Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


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What Aliens are Saying About Us:

And our ROOTS…

 The loss of family ties and how to rebuild them.

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There is an alien spacecraft, hovering billions of miles above the Earth’s surface. They have discovered us. They are watching down on us with their super high definition telescopes and they report back to their home ship the following:

 We have found intelligent life. We have found the human race. What are they like? They all seem to shop at Wal-Mart, and wear things called Jeans and listen to a band called One Direction.  The humans are proud of what they call Globalization. They have become a unified global entity…. Kind of. Currently many factions of the planet can’t seem to get along. They are killing each other. We can see, even from all the way up here, a billion miles away, the potential implications of the simple fact that the governance of the worlds “leading Democratic” body doesn’t agree on anything but war, and money. 

 The people are either starving, living in extreme poverty, or attached to material goods and glued indefinitely to electronic devices and the Internet. They are destroying the planet, knowingly. They have lost touch with their ancestors and their heritage and instead keep their eyes on the future. There is a desperate need to be unique while at the same time, the same. It seems like they are all looking for something and they don’t know what it is. Bustling around from point to point, all day long.

We have found life yes… But actually…maybe they aren’t so intelligent. 

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Obviously, the aliens see a lot of current/emerging problems. Today I’d like to examine one of these.

The loss of family ties and how to rebuild them.

It is important to not to dwell on the problem, but instead to focus on possible solutions. And the solution to rebuilding connections to your roots is ACTION and LOVE… As always.

Here is a picture of me with two of my little Italian cousins… Vivian and Izzy.

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Never before have I been so proud of my family. I am half Norwegian, and half Italian. 50/50. The Italians rein on my fathers side and they are a gregarious bunch. I love them. After this recent trip back to Pennsylvania, only a couple of weeks ago, I love them even more. I admire their willingness to stay connected to each other, a trait that from my limited perception is dwindling in the modern world. Think about it… as it becomes easier and easier to fly around the world and live in x, y, and z… to go outside of the normal 20 kilometer boundary that once inhibited most of the globes population, people are starting to lose their roots. Things have just CHANGED. Big time. To me it is incredibly sad.

My Daddy with Aunt Jo… he misses her when he is away…

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I suppose that a part of this comes from the nostalgic, sentimental, softhearted women in me. I find my heritage, my lineage and my blood relatives to be a beautiful part of who I am. We are a unit. Each human is part of a unit. These days however, with technology and the obsession with personal identity, this seems to have faded. CULTURE, CUSTOMES, HERITAGE, TASTE! Where have they gone!? These are the things that once added color, flare, and interest to the world. I am terrified that as gentrification continues to envelope the planted, all this will be lost. Imagine living in a world that is defined by Wal-Mart, Blue jeans, and One Direction. *Not a dis on One Direction! Just on our loss for zest…

I am honored, proud, and LUCKY to be from a family that still holds onto its individual roots, its family bond. I am aware, that many families just don’t care anymore. I am ashamed to say that it has been easy for me, to drift away… Into the things I think are important and to forget my extended family. After this last trip however, I’d like to make a commitment to stay connected, to stay present with the culture, customs, heritage, and tastes of my Italian roots. These are some of the things I took away from my time with my family…

FOOD

One thing that families consistently pass down from generation to generation, in every culture, is food. As an Italian, I never want lose the eggplant Parmesan, the meatballs and the pasta! In New Castle, PA…the Coney Island hotdogs! While in Pennsylvania, we ate the most incredible foods… for two weeks straight! I’d like to commit to keeping up the recipes and cooking like my ancestors. That being said…. As a yogi, moderation and thoughtfulness are so important! I can’t eat like this forever, no one can. So perhaps it’s a little bit about keeping up with our roots and modifying for modern attitudes about health?

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CHURCH/RELIGION/HERITAGE

This part of my time here was so wonderful to me. I am NEW to the Catholic Church; I just took my first communion in April. A large part of this is to reconnect to my father in a very special way. He is super Catholic, goes to mass every day, and the sweetest gentlest man I have ever met. Since joining the church and going to mass with him, I have felt so much more connected to my family. While in Pennsylvania, every Sunday the “Pope-mobile” (my cousin Todd) would pick Uncle Ralphie, my dad and myself up from the house and we would go to mass. What a cool experience for me and what a beautiful place to feel a spiritual connection. I used the time in the church to reflect and to meditate. When I was getting ready to leave, and come to Mexico to begin final wedding preparations, my Aunt Joanne gave me something very special. My late Grandmother’s Rosary beads. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know how to use them but she gave me a card and I have been practicing. 😉  The sensations that are brought up by doing something so ritualistic, following the footpath of my ancestors, are indescribable. I find it sad, again, that it is now so common to let this drift away from us.

