Month: November 2021

For this past week’s intention I was watching how the universe was always sending me messages and how they were so beautifully woven into each other:

 

During our “Sunday Morning Special” class Patrick talked about how asana, postures, are a constant push and pull with gravity.

And then I went over to find that Liz Moyer’s reflection prompt inside her company, ‘We Heal for All’, was the following:

 

What teachings lie in the micro movements?

So often when I’m in the midst of transition I notice that I want to be on the other side already. I want to be done with the dance, to be on solid ground. I hold my breath and power through with my sight set on what’s ahead. While it’s an understandable approach, I wonder what I might be missing?

 

The invitation that comes to me in this reflection is to see if in the midst of transition I can slow myself down enough to notice the micro moments within it all? Can I practice being present with the sensations and discomfort that come with being pushed and pulled within the change? And if I can, what does that offer me? What teachings lie in the micro moments within transitions that are key to where I’m meant to land next?” 

What beautiful reflection prompts.

 

*Hint: Save the Date of Dec. 12, for an experience with Liz and myself and our dear friend, Anthony Purdy! 😉

And the insightful and intuitive hits kept coming from the Source when I read inside Emma Poole’s blog, this Elizabeth Gilbert quote:

“Just as they exist in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, they’re also exists in a human being a little anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; One, you cannot. One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; The other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true.”

It’s incredible to me, how Elizabeth Gilbert names prana without naming it directly.  The energy and memory and faith.

In somatics work we speak all the time about how the stories and the knowings are in the tissues of our body, our physical body. 

 


 

Take a moment, dear reader, take a sacred pause with me:

Find a comfortable position, as comfortable as you can find for your physical body at this moment. Close your eyes and take a couple of breaths. What are you feeling in your body? What are you noticing? Is there discomfort in a certain area, do you want to wiggle and move? Is there great comfort in a part of your body, or even all over? Is it easy to mentally slow down enough to notice your physical sensations? Or is it challenging to try to bring your awareness into this moment? Without judging, can you just be in this experience of this moment? 

 

 

Now, take another breath, and feel what’s present now for you, your physical body, your emotions, and your thoughts. How is the quality of your energy now, versus before taking this sacred pause?  This energy, your life force, prana, is the ‘energy, memory, and faith’ that Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about. You have the ability to control it, move it, guide it, and also listen to what it is sharing with you. 

 

 

Take the time to connect with your energy and your Self each day. No matter how hard it might feel, just breathe. Perhaps nothing comes of it, that’s ok. And then, perhaps on another day, it’s the changing factor and micro-moment from which things will begin to shift towards the positive.  And this can be one entry point of which you love yourself, but more on that “gentle approach” next week. 

 

Slowly moving on…

 


I have been continually struck by this quote for most of my adult life:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite literally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate states.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new; And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some states of instability – And that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you. Your idea will mature gradually – Let them grow. Let them share themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on as though you could be today what time will make you tomorrow (That is to say, Grace and circumstances acting on your own goodwill).

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”

 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

My Contemplation on Purna i.e being whole))

As I hear that word, incomplete, I think to the Sanskrit vibration ‘purna’, meaning whole.  I also think to one of my most favorite mantras, the purna mantra, listen here. As one of the teachers I follow on YouTube, Sri M, explains and listen to the vibration as he recites it at the start of the video!  The essence of this purna mantra is that one into one, is one. We are always whole, and full in the essence that is unchanging within us. We are always the constant steady stream of light and love.

Now, I am not arguing with Mr. Chardin here, I am simply inviting contemplation.  What makes us feel that we are not complete, whole, and worthy as we are? Usually the mind. 

 

 

And so, yes, I can except the feeling of suspense and being comfortable in the uncomfortable of the unknown.  I am human, I cannot see what is next. And so I can accept and be content here in the now. (Reminds me of our most recent Sunday morning special class and how we talked about Santosa, and contentment.)

 

 

I can use the offering of my presence to each moment, to myself, and to others, to be able to notice these micro movements of life and these micro moments in which perhaps I will find and see the insights as to where I am meant to be. Perhaps these micro moments will remind me that I’m already right where I’m meant to be.

