• being human,  breath,  embodiment,  learning,  writing

    Aliveness is a Gift

    I am learning to connect to my life by caring deeply about it, by being fully in it. It’s not that I never cared before. My conditioning just leaned more toward rush and anxiety. As my nervous system calmed, I learned new ways of being. My beloved’s smile is a gift. A friend in need is a gift. The sound of the morning. Every sunrise and sunset. This delicious food in abundance. Sharing my life with others. Each day, night, breath. All gifts. And it is my job to savor this one ‘wild and precious life’ I’ve been given. Please accept my apologies for not learning this lesson sooner. I’m here now. Fully. Completely. Honoring the divinity that resides within. I love you. I tend to my life and it gives back in ways I could never have imagined. There is sacredness in the…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

    The Cost of Truth

    We come to God not by doing it right, but by doing it wrong. And yet the great forgiveness is to forgive ourselves for doing it wrong. That’s probably the hardest forgiveness of all: that I’m not perfect, that I’m not unwounded, I’m not innocent. “One always learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence.” [1] If I want to maintain an image of myself as innocent, superior, righteous, or saved, I can only do that at the cost of truth. I have to reject the mysterious side, the shadow side, the broken side, the unconscious side of almost everything.   The art of letting go really is the way to heaven because when we fall down there to the bottom, we fall on solid ground, the great foundation. . . . On that foundation where we have nothing to prove, nothing to…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

    My Savasana Summer

    It’s been a while. The thing that used to be my passion has faded into the background. It’s still here, in me, but it doesn’t tug on my soul the way that it used to. Perhaps doing the thing you love for others begins to dim it for yourself. I’m talking about writing here, of course. The thing I used to HAVE to do every day for myself has become a thing that only calls to me when in distress. Yes, I will write my heart out (literally) when times are tough. It’s therapy. I used to be able to write to figure stuff out but lately that just doesn’t feel possible. I am sorting through lots of cerebral and emotional stuff and I’m having a hard time matching my brain up with my heart. I’m not incongruent—I’ve been there before. No, becoming is…

  • being human,  embodiment

    Finding Meaning in All of Life

    Everything changes. It’s the only thing we can count on. I just wrote about this. And then I read one of the Center for Action & Contemplation’s (CAC) meditations, that loosely muses on the same thing. “How we do anything is how we do everything.” How we live ‘the daily grind,’ the mundane, matters. Finding meaning in it all! This excerpt from the CAC speaks to that and speaks to Christ’s place in it … “There’s really only one message, and we just have to keep saying it until finally we’re undefended enough to hear it and to believe it: there is no separation between God and creation. That’s the message. But we can’t believe it. And so this Word, this Eternal Word of God that we read about in the prologue to John’s Gospel, leapt down, as the Book of Wisdom [18:14–15] [1]…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    The Mystery of Contemplation

    “The more you are free of yourself, the more you shall find light, truth and understanding …“ Meister Eckert  The practice of contemplation is more of an undoing than a doing and so confusing to the brain. I continue to practice each day. The following are excerpts that touched me from the Center for Action & Contemplation: Our blessedness does not lie in our active doing, rather in our passive reception of God … And so your unknowing is not a lack but rather your highest perfection, and passively to receive is your highest action. In this way you must cease being active and must draw all your powers to a point of stillness, if you truly desire to experience this birth within yourself.  Christ is the fundamental ordering principle of the universe, allowing things to be as they are and holding them together…

  • being human,  embodiment

    God Transcends Gender

    Your God transcends gender. And yet She is also Mother. She is Shekhinah, pillar of holy fire, guiding you through the wilderness. She is Sophia and Al-Hakim, the essence of Wisdom, filling your troubled heart and telling you exactly what needs to be done next. She is Jamal, beauty, and Sakina, serenity. She is Rahim, the merciful source of all life. She is Shakti, coursing through your veins when you cry out for God, infusing you with unbearable longing. She is Guanyin, radiating well-being. She is Tara, formed from the Buddha’s own tears as he gazed upon the suffering of the world and wept. She is Miriam, Mary, Maryam. You feel Her closest when you are shattered and when you are exalted. She dives into the heart of the tidal wave and scoops you into Her arms, promising that no matter how disastrous the…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    Conscious Breath is a Superpower

    I work with breath every day, but today is an extra special one, a day of celebration. A human who once shared my very breath has been on the planet for twenty-one years today. Yes, I brought life into the world that day — a beautiful, blue eyed, red headed, breathing, loving, feeling human who has blessed me in unimaginable ways. And so, in honor of Madison, of life, of breath itself, I’d like to tell you a little story of how the day unfolded and why I think conscious breath is a superpower. I came into the pregnancy a novice yogi but could not find a prenatal yoga teacher to work with me, so I did what I knew I could to stay healthy and active: early in the pregnancy, I committed to regular breath practice and walked 5+ miles every day. I…

  • being human,  breath,  learning

    Connected by Breath

    I think most of you know that I am a yoga teacher, but what you may not know is that I stopped teaching–almost entirely–as my mom took her final breath just over three and a half years ago. In some ways I stopped breathing too; I couldn’t inhabit my body in my grief. Teaching yoga is a giving profession and I literally had nothing to give; continuing to teach would have been unfair to my students and to myself, even though saying goodbye presented another loss. For a full two years I grieved my mom, a daughter who came of age and a life I knew and loved. It was a dark night of the soul I’d never wish on anyone, but it was necessary. I devoted time to healing. I relearned how to fully inhabit my body and how to breathe again. Lots…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    Embracing the Right to be Real + Awkward

    I am real; I always have been. I am awkward too, although I bet most people who know me wouldn’t tell you that about me. I’m far too controlled to show it. I, probably not unlike you, have lived from my ego self for my entire life. And that ego self is very concerned with how I look and seem to others. I over drank for years to feel comfortable around people. I didn’t know I was doing it at the time. I just knew that I was fun and had a lot more things to talk about when I was drunk. I could also be my loving, generous self when drunk. I could tell people how I felt easily. The only way I could talk and feel comfortable in a crowd was if I was a few glasses deep. I am still not…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    Field Notes on Mystical Embodiment

    I am currently enrolled in The Living School through the Center for Action and Contemplation, and in a nutshell it is a living (alive, breathing, adaptable, embodied) school that deeply, methodically (thoroughly) explores the contemplative Christian mystical tradition. I applied and was accepted last year; the two year program kicked off with a symposium in July. Though my experiences feel really hard to process and write about, I plan to try during the time I spend in the program. As a deep seeker of spiritual truth, I’ve walked many roads in my life from West to East and back again. And the auspicious thing about it all is that the truth I’ve been seeking has been here all along. It was here in my eastern studies as much as west. It was here as I learned about yogic philosophy and Ayurveda and astrology and…