Valentines Day 2017

the heart chakra











Where has my blogging passion gone? Since I missed posting in January I’m wishing you Happy New Year here on Valentines day and a Happy V day too.

There has been some upheaval and as usual also excitement. I’ve closed my two morning classes at my home studio while concentrating on teaching afternoon classes. I am considering adding a beginners course on Tuesday evenings at Yogaya in Bodfish.


Writing articles for the local newspaper is a great way to market my business indirectly by positioning myself as an expert. Even though I still have to pay to advertise specific classes, writing an article will encourage people to think of me when they want to learn more.

My first article – on meditation – was published in the Kern Valley Sun last month and another article – on the vegan diet – has been submitted and approved and will be in an upcoming edition. Of course I will write about yoga and craniosacral too. It’s just that right now these topics piqued my interest in an article.

I’ve also opened a new website at Rambling Nan to promote my freelance travel writing business and earned access to a couple of conferences which I publish about on my blog as well as send the stories to online article databases called “ezines.”

Yoga Class

The new semester of classes is in full swing at CSUB with three back to back yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings. The studio where I normally teach was flooded during the rains last month and the entire wood floor has been torn out.

Our classes have moved to a room called the Solario with huge windows opening into a walled patio. Even though its not on the grass, hopefully holding class outside will be allowed when it starts warming up.

Storm Brings Friend From Afar

My friend Ros from South Africa came to visit. We picked her up in Bakersfield in John’s Land Rover due to needing 4 wheel drive to get out of the valley which was under 6″ of snow that morning. As we drove Ros home through the Kern canyon, boulders rolling down the cliffs caused authorities to close the road just minutes behind us. When the road re-opened a week later, we drove Ros back to the Amtrak station.









It was a great visit with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. We met 30 years ago when she and her kids stayed with us while they were rafting the Kern with the raft guide boyfriend Ros met on the Zambezi river in Africa. She wrote a review for my Facebook page:

The Enigma that is Nancy Ivey

I have had a mostly pen pal (that lovely old fashioned medium of letter writing to maintain a pen-friendship with someone) friends with Nancy. Having met her during my adventurous days of kayaking and river rafting on the Kern River and beyond, here in California, USA in 1988 through 1989. Then we briefly reacquainted again in 2003 when I visited and discovered her deep and profound academic abilities, studies, degrees and beginning of many further study diplomas in all things philanthropic towards her fellow humans. Along with all that that sentence conjures up in her academic fields, she also had qualified as a professional yoga teacher. I was delighted to do several yoga classes with her, at that time, and she started me on my present long love and almost daily yoga asanas, both in a studio situation of organised yoga as well as my own pranas and asanas for my daily health and wellbeing within my own home. We also shared a deep and profound compatibility in both organised religion (I am a Roman Catholic), Christianity as well as a respect for all other creeds, cultures, faiths and doctrines.

However, and this is where her life of academia and ability to express a simple truth for her fellow human being and our general health and well being became of more interest to me. I was hoping for a mere escape from stress, anxiety, city living and pretty poor health by coming up to a mountain retreat and a true friend who will provide me with a ‘soft place to fall’ for a few days. Of course, her yoga classes by now interested me immensely. During our constant albeit haphazard pen pal relationship over the years, I had followed her surmounting studies and knowledge of all things yogic, philosophy, food & diet, health, massage, deep tissue and Swedish, etc, for not just well being but actual healing, culminating in her latest endeavor and studies of Craniosacral Therapy for healing ailments. Nancy is the quintessential philanthropist. And so I arrived, a wreck of a friend, sadly in need of restorative regeneration, which I thought I would bravely keep from her. Thinking, in my simple non-academic way, that merely a few yoga classes would do the trick. One look at me, my limp from a very recent aching hip, my sallow pallor from ceaseless migraine headaches, stresses and familial strains, an age old shoulder ailment – she knew without my telling, that I was in sore need of her administrations.

Typical of the quiet, gentle, unassuming Nancy, she eased me into agreeing to a few yoga stretches a few hours later before the welcoming, warm and friendly wood-burner of her front parlour. Added to her ceaselessly consummate way of giving to others to assist them out of their pain and anguish, she even lowered me onto her very impressive, imported all-sheep, woolen yoga mat and we easily performed a few stretches there in sheer, blissful comfort. It felt so good.

After dinner, I then had to admit to her that although the stretches had done me a world of relaxation, I was going to retire to bed with an incessant headache bothering me all the way up from San Diego. No sooner said, than out came her massage table, and I was tranquilly lulled to sleep by my very first introduction to Craniosacral Therapy. I think it could be more described as – in a subliminal state of quietude, maybe even a meditative state (which I have to admit with all my years of yoga I have never been able to fully attain or achieve – I got a bad dose of what the yogis call “monkey mind”), because I heard her telling me incessantly exactly what she was performing on my body. Not that I could understand all of it naturally. Fully clothed one could still feel the gentle touch of the almost air or silk like quality of her hands over my body wherever she found a troubled or painful spot. Lingering on those that I had actually told her about, but finding others untold, I would say due to her immense tabloid of studies and understandings of the human body, its anatomy and form, and many of its ailments too. She appears to be a past task master of quietly and intuitively diagnosing whatever ails one.

Upon finally going to bed, I announced with glee that my hip, for the very first time in approximately six weeks, was pain free. As too my headache, a little longer to dissipate but which was completely gone by the time my head finally touched the pillow.

Oh it was marvelous. I slept like the proverbial angel. All thanks to my personal healing angel, Nancy Ivey. Bodfish Canyon. California.

Thanks for reading this post and for continuing through the review. With the added two mornings free I hope to post more regularly. In honor of the tone of the day I leave you with my dear Rinpoche’s call to Sojong:

Call to Sojong

Mantra recitation, prayers, ascetic displines,
Even if one practices them for a long time,
As long as one’s mind is distracted,
They become simply futile.        
 – Shantideva

Dear Dharma Friends,

Thoughts are powerful forces that drive our life. They’re conceptual patterns that give us a sense of self and personal life that has a continuum of many events through a whole stream of recollections.  Thoughts are so powerful that they can make us happy or miserable. When we take a look into them we find they are storylines about what is happing right now in our life as well as the past and future. They don’t have to be in alignment with reality as along as we believe them they have power over us and dictate to us what to believe.

Perhaps, many people in the world believe their own mind which goes unchecked from the time they arise to the moment when they fall asleep. This is some kind of mental and neurological habit that belongs to unawareness. Through believing our thoughts, like a storm, strong emotions can arise and their energy can dominate us. As a result, we can lose not just wisdom but even basic common sense, which is usually not regarded as profound, but necessary to function in everyday life. The very root of problems at a personal as well as societal level may be this unawareness.

Even the most beautiful spiritual practices may not transform us as long as we’re living in such a state of mind. As Shantideva pointed out in such a direct fashion, sometimes we could be doing Buddhist practices with zeal or some emotionally charged devotion, yet our whole practice can become comforting compulsions if awareness is absent. Awareness has many flavors and forms such as the mindfulness in Theravada and the Rigpa in Dzogchen. The magic of awareness is that we hold our thoughts while feeling that we’re much bigger than our mental events. Then, we can see the ephemeral and insubstantial nature of our thoughts. This sense of us being bigger than our thoughts arises naturally as we do sitting meditation. That might be what Buddha called sky like mind.

Let me invite you all to reflect on this subject during this upcoming Sojong. We might like to check-in with ourselves and find out how much awareness we practice in daily life. We can take this occasion as another important time to renew our commitment to the path and to the practice of awareness.

With palms joined,
Anam Thubten

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