Friday, March 14, 2014

HOW TO ENJOY MORE HAPPINESS THIS SPRING



It's springtime here in the Rocky Mountains; a wonderful time to renew ourselves while nature renews itself! 

One day we have snow here and the next day, it's warm enough to ride a bike along the creek enjoying the sound of the birds singing. 

Spring is simply a magical & ideal time for us to get into the rhythm of nature. What  is the natural rhythm of your  nature?

HAPPINESS! 

ABC News recently reported on the positive impact meditation has in bringing about greater states of happiness. The US Marines, executives at Target, Aetna Insurance and Google are all prescribing to meditation, including students in classrooms across the nation.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/meditation-wiring-brain-happiness/story?id=14180253

The breathing techniques and meditations experienced through the Art of Living Happiness program (http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/art-living-course-part-1) are guaranteed to bring more happiness to your life. It just make sense. Learning how to skillfully bring about a stillness from within, to manage the mind and emotions, brings an extraordinary amount of energy, focus and creativity.  What a perfect gift of renewal for yourself to line up with nature and move with the rhythm of spring.

Meditation is the key to enjoying: more energy, enthusiasm and "get up and go" to do all the things you want to accomplish in life. The breathing techniques taught in the Art of Living's Happiness program( http://www.artofliving.org/sudarshan-kriya) allow you to do more in less time, with fewer mistakes while continually recharging your internal battery!

20 REASONS TO MEDITATE 
Psychology Today published a very good article by Dr. Emma Seppala on 20 reasons to meditate.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today.
Dr. Seppala is a friend and a fellow Art of Living teacher. Her research on the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya breathing and meditations breathing techniques are impressive.

YOUR SOUL IS YOUR GARDEN
I enjoy gardening in the springtime. There is something really wonderful about tilling the soil and preparing it for new life to grow. Every morning, as soon as my feet hit the floor, I'm out the door with a cup of tea in hand, walking through the rows of green vegetables and a rainbow of flowers. It's invigorating and inspiring to witness new life springing up every day. It just make me feel good!

Why not do the same for yourself this spring?

The power breathing and meditation techniques learned in the Art of Living's Happiness Program are like tilling the soil and restoring it with healthy and rich nutrients and watering it with love. Nature showers you with grace when you're in its natural rhythm, free of the habits, patterns, fears and worries that don't serve the highest expression of who you really are.  Quickly life begins to bloom with more colors...happy colors. As a result, you and all around you...smile brighter.

Click here to enjoy a guided meditation, led by renowned spiritual leader,
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Title: Transforming Emotions



Sunday, February 16, 2014

One By One We Change a Life & Our Own



The year was 2,000 and new millennium was ushering itself in. People all over the world were building underground bunkers in preparation for the "end of the world" with the added concern as to what would happen to the computer systems. The Mayan calendar stopped at this point and all kinds of thoughts were running in people's minds about what it all meant.

I had the incredible grace in life to be with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during this time in Italy.
The Art of Living had organized a "Millennium Course" in Tuscany and I said goodbye to 1999 and hello to 2000 meditating next to Gurudev on the beach. It's a very precious memory.

I was pretty restless during these days, anxious to make a huge impact in the world and inpatient to do so.  Walking alone with Gurudev I expressed some frustration. " Gurudev, it's all moving so slow. I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much". He quietly said, "One by One Patti. One by One."

I acknowledged his response with a yes in the mind, and asked my next question. "Who am I?
 How is it I'm so American on one hand and then dancing, in clothes from India at a Satsang (spiritual gathering)  the next moment?"

Full of peace he patiently answered, "Stay with this question. The answer will come. Like the sun, it just gives its rays whether someone takes them or not. Then you will see, you are here just to serve, expecting no results. No need for results.  Then you will say; Thy Will Be Done and you will have fulfillment.

It's 2013, and 13 years later I still return the precious wisdom again and again.
The spiritual path isn't always roses. It takes incredible conviction to make it to the top of the mountain for the view that I'm told is worth it. Alot of people stop climbing just before they reach the top in this or in many things in life.  I'm determined to make it all the way.

There are times when people try to sway me one way or the other, out of misguided love.
Yet each time I start to falter a little, I return to this precious wisdom and I find even more depth in his words and guidance and how my life has been impacted because of Sri Sri as my "life coach", for the better

-------------------
Later that evening a small group of us sat at the feet of the Master as he generously poured more knowledge into our innocent hearts.  He said that there are 4 reasons to be with a Guru.

