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There Are Promising Lands

I’ve come to know that the promising land I’ve called home for years is one that I must now leave behind.

This land captivated me with its lushness, brilliance and expansive flowery meadows. While this land once was full of blooms, it has been in drought for some time. The promise of another Spring has led me to keep planting seeds of hope, and yet, I know I must leave this place and find a new meadow. In spite of occasional new sprouts, they are not enough to sustain.

This dying place is surrounded by frozen tundra, and while I believe I will make it through to lush springs once again, more beautiful and fertile than I’ve ever known, I have been paralyzed by my fear of this frozen wasteland that I must cross. Alone. No safety net. Tending my own fires. Facing new dangers and debts with my child on my hip.

But if I stay in this drought-stricken land, I will surely perish with optimism wavering.

I am strong. I am supported. I am aligned. I trust in the Universe.

And so I set off for unknown lands with a heart full of courage and my feet pointing forward.

It Must Be a Full Moon

It must be a Full Moon, because the fatigue in my eyes is no match for the stirring in my center
The night breeze lifts my hair and whispers “Create”
Bedtime was hours ago, and yet I feel infinite, timeless
I am the moment

A pull from my chest toward the messy kitchen that I felt too tired to clean just hours ago now calls me to scrub, wipe, clear, beautify
Nevermind that the kitchen floor could use sweeping; it’s now the perfect dance floor
And so I’ll surrender to Luna’s playful encouragement to twirl and spin and sway and squat

The mat I meant to roll up is inviting me to play in its space, sensually floating between layers of breath and deliciously explore all of my body’s collagenic grooves

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Clear Vision

The Capricorn Full Moon awoke me from my sleep and shook my shoulders
“What are you doing my dear child?! Don’t you see?”
Moonbeams electrified my veins and suddenly I realized that I had been so foolish, so armored, so afraid.
Only looking forward, I hadn’t seen the beautiful gift that laid at my feet
It wasn’t until this gift was deflated, dull, and making its turn toward more grateful waters that I could see it’s once-vibrant state
“Wait!” I yelled, reaching out and grasping at its sunken edges
“I want you! I need you! I appreciate you! I’m so sorry I couldn’t see.”
I don’t doubt that a wise, observant goddess dipped her finger into the cosmic cauldron and gave it a swirl, revealing to me the vast chasm between the truth and my perception.
And so, I am surrendered
, finally seeing, humbly naked, heart wide open.

Special Place Visualization

One of my favorite visualizations to guide students through during yoga nidra or savasana is one where we wade through the river of life, swimming past the rapids of bills, mother-in-laws, coworkers, and friends; we get out of the river and stumble upon a beautiful place.

This place can be anywhere – your bed, the Grand Canyon, a cafe in Paris, a jungle from your imagination – whatever feels most relaxing and comforting to you. I adore hearing what students’ special place is. A place where the quiet spaces of your mind can expand, your body can relax, and most importantly, where you feel safe.

We rest in this place, fully, soaking in the sounds and smells, looking around and even feeling the ground. We GO there.

My place is a wild meadow filled with lavender. Maybe it’s by the ocean, maybe there are deer grazing nearby. I go to this place everytime I offer this visualization, and when I’m having trouble falling asleep or quelling my anxiety. It’s automatic now.

Last night I was taking a walk and I passed a house with a beautiful garden, abundant with lavender. Despite being in the middle of town with my feet on the concrete and cars whizzing by, I was immediately transported to the meadow. Anchors lifted off my shoulders, a smile lifted the corners of my mouth, and my fast-paced walk suddenly transformed into a lovey, twirly stroll.

I can’t even verbalize all the ways that mindfulness enhances life. It’s not just the effects you feel shortly after doing it, it’s the pathway that’s formed in your mind. Going to that place over and over becomes as easy as walking to your front door, and suddenly, you’re at peace. Anywhere, anytime.

I Am The Ocean

I want to remain like the Ocean, ebbing and flowing and full

My fullness is my joy. My presence, my rootedness, my enjoyment of others.

My only job, as The Ocean, is to stay full.

When she is full and she ebbs and flows, she also glistens and dances. She is at once soft and powerful. She roars and whispers.

People who seek joy, beauty, and play flock to her, and she holds entire communities up just by being herself, in her fullness. They dance at her feet and celebrate her body. They sway like her. They are free and fierce like her.

Mother Winter

I wrote this in my journal back in February while watching a massive amount of snow fall. It had all just melted the day before, leaving us hopeful that the brutal Winter might finally be letting up, all to dump feet of snow just as the last bit of old snow was sliding off rooftops and revealing cars that had been buried for weeks (mine included).

