in this together
Friend, we share this Earth. We create and move about, alongside one another, merging in places, not even knowing of each other in many cases, running in parallel lines or lines that will cross somewhere down the road. Far far ahead of us. Or never. Yet..... we co-exist. And I love you. We are in this together.
In author and activist Valarie Kaur's book "See No Stranger" she invites us to see those we consider strangers-- particularly those who have ideological differences from us-- as a relative. As I sit in my car at a traffic light, sometimes I'll turn my head to the car next to me and wonder what it is like to live that person's life. That person. My "sister". My "uncle". My "cousin". The simple act of calling them in as someone familiar or known to me, however distant, and wondering about them.... it shifts your perspective to one of connection or a desire to be curious and inviting a level of understanding that there's something about them that is like you. Yes, they are human. They are fellow souls, here on the planet, experiencing a life. We are in this together.
Open your heart and mind and invite curiosity. Connection makes us stronger and we ARE connected....if only we can make the space to stand back, pause, wonder, and see clearly. To listen. Even someone who seems to have no ideals or values in line with yours, or maybe seemingly no ideals or values AT ALL-- they went through something to get there. They're the lost "aunt" who suffered something and needs healing.....or maybe you're the one who needs the healing. Perspective. Be willing to imagine that everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they've been given-- not money or fame or supporters, but internal tools like knowing how to have a strong nervous system, intuition, self-love, etc. (See what it means to have true success, the tools you need inside). We balance each other out with what you have stronger than me and what I have stronger than you. We are in this together.
Listen. Be curious. Be open, See no stranger. We are in this together.
Winter Solstice & Gratitude
- the people who have have caused you stress or pain--- how, you ask? Consider the opposite quality of what they brought you and notice how your understanding of that positive quality has expanded based on what they gave you instead. Breathe and give this a chance-- there's a level of wisdom there that you may not have understood without that experience;
- consider looking back at your calendar to recall the events and experiences you'd had this year and the people/discoveries/growth you encountered there; and
- look around your space and notice the gifts or other memories that come up from the things you see around you.
However you decide to spend this day, give yourself some moments of reflection and find a way to be grateful for this day; for the season; for this year; for your life experiences.
With love, sat nam!
The Riotous Garden & Winter Solstice
Every year as the Winter Solstice approaches, I begin to reflect on what that means to me. It's the shortest day of the year, meaning the least amount of daylight, and it introduces the first day of winter-- at least on the calendar. Inevitably, I am reminded of the cycle of life and this stage where I see nature dying. I think about life....and death.
It is at this time of year when we enter the darkness of the coming winter solstice, our energy can feel depleted or sad. Thoughts of death leave us feeling solemn. Or fearful. Or depressed. Or reverent.
As Rumi says-- "Don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet. But the roots are down there riotous". So while we see the cycle of life "out there" at its death stage, we can consider what's happening under the Earth.....and inside our own bodies-- it's riotous! It's regenerating, preparing for new life, feeling ALIVE!
There's a mantra that we use all the time in kundalini yoga: SAT NAM. This means truth is our name, or truth is who we are at our core. An expanded version of this mantra is SA TA NA MA, which also refers to the cycle of life: infinity-life-death-rebirth. In these mantras are the wisdom and vibrations of TRUTH. A truth that illuminates the darkness and helps us to see more clearly.
The wisdom that as events wind down, situations run their course, parts of us are lost or undergo change, and/or we feel the stress of challenging emotions, on the other side there's light and understanding and growth. We become something different; we are not the same. With conscious awareness and the wisdom to allow our emotions, to feel them, to reconcile with them......we receive their gifts. The love and reverence on the other side of Grief, for instance.
That truth helps us to be grateful for what's happening on the inside, despite what we see on the outside. I like to imagine the health and aliveness of my inner garden-- the elements of my microbiome riotous! Like an expert gardener, I use my practice in breath, mantra, movement and rest, as well as healthy foods, clean water, nature/air, and connection to nourish and cleanse and support my living. I find PEACE in the wisdom of the inner party celebrating and replenishing life, knowing I'll benefit from every part of the cycle.
