Hold Me Sweetly

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Again, I am drinking my Yogi brand tea for Throat comfort, and again I am reminded that the best things come in small packages.

“Trust creates peace”

I have so many people mistrusting me lately for reasons based in their own fears. I realize now it was their own fears, but in the heat of the fire, I was panicked, unsure, anxious, doubting myself, which only played into their view (projection) of me. I alleviated the worst of it yesterday, and today was full of so many wonderful affirmations from professionals, friends, and strangers alike that I am the good person I thought, and not the monster these people made me out to be.

If trust creates peace, then mistrust creates hell, for everyone involved. Trust has to also include trust in yourself. Trust in yourself really requires trust in something larger than you. Call it what you want, but being able to trust that things are truly happening as they need to is not easy. It takes surrender.

I received a healing from my friend today, who used to train in Sufi healings, and it was interesting what came up. Not surprising, but interesting.  He told me to drop into my heart, and I honestly didn’t know what that meant. I still don’t, but I thought about opening, breathing into my heart, etc. At first, lights behind my eyes were billowing in and out, in the shape of a heart, and purple even. Then, I tried to envision my physical self, with the area of my heart expanding with each breath, and in my mind’s eye, that area was caved in. It just wouldn’t budge and expand.

From there, my body felt very large and heavy, like I was inside a giant rock, but it didn’t bother me, and I didn’t feel stifled. I transitioned out of that into something else…so much I forget it all. At one point, my friend told me to ‘feel completely supported’, and I was instantly brought back to one of the darkest, most challenging times in my life. It was one of the nights shortly before I gave up my dream of dance.

I had a full scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School, but I didn’t have any way to support myself. My body was shutting down. My hips were so tight and painful that I sat out of many classes. I never went to anyone for help. I called up my pilates instructor one night in desperation to alleviate some of the tightness and pain so I could take class.

She had me lie down on the floor of my little basement room and put my legs up the wall. ‘Now, let the floor completely support you. You don’t have to hold yourself. Feel completely supported.’  And as the floor came to meet my body and hold me, I broke down. Like a little girl running to her mom’s embrace, I sobbed. I had been holding my pride, holding my life together, holding in my hurt and pain, and my body reflected it. I wasn’t even able to trust that the ground beneath me would support me.

Today was a reminder to trust that the world around me will hold me. I need not resist or hold or brace against anything. That is lack of trust in everything in the world, which is really all one breathing soul with limitless manifestations. How can I not trust that which is of me? When I start hurting and feeling like things aren’t going well, that somehow I am not a part of this amazing world of peace and light, I will PAUSE, FEEL the earth and the space around me, SURRENDER to the moment, and be THANKFUL for this universe that holds me so sweetly.

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When the heart speaks….move

Aside

I remember when I first started Anusara yoga, and the teacher said to ‘melt your heart.’ I really didn’t get it, and I am still in the process of “getting it.” In fact, I always will be, and that’s one of the wonderful things about yoga. Forever a student.

One of the first thoughts I had when I realized this was an actual theme in Anusara was of Gelsey Kirkland, a ballerina I idolized when my life WAS ballet. Her first book Dancing On My Grave fascinated and scared me. Her passion for dance and perfection drove her to severe anorexia and cocaine abuse. It scared me because I wanted that intensity. I wanted to let the passion overtake me and drive me, to give in completely to it and see where it took me.

Her next book The Shape of Love amazed me. In it, she was coaching a dancer in a role that she had herself danced. She was trying to get the dancer to stand up from a chair with her heart. Over and over, she told the girl to try again. I forget how long it took (over an hour), but she would not give up until the dancer initiated and continued her movement with her heart. Gelsey really strove to get to the root of things. She was obsessed, but the beauty of the purity of what she strove for changed my view of dance and ballet forever.

Now, half a lifetime later, I am again tapping into that part of myself in both yoga and dance. Some days are better than others. I am different now. I am older, stiffer, bigger (not saying much, since I was anorexic then), a mom of a teen, and a doctor of pharmacy. For years, I went against my heart, and instead went to school. I did dance for a bit during that time, but realized I had to finish my degree, so quit dance yet again.

During that long 10 years of my life, I tried to compensate by being a gym rat, running in a marathon, competing in endless triathlons, and then cycling.  When I broke my hip in 2008, I couldn’t swim or run, so I ended up sticking mostly with cycling for the next 3 years. For three years, I was bent over a book or a computer and bent over my bike, cycling ’round and ’round in a uniplanar existence. Head down, I plunged ahead toward my goal of a terminal degree, striving for excellence, pushing, pushing, pushing my limits all the time.

Now, my psoas is tight, my sciatica is flaring up, and my heart is barely peeking through it’s little house. So, I did what I always do when I need to get back to my roots. I started yoga class.

Enter Anusara Yoga into my life.

