A Push for Something New

I once heard, from someone who made a study of trees, that the Live Oak trees here in Austin don’t just drop their leaves.  The old leaves are pushed out by the new ones. 

 

These days when you look around our current landscape here in the capitol city you will see masses of brown leaves on the ground, on rooftops, in truck beds, and in your hammock.  It’s kind of a strange sight, considering we are busting out in springtime colors everywhere else.  It’s like a mixing of death and life, old ways and new plans, last year and this.  But it’s that pushing that has me thinking.  



When you’re in the transformation game, as we are as soon as we step on the yoga mat, these anomalies that Nature displays provide an opportunity for self-study and personal reflection.  So in case you haven’t guessed where I’m going with this, I’ll ask you a few questions as if you are an Austin oak tree:




What are...

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Affirmations for Ketanji Jackson Brown

“You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”

 

These are the words of Senator Cory Booker as he was addressing now Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the third day of her confirmation hearings. His impassioned speech brought joy and tears to the hearts of many, including Justice Jackson.  What he did was speak a truth into her that I imagine she needed to hear.  And judging from her response, her whole being needed to hear it.  She needed that truth to come in, settle in, and take the lead.



What he gave her were affirmations, or, in yoga terms, sankalpa.  These short phrases speak against our negative or self-sabotaging thought patterns and replace them with thoughts that uplift, encourage, and affirm the truth of our life and who we are.  They can feel like wishful thinking, but to the mind they are just as real as reality. (This is why you can cry at movies and have empathy with fictional...

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How to make space when you feel compressed

 

 

I don't know about you, but for me, time is starting to feel compressed. Like there's a lot to fit into a 24 hour period or a seven-day week. And when I start to feel that compression, what I've realized is that what I need is inner spaciousness.  

 

To get this feeling of inner spaciousness, start by doing all you can do about the outer world, like removing things from the calendar or reducing commitments as much as possible.  From there, try these things:

 

  • Be only where you are.  Try not to look ahead where everything is coming at you.  Be right where you are, and bring your attention to your body, your breath, and your surroundings.  That future stuff isn’t here yet. Just be here.
  • Practice inversions.  Flip your perspective, increase blood flow to the brain, and drain the lymphatic system to gain some clarity and reduce fatigue.  It’s as simple as lying on your back with legs up the wall.  Take...
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The Labyrinth: Doorway into the Interior Life

This week you are in for a treat!  My friend and Walking with Divine Feminine partner, Nancy Herlin, has written a beautiful personal piece about what the practice of labyrinth walking is and and what it means to her.  Please enjoy, and join us April 9.

 

When people find out that I have a labyrinth and walk it regularly as one of my spiritual practices, I find most don’t know what to say. Many confuse it with a maze, but unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one path in and out, and isn’t designed to get you lost. Some excitedly recount their own stories of time spent in a labyrinth. Others are curious about how a walking meditation tool can help them access their own inner knowing and enhance their relationship with God.

What is a labyrinth? It is an ancient symbol and usually outdoor space used as a metaphor for our own spiritual journey. There are many uses for a labyrinth. Some use a labyrinth as a walking meditation tool to pause and slow...

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Your Place of Safety

 
 I am back from Spring Break in Costa Rica, and it was a wonderful trip with plenty of relaxation, adventure, and family fun. I was weirdly happy to see a sloth in his natural habitat, and I found a new fascination with leaf cutter ants.  These creatures amaze me!  I'm sure there's more to discuss on that, but for now suffice it to say, the vacation was a success. 

One thing I delighted in was reading on the beach every morning.  What a luxury! In preparation for Walking With Divine Feminine, Teresa of Ávila, I read The Interior Castle, written by Teresa (1515-1582) and translated by Mirabai Starr in 2003. This book sang to me!  It's a long explanatory metaphor comparing our inner landscape to a castle:

 

"It came to me that the soul is like a castle made exclusively of diamond or some other very clear crystal. In this castle are a multitude of dwellings, just as in heaven there are many mansions." ...

