Mikhail Sadovnikov spins wet clay for us, the last sequence of sculpture is amazing… I found this mesmerizing and hand to share. Enjoy, -j
Mikhail Sadovnikov spins wet clay for us, the last sequence of sculpture is amazing… I found this mesmerizing and hand to share. Enjoy, -j
By john calabria:
Michelle shared this great Yoga video with me, it’s a short medical imaging project showing x-rays of a person flowing through some Yoga postures. I’m sure this will be seen by many Yogis! Enjoy:
In Sanskrit, Sat means truth, and Sangha means gathering, or community, therefore Satsang means a gathering of truth seekers.
And we’ll do just that this coming Friday February 28th from 7pm to 8:30 at Yoga and Nia for Life. 135 Commonwealth Ave, West Concord.
A Satsang is like a Yoga class without the postures, Where a teaching is given, that is then meditated on, But unlike a Yoga class, there’s room for dialog, and questions, as we grow in understanding, together.
It’s sort of a Yoga teacher training experience… without the formality. If you like the stories I tell in class to convey themes sometimes, then you’ll find Satsang fruitful. This is also a co-creatinon. If you have a poem, a song, a perspective. Some bring instruments, some bring stillness.
If you teach Yoga please come, perhaps deepen your understanding, and maybe share perspectives from your lineage on the subject at hand. We’ve got filtered water and heaps of blankets to sit on, though you may want to bring your own cushion.
I hope to continue this tradition monthly, and have our Satsang be a container for offering music, mantras, meditations, potlucks, guest teachers, posture clinics, films that convey yogic themes, Kirtan, and any ideas you may have as well. Please do me a favor, can you forward this to any friends who may be interested?
Who knows? Perhaps this becomes the teacher training program that many of you have been asking me to develop.
Our Satsang will be by donation, there’ll be a hat at the door.
Peace, Many thanks for your ongoing support, and I hope you can join us.
P.S. Our second Sunday Noon class in Maynard/Acton with the amazing river view is off to a great start, Click to see our Grandmother Tree that inspires our Vrkshasana, tree pose.
Many of you have asked, and for at least a year now, I’ve been looking for just the right space to host a second Sunday Peaceful Yoga class. And when I opened the blinds and saw the river… I knew that this was it.
Yes, we’ll still be gathering in West Concord at 9am for Yoga, starting tomorrow, February 2nd. at Noontime I’ll be starting a second Yoga class at On Your Toes Studio in Acton.
Situated on a peninsula of Acton, exactly midway between Maynard and West Concord, is 77 Powdermill road, Acton MA. (Rt 62) Across the street from the Stop and Shop plaza.
The entrance to the studio is marked by the ‘A’ in the above picture. Costs will be inline with my other offerings, and same as the local studios, $17 to drop in, and I’ve made up books of ten @$15 per class, that will also be honored for our Monday 9:30 am class at Half Moon Hill, in West Acton.
It’s a quiet and clean space, with plenty of easy parking. I’ll have a few mats on hand, but this not being a Yoga studio, (at least not yet) please bring what you need for practice.
Here’s to new beginnings, hope you can join us, and thanks for your support as we enter our twelveth year of practice together.
Update: We’ve had three classes in the new space now, and it’s working out great! Thanks to all who came out. Peace. -j
We had a sweet practice last Sunday, with the underlying theme being Seva, the practice of Selfless Service. To live intentionally asking “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get is one of the greatest freedoms a human can attain.
Your greatest talents and gifts are not yours to keep; they are yours to share. They exist to serve others.
Debra Stark, founder of Debra’s Natural Gourmet is one who lives in service and shares her gifts. Her store and her 23 employees nourish and inform our community on so many levels…
As the Sunday before Christmas class ended at 10:30 a.m., I expressed my appreciation for all those present, for coming to class, and took a moment to appreciate our local businesses that
exist only because of our support.
I encouraged everyone to have a cup of tea at the bakery and afterwards to visit ”Debra’s” for any last-minute needs, when they open at Noon. Debra smiled and thanked me for the mention.
In a recent class we renamed Tadasana, The Mountain Pose. It became “The Standing in line at Debra’s” pose: a reminder that in seemingly ordinary moments we can become deeply aware, and that by simply noticing more, we can unslump our whole lives.
The only ordinary moments, are the ones we allow to be ordinary.
