- Kirtan is a very simple & powerful way to meditate. It’s effortless & joyful; the music does the work for you as you flow with the melody & rhythm.
- The performers & the concert-goers create the experience together.
- The chants are sung in Sanskrit unless you attend a Sikh kirtan ( e.g. Snatam Kaur). The ancient chants contain powerful renewing & transformative energy that helps us reconnect with the Divinity that resides within all of us.
- Singing is the heart of kirtan, and no one cares what you sound like. At a kirtan concert all voices merge together to become One Voice.
- “Kirtan is a means of finding our way back to the core of our Being, to our heart, and to our connection with each other.” Reagan
One of the things I adore doing is sharing treasures and ways to Be the Beauty you Love with Readers, friends, even the occasional ‘stranger’. I am always discovering engaging things that I want to crow about and this one is especially timely. Yoga-urt’s Organic Cafe ribbon cutting ceremony is today, in Glendale’s beautiful Kenneth Village 1407 W. Kenneth Road, Glendale, CA 91201. The made with love, good for you creaminess is hold your horses, gluten-free (cones), Vegan, Soy-Free, and Kosher. Mazel, as they say around these parts to creative cooking wonder, Meredith Klein, of Pranaful and dreamer and founder of Yoga-urt, Melissa Schulman. It’s been a three year journey for the entertainment industry project manager, turned yoga teacher, turned small business owner. For Melissa, Yoga-urt is about community, love, and providing nourishment for people coming together to live healthier lives.
Melissa was a smiling face providing generous tastes for all, and told us told us they had all but sold out on opening day. And I know why! This is really something special.. the purity of the products and flavors..made local with awareness rarely seen at the commercial level. This seriously delicious stuff really is the Yoga of yogurt. We sat in the tiny back patio with its bright pink geraniums eating the creamy-luscious real peanut butter, deep chocolate, not too sweet strawberry, pure vanilla, and decadent salted caramel. So perfect for the hot summer days. If you’re looking for authenticity this is worth getting off the beaten path and over to Glendale in the SFV, for sure! For the uninitiated that stands for San Fernando Valley. It’s not too far from Universal studios and Griffith Observatory so you could easily make a day of it.Talk about bringing your yoga off the mat…and into your tummy. Mmmmm
Another form of nourishment I’ve recently discovered and want to offer you a taste of is the multi-talented writer/editor/journalist Sara Blackthorne ’s In-Her-Room. It’s a spirited, intelligent intimate podcast featuring meaningful conversation with women writers from around the world including my Photo Meditation teacher, Susannah Conway, and one of my very favorite, authors and self care pioneers, Jennifer Louden. The Woman’s Comfort Book, her first and most famous book, is as relevant now as when first published. Do yourself a favor and check this book out. Jennifer is an inspirational figure for me ( I am enrolled in Oasis, her free offering this summer. )
In-Her-Room is an adventure in community-building and creative conversation. As a podcast, it allows for the freedom to go deep in exploring who we are as women, as writers, and as humans having an impact on the world. Being an audio experience, you can take it with you through your day — working out, running errands, taking kids to practice, cooking dinner — and listen when it works for you. Because as women with busy lives, finding a way to connect with our craft even when we aren’t writing is really important. You can listen in each episode post, on SoundCloud, Stitcher Radio and iTunes.
Wishing you every good thing and more,
Engagingly yours, Sabrina xoxo,<3<3<3
Hello Beauty-full Readers,
I hope you are having a peaceful Sunday. If you are, and especially if you aren’t, you might want to try Cloud gazing. It is one of my favorite ways to Engage, relax and reconnect.
Only 2 minutes of Engaged- gazing while you focus on breathing in and breathing out can transport you from a state of distraction to a much more peaceful place of appreciation and connection!! Yay, we like easy. This is an especially good practice for urban dwellers who access to land based natureis limited.
It is a quick, simple, no cost way to bring me back to the Beauty of the everyday.
And for those cloudless days…I think I need one of these Cloudswings by one of my favorite artists, Margriet Smulders!
Engagingly yours! XOXO Sabrina
“What I had, then and still have now, is something a lot to offer, teach and give. All of it time-tested and Mother approved. Through the best of times and the worst, these practices have engaged my senses in Beauty and saved me from succumbing to overwhelming pain and despair.”
Hello again Lovelies,
Welcome to part two of the story. When I launched EngagingtheSenses.com at the end of 2011, I had a fleshy outline in hand and a signed contract with a well published editor for New World and Penguin. The time was now. After years of believing, working, weaving, and wading through the life’s tide pools…it was time to dive in! I was ready, or so I thought….I couldn’t have imagined or accepted then that I would end up with motor nerve damage and be unable to write regularly for years to come. Nor would I have been able to accept the other losses and minor tragedies that have followed like books one after another falling off a shelf. More than my fair share..?
Though I did my best to keep my chin up, to focus on and Be the Beauty I loved and love, the years of unbroken pain, broken sleep and shattered nerves left me a shadow of myself. Much of the time I lived outside my thin pain riddled limbs. Engaging my senses had sustained my soul! Now it was my body’s turn to heal. I moved to LA to get the medical care and neurological physical therapy I needed. It was hard but it was happening. I was recovering. I really was and I was also about to start writing the book. It was just before christmas 2014. Finally… I had three whole weeks to myself and then it happened. Out of blue. I never saw it coming. That made it even harder. Betrayal became the straw that broke my heart and allowed me to contract an autoimmune disorder. I was sick to the very core of my being. Even in sleep there was no reprieve. I woke several time a night covered in sweat already in pain because my stomach burned and my heart roiled. I was covered in rashes….You may have noticed that blog posts have been fewer and farther between since January. Just after christmas, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. There aren’t words to describe how very, very ill, empty and depleted. I almost died.. it might have been easier.
