Vision power

October 21, 2014

We are continually becoming/being who we actually are.

 

This is what I mean. I found an old ‘thumb’drive (remember those) and came across this passage I’d written from my yoga teacher training application back in 2007:

 

“I want to cultivate the kind of centeredness and stillness that will allow me to move through the world with grace and consciousness in a sometimes loud and unconscious world. I want to create space for others to recognize and appreciate the softer edges of yoga. I get it. For many folk, we enter this practice through the body-but that’s that- the entry point. There’s more to the practice than moving, though that’s a powerful place to start. I’m learning to trust stillness as powerful medicine. I want to know how to share that with others.”

 

 I didn’t remember writing that.

 

Yet, I’m here.

 

Kneading my hard places- soft, leaning into stillness, trusting that rest is a part of every balanced equation and as essential as movement.

 

And I’m teaching just that at CHILLshop™.

 

 Here I was thinking it was a new idea, I vision-ed up last year!  And Ha!

 

It was written and dreamed long before that!

 

 

 

Meditate.

September 30, 2014

Asana is like a house protecting one from the heat of the sun. – Peg Mulqueen

That’s all asana is – a house protecting you from pain, suffering, and from contrary forces. It’s like the supporting tortoise for those who are constantly devoted to the practice of yoga.  Asana is not yoga. –David Garrigues   From Conference notes with DG.

I’d practiced asana (poses) five years before I began to meditate. I am grateful to asana. For me, it was a doorway to the transformative, healing, and real practice that is yoga. I reached a point where I knew there was something else to the practice other than asana, yet,  I didn’t know what it was.

Once I discovered meditation, I realized we move the body  through asana to prepare it for the stillness of meditation.

Though asana felt good to my physical body, it was when I began a regular sitting meditation practice that I sensed a deeper sense of harmony from within.

For me, 10-20 minutes of meditation a day created  more peace, calm, and space in my mind and body than a 90 minute asana yoga practice did.

Meditation is  THAT powerful.

It’s essential to the yogic practice and path.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an article that I wrote that outlines a simple way to begin meditating now.

Want the guidance of a teacher? I’m super excited that Meryl Arnett will be teaching and leading meditation every Tuesday at 6:30pm at Atlanta Hot Yoga.

What’s Your Message?

September 29, 2014

We all have a message to bring forth- that no one-

(not our partners, mamas, sisters, brothers, teachers, preachers, homegirls, “enemies”, alternate ego selves) no one can bring the world our personal and purposed message—

but we can
hide
ignore
pretend
conform
fear
hate
reject
worry
“I’m not enough”
IT away-

I could go on (cause I’ve been stuck in all these soul-message sucking tactics +some)

I’m still decoding my message, but know that “live, free, create, divine feminine, love, wild, ahhhh, mmmm”  are all part of my message.

Ha!

And er’day I wake up and remember this: “If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”

What’s your message? and how are you bringin’ it?

‪#‎erdayimholyhustlin

 

I used to think Bikram yoga was the only yoga worth doing so much so I called it “the yoga.” Thing is, I hadn’t ever done any other yoga.hell bent

Then I went to a non-heated vinyasa based class and the teacher started by reading about a Niyama. I thought to myself “what is this, yoga church?”  She guided us through a series of Sun Salutations. None of the famous/infamous 26 postures of Bikram could be teased into or out of that reverent, but confused first sun salutation of mine. (Okay, maybe one, that forward fold). Though I had been practicing Bikram six times a week for four years at that point, I signed up for a beginner’s series at this unbranded studio. A few sessions in, I started to question my devotion to 105 plus degrees, scripted dialogue, booty shorts, and those 26 postures.

Don’t get me wrong. I have an inexplicable respect for this first yoga that I ever practiced and those early teachers in Boston and Phoenix who guided me toward building an actual reality based relationship with my body. Those teachers and that practice taught me to anchor myself to the present through gaze, breath, and asana.

I am grateful. It’s just that once I experienced something else, well, I knew there was something more.

As I packed my sweaty bag and got off the Bikram train, I wondered if perhaps I would explore and come back. Maybe I would explore and leave behind that middle of the mat, lock your knee, don’t move practice all together.

Turns out, I didn’t leave, not completely, but I no longer preach the gospel of 26. I practice strict Bikram probably once a season. Mostly out of a sense of nostalgia and because I miss one of the best yoga teachers, who happened to be Bikram (and other yoga) trained that I have ever met, Brooke Sterling.

Recently I came across a book that brought back so many of my early Bikram/Yoga memories. Hell Bent by Benjamin Lorr is raw, honest, profoundly human, hilarious, edgy, and insightful like “the yoga.”

In one reading, I experienced 1,000 Bikram classes. Somehow Lorr tapped into the sheer insanity and outright genius of “the yoga” in his book.

Though my path has led me to 1,008 other asanas, a series of salutations to the moon, sun, and back, to chanted and tranced- out classes, to tongue curling, and candle gazing meditations- Lorr’s book brought me home to that very first time I stood, toes and heels together, eyes fixed on my own vulnerable image in the mirror, knuckles locked underneath my chin, inhaling stale, burning, freedom laced air.

