Month: April 2020

Grief and Earth Day

Rumi writes:
“My heart is so small it’s almost invisible. How can you place such big sorrows in it? “Look,” he answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.”

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.  It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

It was the above versus that I started all of my classes with last week. The Monday prior I had one of the most difficult days of my life. One of those days where you hear of multiple losses and it breaks your heart. But, I soon came to clearly see how the breaking of my heart was the opening of my heart.

Rumi also writes, “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” I couldn’t make it through that sentence on my Saturday mornings class without tears and the inability to speak. But it was in moments like that, that I came to understand so deeply how joy and love are connected to sorrow and sadness. I realized that the very people and places that I was mourning, we’re also people and places that had brought me some of the greatest joy in my life.  To them I am eternally grateful.

Simultaneously, it was Earth week and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  It was very easy to tie that in with Rumi’s words around the shaken leaves from the bough of your heart, rotted roots, and the garden of compassion.

Organically and intuitively, I began to invite people to listen to “The garden of their heart”. And to also move in their practices in a way that served both their body equally as much as their soul.

Midway through one class I rediscovered, in a way that felt completely new, how ‘Earth’ and ‘Heart’ share the same exact letters. I also love how Maxine sent me a message saying how Earth without ‘art’ is “eh”! In our Vinyasa classes this week we embodied those very letters inside our flows, forming the shapes of each letter with our bodies.  We are all works of art!

To say there were not enough metaphors with this intention would be a lie! Here are a few:

“Max’s Version”:
In preschool, Maxwell’s(my son) teachers invited all the children to acknowledge how they write their letters and numbers are their own special versions. I am grateful to his teachers for this thoughtful approach to supporting each child to feel confident in their abilities. Of course they help them to write them how is necessary, but in their own unique way. This gave me the insight when speaking to grief and joy that each of us will have our own unique “version” of how we are with grief. How we will be with sorrow, and how we will be with our joys, it will be our own unique expressions. There is no ‘one way’ to “handle” grief.

“The Garden Keeper”:
In my Saturday afternoon restorative class as we were lying in one of our postures, the story of The Gardener whose garden continue to be eaten came to me. The gardener built a tall fence and closed the gates and went to bed. The next day he awoke and went outside and his garden had still been eaten again. So he dug his fence deeper into the ground, and still the next day his garden had been eaten. As he sat on his porch looking out upon his garden, it finally dawned on him to open the gate. When he opens the gates, and left them open, the next day his garden had not been eaten. The rabbit that had been caught inside had been set free. This is metaphor for the necessity of opening our hearts, and leaving them open always. The rabbit symbolizing negative emotions and energies and thoughts, and if we contain them within ourselves they will eat us from the inside out. But, if we can truly “keep your heart open through everything”, as Rumi stated, then it is possible for our “pain to become our greatest ally”. This was the moment that I realized what I was grieving had brought me such great joy in my life. What I thought I was missing because it no longer existed, had been the source of such great happiness, transformation, and connection in my life, and in fact, still does!  What a gift! The joy of remembering and living in my imagination, moments with my friends, and these places, had come from my sorrow of their loss.  Inevitably, they were of the same coin. Perhaps this is what Rumi means when he writes, “Whenever sorrow comes, be kind to it. For God has placed a pearl in sorrows hand.” I had written about this garden keeper in a previous blog, read it here!

“The Garden of Your Heart”:
And of course with this, and the garden of one’s heart, you can imagine the multitude of symbolism!  I was constantly inviting people to go to the Garden of their heart, and to remember how the heart embraces all things with love. Even those things that cause sadness, grief, unhappiness, uncertainty, and fear. The heart embraces it all. I invited people to imagine all the varieties of flowers, plants, trees, animals, and creatures in the garden of their heart. To imagine the various seasons of their heart, and the season in which we’re all living right now. And how the heart always speaks in truths and in love.  How the garden needs everything within it in order to flourish, even the decay and death that inevitably leads to nourishment for new growth and new Life!

