Sunday, April 08, 2012

Meditating with the Body

Last week I started a five month meditation course - with a 5 day retreat on front and back end - called Meditating with the Body. Much to my amusement, I think it should be renamed:

And Now, Let's Lie Down Again

It was awesome to be back in Crestone, CO, again. It's about 4 1/2 hours south of Boulder, and it rests in the San Luis valley. It's just got good vibes, dude. No doubt about it. I was really looking forward to the retreat, especially since, internally, it's felt like I've been a bit of a mess (inside) since I was last there during Dathun. Some of the sage, well-seasoned, practitioners of this "lineage" would compassionately say to me, "ohhhh, yesssssss, that happens after retreat here, my life has never been the same" or "yes my life went to shit after my first Dathun". Encouraging.

After Dathun, I felt as though my neatly-set table of dishes and funky stemware were savagely swept off the surface; everything breaking angrily and crashing silently onto the floor. It has been such a visceral and strange experience, and hard to put words into. Everything in my life was set up to go smoothly - I got a new flexible job, got into grad school. But it has been a bumpy ride.

A big piece of it was that my first class NOT as advertised. It was much more of a "let's get to know each other" than "let's learn good helping skills you'll need as a therapist". Honestly, spending four Saturdays in a room of 11 people getting to know them wasn't how I wanted to spend my time - or $1,500. Luckily I met a buddy (Jean) that I love and who got me through the semester. We helped each other get cracking on our assignments, and she helped me (try) not to agonize over every word I wrote. Our styles with homework are very different, and I thank god for her encouragement (she also marvels at my weird ability to manifest things by saying them out loud. There have been an odd # of experiences where I would say "I need to know more about xx" and I would turn a page in our book and xx would appear). And, life saving thanks to Shaya - a wickedly fierce editor - who saved my ass by spending hours chopping up my run-on sentences. It turns out that in grad school, writing as I think (jumping here and there with nonsense transitions) doesn't cut it.

Also, regarding work, I'm going through a big transition. In February 2011, I flipped off the corporate world and left the supposed security of a business card and great job title. I felt such open space, and trying something new was soul fuel. I didn't work the second half of last year, enjoying the quiet silence of freedom from the daily grind. I was so liberated, and got clear that now, yes right now, was the time to move into my next career.. and by October I was applying to grad schools.

The hard pill to swallow has been that now it's time to wait three years to do the work I'm here to do. That's the big hmmm in my life right now. The three women I work with are great listeners and want me to have me contribute to the world right now. Kate's offered the loft as a place to hold groups, and is a big fan of anything that's fun for me. What came up was "Career Transitions". Something new is arising, which would capitalize on all those years of business experience. I have some new questions lately about what's possible for us in today's current workplace. There are so many of us slaving and suffering away, victims of the industrial age. Down with sitting at a computer for 8 hours and pretending you're working every moment of the day. This is exhausting for our bodies and spirit. What could work look like if we're heart connected? What does "doing the work we're here to do" really mean? What would it be like if our society encouraged us to do work that we're good at - AND love?
Part of my current job involves pulling on my experience with event planning. I am the designated conference coordinator for our companies - websites and online marketing for mental health professionals, doctors, dentists, physical therapists and Vets.  And the reason I can write that from memory is I also write our press releases!

Our last conference was in D.C., and wow what a spectacular place to be in Spring!  I love being proud of a company that I work for, and I have to admit that it's one of the most aesthetically pleasing (and sensible) "products" out there, which makes it easy to talk about (with the other part of my job doing affiliate marketing)

Oh but where was I?  Right.  The retreat, with a quick detour.

I am not sure why I never finished my 2012 goals. So very unlike me - 2006 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. I did a powerful fire ceremony to wrap up 2011, and pulled one card to represent 2012: slowing down. If there was one awareness I got from Dathun, it was that I need to learn to relax my body. And, well, there's nothing to help me truly slow down than to be at a retreat where you do nothing but lie down! Reggie Ray's orientation to the body really resonates with me.

In short, we got to lay down like babies do, which allows for the deepest sort of relaxation possible. Before infants can sit up, they aren't even aware of life beyond "here", the present moment. As soon as we sat up, oh boy! We can crawl! We can go there! We can go up, down, all around! Let's get some shit DONE! I am a personal agent of change! So. I'm excited. This year is about relaxing my body. Meditating with the body, all day. Big full breaths.  I'm taking "chill out" to the next level, baby.

Reggie's intensely experiential and deeply transformative Meditating with the Body® teachings are probably his most powerful and direct way of guiding modern people into their own spiritual essence and unfolding human journey. This body of work steers the modern practitioner away from meditation simply as a mental exercise-which often yields little personal transformation due to its disembodied nature-toward meditation that is directed somatically inward, using practices based mostly on the ancient teachings of Tibetan yoga. Developed and perfected over generations by yogis and yoginis in life-long solitary retreat, this tradition states that the body is the gateway to enlightenment — to discover the body is to discover awareness, and eventually, the awakened state. 

And finally, a few more sweet images to capture as an early 2012 snapshot.  Top left:  The three musketeers of the Women's Abundance Circle team.  Top Middle:  Laurie, her husband Peter and Prem Baba, during their trip to India and subsequent head-shaving experience (It may sound like I'm making light of that but it was actually an incredibly beautiful spiritual journey that deeply inspired me).  Top Right:  On my almost daily walk for lunch from work to Alfalfas.  Bottom left:  Yet another decadent altar put together by the fabulous Jen, celebrating the coming of Spring.  Bottom Middle:  Cathy, the jolly Scottish momma who so generously trained me to bring the horses in from pasture on Tuesdays & Fridays.  Bottom Right:  Circle Sisters phone call.


  1. Very cool and interesting blog you have here!I just set up a new blog spot myself. I just followed you and hoping you'll follow back!

  2. Love that last set of photos. Aww, circle sisters. Awww, beautiful Boulder. Awww, Jen. And Laurie! Holy cow...gorgeous, glowy, radiant.

    Love you.