Category Archives: meditation

Pleasure as a Form of Care and Justice (from embodiedheartmind.com)

This is an excerpt from a piece by Lissa which you can read in full here.
abundant tree
photo by @jeremybishop


What happens when we as a collective center pleasure as a form of care, justice and liberation?
I have been exploring this concept in my life and also in my offerings particularly InterPlay, deeply guided by the work of  adrienne maree brown and her book  Pleasure Activism.

I have found Pleasure Activism to be an incredibly powerful approach to healing that not only affects the individuals engaging in the practice but all of those who in turn come in contact with them. Pleasure, compassion, and care intersect with each other and promote a more just society where we have the agency and capacity to care for ourselves and each other.

It gives me great hope that I can center pleasure as not only a practice that allows for well-being but as a loving form of rebellion against oppression, a form of individual and collective perseverance and strength for me and so many others in my communities and my ancestral lineage…

Read the rest here. I plan to post on embodiedheartmind.com every Friday sharing new content as well as updated versions of old posts from this site.

If you are interested in learning more about my offerings and writings, please also consider subscribing to my quarterly newsletter.

–lissa


Protected: shining light into the darkness

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our loving ancestors

3-gogo-and-the-ancestors-marietjie-henningphoto by marietjie hemming

I like to think our ancestors are rooting us on through life.

There’s a mindfulness practice at Blue Cliff Monastery called touching the earth where we place our palms in front of our chests in the shape of a lotus bud and slowly lower ourselves to the ground so that our four limbs and forehead gently press against the floor. We bow deeply and return to the earth and our roots, connecting with our spiritual and blood ancestors. We know that we can never be alone as we are always surrounded by love, by divine beings who only want the best for us, by the earth. We touch the earth and reconnect with each bow to all of that life and recognize that we make up the earth and life and can never be separate. We are all connected.

Breathing in, I breathe in the earth. I breathe in connection. I breathe in life, strength, stability, love, nurturing, protection. Breathing out, I breathe out separation. I breathe out suffering. I breathe out anger, fear, shame, sorrow, grief.

I wonder if each time we engage in a healing practice like meditation or yoga, are we touching our ancestors? In engaging in the practice and connecting deeper with ourselves or transforming an area of suffering, are we also lessening the suffering in that whole ancestry chain? If we release a story steeped in limitation and inadequacy that we used to cling to, do we release suffering in our whole ancestry line? Is our growth a shining light of hope and pride to them?

 

 

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background image by carolyn doe

Believing our thoughts

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We have so many thoughts each minute, each day, each lifetime. Some believe we have 50,000 thoughts in a day so that would be over 18 million thoughts in a year — far too many thoughts to hear and remember. So what determines the thoughts we believe and cling to and the ones that never catch hold and quickly disappear? It’s more often than not a choice. I want to carefully choose the thoughts I listen to for they create my reality.

 


holding & letting go

2012 8 17 023photo by bernideen

:)

I have a love to garden deep in my roots.
I breathe in flowers sacredly tended to by divine mothers
hoping they blossom throughout this lifetime.

I wake up unexpectedly sometimes
during that late-night, early morning space
where my dreams seem both near and far
and words that don’t speak flow within me
if I just stay awake a little longer
and press my senses gently
against my soul to hear them.

Tonight there was a melody of rain and crickets
just outside my window and I decided to stay
and listen. My hand reached outside the window
to both embrace and release the rain drops in my palm
interchangeably, and I wondered if this is what I should
be doing with each moment here:
both holding and letting go.

 


Protected: love our darkness & our light

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seeds

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It all starts from within.

This image makes me think of  a mindfulness practice I learned from the monastics at Blue Cliff Monastery. They talked about watering the seeds within us and that we have the opportunity to do this in each day and moment. We have all kinds of seeds within us–seeds of love, seeds of kindness, seeds of compassion, seeds of anger, seeds of indifference, seeds of fear…and it is ultimately up to us which ones we pay the most attention to and give the most water and sustenance to.

