Over the last few weeks, my mind has become obsessed with all of the "out there" problems that I cannot change, ruminating on everything that needs fixing, healing and growth here.
So much to do, so little time on Earth.
As a born helper it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with these current times.
That's when, thankfully, I started listening to the incredible audiobook My Grandmother's Hands, written by Resmaa Menakem who is a body-based trauma specialist.
His work, based on years of clinical practice with people of all cultures and backgrounds in addition to solid research, affirms what I've felt so deeply about worldly healing: that lasting change starts within each of us, particularly through our bodies.
You see, in our cells, we each carry the instinctual memories, behaviors, patterns and wounds of our ancestors' lived experiences as humans. These wordless patterns that live in black-bodies and white-bodies of both thought and behavior are downloaded into our DNA prior even to birth. And so we literally carry behaviors of the great great great grandparents many of us have never even heard about.
When I was pregnant, I was CERTAIN that neither of my girls would live beyond the womb. It was the most ridiculous thought-pattern: every scan was healthy, every doctor visit normal.
But this was a VISCERAL feeling in my body.
During that time, I was studying yoga therapy and learning about this very concept when I realized that I was carrying my Grandmother's unhealed trauma from her horrifying stillbirth experience -- in my cells.
My body REMEMBERED that wordless story, just as she remembers many others: stories about how to survive: what is safe. what is not safe. what to do to get food, shelter, love and attention. And what NOT to do so as to avoid the unbearable loss of those things.
Most of these body-based behaviors and beliefs are unconscious: automatic, you could say.
That's probably why I've been in the pantry WAAAAY more than usual lately during this intense time: grabbing a chocolate here, there and everywhere. As much as my MIND might disagree with it, this coping strategy of self-soothing wth food LIVES in me as cellular, ancestral memory.
And when I look out to all of the things that upset me about "those people out there" (domination, violence, betrayal and "othering,") I can see that -- although it's extremely hard to do so -- many of those behaviors that created this world in which we live, LIVE in me, too.
I know you think that's crazy.
I'm a yogi. A do-gooder. A mindful mama.
I study spirituality and compassion for a living.
But I still think violent thoughts about my beloved body when I look at her in the mirror.
On a bad day, I dominate and shame my children for their innocent behaviors.
And yes, sadly, I have betrayed the people I love the most just to save my own ass.
Menakem confirms this: that the patterns that got us here, in this version of the America in which we live are INNER behaviors that are expressing themselves externally, creating the world that we are seeing "out there."
That's why these external events keep happening over and over and over again. NOT because we don't WANT change. Not because we don't KNOW better. But because our body-based nervous system reactions simply are stuck in old, unconscious patterns.
That's why Jesus begs us to STOP judging one another.
To forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.
I used to be embarrassed and ashamed of believing that my yoga practice was one of the most potent ways to be of service to the planet. Like thinking that way was some sort of new-age, woo-woo bullshit.
But now I see and understand how and why starting from within, before we take any form of external action, is the only way out of this mess.
Yes, of course we need top-down change, but MORE importantly I think we need bottom up change.
I believe DEEPLY in the change that starts from turning our violent, fearful, animalistic patterns into ones that are empathetic and compassionate towards ourselves and those around us. For I can ONLY give out to the world whatever I've cultivated within myself.
What if, together, we continued to tame the wild demons that keep us separate, scared and segregated?
What if we believed so viscerally that WE MATTER that together we agree to unwind the many ways we each unconsciously cause both others and ourselves harm?
Menakem assures that real healing and transformation starts in the BODY and in safe spaces where we feel held, heard and accepted just the way we are.
That's the power of what we do together, friends.
Using these profound tools, we transform the body, calm and quiet the negative mind and become compassionate bodies that begin to pour a new energy out into this hurting world (which is our karma yoga practice).
How is everyone doing out there? I personally have been fluctuating through moments of high highs (where I see the incredible possibility embedded in these times) and low lows (days where I am exhausted, emotional, frustrated and lacking in strength and hope).
