Refuge

Capricorn Full Moon, July 2021

What sustains your life, what matters most?

Review what you have endured.

Remember the paths that you have taken. Should you return or change direction? What did you learn?

You have a choice. Focus on what is true to you.

It’s been real and required effort and belief. The reward is in the journey.

Release it all. Allow your desires to be manifested. Your power is in the simple act of discipline.

It is all there and always has been. Allow it to permeate you.

“Take refuge in your heart, rest in the flow of your breath, and honor your innermost longing.” -Sianna Sherman

It is all there and always has been. Remember that feeling of knowing. Take refuge in your heart. Your forever home.

Summer Yoga + Ayurveda workshop

Sunday, June 27

2-4 pm

Beyond Zen Studio (574) 855-1405

Yoga for the Summer Season: A blend of Yoga and Ayurveda

One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should be adapted to the seasons.  We can support a state of balance throughout the year by making an intentional effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature.

Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga and the traditional naturopathic healing system of India, is a 5,000 year old healing tradition known as “The Wisdom of Life.”  This way of life teaches us how to maintain and protect our health, youthfulness, and vitality.  

Our individual nature is intimately connected with all of nature through the 5 elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Space.  By aligning our personal daily practices with the season we are in, we will stimulate our natural healing process and develop a more supportive and loving environment where we can begin to thrive.  Each person has a unique balance that must be observed and made aware so we can begin to mirror the marvelous example that nature has set for us.  

Summer, like each of the seasons, arrives with its own distinct personality. Depending on your constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate it.  Ayurveda calls summer the Pitta Season.  Summer is generally defined by the heat, the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature of the Fire element.  These qualities are directly in line with pitta dosha, which is why summer is considered a pitta season.  Fire is a highly transformative element with the ability to move energy in both positive and negative ways, depending on how intentional we are with harnessing it. 

This two hour workshop will include some conversation on Ayurveda’s lifestyle practices and suggestions for the summer season, along with a yoga practice to help balance pitta by staying cool, mellowing intensity, and grounding our energy.  

The comfort of the cup

exploring the edge

Exploring the edge of our comfort zone takes a bit (a lot) of fearless abandonment of our old habits, ways, beliefs, routines. Looking outside of our own cup. Well, not necessarily looking per say, but seeing or knowing; mostly, trusting.

A cup is small, confined. . . limited. Beyond the rim, the edge is endless space. Limitless. . .

New routine. Endless trust.

A persistent love of exploring the edge.

Have I lived enough?

The Gardener by Mary Oliver.

This full moon, which brings us to the final month of this unbelievable year, I allow myself to hold only energies which serve our highest selves.

“Have I lived enough? Have I loved enough? Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusion? Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? Have I endured loneliness with grace?”

Thank you Mary for your words, thank you Moon for your reflection.

When there’s nothing left to do except BLOOM

This tiny African Violet waited six years to bloom. In the midst of a pandemic, global confusion and crisis, life-changing identity shifts, momentous growth and awakening. . . this baby is blooming to its full potential.

This is no coincidence.

Five noteworthy lessons:

  1. Sometimes you have to wait a long time.
  2. Maintenance during the waiting is everything.
  3. Refuse to throw out something you believe in.
  4. You are your environment.
  5. Eventually, blooming is the only option.

Now, onto the next plant. . .

A boat ride

Ganges River, Varanasi (India)

To walk forward with openess

To be there with the Spirit

To symbolically bathe in the trust of the path

To rise with the force that burns

To release your light into flow

To illuminate the Source

Integration

When you are deep in your process, it’s hard to see your progress.  As the minutes slowly tick by and the days are carried away in warp speed, we reach the next. . . month. . . year. . . decade.

Where did you begin and where are you now?  What has been integrated?

I began this decade as a newly initiated stay at home Mom to my one year old son.  We celebrated his birthday a month early that year because my husband was moving to Kosovo for the next six months and would miss the real birthday.   

I had also just finished a year of witnessing my Mom’s journey with leukemia.  My months old son, the breast pump, and myself accrued many frequent flier miles throughout that year of her treatment and recovery.  

And then once my Mom was declared to be in remission toward the end of the year, her Dad died.  My Grandpa Bud was 92 and lived life well.  I think of him when I need a reminder to stop and enjoy the moment.  You could often find him in the back room of their home dancing to jazz music or riding his exercise bike while eating ice cream.  Just enjoying the moment.  

As I consoled my Mom through her cancer journey and then as I witnessed her clean out her childhood home when Grandpa died, I felt so much…grief.  I recall many prayers for peace and health as the new year approached.    

A teacher of mine recently shared this quote about grief.  

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love.  It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot.  All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go.”  – Jamie Anderson 

As I started this new decade imbued in grief, I was also figuring out how to operate as a full-time Mom rather than a full-time grief counselor.  Go figure.    

As a hospice social worker in the metro Washington D.C. area, I carried a caseload of 30-35 terminally ill patients.  My time was spent visiting 4-5 patients each day.  Some were babies, occasionally a young child, far too many young adults with brain cancer or melanoma, older adults with organ failure or chronic illnesses, and several retired military Colonels.  I attended many funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.  

I began to realize, even before my Grandpa died, that my own grief was a full-time participant in my process because I could no longer feel joy when I was with my son.  Working in hospice and watching my Mom face cancer transformed normal preoccupations with illness and death into a really big, all-consuming fear that my son was soon going to die and there was nothing I could do about it.  

It was obviously time for a career change.  And self-care.  It was time to focus on living rather than dying.  

I left the hospice job.  Joined a Mom’s group.  Found a yoga studio with childcare.  Developed a new routine that involved more self-care.  I knew that if this didn’t help me work through the crippling anxiety, that I needed to begin therapy.  

The change of environment worked.  The yoga studio of course worked.  My new friends and new daily routine all worked.  The serenity prayer worked.  

And more time passed and things changed.  

We moved to Indiana, had two more children, started a new career, and grew new relationships with people and places that have become integral pieces of my process.  

Integration. 

This decade has brought a lot of life when it began with an overwhelming fear of death.  

Integration.  Gratitude. 

I’m pretty sure I will end up back in hospice work someday, even if I just volunteer to hold someone’s hand as a visitor.  But learning how to sit with grief takes time, especially when it’s your own.  

While the end of this decade has placed me in different circumstances than the beginning, each day is still a process of working through it all.  Grief is always there and will forever be.  We will lose people and experiences that we love.  We will be let down.  We will let others down.  We can count on many bumps along the way.  Understanding this truth is helpful.  

I was having dinner last week with a few yoga therapists and one of them said she’s ready to drop everything and put her effort into stand-up comedy.  “Everybody just takes life way too seriously!” she said.  I have to agree with her.  

But how do we do this when we are imbued in our suffering?  Well, my spiritual guides say to stay involved in the process.  Don’t run from the pain, but breathe into it and acknowledge it.  When our hearts are broken from the love we can’t give, we are deepening our capacity to feel more compassion and joy as well.  

Integration.  Gratitude.  Joy. 

As this decade ends, I am discovering these gems.  

“Finally I saw that my worrying had come to nothing.  And gave it up.  And took my old body and went out into the morning and sang.”  – Mary Oliver