Monday, November 16, 2020

Yoga as Unity

In the tantric philosophy of yoga, yoga means wholeness, to yoke or join together.  This is distinct from the classical yoga definition which orients to the goal of kaivalya:  to abide in one's soul (and not placing as much value on the more transitory aspects of humanity, such as our bodies, emotions, and thoughts).  




Personally, my practice of yoga and meditation is geared toward the tantric aspect of wholeness and integration, bringing our souls / essential selves fully into our bodies, our relationships, and into the world.  One of the ways we can practice to embody the tantric philosophy of wholeness and interconnectedness, is to join together the different aspects of ourselves. To be human includes how we:

- Inhabit our human bodies

- Befriend and connect with our emotions

- Discover our needs and values

- Honor our vulnerabilities as well as our strengths and gifts 

- Honor the past and how we got here

- Be in touch with love and purpose and light and possibility

- To include the places where we have less development and unconscious patterns, (both personal & collective)

- Open to learning and to witness our impact on others,  

- Align our actions with all these aspects of ourselves in a way that serves our connection, sense of belonging, growth, love, and serves the well-being of all of us.

It's not a small goal, this turning toward wholeness!  Living our yoga is a process not a destination.  Every moment is an invitation to start again.  Unity is a process, and the first step is with our most intimate circle of intimacy - our own selves.

Our practice is quite simple really even as practice includes all aspects of ourselves in some way.  Breath and movement and stillness, sensing and feeling, refining our perception, discovering, and most of all caring for ourselves compassionately. Each of us is an inseparable part of the whole that is comprised of each of us, all other species and nature itself.  We practice to remember, to turn toward the embodiment of this yoga as unity: day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.


You can find my current classes, and other ways to work with me, here.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Bridging Past to Future: Facing Racism and Reconnecting with our Hearts

One of the callings of our times is to become a bridge between our past and the future we want.  We become a bridge by cultivating an ongoing connection with what is even as we align our actions with what wants to be born through us.    


Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels
Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels

Facing 'what is' includes facing how 'what was' still radiates through our current experience.  Unfinished, unprocessed experience is sometimes called karma.  Another name for it is trauma.  Trauma exists in individuals, in families, in the collective, and in the systems of our society.  

One collective trauma that I am facing into every day is racism.  

Racism isn't just a word.  It's a code (as all words are) which carries the energetic legacy of trauma which is woven into the very foundations of our systems for hundreds of years.* 

I've been actively learning about whiteness for only about a year, and I'm not an expert.  Writing about my current perception of whiteness and racism (even as I'm still learning) is part of my response to the collective trauma of whiteness, or what the author, Resmaa Menakem calls white body supremacy.  

One of the things that keeps racism going is for people who are systemically in the oppressor role (that's me, with skin known in our world today as white) to not see, feel or take action related to the dehumanizing violence that was perpetrated and became embedded in our systems and the world around us. We told cultural stories that racial violence was over or mostly over, but it isn't.    

I'm turning towards it every day.  

Lifting a veil of unconsciousness and facing systemic oppression and violence is painful. The seduction of continuing to not know, not feel, and not respond to the cultural domination system we were born into is strong.  We are all woven into racist systems and for many of us, our participation and enabling remains unconscious.  Even as we wake up to face, the tendency for us to become overwhelmed, shut down, or otherwise disconnect is powerful.  

My experience is becoming conscious of the water we are swimming in is an ongoing process.  We may see it but not feel it.  Face part of it but not all of it.  Bame others.  Feel but remain unable to respond and take action.  Get overwhelmed.  And so on.      

When abuse of power is occurring, it's healthy to see, feel, and respond to what's actually happening.  Even though facing it is painful and often confusing, the waking up process reconnects us to our natural grounding, to the beauty of our own hearts, and to the natural resources of life.  We re- align with our inner compass, and with the best of our humanity.  We become both the bridge to what is possible, as well as the people who walk over the bridge into an equitable future, one step at a time.  