It has been the hardest climb up I’ve ever experienced. The seemingly personal nature of the act… I now know that both nothing and everything is personal. And that what we do and don’t is a reflection of who we are. What I knew and chose then was and is to keep my heart open and allow myself to feel everything, no matter what. Not all at once, but all of it in good time. It was and is an act of Self-preservation.
.. to do the work I have waited a life time to do there was and is no other way but to come from the heart and stay in the light. No matter what!
I am recovering. I don’t throw up when the sun hits my solar plexus anymore, and I often sleep through the night. Right now there is little if any margin. And yet, the healing is incremental and undeniable. And so I begin once again, inspired by Susannah’s ecourse, to engage anew through the lens of photo meditation!
Happy Independence Day…Engagingly yours, xoxoxoxSabrina
Hello again! Lovely Readers,
Susannah Conway is a wonderfully soulful, sensual, photographer, journalist, teacher and creative blogger! Unlike dry step by step guides for idiots and others, her ecourse, Blogging from the Heart is full of achievable, aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable, useful, prompts, tools, and tips!! It speaks to those of us more interested in blogging as mindful reflection and creative expression than a means to monetization. Susannah’s blog is also full of photographs and other good stuff to engage your senses. As well as some truly wonderful ecourses and books! Like Photo Meditations, which, cue trumpets, I am starting today!
Taking the course is one of the birthday gifts I am giving myself this month. Lucky 7-11, that’s me. It wasn’t long after my birthday in 2009, two years before EngagingtheSenses.wordpress.com was born, that I returned from The Maui Writers Conference sure of two things. I had a publishable book and I needed a blog. Every publisher said the same thing..writing a book was about a lot more than writing a book. I needed to prove to my intended publishers, New World, Penguin, Hay house, that I had “a following” willing ostensibly to buy my book, when the time came.
In the meantime, I was stumped. I am not the sort who can do something for the money. I have to believe passionately in my cause, and its goodness, and then I am happy to sing its praises like the poet, I am. So what could I blog about and how could I create a blog that was like a gallery with many wonderful rooms, a haven, respite, inspiration and re-source online? I didn’t have anything to sell. What I had then and now is something worthwhile to offer. All of it time-tested and Mother approved.
Through the best of times these hard-earned practices have engaged my senses in Beauty, and through the worst they saved me from succumbing to overwhelming pain and despair.
I believe we can make our own luck. And it is through hard-won Luck that I have come to understand one of life’s great secrets. Come closer and I’ll whisper it in your heart. The source of my suffering, and of all suffering, is never the thing itself, rather it is my resistance to it. As Shakespeare in Hamlet said, “there is nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” And as my Great GG liked to say in her pragmatic Bronx meets Eastern-European accent, Why pay twice? You like to suffva or something?
Yes sometimes, like with basil flavored gelato, once really is enough, and the sooner we realize that the sooner we can regain our power. To suffer or not to suffer, is that simple, if not easy, to release.
I have learned to see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and experience life through the lens of Beauty.. which is always there.. just waiting to be noticed….I do this by engaging, appreciating, and practicing joy- every day- “come what may”.
That we seek Beauty’s refuge and sustenance in this often ‘ugly new on demand world’ is what ensures our survival. It is natural to be drawn to beauty, like moths to the light. If we want to thrive we can learn to refine this innate impulse, learn to mindfully engage, and take charge of our desires. Instead of being controlled by our endless wanting, and tendency toward distraction and escapism under pressure, we can use the intelligence of our senses to our advantage. I’ll be getting more specific about how in part two!
Neither a 1000 channels or million channels and no number of shoes or french fries can feed our need for peace and connection. Beauty can and does every time!
I want to end here for now by thanking Susannah for inspiring me, and for making me laugh until it hurt and healed. http://www.lifebuzz.com/funny-texts/ I hope you laugh until it heals too!!
See you later Beauties! xoxoxox Sabrina
Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.
So whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned practitioner, participating in The Yoga Day Summit on the first-ever International Day of Yoga is a chance to experience and celebrate the beauty, power and depth of yoga as a vehicle for living a divine life and creating a world built on oneness.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.”- Rumi
You can read all about the summit and register for free here:
==> http://bit.ly/1QmG1mn <==
During The Yoga Day Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in powerful experiential activities as well, including a global wave of sun salutations around the world, a global unification meditation, as well as asana, breathing and mantra practices.
The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic system, which is often identified with the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic, which is identified with what’s been called the relaxation response. When you do yoga – the deep breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the relaxed focus on being present in your body – you initiate a process that turns the fight or flight system off and the relaxation response on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to turn on the healing mechanisms.
The 8-hour global video broadcast, produced by The Shift Network and UPLIFT, will include unique segments such as:
- Interviews with India’s most respected spiritual leaders from the banks of the Ganges
- NY Times bestselling author Michael Singer sharing on Karma yoga
- Stories from the head yoga teacher at Google
- Interviews with Aboriginal People in Australia who are practicing yoga
- The story of a professional football player turned yoga teacher
- Military professionals who are working with yoga for veterans
- Special excerpts from AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda
You can learn all about it and register for free here as well as find local events happening near you:
==> http://bit.ly/1QmG1mn <==
Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.- Rumi
Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of Grace. ~ Paul Theroux
Hello Beautiful People!
When I lived in the Islands full time I used to council mainlanders who wanted to move to Maui to reconsider…. Aloha is as much a state of mind as a geographical location.