Many of us sensitive souls have always known, though, on a soul-level that the current culture we're swimming in -- based on fear, control and dominance over others, ourselves and the Earth -- is not sustainable.
That while it may feel predictable, just like that nightly beer or five, it's hurting and harming us individually and collectively.
I feel so grateful that many people are waking up to this truth: for we cannot get better until we admit that we are sick.
It reminds me of the moment when I realized that the co-dependent, toxic world I created with my long-time ex was going to kill me if I stayed. That the patterns that were unconsciously running us made us both miserable, sick and depressed.
As this truth became apparently clear one night at the bar with my girlfriends, I felt incredibly sad, scared and EXCITED.
Could there be a different way?
Could I create something NEW?
Could there possibly be LIFE after this unnerving death?
Miraculously meeting and marrying my soulmate Shawn, birthing two incredible children with him and successfully working my dream career are proof that YES, NEW life, in fact, IS POSSIBLE.
But before I could get here, I had to go through the grueling death process first, letting go of the comfortable yet lethal patterns that had been my "normal" for so long. As I walked through this personal crucifixion, I had to watch everything I once identified with fade: old friends, old habits, my old apartment, my free dry-cleaning service (a handy benefit of this partnership ;)), and my status as this man's partner.
While it was painful and sad and emotionally exhausting, from the other side, I can tell you, as my mother once assured me, that it was SO worth it.
Through it I became so clear on what I DID NOT want, so that I could start to awaken to WHAT I DID WANT which was partnership, honesty, respect, gentleness, courage, and connection.
I got SO SO clear on what this potential future partner would be like that I refused to settle for anything less than him. Bad date after bad date could not get me down because I knew, for certain, that a new partner was on his way. My mind was made up.
And so, God, in Her infinite creative wisdom said, "YEEEEEES! That's what I'm talking about" as She got to work on birthing him into Being and miraculously dropping him on my path.
What if this time we are in is the perfect opportunity BREAK UP with our past?
To move through all the big emotions that come with the break-up FIRST, helping us each get clear on all that we DO NOT WANT so that, together, we can get clear on what WE DO WANT?
What if, together, we are beginning to imagine that there could be a different way that we had originally considered possible?
That we're not POWERLESS, but POWERFUL midwives of this SOMETHING ELSE we've always wanted?
This is the power of the yoga practice: giving us the tools to calm, harness and connect with the creative power of our minds, bodies and Souls so that EACH of us become conscious co-creators of a new reality instead of being victims, bystanders, and haters just trying to scoot through life without ever really living.
During my days as a high school English teacher, our department had four main goals for student learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
As a naïve 20-something newbie, I remember feeling intrigued and confused by the last one: LISTENING.
Did listening actually have to be taught?
If so, how?
And of all the skills to teach, how did this one make the top four?
But now, as a 37 yr old lonely, occasionally depressed stay-at-home mother, I long to be surrounded by real listeners, and I now get how rare they actually are.
Since the horrific death of George Floyd, my teachers are all talking about this mysterious skill – LISTENING. Many of them no longer posting their own perceptions of reality, but handing their mics over to BIPOC who are dying for us to have a listen to what things have been like from their side of the invisible wall that keeps us separate.
I have hope that many of us have been shaken enough to, at least for awhile, step over to the wall, open the window, and really listen to what’s going on over there.
Last week, ironically but not surprisingly, as I am considering this skill of listening, I found myself in an uncomfortable disagreement with a woman whom I’ve had tension with since we first met.
Truthfully, I am jealous.
She radiated confidence, inner resilience and self-assuredness at a time when I was weak, fatigued, insecure, and unable to make complete sentences. This jealousy causing me, embarrassingly, to be her #1 silent critic from afar.
Most recently, we had a text exchange that threw me over the freaking edge. I responded to her curtly with an “okay, no problem.”
