Long time no blog

Standard

It is 3:47am, after being woken up by my biological urge to go to the bathroom I am kept awake by the biological warfare that is currently waging in my head. I am supposed to feel fortunate right now, I have left my former life of working for someone else and am now a full-time employee of both life on life’s terms and Wild Bull in a China Shop. This scenario, working for myself, is a long time dream come true, the ability to get up and start writing in the pre-dawn hours without stressing that I have to go to “work” is what I have longed for. Why then, I am wondering, does it not feel like that at the moment? Why is it that as I have moved my business and relationship from small town to big city that I feel more and more closed in upon, more panicked, more claustrophobic?

Side Note: My partner and I recently packed up shop and left Nantucket Island to find ourselves in South Philadelphia, a plan that we have been working toward for quite some time, a plan that in my mind I have developed quite a specific picture of how it all should be working.

Let’s just say that at the moment I am feeling particularly raw and vulnerable, so the fears that come up about life not painting itself out as I imagined have a particularly overwhelming power over me. In all my wonderful life practices I know in my heart that this too shall pass, however at now 3:59am, the power of doubt & fear reign supreme. I started writing because creatively that is what I know to do about train wreck emotional states; that in my deepest knowing I am clear are not reality but I can’t seem to escape. I am opening up my tool box big time this morning: write and pray and meditate and get mad at the universe that I still have room to grow and change, accept and let go, get scared & mad again and then take a deep breath, etc…

Aside from a wrath of thoughts and feelings, what came up for me as I tried to meditate my way back to sleep at about 3:00am, when I first realized this sleep/tired feeling was also going to pass, was the yogic concept of attachment and aversion. Intellectually, I can map these fears right to the fantasy I hold on to about how this whole move is “supposed” to work out and the panic that is created when I think about other not so pleasant alternatives.

I often find myself in the position of coaching others through these tricky times and here I am seeking the coaching. I searched for “attachment & aversion” and found the text below. These principles are embedded in my knowledge, my intellect, yet they are still feel fresh and newly practiced in my being. I think I want to be “good” at letting go, accepting the moment. I think I want to get an “A” in the subject. My intellect craves an end to the semster of practicing this way of life a check in the mastery column of spiritual contentment. My spirit on the other hand suspects that this is the curriculum for my current life and now at 4:15am I am simply annoyed by that!

Shared from: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm

Creating from the Core

Standard

As a yoga teacher and student I often find myself focusing on the core, that belly center that when engaged protects the lower spine and build necessary heat to move through sometimes challenging postures/experiences. Our core (as much as that term can annoy me, its connection to flat abs and hot bods is SOOOO over done), like the core of the earth is our center for fiery energy, the kind of energy that gets us spinning in a direction.

When we take the time to dream about our lives in a distant future hints of what moves us at our center, our truth, our core evolve. This past week in our session we connected 3-4 core values that each participant felt truly resonated out of their heart and into that future. It’s important to narrow these down, it’s not that we don’t have and hold other values dear it is simply that at this current phase of life, 3-4 are our most powerful guides for making choices in our life.

My core values are creativity, sustainability and community (depending on my phase of life community oscillates with the value of family, these 2 values are interchangeable for me and if you know the way I have been raise this would make sense). Having these values has simplified my life, when opportunities arise I match them up with my core values, sometimes it is obvious and sometimes subtle, if I pay close attention I can tell when an opportunity doesn’t resonate and I can move on. When this was new to me, it wasn’t always clear, it has taken time and practice (and continues to develop) to discern what opportunities align and which ones don’t.

Soooo, if you have been playing along with this path I encourage you to sit with your vision of your life 10-years from now and then gaze over the list of values, see which 3-4 values percolate to the surface, you might find ones that aren’t on the list…add them! This is the critical next step in defining a pathway, it is like seeing the dirt path defined as you clear through the brush and weeds.

Values

Entrepreneur

Balance

Integrity

Creativity

Fun

Diversity

Legacy

Knowledge

Passion

Commitment

Loyalty

Responsibility

Leadership

Greatness

Patience

Wealth

Development

Family

Growth

Quality

Health

Recognition

Achievement

Courage

The Rim of Possibility

Standard

Last Monday was the first of four sessions in this Treasure Map making journey that these lovely participants are on. As promised, I will be navigating my own way through this here, in my blog. Please use, distort, experiment with the following…it might be helpful to read the posts Map Making and Sketching the Outline before continuing.

