I Forgot Who I Was…

I forgot who I was!

This morning, in Yoga,  I remembered…

At least, a part of myself.

 

I remembered I am strong.

I remembered I am kind.

I remembered I am human.

I remembered I am Divine.

 

The forgetting…

It happens when I get lethargic and sluggish

It happens when I stop turning inward

It happens when I pay more attention to what others think than what I know.

It happens when I stop my practice.

 

My practice is to stop hiding in my doing.

My practice is to listen to my body.

My practice is to honor what I hear.

My practice is to love myself enough to do my practice.

Celebration of Life 65

Sun Salute in Sedona
Mountain Valley Retreat has been welcoming guests for one year.                                             Only a few hours ago we all were here…
Sharing our words, our hugs, our laughter, our tears…
Friends coming together to Connect
For our Celebration of Life 65.

My local tribe from Borrego Springs, Manzanita Village, Ramona, Sunshine Summit, Warner Springs, Lake Henshaw, Ranchita and Haiku, our Resident thru-hiker from the PCT
Came together like a giant constellation of stars
Inter-connecting with my Kindred Spirits from far away as if
We have always known each other.

HoJo and Richard created a Sound-scape of Magical Music
While we ate… oh, the Food!
And drank…oh, the Champagne!
While we laughed and talked and hugged and danced.

Chris & Cristina serenaded us with poignant songs of life.
The Grandmother Drum called to us to let our
Wild Souls Out
And we drummed and danced until at last
We fell gently into a puppy pile
Resting our bodies against each other
Feeling the strength of our connection
The power of our love.

And I am only 65 today.
I have 35 more years to live and play
In this beautiful body,
On this beautiful earth,
With these beautiful people.

Aho.

Lessons From a Leaf

falling leaf

I am getting ready to launch the website for Mountain Valley Retreat. Building the retreat has been a significant endeavor for the past year and for the last few weeks I have been creating the website with the help of my friend, Brad Lucas. Every day this week I have lost myself in writing the text and finding the pictures to try to convey the heart and soul of the retreat we are building.  I sit at my laptop when the sun comes up and close the lid after dark.

Today, I received an email from my dear friend Pat Tuholske. I read her beautiful words that speak so poignantly of trust and change and tears well in my eyes.                                    “If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?”                                          I feel myself longing for something unnamed.

Lessons From a Leaf
Watching fluttering leaves fall fills me with a contradiction of feelings. I get the slight sadness that summer is over yet the thrill of witnessing the wonder of the alchemy occurring within the leaf. Observing the transmuting cycle of spring’s leaf buds bursting with new life, summer’s fullness converting sun into food, autumn’s grace of falling colors, winter’s patience trusting the cycle.

Have you ever seen a single leaf twirling from the tip of a limb when no other leaves are moving and there is barely a breeze? When I see that leaf I feel the tree speaking to me in a language long forgotten by humans. This tree language shouts in falling curtains of color: let go, trust, fall, don’t fear, change.

Connected to the tree for the entire growing season, the leaf possesses the wisdom of release. Falling to earth, caressed by the wind, it is able to express its own inner timing. Performing its final dance with the air, the leaf gives itself to the soil.

If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?

When I feel stuck on something, I follow the teachings of the falling leaf. If I feel an issue tugging at me, I go watch the falling leaves. It helps me to let go of the struggle and understand falling is not a failure but a surrender to the cycle of change.
Pat Tuholske
This entry was posted in Ozark Flora and Fauna, The Human-Nature Journey on October 14, 2013.
http://pattuholske.com/uncategorized/lessons-from-a-leaf/

Today is Today…

My friend and mentor Fritz Smith taught me to wake up and say, “Today is today and I’m glad its today.” It has been a challenge lately to feel upbeat about my day. I believe I have once again reached overwhelm and I’m not sure how to fix it…
Actually, I do know, and I am finding it difficult to let go of the list of things to do in my outer life and turn towards my inner life, where a sense of peace and joy lie waiting.
This feeling of urgency is familiar. It has taken me by the throat before and squeezed the juicy joy out of my days. So today I am taking the time to write, one of the things that brings me down and in. I am taking the time to read the inspiring words of Brene’ Brown. I share them with you here…
“I will carry courage, compassion and connection in my heart while on this journey. Even when the road is bumpy. Even when I’m so busy that I feel behind. Even though there is really no ‘getting behind.” And, especially when I start to compare and judge myself. Courage, compassion and connection will be my constant companions.” Brene’ Brown

I believe that vulnerability is a key to whole-hearted living. I must become more comfortable with who I am. I have set the intention to be transparent, wild, undomesticated and authentically me. And yet, as I peel away the layers of conditioned beliefs, as I reveal myself, I find I am meeting myself with judgment, criticism and feelings of unworthiness.

So I review these words from Brene’ about intention:
“For me, setting intentions is a power move. It is how I bring clarity, meaning and purpose to my day. Setting intentions helps you get clear on why you are doing something (clarity), why it is important to you (meaning) and how it moves you closer to your values (purpose.) “ Brene’ Brown

As I listen to myself read her words aloud, I reassess my purpose, my “north star,” and my values. I find my purpose in connection. I seek to experience the energy that exists when being seen, heard and valued is shared between people. I seek to live in a world without judgment, giving and receiving support and sustenance in my relationships.

So today I set my intention, seeking clarity of purpose and what is important to me. It is my intention to live wholeheartedly, cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up each morning and say, “Today is today and I’m glad its today. No matter what gets done or is left undone, I am enough!”

When my head rests on the pillow at night, I  say, “With all my fears, imperfections and vulnerabilities, I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

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Painting Immersion

I haven’t been writing…my creative outlet has taken another form for now…it would be sweet if I were doing both but painting tipi art has taken ahold of me and shows no signs of letting go.  Goddess bless the Muse.
I’m posting pics of the process…all I can say about it?  New openings.

