presence-full time

bodyful timelessness with Elfy

 

Stepping outside with a task in mind,
I move with intention toward its completion.
Subtly and completely, my perception shifts,
and instead of allowing my mind to dictate the doing,
my body opens—to the front and sides and back—
adding a fullness and a wholeness into my doing.

 

My perception of time slows.

 

I am here, still moving, doing, completing, focused on task, but not so intensely. I take in the day, the garden, the birds, the light, the air. Perhaps I move a bit more slowly, more body-fully.

 

I still move with intention. My body, heart, and mind participating in a sense of embodied presence as I continue my task.

 

This experience is not time-stopping or mystical. It’s utterly ordinary—and different from my normal way of moving headlong into task.

 

It’s a moment of being in touch with timelessness.

The timelessness of our inner experience.

The timelessness of Eairth.

The timelessness of the cosmos.

The timelessness of the Divine, of True Nature, of the Goddess.

 

We don’t have to search for this in books, in classes or retreats or teachers… The portal is always NOW, in our precious bodysoul.

 

To the degree that we are present, there is only now. Yes, things still need to be done, but they occur in this timelessness moment, in presence, in touch with a truer, deeper, wholer sense of self.

 

This reminds me of a beautiful, simple song by Annie Zylstra, Weaving the Day. If you are a member of the facebook group Village Fire, you can listen to it here.

Weaving the day, weaving the day
The river will run and find its way
All is well. All is well.

The river isn’t rushing along to join the ocean. It’s finding its way as it flows. So can we move through our days, finding our way in presence.

Dropping the head into the heart and body, and opening to the flowing, full, timelessness of now.

From this place we can be in touch with “a sense of the natural unfolding of a day, of a season, of a year, of a life.”*

 

The presence practices I offer in my free e-book Welcoming the Sacred are about this—suggestions for how to meet the moment and enter it with more than head-centered intention so you can be more present throughout your day, whatever it brings.

 

Consciously aligning with the seasons, as we will practice in my upcoming Fall women’s mini-retreat, connects us with the natural unfolding of Mother Eairth through her changes over the year.

 

So, the more presence we weave into each day of each season, the more presence we weave into our whole lives. We find our flow, opening more and more deeply to a bodyful and mindful life.

 

How do you weave presence into your day?

 

From Inviting Silence by Gunilla Norris, p. 90.

Savoring Eairth’s Gift of Summer

The People
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue.
We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other
and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one
as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.
Now our minds are one.
~ from the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World

 

Summer Solstice, the threshold of Summer,

the outer sign of an inner developing,

an inner maturing into fullness. 

At 10:54 am CT on Friday, June 21, we in the Northern Hemisphere enter into the days of lush growth, of rampant blossoming, of warmth and celebration.

We are held in this natural cycle of life that Eairth and her seasons continually unfold, a cycle that invites us to us back into balance and harmony with ourselves, with each other, and with all living things.

The wren that has been singing to me daily this week is living out her natural cycle—she has been nest building and tending, and sharing the abundance of the beginning summer in her beautiful song. Take a listen above if you have not already!

And isn’t it interesting that at Summer Solstice, at the peak of the longest days of light and the generous greening of Eairth, we also turn the corner towards Winter Solstice? Every day past the Summer Solstice will get a little shorter and each night a bit longer until we reach the longest night on December 21.

Summer correlates energetically with the Full Moon
(this past Monday)—

the fullness of energy, the following of desire,

living large, embracing our passion…

And we know, just like the cycle of the moon, already beginning to wane, that summer is also balanced with winter—expansion with contraction, light with dark, activity with rest—always balancing and harmonizing in the natural cycles of life…

What would it be like to live into our fullness, to follow our desire, knowing that it is deeply rooted in the dark, fertile nourishment of Eairth?

To only follow desire so long as it is tethered always to Source, like an umbilicus connecting us with the nourishment of the Mother?

