It’s been a while…
Wow, has it been a LONG while! Though I’ve been sending out newsletters–and blogging has been in the back of my mind for many weeks–I didn’t realize quite how long it had been until I sat down to write this morning and saw my last post was in November! WHAAAT?!
As I said in a recent newsletter, I apologize for the radio silence lately. This spring has been a period of big transition for our family and much of my attention was directed toward holding space for the unique blend of anticipation and melancholy that comes from life changes.
The Good News
The good news is that I’ve continued weekly studio classes for yoga and meditation which are developing into a lovely community of mindful practitioners. And… it’s summer!
Summer is always a time of living at a slower pace and reflecting on my journey–past, present, and future. There are always weeks of vacation that have become tradition for me: escapes away from the hustle and into the beauty of nature, connection, and self-reflection that have become crucial to my mental health.
Remembering to Wonder
Another thing that has taken up more of my personal time lately is a new online course I started in April called The Wonder Sessions. Though we’re only four months in to a two-year long adventure, much of what I’ve explored so far has been quite transformative. It’s hard to describe exactly what the course is about except to say that, so far for me, it’s an exploration of myself and the way I interact with the world around me (you can learn more at the link above).
There are SO many things I really love about The Wonder Sessions, but the most important is that the entire course is designed for everyone to go at their own pace, which really fits into my aspiration to “go slowly” (remember last year’s blog post?). Yes, there are separate modules with readings and exercises paired together in a particular order. But participants are encouraged to take their time with each step, exploring what it brings up or any resistance that might come up, with no particular expectation.
The Power of Receiving
I’ve already learned so much about myself through my Wonder work. I’ve explored the subtle emotions behind my resistance to certain exercises. I’ve gained even more insight into how being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) impacts the way I navigate the world around me. I’ve become more curious about my responses to the all too fast-paced “modern lifestyle” that surrounds me and more intentional about how I choose to pace my own life.
For so long (it seems), I’ve spent my life efforting at a pace that was being demanded of me. Especially as a working college student and, then, as a mother–it felt as though the world rushed around me and if I didn’t push myself to keep up, I would be lost and forgotten. Some of this is because I’m an HSP but much of it is due to the way most of us were raised–call it the “rat race,” “grind culture,” or “keeping up with the Joneses” (capitalism demands we produce for it, or the system would collapse).
So, what to do? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more comfortable at living counter-culturally in many ways, and a big part of that is letting myself live more slowly. This sounds deceptively easier than it actually is, since I’ve found it requires conscious effort to counter society’s messages on an almost daily basis. But lately it’s gotten easier as I’ve learned to receive through my Wonder work. Over time and the more I practice, the more deep and varied my receptions have become–energy, support, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance–and the more clearly I’ve been able to recognize that “everything we truly need is freely offered” (Rebecca Altman).
Now, part of my regular self-care practice involves sitting with nature (whether it’s at a local park or my backyard) and letting myself receive. Sometimes the experience can be powerful–full of love and acceptance, a connection to my ancestors and spirit guides–but sometimes it can be simple, like the one about watching the bees and sunflowers I shared on my Instagram page last week. Either way, this practice has helped me to feel lighter somehow… like when I am supported, I can go about my day without the need to effort quite so much.
The More to Give
Why do I share all of this, you ask? Well, first, this experience just feels so good that I want to share it with others. I want others to know that they don’t necessarily need to go around efforting so much. Despite the messaging we receive from mainstream culture and media, we do NOT need to push, strive, achieve, and produce to be worthy of existing, of experiencing joy, of feeling loved. You deserve respite; you deserve rest; you deserve, period.
I also think that this concept of receiving is why group yoga and meditation classes are so important for some people. The feeling of support and connection with the teacher and fellow students can make a group practice much more restorative than practicing alone. I know, whether as a student or teacher, I always feel more filled up after practicing mindfulness in a group setting.
And, of course, I share because I’ve realized that learning to receive has allowed me to give more. And that’s really what my journey is all about: letting myself be a vessel for learning, compassion, and love to flow, from spirit to me to you. I hope I get to see or connect with you in some way over the coming weeks.