Something I was made very aware of is confidence comes and goes....maybe it is an illusive idea that we can actually claim confidence as a permanent state! But we can choose how we respond at times of wavering confidence levels and learn tools for self-connection which allows us to access our inner authority when we're feeling wobbly. More musings below...
This helps you to connect with kindness to your inner knowing. Sit or lie comfortably. Place one hand on your chest and one on your lower belly. You can let your head bow slightly towards your heart if it feels nice. Feel the contact of your hands on your body and their rising and falling with your breath as you inhale and exhale. Allow your attention to be drawn with in. Continue for 3-5 mins or as long as you like.
If you have any more insights to add, please write them in the comments below! Loved exploring this vast topic and thanks to all who came on the workshop and explored it with me!
Connection to self is central to my own yoga practice. Get in touch or see my classes/events if you want to explore more.
The Story of 'La Loba' ('Wolf-Woman')
I want to tell this story which I first came across in the incredible book called 'Women who run with the Wolves - contacting the Power of the Wild Woman', by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She uses myths and stories to speak to your Wild Soul - to awaken that part within which knows - it just Knows. I will condense the story, as written by Clarissa P Estes and it goes like this...
In a hidden place, there lives an old woman, that everyone knows in their souls, but few have ever seen. She seems to wait for lost or wondering souls to come her way. Her name is 'La Loba' - or 'Wolf Woman'.
The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She collects and preserves especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is filled with all manner of desert creatures - deer, crow, snake, but especially, Wolves.
She creeps and crawls and sifts through the hills, the plains, the riverbeds, looking for wolf bones.... and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place, and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.
And when she is sure, she stands over the creature, raises her arms over it, and she sings out! That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the wolf begin to flesh out. And the creature becomes furred! La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being - its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong. And she sings some more and the creature begins to breathe!!
And as she sings some more the very earth beneath begins to shake as the Wolf opens its eyes, leaps up and runs away into the landscape. And somewhere in the running, the Wolf is finally transformed into a laughing woman who runs free into the horizon!
So remember, if you wander the hills of Bickerton, or the Whixall mosses and it is sundown, and you are perhaps a little lost and tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba might take a liking to you and show you something - something of the soul.
The wolf bones in the story represent the indestructible life-force of the soul-spirit. This story is about resurrection. About returning to wholeness. Bringing back the wild and dismembered aspects of ourselves, which we have been forced to abandon through trauma and fear. This story invites us to bring back our bones - so that we can run wild and free laughing into the horizon.
In Clarissa P Estes's words, the story invites us to
'Go Gather Bones.'
A significant point for me is that this is a story of our inner world. The bones which are scattered are not somewhere outside of our-self to go searching for - to assume this would create an even deeper state of separation and dis-empowerment. The scattered bones reside within us. All we need to do is pull up a seat for them - to sing them back into our being.
I've begun running themed yoga classes/workshops which aim to open a door to invite our missing parts to take their seat, so we can learn to re-connect with them. In doing so, we strengthen the connection with the indestructible light of our Truth. On opening the door, we then have a choice of whether to continue to welcome these parts into our being, or to let the door close again. The choice is yours!!
Musing from today's workshop
Innocence is the Original Light which radiated from our little bodies as a baby. It is sweet, vulnerable, tender, fragile, powerful, wild, untamed.... It's in the snowdrops, the cherry blossom, the eyes of a child....
But this sweet light of our unadulterated True Nature becomes dimmed, as in response to the pain of judgement, disapproval, rejection, shame etc. we gradually hide parts of ourselves in order that we become 'acceptable' and 'fit in'. But at what cost??!
What price are we paying both on an individual level and on a planetary level for losing this inherent connection with our True Nature, our innocence - for losing touch with who we REALLY are? And instead being how 'the system' wants us to be.
I believe that if all of us lived in alignment with what we in our hearts knew to be true - what we Love, what we Honour, what we would fight for, for ourselves, our planet and our children, then the world would take on a radically different form!!! And how must this make us feel inside!! Would it return us to our innocence - our Wild and True Nature - the light of our bright and shiny Soul? And how alive would this make us feel??!
Do you feel the rhythm of the Earth's heart-drum
She is beating at a pace, seasons flowing by with grace
We stir from our sleep as the morning comes
Black night welcoming our rest, new life arising from darkness.
Do you feel the heat of the golden Sun?
The fire in the sky giving life to everyone
The trees shed their leaves when the autumn comes,
While we're rushing round the place, never resting from the chase.
Our cyclical nature
Being part of nature, humans are affected by and subjected to many cycles - those rises and falls of energy which happen throughout life, be they short cycles or ones which happen over years. They affect energy levels, mood/emotions and physiology, sometimes at our inconvenience. Here are a few 'tangible' examples...
Outer cycles - night and day, the seasons of the Earth, the phases of the moon...
Inner cycles - the cycle of our breath - inhale/exhale, our heart-beat, digestive rhythms, and the menstrual cycle for Women.
The cycle we simply cannot ignore is that of the day and night - when it's dark we sleep and when the Sun rises, so do we. And when we run out of breath after a deep exhale, we almost immediately need to drink in our next life-giving inhale!
