Lovelies - many of you know that I am in a difficult season: the tears, pain and angst that come from major life change presenting themselves to me at random.
And I haven't been sharing them with you for your pity or attention but rather to demystify the false belief that following a spiritual path exempts us, somehow, from the natural human emotions of sadness, loneliness and grief.
Lately, my practice has asked me to keep being REAL with MYSELF during this difficult time: giving myself the permission to be messy and to deeply listen for what I need (which cyclically varies from a yoga practice, to a meditation, to a bath, to a cry, to a bestie chat, to some pizza / wine / ice cream / Netflix).
It's not easy, though, in a world that pulls me all in a million directions and tells me to put myself last.
Last weekend, I was gifted time alone on the beach by myself (which seems to be where Spirit speaks most clearly). I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous shells lying on the shoreline I really wanted to find a *perfect* one to bring back to Maple, but... I couldn't! They were all broken: one in half, another in the corner, another in the middle. Where are the PERFECT ONES?!? I shouted.
A question to which I, almost immediately, threw up my hands, looked to the sky, and laughed at God. Oooooh, riiiiiiight. They are all broken. I forgot.
So, I sat with one for awhile and let her speak. I fingered her delicate groves and intricate design contemplating how this beautiful creation just popped out of nowhere to supply a creature with a home for a short while.
Can you see that, while I'm broken, I'm beautiful, too, she asked? Yes, see my wound, but also see my beauty, okay? Please pay attention to both. And so I did, looking into the most perfect mirror for me in that moment, taking in its medicine.
After the message was received, I began to head back to the car when I came upon a small crowd. What could they be looking at I nosily wondered as I nudged my way through to see the action.
In the midst of the circle lay a gorgeous ocean bird with broken legs, sweetly sitting with her eyes closed, patiently waiting for death to come. We stood there almost ceremoniously, our silent prayers woven around her body like an ethereal wreath.
I couldn't help but notice how this beautiful, broken one was so attractive to us, surrounded by so much unconditional love in her time of need. With eyes closed she couldn't see it, but I know that she felt it and maybe that was what mattered the most.
And on my meditation seat, when I take a moment to pause in the midst of my suffering, I can sense that while I feel so alone these days, I'm not. That amidst the pain, "there is an immense tenderness that is endlessly giving itself to me in all situations" (Fr. Richard Rohr).
That this loving and gentle One is still holding, rocking and comforting me during this cruxifixction; if I stop and pay attention, I find Her right here with me at all times, circumstances and places, reminding me that "while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" (Buddha).
And just like the attractive yet broken bird, I can sense that in my darkest moments I am a magnet for angels, loving ancestors and guides who are, no doubt, all circled up around me, praying quietly, offering comfort, just waiting to help if I give them permission.
This belief that my brokenness makes me unlovable is one I'm trying to heal, one moment at a time, remembering that, as my guru Brene Brown says, it's in our brokenness that we make the deepest possible connections to one another and to life.
The real medicine, though, comes when I personally keep showing up for myself in these dark moments, just as the God(dess) does, offering myself the same unconditional love, compassion, and tenderness that this Loving Presence so effortlessly gives me.
I am over the moon to be able to share the gifts and teachings and tools that are helping me through this difficult season with my Milwaukee yogis this winter, when powerhouse singing bowl goddess Kathryn Rambo and I will team up to teach a research-based workshop on how to love yourself in the midst of your own dark season, whether that's simply through the winter months or your own spiritual journey from darkness to light.
I hope you can join us (read more about the workshop here and contact me to register), and remember to take a moment to find both the cracks and the beauty that is you the next time you pause to sit with this one right here.
So much love to you always.
The Woman's Prayer
by Erin Alexander
There is a Soul so deep within
who's radiant and wise.
She's gentle, wild, intuitive
and knows the Truth from lies.
Feeling is the way She speaks,
so listen closely dear.
For when you talk, and think, and move
Her voice you cannot hear.
So settle in, my sweet one
and attune to Her wise song.
She is the answer that you seek;
Her Truth is never wrong.
Yogis - I have been so absent from you because I am so absent from everything.
We are fully unpacked, unloaded and settled here in Cali, and I feel so empty.
I haven’t been able to muster up the strength to make a post or ponder anything spiritual these days let alone verbalize what’s happening with me.