Once we are aware of the thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. that get in our way (this is GOOD NEWS by the way) we begin to have the ability to push those limits, test our boundaries and move beyond the limitations that are made up in our thoughts (usually informed by past experience that most likely have no bearing on our current reality). This is the inherent value in Clearing the Canvas.

Once the canvas has a fresh coat of white paint, it is time to start dreaming. It is important to grant ourselves full permission to DREAM, like a child, like someone without constraints of finances or time. In a workshop setting, I lead people through a meditation exercise. First, guiding people into the sensory experience of their body, drawing awareness to their breath, how they feel in their body at the moment and then follow that thread out to their surroundings. The intention is to bring people into the moment before they start dreaming.

Then the fun begins! Imagine yourself 10 years from now released from limits of opinions (yours and others), money and time…what would you look like? What would you be wearing? What sensations might you be having? What would your surrounding look like? home? apartment? country? city? burbs? Do your surroundings give you chills, light you up? What about who is around? are you solo? filled with a gaggle of giggles? partner/spouse? co-workers? What about work? What activities fill your day to day life?

Allow this picture to be painted, use your breath to just notice what images come up, what sensations you feel. Give yourself time to linger in this and trust. Chances are if the images evoke passion, love, excitement, joy they are connected to the thread that runs from your heart, your truth. GOOD NEWS!

Write this down as soon as you open your eyes. Ultimately, you will create a full description in words or images of this vision but for right now get key words, images, desires and dreams on paper without giving yourself time to think. Include: scenery, surroundings, people, activities, work, play, leisure. Remember it is 10 years form now, let go, give complete permission to touch the rim of possibility.

Over the course of a few days start to elaborate on your first thoughts, feelings, images. Write in prose and/or create a vision board something to give your thoughts a place in reality to begin to crystallize. Be detailed and thorough in your descriptions, hit every area of your life, start to notice what key values thread through this version of you.

The most important thing is to use the technique from the meditation practice, Clearing the Canvas. Simply notice what comes up when you go on this vision quest, suspend judgment and be open to your picture of yourself 10 years from now. It makes no difference whether it makes sense in your current life. If it doesn’t match up to your current life, that too is GOOD NEWS, it might feel hard or strange but it is just as important to know when we are working against our hearts desire so that we can begin carving out a path that is true to who we are at our core.

Sketching the outline

Standard

I remember in English class we were taught how to make an outline before writing a five paragraph essay. Most things in school I just did because I was told and doing that was the way to get good grades, my dad paid me for good grades and took fun away when I didn’t make the mark, simple and effective motivation strategy. However, being motivated by money and fame did nothing to help me UNDERSTAND the value in what I was rotely completing. When I was 22 and CHOSE to go to school to LEARN I was ready to accept the full value of practices like outlines and HOLY CRAP they really did WORK!

For this workshop I am guiding in a couple weeks the practice of outlining is equally valuable. Nowadays I don’t always use the Roman Numeral system to precisely orientate what thoughts interject where, for something like this I sketch more of a rough drawing. This kind of project is a community affair. While the outline is rough and tumble the participants and myself will begin to refine and shape what the overall picture will be.

To begin with I imagine that the canvas we are using has been worked on before, after all everyone, including myself, is showing up with our thoughts/opinions/ideas of what it means to set goals. The most important thing to do in the beginning is clear the canvas. Before that can even begin, a practice of basic meditation is essential, the simple, regular act of sitting still and noticing when thinking takes over, simply noticing and labeling thoughts “thoughts” and continuing to sit as they pass. This meditation thing doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, it could be five minutes or 10 breaths just to connect and ignite the process of hearing yourself from the inside, becoming a curious observer of yourself.

