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The day had gone along quite well- not as enjoyable a start as walking to my Monday morning gig (yoga class) with a crescent moon smiling down on me in the morning darkness and sweet silent calm of New York City not yet awake. Today, at an equally early hour, the subway had arrived easily , the change station equally timely, always a factor of unknown consideration. After the 6:45 am class I walked into the bright chillness of a windy day, colder than usual for March but beautiful all the same, my wild goose chase errand of the day taking me to the Federal Plaza thirty first floor, only to come off the elevator to hallways full of locked office doors. I knocked on one, luckily a kind man answered, only to be sent to the nearby 290 Broadway, now my 3rd building in the chase that had begun the day before on William Street. Waiting on line in the cold I opted to sit for two hours in the warm waiting room after I finally got in the building, observing the Indian child staring gleefully into my eyes at it hung on its mother’s shoulder in front of me and the African American woman with a butterfly tattoo on her neck and a green sweater with black cats etched on it ( a woman after my own heart as I have butterfly symbols everywhere in my apartment and three cats, two which are black). I left a few numbers short of my number being called in the unpredictable wait. I wanted to make  a noon yoga class with beloved Dharmamittra, his classes my NYC escape of the day, a training ground for me since 1999. The time passed quickly, challenged and enlivened and leaving behind the smell of the homeless person that made me nauseous on the subway that took me to his class (they have been so bad of late and so many).

As I approached my building now, hungrily anticipating the kale and blueberry salad with walnuts and sunflower seeds I would make for lunch, I noticed a man come to the door behind me as it closed, already a signal not to respond, yet I did. He looked like an average guy, so average I doubt I would recognize him if I saw him again. I thought for some reason he might be trying to see someone in the building- stupid as that is what buzzers are for in secure buildings. Excitedly he explained that his kids were in a car on the next block (why did he not bring them along? he said the restaurant was watching them). He needed $32 to get gas from the nearby station and return the container afterward. That number hit me as a red flag for some reason but continue to engage I did. He gave me his “keys”, took my number and said he would return in twenty minutes. If I had time to think it through- return with what? My $40? Twenty minutes passed. I had been had. Scammer; I felt stupid but at the same time protected. He could have grabbed my wallet, had a weapon, been deranged like the smelly subway dweller. He did not luckily have any crucial information- only my business card, address and $40.

In the end I felt lucky. My day still hadn’t been all that bad.

It could have gone quite differently when I opened that door.

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This is the first time I am subbing at the United Nations- when I am not in Maine at Sewall House I freelance around New York City, which ties me often to new and interesting environs- ( I will be there all of January on WED 1:15)

The concepts below are about how we can transform our energy and was sent by the person who runs the program

sweet simple and to the point for the New Year-

Volatility would yield to Vision

Uncertainty to understanding

Complexity to Clarity

Ambiguity to Agility

Let’s see if we can do this in 2105! Keep up the inner work on ourselves to help the outer world be a better place!

Artwork by Kerin Bowen who attended my ST BART church donation class DEC 30 in NYC- see the actual photo she based it on on my homepage at http://www.donnadavidgeyoga.com

love it so much it is going to be my new business card for NY teaching! (with Sewall House logo on back!)IMG_2035IMG_2028
IMG_2035

I am recovering from a cold, the kind of cold I might have gotten from  sitting outside last Sunday night and Monday noon at the same great little restaurant the Butcher’s Daughter, on Kenmare, that I had boycotted a few years back for terrible service. I never even tasted their yummy menu- the service was that slow. I am susceptible to drafts, that is what the vedic astrologer from LA affirmed when he did my chart recently via Skype (Jesse Gordon if you want to get a session with him).

Anyway, someone from my remote past who I knew through “hanging out” at Summer Solstice in New Mexico in the early 90’s was in town and after app studies ( I told him I am not an app person, how out-dated) and closed places we wanted to go on a Sunday night we ended up at Butcher’s Daughter, had a great young waiter from Serbia who told me how the owner had changed the staff to one that cared, he obviously did, and my old friend got me to try this place, which I might not have ever revisited without his persuasion. So you see things change. The service was great for lunch the next day too- and this time I even met the owner, who said he got more involved a year ago- and that showed! Showing up helps.

So the draft may have done it, the people sneezing and coughing on me on the trains, but I rather think, as a yogi, that Louise Hay is right and that mental confusion and a need to cry can cause a cold.

