Nowhere To Go
Mothers and Daughters

Within each of us are all the women who came before us; their struggles, their successes, their joys and their tragedies. The stories of our mothers, her mother, and all the women who came before her build the foundation for our stories. Their beliefs become our biology. Our roots lie in the soil of their lives. We drink their water to survive. Our struggles, successes, joys and tragedies sit on top of theirs. They birthed our reality. They manifested us into being. Within us, sometimes too deep to notice at first, are the unspoken dreams of our mothers. This becomes part of our heritage. We learn our relationship to our inner goddess by the relationship our mother has with her femininity. By the way she honours her body, her motherhood, by the possibilities she sees for herself. The ropes that bound their hands bind ours as well until we learn to untie them. Until we learn to let them go.    

When we heal ourselves, we heal our mother, her mother, all the mothers that came before them. When we heal ourselves we heal the daughters of our futures. We heal a part of the Divine Mother, the Earth Herself. When we heal ourselves we set the world free. 

Life is really just lesson after lesson in letting go
All around me are the secrets that I’ve swallowed. The most obvious one being the extent of my own greatness.
Making Space

It sounds so lovely. So spacious, free, accepting. Easful.

I came into class this morning feeling open and glad to be awake. Finally free of my cold that seemed to linger longer than I would have liked. Feeling lighter. Ready to move. Desperate to move actually. I had a busy day ahead of me, but I was relaxed about it. Feeling settled. Ready to dedicate a day to helping others. Ready to be inspired by others’ bravery. Ready to humbly practice my gifts in service of others.

The theme today in class was spaciousness, or making space. Focus was on shoulders. I’m always tight in my shoulders and always appreciate the extra love here. My beautiful teacher took a different approach today. We looked at making space from the inside out. It’s something I’ve been working on lately. In opening meditation we were asked to take up more space with each breath. Breathe into our hands on our chest and hold ourselves with worthiness.

Take up more space.

I’ve been toying with why this is so hard lately. There’s the part of me that feels worthy. Worthy of inhaling new life, new space, love and acceptance into my being. Worthy of inviting it all in and experiencing all this beautiful life has to offer. But, in honesty, there’s also the part of me that has spent its entire existing trying to take up less space. Physically and metaphorically.

Today in a gentle, but strong warrior two I began to feel nauseas. I could feel the unworthy part of me creeping up. A sense of “I can’t do this.” How can I take up more space when I feel so unworthy of doing so? When I dedicated years of my life to being smaller? There was a moment of panic when this was so clearly articulated for me. A panicked moment of needing that part of me; the unworthy, eating disordered, twisted, small part of me gone.

I should be over this. I’m not sick anymore. What is she doing here? I dealt with her already. This is my time for self-care. My time to restore. Move. Breathe. Be. I was feeling good this morning. Open. Not dizzy, nauseous and unworthy.

So much resistance to the resistance. The longest drawn out moment of panic and anger and disgust. I don’t want to be here again. 

So many options in this moment. My initial reaction is to tough it out. Suck it up. It doesn’t matter that you’re dizzy. Keep on standing. Show that unworthy part of you who’s boss. But that’s the unworthy part of me speaking. Beating up on itself. “Tough it out” doesn’t sound very spacious to me. It sounds contracted. Unkind. Not compassionate. Not loving. Instead of following my initial reaction, I followed my gut reaction. Instead I took a child’s pose. Surrendered to the moment.

Stop fighting!

Part of me knew child’s pose was exactly where I was supposed to be. Restore. Breathe. Integrate. It’s all okay. That strength telling the rest of me it’s going to be okay. But that other voice was still screaming. “Everyone else is still working and I’m sitting here in child’s pose.” Jen put her hands on me and all the parts of me settled. That small, unhappy voice softened. “okay, if she thinks its okay then I’m okay.” Instead of reassuring her, the rest of me gets frustrated with even this thought, “of course it’s okay. I don’t need somebody else to tell me that.” Even child’s pose was full of conflict. So much resistance to the resistance. And who the fuck gave her the right to show up with such a clear voice today?

