The Humble Essence of Empowerment

Meditation is the basis for all inner work. We might struggle conscientiously to change our limiting qualities; we might saturate ourselves with instructions and help, both concrete and subtle. Yet in the end, it is the direct, naked encounter with our own Awareness that shifts our understanding of who we are and gives us the power to stand firmly in the center of our being. No one else can make this happen for us. Meditation does. –Sally Kempton, Meditation for the Love of It

Once again I find myself in the midst of enormous challenge. One that is pushing and shoving me into ANGER MODE. The situation requires patience on my part while I want to scream bloody murder and throw a full-scale production tantrum. Folks privy to the details of the boring story would agree that my percolating state is excusable.

I am really good at a full-scale production anger tantrum. Someone witnessing one might even call it powerful. Really it’s just exhausting and depressing to lose control like that. And then there’s the fact that I have to be the yogi here. I have to practice what I teach or I am quite simply a fraud. What a great opportunity for me to let my practice shine, right? Oh it is so hard! And utterly humbling.

This week the theme of my classes is an exploration of the humble nature of empowerment. The Anusara yoga method that I practice and teach is one of empowering ourselves to make good choices that enhance our Light, and others’ Light too. I desperately need some empowering wisdom in the face of this anger and the escalating situation that is fueling it. I need to stand up for myself, remain steadfast in my center and proceed without freaking (or fizzling) out. This requires me to draw heavily on my practices of prayer, asana, and meditation. Every time I start to feel a wave of the anger (or despair) taking hold of me this is what I do: I stand with strong legs, lengthen the sides of my body so that I am my complete height, then I bow my head, soften my ribcage back while keeping my shoulders moving back. I drink a full breath in, around all sides of my heart. Immediately I connect with the interior landscape, the gateway to my essence (your essence and the Earth’s essence too) which is Wise, All Knowing, Clear, Pure, Good, Consciousness. I literally take a reverential posture and bow down to the Divine nature of my being. I humbly surrender, knowing without a doubt in every cell of my body and to the core of my being that ‘this too shall pass’. I become calm and clear. Gratitude for all of the good things that are working well descends upon me . Then and only then am I truly in my Power– which will light the path through this situation and all others that arise.

Melanie Buffett

Fairhope, AL

3/22/11 9:03 PM


March 1- 2
Re-entry. Arrive Miami 9:35am. Nice to be out of the airport. Going from a day of hiking in the Himalayas to 40 hours of sitting, my body is surprisingly in good spirits. It’s got to be the yoga. My challenge today is to stay awake until a normal sleeping hour. I just need to be diligent and put myself into this time rhythm. So apparently the biggest news in the US is Charlie Sheen’s weird breakdown. Really? I want to talk about the pulsating energy of Varanasi and the Ganges. And the state of affairs of Tibetans in India. Or the beauty and power of meditation and mantra. Or something, anything but Charlie Freaking Sheen. It seems to have captivated the nation. Glad I missed it. Hopefully it will last as long as the average attention span of a 4 year old. It actually makes me feel a little bit lonely and sad. Or maybe I am just extremely tired.
I do make it to 9pm before hitting the hay. And have goodish sleep til sunrise. Enough time to prep for a day of Advanced Anusara Yoga w John Friend. My friends and teachers are all here. So many of them have made the journey to India and know where I’m “@”. The theme is Dancing With the Divine. The asana is super challenging. And once again I am really surprised at my own level of practice and studentship. Even in the midst of India jet lag. Big backbends, handstand scorpions, super fun arm balances and more. At one point I feel nauseous thinking its too much for my jet lagged state, but then Scotta, my teacher whom I am practicing alongside says she feels it too. Nausea is common when doing a strong back bend practice– it’s all the internal rubbish dislodging and moving to exit the body. Just good old detoxing.
Glad to have done this full day of advanced practice surrounded by like-minded asana and yoga junkies. I love it that this is my work. And I realize this whole last month of travel and study and exploration and time away from Fairhope is just another facet of my job as a yoga teacher and studio owner. I realize I have chosen it and work hard to manifest the abundant nature of it all. It’s empowering. It’s my dharma to stay on this road.
Every moment we are choosing. Whether it be to engage in the Charlie Sheen drama, to over-analyze a situation, to be a ‘victim’ of our choices, or empowered by them. Often I don’t understand other peoples choices. I am not supposed to. I am only meant to stay true to my own calling, apply myself in the highest, help and serve where and when I can and to love love love. Om namah shivaya.

