Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Karma Yoga: Turning Action Into Benefit For Others

“In Karma-yoga no effort is ever lost, and there is no harm. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from great fear [of birth and death].” ~Bhagavad Gita

"Suck My Kiss," 10a, "Smith Rock," Terrebonne, OR.

In Sanskrit, the literal translation of the word "karma" is action. The word "yoga," also a Sanskrit term, means "to yoke, or to become one with." Therefore, the two words, "Karma Yoga," indicate that right action leads to a "yoking" with, or a union with the Divine, or the inner self.

Throughout the week I read the blogs, posts, & "tweets" of athletes the world over. The ones that have left an impression in my mind are the ones who take their given sport of choice, and choose to benefit others through their action. The first person that comes to mind when I think of the practice of karma yoga, or taking an action and turning it into benefit for others, is my dear friend Lisa Shannon (see the link to her blog, "A Thousand Sisters" below). She has taken a beloved action (trail-running), and has used it to benefit thousands of women in the war-torn country of Congo (DRC). She was named "Runner's World" philanthropist runner of the year. Her epic story, of how right action (karma yoga) was reached in her life through pounding the mud-beaten "Wildwood Trail" in Forest Park (Portland, OR.) can be read about on her website at: www.runforcongowomen.org

When the notion of climbing entered my life, I was instantly drawn to it. It was a metaphor for not only seeing the earth from a bird's eye-view, but also it provided a lense with which to view my inner world; to see what heights I could reach inside myself. Climbing continues to provide me with the opportunity to conquer my fears, push my mental abilities, and see the world from a new perspective. I feel the breeze that the birds feel on their face from on high. I hear the stories of the people on the path below me. I wonder, how may I use this modality, this practice, as a way of benefitting others...of creating right action in my life?

This Thurs., June 10th is my birthday. Normally, I embrace any excuse to have a celebration or a party. I enjoy laughter, and the sense of comaraderie I feel at social gatherings. However, this year, I decided to use my birthday as a way to incite myself to think beyond the typical birthday theme. I wanted to combine elements in my life that I love most: climbing, non-profit work, and raising money for a cause bigger than myself.

This year, over the weekend, I'll be "Climbing For Life." "Climb For Life" is to ovarian cancer what "Race For The Cure" is to breast cancer awareness. I will be wearing my grandmother's name, Jo Ellen Barton, on my back as I climb. Although Grandma Barton passed of cervical cancer, she nonetheless will be present in my heart during the event. She lived a life of mental toughness. She raised 4 children on a houseboat in the middle of the icy waters of Alaska. She hunted dinner for her children, learned how to fly a bush plane to search for her pilot husband in the arctic storms, and become an avid runner in her later years. She ran along her beloved beach trail, up to 10 miles a day before she passed at age 55. I honor her, and all other women and families who have been affected by reproductive cancer of any kind (ovarian, cervical, uterine, etc.) I'm honored to be climbing at this event with such climbing masters as Jason Kehl and Olivia Hsu. I look forward to spending time with them on the rock for this great cause.

I'd like to take the time to thank the following businesses for supporting and/or donating to my climb this weekend (be it through donation or product):

-Dr. K.E. Edmisten, N.D., L.Ac., Newport, OR.
-Mario Riquelme, Attorney At Law, Bend, OR.
-Amy Mendenhall, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M., Portland, OR.
-"PGC Building + Design", Bend, OR.
-"FootZone", Bend, OR.
-Kerri Duncan of "Holistic 4 Pet," Portland, OR.
-Bonnie Povolny, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M., Portland, OR.
-"Emerald Smoothie," Bend, OR.
-"Oregon CrossFit," Bend, OR.
-"Redpoint Climbers Supply," Terrebonne, OR.
-Misako Yamamoto, L.Ac., M.Ac.O.M., Portland, OR.
-Dr. Jason Kremer, D.C., Bend, OR.
-Dr. Lisa Shaver, N.D., L.Ac., Portland, OR.

***Thank You For Your Generosity, & For Being A Part Of My Fundraising Climb***

10c crack, "Meadow Camp," Bend, OR.

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