Evidence of Karma

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Let’s go back in time about 8/9 years ago (give or take) in Tularosa, NM, at the Tulie Creek at the Bunkhouse.

I held a Community Ed workshop, outdoors and it was wild and dreamy and intrepid. Raw materials of copper wire, mesquite stumps, shells from Maine, glass beads, trinkets and morsels of reclaimed items. Hammering in two big heavy nail stakes into the mesquite stump, wrapping wire and forming it into a face, the students/partcipants would create whatever came to them. One woman in particular caught my attention, she expressed that she was making this for a friend of hers, whom had breast cancer. Touched by this, I watched her make this amazing formation of shells and beads and then what really caught my heart was an old couch spring that she used to portray the waves of radiation. 5 women attended this beautiful innocent and memorable workshop. I felt honored to share this space with them.

Now…in the present. I was invited to a home, close by here in Alamogordo. A wonderful space with abundant creativity, glass of wine in hand, nodding and listening to this person as they explained different pieces of art, I glanced passed some of the dominating pieces and saw a mesquite stump with a wire face donned with beads and shells. The person explaining the art shared that this was given to his wife as a gift while she was undergoing Chemo Therapy. He continued talking about other art, his voice became like an echo that droned on and on. I was looking at a gift that was made for someone who was struggling for their life, I was looking at a piece of art that a woman made for another woman, I was looking at a piece of art that brewed from my dreams and shared with others so that they could express how they feel! As the tour continued, I could not get this out of my mind, As the evening progressed I kept pushing it to the side to concentrate. 

A simple reunion with a material thing? Was I meant to see this piece at that very moment? Why was I meant to see this?

The next morning I drove for nearly 4 hours to Cedar Crest, NM to pick up a painting. During this trip I heaved with tears, as they flowed down my face and neck.

Reflecting back to the previous evening to this person whom had invited me to their home and how I was totally engulfed in this piece of art that showed itself to me, calling out to me, like a message of sorts. See me! Here I am. I am loved, I am grounded and I am OK. This woman whom I had never met? she became heavy in my heart….I wept and wept and wept. Sobbing like a child and yet feeling so connected at the same time? Beautiful, strong and intense…..I let this wave of pain, release and celebration vibrate through me until it became a lovely hum, like an Ohm.

If that is the only reason why the universe invited me to that space, for the evidence of Karma, not coincidence.

I was shaken to the core.

The eyes of my heart were open to see this.

Thank you, Universe, Great Spirit, Great Mystery.

April 2014 Southern New Mexico Yoga Hike

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April 19th, 2014 marks our second annual structured hike to Bridal Falls in Tularosa, New Mexico. We will be incorporating “Yoga” into this hike.  This is a beautiful hike with vistas of the White Sands and the Tularosa Basin, Bridal Falls – water fall, desert beauty and fresh spring air. Some areas are strenuous and some areas are easy. There will be a Yoga Session on “Ship Mesa” and a free time to explore the BLM area, photography, meditation and etc.

  • Meet at Lowes Grocery Store in Tularosa, NM 88352  at 8:00am, carpool from there.

  • Wear sturdy sneakers or boots for hiking.

  • Bring your Yoga Mat, some will be available if you forget.

  • Bring your day pack with, sun screen, sun glasses, hat, bandana and water.

  • Bring a camping chair, to lounge by the river after the hike!

  •             This hike is not designed for young children.
  • Dog friendly, you are responsible for your doggie.

  • A light lunch will be served after the hike, at the camp.

  • For further information, call April Cray Rhodes  575-430-5116

  • More info will be posted as time approaches.

  • Feel free to follow this blog for up-dates.

 

Mr. Ron

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Growing up in the 50′s and 60′s in suburbia Watertown, Connecticut. My father (Let’s call him Mr. Ron) was the Chief, Cook and Bottle Washer. He experimented with all sorts of foods in his domain, known as the kitchen. My mother was only allowed in the domain on Sunday evenings when she made us white macaroni with ketchup, butter and salt & pepper(which I still use as a comfort food now and then). We were his captive taste testers. We became his scouts and working crew on overnight camping trips, showshoeing lessons and crossing rivers, hiking in ravines and cooking over a fire at lean-to’s on portions of the AT. He bought a Catamaran so that we could all experience sailing on New England regional lakes and the eastern seaboard, whether we liked it or not.

