Immensely grateful for the experiences and learnings that steered me to wrap myself up and rest in this wisdom as I approached the new year.
Abundantly blessed by all the experiences and learnings that have unfolded since.
Clarity. Ease. Holy Listening. Awe.
These have been the gifts of aligning in the unforced rhythms of Grace.
[Image Description: Photo of Lake Michigan in winter. Bright sky with clouds, blue waves cresting against the sand. The quote reads “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” — Eugene Peterson, Matthew 11:29 MSG. With 3jewelsyoga.com printed above it.]
Naps on naps on naps! In this season of soul-tending, I’ve been relishing a slower pace and a quieter schedule where I can rest in the mundane. A key part in spinning down from the fullness of activities in previous months has been to recognize and accept that everyday doesn’t have to be purposeful or productive!
Discovering the nap ministry during this period of reclaiming rest was a clear co-sign from Spirit to reset the tempo of my days.
Even if I don’t actually close my eyes, I’m enjoying the horizontal repose as often as possible.
First of all: Y’all already know that every breath is a new chance to begin anew so today is no more special than yesterday for aligning your clear intentions with skillful actions!
For those who are already clear about what you’ve been called to manifest — the energies to conjure up and call toward you, the aspirations to crystallize into visions that contribute to your legacy — then it’s a beautiful day to draw on the full moon’s power and level up!
If your vision is not yet apparent, then invite the luminosity of the full moon to reveal your divine order, timing, purpose and placement.
I’m calling in clear vision to cultivate lasting legacies rooted in transformative love and elder wisdom.
I usually tune out during commercials, but when I heard Iyanla drop this gem in a teaser for her new season of Fix My Life, I woke the hell up!
I know what resistance looks, sounds, and feels like (thank the goddess I’ve learned to own mine). And, as an empath, I’ve been admittedly agitated by recent encounters with folks harboring energies of delusion, denial, dissatisfaction and the inability to practice accountability about things that are within their sphere of influence. all of these qualities are manifestations of our resistance to spiritual growth.
If we are truly willing to do the work, then we can develop, expand and strengthen our capacity to change our perceptions — even though we may not have the power to (immediately) change our conditions or circumstances.
Spiritual accounting calls for an honest and loving look inward to:
discern the unresolved areas that are causing disparities between our thoughts, words, and deeds.
see our habit energies and patterns of behavior that keep us stuck in grooves that cause suffering.
tend to our wounds and move toward wholeness and healing.
I’m blessed with a circle of beloveds who hold each other down, lift each other up, and trust each other to lovingly say, “Hey, sis, your shadow is showing!“
It’s okay to not be ready, to have doubts ans fears. Where I’ve learned to draw firm boundaries is with those who wear the armor of unwillingness and who are committed to their stuckness. With them, I call on the tough-love wisdom I grew up hearing: “I can’t want [your wellness/healing/wholeness] more for you than you want it for yourself.”
Uninitiated healers often spend way too much time trying to minister to wounds that aren’t theirs to heal and guide those who aren’t theirs to teach. On this, I speak from hard-won experience.
So I’ll conserve my energy, guard my intuitive spirit, filter out the lesson from the agitation, and step waaay the hell back before the connection becomes toxic.
On Sunday, Sangha came full circle by closing our 7+ months of wholy happy hourin the same way that we opened our practice last fall — exploring the lessons of beginning anew as we shift from one season to the next.
Whether we experience this transition as tumultuous, glorious, or equal parts of both, we recognized that our changing selves require some fresh contents in our “medicine bags” to support who we are becoming on this stretch of the path.
So I returned to the query I put forth during our spring series on justice, liberation + healing and encouraged us to discern “What is your prayer, practice or process?” of releasing what no longer serves us and for calling in sacred strategies that honor who we are growing into.
For me, it’s a continuous process of self-reflection in which I root into my practice of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness to assess what is arising, enduring, changing, releasing in body, heart and mind. One poignant question that popped up in my meditation — what are my unmet needs physically, mentally, spiritually, creatively? — was a reminder of how crucial it is for me to take long walks three to four times a week to brighten and declutter my mind. Along with the benefits of movement, the silence, solitude, and moments of stillness I enjoy when I spread out a blanket to lay out in the sun or read (as in the photo below) help me catch up with myself to discern clear decision-making and sort out the tangle of creative ideas.
In the Satipatthana Sutta (and similarly in the eight limbs of yoga), honoring and tending to the body precedes emotions and mental formations. In these and other spiritual practices and healing modalities, the body is the gateway to illuminating, transforming and reconciling the other aspects of our being (feelings, thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes). Of course, it’s not a fixed sequence but an interdependent relationship so whatever is most compelling, what shows up first or makes itself known most powerfully, may be the access point for looking deeply at how it is impacting each domain.
So I come back to my body. Once established in the full awareness of sensations, I am able to renew the process of seeing clearly and responding skillfully to what needs tending. Grounded and aligned, I can embody the prayer that this transition and new season are calling in.
“Part of being more authentic means being willing to be seen as we pray and live in a spirit that seeks inspiration though is humanly imperfect…
Remember that prayer is a process that changes the pray-er.”
“For faith to be alive and to deepen we need to use our power to inquire, to wonder, to explore our experience to see what is true for ourselves. This requires us to approach life with an inquisitive, eager, self-confident capacity to probe and question. It requires us to examine where we place our faith, and why, to see if it makes us more aware and loving people.
To develop VERIFIED FAITH* we need to open to the messiness, the discordance, the ambivalence, and, above all, the vital life-force of questioning.
If we don’t, our faith can wither. If we don’t, our faith will always remain in the hands of someone else, as something we borrow or abjure, but not as something we can claim fully as our own.”
~ Sharon Salzberg, “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”
THE DHARMA FOR REAL
It’s been a tough season for so many of us navigating illness, loss, uncertainty, and atrocious acts of injustice that get closer and closer to home. Anger, fear and doubt easily arise. It presses on the soul and depletes our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.
So grateful to many, many loved ones who bolster me with laughter, inspiration, and perspective. Offering special appreciation to a dear friend + interspiritual minister, Holly Makimaa, for immediately suggesting and sharing her copy of Salzberg’s book on faith when I spoke with her about sangha’s study and practice of the 5 Spiritual Faculties.
FAITH(Pali: “Saddha” with TRUST or CONFIDENCE offered as surrogates for those who are less comfortable with the deeply religious connotations of faith) can feel the heaviest and most complicated — as frustrating and elusive as any attempt to meditate when the mind feels restless and foggy!
Last Sunday, we contemplated CONCENTRATION + DILIGENCE with a fresh understanding that the root meaning of the latter is “love, take delight in.”
Calling on the energy of delight how might we “brighten” and “verify” faith (a trajectory that Salzberg delineates in her book) and sharpen discernment through our practice of mindfulness?
Join us this Sunday, 11 – 12:30 PM, at Heartdance Studio for 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha’s final dharma discussion on the 5 Spiritual Faculties as we explore the relationship between DISCERNMENT + FAITH.