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stirrings…

Kuan Yin and snow resizeStirrings.

Urges.

Light slipping through the curtains.

Birdsong.

The familiar undercurrent of other lives.

The vast, unfolding of time.

It’s morning. Morning. Morningtime.

Greeting the day. Entering the day.
•    I choose how I wish to be.
•    I choose how I wish to feel.
•    I choose how I wish to live.

thank you god for most this amazing day… (e.e. cummings)

Waking up this morning I smile, twenty-four brand new hours are before me, I vow to live fully in each moment and look at all beings with eyes of compassion. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

I surrender the day now beginning. May I live in love. May I be in love… (Marianne Williamson and me)

Breath opens.

Body stretches and releases.

Hands land lightly.     On heart.     On belly.

I am here.
•    In this body.
•    In this bed.
•    In this life.

In this morningtime.

Like Spring, morning is a time to begin again.
•    With a new day.
•    With a new chance.
•    With a new perspective.

How will I live into this possibility?
•    With habit?
•    With rushing?
•    With openness?
•    With love?

With awareness.         With curiosity.         With compassion.

I can bring these to any day, no matter how full.
•    A being that is awake.
•    A mind that it interested and open.
•    A heart that is gentle and soft.

Morningtime = Springtime
A chance to begin fresh.
A chance to begin clean.
A chance to begin simple.

A chance to return to what is most true.

You.

Me.

Being here.

Practicing and awakening together.

How can you consciously craft your morningtime to welcome
the possibility of a brand new and fresh day of living?

I’d love to support you in this with my 3-hour The Way of the Happy Woman®: Spring Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat on April 26th and/or with my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

Cracking Open

Buried Seeds by Mark Nepo

All the buried seeds
crack open in the dark
the instant they surrender
to a process they can’t see.

This innate surrender
allows everything edible
and fragrant
to break ground
into a life of light
that we call Spring.

As a seed buried in the earth
cannot imagine itself as an orchid or hyacinth,

neither can a heart packed with hurt
imagine itself loved or at peace.

The courage of the seed is that once cracking,
it cracks all the way.

MovementIt’s late Winter and especially in the North, we are yearning for Spring—for more sunlight, for more opening, for new growth, inside and outside…

Wintertime offers us the space to surrender, to return to our inner ground, to gestate our bodysoul’s wisdom so that we can soften enough to crack open and be ready for the invitation of another Spring.

Spring is almost here—at least here in Minnesota, the Spring Equinox is almost upon us! Spring Equinox is midway between the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice, and the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice. This year, the Spring Equinox occurs at 5:45 pm on Friday, March 20th. On the morning of the Equinox, we will have a solar eclipse with the moon covering up the sun, blocking out up to 98 per cent of its light. And the evening before, the Earth and Moon will be as close together as they possibly can be, giving rise to a so-called Supermoon, but because it’s a New Moon, we will be lucky to see the hint of a very large sliver in the sky.

Here in Minnesota, Spring suddenly blew in for a week so that we are finally consistently above zero and even melted! Even though more seasonal temperatures are coming in now, we are officially dreaming of Spring. Everything that has been underground, that has been composting and preparing for new growth, within and without, is getting ready to break ground into Spring’s new life.

Nature can be our teacher in this process of cracking open. Many plants have been dormant all Winter, hibernating, their energy pulled back into their roots or stored in seeds. Others literally died and returned their fragile plant bodies to the earth, where they mixed with other surrendered plant bodies, and dissolved into the ground becoming compost. Now these plants—both the dormant ones and the dissolved ones are getting ready to regenerate and send forth new growth—sprouts that will turn into plants that might bloom or even bear fruit come Summer and Fall.

We, too, have had a chance to surrender, to return to the ground during Winter, to let ourselves dissolve and re-form. We, too, have been like buried seeds, surrendering to the dark unknown possibility of cracking open. From this darkness, from this openness, deep wisdom can arise, which Spring invites us to put into form in the world.