He would create a ruckus of a noise in the neighborhood when it was time for us-kids “little bastards” (That was Mr.Ron’s name for us). He would take a metal spoon and a big soup pot and clang-clang-clang like a dinner bell for us skinny wild kids to run home ravished with hunger. We had to eat everything on our plate…because kids are starving in other countries and since he worked his ass off making the food, it was do or die. At times we would sit for hours pecking away until the plate was clean. This usually was an event during “liver, onions and lemon -night” or some sort of “Fish fiesta” he wanted to try out on us. “Chop-Chop…Malicapi Chow Chow!” he would yell at us. Hurry up and eat!!! Sometimes he would yell in German “Mach Shnell” you little bastards!

Saturday mornings were for work. After work, you can watch TV. Chores, refold your clothes, move the furniture and sweep, rake, shovel snow. Colored TV came into our home when I was 9. So I worked really hard and fast to get shit done, so I could be mesmerized by the colored TV.

From time to time, sales people would knock on our door. Mr. Ron’s favorite, was the McCormick spice representatives. As a young girl I would sit at the table and watch the interaction of Mr. Ron and the McCormmick sales rep mauling over the variety of colors and aromas of spices. Mr. Ron had a wooden spice box with little drawers that he would neatly keep his spices in. I would always admire it from afar.

As we, kids/ “little bastards” were not allowed to “toy” with his stuff. Somehow, I would still be able to waft in the aromas, as my Mr. Ron stomped around the kitchen, yelling & screaming, while pots were clanking and boiling on top of the “avocado/yellow green” electric stove. Mr. Ron always had three big glass jars on the counter at all times. Each filled with olive oil, from Cavallo’s store in “Little Italy” in Oakville, Connecticut just down the street from our house. Within the olive oil jars; were meticulously peeled garlic bulbs in the first, thinly sliced onions in the second and thinly sliced green bell pepper in the third. These jewels were part of our lunches. He would make “Italian grinders” for our sandwiches, while other kids had PB&J. I can remember trading my grinder for a PB&J (we didn’t get to eat that very much, unless we were at camp, where Mr. Ron was the Chef, of course he would make homemade PB, that he called “cement” which was a hit with Camp Claire, in Hamburg Connecticut).

Cavallo’s was a great field trip for my bothers and I. Mr. Ron would make a shopping list for us to follow to the T! If we didn’t get what he wanted on the list…we had better give the answer quick…. Yup, an ass whipping was in order. As soon as we “little bastards” got half way down the street with Mr. Ron’s list, one of us would very carefully write the word “Pal Mal” adding it to the list. Yes, during those days kids could buy smokes anywhere. We would race our bikes back home, sweaty and dirty and running into the house with the “perfect ingredients” on the list for Mr. Ron, waiting for his approval and then run to the “cannibal island” that we created at the pond, across the river from our backyard. That is where we smoked our cigarettes and made our plans for everything in the world that we wanted to do in our skinny, sweaty kid lives.

Alzheimer’s and Yoga, A Personal Interaction

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Alzheimer’s and Yoga,  A personal Interaction     by  April Cray Rhodes

As I enter into the “home atmosphere” of the small facility that I teach chair Yoga in the B.K.S. Iyengar style , I am greeted with smiles and a warm friendly energy. I know each person by name and invite them to sit in the half circle of recliners in the living area. Respectfully knocking on individuals doors and inviting them personally (per permission from the director) to join us.

They are eager to flock to the Yoga area and see what the “hub-bub” is all about. You see, they do not remember the asanas and pranayama we did 3 days ago.

One of my favorite individuals is “Paul” (not his real name),  has a difficult time making his brain move his limbs. He is strong and muscular. His confusion is innocent. His eyes are as blue as the sea  and his laughter is with gusto.  A retired Air Force Base engineer who once was the epiphany of cutting edge aerodynamics’. You can see his gears turning under the ocean of his eyes, to make his left leg extend.

I have found that when I use creative language for Paul, he seems to manifest these commands easier.

“Let your eyes go into your leg, lift your leg straight in front of you”.

Almost always assisting him. His innocents and surrender is provocative. As his eyes speak loudly, “help me to understand”.

Tears sometimes come to my eyes, when I look over at “Paul” and see that his arms are in a “Madonna –type-square” framed around his face, when I say “Lift your arms to the sky”.  He is trying so hard and yet he is enjoying himself so much. I let him be, at those times.

