Month: August 2011

Book Review: Buddhism for Mothers

I have been avoiding writing a review on this book.  Mainly because there is so much content and new things to think about I am having a hard time putting it down.

This book opened me eyes to many new thoughts and concepts.  It gave me permission to begin the final process of letting go of the “Catholic Guilt” that I have been plagued with most of my life.  It is forcing me to think about who I am and what I am doing in every moment of the day.

The here is the list of the top things that I have taken away from listening to this book:

  • I need to stop and evaluate where I am and what I am doing in random moments through the day.  
  • I need to think about what I should be doing to make my life the best it can be. 
  • I need to appreciate the gift that I have been given in my children as they are right now and not spend so much time focusing on what type of men they will become.  
  • I need to love myself as I am now and not focus so very much on who I would like to be. 
  • I need to spend some time looking at the bits and pieces of myself that are not part of the core of my being and are instead holding me back from being my true self.
  • I need to examine anger and emotions that I feel learn to accept them, and move on from them without pulling them with me.
I am glad that I chose to get this book as an audio book initially.  By listening to the book I was forced to “read” the entire book all the way through.  My goals are to listen to this book on a regular basis through the years.  I will probably purchase a paper copy sometime so that I can read it through visually, take notes, and highlight the passages that mean the most to me.  
I highly recommend it as a good book for any parent not just mothers.


Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) Success

I have been doing yoga for quite a few years now and have consistantly gotten better at doing different poses. Some of them still frustrate me though. One of them is Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). I have always had a hard time getting into the proper alignment and have never gotten my heels to touch the floor.

Until yesterday. Recently I have been randomly Googling Yoga to see what I can find for new websites to check out. The other day I found one for Bhanda Yoga that looked intriguing. I am a big believer in using the proper alignment in my practice and am always trying to remember how my instructor describes a pose. I read Mr Longs description on how to get the heels to the floor and it just clicked. I spent a half hour on the mat focusing on warming up and reading his description. It finally clicked and I got my feet to the floor while keeping my posture and alignment correct.

I will have to add his books to my gift list for the holidays. In the meantime I will be working my way through his website trying to push my practice to the next level.

Laughing Meditation

While listening to the book Buddhism for Mothers the author talks about taking every moment you can to spend time being mindful. Using the time with your children to meditate and reflect. Spending every moment you can focused on the here and now.

I have twin boys who just turned 18 months old. They are very active and are absolutely wonderful. Last evening they were fussy and angry because we wouldn’t let them go into a room that they aren’t allowed in. I had a hard time getting their attention focused away from that room. Finally I was able to get them into their bedrooms and we played tag around one of their cribs. The cribs are pulled away from the walls so there is room to get around them on all sides.
After a while I just parked myself on the floor behind the crib and every time one of the boys would come around the corner I would start laughing hystarically. They would then join in. For about 10 minutes all we did was duck, hide, and laugh until our faces hurt. I spent the time just being with them. I wasn’t thinking about anything except them and laughing. When I began to get tired of the game I pushed myself to continue. Even if I didn’t mean it as much by forcing myself to continue laughing with them I was able to see the light in their eyes for those extra few moments.
At the end of it my son Owen tackled me to drag me to the floor he then hugged me and gave me giant kisses. I told him thank you and that I love him too. I will have to make a point of doing this sort of meditation on a regular basis.

Book Review: Enlightenment for Idiots

I find that reading tomes of spiritual teachings bore me silly. I picked up the Bhagavad Gita this last weekend and tried to read it. I couldn’t get past the word “verily” it showed up multiple times on a single page. Every time I saw it I had to stop reading think about the word and its meeting then start again. Finally I quit trying, maybe someday I will be in the right frame of mind to read it but for now it is beyond me.
Instead I picked up the book “Enlightenment for Idiots” by Anne Cushman and read through it. In reading about the trials and challenges that Amanda faced in her search for enlightenment through yoga in India and the final place that she found it I was inspired. The book spoke to me in a way that the Bhagavad Gita can’t at this stage in my life. By looking through Amanda’s eyes I was able to look at my own life and try to see how to pull some of the teachings and lessons that Amanda found into myself.
Amanda had spent her life searching for something that was just out of her reach. Reading through the journey that she took to find it was a joy. I am thankful that Ms. Cushman wrote this wonderful book for me to read so that I could get a perspective of what searching for your self in India could be like. Traveling to India is not something that I will ever be able to do but searching for enlightenment is a journey that I am beginning to take.
Her story helps me on that path by allowing me to live vicariously through her character and see a side of things that I have never before really considered. It was a great overview of many of the different types of yoga that are out there. I know of them but to read about what someone experienced when looking into them helped me to have a bit broader understanding of what they mean.
The end of the book where she pulls together all that she learned and begins the next stage of her life was well written and really spoke to me.
Thank you Anne for this story, it was wonderful.

10 Commandments

I was challenged today to write a list of 10 commandments. After I finished and submitted them I realized that I didn’t mention God anywhere in the list. I feel that by doing all these things I am honoring him by making myself a better person.

Here is what I came up with:

  1. Love yourself.
  2. Love all beings
  3. Do no harm
  4. Forgive those who do you harm
  5. Give kindness to the weak and infirm
  6. Words are power, use them wisely
  7. Do not lust after what you do not have
  8. Live within your means
  9. Have the courage to live your life to its fullest
  10. Children are our future, love and protect each one.

Book Review: Downward Dog, Upward Fog

by Meryl Davids Landau
I came across this book while reading the Everything Yoga: Summer Reading book list. I bought the kindle version and loved it. The book was a regular girl who was looking for more from life and through her journeys found it. She took the time to learn as much as she could about spirituality and yoga and tried to apply it to her life. It was a slow progression but many of the best changes in life happen slowly.
My only frustration with the book was that the last 1/3 of seemed to happen to quickly and it seemed that once she understood what her goals were her spiritual life just progressed smoothly and things moved forward quickly. I forgive the author because that is just how books work, but I felt that it could have been done a bit more realistically.
I would like to find more books like this one and will definitely be rereading it again in the future. This is one of those books that I will come back to over and over in my life. Every reading will bring me something new or bring me new insight into where I am in my spiritual life.