we gather…

matrilumina, august 2012

we gather.

and if you are called to gather.

go.

say yes.

do anything it takes to make it so.

it will be worth all your effort, your money, your time, the trouble to organize childcare and feed your family while you are gone.

because you’ll return a better, brighter version of yourself.

because the world needs you to be more fully you.

because you need to awaken.

because the women you will meet will be beautiful teachers, and they all signed on to meet you.

because you really do need that kind of beauty…to survive in the world.

and well, because hafiz said so.

xo

good, just good…

things are good…
it’s not often i get to say that, and feel it with such pure confidence…usually it’s true when i say it, but there is this catch, this…i know it’s not going to last feeling.

and well, yeah, i know it’s not going to last. and i know the moon, and hormones and stress and whatnot are going to spin me off into someplace where i hear myself saying “oh, i just can’t TAKE this”…but right now? it’s good.

in part because i’ve been HOME. and settling into my dream routine. do you have one of those? a perfect schedule in your brain that you think if you could just get it right and commit to it, you’d be happy? no? oh…well i do. and i feel i settled in with it right now. it includes waking up with the sun, spending some quiet time with myself, enjoying coffee with my love and the puppy, and moving my body (zumba has me entranced, and today it was a walk in the dunes – did i mention it’s sunny and like 65 degrees here?). then settling in to work that makes me HAPPY (i have a new gig! a fabulous new gig that i’ll tell you about soon!), then getting off the computer at a decent hour to enjoy a glass of wine as we prepare a meal together, an outdoor shower under the stars, some reading and finally falling asleep blissed out. yeah, easy to please in some ways. but the devil is in the details. so, in fact this morning was pretty much perfect, as was the weekend, and yesterday too (even with some unimaginable tech nightmare stuff) but it makes the stuff that comes up unexpectedly that threatens to drag you into the pits totally, gracefully, manageable.

i’ve also committed early to my theme for 2012…silly. i need more silly. i want to feel more silly. i want my go-to knee-jerk reaction to whatever situation to be my sense of humour (which is there, and pretty good and dare i say raunchy, but it’s hidden under a layer of literal). 2011 theme is here…and so far it’s been ON.

i did this art journaling workshop last weekend in edenton, nc and a place called studioBe…run by my squammy/serendipity girls donna and tracey. it was awesome, such a terrific group of women and so good for me to be on *that* side of the table!

an unfinished page in my art journal…i made this amazing french onion soup on sunday…oh my god – so much EASIER than i would have thought. and yummy and surprisingly healthy (well, if you use veggie broth). and i’m pretending that i might spend this winter making soup every weekend…

i’ve been juicing like crazy and LOVE it. mixing beets, apples, cucumbers, ginger, lemon, carrots, parsley, celery, radishes, peppers…anything i can get my hands on into that juicer and it’s like drinking pure, enlightened, energy.

i’m excited that i get to host thanksgiving this year…it’s been a long time since it’s been at our house and it makes me feel good to know everyone will be here. i hope it’s sunny and warm enough to walk in the dune but chilly enough to have a fire in the fireplace.

so, that’s where i am…sending goodness your way…

the short and the sweet…

i know, i know…there should be news and photos and all that other good stuff up here about serendipity, right?

but, woah. the aftermath, the re-entry… kind of a tsunami of emotions and things to-do here. the things to-do taking precedence over the processing as serendipity came on the heels of six weeks away from home, and participating in and facilitating four other workshops…

so let me just stay this for now, to all of you who showed up, brought it, laughed, cried, man-handled, cooked, schlepped, searched, sat quietly, painted, cheered, snorted, photographed, cidered, twinkled, shared, AVclubbed, hamburger-toasted, boogied, saved-my-ass, baked, smudged, intended, lead, house-mama’d, crock-potted, hot-tubbed, nightswum, star-gazed, bonfired, journeyed, whip-creamed, stumbled, took control, shrieked, gave, surrendered, s’mored, and essentially made it all it was…

thank you.

{more soon….}

surrender dorothy…

surrender is not a word i take lightly to…

i use it in my teachings…asking students to surrender fully to the pull of the earth… but it is always in a place of safety and trust. teaching them that the earth won’t let them fall…and to believe in it.

but see…i’ve been sick. knocked flat by bronchitis. i honestly can’t tell you the last time i had this – must have been my teenage years and i had no recollection of how hard of a punch this infection could land on you. and wow do i have a surge of compassion for anyone who ever has to get well from this. i have been literally 6+ days sofa-bound. fighting it all the way because it meant no teaching, i tearfully had to cancel the much-anticipated trip up to provy to see elizabeth, and no visitors as i was told i was uber-contagious. bryan and his dad were both travelling and that left nothing but the menagerie and streaming netflix to keep me company…i think i watched something like 15 movies, most of them a hazy nyquil-infused memory (though i was certainly drawn to chick flicks – before sunrise, after sunset, once, like for water for chocolate!)