“Dandelion Vision”:
Imagine a small dandelion with roots dug into the Earth, a tall green stem strong and steadfast, and full blossom with soft white snowflake-like seeds in a circumference that looks like a snowball.
A young, playful child comes along and plucks it from its source of the Earth. The dandelion, suddenly ripped from its foundation, trembles with fear and uncertainty. The young child blows the wisps of white seeds out into the air. The dandelion seeds float and fly in the breeze, and are forced to surrender to the flow of the Universe. The seeds do not know where their journey is taking them, nor where they will land, but for the moment they try to just let go and take in the journey, one moment at a time. I imagine in this moment that the dandelion learned a lot; not only of surrender, but also from this place floating higher up in the air that they can now see new things that they hadn’t before when they were rooted to the Earth.  And, inevitably gravity brings them back to the Earth upon which they land and are held once more in stability.  It is here on Earth that they will plant themselves, having come to the end of one journey, only to begin the sprouting of the next journey!

That last metaphorical story, brings me to one of my heartfelt “a-ha!” Moments that I had when courageously diving deeper into my own grief.  Grief means “deep sorrow, especially from someone’s death”.  In its Latin root words, it holds weight and heaviness. ‘Gravare’, meaning “heavy”, and ‘gravis’, meaning “weight”.  This immediately made me think of gravity. And being that I was tying this all in with Earth Day, my heart totally cracked wide open when I realized that Mother Earth is always pulling us lovingly to her! Literally by use of her gravitational pull, but more so metaphorically, by way of her loving embrace that is always gently pulling us into her bosom. 

I ended all of my classes with these words that came to me in meditation, may you speak them to your heart:

“Have no fear my heart!
Stay open, even in difficult times.
May I follow you, my dear heart, to guide me back home.
May I remember your Truth.
May I ground in you.”

May you be drawn to the loving pull of your own heart’s gravity, this week and always.

If you would like more meditations, I highly, highly support you in listening to my dearest friends podcast, “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire”! Dr. Deborah Adamy, or ‘Mama A’, as she is so lovingly called, shares some of her own personal meditations for all of us during this time of the pandemic. It has been a balm to my soul. 
Click HERE!
She also interviewed me in episode #37, if you want to listen!
It is Deb’s picture from her daily hikes that I share with you here (above)! Thank you, Deb, for being a Light in my life. You are the one who helped me to allow myself to let my heart be “cracked open” in our Sacred Activist trip to Malawi, Africa!

And, finally, here is an article of ideas on how to help Mother Earth:
Click HERE!

If you feel called to do more with supporting Mother Earth, climate change, and supporting healing around these subjects for the collective conscious, please visit another dear friend of mine’s website: www.WeHealForAll.com 
Liz Moyer is a one-of-a-kind, deeply caring, soulful, empathetic, inclusive, and loving human being.  I have had the honor of being a participant in some of her healing circles and can attest to their potency for hightening Ones vibration.

Breathe and Believe.

Protection/Peace/Abundance/Lakshmi

This week we began class thru mantra to evoke and call in protection, peace, and abundance.  We used the Lashmiyei Swaha mantra, listen to it HERE!
We were seated and simultaneously used the Abhaya Mudra, the gesture of ‘no fear’, click HERE!
Here is some more on Lakshmi’s four arms, it is so beautiful!

I often feel within the energy of the abhaya mudra, the energy of receptivity as well. The right hand in front of the right shoulder has an open palm, and is facing outwards.  Yes, it feels as if to say, “stop”, do not enter here, but at the same time, for me, it is also a welcoming.  In my personal experience, it has always held an energy of receptivity at the same time. And therein lies my intention for our classes, and for all beings this past week.  That we all receive protection, peace, and abundance.  Not only abundance of peace and protection, but abundance in all aspects of our lives. So, if you chant the mantra, ask for what you need an abundance of, and in what areas of your life.  And, yet…

as we moved into triangle pose, I often cue the language, “reach out, reach further, what are you reaching for?” as meaning, what are you longing for?  And this week it came out the same, but with very different meaning. “What are you reaching for?”  Do you not know that all you reach for lies within you?!  Stop reaching, and realize the depth of your own Self.  Take that Sacred Pause to feel within yourself, connect to your heart center, and feel how you already hold within you the same energy of anything you might reach for outside of yourself.  My heart danced joy within my chest when that came out! lol! Yes!  So, receive the abundance from within your own heart’s well of love and offerings!  Be receptive to what lies within!  