1.) You want to evolve, you want knowledge, enlightenment
2.) You are in pain in the world (mental, emotional, physical) & it's more comfortable
3.) You have a vision for the world (like Mother Theresa)
4.) You are here to make the Guru comfortable, to support his vision.

Now you probably have a question...what was my answer?
This I will keep secret, in the cave of my heart.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

What has no bone & takes wisdom to control?



An excerpt from Ashtavakra Gita
as told by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (www.srisri.org)

The most profound conversation ever to take place on the planet that leads one,
step by step, 
to total  freedom. 

Do you have control of your body and tongue?
Except for your tongue, all the other senses do only one job.
The ears can only hear, the nose can only smell.

But the tongue has two functions. It speaks as well as tastes.
It has two directions, it is double, two horses.
When there are two horses you need to have all the more control.

They say the tongue has no bone. It's true. This is how it goes in all directions.
We slap people, left, right with our tongues. This is abusing the power of speech.
We are endowed with the power of speech not to create turbulence in the minds of others, 
but to bring peace of mind.

           

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(NEW!) Ashtavakra Gita Intensives with Patti Montella are coming.
Watch my FB page for updates

Register for an Art of Living course in your city by clicking here for more information:
www.artofliving.org






Saturday, January 18, 2014

Do You Smell Something Burning? Enlightenment Requires it!

You ask, Why do you cry
with such sweetness all around?

I weep as I make the honey,
wearing the shirt of the bee,
and I refuse to share this suffering.

I play the sky's harp.
I curl around my treasure like a snake.

You say, What is this I business?
Friend, I've been a long time away from that.

What you see here is your own reflection.
I am still raw, and at the same time
well-cooked, and burnt to a crisp.

No one can tell if I'm laughing
or weeping. I wonder myself.
How can I be separated and yet in union?

Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi
The outcome of my life is no more than these three lines:
I was a raw material;
I was cooked and became mature; 
I was burned in love.
- RUMI

Rumi is a 13th century Persian Sufi mystic, born in Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan. The general theme of his thoughts, like that of the other mystic and Sufi poets of the Persian literature, is essentially about the concept of Tawheed (unity) and union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut and fallen aloof, and his longing and desire for reunity. (Text from Wikipedia). 


If you are in love with the Divine, seeking the Divine, going through the fire of the ego to unite with the Divine within requires alot of burning and churning. If you have the inexplicable blessing of walking the path with a SatGuru (True Guru), the authentic experience is  hotter and burns more often and longer than one can imagine. It takes extraordinary commitment, faith, devotion and the grace of the Divine, to keep walking. I am told it's worth is in the end when you finally let go of all the cravings, aversions, likes, dislikes and become totally free. If you have walked even a mile in the shoes that Rumi speaks of - you know what I mean and you can relate to this poem. If not, my wish for you is that your time will come soon.

BAKED, FRIED...BURNED TO A CRISP!
Tapas  is an essential part of the spiritual path that leads to enlightenment (being free of all craving, aversion, in total equanimity at all times) and it is a challenge. To walk the spiritual path all the way, not as a fad that one picks up and puts down - but as a way of life, is not for the faint of heart. It requires the soul of a warrior. Tapas literally means " to bake" in Sanskrit. When we bake or "cook" and "burn" in the juices of our own mind stuff, our perceptions of what truth is based on limited knowledge...it is misery. Yet how often do we do it? This is where the breathing techniques learned in through the  Art of Living Foundation have so much value. These special rhythms of breath break the emotional patterns that do not serve us. Our mind calms down, we return to our center and the present moment - where clarity, happiness and peace reside.

Moving through our own mind games, applying knowledge to rise above and not give up the quest is Tapas. It makes you so strong physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It expands your ability to endure. It makes you more self-reliant. It brings so many gifts, in particular the gift of dispassion. Tapas eventually leads you to total freedom from within. You are at peace with all people, in all situations, you're in rhythm with nature and life becomes a celebration - regardless of what is or is not happening in your life.

Dispassion is the ability to be with what is, as it is, in full acceptance. It is letting go of all effort or desire for anything or anyone else, for any other situation, for anything. It's full and authentic acceptance that what is now - is perfect just as it is...even if it looks and feels like you're in hell!

It sounds right. It sounds noble. One might even "counsel" others to follow such a lofty prescription and certainly there are enough books on the subject these days. However, when it is YOUR TURN to burn in the fire of the small mind ...the  tale often winds in a more turbulent direction. One day the wave remembers its the ocean, a shift happens - and you become so centered, so calm, forever more. This is the gift.