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Bring it to All

Today as I sat to meditate, I was so hungry.  My stomach was growling.  My blood sugar was low. I thought about abandoning my meditation and go make some breakfast! Delicious soft boiled eggs kept floating across the backs of my eyelids, tempting me to leave my mat.

 

Then I remembered the teachings of Richard Rohr and Pema Chödrön.  This hunger I felt was a universal feeling.  Every human has been hungry at some point in their lives.  And some are hungry all the time.

 

I have never really known hunger.  The long-lasting hunger that comes from a long-term lack of food and nutrition.  So I can bear these tummy rumbles.  I can understand the hunger of humanity better if I sit with my individual hunger.  I move my sense of hunger from myself out into the world and it becomes a prayer. How else can a suburban, middle class, white woman relate to this suffering?  I've never been hungry...

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The Rest of the Story

Why, you may ask, do I want to do yoga about Mary Magdalene? 

Because to me, she is the rest of the story.

Growing up in the Christian church meant inheriting a spirituality and faith that was very yang, or masculine.  I saw at the pulpit men telling us what mostly men said and did many years ago and how and why it matters now.  This was enough for me...until I saw another way.

My yoga teachers were women. Wise women. They related all matter of heart-based concepts to our bodies.  We didn't just learn stories and study the way to live.  We placed it on our breath.  We drew from our open hearts in meditation.  We strengthened our courage as we strengthened our core.  We stretched our chest and shoulders along with our capacity for compassion.  For me, it was an embodied faith.  

Mary Magdalene is the embodiment of faith.  She was there the whole time--during Jesus' teaching, throughout his crucifixion, and she...

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Presence and Delight

Bask in the sweetness of life.

Delight in life’s simple pleasures.

Take time to enjoy the good stuff.  

 

How do you respond to these statements?  Do you think, “Who’s got the time for that?” Or perhaps, “The guilt would kill me.”  “That stuff is for other people.” Or “The last time I basked I hurt my back.”   Maybe you’re even asking, “WHAT good stuff?” 

 

We’re going to get into this.  So right now, go get something sweet.  Maybe some leftover Valentine's chocolate or a Girl Scout Cookie. Or maybe something savory, like a tasty olive.  Whatever is in your kitchen (or hidden in your hideaway place) that is a delicious treat for you.  Then I’ll meet you back here…

 

Got something?  Good.  Let’s meditate:

  • Close your eyes and take some deep breaths.  Anchor your mind on your breath and body in the...
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Walking with Divine Feminine

 

"To walk with me is to walk as me.” 

 

These are the words author, speaker, and Harvard-trained scholar of the divine feminine, Meggan Watterson, heard in her meditation when she was contemplating the life and teachings of Mary Magdalene. She describes this in her book, Mary Magdalene Revealed: The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel & the Christianity We Haven't Tried Yet. 

 

This was the inspiration I needed to bring you something very special.

 

A few years ago I became interested in understanding the Divine Feminine.  I have always felt a deep connection to God, but that image is steeped in masculinity.  I love the men in my life and the masculine side of myself, but I knew I was only getting half the picture.  There’s a yin energy to Source as well.  There’s a feminine side I wanted to know.  So I asked, I learned, I met her, and now I, along with my dear friend Nancy Herlin, want to share...

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5 Great Reasons to Do Partner Yoga

I'm so excited to get back in the yoga studio for the first time since my brief series last summer.  I'm going to teach LIVE bodies in REAL time, IN PERSON!  And I'm super psyched it will be an opportunity for some yummy fun partner yoga. 

 

Here's what's great about having a teammate on the mat:

 

1.  CONNECTION. Yoga is usually a solitary endeavor, even if you are surrounded by people. This is an opportunity for touch that so many of us are starving for these days.  Human touch is integral to health and happiness.  I consider touch the antidote to loneliness and the avenue to joy.  And we know it works in measurable ways! "Touch strengthens your immune system, improves sleep, reduces stress, and ramps up the body’s production of its natural painkillers." -- Shape.com 

 

 

2.  RELEASE.  We carry around so much.  We have burdens on our shoulders, tension in our jaw, our...

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