If even child’s pose doesn’t feel good, then I should stay here a little longer.

Tears in my eyes as I gave into the resistance. Gave into the unworthiness. I will never be over this.

But, never being over this isn’t a bad thing. I can’t get rid of that part of me. I can only redefine my relationship with her. Communicate more openly. Breathe with her. Invite her in too. Upon reflection, I wouldn’t have had this experience if I hadn’t felt more open today. I wouldn’t have heard that doubt so clearly if I hadn’t felt better and more alive this morning. I’ve been suffocating my unworthiness for a while now. Not so willing to hear from all sides. Just trying to hold my shit together which means no room for the unwanted.

Sometimes more space doesn’t initially feel good. Today it felt like shit. Today it felt like nauseous, unworthy, not good enoughness. But, I made space for that hurt, confused part of me too. She’s worthy too and I know from the past that when I fight with her, tell her to get lost and shove her further down she only hurts more.  In a war with yourself only you lose. Nobody wins.

So, as much as I resisted, I let her into my practice today too. That small part of me that feels so desperately unworthy of love, of space and of myself.  There’s room for all of it. This is showing up. This is making space. It doesn’t have to feel beautiful. It’s messy and complicated and full of conflict. And, with patience, there’s room for all of that too. The trick is not to pick sides. To honour it all.

Life isn’t about getting better. Old wounds will always hurt when we scratch at them. It doesn’t mean we haven’t done our work. It just means that we get to relearn things over and over, on deeper and deeper levels. We get to create more and more space each time we face our old demons. And, maybe the demons aren’t so scary. Perhaps they are just as much in need of love as the rest of you? Perhaps more so?

I came to work after class this morning and did restorative yoga for 30minutes. Making space for myself in my office which is dedicated to making space for others. I am so grateful for such a challenging and confusing opportunity for growth.

With love and reverence I bow to all the parts of me.

Namaste.  

On this path no effort is wasted. No gain is ever reversed.
Bhagavad Gita
It seems to me lately that in sadhana, waiting is sometimes all we can do. I’ve found myself recently in a phase of sadhana in which there has been little inspiration, much resistance and struggle, and the sickening feeling of sliding backwards along a slick, muddy downward slope. The struggle itself — against resistance, doubt, fear, and most of all, cynicism and rebellion — was at some point clearly the main problem.. It came to me to relax into the resistance, the cynicism, the dullness. Surrender to whatever is arising, quit struggling and trying to control the emotional states, and wait. Wait because all things pass, because life is transient and impermanent. Wait for the ongoing flow of Life to bring whatever is next, wait for inspiration, wait for the Beloved’s shining radiance to appear again.
Hohm Sahaj Mandir
Suddenly embraced by all my insecurities
Basking in their clarity
They no longer hold me prisoner but instead show me the door has always been unlocked
Set free by the very obstacles that held me back
That I thought held me back
Past fears swallow me, but I am fearless
These parts of me, all parts of me are now empowered by darkness

200 poses in 4hours today. It was quite the challenge, and one that I was admittedly dreading prior to starting. I’ve been exhausted. I feel out of shape. I’ve been telling myself leading up to this that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I’ve been treating my body like shit lately. My self-talk has been not very positive. I’ve felt weak and ineffective and, I hate to say it, but fat. For somebody who identifies as a person who overcame an eating disorder, it feels frustrating to be back to fat again. It correlates with the fact that I’m emotionally exhausted lately. Stretched too thin. As my energetic boundaries get blurry, it gets harder and harder to be nice to myself.  But, 5 minutes into the standing poses in the syllabus today and I was feeling strong. I was going to rock the next four hours and I did.

4 hours shifted everything. Standing pose after standing pose feeling strong, capable, grounded. 

Forward fold after forward fold connecting with myself, turning in, an appropriate action today of all days; winter solstice. Embracing darkness. My Self. My journey home.

Arm balance after arm balance; my arms holding everything up, flying, feeling weightless only a few hours after feeling huge. I did things today that I didn’t know I could do. I could do them because I told myself I could. I allowed my body to go further. I let go of the stories I usually tell myself about eka pada koudinyasna, and more importantly what I thought I could and could not do.I flew.

