What is it that takes your breath away?Read More
How exactly does one know the calling of the Soul?
Lo and behold, it’s a question that the seekers of our kind of wrestled with for centuries. The struggle between what our minds tell us, what society seems to suggest, and that wild calling that wakes us from dreams about tall mountain peaks and soaring birds with a driving call for…
Something. If only we could figure out what those dreams meant.Read More
Until recently, this poem was a relic of my Maine upbringing, a celebrated poet of the northeast who, I supposed, liked walking in the woods and taking the less-trodden paths. I could sympathize -- I often prefer to have the trails to myself when I run from the noise of town into th woods.
But oh, Robert Frost -- you are talking to us about Dharma.
Whispering quietly amidst the modern-day memes and banners screaming BE ANYTHING YOU WANT! EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! is a small, persistent voice. It has been speaking ever-louder to me recently, pushing me to inquire deeper and deeper into what.the.hell.it.wants.
Lo and behold, it is wise. And insistent. And demands attention.
It is, as many philosophers call it, The Gift. The Gift, the calling, the blessing, The Muse, the THING that is waiting to be BIRTHED into the world through you.
Not someone else - you. Thomas Merton sums it up nicely. He wrote, "Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself."
I know that somewhere in your gut, or your chest, you have a knowing. Whether it feels clear or confusing, obvious or oh-so-chaotic, your very soul knows that there is a THING. A Path ahead.
So whaddya do?!
You must bravely start making choices.
We return to Mr. Frost. He stood at the junction of the two paths long enough to consider - and then, he made a decision (based on little information) and kept moving. All too often we find ourselves in the paralysis of decision making because of the What Ifs: what if it WAS the wrong path?!
This leads to one thing, and one thing only: the death of the dream. Standing at the juncture, indecisive and making Pro/Con lists, zero steps forward, zero steps back. Stagnant in the cesspool of What If.
The moment we make a choice, logical or illogical, based on research or instinct, we set things in motion. We give the cosmos the signal to line things up, get those opportunities churning, LET'S DO THIS.
I've seen coaching clients whose lives, relationships, and careers shift dramatically the moment they sign up for coaching, before we've even had our first session, because they committed to themselves. That seemingly simple act transforms our lens on life, our own empowerment, and possibility.
I've witnessed brave leaps of committing to path, passion, purpose -- a sister whose inspired exclamation that she was GOING TO KENYA! after a powerful experience were put quickly into action and... she went to Kenya.
Decisiveness. Action. Making a commitment to BRAVELY follow your own path.
Follow the path that is your own. Even the Bible tells us so, in the Gospel of Thomas: If you bring forth what is within you it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.
Take a moment. And then, onward. Later, you will look back to tell the tale of adventures large and small... and all your own.
Sometimes, I try to envision what a SUPER MAGICAL DREAMY future would look like and... can't quite conjure myself to show up in the story.
I can imagine other people living The Life, but I just can't quite stick MY face in the scenes of magic, ease and flow.
Let's start with stating that I'm a Taurus, and we Taureans are all about grounded practicality. This makes us good planners, loyal friends, and diehard with our followthrough.
But all that practicality can keep one a little TOO grounded. Too stuck in what we can see right in front of us that we can't seem to imagine a future where all of our dreams come true.
Because we can't see it yet.
But there's something a little deeper, a little darker, a little more limiting. Marianne Williamson so famously said it best:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us."
So some of us just... don't spend time imagining what our Dreamiest Dream of a Life might, could, will look like.
In some cases (like me!), it's under the guise of staying in the present. We make statements like, I'm trusting in the flow of the Universe! I'll know what's right when I see it! It'll be delivered to me when I'm in full alignment!
Let me be the FIRST to state that I'm totally on board with all of those statements. Just.... not when they're used to avoid taking responsibility for our own visioning, evolution, and intentional creation of whatever our particular genius may be. Crocheting. Dog training. Lip syncing. You have a responsibility to USE that gift and not let it just fester and rot while you wonder why life doesn't seem like much fun.
(Agh, that word... RESPONSIBILITY.)
Back to M. Williamson, and why we are so afraid of our light.
Gay Hendricks calls it the Upper Limit Problem. (There's a video about it here.) Somewhere in life, each of us is programmed with a certain idea about how much happiness, success, and love we are "allowed" to have -- and if we are nearing that threshold, we'll start to exhibit strange, almost unexplainable tendencies to self-sabotage our happiness to stay within our subconsciously-set comfort zone of success.
Sounds ridiculous, right? It's SO REAL.
That time EVERYTHING was going perfectly on that big presentation and you... came down with the flu out of nowhere.
That time you found yourself picking a fight with your Beloved over nothing just before your anniversary.
That time you 'forgot' about an important deadline that cost you your promotion at work.
That time you just kind of... didn't launch your new project. Oops?
It's sneaky, but it's real.