I found myself quickly emerged in a practice where the benefits carried themselves over into my life off the mat. I am learning to listen to my heart, to feel my heart, speak from my heart, and one day to move from my heart.

I bring this all up because of an article I read today titled Love As Alchemy.  It spoke of receiving love through our backs behind our heart. Our backside, the Divine, the unknown, where we build trust. The Love that is always there. I have had a painful tightness for about 2-3 weeks now right behind my heart, between my shoulder blades. I almost feel that if I bring my should blades together tightly enough, my spine would pop. Many times, I have wanted to ask someone to press on it, for it felt like if someone pushed really hard, my spine would pop and release there, and the pinching would go away. I figured it was from the kayaking I did, but I should know better. It’s my heart, which has recently been through a lot.

I had been thinking of being a channel of love, rather than collecting it behind my heart. I guess there are multiple ways to view it. You can move love through you, soaking it up to nourish your soul, then giving it your flavor and offering it back into the world. You don’t hold onto it like a material object, but it forever changes your make up. Your cells come alive and dance, and you FEEL love. Your heart swells and glows, radiates and pulsates, with the in-pouring of love. And love is all around us. When we open up, we can fill that well, nourish our cells and our soul and offer it back to the world.

It can be scary to open up our hearts, but we are only opening to divine grace, so what is there to be afraid of? Afraid of being fully me? Afraid of my own beauty and brilliance? That’s silly, and yet it happens. And so the mission to open and receive love so that we may transform ourselves and offer love back to others continues.

Hand In Hand

This is not only unexpected, but the dancers are extremely well trained. The male would have to be in order to complete these moves and gestures. It’s quite beautiful

Dance of Desire

I have recently decided to dance more, express myself more, and play with movement, so I have been watching more dance videos and the like, drooling over the strength and fluidity some of these people have. Check out these folks:

Woke up with bruised knees and a deliciously sore body from dance class. Yoga felt super good today with the soreness, but I also noticed more flexibility and a renewed strength. Yeah for pushing the boundaries and going all out!

So You Think You Can Dance?

I recently decided to stop avoiding the part of my life that has always brought me joy, which is movement, especially expression through movement. I love cycling, running, etc, but there is no expression of life’s emotions through it. I don’t bring a smile or tear to anyone’s face with that, and it doesn’t give me the deep down feeling of satisfaction and freedom that dance does. SO, I took my first dance class since 2005 tonight. It started with classical jazz, very showgirl like, then transitioned over to hip-hop with lots of fun attitude, and then to a dark, angular contemporary piece. I looked and felt good. The goosebumps were flowing along with all of the adrenaline of traveling through my body and through space to great music.

I can still dance! I bounced out of that class, sweaty and happy to know that I have started on my path, but also that I never really fell off. It’s still in me, and I intend to keep exploring and expressing myself through movement.

Let’s Dance

I keep meeting people that are on the brink of, in, or just out of a divorce. Now, maybe it’s just our society and a large portion of the population is in that limbo part of their lives. Maybe it’s because I am often in a social situation with couples where I am single, and hence the safe one to talk to regarding these things. Actually, that’s probably a lot of it.

Anyhoo, I find that many of these people talk about what they do NOT want. They take what they didn’t like about their relationship and say, “I don’t ever want to be with someone like that again” or “I don’t ever want to be in a loveless relationship again”. Defining what you don’t want is good, but it is only the first of many steps.

Step one: Break down the dance- all relationships are a dance. Anyone you encounter, each person is reacting off the other. So, look at the beginning of this relationship and figure out when things changed. Was it something hurtful that never got resolved? Was it a change in view of yourself or the other that was never clearly communicated? Maybe one of you was leading too often. Either way, at some point, the dance became incongruent and out of sync. What was your part in that? Be honest with yourself! Stop pointing fingers and look at your reactions to what happened. Look at how your reactions (or lack of) may have perpetuated things. You cannot change the other person, but you can change how you interact with your world. If you don’t look at yourself, you will make the same mistakes with someone else, and the dance starts all over again. Hopefully, you have been brutally honest with yourself by now.

Step Two: Forgive– Now that you have seen how easy it is to fall into destructive patterns, and you see how you have hurt the other person and even perpetuated things, it is easier to forgive and let go. What’s done is done. Learn the lesson and move on. We are all only human. If you hold a grudge, you will never be healthy and happy. You will take that grudge and project onto others. Shed it like a restrictive cocoon and be free like a butterfly.