Every few days, I come up for air, but then grief and depression hit me like a tidal wave — more powerful, sometimes, than my weak little Earth girl legs can handle. I scramble for God, but oftentimes come up empty-handed even though I am surrounded by wildly gorgeous natural beauty and a near perfect little family. As Mark Nepo says, everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
I know all the adages, this too shall pass, what doesn’t kill me, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da and I want to give them all a big obnoxious eye roll right now.
What HAS helped has been the kind eyes of humans, strangers or friends, a shared yoga practice, touching the ground, permission to be sad, staying away from my phone (hence my hiatus 😉), crying with a tree, calling my best friend and being 110% honest.
My teacher Shauna once told me that everything I learn from this will be a gift to whomever I serve, and I know that’s true: that somehow because of this I’ll be better able to hold and love others in their painful moments. But for now I’m in this contraction, deeply focused on my breath, letting the tears come and go as I allow this birthing to have its way with me (with the help of a good therapist and many incredible friends ❤️).
The emptiness has shown me how much love has been cultivated through every conversation and hug and smile and tear that I’ve shared. God has appeared to me as the hundreds (thousands?!) of people I’ve loved and that is a gift that will always stay with me even when it’s hard.
I love you, my people, and I am so, so grateful for those shared moments. Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
Maybe you’ve noticed that recently God’s been asking me to “come out” more truthfully about my faith: no longer giving me the option to hide and disguise myself, but asking me to boldly speak and write about it more honestly than ever before. This has meant major changes in where I feel comfortable teaching yoga prayer, who I pray with, and how I define myself spiritually. And the truth is that this Erin is the Erin I’ve always been, hiding quietly underneath the layers of fear that are rapidly falling away, whether I like it or not.
Over the last year, I’ve started to sneakily call God a S/he, hoping you won’t notice all that much, unfollow me, stop coming to class, or hang me as a witch. ;)
Last year, after witnessing firsthand the dis-ease of sexual abuse within the church I was raised, I began leaning on spiritual teachers like Anne Lamott, Rebecca Campbell, Glennon Doyle Melton and Rev. Sheila Graves. I’ve watched as they practice radical authenticity about themselves and their faith, witnessing how their bold, albeit counter-cultural, perspectives of God are changing the world. I know deeply that, just like them, God made me this way for a reason even if it doesn't neatly fit into any particular religious box. And, Jesus, it's liberating to be honest about myself (although, to my inner unhealed teenager who prefers popularity and acceptance over radical ANYTHING, it’s shame-inducing as hell).
But with a burgeoning womb and my favorite mystical season upon us, all I can see and feel is the Feminine Face of God and thought it was high time to start honestly explaining why.
As many of you know, I spent my first 20-some years of life at war with my body: an audio-tape of self-hatred and disgust running through my head and plunging me into endless, depressive patterns of yo-yo dieting, obsessive exercising, binge / purge patterns, and beyond. I walked through life half-alive, held in a mental prison of my own creation, rarely getting a break, save for some fleeting moments in nature or kneeling in church.
It was on the yoga mat in my late twenties, though, that I began to see my Body for what She really was: my divine home, my compass, my partner, my teacher who was lovingly carrying me through this lifetime, intelligently beating my heart, fighting bacteria, breathing my breath, keeping me alive.
In both the movement and the stillness, I found out so much about her -- like, She’s pretty freaking strong and intelligent and capable and amazing. And not because I made her to be -- but because that’s how She was “knit in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 137).
After years of verbally abusing Her, she was still here, keeping me alive, giving me Life, a little sad about my abuse, sure, but not impacted enough to stop working in my favor.
As I began to see Her for the amazing Being that She was, I began to feel that God was not only around Her but within Her -- that She was a divine specimen, “no less than the trees and the stars" (Ehrmann). Without her, I was just a mind floating around aimlessly, but with her I was a Spirit experiencing Earth (sunsets, chocolate bars, hot baths, a good cry, a late-night snuggle, a best friend) in all of her glory.
Ancient spiritual traditions have always honored the Goddess, the Earth, the Mother as this “down-here” primordial intelligence of the God-Light running through our veins. Native Americans, yogis, and the original Christian Mystics like St. Francis and Claire, taught about embodied spirituality, focusing more on the Divine-light in all things than the angry God in the sky. Even the Bible has a name for this presence, the Holy or Indwelling Spirit, naming her as Woman -- Sophia; however, in a world dominated by male leadership, She has gotten lost along the way.
