100 Days of Yoga, Day 34

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September 24, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam

As I write, I am in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Okay, sure, I’ve seen very little of the actual world, but I’m pretty sure if I’d seen all the world I would still pick Madeline Island, Wisconsin as the best place ever.

I have arrived for the Madeline Island Yoga Retreat.  Check it out:



There is something special about this place, something I feel here that I don’t feel in other places.  I know if I lived here all the time, as Miss Julia B. quotes in one of her poems, it might not be as special.  When I am near Lake Superior I am filled with what the Buddhist call: Abiding Calm.  This, I think, is different from the feeling I have of “happiness.”  There is no big up, no flurry in the stomach, no breaking out in smiles.  Just a sense of calmness.  From the first moment I see the big water, I feel that happiness I felt after being away for a long time, that feeling of going home.  And then as I get closer and closer, that happiness backs down into the sense of “abiding calm.”

I talked earlier with Mr. Eli Busenbark, about the story of Icarus.  There is a lesson here for me: I know when I am on this big water, I tend to “fly too close to the sun.”  I tend to lose track of the middle road.  From experience I know extreme happiness boomerangs into a sense of deflation, sometimes even unhappiness.  I think “calm” is my new “content”  — maybe I don’t want the big highs and lows, maybe all I want is this moment of calm, and this moment, and this moment …

I think when we get into alignment with what is, when we let go of our wants, and just accept what comes to us, what’s left is this sense of calm.  That calmness comes from that place of knowing we are exactly where we are supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.  Life really is perfect at this very moment, even when it’s not.

If you could read my heart right now, you would see in it the meaning of this poem:

Lake and Maple, Jane Hirshfield (for 7/21)

I want to give myself
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf;
as this lake that,
no matter what comes
to its green-blue depths,
both takes and returns it.
In the still heart,
that refuses nothing,
the world is twice-born—
two earths wheeling,
two heavens,
two egrets reaching
down into subtraction;
even the fish 
for an instant doubled,
before it is gone.
I want the fish.
I want the losing it all
when it rains and I want
the returning transparence.
I want the place
by the edge-flowers where
the shallow sand is deceptive,
where whatever
steps in must plunge,
and I want that plunging.
I want the ones
who come in secret to drink
only in early darkness,
and I want the ones
who are swallowed.
I want the way
the water sees without eyes,
hears without ears,
shivers without will or fear
at the gentlest touch.
I want the way it
accepts the cold moonlight
and lets it pass,
the way it lets
all of it pass
without judgment or comment.
There is a lake,
Lalla Ded sand, no larger
than on seed of mustard,
that all things return to.
O heart, if you
will not, cannot, give me the lake
then give me the song.





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