The Native American Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address continues by first honoring the Earth as our Mother:

The Earth Mother
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy
that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time.
To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.

Feeling the ground of support of the Mother under our feet, receiving the gifts of her bounty—fertile soil, food, water, air, birdsong, animals, mountains, trees, plants, rivers, oceans… Without these we would not be alive!

Summer is the perfect time to appreciate these gifts—

to savor the abundance of Eairth and of our lives.

Moving too fast and doing too much—habits I easily fall into—keep us from savoring. And it’s usually a sign that we’ve forgotten the deep rootedness and moment-by-moment belonging to Eairth, skating along on the surface, not experiencing our daily life as a gift.

One of the ways I’ve been savoring recently is through all the sweet friend dates we’ve been having before we move (in a little over 2 weeks!).

Normally, the most time I might have spent would have been 1-2 dates/week; but now, sometimes we have up to 4 dates in a week!! When I look at my calendar, my habitual self thinks it’s crazy…

But, in reality, we’ve both been really conscious about savoring these in-person connections that we will be leaving behind as we settle in a new land. Instead of feeling distracted or depleted from too many dates and too much to do, by staying connected with our deeper rootedness and relaxing in the field of connection between us, we feel abundant and full of gratitude for these connections!

Another way I practice savoring is sitting on the front porch in the morning, looking out at the dancing river birch, the green lushness of ferns, pachysandra, and hosta circling it, marinating in sun and birdsong. And when walking through the neighborhood, I open all of my senses to savor the profusion of summer beauty that Eairth is opening into right now. (Find more savoring practices.)

Open to this moment. Live it. Belong to it.

Summer is a gift given by our Mother, Eairth, right now.

Live in harmony, enter the cycle of abundance and celebration, of savoring and en-joying, knowing that this cycle will give way to the next, a new season, a new rhythm of life.

And like our indigenous brothers and sisters, two-legged, four-legged, winged, standing, sitting, lying, and flowing ones, give thanks for the generosity of Eairth, who continues to give us all that we need for life.

return to the most human

 

Return to the Most Human by May Sarton
Return to the most human,
nothing less will nourish the torn spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the angry mind:
and from the ultimate duress,
pierced with the breath of anguish,
speak of love.

Return, return to the deep sources,
nothing less will teach the stiff hands a new way to serve,
to carve into our lives the forms of tenderness
and still that ancient necessary pain preserve.

Return to the most human,
nothing less will teach the angry spirit,
the bewildered heart;
the torn mind,
to accept the whole of its duress,
and pierced with anguish…
at last, act for love.

 

Winter and Spring,

Lent and Easter,

the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys,

the Bodhisattvas, who, once enlightened, choose to stay on earth to accompany us,

the under- and over-world travel of shamans and goddesses throughout time…

 

This paradox of season and cycle, of rhythmic journey has meaning.

 

We are again and again invited to return to the most human—
both in our deep-diving and in our high-flying.

 

We go down, we go in, we go through.

We stay. We keep vigil. We are held.

We are shown the way—sometimes only one step at a time.

 

The way of being human includes all of this.

 

Darkness. The torn spirit. The bewildered heart. The angry mind.

Light. The rejoicing spirit. The grateful heart. The blissful mind.

The Unknown-ness. The Mystery. The I-don’t-know-how-ness.

 

For only in this most human place,

lovingly abiding with our darkness,

can the body be a chalice connecting earth and heaven,

so that we can at last arise and act for love.

 

Join me in Spring Reset 2018 to practice the ways of being human.

 

If you’re feeling winter-weary, sluggish, or low on energy, hit the reset button with inspiration and practices from spiritual director Jan Lundy and her Reset Team, me and others!

 

This month-long online program will help you get re-energized and reboot your life so you can experience your best, most glorious Spring yet!

 

Learn more and register.

New Year’s Ease

New Year's Ease 2016

This year I spent about three weeks really focused on learning from the past year and getting clear about how I want to live into this New Year.