For me, and for many of us, there's a small, thin voice that says something like... Who am I to think my life could be like that?
This is where we get to the yoga. The Bhagavad Gita is yoga's penultimate text on how the %#$& to live our lives according to our Big P Purpose - our Dharma. And according to this epic, the story of a warrior who finds himself unable to carry out his duties on the frontline of a cosmic battle, the proper answer to that question is:
Who are you not to?
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or perchance, a palace or a temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them. -Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau was a student of the Gita, eventually following HIS dharma when he built his cabin on Walden Pond and - behold! - his finest works poured forth. Not exactly dreaming "big" in the material sense, but what he created from a dedication to his craft has impacted American literature for generations. He tried for a while to do things the way he was "supposed to" and failed miserably. But who would he have been if he had forsaken his writing, if he had stopped dreaming of the day his books would finally be seen for their greatness?
We all have a Gift. A passion. A spark. That THING that we know, deep within, is our zone of genius. Or maybe others keep reflecting it back to us - how talented we are, how we light up when we do that thing.
It is our RESPONSIBILITY... to do it.
To catch the moments where we sabotage our success/love/dreams.
To push ourselves to dream more often. To dream BIGGER. To keep trying, until we SEE our faces in that amazing future.
Because it's on its way. We just have to make space for it all to arrive.
return to the sacred heart: costa rica
A journey into the center of your Being:: Purpose, Passion, and Trust with Ankati Day // November 19-25, 2018.
7 years ago, my path changed forever. A calling brought me to the jungle of Costa Rica to study yoga in a community called Pachamama -- and I could never have predicted how that leap would change my life. I not only deepened my practice, but was invited deep into the Sacred Center of what Yoga points us to: self-discovery. Awakening. Insight. Connection in ways I never imagined possible. And a profound relationship with sacred earth traditions.
It brings me such joy, such humble pleasure, to be hosting a 5 day journey in these sacred ways in the forest community that taught me so much.
Yoga. Movement. Meditation. Earth Ceremony. Personal Inquiry. Connection. Details here.
The words piece deep into my belly
She wrestles with the weight of all that life asks of her
And I feel the familiar reflex
To lift it from her shoulders
Wet clothes that hang heavy from tired limbs
Kiss her tired eyelids with stars and warm broth
Tell her to rest, that I will take care of it.
But we both know that I cannot.
We stand and hold one another
Forehead to forehead
Eyes closed in a silent honoring of all that we trust
All that we cannot even grasp at knowing
All that we have clung to
That has slipped away like hummingbirds at nightfall
I know she is living on many planes
And that the colorful threads I weave with words
To concoct my image of all she is
Cannot touch the spaciousness that of
All She Is
And when I try to take, to carry, to fix
I rend her sacred geometry
Upset her dance with gravity
No matter how delicately I tread
And so I sit and smile at her whirling skirts
And I offer her my trust.
I am here when you need me,
And I believe in you.
We've all heard that yoga is helpful for stress, anxiety, and our nervous system -- and on the whole, I'd agree. But some yoga is more helpful than others. In fact, I've found some practices to be more aggravating to my system than helpful.
WHAT?! I know. So here's the breakdown: the right yoga for you!Read More
Let's get clear: why are we practicing yoga in the first place?Read More
The revolution began long before the marches, the posters, the walk-outs.
It began quietly. In unassuming voices, with cups of tea and sleeping children in the back bedroom.
It began in circles. Circles of friends, of women, of men, strangers-no-more meeting one another's gaze with curiosity, trepidation, excitement.
And in Circles, the revolution continues to gain momentum. Build strength. Dig deep roots.Read More
"The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light.
He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God."
- Thomas Merton
* * * * *
I have long been perplexed by "the power of manifestation". So... you want me to sit and visualize what my future self looks like? How am I supposed to know?!
I believe I don't yet know HOW to imagine what my future will hold, because my mind does not yet have the capacity, the framework. The mind cannot visualize or imagine something that is not already within its existing framework -- so why would I want to limit myself to that?
This is where the potency of getting quiet speaks to my heart. To my intuitive knowing. This is where getting OUT of the mind -- and coming back again and again to inquire into its patterns and contents -- feels the most true.
Because what I CAN see is where the patterns of the mind, 'samskaras' in yogic philosophy, trip me up on my journey to expand. When I fall into the same habits of self-doubt, sabotage, distraction.
When I don't answer that email for three days because it would mean a big and exciting but kinda terrifying commitment. When I choose to putter about the house instead of taking my pup to the beach until -- oops! The daylight is gone. When I delay scheduling that workshop, or private session because... what if?
When Fear is running the show, there's no way I can even begin to tap into what it might feel like to be living my life to my highest potential.
So before I get there, before I'm imagining cavorting through the streets of Morocco with a posse of yogis, I must get to know the patterns that send me spiraling into Fear:
What Need am I afraid will not be met?
Love? Support? Connection? Money?
