Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tension is Opportunity

After fully submerging myself in Ashtanga yoga practice at a workshop this weekend, I stand inspired.

Forced into vulnerability in a matter of moments, my strengths and weaknesses were clearly shown. Intense burning sensations were encouraged by a constant reminder from Kino, the instructor: "It is over when it is over; you do not choose when life begins and ends." She would continually quote her instructor from India:

5% teaching, 95% practice. You in da West; you make no sense of this. You think intellect all. No; not so. The mind is much bigger (Guriji).

Anyone who has ever done any number of things with your body (be it getting in shape, attempting to do the splits, recovering from an injury, or simply walking up stairs) knows that it does not always do what you want it to on command. We talk about self-control as something the intellect may do; we assume, "If I consciously think about this, my actions follow suit." But, as most have experienced, this is not so. Why, might we ask?

Much greater than intellect alone, the mind was understood well by the Hebrews. We translate the Hebrew leb as "heart" in Old Testament texts, but the closer translation is "mind." While certainly including intellect, leb was understood to be the seat of emotions, memory, desire, and courage as well; "the totality of a person." While many of us "know" that, what implications does that have for the practics of life?

To "will" something (such as to do the splits) is not a simple desire for something to be so, but requires you to "let go" of bondage that holds you back. What's beautiful about this "will" that allows us to break through fears is that it is very different from "will" as that which we do. For we must depend on what is outside ourselves for it to take place at all.

You must trust not only that you can do a challenging pose, but that the ground will support you and the people around you will not hurt you or push you over in your vulnerable moments. Long suppressed challenges are confronted in every ounce of connective tissue that prevent us from moving forward. Fears prevent us from courage, which is the demonstration of the mind at its best.

It is common in the yoga practice to experience tears out of nowhere. This may seem strange, but makes perfect sense when we recognize that there is no dichotomy between body and spirit. Even movement is demonstrative of much more than what is physical.

"Flexible no jus' happen; so dis is life"

Sunday, October 23, 2011


For rest that truly does revive.
For sleep. meditation. yoga.
For the deep humility that comes when pride is dismissed.

For healing.
For tears. letting go.
For laughter.
For physical relief. fewer headaches.

For the change of seasons.
For sunny days. rainy days. cold chills.
For an obvious reminder that people are not the only creation that inhabits the earth.
For people that still love when I'm not around.
For family. friends. Antioch.

For relationships that make me aware of my faults.
For Family. Everyone.
For grace that sees beyond imperfections yet never serves as a cop-out.
For hope that springs forth in the midst of broken systems.
For a voice to cry out in the face of injustice.

For confidence that I am not the one who heals.

Truly thankful...
“Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest awhile.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat). Mark 6:31
...that solitude doesn't end in solitude.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Learning not to push so hard against the wall...

Ambiguous address (**cough*cough**)
Oh you, who rests little and does too much, what do you have to offer? Oh you, whose mind is always racing, when did you forget what it is to be fully present? Oh you, who rarely returns phone calls and has too many messages to respond in full, do you even remember who called you today? Oh you, who falls asleep nearly every afternoon, do you really think lack of sleep is the only thing making you tired? Oh you, who once found joy in studying, why do you think you struggle to open a book? Oh you, who knows much about health, theology, and "balance," this is no mystery to you.
Indeed, it is time. Time to truly STOP and be reminded of the beautiful simplicity of life; to stand in awe of just how much we don't know; to rejoice in the "little things."
As of now, summer plans consist of:
  • Detoxing with good friends
  • 3 weeks in KC to catch up with family and friends
  • Celebrating the weddings of my brother and good friends
  • Coming back to Nashville
  • Nannying some; perhaps working for a doctor's office some; finding a consistent job maybe
  • Delving more deeply into the East Nashville community again
  • Reading, Writing, Painting, Dreaming, Laughing, Yoga-ing
  • Enjoying the beauty of Creation (And creativity)
  • Learning to "laugh through my tears" and "love without fear" (Phrase Coined by Over the Rhine - "Born" - check it out; good song)
Enthused to be enthused about life again; it's too short not to be,

P.S. I challenge YOU to rest. WHAT IF we all learned to receive this gift while we were young; what would the world look like? Have you lost your "Wonder?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How did we get here?

