Archive | August 2017

As Within, So Without

Saturday morning I had to be at a day retreat sponsored by my home studio before 10 am. I was tired from my Friday afternoon & evening excursions so the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed to make coffee, shower and pack a bag for the day. Especially since I only allotted myself an hour to accomplish those things. The venue was a 50-minute drive away to a place called Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center, CA https://www.kclfarm.com/. On the day’s agenda: an outdoor yoga class, a sound bath, an organic, vegan, gluten-free lunch, a wander about the property where that was a lavender maze, a serenity garden, and a rose quartz pool! There was also a professional photographer attending because we were being gifted a five-minute mini photo session. I ended up being mostly on time. The outdoor yin yoga class had more vinyasa than I wanted to deal with and it was followed by another Sound bath! This one using crystal bowls. My second one in as many days. I have to stop to let you in on the fabulous “monkey mind” that jumped off at this point. The outdoor space had ants crawling all over the mats, which hindered many of the asanas that required laying on the mat, including savasana and the entire sound bath. I kept imagining ants crawling on me, of which half the time they were. Not to mention that I was the heaviest person in the yoga class, which made me self-conscious and also made some of the vinyasa flow asanas difficult for me. It also made me definitely not want to be photographed professionally as I’d put on some weight lately. Add a growing hunger along with the heat from the rising sun to that monkey mind madness and you might come close to some idea of my resistance. But yoga did what it always does for me, shifts my energy. The sound bath furthered that energy shifting process along and at the end of both I was feeling a little more like my sociable, outgoing self. Just a little, because I was still hungry and it was hot.

Next, we wandered down to a shaded outdoor lunch area. Trust me when I say the pictures don’t do the actual experience justice. The organic, vegan, gluten-free dish was a seriously yummy Chipotle bowl. There was all-you-can-drink lavender lemonade which was truly delicious! If you check out the center photo below you will see there were bunches of dried lavender hanging from the ceiling. It was like existing in a cool, shaded lavender-scented shabby chic paradise! I sat with three of my fellow yoga sisters that I went through training with and I was so glad I showed up because the urge to not show up for my life is a very real thing that persists.

After being fortified with lunch and lemonade, most of us trekked down to the Keys Creek Lavender Farm Gift Shop. It was a quaint tiny, air-conditioned one room cottage with all manner of organic lavender products! Here is a picture of my swag, which was pretty affordable. I bought a lavender scented tin candle, lavender lemonade, and pumpkin spice party bites mix. The vanilla lavender shortbread cookie was free and quite delicious as I currently munch on it. While on the porch of the gift shop, one of my fellow yogis mentioned that she’d been to the lavender maze and pointed out where it was. There were two paths to it. One involved a long circuitous route in the hot sun. The other involved a long trip back up many steps in the hillside to walk through the shaded outdoor lavender scented patio. You know, where the all-you-can-drink lavender lemonade was? Guess which path I took? I told folks I was headed to the maze and took the steps in the sun to reach the lavender scented Shangrila. I stopped for some yummy lemonade and went in search of the lavender maze. Which is really the whole reason behind and point of writing this blog.

 

First off, it wasn’t a lavender maze, it was a Living Labyrinth. What’s the difference you say? I had no clue except I was expecting (<–key word) some type of shaded, lavender bushes to form a maze. Instead, there was a circular dirt/sand labyrinth lined by large rocks and crystals with a large selenite crystal on a pedestal in the center. There was very little shade. I walked over to the sign near the entrance and took a picture of it because it had the word and definition of a labyrinth. I didn’t bother to read it. It was hot. I took a deep sigh and realized I was supposed to navigate the labyrinth as a walking meditation. Well, I’d done those before so I paused to take a few photos of the beautiful flower covered arbor at the entrance. I began with deep meditative breath and walked slowly, mindfully and deliberately. I looked at the center of the labyrinth and wondered how the hell I was going get to it and how long it would take in the sun. I noticed the dirt and sand were loose and getting onto my toes and feet since I was wearing flip-flops. But I let those thoughts go and continued to breathe deeply and walk mindfully forward along the ever circling path. I let go of the how or how long and the dirt on my toes. I started to notice that there were parts of the labyrinth that were shaded and brought moments of relief, especially since an occasional breeze had kicked up. As I circled back near the flower covered archway I saw a butterfly appear and I caught my breath on a sense of wonder. The butterfly landed on the arch so I stopped and squatted to take a close-up photo of it. While I was squatting, I looked down and saw a lovely tile with the word “believe” on it, so I snapped a photo of that. I stood up and continued with a deep breath and mindful forward motion. As I navigated about halfway through I saw clearly how I would get to the center by doubling back along the outer circular path, which seemed contradictory, but by this time I was deep in my meditative state. I just trusted the labyrinth would lead me to its center. As I followed the path circling ever inward to the center I was overcome with emotion as I started to relate this experience to myself and my life. How many times have expectations lead to disappointment and unexpected frustrations? How many times have I learned to let them go or adjust to the reality of any given situation or my life? How many times have I been genuinely afraid or puzzled as to how I was going to accomplish a task, reach a goal or arrive at the desired destination? How many times have I learned to let go, breathe and trust the process? How many times have I had faith in the process, moving ever forward without knowing there was an assured outcome? How many stories have I told myself about being too tired, too fat, too broke or financially strapped, too old, too unattractive, too insecure, too disappointing, too unlovable over the years, only to push past those stories or uncover the truth of those self-deceptions? How many times have I circled back around to issues, healed traumas and resolved situations only to face them again in order to explore and uncover more? Here I was finally in the center of the Living Labyrinth, in the center of myself in that given moment. I was so fucking glad I got out of bed this morning, got to this day retreat and pushed through all the ways I create resistance within myself to reach the heart of my truth. Willingness to show up and move forward, Letting go of expectations, old stories, self-deceptions, Trusting the process, the journey, the Universe, God, Appreciation for the people who love you and encourage you through your resistance, who see you and don’t condemn you for it like you condemn yourself, that Breath and Movement are transformative. The experience was that powerful for me. After completing the labyrinth I went back to the shaded porch for water this time. The creative director walked through the patio and I shared my labyrinth experience with him. It turns out, he was the one who designed and built it. His name is Evan and he told me the entire area has magnetic forces that converge on their property and there are actual crystal shards underneath where the labyrinth was built. He moved on and I sat peacefully allowing my experience to resonate with me. I opened up my phone and started to organize the pictures into a Facebook post. It was only after I’d posted the photograph of the Labyrinth sign that I tapped it and read what it said.

