Exhale

Saylor and I were wandering around NYC and I remembered there was a store I used to love to go to before kids. A store that Mel & I would spend hours walking around…

When we got to ABC Home and walked upstairs, I forgot about the exhibit I had been wanting to see for years!!!

I am smiling writing this bc the way the whole thing just flowed was magical…

It felt so good to be in this amazing exhibit.

No where to go or be, we got to just totally relax and go slow, letting go of the rush and the plan….What a gift.

I took these for you guys- maybe to journal about this week, to contemplate in your meditation. Enjoy.

There she is.

There’s this woman who I see pretty much every day. She’s a mama in my hood. She’s beautiful. Not in a glamorous- make up- highlighted hair -crazy busy- kind of way but a totally natural, calm, confident and simple way. I watch her. I see her at pick up and drop off. I see her at CVS and Starbucks. I see her on the street, in fact I started seeing her outside of the neighborhood also. We don’t say hi.

We don’t know each other, we only met a few times when our kids were babies.

But, I watch her. I think that what I find so fascinating is that I “know her.”

I know she has 2 kids.

I know she works at least part time b/c occasionally I see her in heels and a skirt and going into the metro. I know her life is full,  taking her children to activities, making food, living a life.

And yet, she is calm and collected and present.

Is it so rare to find a woman like this that she stands out to me as a diamond in the rough?

I don’t think I have ever seen her on her phone and she’s not dying her hair.

She just is as she is.

I NEVER get the impression that she is trying to be anyone other than the woman she is. I saw her the other day, seated at the local Burger spot, sipping a beer reading a book. something I do when I’m alone, maybe I’m attracted to her b/c of our similarities, maybe bc/ in our close knit community, it’s kind of odd that we are not actually friends and that we don’t chit chat.  Sometimes I feel like keeping the distance is a practice.

My norm is to attach myself to anyone I feel connected to and then love up on them.

I adore close relationships.

It’s like a game for me to keep my distance, to not connect to not get to know her better.

My practice is just to let her be.

Earlier this year, I went to a leadership training with horses.

In no time at all, I connected physically and emotionally to our horse.  The trainer who noticed this right away encouraged me to relax and accept, to stop stroking the horse, to lean back a bit and let the horse come to me. The trainer said ” I bet you have no trouble connecting with people, holding others, drawing them in. Your practice is going to be to accept. To receive. To stand back a bit. Don’t try so hard, connection is so easy for you to initiate. Relax. ”

 

 

Milton Leon Silicki 1

I have been with my husband for 21 years.

When I was 19, I met his Grandparents. They were adorable. Smiling and giggling and talking about all the things. They gave me Manishevitz and a Jewish cook book.

They were the warmest, kindest people.

Mel’s grandmother died when I was pregnant with Milo so I have had 6+more years to hang with “Grandpop” and see his smile and get to love him more and more.

Honestly, I don’t know a lot of people like Milt. He was so into figuring things out, sticking with something and hard work. I respect this, more than ever.

But more than the hard work and resilient spirit, the bond between Milt and Mel ( my husband’s dad) was amazing. They took care of each other. They were best friends. They taught each other, learned from one another and truly enjoyed each other’s company. So simple, yet extraordinary.

I loved Grandpop for all that he was in the past, all that he gave my Mel and for all the laughs and smiles he shared with us.

My baby is named after this sweet soul, and I feel honored.

Rest in peace, my dear.

Winter Pause Retreat

These are the quotes and supports from our retreat. Enjoy!

One song we listened to during Yin Practice was…

Ong Namo by Snatum Kaur

Winter readings from The Way of The Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover.

Our Yoga Nidre recording was from Rod Stryker, The 4 Desires

On Being a Life Coach When Life Sucks.

It’s 6am on Sunday January 14, 2018.

I’m sitting in my kitchen, with my coffee writing by candlelight. My favorite addition to morning routine this Winter has been to use candles for my morning studying and writing.

There have only been 14 days so far this year, and that really blows my mind.

I KNEW this ” between 2 full moons” January was going to be intense.

I had read some articles that warned, there is a celestial pull and a vortex of intensity with these moons and if you are at all sensitive, you will feel it. And since I am very sensitive to shifts in energy, moon and astrology cycles and other peoples emotions, I was  paying attention.

The only thing that has provided comfort this month has been silence. I find myself craving it. I find myself turning off music and podcasts, things that usually inspire me and lift me up. I find myself walking the streets of my neighborhood, just wandering around, mostly in silence.