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FAMILY

My parents have parents, and their parents had parents, and their parents had parents, and on and on it goes. The parent’s of my parent’s parent’s (that’s a mouthful eh?) were born in Italy and Norway over 100 years ago. When thinking about this in comparison to today, I can see how things have changed so fast! They were relatively the same for so long…. They all lived together, shared together, ate together, and when they would grow up they would live near by. It seems in the last one hundred to fifty years, with the astonishing speed of technological advances and transportation our cultural norms have been blown away with a BANG! What is so cool about the Italian side of my family is that they have maintained a sense of this.  Many of the Pauline’s (originally Paolini) live in the same area the immigrated to from Campostoto, Italy 100 years ago. While we were there, we were lucky enough to be there for one of our annual family reunions. It totally rocked my world. I met cousins I had never met before, I befriended many amazing people who are my blood relatives. Isn’t that hard to believe? We ate the most delicious Italian food all day long, listened to LIVE traditional music, and played games with the youngsters.  This time was a very special opportunity that I am so grateful for.

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FOOD    FAMILY    HERITAGE

These are the things that originally made people different and interesting. These are the things that bond groups of people together so closely that they are there for each other, no matter what.  I don’t want to lose the ties that I have to such an amazing family; yet, it would be so easy to. Heck… perhaps it is more honest for me to say I HAVE lost the ties and am now working on rebuilding them? Or perhaps I just have to accept the distance, the lack of connection and simply make the efforts to stay as connected as I can with the available resources we have? Maybe Facebook and the Internet can be used to my benefit after all?

All I know is that if we as a species continue to let it all go, and all morph into the same people at the same time, then the thousands and thousands of years of history that come before us will be lost. We will all be, Wal-Mart shopping, One Direction listening, Facebook surfing people. The aliens will continue to be disappointed.

So! To end this on a positive note… What can we do to prevent this from happening? What are some simple Action steps that we can take? Here are some ideas that may help you if you are currently pretty detached from your family and your heritage. I realize that this may only apply to 2nd or 3rd generation Americans but perhaps not?

-Do some research and compile a family tree. Find out what you are. German, Italian, Mexican, Spanish… whatever…

-Start learning how to cook the foods.

-Make a trip to visit your family! Connect.

-Make an honest attempt, enquire as to what your family customs and traditions are and then try to follow them!

-Listen to traditional music…

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***

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Silent Meditation: Vipassana in Australia

Getting Silent to Find Peace.

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This article was written by a dear friend Kate Morton, who lives “down under”! Kate  lives in sunny Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Kate was introduced to Yoga at the tender age of fifteen to help her manage her asthma. As life took hold, adventure and work took her overseas travelling and working for many years. A busy life and Yoga fell by the wayside. She loves finding healthy living options for the mind, body and soul and is now reconnecting with what makes the soul tick.

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 I had the pleasure of meeting her while we were in Australia in the fall of 2011. She is an inspiring women and to see the effects that a dedicated yoga and mediation pracitice have… it is truly inspiring! And here her piece begins:

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I recently undertook my first seven day silent Meditation retreat. Yes… silent and no eye contact. A gregarious extravert I can be, this was going to be extremely challenging. My idea of meditation was a 5 minute lie on the couch..then being allowed to turn on the tv.

What was the motivation?

Meditation has come up a healing strategy for me for many years, so time to address it. So my motivation was to experience and learn the benefits of daily mediation, shift something, restore energy having experienced Adrenal fatigue for 12 months  … and someone to cook great vegetarian food, and that it was.

Was it what I thought it would be?

Possibly something I could of looked into more before I committed to booking in 5 days before it began, but hey when do I ever, I just go do it!!! And glad I did.

We have a reputable Vipassana Meditation retreat in beautiful Pimono Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia, a few friends saying it was life changing….but pretty strict….not something I needed as being too hard on myself, probably a result of the Adrenal fatigue,  was not the idea. So an alternative was run by the Australian Dharma Insight group. Finding a comprehendible comparison or outline on either is difficult now I look for information, making it difficult to explain …something I now remember when listening to friends and their experiences.

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What was it?

A 7 day Meditation retreat done in silence. ‘Why’ I hear some people say.

