Tag Archives: meditation

My Soul Speaks of Rewilding

Wild Grace is shifting, shedding, growing, playing, and experiencing a lot. In contrast to the typical summer energetics of expansion and opening, the last few months have been a time of contraction, going inward, craving quietness, contemplation, exploring the inner terrain of my own soul and how it’s reflected in my business, and allowing myself to be guided by my intuition, spirit guides, passions, and deep desires.

I’ve been listening to the plants I use in my medicine in new ways, experiencing them rather than simply learning about them intellectually.  Understanding that they have so much more to teach us than we ever thought possible. That we can learn so much from our environment, the spirits that inhabit the local trees, rivers, meadows, tide pools, and deserts that must be understood through communicating with them rather than reading about them.

Recently, I journeyed with Datura, one of my favorites of the poisonous plants, and thought I’d share with you the wisdom she has for us…

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First came visions of canyons, ancient tree groves, old gnarled twisted trees extending their roots and branches out to take up as much space as this space will allow.  Damp, mossy, loamy forest floors, echoing our shadow places, the darkness so many of us are afraid to explore and experience even though it makes itself known in numerous ways every day and we don’t even notice…

And then a snake wrapping itself around my low belly and hips, not tight like it’s trying to constrict or squeeze, just loose heavy rings encircling my pelvis. Winding its way up my spine, around each vertebra, and I can feel the muscles soften to let her pass by. She comes up and over my right shoulder.

The shoulder that hurts. The one that holds so much and is never seen because I’m afraid of what’s there. The one that’s been waiting patiently for me to be quiet, sit down, lie down, settle down, and cool down. So patient. Just waiting. For me to let go of my anger to see there’s another way to release this fire, to be seen and heard. Okay love, I’m listening…

She speaks of the wild, of the Earth Mother from which I can now see I’ve been hiding because she’s so powerful, amoral, primal, and raw. Life means death, and death means life. Life is not happening to me, I am part of the event known as Life. An observer. A participant whose role is ever-shifting, but that will go on long after my time on this earth is over.

She speaks of a wildness that is beyond my comfort zone. One in which I go wild and let go of the things I’ve previously believed to hold significance, and go deeper. To listen, to honor the spirits that inhabit this environment. To hear the plants speak their wisdom not in words, but in extra-sensory experiences.

This is what my soul craves. This is what the pain is speaking of, what it is guiding me into, and where the illness originates. And it has been long enough. Through lifetimes I’ve heard these messages, always coming in different and new ways, speaking the same truth. Time to rewild, to step into the shadow with my light, to embrace the death, the shedding, the truth. To descend to and traverse the messy, gnarly, brokenhearted creative chaos of the primal Mother that is reflected in the terrain of my own soul.

And to explore and experience this space between worlds with lightness of heart, allowing my soul to shine in her full brightness, trusting that while we may use anger as creative fuel, it is really love that transforms, shifts, and heals the relationship with our Self, each other, and our Mother.

Midsummer Magic

Photo via wortsandcunning.wordpress.com
Photo via wortsandcunning.wordpress.com

This Saturday, June 21, is Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and while some say it’s the first day of summer, it actually marks the peak of light, the peak of the element of fire in our Wheel of the Year.  In the old days, and among some groups nowadays, Midsummer is celebrated as a fire festival, honoring the Sun as it passes its highest point and begins to gradually decline into dark, marking the waning of the light.

So this is a turning point. All of the seeds we have sown for ourselves are reaching maturity and coming close to harvest time, when we can see and reap the fruits of our labor. It’s a still point, before the pendulum swings the other way toward darkness, when we begin to turn inward and reflect on this past period of growth.

And as for this fire?  Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation.  It can burn, consume, shed light, or purify.  In order to transform though, there has to be a container, and that is why we have our spiritual practice.  To hold space for ourselves in love and trust.

I have been deeply listening to my soul, allowing myself to feel grounded, settled, and supported. More and more, I’m letting myself say “no” to things that don’t resonate in order to allow space for things that call to my spirit.  Things that I know I’m meant to do.  I’m following the wisdom of my heart, my guides, my allies.  Old wounds have begun to heal, and I’m going back to pick up pieces of my soul that had been cut off and left behind.  This Summer Solstice I’m reflecting on the teachers I’ve had this past year, lessons I’ve learned (mostly the hard way), and how much I’ve grown to trust my Self.  

What this means for Wild Grace?  You can expect to see a lot more work in this space with plant medicine, moon magic, animal spirits, weaving words, and dancing with shadows.  Sharing more of my spiritual practice and my deep soul with you.  