 

 

I finished The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope about a month ago.

It was a long slow read because I savored every single word and to be honest, I was so inspired by it that I didn’t want to finish it. Since the book was so soul affirming and nourishing I have decided to read it again.

In the book Stephen asserts that in order to have a fulfthe great work bookcoverilling life you must discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of yourself. In this book he describes the process of unlocking the unique possibility harbored within each soul.

He uses the 2,000-year-old Bhagavad Gita as the cornerstone to share his reflections and revelations on finding one’s purpose. In addition to this sacred and ancient text he highlights every day people as well as known luminaries such as Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Harriet Tubman, and Ghandi whose life path’s were pure and sometimes wild expressions of what is means for one to honor their calling, gifts, and paths.

There are many passages that stood out to me. So many that I feared I would highlight the whole book. Here is one about faith and the practice of acting from a place of trust that resonated with me. “One of the most difficult aspects of faith is the suspension of one’s own preconceived ideas about how to proceed. The willing suspension of preconceived plans and schemes is absolutely required, as Harriet Tubman discovered. These plans-our plans- are gradually replaced by a growing trust in moment-by-moment guidance.”

warrior at school

After 10 years of working in the field of education as a public school teacher or nonprofit director I am walking away from my desk and board.

But this is not a diatribe about the shortcomings or benefits of standardized testing, nor a monologue about the value or devaluation of teachers in our society, or about how I have seen some of the brightest lights in the classroom burn out or blaze so intensely that we all were struck by lightning when they exploded and burst into falling flames.

This is not a story about leaving.

It’s a about showing up. It’s about heeding a call even when there’s static around the edges. It’s about praying for freedom and being brought to my knees when it arrives raw, unwashed, and unkempt.  I thought it would be sexier. It’s about stepping out of the blinding trenches of “can’t” with muddy feet and clear eyes. It’s about coming home to find an old dream crumpled in the corner, ink fading, unfolding it, and pressing it to my heart.

This is about my heart.

Two years ago my mama survived a heart attack. A miracle. But I think her heart got so heavy from stories untold, tangled up love, and longings too wide to hold on to. So her heart attacked her. Thank God for second chances to live from the heart.

Last fall a friend of mine- young, beautiful, so much promise- made her heart stop.

The days before it happened she took to carrying big bulky yellow bags full of things that she didn’t know where else to put or didn’t trust anyone else to hold on to. Maybe she was hoping for a way to press pause, to put the bags down and sort them out. She ended up hitting “delete all.” Her heart stopped.

This is about starting. Starting a letter of resignation and it turning into a poem:

I will write. I will teach yoga. I will live. I will press my forehead to the ground so that I can see my way. I will lie out all of my journals and read them for clues. I will make a map and follow it sometimes. I will sweat. I will cry. I will laugh. I will remember who I was before fear convinced me that I had to “pick” a name and definition. But this is not about fear.

This is about knowing that “fear and faith cannot exist in the same place.”

It’s about planning for what you can…and praying for the strength, integrity, wisdom, and courage to navigate through what you can’t plan for. It’s about knowing my inner strength.

With this strength I have climbed mountains in literal and figurative deserts. Moved away from home as a teenager. Traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to West Africa and back. Fought my way out of the heavy clutches of strangers and “loved ones”. I have always found a way or made one.  This is about my inner strength, but it is also about my willingness to surrender to this process of starting, remembering, becoming, and birthing dreams to vision. Every birth requires the support of community.

This is about community. This is about Jemar staying up late nights to listen to me swear, cry, and laugh my way in to the courage it took to leave the classroom once I realized it was time to go. It’s about watching my mama wake up from surgery singing  “you’re the God of a second chance.” It’s about my sister saying she’s proud of me, even though I haven’t technically done anything-super fly yet. It’s about Meryl blazing a trail and stepping off the worn path a year and a half before. My yoga students telling me they can’t wait to see more of me.

It’s about Neda, Jocelyn, Rachel, and Julie asking with profound sincerity how they can support my process. About Chelsea counting on me. Bex telling me about the time she moved to the other side of the world so her soul could breath…and she only had $40 left in her account afterward. It’s about Isabelle’s  “Hell yeah!” Tabby’s, “Girl just wait…see what opens for you.” And Todd’s “sooo much fun to be had!” It’s about Debra reminding me of the virtues of patience in word and action. It’s about Jason’s “baby girl that took guts…it’s on now!” About Jesse and Stephanie talking goals and visions with me in the lulu store, on the sidewalk, or after a sweat.

It’s about telling Leah that I am “leaping and the net will appear”…and her saying “screw a net, you got wings baby.”

It’s about shaking myself awake one particularly rough evening and finding this message from Kira: “Yes, it gets very real when changing your life so dramatically. What’s helping me, when it- the shaking, the panic, the worry happens -is really slowing down and breathing through it. Also closing my eyes, and remembering all the reasons I walked away from security into the unknown. 
I have a quote by Alan Cohen that is posted to my home office wall. I read it several times a day.  It says ‘It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.’ ”

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