Quote : (and excuse me if you already know) …Insight Meditation (also known as Vipassana) refers to both Buddhist meditation practices and a largely Western form of Buddhism. A feature of Insight Meditation as a form of Buddhism is that it is either free of ritual or has minimal ritual. Aims of Insight Meditation include coming to a deep understanding of ourselves, and developing compassion for all living beings.  There are different styles of Insight Meditation. Some common threads are that they all place importance on acting in an ethical way, and they all have a focus on settling the mind, developing a level of clarity, and looking carefully at one’s experience.

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We had those practicing style opportunities and I was in an environment where structure was provided. The schedule included a 6am wake up (reasonable I thought), eight 45 minute opportunities during the day to sit, in silence, in the meditation hall. Of course you could sit additionally to this. An evening talk. Breaks for meals, a bell was rung to indicate time to move onto the next session. And an opportunity for individual conversations with teacher.

All sessions were optional, not compulsory and being in the beautiful (cold)  hinterland off the Gold Coast, QLD Australia, lots of long walks with nature were in order when the sun appeared.

Vegetarian meals were provided, we had a daily 30 minute job – mine was breakfast clean up so there was a necessary opportunity for some talk then.

So the mixture of structure and flexibility was great and the teachers adjusted to the groups needs.

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What did I experience ?

I can now sit comfortably, the perfect stool and sitting position helps. I averaged 5 sits a day and 45 minutes a day got easier – I wasn’t going to beat myself up. I had naps when I needed. And ate like a trooper. I put on weight that I needed to put on.

The biggest challenge was ‘this is weird’ ..no eye contact felt like I was surrounded by a room of zombies. Am I doing this right? Gosh they are serious about this stuff. Who are these people? I’ve got some great ideas of how I could renovate the kitchen….Eventually my thoughts did slow down after some particularly strong emotions and breakdown that needed my attention and assistance from teachers . The realization being that I can be in a pretty dark place after a shit year and I was hearing myself laugh again …even in silence.

In talking to the other students on the last day in order to re-acclimate to the outside world, I was hypersensitive to engulfing myself in others ‘stuff’, so I focused on feeling the joy others were experiencing and was quite surprised in their intrigue how I survived as a first timer. Maybe they had forgotten their maiden retreat now they had become regular ‘retreaters’ .

So I left with Trust and patience, trust to reduce the effort for things to work, as a result the sit became easier. And it was a great debrief and giggle with my new friend on the drive home.

What now?

I write this in a period of transition, but I can’t help but feel optimistic about the future. Will I join the Sunday night mediation group? Will I have more energy and focus, motivation and will meditation be a permanent part of my daily routine? Who knows. I certainly enjoyed the process of settling the mind and like the benefits.

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I know what these silent retreats involve and now I have a stronger interest in Yatras – silent meditation 6 days walks. Combining my joy of walking, exploring new areas and peace of the silence.

So if the aims of Insight Meditation include coming to a deep understanding of ourselves, and developing compassion for all living beings, this is certainly a great way to stop and take time out to BE.

In the days since returning from the retreat, some notice being able to maintain an incredible level of focus and a sharpening of all the senses. I’ve noticed being grounded and less flighty, maybe I can call it a glow. But is it waning. Time to get back on the stool.

These experiences allow me to feel confident in saying there is something in meditation for everyone who is brave enough to give it a go and sit…….in silence.

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***


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UNIVERSE, answer the following questions: NOW!

A rant from my heart and spiritual based solutions that work…

Where is my life going to happen? When is my life going to happen? What am I going to do!?

Where? London? Moscow? Rishikesh? LA? Denver?

When? This week? Next month?  Next year?

What? Yoga teacher? Mosaic maker? Mother? Student?

Sheeeesssh! I feel upside down.

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It was due time I post an original, thoughtful post. I haven’t known what to write because, honestly, I’m up in the air, upside down and inside out… Uncomfortable. I have so many questions about life and, what will become obvious from this piece; I am getting impatient for the answers.

 The first 4 weeks of utter life uncertainty I understood. I got that it is “all a part of the plan”.  I saw that the universe was dishing out an uncomfortable hand and to accept it in kind, but now, I am getting tired. Uncomfortable… incredibly. Tired of waiting on the answers. Where? When? What? We have been waiting in this middle ground of complicated unknowingness for a long time. And time is ticking away (visa concerns with my fiancé who is British). Too long this wait has been! At least according to my earthly schedule, way too long. In God’s world I realize it is all, still, just as its supposed to be.

