IN BLOOM :: DAY 8 :: SYDNEY ROSE

Welcome to In Bloom Day #8. 

Today’s meditation is about finding the sublime in the ordinary. And we’re starting out by talking about boredom and attention. Where does your attention go? One of my favorite teachers says that if you want to be a Buddhist, you have to be good at being bored.


When I first started practicing, I wondered why it was so important to sit still in a quiet place. I was waiting for the grand transformations and the deep healing! But there really is a reason.
At any given second, our minds are processing WAY more information that we can reasonably take in. In order to help us out, our brains work very quickly to pull out the information that’s important.

Without our conscious input, the brain brings into our vision whatever it decides we NEED to know about: the threats (or stuff it thinks could hurt us) and the rewards (food, sex, whatever else we desire).
But what about the stuff that it tags as neutral? Well most of it just gets scanned out.

Often boredom, sleepiness or laziness… well those are signs that we’re used to turning off or going onto autopilot when nothing dangerous or dazzling is happening. 

There is possibility for magic is in these moments. When we learn to stay present, we sometimes get glimpses into parts of the world that we never even thought existed. 
We start to really smell the flowers, to see the glimmer of light on the lake and to feel more deeply all of the subtle shades of love, appreciation and affection.

There is a ton of power and a whole world of new experiences we get to tune into when we learn to intentionally direct our attention.

Lets do it!

IN BLOOM :: DAY 9 :: ADREANNA LIMBACH

Good Morning! 

And welcome to your practice for Day #9. 

Spaciousness. Stillness. Quietude. 

In a world where there is so much vying for attention, these qualities can feel like a luxury, or the hallmark of a bygone era. Which is why I'm going to silence my yapper and bring us right into practice for today's meditation. 

But first, this Public Service Announcement from Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda. 

Because...Truth. And Beauty. (what a winning combination.) 

KEEPING QUIET
by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Pssst.. Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video ABOVE. 

IN BLOOM :: DAY 10 :: SYDNEY ROSE

Welcome to your practice for day #10.

I'm excited to share our time on the cushion as we shift gears towards opening to others in meditation. 

You might have noticed that meditating with another human (even if they're streaming via email series) is a completely different experience. While I often sit in silence now, I still love listening to Dharma talks and guided meditations.
It's comforting to have a teachers voice as a presence, holding the space for me. 

Humans are social creatures, we need each other. We don't have the sharp nails and teeth that the tigers do, or the strength and size of an elephant... staying together is part of how humans have made it this far on planet earth. 

And yet, we're defended. Lots of us build walls and block off connection because at some point, our trust was violated in our connections with other humans. How can we restore the connection?

Well, you gotta have faith, faith, faiiiith... in inner goodness. 

What about war, violence and oppression? How do we know it's safe to love?
It's a risk, but they say that "courage is not the towering oak that sees the storms come and go: it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow." Today we practice working with the idea that if people were truly happy, we'd all be kind... and the reverse is true too.

Our practice brings that world a little bit closer, one breath at a time.

IN BLOOM :: DAY 11 :: SYDNEY ROSE

Good morning!
It's Sydney Rose here; thanks for opening up. 

Today we’re together in another one of my favorite places. Savasana Station is a yoga studio in the East Village with a mission of helping students cultivate awareness and community through mindful movement. 

I’m grateful to use the space, because we have a special guest… can you guess who? I’ll give you a hint. We’re talking about basic goodness and removing the obstacles to intimacy.

Another hint? He’s a God with an elephant head. The elephant represents wisdom and the ability to listen deeply and understand those who seek help.

Similarly, there’s an old Buddhist story that describes listening as a wise approach to our defenses.

While a great king is away, a demon comes and sits on his throne. At first, the guards ignore the problem. They refuse to acknowledge the demons presence, they decide that it can’t be real. The soldiers battle it with swords and fire. They yell and fight. With each hit, the demon grows. 

Finally, it becomes so large and terrifying they need help.
The soldiers call in a wise woman.

