Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Abundance" From A Friend

I have a really good friend that I have posted about before. Dann is the kind of friend where we might not talk for a while but we pick up where we let off immediately. I have always admired his spirit and pluck - along with a sense of humor we have in common. A side note in the story that follows is that a lot of people think he resembles the actor Will Farrell (I think Will Farrell is lucky to resemble Dann)
 He is going to be opening his own yoga studio in Oakville Ontario soon and has been updating me and some other good friends on his progress. there's always adventures along the way. I asked his permission to share his most recent post as well as a link to his own site (http://www.bikramyogaoakville.com/ ), where I hope he continues to share his perspectives on things:
Here is the post:

Abundance comes in many forms.....

Hi Everyone,

Abundance and prosperity can come in many forms. It is interesting how something that most of us would look at as a inconvenience such as a bird pooping on our arm as a bad thing, in other cultures that same occurrence can be looked upon as a sign of good luck. I am not sure if Drive through yoga will ever catch on, but who knows. Yesterday when a person was parking their car in front of the studio instead of pressing the brake they hit the gas and below are pictures of the resulting damage. No one was hurt, the driver of the car is OK.
When I arrived this morning to check things out I met two police officers. They were so friendly and the friendliness seemed odd. Then one said “Has anyone ever told you…” and I interrupted and said “That I look like Will Ferrell.” I said yes almost every day. I was told yesterday that the damage was minimal and the frame of the door was slightly bent. Lucky that there are two more doors inside of the vestibule that are locked to make the space secure. No one was hurt, not even the driver of the car, the building will be repaired and this will not hinder the opening of the studio.

I am so lucky, that as a result of this incident I got to meet some very nice people and perhaps make a couple of new friends. I have enclosed the pictures with the police officers they said that their families had to see that they met Will Ferrell’s look alike and I said I wanted pictures too then. Insurance for all parties concerned have been contacted and the couple who own Subway down from our studio location said that I need to look at this as though it is a blessing and good omen. So that is exactly what I am doing. Wouldn’t be a good ad for the studio if I pitched a fit anyway.

Have a good week and in one way or another there are blessings in all of our lives and I am sending this note to everyone who is a blessing to me.

Dann

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop - Now Open!

A good friend's home based business, formerly known as Cloaked Realm  has moved to it's own full business location at 355 Langside (just off Portage across from the newly built U of W's Mcfeeter's hall) in the old Club Morocco building.

From the store's Facebook page: "Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop is a rising star within the Winnipeg community. With humble roots as a home based business formerly known as Cloaked Realm ~ Pagan Emporium our shop will offer a diverse range of spiritual related products for those seeking enlightenment and self awareness".

Dominique has a beautiful selection of crystals, pendulums, jewellry, incence, imported stock and some things from local people as well. Candles, beautiful artwork and different books and implements for various traditions and practices...too much for me to try and describe here.

The space will also be available for classes and various community functions and lectures.

The soon to be up and running web page will be found at;
/http://www.elementalbooks.ca/
the phone number is
(204).779.8900
and to email:
elementalbooks@gmail.com

Further on the Eight Of Swords; the lessons of compassion,detachment and acceptance

In the comments on the previous article about the Eight Of Swords, I mentioned the business of detachment and how that doesn't necessarily mean physical detachment or leaving a situation but rather not being defined by it - being "in it but not of it". This is a tricky business for some.

I've started this post with Van Gogh's Starry Night. I was looking for images that could depict a person's attempt to break through isolation and convey a unique and at the same time relatable feeling. This image speaks to millions of people both in it's beauty and in it's poignancy. Although Van Gogh's life held a lot of suffering, his work ultimately has been a legacy of the vision he needed to share. Some experiences of suffering, like Vincent's, seem inescapable and sadly not all have happy outcomes.