As I continue to deepen my studies and meditation, I can no longer deny that God appears as both a He and a She (and, of course, sometimes genderless). That sometimes God gently cooes and coddles me, offering unconditional love and nurturing the same way that my own blessed mother once did. And yet, sometimes God feels like my Father, guiding and directing and organizing things from the sky. And what I’ve realized is that I need both a Mom and a Dad, both a gentle, patient, intuitive Mama and a bold, brave, “we’ve got this” Papa in order to be my best Self.
This new way of thinking, along with a steady devotional practice, has allowed me to see my Self in a whole new way: God not just a far away presence, but the still, small voice within me, every human, tree, and molecule.
If we are to study the Christmas story from a mystical perspective, then, Mary brings God down from the pedestal and into her womb: she shows us that, as my beloved Teresa of Avila says, God has no hands but our hands, no voice but our voice, no eyes but our eyes. That it’s THROUGH ME that God intends to bring Light into the world: using my unique gifts, my unique voice, my unique perspective and body and life-force, to do something important here.
And knowing that changes everything. When I am kind to the elderly stranger in line at Target, I am birthing the Christ-Light. When I patiently help my daughter digest a bad day, I am birthing the Christ-Light. When I cook a healthy meal for my family, I am birthing the Christ-Light. When I teach from my heart, I am birthing the Christ-Light.
Suddenly, everything I do has meaning, importance -- suddenly, I am no accident. My body goes from enemy to temple: the place where God intends to deliver Her Divine Plan for the world. All feelings of depression and isolation melt away and I am healed of the selfish, narcissistic behaviors that have become our way of life as Americans.
So there it is. This is why yoga and prayer have become my altar, my healing space: with each breath and movement, I awaken the Inner Light, finding it first in myself, then in my husband, my children, and every damn human I meet, even and especially, my “enemy.” And this is what Jesus’s essential teachings have always been about.
Wherever you find yourself on your Spiritual Path this holiday, I encourage you to play with the idea that you are not an accident: that nothing about you is -- that it’s “through you that the Whole intends to do something,” giving birth to something that only you can deliver (Ohso). For when we begin to believe this completely, it is then that we will change the world.
So many changes have been happening to me lately, guys, that I admittedly haven't been very present.
It's like I'm headed down a tumultuous river current, moving straight into a class 6 rapid and instead of paying attention and moving my oars accordingly, I've got one hand on the oar and the other on my iPhone, anxiously checking for Facebook notifications.
Instead of looking the river head on, I'm only half-looking (admittedly, on purpose): avoiding what's happening and what's coming because IT'S EFFING SCARY! What I realized this morning, though, is that my lack of attention to what's in front of me is giving me more anxiety than just looking the damn thing straight in the eye.
With a new baby just three months away, more changes for my husband's work unfolding, and my too-tight exoskeletons falling off, the river is asking me to keep both hands on the oar. And the only thing making me suffer is my resistance to doing just that.
And just as I've blogged about oh-so-many times, I know that every blood-curdling contraction has Its purpose, that through my Life, God is always seeking to teach me, develop me, and refine me if I can stay present and open to the river's wise and mighty path.
What some call non-dualism (and others call radical faith) has helped me to change my perspective which is all that I'm in control of. When what I used to label as "bad" becomes a necessary and instructive lesson, I can let go of the gripping and find my body, my breath and ultimately my Soul (always just calmly chilling out underneath it all, observing this magical life without judgement).
Then I remember that this badass river is making me a badass woman. I take a deep breath, put my phone down, and pay attention, knowing that, as Joan of Arc says, I was born to do this.
Join me on the mat this month as we collectively find the safety of our soul-space together. We were born to do this, guys, one moment, one breath, one challenge at a time.
Love and peace be with you,
Yesterday was a big day for me. My dear friend, student, and fellow Lightworker, Maria Prado, who runs an incredible women's event, Gema de Dios for Hispanic Women in Milwaukee, asked me to share the story of my spiritual awakening as the opening monologue.