All of these things that I have talked about so far, are the embodiment of Lakshmi, depicted above, seated atop a full lotus flower.  She represents beauty, harmony, and kindness.  Her mantra, click that link above, calls for the manifesting of every kind of abundance, even financial!  It is often called the “money mantra”.  You can chant it 108 times every morning and night if you like; use some mala beads to keep your count…this is also why we did malasana, the beads pose, in our classes, as well as padmasana, lotus pose! Its all connected, wink wink, and I meant to do that too!  We called it out 10 times with the long OM preceding it and closing it.  Remember, when we sing, when we call out the chant, we are evoking that same essence within ourselves that we are calling upon!  You may call upon Lakshmi, yes, but you are also calling upon that same likeness of her that lives in YOU!  YOU ARE BEAUTY, YOU ARE PEACE, YOU ARE ABUNDANT!  That is why in that triangle pose, what are you reaching for, changed meanings.  This mantra’s vibration removes the illusion that you are not already abundant! 

Remember, ‘man’ means “mind” and ‘tra’ means “instrument or vehicle”.  Mantras are used to be a vehicle upon which your mind rides the waves of its vibrations right to your heart.  Use the mantras to remember who you are, to ‘know thy Self’.  Use the mantras to remember what you already are.  Use the mantras as an instrument to bring the mind to the vibration of whatever you are chanting or saying, so that you can calm your nervous system, connect within, create a new thought wave pattern in sync with the energy you are singing with, and more.  No matter what language you use, too!  In my restorative class on Saturday afternoon, I invited everyone to “chant” , or say, ‘peace’ in their minds eye again and again during one posture.  Try it now, if you like:  sit comfortably, soften your body.  Take a few deep, calming breaths.  Close your eyes.  Begin to say “peace” again and again, slowly, within yourself.  You can do it out loud at first, and then turn it inward too.  Notice how you feel after a few minutes of repetition.

This mantra also supports an act of gratitude for all things.  All things. That is why it felt like such a divine hit when, in Saturday morning’s class at the end, I received a message from Source by way of my students.  The message was this, 

“When we are restricted in anyway, may we turn our gaze to what we can do.
That is living in abundance.
That is living in peace.
That is being fearless and having the courage to do what we can, and do it with love.”

I know a student who is physically limited, but who shows up for practice to do what she can!  
I know a student who can’t travel back to school for sustainable fashion, and she is making hundred of face masks and surgical gowns from her own home! 
We ALL are restricted in certain ways right now.  
How are you finding the abundance in life?  How are you finding the peace?  How are you making peace?  What do you need to make peace with?

And, are you remembering how you are ALWAYS HELD by the Universe in protection?  May that knowledge bring you an abundance of peace in your heart. May you be receptive to the Love that is wrapped around you always.

Breathe and Believe.

Interrupt/Interconnected/Erupt/Volcano

Interrupt:

Definition…1. Stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process)
                  2. Break the continuity of (a line or surface)

From an experience with this word hitting me in a deep energetic way, my mind then erupted with these words:

Inter, erupt.
Interrelated, interconnected.
Erupt, rupture, eruption.

Our lives have been interrupted by this corona virus.  But, I kept contemplating whether or not it has “stopped” us, or if it has caused us to “break”….

I can only speak for myself when I say that even in the chaos of my home, even through the shorter bits of quiet reflection time that I now have, and even in this time of uncertainty, sadness, and the unknown, it feels more like a Sacred Pause. A pause that holds a lot of movement inside of it, energy, and seeds for growth, change, and transformation.

I am sure for others it has caused a feeling of being broken.  I have not lost a loved one to this virus.  I do not have a family member or beloved who is ill with it.  I can’t imagine.  I am grateful, blessed, or lucky, however you want to call it.  I can only do my part to support others experiences, keep communication open, invite others to share their story and express their emotions.  I can continue to do my part in wearing masks, staying in, and practicing physical distancing; because I refuse social distancing, that is, I will stay in touch with others in the ways possible so that we all can feel a ‘touch’ of love, support, and connection. 

I also believe that we, too, have the ability to create the interruptions in our own life…and to design our life in the way that we wish it to be. We each have the strength, courage, and ability, to create ruptures, just like the tearing of muscles that lead to a building of strength within our body.  A strength that leads to greater abilities to “holdup” larger things, including our Selves, and the immensity of who we are!  You are a child of the Universe, no less than!