 (Rant begins) Listen, after nearly 2 years of globetrotting I am ready to stop, to settle. Those of you that have seen me recently, know this. Travel shmavel. The adventure has been fun. Amazing, Incredible. Stupendous. Thank you God for it (really I mean that from the bottom of my gut). But please… please can it be over? I know we are not supposed to pray for selfish things but I think I can be of better service to humanity once I have friends I can see on a regular basis, neighbors, and all that other normal stuff! Blogging has been GREAT (Its been a year by the way so HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TAOZI TREE YOGA!) I have loved sharing with people, getting feedback and just getting to know people better…. But honestly, I can’t teach a great asana class or have some coffee with all of you, as much as I’d love that.

Friends. Community. Home. I am craving it. I am ready to stop travelling like this.  Not ready to give up the adventure, but living out of suitcases and boxes? Yes I am ready to stop that. A different bed every week? Lack of stability? 2 YEARS!!? Does that make sense? I mean I want a SPICE CABINET for goodness sakes. (Rant over).

 Now that we are at home “waiting” my symptoms resemble that of stress and anxiety (can you tell? Haha)… How could echem-echem (clear my throat) I…Miss Taozi Tree Yoga be anxious? I mean we are yoga people. Practice every day, load up on veggies, and even meditate! So what is going on here?

The test. A test. One of many tests. Can I decipher the message inherent in our uncomfortable state of affairs? Can I see that God has laid this out in front of us to see how we handle it? Ummmm. Yes. Yes I can.

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 Honestly. I can. But it is a process and this is how it goes:

 I see the “problem”. I need to first see the root cause of my stress or anxiety, in this particular case, it is uncertainty and fear about not having the answers to some key life questions. I can clearly see how this fear swells up particularly when I am in an “Earthly” spot.  Fear of the unknown and impatience combined with a growing list of things to do for our wedding (getting married in Mexico in 4 months!), while attempting to get organized for the big move to… oh yeah that’s right, we have no idea. Lots going on, lots to do. Lots of “stress” and “anxiety”.

Here is the good news and I hope it can inspire some of you. Yoga. This is what I do. Getting a CLEAR perspective on reality. Uncertainty and stress is caused simply from my limited perspective on the situation and I can change my perception. Here is how.

 ACTION.

DESPITE the uncertainty and the awkwardness of it all, I can DO things to change the way I feel. I can take ACTION. And I do. I am. I do all the things I know I am supposed to do to stay centered and to remain confident in myself, especially at a time like this. Here is a list of the PRACTICAL things I have been doing to stay as calm as I can and to enjoy the process regardless of how up in the air is all feels.

MEDITATION.

Here are a few different specific things I may do at altar to help relieve the stress and get a clearer perspective on my own realty.

  • Thinking HAPPY THOUGHTS! I have had enough of these thoughts :“I am worried, I am stressed, I am scared…” rolling endlessly around in my head. I honestly believe that the seeds we water are the seeds that grow. So if I am thinking the same negative thoughts over and over, they will continue to get bigger. In my meditation I can make the effort to create a positive mantra. “I am right where I am supposed to be and I am happy. I am so happy and grateful for the uncertainty and the unknown! I am thrilled about it. ;)”

  • I smile gently to myself. By turning the corners of my mouth up and breathing deeply into my soul. My body automatically thinks, “Oh she is smiling so she is happy!” And then it carries this happiness deep inside. Faking it works. Trust me.

  • Visualizations. Lately it has been on getting GROUNDED. With all of this travelling and flying around the world. With all of this uncertainty it is more important then ever for me to sit right where I am at. In the moment. On the ground. I feel myself heavy and rooted to the earth and then the power of the earth streaming into me. Then I visualize my outer self looking down on me gently with compassion. With out fail my perspective on life gets cleared. I am here to breath, to practice and to be of service.

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 SERVICE to others.

 This can be tough as we have been on the road so much. How does one be of service in their day to day life? IF you are lucky enough to be in one specific spot (lucky you 😉 here are three potential easy things you can do to get you out of your own head.

  • Getting a commitment at the local jail to offer yoga classes or art classes.

  • Getting a commitment at the local “old peoples home” if there is one near by and just go hang out with any one who is approaching the end of their life that just needs some love and attention. I guarantee you will forget your woes and feel much better about what is going on in your life.