I find strength in the silence. I find the truth about life and loss and love and divine spirit, when I’m strong enough to be silent. When I’m not afraid of what I’ll find. When I trust myself to handle all that is revealed about our mortality, our relationships, our lives within that silence.

I went to see my healer when I got back from CT. I asked him to just clear out 2017. Clear out anything I was holding on to.  He could feel in my body that something had shifted, there was a new cycle being born, a new cycle had arrived. I went home to journal about all the new cycles that are in my life right now, all the cycles that have ended and all the ones that are starting, but isn’t that every day really?  Yes, I could be entering a new decade but also, each morning is that same new opportunity.

I find myself dancing between these realities daily now, the awareness that the present moment is all we have and yet, I want to plan for what’s to come. Aware that after almost 20 years of practices on healing, anxiety and being present with what is that grief, loss, illness, suffering is still hard. That nothing we do to learn about life or how to live a good one prepares us for the real lonely suffering that we experience when someone we loves suffers.

And so sometimes, even with my positive nature and my years of studying about how to relive suffering, life still sucks. There are no teachings or actions, no words and no to dos that can take away the actually human experience of suffering. We have to go in and feel it, let it be messy and wet and wild with no reason, for however long is has to be there.

And eventually, just maybe a little of it will lift enough for you to take deeper breaths.

For you to  life your chin and for the heaviness in the eyes and the throat relax a little.

B/c our lives are these moments in between the feeds, our lives are the silence in the kitchen when everyone else is sleeping, our lives are the things we do behind the scenes of our curated days, the actions we take for ourselves AND for others. Our lives are curling up on the couch and having a little one come snuggle in with you and fall asleep for hours with nowhere to go and no one to be. And along side all that sadness, I’ll take the nap and the walk, I’ll take the hugs and the smiles that don’t have outcomes or results  that don’t put anything in the bank account.

And as someone who teaches women about the joys of life, sometimes it really does just suck.

Standing alone.

There have been at least 3 times in the past 10 years where I left a community b/c of what I view as a break of integrity in the leadership and it’s left me feeling alone, standing alone. This week, as I was reflecting on my relationships and things that were left unsaid and untold, these examples came up, and I know that I have some work to do around this- Why do I feel the need to hold people to such high regard? I know I have always done this, but WHY? If I’m going to be loving and compassionate to all beings- why have I not allowed these people to be HUMAN and complicated and multi -dimensional?  But if I do accept everyone warts and all, does that somehow perpetuate things I don’t believe in , morals and values that are so deeply aligned with my heart? Is this just a way I isolate myself from others when I get too close? Am I just too afraid of conflict or arguments to keep having conversations about it? OR do all things TRULY have a beginning, middle and an end?  Is it okay to let people go from your life? Even if it’s lonelier on the other side? What about my questioner tendencies? I have never been with to just go with the crowd.. does this impact how I see the world?

AM I “punishing” them, b/c I punish myself when I “mess” up? If our relationships outward are mirrors for our inner relationship.. what do I have to learn here?

As I wander into this, my face scrunches, my stomach churns, SHIT. I have so much more work to do.

Example 1.

I had a wonder progression mentor and friend. We had been through a lot together in our teaching community and as activists in DC Public Schools. I truly admired and looked up to this person, she taught me SO MUCH. After we had a major traumatic work incident which left us on opposite sides of the field, I never saw her the same and she lost respect for me. I resigned from my position, I believe she saw this as weakness, I believe I did it on moral principle b/c I was not okay with how the entire thing had been played out.

The relationship ended and I have not heard from her since.

I never reached out again, nor she to me. This relationship was a major part of my daily life for many years, I adored this person and when it all fell apart, I was destroyed inside. I had dreams about her for years, coming to talk to me, forgiving me. Ended that relationship put a huge wall between me and my entire career and work community. I was isolated and so many of the people I worked with, respected  and admired, I never saw again.

Example 2.

