Ever wonder what really happens in drinking communities. Here’s my take in a full article published 2/24/16 by The Good Men Project
Thank you to The Good Men Project.… read more...
Ever wonder what really happens in drinking communities. Here’s my take in a full article published 2/24/16 by The Good Men Project
Thank you to The Good Men Project.… read more...
DAY 17. Everything Changes: A Yoga Parable
The people were fueled by energy drinks, but ripe with anxiety and unexamined ambition. The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired their imaginations. The eight limbs twisted in the wind of post-modernism and creative chaos.
In time, yoga prospered and many realized the teachers brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain, and even angry youth. But some feared its power – especially its counsel to sit alone in silence.
In the counsel of quiet, someone passed a message about movement’s medicine and whispered that diversity is a source for creativity and road to enlightenment. A vision came forth of illusions in misdirected ambition, in Theodrama, and in the construction of culture and its false prophecies of comfort through technology and convenience.
* * *
Then someone at the ashram read a passage from Shelly, and a guru wept:
Life, like a dome of many-colored glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity.
The gurus didn’t understand what had happened, and while nobody claimed credit, people awoke to radiance within. Westlanders didn’t want gurus. They didn’t read books. But they went to their mats and a world opened like the many petals of the lotus in a soft rain, and a light from the crown of their heads went out to eternity.
Every happening great and small
Is a parable whereby God speaks to us
And the art of life is to get the message.
–Malcolm Muggeridge… read more...
Asana Back to the Innocent Age
On an overcast February day, my move toward balasana (child’s pose) began easily enough; “breathe into your truth, breathe into your center,” my teacher said.
The words moved me like someone taking my hands and gently walking me backward into a calm refreshing lake. I would have welcomed this after a slow and voggy day; I mean a day full of vog – volcanic gas cloud residue – suffocating everyone within miles of my writing desk. Things just weren’t happening. I blamed the vog.
Like anyone, I’m involved in making a living and positioning myself for security. I hope for happiness and peace for myself and my extended family. And like others, I want to register my mark in the world and hope my contributions help move the human family in a compassionate direction. I’ve had a good education and learned my civics lessons, so I also embrace my role in helping to alleviate suffering of those less fortunate than myself.
In my best efforts to make a mark in the short time I have to walk the Earth, I’m required to sift through ever-increasing complex data and stimuli that comes to me through my senses. Like all yogi’s living in a material world, I’m obliged to select what I’ll take-in or reject based on my priorities and values.
HARD CHOICES IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD
A yogi’s awareness of the world’s interconnectedness leaves him/her with sometimes agonizing choices over what course of action is least-harmful. One approach to this post-modern dilemma is to adopt the ethical creed of non-malificence, or do no harm, a part of the Hippocratic Oath.… read more...
On Feb. 3, 2014 my first yoga article was published in TheYogaBlog. Now, nearly two years to the day, the 30th is published in Asana Journal. Thanks for reading folks, and please pass these on.
You may not do yoga, but perhaps someone you know does or maybe someone you know is thinking about it. Right now my literary agent, Elizabeth Kracht, has my full yoga book and will be shopping it soon to publishers.
New Years’ Resolutions shot to hell? Pfffuf… so what.
Yoga time means a reductive mathematic, a Gandhian core and a shamanistic strategy.
That may mean taking a moment to swing through the trees.
In my twenties, I was the leader of an eight-member music group that toured through India for four months. Landing in Bombay, we took the rail south to Trivandrum, where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea merge. Going north through Andhra, Madhya, and Uttar states, we passed through Agra and ended the tour in New Delhi. It was my first international trip and I felt challenged by new customs, food, language, and climate. To a student fresh out of college, India was a new and vibrant world I did not understand.
Walking out of church one Easter Sunday, I saw an elderly man sitting on the church lawn near a busy sidewalk. He was practicing garurasana, eagle pose. Most people filed right past him as if he were invisible. I stared, and I thought he looked uncomfortable. That experience was 35 years before I began practicing yoga. I had no idea what he was doing.
