Why all the talk about Goddesses?

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I’ve often categorized women as on my team or not. Those on my team I have taken with me to explore and adventure and love, but, admittedly, it has been a long practice of learning to celebrate with them for their successes and gifts. For a long time, I felt jealous or sad, even angry if they got something or had something I wanted. Now, I can honestly say that has changed and I am truly happy, proud, and grateful when my girl friend’s dreams and desires come to life. I now stand and celebrate with them, whole heartedly. But, for those not on my team, I am still working on being aware of the judgement and comparison and then, choosing how I respond, deciding if love, empathy, compassion, and celebration, is truly what I want to extend. Now, once I notice I’m judging or comparing, I am choosing to stand with them, even from afar.

For such a long time, life has been a competition and I tried to win at the XYZ game (smarts, physical ability, guys, yoga, etc.). But wow, it’s exhausting! I know I am not alone. We women learn these things from books, magazines, TV (hello: advertising is all about making us women feel less than; we then cure this feeling by buying the sh*t being touted as the miracle answer to us being fat, having cellulite, wrinkles, being tired, sick, etc.), the movies we watch (when was the last time you noticed more than one woman in a movie or a woman who didn’t talk to another woman only about guys, in a movie that wasn’t titled a “chick flick”). We women are programmed to compete and feel less than.

Now, I’m finding more and more I’m celebrating women, their dreams, their truths, their desires and like a drug addiction, it’s so much more fun. I’ve begun to call this the “Goddess Rising” phenomenon. It’s a throw back to the worship of the female entity, to a time when women were revered and celebrated, instead of crushed, held down, and told to be subservient. The word goddess evokes a stirring that something isn’t right, it pokes, it shakes, it rattles, and that is exactly the intention. The word goddess reminds us women that we too have the Divine in us.

All this started with awareness, with meditation, with yoga. From there, it moved into celebrating my own achievements and gifts and then, with this new found confidence, I began to share and talk about it/them. This practice has continued and deepened, moving into desire and longing, getting in touch with my sacred female qualities (which men have also: collaboration, joy, pleasure, sensuality, vulnerability, surrender, patience, intuition, creativity, community, etc.). All this is counter-cultural. This is risky. This is new. This isn’t easy, but it’s what the world has been missing for a few thousand years as we have swung to the worshipping of masculine traits (profit, bigger, better, faster, harder, being practical, an individual, logical, non-expressive, competitive, war).

Yoga and meditation, have been the vehicles, the tools through which this has blossomed. And now, I’m all in. It is now be my life’s mission to follow my deepest yearnings and desires, no matter how scary or hard or weird, and be here to champion the same in others.

So, here’s to desires realized and the tree of life growing from their actualization. (Proverbs 13:12)

“The greatest threat to a woman’s happiness and success is her own negative judgment of herself, and other women.

Every flower/woman has her very own unique way of blooming.

I have mine.

You have yours.

She has hers.

The point is to damn the torpedoes and bloom.

Full speed ahead, and bloom.

Bloom in this lifetime.

Bloom now.

Really. Right now.

Don’t let the cultural prejudices against blooming stop you from stepping up to your own plate.

Don’t wait, just in case we don’t get another round.

Bloom, even if the sun generated from another woman’s light hurts your eyes.”

Regena Thomashauer

This pic is from one of my many adventures with the goddesses Heather Phillips and Tara Huff. 💞 So thankful for these and the other women in my life! And, now, I’m truly thankful for those women not in my life, I’m celebrating you too.

xoxo

Meditation: faith, breath, and trust

Meditation focused on the breath used to bring me a lot of anxiety, agitation, frustration, fear, and a feeling of being uncomfortable in my own skin. There was an underlying feeling of control and lack-there-of, with this style of meditation, so I usually avoided it. Instead I would meditate on a word, a verse, being in nature, or I used actions like washing dishes, singing, and yoga to bring me into the present moment, these were things I could control. Just recently, however, I came across some info that explained that breath-focused-meditation literally demonstrates that we are not in control: the breath is something that changes and morphs with each moment in quality, depth, sound, sensation, inside of us/from us/through us, so using breath-focused-meditation is a technique to build trust and let go. Breath-focused-meditation therefore builds faith: we face fears head-on, we surrender to the Divine, we work through struggles, and with regularity, the breath shows us that moments and life change but we will be ok, transformation happens and we can move with this flow of breath and life, if we so choose. This simple explanation has changed everything for me and now I’m longing to use breath as my meditative focal point.

For so long I’ve been trying to control my thoughts in breath-focused-meditation, violently pushing thoughts away and forcing myself to “come back to the breath,” pushing thoughts away and chastising myself to “stay present.” This was my way of control, or should I say, lack of trust, and thus I built anxiety, frustration, and discomfort. It’s no wonder I didn’t like this style of meditation! Now that I realize breath is the physical representation of faith, of the Divine, I’m experiencing a subtle shift and I’m letting go, trusting. In my meditation practice when I notice the feeling of anxiety I pause, and take a step back, and gently and easily turn my attention back to the breath; when I notice feelings of frustration, I pause and acknowledge these feelings, I take a step back and gently turn my attention back to the breath; when I notice thoughts racing through my mind, I pause, I take a step back, and easily turn my attention back to the breath and I become present. Instead of forcefully pushing thoughts away and chastising myself, I acknowledge these thoughts and feelings: I call them out and literally label them “thinking,” “feelings,” or “judgement,” and maybe most significantly, I step back and observe. As I separate myself from the thoughts, I then gently come back to the breath and the flow of it, and I build faith, I build a deeper connection with the Lord. With this subtle practice, I come back to the moment, this one right now, and I center myself with grace and ease on this flow. This stepping back and separating my identity from thought, this stepping back and separating myself from feelings, this stepping back and trusting in the breath and flow of life has made all the difference and my practice builds peace. This watching, observing, and acknowledgment of thinking and feeling loosens the hold my mind tries to have on my spirit and soul. This stepping back and witnessing breath is building a harmony in my triune being and I am loving the effects.

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Cancer doesn’t define me

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This week I was featured in Redding’s local newspaper, the Record Searchlight. I’m 12 years post the ovarian cancer surgeries, chemo, and death sentence and sharing my story on a broader scale has allowed me to talk and connect with others who are either going through cancer or are post experience as well. It has been a real revelatory and profound week.

My hope has always been to use what the devil meant for evil, for Good and I’ve had the privilege to see it happen over and over again. It makes me so glad to see that the sh*t I went through isn’t for not. That the darkest places I experienced can be turned around to shine light and hope. This fuels and inspires me to keep pressing on! And yet, I am so much more than a cancer survivor. I am so much more than someone who is strong. I am so much more than a yoga instructor. I am so much more than a woman. I am so much more than someone who works hard. I am so much more than someone who inspires. I am so much more, and so are you.

There is actually a small-ness and belittling effect when we singley identify ourselves with xyz, whether it’s being a Christian, a yogi, a cancer fighter, a woman, a college grad, etc. Our identity’s are not determined by what we do, by what we say, by who we present to the world. We are so much more. I am so much greater. You are way more important. Let us rise to the calling that is from heaven. Let us explore the depths of this being (self) that we have been created to be. Let’s try and work and explore and adventure into the innermost parts of God and ourselves to turn this world upside down and let Peace and Hope and Love and Beauty prevail! It’s going to be messy and hard and fun and challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who’s with me?

You can see a video of me sharing about the benefits of yoga as a healing process here, from this interview.

Namaste. Shine on!

xoxo