Sunday, January 23, 2011

First SoulCollage® Reading

Some things are better experienced than explained.  I was reminded of that yesterday at my first full SoulCollage® workshop

I have been on the fringes of SoulCollage® for a few years now, hearing Linda and others talk about this artistic self-exploration program.  I even built a card and came close to witnessing a reading, but was too busy and had to step away.

At yesterday's workshop, I was caught off guard by how revealing it was.

So let me back up.  SoulCollage® is an on-going program where participants create collages on big cards, using pictures from magazines or personal photos. Participating artists create cards that have a uniting theme that is sometime apparent to anyone, and sometimes more ambiguous.  As with the images in a tarot card deck, the interpretation of each card is in the eye of the beholder and is unique to the present circumstances.  The cards eventually sort themselves into four suits. (For more on the suits, read here.)

I had fun creating cards, letting my creativity have a chance to come out and play.  I admired the cards of the collagers who had built sizeable decks.  I was soothed in the meditation portion of the afternoon.  But the time came to read the cards and I was skeptical since I had to use someone else's cards.  How personal could it be using cards created for personal use by another person?

My skepticism was squelched by a reading that was almost too authentic to discuss, my emotions welling up to make speaking a bit tricky.  But the artists around the table were patient, allowing me to collect myself and share what I saw.  They were familiar with these encounters and how emotionally revealing they could be.

Here is a picture of my reading, although I can't convey the intensity of the moment with my words.  But I invite you to experience it yourself.  You will learn more about yourself than you thought you could. 

And I will never look at a magazine the same way again!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Practice makes Peaceful

Last night at yoga I was the student while Ann was the teacher.  This is the absolute best thing about having a partner.  The snow was softly falling, when we laid down in relaxation we could see it through the tops of the big windows.  It felt like it was gently shimmering right down on us. It was hard to close my eyes and go within with such beauty all around.

We are on our second week of this new adventure.  In many ways, it feels as if it has always been.  A Reiki/Yogi friend of mine told me yesterday that she is so thrilled that we have accomplished our dreams without making our students uncomfortable with the thought of change. Change is scary.  Necessary, but scary.  Finding solutions to accommodate the need for change while minimizing fear is a great goal.  It's hard to accomplish great things while you are terrified. Not impossible, but it's easier when you can take a deep breath or two now and then. And speaking of breath...

As much as I love teaching yoga, I have to admit that doing yoga is better.  Or perhaps a better statement would be that finding a balance between teaching and doing is sublime.  I get to feed my need to share... and my need to breathe.  Ahhh, the breathing! When you teach, you sort of have to talk through the breath so the class understands, "Inhale.... Exhale".  When you are quietly holding a pose, focusing on the breath, riding the wave between expansion and relaxing... ahhh.  I love watching a student experiencing the beauty of a pose combined with a deep breath, seeing their shoulders suddenly melt and their feet spreading out on the ground as they sink deeper and deeper into the comfort of the pose.  There is nothing like total focus on the task at hand.

We are thrilled with the turnout for the classes.  I am so happy to see so many of my "old" yogis returning and reaffirming their commitment to their practice, and by doing so, their health.  I am delighted to meet so many new folk-- it's astonishing how many live right around the church, and hence, right in my neighborhood.  I've lived in my home for 27 years and rarely have met the people on my block... and yet here they are, enjoying Yoga... trying out Reiki... what an unexpected gift.  We are blessed with the opportunity to form a community.  A community based on seeking wellness, seeking kindness and laughter, what a joy!

See you soon :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


When was the last time you took a moment to be still? Not sleep, and not vegging in front of the tv - which has its merits from time to time, but intentional stillness that is both physical and mental, even spiritual.

 If you're anything like me, it doesn't happen very often. This morning we began a study of stillness and what inhibits us from achieving it: our responsibilities, our relationships, pressure to achieve, to be movers and shakers.

 We looked at the verse Psalm 46:10 that says, "Be still and know that I am God."  There is a connection between stillness and connecting with the divine.

One of the books on my nightstand is 365 Tao Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao.  This meditation on stillness reads

Wind stirs the bamboo,
But once the wind passes,
The bamboo is silent.
Geese land on the chill pond,
But once the geese fly away,
There are no reflections.
In the same way,
Once the red dust passes,
The mind is still.

Is your mind full of red dust? What will it take for the red dust to settle?

Although many people are initially drawn to yoga for the fitness benefits, one of the primary goals of yoga is to still the mind.  In this stillness, a yogi can connect to that kingdom that is both within us and everywhere.

Next week, Linda is going to lead the class in a retreat into this stillness and silence, creating an opportunity for you to let your red dust pass from your mind.  Like yoga, we will practice.  We invite you to come join us as we still our bodies, our hearts, and that pesky red dust in our minds.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We had such a wonderful time today in our new center, filling both our "wondrous blue" yoga studio and "amazing violet" workshop room with beautiful yogis.  Linda and I are so grateful to have had our center blessed with such positive yoga energy. Many thanks to so many of you who contributed your efforts, energy, time and prayers into making this dream a reality.

In January we hear much talk about New Year's Resolutions, which often feel like unattainable goals.  I prefer to think them as my best intentions. The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about what has been working for us, what hasn't, and what we are willing to do about that.

I have recently been meditating on the Reiki Creed:
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not anger.
I will do my work honestly and diligently.
I will show kindness to all living things, and
I will be grateful.

I think it's the Just For Today part of of the creed makes it feel more possible - although sometimes I think "just for this moment" is a big enough commitment.  The whole year seems too big.  I know I will worry. I know I'll get angry, but maybe I can lay those aside just for today, just for right now.

 And "doing my work honestly and diligently" isn't the same as doing my work perfectly.  What a relief that is to realize.

Barry reminded me about showing kindness to all living things today when he was ushering a fly out of the yoga studio before our big opening today. Sometimes flies are easier to be kind to than people, but just for today, I will show kindness. 

And I have so much to be thankful for, so many people, so much love. Today I am deeply grateful.