The following Sunday as class ended, Debra told me she had decided to open the store at 10:30 today AND that the soup was already hot!
I repeated her announcement louder so that everyone could hear, and then asked her if the new store hours were just for the holidays? She responded warmly, “No, those will be our new hours going forward….. because of your Yoga class.”
What awesome news! (and, for the record, it’s not ‘my Yoga class’, it’s OUR Yoga class: it exists because you come.)
One of the reasons I chose to end my long engineering career is because I was tired of living the myth of The American Dream which is, in short, to get all you can get and to be a Winner, whatever the consequences. Instead, I only wanted to participate in deals that were not just ”I Win!”, but rather “Let’s All Win Win Win”, a game of sorts in which everyone involved is better for the deal at hand, or else, I walk away. Practicing and teaching mindfulness and happiness certainly allows for that.
Debra’s opening 1.5 hours earlier is such a deal:
Her employees are happy to get more hours, and.. she’s choosing to pay them overtime. Win!
Yoga students and teachers are happy… we can pop in after class and see our friends, fellow students, and the always smiling and helpful staff, while getting what we need to nourish ourselves. Community grows. Win!
Though it was not the motive, Debra’s balance sheet will be that much stronger, along with the healthy food producers she sources from. Win!
Debra stocks many locally produced products, and much in-season local produce. A Win for the farmers and our local economy!
Students have told me that they would drive all the way home after class, only to come all the way back to West Concord to shop Debra’s in the afternoon. Less gasoline burned. Win!
So we have a Win Win Win Win Win!!!!! Fantastic. But wait, can we trace this awesomeness back to its root cause? You might have thought you were just going to a Yoga class on Sunday Morning, but look at all the goodness that came from that.
Steeped in the philosophies of Yoga is the knowledge that every action (or non-action) has powerful repercussions that ripple out, forever… and the root cause of this particular win-win-win comes from beyond the original founder of the Yoga studio, Elizabeth Bunker, and even beyond what inspired her to create Yoga for Life…
What Happens in Yoga doesn’t stay in Yoga….
Here’s hoping that our collective and skillful actions will tip the scale towards serving goodness in our world.
Please spread the word about her new hours, and if you’ve not been to Debra’s, make it a point to stop in and be nourished. It’ll soon become one of your favorite places to shop.
Om Shanti, and thanks to Shari Rose for helping me sort these words…
I’m happy to announce that I’m adding a new class to our schedule. By request, Starting February 2nd. On Sundays at Noon, we’ll be gathering at On Your Toes dance studio. 77 Powdermill Road, (rt 62) Acton MA. Just across the street from Stop and Shop supermarket. It’s a beautiful quiet space, with a wooded view overlooking the Assabet River. Plenty of easy parking, but please bring a mat, and anything you may need for practice.
Happy MLK JR day to you.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the first African American to be on the cover of Time Magazine, and the first to win a Nobel Prize.
He travelled over 6 million miles, speaking at 2,500 events before his death.
He was arrested 30 times, yet could not be silenced. There are 900+ streets named after him in the US.
Some say he was an extraordinary person, but he would say that he was just a man of conscience, speaking his heart and mind fearlessly. He knew what mattered most to him, and he served it with conviction. Peace and equality was his thing.
This is not a day off, but rather a day on. This day is set aside officially as a national day of Service.
Are you passionate about something, some cause, What do you know to be true that could have Martin’s level of conviction and courage? What’s your thing? And how much of your energy does it get?
You don’t have to go get arrested, or travel 6 million miles, but… What do you serve? What do you love? and will you go and serve it today? Small acts, done with great care, ripple forever.
Would love to hear what your ‘thing’ is, what do you serve? And, you can do this anonymously if you’d like…..
I’ll go first, I’m committed to speaking out for the animals and Mother Nature. I’m committed to waging peace through the classes I teach, and the presentations I give. I will continue as long as there is breath in my body. To add yours, click on the comment link, upper right hand corner of the post…
If you’re not sure what your thing is, And you definitely have a thing… I’d suggest you check out The Firestarter Sessions Living in Seva, or selfless service brings the ultimate level of happiness for a human. But don’t take my word for it.
Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class. -j
I received the best feedback from this writing exercise we’ve been doing over the years, So I’m dusting it off, updating a bit and reposting, I hope you do it, I think you’ll be glad you did:
(at the end there’s a link to a printable version)
Before we turn the page on 2013… Let’s look back.
