john Calabria

Bluebird eggs

Namaste, all five of these beautiful eggs hatched and the babies have fledged this week.

 

This memorial day, we’ll gather for classes with our regular schedule:

Monday 9:30am
at our sweet space at 25 half moon hill in Acton. Very peaceful with a panoramic view of conservation land for our tree pose. We’ve been gathering here for at least a decade on Monday mornings. A low key, smaller and quiet class.

4:00pm in West Concord is peaceful and mindful. and the 6pm is the basics and beyond, perfect for people just starting out, wanting to move slower, or just ‘getting back’ to yoga which I hear a lot these days.

Regarding the rest of Memorial Day Weekend, a reminder that I’m now teaching the Saturday 8am class in West Concord, and that Pam will be sub-teaching for me this coming Sunday at 9am.

Peace, and If I don’t see you, enjoy your time off.

-john

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Yoga in Concord

Namaste.  This is Dee, she sometimes hops into my hand, and sometimes not. She always sings to me as I fill the feeders, and clean out the bird bath. While I’m not fluent in bird song, her melody sounds a lot like gratefulness. I express the same to her for our deepening friendship.
 
 In the Northeast, this extended wet and cold spring weather is very challenging for the birds at a very critical time. With babies in many nests they struggle all day to keep them fed and warm. The cold slows the insect blooms I’m told. If you feed the birds, please make sure to keep your feeders full the next few days. 
 
                                           New Class
 
I’ll be teaching the 8am West Concord Saturday Yoga class going forward. We started last week with a nice gathering of peaceful mindful Yogis and it was really nice to get our practice in early, setting a sweet tone for the whole day.
 
 Peace, I’ll see you in class, (We’re there at 4, and 6pm today) and thanks for helping our songbirds thrive. Please consider sharing this with a fellow bird lover, thanks.
 
-john
 
P.S. I’ve reserved Sunday May 22nd, 1-3pm for our next Restorative Yoga immersion.  We’ve been filling up lately, to reserve your spot, email me or let me know in class.
 .

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Hold Out Your Hand

Photo by Jessica Crow

Photo by Jessica Crow

Let’s forget the world for a while
fall back and back
into the hush and holy
of now are you listening?

This breath
invites you
to write the first word
of your new story
your new story begins with this:

You matter
you are needed — empty
and naked
willing to say yes
and yes and yes.

Do you see
the sun shines, day after day
whether you have faith or not
the sparrows continue to sing their song

even when you forget to sing yours.

stop asking: Am I good enough?
Ask only
Am I showing up
with love?
Life is not a straight line
it’s a downpour of gifts, please —
hold out your hand

 -Julia Fehrenbacher

from her amazing collection: The Other Side of Fear

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Yoga in Concord

Walk Slowly

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

forget, catch myself charging forward

without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

slowly into the mystery.

~ Danna Faulds ~

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tufted titmouse
Namaste and happy Spring. Sorry to those who couldn’t join us for our spring Restorative immersion, but space is limited, and I don’t wish to crowd the room. At one point in the deep relaxation, We listened to Vivaldi’s rendition of Spring as a meditation on love for life. You could have heard a pin drop as the whole room was enthralled. I love offering this practice, thank you for supporting it.

The bluebird project is well underway. An effort to preserve their habitat in our area. Soon I’ll have sponsor a nesting box information available, so that you can be a part. Many are reaching out to adopt a box in memory of a loved one. How sweet is that? Email me to hear about that sooner than later: eganvay @ Gmail.com

I hope that you can get outside soon, and be a witness to the flourishing of crocuses and other early birds of Spring. Our next Restore and Renew Yoga session will be offered on April 24th at 1pm in West Concord. hope that you can join us. see more on the events page.

Om Shanti,

-john

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 We Were Made For These Times, By Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

yoga classes in Acton and Concord

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

click for a printable view:  We Were Made For These Times


We’ve got just a couple open in our Spring Restorative Yoga Immersion. Learn how to really relax and restore this first day of Spring.

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Namaste!

we’ve been doing this writing exercise for years, I’m dusting it off, updating a bit and reposting, I hope you do it, you’ll be glad you did: (printable version at the end)

Before we turn the page on 2015… Let’s look back. It’s usually best to keep this somewhat lighter, and fun. In our outward facing world, here is an inward journey, and there’s no one, or no need to impress.

