Friday, December 28, 2012

Little Friend

Invite me in little friend
Where have you been?
Many years and distant shores
It has been lifetimes ago
Death, you are welcome
Welcomed to my life
My embrace
My heart
Take it
Take me with you
Too long has it been since we
Have been joined hand in hand
On to the summer land
Oh my beloved death
You grant me rest
You give me Peace
Misery shall ever cease
Oh when I have you as mine own

Death, join me in life
One shall we become
Beneath this fleshly cage
I am ever calling thy name
Aching to be claimed by you
For unlike any other beloved
You are always at my side
Beckoning, calling me home
You, are an ever present shadow
Lurking in the great beyond.
Take your hand in mine
I pray for thee
Be mine

12/28/12

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I will never understand why you had to die!

For my friend Niki who was taken far too soon and far too incomprehensibly violently

My heart is broken. My beloved friend. So many years ago we met. Our friendship was kindled by a love of God and our spiritual path. But that friendship became one of depth, it became fierce friendship. Even though we met initially on the internet (yoganandaji.org) we became fast friends. Shared so many experiences, the painful and the joyous. We encouraged each other in everything, life, lo
ve, school, the spiritual path. We were Scorpio sisters. Though separated by many miles our hearts were ever kindred spirits. Though you are no longer physically present my dear sister, i know our spirits will meet again in the ether. Your love, kindness and true friendship knew no bounds. We shared a love for the simplicity of life. You my friend will always be in my heart. I pray that I carry on in your spirit of love and charity. You always saw the good in us all. I will see you again, I will remember you, I love you!









Niki was killed by Mark Beebout, a man she allowed to stay in her apartment out of the kindness of her heart.  He raped, sodomized and strangled her with a shoestring.  No one deserves to die like this.  She who had so little still opened her heart and her home to someone who did a great evil to such a kind loving giving soul.   There is no way to right this wrong!  She touched so many people.  Her death has shocked, saddened, angered and hurt all those who knew and loved her and even those who only encountered her briefly.  How can we ask for justice, what justice can be done to this sick monster who took her life?  I miss my friend. and I'm still furious that humanity can be so inhumane. 



I'm hoping to hear an answer from God, but he's been rather quiet as of late. As he always is when tragedy strikes.  My heart knows no comfort.  Trying to keep my faith, because the more things like this happen the less benevolent I believe God to be.  It takes me back to my days in high school reading the story of Job with a discerning eye I saw God and the Devil callously betting on His faithful servant.  It seemed like a cruel and inhumane joke/test and that is what life feels like mostly as of late.  

I don't want to hear some rote answer like "there's a lesson...."  " God never gives us more than we can bare"  Blah blah blah, heard it all before and it doesn't serve any purpose but to piss me off!  I need a real answer and the shame is, as long as I live I'll never get one!





I will never understand why she had to die, nor why others have to die such violent horrible deaths. 

God just sits there while we maim and kill each other.  He's mute and just watching it all......  

A City on a Heap of Distractions

I took a journey through my neighborhood this morning.  I've lived over here for over a year and I've never ever walked around the neighborhood.  Partly because there were so many abandoned building and I feel safer in my car and partly because I'm must just be plain old lazy. 

What I saw and what I took pictures of was astonishing.   I went out to test my hand at taking pictures with my iPhone.  As a general rule, I think I take horrible pictures, so I thought I'd go on a nature walk and take pictures of herbs, greenery, flowers and anything else earthy that I saw.  But what I did actually see interested me much more than the four foot weeds all around me.  I saw homes, homes that were skeletons, empty, yet full of memories, memories of lives possibly shattered by the economic downturn.  Communities, once thriving and strong, now torn apart and ravaged by lost jobs, a diminished school system, and an outright loss of hope.  It's quite easy to feel hopeless walking through this urban neighborhood of decay.  And while that wasn't the overarching feeling I had.  I hoped to capture something besides the devastation evident in the pictures.  As much as I could, in each photo I also tried to capture the light of the sun shining through.  The essence is, though things seem dark and hopeless and sometimes there's devastation all around, there is still light, there is still hope.  



I've seen 11 new homes go up on my street alone in the year+ that I've been here, but by the looks of it there is so much more to be done.  These pictures were taken on my street and 3 blocks south of me.


I imagine at some point these homes were filled with families, love, laughter, meals, gatherings and celebration.  But now they stand as a constant reminder of danger, poverty, loss, and struggle.  
This is not the neighborhood that I grew up in, where I came from is still full of most of the working class families that bought their first homes and raised their children until they were gone to college, the military, or out working in the plants and offices in nearby cities. 




I can imagine how beautiful these houses and this neighborhood used to be.  I can picture grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts uncles, cousins, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers. These nuclear and extended families that used to be so close knit when I was growing up.  I see fading faces, now displaced.  I wonder where did they end up.  


