On Peace

It’s Sunday morning and I’m outside by a fire in some great midwestern Feb sun, a hoodie and with a jelly jar of 2019 (our engagement year) Washington red wine.

David is walking up with some dry firewood I had stashed in my vintage (2006?) Honda from a workshop I taught back in the fall. I am breathing deep and reflecting – a lot – on Kindness, its relationship to Peace and how often we are required to call these forward because there is more LOVE in our life.

That’s right. I believe as Love increases in your life, there is a shift in how much Peace you experience.

Think about getting a puppy. More Love, less Peace. It makes sense.

Just as I write this, I notice the warm body of my blonde boy dog, Thor. Gorgeous dog, honestly who is now getting pets and ear strokes from David. Also enjoying the casual sunshine on a winter morning, we all know spring is a thing and are happy to see the world turning its way.

I believe as God gives you more Love through people and through dogs, the shift in how much Peace the external world gives you is not to make you question the Love or its meaning but to draw you inward. For what more is the spirit of Peace than the breath? The balance of alternate nostril breathing, the purification of breath of fire, the immediate effects of more oxygen in the brain from simple 3 part or 6 count inhales. I mean. Peace, I think, has always been meant to come from within.

I like to say I don’t know what I am doing with my life and I tend towards the struggle of “what’s the point and purpose” but I know how it feels to stumble upon freeing spiritual perspective and if there is one thing I can offer the world, it would be – at minimum – a sample of the truth in my life that is making navigation easier. Note: It’s not making hard things easier, it’s making the navigation of life easier. Hard things will always be hard.

My reflections this morning started as noticing how self love is God’s love and morphed into how inner peace is God’s Peace. I read Psalm 13 and replaced “Lord” with Peace and broke down the words to feel applicable: “How long, Peace – will you forget me forever? How long will you hide what you look like these days (face) from me?”

What does Peace look like these days?

There is an American Spiritual Song that references Peace “like a river” – Peace as changeable, fluid, evolving. But yet, always in the same direction – always headed for it’s bigger place. Able to carry, able to be explored. Peace can look like anything.

For me, a big part of my spiritual life is noticing how my faith in something bigger than me that gives me purpose requires me to grow and change. I think of the whole process like a plant. A little tender plant brought home from the nursery and how – no matter how long I have been gardening – I always brace myself for that first heavy rain or forceful wind. Astonished the next morning how the plant seems a little stronger because of what it weathered.

Its first full day in blazing sun where it looks parched and in desperate need of water, to then drink and seem to have grown an inch.

What are you taking in? Through your body, your senses, your heart? And how is the heat of it? The force of it? Changing you?

That growth, seems to be, an internal process based on what the plant takes in from the outside.

So what does Peace look like for you today?

And how can you use that breath – that fire – that sunshine – that ease to allow the internal processes to take in the elements of life and transform your heart?

Just keep figuring yourself out, honestly. Is all you can do.

On Growth & Hydration

I just got into bed without a cup of hot water and – though I am so eager for a flow, that inner voice of my body telling me to stick with what I know she needs to sleep well is kindly persistent. brb.

Ok. Back. As your yoga instructor via blog form, let’s all just take this a reminder to close the eyes, inhale and check in with the bod. Responding to requests (for water, for movement, for support, etc) – is an act of building inner trust, self leadership.

Dedicated response to the body is a part of a root of long lasting growth.

And if there is one thing I know about these days, it’s growth and if there is one thing I know about growth, it’s that growth definitely requires the root.

The root of the issue.

The root of who you are.

The root of what you want.

The root of why you want it.

The root. Your roots. Being rooted. Rooting down. Digging up roots.

That’s where I am tonight: digging up roots. Examining some fundamental beliefs about home and self and transplanting them into smaller pots to keep an eye on them for a little bit. I have been observing my interactions with others lately and wanting to reign it in a little bit, be a better listener, not take so much personal offense when people maybe aren’t super interested in my great ideas for their life or when they would rather be alone than with me. These observations are leading me into truths like how trustworthiness starts in trusting yourself.

