FINDING YOUR WAY BACK

“This morning, I opened two gifts. They were my eyes.” Unknown

Sometimes, I wake into a sleepy state of forgetfulness. Do you know that feeling? It has a bass note of anxiety and a through line of not good enough. It’s vaporous and shadowy and hard to pin down. An aged ring of insidious discomfort that quietly wriggles its way into those opening moments of daybreak. 

It tends to happen if I’ve been traveling or thrown out of rhythm. Adapting to new hotel rooms, cities, landscapes, languages, food, air quality, space. My particles take their time to catch up after flying too many miles in too short a time. And so the old cloak drapes itself over my sensitive head.

One of my dear friends recently shared about how her self-care practices had slipped since Christmas. How work had taken over and how easy it can be to breathe the morning shadows bigger with cruel whispers of disappointment. When, really, our practice is to simply pause, listen and tune into what is alive inside us. To listen to what our being is truly calling for. We get fooled into thinking it’s chocolate or beer or distraction but, if we look a little closer, it’s often rest, nourishment, touch, connection or the edges of an emotion that hasn’t been traced.  

And this is the practice. To strip away the stories and dissolve old patterns so we can move closer to what is really happening in each moment. To get closer to truth. To what is referred to as first order reality. Reality before you have a thought about it.

“The presence of stillness opens the body and soaks into you like a sponge, if you allow it. A silent understanding happens that is not in words but is the direct experience of what is.” Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

There are many portals into presence and ‘what is’: stillness, touch, art, music, movement. I’m always looking for new ones and this is a small selection that might help you find your way back home:

  1. FOLLOW THE INNER PROMPTING

If you’re feeling heavy when you wake up, break your routine and let yourself be guided to your journal, your mat, your lemon water, your shower. Mix it up. Don’t do what you always do. Let your inner voice take the lead and see where you end up. I always give myself 90 minutes in the morning to get ready, eat and allow for whatever is needed – writing, moving, dancing, meditating, breathing, sitting, sipping some warm elixir. 

  1. DO ONE THING

Whatever it is, focus entirely on just one thing. Maybe its walking outside your front door with bare feet and breathing the morning air. Maybe it’s five minutes of meditation. Maybe its being completely present while you polish every tooth. Maybe you grab your journal straight away and let the pen move across the page in words or pictures. Which leads me on to tip two.

  1. WRITE

I did this today. I sat up in bed, pulled out my laptop and started to write about the shadows. It turned into a poem. Which turned into this blog. Let life move through you and see where you end up. And then take that principle into the rest of your day. When you go into a story, feel your feet, breathe, listen, then follow the inner prompting again.

  1. BE A CREATURE

Because you are one. This really goes out to my friends in the UK and Northern hemisphere. Sleep, rest, snuggle, eat warm soups and stews, do less and be more. Go to bed earlier and catch the quiet of the winter mornings.

  1. MICRO MEDITATE

If sitting to meditate has fallen away or feels out of reach then do micro meditations throughout the day. Close your eyes and tune in to the contents of the moment. Use your senses to anchor you into presence and sit quietly for a few minutes. Ask yourself, ‘what is the quality of this moment before I have a thought about it?’ Or put your earphones in and enjoy a guided meditation for ten minutes at lunchtime. It will make all the difference.

You can practice presence in each and every moment. The portals are always there and meditation allows us to abide there more fully but you can step in at any time.

How do you find your way back to yourself when the shadows creep in? What are your ways ‘in’ when practice is out of reach? Please add to this little list and guide us all into your own magic doorways by leaving a comment ❤

MORNING SHADOWS

Still, sometimes, 

there are mornings 

where that yawning

shadow hangs

a papery lace,

yellowed and stained,

like my mothers nicotine walls.

It suffocates my deeper knowing,

rivering so freely below. 

A heavy widow’s cloak

blocks out the light and

that part that knows 

this new day is complete.

But I am sleeping

and the edges of not enough 

are sharp and ragged.

Lodged in old grooves,

achy wheels that get stuck,

carrying the ghost of uncertainty

so she can sit lightly on my chest,

almost imperceptible,

her heavy layers 

tremble with short breaths

until I let her pass through.

