• being human,  embodiment,  featured,  writing

    Life Changes

    A lot of things have changed over the last few months, but then again, life always changes. THESE changes, however, feel much more monumental––life altering, in fact. For whatever reason, I’ve recently been given the ability to see more clearly and to recognize situations I’m not willing to stay in. The entire dynamic is a privilege; I’m well aware of this fact. I have been struggling with hard decisions and I’m still in the middle of that struggle but life isn’t about constant ease. We struggle so we can work through our blind spots, change the things that aren’t working and hopefully come out on the other side wiser, more grounded and hopefully happier, having gone through the ordeal and arrived at a better place. The entire situation has provided me with the ability to put life in order, to reevaluate those things that are most important and to let go of the things that aren’t working. This is where I find myself today … still in the middle of it all but making decisions about the next best steps. Using the ocean as a metaphor for life, I’ve been in all of the depths throughout my years––riding the waves of the highs and lows,…

  • 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,  featured,  writing

    Keeping a Commonplace Book

    I have collected and filled notebooks for years, mostly recording things I was learning, other times journaling or Morning Pages. Beginning in my teens, I continued sporadically, and by my late twenties, I was deep into yoga and yogic philosophy, filling several notebooks with wisdom. I didn't know there was a name for what I was doing until a few years ago. I ran across the Bullet Journal concept which covered bits of it, but it didn't address all of the note-taking I had been doing for years. A Commonplace Book is the name given to small notebooks that house notes, learnings, anecdotes and more. I consistently keep a Commonplace Book with Bullet Journal elements so all of my stuff is tidy in one space. 

  • 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,  featured,  writing

    Five Simple Tips to Make Writing an Everyday Priority

    Write first––and I do mean first. Write before email, tv, social media, a book––everything. Writing first gives us the opportunity to check in with ourselves. We are the most meditative early in the morning, before the day takes hold. Write first. All forms of writing count. Journaling, blogging, emailing, love notes, letters, writing articles for others. Any writing IS writing. Of course, you may set goals for yourself about the types of writing you want to accomplish each day, but all forms count as writing if you are counting the number of days in a row you write. Use ‘free form’ or ‘flow writing’ as your go to in stressful situations. When the mind won’t stop, write. Get it out. Set a timer for five, ten, fifteen minutes and just write whatever is on your mind. After spilling the contents of your mind, you may find it is easier to write about what you want to write about. Make writing a ritual. Pour a cup of tea. Light a candle. Use the same book and pen. Write from the same space each day. Eventually it will become a habit. Be gentle with yourself. Recognize that you will have distractions. You will be tempted to not…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    The Benefits of Journal Writing

    Reflecting about your life is one of the most self-healing activities you can undertake, and probably the least expensive therapeutic avenue to healing available in our modern world. You need nothing more than pen and paper to journal, and you can do it literally anywhere. I can personally testify to the healing work that journaling has done in my life, and I realize after more than twenty years that it’s been the one mainstay in times of crises and change. Journaling saw me through my mom’s terminal illness and subsequent passing. The practice was a trusted ally on many darks nights of the soul. I also discovered some new things about myself throughout that time, all from putting pen to paper. But don’t take my word for it. There are hundreds of academic reviews that prove reflective writing is healing. Here are just a few of the effects therapeutic writing/journaling can have: lowered blood pressure reduced stress increased clarity a sense of calm more balanced emotions the ability to better find answers within instead of seeking help (though seeking help is NEVER ill-advised!) increased ability to learn and retain info strengthened immune system better overall health lowered anxiety and depression Interested in beginning a journaling…

  • 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…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    Writing to Heal

    Life gives you plenty of material to write about. Whether mad, sad, full of joy, rage, curious, life is full of surprises and writing helps us make sense of the confusion. As I sit to write today, I feel regret … for how I behaved yesterday. While I have reason to feel angry and frustrated with a particular situation in my life, I unloaded on someone else. It wasn’t fair to her and I told her so today, but the feeling in my heart remains heavy. I feel shame for my actions and for discharging them through the spoken word. For me, writing and saying ‘I’m sorry’ are the only ways to move past them. One testament to daily journaling is to simply let it out. I can’t undo what I did, but I can not let it continue to affect me. I can also choose a new story for myself. That new story is that my past trauma and wounds are healing as I write this, that I am better for writing this and that today is a new day. Instead of drowning in doubt and fear, I choose empowerment, better words and better thoughts, the ones the make me a better me, ones…

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured

    My Life Is A Ritual

    I happened upon this statement a few months ago. I’m not sure where, but it attached itself deep in my psyche … “my life is a ritual.” I placed those words on my message board so I could ponder them for a while and I’ve concluded for myself that the statement is true, but my thoughts around ritual are different now. The dictionary defines ritual in this way: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order Essentially, what I believed ritual to be in the past: a long, elaborate set of rules and actions, has changed. The statement also made me ponder ritual vs. getting stuck in my ways, in life … going through the motions. This is something I wish least for myself. As I ruminated on the statement, I thought about my daily morning ritual. I look forward to the morning more than any other time of day. The freshness, the possibility, the gift of ‘beginning again’ each day literally ignites my soul. I also love the idea of honoring the rhythm of the days and seasons and a morning ritual invites that. My morning ritual consists of naturally rising at sunrise, slowly, mindfully making tea, standing…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    The Art of Slow Writing

    In our digital age, we’ve moved from everything slow to everything fast; anything and everything we need we can get now: food, news, a new relationship, the delivery of goods (directly to our homes); you name it, you can have it immediately. We are changing as a race because of it. Our brains are adapting to the speed at which we can get everything, and I’m wondering if that speed is also creating a constant craving and setting us up for future failure. There have been studies of such things. You can read two articles here and here. Perhaps a slowing down is in order. Perhaps it will balance our nervous systems. Perhaps we’ll become kinder people when we slow down enough to pay attention to ourselves and others? Perhaps. As a yoga and embodiment educator, I’ve seen firsthand the effects of a slow conscious breath. I teach people these tools every day. And today, I want to introduce the concept of slow writing as another practice of embodiment. While I write here and other places professionally (on a keyboard), ‘slow writing’ has been a lifelong practice of mine. Simply put, ‘slow writing’ is putting pen to paper, writing by hand. I’ve kept a commonplace…