Catch Your Breath ~ Reflections

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This time last year I sat here in this very dome with nearly 40 people for a training with my beloved mentor, David Elliott. The training was Breathwork Healing – Level 3 (which is the level for guiding groups).

I sat there trembling and excited.

Me? Teach A Group?

And yet, I had already pre-booked my first group meditation offering for the following week so here I was…ready or not.

The year before that I would have crawled away and buried myself in a hole to keep myself “safe” and hidden. I had been a certified yoga teacher at that time for 5 years already but had been too afraid to teach.

Too afraid to be seen.

Too afraid to be heard.

So,

What Changed?

How Did I Get All The Way Here?

The answer is so simple but also the most profound.

It is this very practice I now share with others.

It is Breathwork Meditation.

The very tool I am sharing with others is the one that set me free

– And –

That is why it MUST be shared.

It is a tool that can connect you to your energy, your life force. It is the thread that connects you to the Divine…The Breath of LIFE. It can release years and lifetimes of fear, anxiety, passed down and made up belief systems, guilt, shame and regret.

It can connect you to new levels of compassion, self-awareness and LOVE.

It can change your life.

It certainly has changed mine.

As I write this I am here to lead my first retreat.

I laugh as this truth sinks in.

I smile in my heart and feel it radiate through my body and onto my face.

Miracles DO Happen.

They are meant to happen.

They are part of our evolution and growth and expansion into who we are meant to be.

We ARE Miracles.

Right before I left for the weekend, my breathwork sister Katie Mayeux posted a quote by our teacher David Elliott where he said, “Let Things Be Easy”.

Those words penetrated my heart and soul (thank you David and thank you Katie), and they came EXACTLY at the right moment.

Today as I lay here in this dome,

Creating Sacred space for a beautiful group of women,

I feel myself flowing into the most ultimate surrender.

I flow into EASE.

To the Divine.

To the unfolding of Love.

Love which is WAY bigger than I had ever imagined or felt worthy to receive

Before

BUT

Now I feel that I am worthy.

I know that I am.

Because LOVE Breathed LIFE Into Me

And I am here.

But I didn’t get here alone.

My first teacher and guide into this practice is Erin Telford.

Erin lovingly showed me the way, helped me feel safe, showed me the path.

She opened the gate to a whole new world and whole new relationship with myself.

She said, “The Most Important Relationship You Can Have Is The One With Yourself”,

and I now understand what that means.

Thank you to Erin Telford and to all of my breathwork sisters and brothers who have been on this journey with me.

Thank you to David Elliott, whose work literally changed my heart and soul and re-patterned the course of my life. I am forever grateful that The Reluctant Healer gave way to this incredible work that continues to bless so many.

You can be a part of it too.

A Love Note From The Gardener

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Come.

Breathe with Me.

Feel Your Life Sap

Stirring Within You.

 

Your Breath…

Don’t You Know?

It Is the Gateway that Opens

Your Inner Eyes to the Keys of Your Soul.

It is a Portal

Accessing

The Secret Garden

Hidden

Within the Walls

Of Your Human Experience.

 

Can You Feel That Current

Of Fresh Air

And Light

Flowing Through

Your Cracks?

 

Listen.

Feel.

 

Inhale

Inhale

Exhale

 

Walk Through the Vines of Fear

Hack Through the Overgrowth of Anger

Blast Through the Rock Walls of Pain

Uncover the Barriers

That Your Human Experience

Has Built Around You

To Protect

You.

They are

NOT

Protecting You.

They Are

Locking You Out.

 

Inhale

Inhale

Exhale

 

Let Your Breath Guide You to the Center

Where It is

Completely Still

And

Peaceful.

 

This is where I AM.

 

Sit Beside My Healing Waters.

Let them Wash Over You.

Experience the Flowering of Your Soul

And the Current of My Love Flowing Within Your Heart.

 

It Is Not The

Fountain Of Youth

You Have Been Searching For.

It

Is

The

Fountain Of Truth.

 

Breath Was Given

To YOU.

Life Was Given

To YOU.

Because

YOU ARE LOVED

With

An Everlasting

LOVE.

 

Your Life was Created ON PURPOSE,

No Matter

WHAT

Lies You Have Been Told.

 

Your Birthright Is

To Radiate Divine Light,

To Experience Divine Love,

To Shine Like A Child Of The Divine.

Because

That

Is

What

You

Are.

 

My Child.

 

Come Back to The Garden.

It is Safe Here.

It is Your Home.

 

Breathe Your Life.

I Used To Be A Closet Dancer…

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I used to be a closet dancer.