What is a Labyrinth?

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey into our center and back out again into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. Walking the labyrinth can be considered an initiation in which one awakens the knowledge encoded within their DNA.

Well that says it all doesn’t it?

This entry was posted on August 20, 2017. 3 Comments

A Little Creative Writing Share II

This past weekend I got a chance to refresh, renew and journey {back} home to my authentic self. You know, because I’ve gotten a little bit off track. Or maybe I’m still having trouble reconciling what it feels like to take it easy and to accept myself & my life just as it is. For instance, I tend to overeat to avoid or ignore fear and anxiety about new things. Things like providing yoga classes for an upcoming writer’s retreat in Hawaii next month and providing a trauma-sensitive yoga class with journaling/sharing for a different trauma workshop in North Hollywood in October. Both of those opportunities came about rather organically, one I volunteered for while the other came out of the blue. So I’ve put on some extra weight (protection?) with the overeating of all things yummy and unhealthy coupled with lots of couch and tv time. I’ve also slacked off on my home yoga practice with little physical activity to counterbalance that. But since this year is about loving and accepting myself and my life as it is, then this is where I am. Howevah, as I wrote at the beginning, this weekend gave me so much more than I expected! I took Friday off from work and headed up to Pasadena to hang with the fam up there. That means GRANDBABY MEDICINE, which is a magic elixir for what ever ails or worries the soul. There’s also quality time with my daughter-in-love, Mary and her mother, Marie, both of whom are really supportive friends and sounding boards. I had lots of play with the kiddos and delicious, healthy food cooked by Mama Mary.

Saturday morning I left them to attend another Big Island Writer’s Workshop, which I know I’ve mentioned here before. It’s a full day of indescribable writing, sharing, camaraderie, and connection with truly phenomenal women facilitated by Beth Bornstein-Dunnington. Connecting to myself, my writing and these women was everything! This tribe of writers: Mary Artino, Juliette B. Reiss, Joanna Lipari, Harriet Robinson, Patti Linski, Deb Kobylt, Robin Plaskoff Horton, and Nancy Moonves, who opened up her stately yet warm home to us all, gave me Life. And so I want to share a little something created there that day, just before we took a break for lunch.  As I’ve explained before, we are given 24 writing prompts to choose from, sent off to handwrite our stories, then return to the circle to share. Prompts are in bold and were given by Beth Bornstein Dunnington. The inspiration to try this particular style of writing from the chosen prompts is from Joanna Lipari.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I masquerade no more because I learned my true face was enough for whatever situation came up.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I maneuvered authentically where I needed or wanted to be after learning from the consequences of dishonest manipulation.

At the end of my life want to be able to say that, I missed nothing of consequence because I learned to trust faith over fear.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I marveled at where my willingness to serve and follow God’s Will has lead me.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I measured how I lived the width as well as the length of it.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say, I can laugh with abandon at all of the crap I misplaced that I thought was so damn essential at the time.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I mobilized when it was important to speak out, stand up or fight for injustice & evil.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, anything I molded with my hands, heart or spirit were guided by God.

At the end of my life I want to be able to say that, I mattered to the people who were important to me.

And ultimately at the end of my life I want to be able to say that I manifested like a Motherfucker!

LOL, that last line might have had a sprinkle of Jen Pastiloff inspiration to it. But what this weekend did for me was remind me, how important my writing has become over the last two years to be exact, because today is the two-year anniversary of launching my first blog post into the world! And while it’s perfectly necessary to NOT write three blog posts a week, I seem to have gone to the other extreme and pretty much stopped writing altogether. Thus the journey back to my authentic self. She of the heart-centered living and expanded life. I’m still here, taking it easy, living and accepting my life as it is-which is pretty god damn good with the promise of getting better with time. Once again, taking heed to His Call ever inward.

This entry was posted on August 8, 2017. 1 Comment