Can you carve out 10 –20 minutes for this meditation & writing exercise?

Make a cup of something to sip, get a nice pen, three pieces of paper, a pad of post-its, perhaps your calendar. Find a quiet place where you can sit.

It’s okay to skip this part, but if you keep a calendar or appointment book a brief skim can jog our memory as to how much has passed this year.

Light a candle, and get comfortable. Let your breath smooth out and slide into meditation for a few moments…

Once in quiet space, reflect on your experience of 2105. Let your mind drift through the past year, the milestones that have passed, the highs and lows. Let it all come. Breathe.

Imagine wrapping your arms around the whole of who you are, and where you are at right now. Acceptance and appreciation of now, is the base-camp for your journey into 2016. In bold letters, title the first piece of paper:

 What I’m leaving behind – 2015

Inhale….Exhale… Start writing… Don’t stop, judge, or filter in any way. Get it onto the page. What are you so-done with? What will not survive the strike of midnight on December 31st?

Explore the facets of your life. Home, work, your practice, relationships, (might need more paper!) health, behaviors. Then get into the energetics. List your done-with fears, doubts, hesitations, negativity, and grudges… What do you resist.

No, this is not like a facebook post, where most cultivate a sparkling image of themselves. This is between you, and you, so be a true story to yourself here.. and keep writing…

Have you been unkind or hurt anyone? Apologize. Has anyone treated you unkindly – unfairly? Forgive them. Make amends, Make your peace. List your disappointments, and how you’ve disappointed others. Where are you kidding yourself? put it down.

(Breathe) Are you still carrying that bad habit? You know the one, the one you said you were done with last year. Go ahead and write it down. These ripples end here…

Phew. Still with me? great. Onward. In bold letters across the top of the second sheet, write:

 How i’ve grown and what I’ve learned in 2105.

What has living through 2015 revealed to you? What have you accomplished in the different areas of your life? how have you grown, what have you’ve learned, especially those tougher lessons. are you evolving?

(breathe, steady and evenly) What obstacles have you overcome… what have you gained? Where have you surprised yourself in your strength?

List your top five experiences – memories of 2015

What are the important changes you’ll bring forward into the new year. What are the high points, peak moments, sweet memories you’ll savor.  Take some time with this, We’ll squeeze every last bit of goodness from 2105 before moving on. These waves live on.

You’re doing great. Keep going! Here’s where it gets fun. Label the third sheet:

 I’m happy – healthy and thriving in 2106.

How would envision your ideal life. Again, ponder the aspects of your life. Relationships, work, creativity, your home, finances, health, your Yoga practice…

How do you feel in your body? Do you take in clean wholesome food, drink filtered water? Get exercise? What is your energy level…if your body had a charge indicator like your cellphone, what would it read? It’s really important to visualize not just the results, but you putting in the efforts, you doing the work. And therein lives the shift.

Do you take time to contemplate, to meditate, time in nature, when is the last time you learned something new? How do you truly nourish yourself?

Can you feel the interconnectedness of all life and energy, do you have a deepening spiritual practice, a belief about how you fit into this mystery we’re living? Make a Spiritual Bucket List as to how will you honor your individual and universal connection.

And the innermost self, when was the last time you were really happy? Had a good laugh? can you find inspiration in the simplest of things? Do you spend time in wonder and awe… in gratitude? What do you truly appreciate about this gift of this life?

 Is there any part of you that is yearning for nourishment?

Write in positive and present tense, like it is already your reality, How will you feel? Describe in detail your day, from rising after a great nights sleep, your meditation, your breakfast… to the work you will do, to the beauty you’ll experience, all the way to tucking yourself in… Or being tucked in… content and slipping off into peaceful sleep… after a day of shaping your reality. Can you see all this as preparing to bring your gifts and talents to the world in true service? Cause that’s where the juice is.

Take a break, sip some tea, then meditate on this visualization, allow it to saturate you.

let a word or simple phrase of summary come to you.. A word that sums up this direction you’d like to move in, a quality you’d like to see more of in your life.

Write this theme, Your Mantra for the coming year – in your best penmanship on your post-it note. (or maybe upgrade to card stock and a tasteful frame for it.)  Finish your tea, slide back into meditation for a few minutes before rising. This is the work of a spiritual warrior. Well done.