And as for you…What is being transformed in you by this elemental fire that we’ve been in, that’s been burning, transforming, and purifying?  What has this fire felt like for you?  And as this light is waning, what is waning in your life?  What is ready to be lovingly and graciously released?

On surrender

moon whale

Usually I work with the theme of release during the Full Moon.  I meditate on the old patterns, things that feel stuck that I’m ready to release, to let go of, to clear.  Often I’ll do some kind of releasing ritual usually involving burning things (I am a Leo after all…we love our fire) and then burying the ashes or letting the wind carry them away.

This month, however, in honor of the huge transition going on in my life (as well as I’m sure many of yours), I’ve been sitting with the idea not of letting go, but of surrendering. They sound like the same thing, right? Although they may be similar in definition and sometimes even outcome, to me surrendering has a different energy behind it, and so contributes a different quality to this journey through transition and change.

For most of us, change can be really uncomfortable.  Even when we know it’s what we need or even want, we tend to resist, freak out, lose our center, and fight to hold on to situations, people, jobs, or patterns from which our soul is ready to move on.

To say the first half of this year has been intense for most of us would be a gigantic understatement.  To me, it felt like my very foundation was being shaken until everything I knew to be true crumbled, my walls were leveled, my heart broken open to reveal a softness inside I had allowed very few people to witness before now.  I was knocked to my knees, literally and figuratively.  My physical body changed, and sometimes it felt like those deeply engrained ways of moving, thinking, speaking, and acting were being burned away, consumed by that very fire that used to terrify me when I’d feel it rising.  And when I finally surrendered to that fire, that blaze that I had been afraid would burn out of control if I didn’t contain it, began to soften and reveal something brilliant underneath.

And then I could finally take a deep breath.

All that crumbling, breaking, splitting, and destruction that we’ve been navigating can finally lead to the most space, the most depth, the most compassion, and the most peace we’ve ever felt.  As I look back at the aftermath of the last six months, I see the rubble of old beliefs, relationships, addictions, and roles that I had held onto for my whole life.

And now is the time when I surrender to my uncontainable and irrepressible Being within.  My wild grace.  My creative spirit.  With all this space that’s been opened up, with this unwillingness to abandon myself any longer, unwillingness to edit or hold back this wild creature that’s been set free, I can finally surrender to the Wild Soul I’ve always known was there, waiting to be awakened and uncaged.

So it’s not a letting go.  I’ve done the necessary (for now) letting go and making space.  Now is the time to surrender to my truth.  Under the blessing of this Full Moon, standing in my own sacred space, I now have the necessary space to fully trust my soul to guide me.

What would happen if you sat in the fire?  If you held your space, not knowing how you would come out the other side?

When self-love sucks (and you wanna crawl out of your skin)

People don’t believe me when I say that sometimes practicing self-love sucks.  But have you ever had one of those days when you just want to get the f*ck out?  Your mind might be racing.  And it’s not even that you can’t sit still, it’s that you don’t want to stop moving.  Because if you stop moving, you’ll have to feel all the shit you’ve been trying to run away from.  So you watch episode after episode of some TV series on Netflix.  (There are like 8 seasons of Charmed, FYI.)  Or you turn to food.  Or alcohol.  Shopping.  Sex.  Facebook.  Checking your email 8,000 times.

Recently, I’ve been going through A LOT of soul growth, and as a dear friend once told me, “Transformation is way less fun than I thought it would be.”  Truer words have never been uttered. Transformation is awesome, awful, painful, empowering, and it’ll tear you up and spit you out.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I don’t know what to do with all the emotions that come up around it.  I’m highly sensitive, as I know most of you are, which is a wonderful gift and can also feel like WAY TOO MUCH!

I also come from a long line of addicts, and let’s just say the gene definitely didn’t skip a generation. Sometimes it’s by sheer willpower that I don’t give in to my own addictive patterns and behaviors.  And sometimes I still do.  That’s okay.  Here are some things that work for me on those days when all I want to do is crawl out of my skin, escape, shut down, turn off and I know that I can’t because I’ve come too far.

1. Sit.  Just. Sit. Down. Take a breath. And then another. Feel your magnificent, beating heart. Feel that pain you’re in?  That’s a good sign.  Because that means you’re feeling.  And because pain is THE BEST WAY to heal, transform, shift, and make the changes in your life that you’ve been asking for.

2. Create.  Paint your heart out.  Make it messy.  Write a poem to your darkness.  Make jewelry.  Cook.  The process of creation transforms that manic, “I need to get out of my body” energy and channels it into objects and symbols.  That, my friend, is some serious magic.  (Side story: When I was in treatment one summer I channeled all of my energy into knitting.  Everyone got scarves that Christmas.)

