Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 19: The Great Balancing Act

An incredibly powerful thunder storm closed in on a bright sunny morning and just when I thought it would be dark and dreary all day, the sun popped out again. It was a perfect demonstration of how nature is always finding balance, something we humans seem unable and perhaps unwilling to do.

This morning I was listening to David Suzuki giving an interview on CBC radio. He was talking about the
Gulf oil spill and how establishing longterm sustainable energy is more important in a way, than focusing all our attention on the tragedy in the Gulf. Yes, this is truly tragic, but we, humans, seem to be more addicted to watching the drama of the spill unfold in the media then actually having a serious discussion about what we are going to do next. As David said, right now the world media is covering this oil spill but, in a few weeks or even days, some celebrity is sure to be caught in another scandal or a serial killer will be discovered, and the world's attention will shift to what is more entertaining.

This, of course, is true, because as Al Gore said, "The truth about climate change is inconvenient." Climate change and discussions about sustainable development are not entertaining, unless a huge environmental catastrophe, like the Gulf oil spill, occurs in between one celebrity scandals and the next. The mainstream is not normally interested in listening about environmental issues that require force us to change the way we live. In fact, I often wonder if there can ever be a balance between what the planet needs and what humans want.

In Oct. 2008, I was part of Students for Sustainability, a cross Canada environmental speaking tour with David Suzuki, Stephen Lewis, Maude Barlow and a bunch other top environmental activists. We visited 21 universities in 30 days-- St John's, Newfoundland to Victoria, BC. I was one of the opening speakers talking about how our insatiable consumerism is reeking havoc, not just on the planet, but on our souls.

The more we lack in ourselves the more external, material things we seek and desire. As a human race, we have lost our connection to each other and to the earth and so we don't feel like we are part of nature. We feel we are separate from it. We live in high rises with windows that don't open, we shop underground, and we tell kids not to play on the grass. No wonder people don't give a shit about the great horned owl. Most of us have never seen a wild owl, nor do we have any real interest in seeing one. We prefer to see Avatar in 3D.

I could go on and on, but I will stop on a brighter note:

The BBC today reported that there has been a big political fallout because of the Gulf incident. Apparently, California State along with Florida is pulling funding from several off shore drilling projects:
"You turn on television and you see this enormous disaster," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "and you say to yourself, why would we want to take that risk?"

Surya Namaskar Recipe: Day 19 - The Great Balancing Mayurasana Salute
This sun salutation features Mayurasana, the peacock pose. It's a challenging posture for me, as it requires us to reach our heart forward and simultaneously keep the abdomen firm, yet soft and malleable so we can balance on our elbows.

1- Begin in Mountain Pose, INHALE raise the arms, but draw the shoulders down and keep the neck long.
2- Pause here for a moment and feel a dynamic pull between the earth and the sky.
3- Two deep breaths.
4- On the next EXHALE, fold forward without locking the knees.
5- INHALE, lengthen the spine.
6- EXHALE, bend the knees and place the palms on the ground fingers pointing toward the feet.
7- Step back on to your knees. If your wrists and forearms are tight, you can stay here to experience a gentle stretch, or step back into plank.
8- BREATHE. Once again you could stay in plank, or reach your heels back and lower into chaturanga, elbows in.
9- Stay in chaturanga for two breaths, or attempt mayurasana:
10- (Optional) Pull your elbows towards one another and bring them into your abdomen. As mentioned, the abdomen needs to be both soft and firm at the same time.
11- (Optional) INHALE, reach your heart forward and then slowly tilt the torso forward until the feet start to feel lighter and you can lift them off the ground.
12- (Optional) Hold mayurasana for three to five breaths or as long as you can.
13- EXHALE downward dog for two breaths.
14- You can do your down dog with your hands backwards or facing the regular forward directions.
15- On the next exhalation, bend the knees, anchor the hands to the floor, then step, walk or jump your feet to the top of your mat.
16- INHALE, lengthen.
17- EXHALE, fold.
18- INHALE, rise to standing.
19- EXHALE, hands to the the heart.

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