Back bend after back bend feeling energized, rejuvenated and unstoppable. Heart opening. Soaring. Cracked open instead of closed shut, like I’ve felt for months. No need to hide behind any walls.

Supta virasana. Legs rooted in the earth, heart open to the sky. Supported by the floor, but also by my own steadfast courage to be myself. Vulnerable. Comfortably vulnerable.

Ending on the floor. Letting go. Being supported. Letting myself be supported. Integrating these beautiful lessons. Believing in my Self. My abilities. Releasing myself from the stories I’ve been telling for the past few months. Opening to new possibility.

Just breathe.

I have so much gratitude for today`s journey. So much gratitude for my body. Gratitude for the ability to re-write my story. Gratitude for just Being.

Happy solstice. May we all take the opportunity to turn in tonight. Embrace our darkness. Embrace the possibility that resides deep within us. Open to grace. Open to the moment. It is in our darkness that we can truly find ourselves. No fear. Just the freedom to be. No masks. No walls. Just me.

Kali

Far from the flaccid suggestion that when something is not working we must ‘let it go,’ Kali is the ruthless power behind ‘negative’ emotions which clears the way for new life. She is the boundary that Anger wants. She is the pounding of Grief’s river, rushing us to new lands. She is the freedom that Anxiety shakes for. She is the siren of change that Boredom signals. She is the bliss that Fear promises.

Rememberance

I put on my grandpa’s shirt today and felt so surrounded by him and his love. I was reminded of his steadfast, consistent presence and immediately had such a strong urge to call my grandmother and tell her how much I loved him and missed him. She passed away in August and I still have these moments when I forget and want to call. They’re sad moments, but beautiful moments. They’re a chance to remember, to sit with her memory, to Be in that love and presence again. I was so lucky to know my grandparents as well as I did. Putting on his shirt is like being on the inside of one of his hugs again.

To love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee.
Brene Brown

The universe gives you the clients you need exactly when you need them….


More and more I realize that my practice is this living, breathing entity that changes with me, grows with me, adapts and transforms.

This week I’ve heard myself say to clients over and over again that maybe our defenses aren’t the end of the world. Maybe it’s okay that we avoid pain, try to numb ourselves, protect our hears. Yes! Changing our defenses, opening to life, love, pain and joy is this beautiful intention that I love holding space for and facilitating. But, we cannot truly open by judging the contraction that came first. We cannot be open all of the time. Life comes in phases. It’s as natural as a flower starting out as a bud, tight and contracted, protecting the nectar inside while it prepares to blossom.


All summer I’ve been contracted. I’ve been avoiding feeling and I’ve been furious with myself for being so closed off. I’ve felt ashamed that I can’t seem to let myself feel my pain. I’ve been disgusted with my defenses. Then I feel ashamed that I’m so judgmental of it. Today I found some compassion for where I’m at. I realized that I need to listen to my own words of wisdom. That I too, am human. We can’t always be open, even though we’d like to, especially through a beautiful summer.


I have been numbing. I have been contracted, detached. I’m ready to feel more integrated, more alive, more inside my own body. I’m ready to listen to what my body has been saying to me all along. But, I know I can’t bully myself into making those changes. That’s never worked for me. In fact, I’ve never seen it work for anyone. Right now I’m starving spiritually. Hungry for self-reflection. Hungry for self-compassion and love. Starving for a more integrated experience of my life.


I’ve been blessed to have been working with some remarkable people at work lately. I have clients who have been willing to make themselves so vulnerable in my presence. I’ve also been working hard to hold that safe space. I had an angry teenager weep in my office this week about his father. It felt raw, palpable. That vulnerability that makes you want to throw up. We just sat there, together in silence while he cried. I had such a strong response because it reminded me of my own vulnerable shell. Fragile and brittle after a summer of hiding it away and pretending it doesn’t exist. Breathing into it softens it, lets it breathe again. Speaking it makes it more supple, flexible. Finding compassion for it allows it to be itself. Everything’s okay.

