Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FOLD / meditate to elevate

I'm new to this. This whole sit in silence and look so at peace, "I'm meditating" thing. Here are some thoughts on exploring meditation for the 40 day and 40 night ritual of lent; my first foray into this spiritual custom. My boyfriend has held this practice in his life for as long as he can remember and I was curious to explore a daily devotional practice for myself. It seemed like a beautiful moment of accountability for both of us.

My meditation practice feels like this: a bolster tucked behind me (along my spine with the bolster ending at my lower back), a blanket on my belly for support and a gentle reminder that I can hold space for myself, my hands resting gently where ever my body is calling to be comforted [these days it's usually one hand to my heart and one to my belly], a deep breath [or several, depending on the day], and permission to just be. To just be here, for at least 10 minutes.

Some days it's in silence, some days it in a conscious ten-minute walk outside [pod-casting it or in silence: Dear Sugar Radio and Being Boss], some days it's guided by someone I love and admire (see Mary Beth LaRue and Elena Brower}, some days it's loud inside my mind and it's really hard to tap to in, some days it feels like work, some days I sit and take a deep breath and find that's all I really needed.

It's going to look and feel different everyday: that's the beauty of a practice; it's adjustable, adaptable, and malleable to whom ever you show up as in that moment you choose to pause. 

A friend of mine asked me yesterday, "What is the right way to meditate?". I sat with that question for a minute before thoughtfully responding, "There is no "right" way to meditate". All it takes is intention, a quiet whisper that says, "take a seat, settle in, and take that first deep breath". You may not be able to turn anything "off". You may or may not figit and resist, but that first breath will take you in. Just spend a few moments there, you may find that a few minutes passes and maybe, someday, you'll find yourself in that quiet seat for 20 minutes with a smile lightly present on your face. It's all about the baby steps.

If you need a place to start, I recored a short 8 minute meditation for you!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

GATHER / road of the spiritual

Fair warning, this post is deeply personal. It might not resonate, but it was on my mind and heart and I wanted to explore how it felt to write it down.

I didn't grow up with religion; with God, with a focus on mystical, the eternal, the ever-changing or the bigger picture. My whole life it felt a lot like moving ahead into the unknown without a road and only a few companions. I clung to my family, that unit of three, for so much of my needs, desires, and roles. I poured who I was into who they are. There was a lot of discomfort and unease in faith among my family. My dad grew up in a traditionally religious household, I think it was mostly a remnant of how his parents grew up, and they wanted their kids to be rooted in those steadfast traditions. When my dad left his family home, he decided with thoughtful intentions, that that wasn't the best practice for him. My mom grew up in a household that firmly explored eastern religious practices and I think my mom soaked up observations about the beauty of religious tradition without necessarily putting any of them into practice. I think for my dad, religion was confiding and for my mom the traditions, not the tenants of faith, was just something beautiful to behold. My parents gave my sister and I a wide berth for exploring how we wanted to be in this world; but religion kind of never came up. We indulged the periodic visit to a church a Christmas, but it was never rooted in a belief in any sort of God. And quite frankly, my dad has a bit of disdain for the whole church thing, for those angry and loud Christians in the news that seem to be trying to exclude anyone and everyone from their inclusive faith. It's just not something my parents are seeking to explore or understand. But, for me, it has made this whole exploration of faith and religion thing quite difficult. It's one of the first real moments of learning to pave my own path with regards to how I want this whole faith thing to play out in my life.

I have had the esteem privilege of getting uncomfortable in faith these past five years. Loving someone whose faith is a central axis onto which everything else moves as been such an interesting journey to be a witness to. As I find myself walking with open eyes to my next decade, I keep coming back to that space of grace. There is something so beautiful in surrendering to that bigness; that forever loving figure gently and quietly communing through your prayers; that trust that someone else has a bigger plan and we can rest gently in our efforts. I love that feeling of big love, of surrender, of a deep deep inhale followed by that sweet exhale. But for some reason, I cannot just walk blindly into this understanding. It's taking some searching and questioning and exploring into the unknown. I know that it's worth being curious about because when I am a witness to it in others something softens within my heart.

I can feel it's soft seeking, it's call to ask more and let go of how I have come to misunderstand this whole faith thing. I don't think my faith will ever be rooted in a church, or in a institution, but rather in intuition and exploration. I think God is alright with that. I think he gets that we are all on our own path, and it doesn't have to look the same for anyone.

Does this feel similar to any of you out there? 

How are you exploring in your faith and belief systems? 

Do they tie you down or lift you up? 

Do you struggle with how much to pour into them? 

I am so very interested.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

FOLD / a teacher of two

I was sitting quietly in my client's home last week, they were blissfully lost in savasana, I was softly watching them drift. I gently closed my eyes and luxuriated in the silence [well, there was an ocean wave soundtrack in the background, it's their favorite go-to savasana sound]. It was quiet and cozy and I watched my attention settle as they feel deeper into their own experience. 

I realized sitting there that some of us start really small, I'm a humble teacher of two. We start sincere. We start with intention. We gently navigate what it means to be a teacher as we seek to find our unique voice and expression. I realized that this is why I gave up a life that wasn't serving me, this is why I chose to not teach in a studio space, this is why I seek to cultivate my chosen tribe, this is why I practice in my own body, this is why I dig deeper, this is why I am in the work. 

This is my WHY. 

In those moments when my students are nestled in their own body, their own breath, in a super supportive pose; I know that I am meant to do this work. I am meant to stand witness to surrender, to kindness, to laughter, to exploration, to one-on-one connection, to walk beside on a similar path, and to always keep learning. 

I've been honored to witness time and time again when my students inhabit a pose fully with their breath, when they navigate to find the next pose without me, when a forward fold feels good, and when an extra breath is needed. 

They are the teacher.
I am here to bear witness in the deepest well of gratitude. 

Know that wherever you are in your path as a teacher or as a student, your journey is meaningful and transformative to someone in your life that bears witness for you.