• being human,  embodiment,  writing

    A Spiritual Crisis

    Yesterday I wrote that I believe we as a world, as a species, are in a spiritual crisis. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, that God works all things out for our good. I also believe this situation is a wake up call. As a collective, there are many things that need to change to bring about a greater good. It is up to us to recognize it and to do something about it. I am afraid for our country as well as the rest of the world. As an American, a divide between us has been happening for a long time now. The last election was evidence of it and I’m afraid it grows stronger every day. I am honestly afraid of our president and concerned about his mental health. I know that I am not alone, and I also know there are people who support him more than ever, even in this madness. Do I think this is all his fault? No? But do I think he’s adding to the chaos instead of soothing the American public? Hells yes. Do I also think he’ll act in the interest of re-election, in the interest of the economy over public…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    Resourcing Resources

    I, like many of you, have been thinking about how I can help in this Coronavirus crisis. As a yoga and journaling teacher, I’ve been thinking about what I have to offer. Online classes? Meditations? Embodiment resources? Journaling prompts? Honestly, though, I’ve needed to resource and find safety within before putting any offerings out there. Some of us are stronger than others. Some of us need time. We’re all individual and we’re all called to help in different ways and at different times. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, resourcing is simply a way of finding safety in the midst of chaos or trauma. I am familiar with resourcing because of the deep work I did a few years ago in the aftermath of my mom’s death. My daughter left our home at the same time so it was like living through two deaths at the same time. I was in deep depression, certainly in a place I’d never been before. But I digress. The important thing is that if you’re feeling unsafe, unsure, depressed or depleted, you find the resources you need to get back to normal, or at least stable enough to get through whatever it is you’re going through. This coronavirus is…

  • being human,  embodiment

    Socially Connected While Physically Distanced

    Language matters. How we speak and relate to each other matters. Today, more than ever. What I’m thinking about right now is this new term ‘social distancing’ that’s been proposed throughout the COVID-19 national emergency. While I get the overall concept behind it and the necessity of creating more separation between each of us to slow the spread of the virus, the phrase feels isolating to me. As a new work week begins and the majority of people are home, working remotely, I feel the energy of the collective flowing through me. A heaviness presses on my heart. I am not alone in this. We are far more connected than not. This virus is physically showing us that in very real ways. We need each other and we need to stay calm. We also need to listen to the public health experts and do our part to slow the rate of spread. I acutely recognize the need to self regulate and discharge as much of the toxic, stress-inducing energy as I’m able. Personally, I’ve been practicing pranayama and somatic meditation every day, along with getting outside with my dog. As this outbreak unfolds, it will be even more important to continue and build upon these practices,…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    Choosing Calm Over Chaos

    Wow, what a week. The world feels crazy right now with this Coronavirus pandemic. Lots of people have lots of opinions. The entire thing is politically divisive. The media is creating an even greater divide, inducing panic and fear. Yesterday, the energy was palpable to me. Not a thought-based panic but a body-based felt-sense of the madness within the collective. The dread arrived as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning. I couldn’t rid myself of the anxiety right away but I did work with it throughout the day. Presence over pushing it away. When the world feels like it’s spiraling out of control, I find simple ways to calm my nervous system. Here are 11 ideas for choosing calm over chaos: Breathe. Repeat. Breathe. Repeat. Breathe. Repeat. Go outside. Take in the fresh air. Take a walk. Play with your kids. Pet your dog. Hug your dog. Play with your dog. Watch your dog sleep. Be present with your dog. (They have SO much to teach us about letting things BE!) Journal using a prompt that taps you into your highest self. Don’t write about how you feel today if this whole thing has you out of sorts or panic-stricken; that will…

  • being human,  embodiment

    I Hope You Dance

    I have named a word for myself every year since 2009. Some years they were chosen at the start of the year; in other years they were named at the conclusion or early in the following year. Last month, an Instagram acquaintance announced her word and I commented. “I need to choose mine!” She immediately replied, “let’s do it!” As a Whole Life Designer (Life Coach), she was the perfect person to assist me in that endeavor. Jessica is just lovely, sweet, easy to talk to and eager to help kindred spirits on the path. She FaceTimed me at the appointed time, we spent a few minutes getting acquainted, then began the word-choosing process. Essentially I quieted myself and centered as she shuffled an oracle card deck that held words, images and ideas that would help me find my word. After I told her I was ready, she pulled the following three cards and then read their descriptions aloud to me, asking that I jot down words that captured my attention. Here are the names of the cards and the other words I scribbled during our session: BALANCE CONFUSION REWARD action/reaction lots of ideas in mind jupiterian wheel of fortune ever-present change overloaded with stimulating…

