Posts In: meditation

Of Grief

March 20, 2017

Of Grief

Isn’t it an ocean?
Full. Expansive. Mysterious. Breathing.

This feeling.

Rushing and slow

Older and longer than
all of our lives linked
and added together.

I sit at its edge. It swells and I can’t move.
How it drags me under. There is no fighting back,
It’s hands are relentless and reach far.

I am pushed from old shores to new land searching for who I lost.

(Have they become sea grass, shells, salt, sand
The blanket of sky that covers me?
The ants marching along? The silent crab eyeing me?
The light against my skin?)

Have they found the other side of home?

Isn’t this an ocean, friends?
How it crashes into everything we trust and “know”.
How it overflows and proves that our hearts don’t know boundaries of body, space, and time.

How it reminds us of how big and small we each are.

In a single day I may wade through, surf, tread, swim, float.
In a minute, I may drown.
The next, I may be lifted up.

Isn’t it an ocean?
How it engulfs us, pulls us under, and at the same time through.

How we are carried back from the edge, layed out on the ground, and washed.

Covered in scrapes and grit. And washed over.

How we are pulled through the cycles of Life again and again?

 

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.

Slow down.

February 20, 2016

Two nights ago I was driving along in silence.
I heard a voice “day clear” say “Deer. Two. Ahead. Slow Down.”

I acknowledged it. Slowed down. Kept driving.

10 minutes later what do I see.
Deer.
Two.

One shoots out into the road and just stops.
She stared. The other stayed out of the street and watched until I stopped. I sat there, shoulders soft, face relaxed and marveled at the beauty of the deer as they passed along.

Since I’d both heard AND heeded the message to “slow down” there was plenty of space to just stop. The pause was easier than it would have been if I’d been speeding along.

My rational mind is all like “well you live in Georgia… there are deer you know that. No big deal. It’s a sensible thought to have to slow down at night in case you encounter deer.”

Yet I know this was something beyond rationality speaking to me that night.

I wonder if my mind would have been all crowded and jumbled up, if I would have been able t hear such a clear message? Even if would have been able to hear through the noise, would I have trusted the simple wisdom to slow down?

If I had been “so busy and rushing” would that deer and I have met a different fate?
Instead of pausing and seeing each other, then merely passing through, would we have collided? Or at the least, would I have tensed up and been shaken at their sight versus taking in their beauty and waiting for them to pass?

That’s the thing.
So much rushing around leads to inner and outer collisions. And missing some awfully simple and beautiful moments.

Ever wonder what we miss because we can’t hear the quiet wise voice saying, “Slow down.”

Or we hear it. Don’t trust or value it. And decide to override it.

Are we too busy to slow down?
But not to busy to crash?

love yo’self

February 15, 2016

remembering the moment I owned that I ain’t got to beg for love. or lie for love. or pretend for love. or lighten my eyes or skin for love. smooth out my hair for love. flatten my belly for love. get a Phat-er booty for love. stop choppin’ the ends off words for love.
Remembering the last night I ever waited for Love to call or come through, cause then I realized Love didn’t need me to hold my tongue, hide my Womanist/ Crunk Feminist ways, say yes all the time, act docile, or even to get dressed and go “out” looking for…it.

remembering that moment, where I felt split from the inside and torn.
yet the raw openness there is where “i found god in myself & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely”- (N. Shange)

Gentle is strong.

April 23, 2015

The gentle overcomes the strong.

I am looking at a river flow; a steady, slow, stream. There are heavy rocks anchored beneath the pulsing  river. I lean forward to sense the depth and touch the movement of this moment. Up close, I see the rocks worn, clearly effected, transformed even– by the ambling unhurried dance of water passing eternity after eternity over them.
In this instance I am reminded of the Tao Ching:
“Тhe gentle overcomes the rigid. The slow overcomes the fast. Everyone knows that the yielding overcomes the stiff,
and the soft overcomes the hard. Yet few apply this knowledge.”

I look to the river for the wisdom and courage to apply this knowledge.
River speaks to me in whispers and slow rhymes. River says, “Watch me. I am unhurried, and I have been for millions of years. I know my rhythm and the very drum beat of life.  I am soft and fluid, yet I change every thing I touch. I am changed by every thing that touches me. I resist nothing. Most years, I am gentle.”

childs bow

Photo by: Thu Tran

Here I am. By my river. Being changed. Effecting change. When I left my previous career to teach yoga full time and “see” what else I’m here to see I was literally known as the “power sweat hard core yoga teacher lady” in my town. Acknowledging a series of personal and relentless truths and real deep healing experiences via yin, restorative, and alignment based yoga with one of my teachers in Atlanta- Gina Minyard–my flow changed. The course of my river is following a new bend. As I’ve become a different yoga student, I’ve become a different yoga teacher.

The shift has resonated with some. Others have scratched their heads.  Some days I want to pretend that nothing is changing or has changed about my practice, teaching, learning: me.

I have gained and lost both teachers and students.

I offer my past to the river.

I stand here in the present being washed over, yet fully participating in the shift.  As I am cleansed. I am worn.

For tomorrow, I carry both the wisdom of the river and the soul of the rock in my heart.
Honestly, I am afraid.
Truthfully, I am still brave.
There ain’t no turnin’ round.

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