Aging & Death

The rains finally came today.  A solid 20 minutes of genuine downpour…a “get naked and dance in the rain” downpour.

I am so grateful to the Elementals.  They settled their differences today and found balance.  And so, too, may I find balance.

I’m 68.  I have been moving consciously through layers of armor and patterns of conditioned-response to stress for decades.  But at this moment, what seems significant, is the last decade.

I reverse my timeline and look backwards from July 12, 2018.  

I officially opened the Mountain Valley Retreat in 2014.

Sidebar:  “This is 2018, my fifth year in my new business.  I’m sorting out the bugs and it’s working.  My working edge is clarity about what I want.  I am a Renaissance Woman.  Staying focused on one project at a time isn’t as fun  (read challenging) as juggling several projects at once  Some interests are more lefty, artsy-fartsy and some more righty, rational-mathematical.  I seem to go for the balance.”

  In 2010 my marriage of thirty-seven years ended in divorce.

 

Sidebar:  “We hooked up for the first time in 1968.  I was an 18-year-old freshman at DU and Jim was a 20-year-old junior on a 4-year NCAA basketball scholarship majoring in Economics.  When Jim graduated he moved to Chicago to play at being a banker in the big leagues… riding on the lapping tongues of the jock-sniffing Execs at the First National Bank of Chicago in the loop.  His entry-level position was as a Jr. Trust Officer.  Jim did the leg-work for his boss, Manny, from Kenilworth, Sr. Trust Officer. I transferred to NIU and majored in Education and Psychology.  We got married in 1973.”

In 2007 I left Jim and the farm we had lived on since 1975, 32 years.  I maintained my business, Be Well Now, in Godfrey/Alton.  I moved into a tiny log cabin 10 miles from my farm isolated in an oak forest on a little lake owned by a young couple going through a divorce.  My landlady, Kristy, was getting the house with 100 acres and rented the cabin to me and my cat, Lemur,  for two years.

The story of the preceding fifty-seven years is a blog (read book) for another day.

So, this somehow brings me to my topic, Death & Aging…or Aging & Death.

What, you are asking, is the connection between Aging & Death and the past decade of my life?  I’m aging and so is everyone around me and we all die.  The longer I live, the more Aging and Death become a “thing” for me.  As friends and family die, I’m left wondering the great unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

Within my ‘wonderings’ I came upon a thought.  As I age, time appears to be collapsing in on itself.  The clock may say it is six hours later than what feels like a moment ago.  It appears that my mind is staying more and more present.  Without thoughts about the past or the future time is losing its relativity.  Without anything to relate to,  there are no relatives for time?   Without relativity, there is no time!  Only now.

What does this have to do with Aging and Death?  Everything!

Aging depends upon the passage of time.  No time…no aging.

Death is the absence of time…it is timeless.  Therefore, if I am in a timeless space, I am already dead, by definition.  If I am dead, what separates me from life? Just the appearance of this body.

Savasana,  The little death, the chance to die before you die.  This is what my yoga is all for.  For 50 years I’ve known of yoga, practiced yoga, studied yoga, taught yoga…and now?  Perhaps, I am yoga.

Aging and Death?  Nothing but concepts of the mind.  Paper Tigers.  Bring it on!

Agelessness and Life Eternal.  Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Mountain Valley Retreat…Launching!

Here I go, ready or not! Launching the new website for Mountain Valley
Retreat! Let me know what works for you and what does not…I will greatly appreciate all feedback.

A Letter to my Soul Mates

etheric meditationI wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!

 

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]

