Barb's Bountiful Body Blog
an ongoing series of reflections on life in this body
an ongoing series of reflections on life in this body
April 1, 2020
Since suspending the yoga classes I teach I have been spending more time in meditation and reflection on my life and my relationship to others in my family, my neighborhood, my country, and the world at large. The ohm symbol on the left represents the sound of the universe, some say at the time of creation, but I think it is with us now. To hear it we need to listen with our inner awareness. Each day is a new creation and we are evolving. To get though this difficult time we must look out for each other. We must offer encouragement and love to each other without expecting anything in return. We must nourish ourselves with a daily walk, yoga practice, dance or with whatever brings us joy and and a little peace in these troubling times of virus-spread. We must wake-up to our connection to all beings.
April 2, 2020
On this cool spring morning in Arizona my bountiful body and I led my husband and a dear friend in an outdoor yoga practice. The desert was lush with yellow brittlebush flowers and a breeze was blowing. A little sparrow sang as we practiced and in those precious moments it was possible to let the worry and fear fly away for a little while and like the bird, to be in the fullness of self expression.
April 3, 2020
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood for a walk today. The trees are full of birds each with its specific call. As I watched they flew from one location to another to spread their musical message. It made my head spin a little and it made me happy all at the same time. So much life-force, so much energy all around. My intention is to tap into that energy and move with confidence that I too have a voice, have a song.
April 4 2020
This morning I took a little more time than usual in my meditation. Meditation is great for centering and entering a new day of uncertainty. Each day now seems uncertain. What will I do? Will it be meaningful? Will I continue to be well? Will my friends and family continue to be well? I hope that after the virus passes its peak, it will fade away quickly. I hope that all of us who survive will thrive with a new appreciation for the gift of life each morning, and the ability to use our talents and our bountiful bodies throughout the day with more wisdom.
April 5, 2020
As I listened to the buzzing of a bee this morning I thought now there is a creature with real purpose today. Like us, that little bee wants to have a larder full of good nourishing food. Nor does he need a virus to teach him that concept. It is just inborn. We too have inborn instincts for survival. We also have a need to socialize, to connect with others of our kind. During our walk on the wash trail my husband and I had brief, but satisfying conversations, first with a man who was walking along and then 2 women off on an adventure together. We all kept our respectful social distance and I dare say walked away feeling a little more alive for having connected with someone.
April 6, 2020
This morning was just a bit too windy for my comfort and the winds continue into the afternoon. As I write I can hear one of our bells clanging even though I am inside. I was feeling a little blue earlier as I watched the trees and plants bobbing back and forth. Then suddenly a little ground squirrel scampered across our patio. He made me laugh because he stopped every few feet and froze in place. I am so grateful for that tiny jolt of joy. The little squirrel reminded me that when I am troubled, it is possible to create a moment of peace by coming to stillness, and that joy is in the small gifts that come my way when I least expect them.
April 7, 2020
It is time to tell you why I call this the Bountiful Body Blog. Bountiful means giving. When I think about my body too often I am connected more to the aches and pains it gives me rather than the daily pleasure I experience through it. This blog is intended to highlight the good things about being alive in my body. This morning I am thankful to my eyes out of the corners of which I saw a large shadow in the patio. Curious I went to the window and there was a bobcat strolling nonchalantly across the patio like she owned the place. Which she does. This is her world I am casting my shadow in for a little while and I am grateful.
April 8, 2020
Last evening, just before it rose, the full super moon cast its light on the clouds above the mountains in the shape of a fiery dragon.
On the internet I looked up the meaning of dragon as a spirit animal and found this: "When dragon materializes as your spirit animal it's time to rekindle your soul's fire." As a message of what to do during this time of withdrawal from the world what could be better? In addition fire dragons bring "lessons of self-mastery, creativity, mental keeness, and alchemical transformation." It would seem I have a lot to learn. Maybe so do we all. I am pretty sure that dragon didn't come just for me.