No need to get too-heavy here, just acknowledging how far we’ve come, and where we’d like to go. It’s best to keep this somewhat lighter, and fun.
Can you carve out 10 –20 minutes for this meditation & writing exercise:
Make a cup of tea, get a nice pen, three pieces of paper, and a pad of post-its. Find a quiet place where you can sit.
Light a candle, and get comfortable. Let your breath smooth out and slide into meditation for a few minutes…
Once in quiet – creative space, reflect on your experience of 2013. Let your mind drift through the past year, the milestones that have passed, the highs and lows. Let it all come. Breathe.
Embrace the whole of where you are at in your life right now. Acceptance and appreciation of now, is the base-camp for your journey into 2014. In bold letters, title the first piece of paper:
What I’m leaving behind in 2013.
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, career, relationships, (might need more paper!) health, behaviors. Then get into the energetics. List your done-with fears, doubts, hesitations, and grudges… No, you won’t have to read this aloud in class. Keep going.
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?
(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 2013.
What has living through 2013 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?
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 2013 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 2013.
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?
Do you take time to contemplate, to meditate. when is the last time you learned something new?
Can you feel the interconnectedness of all life and energy, do you have a spiritual practice, a belief about how you fit into the big picture?
And the innermost self, when was the last time you were really happy, joyous, grateful? Had a good laugh? can you find inspiration in the simplest of things? Do you spend time in Awe.
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.
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.
Finish your tea, slide back into meditation for a few minutes before rising.
Bring your first sheet, and your candle outdoors, or to your fireplace where you can safely burn the list. Make a ritual of this, as your paper turns to ash, state:
I _______ release these qualities and experiences from my life…. and shed these anchors for real. So be it, cause I said so, 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 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 practices of writing down our intentions, check out the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
It’s been quite a year, and I created this writing practice to lighten up, and be more open to the currents of creativity.
Much water has passed under the bridge as they say, and I’ve learned much through love and loss, bliss, Wellness, and illness… good-fortune, and hardship. I have so much to be grateful for – and joyful about.
Not just on New Years, but each day I resolve to do my best. To show up, stay open and love fearlessly, to dust myself off after spectacular failures of my best whole-hearted efforts, and keep going.
I’ll stay in awe of the beauty of the little things in life, and open wide to possibility.
I will try not to be deterred or taken off course by the callousness, doubts, and fears of others. I’ll not limit myself through fear or hesitation, and will lean into uncertainty.
I love the quote about taking the leap… and growing wings on the way down, by Kurt Vonnegut. We need to leap often.
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.
There’s really no place I’d rather be, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing, so many thanks for your support, and for bringing friends and family to class, I really appreciate your telling others about our growing community in our brand-new space at 135 Commonwealth Ave in West Concord.
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 introspected regularly. here’s the printable review: your 2013 year in review
May all beings be happy and free. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…
p.s. Please share your word for the year with us? you can even do this anonymously. I’ll go first. Click on the comment link to see mine and then add yours. Thanks, and I’ll see you in class.
I just love to be around people who are living their passion. There’s just something about that balance of strength, conviction and smarts, with a healthy dose of love and surrender that feels good to be around, and inspires me to keep going.
Today I start a new series of posts, Nine Questions With People of Passion. And to kick it off… I have the pleasure of introducing you to Patrick, he’s got the right stuff. The smarts, the love, and the conviction to make a go of it.
When I talked with him last I called him the Walter White of Coffee. He didn’t get the reference… and for that, I love him that much more. And, if you don’t get it, good for you too!
So Patrick, why Coffee?
Patrick: I don’t mean to sound trite or dismissive, but the most direct and honest answer I can give is “why not coffee?”.
To go a little deeper into that answer would be to say that I really, truly feel that anything can be worth doing at an exceptional level of focus and achievement; and that I’m doing coffee because that’s what I happen to be doing.
BUT! But, the further into coffee I get, the more I see that coffee is a special place to be doing stuff. Coffee touches A LOT of people in their times of need.
For the consumer, it’s at 5:45AM when they’re turning the lights on – literally and figuratively. For the farmers, coffee means food on the table and education for their kids and communities.
Coffee is also amazingly complex in its flavor and it needs to walk a razor’s edge from farm through roasting and brewing in order to be the best it can be.