I would feel the rhythm
In my bones
To the music,
Turn it
Up
In the kitchen,
And exorcise the darkness from my soul.
There were a few long years when
I squashed down my joy.
I stopped moving.
I held my breath.
Because somehow
after experiencing
a traumatic event
in my life,
the lie that I bought was that
if
I moved
or
breathed
I would die.
And so
I froze.
I held my breath.
I stopped moving.
Trauma can do this to us.
The hardness of life
Can do this to us.
It can steal our joy.
It can program our brains to
Believe things
That
Aren’t true
And keep us in the past,
And hold us back
from all of the
Amazing Things
We are meant to be doing NOW.
The past four years have been life changing.
And the shift
started
with
Breathwork.
Connecting
to my spirit
Through the breath,
was like sweeping out my house
Of all the stagnant,
Heavy
Baggage,
That I had picked up over my lifetime.
The trauma,
The sadness,
The anger,
The grief,
The fear…
It was all like scar tissue in my body and soul.
And
The Breath
Began to break it up.
I felt it Loosen.
I felt my wounds
Begin to Heal.
I started living more fully
And a little more
Out
In the Open.
And because I had done
Such an extensive
Inner house cleaning,
There was Space
For
ME
To experience
So Much Joy.
My Spirit Started Dancing.
My new mantra became:
Breathe. Move. Breathe. Move. Breathe.
If you are reading this and feeling like
You wish you could
Experience
This kind of freedom,
Just know I feel you.
I have been there….
For what felt like
Ever.
If you feel
Stuck,
Hidden,
Squashed,
Unmotivated,
Afraid
Empty…
Just take a deep breath
And feel
How you
Can
Expand.
At first
You can feel
Silly,
Stupid,
Self-critical,
Or overly self-aware.
Just breathe anyway.
To be in these bodies is a privilege,
Even when
Our bodies at times
May have failed us,
Or have fallen sick,
or been weakened.
They may not look the way we want them to
Or do the things they used to do…
But –
They still carry our spirits inside.
And because of this,
It’s only
Right
to honor them
By
moving
and
breathing
and
dancing
And allowing them to
explore space
in the way they were created to explore and express.
I have to be honest.
I’ve never made a New year’s resolution.
Not for any particular reason,
I just never felt compelled to do so.
I never picked a word.
I never set a goal.
But this year I did.
The word I chose was
RE-AWAKEN.
And as I set out to reawaken and explore
More of who I am
and what I’m here to learn
And share,
I’m very much aware that part of this reawakening
for me
means to dance
In the Open
And not just
in my kitchen anymore.
Are there ways you might be squashing your light?
Are you keeping yourself really small
and safe
and hidden
and calling this living?
I invite YOU
To Come,
Dance,
Move,
Breathe,
With Me This Summer.
Take some time
To Expand
Explore
And take up more Space.
Take time to Heal.
Catch Your Breath.
Breathe your life.
*Spaces are Limited and are Beginning to fill, so if you feel one is for you, please reserve your place today, by clicking here:
With joy and gratitude in my heart for YOU.
April*
🙏💜

The Next Level of Self-Care – How Mayan Abdominal Massage Brought Me Home to My Body

self care

I thought I knew what Self-Care was until I worked with Jillian Anderson, and let me tell you…I am Never lowering my standards AGAIN!