So, this is the time to get ready to nurture your soon-to-be sprouting seeds. To prepare for the regeneration of your energy, for the sharing of your vision in the world…

What seeds are buried deep within you? What is yearning to come alive in you? What wants to arise from the compost of your life, to be re-formed and lived into this year? What new learning or new growth might sprout from the regenerative compost of your suffering? What has been cracking open, ready to sprout and come into the new life and light of Spring?

Choose one thing you’d like to nourish, to nurture like a new seed, just beginning to reach toward the surface of the earth. How can you fertilize the soil so this new part of you can begin to grow? How will you tend this seedling—what support and nutrients does it need? What practices do you need to put into place to assure mindful, steady growth? You can get some ideas from my Tips & Practices page as a starting place.

Remember, no matter how dark your Winter has been, no matter how unknowable the new life of Spring feels, there is at least one seed within us that wants to grow and awaken and come into greater and deeper contact with Life, that wants to crack open all the way.

Listen to that. Trust that. Nourish that.

If you’d like some support listening, trusting, and nourishing your seeds, I have some upcoming opportunities for practice: Thursday, March 26th Survive or Thrive Workshop; Friday, March 27th Singing Meditation; and Sunday, April 26th Women’s Half-Day Retreat. I would also be honored to support you in a 6-month individualized program of Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

This is Part II of a 2-Part Series on Love for the month of February. Part I explores how essential it is to say Yes to Love in relationship. This second post focuses on practicing Love. Although originally written for dear friends whose wedding I officiated, and, thus, about the personal Love relationship between two people, everything here applies to Love in any relationship—with yourself, with your friends, with your family, with an animal friend, with a partner, with the Beloved. Read the poem that inspired this exploration.

Practice Loving Kindness

Practice Loving Kindness

Saying Yes to Love also implies unconditionality.

I practice Love which is not dependent on whether or not…

  • Dave remembers to put the toilet seat down,
  • Or brings out the garbage,
  • Or pulls the sheets off of me to his side of the bed in the middle of the night.

It’s not an “if” you do this kind of proposition!

Even if he hasn’t done something I had hoped for, I still look at him and say “I choose you.” I still say Yes to Love.

Because saying Yes to Love is choosing to live a life that is worth living.

When I say Yes to Love, I open myself to something greater than my limited understanding—

  • To the possibility of both of our growth and transformation,
  • To the mystery of the depth and breadth of the heart,
  • To this moment of limitless possibility.

In order to do this, we have to be willing to feel and allow everything—

  • The old wounds that will get retriggered by our partner,
  • The shame of doing the same unskillful behavior over and over again as we try to learn a new one,
  • The pain of not being able to open our hearts in the moment,
  • The suffering of being stuck and unable to see our way through,
  • As well as the amazing joy, gratitude, and bliss of Love.

For feeling is the language of the heart. And sharing these feelings with our partner is the language of intimacy. It is Love saying Yes. It is saying Yes to Love.

So, I encourage you to say Yes to Love every day, every moment, every chance you get. As Gregory Orr encourages us in his beautiful poem:

Later for “but,”
Later for “if.”

Now
Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

Yes. May we always choose to practice Love.

What are some concrete ways you practice Love?
With yourself? With others?
How could you deepen your practice?

Read Part I of Saying Yes to Love.

This is Part I of a 2-Part Series on Love for the month of February.
This first post explores how essential it is to say Yes to Love
in relationship. The second focuses on practicing Love.
Although originally written for dear friends whose wedding I officiated,
and, thus, about the personal Love relationship between two people, everything here applies to Love in any relationship—with yourself, with your friends, with your family, with an animal friend, with a partner, with the Beloved.

 VDay card for Dave 2014
By Gregory Orr

If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for “but,”
Later for “if.”

Now
Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

Yes. Unequivocally, Yes.

Conscious relationship, for me, is about learning to say Yes, over and over again, to Love.

Love can open in us as a gift, as a grace, but for the most part, Love is pretty hard work!

I find that Love is a practice of choosing to say Yes to the needs of the relationship, to being and acting as Love in each moment.

  • Even when I’m tired and just want to fall back into the comfortable slumber of “my way,”
  • Even when I feel disconnected and would rather lick my wounds,
  • Even when it would feel better to pretend everything is OK when it’s not,
  • Even when I’m not feeling very loving…

Because Love is bigger than a feeling. Love is a choice.

