For much of my life, I was shy and withdrawn, deep in my own world and very uncomfortable in public settings. Over time, though, yoga, mountain ventures, friendships, and a variety of healing encounters have opened me up and connected me strongly to the life around me. So this summer I boldly ventured forth to participate in the Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
Two weekends ago, I took part in a women’s retreat at a beautiful farm in rural Connecticut. And I did something unusual—I turned off my cell phone. Instead of glancing at my phone, I soaked in the landscape, embraced time meditating, and laughed with soulful women around me. I took a step away from tech, and I couldn’t have been happier.
A new year has commenced with the opportunity to think about the triumphs and pitfalls of the past year in order to plan for the future. Most of us set resolutions at this time. Fortunately, some of those resolutions become part of our daily life, but unfortunately others fall away shortly after we try to implement them.
This month’s feature film is the Emmy Award-winning documentary Journey of the Universe. Narrated by Brian Thomas Swimme, the film takes us on a journey through history and our connection with all of humanity.
The Spiritual Cinema Circle film selections this month explore empathy in the lives of families, friends and strangers.
In the short film Of Teaching Killer Whales Compassion, a homeless young man adrift in society finds hope for change after a chance encounter. A behind-the-scenes written interview with the filmmakers is included in the DVD insert. Our other short films this month, Lucy and Far, also tell stories of people seeking connection in the world.
April 2013 marks the beginning of the tenth year of Spiritual Cinema Circle! This month, we celebrate the way that great stories can connect us to the world.
The Last Brickmaker in America, our feature for April, stars the legendary actor Sidney Poitier as a man who has been making bricks by hand for more than 50 years and who proves to be a profound example of how to build life “brick by brick.”
For over five years, my yoga practice brought me joy and fulfillment, but solely from my studentship. Teachers had always intrigued me with their beauty, strength, confidence and presence, but to actually become a yoga teacher seemed like entering a different realm — one that I thought could not possibly be as blissful as the space on my favorite coral-colored yoga mat.
But every now and then I would think about what it would be like to lead a class, spreading pieces of possibility and shining smiles to all the students. I would cue and they would flow, moving with ease to the perfect music I was playing that matched all the perfect words I was saying.
But then my daydreams would subside, and I would find myself happy to only be responsible for my own moves, my own mind. Why would I want to teach anyway? It would take up so much time. When would I get to do my practice? If I was teaching, I wouldn’t be learning.
But are the two job descriptions — writer and yoga teacher — really that dissimilar? As a writer, my true calling has always been found in the power of connection and inspiration, traits any good yoga teacher should possess. I like to set my own schedule, travel a lot, wear comfy clothes and work in bare feet. I love sharing my insights and experiences, spreading words of wisdom wherever I go.
So, yes, now I am not only a writer. My career of word crafting has united with my passion for movement.
I was reminded this weekend, whilst walking through town, about the magic of staying open. Two strangers openly greeted me with big smiles, and I am ashamed to say I was consciously taken aback. But once I acknowledged it was me they were smiling at, I responded by grinning with appreciation at them (possibly scaring them, apols about that!).
See, after I moved here, I often found myself talking (or rather, trying to talk) to strangers in the street, or at bus stops, or as I queued to pay for groceries. Despite my best efforts, the funny looks I often received in return took their toll, as I assumed they were a negative reaction towards my behavior. This eventually led to me becoming more shy and reserved, and less likely to try to connect with those I met.
On Sunday, October 24th, the first Global Oneness Day will be celebrated. I am excited about this because I am a firm believer that once we realize that we are all connected, the energy of separation can begin to be dismantled. From my point of view, it is imperative for us to remember that what we do and think affects the whole. This one day feels like a great opportunity to begin to place our attention on what we want to create.
I share an amazingly deep connection with someone and yet I know deep down he is not the right one for me. How do I reconcile that in my mind and heart and move on, especially when I’ve been searching for a long time?