After leaving Delhi, my transition back to the U.S. was rapid, and I felt strangely affected by my travels. I seemed to be seeing things differently. When I went into stores, I found myself looking for things to which I’d grown accustomed in India, such as the blue-faced representation of Krishna adorning wall calendars.
The quiet streets, typical of small town country living, was odd after I’d grown used to the shrieking sound of bus horns. In my music room, I replicated that dissonant and jarring pitch by simultaneously plucking my guitar’s E string on the eighth fret and the G string on the eleventh fret.… read more...
Allen Keith Ormson
Uncle Al (Allen) graduated from Barron High School in 1957, and then went to college at The University of Wisconsin, River Falls, where he earned a bachelor’s degree graduating in 1963.
Like many boys growing up with brothers, my father Dean, and his brothers Al and Duane engaged in sibling rivalry. At family gatherings, I heard stories about the time Uncle Al climbed up into the garage rafters, and by the use of secret sauce or brotherly incantation, lured my pops into the garage.
As my father walked underneath, Al dropped darts onto his head. Dad’s revenge was to put nasty stuff in Al’s chocolate milk. These are Wisconsin small-town stories that cement family bonds and create mythologies on whose reverberations family-members ride into the future. My pop and Al became close in later years, something that often happens when siblings grasp the depth of blood and jettison youthful rivalries.
In later years, inflated memories of Canadian fish stories and fantastic recitals of success in conquering Wisconsin buck fever took on Gaudian forms; and while uncle and pop were men of flesh, their noses grew longer at each telling.
Uncle began his career as a teacher, eventually earning his master’s degree from Winona State University and serving as superintendent of schools for 27 years in Rusk and Polk counties. But Al is memorable to me for his great success as a basketball coach. He took the small school Durand Panthers to the Wisconsin State (WIAA) basketball tournament finals twice during his coaching career, before the days when schools competed in separate divisions based on enrollment.… read more...
From Michael Wiegers, editor in chief of Copper Canyon Press in Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Poets and Writers.
“On one hand, I don’t directly subscribe to a poetry that “does” something – but at the same time I believe in its power to do something. I don’t think that art or poetry needs to set out to change the world but I think that it can change the world and make us more compassionate, more just, more aware.”
WRITE. Revise, annotate, put it down, parenthesize (it). Change the script, compose a new song, jot a saga, create a path, follow the crumbs, depict a vision.
TRACE the arc, endorse the light, follow energy, create curiosity, register my stamp, Trust the way . . .
Chart a course, chronicle a title, engrave my name, be true.
AUTOGRAPH my correspondence, draw up, reveal and dream. Deliver my rap, savage the critic, curse the blow-hard, kill the perfectionist, punch – u – ate the negative.
CHERISH my cloud, enroll my allies, extract all good, bless my colleagues, publish my creed.
REMEMBER, advocate, strip away adiophora, exalt all heroes and discern.
CHOOSE to do, walk in sure steps, choose to be, hold my own. Honor each word, aim for truths, love creation, write the project, accept what appears. Wait.
Perhaps you’ve watched the A&E Network’s show, Storage Wars. In it, a group of people look for five minutes at the contents of a storage unit from its periphery, but cannot enter the unit. Then they bid to own the unexamined contents inside. The winner is the highest bidder, and his/her reward is ownership of everything in that unit.
The highest bidder might find valuable coins or artwork, antique toys or newspapers. In rare cases, they find instruments. However their newly-bought storage unit could be filled with dirty tee-shirts accompanied by soiled linens and parking tickets, vestiges of life in transit. More often than finding gold, the winning bidder finds the clutter of unresolved issues and remnant droppings of a human pack-rat.
The show is popular because it’s a modern day version of a mother-lode gold strike. In a few cases, bidders have made hundreds of thousands in profit. One bidder discovered Spanish gold coins, some dating back to the 16th Century, valued at half a million dollars. Another winner found a model grand piano and a third stumbled into classic toys worth nearly $13 thousand.
In our yoga bodywork, it’s not long before we are like most of those treasure seekers who run smack dab into unwanted leftovers and are faced with cleanup. It’s widely understood in our yoga communities that our bodies are storage units of past traumas. This includes mental and psychological trauma along with physical injuries.