I’m so grateful for this practice…there were many years I didn’t feel like I could take the time—or that it would make any difference if I did. I didn’t feel I could consciously influence the way my life would play out over time. I knew the value of practicing to change something in myself, but I felt at the whim of life’s unfolding events all too often…

As I reviewed, visioned, and felt into myself, over and over, a yearning in my soul arose—balance, ease, abundance, balance, openness, ease…

Ease, Work / Life Balance

I WANT this! And I’m struck with the fact that I only found out how much I want it by taking those 3+ weeks to settle in, to look at 2015, at all that I accomplished (or didn’t) and all that I had felt during the year…

As I was writing this post at my favorite local cafe, a friend I run into 1-2/month there stopped by to say hi, and as I showed him this New Year’s collage and talked about my theme for the year, he had an insight and spoke these simple and profound words:
Keep Reading!

Visioning Your New Year

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.

Are You Listening?

Kuan Yin and Spring SnowThere’s so much to listen to here in this Western culture we live in—news, talk shows, music, weather, random TV shows and movies, our family, our bosses, our inner critics…The list can be endless and overwhelming.

What if you could decide what to listen to?
What if you really took time to tune into that?
Whose voice(s) would you choose
to listen to?

Wintertime invites us into deeper listening.

Deeper listening…deeper than what? Deeper than the outer sounds, deeper than the “shoulds” inside your head…Listening deep inside yourself, where there is quiet and stillness and wisdom. A wellspring to draw upon, if we turn in to it.

Especially in the colder climates, winter really does invite us to go inside—into our actual houses where it is warm, less in contact with our neighbors and friends. We are drawn to cozy up to the woodstove or sink into a warm bath, to light candles and sip warm drinks, to read books and journal, to reflect on our lives.

This deeper listening can be an invitation to surrender to nature’s call, to hunker down and in, out of the cold. In following winter’s lead, we also follow the rhythm of our souls. Our souls need to rest, to go within, to connect with the deeper wellsprings that nourish us. And from this place, we come back to the world more refreshed, more able to respond, more able to live authentically in the world.

The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you,
the better you will hear what is sounding outside.
~ Dag Hammarskjold

Of course, we can do this anytime, even in the midst of the holiday chaos, but it’s a lot easier when we can actually set aside undisturbed retreat time to really listen. Here are a few suggestions for how to create mini-retreat times for yourself any day:

  • Carve out silent journaling time.
  • Add in slow yoga or other mindful movement.
  • Sit in meditation, contemplation, or prayer.
  • Settle in with a cup of tea and look out the window, at the fire, sipping slowly.
  • Take a Do-Nothing Break.

Whatever you do, see if you can drop below the to-do lists, the “shoulds,” the noisy voices of our culture, and listen for the voice of your soul—S/He may speak in words, in intuitive hits, in physical sensations, in feelings, in images or symbols…Listen for your own deeper knowing and wisdom and heed it.

If you need more support, consider checking out my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

And if you want to schedule some time for a retreat to go deeper into listening to your soul, consider signing up for my Way of the Happy Woman®: Winter Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat.

How do you make time to listen within? I’d love to share ideas about this essential part of our self-care and wholeness.

life practices: summer solstice 2014

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

floweringSummer Solstice is almost upon us! The daylight hours have been growing since Winter Solstice, each day becoming slightly longer until now, when seen from the North or South Poles, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and appears to stand still (Latin “sol” or sun and “sistere” or to stand still). In 2014, the Summer Solstice occurs at 5:15 am CT on Saturday, June 21st.

Here in Minnesota, we’ve had a long cold Winter and a very unpredictable Spring—cool, hot, windy, thunder-stormy…but everything is growing and really green!! It turns out that the earth knows how to grow and follow her natural rhythms regardless of how crazy the weather is…

Summer’s gloryblooming radiance—abounds, with a new flower coming into bloom almost every day. We’ve passed from Spring’s early blooming bulbs to Lilacs, to Azaleas, to Lilies of the Valley, to Peonies, to Poppies and Clematis, and more…and now Evening Primrose and Daisies are smiling their sunny faces just in time for the Solstice!