Many years after that, a similar tale. I was heavily involved with a very wonderful community that I adored, that I had given my heart and soul to. I believed in the teacher/leader and felt very much a part of something very special. I gave my heart and soul over to it.. actually, too much.  As I began to spend more and more time with this person and this lineage, I saw things that frightened me emotionally and I began to question some things of integrity beyond what our experiences were.  I allowed this person’s teachings and thoughts to deeply impact MY thoughts and actions. I found myself wondering if she would accept X about me or Y about me. I found myself scared of the approval of this person and I found myself not really connecting with the direction that the practice and the teachings were taking me. Something did not feel right, and I was too scared to stand up for it at the time. Eventually, there was an upsetting situation which brought a lot to the surface.  I could no longer be affiliated with something that was saying one thing and yet, doing another all while I was in my own inner turmoil about why I was even still hanging around. Again, leaving the mentor, teacher, leader whom I had grown to love and respect and admire, and walking away from a community of relationships that I really valued. Leaving this felt extremely painful. Again, dreams full of conversations that were never going to be had, stomach tightness when I think of what went down. The whole situation foggy and unclear b/c all parties and all sides have never fully been heard. Shutting it all down, at the time was the easiest way out of it all. I just needed to run away and gather myself and find myself, I had become so caught up in the whole thing- maybe my ego? My identity? My intuition cried out- PLEASE! Take a break, take a breath, you are in here, love- find yourself!

Example 3.

This past year, again, I saw something “behind” the curtain that was deeply disturbing to me, and I walked away from a community that brought a lot of joy and ease into my life. I really did not give this person another chance, or an opportunity to explain b/c I just really wanted to hide from it all.  This time, it has left me- again, on my own in many ways. I do not say anything mean or unkind to this person, or this community at ALL! but.. I know in my heart, it did not feel right to have this relationship continue. This time, it was not about me or an integrity breech that happened to me, but rather- someone else. I saw the impact that this person had on someone else, the inappropriate behavior and I put my foot down. No, I won’t be a part of this community anymore.

And so here I am. I know there are MANY more examples of this but these 3 are the ones that are floating around now.

What if I was approaching 40 and had all of these smoothed over- would that feel better? If today was my last day here on earth, would any of these matter to me? Or would I be able to truly let them go? Is it time to write some letters, pick up the phone and have some courageous conversations? I’m just questioning the integrity, my own expectations and what’s under this all? Is it okay to chose a life holding tight to believes that it leaves you on your own?

How have I been small minded? Judgmental? Do I feel likeI have to be right?

As I move into 2018, I want to explore this. I want to be part of a healing, loving compassionate world – especially as I PONDER Harmony for my word of the year.

Harmony to me, is living in the wholeness, the fullness of our lives, and If I am going to be honest, these are some of the darkest, most painful episodes that I have had the past few years-so that means, for inner harmony- I must be

Alone, All one.

I was walking alone in the woods yesterday. It’s winter. I am in CT and it is very, very cold.

Snow had fallen all day, and even though it stopped, there was a stillness, a silence, a loneliness that was penetrating.

I’m used to feeling alone. I’m comfortable with the natural and human condition of loneliness that once ruled my life and found me separating myself from others. And causing so much pain.

But now, I welcome it. It’s like an old friend. As I have grown older, I have learned that many of us feel this way, that most of us are born with this discomfort and we spend most of our lives trying to numb, buffer, chase or run away from it. And so, living a way- too- busy- life is one way that I ( and many other people I know, especially women) become addicted to busy.

We are trying to avoid the deep, haunting loneliness that is right there, under the surface, all the time.

The truth is, all we really have, at the end of the day, is our own selves, when we take our last breath, Our OWN.

And so, how do we face that fact?

That with full lives of parents and children and friends and neighbors, that we are truly alone?

I’ve been asking myself this question for years, and the more I ask and live in the question, the more comfortable I have become with this fact. And the more I wonder into the unknown loneliness, on purpose, regularly.

To play with my edges of handling emotions and suffering, to face the dark so that I can have more light.

To explore this most precious relationship to self.

To go in and in, no matter what shadows I find, in honor of her. To love her, to hold her with gentleness, to know her LIKE NO OTHER every truly will.

Sometimes, I just lay at night on my side with my arms wrapped around myself, embracing her.

When we actually slow down, go into the woods, ALONE.

We feel it. It’s unavoidable. There’s no where to run.  Oh sure, your monkey mind could take over if you allow it. You could play music or podcasts that distract you from this. But, it’s still there. Always there.

We feel the moments of our lives slipping away. We feel our mortality in our whole being and all those we love. Because sometimes the BRAVEST thing we can do is walk alone in the woods, on the coldest days with just our own naked selves. Our own thoughts and lives and pain and suffering and discomfort with this whole being human thing.

And sometimes I come out stronger, braver, wiser and in tune. And sometimes, I don’t.