The vedic astrologer also told me I am going through and 7 and 1/2 year “phase” ( well a kind of hell- 2 more years to go yippee) and so, like the service at the restaurant, my life has changed. I am going through one of those life changes you would not wish on your worst enemy- and one that surprises many people, myself included. I am going through a brutal divorce from the person I thought was not only my life partner, but the person who had been my partner in the yoga vision of healing I had started at Sewall House before he came on board and we fell in love, calling it GOD that created this complementary union. Without blame to me or him,  let’s say that was true for a good while and has now come to a painful end, not easily and not swiftly. I am not in this other person’s shoes, heart or mind so I cannot say or figure out what happens- only that it does, that the Buddhists were right that the one constant is change and NEVER assume you know what is going on in someone’s life from the outside or even if you know them pretty well. ( or think you do ).

Life throws us curveballs, some of them very slow and painful, some fast and stinging, some wonderfully joyful and happily unexpected.  I have always been a seeker and searcher, which is why I am sure Kundalini Yoga appealed to me 30 years ago and why the vedic astrologer said it was good I found a spiritual path and teacher- Yogi Bhajan. I still haven’t found the answers, like that classic rock song I heard recently ” I still haven’t found what I am looking for.”  I have decided I may not be looking for anything really, just the experiences and the feelings and the challenge of meeting life with strength and vulnerability…and oh the astrologer , it turns out was at Solstice the year I went with my husband in 2007, years after I met my friend there in the early 90’s and ‘hung out”.  The yoga world and life really can come full circle. I am waiting for it. And my cold is getting better.

I cannot believe how I have been too busy to keep up with this personal blog..managing a very changing and challenging personal life, Sewall House and teaching in NY- plus my 3 wonderful kitties and working in animal rescue..here is the piece as published..thank you 3HO, my parent kundalini organization, for publishing this.. as I stand in my own small place in this big world and make an effort to raise awareness of the so called green which is actually sadly based on greed – the biologist and the PR guy both told me that they do yoga ( from First Wind) I wonder if they know the principles I speak about in this article.

diversity can be so challenging when your heart cries for others…

 

You are here

 

On Becoming an Environmental Activist: My Mission to Save the Eagles

By Donna Amrita Davidge

In the 1980’s I had the blessing to discover Kundalini Yoga. My teacher quickly told me I must meet Yogi Bhajan, who gave me my spiritual name in person. He based our names on our birthday. He wrote mine on a tiny slip of paper, 1/15/55, and said, as he gave me the name Amrita, “Princess of the Nectar of God, very special name.” This (1/15/55) happens to be the birthdate of Martin Luther King and Joan of Arc, and in my numerology I am told I stand for justice.

A Family Legacy

After teaching Kundalini Yoga for twelve years I had the opportunity to save a family legacy. Albeit it a small slice of American history, it meant a great deal to me. As I researched my roots I found that my ancestors, the Sewalls, had come over on the Mayflower. But it was the tiny town in northern Maine with its the pristine seven mile long lake, with eagles soaring, loons singing in the night, beavers swimming by and billowy unimaginably beautiful clouds and dramatic thunderstorms that I had a particular affinity for.

My mother, like Henry David Thoreau (who some call the first American yogi), loved the lessons and solitude in nature, so we spent each summer in a tiny isolated cabin only reachable five miles down the lake by boat. I played with imaginary friends and drew etchings on large mushrooms with wooden match sticks. My mother read me Little Women by kerosene lamp. We slept on old Army canvas cots in sleeping bags. (Years later when I started going to solstices in 1989, camping was no issue for me.)

My great grandfather had been the first non-Native American child born in this tiny town, which his family and one other settled in 1845, the year he was born. His family made a beautiful home in 1860, which took five years to build—a sturdy well planned three story Colonial farm home.

A Harvard student was told he must visit my great grandfather who, as a nature guide, shared much of what he had learned living amidst the Natives. When he arrived at the home, the awkward nearly blind frail student felt like one of the family,

My great grandfather told his children the house was built on honor and people felt that. The young student had suffered from lifelong serious asthma. Climbing Mt. Katahdin and other treks into the woods to meet the loggers strengthened his body and spirit. A lifelong friendship was forged between these two men, unlikely as it was—so much so that my great grandfather was at the inauguration of this friend, Theodore Roosevelt, when he became the President of the United States.

There is much more to the story (see the book Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President) but suffice it to say that I cared deeply to keep this home in the National Historic Registry, alive. I purchased it in 1997, after it sat empty for 18 months when my great Aunt, who was born in and loved the home, passed away at 101 in the home she loved.

On a wing and a prayer, yogic principles, and a great love for nature, Maine and the healing aspects of Kundalini Yoga, I opened the home as a small yoga retreat eighteen years ago. Fast forward to three years ago when I spent a night at the cabin, which still stands. Singing the words, “This life of mine has been blessed” from Snatam Kaur’s music, I truly felt it that morning. Despite the challenges and rewards of the years Sewall House still survived under my stewardship.

