Sounds of Silence

Have you ever signed up for something, let’s say a 10 day silent meditation course, and woke up on day 2 to realize that you actually just meant to sign up for the silent bit and that the whole meditation bit was more of an afterthought? Which is unfortunate because in actuality this course is all about the meditation not the whole silent bit....  ?  Yah... me too. So you know what I did? I very rationally told myself all the reasons why it was okay for me to not meditate during all of the scheduled times since that’s clearly not why I came or the part that I needed. I would just rest into the silence and take the parts I needed from this experience and leave the rest. Brilliant. 

Have you ever been completely sure that you knew exactly what you need for yourself in a given time and place, only to be metaphorically slapped in the face on the night of day 2 by your teacher, that can clearly read your mind and understands your soul, who gently and lovingly shows you that you’re actually full of shit? Yah... me too. So you know what I did? I started meditating during all the scheduled times because that’s clearly why I came, to fully experience it. All of it. Exactly as it was not how I wanted it to be. Brilliant. 

Now - in case I’ve completely lost you - I just returned from my first Vipassana course. & whoa. 

Vipassana means “insight” & it’s the meditation technique that was taught by Siddhartha Gautama, aka Buddha, and has been passed down through the years by a line of teachers.

Insightful certainly describes my experience.  It is quite amazing what you hear in silence. Especially in those first few days. As I would walk through the woods, or watch the kangaroos eat, or sit on my meditation cushion, my brain was exploding with inspiration! I had at least 9 brilliant new career paths presented in my thoughts. Different ways to approach my current business. Creative projects I wanted to start. Skills I wanted to learn. Habits I was going to start. I felt awesome and ready to grab life by the horns. If only I could just write down these brilliant ideas... but we weren’t allowed any writing materials. So then my brain just went into memorization mode; I was just visualizing me writing the list so that I could take a screenshot of my brain. Eventually, with no new stimulation my brain got too tired and bored with this task, and I could finally settle into a different kind of silence. The “being” kind, instead of the “doing” kind. 

You know, that’s where the real magic happens. In the being. Where you can feel the woods around you, and feel the rhythm of how the sunlight gives way for the moonlight, and feel the alert calmness of the mama kangaroo with a babe in her pouch. Being. When it becomes not so much sounds of silence but rather vibrations of silence. It’s the simplicity. It’s the law of nature. Humans always seem to complicate things; why? Even more than that we’ve learned to distrust simple things. I find this highly unfortunate. Simplicity opens doors. It invites clarity. Simple does not mean it’s not challenging - in fact, a lot of simple things are extremely challenging. But in my experience, it’s always worth it. It lets the magic flow... 

But don’t take my word for it - go be. & find out for yourself. ❤️

 

End note - if you want to find a Vipassana course near you, click here. I will tell you that this technique has been the only one that has inspired me to maintain a home practic before, which has never happened in the 7 years I’ve been meditating, and trying a number of methods. 

Metaphor for Change

If you know me well you have probably heard me say "yoga could help with that" more than once. You might even be one of the people that has rolled your eyes at me when I've said it because I talk about yoga like its magic. I could hear any random issue that someone is talking about in their life and one of the first 3 things I think of as a solution is yoga; be it physical, emotional, mental - yoga.  Why? Because yoga is a walking metaphor for life. It can be utilized in so many different ways, and it yields profound results when practiced consistently. 

I realize the reasons I get eye rolls is because a lot of people have not experienced yoga in this way before. Even if you've been in one of my classes in the last year or so you may not have had a profound emotional or mental breakthrough because my classes haven't been geared toward that experience in quite some time. However if you come to your mat with those things in mind it is incredible the kinds of breakthroughs and clarity that come come though. Yoga can be a huge catalyze for change. It creates space. Clearing out old, stuck places, aches, pains, ways of thinking, and holding patterns, provides room to let in the new. 

There's a Zen saying - you can't fill a glass that is already full. We often want new things in our life but we are so attached to what we already have or too fearful to let what we have go that we aren't open or available to new opportunities. This is something you can bring to your yoga mat.

"Before you can create a change, you need a true determination of where you are, what feelings it creates, and what choices you're making as a consquence." - Tony Robbins

Something I have been focusing on in my classes over the last year is to become aware of what is unarguably true in your body. Sensations, not the stories that you attach to them. When you can break something down to the truth of the matter, the sensation that arises, you can then look at the feelings that come with them with more discernment, and then you can make a choice of how to move forward from that space. You can dismantle the armor around yourself. It weakens you much like shoes weaken your feet; put in place with the best of intentions, but causing damage that may be hard to see. Breaking that armor is how you create space in your body, mind, practice, and life. You can then fill that space with the new things that you want and you choose.

Naturally this is a challenging process. Creating lasting change takes discipline and deep desire. It takes getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. It challenges beliefs and stories that you may have had for years. It takes support. It takes willingness to fall apart so that you can put yourself back together...

So, stay in the pose, breathe, feel, and let the yoga work it's magic. 

in humaness with you,
Nicole

Make Love of Yourself Perfect

"like a caring mother holding and guarding the life of her only child, so with a boundless heart hold yourself and all beings."

-buddha

I'm currently reading a book titled Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to rush over to amazon and buy this book right now because it is completely life changing! After all, I'm only on chapter 2... ;)

However, it has already got me thinking a lot about how I treat myself. Not just now, but over the course of my life. Of course, I have thought about this a hundred times before now; I am a huge advocate and promoter of self love. But it's invited me to dig into the subject a bit more again.

How well do I love myself each day? On the days that I'm not superwoman, how often do I cut myself some slack? How often do I stretch myself too thin for the sake of someone else? Do I allow myself to be open enough to feel comfortable to just be me? Do I put myself in situations where I feel safe, with people that really see me? Do I truly know that I am enough, or is it just an affirmation I keep telling myself in hopes that I will one day believe it? These are some things I've been exploring in my life. Great, why am I telling you this?

Two reasons...

One. I want you to start exploring these things in your life. Even if you think you love yourself to the moon and back. Break it down. Ask yourself some simple, straightforward questions and be clear about your answers. Do it. You may surprise yourself. I mean, I thought that I loved myself to the moon and back, and unfortunately not all of my actions were reflecting that back to me. Now I get to choose to change that.

Two. Yoga. Particularly in my classroom, but I can only hope this would stand for any yoga class you choose to attend. There are a few things I want you know, and carry with you as you practice with or without me.

-You are welcome in my class; seriously, I couldn't be more pleased that you are here. it doesn't matter if you've never practiced yoga, or you're on class number 8,362! If you are injured or as strong as you've ever been. If you are heart broken, or angry, or just had the best damn day of your whole life! You are welcome in my class.

-You can be yourself. There's no societal norms or prerequisites you need to meet in order to do yoga, or be a yogi; you can just be you.

-You are worthy. You are worth the extra two breathes that the class held a pose so that I could finish your adjustment. You are worthy of your deepest desires. You are worthy even if the only thing you did today was get out of bed for yoga class. Hell, you are worthy if you didn't go to yoga class, or get out of bed! You are worthy and okay just as you are.

This is a safe space to explore the depths of your practice. to really feel it. to explore yourself, and your spirit. explore your patterns. your emotions and express the things you are finding there. You can cry if you want. You can fall over. You can get back up. This is a safe space.
You are enough. This practice is not about becoming more than you are, it's about embodying who already are! Don't forget that.

I am honored to share my practice with you. I don't take it lightly that you allow me to hold space for you during that hour or so that I'm in front of you. Thank you for being part of my journey, and allowing me to be apart of yours. 

You are supported. You are loved. I see you.

with so much love,
Nicole