How are you preparing or being prepared to bloom this Summer? What are some ways you can support yourself so that you, like the earth, can flourish this Summer?

You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:

  • Sitting outside, on the earth if possible, light a candle, red or orange in color.
  • Take a few deep breaths into your connection with the earth—into your feet or bum or legs, and breathe that connection up into your belly.
  • When you feel grounded, look around you and find one beautiful thing—it may be a flower opening or the light or something else that moves you.
  • Say gently to yourself “Beauty sees beauty.” Feel yourself, as beauty, seeing beauty. Own this, breathe it in…be beauty, breathing in beauty…
  • Continue to breathe as you look around, acknowledging and welcoming more beauty within and without. You might also want to try a different verb—”Beauty sees/hears/touches/senses…beauty.”
  • When you feel filled and beauty-full, say thank you and blow out the candle.

Remember that as this day comes to an end, the days will very slowly become shorter, until at Autumn Equinox, the day and night will be balanced, and by Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Savor and enjoy your own flourishing and beauty with that of the earth this Summer season! May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

Being Woman-crpd2Collage as a Practice. My collaging has slowed down recently as I pour more creative energy into my studies (more about that below), my daily practice, the garden, creating healthy meals and new recipes, and other projects.

Being Woman explores the luscious, life-giving, instinctual, ever-renewing, deep Feminine ground that not only supports us but also gives birth to our many human expressions. We arise from and return to Her.

How does She live and arise through you?

KatyNourishing Wholeness: My New Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching Practice! I am so excited to be starting to practice as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach—it feels like the fulfillment of my life’s journey thus far! Studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I also bring my years of practice and training as a Certified Riso-Hudson Enneagram Teacher, an ordained Interfaith Minister, a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, a Diamond Approach Student, and an Assistant in Sara Avant Stover‘s Red Tent, as well as a Student in her Way of the Happy Woman Certification Program.

I will be taking more clients—both in person and via phone or skype—in September. Please check out my new site: www.NourishingWholeness.net, sign up for my newsletter there, and be in touch if you’d like to set up a free discovery session to talk about your dreams and desires for your health and well-being. I would be honored to support you on this path!

dandelionsFun, Healthy Eating as a Practice! How about instead of battling with the dandelions in your yard, you picked them and ate them instead? Over on my new site, you can read about how to prepare and enjoy dandelion flowers as part of your fun, healthy eating practice! You can also read more about healthy eating and lifestyle tips.

Are there wild things growing in your yard or on your property that you can harvest and eat? I’d love to hear about it!

poppy-tpWomen’s Practice. As women, there’s something we rarely talk about. We pretend it doesn’t happen. Some of us are ashamed by it. Some wish it would simply go away. Even in the most “evolved” and “spiritual” communities, it remains taboo.  Have you guessed what it is?

That’s right: it’s our moon cycle. (Or period or menses or whatever your favorite word for it is.)

Last year, with the guidance of my teacher, friend, and yogini, Sara Avant Stover, a group of really brave women began changing this conversation. This “Moon Tribe” got real and raw about how their moon cycles affect them, their work in the world, and their relationships. It was edgy. Real. And especially valuable and healing—for thousands of women across the world.

If you missed I {Heart} My Moon Cycle last year—or if you’re ready for a booster shot of feminine empowerment—this is for you!  I {Heart} My Moon Cycle is now available as a free, 28-day online immersion. Treat yourself to it, right here: https://bg156.infusionsoft.com/go/moon/a15. Read more on my Nourishing Wholeness blog.

Poetry as a Practice.

Bare branches and silent winter days
are but a memory
as we near summer solstice.

Shades of white snow and crystal blue
have given way to relentless green.

From dormancy rises
a summons to grow
that keeps us on our toes.

