Body as a Sanctuary

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“The yogi never neglects or mortifies the body or the mind, but cherishes both. To him the body is not an impediment to his spiritual liberation nor is it the cause of its fall, but is an instrument of attainment. He seeks a body as a thunderbolt, healthy and free from suffering so as to dedicate it in the service of the Lord for which it is intended.” -BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga.

 Three-years ago, I didn’t feel confident and felt disconnected. I was in a new relationship with my now partner, and in that ambiguous stage of fear and uncertainty. I began to compare myself to a lot of voluptuous women. I was daydreaming of what it would actually be like to have curves, and actually be voluptuous. I was thinking of those old Vargas girls. I always thought of them as deeply feminine, and had wished I had that body type. One night at 1:30am I was curious about breast implants, and started doing all of this research. Luckily, I was incredibly horrified at what I found out. In the middle of my in-depth research my cup of almond milk, ghee, cardamom, and cinnamon spills all over my computer. My computer was covered in my tea concoction. I freak out, and laugh because clearly I needed to stop the madness. The divine has a sense of humor at times. I bring my computer to the Apple store and the Mac Genius dude opens my computer and looks at my computer very confused. Ghee and almond milk are crusted onto my entire motherboard. I had to buy a new computer, which is much cheaper than plastic surgery, I may add. Full of shame and feeling rather ridiculous, I came to realize that I needed to accept myself as I was and cherish my body, instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, which was causing me suffering.

When we look in the mirror we see what we don’t have, and desire a different image. We compare ourselves to the next woman. We don’t see our true essence or beauty. We end up embodying not our own body but the desire for another body, look, and image. This creates separation within us and between our sisters.

Our body is our sanctuary for our own unique divinity. Yet, so often we desire to recreate, and re-imagine our body. The body changes and will always change through age.

Give your body the food it needs to be healthy, honor your spirit’s sanctuary through positive and nourishing relationships, see and feel yourself as beautiful, remove the mirrors, remove the magazines, try to limit negative self-talk, practice self-love and self-acceptance daily, and feed yourself nourishment that your body needs to thrive and be vibrant.

 

Be Nurtured

All because of a flower. Yes, it’s true. A White Ceanothus in the form of a flower essence or tincture of this potent little flower called Mother’s Milk or Loving Support. I feel like myself again. I got into vigilant nurturing of myself. Amen to a host of rituals that bring us back to ourselves. As women we feel called to nurture-as mothers, lovers, partners, friends, and beyond, and so we need to nurture each other and ourselves more often. This has been a deep lesson for me in the past few weeks, as I stopped nursing my daughter. Taking time to nurture myself has given me the energy I need to be a mother and partner, and I am getting back into my grounded place again. I asked myself, “What am I missing? And, what do I need to do to nurture myself?” First, were roses, chocolate, sage burning, and then my oils.

Be nurtured with roses, chocolate, an altar and a prayer, divine essential oils from DoTerra (patchouli, ylang ylang, clary sage), a feather and heart along the way, and taking time to nurture yourself in the ways that only you know how.

What are you missing? What nurtures you? What do you need?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reminders

sf sunsetApproximately six-months ago we were facing our deepest fears as our 7-month old daughter was being admitted to the hospital. We had no idea what was going to happen. We were scared, bewildered, and traumatized. And, when we received a diagnosis we didn’t understand and only heard the words “rare genetic condition” and “tumors” you can imagine our shock and trauma.

Trauma leaves a reminder. A reminder that rests in you until you can find a way to face and heal that trauma. Some traumatic experiences we may not heal in this lifetime; however, we can begin to unravel and evolve from them.

The reminders for me appear in an empty crib my daughter refuses to sleep in due to her own trauma, the emergency seizure medicine in my purse, the bi-monthly appointments with a development specialist, her ash leaf marks (white skin pigmentation), the supplements, the actual thought that she has benign tumors in her brain, the neurologist appointments, and the yearly MRIs she must endure. For some parents of children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex they face daily complications like regular seizures, autism, developmental delay, and behavioral issues.

I write this post for everyone that has experienced trauma and other parents in similar situations. My daughter’s diagnosis still remains as a trauma I can’t deny or forget. I have begun to scratch the surface of facing my trauma, and this begins the healing process. I thought that I wouldn’t ever actually write this post. Healing is a private journey and process for many, including myself. The challenge here is that no one can do this healing for you. You have to heal your own trauma. Of course, if it’s too daunting seeking support is best. Honestly, I didn’t want to face the fact that I haven’t even begun to heal and need more time.