All thanks to Daily Celebrations for the following:
Hawaii has the key and that key is ALOHA.” ~ Pilahi Paki
A renown and beloved linguist, Paki gave spiritual meaning to each letter of the word aloha:
A stands for AKAHAI, meaning kindness, expressed with tenderness.
L is for LOKAHI, meaning unity, expressed with harmony.
O is for OLU`OLU, meaning agreeable, expressed with pleasantness.
H stands for HA`AHA`A, meaning humility, expressed with modesty.
The magic of aloha is contagious. Each day, the key is to “Live Aloha:” Help anonymously. Forgive hurts. Keep every agreement made. Give and share freely. Slow down and spend time in silence and engage your senses in Beauty big and small everyday.
Be the Beauty You Love!
Hello Beautiful People!
Oh the joys of being human. Speaking of one or two of those joy’s Making and Eating, I am excited to share a super yummy yet still healthy recipe for Moroccan Date Cake that would be perfect for Mother’s Day.
From a Yogic perspective, the sense of taste is related to the sacral chakra- Svadhisthana (sweetness) and it is located approximately two fingers width below the navel in the pelvic region.
“The gift of this chakra is experiencing our lives through feelings and sensations. The second chakra is the centre of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection.”
Other correspondences include the element water and the color orange. According to the folks at Yoga Journal, in working with this chakra, “you will address your relationship with both others and yourself. Personally, you’ll discover you have unlimited creative power; you’ll learn how to cultivate a healthy relationship to pleasure; and you’ll gain insight into your default reactions and deepest emotions, learn how to express yourself more skillfully and how to begin setting healthy boundaries.”
Physically, chronic low back pain, ovarian cysts and other reproductive issues, urinary tract infections, impotence, pain during intercourse, complications with the bladder and kidneys, and other pelvic–lower abdominal issues can result from an imbalance of this energy center. “Mentally, blocked sacral energy can be associated with addiction, repressed emotions, and lack of creative energy.”
“The good news is that “when the sacral chakra is in healthy alignment, you will be able to source energy for creativity, movement, procreation, desire, pleasure, and relationships.” Yah!! I’ll take second helpings of all of those (save procreation) please. In fact, my sense of taste and relationship to food and life itself has been challenged by an on again, off again, on again ulcer that originated in hospital a few years ago when my stomach was kept empty for a several days after surgery. Food and the act of eating is supposed to be a source of sustenance for body, senses and soul. Not a source of pain…
I could have called this post “How to Develop a Taste for Health instead of a Taste for _____ . In my case the blank space would be replaced by eating way to many tamari roasted almonds, popcorn or hot chips before bed. Or by waiting until I am already “starving” to eat. Even though I know only to well how likely this is to trigger or aggravate digestive and blood sugar problems.
Not too smart, and yet terribly humanly predictable. Seriously though regaining my health is no picnic and that is part of the inherent problem. You know what they say about all work and no play. I am willing to do what it takes –even if that means giving up tastes I love and associate with comfort. Ultimately I need to develop and cultivate a taste for feeling good inside and out that is stronger than my aversion to unnecessary stress and taste for baked macaroni and cheese.
The irony that trying to escape my feelings by stuffing them leaves me feeling even more empty is not lost on me. It also means that whatever needs attention becomes even more deeply embedded in darkness and the opportunity to get free (to escape if you like with my life and my health restored) is missed again. And so my suffering continues and is joined by shame. As Erlich Bachman says in a recent episode of Silicon Valley, the fact is that like most animals when “cornered” by stress we tend to act irrationally and lash out at any and everything around us. Ourselves included. Add lashings of guilt and shame to those fries. Bad girl!! Talk about indigestion. The (sad?) fact is that when things are already hard it is often harder to consistently engage in practices that nourish us body mind and soul.
How about a little bit of salt – pink, sea, kosher or otherwise, on that wound? Pass the pretzels please… So if berating myself for my poor choices won’t help me do better, what will? A non-toxic, quick acting, long-lasting, slow release of sweet, sensory-medicine that comes in as many different tastes, textures, styles, sounds and sizes as there are ways in which we unwittingly, and willingly hurt ourselves!
Since Love (in all its Beautiful forms) is the answer, I need to ask the right questions of myself and learn to discern between my real needs and my wants which are by nature often fickle and fleeting. Recognizing, identifying and meeting these authentic needs are a recipe and the choices I make to meet them are the ingredients for creating peace, passion, health and happiness.
- I want to sit and write and create without stopping for hours on end.
- I need to pace myself so that I don’t develop carpal tunnel or tendonitis again.
- I want to crunch away my feelings of frustration by eating the aforementioned popcorn before bed.
- I need to write down my feelings of frustration and irritation and then tear the page up without reading it so that I am not full of irritation and frustration and am able to get a good night’s rest.
- I want to run away from home and or spend several weeks at a spa or traveling.
- I need to make small easily available doses of fun a regular gig and not something that happens when everything else is ticked off the endless to do list.
- I want it whatever it is immediately.
- I need to be patient and to know (and feel) deep inside that I am worthy of love and give myself the love and beauty I need to thrive.
I am going to end this post with two poems and the promised recipe and look forward to sharing more tasty recipes next week! Engagingly yours, Sabrina xoxoxox<3
– Jack Kerouac
I stretch out
in bed alone
the taste of moonlight
What tastier way to help balance your second chakra the energy center associated with our sense of taste than by eating. “Any orange-colored food -think sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, curry and carrots is perfect to balance and nourish this center. Sweet fruits such as mangos, oranges, nectarines and peaches” are also great for balancing this chakra.