3. Or destroy.  Part of creation is destruction.  So tear, rip, cut, smash.  I have a stack of old magazines reserved for the sole purpose of cutting up.

4.  Cry.  Loudly, quietly, slobbery sobs where you can’t catch your breath, or soft, silent tears that roll down your cheeks.  Whether it’s on your meditation cushion, your yoga mat, a friend’s shoulder, or falling apart on the tiled floor of your shower, that energy’s gotta go somewhere.  What’s that quote about salt water being the cure for everything…?

5.  Call someone.  This one comes with a caveat, though.  I have a lot of friends who are coaches, which is AWESOME!  But when I call them in a “just let me fall apart” moment, I don’t need to be coached.  I just need to be heard.  So either know in advance who can hold your space, or tell them, “Please just listen with compassion and don’t be offended if I use the f* word a lot.  I’m not yelling at you.”  Which brings me to my next point.

6. Ask for what you need.  Sometimes it’s a nap.  Sometimes it’s food.  Sometimes it’s quiet time, to crawl into our little cave and hibernate.  Maybe it’s a walk by yourself, or with your best friend.  When you ask for what you need from the people who love you, it makes us vulnerable, and thus humanizes us.  THAT opens up lots of room for love and compassion.

7. Get outside.  Nature is the most healing, restorative, high vibe place to be.  When I’m all up in my head, there’s a favorite tree I go to sit under, lean back onto, and let all that stuff melt into.  I literally imagine everything that feels too heavy, too much, too dark seeping down into the ground, and giving it up to the earth to be transformed.  Sound too woo-woo for you?  Just try it before you get all judge-y.

8. Trust.  I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  Maybe it’s my inner optimist, but I refuse to believe in coincidences, in shitty things happening for no reason, in bad luck.  I believe our outer world is a reflection of our inner reality, and that we are responsible for the way we participate in life.  So trust that if you’re showing up, doing your best, and honoring your truth, things will play out the way they need to.  (Notice I didn’t say they’ll work out the way you ideally want them to.  At least not right away.)

If none of these work, that’s okay too.  It’s a lifelong practice to be able to sit with your feelings and feel them.  There’s no such thing as failure here.  If it doesn’t work out today, you’ll probably get another chance to practice tomorrow.  Keep showing up.

Dance with your Demons + Play in the Dark

I’ve written about the way our trauma, our stories, our emotions manifest as physical pain before here and here.  I also talk about it A LOT in my yoga classes.  How to sit with your body, your breath, your discomfort, your pain, all the ways you annoy yourself, all the things you tell yourself, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Most of us are so afraid of feeling pain because we don’t think we’re strong enough to handle it.  We think we’ll buckle under the intensity or even that once it starts, the pain might never stop.  What if we can’t stop crying?  Can’t stop feeling angry?  Depressed?  Anxious?  What if we can’t get out of bed?  What if it NEVER stops?  It will.  Just like the feelings we WANT to feel don’t always stick around, neither do the ones that we don’t want to feel.

To heal our bodies, our souls, our hearts, we have to sit with all the sh*t that we don’t want to sit with.  I have a teacher who would always tell me whenever I was in the throes of the latest drama of life, “Stop talking.  Stop talking about your process and just be in it.”  And I would think to myself, “What the f* does that mean??”  Much of the time that we’re talking about what we’re going through, we’re not actually going through it.  We’re escaping it, thinking that we’re dispelling some of that pent up anger, sadness, etc., when we’re really just pushing it away.

So here’s what I learned after finally having nothing left to do except to sit with myself:  Feeling doesn’t mean journaling.  It doesn’t mean talking.  It doesn’t mean exercising.  You can write, talk, run, yoga until you’re blue in the face and your pain and negative self-talk will still be there until you sit down with it, look at it, feel the feelings that come up, learn the lesson(s) it’s there to teach you, and thank it.  So lame.  I know.  But that’s the way it works.  To heal, we must first make friends with our demons, with our darkness.  In the moment, it’ll feel like too much to bear.  It’ll feel heavy, suffocating our heart so that we can’t move, can’t breathe.  Our body will feel like it’s contracting, caving in on our soft, vulnerable heart to protect it from having to feel this seemingly unmanageable pain.

The good news?  At the heart of suffering is healing.  Your consciousness is key.  Once you know that (and now you all do if you didn’t before), you stop giving away your power and come to realize all the answers are in YOU already.  You were born with the answers.  There’s no more waiting for someone else to make you feel better.  So just sit.  Be with your darkness, get comfortable with being SUPER uncomfortable.  Doesn’t that feel good?  Not yet?  Don’t worry, it will.

Dark moon