Trauma has a way of keeping you in a place of continual fear, and fight or flight. We want so deeply to heal and to completely erase it from our being and memory.

What if we had the ability to transform and evolve from our trauma? What if we became empowered from these very challenging, and traumatic experiences instead of hiding out or feeling victimized by them? I know it’s possible. 

I have watched my daughter at 15-months transform her condition from something potentially debilitating to becoming a healthy, determined, manifesting fire-child. She is making progress daily. Every day that she does well and continues to demonstrate progress, I am grateful, heal a little bit more, and have unwavering faith that my daughter will thrive. She keeps me in grace and in believing that miracles are possible.

The Sleep Ingredient

“The needs of the body are the needs of the divine spirit which lives through the body.” BKS Iyengar

In Ayurveda (see Caraka samhita Su 11:53) there are three things needed to support life: food, sex, and sleep. When you have too much or too little of any or all of these there is imbalance. Sleep is the missing ingredient for so many of us. For some of us it’s due to our hectic non-stop lifestyles, chemical imbalances, stress, or in my case a 15-month old. We can’t take a pill to make up for sleepless nights. We can’t buy back our mitochondria, or buy new adrenals. Once it’s gone it’s gone. Sleep is an essential ingredient and without it everything is affected. We need sleep to rejuvenate, function, heal, and to replenish ourselves.

Sleeping hasn’t been something I can do well. I like late nights, and late mornings. My daughter apparently follows the same schedule. She doesn’t sleep. I have tried almost everything. She wakes up every 2-3 hours. Everyone tells you it gets better and then proceeds to give you more advice. She won’t sleep in her crib because she has associated it with being in the hospital, and sleeping with us seems like a better option. It is only when you meet someone else whose 15-month old doesn’t sleep that you get some sort of reassurance that you are not the only parent awake all night.

Since I don’t sleep much through the night, I have realized how imbalancing this can be for me and anyone else who has a hard time sleeping through the night. You lose touch with your own practice and yourself, your mood and emotional state changes, you become more vulnerable and susceptible to illness, and you go to vices like coffee and chocolate to function. Most days, I wonder how I actually function and think that it has a lot to do with my practice and an instinct that kicks on biologically when you are a mother.

I have incorporated some ways to stay grounded during this process of sleeplessness and new motherhood.

  1. Routine. I’m not a routine person, but need routine. Going to bed at a set time keeps me from staying up until 12:30am writing.
  2. Abhyanga (oil massage). This is a deeply relaxing ayurvedic practice that calms my nervous system instantly.
  3. Sitting in meditation for 5-10 minutes every morning. If I can practice asana or pranayama, I practice for at least 20 minutes daily.
  4. Not eating chocolate. I love chocolate. Yet, it keeps me ungrounded throughout the day. Chocolate increases every constitution. Also, not eating too many carbs or sugars to keep me fueled helps. Instead, I reach for protein.
  5. Perspective. My daughter will only be 15-months old once and so I sacrifice my sleep so that she receives exactly what she needs at 2am.  I have found that mantra at 2am works and knowing that the sleepless moments will pass.
  6. Finding moments to rest and take a break throughout the day. When you don’t sleep at some point during the day you completely crash. This is the time to stop and relax if you can.
  7. Acupuncture. I love acupuncture. I go right into a deep sleep for an hour.
  8. Avoid taking sleep medicine, it will only make you feel groggy and doesn’t solve the problem.
  9. Restorative yoga and or yoga nidra. This is a way to reset your body and heal by practicing asanas that are restorative in nature. Yoga nidra is yoga sleep. You put your body into a mindful state of sleep, where you can recuperate from a sleepless night.
  10. Surrender and let go.

 

Deer Medicine

What happens when we stop forcing everything we want to happen or try to make happen? What happens when we let go of all that effort-making, planning, and forcing our agenda to the max to actually relax? What if we stopped forcing everything and let what we are trying to manifest or make happen come organically?

For some of us, we don’t realize that we are doing too much until we get sick, we keep reaching a dead-end adding further frustration, or we keep pushing ourselves until we are bottomed out. Usually, I don’t get the memo until I am sick and can’t do anything. I am then reading the universe’s message while convalescing, which is not how I envisioned relaxing.

As I was literally convalescing this week, I looked out the window and two deer came walking onto my patio. They stood there quietly looking at me with a gentle gaze in their eyes. Hmm, what’s this about I thought. The message–be gentle with yourself.

When we push ourselves, we are not being gentle with others and ourselves. We lose touch with the naturally graceful organic flow of life.