No longer shoveling
instead we mow, pull, whack,
and make our choices
around what to trim and tame
and what to let grow wild.

What we know
most especially this time of year
is that everything and everyone
shares this boundless call to grow.

Seasons and cycles give us
quiet reflective times
and periods of busting out.
A pull toward green sprouting
boisterous courageous steps
further in and further out
in this world.

If its inspiration you seek
as you feel the push / pull inside you
of steps in perhaps frightening new directions,
look to the grace of branches
swaying with the weight of vibrant leaves
heavy from new growth and recent rains.
See the way buds stretch skyward
readying for bloom
as if extending a cupped hand
to hold the sun.

You can trust the trees, the flowers,
the bursting green of this season.
Just as you can trust your own yearning
to set your wild spirit free
and grow in directions that call to you

Chris Heeter, Leadership Speaker, Wilderness Guide, Poet
The Wild Institute

 

Blooming and Flourishing Summer Blessings,
Katy Taylor, Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

Nourishing Wholeness
nourishing wholeness

Being Woman

Being Woman-crpd2

She is always here, beneath the surface of our lives
living in bone, in flesh, in blood, in cells, in our human embodiedness

She is that which we spring from, that which we rest into,
that which holds, supports, and sustains us

She is ancestral woman of us all, of the earth’s knowing,
of nature, of the elements, of the seasons

She is the ancient, embodied wisdom of living, of surviving, of thriving,
of tribe, of pleasure, of wholeness

She is pure, natural, healthy instinctualness—
instinct to rest, to relax, to savor, to be
and when needed—instinct to arise, to spring forth, to engage in life

She always returns to Herself, to Beingness

She loves to be enticed into the flowing expression of life—
as daughter, friend, maiden, mother, lover,
nurturer, worker, enjoyer, queen, crone, wildish one
—always remaining true to Her Being nature

From Her, in Her, through Her springs forth all life
To Her, in Her, through Her returns all life
She is Being Woman

 

Do you see Her in this collage? Do you know Her? Do you rest and arise in Her? How does She live through you?

 

Note: I was exposed to this idea by Zsuzsanna Budapest who calls her Sloth Woman in her book The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

spacious passion

2014 spacious passion3-crpdthis is my intention for the 2014 New Year: Spacious Passion. in my life, i have often not allowed one or the other of these words, and certainly not both together, holding each other…

i have tended to get involved in too many things, leaving very little room for Spaciousness of any kind in my life—my thoughts full of too many things to do/plan/sort out, my feelings all mixed up or set aside in a closed box, and my body moving too quickly, living a too-structured and bounded life…

and Passion? on the outside it may look like i have been following my passion, but mostly i have lived my life not really in touch with my true passion, making attempts to follow it in small ways that feel better than nothing, but don’t completely resonate or awaken and enliven me. i think in some ways, that has felt safer…not having to give up something that’s supporting me to follow a deeper, more anarchic pull that is unknown and might not work out… i have used the energy of passion as fuel for focusing my attention on something. i’m actually really good at that, so good that i have been accused of being fanatic over the years…i’ve also channeled it into my Oneish* obligations—the shoulds, duties, responsibilities that i must take care of—so that my true desires (passion) are strangled, suffocated, and stuffed down. all the naturalness of this energy, all the power, all the fuel has been harnessed for being a “good” person.

Spacious:

  • spaciousness holds and allows all things—it is the container of openness within which all things arise
  • open space, lack of boundaries and structures and rules around my life
  • openness to BE any way that is arising in the moment, space/room for all of me, nothing too big
  • invitation to expand, to open, to be unbounded, unlimited in my expression, my attention, my life
  • Sacred Masculine quality that includes stillness, silence, vastness, unknownness

Passion:

  • life force energy that fuels, directs, and creates all life
  • a combination of the belly’s instinctual energy and the heart’s calling—heart-force
  • desire, “want life,” pleasure, heart-force, flame
  • leads/draws/invites us toward our dreams, towards what will fulfill and satisfy us deeply
  • Sacred Feminine energy of life surging/emerging/dancing into existence

Spacious Passion: putting the two together is where the magic resides! in 2014, this is about following my passion for health and wellbeing, for food and cooking, for embodiment and women’s work, for learning to deeply love  my life, myself, my man, my friends, this world… and at the same time allowing each of these passions to unfold in their own way, staying open to the experience, not rushing or forcing or pushing to get anywhere i think i should be. the spaciousness and the passion support each other in an ever- balancing, sacred union.

