Here is the report from the Back 40 – ferns and morels. Spring is spreading Her verdant carpet across the land, even in the deep woods, where the morels rise and release their spores in billowy clouds amidst the gentle breezes. Walk softly, gently today, my friends. Life is emerging from beneath our very feet, so tread lightly. #ReportFromTheBack40 #GetOutside #SquirrelRun #kippinitreal
Here is my Report From The Back 40, Out & About Edition form Winter Solstice, Day 4
Wow ~ I have met people from all over the globe here. We are 770 strong and hail from Ukraine, Japan, Taiwan, India, Great Britain, Sweden, all over the United States, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, and Australia, to name just a few. Bright and radiant souls every one.
A little about why I am here and what it is that we are all doing. We are in a practice called white tantra – it is a sacred practice done as a group, meditation and chanting in partners and everyone wears white, including covering the head. “The other is you”~ a sutra of the Aquarian Age is driven home here. We deepen the awareness of our connection to each other and the Infinite. Beloved yogi and spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, said “I promised you happy, healthy, and holy. I never said it would be easy.” Kundalini yoga is the yoga of awareness, and as such, the path is not necessarily smooth and easy. Why are we doing all of this anyway? To gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, God, and earth. We clear out the clutter in our subconscious so that we can then be more present and have better clarity. This first of 3 days of white tantra were challenging indeed. We did 4 meditations, holding a specific pose for 62 minutes each, and then 2 more that were 31 minutes long. For me, time had its own rhythm during these meditations, ebbing and flowing, and even the whole concept of time dropping away altogether. My partner and the whole group brought such energy to the day. We held each other up the whole way, and especially when the work became the most challenging. Practice within a group consciousness is a powerful experience indeed. I found I was much stronger that I had imagined going into this day. I leave you with some images of the day, including SatInder Kaur Khalsa turban wrapping for the head coverings and a group of us preparing for the day.
May the golden light of Guru Ram Das shine on you and each one of us everywhere, and may love and peace reign supreme in the world. Sat Nam, my friends.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #WinterSolstice #WhiteTantra #WaheGuru #kippinitreal
I escaped the cold in Kansas for a week of celebrating, meditation, chanting, yoga, and fellowshipping with yogis and yoginis from across the world. (I chopped veggies yesterday afternoon with a lovely woman from St. Petersburg, Russia, for instance.) We are in central Florida. Temps range from 50s to 70s, a welcome respite from the biting winds in Kansas.
“Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times”…a sutra of the Aquarian Age and central to our work here for this week. We did a sweet meditation last night for self-compassion. What a blessing to have such a meditation practice, and then to be able to do it in a group setting…wow!
This Solstice celebration is a time of love, ancient yogic wisdom, and deep spirituality. It is a truly amazing experience to be walking this path and study its ways further in such a community. These teachings are powerful when I do them at home by myself and even throughout my day, but when done in a group setting it brings their impact so much deeper to me. The experience seems to reach down way deeper inside of myself than I seem to be able to attain on my own.
We will each be consciously completing and letting go something of this year, and then initiating a new beginning of some sort. One of the things I will be completing here is the last requirement for my kundalini yoga teacher training: the white tantra practice. In the coming year I will be beginning to teach this work I love so dearly and adding into the work I do to help people release stress and chronic pain in their life. What an honor. These are the times we are living in…and we were made for these times. So grateful for the teachings and how they bring me closer to understanding through compassion, beginning with myself. Sat Nam, friends. Peace and love to you. I’ll soak in some of this warmth for you northerners. I leave you with a few images from yesterday afternoon and evening.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #WinterSolstice #SatNam #kippinitreal
The pine tree is an ancient tree whose lineage dates clear back to the time when the first reptiles appeared toward the end of the Permian era 280 million years ago. This tree is referred to as a gymnosperm (“naked seed”) because of its reproductive organs, with the most evolved flowering parts of all the plants prior to the emergence of angiosperms, or the flowering plants with which we are so familiar today – from the tiny duckweed to the amazing orchids. Pine trees serve earth and so many animals well. They are living carbon sinks, storing carbon for many years indeed, with the longest known living pine tree estimated at 4600 years old!
There are all kinds of facts and figures about pine trees, but here is what they teach me. The phoenixes of the plant world, they are born amid fire [see previous Report From The Back 40 (Special Pine Cone Edition)], in fact some pine tree species require fire to regenerate. They grow in communities. Each individual seedling must find a spot where there is enough sunlight to grow, but since so many of them come alive as a result of sweeping fires, and thrive as a result of fire’s after affects, they often sprout up together. When you add the community interconnected mycelium threads living in the soil to the collection of trees themselves, one begins to get a closer look at how the web of life weaves its magic throughout the whole system. Then add in all of the animals that feast of pine pollen (rich in protein), pine nuts (protein and fats), pine needles (high in vitamins C, B and a source of minerals), and the incredible habitat that the tree itself provides for birds, squirrels, and other tree dwellers, one gets an even bigger sense of the wonder that the pine tree brings to bear. So, community, protection (both in the larger sense of planetary environmental stability and in the sense of the more local strengths of just plain sticking together as a group), and sustenance in the form of food. Then there is the lovely soft insulating value of the spent pine needle. Remember how softly your foot falls on a path strewn with pine needles? And what of the heavenly scent wafting through the air in the pine forest? Lastly, though I doubt it is my last word on the subject, the evergreen speaks to me of a soul, albeit the soul of a tree being, forever connected to its heart. It is of a constant green after all. The pine tree certainly has every right to be a symbol of the birth of the Light and the essence of this time of year. What’s up in your neck of the woods?