Even when our lives are interrupted due to a circumstance from an outside aspect, how are we going to handle that eruption? This energy that pushes its way into our life, pushing things out of the way without regard, and forcing us to build something new, or walk a different path, or to have to climb into the heat and discomforts of transformation.

Is it really an action of how we choose to perceive it, how we choose to use such interruptions that becomes and defines who We are? I say yes and no. Yes because we do have the choice of how we wish to work with it. And no, because it happened to us, it was not in our control.  And, yet, now we all have a place, a moment in time, the opportunity right now, to start creating a future that we want and that we hope for.  ‘One Moment In Time’ by Whitney Houston, listen HERE, jumped into my head. What a powerful song. And, often played for the Olympics, a symbol of the whole of the world coming together. The Olympics have been postponed, but not stopped! And, I doubt that the Olympian’s drive has been broken. 

Recently, I had an interaction where a dear friend came over to the house to deliver face masks that she had sewn together herself. I had no idea the eruption of emotion that would come up from within me as she was standing six feet away outside my door. We could not touch. And yet we were both very much attached and moved.

So, one thing I invite you to consider, whenever you feel you have the capability and the wherewithal, to consider your re-entry. That this eruption and interruption to our lives can be like the separation of the earth that builds a grand volcano from which we could stand on top of and watch the sunrise and sunset everyday, and to see our interconnectedness from such a bird’s eye view(see picture above!). And that we could be interrupted and torn like muscles, but it’s in that tearing that the rebuilding happens. Just as in my diastasis, the tear in my abdomen, that had to happen in order for the creation and the fruition of my child to grow and be born. Here is an article I found powerful in relationship to re-entry*, read it HERE. I find it powerful. I like it also because it doesn’t bypass anything, and yet it also names the caring ability of all humans.  

For now, how are you choosing to be? In your days and hours? How are you choosing to conduct your self? How are you supporting your self? What are you needing? Wanting?And are you nourishing that need?  How are you taping into the ‘continuous progress’ of life?  Are you finding ‘continuity’ of Light in your life?  Where can you spot the Light?  What could you shed a little more Light and love upon?

I closed my classes this week with these words from the 14th Dalai Lama:


No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent on developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up

*Please watch out for upcoming events that I will be doing with friends to support us all on many levels.

Breathe and Believe.
sahasrara chakra

“Some say sahasrara is the seat of the Soul, an eternal and dimensionless witness that stays with us throughout lifetimes. Others say it is the point through which the Divine spark of Shiva enters the body and brings intelligence. It is the master processor of all awareness— the gateway to worlds beyond and worlds within, the dimensionless circumference that encompasses all that is. However we choose to describe it, we must remember that its scope is far greater than our words can convey. It can only be experienced.” -Anodea Judith


Sahasrara, ‘the thousand-fold’, is the crown of the head and the space just above. It correlates to the pituitary gland, cerebral cortex, and central nervous system.  It’s thousand petals of a lotus flower unfold gracefully, with petals turning downward to drip and pour the nectar of knowledge and awakening down into us.  It is beyond space, time, and form. It is. It is all.  It is divine and effulgent.

It’s purpose is for understanding. I feel, in my own heart, that the crown chakra reminds us of our own divine spark, our own Inner Wisdom, and knowing our connection to the Collective Consciousness.  That these two are one in the same. It is at best, undescribable.  We all have the capability to experience moments of this Oneness and Divinity.  Whether it’s thru an act of service, the laughter of a baby, the kiss from a beloved, a sunrise, a sunset, the starry nights sky, or a moment of pure detachment and bliss during meditation, we all can know our self. To know thyself and to be that ‘self satisfied Self’.  This is when we are more easily able to hold our inner gaze toward the positive, the Light, the Divine, and still continue to be active participants in everyday life, here in this Earthly world.  We then continue giving, serving, helping, acting in compassionate and considerate ways within life, but know we also walk about in life with a deeper knowing. That knowing is that “I am”, “I am That”, and nothing from the outside world is what determines my happiness. It is the knowing of the Divine within that we rest into, that we rest in, that we rest upon. Then, we are self-realized. We understand that even our own physical death need not be feared. 