John: Most see the small picture, some can see the big picture, Few can see both. You certainly have that zoom-lens perspective. What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve transcended?
Patrick: Fear. It’s a huge obstacle for getting anything done–or even started. When I finally noticed that the biggest anchor I was towing was my fear of whatever – be it failure, success, embarrassment, complication, the unknown, etc. – and I was able to haul up anchor and start moving. It became more evident that the fear anchor wasn’t really useful. To extend the sailing metaphor, the winds and currents have been either benevolent or valuable teachers.
John: Fear is a powerful force, but so is intelligently stepping into it. Easier said than done right? On my path, I’ve found that often times when people would tell me I was making a crazy decision, that I was on the right track. What would you say is your favorite part of the Coffee process?
Patrick: That’s a hard one. There’s so much I like about the process. The most demanding – and therefore most interesting – part seems to be cupping. Cupping is a formal method of sensory evaluation for coffee. By brewing and tasting the coffee in a very specific way, aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, and balance are all individually scored and then considered as a whole.
This is the process I use to make sure things are always improving. It’s a process that relies on being present and paying attention to my senses, and when I’m not focused, it can be very frustrating. When I’m 100% there, magic happens and I feel like a superhero.
John: Ah, how about Captain Arabica? sounds better than Walter White of Coffee. So, Roasting seems to me, a blend of process and art. So, how did this journey begin for you and Claire?
Patrick: In 2012, Jen Sundeen–the perennial builder of communities and bringer-togetherer of people–asked Claire (my partner) and I to be a coffee vendor at the Harvard Farmer’s Market. We’d been roasting in our kitchen for years and were both enthusiasts, but had one month of coffee industry experience between us. I was reluctant, but Claire was insistent.
We ended up deciding to try it and built a really funky roaster out of a gas BBQ grill and a noisy rotating coffee drum inside. It got us through the summer, and the response to our coffee and our enthusiasm was remarkable.
That winter, we decided to invest in a commercial roaster and change our name from Prince Albert Coffee (which turned out to be a remarkably poor choice for a business name) to Gracenote Coffee Roasters.
John: Jen sure has created a great Farmers Market, and you’ve sure come a long way since the BBQ grill! Gracenote is a great name! and a good move for sure. Where did that come from?
Patrick: The name Gracenote probably showed up because of my background in music. A gracenote is roughly defined as an ornamental musical note that’s quieter than – and supportive to – a regular note.
The analogy in coffee is great because it’s really close to what can be so great about excellent coffee. Yeah, it all taste like coffee, but there are so many little notes – blueberry, floral, cocoa, lime, bergamot tea, etc etc etc, that can show up and illuminate what would otherwise be a pretty plain cup of coffee.
These notes come from how and where the coffee was grown, processed, and is then either highlighted or erased by the roast.
John: There are lots of grace notes in Yoga as well. Can you tell us about your musical background–drums right?
Patrick: Yeah. I studied Jazz drumset performance at a music conservatory in Ohio as an undergraduate, and then studied Digital Musics at Dartmouth where Claire and I met. Music, for a long time, was my creative expression. Now, it’s coffee.
John: Your partner Claire is totally into Yoga and biking, and so much more I’m sure, but what about you, do you ever unroll a mat and join her?
P: Yoga. Awesome. It’s coming, but I haven’t caught the wave yet. The few classes I’ve taken are ones I remember as really positive and energizing. However, coffee feels like a form of Yoga for me.
The practice of roasting and cupping coffee is repetitive and the adjustments are subtle; and like the little physical Yoga I’ve done, it’s a compelling opportunity to go deeper – or bail out and start again if needed. If I’m trying to go deeper all the time, that’s Yoga, right?
John: Yes, absolutely, if you mean growing deeper inward. Your roasting and cupping are surely meditations. Looking ahead, will Gracenote to stay a home-based business, or are there expansion dreams in your future? I can so imagine a Gracenote Cafe…
Patrick: That’s a really interesting question. Gracenote started from the smallest viable seed, and because of that – and it’s organic growth–it has been able to live up to this point in a residential setting. I’m still not sure what it’s going to become, but I suppose Gracenote could become a Bonsai and stay small while still continuing to mature – but that would require a lot of continuous trimming and shaping.
I’m hoping that as soon as the right space and time show up, Gracenote will move out and start to fill a more appropriate and grounded space. A cafe or combination cafe/roastery are ideas that I’d enjoy working with.
