You Are Not Your Shoes (2.14.17)
You are not your shoes. Your are not whether they were lent to you or if they are new, or borrowed or stolen. You are not how well they fit or whether or not they are in style. Look down at those shoes, shiny or dull. Your are not those shoes. You are not your hair. You are not whether it is clean or soiled, long or shaven. You are not whether it is itchy or silky or falling out. You are not its texture or color or whether you have had a real haircut in a long while. You are not your hair. You are not your nails, either. Painted or plain, in need of trimming. Lined with dirt, rounded and buffed, sharp. You are not your nails. You are not your clothing. You are not whether or not you have a place to wash what you wear. You are not the way your clothing fits or the shape of it or whether it has been worn by someone else before you. You are not the amount of money that was spent on your clothing, no matter how much. You are not your clothing any more than a pearl is the shell in which it dwells. You are not even, really, your body all together with its feet and hair and nails and clothing. Round, thin, worn out, confused, strong, addicted, sober. None of this is you. You. Oh, You. You are so much more than all of these layers. When these things—these seemingly important things—fall away from you—from us all—that, that is You. You are the still and the quiet that remains deep within the well of you. You are the prayer said in the night, whispered again at dawn’s light. You are the essence that came here first as a baby, fresh and new. That. That is still You. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been or whether or not you can remember. It is there. You are unlike any other and that is good. You matter. You matter to Us and You matter to the world. There is still good in this complicated place. There is good and it is alive and flowing as we all make our way through the interwoven nature of life’s unfolding. You are colorful and you are important to the web that connects us all. We need You. And it is ok if you need Us too.
#ShouldBeNike’sTagline #YouAreNotYourShoes #whoareyou #NoneOfThisIsYou #MeghanNathanson #LivingYoga #Meditation #Oneness
Let You Be Glad (3.25.16)
For you, let the roots in me grow deep and sturdy as a mint plant gone wild in my garden bed boldly. Let my love be relentless, taking root as immoveable, tangled stems of strength not to be untwined. Let my mind be sharp like rose thorns—peaked attention ready for the word of the divine, received without question—clear as the prick of brambles through soil stained gloves. Let my presence matter like the
Spring gusts of wind that come, “I’m here!” “I’m here!” Let you be glad I am here. Let forgiveness live in me abundantly—pardons no fewer than the one thousand acorns released from Oak tree’s embrace. Let me be serene and yielding as the tides, responding always to the seasons of you, harmonious in my letting in and letting out of the cosmic flow of you. And let me most warm you like the near Spring sun after a lengthy Winter sun’s distance and darkness have lingered.
“Orange—I’ve decided—is the color of the soothing of souls. It is the color of warmth and comfort, of holding and forgiving. It is the color of new-beginnings—like green can be. Orange was Adrian’s 3rd-year favorite color, behind red and “lellow.” It’s funny, I’ve never before been drawn to the color orange like I am in this season. Now, I take it in with my eyes—with my whole body—like an elixir, soaking it up in the setting sun, in the images I work with, in the ember glow of a wood stove fire on an icy cold day. Our walls are grey, but—orange—orange is present when we come back into our home in the afternoons. It’s in our play. I feel orange in the preparation of a hot meal and the endless coloring, puzzle making and reading of books. Orange is Adrian licking the peanut butter and jelly off of his bread as I look on. It’s Jonah telling me a very long story at bedtime in a whisper—his voice still high and lilted—giggling out into the night air. Orange is cradling my heart—making it hardy—as I sift through old ways winnowing out what is worth keeping and discovering what must go.”
New Year, New Breath (1.1.16)
“It doesn’t matter where you have been. It doesn’t matter where you are going. It doesn’t matter who you have been traveling with. Or whether you have been traveling alone. It doesn’t matter if you are well loved or love many. It doesn’t matter if you are bitter or afraid or longing. It doesn’t matter if you are falling apart or holding it all together. It doesn’t matter if you look beautiful or flawed or what size you are or whether or not your body has been working well. It doesn’t matter your age. There in your breath—this very first conscious breath of the New Year—is a revelation of peace and pace, rhythm, and the sumptuous nectar of living. It is both ancient and brand-new, mighty and gentle. There in your breath is your beloved. Follow it just as closely as you may. Notice its inception in your belly—wide and expansive. Notice how it propels upward, broadening your chest, your shoulders widening—neck lengthening, back opening. Notice the nourishment of your brain as you reach the very, very peak of your breath. Remaining there—ever so briefly—absorbing the cool cleansing of your mind, the vigorous unleashing of your heart. And just as you notice your lungs having reached their fill, allow for the exhale to flood forward, washing over you layer by layer by every-single-layer—shedding and releasing the brittle and the rigid, shedding and releasing the harsh and the cruel. Follow your breath—like an expanding and contracting wave—into the New Year, into the truth of you. Let your breath envelop you in every step—filling you up with its luscious bounty—and let it be your tender guide.”