Speaking of peaches this week our good life organics farm box included the first local peaches of the season! They are a perfect addition to Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic chef Meredith Klein‘s Moroccan Date Cake! Perfected over several trips to the fabled country that has attracted so many artists and writers including Paul Bowls, Henri Mattisse, Anais Nin, and Tennessee Williams. It is so good I wasn’t sure if Meredith would be willing to share the recipe. Thanks Meredith, you’re the best! Check out more of Meredith’s recipes and other services at Pranaful.
Moroccan Date Cake Recipe
- 1/2 pound medjool dates (pitted and roughly chopped)
- 1 c. water
- 1 t. baking soda
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 stick regular or vegan butter (1/4 lb.), softened
- 2 eggs*
- Zest of one orange
- 1-1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
- 1/2 t. ground clove (optional)
- 2 t. baking powder
- 3/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan with parchment.
- In a small saucepan, bring dates and water to a boil over high heat. Once rapidly boiling add baking soda (mixture will foam) and reduce heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and let the date mixture cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together coconut sugar and butter; then, beat in eggs and orange zest. Add dates and cooking liquid to the bowl, and mix well. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in nuts, if using.
- Place batter in the prepared Springform pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Let cake cool at least 20 minutes before releasing Springform ring.
- * for vegan option, substitute 2 T. ground flaxseed mixed with 4 T. water, chilled in refrigerator for 25-30 minutes
As a treat for your sense of Hearing try reading the poem aloud to your self. I love the couplet at the end…timeless guidance from the Bard. Be the Beauty you love everyday and soon your life will be more Beautiful than ever!
Engagingly, Sabrina xoxoxo
Originally posted on Off the Shelf:
Sonnet XXV by William Shakespeare
Let those who are in favor with their stars
Of public honor and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlooked for joy in that I honor most.
Great princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honor rased quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
. Then happy I, that love and am beloved
. Where I may not remove nor be removed.
This poem was selected by Russell J. (Adult Services Librarian)
Life is a song-sing it. Life is a game-play it. Life is a challenge-meet it. Life is a dream- realize it. Life is a sacrifice- offer it. Life is love-enjoy it. -Sai Baba
I haven’t stopped singing since I came full circle at an evening of live devotional electronica celebrating the release of Donna De Lory’s new album “Universal Light Remixes from The Unchanging and Bonus Tracks. Talk about a natural high. Her kirtin-pop-trance-prayer songs and soulful, ethereal voice are reminders of and portals to the best part of myself -and to community! I have been a fan since 2009 Maui where the Aloha helped to elevate Donna’s already spell-binding effect to a stellar level of love and bliss.
The whole experience was fun from beginning to end. Made possible by star promoter Kent Purdy of FilmHouseNY, who along with the great staff at Full Circle, assured me that I could relax and they would take care of everything. And they did. Down to the last moments in which Purdy ushered us out as the set ended and carried me down the last of the stairs to the street and the waiting car. Wow!
Housed in a 110-year old temple at 305 Rose Avenue, Full Circle Venice is an open source spiritual community center that offers regular yoga and growth-oriented workshops and an experiential environment that aims to elevate the individual while connecting us with each other,” says Full Circle Co-Founder Andrew Keegan. “The walls are as old as Venice itself, yet the people who gather within them seek timeless universal truths. People of all beliefs and backgrounds are welcome to take part in the weekly cultural gatherings at our space. We operate according to a co-creative model, encouraging folks to seek individual enlightenment while aligning their talents with forces larger than themselves. Much spiritual development is inner-focused. We certainly offer that, but people are also looking for a way to authentically connect with others around a higher purpose.” Amen to that brothers and sisters….Speaking of sisters…my pursuit of high minded fun, consciousness and bliss was made so much richer by the company of two amazing women and sister Cancerians.
The beguiling Irish-English Rose, Haley McGuire, an inspired designer and local-queen-of-the-afternoon-tea showers, graduations, birthdays, and girl get-togethers. I love her Santa Barbara beachey, British-boho, mix of vintage china, roses in jam jars, and old silver vases, charming tea cups and pots alongside local watercress and goat’s cheese sandwiches with fresh garden mint. Thanks to Haley I got to meet the radiantly humble and gifted songwriter and teacher, Pam Sheyne. (What I’d give to attend her week long Andulusion retreat in Spain this Oct. Pam has written songs for hit movies like Frozen and Princess Diaries and artists from Sinaed O’Conner, Billie Piper, Rikki Lee, and Seal. Though she is best known for the global breakthrough single “ Genie In a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera, Pam was unpretentious, feisty, warm and shy all at the same time and refreshingly open to Kirtin and to Donna’s music.
Fans will be familiar with Donna from her years of touring with Madonna. De Lory traveled the globe for 20 years as a backup singer and dancer, appearing in the documentary film Truth or Dare, and on stage during many legendary tours before dedicating her life to singing sacred mantras and lyrics of spiritual aspiration. “De Lory’s own music combines sparkling pop savvy with a deeply felt sense of spirituality, and has won her a strong fan base in the yoga/conscious living community and beyond. Inspired by Indian devotional music and dance beats from around the globe as well as western pop.” Donna’s songs blend diverse styles for a sound that’s as natural as it is unique. Her music is a sanctuary for the soul...Right now I am in love with the original Kinder and Praying for Love as well as her covers of My Sweet Lord and Amazing Grace! “With a string of best-selling and much-loved albums—including Bliss (2000), In the Glow (2003), The Lover and The Beloved (2004), Sky is Open (2006), Sanctuary (2008), Remixes (2010) and The Unchanging (2013)—Donna has become one of the reigning queens of world devotional music.