You know, the perfect “I’m pissed but I’m not really going to say it” text.
To which she replied “Can we talk?”
This was the moment we’d all be waiting for.
I gave myself a few days to get my head straight, to really feel into WHAT it was that made me so upset about our interactions. And then, with shaky hands and a racing heart, I called her.
She was ready to listen.
And once I started talking, it all just fell out. All of the ways I felt her judging me, not accepting me for who I really am: the many ways that she made me feel on edge and insecure and as if I was not enough.
“Are you done?” she asked, listening intently.
“I thiiiink so,” I stammered anxiously.
To my great surprise, she started laughing.
“This is so funny,” she said. “Because I feel really judged by you, too.”
She went on to tell me her perceptions of me, from the other side of the invisible wall. How she felt me looking down upon the way that she went through the world and how shitty it felt to her, too.
As the truth came out, it became apparently clear that everything I couldn’t stand about her were traits that I had not made peace with about my own behaviors, habits, and inner gifts.
The unreal stories my mind was telling about her melted away as the REAL story of her experience poured out.
My heart opened.
My eyes cleared.
And I began to see her – the real her – for the first time.
All because of listening.
While this conversation was super uncomfortable, it allowed me to see MY blindspots and MY judgements instead of blaming and shaming the unreal "other" who is my friend.
The art of listening is not glamorous.
No one gets major credit or Facebook likes or publicity for being an observer, a witness, for remaining curious and non-judgmental. Well, except for the Dalia Lama or Jesus perhaps.
But my favorite people on this planet are the ones who listen, with curiosity, to what it’s like to be me. To wonder what it's like to live in this skin, with this past, these emotions and insecurities and passions.
This experience has inspired me to be a fervent listener during this time. To open my mind to podcasts, documentaries, books and people that I don’t normally listen to. To be curious. To question my thoughts. To better understand. To crawl into another’s skin and walk around in it as Atticus Finch suggested.
I have been humbled and inspired, saddened and hopeful.
I want to know who is on the other side of the wall of my white privilege. I want to know what it’s like to be them. This feels like the natural first step to seeing our oneness and to moving forward together.
While I know that there is no way I will ever be able to dismantle the centuries of pain that BIPOC experience, I am not giving up on doing my part. I believe that we change this universe one small act, relationship, conversation, and connection at a time.
In hopes that it might be of service, I’m sharing my most recent process (inspired by Rev. Michael Beckwith) below:
FEEL: let your initial big emotions move through you however they’d like. What’s working for me now is verbally processing with friends and mentors that I feel safe with, going on nature walks, journaling, and moving my body.
PRAY: if you feel deep in your bones that you want to be part of this movement toward healing racial wounds, ask to be shown how YOU personally can be of service. Let the Divine GUIDE you instead of your guilt and fear.
LISTEN: Keep your eyes, ears and heart open to the people, books, podcasts, groups, etc. that you intuitively feel drawn toward. Trust your inner guide to show you what is yours to do.
TRUST in your IMPACT no matter how small: what you say to your kids, how you treat BIPOC in front of them, what you’re talking about, listening to, supporting, etc. ALL create universal waves in the pool of our collective consciousness. You matter.
KEEP THE FAITH: As Jesus says, faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Notice the changes you are seeing. Notice people coming together. Imagine the future you are longing for and know that this, too, has a powerful impact on the whole.
Here are the resources that are helping me right now:
- Short, straight-forward series of 14 podcasts on Seeing White: https://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/
- Woman run, year-long body-based book study on dismantling the inner realms of racism: https://www.rootedandembodied.com/somatic-abolitionism-12-month-study?fbclid=IwAR2T9Qr9mHtPoI3YXRCdbgkg32O7NKHvsX6DPVLF2PrdIuYpfTHvNm1_zVw
- 13th: A Netflix Documentary on understanding the history of black-based mass incarcerations: https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741
Tomorrow we join to practice making our minds stretchier through bodily movement so that we can practice inner listening, as yoga teaches that all changes start from within. Listening is one of the most powerful reasons to come to the mat. As we get to know ourselves better, we can better understand and empathize with those around us.