The Collage. holding the phrase Spacious Passion in my bodysoul, i chose images that attracted me, and then laid them out to find deeper meaning. the colorful pictures all represent forms of passion necessary in my life—from passion for my spiritual practice in the Tibetan Goddess Tara, in the person with prayer hands, and in the robed Buddhist monk Pema Chodron, to the passion of the uninhibited, delighted and innocent Magickal Child, to the passion of owning and shaking my sexy booty, to the passion of loving and reaching for my dreams, to the passion of living my life with no time to lose…and there is open space holding the pictures—open vistas, black space—each picture has some contact with an unknown support and holding, with the void out of which all form arises—spaciousness. there is a great freedom to BE—no restraints, no constraints…the mystery of manifestation in so many forms, no one right form—child, sexy woman, prayer, practice, goddess, love…all necessary, all good, all unfolding…

another theme arose: there are many hands—hands, the extension of the heart, that can physically manifest passion in the world. Tara’s hands offering protection and receptivity, the woman reaching for her desires, the sexy woman flinging her hands out in devotion to the expression of her life- and heart-force, the Magickal Child holding lightly to her pinwheel of delight, Pema’s hand holding her robes, symbol of her devotion to awakening in her body, praying hands, acknowledging the True Nature in us all.

*Oneish refers to type One on the Enneagram, a psycho-spiritual map of the soul.

how does Spacious Passion express in your life? do you make room for it? how do you recognize it?

life practices: summer solstice

My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

spirit house of lightSummer Solstice reminds us to “celebrate and relish all of life’s pleasures by drinking them into every cell of our bodies.” (From Sara Avant Stover, The Way of the Happy Woman, p.135.) The daylight hours have been growing since Winter Solstice, each day becoming slightly longer until now, when seen from the North or South Poles, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and appears to stand still (Latin “sol” or sun and “sistere” or to stand still). In 2013, the Summer Solstice occurs at 12:04 am CT on June 21st.

Especially with such a late Spring this year in Minnesota, the full return of Summer is a time for great celebration! We find ourselves invited out into the abundant, fertile, hot, and colorful magic of nature’s glorious embrace. Our senses on high, we can deeply nourish our cells, severely depleted from a long Winter and late Spring. We breathe in the many scents—of blooming flowers, rich earth, and barbecuing food. We taste the succulent, fresh fruits and vegetables, and cool, refreshing drinks of the season. We see the abundant forms of beauty all around us—in nature and in each other’s radiance. We hear the sounds of flourishing human and animal life. And we touch and are touched by the earth under our bare feet and hands, by the soft, warm air on our skin, and by our friends and lovers….Everything is blossoming into ripeness, coming into its fullest expression.

The challenge of Summertime is to really experience this magical plenitude, and not get caught up always chasing after more of this yummyness, thus missing out on the beauty and bounty that is right here. The last few lines of Mary Oliver’s poem When I Am Among the Trees remind us to land: “Around me the trees stir in their leaves / and call out, ‘Stay awhile.’ / The light flows from their branches. / And they call again, ‘It’s simple,’ they say, / ‘and you too have come into the world to do this, / to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.’”

Can we really take in Summer’s abundance, savoring each taste with all five senses, so that we fill up and revitalize our bodies and souls? Even in the midst of full celebration, can we truly receive and relish in Summer’s magic, passion, and glorious light? Perhaps then we, like the trees in Oliver’s poem can “go easy,” “be filled with light,” and shine.

