• Liz Moore

Dharma Not Drama

Here I am at the end of summer, and at the end of my certification process. One of our text books was the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is sometimes has hard to read as it is to spell. But at the end of the day what I came to are some beautiful life lessons, simple to understand, but not easy to live. The quote above just about sums it up, our minds are in control of our lives. So happiness or anxiety can often be a choice our own mind is making. It’s a little lowering to realize we can’t always blame others; frankly, I prefer letting someone else take the fall.

I have taken my meditation practice up a notch this summer. I am lucky enough to have many dedicated spaces including a whole garden with many happy Buddhas to inspire me. Doing so much yoga led to increased mindfulness and meditation.  Being the nerd that I am, and having to keep a practice journal for my certification, I originally upped meditation to be a good student... oh the ego and my need to be the winner. I quickly realized that the extra focused time was actually giving my life more time for real doing. I was able to let go of so much anger and resentment; freed up a lot of time for my relationships, and the things I love doing. I simply didn’t realize how much time I wasted  dwelling on things that not only upset me, but that  I couldn’t do anything about. Meditation made me look at my inner control freak and tell her to take a long needed rest. This will be a long time effort, but I see now how worthwhile it is.

The Gita asks us to see what the purpose of life is. I think we are here to love each other. To connect and give our hearts fully with no thought of what we get back. I believe more than ever now that all beings are connected. We should express love as freely as children. Yes, we will probably be hurt, but the power of love will infuse all we do, and give even the simplest tasks meaning. And even if met with resistance , we can know our intentions were pure. Given life in America now, so divisive and angry, love and kindness towards all, feels like a total act of rebellion. This of course makes it even more appealing to me:).

Daisy is teaching me about death. Like my mom, Daisy has some sort of dementia, vision and hearing loss; both lives  are very small right now. Daisy seems to have made her peace. She spends most of her day sleeping and being still; I believe she is contemplating her life and what comes next. She has been a grumpy and somewhat mean cat for most of her life. Now she is peaceful, far more loving; what has been taken away is far less valuable than this grace she has found. I  am seeing again that death is a construct that we have chosen to fear. Our souls and spirit will live on forever in the memories of those who love us. The lesson  of this grace is infinite.

Why should we push ourselves, why should we do more than expected...

I am often asked at Saint Michael's College, "is this going to be on the test" every time I teach something new in class. It used to make me upset but in the last few years makes me laugh. I laugh at the idea of only experiencing the minimum,  I laugh at the idea of worrying abut a dance test. Dance is joy, life and living it fully a joy. A few weeks ago I watched my little friend JT. He and super Hooper played until they collapsed on the grass. I looked at them and I thought this is it, live and play with abandon and then take the much needed rest. What better reward than to sit and chill with a best friend. I was coming out of Spotlight this week after a more than two hour modern class. It was hot and humid and I was a little done in. As I was getting into the car my phone buzzed and it was one of students asking if we were seeing the rainbow, I looked up and there it was; a sign from the universe. Hard work brings beautiful reward; it’s as simple as that. The hours I spend on my garden slip away when I arrive home and see the blooms in all their glory. This summer I have a hummingbird friend; I guess I am out there so much he decided to just hang with me... or I am the Puerto Rican Snow White.

Nothing is permanent; everything changes. A garden, especially the beautiful hibiscus is the greatest of example of enjoying the moment. A hibiscus buds, blooms,  and dies in 2 to 3  days. Take in the now, cherish the beauty. Conversely, if it is a time of great grief, that too will not last. Our minds can choose to focus on love and beauty or anger and grief. I found myself reading more news, taking in more media.... I was choosing the toxic. Three weeks ago I started limiting all things news, politics and started concentrating on Dharma not drama, August has been far more peaceful...

Dharma not drama I think is the key to it all. Right actions creating positivity and a happy life. Whether its participating in protests or vigils , giving your all in dance class , greeting people with a smile or doing beautiful hard work for the good of others, doing the right thing feels good. Look at all these beautiful happy masks. Do we love the reason for these mask no, but the fabulous Becca infuses color and fun into what could just be misery. Choose fun, choose laughter, dance and get sweaty for the sheer joy of it....

And finally...

After a summer of intense yoga practice I have realized the most worthwhile pose is child’s pose. Because in this world of tension, fear, financial struggle, anxiety violence and flat out ugliness this simple pose helps me breathe and relax. It helps me remember my life motto: No mud, no lotus.

So while there are some really borderline ridiculous poses that require inordinate strength and will, nothing touched the simplicity of giving myself a rest. At the end of all this reading, studying, doing, contemplating what I came to is this: there is not much I control, I still hate this, but am on the road to acceptance. We are here to love each other, and are happiest when our work reflects that. We are still going to fail at patience, and feel anger, but we can start again. When we love we do, we can push ourselves to the max, knowing that at the end of the day we can drop into child’s pose.

Have a beautiful and peaceful week. May your gardens be beautiful, may you dance everyday, and may laughter and joy be your state of being.

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