• being human,  breath,  embodiment

    My God Story

    The first writing assignment for my spiritual direction/pastoral counseling program was to write and record my spiritual memoir. I loved the process; it made me hone my thoughts from minutia to big picture. I share here now for posterity’s sake: What an adventure my spiritual journey has been. I used to envy the self-assured ones, those with complete certitude in their faith (and lives, in general). My truth, however, is that I’ve always been a seeker. I used to run from this fact; it made me feel inadequate. But that was only a made-up story in my head, due in part to a dis-regulated nervous system that is finally healing—the main block that has kept me from trusting myself, God, and from living into my fullness. Today I have deep faith in God and recognize that everything has been divinely timed. My spiritual heritage…

  • 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,  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,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

    Sacredness in the Mundane

    there is asacrednessin the mundane,in every daylife. we only have tos l o w d o w n . . . to see itfeel ittaste itbreathe itBE it. . . . I really believe this is my life’s calling. It’s a simple life calling, and a difficult out-of-reach one at the same time. My life’s calling is to slow down, to overcome the rush and anxiety that has pervaded me for the entirety of my years on earth, and to put words to the frustration and subsequent peace this calling elicits. Life is paradoxical … and simple and hard and beautiful and heart-wrenching and confusing and joyful. Ahh, this being human truly is a guest house, as Rumi wrote hundreds of years ago. We simply cannot know who or what to expect from one day to the next. I am most at peace and can…

  • being human,  breath,  writing

    Knowing and Not Knowing

    I write. It’s the one thing I do consistently, the one thing I’ve continually done to make sense of life. Ideas mill about in my head, and until I sit down, put fingers to a keyboard or pen to paper, thoughts don’t solidify. They stay scattered. It’s unsettling. Writing grounds me. Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts. In my deepest essence I feel a need for change and I know the general areas that need change but can’t find a clear path forward. Or maybe I’m struggling with commitment. Perhaps old patterns are sabotaging me, or worse yet I’m afraid of succeeding, shining, becoming too big. I am in the last half of my life. That fact really just became clear in the last few months. I don’t know why I didn’t consider it before, but I didn’t, at least not at length.…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    The 8 Limbs of Yoga: An Overview

    In preparation for leading a module of a brand new yoga teacher training this summer, I’m currently re-studying the Yoga Sutras. A short but very dense book, the Yoga Sutras is a text written over 2000 years ago that provides a philosophical framework for the practice of yoga. Thought to be authored by Patanjali, the sutras are 196 aphorisms (or ‘threads’) that weave together to form a broad, excellently structured guide to the physical practice of yoga. The text speaks to uniting the body and mind, helps us better understand the nature of our minds and outlines philosophical living on the path of yoga. In short, the Yoga Sutras details an 8 Limbed Path of Yoga which includes: Yamas: restraints, guides Ahimsa: nonharming Satya: truthfulness Asteya: nonstealing Brahmacharya: moderation Aparigraha: nongrasping Niyamas: practices, observances Saucha: purity Santosha: contentment Tapas: discipline Svadhyaya: self study Isvara…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    Movement Is an Act of Love for the Body

    In our disembodied world, we’ve lost authentic connection with ourselves. Sitting for long periods of time at a computer, staring mindlessly into our phones and commuting long distances for work all contribute to this disembodiment. Even working remotely, not traveling, lends itself to this disembodied state because of our always on mentality (a lot of work, often in front of a computer without allowing ourselves the movement we need). The trouble, I find, is feeling like there’s not enough time to get everything done, and when something has to go, movement seems the obvious choice. But I know better, so I force myself out and never regret it. Personally, I learned many years ago that movement contributes to overall wellbeing in concrete ways. When I began my walking practice nearly twenty years ago, I vividly recognized that it helped not only my physical health but…