The Email that Changed My Life

I arrived home to find an email that changed my life forever. I had heard about the wind turbines that would be put up in the next town, how huge and fascinating they were lying on the ground, but until this email I took little interest in seeing them or what they were about.

The email said that 80% of Lake Mattawamkeag would see the red flashing lights at night from these monstrous industrial machines; as well as the fact that they emitted audible and low frequency noise that disturbed human sleep and health badly; as well as the havoc they wreaked with wildlife. Bats, already endangered by white nose disease, would burst their lungs when near the blades! Eagles wings would be chopped off, damaged or the birds themselves sliced in half by the blades.

My heart sank, my mind was beyond disturbed.

Becoming an Activist

This is my story of becoming a spiritual activist in a battle wrought with lies and deceptions.

Was I to stand silent watching this place I loved and the creatures I loved destroyed by a greed scheme? I learned quickly that the purest of intentions are thwarted by power and greed and those willing to lie to relentlessly get what they want; still I had to act. I began to research more about the turbines and discovered a Wind Task Force in the state, still just a speck beside the monies poured into Obama’s campaign that was rewarded with the subsidies and Production tax credits to destroy our forests and human and wildlife.

I spoke to communities and individuals who had gone through the same thing, most losing and some winning by enacting wind ordinances in their towns. I brought the documentary Windfall to Island Falls, as well as a guest speaker from another small town that successfully enacted a wind ordinance. The public was so misinformed and so willing to sell out, needing money in these hard times and believing the lies of the wind companies, who say they are not harmful to human or animals.

I decided to speak first hand with people throughout the area who had suffered from them, finding some had been silenced by payoffs and gag orders where they could say nothing even if made ill by them. The more I learned the less integrity I saw in our politicians and the wind company, run by an Enron CEO. They did not care who they hurt or lied to.

I wrote letters to editors, commented on many articles, testified at hearings and created a nonprofit for our cause called Protect Our Lakes. I was interviewed on radio and approached by local television. I also had those opposing me saying slanderous things on Facebook and elsewhere. Yet I still stood for what I believed to be the way of integrity and used my voice for this.

A Warrior Spirit

The more I learned, worldwide as well as locally, the more I felt strongly in my heart that this was the way of ahimsa (nonviolence) and satya (truth). I had not asked for this position. There seemed to be no choice. My almost thirty years of yoga and meditation is what helped me through the anxiety of the situation—the disbelief that this murder could occur with such lies and manipulation, as has been the case throughout history.

Yogi Bhajan spoke often of the importance of legacy. As a yogi I believe strongly in the importance of standing up for reverence for life, for all of God’s creatures and that my existence is finite but that the future of the planet depends on something other than lies to play on people’s fears about energy sources. In this article I can barely skim the topic so I refer you to another article I wrote [The Answer My Friend is Blowing in the Wind: page 6 of this pdf].

When the wind company PR person and the biologist both called me and told me they did yoga and asked me what they could do for me, I said nothing. Yoga has become an exercise, not something where people even know what Namaste means or what a yama or niyama is. These men thought that would make me feel on common ground with them.

One said I was simply uncomfortable with change. He did not know me, did not know that I have had a lot more changes in my life than many, changes that brought me full circle to the family home and its healing legacy.

Yogi Bhajan taught us so much, He emphasized over and over again to take our commotion and convert it to devotion. I became devoted to a cause that tore deeply into my heart. He taught us to use our anger to fuel positive purposes, not the kind of power Obama has displayed by signing a bill to allow eagles to be murdered for the next 30 years as much as the wind companies want, while we are fined $2500 for killing them.

Is this integrity? I call it arrogance of the human being—and I have devoted the last three years of my life to prevent them from going over our lakes. They have dynamited the hills as I write; they will destroy the wildlife and clearcut the pristine forest, as they have already started to do.

I live with my warrior spirit, even as a warrior does not win every battle. I thank God for Yogi Bhajan, his teachings and his legacy, which I continue to share with students who know not the battle I have fought or the tears I have shed over this cause, so misunderstood by so many. When people do not believe me or ask what is the alternative, all I know is what is happening is inefficient, destructive and paved with lies. That is the answer I know. I can only speak my truth with the goal of non-harming.