This was the largest audience that I've ever been asked to present to, and no doubt, was the impetus of a weekend-long vulnerability hang-over. However, the Spirit keeps guiding me to tell the truth about my story and my past as a means of helping others to awaken out of their own spiritual struggles, dramas and disillusions. I have made peace with the fact that if doing so helps just one person, it all is worth it. So, here it is: the story of my realization that I, like everyone else here, am a Gem of God. Namaste.
As a former addict who has spent decades struggling with anxiety and depression, I’ve had a long, hard road to finding God. My journey through hell and out again has taught me more about Divine Love, though, than the cookie-cutter, saccharine-sweet life I’ve always dreamed of.
It was through my pain and my angst and my darkness that I’ve learned the truth of God’s unbelievable compassion: that when God looks at me, S/he doesn’t see my faults and mistakes and brokenness as much as S/he sees my gifts, my strengths, and the beauty of the Light S/he created, burning behind me eyes.
But it’s always been hard for me to believe that God could love me so totally and completely. That God, in fact, has never been mad, has never once looked harshly upon me despite my ridiculously selfish and narcissistic behaviors, that God’s love is so big and so wide that it’s always been able to cradle all of my Soul’s parts: both my darkness and my light.
I think it’s so hard to believe because many of us haven’t encountered a love like this in the human realm. No, our broken parents and our broken society and our broken husbands and partners and children don’t often say I love you no matter what; rather, they say, I will love you when…
… when you make me happy
… when you give me what I want
… when you’re skinny
… when you’re successful
… when you’re quiet
… when …
And so we begin to carry around this false belief that God loves us when, too… when we’re perfect, when we’re faultless, when we’re pure.
But God has shown me that S/he never says when; no, S/he says always. I love you, always. I’m with you, always. I see you, always. I hear you, always. Can you believe it? I know I can’t.
But then I remember that God’s love isn’t anything like most of the love that I’ve seen around this place. And this is good news, that God’s love is bigger and better than anything I’ve ever known, that God’s love is more widely vast than any of the rigid, narrow and stifling ways of this broken world.
When I was a little girl, my culture filled my innocent brain with lies -- stories that told me there was such a thing as the lovables and the unlovables: the in crowd and the out crowd, the haves and have nots, and that it was entirely possible to fall out of God’s healing grace. That it was possible to be bad, unworthy, unlovable even to God.
And so I spent the first 28 years of my life desperately copying every damn thing that they told me I needed to do to be one of the lucky, lovable ones. I spent my whole life fighting so desperately for lovable, that I lost thousands of hours of my life contorting my face into one that was pleasant, my body into one that was small, my boisterous Spirit into one that was obedient, and my unique voice into one that was silent.
As I entered my teens, I realized that this game had a focus now: to not only be lovable, but to be loved by a man, to be the princess chosen by the prince, the beauty who turns the heart of the beast.
And so the endless chase for love and attention soon became the endless chase for a man… any man at all because… as they told me… I would be lovable when.
I chased myself into bad relationship after bad relationship, running away from the hands of one toxic man only to fall into the hands of another.
And after all of the chasing, at 28, my steam ran out: I was tired, I was hungry, I was weak. Too weak to get out any more, too weak to keep running. It was easier to settle, to sell my Soul for the companionship of a man just as broken as I was: one who drank and swore and manipulated.
Surely I could never win this game, surely this is what I was worthy of. Surely, it was better to be with him than to be alone.
As the years went on with him by my side, my Soul died a slow death: I fell into a pit of depression and self-loathing, comfortably sinking into this shitty relationship, watching shitty television, eating shitty food and drinking shitty beer: destroying what I thought to be my most unlovable and disgusting self, one bad choice at a time.
One night in this black hole, my drunk boyfriend disappeared; word had it that he'd blacked out somewhere in the streets of Milwaukee and was nowhere to be found. And to be honest, I didn’t know if I wanted to find him or not. After a night of searching high and low into the wee hours of the morning before going to work, I came home to find him obliterated, standing there Soulless and snake-eyed, half alive, stumbling toward me as I walked through the door.
“Where have you been?” he mumbled.
Where have I been?! I wanted to wail… Where have I BEEN?! looking for YOU, taking care of YOU, providing for YOU, cleaning up after YOU, I silently screamed from inside.
But my mouth was duct-taped shut, the words stuck in the back of my throat where I’d learned to keep them as a child. I stood there and listened as he told me how he didn’t love me, how he never really did.