Dispassion Is Your Strength with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

A TIME OF INNOCENCE

I'm reading through old, dusty journals this evening remembering the enthusiasm and innocence of a new seeker who first stepped foot on the path in 1995.  These are my journals, my own story. Tonight I'm reading about the first time I flew to India with renowned spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and it's a bittersweet memory.

I flew with Gurudev (Sri Sri) from Frankfurt to India. It was absolutely thrilling and incredibly  auspicious to arrive in India with him. As soon as we landed in Bangalore, Gurudev was whisked through security and I had to find my luggage. One has to move as fast as possible around Gurudev, because he can be next to you in one moment and gone in the next.  I walked out of the airport alone, it was midnight and I was unsure if anyone was there to meet me. I had no idea where Gurudev had gone. You can imagine how thrilled and relieved I was when I exited the airport and the door of a car opened and  Swami Sadyojatha (who I knew as my friend "Raghu" at the time.) stepped out to reveal a smiling Gurudev inside.  He'd waited for me!
I stepped in, sat down and Gurudev smiled brightly and said,  "Welcome Home." It was a magical time.

Today Gurudev is known and loved by millions. A trip like this, moving unnoticed through the streets of Bangalore to the Ashram with just Gurudev and Swamiji  is unthinkable. Last summer Gurudev told me it took him 2 hours just to walk from the Ganga Kutir to the Meditation hall because of the crowd. He was surrounded by literally thousands of people. To give you an idea of the short distance he had to walk...if it was you or I walking...it would take 5minutes at  most!

THE DIVINE TAKES ITS OWN TIME
These times will  come again. I'm sure of it. Meanwhile I wait.
Raw, well-cooked and burned to a crisp.
This my friends, is good news.Very good news indeed.

I can only wish the very same for each of you.


Jai Guru Dev
(Victory to the BIG Mind)



Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Predictions


I enjoy following  the science of astrology and contemplating what possibilities, challenges and gifts will come my way in the new year.  I spent last night checking out different sites and comparing what the astrologers said.  It seems the conclusion for my sign (Cancer) is that the first part of this year will be full of challenges but  if  I move through the challenges with patience and skill the gifts will come when Jupiter enters my sign this summer.  Until then I'm in yet another " testing period" of life. REALLY?!  I've lived half my life already... just how many more tests are there before I graduate?!


I hope you'll understand then, if  I seem a bit cranky until the end of June.  

Who can tell what is true? Regardless of what the planets may have lined up or not, I find moving through any challenge with skill and patience brings its own gifts. 

At 16 years old my mother allowed me to get my first "psychic" reading at a famous summer resort for Spiritualitsts, called "Lilydale"  (http://www.lilydaleassembly.com/) near Cassadaga Lake in upstate New York.  Lilydale was a fascinating place to visit with quite a history.  It has been a gathering place of progressive thinkers since the 1800's and has always hosted historical figures who moved outside the "norms" of society including the African American social reformer, Frederic Douglas, and Susan B. Anthony, leader of the women's movement. It continues that tradition today hosting luminaries in the field of personal development and spirituality such as;Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Wayne Dyer.

People have searched for meaning in the sky since time began. The French apothecary and seer, Nostradamus made predictions in the 1500's about the future that we still follow today, looking for clues.  My teacher, renowned spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (www.srisri.org) agrees that astrology has importance and planets do have their effects. 

I can attest to this from years as a reservation agent for a major airline. Every full moon meant an 8-hour shift of bizarre phone calls from our customers. One year it was the FBI who wanted to know about a box a little boy had on the airplane that supposedly had snakes in it...and this was well before the movie "Snakes on a Plane" with the actor Samuel L. Jackson! Turns out it was just snakes in a cardboard box and the little boy was taken off the FBI "threat" list.

Sri Sri cautions us to remember that we have much greater power than any planets and recommends we regularly chant the powerful and ancient mantra "Om Namah Shiva" as a shield to take care of all planetary effects. I personally have found this chant to be most helpful moving the energy in my life from stagnation to dynamism when nothing else seemed to work. The sound vibrations in the chant balance all the elements (air, fire, ether, space, earth) which bring a state of peace to your inner and outer atmosphere and environment.




I wish you all love and abundance in 2014.
May you evolve to realize and express the best version of your true authentic self!








Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Mystery of Santa & the Jingle Bells



Every year the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in New York city kicks off the holiday season for many people in America.

AdventwreathOur family's official start of the holiday season was lighting the candles on the Advent wreath every week in December.  Mom lit the last candle on Christmas Eve. The single white candle signaled the coming of Jesus the next day. Reflecting on our family's Catholic ritual, the sense of belonging and the stillness among the six of us created more of a lasting and sacred impression  than words could ever do.

