Tag Archives: yoga

rainbow town

when the heart breaks open, we find nothing but rainbows within …

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shelter, refuge, and tender hearted grace in rainbow town


ebb and flow

in this ebb and flow of moments… i am grounding in motion. i am finding a stillness that is not motionless. this stillness, this grounding, is made up of small movements that hold me in balance and topple me over at the same time. into cold water. rocky shores. sunlit skies.

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not grasping to stay upright. planting down. being aware. noticing it is the shifting under my feet, the shifting in my body, the shifting of air that supports my ability to hold my balance. and then noticing these are the same things that shake me to the ground.

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ah. sweet ground. wave and shore. sun and sky. stillness and motion. a gentle heart recognition. this is all there is.

xo
j


move the body, spark the soul

there is a part of me that is stuck. stuck and sad and tired.  this ill health is, yes i know, an opportunity. but but but  i am struggling. some days i just want to get off the busy mind train and into the wide open space of heart.  and some days i just want to sit in it.  and i do.

the tracks of my mind are rough and tumbled and i see the same scenery …. i dip into the stories of loss and done-me-wrong … the trees whisper ‘forgiveness’ and ‘light’ … teachers say ‘let go’ …whatever that means … and little bolts of joy come every so often …

i know it is true that to stay disempowered and sad doesn’t serve anything or anyone and yet, the tracks seem to be getting more and more worn and harder and harder to jump off … fear, anxiety, self-hatred — such strong words but present here, now in the spiral of disease and discomfort.  so, where to go from here? today? right now?  what to do with all this fear bouncing around in my mind?

how bout some yoga?  move a little.  breathe in. breathe out.  stretch to the sky. and fold to the earth. letting the flow move through me and keeping my mind on the movement is sometimes the most grounding thing i can do.

I just took a 2.5 day workshop offered by Street Yoga – a non-profit, US-based organization that teaches mindfulness and yoga  in an outreach style, primarily to youth.

A short and engaging video about Street Yoga:

The training was good and challenging. I enjoyed the opportunity to focus in, learn from others, and really think about how yoga can be more accessible to everyone, especially those who have experienced trauma.  A fellow student wrote a lovely open-hearted post so I’ll just send you over there. She offers a good reminder: 

“Not every day is a bad day.. and when there are success stories, no matter how small… they are so fulfilling and rich. This work can be draining but it can also be nourishing and incredibly full of value. In my own life experience I have found there is a raw honesty that can be found on the streets. Genuine connection happens and great compassion and beauty can surface in these unexpected environments.” yoga4ayear. 

Truth. Yoga is a powerful tool for healing – linking mind, body, soul, and spirit in a personal way and within community. Here are a few organizations and people I find inspiring…

Yoga Service Council  – formed as part of the Omega Institute in 2009
Yoga Activist
Dr. Ellen Horowitz – A Youtube video that talks about the work of “Dr. Ellen Horovitz, registered Art Therapist and Yoga Teacher, integrates the two modalities in order to enhance the healing process. Dr. Horovitz is the director of the Creative Arts Therapy graduate program at Nazareth College of Rochester, NY”
Bo Forbes – Elemental Yoga.  Bo Forbes wrote this book: Yoga for Emotional Balance. I am reading it. I like it.

When i move my body to the rhythm of yoga, to my breath, and to my teacher’s voice, i am sometimes able to just be right there.  nowhere else. not on the train. not locked in my mind. not completely afraid.  here, with intensity, with calm, with emotion, with feeling, with sensation.  i feel a little spark in my soul.  i remember. and then i forget again. and then i remember.  try to just come back with gentleness.  sparking the soul.  moving the body.  jumping off the train.

xo
j


change in a time of transition

I recently moved to Vancouver.  

It’s a pretty big transition!  As my friend and amazing artist Karlee Dawn Weisgerber says “When one door closes, another opens. But meanwhile – it’s hell in the hallway!”  If you want to see a bit of the landscape I left behind, visit Karlee’s website  — she captures the prairie skies with an open heart!

I left behind a lovely life to make a new one in a strange city.  I know a few great people. I am doing yoga (click on the link to see an video called ’80’s week: the yoga terminator. just for a second! just for a laugh!). And walking, reading, and felting.  Oh and the beach!  It is nice too!  I joined the Community Arts Council of Vancouver to see what the community arts scene is all about – lots of neat things happening.

Making art can really help to work through and just be okay with transition.  At this point, my art supplies have not yet arrived and I don’t even seem to have any pencils or pens with me  – but I have so many ideas for new paintings and projects!  Images keep floating through my mind and I can’t wait to put them to canvas and really get into wet-felting.

Meanwhile, I find inspiration in these projects:

 Art for Refugees in Transition : “helps rebuild individual and community identity for refugees worldwide. Drawing upon the indigenous art forms of each community, A.R.T.’s programs are designed to enable the elders of a culture to educate and incorporate the younger generation in their cultural traditions. By developing self-sustaining curricula and training programs, A.R.T. engages children and adults in visual, performing and creative arts drawn from their own cultures. These activities provide local and international relief institutions with tools to help refugee communities cope with the trauma, terror and dislocation of war and natural disaster.” Started in 1999. Happens in places like Thailand, Colombia, and the USA.  Not sure if it is still happening.

Before I Die:  With help from friends and neighbors, I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood into a giant chalkboard to invite people to share what is important to them. Before I Die transforms a neglected space into a constructive one where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us. If you’re in New Orleans, stop by the corner of Marigny and Burgundy (900 Marigny Street) to add your thoughts to the wall and discover what matters most to your neighbors. It’s a question that changed me over the last year after I lost someone I loved very much. I also believe the design of our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings.” A project by artist Candy Chang and the community of New Orleans.

There seems to be this comment that gets thrown at me every few months — “art is just for the rich. If you are poor, what do you care about art? You are (or should be) more concerned with survival”.  To me, this argument ignores the joyful and creative spirit that resides in each of us.  It censors self-expression by tying it to capitalist ideals. I never know quite what to say.

But the projects I post on this blog are a testament to this fact: people find a way to make art no matter where they are and no matter what others think they should or shouldn’t be doing with their time/energy.  And I am grateful for their heart-felt work in my time of transition.

Expect a few blog posts throughout the summer but I will mostly be settling in and exploring. I will be back in September with all kinds of gloriousness and probably a bit of a focus on art therapy as I will be studying it for the next 15 months!

Peace out, 

jkl 

 


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