When we are forcing everything we want to happen and so busy forcing our lives to happen, we are not being gentle with ourselves, with life, and those we love. In essence, we are creating a more agitated reality. Nothing happens that we actually want to happen when we are in an agitated-forceful state of mind and reality.

 

 

 

 

 

To Brilliance

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To Brilliance

(a new poem)

To Brilliance

Of being

Agenda-less for right now

Of making no meaning

To this moment or the next

 

To Brilliance

Of being

Spellbound by life

A blade of grass surfing in wind

An empty hammock waiting for a visitor

Quiet blossoms reaching for rain

Ordinary love that completes

And, her laughter

To Brilliance

Of being

Ordinary

And, exquisitely human

(Remember this.)

Sister Hawk Living, Lifestyle Coaching

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I have started a new venture- Sister Hawk Living, Lifestyle Coaching. I am combining all that I have learned from my experience and studies into a coaching business. My vision is to help others discover that they can heal and that healing is possible. I invite you to take a look, and spread the word as you wish.

I will continue write my blog posts here. I love writing this blog.

I am deeply grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. It means so much to me.

Blessings!

Balance, A Fine Line

Everyday, I “try” to create some semblance of balance, harmony in my world, but more often than not I feel like the master of the marionette trying to get the marionette to walk on a thin tight rope and not fall off. Or, it’s a little like sirsasana (head stand) with a cute, cuddly, one-year old laughing in your face, trying to kiss you, while you stand on your head up side down about to fall over in all directions with legs flailing—and yes this has happened several times now, and I laugh.

Balance is a fine line. You move too far over the line and you are imbalanced, legs flailing, falling out of the perfect balance you have created. It doesn’t take much at times for all of us to lose balance when there are many distractions. It is actually quite easy.

Lately, my life has felt like I’m leaning over that fine-line about to fall off, and some days I completely do. All it takes for me is not doing my mantra or meditation practice, additional sleep deprivation, a conversation gone awry, a teething baby, work, and anything else. When we are out of balance we are in a place of vulnerability. We are susceptible to losing our ground, our integrity, our faith, our truth, our health, our vitality, and our selves.

As a new mom with a one-year old, balance looks different. It looks a little like chaos at times. In motherhood, (parenthood) you are not only trying to stay balanced for yourself, but for your child and family. You let go of your own desire for balance to make sure that your child receives exactly what they need. And, you know exactly what happens when needs are not met for a one-year old. Hello chaos.

I have collected a list on how to stay in some sort of balance even when it is chaos. I am still learning and growing.

  1. Breathe deeply taking a longer exhale. It will pass, keep breathing.
  2. Chant OM. It works when the baby is crying and/or not sleeping, when you feel like crying, or maybe you need to cry.
  3. I am not okay without my essential oils. I have been rubbing Balance by DoTerra on my feet daily. Essential oils save me every time.
  4. 5 minutes of any form of yoga, meditation, or mantra counts. I promise you.
  5. Eat foods that are wholesome, nourishing, healthy, and have a lot of prana. A lot of sugar is not helpful, even if deeply satisfying when you are over the tipping point. When you are imbalanced emotionally, your health suffers.
  6. Surrender deeply to where you are at, accept it, and transform what is not serving you. Easier to say, harder to do.
  7. Go for a walk in nature.
  8. Realize that none of this is about YOU or ME or I. With a child you have the opportunity to become more and more selfless, and learn what that means.
  9. Discover that harmony is not always a quiet, peaceful, tranquil, silent, retreat-space. (Trust me, I have daydreamed about a silent retreat.) Harmony is also complete chaos; learn what the chaos is about.
  10. Know that at all times something will be out of balance, always. Working towards perfection will only drive you and everyone around you nuts.
  11. See and feel the joy of life. It really is in the mundane.

 

Every choice…

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Every choice is an act of self-love. The choices we make reflect how much we love ourselves.

 

In becoming a mother, I often think of what I want my daughter to learn from me. What would be the most important lessons that I can teach her by my own actions, and the way I choose to live my life? What would I want her to learn? I came up with a long list. More than anything, I want her to learn how to love herself and make choices that reflect deep respect and self-love.

 

I spent a lot of time not loving myself, and all of the actions I made reflected that. And, I am still working on making choices that are love driven and not shame driven. Right now, my focus is money. (more on that later)

 

Learning to love yourself is the root of spiritual practice. It is the most difficult and the most rewarding. No one can tell you how to love yourself more. It is a continual journey that drives you into knowing core of your unshakable self.