This Zen Life
May 3, 2013 0 comments
Beginning on my Equinox Birthday in March, I took 21 days of solitude and silence, off work, limiting my contact with the outside world, away from phone, email and all social media. Within a few days after I returned, I had a powerfully awakening experience (it was a wild, wild ride!) that I believe came directly from small moments of awareness collected along my 21 day journey. I’ve been asked by many to share the details about this personal retreat, the before, during and after, so that they could take some time away for themselves. What has been amazing is hearing the stories of people who were inspired by my commitment to time away, and created a sacred pause of their own. Deep bow to you, sisters. We are each others’ teacher. This is the first of several blog posts about my experience.
Step 1: Find quiet and connect with nature in order to listen.
I could feel it for months. A quickening. An intense desire to birth. Something. Many things. It began 9 months ago shortly after moving into this little cottage on top of the Berkeley hills overlooking Mt. Diablo on one side, and the San Francisco bay on the other. A place my friends call “the treehouse”, as every window looks out over the green of magnificent ancient California oaks, red berried toyons and big leaf maples. The day we moved in it was a scorching 105 degrees, reminding me of where I grew up in the northern plains
of Texas. After living for 4.5 years in the fog, traffic and concrete of South San Francisco, as my husband so aptly put it, I felt like we had gotten a “get out of jail” card. Ahhhhh…..Space. Sun. Stillness. Silence, except for sounds of frogs, crickets and the occasional coyote songs in the distant hills at night, and birds. And birds everywhere! Soaring hawks circling the sky, owls, turkeys, crows, ravens, bluejays, small feeder birds, mourning doves, hummingbirds and the domesticated peacocks and chickens. Everything around me spoke of freedom and flight, as if to say: “Listen. Everything has a voice, including you. Fly above your normal life, shift your perspective. See beyond into possibility. Cut the cords that keep you earthbound and get ready to Fly!”
Step 2: Make room for your soul to express her creativity.
I came here in order to write a book that has been growing in me a long time. I began to sit each day to write, finding spots of time between my crazy 3-4 hr a day commute, crowded client and yoga teaching schedule. But a voice inside me said “Wait. Be patient. Just Be.” So after two months of self-created stress and pushing, I compressed all my outside work into two back-to-back days a week , creating even longer wide open days to be at our cottage. I thought I would begin to write in earnest, fill up this spacious time by getting busy on my book. Instead, I began to create. It just began to flow out of me. The more space I took, the more I created. Paintings. Flower arrangements. Poetry. Photography. Jewelry. Candles. Aromatherapy. Really good meals. Everything I did began to feel like a birthing, a celebration and honoring of life inside of me. In the past, I would have told myself I was not being productive, that my real task was to write the book, and that these artistic explorations were simply a diversion. But I somehow knew that in allowing any creativity free reign, all creativity would begin to flow.
Step 3: Be with yourself and simply notice.
After 3 months of daily creativity, I began to stop and just sit. The creativity still flowed, but now I was feeling a strong urge to connect with something deep inside. I had no idea what. At first I sat each morning and some evenings, for 20 minutes in vipassana (insight) meditation, observing my thoughts, emotions, body sensations. I had to force myself not look at the clock, or cut my meditation short to get on with my day. I was still a bit revved up, body and mind jumping all over the place. My most common awareness of my thoughts was that I was constantly planning, thinking about my todo list, anticipating my day. And worrying about money. Lots and lots of worrying about money.
After a few months of vipassana, I began to desire even more sitting time, but to observe something other than me. It felt constraining, limiting somehow, this inward focusing. So at the start and finish of each day I would pause to be with the sunrises and sunsets. During my commute or at the cottage, I would stop and watch the colors change in the sky, noticing that every single day was uniquely beautiful in how it began and ended. I didn’t realize how thirsty my soul was for this communion with ephemeral beauty. So I drank it up, every moment I could. Eventually I found myself drawn several times a day to sit by the glass doors and floor to ceiling windows looking out over our deck and nearby canyon. I discovered that I could easily sit for up to an hour, sometimes more, simply observing life. The compulsion to get up and do completely disappeared as I lost myself in the moment.
Step 4: Lose you to find you.
After 6 months of slowing down, during one of these Just Be sessions at the end of the day, I noticed that I wasn’t worrying anymore. In fact, I wasn’t even daydreaming or thinking about anything. I was simply watching the sky for the bats to come out and feed, while the hummingbirds got their last sip of sugar water and the finches grabbed a few more seeds before calling it a night. My body felt light and open, and I felt beyond me. And I felt a deep to the core peace. Before my mind took me from the present moment back to observing myself, I had felt intimately connected to everything. I was breathing the same breath as the trees. I was savoring the sweet nectar in the feeder. I was the squirrel scampering on the nearby branches, playing chase with her mate. I was all this life. I was simultaneously me and not me. And underneath this awareness of me and not me was a pulsing life force and feeling of joy. Sunny, bright, expansive, childlike and immensely grateful Joy. I felt as if I was waking up, from the inside out.
The story is about to get interesting! Continued in the following post, Awakening Shakti
March 19, 2013 4 comments
Tomorrow it begins.
On the Spring Equinox.
On my birthday.
21 long, luscious days, as empty as I want,
Yet full of room to breathe, walk, hike, dance,
Paint, yoga, meditate, read, create, daydream,
Just Be in silence, observe the world around me
So that I can find the universe within me,
So that I can encourage me to stretch myself,
Challenge myself to be curious, watchful, small,
In order to crack wide open and move big
Into this world, the way I long to move,
Unabashedly taking up space, claiming my place,
With confidence, grace, humor and
Eyes that sparkle with an “I love You All So Authentically,
So Fully From This Wide Open Heart,”
AND because I love Me, too, and know that
True Love, life changing, wave making Love grows
Not from Outside to In but Inside to Out,
because of this truth that took me 49 years
To discover and to breathe into my being so that
I could actually take 21 days,
I want to also move with an “I Care About You
But I Don’t Care A Whit About What You Think
Of Me” assurance that gives me
The self permission, the “You Go Girl!”