This week I had the incredible honor of experiencing a Mayan Abdominal Massage.
Before I go into my experience, I first need to give you a little background.
In the past 4 years (since our daughter was born), my belly (that was once a predictably stronger area of my body), became a place of trauma, fear, and also shame. It felt like my own body had betrayed me and couldn’t be trusted. During my pregnancy it was discovered that I had fibroids, which were thought to be non-invasive and basically harmless. Boy, I wish that turned out to be true. After 51 hours of labor, I waved my white flag and had a C-section. 3 weeks later (when I was home with our new baby, thinking everything traumatic was behind me), I had a uterine hemorrhage and lost all of my blood. So…after multiple surgeries (including re-opening my unhealed C-section wound), blood transfusions and other procedures, I came through the other side. But….my belly became a place of terror for me. I was afraid to look at it, breathe into it,  or exercise. It literally became a living memory of all that I had gone through…except by living detached from this area of my body, I was giving it power to actually STILL be my present experience, if that makes sense? Just because we aren’t looking at something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Often times when we finally do look, witness, and try to understand that which we fear or hide from, we discover a whole world of possibilities and growth, and new found strength.
Jillian and I have been discussing Mayan Abdominal Massage for months….and months ..and months…and how it could be a pivotal piece in my healing, but my fear dug it’s stubborn little heels into the ground and kept me back. I now know it was THE pivotal piece in my healing. My breathwork meditation practice has greatly brought healing to my heart and soul (and revealed where my fears were hiding in my body), and this abdominal massage was the Medicine to truly welcome myself back into my body.
And…I totally just cried typing that last sentence.
Because it is true.
And I am so grateful.
And every woman needs to do this!
Here is Why…
Imagine the warmth and comfort you had as a baby; swaddled in blankets, tucked in just right, being rocked, and swayed. This was the feeling I had from beginning to end. The comfort and support of feminine energy was so incredibly nurturing, attentive, and loving. Throughout the session, Jillian checked in to let me know that she was looking for different pulses, or checking my lymph, or other signs of tension or imbalance. Breathing was a key component to this work as well (which I loved). Jillian’s breath techniques lead me to do the same, many times without any other verbal communication. I felt completely safe and like my breath was giving my body consent to let go and accept the healing from this Earth-Angel’s hands. I recall observing my own body like I have never done before. As each area came into my awareness, I was reminded of a terrible car accident I had been in, or a time I suffered an injury while helping another person, or the beautiful child I had birthed. I had thanked God many times for helping me through these events..but in these moments I found myself thanking MY BODY for carrying me through, which is something I have only more recently begun to practice. We can often forget to thank our bodies, however they are the home for our souls and deserve to be honored and cared for just like we do our physical houses.
At one point during the treatment, I had a vision and I saw what looked like Jillian standing by me but she was all white. There were beams of white light pulsating down from above and inside of her and out through her hands as she worked on me. The light in her hands became a white dove (a sign of the Holy Spirit) and it spread it wings and flew off. Umm…what? Well, whatever, I don’t know, but I’m taking it because it added to the amazing experience.
By the time we began work on my lower abdomen (where all the trauma hung out), I was floating and felt like a limp noodle. I continued to follow Jillian’s guidance for the breath and felt my body opening and releasing tension I didn’t even know I had. When she placed her hands on my C-section scars, my mouth immediately began to tingle with what felt like electrical current. This is something I am familiar with when working with breathwork clients and I recognize it as energy being released. As soon as I felt it around my mouth, I knew in my heart that it was all of the unexpressed fear and sadness and anger I had squashed down inside my belly. I knew it was connected to this event and for the first time I realized how strong I actually was to have gone through this trauma…and suddenly felt pride and honor and SO MUCH LOVE for my body.
Besides the incredible spiritual aspects of this session (which I am eternally grateful for), the physical experience of this work is like nothing I have ever experienced. I went to massage therapy school, I have had many massages in my life, but this was not a massage. It was SO much more. It was mind, body, and spirit work and It was truly enlightening.
If I were a ship, lost in a raging storm at sea, Jillian was steadily and skillfully working the mast, and guiding my ship home.
If you are a woman, this is an absolute MUST on your Self-Care list, whether you are a mother or not! It not only will nurture and connect you to your body, but it will also connect you to your heart and spirit in ways these words can not describe.

What Trauma Looks Like

Trauma. This is what it looks like when it is staring you in the face.  Sometimes it isn’t so obvious.

If you were to look at this image you would NEVER guess that only MOMENTS before I was in a curled up ball, shell-shocked and fighting back the tears. It all emerged from a playful time with my sweetEST daughter and LOVE of my life. We were playing and she pounced on my belly. THAT was the moment that triggered the underlaying trauma still sleeping within my body. Darn. I thought I had gotten so far. And yet, I have. 

Rewind. 3 1/2 years ago (about a month after our daughter was born), I suffered from a uterine hemorrhage that nearly cost my life. Many surgeries and blood transfusions later, I came through (kissing the ground), and never looked back. 

 About a year before that I was in the BEST shape of my life, exercising 7 days a week and sometimes more than once per day. I felt great and I felt ALIVE. Fast forward to today and the idea of doing sit ups scares the crap out of me. The same thing I once loved and thrived on has now become an activity that makes me feel threatened and afraid for my life.

 The crazy thing about trauma is that it finds a nesting place within the cellular make-up of our physical bodies and comes out to bite when you least expect it. The practice of healing breathwork meditation has helped me identify that this exists within me because it literally has the ability to bring the multi-dimensional person that I am into the present moment. In other words, all of the pieces of who i was, am, and hope to be, arrive within THIS moment and when we show up for ourselves like that, healing happens! As my mentor David Elliott so wonderfully describes it, “Where Awareness Goes, Energy Flows”. 