 

 

Can you slow down enough to be the witness? To see your fullness? To catch the insights that the universe is sharing with you and guiding you on your path?

 

Can you trust that it is with you?  To trust this spirit forming within you?  Can you trust your timing?

 

 

And that is why with this intention a constantly was inviting practitioners to trust their timing. To trust the tempo at which their body wanted to move in practice at that moment. Could they trust the rhythms in which they felt life moving through them? Could they feel those rhythms, and can they feel the timing, tempo, and rhythm of the dance?

Could they just offer themselves, and the moment, their presence?

 

When we offer our presents to a moment we are better able to see the gifts and guidance of Source.  

 

 

How the intention of this entire class came to be is proof of that. Thanks to all my friends and collaborators whose wisdoms kept being shown to me to make this moment happen!

 

Love to all,

Shawna 🙏🏻💗

Breathe and Believe.

What happens when I’m not myself?

Last week we explored being oneself. Is it possible to purely be yourself? Is it possible to be purely in the moment? Could being purely in the moment help us to be purely ourselves? And what might it offer us?


Saucha in Sanskrit stands for “purity”.  It can also be translated as ‘orderliness, cleanliness, and clearness’.  We can attribute this to our outer environment and we can also attribute it to our inner environments.


Saucha is one of the niyamas, or ‘observances’; philosophies of yoga.  I love how my dear friend and collaborator, Patrick Heffernan, describes the niyamas as a way of ‘reprogramming and self-training’.


Saucha can be applied to how we nourish ourself, how we eat and drink, how we make sure we get enough rest, and how we bathe and clean our self. 


It’s also how we take care of our physical spaces, and the planet at large. How we are taking care and keeping clean and pure the environments that we live in. Think of it as the Marie Kondo practice of cleaning your drawers!  


Perhaps more importantly, saucha, is meant to also be applied to our inner environments. How we keep clean and orderly our energy and our mind.


Two weeks ago, Patrick and I opened up the ‘Sunday morning special’ class with the Dharma discussion on saucha.  It was quite moving and beautiful the things that came up! I’m going to do my best in sharing some of the wisdoms that came through for me and that came through from other community members. 


*I will be keeping the community members’ names anonymous for privacy.  Please know that you are all welcomed to these Sunday morning special practices that are truly something magical!  


I led the Dharma discussion talking about saucha and also bringing in the vibration of ‘abhyasa’.  Abhyasa means “practice”, and in particular, practice towards a tranquil mind.  To be organizing and pointing our thoughts always towards what we want. To get clear on what we want and what we always want our thoughts to be pointing towards.


As the Seeker(practitioner for Good) that you are in reading this blog, I know that you are always seeking to have your thoughts and actions aligned with positive intention, loving-kindness, and for the good of all. Doing your best to organize your thoughts always towards the Light. To be seeing the best in yourself and the best in others. To be striving for thoughts of abundance, forgiveness, joy, and peace, equanimity, inclusivity, and love.


So what happens when we feel we are not our Self?


One community member offered the wisdom to first ask, “why”?  


By asking why it invites compassion. It doesn’t make us right or wrong, nor bad, we just ‘Marie Kondo’ the moment and lay it all out. We see if perhaps we’ve been triggered, or if something in our circumstances is causing us heaviness. But we lay it all out, taking a sacred pause, and then we get to choose.  


Personally, I’m deeply grateful for this wisdom. In my moments of motherhood where I am least proud, this practice invites me to offer myself compassion. And it also invites me to acknowledge what I need in a moment where I don’t feel like I’m being myself and I can choose to do what is most loving in that moment. When I choose to do what’s most loving, sometimes that means telling my kids that mommy has to leave the room for a minute and take a deep breath. And I know when I come back, I’m better and I’m better for my kids!


I also love this wisdom because it means it’s upholding one of my core values that I have discovered through the pandemic; acknowledgment.  This wisdom allows us to honor and see everything that we are feeling, thinking, and doing. Without attachment nor trying to fix. This wisdom and practice invites an honoring of everything that we are witnessing, even the messy parts.