There’s a lot of “let’s see what happens” built into the plan for Gracenote. That type of flexibility and freedom from unnecessary demands seems to allow enough space for opportunity to offer her hand in unexpected ways.
John: Interesting, I love the reference to seeds, the bonsai, patience, things unfolding in their own time. Yep, we’ll claim you as a Yogi. This has been awesome Patrick, thanks so much for taking the time with me.
I’m sure you’re anxious to get back to your beans, but one last question, What advice would you offer to an aspiring entrepreneur wanting to bring their interest into a livelihood?
Patrick: There’s a beautiful balance somewhere between letting things happen and making things happen.
John: So there you have it, Patrick of Gracenote Coffee, spilling the beans of stepping into his passion of Coffee Roasting. We’ll soon be raffling off two bags of his best roast, each class you take is an entry. but, if you can’t wait to win the raffle:
You can purchase Gracenote Coffee at the Harvard General Store, and online at www.gracenotecoffee.com He’ll be brewing at the Harvard Farmers Market tomorrow, stop by and say hello. Oh, and please share or like using the buttons below, or email to a friend who loves coffee, Let’s help Patrick go from Micro to Mini.
P.S. This Sunday We’ve got Rachel playing Live Cello music for our Sunday 9am peaceful Yoga class in West Concord. The last live music event before we move the studio to 135 Comm Ave in West Concord on Nov 15th. Thanks -j
In bragging with a friend and fellow gardener, I shared that my tomato plants did great this year, that many are still flowering like it was august.
She then gave me this great gardening advice: At this point in the season I should be pinching off any new flowers on my tomato and pepper plants. It is way too late for the plant to produce viable fruit, and that energy could go into maturing the existing fruit.
My reply: “Yes, I know, but I umm, leave them for the bees.” By her blank look it seemed she didn’t get it.
Perspecive… can you take a step back and see the bigger picture? Can you see through the eyes of a bee, in a race against the coming frost to gather the stores that will help his colony survive? What if everyone picked the flowers?
Small acts, could change everything, if more of us did them.
There are over twenty millon people practicing Yoga postures in our country,
What if more of them embraced the foundational Yoga teachings of non violence, non-greediness, and living in service to others?
Doing my small part, and hoping that in some way, the world will be a better place for my having lived…
Even if that’s just a few more bees surviving the winter.
It’s really simple. try your best to live our closing Sanskrit mantra: Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Which means: May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and deeds of my own life, contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all.
Even if that means that your tomatoes are a little smaller.
Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.
Today is a very special day for Ganesha, The Hindu deity who is said to ‘remove obstacles.’
Before undertaking any journey, or begining any ceremony, Ganesha is honored in hopes that he’ll smooth the way.
The uninitiated may ask him to for small things like parking spaces, an easy commute, or for him to remove their worldly problems.
If you ask for small things, that may be all you’ll get.
In the spirit of Ganesha, we honor steadfastness, being able to stay the course and persevere when challenged, of not letting setbacks keep us from continuing on our path. We meet the inevitable challenges of a human incarnation as Yogis: not brute forcing, not bailing, but doing our best, and loosening our grip on the desired outcome.
Why not ask for the guidance and clarity to navigate your current obstacle skillfully?
With a regular pracitce of seeing obstacles as teachers, as insights into yourself, then as you transcend them, your personal power rises. Perhaps Ganesha provides the obstacles as well as clears them, once the lesson is learned…
Over a billion people, all over the world will be singing his praise today with the words:
Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
This week starts two new classes, Monday’s 9:30am Mellow Yoga at Half Moon Hill in West Acton, it’s an introspective- smaller class. Thursday 5:30pm begins our Intermediate Yoga in West Concord.
See more about these and our other classes on the Classes page.
Looking forward, this coming Sunday at 9:00am, Clarence Dow will play his amazing Cello while we practice. More Live Music Yoga classes listed on the events page.
Many thanks for your support and for bringing friends and family to class! Our community grows quietly outward, and vastly inward.
See you in class,
Okay, When is the last time you've been this happy? I'll go first in the comments section.
Click on the comments link above and share with us your happy moment?
P.S. Rachel is coming this Sunday the 17th to play her Beautiful Cello for our 9am class. Words can't describe her etherial sounds, hope you can join us! Please come a little early? -j