Hello Fellow Body-Mind-Hearts –
This week I have been heavy with grief and sadness. I have been feeling the loss of life before the pandemic. I am missing being with my students and my clients in person, missing hugs, missing a certain ease of moving about the world. I am even missing my commute and the solo time it gave me and the time for podcast listening! I am feeling all of this in my body as a heaviness in my limbs, a thickness in my head, an ache in my upper back and intermittent tears. Emotions are called feelings because we feel them in our bodies first!
At the same time, I have been enjoying the new rhythm of my life in a slower and smaller place. I am grateful for my work and the technology that allows me to continue to support and serve others. (Which means that you can take a class with me or work with me privately from wherever you are! 🙂 And I acknowledge that I still have way more ease in moving around in the world than many folk.
All this is to say, we are never just one thing…a singular emotion, one quality of heart, one thought, or all pain. We are complex and multi-faceted beings that easily get caught up in the most obvious or loudest inner voice or physical sensation. Honoring this complexity by learning how to hold ourselves loosely and being able to shift our awareness to attend to different and perhaps more subtle sensations and experiences is the practice of Presence.
This is not about dismissing the difficulties or pain with a curt “It’s all Good!”…because it’s not all good. Not by a long stretch. We need to feel the pain and grief, let it move through us, so it can have its turn and then dissipate. Then that energy is released back into the system for more presence in the moment and ability to act going forward. Part of what allows us to do this without getting overwhelmed and stuck is not ignoring the continued presence of beauty and moments of simple ease. As well as the cultivation of the larger aspect of us (our Witness or inner Self) that tends to the all the smaller selves.
It is the practice of both/and instead of either/or. It is the practice of being bigger than the parts and still feeling the parts themselves. It is the ability to hold paradox and sit with the terrible beauty of life. This is what is being asked of us by life and all the spiritual paths. To be present to the unity and the multiplicity all at once.
May we cultivate the wisdom of our inner Self that can hold the misread of experiences in any giving moment
May we learn to live the paradox of both/and with grace and space
May we honor the complexity of being human that each of us is navigating to the best of our ability
May we feel the pain even as we embrace the beauty and thereby discover our innate resiliency
- Take a few minutes to practice peripheral vision/soft gaze or close your eyes and soften your inner ear. Whichever sense you choose to explore allow the images/sounds to arrive and land in you rather than reaching out to get them. Noticing all the various things that presence simultaneously.
- Practice open attention. This could be a formal mediation or a simple awareness throughout your day. Simple keep dilating your awareness in wider and softer circles. Keep opening up to the inquiry of “what else?”
- When in pain see if you can notice any other part of you that is less painful or more at ease. Pause and notice this place, hang out there for awhile and see what happens when you return your attention to the pain. Play with going back and forth a few times slowly.
- Schedule an online Resiliency Session with me. Sliding scale available upon request. Please allow me to support you in this wild time with support and guidance to access the wisdom of your body and resource your nervous system.
Upcoming Live Streaming Practice Opportunities:
- Monday 10-11:30am PST All Levels Yoga via online streaming through Seattle Yoga Arts
- Sunday 10-11:30am PST All Levels Yoga via online streaming through Two Dog Yoga Studio
- Yoga Nidra Practice, Sunday, August 30, 5:30-7pm PST, via online streaming through Two Dog Yoga
- Full Moon Mandala Practice, Thursday, Sep 3, 7-8:30pm PST via online streaming through Seattle Yoga Arts
- Continuum Moving Inquiry Playshop, Monday, Sep 14, 6:30-8:30pm PST via online streaming through Body of Insight
- Tending the Nervous System: Honoring Trauma & Cultivating Resilience in the Classroom (and other places) Workshop, Oct 16-18, via online streaming through Seattle Yoga Arts
by Mark Nepo
No matter how I turn
the magnificent light follows.
Background to my sadness.
No matter how I lift my heart
my shadow creeps in wait behind.
Background to my joy.
No matter how fast I run
a stillness without thought is where I end.
No matter how long I sit
there’s a river of motion I must rejoin.
And when I can’t hold my head up
it always falls in the lap of one
who has just opened.
When I finally free myself of burden
there’s always someone’s heavy head
landing in my arms.
The reasons of the heart
are leaves in wind.
Stand up tall and everything
will nest in you.
We all lose and we all gain.
Dark crowds the light.
Light fills the pain.
It’s a conversation with no end,
a dance with no steps,
a song with no words,
a reason too big for any mind.
No matter how I turn
the magnificence follows.