'tis the season to go bonkers! So, do you have really good friends? Someone with whom to hang out when you're not feeling social, or dazzling, or even remotely chipper?
The Holy Daze is upon us. Perhaps especially at this time, the beautiful dark time between fall equinox and winter solstice, a beautiful but sometimes lonely time, perhaps far away from family, or even worse, right in the midst of family where real contact has been missing for years ... having a community of practice, what the Buddhists call a sangha, may make the precarious ride back into the light so much more doable.
Something wild is happening with the current yearlong program participants. People are actually spending regular time in practice with each other.Read more
Perhaps it is too much excitement, all the transatlantic travel, or a hormonal imbalance, but on some days, meditation feels to me like a royal waste of precious life units. What's the point of sitting there, thinking thinking thinking?
Since I'm rarely able to transcend the human condition and dissolve into bliss (with no side effects), on those other days I resort to micro-practices. Can you guess what they are? Well, exactly what the name says: very very short periods of paying attention. Really short, like three, five, ten, or fifteen seconds at a time, but they are done early, and often.
Me, I like to pay attention to sensations: they are the secret language of Life. Even when my mind feels like a washing machine in a power cycle (you know, extra agitation), I can manage ten seconds of uninterrupted presence. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, I am micro-practice, and so can you.
Wanna try? Take the next ten seconds to sense your hands. Are you holding a latte, a slice of pizza, a gadget? Close your eyes--unless you're driving--feel the texture of that thing you're touching, let it touch you, and then come back to reading. Take a sip of that latte. Really smell and taste it, feel how it wants to be drunk by you.Read more
Did you know that lungs are not where breath happens? where else do you ask, and why care? Only because maybe like me, you want to be here before we all go, likely way too soon...
So, open your mouth and take a deep breath ... then another ... wiggle your pelvis a little ... now open your arms and reach up ... no, really, do it - rightherenow. Again. Again. Feeling better? Maybe not. Feeling more? Oh yeah.
For complete instructions on total body breathing by Alexander Lowen, keep reading. Better yet: join us in one of the workshops so we can continue reclaiming our outrageous, creative, expressive life.
During my unending pursuit of the perfect filing system, I recently came across a quote I copied years ago. Paraphrased slightly, it goes like this:
Grown-up living requires conscious tolerance for high anxiety, a measure of audacity, and the courage to love in the face of inevitable loss. Sometimes this means holding onto your sanity and calming yourself while your anxiety is high--and then moving ahead anyway.
Ways to do it include breathing consciously, opening your mind to a real, rather than dreaded event, saying out loud the very unspeakable truth you learned in childhood should never be uttered, convincing yourself that catastrophe is manageable, and meeting life's energy with your competent, adult self.
That's quite a list, huh?
Honestly, how much of the time do you feel you're operating from your competent, adult self, especially when emotional stakes are high? How often are you aware that anxiety is running your choices? able to tell the difference between a dreaded vs. real event (that was then, this is now)? willing to claim your projections--like owning the very behavior you hate in your partner (or parent!)? brave enough to speak your previously unspeakable truth?
It has become clear to me (via my experience and students' reports over the last twenty some years) that awareness of inner process can catalyze profound shifts toward alignment with the deeper desires and dreams for our lives. And that a long term learning circle offers uniquely powerful tools and conditions to support lasting transformation.
If you are a parent, friend, teacher, family member, and generally a human interested in relating to others, you know that sometimes love is not all we need. Most of us could also use a few extra resources, capacities, and relational skills to actually be able to show up for ourselves and each other.
Past BALP participants without fail reported significant life changes: reclaiming a sense of worthiness, belonging, and hope. A new career direction, a move across the country, a difficult decision regarding health care for an aging parent, sustained weight loss, sibling reconciliation, forgiveness, self-care, a new trust in life, deeper commitment to love.
If you are a coach, therapist, movement teacher, or body worker, you know that you can only take your clients/students as far as you have gone. You want to continue your own journey to embodiment and grow your capacity for attunement and compassion. Here's how we can help.Read more