Unapologetically Present – 7.2 @ Bellingham… in bed.

I wanted to be a meteorologist for quite a portion of my childhood life until I learned that they did not get to pick the weather.

Though I expected there had to be some ratio of rainy days to sunny days, that I was going to have to pick “freezing” one day just because, I was particularly inspired by the idea of picking out the perfect weather for perfect moods… celebrations… events.

***

As I wake up here on grey day #3, I feel a tinge of relief that people have not traveled all the way up here to have a several days without the Washington sunshine.

I could imagine myself apologizing and feeling responsible for the weather. I could hear my friends who lived up here at some point in their life reassure me with their, “girl – we knew what the likelihood was – it’s fine! It’s gorgeous.”

Golden hour would be no guarantee for our beer garden concert. Our morning coffee ceremony really would have required folks be as comfortable as I hoped they would come. Blankets of mix a matched colors. Hats if you need them. Your favorite jacket over a festive shirt. The irony of having over thought your outfit to be covered in a $8 Walgreens poncho. You know, that sort of thing.

***

Personally, I am not unhappy about the grey. I find the bright grey sky makes the ferns beyond vivid, I feel them breathing. The fog over evergreen silhouettes gets me every time and I love a good grey day walk in the woods.

Brown, green and grey are power colors. Sacred.

As I continue to process the theme of control that I started sharing on this blog last night, I feel the need for growth especially now. Whatever kind of experience I am in, I feel my growth calling me to allow the story to unfold exactly as the weather reveals: to be prepared for but not bound by things like overcast, timing or moods.

You know, things of the greater connected world of experience completely beyond my control.

Sometimes the trait of a maximizer can create a mindset of management instead of a mindset of navigation. Prediction takes precedence over opportunism. Maybe even causing grief where and when you could be experiencing something new.

I think realizing what you are trying to control and make perfect is a phenomenon in and of itself: it combines your senses (wow, I feel anxiety) + requires your observation (here are the things at play) + your reflection (why?).

For ever and for always, this brings yoga forward: balancing the effort and the ease. When that edge of control is sharp, I feel it – and I back off. I relax. I think of what is reasonable. I trust the fact I feel anxious means I value something. I find the balanced – open – flexible way to value that same thing but without controlling.

I more easily come to middle ground.

And ….

I feel a lot less pressure than when I thought I was God.

5.6 Yoga Reflection @ My Bedroom Floor

Dedicated to Julie, Jackie and Emily.

As a people person, I relish in connection. When my invitations to dinner bring people around the same table for the first time, yes.

When I think it is the first time and I hear “no, actually – we met before at that thing – at that party – at the market… you introduced us”, for sure.

But more than anything – I love when connection happens because of a different kind of invitation.

This different kind of invitation is a blend of willingness to try, willingness to ask and willingness to pay attention. It is an invitation to yourself that includes others. A precious kind of invite.

I simply must capture my experience this morning.

But first, a little context…

It is without doubt that my heart and my energetic world have been worked during the pandemic. Yet, even as I grieve and push through my things, I have my Target dates – the treasure of time at home, the privilege of social distancing, the opportunity for scenery changes – to show me continual silver linings.

I am experiencing a lot of blessing even in these “uncertain times”. Matter of fact, the degree to which things are uncertain tremendously graces the flux of this marriage season.

Being in the PNW for May is offering me space for a daily yoga practice and has opened margin for writing. This space and this margin inherently come with an invitation to myself to try a daily yoga practice, to be willing to journal this season. And, because I am continually praying for the fold of my circle, consideration of my people, along with the priority of my new tribe; the invitation to myself includes others.

So, today, I reached out to Julie who is sitting with heartbreak and holding space for pain daily. Who, though she may be experiencing similar silver linings in her own home, is also experiencing the not so similar under-linings in the homes of her families, whose communities are being rocked by COVID-19 and bit by virtual memorials.

I asked her how I could support her energetically today. Her answer, “Wisdom + Skill on navigating all the space I am holding”.

I told her I would dedicate my practice to her.

In the early moments of Jackie’s class, (btw – you should take one) Jackie offered to the class to dedicate your practice to somebody beyond you.

I smiled.

This is the connection that comes from the invitation to self that includes others.

That is willing to practice and pray and write and – in that intention – reaches out to a friend because you love them and that takes the role of student to a friend because you love them.

Jackie is warm, earthy and kind – Julie is raw, honest and fierce.

Then I remembered my sister, Emily. Principal of two schools in the city, she cannot hug my mother because of her daily food service to families. She is on frontlines of education + community + COVID.