Mother Winter, you are merciless in your persistence
If I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were cold
Just when we are sick of the dirty slush that hints at your surrender to Spring, you shower us with fluffy, serene snowflakes, the same romantic kind we were praying for two months ago at Christmas
It’s funny, when everything is buried under snow, it’s hard to remember what the town looks like without it all
Then, when it melts, it feels hard to believe that you are seeing things which were once invisible
When the Winter is long and melts are brief, watching everything become enveloped with white again feels so satisfying, so familiar
As if we couldn’t put our finger on what was needed to finish off the canvas, and then you waltzed in with the breeze and offered the perfect finishing touch, suddenly revealing a masterpiece

Escape from the Cold

As the Summer nights begin to chill and the colder months seem fast approaching, I find myself meditating on the all-consuming nature of deep Winter. Where I live, there is snow on the ground for 6 months out of the year, on average. Winter is a character in itself and there is much talk of preparation, survival, depression, and escape. Even the most stoic figures in my town willingly reveal their blunt emotions about the snow. I wrote this on a bar napkin in January, while enjoying a glass of wine at my favorite watering hole while I listened to one of my friends serenade the crowd and watched everyone dance and drink, a welcome escape from the harshest Winter we’ve seen in decades. It was well below freezing on this night.

Snowy mountain passes seal us off from the world
Blizzards whisper to us that we are, indeed, within the snowglobes we admire so longingly
Moments of peace, and the ethereal nature of Winter lasts as long as it takes for cabin fever to set in
The grinding of gears, sliding of tires, clicking of chains and cold stuckness bring us back down to Earth like the winds that turn fluffy snowflakes into a stinging storm

Within these bricks, we find beer, escape, and the warmth of reggae on Colton’s guitar
The sounds take us out of our frozen bones and into sweaty, swaying bodies with smiling faces
The inspired fingers of a stirring man l lead us outside of our daily settlement of deep, soul-stealing Winter and into any season, any time, any self, any other
Swaying, sweaty bodies wilt into soaring hearts and glistening eyes like those of every ancestor before us

The Birth of Harrison Cedar

Women often ask what me what birth feels like, and while I was pregnant with my son, I found myself searching for the same answers. As a doula, I know that a multitude of factors influence a woman’s experience of labor, including her fears, beliefs, experiences and history. While we can’t know in advance how these factors will caramelize during childbirth, we can collect a vast and varying vocabulary of what labor and birth can feel like, to expand our belief of what is possible. Enjoy my version of this incredible rite of passage that I had the privilege and joy of experiencing. All photos by Shelley K Photography.

For 10 moons in my womb you grew
Burrowing, burgeoning and new
My heart and roundness expanded and I glistened like the moon
Beams of love poured from my skin as I dreamed of you

Body and breath became my rhythm
Now that I had been trusted with ancient secrets
My lust and desire rose like a fever and I danced like an aching woman
I stretched like putty, sang like a mother, and cried like the tropics
My breasts filled and so did my spirit

You spoke to me through animals and dreams
You told me everything I needed to know
I pulsed with life, and I couldn’t hide it for a second
I had 2 heartbeats, and I was superhuman

Two nights before you were born, a blustery pouring rain rushed into the valley and I knew They had whispered in your ear ‘It’s Time’
As I soaked in the last days before your emergence, I was acutely aware of every single sensation that coursed through my body

I knew you were coming when the twinges I had been feeling turned into a big low hug around my hips, as if from a child that missed me
The primordial rhythm rippled like a soft drum from my center and I drifted off to one last dream with you

I awoke in the night with a knowing, and then the knowing became reality
A big squeeze in my hips and a gush of warm fluid
You were ready
For a few moments I trembled with excitement, uncertainty and fear
Then I remembered my truth, my DNA, my ancestry
As the squeezes became tighter and the drumming faster, I gyrated in the dark of the night
I became my breath, our breath

When the sun rose and wise women came, you offered a break of beauty
I walked in the garden, soaking sun into my round belly for the last time, and squatting like all the mothers before me

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When the drumming started again, the squeezes were different: consuming, deeply sensual, and leaving me higher with each one
I submerged into the water and was taken away by the warmth, protection and bliss
We were in a pool of hot water and love

 


As the hugs became deeper and tighter, I gazed out the window at the Spring day
The greens were so vibrant I could hear them
The orange blossoms so fragrant I could feel them

As you descended deeper into my pelvis I had to Om loudly to match the intensity of my body’s strength
The drumming hastened and the intensity was almost too much to bear
Finally when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t have to
I left my body and floated in the pool of love, deliciously surrounded by drops of sweat and freckles of vernix

 

Eventually, the waves began again
This time, my womb was throbbing your body out of me, taking over control and showing it’s strength
Out of the pool, I roared from the depths of my gut in the most primal moments of my life
All of the power of the Universe was funneling through my vagina and bringing you to me from my most animal self

 

 


More roaring, pushing, pressure, overwhelm and I could feel you peeking out of me

I touched your head with my fingers and my eyes rolled back at feeling the divine warm slipperiness emerging from my body
You turned, and in one swift movement your whole body slithered through mine with the utmost relief and ecstasy
I felt the details of your chest, hips, thighs, knees and feet as they rushed through me like heaven

In a split second, your father caught you and brought your sweet wet warmth to my chest with a love and intention I had never known
All of this dreaming and waiting had culminated and all we could do was cry
Love blissfully invaded me and it shouted “My baby! My baby! You’re here! YOU’RE A BOY! You’re so beautiful! My baby!!!”

10 moons, 284 days, 3408 vitamins, 2 midwives, 2 doulas, 19 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, countless breaths and one perfect baby. You’re here.

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