 Each day I bring more love and attention to this place inside my soul and in my body and I know the day is coming where I will get on the mat again and push myself through the scar tissue and the fear. I am close but today reminded me of far how I had come because I didn’t get swallowed by the fear. Instead the me that LIVES today spoke into the fearful heart of the girl who tremored within the shadows of my body. The love and gratitude of all that I am and have today was able to look into her heart and say, “Hey, kid, i see you. I know it WAS scary…but we turn out ok, see?” And that was all I needed to sit up and wipe the tears away. 

 When I see my daughter’s face and measure each mark of her growth on the wall, I also recognize that the same mark measures how many more days I have been gifted to share this life with those I love and also with the world. I am here for a reason and so are YOU.

 Trauma changes you but it doesn’t have to rule you or steal your joy. Allow the you that lives today to have compassion for the you that went through traumatic times yesterday. The practice of breathwork is a powerful tool that has not only helped to dig down deep into my emotional body, but has also helped me to be more compassionate, more understanding of the healing process, and above all more present. 

 IMG_20180902_191712LOVE is the best medicine. Breathe it all in.

Being Seen

Being Seen

What do you feel when you read those words?

Do you feel seen?

Do you feel like a deer in headlights or a performer in the spotlight?

Do you feel what people see isn’t even you? Do you feel misunderstood?

Do you want to be seen?

Do you want to hide?

Do you feel invisible when you try to be seen?

For some this is a place of joy, delight and self-expression, and for others it creates anxiety and fear.

What makes the difference and how can we find balance in the light so that we can all shine?

The answers are found when we take the time to be still, connect with spirit, and tune in to the natural rhythm of life within and around us. For me, this has been found in the practice of breathwork.
Do you see the girl sitting here in this photo? In a moment she is going to open her mouth, let words come out, look around the room, and teach a class!!! WHAT ON EARTH?!

Last week I taught my first private breath circle with a sweet group of people who have been on this breathwork journey with me. The moment I sent out the invitation my old friend fear rose up and tried to tell me I couldn’t do it and that I was silly and stupid for believing I had anything good to share. I was bombarded by the anxiety of being seen and feeling like I had zero words to say…just heart palpitations! But, then I laid down and did my own breathwork practice and the fear melted away. I was again reminded of why this is exactly the thing I needed to be doing because if there is any technique or tool to find a way out of that kind of fear and anxiety, then it needs to be shared!

As I entered the room to set up for my first circle, I felt extreme joy, peace, love and gratitude. Gratitude to God, to my mentors, for the ability to be able to share this practice with others, and also for my journey and commitment to this work within myself. I forgot all about the thoughts I had heard earlier and felt for the first time like I was standing in my shoes and like they fit me perfectly (like Cinderella), for the first time in my entire life. 

So why am I sharing this experience with you? One reason is that it is a way to continue the process of my healing by putting myself in a visible place, and hopefully by doing this it will also encourage you to do the same. There is hope for healing, change and growth and you are not alone. My writing this to you is proof that this is true!

When I was small I was so afraid of being seen that I didn’t want to go to school. I wanted to stay inside my safe cocoon of home and never come out. Somehow, I convinced my mom to homeschool me (I was the only one out of the 3 children to be homeschooled), until third grade. When I finally decided to step out into the world and go to public school, I was so afraid of being seen that I covered my face for 6 hours a day, leaving what looked like finger-shaped birthmarks all over my face. My fear was imprinted on my face for all to see.

I could sit here and tell you how much my life has changed and how magical and transformational this breathwork practice is, and all of that would be true, but what does it mean to you if you have not experienced it yourself? The truth is we all have fears. We all have desires to live full, happy, and meaningful lives. We all have things trapped inside the fibers of our bodies, being carried around like dead weight, holding us back or dragging us down and no one can unload that stuff for you. This breath practice is WORK. It calls you to action in your own life. It asks you to look and connect deeply within to the very core of who you are and to practice self care and self love in such a simply profound way. It asks you to show up for YOU. When you begin to show up for you, that is when healing can begin.

It is my hope and prayer that every living person experiences healing in their lives. There are many forms and different tools on the pathway to healing. Breathwork is one of them. This specific type of breathwork has quickly become one of the most powerful and immediate forms I have come to know and my joy becomes full circle when it is shared.

In a couple of weeks, I will be doing the 3rd Level of training with David Elliot and I am so excited. The week after that I have my first public breath circle scheduled at Prana Yoga on Friday, July 27th(7-9pm), and it is already half full. If you are reading this and something inside you feels tugged to give it a try, I encourage you to join us. For further information or to reserve your spot, please visit:  https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/asp/main_enroll.asp?fl=true&tabID=8

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Good Grief

Good Grief.

I hear the voice of Charlie Brown and all of his friends saying this over and over again in my memory. It’s funny but I think the words got lost somehow in my mind and took on some other sort of understanding, like saying, “oh boy”, or “gee-whilikers”, or maybe that was just “Wah, Wah”.

