Healing Journey: Devote ~ Care of the Soul

One of last springs theme posts for the fantabulous free folk over at Nourishing Storm.

I don’t know why I had such a hard time with this theme. I thought it was going to be so easy. I’m devoted to Truth. No question. That has been my journey these last few years. I made it part of my spiritual practice to devote each year to something I wish to cultivate then take these monthly themes within the broader context of my intention. I started 3 years ago. I started with Unconditional Love and Compassion – to me they come from the same lineage of energy so I merged them. There is no unconditional love without compassion.

The universe obliged me with plenty of tests. Some days I passed, some days I failed. Every day I learned. On the days I failed, I looked for what triggered my poor behavior. In the beginning I felt guilty about all the ways I seemed to fail to be my best. I learned quickly guilt doesn’t serve me. I discovered I needed to give some compassion to myself. I accepted, forgave and committed to doing better next time. I can honestly say, it took me up until that year of my life to figure out how to love myself.

The next year I took on Integrity. And again the universe complied. I integrated the faults and darknesses that I had finally accepted. I had to look at who I was in wholeness. I stepped away from my physical practice to take care of my soul. I had a life altering experience in the midst of this leg of my journey. And I learned how to grieve with Integrity. I learned how to stay whole, with all my love intact, while my heart was broken open.

This year it is Authenticity. Inwardly living my Truth as it whispers to me and outwardly seeking the truth and my part in bringing it to this collective experience. Discovering how I can be my best in this world. Lately I have been seeing so much in the world that is unfair and I’m seeing the way I am connected to the systems that keep it unfair. This is the truth I have sat with lately. I thought about taking a break from the news and the thought exposed a truth that I could not ignore. I could turn the news off. I can turn it off. Some of the worst of what I saw won’t really touch my life once I stop looking at it.  Not everyone can say that and turning my eyes away does not make it go away.

I have devoted myself to Truth and living my best expression of it. I struggled in writing this piece because this is the truth I’ve been been sitting with and to write of anything else felt inauthentic. It was this theme, devotion, that led me to dig deeper with this. How can I write of anything else? So I’ve been holding a mirror to myself, one that allows me to see at all I have that I take for granted.

I saw the advantages I was given at birth, given to me with the clay that will surround my soul for this lifetime. Before I had love for myself, I felt devalued if someone told me I was privileged. I felt offended, as if it implied I didn’t work for what I had or never suffered.  When I am separated from love –  my own included, I cannot see that this isn’t about my experience at all.   When I hear it with love in my heart, it cannot lessen my experience to acknowledge the ways I have had it easier, safer, and kinder than most in this world.  In fact , as a devotee to truth, it will lessen my experience going forward to not acknowledge it.

I haven’t fully figured out what I am to do with this particular truth. The truth of an unjust world that has benefited me. I’ll start with an honest look at my relationship to and with the systems of injustice and a devotion to doing better. I felt I needed to express this here to hold myself accountable to this devotion. I will continue to tune in and listen so I can understand my part more deeply and find a way to be of greater service. And I thank you for allowing me this space to heal, integrate, love and work.

“We have great work ahead of us, and it needs devotion and much, much energy. To grow, to discover, we need involvement, which is something I experience every day – sometimes good, sometimes frustrating. No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness.” – Bruce Lee

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First Step

An old post for the good peeps at PsychicsForetell.  

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” –  Lao Tzu

Yep.  It does.  But which way should I start stepping?  That’s been my dilemma.  Well that, and I seem to always be starting a new journey.

I am in possession of one of those souls that longs for a thousand stories.  And they don’t seem to be found along the same path.  As far as I can tell, that is.  I think I’m not alone in this.

I imagine if I had a single answer that worked for everyone as to how to take that first step, you would be reading these words in my best-selling book.  That is one of the stories I would love to live.  A best selling author.  May this be my first step on my way there.  But I have no one-size-fits-all answer.  But I may have an answer of my own, and maybe it will work for you too.

As I’ve said, I feel that I’ve been in this space of beginning for a while now.  And that I should be taking my millionth step, not another first.  But each moment we have the opportunity to change.  And we do change. So we can continue on the path of an old story, start a new chapter or begin a new book entirely.  It is liberating and maddening to me all at once.