“As for Kirtin… Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to tell people when they ask, What is kirtan? Kirtan is a new kind of concert experience here in the West. It began in India centuries ago as a spiritual practice, and was known as the layman’s way to connect with the Divine. And in the last ten years, kirtan has become a phenomenon across the United States, and has transformed musically to appeal to the ears of American audiences. It’s not so much a performance as a journey into the self through the practice of listening & singing.” According to the New World Kirtan podcast
So Beautiful Readers this week I want to leave you with these words from “Kinder”
“I’ve decided to be be happy, I’ve decided to be kind, I’ve decided to be grateful for all i’ve ever had. I’ve decided to be open to that little voice inside telling me I am beautiful, it’s ok to be alive. I’ve decided to be kinder to my self when I am sad. I’ve decided to be grateful for all i’ve ever had“
and wish us all a week of singing our heart’s out…be it in the shower, or in your car, or in front of the mirror.. let’s just sing.
Engagingly Yours, xoxoxoxox Sabrina
Good Day Lovely Reader!
Spring has been playing hide and seek with us all week. Even so all the white roses in the front garden are blooming. And looking at them from the kitchen window puts a whole different slant on washing up. If cutting your own roses isn’t in the picture then buying them for yourself or someone you love is the next best thing. If I lived in London, The London Flower Lover would definitely be my florist of choice. I love these beautiful women….They were one of the first to encourage me when I was a just a newbie blogger…. And they continue to inspire me today. Their blog is full of beautiful images, anecdotes, self-care practices, and most recently this poem by poet, David Whyte. I hope it touches you too!
Everything is Waiting for You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press
This post might be tagged #better late than never. The usual excuses apply and then some as I work toward physical independence and complete recovery. Most of the things I used to do with ease are still difficult. And some are not yet in reach. I can feel the sadness in my heart as I write these words…the longing to express the physical side of my nature freely and without restriction. To freely and easily write, paint, dance, walk, bike, cook, bake and make love for as long as I like as often as I’d like!
The down side of my situation is just as bad as you think it would be- and worse, squared. And the up side? Yes of course there is an upside. That is the way things work here. For every up, a down. For every in, an out. The trick is knowing how to Engage with the true nature of things including your Self. I like to think of it as seeing through the eyes of the heart. From this vantage point there is always something to appreciate. Start with your breath. If this sounds corny, than try holding it until your gasping for air…get my point…
It may seem counterintuitive, but closing your eyes can help you see yourself better. During meditation we usually close our eyes to help turn our attention inward. Using an eye pillow really helps me to go deeper into meditation and to relax.
I like to use one when I practice the Engaging your Senses body&soul Scan below. I first discovered the pleasure and benefits of this simple tool in Melbourne when my Yoga teacher guided and invited us to relax the muscles around our eyes as she gently placed them the cool, silky, lavender scented pillow over them during Shavasana (deep relaxation).I haven’t looked back since. I’m really excited to tell you I’ll be offering my first Engaging ecourse later this year which will include a silky, naturally fragrant pillow for your senses.
Ok lets get started.
- Start by breathing in and out through your nose, then on your next exhale breathe out through your mouth along with a big sighing letting go sound. hhaaaa… do this a few times. Then breathe normally.
- Now bring your attention to your heart center and let the corners of your mouth turn up into a ‘half smile of the Buddha’.
- Think about the last time you felt truly happy, so happy it made you smile. Really smile- with your eyes as well as your mouth!
- Remember how good that experience felt. That feeling sense belongs to you and no one can take it away! It is always available to you whenever and wherever you are!
- Now imagine the shape of smile entering your heart as you breathe in slowly and deeply.
- Next imagine the shape and feeling of a smile entering your belly as you consciously soften the muscles there.
- Breathe in again and as you exhale consciously relax the muscles of your belly.You may be surprised to discover how often you are clenching these muscles in reaction to stress during a normal day.
- Let the smile move up to your eyes as you consciously relax the hard working muscles around your eyes.
- Continue to feel the smile and let it radiate out of your heart and belly like rays of sun warming the earth as you breath slowly, peacefully, effortlessly through your nose.
- Notice the way the you feel now and make a conscious to bring this sense of relaxation and ease with you when you open your eyes and go on with your day.
“Engaging in this short simple practice first thing in the morning while still in bed sets you up for a beautiful day. Though it works equally well at any time of the day or night.”
So yes, the up side is that I get to, as good old Proust said, “look at the world through fresh eyes” each time I regain a small independence. The first time for years,(and this was only about 6 weeks ago) that I cooked served and cleaned up my own breakfast and lunch with out collapsing in pain afterward. The first time I took a spontaneous outing on my own. I was early for PT and stopped in at the craft store- by myself! O the simple of joy of autonomy…of wandering at my own pace. Hell, the first time I was able to go to the grocery store myself…Who knew picking out my own sweet peas and papaya is such a luxury.
Other small victories are even sweeter- being able to accompany my daughter to get her driving permit. And more recently when she was unwell- being able to make her a cup of hot water with fresh lime, honey and ginger and safely carry it down the long hallway to her room..and later that day heat and serve our dinner…I couldn’t have done that a month ago, or two weeks ago! And whilst things are definitely looking up there may be some days still, where that simple task and act of love is out of reach.
