The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Desire – your brightest star

“The word desire suggests that there is something we do not have. If we have everything already, there is nothing left to want. What the Buddha may have tried to tell us is that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary.”  ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

Desire, such a multifaceted, complex, even misunderstood word. The Yoga Sutras 1.22 describes the need for an all-consuming burning desire to attain mastery over the mind as the first, and most essential attribute of a seeker. Behind any accomplishment there is always a force – desire.

Desire has another derivation from the Latin de sidere, which literally means “from the stars.” If you were wishing upon a star, it wasn’t just any star, but specifically Sirius, also known as the “missing star” and the brightest in the night sky.

Sirius is a binary star, which means it’s actually two stars orbiting in tandem. One is a white dwarf that is slightly more massive than our Sun. A few years ago Europe’s Gaia probe revealed for the first time a stellar cluster that had previously been obscured by Sirius’ bright light. Nearly every culture has a story of Sirius, and all were guided by it in some way and attributed deeply spiritual properties to its movements.

Ancient Egyptians used Sirius to keep track of time and agriculture, since its return to the sky was linked to the annual flooding of the Nile. In Greek mythology Sirius was the eye of the Canis Major constellation forming the Great Dog that diligently followed Orion, the Hunter. In Chinese astronomy, the star is known as the star of the “celestial wolf” and lies in the Mansion of Jing. And to the Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July, the hottest time of the year and a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.

Heat. Two stars. One orbit. Desire.

Contrary, or supplementary to some teachings, desire doesn’t necessarily lead to suffering or make you unhappy (see Samudaya – the second of the Four Noble Truths). As Margaret Doyle wrote, “desire is the brightest star in your constellation, begging you into its orbit because it is your secret self that must be told.”

Desire is what aims us toward the deeper awareness and higher consciousness we so often seek.

Maintenance, progress

If the last year felt like idling in maintenance mode, then the coming summer season may be time for progress. “Just do it” does have undeniable benefits. But making a plan, preparing, then moving into action often yields a more positive and lasting outcome.

Seasonal changes are opportune times to undertake my personal favorite 7-step plan: Break a habit. Practice. Achieve a goal. Practice. Rest and reflect. Practice. Transform your life. Repeat seasonably for best results.



Not to overthink it, but lunar eclipses can give us a glimpse into what Carl Jung referred to as the “shadow self.” We all have that other less savory side of ourselves (the cosmic mirror), and eclipses supposedly offer an opportunity to embrace our wholeness, to see where we have room to grow in new directions.

That sounds like a nice gateway from where we’ve been in a year+ of unsettling pandemic fatigue. Being on the mat is always a de-stressing mini-vacation that activates our energy and keeps us centered through any storm. An accessible way to nip pandemic fatigue in the bud. Last night’s blood moon eclipse may be the perfect, potent bonus to make room for something even better.


It’s been three weeks since Lulu, our 11-week old puppy, arrived bounding into our lives and home. Experiencing Lulu reminds me of the Sanskrit term, Spanda. Spanda is the primordial vibration of the rhythms of life. It’s the pulse that connects our own personal energies, the sacred tremor of the heart, with the energies of the whole universe.

In puppy terms, Spanda is movement and motion. Lulu moves from a state of passion and excitement (expansion) to ecstatic peace and a nice long nap (contraction/growth). In a Spanda sense, she embodies a bridge between energy and consciousness, and harmony.

Spanda is the thrill of existence. Lulu has reminded us of that and she is a joy to behold.

The practice that’s right for us

One of the most iconic quotes by the late Guruji, K. Pattabhi Jois, is: “Yoga is 99 percent practice and 1 percent theory.”

What I think he meant is that the postures hold the secret of revealing what we can’t always see in ourselves. We can really only get that connection by understanding that the practice – the asanas – are more about doing than talking.

One of my early teachers used to say that we progress and open when we put in more miles on the mat. And if we truly connect with where we are, stay focused and don’t get ahead of ourselves, we are always in the practice that’s right for us. Om namah shivaya.


Imagine our practice aiming us toward being a Siddha that nurtures shelter (structure) and sanctuary (safety/protection). Siddha is the accomplished one, or one who has achieved spiritual realization and supernatural power (a shift in the sense of reality and inner perception).

The only place this practice lives is in our practice. As we evolve in the practice, our supernatural power is to create a sacred space of deeper understanding of ourselves and in the dharmic sense, the right way of living. Each time we practice we give the practice power. In turn the practice gives us shelter and sanctuary that benefits ourselves and others, intentionally and in unseen ways.

It also prepares us to be ready for anything and everything.

Beginner’s mind

There’s something about the sunrise that evokes optimism and possibility and stirs the beginner’s mind. It’s nature’s way of clearing the slate, gaining perspective and connecting us back to our own internal rhythms.

In yoga, beginner’s mind keeps the practice fresh, allowing us to discover the spaciousness and nuances about poses and our relationship to them. It also simplifies the practice so we can see things as they are and not as they should be. Practicing with beginner’s mind promotes less judgment and more acceptance. And we could all probably use more of that.

The simplest things

Hopefully you’ve experienced some of these awe-inspiring sunsets we’ve been getting this winter. Watching the sun’s quiet, slow descent is a reminder of what ancient cultures understood: everything is part of the living universe and that the sun, moon, earth and planets influence each of us and all of life.

In the evening breeze, the soft movement of clouds and changing light, we remember we are part of a divine elemental flow, and that there are super powers within nature, ourselves and what we focus on, and the simplest things.

Showing up

I was remembering Woody Allen’s quote, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” But it was something else he said that got me thinking: “Tradition is the illusion of permanence.”

Over time our yoga practice inevitably changes. Each time we show up on the mat we realize our practice meets us right where we are. It’s like a refuge that gets us through all of the other stuff in life.

As our practice changes and morphs into something different than before, it’s tempting to compare it with where we used to be, or where we think we should be. More open hips, stretchier hamstrings, a deeper backbend, getting handstand. It’s fun to be surprised, so just go with it. And the best part is all of the benefits are cumulative. Every pigeon pose counts, forever.

Yoga is the practice that keeps on giving; as it changes it gets better. Breathing and moving, like dance, is the passport to a better present space. Just showing up reminds us we have more to give and a lot longer to go.