I took this image away with me and worked with making a conscious effort to water more of the positive qualities that ultimately made me feel more nourished in life like I had actual flowers growing within me.

What seeds are you watering the most?

 


Protected: Don’t try to rush my healing

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close your eyes and live…

Close your eyes. Forget the realities, the obstacles, the fears, your mind, and just listen to your heart. What do you want right now in your life? What do you need?


photo by Ben Heine.

***

You can give yourself anything you need in life. The thing is you have to know what you need rather than how you feel. Your feelings are not even a quarter of the picture; there is a story underneath them waiting to be seen and heard. You have to feel what you feel and then let your feelings go and move beyond them to connect with the heart, soul, and core of you — that is where the answers lie.

In Jack Kornfield’s book A Path With Heart, he quotes Carlos Castanenda: Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself… Does this path have a heart. If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.

If we are still and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart. — Jack Kornfield.

A path is every choice we make in our lives. The small choices we make throughout the day create our lives; those small actions determine how we will act in the bigger moments: choosing to remain silent when someone says something about us that is untrue, choosing to stay in rather than go to a dinner party where we won’t know a lot of people, choosing to go out when our body is saying all it wants is a night of rest… If we repeatedly make decisions that don’t honor what we need, will we then have the strength to leave an unhealthy partner or apply to that dream job we’ve always wanted?

For me, finding our path and following it is at the heart of the meditation practice. Sit with yourself, be with yourself, and give yourself what you need. Be aware of the parts of you that feel vibrant and strong and send more breath and prana to them. Be aware of the areas that feel hollow or tired or sad and send more breath and prana to them. Whether your form of meditation is asana, chanting, running, knitting, creating art, do not be afraid to leap into those moments of stillness for all of our truths lie in those moments.

–lissa

What is YIOM?


watering my positivity seed

“Spirituality is facing yourself with a smile when life confronts you.” – Yogi Bhajan

i feel safe. i never thought i would say that, but it permeates every part of my being when i am on my yoga mat. it is my space of nonjudgment. my place where i can simply be and breathe. i don’t have to deal with my boyfriend’s “hates me, loves me, ignores me, wants to marry me” mood swings or for that matter my wallet’s hates me, loves me swings. my insecurities don’t even exist because it is a space of love and ahimsa (nonharming). why would i have anything to feel insecure about if no one including myself is going to judge me?

i love yoga — not just the postures but the meditation, the focus on breath, loving kindness, and intention. it takes me completely within myself and allows me to finally open my eyes to just how beautiful the real me is. why have i spent so much of my life being guarded and hiding so much of myself from others? i can see now that only i have the power to reject myself.

i don’t want to view the troubles in my life as troubles but more so stepping stones to get to a higher form of me. i feel happy more moments than not. i feel like surrendering into the experiences in my life can be the hardest thing to do but without a doubt the way i am able to enjoy life the most. sure, sadness and anxiety are never too far away, but it’s different. they’re not surrounding me. they’re not scuffling around making my chest so tight that only teeny pathetic whimpers of breath can get out. they’re not nagging me with their singsongs of my downfalls so loudly that i get my usual four pm headache. they respect me. or maybe i’m giving them too much credit. they’re giving me space because i have created that space. i have found that point of stillness inside of myself, where i am as kind and forgiving of myself as i am to others. this shift in putting myself first has actually allowed for me to care about others more deeply from a genuine place as opposed to my previous please love me space.

yoga taught me how to create that space. after two years of a solid yoga practice where i had this deep sense of loving kindness in class, i decided that i needed to be this way to myself throughout the day on and off the yoga mat. it’s a growing and budding space inside myself that understands that loving my fears, loving my imperfections, takes all their power away. i’m content with myself and with my life right now. that’s my goal for each moment. it takes so much stress off of me living that way.

–lissa