Step Three: Re-choreograph your dance– Hopefully, you have learned a lot about yourself now. (BTW, this is not an overnight process. It can take one relationship, or it can take many. Feel free to practice as much as is needed!) Okay, so now, you are more ready to say what you DO want. What you do NOT want is no longer as pertinent, because you now see how you have played into that dysfunctional dance. Also, by focusing on the positive, you bring that into your life. Write down what you want and need in a relationship. Listen to your mind and redirect it to the positive phrasing as much as possible. If you have read The Secret, you probably know what I am getting at. Our mind focuses on whatever we choose. There is no positive or negative registered by the universe. If you concentrate on what you don’t want, then your mind is thinking about just that. Only focus on what you do want, and you will find yourself attracting that into your life. Defining what you want and need is not as easy as you may think. It’s easier to think “I don’t want that again”. But this is a crucial activity. Take as long as you want and need. You have your whole life, and it’s too important to not do right.

Step Four: Go out and dance– Now that you have been honest with yourself, and let go of regret and other negative emotions, and redefined your dance, you can start manifesting what you want. Take your time, be truthful and understanding. Approach each person with an understanding of their phase in life and the fact that they may be in a totally different phase than you, and THAT IS OKAY. Just like social dancing, everyone is at different levels. Sometimes, the people we dance with sweep us off of our feet, but we just aren’t ready to dance at their level. We sure learn a lot from our brief sessions though. Some people we can help get to the next level, but they aren’t quite ready for us as a dance partner. Take your time, dance as much as you need to. When the dance is done, don’t hold onto it. Take the experience for what it was, and go dance with someone else. Sometimes, you come back to people at a different level, and that is great too! Above all, be honest with people, including yourself. And enjoy the dance!

You Never Promised Me a Rose Garden

Today, I got my daughter and her friend out of the house. We headed out to Baldwin Beach for “Gratitude”, a free event with live music, DJs, hula hooping fun, and even fire dancers. I caught a few photos, but wish I had caught the last fire dancer. She lit up several parts of her hoop and did some things that even without the fire were impressive. I had a blast dancing to the first DJ, Del Sol. FYI, dancing in deep, loose sand can be a bit difficult, great exercise for the calves!

The title of the blog? It just happened to pop into my head.

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Double Rainbow

Today was filled with rainbows. Not only was it a full moon, but the day started and ended with rainbows all over the island. Full, brilliant rainbows, double rainbows….everywhere and all day. The magic of the full moon, coupled with the next day being 11-11-11, was intense. The whole island was vibrating, and for me it was a day of connection.

I went to the pharmacy to teach some interns about my new MTM process I am trying to get launched, and we had a great talk. I told them a bit about how healthcare is changing, some of the things to watch out for down the line, and so on. I knew that, being a student, it is probably very difficult for them to be up to date on what is happening, which doesn’t seem right. How are they supposed to plan their life once they get out if they aren’t up to date on current events in healthcare? It is part of being immersed in the non-reality of education though.

Then, I had a conference call with an amazing woman from UH Hilo who is working with me on applying for a grant. She has amazing ideas, and I feel so priveleged to not only be able to work with her, but to have her vote of confidence. That will be a long process, but I feel good about it. One step at a time! After the call, my former dean of experiential education from UNM College of Pharmacy visited. She and her husband were visiting the island. It was really good to connect, and it was good the hear that the college is doing well and under strong new leadership.

After meeting with them and telling them about all that I have done since I came to Maui, I went upcountry to hang out with my friend and his visitor from Canada. They made a nice dinner with wine, and then we all went to a free form dance “class” in Haiku. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I haven’t really moved in a while….a long while. I started out slow, sitting against the wall and watching for a bit, but the music finally took over and I found myself playing with movement again, almost uninhibited. I certainly could use some more grounding, but it felt good to move and express myself physically again, to feel the energy flow. I left feeling relaxed, energized, playful…several people commented me on my dancing as I walked out under the bright full moon. It had rained, and there were large puddles, so I did what any ex-ballerina would do, and I made a small leap over one. POP! went my ankle as I fell over it. I popped right up, but that was such a typical dancer move! I make it through 2 hours of jumping and spinning around, and then I fall over my ankle in the parking lot. Thankfully, I don’t get all flustered about that stuff anymore. Life happens, and things like that are funny.

All in all, an amazing, energy-filled day of connecting with others…as well as myself.

3D

I just didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to roll out of bed at 4:30am to prep for a ride leaving from Twin Falls at 6:30. Don’t get me wrong. I love my cycling buddies, and I love the ride to Hana, but it is just too far that early in the morning. Instead, I decided to do what my body needs, and that is yoga. Man, how I have missed yoga! It is as close to my true passion as I can get. My passion was dance, but really my passion is movement. Whatever form that may be. I do prefer to move in 3D though, versus the uniplanar expression of running and cycling. That just gets old after awhile. You don’t have the same internal depth and expression, and it’s hard to let your body BE when you are falling off the pace line in a crazy headwind. Unlike the Amy of past, I just am not into pushing 24/7 anymore. Go figure. Does that mean I am getting old? Nope. Just more into taking care of myself than showing to the world I can do whatever I set my mind to. I proved that already. No more proving. Just LIVING.