“This day, this luscious, ordinary day stride—no leap, leap as fiercely as you may— through the dense cloaks of ancient distortions. Shed your crumbling veneers layer by layer by every-single-barren layer. And with each stratum dismantled, call out those gross untruths that you’ve been shouting at your poor, contemptible self. And in your exquisite undress—pink and salty, graced with dew—discover the delicate babe unguarded and safe within an enchanted land. Banished are the endless, bitter judgements, gone are the multitude of musts. Even your bones begin pulsing a testimony to the priceless singularity of your offerings. Here remains—the naturalness of an animal, the purity of a child, the wisdom of a tree, the significance of a beloved spec of sand. You. You are a sage. “
Morning Ritual (10.10.15)
“Arise early while darkness lingers. Shuffle about in preparation for the dawn. Strike a flame of reverence and then switch on your very own inner beacon—an heir to daylight’s quiet arrival. Sipping something warm, pour out your gratitudes, allowing your luminescence to swell in you, rising your thoughts upward for your day’s quest. Allow whispers forth and listen for the outward stretching of your soul’s expansion. I am here. I am here.”
A Deeper Practice (7.9.15)
Of the many paths that I have traveled in search of inner balance, it is through a regular, devoted yoga asana practice that I have discovered an enduring calm and a sense of inner-spaciousness that informs all of my life, most of the time. Having practiced for nearly 20 years now, I have recently been contemplating what it is that has enabled me to deepen my practice over the years. I have come up with these 10 Suggestions for Elevating Your Yoga Asana Practice:
1. Breath Above All—Allowing your breath to be your most important guide as you go about your practice may open up a whole new world to you both on and off of your mat. Imagine the vastness of the Universe breathing through you, expanding your capacity for inhalation to that of the earth’s ability to take in oxygen. Imagine the mystery of your inner workings being breathed wide open with each in-breath and all parts of you—that aren’t you—falling away when you exhale. Notice the way in which this method of breathing follows you out of the studio and into the rest of your life.
2. Lowering Your Lids—Bring your practice from a place of outside focus to an inner focus by drawing your eyelids closed as you enter into each new posture. With eyes closed, your face will soften, your jaw might fall open slightly. Find your attention in the space between your eyebrows and allow that spaciousness to settle into you offering you insight as you flow.
3. Slowing Your Pace—It can be tempting to try to “keep up” with a class, with a teacher. Own your practice and move through your poses at a pace that coincides with your breath and in a way that is true to what you need. Yoga comes alive in the spaces that may be discovered through gentle transitions and deep inner-noticing. This cannot be rushed.
4. Balancing the Work Among You—I have recently discovered what it means to allow all parts of my body—and my mind— to share in the work of supporting each posture. Engaging all parts of your body and not relying on one joint or intersection to carry more than its share of the work has been a powerful metaphor for living a life of true balance.
5. The Inner Connectedness of All Things—There is a whole inner world to be discovered if only given our attention. Committing to an hour or so of going within and experiencing the ways in which the various parts of our bodies work in union may transform the way we view ourselves and maybe even transform the way we view the world. I find myself in awe when I consider the length of my spine and the way that I feel when I allow it to be as long and straight as it was created to be all in coordination with my core muscles and the other various muscle groups that need to be engaged to make it so.
6. Consistency is Key—It can be difficult to come to the mat day after day with all of the many responsibilities and pressures of our lives. And yet, there is a power in the cumulative effects of a consistent yoga practice. It is almost as if our body—and all that it holds—comes to trust us with this continuity and becomes more willing to reveal itself fully.
7. The Language of a Practice—I am regularly taken aback by the way in which I may learn about myself through my yoga practice. Sometimes when working through heart opening postures, I am met with the places in which my heart has become closed. A particularly inflexible day might represent an increased need for a more open mind. A willingness to be gentle with myself on the mat translates into a growing ability to show myself compassion. When I am paying attention, I almost always learn something from the way that my body and my mind meet together in asana.
8. As Gentle as Can Be—One of my favorite moments in a yoga class is just after Shavasana in which the teacher might suggest that yogis role from their backs over into a fetal position and spend a little time in the place where it all began. It is there that I meet myself most gently, engaging those parts of myself in need of healing—-the places that long for forgiveness, the places in which I feel injured, even my innermost child self can be found there in those brief moments. Bringing this gentle energy to ourselves in all parts of our practice can transform the way that we greet not only ourselves on a regular basis but also the way in which we greet the other souls who we come in contact with in the world.