And by letting Fear speak the loudest, how am I blocking the flow of those VERY things?
* * * *
I return to this: "[S]He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. [S]He does not demand light instead of darkness. [S]He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when [s]he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into [her] silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to [her] as a word of great power, full of the voice of God."
There is always room to soften and receive.
"But what does that feel like?"
I'm pretty sure the first time someone asked me that, I experienced a complete failure of vocabulary to accurately assess -- and explain -- my inner experience.
"What do you mean, what does that feel like? It feels like... sensation?"
Trying to "tune in" felt like moving closer to a static-ridden television screen in hopes of seeing... something. Maybe it's like Magic Eye? Nope, just noise.Read More
Should I go to yoga when I'm sick?
The not-so-simple answer: sometimes.Read More
Instead of state capitals and long division
Instead of standing in line and following directions
Coloring within the lines and critical reading
We learned to close our eyes
And get still.
Before I can hear you,
Understand how your voice resonates in my bones
And moves my spirit
I need to hear me
Before I learn to see the world through your eyes
I have to close mine
Close them and wonder
What do I see,
In the darkness?
There are no words,
But I know.
I wish they had told me
When the world seemed overwhelming
And I couldn't memorize
The lines on the page
To sit down
Close my eyes
And trace the lines within.
let me begin: this pain of sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, runs deep.Read More
Today my grandmother was moved into the alzheimers unit.
Today, I honor the births of babies into the families of my close friends.
Today, I honor the passing of a friend's sister.
Alan Watts asked, "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?... What would it be like to wake up, after never having gone to sleep?"
I'm not normally one to dwell in the realms of mortality, but today it is present. It is something perhaps I have become numb to, what with the daily barrage of death tolls in the media and the cold, rational way we "deal" with the cycle of birth and death in our society. There is little in the way of honoring its spiritual significance as we observe the cycle, refusing to acknowledge that we, too, are a part of its spinning way.
A friend likes to remind me, "We will all die."
And it's true. So with that as a given, and an unknown at the same time, how I choose to walk through this leg of the journey is all that matters in this moment. Whether I see it as a fire of transformation, a dance of unfolding, the ecstasy and the heaviness and the laughter and the tears...
Presence seems like the only option.
I will check out of this physical realm someday. But while I'm here, I'll focus on being fully... here. Do the things I mean to do. Not wait until tomorrow, or next week. I will take risks. I will fall in love. I will fight for what I believe is right. I will worry less about how much money I will have when I'm 70. I will tell people I love them a whole lot more. And I will listen to, and trust, the wisdom of my wise, brave, tender heart.
My commitment to being fully alive, on this rainy, cold day.
Sometimes, the system needs to reboot. Upgrade. // Relationship is the greatest - and often the most challenging - mirror and avenue for growth. In it, I have met my most beautiful bliss as well as my deepest shadows. Wounds I had hoped to never see again, brought forth by interactions with my partner to be healed through the fire of our togetherness.
And I do mean fire.
This is a journey of peeling off the layers of mask, ways in which I imagined myself to "be like that", labels and stories I have been sitting in for so long, unknowingly or not -- they have been barriers to truth. To truly, fully, openly surrendering into the depths of my *own* truth first, and then, to the truth of love.
The deepest and most intimate expression of love will stand for no masks, no walls, no pretending who we are -- or who we aren't. Together we crash into the walls, and then dismantle them. We tear off the masks and tend the vulnerable flesh waiting beneath. We hold each other in our unfolding and undoing, sometimes in presence, and sometimes by providing the space for our own private reckoning.
And when we return to one another, we meet in a new Togetherness. An upgraded Us-ness. Our steps, our expression, our loving are different.
There will be another Upgrade. There will be more masks, and more walls to dismantle. This is the journey. But I am grateful for this dance, this mirror, and this deep growth. This Love is no Disney fairytale..
This is real. And this is the journey to Truth.
This is how I know my place in the order of things.
There are new trees fallen across the path, their needles and leaves still holding tightly despite the wild rush to the forest floor. I knew them in their days of grandeur, hugging the edges of this winding trail. The narrow streambed has come alive with what remains of the downpour, and the forest floor bears the signs of leaves and needles pushed aside as the rush of water surged to find its resting place in the marsh.Read More
I will sit at the edge with you
Pondering where I begin
Where you end
In awe of the fluidity
In the give and take
Of divine connection
There really is only
The space of union
Where WE reside
Shared, and yet different
Of this one moment
And yet I mustn't lose sight
Of my desires
They tell me
Where to place my feet
When I walk forward
To meet you.
you ask your heart why it is always hurting.
it says ‘this is the only thing you will allow me to say to you. the only feeling you are willing to feel.
― Nayyirah Waheed, salt.
When we keep waking up to violence, we start to wonder..
What hurts so badly that people make the choices they do?Read More
Getting friendly with the "why" behind our choices.Read More