  • Love chooses connection.
  • Love chooses trying to understand.
  • Love chooses generosity.
  • Love chooses hope.
  • Love chooses to accept my partner’s reality, even when it’s not only different from mine, but might seem downright crazy or misguided.
  • Love says Yes.

For a long time, practicing Love, I would find myself saying Yes, but…

  • But what?
  • But you don’t see the whole picture…
  • But that’s not really what I meant…
  • But I would do it this way…
  • But…

Dave called me on it—many times—and he still may have to from time to time. It is a pretty engrained habit!

  • He let me know that when I say “Yes…but,” he only hears the “but.”
  • He no longer feels heard or acknowledged.
  • It’s like that “but” negates everything else I’ve said.

I have come to understand that the “but” is a turning away from Love, a choosing to separate a part of myself from the Yes of Love. The togetherness of Love. The generosity of Love.

I’m not saying we have to agree about everything—we don’t!

  • If I have a different idea, I share it.
  • But I try not to before acknowledging the Yes.
  • Yes, I see and hear you.
  • Yes, you are right in your truth.
  • Yes, I value and respect you and your expression.
  • AND here is my truth…

This is practicing Love. I won’t always get it right, but I will continue to practice.

How do you say Yes to Love? With yourself? With others?

Note: Part II of this Valentine’s Day blogpost came out at the end of February, so we can remember to keep practicing, even when the romance of Valentine’s Day, or falling in love, or a candlelight dinner is over….

NY 2015 imageI used to have a lot of trouble coming up with New Year intentions—all it ever felt like was an exhausting, never-ending to-do list, what my colleague Laura calls a “devil’s to-do list.” I’m still working out exactly how to do it each year, but it’s feeling more comfortable, more like an invitation to land in myself and envision my life.

What better time, in the middle of winter, to make space to dream about how we want our lives to be? You can read about dreaming during our winter cave-time in more depth here.

One of the things that I really love doing is taking the time to look back at the past year—I usually get together with a girlfriend sometime around the cusp of the year, but you can do this now, too. We spend time going through our journals to get an overview of the patterns, the learnings, the moods. We ask ourselves questions like: “What did I learn, integrate, accomplish? What do I want to remember? What can I celebrate and what do I still need to focus on or let go of?”

Then we look forward to the New Year, at what lies ahead and allow ourselves to dream. What is calling to us? What do we need to integrate / learn / lean into? What do we want next? After writing and allowing time for this exploration, we usually draw at least a Goddess Card and perhaps another visioning tool to allow more guidance from the unconscious to be part of the process. When we’re ready, we share what we are understanding and support each other’s paths and visions.

Sometimes we choose a word or a phrase as a North Star. Sometimes an image really captivates, and just recently I read about choosing a “beautiful question.” Steve Quatrano explains: “Questions also fire the imagination. A question is a puzzle: once it has been raised, the mind almost can’t help trying to solve or answer it. In this way, questions enable us to begin to act in the face of uncertainty; they help us to organize our thinking around what we don’t know…”

This year, I chose the Goddess Card for Coventina, who represents purification, and from my hearthstones, the word “faith.” I’m playing with my beautiful question…Its current form is: “What needs to be purified within me so that I can live in more faith?” It feels like there could be many layers in this—and it feels simple enough to answer, two other important criteria for beautiful questions…

May you find more beautiful questions than to-do lists
to light up your vision for the 2015 New Year!

And if you’d like a mentor, guide, or accountability partner, I’d be honored to walk with you in this New Year in my capacity as Holistic Health & Wellness Coach—I offer a free Discovery Session and seasonal women’s retreats.

* Coventina image from Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards and the heart with “faith” in it is from a set of Hearthstones.

No, I’m not talking about going all Paleo and living in a cave! :)

But I am curious: Are you are you taking time to dream this winter? The darkness and coldness offer the perfect opportunity to follow nature’s call to slow down and crawl into your cave.