the malaise alone was exhausting and it felt like my subconscious need and desire for white space and nothingness suddenly spun out of control and went into hyper-drive…enforcing a literal physical inability to do anything at all.

plus, what was making me so, so mad was that i had been doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS! resting well, yoga, good walks, eating healthfully, i felt so, so good…how could this happen? i felt so betrayed by my body, i felt anger, frustration and spent many an hour on the phone with elizabeth complaining. i was fighting it every step of the way…and then things changed.

early one morning, the sweet kitty who had been one of my furry nursemaids, found the perscription albuterol inhaler the doctor had given me on monday and knocked it to the floor…little eli thought it made a good chew toy and the strange hissing sound it made as his sharp teeth punctured the canister freaked all of us out. some google research, a call to the vet, watching him carefully and then within the hour we were in the vet ER with a case of albuterol poisoning…his heart pounding, he lay lethargic and panting in my arms as i drove to the vet…we almost lost him.

thankfully our vet is a toxicology expert and knew exactly what to do…it was like a triage center….nurses, tubes, blood pressure, IV… everything moved fast and he was stabilized quickly and actually home with me that evening**…both of us exhausted. all i could think was that if i had not been home when it happend he would be gone. followed by, had i not been sick, i wouldn’t have had the inhaler that poisoned him.

the riddle infuriated me and i spun it around in my head until at last i realized i just had to let it go. there was no other choice, nothing could be done so just let go of the anger, the frustration, let go of fighting something i had no control over and instead snuggle down into the sofa — gratefully — with the puppy and SURRENDER to our bodies natural process of healing.

and there i stayed. i’m still not fully well…but i’m able to spend a few hours puttering around before i need a nap so i know i’m on the upswing! eli is doing well, barely phased at this point though he does have a few days more on some blood pressure medicine that makes him a little sleepy. with any luck, i hope to get that provy trip back on for later this week too!

xo

**so cute, he was so happy to be leaving the vet in that eager, excited doggie way. but when the two of us actually got HOME he was even more excited. he was jumping up and down and wagging and rolling on to his back to have me rub his belly…as though i had just walked in the door from being away. when actually we had both just walked in the door together. it was this moment when i realized he understood what HOME was and that home is different from me. he’s a smart boy.

the physics of expansion…

just a moment that caught my attention…

there have been countless moments lately when i look up at the clock expecting hours to have passed when in reality – it’s only been a few minutes.

when i seem to be able to lose myself to the drifting of clouds…

or the sound of a heavy summer rain…

or a snuggle with eli…

or preparing my dinner…

or a daily chat with elizabeth

or creating a painting…

or reading a book…

see, time expands when you don’t fill it with endless amounts of busy…i had no idea. i had believed that time expands when you fill it with as much as you can and then tick it off on your to-do list or your bucket list…done done done. but i was wrong. so wrong.

earlier this year, when i traveled to indonesia i had such a hard time being on vacation. the downtime was incredibly hard for me with the lack of purpose, and the uprootedness of being away from home and my routines…i knew there was something to look at in all of that and mainly it stemmed from one uncomfortable emotion: guilt

so as i’ve been in transition this summer, having left my day job to take a leap and pursue a life more aligned with my values and dreams, i’ve somewhat slowly given myself permission to take this month “off” and allow my life to become empty…to not fill the white space in order avoid feeling discomfort or boredom and to see what shows up…

and i’ve discovered the ability to see again. really see – it’s as though my eyes had been cloudy and now there is a brightness and sharpness to my vision. greens are more green, the world is just…vivid. and because of that, it makes me want to look more closely, more often, more deeply. to study the contours and patterns of life…

i’m teaching yoga again regularly and stretching my wings leading a level II class which really challenges me. i’m seeking ways to explain skillfully and artfully how to mindfully enter more advanced postures. i’ve realized i haven’t given my students enough credit, and they are ready and wiling to be pushed a bit more than i thought. simultaneously, my own practice has become a fixture again in my routines. one of the things that had been sitting heavily on me while in bali and after was this thought that maybe i was done with yoga? it held no joy for me, i didn’t seek it out, and i rarely rolled out my mat. i think between working so much at my day job and running the studio plus the myriad other projects i had going on, i had just completely burned out. i had so much guilt around my lack of interest in yoga…and i’ve come to acknowledge and accept that we all wax and wane – but the yoga is always there, loyal and waiting for me to rediscover it. which i have and it’s better that ever.

