Lil Omm Team: Liz

Dear lil omm,

You may not know this, but I actually worked for lil omm briefly more than a year ago, just after moving to DC.  I was hunting for a full-time job in the policy world after teaching Gender Studies in Colorado.  I applied to lil omm, thinking simply that I might work at a front desk and enjoy the perks of free yoga in the meantime.  Pleasance had a bigger vision, and as you all know, her enthusiasm is magnetic, and I wanted to be a part of her world.  After only a few weeks of getting my feet wet behind the scenes at lil omm, I was offered a full-time job in the professional world and felt that working in an office was the adult choice to make.  Pleasance didn’t know this, but I spent the night before my first day at the law firm crying on my bed being gently comforted by my husband who reassured me that I could keep working at lil omm if that was what I wanted to do.  But I woke up the next day, hiked up my business-appropriate pants, and walked to the office with a cup of coffee and half-hearted hope for my new life.

Over the next seven months, I spent just about every morning meditating before I dragged myself to the office, a strained, tense, closed in workspace, for a job that did not challenge me intellectually or creatively.  The guided meditations were accompanied by journaling prompts, and I often found myself writing about Pleasance and her creative, engaged, whole-hearted, and AWAKE approach to life.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that lil omm was the community I desired and Pleasance the role model I needed.  As my own business, Catalyst Wed Co., grew, I felt that I had reason enough to take my life back.  I hesitantly reached out to Pleasance on a Friday, asking if there was still space for me.  She welcomed me with open arms, and I gave my notice that Monday.

lil omm is more than a job to me.  lil omm represents the intentional community I seek to cultivate in my own life.  lil omm reminds me that mindfulness is the simplest investment I can make with the greatest return.  lil omm reaffirms my belief that work should be a meaningful extension of one’s purpose, integrated into a full and spacious day.  A year or so ago, I was lamenting to Pleasance about my unmet desire to have a “real” job that would do justice to my higher degree and more importantly, make my family proud.  She smiled knowingly and warned me that “once you’re awake, you can’t go back to sleep.”  Now, more than a job title, I want to wake up each day feeling spacious, feeling hopeful, feeling whole; and that’s the gift of lil omm.

In gratitude,
liz

Spring Retreat

At lil omm, we do a seasonal mini retreat where we celebrate mother nature, our own lives and we explore seasonal foods, journaling, movement and poetry.

We just finished our Spring Retreat last week and wanted to share out- so some of you might be able to create your OWN Spring Retreats- Carve out a few hours.. sit in meditation, fix up some healthy spring foods, practice flow and yin yoga, and CELEBRATE the season with cleaning, decluttering our lives… inside and out.

THE BOOKS

http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Happy-Woman-Living/dp/1577319826

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Heart-Daily-Meditations-Freeing/dp/0062511211/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426938781&sr=1-1&keywords=Journey+to+the+Heart

 

     The Recipes

YUMMY “MILKSHAKES”

Take your old way too ripe bananas and freeze them.
Blend ( food processor OR high intensity blender)
With Your choice of milks
cow, coconut, almond, blends, hemp, oat ( YUM),
* what to add?
vanilla, cocoa powder, strawberries, almond/ coffee/ extract
You need quite a bit of liquid to make it a shake OR you can add less milk and make it “ice cream”

Kale Salad and Toppings

chop up kale into tiny pieces
squeeze 1 lemon, olive oil, salt, tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Toppings I brought
* Nutritional Yeast, Braggs Amino, Sunflower Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes

Green Juice
kale, apple, lemon, ginger- YUM! ( sparingly at night!) 

  

 

The Music

Zer0 7
Caravan Palace
Garth Stevenson
108 Sacred Names of the Divine ( savasana)

The Poem We Created.

This Spring.

This spring, I will move in a way that feels good.

This spring, I will finish my play.

This spring, I will GROW.

This Spring, I will create.

This Spring, I will SPRING.

This Spring, I will LOVE more.

This Spring, I will reignite my spark and keep it alive.

This Spring, I will run Cherry Blossom, breathe in the new air so deeply & write.

This Spring, I will write love letters and sit alone.

This Spring, I will stretch and explore.

Now reading…..

Michelle, I don’t know you. But I love this so much.

18 Spiritual Teachings that Blew my Mind Wide Open.

cloud vast sky

I have been a grateful sojourner on the winding spiritual path for as long I can remember.

After rejecting the Catholic Church around age 10, I stumbled upon the love of my life—yoga-—at the critical age of 12-going-on-13.

I started reading New Age self-help books in college and met the Buddha in the San Francisco Bay area at 23.

Each stage along the way has been illuminating and necessary to move to a higher level of consciousness. I am thrilled to continue learning and practicing throughout this lifetime, at least.

At certain points in the past, I have wished for epiphanies, signals and sudden enlightenment. Of course, life doesn’t work that way. What we seek eludes us. Letting go allows newness to enter.

So, although I would like to gift you with these 18 teachings that have altered my mind and improved my life, they may not resonate with you. The most important teaching of all is that we are each where we need to be when we need to be there, learning the lessons that we need to learn.