How does a nation get to a place where it knows so little?
(Yes, I’m generalizing)

Where caffeine sustains the existence of a people who do too much?
(So we become dependent on it)

Where the same thing that “sustains our energy” robs us of life?
(Yet no one knows)

Where alcohol is our “quick-fix” to a long day?
(Though it simply buries our struggles, making problems worse)

Where we buy into the illusion we can do more than we can?
(Until we drop because we’ve pushed it too far)

Where most of what we eat is only an illusion of the food our body needs?
(Because it’s so chemically manipulated)

Where our bodies can’t absorb the nutrients from the food we do eat?
(Because we are so overloaded with toxins)

Where we have to peel ourselves out of bed in the morning?
(And think lack of sleep is the only reason why)

Where most of the faces around us are laden with fatigue?
(Yet we simply write it off as “a part of life”)

Where we believe sickness is always something that just “happens” to us?
(When we often perpetuate the cycles that prolong it)

Where our minds are so divorced from what our bodies are telling us?

If we listen, we will find the beginnings of wisdom.

Monestary in Taize, France

God of all living, why should we wait for our hearts to be changed in order to go to you? You transfigure them. In our wounds themselves you enable a communion to grow. And the gates of praise open within us (Peace of Heart in All Things, Taize).

Check out Taize's website.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oppression looks differently, but it still exists.

The following is addressed to females (obviously). But guys, you can aid in restoring the dignity that’s been lost…
How might it have been different for you if, on your first menstrual day, your mother had given you a bouquet of flowers and taken you to lunch, and then the two of you had gone to meet your father at the jeweler, where your ears were pierced, and your father bought you your first pair of earrings, and then you went with a few of your friends to get your first lip colouring; and then you went,
for the very first time,
To the Women’s Lodge,
To learn
The wisdom of women?
How might your life be different?
--Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones
(Minus the bit about lipstick and jewelry defining femininity)
In a day where Emotions are down-played, women are taught from a young age that their menstrual cycles and femininity breed irrationality. Tampon ads such as, “Out of sight, out of mind” foster us to believe the lie that life may be continued during menstruation as though nothing were different. Little do we know that our ignorance of our bodies and intuition is exactly what causes our emotional roller-coasters, proving our “irrationality” true.

I know that every female reading this right now knows what I am talking about when I say that every emotion you experience has some sort of significance. For those of you who don’t sort through your emotions and thoughts on a regular basis, you probably feel like a basket-case when you are on your period and have frequently used it as justification for your “unreasonable” behavior.

But when we begin to look at the significance of our fatigue and tenderness of heart that comes pre-menstrually, we see a unique sort of intuition the woman has to offer the world. In the words of Christiane Northrup (M.D.):
Premenstrually, the veil between the worlds of the seen and unseen, the conscious and the unconscious, is much thinner…the premenstrual phase is therefore a time when we have greater…ability to recognize and transform the difficult and painful areas of our lives.
If we let ourselves retreat, rest, and be fully honest to confront what comes and analyze what it is that‘s taking place, wisdom is unleashed not only in our own lives, but the lives of those around us.

So let yourself rest. Let your mind wander. Experience your intuition fully. And set aside time to think before you speak. But whatever you do, don't neglect your femininity.

The world needs your attunement to what's taking place.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's been a long time since I've been so excited to see my brothers.

Recently I've found myself running from boys, both directly and indirectly. So long as interactions are few and far between and/or not too sustained, I'm fine. But when they turn to day-in and day-out interactions, I flee. And I can't decide if this is good or bad.

Perhaps it is because I have tried to have healthful friendships with boys in the past and screwed up badly. Or perhaps I fear of getting into another relationship because it's the last thing I'm looking for right now.

I just don't really know how to have healthy, sustained, close friendships with boys anymore.

For whatever reason, I am unsettled.

Some days, I wish we could go back to the days where we all run around like crazy and boys think girls are gross so I didn't have to the think about the pressure of marriage, which I am far from ready for.

But I find myself a contradiction when I hear of close friends getting married, for it brings me so much joy to hear their stories.

...No, this entry does not have a conclusive thought :)