Once that simple practice starts cooking, the next thing is to begin contemplating, even writing down, thoughts, opinions, feelings that come up when we cogitate about creating a vision, understanding our values, setting goals and sharing the process with people in our lives. Across the board, in every practice I employ in my life, the first step is to know thyself, to remain open to discovering what gets in my way AND what assists me in moving forward. It is a practice that employs the heart over the mind, as the heart is naturally prone to openness and willingness. It requires me to sit still and FEEL what is evoked when I think about these topics.

This is clearing the canvas, readying ourselves for something completely new and surprising…Let the adventure begin!

Map Making

Standard

I have the distinct honor and blessing of working with a group of women seeking goal coaching. SIDE NOTE: I long for a different name for this process that I facilitate. Goal Coaching reminds me too much of my former corporate application, not that there is anything wrong with that,it is simply a new time to honor the current phase of life. hmmm, something to ponder…

The workshop will play out over 4-sessions, once a week for 2-hours. Each week will travel through a distinct element of what I have experienced as a roughly 4-part process with lots of hills and valleys to traverse along the way. In my experience, these “steps” give a loose structure, a charcol outline if you will, to our hearts longing and passion and then, life, doing what it does best, fills in and reshapes along the way.

That part, the life filling in along the way, has been one of my favorite things to discover. What is most adventurous in this is that each individual begins to dismantle some seriously restricting beliefs that somehow what they want for their fulfillment is out of reach. If there is one thing that breaks my heart more than most it is when people feel they need to settle, that somehow they are not inherently worthy of knowing and expressing their greatness, whatever that means to them. To settling I say a big F-U!

Over the next few blogs, my intent is to share my own process of re-creating this workshop. I am beyond grateful to have this occur over 4-weeks, in the past I have had to distill it into an evening workshop, while valuable it only provides a taste, a hint. Considering what I am guiding is a process in itself, so too the workshop shall be.

Looking forward to sharing the details as we go…

Taking things step by conscious step

Standard

Taking things step by conscious step…that was the take away from my reading this morning on teaching yoga. Not sure if I mentioned it before but that is also a way I feel expressed in the world, teaching yoga. I certainly didn’t expect it when I went through the teacher training program at Wake Up Yoga a couple years ago. My only intention was to deepen my personal practice so that no matter where I was I could harness the love, intention and grace of the classes I took at Wake Up Yoga. I love when a plan doesn’t come together, when my expectation is derailed and I find myself surprised and delighted with an undercover outcome…FUN TIMES all around!

As usual, I digress…”step by step”, right?! That’s where I was. So it had me thinking just how important that has become in my world. It never used to be, I LEAPED, PLOWED or BOWLED, or at least attempted to, over what I considered to be menial task along a path toward a goal. Leap no more, my friends (okay maybe at times it is perfectly acceptable, this leaping, I am definitely keeping it handy).  However, I have been well served at this stage of life to step one foot in front of the other; to follow the lead of my sweet niece who can take 10 hours to walk a path that would take me 10 minutes. It is time in my life to find the adventure and discovery under rocks, between flowers, in each breath.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am finding the benefits of this in all aspects of my life, taking things step by step in my romantic relationship has brought me into a place of trust and connection. My business grows and flourishes, rather than crashing and burning, as I pay full attention to one detail at a time. The same is true as I am teaching yoga again, blossoming in my teaching practice as I honor these seedling students in their beginning stages of yoga as a practice and my own seedling nature in my teaching practice.

My goodness, life is so short, time moves so quickly. I am grateful I no longer need to run to concur it. I am so blessed to be in a stage of life where I can walk with it hand in hand.

“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.
Lyndon B. Johnson

Share and share alike

Standard

Sharing is caring they say…and I believe them (whoever “they” are). I take a great deal of care in the work I do and experience tremendous gratitude to be working for and with inspiring and dynamic people. In my day job I work as a gardener, this effort not only pays the primary bills but feeds the soul.  I have grown so much through trial and error in choosing my career/work experience, meaning I seek and stay in work that feeds my soul and continue to develop my trust and faith that doing what I love will trail money along with it. As I have evolved in this aspect of life I find that work seams up nicely with the other aspects of life and ebbs and flows accordingly.

This season my boss and friend, Amy Pallenberg, launched her blog and each week one of us on the crew is taking on sharing our take, inspiration, joy and love of gardening. This past week I was a “guest blogger” for the company and I am sharing the link to that blog because it fits so perfectly in here. I also wanted to share Amy’s amazing site and photography, a truly inspiring collection of her ongoing life work and creativity. So please, visit often and enjoy.

http://www.amypallenberg.com/

http://www.amypallenberg.com/site/2013/05/not-so-hidden-treasures/

 

Passages

Standard

It has been officially over a month since I set out to share my thoughts and doings in the blog. I have been more of a doer than a writer in the last month. So here I sit, a little awkward at the keys wondering what to share. It isn’t that there is a lack of insights coming into my life or activity worth writing about, it is simply that I have passed from a more contemplative stage into a primarily active phase of the year. Such is the nature of working in and owning a seasonal business.

The other day I was having a conversation with my dad, he was sharing about his primal fear of dying, more specifically of loosing himself on the other side of life, the what happens beyond. He shared about his current journey to find some way to ease that fear, whether that comes through a belief in a higher power or a way to find acceptance with something so completely unknown. He shared how long ago when he posed this concern to a therapist, the therapist humbly asked him to look at how this person has handled other major life passages…

Sorry to turn so heavy my first blog out of the gate in a month!

More than a morbid conversation about death and dying, however, that conversation became about honoring passages, at least for me.

It occurred to me how brilliant this therapist was, OF COURSE! what a great question to ask myself when faced with the fear of the supposed “ultimate” passage. How do I deal with other life passages? Major, minor and every permutation in between? I started to unravel this therapists brilliance in a way that I could work with to help me with big unknown future fears I have no control over and hell even the small day to day “out of control” moments that stir subtle emotions.

I started acknowledging just how many passages I have made and not only survived but thrived through. I took from that nugget that if I want to change my relationship to major passages in someone unknown future I best get busy working with what I have in front of me. How do I handle simple day to day passages like moving from winter mode into spring? How do I shoulder major losses like loosing a dear friend or making new ones? How do I dance through budding romance into life partnership? and on, and on the questions go…

One theme that continues to ring true in all the meditation readings I use for inquiry and inspiration is that CHANGE is what IS consistent and that the only thing I can actually work on/with is how I dance or fight with it. I suppose that the “ultimate” passage from this world into some big unknown isn’t much different.

I can look back on many life changes and say “OH! Well, I guess that worked out just fine, what was I so worried about???” The reality is that I had no idea what was on the other side of any life event, big or small, I only know I went through it and how I went through it because I am on the other side contemplating it.  My consciousness grew a little, why would death be any different, is it going to be some crazy surprise completely inconsistent with the patterns that made up the living world?? Huh?

What that conversation brought up in me is a reminder to work with what I currently have available, death and dying in a leaving this planet sense is not currently available, at least as I write , GOD BLESS! What I HAVE available is practice with embracing passages in my life today. I can practice noticing how I respond to change, hell, I first have to stay aware that changes are always occurring. What I can work with is building a trust and faith in using spiritual principles to navigate the metamorphoses I move through while alive. At the end of the day it is those spiritual principles that make up the vague, yet reliable, sense of what my higher power is. That is what I can rely on, at least for today…

Bee wakes up to spring, nothing better to remind me of change than living in a seasonal climate

Bee wakes up to spring, nothing better to remind me of change than living in a seasonal climate

I don’t know whether my dad found any peace in our conversation, I hope so…

Well, it looks as if I took right back to the keys! No matter how simple this entry flowed I am going to alter the format for the blog. As I move into the busy season both for landscaping work and Wild Bull Designs (thank goodness that continues to grow!) I am going to allow myself the luxury of blogging when the inspiration hits. Thank you for continuing to read and understanding my choice to be inconsistent for the moment…

Sit your ass down and eat some dinner

Standard

As I was playing the dirt yesterday I contemplated why working the soil specifically to produce food is such a NEED for me. Almost every space I have ever lived I have grown something to eat, even a second story city apartment with a one foot wide balcony became bedecked in tomatoes and basil. I suppose that if I was genetically mapped, along with my family members, we would all possess a similar “get you hands in the dirt and make food” trait. I started counting the relatives and dating it back historically: my grandpa Fed, grandma Brown, great-grandmothers, great uncles, aunts, my brother and of course parents, and that is just naming a few.

For some generations it was probably a money saving tactic and just down right practical. For me it is that as much as it is a hunger for GOOD FOOD and the sharing of that GOOD FOOD. Not only has the genetic propensity for growing food expressed its dominance, so has the gene for sharing that food at a table with people you love. I have always known sitting down to a table, saying some sort of grace (we were never a religious bunch but I do always remember offering gratitude for the food we were eating and the company around us) and eating food along with conversation and connection. Not that as a teen, hungry more for my friends and MTV, I was really down with all this, but I am glad my family persisted. It is a trait that I value to this day and am thrilled that my partner shares the joy in sitting down together, sans electronics, savoring a meal we cooked and in many cases, grew.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I do believe that there is a connection between our cultures tendency to rage out on each other and the world and our lack of sitting down to a table while eating GOOD FOOD and sharing conversation and our lives. The sufferance related to a sense of not belonging that leads to a spectrum of dysfunctional behavior:addictions, crime, etc, I believe could be remedied in a large part with regular table time and a good square meal.  On a fundamental level food is one of our primary medicines altering our biochemistry in all kinds of crazy and potentially balancing ways. Whole food, sans chemical treatment and preservatives that tastes good can bring balance to our physical body and the mental chemistry that influences thoughts, emotions and behavior. The opportunity to express ourselves, share our day, be heard and practice the art of listening to others or of arguing and resolving conflict, this can all happen at the table, a sense of belonging is established.

I get that people are busy, shit my mom and dad were divorced, living on their own working full time jobs and probably on the lower end of the economic spectrum and we still sat down for dinner together, regularly.  So if you haven’t done so in a while or this is not a practice you regularly have grab some friends or family and SIT YOUR ASS DOWN and eat some GOOD FOOD together, try it regularly for best results.

Soil, Seeds, Sustainability…

Standard

About two weeks before spring made its debut on the calendar I was already pushing it forward into the limelight, at least in my mind, given that mother nature never succumbs to the force of one human (somewhat like my cat). Mother Nature, like Kitty, will warm up to you in her own damn time and having it been her own damn idea. All that said, I could wait no more! My partner and I got busy weeding, tilling, mounding, prepping and starting seeds for a much, MUCH bigger garden space this year. We are moving from our 2nd floor apartment into a friends house with an approximately 1,000 sq. ft. garden!!! I am doing everything I can to contain my impulse to cover each and every space with something edible. Given that one of my primary values is sustainability, it is imperative for me to reign in my tendency to bite off more than I can chew, subsequently chewing with my mouthful just to show the world that I CAN DO IT! commonly resulting in a collapse (mental and/or physical), injury or both. For those of you who know me well this “personal energy sustainability model” is new territory for me, requiring a new realm of discipline. Let’s just say I am experiencing 2 steps forward 1.5-3 steps back. And today, I am okay with that.

My first 3 steps back occurred at the seed store, mind you  our plan was to keep it SIMPLE: direct seed everything possible and purchase seedlings of other stuff, so as not to overtax us once the summer work season over took all our free time…good luck with that! One look at all those sexy heirlooms and the next thing you know I’m waking up under 40 seed packets! Ahhhhh well…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I don’t know if it is rationalizing, so I can continue to convince myself that I am not on an over-do-it relapse, but for now things are pacing pretty well. It looks like some of the sustainable lifestyles practices that I have put into place are able to make subtle appearances here. Such as having help, regardless of the communication intricacies that come up while trying to teach a resistant boyfriend gardening techniques (hmmmmm, gardens are about growth, right??). Once he and I settled into a pace, we covered so much ground and it grew into a “we” project not a me project (benefits of partnerships & community). At the end of it, we are starting with seeds for all but tomatoes. This made easier with seedling swapping with another veggie garden friend.  My attitude, crafted from meditation & my step dad, Peter, is “hey, something is gonna happen?” And if that something happens to be a lush garden ample enough to feed our household and beyond…AWESOME! And if something different, I am sure that will be awesome too! More will be revealed…