*"400 Years of Inequality is a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals calling on everyone - families, friends, communities, institutions - to plan their own solemn observance of 1619, learn about their own stories and local places, and organize for a more just and equal future." They are "dedicated to dismantling structural inequality and building strong, healthy communities."  - 400 Years of Inequality website 

  

Friday, September 4, 2020

Nurture Your Inner Garden of Spaciousness with 4-Sync Meditation

Within us, we each have the potential to access an inner garden of spaciousness.  


How are you . . . 

- caring for your vitality, health and physical relaxation?

- befriending your emotions which may be stimulated by all that's going on in the world every day? 

- tending and clearing your mind, focusing on what's important and what's yours to do? 

- touching deeper meaning and resource? 


In these difficult times, it's more important than ever to replenish the inner resources you need to show up and in the world as in invitation for peace, connection and creativity.


Transformation Playground - Guided Meditations on Sound Cloud

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Embodied Listening - Going Deeper (Part II)


In Part I of Embodied Listening, I wrote about how what has been fragmented or undigested within us can be welcomed back into wholeness.  Sometimes we call this unprocessed, stored experience “trauma.”  People sometimes think that trauma should be gotten rid of, but fragmenting energy which wasn’t successfully processed was and is not bad.  It’s an intelligent, protective movement in order to maintain functioning.  Trauma is in itself a function, not a dysfunction. 

Similar nervous system responses occur during the developmental process, when children aren’t responded to in ways which wire the nervous system for healthy attachment and individuation. In these cases, parts of the nervous system remain undeveloped, until an intervention occurs.

Regardless of the cause, most of have in our bodies (or as Thomas says, our biocomputer) either frozen / shadow areas, or areas where development was initially skipped over.   

Understanding the function of the trauma shut-down response in the nervous system helps us understand at a micro level what we all have experienced in our lives to a greater or lesser degree: repeating the past.   When energy has been fragmented and a part of our nervous system is shut down, the past equals the future because we haven’t been able to access, presence, and metabolize the energy which is closed off from our experiential, embodied awareness.  The trauma is untouchable or invisible to us, except through the symptoms it creates.   One of the symptoms is repeating unpleasant experiences in our lives which we wouldn’t consciously choose to re-create.



The flow of conscious, embodied presence -- which I’m calling embodied listening – supports inner and outer flow, which allows more of our nervous systems to be accessible.  As more of our nervous systems are accessible, we experience a felt sense of grounded wholeness, and a greater capacity for feeling, connection, and ability to process material that formerly was so difficult as to be inaccessible, either through overwhelm or numbness.  Embodied listening as a path of reclaiming wholeness supports the healing of our nervous systems which facilitates us to move into frontiers, ‘standing on’ what we’ve learned and integrated from our past experiences.    A new future becomes possible. 

In Part III, I’ll write about our collective nervous system, and how embodied listening in groups can help heal and free of us from the collective traumas of our joint past.


with love,
Rhonda

P.S.  Lifting, lifting is an example of a much-utilized coping response to discomfort and stored trauma within the body and nervous system. 

Embodied Listening - Context (Part I)


I’ve been intensively studying with Thomas Huebl, a modern mystic and spiritual teacher, through his online interactive community programs for the last few years.  Learning with Thomas and his community has deepened my meditation practice which began 17 years ago and refined my understanding of subtle anatomy and energetics, contributing both to my inner healing and the way I work with individuals and groups.  Actually, what I’ve learned has impacted every aspect of my life. 
One thing which excites and calls me to action is embodied listening, which sounds simple.  However, listening has many layers.  Listening is impacted by our intention, and dependent on our nervous systems, which we are listening with and through. 



Did you know that when human beings have an experience that cannot be dealt with, the nervous system is wise enough come up with a solution?  Isn’t that amazing?  The nervous system knows how to compartmentalize and shut down a part of itself and store an experience until resources become available to process it through.  This trauma response within our bodies is sometimes looked at as something we’d like to let go of or get rid of, but it’s an intelligent, protective movement to maintain functioning.  To me, the trauma response is an embodiment of love in action, in the form of protection.  And I see embodied listening as love in action too.

The flow of conscious, embodied presence -- which I’m calling embodied listening – provides a healing resonance through which our nervous systems can return to wholeness.  We experience deeper relaxation and grounding which supports spaciousness for integration and continued evolution to occur.  Through embodied listening, what has been fragmented or undigested can be welcomed back into wholeness and the movement of life. 

I believe the world needs us to listen.  To ourselves.  To others.  To the spaces between us.  To our hearts.  To our pasts.  To our planet.  To all creatures.  To our systems.  To our pain.  To our possibilities.  To our future, and the future of our children’s children. 

I intend to write more about embodied listening, what that means to me, what I think the implications are, and creative ways I feel called to share and explore with others who are interested. 

Warm blessings,
Rhonda

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Today's meditation journey to stillness, and beyond.

Do you know that experience of feeling crowded on the inside?  Too much stuff going on.... inside, around you....  And, at the same time a strong urge to keep going, keep moving, do this, do that, do more. 

Today my choice is to stop.

Sit here.

Connect. 

Breathe. 

Notice my breath, and the feeling of my body sitting on the couch, one foot curled under, and one hanging down toward the floor.  Learning back.  The sun is shining through the windows, My houseplants seem to be drinking it in, and the shrub outside is moving gently in the breeze.  The heater just kicked on.  An airplane is flying by.  Two cars just drove down the street alongside my home.

Breathe

I admire the pretty colors of the room around me. 

Breathe

Settle.  With a hand over my heart, I feel my heartbeat.  My exhalation is lengthening.  My jaw just relaxed a bit and my shoulders just dropped down and back. 

Turning toward inner movements, I can feel my body sensations.  My emotions seem to be slowing down and spreading out, a gentle tingling, flowing movement throughout my inner body.  Thoughts seem to be relaxing down and in like my body resting in a hammock. 

mmmmmmmmmmmm
And now what?

Still feeling my inner body, and also seeing the room around me.  Eyes sometimes closing, sometimes opening.  Breathing.

I'm becoming aware of spaciousness around and through me. 

And something else. 

A tinge of heaviness in and through the space.  I'm tired.  It's like looking through a heavy blanket.  Clear, but heavy. 

mmmmmmmmmmmmm
Welcome, welcome.

I notice spaciousness again.  The heavy inner blanket thing is dissolving.
mmmmmmmmmm

I feel a light something, which I'll call clarity, and has a kind of a sparkle to it. 
Welcome, welcome. 

Ahhhh, stillness. 

A sense of an anchor, a magnetic sensation, connecting the base of my body down toward the center of the earth.  Simultaneously, an opening, tingly funnel sensation upward, above the crown of my head. 

mmmmmmmmm
I'll rest here a while.

Now a dullness, emerging around and through my lower body.  hmmmmmm
Welcome, welcome.

Eventual dissolution and awareness of that central magnetic channel.

Turning toward vastness, opening into the infinite.
hmmmmmmm, What is calling me?  What wants my attention?

Fire.  I had an image of fire, and the thought of the fires in Australia.
Now grief, a heavy heart.
Welcome, welcome.  I will host this experience too, as best I can, as I do whatever comes into my awareness when I'm meditating...
My jaw is tightening.
Breathing.

I feel angry.
Welcome, welcome.

I'm noticing that central channel, a a sense of spaciousness.

Now, to close, time for gratitude.
Thank you breath.
Thank you body.
Thank you emotions.
Thank you mind. 
Thank you essence.
Thank you spirit.
Thank you awareness.
Thank you understanding.
Thank you compassion.
Thank you what I don't understand.
Thank you mystery.
Thank you now.
Thank you past.
Thank you future.
Thank you life.
Thank you beauty.
Thank you joy.
Thank you reader.

I appreciate you sharing my meditation with me today.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Writing to Bridge the Gap: Little Soldier

Marching through the world

Pushing on
Moving on
Marching on
Carrying on

Like a little soldier

-- too young to be a soldier --

but a soldier none-the-less

who does what must be done.