How do you celebrate a birth-day?

I remember fourteen years ago today.  It was a Sunday.  I was enormously pregnant.  I woke up on this day, ready to go in and preach (some of you know that I am a minister), when I felt it – those familiar pulsations that signal birth.  It started off as an easy rhythm, I could breathe into it, and, being the conscientious Norwegian-type that I am, I figured I would just go to church, keep the sermon brief and to the point, and then head for the hospital.  I roamed around the house, the labor pains becoming progressively more intense, stopping now and then to do a bit of yoga, saying to myself “Yeah, I think I’m going to be okay . . .” Meanwhile, my sensible engineer-type husband Jonathan quietly called a back up.  Later on, in his own defense, he said “Let’s face it . . . no one coming to church on a Sunday is really up for going through all of that with you.  A little too much sharing.”

A day of labor leading to birth is a day of living in “spanda,” or the pulsation of the universe.  One’s entire being is filled with it.  You can’t get away from it.  All you can do is breathe in, breathe out, be present to the waves, and know that it is the rhythm of all life.  On the day of birth, you have the peculiar privilege and the challenge of having all that universal spanda concentrated time within your body.  You are full to the point of over flowing with a pulse that connects you infinitely beyond yourself.

Much later (about 12 hours later), my beautiful son, Zakary Jacob Bliss (Jake), was born into this world.  A beating heart became a first inhalation, which pulsed into a first cry of exhalation, then a beautiful body, a new light in our family and our world.  Today I breathe out, breathe in, and celebrate!  Happy birthday, my beloved boy!

What do you truly love?

  A friend of mine from high school, Dee Meyer, just sent out a beautiful quote by Rumi:  “Whatever you love, you are.”  It reminded me of another quote, which is perhaps the flip side of this, by Tennyson:  “I am a part of all that I have met.”  We love, and we become that which we love, and we, in turn, become part of that which loves us back.  Good, bad, or indifferent, it is not possible for us to go through our days and not leave a trace.  In sanskrit, the word for this  energy exchange or pulsation is “spanda.”  We live within this rhythm, touching not only people, but the world around us, in ways that often go by us unrecognized.  Perhaps today is the day to be intentional about what we love, how we love it, and the trace that we leave.

Spanda: The Rhythm of Life

“Spanda,” is the idea of all things existing in a rhythmic state of expansion and contracting, of pulsating energy.  We live with this pulsation constantly — from our first inhalation and cry of exhalation at birth, to the final inhalation and exhalation at death.  We are able to work with the flow of this as we hug our energy inward and expand it outward.  And, let’s face it, the sanskrit word “spanda” sounds a lot like “spandex,” which both expands and hugs, all at the same time 🙂  Come to class and join invite the flow of spanda into your practice!