• being human,  embodiment,  featured,  writing

    Am I Hiding or Honoring My True Nature?

    Lately I’m noticing the way I ‘hide’ in various life situations––I keep quiet. I blend into the background. I try not to stand out. It’s a direct result of a learned behavior that taught me it was not safe, nor advantageous to take up too much space. Learning about my past trauma has uncovered a great many things about life I didn’t notice before, my tendency to hide being one of them. I was never encouraged to find and claim my voice. What I also know now that I didn’t know as a child is that I’m a sensitive being; I can feel explicitly the energy of those around me, good and bad. Negative energy takes the wind out of my sails and leaves me lying on the floor in a heap for hours. It depletes me. I also know that as a sensitive child, my needs were often unmet, not out of neglect, but simply because of the nature of the child I was. I wanted (needed) to be seen and heard; instead I was met with the infamous “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about,” which translated into ‘shut up, you’re being too much.’ Eventually we learn to cope with our…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    Open Hands. Open Heart.

    There is never only ‘one way’ to do things. There are often many answers. Sometimes, though, we ‘should ourselves to death,’ cling so tightly, fixate our brains on a particular outcome, when we only need to let go, surrender, and watch life unfold.

  • being human,  embodiment

    Soul + Fabric

    I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe everything has a wider design than we realize, and this post, to me, confirms this fact. I have been a yogi for over twenty years and a meditator for at least ten. In that span of time I’ve come to realize many things about both practices; mostly I see that both point to a larger state of being. The practices themselves are not (necessarily) the point. I came to yoga in a volatile time of my life. It calmed my nerves, gave me an outlet and helped me see there was a better way to live. Meditation is a subtler and deeper level of the practice and over the last decade, I’ve learned lots of other mindfulness practices and have settled on those that are best for me and my temperament. I’ve also come to realize that there are other activities outside of traditional mindfulness practices that create similar results. Hiking, art journaling and recently sewing, are three such practices that, when done mindfully, also become sources of calm and centering for me. I’ve hiked regularly for a long time now, began art journaling about a year ago, and sewing is my ‘newest oldest passion’ that I’ll speak…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    Holy Week 2020

    Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week and I am becoming Catholic. As a child, I attended Mass with my best friend Theresa quite a lot but I never considered becoming Catholic. In fact, I didn’t know it was an option. My journey has been long and the road has been winding and I feel secure in being on the right path for the first time in a long time, maybe ever. What I’m coming back to again and again is this idea of integration. As a yogi for over two decades and a yoga teacher, I have quite a lot of yoga practice and knowledge that is very much a part of my being. The Yamas and Niyamas, and the rest of the eight limbs were, perhaps, what catapulted me into a deeper spiritual voyage than I might not have otherwise traversed. I don’t believe all is lost. I do believe each thing has it’s place. I believe they weave together to make up me, to make up my testimony. I wrote before that life is not either/or but both/and. I guess, for me, I just need to figure out how that all translates into a human life, my human life.…

  • 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…