First she greets the demon directly, and asks what she can get him, then she begins to speak kindly to the demon.
She offers him food. With each act of kindness he becomes smaller. In the light of her love, the demon disappears completely.
The story makes a good case for offering flowers and love notes to the parts of our selves we’ve walled off. After all, the magic is in embracing the present moment. But it starts with acknowledgment. We have to take an inventory of what’s holding us back and blocking out warmth.

Using Ganesha for inspiration, we’ll learn to identify and make peace with our inner and outer defenses. The question we pose is, what if instead of resisting, we loved and opened even to our own obstacles? Can we see the parts of ourselves that keep us walled off with gentleness?

See you on the cushion!

PS - If you live in NYC and want more of Ganesh and mindful movement practices, feel free to join us for Yoga. I teach on Saturday mornings and Monday nights. Check out our full schedule here.

IN BLOOM :: DAY 12 :: ADREANNA LIMBACH

Hello you wonderful meditator, 

And welcome to your practice for Day #12. 

It's Adreanna back with you for this morning's practice, and I'm looking forward to logging some cushion time with you as we near the end of our series. 

But first, to prep us for practice, I share a recent experience when things opened up for me... in, errrm... not such a great way.

To say the least. 

If you're ready to hop to it, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click the video below. 

IN BLOOM :: DAY 13 :: SYDNEY ROSE

Hi Blooming Family, 

It's Sydney here with you today for our last day together as we ring in the spring.

(Adreanna will be here tomorrow for your final practice of the series.)

It’s been such an incredible joy meditating with you. I feel like I am blossoming too.

As we practice opening up, I want to tell you a story about a recent retreat I went on. I’ll tell you the moral first: it turns out… even though we think we’re separate, we’ve actually been connected all along.

It’s cheesy… but while our differences often cause conflict, they also make the world what it is. Our differences make us reliant on each other.

It’s cliche because it’s true: without biodiversity (the different plants and animals that support each other in life on planet earth) we would all be doomed.  Our actions are weaved into an incredibly complex web that impacts all of the plants and animals. And yet, humans have lived and thrived in community in ways that are almost unimaginable considering the volume of our task: understanding each other.

Today we challenge the limits of our love. Why is it so easy to offer forgiveness and the benefit of the doubt to our best friends or to the people who speak and act like we do?

Well, understanding brings compassion.
What possibilities could become present if we could express the love for those we hold dear towards all living beings?
What if we knew the truth of everyone’s contributions to the wheel of life?
We would probably take better care with each other.

Today we offer the blessings of our lives and practices out to all living beings and become willing to see, understand and take in their suffering as if it was our own… because it is.

I love you. May you receive the blessings of your life and mine.
Thank you so much for your practice.

IN BLOOM :: DAY 14 :: ADREANNA LIMBACH

Hello you,  

And welcome to your practice for Day #14 -- our final day of this series. 

It's Adreanna back with you for this morning's practice, where we're going to keep things a bit spacious and simple.

When I consider the ingredients necessary for any living thing to bloom, the list is strikingly short. 

A warm, and nurturing environment, perhaps from the sun and the soil. 

A bit of tending and consistent nourishment. 

Space to stretch open and safety from predators.

Followed by regular doses of the elements the bud needs to flourish. 

Water. Oxygen. Nitrogen. Encouragement.

Nature is rather simple that way. 

Every acorn already has the intelligence to know how to become an oak tree.

It doesn't need to try, really. It just needs some warmth and space. (and of course, consistent nutrients.)   

Which is why we keep it simple today.  Followed by a dedication of our merit. 

But first I want to say adieu with this excerpt of poetry from Galway Kinnel-- which I first encountered in the book LovingKindness by Sharon Salzberg.

It's plucked from a poem called Saint Francis and the Sow, and it brings the truth + beauty home. In the way that poetry often does. 

"The bud

stands for all things

even for those things that don't flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; 

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing it's loveliness, 

to put a hand on it's brow 

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch 

it is lovely 

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing."

And so it is.

Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video ABOVE.