Hello Fellow Body-Mind-Hearts –
Here, in the northern hemisphere, we just crossed the equinox into the time of autumn. The time of slowly lengthening nights, cooling days and slanted sun. A time of transition and change, a time of turning in and tending. What is shifting for you right now? What changes internal or external are you tending right now? How are you slowing down?
I am tending more grief…it seems there is an endless supply these days! My beloved yoga home for the past 25 years, Seattle Yoga Arts, is closing its doors, both actual and virtual, as of October 31st. This community has served me and so many others in so many ways it is hard to imagine it not being there even though I don’t even live in the same city anymore. And yet, the truth is that all things/beings that are born/created have a lifespan of blossoming and then diminish and die. Knowing this and trusting this helps but doesn’t mean we don’t feel the loss and absence. It doesn’t mean we don’t reminisce and ponder. It means we welcome the grief as a reflection of our deep love.
Elephants have burial grounds where they tend to the bones of their loved ones who have died. As they traverse their trails through their territory they take time to pause and remember their dead…sometimes spending days turning the bones, crying and being with one another. This is an important ancestor ritual. We can learn from them as we have lost so many of these important rituals.I am tending my memories right now and it is a bittersweet and delicious process, much like a square of really good dark chocolate. I remember first finding this little one room haven in the city of Seattle in the late 1990s and feeling I had found home. I remember my long, fruitful and tumultuous relationship with my mentor, friend and colleague, Denise, without whom I would not be who I am or have some of the many skills I have today. I remember the abrupt ending of that relationship and my clear choice that it would not be the end of my relationship with the SYA community at large. I remember tears of joy and sadness over the decades as the community held each other through births, deaths, divorces and many other kinds of trials and celebrations (chosen and undesired alike) of body, mind and soul. I remember birthday sun salutations, handstand workshops, meditation initiations, immersions and yoga teacher trainings, shifting to virtual classes and so, so, so much more…
I am awash in love and gratitude for all that I have witnessed and been a part of. I will miss Seattle Yoga Arts and at the same time I am at peace knowing all the wisdom earned that is rippling out from each of the teachers and students who have grown and benefited from this amazing community. I will continue to honor it, in all I do and in my memories, as the well and helpful ancestor it is. I bow to all those who made this such a remarkable and potent place and community. And I trust that some new offering(s) will arise from this sudden ending. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Blessings, Blessings, Blessings.
My longtime and dear friend Beth Erlander is not only a remarkable woman but a gifted grief coach. She offers one on one sessions virtually for folks who want holding and tending in grief as well as community grief rituals and a Tending the Tenders Support Groups for therapists and wellness practitioners of all kinds. There is a group starting up on November 2. She also writes a great and inspiring blog. Check out her offerings!
May we continually offer our thanks to those who have gone before us and continue to guide us
May we honor our grief and sorrow with tears of loss and appreciation
May we grow our capacity for tending the darkness as well as the light
May we offer kindness, compassion & beauty everywhere we go & in every interaction
- Give yourself the time to tend the bones of your grief and your love. Can you give yourself permission to cry and laugh and reminisce and pause with the hugeness of things/people who are not longer with us?
- Consider creating an altar for your ancestors…those who are no longer embodied but have contributed to you being here, those who have impacted your life and been your teachers. If you want to honor those who are still living make it in a separate space. Make offerings of beauty and nature to reflect all that has come together to help you here.
- Find some folks who would be willing to hear your stories and witness you in all that you have lost and gained from those who have died. And offer the same to those around you who may also be grieving and yearning to share stories and weep.
- I have room in my schedule! I currently offer one to one sessions in person in Bend, Oregon and virtually all over the world. If you would like to learn more about my offerings please email me or schedule a free 20 minute Exploratory Session.
Upcoming Live Streaming Practice Opportunities:
- Slow Flow Yoga, Mondays, 9:45-11:15am PT, livestream through Seattle Yoga Arts (through October 31)
- Continuum Inquiry Playshop, Monday, October 17, 5:30-7:30pm PT, livestream through Body of Insight
- All Levels Yoga, Sunday, October 30, 10-11:30am PT, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- Monday, November 7, 5:30-7:30pm PT…Tending Our Nervous System; Resourcing Ourselves Amidst Tumult, livestream through Two Dog Yoga
- On Demand Yoga Practices…All Levels… through Seattle Yoga Arts (through October 31)
- On Demand Yoga Practices…All Levels… through Two Dog Yoga (practice with me anytime, anywhere!)
IN DARKNESS, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
Realize that we were taught
To fear the dark.
Consider the seed that splits and unfurls
Unseen within the Earth…
Consider the inside of the egg;
Consider the place where
the Big Bang exploded…
Unknown and generative,
Darkness is unpredictable;
We are in the habit
Of learning to fear our potential,
But imagine embracing rest and dreams…
We learned early to believe in
The whiteness of certain magic and light
And blackness of certain arts and hearts;
Confronted with the sky and its stars, I must reject
This entire premise.
Remind me, siblings
To unlearn these bad habits
And accept the gifts I’ve been given.
Darkness is free and abundant;
There is joy in unfurling
From the shadows we were made in.
We need only close our eyes to go home.
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