All of a sudden everything is okay. Energy flowing. Moving freely. I feel like I’m speaking my truth again instead of holding it back and pretending it doesn’t exist.

My grandma passed away last month. It was like the universe daring me to wake up and feel, something. I spend some time ignoring the pain, being the functional daughter, helping everyone else, clearing stuff out of her closets. Today it’s like every cell of my body feels the loss, but also her presence all at once. She was this beautiful maternal presence in my life. Taking care of everyone. Caring, nurturing. I have this capacity too. To take care. Not just of others, but of myself. It was her birthday this week.

Work is love made visible.
Kahlil Gibran
Coming Home

There are so many paths home, so many ways to come back to ourselves. Life is about remembering, finding new ways, coming back again and again as we lose our way.

Yoga is one of those paths for me. I get on my mat and I know. It’s a gentle mirror. A reminder of who I am. Sometimes this is warm, welcoming, loving. Other times it feels dark, sad, scary. But it always feels honest. It always feels. I know when there’s hesitancy to get on my mat that really there’s hesitance to feel.


This week has been a beautifully difficult welcome back to the mat. While it feels delightful to move again, I can feel the places that I’m stuck. Leading from the heart felt raw, painful, nauseating. But, at the same time there’s an intense desire in me to Be with all the pain. Feel it, digest it, chew on it. Raw felt necessary. Felt human. Felt real. 

I have nothing but thanks for my beautiful, vulnerable, wise teacher who seemed to know exactly what I needed this morning, and every morning really. I spend my days holding space for the emotions of others, the pain of others, the joy of others and I am forever grateful for the special people in my life who are willing to do the same for me. Thank you not only holding the space, but for the steadfast support in helping me to remember that it’s always a good idea to come home again, even when it hurts. 

In Memory

My grandma was one of the most strong, gentle, kind people that I have ever known and losing her has been really tough. She was one of those people who was easy to love. Her actions reflected her values, and that is a rare gift. Her personality had spunk and she was instantly approachable to all. She was a true servant, always thinking of others, helping others. She put a little piece of herself into everything that she worked on. She had a way of making everyone she touched feel like the most special person. She was the definition of selfless. The most amazing thing to me was her ability to give herself to others, yet always stay so grounded in herself. She never lost her sense of self, which is hard to do when you’re constantly taking care of others. She had such strength, courage and integrity. 


My grandma walked through life with both her strength and her tenderness, not an easy thing to do. She was full of fire and this fire was fueled by my grandfather, so grounded in the element of earth. They were a perfect match. My grandpa had some fire in him as well. Together they built a big family, and they were so proud of them all. My grandma cared for her children, spoiled her grandchildren and poured her soul into marriage. For a decade she cared for my grandpa throughout his illness. She put one foot in front of the next over and over, trusting she could handle what was thrown her way. She trusted that their love and devotion would see them through the difficulty. She was encouraging, generous, she fostered his independence when it was the most difficult. Despite frustrations, she never doubted, never complained, never lot hope. She brought her determination and her tender heart to the task. I know how grateful he was. I know how honoured she was to be his wife. She was, by definition, his hero, but I know she would say he was hers.


My grandparents walked through their struggles holding hands, an inspirational couple. When my grandpa passed away I was in awe of my grandma’s strength and courage. They had lived an entire life together. She moved forward with the memory of him living strong in her. With grace. With dignity. But, with a heavy heart. She had nothing but gratitude for a life lived with him at her side. But his death was her ultimate sacrifice. My grandma may have officially died of congestive heart failure, but really she died of a broken heart.

So, now it`s my job to move forward with the memories. It`s my job to live the lessons she taught me. It`s my job to come home to myself and live my values the way she lived hers. I have felt so loved, so held, so brought to life by her. I am forever honoured and grateful to have had her in my life. I will miss her, but hold her dear to my heart.

Grandma, thank you for your sweet smile, your selfless service and your boundless love. I am comforted that you and grandpa are separated no longer. Love forever…