April 9 2020
Continuing on with the theme of dragons I am happy to say that a large gila monster, which resembles a dragon, to me crossed the street safely in front of our home yesterday. This elaborately patterned creature moves slowly placing each foot carefully on the ground. I take her to be an earth dragon which symbolizes stability. The Anglo Saxon word for dragon means "clear see." This little dragon's presence in my life reminded me to move slowly and deliberately throughout my day, to stay grounded and see with clarity.
April 10, 2020
I This morning while walking I was delighted with the purity of the air in my nostrils. The winds I so disliked on Monday, and the past 3 days, must have whisk the pollens away like a spring cleaning. With the freshness of the air my body was a little more buoyant and my mind felt clearer too. So what I rued for a few days, brought me delight on this Good Friday. There is, after all, a reason for everything on this planet.
April 11, 2020
I am still celebrating the delight my nostrils bring me. This morning I plucked a few leaves from a plant growing by my front gate that smells like mint. After rubbing leaves between my fingers and hands I practiced alternate nostril breath. It was so refreshing. The minty smell stayed with me awhile on my slow walk in the neighborhood. I like to walk slow and sense my feet one at a time touching the ground. To myself I say this mantra: My mind can go in a thousand directions, but when I walk I am at peace. Namaste.
April 12, 2020
This Easter morning is like none other I have experienced. No family gatherings, no going out to church to sing the hymns of resurrection. Andrea Bocelli sang Amazing Grace in front of the Duomo of Milan and while he was singing (live streamed to the world) there were some film clips of empty streets in Paris, London, Italy and New York. Emptiness everywhere, yet my heart remains full of hope for the future. I went outside and lifted my arms in Warrior pose and as I looked up between my outstretched hands I saw a jet plane streaming across the clear blue sky. Yes, I thought, we shall travel again. We shall gather together again our in homes, and in communities near and far, with renewed appreciation and love for one another. In that spirit I wish everyone a Happy Easter. We shall rise together.
April 13, 2020
This morning's meditation walk took place at a later hour than usual. I noticed the birds were a little quieter, but still flying from tree top to tree top. These tiny denizens of the air observe the neighborhood from a perspective far above mine. I recalled the jet plane I saw yesterday and it came to me quite clearly that the plane was symbolic of an air dragon. Air dragons are said to have a global perspective, untroubled by the winds of change. Hopefully the lasting change brought by the virus will be that we humans will adopt a more global perspective of caring for the planet and all its citizens.
April 14, 2020
I have always known that we touch each other with our energy bodies when we are in the same room. Because of social distancing, I am now delighted to discover that we don't have to be in the same room, or even the same physical location geographically. Thanks to the power of technology I have been able to connect through an application called Zoom, with my family, my friends in book club, and with a friend in a meditation group. In each instance there was an energetic experience that felt very much like I was actually physically with the group. I don't understand how this happens, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that we were all present at same time and that we were focussed on each other. Maybe it is mind waves, maybe electrons, maybe it is magic. It doesn't really matter how this happens. The fact that it happens surprises me and brings me joy.
April 15, 2020
I have walked up and down the street many times. Yet just today for the first time I noticed there was a small Christmas ball reflecting sunlight from the branch of a mesquite tree in one of the yards that I pass. This brought a smile to my face in gratitude for the spirit of Christmas represented by that one shiny ball. I know the spirit of giving is always here with us. We tap into it whenever we reach out to one another. We may offer to get groceries for someone, or donate money to help feed others who may be unable to afford the grocery products they need, or any other act of kindness. Kindness always shines in all times, all places.
April 16, 2020
Sometimes living with the covid 19 virus all around the world feels to me like being stuck in the mud. I find myself distracted and confused, my breathing becomes shallow and movement difficult. At such times I remind myself that the lotus grows out of the mud and so can I. By using the tools of yoga breath and yoga postures (asanas) it becomes possible to free this bountiful body one breath at a time from the the stickiness, and confusion all around me. Rama Joyti Vernon, one of my teachers, said that the "as" in asana means to be one with the eternal vibration. What a beautiful thought to carry us through these difficult times so that we may grow, like the lotus, into the light.