So then what??? Most of the time I remember to Engage my Senses but not always. Even after 18 years of yoga and meditation practice I still get get discouraged and feel overwhelmed and forget to be my own true love- and yes, it feels terrible! And no amount of chocolate, shopping, drinking, eating, watching reality tv, smoking weed, or ________fill in the escape of your choice, will ever make it better. So whilst there is no magic potion or wand to wave to keep me from occasionally falling back on my “vices of crisis”, these episodes grow shorter and less frequent because I have learned to Engage my Senses in order to find my way back home. No matter how lost I may feel or far I have strayed, what I know for sure is that what is always in reach is the Beautiful -which exists- even within the terrible.
Hello Lovely Reader,
This has been an exciting and unexpectedly busy week. I am putting the final polish on my promised “Talk Story” post. Please look for it this Monday. My daughter is getting ready to go on a Civil Rights tour on the South with her class. So starting this Sunday I am going to have 5 days to solely Engage in solitude. I am very ready and have lots to bring together during this rare gift of time alone to engage my senses in creative self expression and care. Hmmm- Spell-check wanted to change ‘solely to holy’. Thank you Spell-check for reminding me that the time spent nourishing my senses and soul is sacred.
The attitude in which we engage with it is what makes time sacred- be it 6 days or 6 mins. Everyday this ‘holy which is the extra in ordinary is available. We can have it in bite size portable pieces- Thank Goddess! Lets face it- it isn’t too often that most of us get 5 days all to ourselves. My teacher, the great Yoga master, Krishnamacharya, said Yoga is about starting where and how you are. Well Engaging the Senses is too! So this morning when that midmorning wave of tired rolled in, I chose to spend six minutes practicing the Refreshing the Senses guided relaxation instead of pushing through and came out of it feeling grounded, peaceful and quietly energized.
So this is a perfect example of that pragmatic and inclusive wisdom and of the way Engaging the Senses works with you and with where you are now. We almost always have 6 min minutes to devote to self care no matter how busy we are. And when we do engage our senses in that way the return is larger than the investment, and overtime and over time considerable profits build up!
Until then I am leaving you with some Eye Candy in which to indulge you senses. So much thanks to the talented photographer and very special friend of Engaging the Senses, David Mathew, for their use. Love and Hugs, Sabrina xoxox
“Feelings aroused by the touch of someone’s hand, the sound of music, the smell of a flower, a beautiful sunset, a work of art, love, laughter… all work on both the unconscious and the conscious aspects of the self, and they have physiological consequences as well.” Bernie Siegel
Hello everyone! I am so happy to be connecting with you again and am truly touched and encouraged by how many of you (old friends and new) stopped by, liked. pinned and followed whilst I was on holidays. Thank You-I’ll be stopping by to visit soon!
I have so much to share with you after spending a few weeks back in Hawaii on Kauai. Talk about soul food for the senses. From Hanalai to Hanapepe this is the little island that could. As an until-recently- maui-girl, I have to say that I am ready to island hop and you’ll never guess the reason. After all who would expect there to be a first class independent bookstore on a little island in the middle of the pacific? Talk Story is just that and more and I want to live within 30 minutes of its shores!
However in honor of Valentines and with the idea of Be-ing our own true Love in mind, I am getting touchy-feely instead and sharing my favorite (G rated) way of touching myself with all of you beautiful peeps!
This delightfully sensual and nourishing practice of self-massage is the perfect Valentines day and every-day way to engage the senses while nourishing and nurturing your body, mind and soul. It only takes about 20 minutes and feels delicious. It is a great way to relax before bed, or if you have time in the morning it is a wonderfully grounding way to start the day.
Like all Yoga and meditative practices the benefits build on themselves. Best practice is to set aside 15-20 minuets 2-4 mornings a week. But some is better than none- so do what you can. Traditionally sesame oil is used, but for daily use, I really like how light and easily absorbed the Hawaiian Kukui Nut oil is and that it doesn’t stain or saturate my clothing.You can warm the oil right in its bottle in a mug of hot water, or you can invest in an oil warmer like the one pictured below.
I had looked high and low for a small, portable oil warmer before finding out that my dear friend, Ralf Moler, the hard-working-visionary behind AromaLand had already created it! In the mornings I boil the kettle and use the water to make a cup of tea and to preheat the oil warmer. Once the oil is warm take a little in the palms of your hands and then begin at your feet massaging between the metatarsals and circling your ankles and other joints gently but firmly. Continue moving up towards your heart. Use long pleasurable strokes on the straights…Experiment with what feels good to you. The basic method is to start at your feet, using long vertical strokes on your limbs/muscles, and small circular rubbing around the joints. So circle,circle ankles, strokestroke shins and calfs, circlecircle knees etc.
Benefits of applying oil to the body in this way are many: It imparts softness, strength and color to the body, decreases the effects of aging, bestows good vision, nourishes the body,increases longevity, benefits sleep patterns, benefits the skin,strengthens the body’s tolerance,imparts a firmness to the limbs,imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body,stimulates the internal organs of the body and increases circulation!
When you are finished wrap up in an old robe and pair of socks and drink a glass of filtered water (infused with orange or lime is especially nice and so easy to do). I let the oil sink into my skin for 20 minutes while I meditate or journal before having a shower and getting dressed.I have received so much pain relief from this simple practice that I wonder why I ever resisted. Lately I’ve been silently thanking my body it for all its hard work as I massage.
So now that we’ve got the outside of you covered, how about trying this “Touching the Beauty Within” practice. Choose an object that symbolizes Beauty, Spirit or the divine, something small enough to comfortably hold in your hand. It could be a leaf or flower, a stone or shell or a small statue.
- Find a quiet place to sit close your eyes and bring your attention to your heart center. Slowly feel the weight and shape and texture of the object in your hands. Note any sensations colors, associations or images that arise. What words come to mind to define how it physically feels and how you feel as you hold it?