9. Experiencing Your Limits—While at times it is important to experience a sense of striving in life and even in our yoga asana practice, it is equally powerful to know when practicing a posture at its most basic level is the work we are called to do. Sometimes, doing less and really sitting with and being content with the place where we need to stop can be transformative. There we may release the need to compete, to be better and instead be open to accepting ourselves exactly where we are.
10. Asanas are Just the Beginning—Yoga is multi-faceted with eight limbs—or steps—to practice. There where years when I was a practicing yogi but only infrequently made my way to the mat. In those times, I was always devoted to learning and growing with the Yamas (ethical standards/integrity) and Niyamas (self-discipline/spiritual observances). Learning about these various aspects of yoga and immersing oneself in these other paths can offer insights into the many ways that we may grow as humans and a spiritual beings.
Receiving from Source (5.12.15)
Life can be magical, contented and flowing if only we may pause and connect with our source energy prior to acting, speaking or deciding …. These are a few steps that I have found useful in opening up that channel and allowing it to come pouring forth as a gushing spring. Notice the calm coming over you—even when chaos abounds. Notice the clarity—even in muddy times. It can be tempting to look to gurus or books or scholars as our guides. And there is a time for searching out and acquiring knowledge. However, your premier guide is but a breath away. Have a little notebook handy when you begin this exercise.
1. Turn off or step away from your electronics. Sit quietly and take a deep breath releasing tension. Sit for a moment and make a little vow that going forth you will use your electronics more sparingly and that they will no longer be running you. Make a little vow that when things slow down, instead of looking to your phone, you will look to the sky, instead.
2. Close your eyes, now, and begin breathing deeply again. Stay with this for a little while until you feel things settling. Looking within notice the space between your eyebrows. Notice the sensation of your brain. Notice any pain you may feel in your head and allow that level to relax and release as well.
3. Imagine a light source that is reaching up through your spine into the Heavens and down through the bottom of your spine—your sacrum—into the Earth. Allow this light to reveal itself to you. Is it a white light? Is it radiating? Imagine this as long as feels comfortable and good.
4. Continuing to connect with your breath and perhaps the space between your eye brows, bring to consciousness the question of, “What shall I do?” Sit with this question for a few moments and notice any ideas that begin to appear. They may come to your in words or in images. Write them in your notebook.
5. Continuing to connect with your breath and perhaps the space between your eye brows, bring to consciousness the question of, “What is it that I need to know?” Sit with this question for a few moments and notice any ideas that begin to appear. They may come to your in words or in images. Write them in your notebook
This is my practice as I go about bringing my thoughts and ideas to life. I would love to hear from you and know about your experiences.
“What you’ll see if you watch carefully, is that you have a phenomenal amount of energy inside of you. It doesn’t come from food and it doesn’t come from sleep. This energy is always available to you. At any moment you can draw upon it. It just wells up and fills you from inside. When you’re filled with this energy, you feel like you could take on the world. When it is flowing strongly, you can actually feel it coursing through you in waves. It gushes up spontaneously from deep inside and restores, replenishes and recharges you. The only reason you don’t feel this energy all the time is because you block it. You block it by closing your heart, by closing your mind, and by pulling yourself into a restrictive space inside. This closes you off from all the energy.”
“If you like energy, and you do, then don’t ever close. The more you learn to stay open, the more the energy can flow into you. You practice opening by not closing. Any time you start to close, ask yourself whether you really want to cut off the energy flow. Because if you want, you can learn to stay open no matter what happens in this world. You just make a commitment to explore your capacity for receiving unlimited energy. You simply decide not to close.”
“How you learn to stay open is up to you. The ultimate trick is to not close. If you don’t close, you will have learned to stay open. Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it. When your heart starts to close, just say, “No I’m not going to close. I’m going to relax. I’m going to let this situation take place and be there with it.” Honor and respect the situation, and deal with it. By all means deal with it. Do the best you can. But deal with it with openness.”
—The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Ancient Wisdom (3.10.15)
A practice worth engaging in ….
“There are many ways to get children to behave as you wish. You can force, plead, and bribe. You can manipulate, trick, and persuade. You can use shame, guilt, and reason. These will all rebound upon you. You will be in constant conflict. Attend instead to your own actions. Develop contentment within yourself. Find peace and love in all you do. This will keep you busy enough. There is no need to control others.” - The Parent’s Tao Te Ching
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