  •  Make a casserole for a friend in need. If you have a friend that is sick or has something crazy going on in their life, you could offer to deliver them a home cooked meal. This will give you plenty of time to cook loving food in your kitchen and deliver it with a smile, and it will make their day!

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 TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

  • GREEN FOOD! Perhaps consider a fast of some sort? I told this to my sister Leah a hundred time when she was getting ready to leave Uganda. LOAD up on veggies. Lots of them. So many. This combined with serious water will make you glow from the inside out and you will just feel better.

  •   ASANA, running, swimming… walking… get active and do something physical that will take your mind off of the issue/stress at hand and focus the energy on making yourself feel better. By working your body out, this will lead to better sleep.

  •  SLEEP: If like many other people in the planet, when you feel stressed about something or under pressure, sleep may become a problem. By exercising and meditating, sleeping will be easier, try to get at least 7 hours a night… No one feels good with a lack of sleep.

 PATIENCE.

This too shall pass. By simply coming to terms with the fact that the one thing that is constant in life is change. The place you are at today that feel however it feels will inevitably shift and you in turn will feel differently about it. By perceiving the stress at hand in this way, you can see it impermanence and it loses its power. Patience is a key factor in this. Knowing that what our ideal time schedule may be, is not Gods. So we work with Gods with acceptance and gratitude and know that what ever is coming is exactly as God wants it.

 FAITH.

This is a tricky one and a faith in a power greater than your self is necessary for this to become a reality. The power can be whatever you choose it to be, but by believing that this power has granted you the blessed life you live and will take care of you no matter what, makes a big difference in the way we rise to meet life’s challenges or stresses. Again, I realize that this may be really challenging for people when they are in a particularly tough spot, or have no experience with the concept but I promise that is gets easier with time and with evidence of actually existing. By having the faith of a mustard seed, gentle shifts can occur in your life with the power to shake mountains. Practice, try it, have faith. Give up the struggle and give it over to this power so that you can….

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 RELAX.

You are already exactly where you are supposed to be. Instead of approaching this entire distressing episode as a path to a goal that is somewhere else. I am meditating and eating greens and sleeping well so that I can reach point C, over there, far away where things are good. Avoid this thought pattern and instead approach the process it in the moment. Knowing that right now you are alright and  you are already exactly where you are supposed to be. Happiness is not a destination over there. You are already there.

 So after putting aside my stress and connecting with realty, I begin to see the real lesson more clearly;

 The lesson…

It doesn’t matter where you live or what you are doing or WHO you are doing it with as long as you do what ever it is you are doing with purpose, with love, and FAITH… So where does all this leave me? Right where I started, in a space of total uncertainty and “chaos”.  How do I choose to face it? With faith.

 God, I know you have us under your wing. I know that where ever we end up it is where you want us to be. I know it will all happen on your own time. I trust you God. I trust and trust and trust.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I hope that my decision to continue to have faith inspires you to do the same. If there is anything in your life that feels uncomfortable or uncertain causing anxiety or stress… Can you try some of these simple suggestions? Can you give it to God too? Can you just have faith that it will all work out as it is supposed too? Let me know, I would love to hear your experiences, they will inspire me to keep on keeping on.

 Oh, and now I can answer my questions from the beginning of the rant:

 Where is my life going to happen? HERE.

When is my life going to happen? NOW.

What am I going to do!?  THIS.

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***


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Like a Child

After 5 years in Uganda… this past Tuesday… she left. It was heartbreaking for her but she knows it was the right thing to do.

This is a very special post by my dear sister, Leah Pauline. She wrote this as part of our “Adventures Abroad” series. It is a moving piece about walking forward with faith…Enjoy. 

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Like a Child…

     First of all, I am not a yogi. I like yoga. I respect people that do yoga. I once committed myself to doing yoga for a week and loved the way I felt so physically aware of my body, but again, I would never call myself a yogi. When my incredible spiritual yogi sister asked me to do a guest post on her yoga blog, I had no idea what to write about. In fact, I was confused why she would even ask me. She is convinced that I am a yogi at heart. In Theresa’s post ,Welcome to Yoganda, she talked about how the people in Uganda are yogis in disguise, maybe perhaps that makes me a little bit more of yogi than I thought? After all, these yogis in disguise have been my greatest life teachers in the last five years, as I have made their home my home. I have learned so many life lessons from them on a daily basis from patience, simplicity, unity, humility, confidence, the list goes on and on. The latest thing I have learned is PRESENCE.