Into the Stillness

voidMy yoga class began with meditation. As we sat, I spoke words to facilitate awareness of  body sensations. Leading the class with an invitation to simply notice what they felt, I had the sensory experience of my sitting bones resting on the meditation cushion, by feet and legs against the floor. I felt my spine lifting out of my pelvis and felt the relaxation of my shoulders down my back. I dropped my awareness into my chest and noticed my breath. Feeling the rise and fall of my chest and the expansion and contraction of my belly and back, my breath deepened. I felt my throat soften and widen.
As I stayed present to my breath, I began to notice my exhalation getting longer and as I reached the end of the exhale, I saw the portal. There, at the end of my breath, was a small sphere of light. I “stepped” into it and my breathing stopped. For an endless moment, I was in absolute stillness, a void that I have no other words to describe. The feeling was weightlessness, my body suspended in the experience. I heard my inhale as breath flowed effortlessly into my lungs for what seemed like many moments. I followed the breath in and at the end was the portal, and again I “stepped” into it, and as my breathing stopped I was back in the stillness.
It came to my mind that the stillness and the void are one and the same. The stillness contains the breath and I can remain in the stillness even though my breathing resumes. The point between the end of an exhale and the beginning of the next inhale is the portal into the void. Being in stillness is the experience of noticing the container instead of the contents.
The thought that appeared next was like an instruction to “practice staying in the stillness even though you continue to breathe.” So I did.
What followed was a series of instructions: “Once you are able to stay in the stillness even though you are breathing, practice staying in the stillness when you move.” I moved from the cushion, sliding to my back and drawing my knees into my chest all the while remaining in the experience of the void.
“Practice staying in the stillness when you open your eyes and allow the sensory experience of seeing the external world.” So I did… and the room was before me and I was still in the void. For two hours time disappeared and I taught the class effortlessly remaining conscious of being in the stillness.
“Practice being in the stillness, regardless of external circumstances and conditions.” I am here, writing these words, and the stillness is here.
The stillness is always here. It holds all the sensory experiences of my body within it…all that I see, hear, smell, taste and touch is within It. All of my thoughts are within It.
Although I am functioning in a normal way, my experience feels very soft and gentle. My body is relaxed and comfortable. My thoughts are succinct. In between each thought, my mind notices nothing but the stillness. I am experiencing the container, which is holding the contents.
In this moment, my life is a walking meditation. I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for this life I have been given.
Namaste’

Where is your Wild Feminine?

wild woman dancingA friend asked of the quote in my email signature, “What does “Wild Feminine” mean?”
Christiane Northrup, M.D. was one of my early teachers. I first heard the phrase “wild feminine” at a workshop I attended in Kansas City in 1995. At that workshop, I heard Christiane say, “Wild Feminine is the medicine we all need to bodily reclaim the power and pleasure that is our birthright.”
Last year I took a yoga teacher training workshop with Leslie Howard in New York City. Leslie teaches yoga for the pelvic floor. In her recommended reading list is the book Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body by Tami Lynn Kent. When the book arrived, I was surprised and delighted to find Christiane’s quote across the top of the front cover! Tami refers to her book as “a guide for women to access the power, spirit & joy of their inherent creative energy.”
In my work as a cranial-sacral therapist and yoga / meditation teacher, I have used the term “inner landscape” to describe the experience of turning sensory awareness inward. As external stimulation releases, internal awareness increases and one encounters a sensory experience of the “inner landscape” of their body.
Tami speaks of the “wild feminine landscape” as women’s internal creative range.
The world is shifting and it seems to some of us as if the “feminine” is rising. What does this mean? The world has long been out of balance with regard to the “masculine/feminine energies” and in our planetary evolution, the human race is moving towards balance. These energy patterns are discussed in the medical texts of China, Tibet and India. The ancient Chinese called the point of balance we inherently seek, “the Tao.” The Tibetans called it the “Rigpa.” In modern medicine the term is” homeostasis”, a state of equilibrium or a tendency to reach equilibrium, either metabolically within a cell or organism or socially and psychologically within an individual or group.

Deutsch: Yin Yang
Consider the qualities of feminine energy. These energies, called “yin” in Chinese, are “relatively” dark, cold, passive, inside, downward, substance, water, matter, mysterious, moon, night, earth, and even. In contrast are the masculine or “yang” energies. They are “relatively” light, hot, active, outside, upward, function, fire, energy, obvious, sun, heaven, and odd. Notice that yin describes things that are relatively denser, heavier, lower, more hidden, more yielding, and more feminine. The opposite conditions are yang: things that are less dense, lighter, higher, more obvious, more masculine, and more dynamic. These energies are relative, not absolute. To grasp this relativity, compare one to the other. For example, in the context of temperature, we say cool is yin and warm is yang, but an 80-degree day is yin relative to a 100-degree day!
Yin contains yang, yin becomes yang, and yin controls yang. If we stay too long in an unbalanced situation, the universe acts to restore balance. It throws us to the other side. Some of us are actively working to bring about restoration of balance without having to go through the suffering that dramatic upheaval causes.
In support of this cause, I teach Yin and Pelvic Floor Yoga at my studio and mindfulness meditation practice. In a few weeks, I will be teaching my yoga practice and supporting the women who gather at Esalen Institute for healing the “wild feminine” at Healing the Pelvic Floor: Reclaiming Your Power, Sexuality and Pleasure Potential.
I believe men need healing of their “wild feminine” as well as women. Remember, yin contains yang. As we restore a sense of the sacred within our bodies, the “wild feminine” within us all will be recognized as the Divine Feminine, source of all creation.  As we individually find balance within, the human race will collectively experience equanimity.Wild Woman CreedWild child