A blessing for your unfolding

ibizaaprilretreat-247.jpg

May you happen upon yourself

And be stunned at your own brilliance.

May you stand still in silent recognition of your light.

May you realize your true worth and trust in your unfolding,

May you rise up from the depths of your vast, unchartered heart.

May your heart be torn in two to break through the final holding,

While tears of joy pool in rivers along the banks of your soft neck.

May vulnerability guide you deeper into knowledge of your courage

And may courage be your chalice and your chosen cup of truth.

May your truth pour freely from you as you share your healing stories,

May your stories be received with all the love that they bestow.

May you see yourself more clearly and may you see that you are seen now

May the in-between spaces be the places you call home.

The practice of re-membering

 

FullSizeRender

Did you forget? Did you lose sight of yourself and become blinded in all directions, deafened by the noise and dampened by the clutter? Did you forget what it feels like to come home? To gently usher in the ocean of bliss that rises from communion with your soul? Did you forget about your healing? Your traumas? Your sore places and feeling parts? Did you forget how you love to laugh and swim inside the roaring waves of experience?

One of my dear students forgot about yoga recently. He didn’t show up to class for a few weeks and when he walked back through the studio doors, it took about five minutes before he said, ‘I forgot’. I forgot how good it feels to be here, to be on the mat, to be part of a community, to move, to remember where I get stuck, where I need to work, how far I’ve come, where I need to go next. We forget the joy of being, breathing and moving. The purification of feeling. The dynamic stillness when we sit in meditation and step into silent conversation. We all forget and that’s the way it’s set up. We forget so we can remember. So we can dance inside the pulsating structures of perfect paradox. We contract we so can expand, we sleep so we can awaken, we burn so we can rise. We live and die inside each breath and in every moment lies the invitation to remember the evergreen field within each of us. That place that is endlessly patient and infinitely present. That place of pure awareness-consciousness, also known as Chit-Ananda. The Shiva space. The ground of being.

I love that sweet homecoming but I also work to remember the parts of me that aren’t so delicious. Those parts that someone once told me were far from beautiful. Parts of me I have exiled and openly spat out in front of myself. Parts of me I have kept quiet and dimmed down for fear of upsetting someone or shining too brightly. Parts of me I haven’t understood or trusted or been able to nurture, parent and breathe back to life. The becoming of this yogini is a wild song of connection and disconnection. I’ve been carefully dismembering myself over the last couple of years, burning through veils of clothing and layers of connective tissue to get to the marrow and vasculature of my bones. Hands dripping with blood and my knees torn from falls of surrender that carry the promise of transformation. Deliberately and consciously flinging myself onto the fire, with as much dignity and integrity as I can gather, before approaching the dark corners to collect the body parts and begin the re-membering.

Re-membering myself has become an innocent and unwitting experience of reclamation and recognition as I come into view.  With compassionate acceptance, I’m beginning to see where I’ve cheated myself, cut myself off, dimmed myself down. I see that I’ve cared so much about everyone else and what they think that I’ve not cared enough about myself and what I think. Freedom has come to be that place of recognition where I see consciousness reflecting back at me. But freedom has also decided to be a very real experience of becoming less bound by my own judgement and expectation, so I can be everything and nothing. Of feeling more free in who I am and how I choose to express myself. Freedom in the choices that I take and being comfortable with each of them. Not trying to live up to someone else’s ideas or ideals of who I am or who I should be. Of holding myself whole and listening to the talking circle inside myself, embracing my inner child, owning my patterns, giving less of a shit about what defines good Col or bad Col, old Col or new Col, teacher Col or student Col, creative Col or consultant Col. Just being free to be all of me, without exclusion, shame, fear or diminishment.

I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a fully integrated human but I know i’m emerging as a much less fragmented one and, as I lovingly stitch my canvas back together, other parts of me take form and I remember.

“Erase what you know, what you are so sure of. And then start thinking again. Not with your mind this time, but with your heart.” Elif Shafak