February 18, 2014 · 2:06 pm
The Full Moon may have passed on to the next phase this month, but the experience of it lingers. What I’ve noticed since a very young age is that the Full Moon has the capacity to elicit a particular response in me. My first reaction to seeing it is to smile. I don’t mean a slight upturning of the corners of my mouth but, instead, a broad, beaming smile spreads across my face. It seems to come from somewhere deep inside and simply overflow.
Interesting that I have never really explored the feelings and thoughts associated with this Full Moon smile. Why is it that it’s so much easier to put energy into feelings and thoughts that are unpleasant or fear-based? Those are generally what pull our attention and take up space in our thinking/feeling lives. They are the ones that torture us, that become the middle-of-the-night voice that keeps us awake. And we become the loser in the fight against them, trying so hard to shut the door tight and keep them out.
As an alternative to focusing on that which is disturbing to us, how about spending time with what makes us smile? How would it be to explore the character and qualities of those things that bring us joy – even if that sense is fleeting? Bringing the energy of this inquiry to my Full Moon smiles, I’d say the feelings are layered. The sensation that seems to form the basis of my experience is one of being protected and looked after. I remember as a child walking the short walk home from the neighbor’s house in the dark, looking up and seeing the Full Moon and feeling safe. As long as the Full Moon was there, I didn’t need to be scared. It wasn’t so much that it made me smile as it translated into a sense of being okay with the dark. Of course, the bolstering of confidence came not from the Moon but from inside me – an awareness that didn’t emerge until many years later.
Since that time, the Full Moon has reappeared with some regularity, barring clouds and storms. Always there is for me an accompanying feeling of reassurance, like an old friend. There is a familiarity that comes with seeing it that is a “coming home” experience for me. I feel grounded and secure, and it matters not that the feeling may not last. All feelings and thoughts arise and pass away no matter what we do. What’s important is nurturing the ability to come back to the sense of smiling. That sense can be something that is carried inside of us, kind of an anchor to our ground of being. For me the Full Moon serves as the key to open the door and tap into the joyful energy that is there.
So, where is it that you find your Full Moon smiles?
September 22, 2011 · 9:37 pm
It begins with the body. It’s the physical body that is the medium, providing fertile ground for exploring. And “exploration” is exactly what takes place by attending to the inner experience of what is happening – moment to moment – in the body as well as in emotions, thoughts and in the connection to what feels greater than all these put together.
You might wonder how this happens. Essentially, it is through an amazing process of noticing sensations, memories, feelings, words and phrases, colors and images that surface as the body is moved and supported in postures and patterns. As this occurs, the Witness (the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner) allows the client to explore whatever is noticed, spoken or not. While the focus of the client throughout the session is inward, the practitioner provides physical safety, active listening and an invitation to explore whatever shows up at the edge of awareness.
I want to say, “That’s all there is to it,” but one must appreciate that simplicity can only truly exist when there is a solid foundation beneath it.
At the core, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a process, not a protocol or a treatment. It is a relational process guided and supported by the practitioner in which the client interacts with himself, navigating his inner body experiences. This way of being with a client is based on a two-fold path: one that incorporates the eight limbs of yoga, anatomy, body mechanics and verbal skills and a second that develops the skills of mindfulness, compassion, intention and appreciation for whatever happens. The core combines both; the practitioner combines both.
Simply put, the process facilitates the client staying in the present experience of his body as he explores what’s happening now, in that moment. It all happens for the client from the inside out – enabled by the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner. And while the therapy session moves forward from beginning to end, the take-away is created by the client, never prescribed or taught by the practitioner.
A Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner is so much more than a teacher or a healer, emerging out of a process that is based on the fact that human beings have the capacity to heal themselves. They require only fertile ground and a climate that promotes healing and change to occur. What can happen then is truly amazing…
September 10, 2011 · 6:19 pm
There has been some space since the last writing. Weeks have gone by with life reflecting an unsettled, at times, refusing-to-be-named, inner experience. It wasn’t until walking meditation this morning that the name surfaced and clarity ensued. It’s the Weight of Loss.
How is it that changes in life that result in the loss of a person or place or familiar role, or an event that changes forever the idea we have of our world, can leave us carrying such a burden? How is it that loss can be so heavy? Isn’t there an oxymoron in there somewhere? And even as the weight of loss shifts and becomes lighter over time, how is it that it can get so heavy again at the time of the anniversary of that life-changing event?
Perhaps, in part, because we unconsciously feed this loss and nurture it, thinking that we can go back to what was. All the practices that support our awareness and acceptance of change, our experience in meditation, doing or being yoga, becoming mindful of the present moment again and again, don’t often shift the core of loss that we carry. We walk around it, observe it, sometimes challenge it, rage at it, but almost never do we greet it with compassion and gratitude.
What would that even feel like? Does it seem possible to be grateful for an experience of loss that we didn’t ask for or welcome? Perhaps one needn’t appreciate what happened, but in order to take the next step, to move forward in life, there must be some letting go. Otherwise, what happens is that weight accumulates, and with each loss, the burden becomes heavier. Then, at some point, there is no going forward, and letting go is more and more difficult.
Consider that compassion and gratitude may be as light as loss is heavy. Maybe instead of putting on the heavy overcoat of loss today, one could try (or even simply imagine) wearing a coat woven of compassion and gratitude. It doesn’t have to be gratitude for the whole event or experience of loss. It can be compassion around one small aspect of it. A kinder, softer way of relating to that one piece. It would be akin to having an intention of being kinder and softer towards oneself – toward the one who carries this burden.
That might be a beginning – a next step down the path of lessening the weight of loss…
This post is dedicated to all those who carry the weight of loss – especially from the events of 9-11-2001.