i started painting again. this has been another source of guilt…as a pleasure delayer, the art always comes last after filling every last moment of my day with the things i “should” be doing, as such there was never enough time to be creative. with the space this month i’ve actually planted flowers, built a cool little display for all my earrings out of an old window from india, i’ve started a vision board…and i’ve got all my paints and brushes out and they are being used…i have three canvases leaning against the wall in my home studio and by having all my stuff out it’s really easy to just do something here and there, or spend hours working on something…whichever moves me.

and i’ve been doing a lot of thinking about, shopping for and creating healthy meals…most of the meals the past year have been out. grabbing lunch on the way back from a meeting, or grabbing a lunch meeting, pizza, the local hangouts…literally every day because it was too exhausting to think about planning and cooking. now…i’m in love with salads, and buddha bowls (and kris carr’s crazy sexy diet has been a huge inspiration), healthy smoothies, and loads of water with lemon (and a bit of wine too!). mostly i’m just really enjoying the time spent nourishing my body…

mornings are the sweetest time for me…i teach every morning and wake up a full two hours early (which means 5:30am sometimes!) just so that i can really enjoy the beauty of the quiet mornings…a small cup of coffee, my journal and a front row seat for the light show as the sun rises on the dune that is my front yard.

and i really do know how utterly blessed i am to have this time to allow this space. i am so so grateful…everyday i am grateful…every time i look up at the clock and see i still have the day ahead of me i am grateful…every time i bow to my students at the end of my classes i say…thank you for sharing this with me. thank you for co-creating this experience. every time an osprey flies by overhead carrying a fish i say thank you…and also to the rainbow i saw this morning, and the sunshowers, and to simone who woke me with her purring today, and to eli’s pthalo turquoise tail, to elizabeth‘s bliss in her new apartment, to my girls, to my muse, to time and vision and all of it…thank you.

thank you.

thank you…

xo

oh, and sweet MB (a beautiful, inspiring yoga teacher out in the venice/santa monica area) featured me on her blog recently… check it out…and keep going back, she shares so much loveliness there.

and i find that i’m never alone and i find that my heart is my home…

um, hi…remember me?

let me start with this – things are good. really, really good – usually the silence on this end means i’m hibernating or mulling over something heavy or dark but that’s not the case at all. i’ve just had so much change and travel of late and at the same time i’ve been really trying to embrace the white space created by the transitions going on here. i haven’t had white space like this in, well, ever? i mean – you can’t count the eight weeks i was laid up on the sofa with a broken leg and a cast to my thigh taking percocet like candy and watching dazed and confused, right? so by white space i mean, clear-headed, warm-hearted, fulfilled and open white space. which i am allowing to be filled with things that make me HAPPY. so, lots more yoga, lots more teaching, lots more water, lots more saying yes to fun, lots more cooking, lots more healthy choices, wine (though not lots more. just enough.), lots more visiting with friends, lots more walking in the dune, lots more ocean, lots more music, lots more reading, lots more flower planting, lots more soul-rooting, lots more journaling, lots more daydreaming, and lots more co-creating of a future vision of a playful, well-lived, expressive, creative, day-to-day existence. all of which is actually keeping me pretty busy!

still, there is whitespace – and in that space i can actually hear the drumbeat call of my own heart…and this is what i’ve found*: 

i find that i’m never alone and i find that my heart is my home…

so forgive my brevity tonite and let me leave you with some music and images of what has been making me happiest over the past month. i’ll fill in the blanks in the coming days, but before i go, Know This: i’ve missed you so…

xo

saturday afternoon at the june session of squam… with jen, pixie, jonatha, me, and maya. if there is one image that says all of what squam is to me, this is it…sparkles and divine feminine energy.

(photo by my patient sewing teacher and new soul sister maya donenfeld - i LOVE her)

the most amazing dr. seuss bush jen and i found on some country road in new hampshire…she maintained excellent control of the car when she slammed on the brakes so we could take photos.

my loves…thea, sarah (holding baby ada), and elizabeth in the background.

sarah and thea collaborated on this amazing book this year!

i am so incredibly grateful to these winding paths…

and these views of the lake…

and the love that is all around us…

and the journey…

home.

a morning lightshow off the back porch…

my fave lunch place in c’ville & two of my besties deanna & hillary finally meeting and deciding they were separated at birth…

the textures got me…

nick’s place out in sugar hollow, sacred, sacred ground…deeply healing.

bryan and anton…waiting for the rain to stop…

so we could take this walk out to the swimmin’ hole and take a dip.

as the only non-(professional)-photographer surrounded by nine pro’s for five days solid, it started feeling a little like having the paparazzi following you around. there were a lot of scenes of nine people with cameras to their faces geeking out and laughing as they took photos of each other. here bickford and pete being kinda ridiculous…

who doesn’t love a carnival?

or strawberry shortcake? with home made whipped cream?

not this girl.