Dr. David Berceli describes his work treating “deep chronic tension created in the body during a traumatic experience or that has accumulated from prolonged stress.” His therapy to clean up the human body’s storage unit is called TRE, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. … read more...
It’s odd to think of yoga and freediving as complementary activities, for it’s accurate to identify yoga as bodily movement led by breathing and freediving as bodily movement while breath-holding. Yet yoga practice can help improve freediving by expanding lung capacity and improving tissue flexibility; and lessons learned beneath while moving under pressure can improve yoga practice.
Living in Hawaii provides me with the opportunity to practice both yoga and freediving as often as I like. These activities are intimately related and both connect to the same core principle: breath work.
But the subject is important to anyone taking 20 to 30 thousand breaths a day, and that’s a big group, including everyone living.
But since practicing yoga, I’ve noticed a big improvement in my ability to hold my breath while diving. In yoga, I do breath-work to make yoga practice satisfying and my dives into the Pacific extraordinary.
It’s not so much the depth to which I can go in either the asana or the dive, but the satisfaction of getting the most from my potential as a diver, a yogi, and a breathing and grateful sentient being.
Growing up in the Midwest, I never dreamed that someday I’d be freediving in the ocean and swimming next to sharks, dolphins or rays. But it’s happened. Neither would I have thought that one day I’d be bending like the palm trees outside the yoga studio, experiencing the depths to which yoga would take me. But that happened too.
BREATH, YOGA’S FOCUS
Anyone stepping into a yoga class learns immediately that the first action focuses on breathing.… read more...
Think of standing on your mat in class holding Mountain Pose, and that your mat is the entire focus of your attention. In your mind, shift your awareness to the place where the soles of your feet make contact with your mat and pretend as if that place is all that exists. Your entire world is made up of the space that forms two outlines on the bottom of your feet. This is what Gestalt calls the “figure,” and everything else – except that one patch where your two feet make contact – is the background/landscape of perception and awareness.
My yoga class sometimes reminds me of lectures in Gestalt psychology when my professor spoke about making contact; and with that heightened contact, the impact of fully digesting food and digesting experience. His inference was that one can digest both life and food when one takes time for focus on the figure of awareness.
Recently, while absent-mindedly walking barefoot on a wood floor, I reached for something and felt a little off balance. Immediately, I was aware of a strong corrective to my imbalance, but it wasn’t coming from my brain, it was coming from the soles of my feet.
I was surprised, for I had never before felt a corrective to in my balance coming from my feet. I asked myself, Are my feet becoming smarter, or am I just becoming more aware of their contact and catching up to that reality? This small example is the wider truth of yoga practice. It increases bodily intelligence and directly related mental intelligence.… read more...
THEY were fueled by energy drinks, but gross with anxiety and unexamined ambition. The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired the people’s imaginations. The ‘eight limbs’ twisted in the wind of post-modernism and creative chaos. And in that land, people learned diversity was a source for creativity and road to enlightenment.
In time, the practice prospered and many realized the travelers brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain and even angry youth. But some feared its power – especially its counsel to sit alone in silence.
There, in the counsel of the quiet, the student found reasons for the false prophecy of money, misdirected ambition, the severance of limbs, the medicine of movement. He heard surrender and its yield: balm for the captive and great music composed by stones.… read more...
Sharing a few paragraphs from Garrett Hongo’s Volcano. Example of a smart and insightful writer working to capture the depth of his story.
Sections from Hongo’s book.
“IN the kitchen, my aunt made some tea, put pink and green rice cakes on a plate and poured some shining bronze crackers in a bowl, motioned me out to the living room, and we took seats there opposite each other. With no other preface than that, she began a long monologue that was a generation’s worth of family story. . . I was to quiet myself. My silence let her find a rhythm to her own telling, find the right tone of voice, the delicate colors of emotion and recollection. She was giving me a dimension to things which had been both veiled and excised from consciousness and curiosity almost since my own birth. She told me who I was.
. . There are dimensions to this story that I cannot imagine. There are reasons for flight, for theft, for abandonment that will transform their tellings into quests for freedom and sagas of pure survival.”