  • being human,  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 Pranidhana: surrender Asana: postures Pranayama: breath retention/control Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses Dharana: concentration Dhyana: meditation Samadhi: oneness with object of meditation or surrender This post serves as a basic introduction to the Yoga Sutras, a broad overview. Other posts will follow that will outline each of the eight limbs, including separate posts on each of the five yamas and niyamas. You…

  • being human,  embodiment

    Both And, Not Either Or

    This is a primary thought I’ve been thinking a lot lately – can seemingly unrelatable ideas and philosophies exist as truth simultaneously? I’ve come to the conclusion that they can. Both and, not either or. Specifically I’m reconciling a great many philosophies I’ve learned on my twenty+ year yoga journey with my renewed faith in Christianity. For the longest time, I’ve compartmentalized life. Things had to be either this way or that way. Opposing thoughts, ideas and systems couldn’t exist together. It had to be one way or the other – very black and white thinking, for sure. A product of my upbringing, I suppose. I have been a seeker my whole life. I’ve been in and out of every type of church imaginable, have tried to find myself through my yoga practice, meditation, writing, art, nature …. And the one thing that’s clear is that all beauty that exists in this world and all of the practices that lead me more deeply into myself and my true nature also bring me closer to God, closer to my spirit, closer to my divine nature, the nature that exists outside of time. It’s always been this way; I’ve just been too busy putting philosophies and practices…

  • being human,  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 my mental health as well. Movement makes us feel more alive; it creates joy and clarity. Movement INVITES embodiment when we move mindfully, and in this way we also connect with the deepest parts of ourselves. Our hearts, bodies, minds and souls recognize their oneness instead of the separateness the brain creates. Embodiment is a gateway to the authentic self. The…

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured,  writing

    Embodied Writing

    How often are you in your head, and can you, instead, reside in your heart or gut, or even your feet? Embodiment, in its simplest sense, is being present and ‘in’ the sensations of the body on a moment-by-moment basis. Another simple definition I recently heard is “living life informed through the sense-experience of the body.” Most of us, unfortunately, are foreign to this idea and we are in our heads quite a lot. We are thinkers and doers and overachievers (me included), but learning to drop into the body actually provides us with more information, more choice, a fuller life, and gives the brain a much needed break. Often we are participating in life but not fully participating. Have you driven somewhere and realized that when you got to your destination, you couldn’t recall the drive? Or been in conversation but didn’t hear what the other person said? Were you thinking about what you’d say next? What about being somewhere and simply wishing you were someplace else? All of these situations point to a disembodied state. Head is primary. Body is someplace else entirely. Practicing mindfulness is one solution; practicing embodiment gives depth and richness to mindfulness. Depression and anxiety are head-space ailments. Though they…

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured

    More Broken Than Me

    “More broken than me” is a judgement but it’s also a real thought I had today. Even those of us who strive not to be judgmental have judgement. It’s a human tendency to compare and contrast. I believe we all do it, but I also think it’s important that we catch ourselves and recognize the moment, that we recognize and question our thoughts instead of believing them to be true. I really felt myself today, such a surreal feeling of aliveness pervaded my being. I wasn’t rushed. I was intentional and it reminded me that this is the way life is supposed to be. Not all of my days have been like this; in fact, most haven’t been, but lately I get glimpses, hints of the beautiful life that is before me. My embodiment practices have invited these moments more often and for that, I’m thankful. It’s funny how one thought or feeling leads to the next and how we connect ideas and concepts to one another. The feeling of aliveness, of being embodied, reminded me of many years of disembodied living––the pulling out, up and away from experience, simply because I couldn’t be here. I didn’t feel safe so being anywhere else but here was…

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