And while my good girl costume stayed mostly in tact, my Soul burned with a raging fire inside: mad and disappointed mostly in myself for believing that this is what I was worthy of, for putting up with such toxicity (despite my Soul's guidance not to) for so, so long.
After he stumbled to bed, I curled up on the couch for the handful of hours I had left to sleep, scared and alone, shaking uncontrollably, wondering if this is what rock bottom felt like. With nothing left to lose, I looked up into the sky and the words *help me* slipped from my tired lips and into the heavens, words that God was so lovingly and patiently waiting to hear.
And do you know what S/he said in response? Enough, baby, this is enough.
I fell into a dreamless sleep and woke up somehow changed. Instinctually, I knew that the quiet calm voice of the night could be trusted, that the God who spoke to me then, would be there speaking to me tomorrow and the next day, that S/he had been quietly speaking all along. I had lost my body, my voice, my life, my Soul, what more did I have to lose?
And so with fiery snake eyes of my own, I packed a bag and listened to the sweet sound of my own voice say “Enough.” I walked through the door and I never looked back.
In hindsight, I can confidently tell you that there was something holy about the darkness, that it was through my long walk to the cross, into my tomb and out again, fully resurrected, that I found my best Self: that there is a part of me who will resurrect from every challenge, time and time again, who is always connected to God, who is loveable simply because she exists. For it was the journey into the darkness and back out again that allowed me to find who I really was: not a disgusting and hopeless addict; not an overweight, imperfect body; not an anxious mind full of thoughts, but a lovable, holy, perfectly imperfect child of God.
Following God from the darkness to the Light was the greatest leap I have ever taken. One that led me to heal my addictions, find a new career and start a new life. Sure, it was scary at first but it got easier and easier once I realized that the Voice that led me out of hell was the Voice of a Loving God, this was the voice of my best Self, this was the voice of my Soul.
From the other side of this nightmare, I can tell you that nothing is too big or too complicated for this quiet, guiding Light. That no matter how lost you may feel or how far away from God you’ve fallen, this Voice waits quietly, to guide you to safety, to peace, and to hope, to the evolution of your Best Self. And this Voice and this Love is not just available to me, but to any and all of us, no matter how lost, no matter how broken, at any time, if only we ask for Its wisdom, if only we’re open to Its guidance.
I’ve also learned that God needs not only my invitation, but my attention: how can I hear the voice of God when I’m thinking and talking and moving all the time? Because every single time that I call out to the heavens, God always responds -- maybe not immediately, maybe not in a loud scream, but in quiet, obvious ways, if I am paying attention.
I believe that God’s loving force is in fact the force that brought you here today, that wants to use this weekend to transform you, to awaken your Best Self. That God Herself is the One who helped you to make all of the arrangements to get here, who brought us together in this moment, who quietly whispers to all of us -- you are worth it.
And so I ask you to keep your eyes wide open for how God wants to touch you in the next few days, how S/he wants to show Herself and Her Love to you personally -- maybe in a kind word from a stranger, the healing touch of a therapist, the nourishment of a meal that you didn’t have to cook, or the moving words of someone who’s made it through hell and back into the Light.
May you slow down, pay attention and be open to the transformation that awaits you here.
Thank you and May God Bless You widely and abundantly.
Dear friends, yogis and yoginis:
It is with great joy that I announce that this fall will be the celebration of All Souls Yoga's third birthday! I still remember painting my then-basement with my daughter's big eyes looking up at me in her pack and play, wondering if I was a crazy-lady. Three years out, I can confidently say that I wasn't -- that that niggling whisper from the Holy Spirit was right on. I'm so relieved that I was brave enough to listen.
The studio has grown into her own being over time -- she's alive, vibrant and healthier than ever. I am so grateful for the many ways that each of you has participated in making this dream of yoga, spirituality, and community come alive.
Just like the studio, I too have grown. With the support of my friends and family, I joyfully dedicated a full year to my personal growth and expansion as your teacher and guide, pursuing my 500 hour training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy. Over the course of last year, I traveled to Chicago to study with incredible, internationally renowned yoga teachers who specialize in topics that affect us all: addiction, grief, anxiety, depression, cancer, chronic pain and beyond.