What I do know is that if Detroit wishes to attract new residents, this blight and emptiness of shattered homes and shattered lives must be demolished, not just by bull dozers but demolished as a part of city life as whole.  Detroit has to thrive!  Detroit's neighborhoods and schools must be thriving.  No one wants to send their kids to a failing school system.  My daughter has never attended a Detroit Public School for this very reason.  And unless there are still schools of excellence in 3 years when she begins high school she never will.  This saddens me because I went to Cass Technical High School and growing up it was always a source of pride to attend one of the top three High Schools in Detroit. 




I hope that my city along with their partner (Bank of America) will continue the work that they set out to do over a year ago, complete the demolition of abandoned homes in my area, the neighborhood known as the Northend.  These homes are battered, they are uninhabitable and there is no good reason for them to continue to stand, they can be used as crime dens and that's no good for any neighborhood.  At this point I still remain in Detroit, I don't know that I will continue to keep the faith.  No matter where I go I hope that my city will rise from the ashes of distractions that begin with the white flight of the Coleman Young Era (that's right, Kwame Kilpatrick is not to blame for all the City's Problems, though he is a visible microcosm of its problems)!
Detroit will rise again.  I just hope that I'm still here to see it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Love is

Being in love is not a fairytale.
It is real.
It the elixir of life
it is the life blood
Too many people are afraid to feel
Life has become their shot of Novocaine
Wondering through it like an automaton
Life becomes routine and rote
with a gap that can never be filled by
the humdrum niceties that is their existence
Love is struggle
Love is hard
Love is strength
Love is passion
Love is war
Love is expectation
Love is hurt
Love is emotional
Love is joy
Can you feel this
Love oozing from my fingertips?
running lines down the page
The exhilaration, frustration, and consternation of love
have roiled my mind and pierced my heart
Love is baby
Love is an emotion roller coaster ride that you never want to get off of
It takes you high and low and makes you feel like gravity has lost its pull
Love is..........

From the bottom up

Lots of people that I know have been complaining about problems with their feet lately.  Whether you are a yogi or not it's important to know about this structure that holds you upright all day long.  This is your foundation.  If there's something going on with the feet it will throw you off balance in other areas.  The feet are affected by the weight we carry and the way we carry our weight.

Start to pay more attention to the way you walk (or as we in the massage world call it, your gait).



From Bandha Yoga:


The Longitudinal Arches of the Feet in Yoga
In most fitness and athletic pursuits, the feet are important due to their weight-bearing function (except in swimming and martial arts, where the feet are used to kick). Yoga practice places more importance on the role of the feet. For example, the soles are thought to be a location of minor chakras. Additionally, precision movement of the feet affects parts of the body that are far removed. For this reason, it is important to understand their anatomy and biomechanics.

In this Scientific Key we study the structure of the longitudinal arches of the feet.

First let's look at the anatomy:
1. The bony arches
lateral, medial, arches of the foot
On the outside of the foot, the talus, calcaneus (heel), cuboid, and lateral metatarsal bones form the lateral longitudinal arch. This is the shallower arch and is the main weight-bearing surface of the foot. Flattening and deepening of the lateral arch occurs through movement between the cuboid and the fourth and fifth metatarsal bones.

On the inside of the foot, the talus, calcaneus, navicular, cuneiform, and medial metatarsal bones form the medial longitudinal arch. This is the deeper arch. Flattening and deepening of this arch occurs through movement between the talus and the navicular bones.
2. The ligamentous arch
plantar fascia, foot arch

The plantar fascia is a fibrous ligament-like structure that runs from the calcaneus to the bases of the toes. Lifting (extending) the toes tightens the plantar fascia and deepens the arches.
3. The muscular dynamizers
tibialis posterior, peroneus longus and brevis

The muscles that dynamize the arches are divided into the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot. The intrinsic muscles originate from and insert onto bones within the foot. The extrinsic muscles originate from the lower leg and insert onto the bones of the foot. In this Key we study the peroneus longus and brevis and the tibialis posterior—three of the extrinsic foot muscles. Contracting the peroneus longus and brevis muscles tilts the foot outward (eversion). Engaging the tibialis posterior muscles tilts the foot inward (inversion). All three muscles can be used to strengthen and deepen the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Now, let's look at these structures in yoga postures.
1. Extending the toes in Padmasana deepens and strengthens the arches.Extending the toes in Padmasana deepens and strengthens the arches
2. Contracting these muscles lifts the arches in Urdhva Dhanurasana.Contracting these muscles lifts the arch in Urdhva Danurasana
The arches can be worked and strengthened in many other poses (especially the standing asanas). Gain awareness of these important structures by gently inverting and everting the feet and flexing and extending the toes in various poses. Always practice carefully and gradually build awareness as you apply your knowledge of anatomy to your practice.
Namasté,

Ray and Chris

For more information on Yoga and anatomy check out the Bandha Yoga site