April 17, 2020
This morning's experience gives new meaning to the phrase "a little bird told me". It is another beautiful day here in Oro Valley, AZ. The morning air was cool and there were a few clouds in the sky which makes for pleasant walking. I was going slowly and appreciating the beauty of nature when I spotted two humming birds sitting on a twig and one was feeding the other. It was a gentle reminder that there are those in the community who need food and that there are ways I can help! I was reminded by those little birds that my husband and I can support organizations who bring food to those in need through donations online. In having an opportunity to show a little kindness in that way we are truly blessed. When we show kindness, we not only help others, we help ourselves, as well. Because every act of kindness, however small, reduces the worry and anxiety that builds up when we feel useless. Here are two places for your consideration: https://www.communityfoodbank.org https://casamariatucson.org
April 18, 2020
Early in the morning, before the sun comes over the mountains, the quail sit high in the trees calling to each other. "I'm here," they say, "I'm here". Around the globe millions of humans pick up their phones and send out the same cry to friends and family, "I am here", they say, "Are you here too?"
April 19 2020
This morning my daughter sent me a video of a beautiful waterfall in a wooded area of Connecticut, via her cell phone. The sound of the water falling came through loud and clear. My message in return was "wow!" That wow feeling loosened some of the worry that has been disturbing my heart and washed it away. If it returns, I will turn inward and meditate on the sound of water and just for today I shall not worry.
April 20, 2020
Every day I write and I read the writings of others sent to me by text or email, or that I find in the opinion columns of the paper. More often than not, their words are my words, their concerns, doubts, fears, and small moments of pleasure are similar to my own. Their grief and disbelief are mine too. To me this means we are all focused on getting through this time of what seems like a bad dream together. We are reaching out to one another, perhaps more than ever did before the virus came and threw us into turmoil. We are inspired by our new heroes and applaud everyone who is doing their best to contribute to the common good. We set aside time for self-care and for clearing out the clutter in our mental and physical closets. It seems to me that these are positive signs; that we are becoming more tuned in to ourselves and others, and that we can come out of this stressful time stronger and better people than we were before.
April 21, 2020
This morning I found myself drawn to my yoga leggings with the dragonfly design. Dragonfly is symbolic of deep soul expression and transformation. In these days of living with the reality of restrictions on our movements and social interactions, calling on the spirit of this beautiful little creature seems appropriate. Dragonflies can fly forwards and backwards and hover in in the air. They represent lightness of being and adaptability. These are qualities we can cultivate within ourselves to find more freedom and joy in this difficult and challenging time.
April 22, 2020
On this Earth Day 2020 I am absolutely in awe of our beautiful blue planet. At the same time I am mindful that we humans have taken her for granted for too long. Nature is out of balance and we are the culprits. Throughout the day today I vow to pause whatever I am doing and (with deep reverence) thank Mother Earth for giving my bountiful body a wonderful world to explore. My prayer is that when we all wake-up from this global pandemic we will finally understand that the health of our planet and our physical health are intimately connected.
April 23, 2020
Today was grocery shopping day for me. I put on my mask and gloves in the parking lot and entered the store. Compared to my experience of two weeks ago things have calmed down a quite a lot. There were only a few shoppers and the narrower aisles were designated one way to avoid close contact. It felt almost peaceful. Most shoppers wore face masks like me. Every so often I would look at someone and smile before I remember they couldn't see my mouth. This too shall pass, but until it does I shall practice smile breath: breathe in, relax/exhale, lift the corners of your mouth. I find when I do this I sense a pleasant sensation around my eyes. In essence I am practicing smiling with my eyes. In the words of Mother Teresa, “Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile". This is good to remember whether you are wearing a face mask or not.