#ReportFromTheBack40 #PineTreeBeing #SquirrelRun #December #GetOutside #kippinitreal
I heard the owls last night as I drifted off to sleep. I felt as if they were lulling me to sleep. I slipped into a deep slumber, only to awaken shortly after midnight, when I heard them once again. Last night the owls were my close companions, as they are from time to time. My rest was peaceful and sweet, and I woke up before dawn for sadhana and was full of gratitude and joy. Gone was the too oft troubled blanket of heavy doom that has greeted me so many other mornings. I felt rested and ready to face whatever the day might bring – a sweet spot to find oneself in, right?
Great Horned Owls grace this land in numbers and have for many years. We are blessed indeed by their presence here all year long. While my spirited friend the hummingbird winters in Mexico searching for, and no doubt finding, bountiful drops of nectar, the owls remain and watch over all of us. I rarely see these owls, and even then it will be almost hidden in a tree, or perhaps I will catch a glimpse of one on the wing through the woods, more of a moving shadow really – such soft swift silent flight. We have the Barn Owl in these parts as well. The habitat here is well suited to their needs. Once in a long while I will spot a Snowy Owl, but I believe we are a bit south for them to be here en force like the other two more common birds. Whatever the species, the owl has always been an elusive but ever-present being in my world. I consider it to be one of my totems.
It is interesting to me that I most often come across these birds at night, especially as I lay my head down on the pillow. They come in when I am in that in-between-worlds place, between awake and asleep. In a place of floating neutrality. A place where I can see clearly without even knowing I am looking at anything at all. Owl medicine surely brings illumination and wisdom – the kind that is innate, known so profoundly that its truth is felt deep in the bones.
On another note, my sister Christine shared with me an image of a rose in full bloom in her magical garden, which we affectionately (and accurately I believe) call Fernwood Findhorn. There has been snow and sub-freezing temps there, but the roses seem to be oblivious to all such things. What’s up in your neck of the woods?
#ReportFromTheBack40 #Squirrelrun #OwlMedicine #FernwoodFindhorn #kippinitreal
Here is my Report From The Back 40 – Snowflakes & the Power of Connection Edition:
It’s too warm today to expect snow, but the winter clouds are here and I am nonetheless reminiscing on my sheer love for the snowflake. To me it is a creature all its own, a power player if there ever was one, with distinct characteristics, though it is also a special version of water – that wondrous transmuter, able to come to us in so many forms. The big piece for me about the snowflake is in its lesson about the power of connection. Let’s start at the beginning, up in the clouds. The snowflake begins with the base of a grain of dust floating in a cloud. Next, water vapor in the cloud condenses on and around the dust particle and freezes into a tiny ice crystal. These ice crystals then join together forming into a snowflake. The size of any given snowflake is determined by how many of these ice crystals come together. Generally, a snowflake is really a community of about 200 ice crystals in the shape of a hexagonal prism. As snowflakes fall from the sky at 3-4 miles per hour, they tumble and swirl, affected by local air currents and conditions, floating through clouds that have different temperatures and moisture contents, thus shaping each snowflake in a unique way. So the gentle snowflake is a created community, with each community being a uniquely shaped collection.
Next there is a whole other thing that happens when one snowflake meets another. Here is the lesson of the power of connection all over again, just in larger measure. The snowflake comes together to form this beautiful substance that insulates the ground, including the tree roots during winter from penetrating cold that would otherwise kill the tree. So, one quality of this connection and community is protection. Snowflakes also connect and hold the power of the ‘right of weight’. As a larger interconnected community, that we call ‘snow’, snow can shape the land, rivers, and even wear down rock, and it can do so quietly, slowing, but inexorably. Here are the lessons of the power of patience and persistence. There is also the lesson of what can happen when one sticks together with others of its ilk…massive transformations are possible, even worldwide repercussions. Look at how the icecaps, enormous conglomerates of snowflake communities, help temper the whole planet. This is some serious power, people, all emanating out of what began as a dust mote in a cloud and a vaporous water molecule!
