Hayagriva, the horse-headed incarnation of Vishnu, is the epitome of intelligence and is the guru of Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom and study. Brahman gave each animal species a secret to teach to humans. Horses are here to teach us the lessons of how to be a yogi: to live a life of service, to yoke ourselves to community without pride, to tolerate and forgive, to protect ourselves from evil, and to listen and observe without judgement are just to name a few.
Bhagavad Gita 3.21: “Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”
A leader cannot tell people not to smoke if the leader themselves smoke.
Acting on beliefs makes someone great and memorable, it is when one’s ideas are manifested into reality through their actions that the person steps into a leadership role.
Are we wolves or sheep? Taking responsibility empowers you, whereas accepting that you are a product of your society or environment robs you of your power. You are a leader. Every person you interact with is influenced by your decisions, so act great. Be great. And others will be inspired to follow.
Now that’s what I call work. Whatever you do, do it with love. If you’re not doing it with love then ask yourself ‘what is the main energy that is being shared with what I do?’ I went to art school and then yoga teacher trainings because I had to do what I love to do so that resentment wasn’t the main energy infused in my work, which it had been when I tried barista and host positions. Finding the service to offer that opens your heart to wanting to give more is the recipe for a meaningful and contented life. If you live for the weekend, of for 5PM to roll around, what energy is going into the work you’re doing?
Murray and I each voluntarily taught 30 yoga classes and 30 meditation classes for the Bali Silent Retreat this past March that ranged from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Many students were new to yoga and many did not speak English as their first langauge. Since it was a silent retreat, we were the only people they got to listen to each day, so we wove dharma talks into our classes to help them progress on their inward journey. A reoccurring theme I incorporated was oneness or connection that they have to all life and that each of their actions effects everything and all beings in some way.
Murray and I also maintained the “Bale,” or open air studio space, blessing the space with mantra or bhajans, sacred songs, sweeping the floor, sending blankets and mat towels to laundry, refilling mosquito lotion bottles and the holy water, so as to set a more sacred space with fewer mosquito bites.
In addition to teaching and maintaining the space, we also replaced faded signs and dyed 30 napkins yellow with tawas, which is hydrated potassium aluminum sulphate (I think?), and temulawak, a big tuber similar to turmeric (see photos below).
It feels rewarding to have offered 30 days of my time and skills to the Bali Silent Retreat, a utopic place that is almost entirely sustainable- solar energy illuminates all of the spaces and walking paths, most of the food is grown on site to feed the guests, and the founders are working to educate people on sustainability and trying to replace plastic bags with a plant-based material. It feels good to offer my service to those doing good work in service of humanity.
If you go to Bali and want to stay at an eco-friendly yoga and meditation silent ashram out in the rice paddies of Tabanan, check out balisilentretreat.com