April 24, 2020
I am thinking of trees on this Arbor Day, but then I am often thinking of trees and how much we owe them for sustaining life on this planet. The air we breathe depends upon them. And of course, I love them for their beauty and for the shade they provide. Planting trees around my home in Arizona has always given me great pleasure. I have one skinny tree that has grown quite tall. Its light feathery branches are often filled with birds and sometimes I see them bobbing up and down with the wind. Trees are rooted in the soil and at the same time they stretch to the sky. In tree pose I invoke this image as I practice balance. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, "Trees are Earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven."
April 25, 2020
My sister sent me a text which said "Have fun today." To have fun means to take lighthearted pleasure in something. Having fun does not come to me as easily as it used to. Yet having fun may be more important than ever to ease the heaviness I feel, not only in my heart, but in my entire bountiful body. When I was a child and was told to "have fun" I knew what to do. I clapped my hands and made up games, sang and danced and did whatever I felt like doing. Today having fun might mean doing a little Zumba with my teacher on utube, or trying a new recipe, or even sorting out my closet. It really could be any activity that I approach with a sense of play, the way children do. Thanks sis!
April 26, 2020
To my surprise I took my own advice yesterday, approach whatever you are doing with a sense of play, and actually had fun (well mostly) cleaning out my closet. Also, I called my son who has a playful spirit and who makes me laugh. So I have concluded that no matter how tough times get, having a sense of play is essential. It is also okay to be with the understanding that what is happening in the world around us is serious. What is important, for sanity's sake, is an intention to find balance. Being serious and being playful are like being on a seesaw in the playground. I remember the thrill of moving up and down and also the joy of being in balance with my partner on the opposite end as a result of one or the other of us moving closer to the center. Mantra for today: Each day move I am moving a little closer to center. Lesson for today: reach out to someone who lightens you up.
April 27, 2020
I believe we are a resilient species and we will rebound from this virus, but it is surely testing our resilience day by day. I think the discouragement I feel today is because here I am in another Monday, not Sunday, my "funday", but Monday, a day for productivity. To be productive you have to be resilient, rebound when life gets you down. I am remembering phrases from old songs here. The word funday comes from "Just another Manic Monday", a song of the 80's and "Day by Day" is from Godspell a 70's rock musical. "Day by Day" is a prayer asking that we may see a little more clearly, day by day. And so I pray for clarity.
April 28, 2020
Early mornings are the easiest part of each day as I awaken glad to be alive. I make it a point to do some yoga breathing and stretching as I greet the light of the sun. Recently I have taken particular delight in seeing a beautiful pink cactus flower opening to the new day. Each morning this flower opens slowly and fully to the light, stays that way all day, then closes gently for the night. I want to be like that, opening fully each day with no reservations, welcoming whatever comes my way, and then resting peacefully in the night.
April 29, 2020
Yesterday I led a yoga practice in my driveway with mats 6ft apart for a small group of neighbors. While they were In boat pose I suggested they ride the waves of change. Riding the waves is not easy. You are lifted to the crest and then dropped into the hollow curve of the wave, but that is exactly how I have been feeling these days. Certainly at the crest I can see more clearly and I feel open like the flower, but at the bottom I feel lost and closed in on myself. I would never have thought to pair a flower metaphor (as in yesterday's blog) with one of the ocean. One is so peaceful, the other wild and unpredictable. Yet together they make sense to me as a way of being present to my feelings on both ends of the spectrum without judging them.
April 30, 2020
On this day I have met my personal 30 day challenge to write something about how I am feeling in my bountiful body during these days when the corona virus is rampant. Sometimes it seems there are no words. Then words come slowly and help me to process what I am experiencing. This is, of course, my personal journey. My hope has been that now and again someone would join me by reading what I have written and know that none of us is in this alone. It is important that we remember that and stay present with mindfulness for the good of all. Collectively we can get through this challenging time together.