Our bodies have brought us this far in life. Containers for our unexpressed emotions and moving forward despite injury and illness, our bodies have faithfully experienced our lives through tastes, sights, sounds and smells. And yet, most of us barely give our hands and feet a passing thought, let alone our internal organs keeping us alive. The gateway to wholeness of mind and spirit is through the physical stardust of us. Bringing the light of awareness into our tension, our achiness, or simply where it feels like there is no space for breath, will serve us well on this path of exploring the very ground of our being.
I hope you’ll take a listen and stretch and contemplate what it is your body has to say to you today about doing the next right thing. Namaste!
How yoga got me a pink slip
And I am NOT sour grapes.
I needed to be pushed out of the nest. I had grown really comfortable teaching in prison. Every Tuesday for over a year, I taught two meditation classes at a nearby medium security facility. The men were always open, appreciative, honest and occasionally raw. This combination made for a sacred circle that allowed for our most authentic selves to show up.
I am not really surprised that my badge was pulled for practicing some yoga poses. After all, there is a very real resistance in the world that operates in opposition to light. Its energy is much stronger in prison environs.
The week before I had made a bold proclamation and shared about it on my blog:
“I arrive home every Tuesday at 1p.m.
Home away from home for me is a federal prison where I teach mindfulness meditation.
I always say a prayer as I enter. It’s not always the same, but it is often “Bless us that we might do your will” or “Thank you for using me to be your presence here today”.
Today I felt strongly that I should boldly proclaim how grateful I am for having the greatest job in the world. I do not say this lightly. 18 men gather to sit in stillness with intention, week after week. On a few other occasions, I have proclaimed that God loves them, forgives them and wants to draw their hearts closer. I express my confidence that mindfulness meditation creates a safe space for feelings to arise in order to heal past hurts done by and to them.
I call my practice my time with the Divine Therapist.
Today I looked these men in the eyes one by one and from my sincerest space within, I said, “My job is to have you see yourself as God sees you when you look at me. It’s reciprocal too. I see myself as God sees me when I look at you.”
It’s a beautiful thing.
I was choosing to spend more and more time behind the walls. Why you ask? Well, I am coming to realize that I am my most authentic self there. I pray to be of service and so I act with clarity of intention. I have no one to impress. There are no ulterior motives. I am not hiding behind a persona. I have no history with these people. I may never see them again after this class is completed and therefore there are no expectations of a future relationship.
I am driving over the Ben Franklin bridge the day I learn that I’ve been fired and the metaphor is not lost on me as I hear in my heart, “You have given us everything you had to give. We are ready. Go out into the world and shine your Light. You will be awesome!”. The men seemed to be speaking somehow through my intuition that the next step in my journey would be powerful and again life-altering. Clarity around what the future holds feels exciting because I had made some declarations at a Jen Pastiloff manifestation retreat with 40 women in the Catskills two weeks earlier.
I had been serving without hopes of anything in return. And yet, I received everything.
It was in a chapel behind barbed wire that I exp erienced incomparable beauty in a place deemed by much of the world as ugly and forgotten. It was there that I realize I am hiding from the world. I am hiding my talents and gifts behind those walls, in a cozy nest of my own creation. I now know that “home” is where the heart is, is not just a quaint saying. It’s profound truth fills me to overflowing.
Back in May 2015 I was signed up for a weekend training in NYC with Phoenix Rising Yoga therapy.
The day before I had the thought “I Love learning new things; especially about yoga!” and suddenly a new deeper thought came in– ‘This isnt about learning dear. This is about healing.” Woah!! What have I got to heal? Haven’t I done enough deep work during the 8 months of yoga teacher training I completed in Novemebr? Such a silly girl– there is ALWAYS more to heal.
Upon arrival our very first partner activity is gently placing two fingers on one another’s heart- front and back. As Lea’s hand approached my sternum, I felt as if she had to push through a dense block to reach me. After a few minutes of silence and breathing together, she is instructed to slowly remove her hands from me.
I instantly burst into tears…
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I’m delighted to share this poem from a like-minded human, a believer in God, a light in the darkness. She’s been through that darkness herself, she knows.
Sincere and massive thanks to Anita Grace Brown for allowing me to share this poem on this blog.
So. hard. to. be. thankful. for. these. dark. days
in confident terms
all is well
freedom’s at hand!
there’s no escape
a vice-like grip
on heart and mind…
soul like a specter
bony, superhuman restraint
resist the urge
resist the urge to scream
focus on the blue sky
thy kingdom come…
in the luminous darkness
See the original post here:
Her website: http://www.smilingheartyoga.org/#home
Find her on twitter via: @namasteanita
Loving this bold message
By Tevyn East, Carnival de Resistance
“So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again.” Numbers 12: 15
In May of 2012, I entered into an artistic collaboration with Jay Beck, my now husband and partner in producing the Carnival de Resistance. We had established that I would come up to Philadelphia and together we would create works of theater that re-contextualize stories from scripture, based around each of the four elements: Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Immediately upon landing, we discerned that we would first focus on the voice of water and that I would delve into the story of Miriam, Moses’ sister. Little did I know that this choice would throw me straight into the deep end!
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Mama’s come to recognize the value and necessity of self-nurturance, and homeostasis.
All the accolades and recognition don’t mean a hoot if Mama’s mind is on the what’s missing piece.
The gradual journey home begins with that eensy weensie brave step toward trusting there’s a sun behind those clouds. If confusion and emotions are tossing her about, she must get still and lean in, lean into the pain, grief and fear (you know the place we generally and naturally want to run from?).
Maybe, just maybe she is all alone. And if this is truly the case…no one is coming to rescue her, no one is going to turn on a light in the dark, or dry these tears. No distraction, sugary dessert, cocktail or habit is going to make her gray sky blue.
She might just find herself tethered to her own sweet soul.