I can feel the wisdom of my teachers and my incredible classmates in my very being every time I step on the mat and direct you inward toward your true nature:perfect, whole, divine, despite any evidence to the contrary. I have found my therapeutic yoga voice, providing comfort and ease to students not only in the body, but also in the deepening of the breath, the calming of the mind, and the soothing of the Spirit.
With this wisdom like a great wind at my back, I am moving forward in the next phase of my journey, those Divine breadcrumbs leading me to teach workshops at Froedert Cancer Center and Firstfruits Women's Center, work privately with many of you, and expand my offerings to extend beyond group yoga (look for more to come...).
This also means a slight change in some of my business policies, which I want to openly share with you below. All of these changes will begin in the fall, starting September 1st.
Yoga Church Rates:
4 class package: $50
8 class package: $85
*All packages will expire in eight months*
Therapeutic Yoga Prayer
Initial Therapeutic Yoga Package: $120
This extensive therapeutic yoga session will allow us to get to know one another and your goals for our work together. We'll begin with a 30 minute intake call which will prepare us for 90 minutes of one-on-one therapeutic yoga, guided meditation, reiki, and gentle aromatherapy / massage. You'll leave the space with a handful of therapeutic yoga tools specific to your personal self-care needs.
One 90 min. private session: $90
Two 90 min. private sessions: $160
Three 90 min. private sessions: $210
Add-on a personalized video of your yoga therapy practice for an additional $25.
Semi-Private Therapeutic Yoga
One 90 min. private session: $120
Two 90 min. private sessions: $200
Three 90 min. private sessions: $240
One 90 min. private session: $150
Two 90 min. private sessions: $260
Three 90 min. private sessions: $330
I am deeply bowing to the MANY people who have brought us to this moment in time, including all of you. Thank you for engaging in this Divine Dance with me. It has been the ride of a lifetime!
Hi yogis and yoginis - Around this time of year I can literally feel the heat, movement and activity of summer beginning to fry my nervous system: my Spirit like a burger that's been on the grill too long, sending up the initial frantic smoke signals of possible destruction.
And while I love enjoying the 2-3 months of midwestern heat to their fullest, the constant movement, doing and activity pull me away from my center, that still small place where God lives and guides and heals and protects me.
My practice lately has been super inward (hence, why I've been a bit reclusive), finding God in the quiet stillness of the NOW -- you know, that unbelievably loving and patient Being just chilling in the background, unobtrusively loving and guiding me underneath my crazy.
What I've realized is that the more I find God in this NOW moment, the more confident I am that S/He will be with me in the next now moment, and then the next one. And as I train my brain (which is literally what yoga/meditation does) to find God HERE, I will no doubt be able to find him/her in whatever awaits me out there, too.
Our practice this month will focus on using gentle breath and movement to quiet the silly ego (who always likes to convince us that we can squeeze just ONE more thing on the calendar) and recenter around the sanity of the Spirit, or as T.S. Elliot says, "the still point of the turning world."
Where ever life has taken you, whether in or out of our All Souls yoga community, I am so grateful for knowing you and for the integral part you've played in this great unfolding. May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you know that you're a beloved child of God.
Om Shanti, Peace be with You, Shalom.
As you may or may not have noticed I’ve been a little quieter these days, less excited about creating and posting the latest, greatest meditation or writing about the increasingly challenging adventures with my growing toddler.
The reality is that I’ve been in a dark, gooey, cocoony sort of place lately where everything that I once knew to be true seems to be crumbling out from underneath me. It’s like watching the tapestry of who I thought I was unwind: one thread at first and then several and then hundreds. Between uncertainty about my faith-practices, my fertility and my family’s future, I’m experiencing an all-hands-on-deck, code red kind of identity crisis.
And during this difficult season, instead of showing up authentically, it’s been easier to hide in my cave, pretending that all is well underneath my make-up mask and Vaseline smile (which, to be fair, is probably a wise evolutionary coping mechanism -- animal packs abandon the weird one, you know. It’s, like, a real thing that we mammals do to each other).
And what sucks is that I reaaaaaally love to tell you cutesy stories about the silly, inspirational things that my daughter says instead of my dark days in the cocoon. Light and fluffy and unicorny is better for business, or so they tell me.
So instead of arriving to this painful season, I’ve decided that it’s easier to just pretend that it’s not happening: to keep my headphones on and my music blaring as I shout “what cocoon, you guys?! I have NO IDEA what you’re talking about.”