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Early Morning Pages

Ganesha

It is early morning and I am here. I am committed to writing daily for ten weeks as part of Susanna Harwood Rubin’s writing circle, “Write Your Practice-2013.” This writing circle has the added element of Yoga. Susanna is a yoga teacher and student of Hindu Mythology, a subject of long-standing interest for me.
I feel empowered by choosing to write this morning. I realize how much I missed the discipline I kept sacred for six months from January through June of this year. I stopped the practice in July as I prepared to be away from home for five weeks. I am grateful to have found the inspiration to return to my writing practice. Thank you, Susanna!
The theme for week one is “Finding Your Voice” represented by the Hindu deity and mythological being, Ganesha. Easily recognized by his elephant head, I regard Ganesha, the patron of intellect and wisdom, during this writing session. It is a common Hindu practice to honor Ganesha, the Hindu god of beginnings, at the start of a ritual or ceremony.
Today is the start of such a ritual for me. I invoke Ganesha and welcome his support in this new writing endeavor.
Susanna offered some intriguing prompts for this week’s writing. As I read through them, two stand out. The first is to explore my story through the objects around me. “In what ways is my personal creation myth represented by the objects I choose to have near me? What do those objects have to tell about themselves and about me?”
The second concept that attracts me is, “Always be poised at a threshold and then move through it – embrace change.” I wonder about the thresholds I have crossed in my lifetime and how well I have embraced the changes that ensued.
My monitor sits on top of a wooden box that was a gift from my Japanese sister, Keiko. Kay is an artist who creates beautiful objects from glass, yarn, fabric, wood and metal. She built the box and painted it inside and out in a Scandinavian style of artistic design. She incorporated my name on the lid. I have had the box for over forty years and it has until recently held keepsakes and letters that touched my heart. When I remodeled my laundry room into an office, my monitor needed a platform to raise it and the box was perfect. I like that I look at it every day when before it was hidden in a cabinet. I feel my connection to Kay through it.

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As I consider it now and give it a “voice” this is what I hear:
“I am a loving expression of the Divine Feminine. Through me, Kay reveals her compassion. She demonstrates her intention to serve. I am showing you the intricate details of nature finely created by Kay’s pure focus and rapt attention. Feel into my field and experience her joyfulness as she participates in this beautiful creation.”
I feel deeply touched by my experience with this box that I have kept close for so many years. Kay was a heart opening influence in my life for the year she lived with my family. I was twelve years old and she was an eighteen-year-old American Field Service student from Yokohama, Japan. I absolutely adored her. She and I spent endless hours sewing doll clothes, making origami cranes, and playing cards.
I understand now why she spent more time with me than my sister, Sandy, who was eighteen. The more sheltered and innocent upbringing of Japanese youth was not equal to the American teen’s level of sophistication, even in 1962. Kay and I were more alike in our interests and emotional maturity even though we were six years apart…and we shared an interest in artistic endeavors. I loved to draw, paint and sew and she was my more-than willing teacher.
I look at this box she made for me and tears come to my eyes. I miss her. I am so grateful for the gift she was to me at that formative time in my life. She is a gem to be treasured. Ah, now I understand why I have kept this box near me all these years.IMG_4673[1]IMG_4678[1]

Connecting to My Wild

Today is Monday; the second of five weeks at Esalen has begun. Our Legacy month-long group meets tonight for Leadership and Presence. I am assisting Suzanne Scurlock-Durana with her goal of pointing a group of twenty Esalen Work Scholars in the direction of becoming better leaders through full body presence.
Last week Suzanne and I, with four other assistants, practiced a gentle midwifery as twenty-two courageous women faced their fears and practiced the art of self-love. They each brought forward their most wounded parts to be loved and held without expectation or judgment, releasing shame and guilt. The seven-day workshop is called Healing the Pelvic Floor, Reclaiming Your Power, Sexuality and Pleasure Potential.
This is my eighth year of sitting on this circle. Every year, by week’s end, I am celebrating the deep heart connections these women have formed with one another. Brilliant smiles and shining faces beam forth once the cloaks of fear and shame come off. My belief in the healing power of loving support is confirmed.
When I return to Esalen each year I meet many of the same people who either live here or return repeatedly as I do. My heart connection with these sweet souls deepens with each meeting and I feel blessed to have a global circle of friends. My daily experience of life is richer and deeper because I have the opportunity to view the world through the broad lens of different cultures, places and life experiences.
As I listen to the stories and share laughter at our commonality and differences, I feel that I am not alone. My story is theirs and their story is mine…we are all in the soup together. Life is short and it carries whatever meaning I give it. I can live in fear or I can live in love…genuinely expressing myself in each moment without filters or shame.
Animals are labeled as wild or domesticated. A wild animal lives according to its natural instincts. It accommodates only as needed for survival. It lives by a code of conduct that comes through its DNA, according to its species.
As I live out my sixth decade in this incarnation, I am moving away from domestication in the direction of wild. Conformity to social mores and need for approval have lost their hooks in me. I feel safe enough to be simply myself. I am attracted to other humans who have or are moving beyond the limitations of domestication to experience their wildness. I have a deep abiding belief in the goodness of humankind. I believe we are pack animals who thrive on deep, heart-based connection.
Conformity steals my joy and desiccates my creative flow. I have experienced the rush of creativity that is unleashed when I feel deeply connected to the seen and unseen support that is here for me. I know the joy I feel when I see the wild, uninhibited nature of another human being. I feel delight and freedom when I unleash my own wild woman.
I am filled with curiosity and a willingness to discover where this journey into my wild will take me.wild woman