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Nothing is something

March 20, 2016

I have a space on my retreat registration form where those registering can write additional comments, thoughts, or things they want me to know.

One of the registrants wrote this:
“I’m so glad you listened to your calling and bless others every day with what you do! You have no idea how much your classes have helped me through one of the most difficult and transitional times in my life! I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. But most of all, I’ve changed in your classes. For that, I am truly grateful.”

I deeply appreciate this student’s message and her acknowledgement of my work as “listening to the call.”

Listening is challenging. The longer I listen, the more subtle nuisances I discern in the call. Listening to “the call” continually asks me to go against the grain, to measure the grain, to soften the grain, to refine. Refinement is not big. It’s attuning. It’s inner alignment.

It’s not something I can whip out and show you on here. It’s not “insta”, though it is happening now. Sometimes, it even looks like nothing.

Like in restorative yoga… I look like I am doing nothing, but I am tuning in. I am listening. Is that something?

I don’t practice asana every day any more.
Lately meditation has been me staring at the dark brown lines that have traced their way across my belly to my heart over the last 9.5 months.
I lost my mala beads a long time ago.
I chant and I cuss. (Sometimes at the same time) I am not vegan. I haven’t attempted headstand in two years, though I practice tadasana, standing firmly on my own two feet everyday.

Right now, my personal practice is holding space for myself to be broken and whole, raw and undone, to feel the constraints and expansiveness of my being human in the most simple shapes and ways- on and off the mat. Sometimes my practice is to do nothing but notice.

Since that is my personal practice, this has shown up powerfully in my teaching over the past year.

I’ve been known to say less than 100 words… almost nothing in a yin or restorative class. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I am listening and hear that my students’ voices, experiences, and truths are rising up in the form of laughter, tears, and prayers. I trust that their listening into those moments communicates beyond anything I might say.

This student’s message affirmed what I’ve been hearing on this side of the call these days:

I do not have to fill up every single space and gap for myself or students with words, philosophy, music, “challenging” poses etc (I love all that for sure, sometimes I know it’s just filler though)

Holding space can be plenty.

AND a quiet seat in the class is an asana that I MUST practice as a teacher, because what seems like nothing can lead to so much of something.

the look

March 11, 2016

Being with child I have become ACUTELY aware of how often people comment on my looks and women’s looks/bodies in general. I even had to ask my husband do people comment on his looks/body multiple times a day. He said “uh, no, hardly ever.”

Being a yoga teacher and engaging with people’s bodies as my own body has been rapidly growing is interesting to say the least. (more on that later later)

My new look has been described as huge, fluffy, “wowzers”, “increasingly heavy”, and some other funny- side ways- “are you really talking to me right now” type things.

It has also been described as Glowing. Radiant. Pretty. Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful is so beautiful, right?

Just now, I came across these words that moved close to my heart and captures some of what I think “gets” me with the constant commentary on my\women’s looks/bodies even when it’s something as beautiful as beautiful:

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that” – rupi kaur

Being with child is beautiful. the kind deeper than looks. true.

It is also courageous. powerful. untaming. soulful.transforming.liberating.

a ritual.a passage.

It is REAL.

Womenfolk- mamas-to-be and such.

we don’t need anyone’s commentary on our bodies (not even our own)
but if one must go there and say anything.

Real.

REAL. is the word.
It’s the look.

Mother- Enuffness

March 3, 2016

Being big-bellied makes me sensitive.
or perhaps the word is (hyper) aware.

Whoa. Lately.

How I feel the subtle nuisanced ways that folk try to convince women that if we can’t do it all, we aren’t valuable. And that we should want to do it ALL. And we should want to have it ALL.
ALL being defined by some intangible, yet evident mob like force that has a clever PR person, maybe has written books, hosts a popular podcast or blog
Or sits like a poorly selected jury- just waiting- to convict us of not trying enough or being enough of a woman if we:
Can have children or not
Choose to have kids or not

If we do then the propagators of ALL begin to furiously gather evidence to determine our
“ MOTHER ENUFF-ness” based off whether or not we:
Work and hustle until the very minute our birthing time comes
Take time off or scale back on work before our birthing day
Admit to having aches and pains, new ones daily or not
Get big anywhere other than our bellies
Gain less than 25 pounds
Gain more than 40 pounds
Voice how powerful we feel in our “growing a human state”
Voice how vulnerable we feel in our “growing a human state”
The answer to any question is “I don’t know”
Show up like… we know it all
Trust the process/ doubt the process
Have “natural” birth/ Schedule a C-section for emergent or personal reasons
Take our big-bellied selves out and dance like no one is watching/ Become homebodies because we feel like everyone is watching
Answer the phone/ don’t answer the phone

Breast-feed/Don’t breast-feed
Want/ need to stay at home after baby comes
Want to/ or need to go back to work immediately after baby comes
Don’t return to a “snatched” up waist and face and hair… like yesterday
Look “too good” to have just popped one out like… today.
Cosleep/ don’t cosleep
Don’t ask for help/ do ask for help
Hire help/ can’t afford to hire help
Use pampers/ Use clothe diapers
Eat frozen foods for weeks on end
Conjure up gourmet meals (somehow) daily
Work out before the 6-week “wait” period is up
Don’t work out…or even consider it for …um…16 months post birth
Don’t turn on the “out of office” messenger
Forget to return the email while we are on “leave”

From what I am gathering what defines ALL-ness “out there” goes on and on and is quite contradicting. Womenfolk, this “jury” ain’t our peers anyway. (if they are, they’ve internalized some madness)

In here and today I “middle finger mudra” ALL in the name of bowing to some.
I will clean some. I will make some messes.
I will laugh some. I will cry some.
I will respond to some emails.
I will decide to let go of some work.
I will hold on to some work.
I will rest some.
I will disappoint someone
I will inspire someone.

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