- As you notice how it physically feels and how you feel consider how this relates or not to the way in which you don’t or do hold yourself accountable for giving your body senses and soul the the love and the loving touch we all need.
- If self love has been scarce or stop and start start now: forgive yourself and ask your heart to tell you what it needs to be healthy and strong. Be open to whatever comes..The answer might be more time spent reading, or forgiving yourself for ____, or going for a bike ride, or eating less candy and more fresh fruit or eating small servings of the best quality ice-cream once in a while instead of low fat yogurt once a week. Thank your heart for the message and promise it you will act on what you have learned.
I am going to leave you today with three of my favorite poems. Engagingly Yours, Sabrina xoxo
Three Times My Life Has Opened
Three times my life has opened.
Once, into darkness and rain.
Once, into what the body carries at all times within it and starts
to remember each time it enters into the act of love.
Once, to the fire that holds all.
These three were not different.
You will recognize what I am saying or you will not.
But outside my window all day a maple has stepped from her
leaves like a woman in love with winter, dropping the
Neither are we different in what we know.
There is a door. It opens. Then it is closed. But a slip of light stays,
like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor, or the one
red leaf the snow releases in March.
Lal Ded TRANSLATED BY JANE HIRSHFIELD
“I Want to Breathe”
you in I’m not talking about
perfume or even the sweet odour
of your skin but of the
air itself I want to share
your air inhaling what you
exhale I’d like to be that
close two of us breathing
each other as one as that
Happy Holidays Lovely Readers!
There is something extra appealing about bookstores and books in Winter. It is a sensory pleasure to get curled up with a steaming cup of The Republic of Tea’s Peppermint Bark Tea and a plate of biscuits in a big, cozy chair with a good book or quality magazine like the slender but sumptuous spines I discovered during the cold, rainy afternoon Lilith and I recently spent at Barnes & Noble in Calabasas.
Sure you can order books online. It is convenient and sometimes a life saver, however going to a book store is about more than 1click ordering and efficiency. Bookstores are about expansion, discovery and nourishing the Senses. Everything from the colors of the covers, to the beautiful note cards, and leather bound journals, to the lost in time feeling of wandering through the aisles with no particular destination in mind until something catches your eye and you plop down on the floor or on a bench or in a armchair – if you are lucky enough to score one to explore and pour over its pages. It is about the luxury and delight of being able to pick and chose and dip into other worlds without having to make a commitment until you find the perfect book for you that you otherwise would never have known existed.
This is my first real winter in 9 years and I am not complaining. What I am is aware of is needing to make an extra effort to get the nature and natural Beauty essential for my senses. So whenever the sun is out you will find me in it for at least 15 minutes soaking in its goodness. In fact, I am outside on the veranda writing this on a bright, nippy LA Saturday. Since my blood is still on Maui time, I am all rugged up as we say in Australia… We are lucky enough to have a gas fireplace in the living room and I loving standing in front of the cheery orange flames when it gets too cold.
It was still cold yesterday, but after days of days of rain being outside again felt important. So I took Satine Bunny out early for a hop in the back yard. The sky was so beautiful and for a little while the cold, dry air felt good. Standing in the early morning quiet, I breathed in its crisp freshness as I watched the reflection of the sun rising golden-pink across the clouds on the side of the glass tower across the road. At night, its wagon-yellow Wells Fargo sign glows (reassuringly?) over the backyard fence. It reminds me of a benign version of the eyes on the billboard in the Great Gatsby.
There have been many gifts in my life this year, and I know there will be even more in the year ahead. If you haven’t gotten your Beauty-full-Self a holiday present this year I recommend any and all of the inexpensive sensory pleasures pictured, especially Aromaland’s bespoke line of Elegant Aroma Sprays which are an exceptional value at less than five bucks! Made with 100% natural essential oils sourced from small independent farms all around the world, they come is gleaming silver bottles with lovely labels and are ideal for clearing away any stale winter odors and nourishing your senses. They all smell wonderful so you really can’t go wrong! At the moment I’m enjoying the strong but light, cheerful scent of orange, pine, frankincense and patchouli inspired by Holei, better known as the laughing Buddha, the calming relaxing blend of Peace which is a delicious mixture of Lavender, Orange, Geranium, Cedar wood and Frankincense, and the gorgeous Bulgarian Rose Flower Water!
Last night marked the longest night of the year and today, here in the Northern Hemisphere, Sunday Dec 21st, the Winter Solstice marks the return of the Light!!! This will be my last post of the year. I am taking a break and working on the book over the next couple of weeks..which is very exciting.
Until we meet again I wish you and yours Love, hugs, and every Blessing!!
The Art and Science of Engaging with Happiness: A free online course for people who want to be Happy
“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.” -Herman Hesse
Hello Beautiful Readers,
Harvard educated psychologist and happiness expert, Dan Gilbert’s 2006 TED Talk, The surprising science of happiness, has been seen and or heard by over 8 million people. If you aren’t one of them, or if you are and would like to refresh your memory or share it with a friend, you can watch here.What The Science of Happiness and Engaging the Senses share is the understanding that happiness happens in the present moment. Yes, surprisingly even when we are doing something that we think we would rather not be doing, we are still happier when we are fully engaged in the task at hand. So the next time you have to cook a meal and you think you’d rather be doing something else, I invite you to mindfully engage your senses and take pleasure in the sounds of the chopping and sizzling, the scents of the spices and other fragrant ingredients, and the way the colors, textures, and shapes combine to create a meal that nourishes you body, mind, senses, and soul. For more free and effective methods for increasing your happiness quotient, you may want to register for “A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life” that can be done at your own pace. Health professionals who register can earn continuing education units for their participation.