Our Christmas Eve tradition meant all of four of us girls had to have our baths done and be in our pajamas by 6 pm. As you can imagine, it was no easy task especially as we got older. We fought to share a single bathroom. We stressed over setting our hair up in curlers, finding bobby pins (do kids even know what these are today?) and organizing our new Christmas outfits to look our best at mass the next morning. Bodies dashed back and forth between the hallways of our small ranch home furiously grabbing paper and ribbon from one another as we got ready for the family gift exchange that took place just before bedtime. Mom still laughs when she remembers the bottle of "Evening in Paris" perfume I gave her one year. I thought the blue bottle of glass was the fanciest thing I'd ever seen and my Mom deserved the best.  It was probably less than $1.00 and the fragrance was so bad that she still talks about it 50 years later!


THE JOY OF SHARING
Every year Mom had us sift through our toys to determine what to give away in order to make room for new toys. It was not okay to skip this step no matter how much we begged and pleaded with her. The valuable lesson gave me a distaste for greed and an appreciation for generosity. As we grew up, a "Charlie Brown Christmas tree" was bought and lovingly decorated in the playroom along with the big tree in the family room. The Charlie Brown tree was a skinny little tree on the lot that nobody wanted.  It stood for all the people who feel unwanted. I don't remember who in the family started this tradition, but I'm grateful. This lesson along with so many others encouraged by my parents, inspired me to volunteer at a very young age and I haven't stopped since.

SANTA's COMING TO TOWN
Santa's annual route brought him to our home around midnight.  Mom and Dad would come into our rooms, gently shake us awake to let us know Santa had been to our house. We'd  trip over ourselves stumbling and scrambling out of bed and into the living room to find our Christmas stocking and "pile of toys."  Mom seemed to live in the kitchen during Christmas preparing and cooking all kinds of food for us and our guests and  Dad often worked 2-3 jobs to make sure we had the best holiday every year. Their dedication to our happiness humbles me to this day.

One special year Dad returned from a last minute trip to the grocery store just before it was bedtime. His face was red from the cold Buffalo winter and filled with excitement as he shouted, "I just saw Santa around the corner!You girls better get into bed fast before he gets here - or he won't deliver any presents!"

I wasn't sure if I completely bought this story.  I was at that age where the innocence of believing in Santa is starting to slip away yet, at the same time, I was afraid there would be no  presents if I didn't believe.

That's when I heard the jingle bells." Did you hear THAT?" said my oldest sister. " We stood listening and heard the jingle bells again. Where was this sound coming from? I looked all around to see if someone was playing a trick on us. Meanwhile, my youngest sister was in a panic waiting for one of us to make a mad dash to bed. When I heard the bells a third time, I wasn't taking any more chances. I grabbed the youngest one's hand and ran toward our room. That year we went to sleep faster than you can say Merry Christmas.

The next year my parents sat me down and lovingly explained who Santa really was. I admit I was pretty sad to hear the news and secretly wished it wasn't true.  Later that day, as if to back my parents up, something hit me on the head when I opened the refrigerator door. I picked up the jingle bells, smiled to myself and carefully placed them back on top of the fridge. There was one little girl  in the family who still believed in Santa Claus. I wanted her to enjoy the sound of him coming for as many more years as we could stretch it.

RECIPE FOR GREATER HAPPINESS
Through all the seasons of life, my parents taught me the most valuable lesson which is to serve others, expecting nothing in return. Do it because it makes YOU happy to give. It's a fact that we learn best by what the adults in our life actually do - not what they say.  Our planet would do well to re-kindle human values in society such as; love, compassion, generosity, a sense of service to others, enthusiasm, friendliness and a sense of caring for all life. At the very least, we have the opportunity to live these values for ourselves and our own families. You're happier, they're happier and life is easier for everyone.

The best recipe I've found to maintain  inner peace, share a genuine smile and increase the capacity to volunteer (even when i don't feel like it!)  is meditation, the company of the wise and keeping service toward others as the mainstay of  life. This combination continues to inspire me to live and lead others toward a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.  I wish the same for you and all who you meet.

MEDITATION
Enjoy a FREE Guided meditation each day through the holiday to let go of the stress and return to the peaceful, rested and happy YOU. Offered through the Art of Living Foundation ( www.artofliving.org)
click here:  http://www.artofliving.org/online-guided-meditation





HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITH LOVE AND LIGHT