As always, I invite you into conversation with me as I navigate these unstable waters of speaking more clearly about tender issues and dismantling ourselves from the systems that are harming us individually and collectively. I know that I am not perfect and have plenty of blindspots. Feel free to reply to me personally if you are seeing any of them.
With love and humility,
Here's the truth: I am a closet people pleaser. Like, the worst.
I think I burst out of the womb with an invisible, full body "PLEASE LOVE ME" tattoo.
"I'll do anything, okay?" I begged. "Dress how you want. Talk how you want. Be who you want. Just please, please love me. Please don't leave me."
And so, like a pavlovian dog, I was trained to be exactly who society expected: rewarded when I fit their "good" girl mold, and banished when I did not.
I learned, one reward and punishment at a time, who to be in order to get the love I longed for, and most importantly, what parts of me would never, ever, ever be acceptable here.
You know, like the loud part. The angry part. The chubby part. The emotional part. The intuitive part. The honest part. The sensitive part. The slow part. The insecure part.
And, you guys, I CRUSHED it: pushing my deplorable parts down and down and down with food, fake friends, and the fantasy world of television.
No wonder I barely remember high school.
No wonder I felt half alive.
And although I had many gifts that still managed to peek out of my weighty costume, math was not one of them. Especially geometry.
But since my older sister was a genius and I wanted nothing more than to be exactly like her, I decided to try pretending I was smart, too. Yep, sign me for alllll the smart kids classes... that one there... Honors Geometry?!? SUUUUURE, I can do that, no problemo.
Well, the truth is that I am the rightiest, right brain there ever was. The truth is I had no business being in that room. But the truth was not safe.
And so I spent every 5th period with a smile plastered on my face, pretending to take notes, pretending to understand. Pretending... pretending... pretending, while slowly dying inside.
But, as karma would have it, my first test came back with nothing but the truth: 52% with Please See Me scribbled on top. I had never scored so low in my entire life. Wrapped in shame, I told my parents. Wrapped in shame, I dragged myself into Mr. Engebretsen's room after school one dismal day.
Something about the warmth of his smile, the kindness in his eyes and his occasional laughter told me that maybe, just maybe he was safe. That maybe, just maybe, I could slowly unzip my costume. That maybe, just maybe, I could tell him the truth.
And after he proved himself worthy of this treasure, I did. My dirty little secret bursting like a bullet when I was ready to release it. "Errr, Mr. Engebretsen, ummmm, you see, the REAL problem is that I totally and completely suck at math."
And do you know what he said?
Not, you disgust me.
Not, get out of here you unworthy heathen.
Not even, get your deplorable self down to regular math.
No, do you know what that angel man said?! "No problem. Let's get to work. I specialize in teaching kids how not to suck at math."
I think right there, in that moment, I instantly lost ten pounds. More breath found its way in. My relieved body relaxed. THIS, my friends, is the power of truth-telling.
And so every day, I came to Mr. Engebretsen's room, probably longing for the feeling of safety he exuded even more than his brilliant, relatable instruction.
Protected by his love and support and belief in me, things started to change. I actually, can you believe it, started LIKING math... you know, GETTING it... and SUCCEEDING at it. Fast forward three months and lo and behold I got my first 99%. We were both so incredibly proud of me.
And while Mr. Engebretsen is no longer in his Earthly body, my Soul will forever remember the lesson that he came to teach me: that the truth will set you free, love.
That truth-telling is the impetus of healing.
That magic nearly explodes into the world right along with it.
But in a white-washed world where the prerequisite to the "cool club" is posturing, pedicures, and people pleasing, NO WONDER we hide and vanish and mask our true selves: having fake conversations with fake people while wearing fake costumes and fake faces, secretly, silently soothing ourselves with screens, shopping and sugar.
