A Call to Action

A Call To Action


It’s understandable for half of this country to feel like the world has just been rocked in a way it is impossible to understand.  This will be a time like we haven’t known, and it might be very painful.  Sometimes we don’t realize the festering of anger and pain that is happening inside us and inside our communities...but it can’t change if it’s hidden. Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. Sometimes the status quo doesn’t hold the motivation we need to drive us to change. Our pain can’t be released and transformed and healed unless we know it’s there.


Now we know.


Now we need to heal it.


In my practice, I see pain all the time.  It has certain patterns.  It comes when we need to make a change and aren’t doing it.  It comes to teach us something about ourselves and the world around us that we need to learn. It’s hard and it’s scary and it offers us a choice of whether to be powerless to it, or to change... so we can heal.  


We are not powerless.


We need to shift in a deep and fundamental way our understanding of ourselves, our communities and what’s really important. We need to learn to love our true self and the true self of each other.  We need to embody an understanding of the global oneness of the humans on this planet.


Those of us who can teach this...the time is now.


Those of us who can embody this...the time is now.


Those of us who can learn this...the time is now.


The Mountain


So...what happens when we get to the top of that mountain?  You know what I mean.  That mountaintop where we reach enlightenment.  Where we find our true selves...the meaning of life.  Where we feel peace and calm and joy no matter what is going on down below.

Is that even where we really want to be?  Are there other people up there?  What would happen to my husband?  My kids?  My friends?  Are there restaurants up there, or do I have to cook all my meals?  Can I still dress up and go dancing on Saturday night?  Isn’t it lonely?  Do you just sit and meditate?  I’m sorry, but I don’t really have time.  I have to make dinner and make money and make phone calls.  I have to make it to Parent/teacher meetings and to go to the bank and clean the bathroom because my in laws are coming.  I’m not sure I have time to go up to that mountain today.  I certainly can’t live up there.  

I was explaining to a spiritual friend  (a friend who has no kids and pays very low rent) that as much as I would love to truly reach a perpetually spiritual state of being I simply don’t have time.  I have too many responsibilities.  I’m too busy.  He shook his head in mock seriousness and said.  “You’re right…moms can’t reach enlightenment.”  Oh.  Right.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  You don’t have to live in a monastery to feel peace.  You can do it little by little.  Day by day.  Ten minute meditation after 20 minutes of sun salutations.  You can do it by simply setting the intention and moving toward it.  You can do it naturally by noticing the beauty of the light  through the trees, through your son’s exuberant smile and through your breath and through your breath and through your breath.

You can notice your overreactions with curiosity.  You can notice your fears and what you do about them.  You can go to the uncomfortable places and breathe through them.  You can climb the mountain in a way that works for you.  Slowly.  In fits and spurts.  Every time you climb you get better at climbing.  You get into better shape.  It gets easier and more comfortable.  Just like everything else we practice.

Perhaps we’re not doing this alone.  Maybe what it really looks like is a big crowd of people walking up that mountain.  The whole human race walking up that mountain.  Some still trying to carry lots of baggage and some being brave enough to let more and more of that go.  And just like any large group of people walking in the same direction some are in front and some behind.  Some take long rests.  Some go painfully slowly and we are all in a process of both waiting for the ones behind and being propelled by the ones in front.  Your family and friends are with you because... they’re with you.  If you are much faster or slower than them then you will separate from them.  It’s ok.  It’s just how that works.  

I bet that as we get higher on that mountain, there will actually be more dancing...better restaurants...and in-laws that don’t care whether or not the bathroom is clean.   


How to Breathe

How to Breath
This, I know, sounds like a very silly title. Breathing is something we all know how to do, but for some people taking a full, deep, nourishing breath is not a seamless task.  

When we inhale our diaphragm descends down into out belly and our ribs expand in all directions. This gives out lungs opportunity to expand to their full potential. In order to allow the diaphragm room to descend, our belly should go out when we inhale and in on our exhale. I like to use the imagery of a bellows, you know...that thing they used to stoke fires in the old days.

In a bellows the expansion of the bottom brings the air in the top. We don't need to suck air in through our nose or mouth. We simply need to expand our base and the air will come in. That means we can keep our face, neck and shoulders relaxed when we take a deep breath.
 The expansion should start in our low belly...imagine filling the bowl of your pelvis...and then move upward to our upper belly, then our lower rib cage, then our middle rib cage, and only at the very deepest part of a very deep breath should our upper ribs and neck be involved at all. In most deep, full breaths the neck and shoulders can stay completely relaxed.

 Take every exhale as an opportunity to relax.

 Breathing is a profound manifestation of our relationship with the world. It is literally how we take in and how we let go. The better we learn to do that with ease and relaxation the more fluidly we can move through life.