http://www.thisarchitecture.com

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Weight Loss the Easy Way


Weight Loss the Easy WayThis blog started out as an imaginary discussion I had with a friend this morning while brushing my teeth.  My jovial friend, let’s call him Alfred, works out at the same gym as me.  He is about my age and, like me, is on a constant diet and exercise program.  I have noticed that neither of us has lost an ounce on this program, and I have known Alfred for more than a year.

Alfred has recently added a personal trainer to his regimen to help him lose the forty pounds of gut hanging from his waist.  I am not in such desperate shape, pun intended. I need to lose somewhere between ten and twenty pounds to look vaguely in shape again. To be REALLY in shape, as in when I met my wife more than twenty-five years ago, I’d have to lose forty pounds. Let’s not go there.

Like most diet and exercise enthusiasts, Alfred and I have managed to gain and lose the same three pounds every week. We are treading water, kidding ourselves, and persisting in our habits of eating more food than our bodies need to exist. On weekends we cheat with alcohol and sweets.

Yesterday, Alfred walks up to me while I’m peddling away on my stationary bike and says, “You need to pedal faster.  You aren’t working hard enough.”

I say: “I burn a hundred and sixty calories in a half hour.  That’s not too bad.”

Alfred says: “What if you burned three hundred calories in the same time.”

I say: “I don’t have to lose as much weight as you.”

Back to this morning.  I’m thinking about this real-life conversation and this revolutionary idea strikes me right in the kisser: “Weight Loss the Easy Way” based on personal experience.

The real-life conversation I had with Alfred changes to something like this:

Alfred, peddling twice as fast beside me on the stationary bike says:

“I’m tired of working this hard and getting nowhere.”

Before we go any further, it is important to note that Alfred always seems happy. He constantly makes jokes while pontificating about one thing or another.

“You know what your problem is,” I respond. “You’re way too happy.”

Alfred laughs, then turns serious. “You’re jealous of me. Admit it.”

“Let’s not make this personal,” I say. “I’m not thinking in small terms here. This is big. It hit me this morning. The easiest, maybe the most effective way to lose weight in a relatively short period.”

“I’ve tried those quick weight loss programs.” Alfred says. “Most of them turn out to be fake or use drugs that can kill you.”

“This is completely natural,” I say with a mysterious smile.

Alfred peddles furiously for a few minutes. I know he doesn’t want to give me the satisfaction of asking about my big idea. Finally, his curiosity overhauls his ego. “Okay, tell me about this easy weight loss idea of yours.”

“It’s really simple. Nothing works better than depression.* I lost twenty pounds in a few months. I had no appetite. It was easy.”

“You really should leave the jokes up to me,” Alfred says.

“It’s no joke. I never want to go back there, but I think depression in bite size doses can really work for people who’ve tried everything short of lap band surgery.”

“Depression is no joke, moron. Be sure not to advertise this idea of yours outside of this circle.” Alfred points to me and back to himself.

“I’m not talking about major depression, Alfie. I’m saying, like, maybe for a week every once in a while.”

“Some people eat when they get depressed.”

“Okay, so this is not for them. That can be one of the disclaimers.”

“What if you’re not good at getting depressed, like me ?”

“Think of all the things you don’t have and wish you did, like the opportunity to have sex with any woman you see as often as you’d like.  Think of every single character defect you have.  Think about having to go work for a living again.  Realize every breath you take brings you closer to death.  Stuff like that.”

Alfred’s perpetual smile turns down slightly at the corners.  “I see what you mean.”

So what do you think, man.  Is it worth trying for a week? Take a break from working so hard to be happy, or whatever it is you work at.”

“Losing weight,” Alfred reminds me.

“I think I’ll write a book titled ‘Lose Twenty Pounds the Easy Way and Have Fun Gaining It Back.’ What do you think?

“I think you’re an idiot,” Alfred says with a pat on my shoulder.  “But I still like you.”

*DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Depression is a serious illness. If your depression persists, or you have thoughts of suicide, seek help from a licensed psychotherapist.

 

 

 

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