But the one thing that I think I have figured out is the first step of all my best journeys thus far isn’t a movement at all.  It is stillness.  It is a step inward.  And that too is maddening but it is true.  I know this innately.  And as frustrating as it is to keep taking this “first” step, if I stop to actually appreciate what I have accomplished, I see I have come a long way on my soul’s path.

When I frame this step as a step towards doing my work and frame my work as a career in the world’s view, outwardly it would seem I have lost my way.  But as life keeps revealing to me, my true work is this journey.  And this kind of work doesn’t offer a linear path.  This kind of work needs to give the full ride with all the twists and turns, and not knowing where it ends and begins is part of its beauty.

I still have a thousand journeys held within my heart.  And I still don’t know that I will travel them all. But I will take another “first” step inward and trust I’m going the right way.

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Healing Journeys: Discover ~Deep Within and Out Beyond Ourselves

An old theme post for the fantabulous folks at Nourishing Storm.  Check out what’s new and good over there.

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I teach anatomy to yoga teachers in training. I love it. For one of their projects, I have my students each pick a pose to present to the class as an anatomical study. Which muscles are engaged? Which assist? Which are stretched? How can it be modified? I ask my students to pick a pose they aren’t comfortable doing, a pose they always resist. I believe those are the poses that offer us the greatest opportunity for growth. Somewhere in the depths of those poses that challenge us, we discover our true grit.

And so it is with the yoga of life. There are places and times that are difficult to bring our whole selves to; but those are the places and times, if we can be present with them, that we discover our greatest gifts. They may not be the gifts we ask for or how we envisioned those we did. They usually are the ones that take a bit of trust to unearth. They can be wrapped in fear and doubt and hurt, hidden at the edges of our soul. And we need to be willing to touch that fear and hurt to unwrap them. It may seem unfair, but great treasures are rarely easy to find. They almost always take some digging.

And this adventure called life gives us plenty to dig. Life is a constant contrast of weaving together and unraveling, of mining for our gifts buried within and bringing them to light to share with the world. Living as an explorer of life takes courage and faith. Courage in the form of a willingness to go into places that may strip us of things we held dear, things that may not have been ours to hold. And faith that when we get there we will discover something much dearer that is ours to hold forever.

This is how I understand the yoga of life. I can only hope that my students find the their own wholeness in each pose. But that is something we teach ourselves. My yoga is a union of my entire being with each moment, no matter how the moment moves or contorts me. It is the bend and the fold and the rise and the reach for the fullest expression of my truth in each moment. And in my yogic journey I have discovered many lands beyond the fences I’ve put up in the past, lands I once thought barren or poisoned. Those are the places in my soulscape that now possess a profound beauty I cannot name and that I could never have known without the faith and courage to go further.

I will keep exploring myself and this life and hope to encourage others to do the same. I know new lands lie within, waiting for us to claim them; and, in doing so, we can own new pieces of ourselves. And one day I hope we all will meet beyond our walls and fences and discover our oneness out there.

“Even so, I’m somebody. I’m the Discoverer of Nature. I’m the Argonaut of true sensations. I bring a new Universe to the Universe Because I bring the Universe to itself.” ― Alberto Caeiro​, The Keeper of Sheep

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Practice of Life

An older new year post for 2018 for the good people at PsychicsForetell. Just in time for spring 🙂

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I’m sitting here on the first day of the lighter half of the year.  The beginning of the waxing phase of the sun, the day after the shortest day of the year.  Seems appropriate to turn my mind to the new year ahead.

Winter still firmly holds me.  I’m not done with the less active phase but with the shift in the sun’s energy, I have to honor that things will be growing again shortly.  Seeds that lay dormant need to be cultivated.  All the darker truths I found in the waning half of the year will need to be allowed to fall and amend the soils of my soul to support the new growth ahead.

Now is still not the time for action but it is certainly the time to envision what action I will take to grow healthy and strong in the sunshine ahead.  I used to believe this was the time to make resolutions.  But I found the very idea of resolutions to be too rigid.  Instead I set intentions for my year.  Two years ago, my intention was unconditional love and compassion.  Last year was integrity.  The universe obliged by giving me some of my most difficult tests that rewarded me with finding some of my deepest truths.