But I have a dream, that one day this fake world will end.
That one day, every man and woman can embrace their full humanity, their imperfect bodies, and all of their big, beautiful human feelings.
I have a dream that one day we can weep and laugh and truth tell and rest together, without apology.
That we will see and be seen for who we really are, receiving both ourselves and each other with the same tenderness and compassion that Mr. Engebretsen gave my masked and manipulated self.
I have a dream that somewhere out there, a world exists where the innate worth of every single human is nonnegotiable: untouchable by suffocating, superficial measuring sticks.
And on a quiet day, I see this world being birthed into being. Right now, in fact.
On a good day, when I come up for air, I see Her in my weary neighbors walking my streets with no where to go, no masks to wear, and nothing to hide from each other.
This Sunday, I am honored to teach you about the power of truth-telling (or satya) and the practices that have supported me in getting comfortable and clear with my inconvenient truths.
Together, we will attend to your holy human self just as you are, tending to your tender body, opening your neck and shoulders and gently encouraging the throat to release whatever it may be keeping in in order to keep you safe.
I see and honor your journey, however and where ever you are.
This time away from everyday life has made me soooo acutely aware of myself and my imperfections (... anyone else?).
There are parts of that has been really nice, and also parts that are extremely difficult.
All those shadowy behaviors that I easily ignore when I'm busy -- saying things I don't really mean, zoning out on social media, sneaky snaking sweets, snapping at my kids and then beating myself up for it -- are all here for me to look at.
There's no where to run.
Nothing to distract me from myself.
And in a way, I know that this is part of the healing that's being asked of us collectively: the opportunity to see what's really here so that we can choose differently for the future.
But, daaang, it can be a lot to look at at once.
And every time I bring my frazzled, disoriented self to my mat, and finally sit still, what I hear is: "It's okay, beloved, I'm right here. It's okay beloved, try again."
God an eternally patient Mother, right here with me, never judging or doubting my progress or abilities.
Like babies trying to walk in a brand new world, we are ALL navigating new territory and that can be both overwhelming and, as psychologists know very well, can trigger the old coping strategies that we thought we once mastered to rise to the surface yet again.
Listen, I've tried the breathing techniques.
The magic yoga postures.
I've journaled and walked in nature and called friends.
And while all of those coping skills are extremely helpful in their own ways, nothing has helped me more than the sacred practice of forgiving myself (or rather, resting in the ocean of compassion that lies beyond my thinking mind).
This weekend, I'm excited to share some of the transformative tools I've learned for softening and healing the heart: mindfulness, self-compassion, heart-opening practices, and deep deep stillness.
I share my imperfections with you only to mirror the messy process we are all in as we join together in this journey of becoming new. To let you know that if you, too, are looking your imperfections straight in the eye, you're not alone.
Looking back, I can see now that everything I've been through has been preparing me for this time: gifting me with the tools that have brought me back to the Love that's always here -- even and ESPECIALLY when I am a hot mess. It is an honor to now share them with you, too, as we brave the wilderness together.
With love and deep compassion,
The ancient yogis saw clearly that we are not separate from God.
That within each of us, there lis a Divine Spark where all the answers lie, waiting there like a buried treasure, to guide and support us through each season of our lives.
The technology of yoga is an ancient system DESIGNED to strengthen that connection by detoxifying challenging emotions, quieting racing thoughts and calming body tension so that the deeper answers can be revealed to us.
In a world of disappointing politics, hierarchical religions, and self-serving leaders, I am continually reminded that trying to find the answers from thousands of unstable external sources is complete madness: that the most reliable place to go for guidance is within the soul.
Not to the news.
Not to my husband (although I do appreciate his perspective -- occasionally ;)).
Not to Facebook.
But within the depths of my inner-most being.
What if each of us had a Divine role to play in these times?