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 A couple weeks ago, after the kids got out of church a few of the older girls asked me to teach them my favorite church song. I chose, “Like a Child” by Mercy Me. Later that day, we sat in my office and sang the lyrics over and over again.   “They say that I can move the mountains, and send them falling to the sea. They say that I can walk on water… If I would follow and believe… with faith like a child.” While we were singing, Musana’s five youngest girls ran into the office with the biggest smiles and joyful spirits imaginable. They started jumping around, laughing uncontrollably.  I listened to the words we were singing, and watched the pure bliss of the three-year old girls in front of me. I envied them. They exemplify the words, “faith like a child,” perfectly. Nonchalantly and naturally, they live in the moment. They have this never failing faith and belief in everything…. It is so refreshing. It makes me rethink where my mind has been recently… worrying about the future.

Right now, I am living in Uganda, where I have lived for four of the last five years. I have a job that I love. I have a new house that I love. I have a boyfriend that I love. I am surrounded by kids that I love. This foreign land is no longer foreign, it is my home and I love it. However, I am on the verge of moving on. In four months, I will be moving to a city that I have never been to with people I have never met. Four months after that, I will be in another foreign city. Four months after that, I will be in another. And four months after that, another. I am about to start this huge adventure and I am terrified. I am leaving a life that I feel blessed to have and I have no idea what my future holds. Terrified. On a daily basis, I worry about it. I worry about leaving my job, my house, my boyfriend, the kids, everything. I worry that I will regret my decision to leave. I worry that I will be forgotten. I worry.

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So I am sitting in my office, singing about how to have faith “Like a child” when these three-year old girls run in, living fully in the PRESENT, without a worry in the world. I have suffered very little compared to them and yet I am the one that worries. The giddiest and happiest of all these little kiddos is Irene. This is her story: her father died around the time she was born and her mom who is HIV+ abandoned her. Irene started living with her uncle deep in the village. He was caring for multiple other kids, completely neglecting the needs of three-year old Irene. We found Irene in this village, and recognized her as the neediest, dirtiest, sickest of all the other impoverish village kids. This is saying a lot. She had a terrible skin rash, and jiggers ALL over her body. She was dirty and malnourished. Her state of being was to the point that nobody wanted to be around her, in fear of also getting sick. A month later, here I was envious of the joy that Irene has, envious of her ability to live in this present moment of singing and dancing, with no worry of her situation or where she would be tomorrow… she was completely content.  She lives day by day, trusting that she will be provided for. She has inspired me to look at my own life and challenged me to live in the today and be content. She is my teacher and with this lesson, I have started a ritual.

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On a daily basis, I take time and go to one of my favorite spots around Musana or in town…. My absolute favorite is on a balcony that I climb up to that overlooks the busiest, craziest part of Iganga town- the market. I go there and I just sit. I use the time to reflect on my life, meditate, and simply BE PRESENT. It is amazing how I have overlooked such a simple necessity of being content… presence. I watch, I listen, I live.  I soak up the African sights, smells, and sounds that surround me- People everywhere. Businessmen and women walking home from work, Children walking home from school. Hundreds of local men and women, sitting under bright umbrellas selling fresh fruits and vegetables from a long season of labor. Cages and cages of live chickens, being sold for tonight’s dinner. The African mixed aroma of fresh fruit, body odor, and garbage overwhelming my nostrils with its unique freshness. Trucks passing with loads of green banana being dropped in the market. The sound of motorcycles passing, cars honking, vendors making a sale. Total chaos. However, for me, it is where I find peace. It is where I grasp the life I have been blessed with. It is where I can pause and take a look into the world I live in and appreciate it. It is where my physical and spiritual presence becomes one.

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The lesson: Yes, I am leaving. Yes, it is terrifying. What I need to do is be like Irene… like a child. I need to remember my favorite child hood phrase and a common saying in Africa, “Hakuna Matata.” I can’t worry about the adventure. I need to embrace it. I need to open my mind, ready for anything that comes believing that everything will be okay. At the same time, I need to live in the moment and enjoy the today. I need to soak up the sights, hug as many kids as I can, close my eyes and remember the smells, the sounds, the people, and the feelings of where I am.  I need to laugh until I cry; I need to cry until I laugh. I need to be completely PRESENT. I need to do so with faith like a child because tomorrow will be exactly how it is supposed to be and when it comes I don’t want to regret not living my life to the fullest today.

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*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for more on Taozi’s travels, inspiration, and yoga pictures!***

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