I will mention this one final bit, though it is by no means the last word on this subject. The snowflake teaches us the lesson of the power of sheer beauty of Creation. What other substance do you know that changes the entire landscape into a white wonderland, and does it silently, in the most unassuming way? May my wonder and yours as our eyes set on the tiny, but oh-so-powerful snowflake always remain and may its lessons resound and stay with us.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #SnowflakeEdition #PowerOfCommunity #December #GetOutside #SquirrelRun #kippinitreal
Report From The Back 40 (Special Holiday Pine Cone Edition):
Spiritual resilience – an interesting concept. Here’s my view. Nature shows us how it’s done. There are a few conifer pine tree species, Jack Pine, Table Mountain Pine, Lodgepole Pine, among others, that have what is referred to as a serotinous cone – a special version of the pinecone, in my humble opinion, though the pinecone is a remarkable creation anyway. That word ‘serotinous’ is a term for a seed that requires a specific environmental trigger in order to release. These pine trees grow in dry, rocky sites and the cones are tightly closed, holding the tiny delicate seeds within them safe, until just the right moment. Here’s where the spiritual resilience part comes in: these pinecones require VERY high temperatures in order for the cones to open and allow the seeds to disperse. So the not-so-lowly pinecone expends all of this energy to grow a fertilized egg, nurture and protect it, and then must face what would seem to be complete and utter destruction of that which it protected in order for that seed to be ‘reborn’ into the world – literally out of the fire. And Jack Pine cones are quite small. One would think that a hot fire would just incinerate these on the spot. A magnificent example of ‘the dark before the dawn’ and what spiritual resilience looks like from the viewpoint of a pine tree.
From the human perspective, this is my riff on the matter. To have spiritual resilience is to walk – steadfastly or with teetering, skittering baby steps, however one can – through one’s own darkness, and survive to reach the light, where a thriving life reveals itself. To be willing to sit curiously in one’s darkness and allow it to be what it is. To gain access to the ability to hear and heed the words and direction of any and all guides along the way back to one’s heart. To realize the experience of surrendering to one’s Self. To awaken, reach down into, and face one’s deepest fears, confront and allow them to transmute into whatever they really are – sort of like slipping underwater, knowing one is irrefutably drowning (there’s that surrender again), allowing it, and discovering the gills were there all along, then realizing one is becoming reborn in a whole new way. To attain pure consciousness, awakening to the Self and beyond suffering, and seeing who we truly are. To discover that the Grail is within us and always was. To find gratitude in the most trying times of all. To acquire through the ashes of one’s old life, wisdom and strength, tempered from the fires survived, and radiate a light that illuminates enough to help others through their own journey through the darkness. To know and find peace in realizing that the steps taken along the journey is the journey.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #SpiritualResilience #BirthByFire #GetOutside #kippinitreal
Winter has stopped toying with us and arrived with a firm footstep on our land this morning, bringing a chilly 18 degrees(F) and enough wind so that I felt it biting at my face, though gently considering the power that it could have brought to bear. The clouds dropped down and gave us all a mighty hug, releasing a gentle and lovely snow fall. The snow came as frozen droplets, covering the leaves, grass, stones, and all the landscape in distinct tiny pellets of ice. I have seen many snows, yet this was whole new snow look to me. I wonder what the Inuits would call this? I have heard it said that they have at least 50 names for snow; surely they have a name for this special version of it.
As we pass even more closely to Winter Solstice, the sun lover in me is reluctantly giving into embracing the lengthening darker hours. Though that sun lover in me has been dreading this time of year and goes into a fit of sadness in anticipation of the waning daylight, another part of me finds a strange but beckoning comfort in the darkness, as it brings its own unique blanket of serenity and peace. This is a quiet and soft part of me that stays pretty reclusive most of rest of the year. In these days, she comes to life and prefers either a single tiny sweet bit of candle light or the full cover of darkness altogether. I am able to let go of the want for warm sunrays and instead allow the cold to close in and penetrate. I finally managed to follow the example of the local trees, and be content with the waning sun just the way it is, dropping all that no longer serves for this season and this moment. The seasons provide me with the perfect reflection to the being filled with contrasts that I am, that I suspect we all are. Sat Nam, my dears. Rest well in the soft low candlelight and allow the darkness to surround you in its sweet cloaking caress.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #SquirrelRun #December #kippinitreal
Oh my but we had such a fascinating, juicy, and powerful day today with the beloved, indomitable, and epic Dr. Peter Przekop & fellow Pain Management Program alums! Dr. P took us through the
foundation of the concept of the Whole Entity (aka Oneness) and Qi Gong. We
experienced the power of this extraordinary energy work. Simple, profound,
healing. What a privilege to be granted access to this work. The group of 15 or
so of us will now take these practices home and work with them everyday
learning to experience, move energy and dissipate it. This is an effective,
non-pharmaceutical way to deal with things like anxiety, pain, grief, and other
such things. Folks ~ hear me in this: these practices work! They helped move,
dissipate, and clear a lifetime of pain for me. For real. Eventually we will be
able to bring these practices to others in service. We are the first group Dr.
Peter has brought this training to. I feel beyond blessed and grateful for all
of his teachings. He saved my life, like he has so many others. Thank you Dr.
Peter. I love you, like so many of us. I will always be so grateful for you
being just exactly who you are.
#ReportFromTheBack40 #Out&AboutEditionLA #SpreadTheTools #QiGong #PeterPrzekop #kippinitreal