Power to hear, trust and implement
My divine plan, my purpose, my offering to this
World that’s been growing inside me for 49 years.
21 days to turn off all electronics and outside chatter
In order to tune inside to that voice deep within,
The one that wants to speak her truths,
Share her wisdom, and admit her not wisdom
So that she can midwife others willing to take the
Risk to find their wisdom and
Admit their not wisdom,
Share their truths as they
Crack wide open
So that they too, can eventually, choose to take
March 1, 2013 0 comments
I’ve been feeling a bit out of my normal self the past week. A more accurate description is blue, tired, sad. In the past I would’ve tried to “fix” this “problem.” I would’ve wrestled my mood to the ground, pummeled it into submission. I’d wallow in it until every part of me is saturated in it. I’d even work to make it go away by working, shrinking my todo list in hopes of shrinking the uncomfortable feelings. But I sincerely do believe our bodies are portals to wisdom. Our emotions are signals to pay attention that something needs attending. It doesn’t matter if it is physical, mental or spiritual, seasonal, situational or biochemical, because all of these are integrated parts of us, and all deserve our compassionate respect. I’ve come to realize this body is my life long consort: She is my most intimate partner in this life time, and all my vows to her are sacred. And I have made a vow to her to listen when she speaks.
So I slowed way down this past week to listen. Several times a day I sat in what I call my meditation chair by the sliding glass doors overlooking my deck where I’ve been doing my 3 Bs Meditation. From this view I get to watch the hummingbirds, nuthatches, red and yellow warblers and blue jays at the bird feeders. I can also watch the red tailed hawk in the sky. On a couple of warmer days I’ve even spied a few bees began to wake up and do their busy beeness. I’ve been making sure to sit at dusk each night and watch the bats gracefully fly on their early evening rounds.
I can be honest with you. It’s what I desire from you as well. I was incredibly cranky for a few days before I let myself take these pauses. I felt like an angry child, hurt about something and just needing to have a bit of a temper tantrum for some undefined reason. But after 2 days of that, I realized I needed to just be, to give myself space, and to trust my internal wisdom. I’ve cried many tears during these 3 Bs meditations, sometimes soft gentle rains, sometimes gut wrenching waves. Each time I feel as if I have released something, removed a layer of some covering. Is it important to know what? I don’t believe so. Sometimes the analysis of why is the thing that not only keeps us stuck, but causes the stuckness. I have a sneaky suspicion my mood lately is a combination of hormones, tiredness, unknowingly carrying the pain of some of those I love and of the world in general, as well as this being the time of year when I lost my beloved father and brother. I might not ever know what is being honored and cleansed, but slowly things are moving through me. I remember to trust myself. I marvel in how much joy I feel even as I allow the sadness to fully express. I breathe in what I say to others all the time:
The only thing wrong with me is that I sometimes think something is wrong with me.
It’s safe to surrender to this moment, to be held in the now.
Nothing to fix. Nothing to change. Nothing to make happen. Just be.
Sending you so much love from this aching but getting even bigger because of it heart,
February 5, 2013 0 comments
Valentine’s Day Yoga & Labyrinth Walk
1:30 – 4:30 Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Being Yoga, Burlingame
Come spend a delicious afternoon nourishing the one person who desires your undivided attention, acceptance and passionate embrace. You are the one you have been waiting for all along! Together we will awaken the Prana-Shakti, the creative life force that resides within you, dive into Sukha, bliss, and drink of the Amrita, the sweet nectar of life. For 2 hours we will luxuriate in:
· Yin, restorative and gentle flowing yoga to nurture the body.
· Chakra clearing and breath to cleanse the rivers of energy throughout the body.
· Guided Visualizations to ignite the inner fires of self empowerment.
· Journaling and creative group processes to call forth Maitri, loving kindness for the self.
· Aromatherapy, candlelight, music and gentle hand, neck and face massage to drench all the senses in beauty.
When we are thoroughly blissed, we will then meet down the street at the Mercy Center to walk the sacred Labyrinth, where we will journey into the center, and return out into the world refreshed and renewed at all levels.
Cost of this afternoon is $35. Please RSVP with Being Yoga at (650)552-9642 by Monday 11th. Men and Women are welcome. Bring your friends, loved ones, partners, lovers.
February 4, 2013 0 comments
Morning of Bliss: Yin, Restorative& Feminine Flowing Yoga
Friday February 8th: 9:30am to 12 noon
At a private home in Hillsborough
Topic: Loving Ourselves
Open to: Women of all levels welcome. If you want to nurture yourself and connect with other like-minded women, this is for you!
Cost: $30 (please never let money get in the way of attending…simply communicate your needs)
Transformation is occurring around the world, and we as women are playing a pivotal role. More and more we are beginning to recognize that to be fully empowered, fully alive is to call forth aspects of ourselves that we have hidden in the past, not just from others, but from ourselves. Yes, we are the nurturers, the tenders of the hearth and the guardians of the heart, but that is only half of who we are in our fullest expression.
This will be a peaceful, nourishing and powerful morning where we will play with accessing those deeper aspects of ourselves through yoga, breath, affirmations, sound healing, aromatherapy, visualizations and inspirational text/poetry. We will all walk away from this time together feeling more alive, awake and in alignment with our lives.
As space is limited, please RSVP by end of Wednesday 6th. You are welcome to bring ‘cash or check. If you are new to me, we need to first meet by phone to make sure it is a good fit for all. For more info and contact, visit toilynnwyle.com.