Our society holds a culture of constantly trying to bloom and grow. Life's full cyclical nature is not honoured. But even our economy is subjected to cycles of growth and recession - periods of economic expansion, boom and recession, when from the depth of the slump, a turning point happens and the cycle begins again.
So what if we embraced these innate rhythms which govern our lives, instead of adhering to our conditioned patterning, which resists or ignores this natural occurrence? Albert Einstein said "Look deep into nature, then you will understand everything better"... Nature has an innate intelligence. I wonder what would happen if we all followed her example?
Living with the Seasons
Winter is the time to surrender to stillness. Relax ... don't try and grow that lettuce in the middle of winter...it'll be a struggle! It's a time for rest, non-action. In the void we are invited to look within, be reflective, meditative, and in this state, we can regenerate, restore our strength, and dream & vision our desires - the seeds of our future growth.
Spring comes. As the heat and light of the Sun increases, energy rises and expands and we feel more alive ... it's time to plant that lettuce!! There is stirring, movement, potential, excitement, creativity, growth, anticipation, experimentation, playfulness, risk-taking - these life-giving qualities. It's like we're warming up in preparation for the Big event...
Expanding energies heighten and Boom!! It's summer. Because we've rested, reflected, restored our energy and dreamed our visions in Winter, and grown, nurtured and developed them in spring, we can now ride the biggest wave at the peak of the cycle. Achievement, action, productivity, fertility, energy, blooming, putting yourself out there, being seen and heard. (This is the constant season of our society - Go, go, go. But a flower can't bloom forever.)
It's autumn. The days shorten, begin to draw back again. The trees shed their leaves, energy begins to turn inward. Like the autumn leaf we can let go of the things we don't wish to carry forward into the next cycle. Create space, de-clutter, edit, refine, sort the rubbish out from the recycling.
And then we're prepared to hunker down once again into the darkness of winter, from where New Beginnings will emerge as surely as the Sun will rise again in the new dawn.
Ideas for further exploration for anyone to do
This is nature's way of being. It's self-care. It involves checking in to your inner needs. So you can use it as an invitation to explore, tune in to yourself more deeply and honour your inner nature. Nobody else will do this on your behalf.
Can you feel the rhythm of the Earth's heart-drum?
She is beating at a pace.... Life flowing by with Grace.
Beating at a pace...
Flowing by with Grace.
In yogic terms, the will is governed by the energy centre called ‘Manipura Chakra'. The element of this energy centre is Fire. It’s location is at the navel in the belly – hence the power behind our digestive processes is referred to as our ‘digestive fire’. If this energy centre is weak, then we may struggle to digest our food well.
And if we don’t have much fire in our belly, we may lack a sense of personal power, identity, depth, and integrity – the ability to walk forward into life, taking actions and speaking words which are in alignment with our beliefs and values. We may favour instant gratification over working towards more substantial longer-term endeavours.
I was also fearful of being vulnerable - truly being seen or heard - always trying my best to stay small. Apart from being a waste of a life, it feels limiting and unsatisfying to hide behind the curtain and not have centre stage in ones own life. Each person should be the star of their own show right??
If you relate to any of this stuff then read this book...there is gold within it!!! But for now, here are 3 simple exercises to take away. Also, in relation to this blog, within the workshop on Sunday 13th May we'll be exploring stepping outside of our comfort zone and into the arena of the uncomfortable and sometimes scary 'risk zone' - the breeding ground for fulfillment, 'wholehearted living' and personal growth, where you and your will can have centre stage.
Last August I attended a 5 day self-leadership course called 'The Journey,' run a by a man whose inspirational talk I had attended a month previous at Buddhafields Festival. There was something about this man and the message he shared that really spoke to my heart. It was at a time when I had taken a career break and was in the void of not knowing where to go with my life. And it got me thinking...reflecting deeply about some fundamental questions which perhaps should have been asked of us when we were at school.
The ethos of this course was to guide you to your own inner knowing to find out how you truly wanted to live this life - how/where to find the joy of being in service to the world, in the way that is unique to you.
There were 3 core questions at the heart of this process...What do you most deeply and profoundly love? What are your unique gifts/talents(...which each of us have)? What are your deepest responsibilities(...is it with your child for example, or do you also have a responsibility to your neighbour's child...where does it end?)
As I found out, this is not necessarily something that can be answered in a week, but is something to keep coming back to. But I found out something which I already knew and that was - somewhere deep inside, I have a profound love of nature...I love the Earth. But my question was now, 'how to be of service to nature?'
My gifts and talents didn't seem of relevance, and what I came back to 6 months later was to offer something in my career/purpose in life, which was to do with connecting to self - in order that one can live a life of greater richness and fulfillment. A life lived from ones own centre rather than that of an external source or influence. This feels like living from a place of power and authenticity. But what has this to do with nature?
I now see clearly that the yoga I share is especially intertwined with re-connecting with nature and her rhythms as a way of 'coming home'. When we re-connect with nature, we naturally live more in tune with her cycles, more in alignment with our own well-being, and also the well-being of the earth.
I write this just after having re-visited a Mac Macartney Ted Talk. He is the man who inspired me at the festival last summer.
Registered Osteopath and Yoga Teacher
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