And that’s when another incredible community member offered their wisdom; that it’s part of myself to be messy!  Yes! This resonates for me! They went on to say that they ‘aspire to be human’! I love this. Because to be human is to be imperfect with our perfect Selves! Another community member said “bless the mess”! Haha. 


Saucha invites the mess because we have the power to then clear the mess.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that our underwear drawer has to be neatly folded and organized where each pair can be seen, I’ll get to that later though. However, it means on the mental level that we see ourself not as a mess, but that we honor ourselves in unconditional acceptance for all of who we are and that we then get to choose who we are. We become clear, saucha, that who we are is that unchanging Light within. 


So bring on the mess because who I am is Light and love, and I can handle it! 


Back to the drawers! …

Source downloaded in me as I was moving through the physical practice on this Sunday morning, this insight:


“We each have a place. When we are ourselves we are divinely organized within ourselves so that we can experience love.”

A community member so beautifully added to this that ‘If we are not ourselves, how will the universe recognize us and be able to guide and support us’?  That brings me to tears.


This is a call from the universe to be seen.

This is a call from the universe to be yourself!

This is a call from the universe to be here, in this moment, now!

This is a call from the universe to acknowledge everything, and everyone, including yourself!


If I am that crumpled up shirt in the back corner of the drawer, hidden, then I cannot wear it.  It won’t be seen, nor will it be able to live out its purpose. It won’t be experienced in its fullness.  


And when I can see that shirt, and I put it on, then it gets seen. It’s purpose gets fulfilled! I might even get a compliment from it and then it’s purpose spreads its energy to me! I might even then choose to share the story of how I got the shirt!  The energy then becomes this infinite expression of joy that goes beyond just the shirt.  


You have an effect in this world beyond what you think!  You have a place and a purpose here.


So, perhaps entering more purely into the moment, acknowledging everything there, both within yourself and around yourself, truly can help support you in being your pure Self!


And think of what that could do not only for you, but the world! 


All my love,

Shawna 🙏🏻

What would it be like to be your Self all the time? What could you imagine might happen?

Mark Nepo wrote in his book “The Book of Awakening”, the following passage:

“Like that old saying, “Water fills a hole,” the ways of others will fill the space we live in if we don’t feel that space with our own authentic presence. For a long time, I thought that keeping who I am to myself was the same thing as being myself quietly. I discovered it is not.

Not that we have to verbalize or shout everything, but we do need to be fully here the way a cliff accepts a wave, the way a stem of clover grows into the one patch of light left in the forest, the way corn sweats its sweet moisture when no one is looking.

In truth, there are always two blood reasons to be who we are. It is how we find love, and it is how we keep the ways of others from sweeping us away.”

I have been processing and contemplating this passage for a week now. And there are beautiful nuances that have sprung up by using it in my weekly yoga classes.

I’ve actually never heard the term ‘water fills a hole’, but I am growing to like the metaphor more and more.

If I am the hole, what do I want to fill it with? How do I not only want to refill the well within my soul, but what do I want to put in my life? How do I want to fill my days, my thoughts, my heart? How do I want to fill the physical spaces that I live in?
Of course I want to fill all these things with goodness, love, creativity, fun, and light.

And, what if I am both the water and the hole? By noticing what I love to fill my days and time with, then I am entering into good relations with knowing who I am here on Earth. On that level of knowing my likes and dislikes, my preferences, and acknowledging what my needs are, and my desires are, I am like the water moving into the whole. I’m entering more into myself with each insight, acknowledgment, and choice that I make. I’m building myself up from the inside out. And at the same time that I’m getting to know myself by being that whole, I am allowing that which is all the goodness that I want, to come into my life. I am receptive and open, letting life fill me up!

Now, I fully understand what Mark Nebo was also getting at with this metaphor of the water and the hole. If I am the hole, and I just let others dictate my life, then that too could be seen as the water filling the hole. In this regard, who I am becomes what other people want. Who I am then gets swept away and I become what society expects of me. I become what society and culture impresses upon me and what society determines as acceptable. Others have filled the hole of my Being, not my own authentic self.

Do you want to choose the water that fills you, dear reader? Or are you going to allow society to fill you up?