I will not say I’d like to go through any of it again but having an intention gave me a way to frame all of what occurred in my life and keep a grounded perspective.  I found patience, a trait I thought I completely lacked, as I looked to cultivate unconditional love in my life.  I also learned the necessity of boundaries and the healing grace of self-compassion.  Then I applied my new lessons as I discovered what living a life with integrity looked like for me.   I learned how to work, how to love and how to lose with integrity.

I sit now reflecting on the path I’ve traveled.  And I sit thinking how I’d like to travel in the upcoming year.   And I am drawn towards the intention of authenticity.  I wish to make this year about living authentically.  I have accepted myself which has allowed me to be accepting and compassionate towards others.  I faced some very difficult truths about myself and the world and found a way integrate them into my whole being.  I seek now to allow these new truths to be made manifest in my life through the authentic expression of my ever-evolving self.  I know we are here to shine our own unique light, to share our own unique gifts and tell our own unique stories to the best of our abilities.  And so that will be my intention this year.  To live my life as an unfiltered, flawed and still-growing being made up of my own blend of stardust and mud.  To walk in truth and let my life speak of my travels.  Unapologetically and authentically me.  And I’d be honored if you would join me.

Please join me in setting intentions this year.  Take some time as we still sit dormant in winter’s embrace to reflect on the changes that have occurred in your life over the last year and choose the view you would like to hold throughout this coming year.  Like the beginning of a yogic practice, set an intention to center upon and when the poses that follow get uncomfortable, come back to your center and move again from there.  See if and how that changes your perspective on any struggles you face and how it adds a richness to any triumphs.  This practice has helped me to stay true to my journey and the universe always seems to let me know when I stray from my path and when I’m heading the right way.  It is my wish that this practice may also be of benefit to you.  Brightest blessings for a beautiful, wonderful, wild and magical 2018!

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Healing Journeys: Anchor ~ Sink or Swim

Another of the theme blogs I wrote for the loving souls over at Nourishing Storm.  Go see what’s new and good.

Sitting with Anchor. I am visualizing this fantastic cosmic ocean that is everything. Everything that can ever be imagined before it is imagined and everything once imagined now made manifest. And living is this wonderfilled experience we have within and through this ocean. It is like we are the waves even as we ride the waves.

This is where my mind has been lately on a whole. Seeing my greatness and my smallness. Understanding the duality that is me and everything in this world. And also understanding the oneness of me and everything. Evolution and involution. 

This is the journey I’ve been on lately. And the first thought of anchor, well, I sank with it. I’ve been moving out in this great sea of life. The thought of anchor seemed like a drag on my progress. I want to keep moving so I resisted it. And I know well, the places where I resist usually have something more for me. So here I sit again with my anchor.

Anchors are not fixed. In fact I would only have a need for an anchor when I am moving between shores. My anchor is merely a connection between me and whatever I choose to have it take hold of. In that light, this theme doesn’t drag me down. It allows me to stay in the cosmic ocean. It is just a tool. It cannot hold me down unless I use it that way. And I’ve come too far to use it that way.

My anchor will hold my ride if I need to get out and swim.   And I will need to get out and swim. There will be times I need to feel myself within the ocean so I can understand us both a little better. There will be times when I need my anchor to hold my space while I wander and listen.

The anchor I see for myself is not forged in some heavy metal. My anchor will be made from the Truths I’ve mined so far. It is forged by the fire of my soul. It is not a weight to carry, it is a reminder of the weight of those things that keep me grounded while I’m out at sea.

I will use my anchor wisely and only when needed. And when it is time to move on, I will pull my anchor down from the skies. I will shake off that North Stardust and blow a kiss to the winds, a “thank you” for their tests and graces.   Then I’ll raise my sails if the winds favor me. If they don’t, I will pick up my oars and row. And I will move on until the next stretch of sea begs me to drop my anchor and swim again. And it will.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, “ – Hebrews 6:19

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Truth of Darkness

A post from PsychicsForetell‘s blog I wrote in 2017.   

