Month: March 2018

WHY Meditate??

I began practicing yoga while I was an undergrad in 1997. I was introduced to meditation then and for many years afterwards I attempted to cultivate a regular practice. I use the word “attempted” loosely as I was not convinced that sitting in meditation was all that it was touted to be. I had a storyline running through my busy mind along the lines of:

 

Why on earth would I want to sit on a cushion for 20 minutes?

How is it even possible that that could do anything for me?

How can staring at a candle make me happier?

I don’t have time to meditate!

How can repeating a mantra train my mind to be calm?

I would so much rather do about anything else rather than take the time to sit in silence!

etc etc….

 

I was not allured by meditation in the slightest and truly could not find it in me to sit on a cushion with any semblance of regularity.

 

Then the shift happens.

 

Over 3 years ago…I dig deep…very deep….and commit to myself that I am going to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:00am everyday and drag myself downstairs to sit and meditate in front of my alter. It truly happened overnight for me. I made the commitment and then I just did it. Some mornings were harder than others but now I crave that morning quiet time of meditation. I look forward to it and on the rare mornings when I am unable to due to a sick child or travel or other circumstance, I miss it. It has become my home base – an ultimate act of self-care – and a lifeline.

 

Benefits of regular meditation from my personal experience:

 

~ A Focused Mind: This is not easy but much more possible when you are meditating regularly. I notice when I begin to scatter my thoughts and allow the monkey mind to take over almost immediately and can bring myself back to center.

~Deeper Connection To My Breath: This can serve in so many ways and I will share an extreme example from my recent life: I went through what could have been a terrifying experience while travelling alone in Mexico a few short months ago. I was witness to a “hit” by the Mexican drug cartel that involved the murdering of 5 people with an AK. I noticed immediately how deeply connected I was to my breath throughout this experience and it kept me anchored in the present moment and out of the place of panic. I stayed embodied in my breath and in my body and I believe that it was as a result of my years of practice that I was able to put into action. Staying connected to the breath throughout the day keeps one grounded and present, attuned and alive, connected and at peace.  

~Profound Connection To My Body: This includes my true hunger signs, various sensations (both pleasurable and not-so-much), my actual needs for movement and how much (HUGE for me!) and the recognition if and when I am in need of rest rather than forced activity. I find that when I start out my day with a morning sit, I am much more attuned to my bodies needs throughout the day. I am aware on the few days when I do not (I allow myself one morning a week to stay in bed), my level of disconnection is higher and it takes more effort to make embodied choices for my body.

~I Am HAPPIER! What they say is true – you do become happier when you are sitting regularly.

~I Have Greater Perspective: What once seemed monumental in magnitude of stressful importance has been put into perspective.

~My Ability To Respond More Appropriately Has Heightened: Life as a single mom has been stressful — I will not lie. I will say, however, that sitting regularly has provided me with the opportunity and the pause to respond rather than react. Game changer for this mama!

~My Vision Is Clearer: Truly both physically and metaphorically – I feel like I can see clearer through my eyes and into my etheric body and vision my future full of possibilities.

 

The above are my own personal discoveries in my meditation practice. Of course, these are not absolutes that are in effect every single moment of every day. I am human, which my meditation practice is constantly reminding me, and I still fumble and fall. What I can say is that I am more resilient than ever and I account my devoted practice to this incredible quality of being.

Going on a retreat is a perfect opportunity to jump-start your practice and receive the benefits of meditation!

 

I have two unique and special women’s restorative retreats this year in magical Taos, NM that will be a delicious time of quiet and introspection through various practices mindfulness and embodiment practices – including meditation.

Click here to register.

 

 I am available for private sessions and offer a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Please contact me to sign up: alison@embodymylife.com

 

I always say….

“If I can do it, anyone can!”

The Impossibility and Necessity of Retreating

Many years ago I was in the throes of early single parenting my high need young one, beyond sleep deprived, bone tired, under-resourced, frazzled, unhealthy, depressed, uninspired, and longing for some respite – some relief – an escape from my overwhelming life – an opportunity to take care of myself, my needs, my body, my heart. I was also convinced that I could not do such a thing and had every excuse in the book as to why actually taking care of myself in this way was not an even remotely an option — no money, no time, fear of reaching out to others as I was so down on myself, my body was out of shape and I was still carrying the weight I had gained during pregnancy — basically, I was miserable in my own misery and did not see any way out.

I received an email newsletter from a beautiful woman who runs women’s retreats. The title was something along the lines of declaring that everyone needs a retreat. I unsubscribed immediately upon reading this. I was livid and my inner dialogue went something like this: How could she be so bold to state something like that?? Didn’t she know my situation and so many others?? Of course she didn’t understand anything because she was not a mother – she couldn’t possibly understand the angst I was in. The nerve of her to tell us all that we need a retreat when I can barely get myself up and dressed and out the door everyday. And, on and on and on and on.

 

Well, I tell ya, that is EXACTLY what I needed. And, I believe, that I COULD have made it happen and IF I DID my life would have taken a very different trajectory. Instead, I chose to stay in my suffering rather than step out of it and unwind, resource myself, and connect with my body and heart and perhaps heal amongst fellow women. I chose to stay in my bubble of misery and feel pretty damn bad about myself.

 

And, it’s okay. I wasn’t ready in that moment to be healed and opened up and there is absolutely no judgment on that. When you’re ready, you’re ready, and not a moment sooner.

 

I did attend a half-day women’s retreat a few months afterwards and a part of me softened, opened, and healed. Though something larger was stirred, and I received a taste of the critical nature of the unplugging from life and diving into our embodied ways of being. I recognized that I had taken a massive step out of my misery and back towards myself. I understood that it was a process and that what I had connected to was a piece of the puzzle, a small, yet significant moment of unwind and honor. I had the awareness for those few hours and for several days afterwards of the magnitude that my body, heart, and spirit had just gone through in growing my child and birthing him into the world. I was so lost in the fog of my new existence as an overwhelmed mother that I had forgotten about the other part of myself that was so buried beneath layers of body weight and tension. It was a small step, yet one that did actually change my course significantly.

 

I knew, after that day, that it was my path to support others in tapping into this place — the quiet, deep, introspective, connected, heart-centered place that we all long for, yet deprive ourselves of. I knew it in my bones, yet also knew that it may take me awhile. I was still very much in the throes of new motherhood and I truly had no idea what was on the horizon for me to navigate before I was able to step back in this direction. My path carried me soon after this day into a painful divorce and single parenting. I became my high need sons primary caretaker and that remained my priority for many years….

 

Throughout this journey, I was able to retreat regularly – sometimes this was just a few hours at my home unplugged and surrounded by yoga props and a delicious long yoga practice, sometimes it has involved traveling and retreating.

 

It has been the most important act of self-care as a mother and a woman that I have chosen and one that I do not take for granted.

 

 Beginning in June, I will be offering monthly women’s mini-retreats – a 4-hour long opportunity to unwind, resource, and re-connect.

 

 

I recognize that it is not conducive for many to leave their families and responsibilities for an entire week or even a weekend. Removing oneself from life’s demands, technology, overstimulation, and responsibilities even for a few hours can be the reset that one needs.

 

 

These Wholly Embodied Woman mini-retreats include:

Deep and Embodied Yoga that Honors your Body, Heart, and Soul

Mindful Meditation and Movement

Creative Expression

and

Connection to Like-Minded Women

 

For more information or to register please click here.

or email me: alison@embodymylife.com