But, are the above statements resonating with you? Are they scary? Are they new? Do you want to dismiss them? That’s ok, if so. And, it’s ok if not. Let me paraphrase Anodea Judith here, “Our belief systems are compromised of the various bits of meaning we have derived from our experience.  If we repeatedly fail, and we tell ourselves that it means we are stupid, we eventually generate a belief in our own stupidity. These belief systems form the matrix in which all other information is funneled. If I tell you a bit of feedback, you run that piece of data against your background of knowledge and add it to your belief systems. You might say, “Oh I can never do anything right or, I can never please you.” That is a belief taken from what meaning you derive.  Another person, with another belief system, may derive an entirely different meaning.
    The relationship between meaning and belief is so strong that if some piece of data does not fit our inner matrix, we might say, oh I don’t believe you, and discard the information entirely.
   …This is one of the traps of the mind. How do we take in new information and expand our consciousness, if we reject anything that does not fit the current in a paradigm? And if we disregard this inner matrix, how do we discern truth from fiction, or organize the vast amount of information that we receive at each moment?
   The best answer to this lies in meditation, for it is a practice that allows the mind to sort through its data, discard outmoded belief systems and unnecessary information, and reset the personal matrix with an underlying unity.
   …It is meditation that allows our crown chakra to open the awareness ever wider without getting overwhelmed or lost in the infinite. It helps us retain our center, which is the primary organizing matrix of the Self.” 

Meditation also has physiological effects as well. Oxygen intake decreased by 16 to 18%, heart rate decrease by 25% and blood pressure was lowered, all of which are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, the controller of involuntary processes. This allows the body to enter a state of deep rest — far deeper than what it receives in sleep. This rest then allows for greater alertness and waking consciousness. -excerpt from “Wheels of Life”, by Anodea Judith.  This is why I have been tokd that those who meditate end up needing less sleep.

In his book, “The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself”‘, Michael A. Singer writes, “Your center of consciousness is always stronger than the energy that is pulling on it.  You just have to be willing to exercise your will.** But it’s not a fight or a struggle.  It’s not that you are trying to stop the energies from coming up inside.  There is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear, jealousy, or attraction.  It’s not your fault that such energies exist.  All the attractions, repulsions, thoughts, and feelings don’t make any difference.  They don’t make you pure or impure.  They are not you.  You are the one who’s watching, and that one is pure consciousness.  Don’t think you’d be free of you just didn’t have these kinds of feelings.  It’s not true.  If you can be free even though you’re having these kinds of feelings, then you’re really free–because there will always be something.” 
** (Personal side note:  Here is where I said”holy shit” out loud, and I am not a person who typically cusses!  Holy shit because in making the crown chakra class, I wanted to do core work! I didn’t know why until just now! Wow!)

And then, again, another ‘holy shit’ moment happened when, after making my physical yoga classes that included ‘bird of paradise’ pose, or svarga dvijasana, see it here , I looked up the meaning of the flower:

Bird if Paradise flower represents joy and freedom! Freedom! Ha!

Why did I get so excited about freedom, you ask? Because the liberating energy rising up thru the chakras free us from attachment of all things, even life itself.  And, attachment is the shadow side of the crown chakra.  Moksha, or liberation, then can become an action we participate in creating by practicing all that the practices of yoga have to offer. 
Here is a brief article around moksha, https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-and-vedanta-a-proven-path-to-liberation

Purusha, or pure consciousness, is the “object of our quest” says Anodea Judith.  So, we must partake in our own transformation in understanding and knowing that our True Self is here, now, within us, and always has been and always will be.  We are the infinite. What is stopping you from acknowledging this, from embodying this, from knowing this? Perhaps it is your thoughts of misbelief that this is true. Perhaps it is the misbelief that you could be divine. Perhaps it is the information from how you were raised, or what you were told about yourself or your life, that prevents you from seeing this truth. This is when we practice. And, this is then a practice of unknowing, and unlearning what beliefs are there inside if you, rotting, withering away, and dissipating, until all that is left is the brilliance of your untarnished, brilliant, radiant, effulgent Self! Beam on! 😉

Roy Eugene Davis writes in his book “A Master Guide to Meditation & Spiritual Growth; with techniques and routines for all levels of practice”, “What more honest act could we perform than to directly acknowledge that what we have long desired to become, we already are?  Knowing this, I emphasize the simplicity of Self-realization.”

Rainbow connection song: Click HERE!
As we closed our journey thru the rainbow bridge of the chakras, I sang part of this song to bring people out of savasana. 

Breathe and Believe.