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I have believed in my past that by eliminating from my sight all the scary, painful, ugly bits I find in life, I can somehow eliminate them from my knowing.  But I have found that these are the things that offer me the most growth.  And if left abandoned, these are the things that will keep me from living a life as my most authentic self.

Life has forced me to confront these things.  Over and over with circumstances beyond my control where I lost my pride, my confidence and my faith.  In those spaces of chaos, the hurt or the fear I experienced drew some dark truths from the depths of my soul.   Each time I felt desolate or tortured or humiliated or broken, I found a new low to explore within.  But before I came to understand this work, I couldn’t be rid of the stench of my pain fast enough.  So I’d deny these lows existed.  I mistakenly thought I was healing.

But the truths I glimpsed there, though dark, are still true.  Truth isn’t always pretty.  And if I hope to reach my fullest potential, my soul’s compass must recognize both poles.  So I’ve sought to befriend my dark truths.  I must know my edges to find my center.

To get comfortable enough to explore my low spots has required forgiveness.  A forgiveness for the ugliness inside of me and for times I knew better than my actions or words would suggest.  It is acceptance or else filter the ugliness from my experience and risk living falsely.

The way I see it, if I can’t accept all the truths I’ve encountered, then the ground I stand upon is a lie.  And my roots will be too shallow to grow me up to the heights I know I can reach.  But if my roots can go a bit deeper, I can reach a place where the winds can’t rattle my soul.  Because I can find my true center and can give myself the grace to bend with the storms.

And so I keep digging.  And further down the rabbit hole I go.

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Healing Journeys: Embrace ~ Heart Soil

Last of 2017’s posts for the Nourishing Storm community.  Go see what’s new and good over in their neck of the woods.

I sat with my soul in the midst of its storming once. I went deeper inside, to the eye in the middle. Surrounded by the chaos of which I held no control, I rooted into my core. I held still and listened. And this is what I heard:

Embrace it all. Every bit of it. Of everything that is your life. Gather it all in and hold it. Allow it all into your heart. Let it all break you open so your heart can do its work.

Embrace who you are where you are. Embrace all that has happened. The joy and the pain. Embrace your journey. Every step you’ve made towards your dreams. And all the slips and falls. All the stories that have just begun to tell their tale. And all the stories that ended before their tales were told. Gather it all and hold it dear. Even your suffering. Let your storms wound you. Be soft in the spite of them. Let them cut into your heart and turn its deeper soils as only those pains can. And trust the heart’s gift of transforming what we allow it to accept.

Do not shy away from your life. Not a single second of it. Own the space you occupy so you can take care of it. Do not deny even a single speck of your own dirt your stewardship and your love. Let life till the heart’s soil instead of scar its surface. Let it dig all the way to the soul. Then keep the heart open so the soul can flow through.

Embrace all there is and ever was of you. Accept all of it. So you can live with integrity. Do not filter your story if it is true. Share it however you may or not at all, but own it within yourself. Let your soul speak of the raw ugliness and the divine beauty of your adventure. Let your life speak of your heart’s truth. It is the totality of your experience that has brought you this far. Honor your path by recognizing the wisdom it offered.

Life is large. Let it be that way. Let it be wild and wonderful, terrible and beautiful. Let yourself fall and rise and hurt and love. Open up wide to embrace it all. Do not deny yourself the bigger picture. The one with the space for the whole of you, and with room left yet for you to rise. You were born to shine like the moon in all its phases. To sing like the wind through all life’s weather, its breezes and torrents. To show up to the main event, which is Every. Single. Second. You. Are. Blessed. To. Live. Embrace it all. So you can bring your whole damn self to everything you do. Embrace it all and give yourself the freedom to be unapologetically you.

“Humanity rages like a tempest, but I sigh in silence for I know the storm must pass away while a sigh goes to God. Human kinds cling to earthly things, but I seek ever to embrace the torch of love so it will purify me by its fire and sear inhumanity from my heart. Substantial things deaden a man without suffering; love awakens him with enlivening pains. Humans are divided into different clans and tribes, and belong to countries and towns. But I find myself a stranger to all communities and belong to no settlement. The universe is my country and the human family is my tribe.”
– Kahlil Gibran – A Poets Voice XV

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