Now, I love Mark Nepo’s metaphor of being fully here, like the Cliff that accepts the wave. I’ve been thinking about this in two different sides of the same coin:

  1. The image of a beautiful large cliff and the waves just hitting the cliff, then moving back into the ocean. The cliff is myself, standing tall in my beliefs and upholding my worth. The cliff is me standing in my Light and accepting whatever comes at me. Accepting whatever happens and not crumbling, but rather just noticing. Noticing and then letting the energy disperse away, so that it does what it needs to do, like the wave going back to the ocean. The cliff is not worried about how the water perceives it. It just accepts the waves energy coming at it and stays standing tall in its strength, wisdom, and knowing.
  2. The cliff does not take in the wave. There is an acceptance of the wave hitting the cliff, but then the water falls and gets sprayed back into the ocean. The cliff acknowledges the wave. And, the cliff does not become the ocean’s water. The cliff stays true to its form. The cliff stays true to its own nature. And yet, the cliff receives the wave. An unconditional acceptance of understanding that the wave has a right to be here too. The wave has its own nature and it’s own characteristics. It’s as if the two can meet and say, “Wonderful to see you!” And, “Like what you’ve done with the rocks!” And, “Love what you’re doing with the seafoam!” Lol! Love, acceptance, and staying true to One’s own nature while respecting others!

And then there’s the corn! The corn that’s sweating it’s sweet moisture even when no one is looking. It reminds me of the phrase, ‘dance naked as if no one’s watching’. What would it be like to truly be yourself all time? Even when no one’s looking? Even when everybody’s looking? Perhaps especially when people are looking?

Now, this line that strikes me every time…”It is how we find love, and it is how we keep the ways of others from sweeping us away.”

What a revolutionary thought that by being who we are, we find love.

I imagine that what Mark Nepo means by “two blood reasons to be who we are,” is that here on this earth, at this time, in our body, these are the literal and visceral ways that being ourselves helps us. By being ourselves, it draws the love that we could never imagine towards us. Not just intimate partners, but the love and support of the energy all around us. Whether it be friends, or becoming intimate with a tree or a flower, we start to become love, feel love, and experience love.

Being who we are, and continuing to hold curiosity as to who we are, is one of the best ways to not lose ourselves. To not lose ourselves to society’s norms, to not lose ourselves to becoming what people tell us we should be. To not become anything that we aren’t, nor were we meant to be.

Because we are each meant to be ourselves. The beauty of who we are and all of our characteristics, traits, attributes, talents, personality, beauty, and unique gifts. These span far beyond just a job, this is the essence of what makes you, you!

So, stay true to you!

Speak up when needed so you don’t get trampled over. Stating your needs is not being “out of place” and “obnoxious”. “For a long time, I thought that keeping who I am to myself was the same thing as being myself quietly. I discovered it is not.”-Mark Nepo

Even when it gets uncomfortable to do so, stay true to you. It takes great courage to really be your Self. It takes great compassion to really be your Self.

It’s like the cliff just accepting the waves… we don’t have to struggle at ‘Being’ who we are all the time. Being our Self might just create the greatest release, and move us into an ease of living! Perhaps by being who we are, nothing is a struggle anymore?! At least not to us. If others get uncomfortable with us, that is their stuff. Love them, accept them for who they are, and love yourself as well.
(I didn’t used to feel or speak this way, I thought it was pushy, loud, rude, and mean. But, I am learning to love my Self more and more, and finding that it is not rude to stay true to my Self AND love others, especially when we are different. I pray for acknowledgement, communication, hearing stories, understanding, and love from all sides. Honoring each other’s differences and expanding in gorgeous ways from it!)

I think of some of my beautiful friends who have changed over the years, as have I. And I have seen, and also personally experienced, great challenges in staying true to One’s Self.

But, I have also seen, especially from personal experience, how it has only attracted greater love than I could ever have imagined. And not only love from others, but a greater love for myself.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, as I will always do my best to love you unconditionally.

All my love,
Shawna Emerick
Breathe and Believe.
*Photo credit to my lovely husband, Geoffrey Enriquez, the trees, the light, and the leaves!