Trust and The Grasshopper

I was just driving home from classes when a small grasshopper jumped up on my car dashboard.  It was a delightful surprise to have an unexpected traveling companion in the car with me.  I did think that my friend the grasshopper would be happier outside instead of being confined in my little Toyota Scion, so I tried very gently to scoop him up and free him.  He wouldn’t cooperate! For five minutes we played cat and mouse but he wouldn’t let me catch him.  So when I got home I opened my windows with hope that my friend will jump to his freedom when he is ready.  As I was trying to help I smiled and said “hey friend, relax… I am trying to help you.”  In a flash I saw how this pertains to my own life.  If the grasshopper knew I was trying to help would he have relaxed and surrendered allowing me to help?  He didn’t have the bigger perspective and didn’t trust so he continued to suffer.

How often in our own lives do we miss an opportunity because  we don’t realize our perspective is limited and we choose not to trust in the whole?  Accepting and surrendering to the fact that our vision and perspective is limited allows us to trust in the Whole.  It also humbles us.  If you trust that the Universe is good and that this energy is always trying to help you then you can always trust that even when something doesn’t look good on the surface, it actually is good.  The Universe is ALWAYS supporting you and ALWAYS trying to align you with the whole.  Our small minds cannot see the entire picture.  But just because we don’t see the whole picture doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t trust in the bigger picture.  There is a bigger picture even though we may not be aware of it.  Trust is everything.

There is a greater force than the human mind.  Some intelligence had to create the human mind so that is the power I trust in.  I trust in the power that makes the sun shine.  I trust in the power that makes the rain fall, supplies the air I breathe, and power that keeps my heart beating.  There is a beautiful and mysterious energy that sustains life.  This energy, call it what you want, wants your full and total trust.  You have to trust with your heart not your mind.  Mind wants logic and it wants things to “make sense.”  Only your heart can trust.  You have to be like a small child that trusts their parents.  YOU can relax……if you trust.  That is the basis of spiritual surrender, knowing that you don’t have the whole picture but trusting that this power God, Creative Intelligence, Universe has the full perspective and that what this energy brings you is exactly what you need, when you need it, even if you cannot see at the time that it is for your good. This knowing can be a source of comfort during difficult times.

So just like the grasshopper missed his opportunity because he didn’t trust how many opportunities have we missed because we didn’t trust?  Do you trust?  Whom do you trust?  Do you surrender certain parts of your life and not others?  Things to contemplate to help bring clarity to your level of trust.

Sending lots of love today.

Sandra Vanatko





Your Happiness is In Your Hands

Did you know that you hold the key to your happiness?  We tend to think others will make us happy or certain circumstances will bring us happiness but actually happiness is an inside job.

The key to your happiness is in your hands and only your hands. When you try to hold others responsible for making you happy sooner or later you will be disappointed.  We tend to blame others when we are not happy.  We like to put the blame somewhere besides ourselves when we are not happy but Yoga says YOU and ONLY YOU are in charge of your happiness.  When you are not happy look within.


The moment you realize this you become free from counting on others for your happiness.  Understanding this in itself is enlightening!  Happiness is your job.  To make someone else responsible for your happiness is giving your power for happiness to another.  When you make another responsible for your well-being and happiness more than yourself you will sooner or later be disappointed without a doubt.

It is very easy to say I’m not happy because so and so did this.  Or I am not happy because this or that happened.  When we realize that it is actually our attitude towards what happened that makes us happy or not,  we can learn to change our attitude and perception about events to keep our happiness.

Couple things to remember to keep your happiness.

1. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
2. Happiness stays with those who are able to shift their perceptions, so stay open-minded.

So many times our ego gets in the way of our happiness.  Why do we have a need to be right?  Many times a shift in perception about needing to be right will help us maintain peace and happiness.  Next time you are in a conflict of will or an argument ask yourself, is it really worth it?  Hardly, if you are losing your peace to maintain your ego you will be disappointed afterwards because the ego can only temporarily be fulfilled before its starts searching for something else to bring it gratification.

Those who are flexible in thought maintain their happiness more.  When we are firm in the way it “has to be” this attitude can create a lot of suffering.  I always remember my teacher saying, “you plan, God laughs.”  Life is many times plan B. When you are so focused that things have to be a certain way you set yourself up to suffer. One who is flexible in mind and in outcomes will be happiest.  Yoga says don’t plan too much, wait and go with the flow, the more you flow with the is-ness of the now the more you maintain your happiness and peace.