– YogiPod posting from iPhone


Homeward Bound

Feb 28 – Mar 1
Wake up in Dharmsala. Before leaving here I visit the Dalai Lama Temple. The story of the Tibetan people has had tremendous impact on me. I will come here again, hopefully with members of my family to show them this place and to continue to help preserve the amazing spiritual culture of Tibetan Buddhism. It is important.
So now the travel begins. Next stop Delhi, where I spend a boring nine hours sitting for the most part in one coffee shop (I can’t believe I am saying this, but a person can only drink so much coffee before it’s boring) because we cant get unto the Int’l concourse until 3 hrs before our flight. Glad to have time for one more Indian meal…Yellow Dal, Paratha bread, and a sweet Lassi. I really love the Indian food. My 15 hour flight is at 11:30pm. Yawn! The flight is packed full and my seat seems to be in the middle of the screaming child nursery. Its claustrophobic, uncomfortable, and loud. Its weird flying for 15 hours and covering 10,000 miles. I can not imagine doing it without meditation and mantra. Really, I don’t know how people do it. I literally sit for an hour at a time and chant internally wwearning an eye mask, neck pillow and covered with a blanket. Its a sleep cocoon but i am not officially asleep. I alternate this with watching movies. And it is still a difficult journey. So I get through that 24 hour part of the trip. Have one hour in Newark to claim bags, clear customs, and get on the last leg of the journey to Miami. It is nice to be on US soil. Nice to get a Starbucks –obviously over the Delhi crankiness. And now I’m in the air again headed to Miami to stay with my mom for a few days. Tomorrow I hook up with the Anusara kula for the last day of the Advanced Intensive then the Maha Shivaratri celebratory teachings and practices with John Friend, Douglas Brooks, Sianna Sherman, and Amy Ipolliti. I am blessed with yoga friends and teachers and my mom to support my re-entry from the journey in India. I head home to Fairhope Sunday. I’m excited to see how this experience processes and how I take what all I have seen and learned and weave it into family, home, work, and social life. I cant wait to see Burke and the doggies and my sister and her babies!
Thanks again Lord for this amazing life. Amen. Om. Namah shivaya. Mani padme om. PEACEPEACEPEACE.

– YogiPod posting from India using iPhone

Location:Friendly Skies

Hike in the Himalayas

Feb 27
Morning yoga is cooooold again. Despite that, it is a great warm-up for a half day hike in the Himalayas. It’s warm and sunny as we depart so I leave my North Face shell and hat in the room. Oops. Note to self: take a jacket when you play in the Himalayas 🙂
I do remember to bring a little bit of chocolate though and it is a very sweet treat up on the trail. The Himalayas here are snow covered jagged peaks. Enormous and breathtaking. As we ascend we find ourselves in a cloud. And it starts to snow. At first i am all upset about not having my shell and hat, but its really not that bad and we aren’t going too too far. So, I don’t let it hamper the walk at all. It’s just one foot in front of the other. A perfect meditation in an exquisite setting. We pass locals on the trail who hike in flip flops with no socks, carrying loads of wood or babies on their backs. They live up in these hills and walk this hike everyday to go to work and back or go to town. I am humbled and inspired by them all. Seeing the lives and hearing the stories of the Indians and the Tibetans up here in Dharmsala has shifted my world view like no other place in India. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last full day here. It’s always a great relief and feeling of accomplishment to reach the top or destination of a hike. Today we walk/climb to Guna Temple. It is so beautiful and charged with the spirit and energy of the devotion of the people. I feel so grateful to be healthy enough to make it to this spot and really happy to be sharing the moment with Desiree and Andrew and Joan and Sandy and Holbrook. I’ve made such great friends on the trip.
After the hike I am so hungry and happy to eat spinach tofu momo soup at Nick’s. While there I run into my friend (one of the Redback trip leaders) Alex, who joins me for dessert and chai. As we sit and chat we discover that we have a mutual friend in Los Angeles. Super small world! I love it!
Hard to believe the trip is almost over. I want to soak up every last minute of it. I’m going to miss everyone and everything!

– YogiPod posting from India using iPhone