*thank you for this, elizabeth…my heart IS full

almost home…


flight delayed…and we’ll be sleeping at the airport when i could be swimming in this water…

but it’s a fair trade for the week i just had:

no internet

no phone

no tv

just the turquoise sea, the breeze and…

eating coconut that fell in the yard and was carved open with a swiss army knife

aruba arriba cocktails

a bit of yoga on the deck

lorrikeets

salty skin

ceviche

bananagrams

carnivale

j’amigo rent-a-cars

bonding with new friends

adventures to undisclosed locations

& snorkeling…

it was truly epic (thanks helen & dimitri!)

& honestly, it’s the most relaxed i’ve felt in years…

 

word…

HARMONY Deer Art Print
zoom

harmony deer by pixie campbell

the original of this piece of pixie’s hangs on my wall. it spoke loudly to me when i saw it in person in september of 09. little did i know the magic it would bring in to my life for 2010. this is the reading that acoompanied it:

Deer bridges the gap between domestic and wild. He lures us to exciting new quests. Because Deer is known for gentleness, he reminds us to be in peaceful communion with ourselves as we embark upon a new aspect of the journey. Growth with Deer is about seeking harmony with ourselves and our environment; about allowing mistakes, as we wander the forest of our inner creative process. Deer medicine suits those who tend toward self-criticism or harshness with others. His is a call to healthy communication and compassion. Deer is a very important ally when fear would keep one from adventure.

last year, my word was awake…it came on the heels of the pain of watching my sweet little duncan fade from view until he stepped over into the invisible.  beyond that, i had been in a fog for a couple of years (she says with the clarity of hindsight). heavy and dense it settled on me tinged with fear, confusion and insecurity about life, love, my path, my gifts, my purpose…an existential crisis, dare i say a mid-life crisis, as in 2010 -  i turned 40. nothing like having that socio-cultural guillotine looming over your head to make you get down to the nitty gritty, no b.s. soul-work, right?

then sometime in january or february, i started some anusara yoga training and it was there that the concept of “unmesha” was introduced to me:

Examine the three energies that comprise our Yoga,
contractive, expansive and equanimous.

These pulsations
inward and outward
lead us to stillness for moments at a time.
This occurs on every level; pose, practice, life.


In Sanskrit, this pulsation is called SPANDA,

and the three energies are called
nimesha, unmesha and sthira, respectively.
“…stability, the point or place at which
there is a calm, strong, stable potential,
where neither and both are fully present– that is sthira
like the eye of a hurricane, the space between the breaths:
still, but alive and moving.” (from elena brower, vira yoga)

i recognized that i had been deep in a place of nimesha, inward, inward, inward focused energy and to find balance i needed to practice unmesha – the outward expansion.

unmesha fit in well with awake and i quietly added that to my intention for 2010…awaken and expand.

and boy did i ever – i started moving out of my cozy little rut, i traveled to brazil, continued with the anusara training, taught at both june and september squam art workshops, volunteered at the mountain photo festival lookbetween in charlottesville virginia, co-hosted bringing ashtangi david williams here to the outer banks, ran workshops for photographer david alan harvey, squam goddess elizabeth and i co-hosted a magical squam by the sea here in nags head, i collaborated with keely at savvy home to offer a seasonal second location for my yoga studio, and the studio grew for the first time in 3 years (even in the recession!), and my working relationship with my major client was fun and fulfilling.

most importantly, i made some rich and honest friendships along the way, deepened my ongoing relationships, and continued on my path of self-inquiry.

i haven’t talked about it here, but i had an awakening, a shift in september sitting alone on the dock at squam lake and in the days that followed at elizabeth’s beautiful healing space on the farm. since the magic of that window of time, for the first time in my life, i have woken up happy every day. in short, i finally got it. i woke up to the reality that abundance and beauty were all around me and in many ways they always were.  i just couldn’t see it.

and the key to it all? gratitude. gratitude is the antidote to fog.

as is often the case, the solution was so, so simple. i have found this place of happiness because the ticker-tape in my head that used to stream endless miseries, has been replaced by a litany of things i am thankful for…that is not to say that the unfortunate realities of a human existence don’t come into play, there have been hardships, emotions, grief and conflict to navigate. but when these things appear, i have a new and different perspective. stable footing. sthira.

so thank you…thank you all for being a part of my journey, thank you for visiting me here, thank you for commenting, thank you for supporting me, the studio, the workshops. thank you for filling my life with laughter and your stories. thank you for your love, your kindness, your creativity. thank you for inspiring me. thank you.

thank you.

thank you.

i’ve yet to settle fully into my word for 2011…but thoughts on that coming soon.

better…

~ the clouds are parting and i’m feeling more like myself ~

i am grateful for that little voice inside me that knows Truth

& for your kindness (yes, you!)

thank you for helping me find my way back home.