The key thing to (hopefully) overcome in what the Eight Of Swords describes is isolation. Whether it is our own difficulty or that of someone we care about, the tools we can work with are compassion, detachment and acceptance. We can hear, we can try to listen and out of that to understand. At the same time we can never know entirely what another person's experience is and we have to be rooted in some degree of well being if we are to be of any good.

Many of us grow up believing that to be compassionate we must feel what the other person is feeling. How often in a caring situation do we feel compelled to say "oh I feel badly for you". We are often taught that this is compassion, but what good does it do? True we need understanding and the ability to relate and empathize to a degree, but this needs to be balanced with our own healthy well being.

A lesson I have often seen with the Eight Of Swords is that sacrifice for others must be balanced with our own demonstration of responsible self care. The alternative is suffering for others, a kind of martyrdom. When we do this we actually are making others responsible for our state and we are not living our own potential. The other side of the coin is not selfishness but rather a sense of sharing what we can, and what others can receive. Being responsive to, not responsible for others while being whole and responsible and accountable for ourselves. This is a life lesson that I'm not great at. It's a learning we move through many times. I can say it get's easier and along the way there is a lot of beauty, even in the hard stuff.

I will only give brief mention here of those (happily few) that often want to make others feel responsible for the state they are in, or in some way apologetic for not being in their suffering with them. But these people are rarely and only momentarily satisfied. All I can say in regards to them is a big thank you to whoever invented call display. I usually don't avoid the call altogether but that brief pause gives me fair warning where my boundaries can be in place. That's a swords lesson in itself!

Detachment is not being aloof or uncaring, far from it. It is about being responsible for one's self so that you are in good shape to be of service to others and to be a healthy demonstration. A healthy nurse can better look after people. A good teacher doesn't necessarily have all the answers but rather the tools that they are willing to share to find answers. If a good friend has the flu we don't say "here, sneeze on me, we'll both be miserable", but rather we avoid the sneeze, bring them soup and wash our hands and take our vitamins while doing so.

This is a challenging lesson, especially with those nearest and dearest when trauma is going on. Being caring means that of course we are affected, but it's also the recognition that we can't be in the same place as those directly suffering, nor would it be constructive to try. I learned this in some of the deepest grief situations my friends have gone through, both in loss and in facing their own passages. I learned that it is sometimes better to say "I have no idea what this must be like for you", because it was the truth. At the same time it is important to try to relate and understand.

Compassion is about knowing that others move through these situations and we can learn from those experiences. The circumstances are often not that unique (if they were there'd be no such thing as country western music, or Shakespeare or any form of art) but our individual experiences are.

There is comfort in knowing others move through similar situations. That's a big part of creativity. Music is a great example of people relating over heartache, joy and hope and most forms of art are about people expressing their individual experience and perceptions in a way that others can identify with, each in their own unique way. It is one of the things that makes the symbolism of Tarot useful. It is a way of relating these common themes with a degree of intuitive understanding from the reader and in what the person being read can relate to.

The painting at right is called "Old Man In Sorrow (On The Threshold of Eternity) - by Vincent Van Gogh".

Being in the Eight of Swords state also means having compassion with one's self. This is not narcissistic victim-hood or self pity, rather it is being a friend to ourselves, being able to drop the ego's expectations, the false armor of pride that isolates us. Being open to the experience of others is often an important start. It means giving up the familiar identification with pain, though what have we really got to lose?

This also has another word running through it all, acceptance. Acceptance is not a resigned giving up or (as I said in the comments section before) playing "possum" to a tyrannical force. It is also not about trying to run from or deny the circumstances.It's about seeing it as part of the journey, useful in our understanding and compassion to others and yet not the entire definition of ourselves.

All of the Eights are our relationships with circumstances. They are not the totality of ourselves, simply where we are momentarily on our journey. We might get stuck in them for a while (or choose to stay stuck). Swords are about conflict but they are also about our responsibilities in working with boundaries, making decisions, articulating ourselves, dropping the unnecessary baggage and protecting what is important.