Donna Amrita Davidge has been teaching Kundlaini Yoga since the mid 80’s in New York City at Kundalini Yoga East and presently at Golden Bridge, as well as other places like the Open Center. She spends nearly six months of the year at www.sewallhouse.com in northern Maine which has been featured in much press and ranked high as a healing home for those in transition sharing yoga lifestyle and teaching. www.donnadavidgeyoga.com

Our most recent trip advisor review says ” All stressed out New Yorkers should have a place like this to retreat to, where people are not obsessed with wealth and status and common sense reigns supreme.” This week Edmund Morris was featured in Metro New York, having completed his third and final biography installment on Theodore Roosevelt. As only an eloquent writer can do so well, as Morris reflects on the issues of TR’s 1912 campaign he sees that TR had a profound mistrust of wealth as a false American value and that wealth these days is “so grotesquely celebrated and regarded as a badge of merit”. Though he only mentions my great grandfather a little in his first celebrated bio of TR, he grasped the relationship so well. I saw the King’s Speech last night and had the good fortune to be part of a Q and A with the screen-writer (having kept my SAG card for a reason) afterward. I could not help but feel very touched and relate to the lifelong friendship between two men of totally different social and financial backgrounds who forged a true friendship based on what counts most, authenticity. So in this interesting time, when our own political parties are so seemingly divided, and where people are doing yoga for various reasons as it has risen in popularity and also fosters the star system our country so admires, we do our best to continue and honor this tradition at Sewall House. Some who come here don’t really know much about the friendship that was forged by TR and my great grandfather but thanks to Andrew Vietze’s book last year, some more know now. And that TR not only forged a friendship in this house but was healed by the nurturing of nature here and a welcoming home and family, I hope we are doing my great grandparents proud.

http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/the-famed-tr-toughness_-he-learned-it-in-maines-woods_2010-04-25.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0hu3RskDW0

Many of our guests have read, glimpsed or purchased the Andrew Vietze book “Becoming Teddy Roosevelt” this season. Andrew won an independent publishing award for his writing on  How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President”. We never know who will come into our lives when and how we might inspire each other, not based on education, wealth, accomplishments or prestige but by true friendship. Guest Susan Hopp returned after an August stay, vowing to do Mt Katahdin. I joined her yesterday. When we got near the summit and lost the sun, but found wind and immersion in the clouds, I would have gladly, like other hikers that day told us they chose to do before descent, skipped the bit of snow and ice that were near the summit. But Ms Hopp made me go to the top- not by urging or bossing or bullying, but by example and enthusiasm. She was here all the way from San Francisco and bound to do the whole mountain, the one the Natives had called Great One, Ktaadan (it was spelled something like that). We were awestruck by the breath-taking views and reminisced about TR climbing without proper shoes. The story goes he lost a shoe so climbed the mountain (with my great grandfather Bill Sewall) in mocassins. We could hardly imagine it. At one point on the way down, maneuvering the boulders on the “easiest” trail, I simply lay down and started cracking up, as I looked up at Susan who exclaimed ” this is insane!” which made me laugh even harder. The beginning, which had seemed so comparatively easy, became gruelingly long, even though we were well past the boulders. Eventually we found our way back to the car and Cheryl, who had made it the first two hours of the hike and spent the rest of the day greeting hikers and looking for wildlife. We imagined Thoreau up there, not going to the summit, because he called it barren and only a space for God to occupy. And barren the summit had been, we lost the trees and slipped into what felt like another planet before going back down to the treeline. All in all an amazing day and all I can say..Is thank you Susan Hoppp for making me go to the top!!

 

And thank all of our great guests for making this another memorable season. We are now open ALL YEAR ROUND but do need advance notice to arrange happily for your retreats from NOV to APRIL.

We love introducing yoga lifestyle to curious newcomers, making yoga accessible at any and all levels, with the feeling of family and acceptance, no matter your age, size, experience or health issues. One guest, Denise, suggested we have a week for ” fat” people. A great idea! And we would love to get Cheryl back here to offer spiritual warrior women’s self defense, a passion of hers. I must also say that the standing yoga practices I have pursued since 1999- Astanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Dharmayoga (after doing only Kundalini since 1985) made my legs feel great today after the climb- when I did it in 1999 I remember them hurting for days! 

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http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3359007/I_Am_What_I_Am

join if you can!

On a  sad note, Sachel, the beautiful wolf dog that was tied up across from us., has passed away at 5 years old. I think it may have been a broken heart. I loved him from afar and wish he could have been given a better life- he never barked, only sometimes a low sad cry when he was lonely..his owner is not a bad guy,. just sees animals differently than I. He got no exercise and was incredibly beautiful and sweet.  I will miss looking out at him and wishing I could have helped him more than sending a hello and healing energy. And I wish I had taken a photo. A blank space where he was is all I see.

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Here is a cute and touching tribute to Yogi Bhajan on his birthday from many friends at Golden bridge NYC/ the music and it go nicely with our slideshow below…sat nam!

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