September 19, 2013

True Friendship Lasts Forever

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:15 am by DivineShantiYoga

I’ve been gaining strength each day to write about all of the wonderful things about my dear friend, John Hutter. He left his body last Sunday from pancreatic cancer, and even up to the very last day, he was teaching me about grace, humility, love, acceptance and surrender.

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Over the past couple of weeks, John’s family and friends have been visiting him, remembering him at his memorial service, sending letters and pictures, and have been leaving countless messages on facebook and on the local newspaper’s webpage, honoring such a vibrantly loved human being. A couple of days ago, my husband said to me “I had no idea that so many people knew John, and loved him so. What do you think it is about him that makes everyone love him so much?” My initial thought response was “Well, it’s only natural to love him, and I’ve never questioned why.” Upon more listening to my heart, I became flooded with all of the many reasons that I’m sure we all love John so much.

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Here are some of them:

John was real, and authentic. You always knew how he was feeling, and in his presence, he gave you permission to also be authentically you.

He was adventurous. He would try just about anything once, and if he loved it, he would keep at it. (Yoga, for example)

John was health-conscious, and dedicated to being this way. He taught us all by leading by example.

He was inspiring, and loyal. He encouraged me get to Yoga class even when I didn’t feel like going, because it’s a new day.

John was candid and humble. There’s nothing more relaxing than being around someone who can laugh at themselves, and at you when you need it.

He had a great sense of humor. When John was leading a group of us in meditation once, he told us all to surrender into the moment (only with his N.Y. accent, it came out forcefully like “Just suwenda now!”), we all just rolled around laughing hysterically, including him.

John was one of the most caring and selfless people I’ve ever known. I still have a couple of saved voice mail messages on my phone from him, and even over the past couple of months when I would be asking him “how are you feeling today?”, his messages to me begin with “I hope you’re feeling good today.” What was most important to him was the well-being of everyone else.

He was sensitive. Many times over the years he would talk about his feelings, something that it not easy for many men. He also loved having his feet massaged and getting pedicures. (I think he’d be okay with me telling people this, even the ladies at the nail spa knew him personally)

John was loving, compassionate, fun, generous, easy-going, comfortable, and will always remain as a bright light in my heart. He was a wonderful friend, a joyful companion, a beautiful father, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, great uncle and a radiant spirit that continues to live on all around us, and in each of our hearts, for eternity.

His last words to me a week ago today when he was still able to speak were “I love you, and have fun.” Let us all honor his touching final message and love harder. And have more fun. This is truly who John is and what he wants to see…more love and more fun.

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Thank You For Showing Us True Friendship. We Love You!

September 3, 2013

Change Is In The Air, Letting Go Of Attachments Is The Practice.

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:50 pm by DivineShantiYoga

Over the past couple of weeks I have heard from more and more students how their stress levels have been increased and they just need a “release.” We are approaching the autumn season, the season of harvest, and change is in the atmosphere. We can think with our rational minds that when there is a dramatic change in nature, we too experience this change, as we are inherently a part of nature herself.

Your intuition may be stronger than you realize when you say that you need a “release”, I invite you to honor this state of being and practice letting go. Practice releasing it.

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When we feel stressed, or frustrated, it is usually because something in life isn’t going the way we have expected it to. We have formed an attachment to a particular viewpoint about things are going to play out in life. When this doesn’t happen, we are riveted with discomfort in the many forms of frustration or stress.

  • So, it seems like an important practice to first acknowledge that we have a viewpoint or expectation about a situation.
  • Secondly, we can recognize that we do have an attachment to this expectation, of course we want it to go this way, that’s why it’s called an “expectation”.
  • Thirdly, we learn that our minds have completely fabricated this expectation, and just as we have created it, we also have the power to let it go and just go with the flow.
  • Lastly, we practice letting this go, we get out of our “mind-space“, and open to our “heart space“…we give ourselves the gift of experiencing life with contentment, being absorbed in the here and now with a sense of wonderment, gracefully accepting each and every moment.

Every event or action in life carries with it a neutral charge, and our own perception decides whether or not it is “good/bad, right/wrong”. So, choose to get out of your own way and just open to what is (without your attachments to a particular outcome).

We realize that when we hold onto these attachments, we will always set ourselves up for disappointment. Our expectations in life will not always be met. But by letting go, or releasing our attachment to these, we will create less suffering for ourselves and those around us. Then when something happens that catches you off guard or surprises you, or makes you frustrated, you can respond by saying to yourself “how interesting“, instead of “that’s not what’s supposed to happen.”

The loving teacher Ram Dass says in his latest book “Polishing the Mirror”:

The art of spiritual growth has to do with how quickly you recognize attachments and how quickly you can release them. If you can admit that you can’t see clearly because of attachment, then the full wisdom of things will begin to shine through. As long as you have some desire about how you think it ought to be, you can’t hear how it is.”

Offer yourself time in meditation, letting go of trying to control what goes on around you. If you are outside; birds may fly by, a breeze may blow in, a bug may land on your leg, the sun may hide behind a cloud or a loud truck may pass by. If you reside in your “heart-space”, you will remain unaffected by all the change surrounding you, perhaps even notice the changes with a sense of childlike awe and fascination. This is where you allow true contentment and joy to enter…from the inside.