…The villagers here in Volcano know that you must water hapu’u from the top of its trunk, not at its base. Its roots are adventitious, bundled into a communal shape like a stovepipe in air rather than groping through the ash and loam and crumbling lava like an underground bole. The hapu’u grows, then, like a gigantic mushroom in the rain forest, its attachment to earth a fine and fragile thing, the step of an angel.”… read more...
Paragraph from an essay in progress, “Oz: Emerging Truth.”
OZ sits me down where we’re accompanied by the parting grip of Old Man Winter. His dying is not pretty, he’s peeping around the corner in prurient self-interest, wanting to mess with Easter. But he can’t, so Old Man Winter becomes a disgruntled wizard, holding on to his wish for relevance. The curtain is pulled back and he’s busted as a fake. He’s not the all-powerful controller. I try to ignore the cold bearded man behind the curtain as I sit with him, the snow, and the wood stove. Outside, I hear him weep at his parting.
My teacher speaks in clusters of daring “The way in is the way out.” It’s her graceful word rising from years looking at the blank slate over the Pacific, her lungs breathing deeply of this rolling mist. Her wisdom “the way in is the way out,” comes to me from her bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet.… read more...
It’s easy to imagine how yoga works when living near a boiling volcano. It flows like lava: heating, bending, and shaping. It reforms everyone, twisting them into their unique physiography. They collapse and then rise. Their gaze, a pyramid of discovery, moves from ground to horizon to sky. An ascent takes place. Energy is exchanged. The yogi rests and is transformed.… read more...
“Because breath is life, the art of judicious, thoughtful
ungreedy breathing is a prayer of gratitude we offer to life itself.” B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life.
My arm was sore, but over and over I pulled the rope. The Evinrude sputtered and coughed. After a few minutes, it kicked into idle and spewed out blue clouds of exhaust near the water. The old boat motor had an ornery sound, like the voice of someone when their car doesn’t start in winter.
Finally, I rested and caught my breath while the engine warmed. I carefully cut back the motor’s choke, hoping it wouldn’t stall. After a minute, I reached down and pulled forward and into gear a small lever sticking out from the upper left portion of the propeller stem. I motored around the the 3.2 miles of shoreline on Big Casey Lake turning the rubber handle clockwise with my left hand on the steering lever, then cut the engine near the lily pads on the south shore not far from the Bald Eagles nesting in a tall jack pine.
I’m starting an old motor and riding around the lake in a metal boat in order to engage with the concrete and physical, to balance my life of academic work: teaching, grading, writing and going to meetings. That’s why a manual-start motor is the perfect remedy. It starts not with a button, but only by work of arm and hand, shoulder and elbow, and it reminds me of a time when life had more physical work and less mental clutter.
I go to the Old Style Place for exactly that… less clutter. In the cabin’s main room, there are three chairs, one kitchen table, one small metal stand for a toaster, one wooden seating bench, a few magazines and a radio — radio with a cassette player — and a small box near the wood stove filled with kindling.… read more...
I’ve been traveling for two days and I’m tired of being treated like a number. I’m finally at my destination, a cabin in northern Wisconsin. I’ve come a long way to be here, and I know my journey from Hawaii was worth it.
Opening the door, I grope to find a light switch. In a few moments, I’m listening to the crackle of a wood fire in the stove. A sustained loon wail rises from the lake. Mystical and high-pitched, it’s a sound that could be interpreted as pain.
The loon speaks in four calls: wail, yodel, tremolo and hoot. Tonight they wail. But the loon’s elegy is music to me. They’ve recently flown back from the Gulf of Mexico, a nearly 3,000 mile journey. Their call in the dark is half mariachi. It’s an eerie sound over water, something like mourning and something like a high note from a Mexican trumpet.
The Ojibwa of this area once spoke of the loon as mang, which meant, “the most handsome of birds.” It’s also the most ancient of birds, existing long before humans. North American field guides list the loon first.
The wail keeps echoing over Big Casey Lake and it’s loud, much louder than summer calls when leafy trees mute the decibels and their haunting. The loon sound abates; I step outside to see new snow. I haven’t formed a snowball in years, so I make one about the size of a baseball and fire it at a tree.