Of course, it was in this Disneyland fantasy world that I, not surprisingly, found myself in a car accident: one that was painful enough to sit my ass down and cry out all of the tears that I had been holding in over the last few months.
It’s kind of a relief though, to have permission to say “I am hurting” out loud instead of pretending that I’m not.
But I have always been a scab-picker, dying to pick those babies off before their time, preferring to just strong-arm the shit out of my healing process, wanting it to unfold in my way and on my terms. But the emergence of spring plant life reminds me that I live in a universe that just… KNOWS… how to turn scabs into new skin and caterpillars into butterflies and embryos into babies and acorns into trees without my interference.
I can either let It work to heal and expand me or I can stubbornly cut myself off from Its Intelligently Divine Process. And so, because, whelp, the “do-it-myself” model got me into a traumatic car accident, I’ve had no other choice than to look upward, eyes full of tears saying “Okay, Partner. Show me the way.” And because God respects my free will, She either lets me try to design newer, stronger skin cells on my own (I am exhausted just thinking about that), or I can let go, relax into the process, and let Her do it for me.
Fighting the natural processes of God’s design has felt like swimming upstream -- way harder than heading straight into the turbulent water, knowing that I am surrounded by a team of angels, full of potential butterfly just waiting to emerge from the messy processes that lie ahead.
Wherever you are, whatever season you are in, I invite you to be still and know that God is good, that every challenge exists as an angel in disguise, spurring us into growth and expansion in a full-on, embodied way.
This week at Yoga Church we come together exactly as we are, perfectly imperfect, in whatever time and season we are in to connect with and trust in the Intelligent Spirit that is always leading us in the direction of our expansion, no matter how painfully beautiful the road may be.
Friends - it is my joy to gather with you tonight at All Souls to practice one of the most helpful techniques that I've been playing with: stillness and present moment awareness as the highest form of worship.
Personally, my life has been in major flux - lots of change and possibilities presenting themselves about where my life is going and how it will unfold. And boy-oh-boy, my mind is having a FIEEEEELD day jumping around like a wild monkey, thinking about all the things that could be, that would be, that should be, that might be. To be completely honest, it's kind of fun to let her go wild and fantasize her little monkey heart out in the beginning, but after awhile, that fun bouncy little thing turns into a monkey on crack -- thinking through all of the things that can go wrong - terribly, awfully wrong. Cracked out, bug-eyed, hyperventilating monkey usually ends with the conclusion that the world will end and I will be forgotten: left for dead, cold, alone and in misery.
Okayyyyyyy, maybe not that extreme, but usually, her story ends up being something similar to the apocalypse of my creation.
We live in a society that worships the head monkey, believing that thinking itself is the way out of any difficult situation or problem; however, my meditation and yoga practice have taught me the exact opposite -- that it's in the un-thinking place that the answers and guidance are revealed, one moment, one breath at a time.
If God is a living, breathing, moving organism of which I am a part, Her presence is right here, in this moment, Her guidance coming to me now and now and now, Her gentle movement like the flow of a stream that I can participate in or resist.
And while sometimes the 72 new books on spirituality I just bought from Amazon are helpful, most times they just get in the way of the perpetual and perfect the guidance of This Holy Moment.
This is why a contemplative practice of mindfulness that consistently grounds me into "what's true now" has been the highest form of worship lately. Because in it, I can feel that the living, breathing God within and around me is always directing me into perpetual resurrection one moment, one sensation, one breath at a time.
But if my body-mind-spirit instrument is bouncing around on-line shopping and Facebook browsing and email checking, playing with a huge list of what has been and what could be, I completely miss the guidance that's being offered to me in the Now.
This is one of the many reasons that we practice yoga: to tune into the present-moment-God-mind over and over again (which literally changes the functioning of the brain), so that when we enter that pivotal and intense moment where we used to clock out and let fear take over, the day will come when we choose to clock in -- to be with challenge and to face it head on do that really scary thing that we're called to do because we know we're guided to do it. Something bigger speaks through us, moves through us, lives through us, if only we can get still enough to let it.
Join me on the mat tonight to clear the mind and to ground into the Present Moment Reality which is holy, wise and unbelievable intelligent.
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother