So as you may have noticed if you follow my teaching that life has been a busy crazy joyous and bumpy rollercoaster over the last few months. Thanks for staying tuned ;oD.
I have to slip this in as a caveat, and if you know me in person, or have been to class, it is never clear or concise what may blurt from my wise self either teaching or writing. "Life is like a box o chocolates, you never know what you are going to get" and so the saying goes. Caution ahead, tricky subject....trudge gently.
I've noticed something from the most recent journey down these uneven tracks of life, I've begun to embrace my cycles of writing, noticing that I do more writing, speaking my truth, dancing my body, creating projects and writing down the bones of ideas in my moon cycle. My knowingness cycle starts about ten days before flow and continues just day or two into my cycle. It's fascinating, and I've really begun to honour this beautiful rhythm my wise body has been nudging me to notice for quite some time.
Now some may cringe that I'm writing about - YES, menstruation. (I can hear some ooohhh, omgoodness is she really writing about "that"?) Did you look behind your shoulder to see if anyone is watching you read? Did you cringe? Did you notice something within yourself nod? Was there a judgement? A quickening? A quietness? A remembering? If your a man have you stopped reading all together and does the secret world of a woman's tempo need to remain in it's locked-and-hide-the-key-box? If you are a woman are you standing on the box with the key in your teeth? If you are past the cycle of luna, have you honoured the new rhythms your body is offering? Is there shame/joy/beauty/love/embarrassment? What do you FEEL in your body right now?
Close your eyes and take a breath in, and notice. Just like my last post, notice breathing, stilling, thinking, judging, quieting, and the breath as it flows in and out of your body. Your wise and knowing body. Keep going........a few more breaths.....................
"How might it have been different for you,
if, on your first menstrual day your mother had given you
a bouquet of flowers and taken you to lunch
and then the two of you had gone
to meet your father at the jeweller,
where your ears were pierced,
and your father bought you your first pair of earings,
and then you went with a few of your friends and your mother's friends to get your first lip colouring; and then you went, for the very first time, to the Women's Lodge,
to learn the Wisdom of the Women?
How might your life be different?" (From Circle of Stones - by Judith Duerk)
I can tell you about my first time, but there is not much to tell, I was so very young in grade 5 and it was a non-event rather dismissed, and I was told that I would have to start buying my own supplies. I imagine that this is what it would have been like for my mother(s). What was it like for my great great great grandmothers? I wonder.
I can tell you that when my daughter had her first cycle we celebrated in a quiet sweet way and I embraced her changing from the tender young girl into a blossoming growing woman. We had a loving talk about what the cycle signified.
So if there was harm, can begin you rewrite the story about what the cycles signify for you? Can you heal the wounded parts, the shame parts the tender parts? Can you watch the unfolding of your creative cycles, your un-filtered cycles, your mood/feeling cycles? Tracking your cycle is helpful. I used to draw a moon next to the date it started in old journals. Now I use an app on my phone.
Men you have cycles too...cave cycles, brave cycles, tender cycles, I know you know.
I want to know what your rhythms are, how you see the cycles of your month, and are you more tender at a full moon? Or more fierce. Notice.
Try the following yoga meditation and yoga sequence in your next flow, masculine or feminine and then write, write & write some more. See if you can connect with your body. Honour your body. Dance it, embrace it and learn to walk in all of it.
Play with the movements, hold some postures that feel right for your body longer, stay with the moment to moment experience.
Meditation before or after Savasana : DON'T FORGET SAVASANA!!
Just for Now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.
Just for now, lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders.
Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it.
Just for now, allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience. Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth.
Just for now,be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet.
Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are – so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant, just for now. ~ Danna Faulds
Until my next cycle...be kind. be gentle. listen within.
Can you hear it? Really be still and really listen...... It's blissful, complete stillness, absolute silence. Well, at least in my home for the first time in a long time! Both kids are in school, hubby is finally at work and the dogs are curled by my feet. Go on, experience it with me: take a beautiful deep breath in and a long exhalation out.
I had no intentions of waiting this long to blog again, but between an extended family vacation, parenting and being at dance competitions with my daughter, it feels like I haven't had a whole day at home until today. Ahhh....sanctuary! And yes the domestic chores are whispering.
So, as soon as I wrote that title above - Naming the Dragon, I thought maybe its better to call it Taming the Dragon, but really naming is what it is all about.
In Vipassana meditation there is a tool one uses to stay present. It is simply naming. So if you are sitting in your meditation, you simply name everything that comes under your attention. It may look something like: sitting, breathing, planning, nose itching, thinking, hearing, thinking, remembering, thinking, shifting, breathing, sitting, breathing, shifting, thinking, itching, hearing, listening, etc.....It's a lovely practice of staying with each moment that unfolds. Well I've taking this simple practice into my daily emotional experiences. This is what Jack Kornfield says about emotion: "When we become skillful at naming our experience, we discover an amazing truth. We find that no state of mind, no feeling, no emotion actually lasts more than fifteen or thirty seconds before it's replaced by some other one".
And out of all the knowledge that I've gathered over the years on trying to understand me, how I tick, why I do the things I do, I must say, this tool has been transformational. Let me give you an example:
Sometimes I find my husband annoying, you too? It happens. So I ran an experiment for the duration of our holiday that I would name my emotions and thoughts as they arose, when it occurred or when I remembered to. So on one of our connecting two hour flights my husband made friends with his seat buddies, and I was sitting across the aisle sandwiched in between our teens. My husband held several conversations with both and each person individually for the whole flight. I like to travel in peace, I like a quiet plane - no babies crying, no drunken partiers etc. It is just the way I am. After about twenty minutes of his cheerful banter I became annoyed. And I watched it and named it. Annoyed, annoyed, annoyed, omgosh please be quiet, annoyed, seriously annoyed etc. ( I have to say that even though Jack says it usually only lasts about thirty seconds, my emotion of annoyed lasted......a..... bit..... longer........). And the emotion changed from annoyed to anger to frustration to an awareness that all of these emotions were MINE and nobody elses. I then recognized that the two men sitting on either side of my husband were thoroughly having an enjoyable time on the flight. That I was not annoyed with them, only MY husband, and his buddies too were talking, laughing and exchanging in the conversations. Lightbulb. I then recognized how easy it was for my husband to create connections and invite warmness in others and be caring and inquisitive with complete strangers that I'm sure he will continue to be in touch with for a long time. The emotion evolved into a warm lovely feeling in my body. I was able to let it go, which for me has been an interesting journey. I'm the hold-it-tight-in-the-grip-of-my teeth-girl sometimes. That I have the possibility to let my annoyance carry into being snippy and short later on kind-of-girl. I let it go. I really let it go. My annoyance turned into deep love and respect and then the thoughts changed to the slight snoring of my son to my left and how cranked his head was on his cervical vertebrae; the yoga teacher never sleeps. And really that I was able to name my annoyance, watch it change and transform -it was cliche liberating.
Today's invitation is to just watch the moment to moment experience and try naming it especially hard emotions of anger, sadness, frustration and see if you can be mystified as it dissolves or evolves. Notice what happens when the state ends and what follows. Try it, in a simple 5-10 min sit for meditation, the next time your sitting in traffic or when you are in a state of emotional turmoil. Name it, and see if it changes. Let me know what your experience was. And next blog we'll talk about expanding this practice. May your naming be fruitful.
I'll leave you with this to ponder:
Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulties and sufferings on this journey so that my heart may be truly awakened and my practice of liberation and universal compassion may be truly fulfilled. ~ A traditional Tibetian Buddhist prayer
I suppose you could say I’ve been intimidated by my blog. Yes, intimidated. Though I write often, it is never writing that (I hope and I think) would never been seen or read other than my very own set of human eyeballs. I find writing to be a deeply personal and vulnerable state, never edited for perfection, and for me to share writings with you - well that seems just preposterous. Preposterous to my little ‘s’ self. You know that voice too? She is the “not good enough” voice, the “if you can’t do it perfect don’t do it at all" voice. We all have her or him somewhere and s/he does tend to pop in with 7 cents of “I told you so” on a regular basis.
So my big Self (with the capital S you see) says, “Honey” in a deep southern drawl (don’t ask, I think it came from the book The Shack, and stuck). “You just put on those muck boots and share what you know, you only speak from the heart, be vulnerable, be brave, and be courageous”. And somehow it shusshes the little ‘s’ self to sneak back into her dark corner for the next round of flagellation.
Yoga for me, is about claiming or reclaiming your Capital Big “S” S.E.L.F. It is that part of you that is expansive, centered, joyful, grounded, healthy and radiant. S/he sets boundaries, says no and says yes when it matters. The more efforting you place into growing and importantly knowing your Big S self, the more you are able to discern when the little s is sitting at your table and when the little ‘s’ is making decisions. Most often little s is making decisions out of fear or shame. *Insert plug here to look at Brene Brown’s research on shame and wholehearted living*.
So the invitation is to tread gently, take what you need and leave the rest on the page. I’m going to spend the week focusing on stepping in and growing authenticity and watching the pattern of the Big S and little s as they come into play in my everyday experiences.
Your Big S voices and choices will feel energetic, lively, free, safe, grounded and true to you.
Your little s voices and choices will feel heavy, lost, anxious, rushed, tiresome and uneasy.
Can you spot your BIG S and your little s? Awareness is where it all begins, it gently unfolds and unlocks the way in.
You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better. ~ Maya Angelou
I'm a work in progress. I teach yoga in Central and Rural Alberta and have a passion for helping those who are seekers & questers. I help them find a place to land within themselves and through that process I learn and grow on my own journey.