I miss wide right, and it surprises me. My right arm has grown stubborn, like everything here.… read more...
http://notesbygo.blogspot.com/2015/04/o-rings-20th-installment-yoga.html… read more...
Kauai writers conference in May. Featuring agents, authors and Hawaii.… read more...
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3262854555252514049#editor/target=post;postID=7609855544855442390;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname… read more...
If one strikes a covenant with yoga, they do not inherit guarantees and neither are there predictable outcomes; but a time-tested truth demonstrates if the yogi bears their weight of the oath, the yield will be rich. Yoga will always do its share in this bendable arc of change.… read more...
Empty Mirror @EmptyMirror · March 6, 2015
New today! Gregory Ormson’s “With Crooked Legs of Hackberry” http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/features/with-crooked-legs-of-hackberry.html …
Yea! thanks Empty Mirror… read more...
Article published today by The Good Men Project.
The good men project focuses on issues relevant to men and boys, helping them to be more aware of both their power for bad and good. It’s also a support site with advice for men, offering encouragement to boys and tips for everyone on the power of mentoring and mutual support. Check it out at The Good Men Project either on Facebook or on their Website.
My article might be called brief Social commentary on guns and the American fascination with them. Brief article includes reflections on hunting, guilt and fascination with guns, the mesmerizing power of a trigger, and the gun’s mystical draw, its polarizing reality. Link below and thanks for reading and passing along.
My son with the .16 guage Mossberg bold-action shotgun, the subject of this article.
http://www.yogitimes.com/article/who-moved-the-yoga-mat-practice… read more...
Teaching is talking and showing. A teacher can’t be stingy. Teachers share their energy by demonstrating, illustrating, explaining and giving examples.
A teacher invests, gives something of him or herself, and a good teacher is aware of pacing as they give … stopping frequently to listen. Did this sink in? I just wrote … stopping frequently to listen.
It’s a silly pet peeve of mine, really. And I suppose if anyone really wanted to annoy me they would, at my final resting, throw a football back and forth while dropping it on purpose. If I am watching you from the great beyond, I’ll be saying, Dammit… don’t reach for the ball, touch and cradle.
That’s my saying as a catching coach, touch and cradle.
Touch and cradle arises from years of playing ball and watching people throw to one another. What I’ve noticed is catching technique. People, when you are getting ready to catch something like a ball, don’t lunge, or reach out for it. You let it come to you.
In the act of catching, it’s okay to extend your arm(s), but not very far. Let the ball make contact with your hands (touch) then cradle it softly into into your arms. Once the ball is in your hands and arms then bring it in to your body. The movement of both your arms and ball are coming into your body as you catch.
This is a weird post I suppose, but I write this after I watched people throw and catch at the beach. I watched what appeared to be a family of two adults and two children.… read more...
Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged by Russell Thorburn. (Marick Press, 2006) 99 pp. $14.95 (paper)You can imagine the poetry in Russ Thorburn’s, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged, if you can fathom poems set to attack or expose the myriad complications of the generation gap. “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” While that’s from the Old Testament Chapter 31 in the book of Jeremiah, the sentiment is expressive of these poems from Thorburn.
I can’t help but think back to my study of theology, listening to one of my instructors discuss the correlation between sin and the generation gap. Those words must have stuck, because here, much later, I’m thinking back to the correlation of sin and generational tension when reading these poems.
These poems feed you with a large dose of yearning for innocence mixed with a liberal dash of courage. Note well Thorburn’s hefty presentations of cultured intellect, mixed with existential honesty. A heaping spoonful of this doesn’t make any sugar sweeter, but equally as poignant they beg you to peel the onion one layer at a time.
Thorburn wants readers to travel back to a time when all things were innocent and good; but the reality is that they never were. Our memories trick us. But those tricks can serve us too, for they are the necessary deceptions that help us stay with the journey in the midst of disappointments.
By the third poem in this collection, innocence is notably shattered when in “Renoir’s Nude and The Gentle Thief,” Thorburn and a friend are robbed of a Renoir print they bought at the downtown Detroit art museum.… read more...