I surrender to the ecstasy. To the quiet riot. To the wisdom of winter in the cycle of life.
How do you embrace (or not) this time in the cycle of life? How does the longer darkness impact you? What is your winter solstice ritual?
I would love to hear from you!
Legacy of culture change
There you are, minding your own business, striving to be the best you know yourself to be or that you see yourself becoming.
When suddenly, THIS happens:
You are strong and resilient and can move beyond much of these hurts and attacks, if only stuffing them down inside you and adding a brick of armor around you for future protection. One brick is heavy. Many bricks can damage your wings and shelter you to the point of being hidden completely.
That tickle of hurt and unjust actions against you don’t go away on its own. It works to protect you, often without alert. More instinctual. You come out “sideways” in your projections and you wonder why. It’s embarrassing or “unlike you” and not in your control…..until you are conscious about it. Even then, it could be buried so deep that the resolution is blurry at best.
That little tickle becomes inflamed after too much.
It could look like this:
These are not excuses for any of these actions that brought harm upon Self, others or this land. Beyond childhood, the responsibility falls on each of us for our own actions. Yet, it helps to gain an understanding of someone who was “damaged” or traumatized and not able to move beyond an early developmental stage for certain aspects of their lives. One can get stuck there and, as responsibility becomes this thing we know is expected by a certain stage, the dis-ease and pain builds like bricks. More and more bricks added and one aches to be free. One rebels to be free. One flat out loses it. Again, not an excuse.
As a foundation, conscious care and support for our children and our own inner child as “stewards” of healthy roots and patient development, with a deep trust in "who they/we are" at our core is key to building a present and future that nourishes and thrives. As we do this, our children are well-guided to become good stewards for themselves as they grow. In our world, through policy, action, follow-through and pure love — through feminine energy — we are responsible for our own part of being and/or developing into good stewards for this great land of ours and all its inhabitants. And most importantly, to be devoted stewards for our Soul; imagine if we all tended to our souls and stayed true to ourselves. It’s a bit like driving on a crowded highway making sure to stay in your own lane at the right speed, trusting everyone around you to do the same. How smooth it could be.
Can we get there? I think we can. At least for our children….. What will be our Legacy?
If you want some help to find your inner clarity as a "steward" for yourself and others, book a discovery session with me, and let me help you help yourself.
Here are two meditations I like to do to remind me of who I am, deep in my Soul:
Meditation #1: Negating False Identity
Meditation #2: I Am, I Am
Love is winning
I sense a beauty in this world, underneath all the noise, the damage, the fear.
I sense a rich, deep earth nourishing and holding us, while our toxins try to hurt.
I sense a bold fearlessness within each of us, begging to take the lead and break us out of the holds on our hearts.
I sense love in the dark.
I sense light finding its way through the cracks.
I sense hope and freedom......
Our future is built on the gifts of each one of us. Not the unconscious gifts of forced "should be's" and false goals that do not truly align with us. The gifts that come from the very core of our being, that birthed us. Empowered gifts that hold no inner conflicts. A way of being that knows its path, its Truth.
What are you doing to connect with that gift, those gifts, on a regular basis? Is that not the purpose and habit trajectory of our lives? Every day we connect with these gifts and, when we think we got it, keep going. For 40 days, 90, 120, 1000.....and gain mastery. Mastery over our subconscious minds, mastery over the noise, mastery over our external environments prodding, pushing, forcing its way upon you...no.
Pause. Create pause. Create spaces. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe slow, deep, long.....claim your space.
the roles that I've adopted....mom, friend, sister, spouse, auntie, teacher, coach, my age, my race, my look. I am none of those things and all of those things. I am, I am. The meditation "I am, I am" is a wonderful reminder that I am. Period. Just as the tree just is, the worm just is, the fruit IS. As part of a whole...no. As the whole in one part. It is my favorite Rumi quote: "You are not a drop in the ocean but the entire ocean in one drop". Identifying as something isn't the depth of who you are. It's a container.