Bring your first sheet, and your candle outdoors, or to your fireplace where you can safely burn the list. As your paper turns to ash, state:  “I _______ release these qualities and experiences from my life…. Swaha!”

The second and third lists you’ll read once more, then tuck away. Reflect on them in in a month or two, You just may need a refresher to get back on track.

Stick the post-it Mantra on your bathroom mirror, or a place where it will be the last thing you see before you go to sleep, the first thing you see before starting your day. Read it while you brush your teeth, ponder it for the full two minutes. (you do brush for the whole two minutes right?)

Putting pen to paper, and writing intentions seems to work. We leap from, “I might want to think about maybe making this change someday, to “I’m doing this!” For more on these practice of writing down our intentions, check out: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A book that outlines beautiful practices that will truly change your life.

Not just on New Years, but each day I resolve to do my best. To show up with an open heart, to bring my best, and to learn from failure… dust myself off and keep going. I’ll not limit myself through fear or hesitation, and will lean into uncertainty, actively looking for the goodness in the moment, the good happening in our growing community.

I’ll stay in awe of the beauty of the little things in life, and open wide to possibility.

I love the quote about taking the leap… and growing wings on the way down, by Kurt Vonnegut. We need to leap often, and keep things interesting.

Of the thousands who will read this post in the next few days, how many will actually try the exercise? It’s up to you.. Nobody can do it for you. But I plead with you, I challenge you. Get three pieces of paper and invest some time in You.

    Do it for the people who count on you, and all beings that cross your path.

Please forward this to a friend? click the FB like/share button, email or tweet… Imagine the world we’d live in if more of us journeyed inward regularly. Here’s the printable version: year in review 2015

May all beings be happy and free. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…  -john

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Namaste.

Humbled and Honored to be the the guest preacher for summer service tomorrow at the First Parish UU of Stow and Acton tomorrow at 10:00am. You could read this as a fair warning, or an invitation.   😎

Happy Summer!

peace,  -j

I was having a small bite to eat at the most beautiful taverna in a western Crete port village, And coming up the ancient cobblestone street was a man playing a violin so sweetly. Other musicians started peeling out of shops and restaurants to join him, As villagers spilled out of their homes and I dropped some money on the table and joined the procession.musicians in crete

The parade grew to dozens of musicians and several hundred people as we wound through the streets stopping to honor their friends restaurants and shops. This man below… singing his heart out.musicians in crete

For several hours we walked and with impromptu dances breaking out at the village squares. All car traffic was halted, and the drivers were happy! I asked if it was a holiday, nope, Turns out that this tradition stems from when a young man wanted to woo his lover, he’d gather all his friends to play music under her window to try and win her over. They just sing for the love of singing about love. Scroll down a bit for the video…Greece music

I’ve never been with such joyful people as on Crete, and do hope to return there soon.

For Memorial day we’ll gather for a 9am Yoga class in West Concord, ​please come a bit early, and if you come to a roadblock for the Concord parade, the policeman will let you through if you say you’re going to Yoga class. Hope that you have a great long weekend, and I’ll see you soon.

Peace, 

-john

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 Wow, what a film, you’ll just love this film. Even better watched with a group projected on the big screen….  Below is a synopsis from the website… We’ll start to gather at 6:30, and roll the 60 minute documentary soon after.
 
Yoga and Nia for Life – 135 Commonwealth Ave West Concord.

SYNOPSIS OF FILM from the creators website:

An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth, and Human Transformation an EMMY® Award-Winning Film for Best Documentary

One day on a Greek island, and your view of the universe will change forever…

“Ask acclaimed author and evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme about our role as humans in this awe-inspiring universe, and his insights will light up the night skies. As our host, co-writer, and fellow traveler, he shares his infectious curiosity about life’s biggest questions in the epic JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE.

Using his skills as a masterful storyteller, Swimme connects such big picture issues as the birth of the cosmos 14 billion years ago – to the invisible frontiers of the human genome – as well as to our current impact on Earth’s evolutionary dynamics. Through his engaging and thoughtful observations audiences everywhere will discover the profound role we play in this intricate web of life.”

I’ve got a couple extras to show you that will reinforce the beauty of this spiritual and scientific masterpiece, and We’ll have time for discussion after if you’d like to join in the circle. feel free to bring something insightful to share.

Humbly offered by donation – our Satsang continues, thank you. -j

 
 

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