Tag Archives: Shiva

Full Moon & Solstice Weekend: Finding Spirit in All Places

A reality has become apparent: Life is beautifully busy at the Salt Spring Center of Yoga.

This isn’t the “hectic busy” of the working parent or the swamped university student. This busy is more like… fullness, and wholeness — the full, plump belly of a satisfied lifestyle. This is the type of busy in which I know I will not have time to write a blog today, because I can’t miss Qi-gong and still want to attend the Yoga Philosophy class. After a long day working the earth under the island sun, the internet is but a distant thought.

I’d love to be writing long rants and discussions about aspects of yoga psychology and such, but in order to balance my time here at the Center, I’d like start smaller little blogs — with lots of pictures. The following are scattered photographic highlights of my last week.

A little buddy who chilled with me for a while under a bush in the meditation garden.

A little buddy who chilled with me for a while under a bush in the meditation garden.

Being outdoors most days brings a plethora of gifts from nature. While working in a flower bed, this medium (3ft) garter snake casually slithered up to see what was going on. He was a mellow snake, allowing me to lay down on my belly with only 40cm or so between our eyes. We hung out for a while. I grabbed my camera and came back, but of course he didn’t enjoy being approached by the mysterious electronic device. Snake energy is radical — very Shiva. It amazes me that these creatures are eternally on their bellies slithering through the dust and the muck, yet I’ve never seen a dirty snake. They are always pure and clean.

The view of Fulford Harbour from the top of Mt. Maxwell, Salt Spring Island.

It hasn’t gotten old yet – every time I see the ocean, I get this trippy sensation: I’m on a freakin’ island! (Obvious prairie origins of author become apparent here.) Something about this place being physically isolated from the mainlaind is awfully romantic. No one can simply wander onto Salt Spring island. There needs to be an intention of some sort: I am going to that piece of land over yonder. Perhaps that factor helps to create the island wide sensation of community I feel here.

A big pile of wood, chopped by the finest artisan wood workers on the island.

A big pile of wood, chopped by the finest artisan wood workers on the island.

Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. Two full days of splitting some gnarly trees — with a full gamut of sledgehammers, sledgeaxes, wedges and axes — was a great exercise in mindfulness. Also great anger therapy. There’s no room for anything but total concentration when swinging a 20lb sledgehammer for a few hours, unless you want to sprain your spine or pop a toe.

A most excellent wood burning sauna.

A most excellent wood burning sauna.

Chop wood, feed stove, heat sauna, enjoy sauna. Working without attachment to the fruits of one’s labour is a key aspect of Karma Yoga, which I dare say I was practicing as I chopped wood a few days ago. However, had I known the wood supply was going to fuel the healing warmth of the sauna, I might have been pretty attached! I capped off my Saturday with a late night sauna. It was glorious. When I emerged to cool down, I was greeted with a massive and luminous full moon.

The massive June full moon lighting up the midnight sky.

The massive June full moon lighting up the midnight sky.

My wee camera had no hope of capturing the majesty of the silhouetted cedars and silver clouds. Use your imagination — we’re at a yoga center on a big island at midnight, staring up at the stars and moon, the internal body warmed by the dry sauna, and cool air tingling the skin…  And then imagine all the other people on the planet reverently enjoying that same moon. Wow. What an incredible way to kick off the summer. Whatever you were doing on the 21st, happy solstice to you. And a happy full moon to you, too. 

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Quick update: Vandwelling construction completed (perhaps).

You might be wondering, “where is that yogi with the nice dharmic musings? He seems to have been replaced by a tradesman or something.” The answer is: He’s been running around like a decapitated chicken getting his life in order before the trip. These posts reflect the flow of my life  – sometimes spiritually oriented, sometimes otherwise, but always conscious of spirit.

After a few fun days of small scale construction, I feel like the woodworking is over.

The result is simple to the point of being spartan, which I feel is completely necessary given the square footage I am working with. Have a look for yourself.

One side of the shelf, cut to slide under the bed frame overhang.

One side of the shelf, cut to slide under the bed frame overhang.

Shelf sits flush with bed frame. Bottom storage space is only accessible when trunk is open

Shelf sits flush with bed frame. Bottom storage space is only accessible when trunk is open

Door opened. Half wall on mattress side means I can reach in to access storage space without having to open the trunk. Up to 30lbs can be supported on the extended platform. This should be great for outdoor cooking.

Half-wall on mattress side means I can reach in to access storage space without having to open the trunk. Up to 30lbs can be supported on the extended platform. This should be great for outdoor cooking.

Latching hook-and-loop fastener will not pop open on bumpy roads.

Latching hook-and-loop fastener will not pop open on bumpy roads.

The finished product - mattress on bed frame with rear shelf. (Note that the window covers slot in nicely in the space between the bed and the passenger's wall)

The finished product – mattress on bed frame with rear shelf. (Note that the reflective window covers slot in nicely in the space between the bed and the passenger’s wall)

On a different note…

It’s been really fun playing with saws, drills, plywood and nails over the last few days. I am disappointed that floor space is disappearing so fast, as I would love to spend more time building random stuff for the van. Seeing as I have less than a week until I need to leave, it’s probably time to start concentrating on fitting my life into the remaining available space.

I’ve been very van-intensive lately. One of my hopes with the creation of this blog was to contribute another set of resources into the vandweller community. My forays through blogs and websites made me realize that — despite the proclamations all over the ‘net stating that the population of vehicle-residents are larger than expected and ever-increasing — my experience has shown me this is a tiny little niche, albeit with an amazing collection of individuals who all want others to succeed. I am in a position in which I can be sharing my adventure — I own a digital camera and laptop, I have internet at my home, I have a bit of extra time to develop a resource — something that, given the small scope of this community, and the lack of funds and resources of many within it, could be very helpful.

I suppose that is my explanation for why I am putting so much emphasis on the conversion of this van into a lil’ home. This, of course, leads me to ask myself why I feel the need to defend this decision to the interwebs…

I am feeling an inner need to have to validate the sadhaka aspect of the silly sadhaka blog persona, as if the Esoteric Police are investigating me for yogic fraud. I’m fooling all of you – I’m masquerading as a meditation and yoga instructor, tuned in the dhamma and locked in self-awareness. This blog is turning on me — beginning to portray to the world who I really am. Uh-oh. What if you find out that I dropped f-bombs constantly when I was drilling the pilot holes for the shelf hinges? Will I be shunned from the zen life if I reveal the fact that I had Arby’s curly fries yesterday? Can I still teach yoga if I go a couple days without meditation?

I am imperfect in all dimensions, most definitely including the spiritual realm. Too my earnest dismay, I am not Shiva. It is only by fully accepting my imperfections that I will ever be able to achieve contentment. Heck, it’s even in the site title – I’m a bit Silly. So let me try to deeply integrate my idiosyncrasies, and let me accept the fact that I enjoy things that might not be completely aligned with an ideal yogic lifestyle. And, dammit, let me write about stuff I find interesting without feeling upset that Shiva won’t follow my blog.

There. I said it. Now, is it OK if I proceed to live a life full of mistakes, awkwardness and glitches?