1) Everything I need is already within me.

Authentic power comes from finding balance within; it is not imposed from external authorities.

2) I can (and do) create my life through creative visualization (to a certain extent).

Using the common sense techniques Shakti Gawain outlines in her books, I was able to realize my dream of living in California and becoming a full-time yoga instructor 11 years ago. I do not, however, subscribe to the “Secret.”  Reality is reality, and people and objects are not mere pawns in our manifestations.

3) All things must pass.

My first bout of depression in my early 20s was the worst, because I seriously believed it would never end. I thought, Okay, this terrible, listless, sad, anxious state is adulthood. This is what it means to grow up. Of course, I turned out to be wrong. The depression lifted (and came back and lifted again, over and over).

My dear friend Liz has a tattoo that reminds her, “This too shall pass.” Depression will pass, but so will joyous times. Our beloved pets and friends and family will pass, and so will we. Rather than hiding from this morbid truth, I now embrace it and live my life more fully because of it.

4. Beliefs separate.

Since absorbing this fundamental teaching via J. Krishnamurti, I have strived to let go of beliefs and labels. I am not a Catholic Buddhist liberal American yogini. I am a human. You are a human. Now we can relate.

5. Faith is letting go.

Faith is not holding on to a dogma, a promise, a future in heaven. Faith is letting go and letting in the ever-unfolding experience of life as it flows presently.

6. All meditation is good meditation.

And another thing: it is perfectly fine to meditate for 30 seconds. If I meditate for half a minute, then take a little break (because, damn, that was tough!), then start again—that is A-OK. Some days it may be 30 minutes, others 30 seconds. The key, I’ve found, is to pause regularly throughout the day. In this way, I integrate meditation into my life and not just as a part of my formal practice on the cushion.

7. Metta.

Learning the metta meditation technique at a spiritual conference in Palo Alto in 2004 was transformative. Metta is loving kindness. The basic technique is to send good wishes to ourselves, our loved ones, strangers, enemies and ultimately every sentient being without exception. I have introduced it to countless yoga students over the years. Metta is powerful and can be used in formal meditation as well as on-the-spot.

8. Each morning, I am born again. What I do today is what matters most.

Thanks, Buddha!

The past brought me here, but it is over. The future is totally uncertain. I aspire to concentrate as much of my attention and effort on the present moment, the current situation and the living relationships I cultivate with myself and others.

Shout out, also, to Eckhart Tolle and The Flaming Lips. Living in the moment, cliché as it has become to say, is truly liberating. The more I practice, the better I get.

9. Equanimity.

Attending two 10-day silent Vipassana retreats two summers in a row effectively branded the concept of equanimity in my mind. Balance of mind. Not allowing it to be swayed by every little (or big) feeling of pleasure and pain. Like all these lessons, it is a process that continues to unfold.

10. No self.

The separate “I” that I seem to be is merely an illusion, a fiction, a well-told story. Letting it go is a moment-to-moment practice, an utterly liberating one.

11. Suffering is the result of clinging.

Yesterday, we took a bus to Cali, Colombia. We were told it would take five hours. After eight hours had passed, I was hungry, tired, annoyed with the horrendous movies being shown in rapid succession on the bus and tearfully frustrated. I was clinging to my expectation that the trip would be five hours long. My young daughter, on the other hand, was just fine. She had no expectations. Whenever I cling, I suffer. So I strive not to cling.

12. Worry is useless.

I used to be a worry wart—even as a kid. At some point, I read that worrying is planning for a negative future. That blew my mind open in the best of ways. So I stopped.

13. Friendship is the highest form of love.

This teaching came from Osho. When I read that sentence, it stopped me in my tracks. It rang so true. Though at the time I struggled with romantic love, I have typically flourished in friendships. True friendship is founded on trust and respect. The best marriages are founded on genuine friendship.

14. Difficult people are the best teachers.

(Much gratitude to Pema for this one!)

15. Therefore, be grateful to everyone and everything.

Gratitude can be cultivated through appreciation of the lovely people—as well as the pain-in-the-ass people—and the unique details of our daily lives.

16. Don’t get on the train.

There are 1,001 great metaphors for meditation. One that really resonated with me came from Matthieu Ricard. I imagine sitting at a train station, watching the trains arrive and depart. My pure awareness is the station and my thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc. are the trains. If I am not mindful, I will hop on a train and take it to who knows where. But the moment I realize I am on the train, I am magically off of it, back at the station, just watching without judgment, with compassion.

17. Breath is life.

As Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal says, if you’re aware of the breath, you’re aware of the present moment. Our breath is with us from the moment of birth until the moment of death. It is the one bodily function that we can consciously control. Deep breathing is calming. Awareness of breath is the most fundamental meditation technique—and one that I always return to no matter what.

18. Make your mind as vast as the sky.

When I read this line, also from Matthieu Ricard, my mind actually did feel like it blew wide open, in the best possible way. It felt spacious and vast and calm and just there. Now, when I am feeling small-minded and constricted in my thinking, I often remind myself to make my mind as vast as the sky and it inevitably helps.

May these teachings be of benefit!