#WholyHappyHour [12/20]: Continuing the Practice of Becoming Our Own Refuge

Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM
at Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue

Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self is a mindfulness practice of self-study that awakens clear comprehension and nurtures self-compassion. We take refuge in breath, relying on the visceral texture and sound of it coursing through body. The breath is here: a tangible, sensate experience. It feeds and cleanses every cell and fiber. It anchors and calms the brain. Resting in the breath, we come home. We remember the self in its wholeness — its nature to change in body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions. We touch the heart and mind of love [read more].

Make no mistake, becoming an island unto oneself is not about disconnecting from others. I visualize myself as being anchored in the center of a vast sea, with waves rippling away from me and returning to me, each concentric ring is a sacred circle of love, safety, and support:

The space I hold for myself –> The space being held for me in which I am enveloped by the full embrace of good spiritual friends (my sangha as well as my circle of family and friends) –> The space in which I hold others.

When I tend to myself with the energy of mindfulness and compassion, I remain solid, fresh, fueled and aflame” and continuously expand my capacity to “love from my center” (Romans 12:9-13, MSG). And, just as the Metta Bhavana meditation instructs, those ebbing tidewaters are then able to carry off the compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness I have generated to others. Soon the ripples rush back to flood me with energies that renew and sustain me. In moments of distress, I send out my suffering — in all its heavy, hot, sticky textures — with the practice of Tonglen.  That which no longer serves me is released and dispersed, its potency diminished. I become awash with relief — cool, clear and light. I take refuge in the island of the self so that my heart does not shut down, withhold from, and harden against the world. But stays open and free to experience the interstitial wave of connection to all around me. I am an island with welcoming shores.

Notes + Related Readings:



Dec 16th | 2:30  – 4:30 PM ~ Presenting “Criteria for Skillful Communication” at the Facilitators Guild.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 1]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 17th | 1:00  – 3:00 PM ~ Conscious + Fit: Building Body Awareness at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 24th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 2]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

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