As "mom", this container gives me anchors for my life journey: live as an example, nourish my children with love, wisdom, strength, food, water, clothing, shelter, care when they are ill and when they are not, support for their ups and downs, etc. Lest we flit around in the wind like a kite whose lost its holder, its tie-down, an anchor provides a temporary positioning whereby I can live and grow with presence, in the present. Like a biodegradable pot for my starter plant--it holds her and offers a simple guidance. She begins to extend her roots down and reach up towards the sun as a beginner of something....what IS this world? And what is this present moment? She grounds and she reaches, expands, breathes. And as she grows, grateful for the path and
"Untangled" by Lisa D'Amour, PhD, I expand to define our experiences as adults. Some of us may not have even mastered some of those teenage strands. Regardless, we are each on a journey of evolving strands. I may be further evolved on one strand but less so on another. And someone who I think is somehow "better" may be more and less evolved on opposing strands. It matters not. There is no judgment or comparison. There is only our experience. And, with awareness, we begin to appreciate our evolution of experiences.
Our American culture comes with a drive for competition. I'll focus on the one that calls for each of us to aim for our personal best. We compete against our own experiences to improve each time, to learn from our mistakes and failures, to lift ourselves back up with courage and compassion, to allow rest and reprieve as an active habit. There's a motivating force when seeking our personal best. I believe you can live in complete satisfaction and love with who you are and what you've achieved in this moment, today, this minute, WHILE ALSO seeking your personal best over time. There is no misalignment here to seek to evolve your experiences and become more elevated in consciousness through these evolutions, while also feeling "successful" in your present. When you seek to compete against others, your happiness is tied to an external presence outside your control. What is in your control is to develop and strengthen your habits, your physical and mental stamina, the edges of your own personal container-- where's the discomfort? how much will you push it today? Which strand are we evolving? Which needs attention today?
I sense there's an understanding, a shift, a loving pull to connect with our inner wisdoms.
I sense there's an openness to see it, feel it, embrace it.
I sense there's change happening and, for those of us who connect deeply within with curiosity and awareness, bold and beautiful things await. And Are. Here. Now.
I sense we are breathing more deeply, grounding with our nourishing roots and expanding from that place of connection.
I sense love is winning.
When I think about the decisions I've made in my life, there are some that bring me joy and pride and others that make me think 'what on earth was I thinking'?!? I can now reflect on those latter ones and realize I WAS, in fact, THINKING --and not feeling. How often do we know deep down what we are meant to do yet we ignore those inner messages for our brain's more logical-seeming demands? We don't want to be looked upon as irrational or --gasp-- emotional! No, do what people expect and can make sense of. Right. That's what your ego keeps saying.
To be clear, I wouldn't change a thing about these past decisions because I know they were the lessons I needed at the time.....AND at present. To be able to reflect back on those experiences and how my decisions shaped my life, I can honor those lessons today. Today I'm in a space where I can listen self-compassionately and understand the message, know how it has shaped my values and beliefs--- and make better decisions going-forward that support and develop a more elevated experience, a more true-to-me experience, an evolved experience, a purposeful, life-fulfilling experience. In other words: Joy. Peace. Freedom.
To get to where I am today, I had to look deeply at those feelings I ignored or stuffed down or escaped from through whatever self-sabotaging means I could. It's scary to start such an endeavor-- but it's so worth it!
Clearing old feelings by meeting them stops them from haunting you further. It frees you from the subconscious reactions, responses, and personality malfunctions that make you wonder, 'why did I do or say that?'. Instead you stand tall, get clear, and feel assured in your ability to meet all challenges (even emotional ones) and are able to create a life you were born to love.
Nowadays, I'm looking for: More fun. More openness. More healing energies in everyday life. More gratitude. A shift out of 'the way things have always been done' into a more free and loving world. I can choose this life that I desire, making new decisions that inspire and uplift and hold me in my Truth. I can listen to and talk with my emotions safely because I now know clearly that they are the voice of my soul, guiding me and crying out to protect me. I need only pause, breathe, and quiet the noise to hear.......and then decide.
I am queen of my sovereignty. I decide.
....is better than well said".
I am the Essential Soul Mama. I am a mama, a soulful-spiritual teacher, an intentional storyteller, and a lover of stories of all kinds, in all forms. I write about emotions, parenting, natural health options, mind-body-soul connections, and anything that elevates our lives.