“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”- James M. Barrie
“The Science of Happiness” explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students can engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.”
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” -Groucho Marx
We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in. It offers students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So students learn many different research-tested practices that foster social and emotional well-being—and the course helps them track their happiness along the way.
“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” -William Feather
The course’s co-instructors, Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, are not only leading authorities on positive psychology but also gifted teachers skilled at making science feel fun and personal. They’ll be joined by world-renowned experts discussing themes like empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude—experts including Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Hello again Beauties,
As the holidays grow closer and commitments grow greater, I invite you to give your self the gift of bliss by be-coming present to and nurturing your own True Beauty. After a life time of looking for love in all the wrong places, people pleasing and putting myself last, I’ve finally recognized that this is the most valuable gift I can give and receive. And I am not alone in my need. Far from it. The response to “Be your Own True Love” indicates that this is the case for a lot of us and I mean a lot of us. So come on join with me and Be Your Own True Love.
The how is easy. Start right now by reflecting on and getting a keen sense of what it means (in any given moment) to be your own true love? Love is guided by the highest principles that exist and includes nonviolence toward self and others (Ahmisa). So if what you are doing or not doing isn’t in alignment with your highest good then you aren’t in that moment being your own true love.
There is no need to judge and chastise. There is need to take note. Often only a subtle shift changes the equation for the good. What do you need right now that you aren’t allowing yourself to have. Is it a sip of water and instead you are drinking coffee or eating something salty? Is it a five minute lie down and instead you are having “an energy drink” I need to stand up and rest my back and arms and rotate my shoulders.
In Yoga one of the ways to be your own true love is through the practice of Abhyanga (ah b ong ga ) which means daily self massage with warm oil. This only takes a few minutes and makes a world of difference if done consistently, and is great in the short term for temporarily relieving achy, sharp or burning pain in knees, elbows as well as hips and shoulders. This short, sensational self massage is one of the first things I offer to teach students when we create their personal practice for engaging and awakening the senses. I plan on posting a YouTube and or Vimeo video demonstrating this wonderfully delicious way of staying and getting healthy early next year.
Yikes here we are again in the hectic happy holiday season and yes I am suggesting that YES there is still time to Be Your Own True Love.
Yes, it is true I am saying that there is no better time than this one right now no matter how messy it is because your, my, our quality of life depends on right relationship to self and by extension to others and our world. If you want to experience and explore the benefits of Creating a Personal Practice for Engaging and Awakening the Senses that includes simple postures, guided relaxation and meditation, journal prompts, recipes and tried and true ways for Hearing, Seeing, Smelling, Touching and Tasting Being and Experiencing the Beauty you Are and Love you can email me and set up a free consultation!
Hello Lovely Readers,
As the holidays grow closer it can be harder to stay engaged and remember to be the Beauty you are and Love. To this end I offer a photo of the rose on my writing desk (fresh from the front garden), and this beautiful definition of Love by one of my favorite teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, for your Thanks-Giving holiday…Oh and some bonus eye-candy to soothe those overstretched and stimulated senses at the bottom of the page.
My dear friend, Gyana, whose husband of 7 years asked her to frame it and put near their bedside sent it to me! Ahhh.. now that is beautiful and so are you..xoxox Engagingly Yours, Sabrina
For us to remember……..According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love.
The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love ―it is even the opposite. If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.
“What must we do in order to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is called understanding. Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.”
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace.
His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.
Thich Nhat Hanh has published over 100 titles on meditation, mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, as well as poems, children’s stories, and commentaries on ancient Buddhist texts. He has sold over three million books in America alone, some of the best-known include Peace Is Every Step, The Miracle of Mindfulness, The Art of Power, True Love and Anger.
It has been such a busy week..doctor’s appointments, mine, the kid’s and the bunny’s, deadlines, domestic duties, rehab, and recalcitrant help at home have made it just that little bit harder to engage my senses and nourish my soul..I never wanted to run away with the circus so I wonder how I ended up doing so much juggling….
Seriously though I was wondering if I would manage to post at all this week. Then I saw this poem from my friend and mentor Judith Hill and I knew I had to share it with all of you along with my new art journal cover. A long time ago when I still lived in Santa Fe I was privileged to learn from and occasionally perform alongside Santa Fe’s Poetry goddesses, Miriam Sagan, Joan Logghe (former Santa Fe poet laureate) and the redoubtable Judith Hill. These women somehow managed to “do it all”. To mother, work and write WELL. Now that I too am a mother I have even more respect and admiration for their achievements. What we shared then and now is a love of zen buddhism, writing and the belief that Poetry matters both on and off the page. Buen indeed!
Last Time at the Buen
Say coyote and mean surprise.
Say fallen petals and mean the way you look at me.
Say espinaca and mean the color leaves learn at birth.
Say doorway and mean a courtyard from memory.
Say chocolate and mean little Buddha in the mouth.
Say Febrero and mean first scent of sweet acacia on the wind.
When we are gone say lemon tree, say new buds, say palm fronds,
And mean that you loved it here.
Say maguey and mean thorny guardians of the heart.
Say mesquite and mean the rattle of later.
Say that twice and mean the rattle heard over long distances of night alone.
Say stars falling, and don’t mean that.
Say fish in the quiet pond and mean early rain.
Say starfish and I can’t tell you what that means.
Say cloud and mean a dream that wakes you.
Say glass table and mean the first step on a journey.
Say tamales and mean kalamata olives.
Say I will give you what I have brought and mean voice.
Say doorway again and see what it means.
Say look one more time and mean thank you.