There are many reasons we don’t listen to this call…

  • The fall and winter holidays tend to be so extroverted. We ignore the dark and the cold, dress up and drive around to spend time with friends.
  • We might be on a roll, living busy lives, full to the brim with work, family, social life, exercise, home chores, etc.
  • We might be extroverted people and really used to spending most of our time with others, finding our sense of self that way.
  • Or we might even be filling up our lives in order not to touch into what is below the busyness, what might arise if we went into the darkness, into the unknown.

The mama bear knows how to do this. Our ancestors knew how to do this. Indigenous cultures still know how to do this…how to live in connection with nature’s rhythms, to follow the call of winter into the cave.

Wintertime, cave-time, is a perfect time to let go of outer distractions and tune into your own inner world, to stop listening to the “shoulds,” and open yourself to the quiet, still embrace of the vast, deep, mysterious dark. This is an invitation to envision how you want your life to be. When you’re curled into yourself, listening to your self, what do you dream up?

Most of us can’t take enough hibernation time—though I sure wish I could sometimes! So, how to we make time to connect with these qualities of Winter?

  • Start a dream journal, keep it by your bed, and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense to your logical, daytime brain. Just write them down.
  • Try spending more time journalling, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Try engaging in some form of creativity in which you ask for vision and stay open to not knowing the answer, to be shown what you need in your life right now. Collage is an easy one to start with if you don’t already have a specific practice.
  • Take more breaks, rest time, or retreats in which you have unscheduled time. (See my post “Are You Listening?” for more ideas about this.)

Here’s a cave-time practice we can do anytime—try it with me now:

  • Breathe deep into your belly.
  • Feel your feet on the floor, your seat in the chair, your back resting on the chair.
  • Imagine you could breathe all the way from your belly, down your legs, through your feet, into the floor. Feel roots growing down into the earth, rooting into the earth.
  • From this rooted place, breathe into the cave of your belly. If you are a woman, imagine this cave as your womb.
  • Breathe into your cave and feel/see/imagine its cozy embrace.
  • Continuing to breathe deeply into this cave and into the earth, imagine yourself curling into yourself and crawling into this cave.
  • Imagine yourself finding a comfortable place in this cave to lie down in for a little rest.
  • And let yourself stay here for a few breaths, a few minutes, or longer. Breathe, allow yourself to be held, allow yourself to not know, to open to any visions or dreams that might be waiting here in the darkness for you to receive.
  • Close your eyes.
  • When you open your eyes, move slowly. You may want to write down any insight, intuitions, or feelings.
  • Bring this more centered presence with you as you move into the rest of your day, knowing that you can return here to meet yourself and your dreams, even just for a few breaths anytime.

If you would like to explore your own inner dreams and desires with me, please post a comment below, or consider:

Happy cave-time and winter dreaming!

Being Womanconnection, relationship, magnetizing, rest, listening, pleasure, savoring,
embodiment, earthy, leaning back in, feelings, flow, sensual, appreciating…

These words grace an index card at my desk. What do they all have in common? The expression of yin, or feminine energy. The words are written in red, orange, and pink, further inviting a luxuriating and rich experience.

When you read those words, how do they land?

Most of the time, my mind jumps in and says something like: “Sounds nice, but who has time for all of that?”

When I do take the time to take them in, I feel myself leaning back in. I feel myself landing in my female body. This body, just as she is right now. And the more I land, the more I feel these qualities…

Our masculine-oriented culture emphasizes their opposite: independence, autonomy, selling, action, speaking, working, analyzing, head-orientation, detachment, pushing forward, thinking, goal-focused, practical, competing…

When you read those words, how do they land? I feel overwhelmed and tired…

As women, we are often so immersed in the masculine culture we live in that we forget our feminine birthright, the feeling of savoring the art of living in a female bodysoul.

Read those feminine words once again. Breathe them into your body, into your heart, into your soul. Linger in them. Luxuriate in them.

When we, as women, own our feminine essence, we are more resourced. We are more who we truly are. We are more able to operate in a masculine-driven culture without losing our balance, without losing our way.

How might you invite more of your feminine essence, more of who you really are, into your life in this New Year? What baby steps could you take to inhabit your feminine bodysoul more?

If you would like support, I would be happy to accompany you:

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