Anyway, recently I have come to a new appreciation for those words “Good Grief”, and let me to tell you what a relief it has been. Continue reading “Good Grief”

What is this thing called Breathwork?

If you are reading this and that question intrigues you, maybe this was written just for you!

Here are some of my notes and thoughts as I travel down this path of wonder…

Some Definitions and passages that resonate with me:

Prana – Life Force: the spirit or energy that animates living creatures; the soul.

“Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7

Whether you follow a particular set of scriptures or have your own ideas about what the soul, breath or life force is, there is one thing no one can deny and that is that all of us who are living have breath. The moment we breathe on our own we are proclaimed “born” and the moment our breath leaves our bodies is the moment we slip out of this world into “death” or the other side of this life as we know it.

Most of my life I have pondered spiritual things. I remember as a child feeling very close to God/my spirit when I was outside or interacting with the earth. There seemed to be a rhythm and heart beat in each and every living thing. I believe I heard messages within my heart that were deep truths about love, life and purpose without hearing a single audible word.

As I grew older and less interactive with nature, I began to lose touch with spiritual things the more I followed the rhythms of this world, our culture, and being a working mama on the east coast. My faith in God and my passion for all things healing and spiritual never left me but I felt my time was all spent and although my “intentions” were good, I just never followed through because there were so many other things higher up on my priority list.

Then one day it hit me. My anxiety level had been growing for weeks (maybe even years), and for some reason I didn’t even recognize it as anxiety. I began feeling impatient, cranky for no reason, and kind of snarky with my husband. I have always been a non-stop, get it done, don’t-stop-til-you-drop, type lady. I have always seen myself as positive, hard working and having a natural zest for life and serving those around me. My anxiety was masked by my excitement and passion for all of the great things I was involved in and so it was easily undetected…until suddenly I felt like I was going to burst like a pressure cooker. No warning, just an “oh, snap” kind of feeling (literally).

You may or may not relate to this and that is totally fine, but the reason I am sharing this is because of what I discovered during this time that literally gave me my life back in the richest, healthiest, and fullest form.

My sister has often said, “Sometimes you need to sink to the bottom so that you have something to push off of.” This was definitely one of those times and I believe sinking down to that murky, deep bottom was just what I needed to lift me back up to the sunny surface again.

That was when I said out loud to myself and to those close to me, “I think I need help.”

I started popping in on yoga classes again, booked acupuncture appointments, found a therapist (who also worked with energy fields and EFT), and then….I found it…

One day while scrolling through my social media feeds I saw a pretty picture. Haha! Yup. I know, it’s so superficial, but its true. I saw the words “Breathwork” along with this beautiful image and decided to investigate this link further. That was the moment that literally changed the course of my life for what I believe I can say as “forever”.

And so I began practicing a new type of Breathwork. It was unlike any type I had every tried or practiced in a yoga class and it slowly began to become part of my daily life. I started with little 10 minute youtube clips and then started purchasing sessions (actually investing) in this thing! I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it made me feel lighter and things in my life started feeling less heavy. My sister recognized how helpful this was for me and bought me a private session with my (now) teacher, Erin Telford. During the session all I remember was a tingling sensation, like my life energy was dancing all around my body. Strong emotional memories and thoughts came into my awareness and I cried and released a lot of gunk that day. The anxiety and pressure that had been rising was there for a reason. I saw with my heart into what it was and grieved in places I had squashed down so deeply that I foolishly believed it was gone. Emotions and trauma hide in our bodies. Belief systems too. Thank goodness I sank to the bottom so I could finally push off of something tangible and begin to rise upwards again.

It astounds me to think back on this time and see how far it has brought me. So many pieces began to connect and it feels like I have arrived in the place I was meant to be my whole life long. I feel like that child again, in tune with nature and the natural rhythm of things. All of the careers I have tried, certificates I have earned, experiences with people (young and old), all seemed to be pointing me to this place where all of those resources can come together and be used at once. This is what this type of breathwork does. It clears the cobwebs, detoxes the emotions that lurk within our bodies, and gives clarity and hope.

As some of you may know I have continued on this path and have gone through training (which I intend to do over and over again throughout my life) so that I can deepen my practice and also share this with others. I watch as each and every person has their own awakenings and releases. I witness the deep connection of breath with the soul and know this work is deep and real and literally moves mountains.

If any of this resonates with you please feel free to share here or reach out personally.

Private sessions are now being booked through the studio into the month of May and group classes will be coming to our studio soon so stay tuned!

Love & Light*

April*