And what if we ALREADY have everything we need inside of us to fulfill it?
And what if this collective challenge is the perfect opportunity to lean more deeply into our inner-most wisdom, together?
I hope you can feel my love and support wherever and however you are. We will get through this, one breath at a time, and will no doubt come out of stronger and wiser and closer than before.
Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I'm grieving, I realized.
Grieving the trips that have been cancelled.
The support that embraced me at school drop-off, Sunday church service, our weekly yoga class.
I'm just not sure when they will come back.
And that makes me really really sad.
Yes, we are collectively grieving. The loss of our financial security, the loss of community connection, and the possible losses that might be on their way.
When grief used to appear at my door, I'd do anything to numb the sound of her knocking: stuffing myself with food, wine, shopping, screens, sex -- anything to numb the pain I didn't know how to feel.
Through my healing process, I've learned that it's TOTALLY normal to be a feeling creature. That, in fact, that's part of the design of this Divine / human experience: to fully feel the pain, joy, sadness, and the incredible love and beauty scattered among all of it.
To me, this is what Jesus came to show us: that being human, in its fullest sense, is quite possibly the most sacred path of all.
This week, I plan to share the techniques that have helped me give space for my feelings to move through me, allowing them all to be here without taking me under (although they still do some times).
Come with your journal, your jammies, your coffee, and anything that comforts you.
What I know for sure is that, when it comes to emotions, the only way out is through and through and through and that now, more than ever, we need safe spaces (and smart practices) to support us in our experience of being whole humans.
I love you and give you so much permission to feel what you're feeling. This too shall pass, and we will get through it together.
Hello, my loves.
I know this is hard. I know this is scary. I know it's ... weird.
But I also deeply know that it's sacred and somehow has a place in the story of humanity. That there's something we are learning here amidst this dark, womby place, that could not be learned otherwise.
And that's why I'm going to keep showing up, every Sunday morning, to walk with you through your process, exactly as it is unfolding for you.
When I was grieving a few years back, I found my way into a Yoga for Grief class with my incredible mentor, Jemma Skye Champeau. At that time I was in deep misery, feeling sorry for myself and overwhelmed by so much loss and change coming at me all at once.
That's when Jemma shared her unbelievable story of grief which involved the sudden, tragic loss of her young husband at a young age.
I watched her in awe as she shared how the experience, although seemingly unbearable, broke her open, calling her into leadership, deep service, and activating a Soul strength she never knew she had.
From the other side of the tomb, she was alive, standing, clear, calm, confident, and -- to my utter shock -- grateful for her experience.
That day, and through our year of work together, she invited me, too, to trust my grief. To allow all of my feelings to flow through me. To let go into what was happening to me, and to find the deeper place that would come out of it more alive, calm and courageous than it was before.
And through her permission, I was made new.
Lost and then found.
Nearly dead, and then somehow more alive than ever before.
In this very masculine culture in which we live, we are told that surrender makes us weak. That it means we are somehow giving up the fight. However, I know nothing that takes more courage than to continue to say *yes* to what Life is asking of us amidst the moments when we want to run.
From my experience, it's through turning toward the challenge and processing it fully that we find out who we really are: not our finances. Not our hair color. Not our social status. Not even our bodies. But something much deeper and more powerful than we could ever have imagined.
If you need a safe place to come and be loved, seen, heard and honored as you are, I will be here for you, sharing the tools that gave me the permission to relax, let go, and surrender into my own process of transformation.
Sending my love and support wherever and however you are.
You don't have to sing the right songs, read the right books, or do the right practice to be Holy.
You don't have to take the class, do the training, or get the certification to be Enough.
You don't have to wear the clothes, get the tattoo, or put on the mask to be Beautiful.
You don't have to be Paleo or Vegan, Dairy Free or Gluten Free.
You can just wake up and decide that today, as you are, you are Enough.
You're so damn holy and messy and shiny.
You can decide that Today.