There is one individual that comes over to me, sometimes while I am teaching, and gets close to me and say…”that is bullshit!” The words I return are only peace and caring.

Another individual is blind and is age 97. She storms to the half circle in her rolling walker, to feel, to be involved. I think she enjoys the picturesque language to execute the images in her mind’s eye, as her frail arms and legs reach out and up as far as she can go. She is tenacious and determined.  As she reaches to the sky or stars, her eyes follow upward, as if she is seeing her stars and her sky.

When it comes time to recline, I challenge these individuals into Marichyasana 1 at its easiest level. It is amazing to observe these individuals working hard to reach the apex of their pose.  Tender movements that blossom into aging beautiful flowers.

When it comes time for Shavasana, they relax into their recliners as I take them through a short guided imagery. Using the element of water.  A lake, an ocean or a river, that they once knew in their lives. I bring the words of nature to them. “Feel the air on your skin, hear the birds sing, feel the mist of the ocean air, let your fingertips feel the grass” In their mind they can walk, run, feel the sun and water on their skin. As a Yoga instructor we are trained to “look” at the individuals Shavasana to observe their surrender and relaxation.

I see myself in this work. Blind, confused and sometimes alone. Reaching and lengthening through the quagmire of life. Trusting a loving voice that wants only the best for me, my voice, calling out to light of life beyond the stars. At times I bellow out “That’s bullshit!”, when I really know what is best for me.

These elder, individuals have become a beacon, if you will, of light.  Arthritic fingers that have cured, worked  and provided. The lines on their faces define their laughter and sorrow, their eyes – the windows to their souls are etched in joy, pain and victory. They are ships navigating aimlessly without worry. Surrendering to the light.

They are at the end of their third trimester of life, ready for rebirth. While I am at the beginning of my third trimester.  All of my senses are actively entangled with excitement as I navigate my way with a purpose.  Sometimes stumbling through the “bullshit” while reaching to the light. Other times, washed deeply by pure life-love that resonates to the bone of scrupulosity.

Namaste’

New Mexico

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New Mexico

Where the Desert meets the Mountains.
Long distant Vistas.
Winds swoop up the crevasses of deep Arroyos.
East, sharp rays of Sun spread across the summits.
Trains rumbling through the dry Earth, as
It crys to the North and moans to the South.
Tall Pines open their arms in the vast elevations of the clouds.
White Sand whispers to the Spirit.
Sun gives way through Winter. Like a dry ice stained glass window.
Pinon is smokey-buttery. Grass fed Beef dance. Green and Red Chiles comfort the soul.
Embracing Mesquite, Agave and Cow Tongue Cacti.
Loving the long awaited rains in Summer.
The Desert gives and the Desert takes away.
Lonliness gives way to the broken heart.
The broken heart gives way to Tranquility.
Tranquility gives way back to the Desert.
Calling like a Coyote, like an Elk.
Run, until you can’t breathe anymore, like a Jack Rabbit.
Sit on the Mesa, hear the Raven’s wings pass above.
The Desert gives and the Desert takes away.
Stand in the sand, ground down through the ages.
Lift arms to the Sun.
Inhale the dry love, of, above and below.
And know.
The dry Basin air fills your lungs with desperation and victoriousness.
Hard travel, wheels dig, heels dig in.
The wind carrys me to another place. Another face that is glowing from the Sun.
Coo-ong doves calm.
Snakes scare and dare you to walk at night, in the Desert lit by a theater of Stars.
Keep moving, it’s not far now.
Tip of boots, scar-ed & curled for Life.
Snow, so, far away.
Windshield wiper blades crumble.
As I stumble to the river and see,
Where it all started and ended.
Mountain…you be the one to cry for me.
My tears are dried up.
Oh, Land of Enchantment…bless me with your Turquoise and your Sage Tea.
Heal me with your sacred words.
Lift me up with your Spring winds.
Love me with your Sun and show me how to run…
into my Crone self.
Laugh like a witch under a twisted Cedar
Cry like an old lonely northern Wolf
Taking in the wisdom that can only come from the Caleche road, dust clouded.
while horses dance
and prance around Rodeos and Radios.
Fuschia, sun Yellow, Green, Red be my palet.
Burnt orange hills, misty hues of slate and fire smoke.
Caress me to the core.
Mesquite thorns and sun bleached cattle horns..mark my pathway…. as red Ocotillo blaze my entryway with joy.
The Desert gives and the Desert takes away.