You may want to write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends that could include the following:
•    Sitting on the earth if possible, light a candle, red or orange in color.
•    Take a few deep breaths to land yourself in your body right here. Sense the earth beneath you, feel the air and warmth on your skin, take in the smells, sounds, and sights around you.
•    When you feel landed, look around you and find one thing that captivates your attention, in which you find beauty. Breathe this into your body, heart, and mind. Allow the beauty to touch you, to fill you, to affect you in whatever way.
•    Continue to breathe it in, savoring its essence, dropping any thoughts that arise, and allowing yourself to be filled with its light and to shine as long as you like.
•    When you feel complete, say thank you and blow out the candle.

Remember that as this day comes to an end, the days will very slowly become shorter, until at Autumn Equinox, the day and night will be balanced, and by Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Savor and revel in the juicy passion of this Summer season! And local Minnesotans, please join us in a Summer Solstice Celebration at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul on June 21st at 7:00 pm. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

primordial beingCollage as a Practice. My collaging seems to have slowed down recently as I pour more creative energy into other projects, especially the garden, which is also a sort of collage, I guess! Primordial Being explores the Source—the life-force energy, the wisdom, the mystery, the beingness that informs and moves my life. Its depth, dark unknownness, and instinctual movement is something I often avoid, and yet, it is this very life force that channels through me and out into the the world.

I felt this collage wanting to take form and looked for quite a long time to find the image that might be able to express the vast, primordial beingness that I was sensing within, not knowing how it would take shape. That’s actually one of the things I love about collaging—entering into the unknown of what will come together to embody a deep yearning for expression an exploration…

How do you approach the unknown? Do you have practices that help you touch and explore it?

instinctual body2.1Celebrating & Savoring Pleasure: A Half-Day, Summer Women’s RetreatAlign yourself with the seasons, a Feminine form of spiritual practice. Summertime invites us to rejoice in our love of life in all its forms. Retreat-time helps us to slow down so that we can really savor and celebrate the pleasures of the season, thus connecting with our natural joy and gratitude. Listening to the wisdom of all three Centers—body, heart, and mind—we will engage in practices such as ritual, reflection, movement, laughter, and inquiry. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

Sunday, August 18th from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. For more information, see our calendar.

What do you do to help you slow down and savor your life? How do you build it into your life?

katy laughingLaughter as a Happiness Practice! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects.

I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and I lead the Summit Hill Laughter Club, which meets two Wednesdays/month, June-September 2013 at St. Paul Yoga Center: 6/19, 7/3, 7/17, 8/7, 8/21, 9/4, 9/18 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required, donations for use of the space accepted. Please contact me if you have any questions—I would love to laugh with you!

How do you consciously bring more happiness and joy into your life?

Rev Katy Blowing BubblesReverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! This picture and the above laughing picture are from a wedding I performed, and I facilitate the Seasonal Celebrations like Summer Solstice at Unity Unitarian Church.

On July 28th at 10:00 am I’ll be serving as Worship Leader for Unity Unitarian Church, offering a service entitled What’s Up With the Goddess? How does the resurgence of teachings focused on the Goddess have relevance for us today? As Sobonfu Somé clarifies, these are not “new age” teachings, but “ancient age” teachings. We will explore how the qualities and manifestations of the Goddess are necessary for living a balanced and whole life today.

Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life—Weddings, Baby Blessings, Seasonal and Transitional Rituals, Memorial Services… You can read more about my practice of ministry.

Have you attended any celebrations or ceremonies recently? What about the ceremony touched you and invited you into a deeper place of contact with the sacred?

And you — what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down —
papers, plans, appointments, everything —
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
—excerpt from Lynn Ungar’s Camas Lilies

Joyful and Blooming Summer Blessings, Katy Taylor, Wholeness Mentor

Nourishing Wholeness
nourishing wholeness