How trusting yourself starts in listening.

How listening starts with attention. Breathing. Stopping.

I am going to foster some roots of understanding that I think will really help me grow upright and strong. Like my understanding that forgiveness doesn’t require confession and how you can literally live a forgiving lifestyle where you are proactively providing grace for others.

I am learning how that whole removing the splinter in your eye thing actually seems to imply you start paying attention to what it is you notice.

I am noticing how when others seem to be acting out of spite, “trying to teach a lesson” or playing little manipulative games: I should just let them. Play along. Smile and Breathe. And if you hate the game so much, definitely don’t do it yourself.

You know, and trust that if a person really is acting from spite, their own life will show them their spite. Any time I have acted out of spite, it isn’t a person pointing it out that humbles me. I learn from my own undoing. The private moments of realization. The thing I lost because I tried to gain. Realizing this is big time game changer, especially for step parents….

Pay attention to what you notice and start to see your patterns. And then choose differently.

If you are in a cycle with a person, notice when you are about to do something the same way you have always done it and and consider it up for negotiation. If you would normally point it out, don’t. If you would normally state a preference, don’t. If you would normally share how it made you feel, don’t. If you would normally ask how a person is feeling, don’t. If you would normally draw a comparison, don’t. If you would normally (see how I am getting SO much better) give life advice, just definitely freaking don’t.

And enjoy the fact that breaking this system also gives you permission to stop doing the things you thought you had to do. Let the towel stay on the floor. Don’t fuss over the fridge. Take family meals one day at a time. Don’t worry about if one kid eats all the Cheez Its.

(Which also means: Eat all the Cheese Its if you normally would stop so that you did not eat them all.)

Above all, I have learned growth is about responding privately when something is problematic. How?






And remember. The body breathes, the spirit breathes. The mind breathes.

Retreat is found in showers, flowers, museums, writing, prayer, yoga, walking, running.

The body feeds on colors and proteins. The spirit feeds on scripture and song. The mind feeds on ideas and stars.

Touch soothes. Lotion and oils soothe. Humming soothes. Meditation soothes. Staying in the present soothes.

Remembering these things is the root of self control. That listening to the body.

That call and response of the true need of physical comfort and safety as the driving force in your growth.

Oh. And all of this requires water.

Speaking of which I have a half of a mug left and a good night’s sleep to tend to.

This has been a closing moment here on Frozen Spaghetti…

Signing off, the Little Red Zen.

Sometimes @ Window Seat

Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can move through a motion like pulling a curtain back in the morning and feel this awareness of young Erin, 8 year old Erin, who has grown.

Hard to put into words, this awareness feels like « oh so this is what happened ». There is a quality of wonder and appreciation. Like I am seeing who I wanted to be when I grew up and stepping into the power that it is, in fact, me.

In teaching these days, I try to provide a path to this feeling. Many times in my personal practice, my hand will find its way to rest on my rib cage or my one foot will tuck under the other and I’ll witness the other worldly way the body comforts and supports itself.

I believe it is in the moments in yoga when the body interacts with the body or when the breath guides the body into a pose (either through vinyasa or through restorative release) that doors open to connect with who you have always been.

When you witness your body and allow yourself to delight in things like « huh, this is how you like to stretch when you wake » or « how funny I always go to the right side first », you invite the same observatory appreciation to things like « I laugh like that when… » or to parts of your personality that are truly you; unmasked and unmade by others.

All the sudden, you trace your hand under the running faucet or you smooth the sheet in a way just so that you see yourself. Your movement, a constant paintbrush – your energy, a constant color.

I believe these things to be very, very true. As in these things, we come to a place of non violence – of grace – within ourselves. This place fruits compassion for others, an honor of limits and space for self study.

It’s in yoga, I find the heartiest season of advent: the expectation of peace, the surrender to goodwill, and the rest available in what we can imagine an unconditional, non judge mental love feels like.

The refuge.

The light.

Now it’s time to create