I will give you an example.  Two neighbors, two different attitudes.  Let’s say there is one neighbor that always plays really loud music on the weekends.  Two people can have two totally different perceptions about it.  One guy may turn his music down and listen to the neighbors music and realize that he now has a new genre of music he likes because he is flexible.  Ever heard the saying if you can’t beat them, join them?  In being flexible he expanded his experience and his level of consciousness.  The second neighbor may get irritated.  He gets into a battle of wills, turns his music up or just complains about the “loud noise” without ever opening up the possibility of a peaceful solution which will help him maintain his happiness.  He could possibly move away, but is that not just a temporary solution?  What if the next neighbor also plays loud music. Will he move away again?   The first neighbor makes an internal adjustment to the external circumstance where the second neighbor makes an external adjustment that can only temporarily fix the problem.  Internal adjustments and shifts are so much more powerful than external adjustments and shifts.

So one who keeps his happiness is one who is internally flexible.

So today when you see that your happiness and peace has left you, see what internal adjustment you can make to regain it.  You cannot control external events but you can certainly control how you feel about them internally.  The more ability you have to be flexible in thought the more happiness will be your constant companion.

Sending you all my love today.

Sandra Vanatko
Indra’s Grace


A House is Not a Home

I was meditating a while back and all the sudden saw very clearly that for many of us our house is not a home.  For some our place of residence is more like a prison.  And, I am not talking about the home that I bet you are thinking about.  No, no I am talking about your body!  Your body is the temporary home for your soul while here.

Today more than ever people are suffering in their bodies.  The body is not a home.  The body is more often a prison.  When your body is not a home you will certainly have trouble with it.  Often in teaching Yoga and working with students I notice that there is no connection between body, mind, and spirit.  That is what Yoga means.  Union between body, mind, and soul.  To have your temporary house become a home you must nurture it.  Your body is a living, breathing, changing organism and it must be paid attention to daily for optimal results.

How to make your body a home?  It starts with loving yourself.  What does that mean?  Do you make decisions that honor you?  Are you gentle with yourself?  Do you forgive yourself for making mistakes?  Do you have compassion for the areas in your life you want to change or do you constantly analyze and critique yourself?  Do you blame yourself for the past and have guilt and regret?  These emotions destroy your house.  What qualities make a home?  LOVE.  When there is SELF LOVE  you will make decisions that honor your body.  You will make decisions that help to grow and nurture your body not decay and destroy it.  When you really love yourself you won’t make decisions that harm your body.  Self Love honors and respects the space it resides in and takes care of the space that houses the soul.  It is a form of devotion.   Think of your body as the temple that stores the soul.  So daily cleaning must be done to keep your house happy!

I had a student in San Diego, my oldest student, a beautiful man who was 91 years old.  The first time he came in he asked me “can you help me with this?”  and pointed to his neck.  He could barely move his neck more than a couple of inches side to side.  He said it ached so much and so often and created so much trouble for him.  He said his body was betraying him.  I saw that his body was a prison.  At 91 we were able to give him more and more range of motion to help him feel more at home in his body.  Bodies change when the pattern of care for them changes.  When we stop moving we lose flexibility and mobility.  We lose range of motion.  Which means we lose freedom. We imprison ourselves physically.  When we don’t clean house mentally, we imprison ourselves.  How many thoughts do you have lingering in the corners of your mind that no longer serve who you are today?  These thoughts also imprison us!

I remember in San Diego I had a beautiful hibiscus plant growing on my front porch.  She was so glamorous and everyday she would open her buds and give more flowers….well as long as I watered her.  I had to water her the same time everyday otherwise I would come home after Yoga and she would drop all her flowers!!!  The first time this happened I was shocked but quickly realized that the flower is the gift a plant gives when it reaches its optimal health.  The moment she doesn’t have all she needs she drops the flower.  But the flower is the gift she gives out of abundance!

Human beings are much the same.  Have we even reached our optimal health?  What is the gift human beings give when they reach optimal health?  We give love just as the plant gives a flower and fragrance.  Love is the fragrance of human-beings.  But we can only give in a healthy way when it’s out of abundance.  What does taking care of the house include?  It means making decisions that honor and respect yourself.  Eating nutritious whole foods,  drinking plenty fresh water, getting enough sleep, exercising, proper breathing, being out in sunshine, cultivating positive loving relationships, and constructive thinking.  These are the basics in taking your body from a house to a home.   Spiritual practice is honoring the space that is the temporary home for your soul while here and helping create the cleanest, strongest, healthiest, most joyous environment so that you can feel your best while you journey here.

So here is your list.  These are the basics to cover to help make your house a happy home.

1.  Exercise Daily

2. Proper Breath

3. Constructive Thinking

4. Plenty of Fresh Clean Water

5. Nutritious Living Whole Foods

6.  Proper Rest

7.  Loving Relationships

8.  Relationship with Nature

I can’t say that there is more importance on one then the other so there is no particular order on these.  They are though the basics to cover first to better health.  Go through the list.  Be honest with your self.  Are these covered in your life?  Simplify and see if you have these eight basics covered.  I promise as you cover these you will start to break the chains that imprison the soul and make your house a happy home for your soul to reside in.

Sending all my love this morning.

Sandra Vanatko