Practice began and I smiled when we used Kali Mudra throughout practice. Kali… that dear transforming goddess who slays darkness, who takes the initial evolutionary step to light.

Then, something kind of funny happened, Jackie’s pace for breathing was quick and I found myself trailing by two breaths. I actually thought “I wonder if Jackie knows she cues fast, maybe I’ll send her a note”.

“Hey, Erin…” I said to myself, “You are a restorative teacher who – at max – does slow flow. Remember vinyasa classes? Remember that first vinyasa class you ever took? Maybe even your first ever yoga class that summer day in Michigan when you had an NDE? This is work. Breathe. Find your full, quick breaths.”

(I imagine Julie tickled by this, as a standard anchor in our understanding of each other is how she works harder than me, in her pursuits.)

How symbolic, yes? The ease of my quarantine to the effort of Julie’s and Julie’s families.

The silver lining of my cancelled wedding, to the heartbreak of deaths from this illness.

And – low and behold – I found my stride in my practice. When I realized “yes, this is work”, that I could stop, but that I would pick up the pace – in energetic solidarity to Julie and Emily. To people whose efforts know few, if any, immediate luxuries.

There was a flow towards the end that felt pretty and graceful, almost dance like. Which made me smile and think about creative freedom for Julie, that she taps into her party spirit.

And just as I thought – wow – this practice got really Julie focused, the playlist Jackie recommended kicked on some Enya.

Enya: The background music of Emily’s college years, of our roadtrips together. Every tone of every Enya song reminds me of Emily and I just started to cry during the last flow.

As Jackie cue’d us in svasana to bring back the person we dedicated our practice to – to feel the strength and the calm we conjured in our practice and send it to them; I realized what I conjured was not exactly strength and calm though I did feel the benefits of my practice.

But I especially felt shared heartbreak and exhaustion – along with the realization that I had the option to quit my yoga practice because it was hard but they can’t quit what they are doing and that’s hard so, “gosh Erin, breathe and flow.”

So… I laid on my back – more in energetic solidarity than ever – and sent them the sentiment of being seen.

Jackie said something along the lines of, “…what you send out, only doubles, and it reflects back on you – send your strength, let it double, and know you have that strength and more”.

And I laid there… feeling really seen.

A classic
I see you. And, thank you, Jackie! The magic of friendship, yoga mindfulness and creative effort curated a really wonderful practice. Namaste :)

The Yamas. An introduction to yoga ethics with a spiritual twist of lime.

The most important part of this lesson is that you know I speak only from an equal place of experience. I’m 35, almost 36. I have kids. I have been married. I have had an emotional affair. I have experienced debt, grief, fear, pain. And I have experienced healing, freedom, peacefulness and truth. So…

I’d say it all balances out.

I say this idea of me speaking from this place of equanimity is important because it is important that you know when reading this that YOU are YOUR OWN TEACHER. You have a voice that guides. You have a voice that reasons. And you have a pretty vested interest in where YOU are going. So. Listen to that.

Allow me to simply – give you things to take in. And, do so with some sincerity. Which – from all that I can tell – you are here because you are, in fact, sincere.

The Yamas.

5 components of the first limb of yoga. (Of which there are 8. Yamas and Niyamas kicking it off, with focus on breath, movement / posture, then meditation … samadhi.)

Oh. Did I mention I am PUMPED to teach yoga philosophy?

The first Yama is Ahimsa.
Non Violence.
A place a bird can rest peacefully.
An equal feeling. A sense of compassion.
A deep sense of balance – even if, at times, you are rocky.
Ahimsa is what you sit and are when you sit and release.
Ahimsa creates peace. Ahimsa cares for the self. Ahimsa rests, receives, and has a strong sense of self.
Which — this strong sense of self —
allows healthy boundaries be set up,
not out of fear (for fear, it is believed, causes the imbalances which lead to violent outbursts, impatience, and hurtful words)
but out of love.

Bottom line: Pray love into your life on a consistent basis.

From there – you have the following.
Satya – truth – which is the best friend of love.
Asteya – the belief that you are able to take and so you should be aware and be mindful to “leave”. Leave places in peace, leave things in tact, leave things better than when you came, leave people their space, leave children their imaginations, leave every single person in the world their right to peace and love and happiness.
Bramacharya – what you practice when you hydrate, have sex that fuels instead of drains, keeping your private life private, honoring the lives of others in a way that does not, and refuses to, predict the worst. Subscribing to your own best ideas.
Lastly.
Aprigraha. Which.

I can simply translate into:
STOP DRIVING SO MUCH

Ok… time to close.