You, with your pain and anger, your hairy legs and your self-doubt.
You can just say "f*ck it: I am holy. I am perfectly imperfect.
Someone is choosing me, today, just as I am to change the world.
To share my story. To be myself. To shine my light.
To free the slave who still believes that she *has to* in order to be free."
Lovelies - many of you know that I am in a difficult season: the tears, pain and angst that come from major life change presenting themselves to me at random.
And I haven't been sharing them with you for your pity or attention but rather to demystify the false belief that following a spiritual path exempts us, somehow, from the natural human emotions of sadness, loneliness and grief.
Lately, my practice has asked me to keep being REAL with MYSELF during this difficult time: giving myself the permission to be messy and to deeply listen for what I need (which cyclically varies from a yoga practice, to a meditation, to a bath, to a cry, to a bestie chat, to some pizza / wine / ice cream / Netflix).
It's not easy, though, in a world that pulls me all in a million directions and tells me to put myself last.
Last weekend, I was gifted time alone on the beach by myself (which seems to be where Spirit speaks most clearly). I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous shells lying on the shoreline I really wanted to find a *perfect* one to bring back to Maple, but... I couldn't! They were all broken: one in half, another in the corner, another in the middle. Where are the PERFECT ONES?!? I shouted.
A question to which I, almost immediately, threw up my hands, looked to the sky, and laughed at God. Oooooh, riiiiiiight. They are all broken. I forgot.
So, I sat with one for awhile and let her speak. I fingered her delicate groves and intricate design contemplating how this beautiful creation just popped out of nowhere to supply a creature with a home for a short while.
Can you see that, while I'm broken, I'm beautiful, too, she asked? Yes, see my wound, but also see my beauty, okay? Please pay attention to both. And so I did, looking into the most perfect mirror for me in that moment, taking in its medicine.
After the message was received, I began to head back to the car when I came upon a small crowd. What could they be looking at I nosily wondered as I nudged my way through to see the action.
In the midst of the circle lay a gorgeous ocean bird with broken legs, sweetly sitting with her eyes closed, patiently waiting for death to come. We stood there almost ceremoniously, our silent prayers woven around her body like an ethereal wreath.
I couldn't help but notice how this beautiful, broken one was so attractive to us, surrounded by so much unconditional love in her time of need. With eyes closed she couldn't see it, but I know that she felt it and maybe that was what mattered the most.
And on my meditation seat, when I take a moment to pause in the midst of my suffering, I can sense that while I feel so alone these days, I'm not. That amidst the pain, "there is an immense tenderness that is endlessly giving itself to me in all situations" (Fr. Richard Rohr).
That this loving and gentle One is still holding, rocking and comforting me during this cruxifixction; if I stop and pay attention, I find Her right here with me at all times, circumstances and places, reminding me that "while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" (Buddha).
And just like the attractive yet broken bird, I can sense that in my darkest moments I am a magnet for angels, loving ancestors and guides who are, no doubt, all circled up around me, praying quietly, offering comfort, just waiting to help if I give them permission.
This belief that my brokenness makes me unlovable is one I'm trying to heal, one moment at a time, remembering that, as my guru Brene Brown says, it's in our brokenness that we make the deepest possible connections to one another and to life.
The real medicine, though, comes when I personally keep showing up for myself in these dark moments, just as the God(dess) does, offering myself the same unconditional love, compassion, and tenderness that this Loving Presence so effortlessly gives me.
I am over the moon to be able to share the gifts and teachings and tools that are helping me through this difficult season with my Milwaukee yogis this winter, when powerhouse singing bowl goddess Kathryn Rambo and I will team up to teach a research-based workshop on how to love yourself in the midst of your own dark season, whether that's simply through the winter months or your own spiritual journey from darkness to light.
I hope you can join us (read more about the workshop here and contact me to register), and remember to take a moment to find both the cracks and the beauty that is you the next time you pause to sit with this one right here.
So much love to you always.
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother