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dragon riding

Ruthie is beside herself tonight. Which means wailing like a wounded animal in the next room,
I want Mama, I want Mama!

I can understand how one might roll their eyes at these words on this page while thinking, “Oh, another temper tantrum from a kid.” But this wail is different than a cajoling or manipulative wail. This is the sound of sheer terror. The pit of darkness. The thick woods of deepest night.

It is also the sound of pure emotional meets physical meets mental exhaustion.
The triumvirate directs the dive.

After a few moments of my eyes on the Zoom screen but my heart cast into the next room with my daughter, I tell my Racial Affinity Group* that I need to step away for a few minutes. This terrified, cornered animal needs me more. She needs me most.

I walk in and sit down beside her on the bed. “Can I touch you?”

A barely perceptible nod. She trembles, she heaves, she gasps for breath, her body convulses, tears stream down her red face from her saucer like eyes. Her gaze no sooner finds me than tears away to look at something more solid. Less unpredictable than a human. The soft quilt on top of her bed, or the solid wall behind her, or the flat plane of the clean white ceiling above.

She writhes and moans. In our ancestors’ time, someone might have called her possessed. I call her a feeler. Of big stuff. Of the world inside her little paper skin and bird bones. It twirls and dances and every once in a while it also winds like vines around those bones. She gets caught. Even as another wind of intensity blows in through her pores, she clamps down. This armor she adorns locks tighter around her, the pressure builds, it inches toward explosion…

With no way out.

A dragon. Born free and flying this way and that. Heat on her bare back. She is riding it, this dragon. It is terrifying as she dips and dives.

Trust her. I must trust her.

I know this place.

You see, I am a dragon rider too.
I am a feeler. I am “emotional.”
I am emotion-all.
I am made up of them all.

And so, I feel them all. Deeply and richly, emotions coarse through me.

So they do in my children. So they do in my Ru.

“Ruthie, you feel a dragon inside of you right now. It is real and it is huge. And you’re doing a great job being with it. I’m here with you.” I sit. I watch. I feel me while she feels her. My hand lightly upon her leg.

Her eyes connect with mine but she is still in a twist, a violent fight for air above the thrashing waters in her mind and heart. My voice comes out steady and clear. I speak to her whole being, not just her eyes. “I will come back Ru. You can say anything you want to me or to Daddy, you can throw anything, you can do anything, you can hit anything and I am still coming back. When my call is done at 9:00, I will come back here. Do you understand?”

She holds my gaze. She nods.
A solidity begins to return to her liquid self.
I can feel it coarse through me as well.

The ground is returning for this little being.

“Do you want me to get you Foster to cuddle and my soft blanket for while I am gone?”

She tries out her remembered voice, “Yes. And could you open my door?”

I nod. “Should I turn on your birds sound to keep you company?”

Her head moves gently up and down.

I open the door and see her big brother standing there. I ask him if he’d be willing to come sit with her. This trembling, recovering dragon rider.

“Yeah, of course. Can I bring my book?” he asks with the alertness of a meerkat. Ready to sit vigil by his warrior sister is this warrior prince.

Ru nods.

He goes in. I bring my childhood polar bear in the red striped sweater, Foster. The soft blanket that my sister gave me three Christmases ago. I kiss Ru. With all of my love and my heart, I kiss this warrior princess on the forehead. She sighs gently and allows the bed to accept her more deeply. More lovingly into its give.

An hour later, when my call is complete, I return to her room.
“Did the dragon move through?” I ask. She shrugs and gives me a side eyed glance so I continue, “I guess it is back in the egg now, huh?”

“No,” she says with her eyes directly on mine, “it’s back in its cave.”

She smiles. A perfect hint of lilt to the lifting corners of her mouth.

“You did a great job, Ru. The dragon is big and scary when it flies inside. I feel it too sometimes. What helped you when it was flying around?”

The quiet timid voice creeps toward me, “Having three people around me – you, Daddy, and John. And my door open. Because I get scared when it’s closed.”

“mmm…” I nod. “I feel so alone when the dragon flies in me. I’m glad you know that having others close by helps you be with it.”

She nods.

She is clear on this.

This point is important, you see.

We are. Together. She and I. (You and me. Them and us.) Feeling the world take its hits. Letting them build up. Using this game changing power we have. The power to feel. Harnessing the invisible, wing flapping, tree crashing creature that can fly through uncharted waters and over unmapped lands of our inner (and outer) terrain.

We have work to do, these little feelers and I.
I will not shut them down.
I will learn their craft and we will fly together.
We have work to do.
For this big, bold, beautiful, broken world.

May we each do our work in our very own fire breathing, scaled belly, dipping diving and free falling kind of way.

Ride high and rest low, fellow dragon rider.

Take good care,
Rachel

*As outlined in Ruth King’s exceptional book Mindful of Race, a small group dedicated to investigating and transforming our individual and collective racial habits of harm.

how this tumbleweed finds her brakes

Nora is practicing her letters.
In virtual school.

Sometimes it is smooth as the chocolate silk pie I used to make with my Grandmother.
Sometimes it is torturous like the pitchfork my father accidentally put through his brand new loafers as a child. (My Grandma was not pleased with this.)

Repetition. I get is as a teaching tool. I really do.

But damn this way of practicing the damn letter “A” over and over and over again. Leaving it and returning again. Day by day. Page by page.

Nora collapses chest on table. She holds her forehead in her hands. She rolls her pencil across the table. “I don’t WANT to do it anymore!” she deflate whines.

Me either, kid. Me either.

But A is where you’re at.
Dot. Mountain side. Mountain side. Bridge.

And where am I at?

I want to make mountains move with my words. And with my actions.
I want to find THE action that will change this whole pretzel mess of a world with its conflicting minds and opinions.
With its common ground of desire for safety and security.
With its scitter scatter explosions over how to get from A to B, let alone A to Z.
And I want it done yesterday.
For now for later and forever more.

Hmm… tricky order I’ve put in at the counter. (Especially because this appears to be a “make your own” sandwich shop. No full service in this place.)

Sometimes I just want to lie down beside Nora as she hangs on the table.
Sometimes I do.

Out of gas. But I can’t be. Because this heart’s still a-tickin’. So I’ve got work to do.

But I can press pause. I can quit. For 5 minutes or 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Or a day.
I can quit if I need to.

Quitting isn’t a problem. For real.

Not coming back is a problem.

So I come back.
r-e-a-c-h
GRAASP
pull(llllllll)
I am dragging myself across this wasteland veiling alchemy.

All the while finding ways. When I can. To go wider. To go broader. To go higher. To go further out than these four walls. Than this sometimes prison of a body and whirligig of a mind.

Learning again.

(Uh, what am I learning again?)

To be here. To practice not leaving when it is time to be here. To practice not escaping when it is time to be here. To feel the burning in my ears. The boredom. Seeing my Nu’s deep brown eyes. Hearing Ruthie’s soft thin voice. Allowing John’s belly sighing and eye rolling commentary on life. My chest cinching like a pair of shoelaces being pulled to a for-sure level of security.

Just practicing. Being here.
Finding my way. Finding our way.

Repetition.

Dot. Mountain side. Mountain side. Bridge.

Quitting when it’s time to quit.
Returning when it’s time to return.

In the vein of Mother Teresa,
the work is not to do great things.
It is to do small things with great care.

I am moving with great care. I am thinking with great care. I am holding this world – and myself in it – with great care.

May I be held in great care.
May you be held in great care.
May we all be held in great care.

Go gentle on the brakes now. Easy does it as we find our way.
Rachel

Back at boot camp

I had a thing I just started writing but it was wrong. Because it was taking too long. And I kept looking out the window of my grey Honda Odyssey trying to catch a glimpse of 5 year old Nora in her mask taking her first dance class ever.

I watch her through the barrier of this van window. Across 15 feet of concrete. And through a building window. And that window is framed by two women in masks talking across the distance of six feet.

But you already know that this is a bizarre time.

I could tell you something about the inexplicable exhaustion of overseeing three children in a virtual learning environment. Come 4:00 p.m. daily, my wilted body is akin to that of a parent with a newborn. Or in the weeks and months following the death of a loved one.

Which I suppose makes great sense.

Because this is a time of the death of one way.

This is the time of the birth of another.

And in that time I feel an old and familiar emotion of shame intertwined with more.

Shame that I “shouldn’t” be this tired. That my life is not “that” hard for God’s sake. That I have all that I need with a roof over our heads, food in our kitchen, safe places to sleep and clothes to step into. That I don’t fear for my life when I get in my car. Or fear for my children’s lives when I send them out to play. That I “should” be doing more than I am for our world and its inequities. For the interminable suffering that exists day in and day out.

Shame rolls in when I get comparative about my experiences to vast swaths of the country. And the world.

And I see something within that. I see a desire to do more. And a not knowing of what the more is. I see the debilitating nature of shame. That it locks me down in (doubly) shameful hiding. I don’t want it to be there – shamefully hiding from my shame. But it is real. And very likely part of the exhaustion.

So I wonder… what else is with it?

Ah, yes. The shame is the pretzel twisting, mind numbing, body paralyzing dark side of

my gratitude.

Gratitude that is simple and straightforward.

For my family.
For my home.
For my children.
For my life.

And that cloud like gratitude then crashes into a thermocline of more complexity in shame’s upswell…….

I could take this further.

But I don’t think I am supposed to. I don’t think I’m there quite yet.

Because my eyes just went back to tracking Nora through the van window, across the pavement, between the ladies and through the studio window. I see her practicing jumping. Knees bent and doing her best to get off the ground.

No shame in that, right? It’s dang hard to get off the ground high enough to point your feet when you’re 5.

It’s also dang hard to get off the ground high enough to look “just right” in these new days of unfolding.

We are new to so much of this. Practicing practicing. Perhaps ashamed when we don’t do it right. Or when we don’t think we’re doing anything at all. Or afraid that we will hurt someone.

Through our action. Or lack of action.
The corners close in and our bodies brace against the sides of the narrow walls.

Welcome to the secret world of most every one of us. The smashed brake of a hold back because “I’m not doing it right.” The wicked tension between “I should do that” and “I am doing this.” The shame of embers in the chest that “I am not doing enough.”

Yoga – or any practice when skewed toward achievement – can be a vortex of these thoughts and feelings. Our yoga practice must “look right” and we must “understand it” and we have to do it “the right way.”

These feelings are not new.
The context is new.

But screw that. There is no right way. There are just a bunch of different ways. And you get to mash those up into whatever path is your’s to find your way.

So looking out there right now, I am sure you see people doing amazing things. Finding their way. Rocking this all with their self care and their balancing of doing with being. Shifting the status quo in their own unique ways.

And I’m sure you feel the helplessness as we careen down this enclosed tube slide of a year coated in ice and slicked with a top coat of Crisco.

But I see Nora.
Through this window,
across the pavement,
between the ladies and through the glass door.
I see her squatting down.
Getting lower so she can learn to go higher.
I see her learning.

We can learn too.

The unnameable and impossible to put in boxes Now is preparing us for something. Allow yourself to be in training. You’re weight lifting for the heart. For the mind.

We are in the midst of a birth.
We are in the midst of a death.
We are training.
We are watching.
We are learning.
We are expanding.
We are imbibing every last drop.
We are…
here.

Get low. Work the ground.From this fierce, confused and loving heart straight to your’s,
Rachel

zoom crash flash float

Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………..

I’m toast right now. And not crunchy buttery perfectly melt in your mouth light brown toast. I’m burnt and crispy and crumbling toast.

Right now. At this minute. On this day.

I can’t tell you much about yesterday. It’s a bit of an eternity in itself. I can’t tell you much about tomorrow as it seems a desert trek by way of mirages and mountains of sand away.

I can tell you that in this moment I feel like a thousand pounds of dead weight. Too much to sit up in my chair to type. The bed holds me in a semi-reclined slouch of no ergonomic kindness.

Wow this time is heavy. Like an anchor it pulls me

down down down.

Which makes sense. It makes sense because I know what I feel in my body. And I know that it is full up. With six months of 3 kids and a husband and me in the same four walls. With a business that went from planned expansion back in March to unplanned contraction into no office nor teacher training nor private sessions now in August. With forever poignant losses of my nephew and now newly departed loved ones. With my children who can’t walk into a school and are heartbreakingly saying for the first time ever, “I never thought I would say this…but I don’t like school right now.”

Full up within me. No space for air within me. A nonsensical image of a black hole imploding into the heaviest of gravities.

And then there is the with out. The surrounding world stretches its claw like hands up at me as well. Grasping and curling around my shirt’s edges. With its hurt and its hatred. With its blame and its shame. With its divisiveness and its spinning wheels. Mud flying every which way in this crowded and sticky swamp.

It’s all falling at the same rate right now. Whether an acorn descending or an elephant dropped from the sky, it all hits together and the impact feels equal. No matter size. No matter mass. It all

**********KABOOMS********* 

So what to do?

Well. As much as makes sense, I sit in this open, exposed field and let the hits pound around me. Divots, potholes and craters in the ground. And as much as makes sense, I close my door and tap tap tap out the words on the screen or scritch scritch scratch the words in my journal or watch watch watch as they morph and fly by on the backs of my eyelids in meditation. And as much as makes sense, I go outside and watch Nature do her thing with her patience, persistence and clarity of purpose. And as much as makes sense, I dance with my kids to way too loud music and spin them around in roller skate parties in the garage. And as much as makes sense, I cry and let the tears fall when they finally unlock from the massive hidden reservoir somewhere within this container of a body. And as much as makes sense, I drink tea and order take out and feel my clean sheets and try to remember to pause in stillness with my eyes closed for the hot water to run down my back in the shower. And as much as makes sense, I move on my mat. An arm here. A leg there. Exploring space.

And I open my eyes in the morning. And I get up. And I close my eyes at night. And I go to sleep. And I look into the eyes of my husband and my children. Simultaneously (or alternately as it may be) exhausted and enamored by them.

Because this ALL feels like a big ol’ mess right now. Twisted and snagged – and taking any step first includes pruning away the winding vines that snare my ankles and toes. So there is extra effort in all for a spell.

And so, as much as makes sense, I try to let myself Be. Be however and whatever I am in the moment. I try to get off my own back and watch the miracle of this time breaking frozen waters within me and allowing new icy springs to gush forth. New awareness, new tendings of self, new choices, new habits.

And so, as much as makes sense, I let myself be.

Breathe in. Breathe out. I am okay. I am doing great. I am finding my way through this pitch black room with no furniture to grasp or person who has walked ahead to guide me from the other side.

And as subpar as my best feels to me on any given day, I think that one day as I squint into the rearview mirror, I will say to this Now version of Rachel, “You did freakin’ GREAT. That was hard.”

sigh……………………………………

Keep going.

Yes, this is a letter to myself. Which I’m guessing is also a letter to you. Because I know I am not alone on this ride. And neither are you.

I’m playing with nurturing connections on Instagram as part of this evolution. I miss people. There are people there. Perhaps you are there too. Click here to follow me and we’ll see and feel what arises. Grief, joy, silly, scared and all the flavors that greet us. Together.

With great love and the utmost respect,
Rachel

the kids are right

7 year old Ruthie stands beside the kitchen table and whines,
ughhh… does anyone know how to get rid of growing pains?”

She cringes as she dramatically doubles over and presses her fingertips up and down her left foot in slow, dragging strokes.

“DUHHHHHHH….” bellows our clearly youngest child, Nora,
“Just WAIT for it to go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

huh.

Ruthie is on to something. Growing pains can suck at any age. As a child, she feels the stress and strain on her tissue as it expands. As adults, we feel the stress and strain on our hearts and minds as they expand.

And Nora is on to something too. Waiting is quite the life skill.

As I look at my own life, I breathe into the growing pains.
As I look into my family of birth, I breathe into the growing pains.
As I look into the interwoven mess of our country, I breathe into the growing pains.
As I look into the collective learning of our world, I breathe into the growing pains.

Sometimes growing pains just are. So we lean in as humans. And we love in. And we look to one another (when we remember that we aren’t alone). And we take two steps forward and fall one step backward.

Growing pains.

Man, they can hurt.

If you need a break from some of these growing pains, click here for a 5 minute downshift into stillness with breath. No specialty props or clothes needed (I do this one in my long dress for this hot summer day). Just grab a chair for your calves to rest upon and a folded towel or blanket for your head.

For just a moment, let’s get quiet and see what awaits.

Take good care,
Rachel

I miss her

A few days ago, a lovely woman passed on from this life. I’d known her since I was 10 years old. Privately, I called her “Mrs. Claus” for her rosy red cheeks, stout body and chortle of a laugh. Fittingly, she made cookies that melted in your mouth like a popsicle on one of these North Carolina summer days. Her caramel corn was sweetness spun into air pods of wonderful. I never ceased to feel excited about seeing her. Never.

And most of all.

She told the truth.
She didn’t sugar coat.
She listened.
She knew pain.
She knew amusement.
She laughed.

And that, my dear friends, is a life well lived.

What more can we ask for?

The dark and the light. East meeting west. Sun meeting moon. Hand meeting hand. We ride.

I will miss you, dear one. I am grateful our paths crossed for a time.

Join me in a short practice adapted from Roshi Joan Halifax and influenced by a dear client’s observation in her session this week. Click here for this 5 minute meditation which includes sound and breath.

Breathe with someone whom you wish to breathe with once more.

With love and gratitude,
Rachel

Has your heart done this today?

“Shelter! Let’s take shelter from the rain!” 7 year old Ruthie exclaims to Nora as she scurries her doll into the pink and yellow dollhouse.

My ears perk. “Shelter.”

Right.

Shelter can be Grace. A pause from the deluge of chaos and confusion.

My mind is easily side tracked these days into how to have an “appropriate” voice in the erupting abyss of hard and tough of our country and our world.
Into the fear that my writing is contributing to the very separateness that our country is experiencing.
Has always experienced.

But I don’t want to learn in a vacuum. I’m a human being and human’s learn in relativity to one another. I must be in relation in order to grow and expand.

We must be in relation in order to grow and expand.

So my small piece of “how” is simple today. (It usually is.) And by way of nature and my children. (It usually is.)

Find shelter. And feel.

As the dragonfly in this photo took shelter from the blowing rains, take some planned time to shelter from the rage of voices and feel what your heart fills with. Overflows with. It is not our time to talk. But it is our time to hear and to feel.

Checking out sometimes is not wrong. It is necessary.
The trick is to check back in.
In and out. Up and down. Forward and back we flow.

This feels Big like Godzilla with his leveling arms of fury and might. And it Is. But the flow of nature points the way.

Find shelter of the trees to sit. Find shelter of a friend to rest. Find shelter of a cool dip in a summer lake to be still.

Know that even in the midst of your sadness, your heartbreak, your fury, your gratitude, your fear, your shame – all of it in juxtaposition to a flurry of emotions bouncing around our world and within these shapes we call bodies –
None of what you feel is wrong.

It is what has been given to you from your culture, from your history, from your family, from your karma.

And there is more coming for You.

This path that you are on requires shelter. To ebb and flow. To feel and protect. A million times a day expand and contract.

Breathe in and breathe out.

There is so much we don’t know.

So be there.

Not knowing.

Space surrounding you. Tether to a ship of shifting earth.

Where can you find shelter? Drop me a note at rachel@pureresilienceyoga.com if you desire to share.

In shelter breathes Grace. Rest your weary solving mind for a time.

With gratitude and the Biggest of Love,
Rachel

p.s. I’ve posted a guided imagery clip that offers one way to pause in Shelter for 4 minutes. Click here to practice with me.

Where do we go now?

I used to think that my offering of kindness to the world was enough.

That myth is now shattered. I’m sitting in grief and allowing that to roll through.

It is ick blick yuck stuck goo.

Let it boil and simmer.
This is.

5 year old Nora stands in the center of the kitchen, breakfast dishes filled with small pools of milk beside her on the counter. She’s still. A beam of sunlight floods in through the square window above the kitchen sink. Light bounces off a small, clear plastic toy container in her hands – Elsa and Olaf rest in that container. Eternal smiles upon their faces.

The light bends in the corners of that little cube in her hands. The light jumps and dances around her. The light is like a boxer with the softest of quick steps around his opponent.

Nora’s eyes dart after that bounce of light like a cat after a mouse.

“What is that?” she wonders aloud to my husband.

“It’s refraction,” Greg says. “Reflection is when light bounces straight back. But refraction is when light moves through something transparent and it goes somewhere you’re not expecting it to.”

Nora waves the container in broad slo-mo arcs like drawing in the air.

The light responds to her. It spotlights a swirl on the wooden floor, then a sea green wave of granite, and next a dried splatter on the bottom of the cabinet.

Her words are halting and careful as she checks herself (and before I continue, yes, the 5 year old really says this),

“So, because we’re solid, we make shadows. But if we were clear – transparent – light could go straight through us?”

My heart drops and shudders even as I write those words.

We are solid beings. We make shadows. There is a lot of shit in those shadows.

But our awareness – that which we have the capacity to know – it’s luminous. It’s transparent. Our awareness is clear and light can move straight through it.

The truth of us right NOW, the truth – no matter how impossible and awful it sounds – is where we must begin. We must dive deep into the transparent pool of truth to let the light permeate the cracks of our hardened minds. The truth of us, of how we are, of what we do and don’t do, of how we’ve looked away and not toward.

I borrow the words from the LoveServeRemember Foundation in my own commitment Now and as I step forward into the Next:

I, Rachel Manetti, stand in solidarity with the Black community and protesters across the US and the world against systemic anti-Black racism. I stand in solidarity with all victims of police brutality and white supremacist violence, including the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the many, many other Black victims of violence.

I take this commitment and I pair it with my superpowers:

Feeling.

Listening.

Learning.

Coming out from the shadows

to inhale

the dancing spotlight of truth.

I start here and then I’ll see what comes next.

You start there and then you’ll see what comes next.

May the light shine through us all – the Black community, You, and Me – in this Land of Possibility.

With deep love and reverence,
Rachel

Into the Woods

There’s heat in my belly. It’s a yearning to help. It’s an intensity wired into my Being. To do something. I’ve written and written and written over the past two weeks. But I haven’t sent you

any of it.

I don’t have writer’s block.
But I do have sharer’s block.

I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing. I worry that I won’t know how to help you. I worry that I’ll instead hurt you. I worry deep down that the words that spill from my soul, will accidentally bind your’s.

But I’m clear that my intention is to share more than you might see on your own.

My intention is to learn from you, from my children, from this earth, from what I read, from what I watch… my intention is always to learn. To expand. To become bigger and broader and more from that which has touched me. Good or bad. Hard or easeful. My intention is to let it all in.

In the midst of letting it all in, there’s a critical medicine that I drink of.

Joy.

This is not joy in the sense of elation like the day of my wedding or the births of my children.

This is a day to day joy that permeates the unavoidable suffering of our world.

Suffering. The hard. The heavy. The impossible to bear when held in the confines of tunnel vision.

So, let’s walk together now. Walk with me through the dark and toward the light. And perhaps we’ll see more.

I’ve lost someone dear to me. 48,344 people committed suicide in the United States in 2018. My someone is 1 of those. I don’t know if he is #34 or #340 or #34,000… or what.

But he’s not a number. He’s a name –

Thomas.

Thomas was a person. He was my nephew. He was 17 years and 11 months of spectacular. He lived and breathed and pulsed with his fleshy realness.

Thomas is now a Being. He is a soul who flies free of his body. His prison. Our bridge. How we might imagine him. How we might remember him. How we might learn from him.

And I know. I know he’s in that number. 48,344. Mashed up in it. Smushed into it. Twisted around other names, faces, lives, laughter, sorrows. He’s in there.

And I know there are 48,343 more like him.
Stories of for better and for worse. Intricacies of who and how.
Lives lived to their individual completion.

In every one of the 100,000+ people who have died from covid-19 in the United States,

in every one of the 250,000+ people worldwide that have died from covid-19,

there is a story made of beauty and tragedy.

Those numbers aren’t just statistics.

Neither is Thomas.

Breathe with that for a moment.

Pause with it. For real.

Take 3 breaths and feel it.
The gravity.
The realness.
This is.
These people.
Hold them all in the space of the big blue sky and let them rest there.
Together.
Seen by your breath.
Felt by the tightness in your chest and throat.
 
 
1 breath.

2 breaths.

3 breaths.

 

No, they’re not just statistics. They are all part of something bigger.

You and me too.
And so it goes.

In the midst of this suffering, in the midst of any suffering, there’s an elixir that awaits.

How fragile life is.
How temporary life is.
How beautiful this opportunity to Live is.

Heartbreak can crack the door to joy. To our very Hereness and Nowness.

5 year old Nora rolling in the mud with her dear friend.
Head to toe they’re covered. Unabashed by their all-in the shit’ness.
Her bath afterward, her brown eyes sparkling with newness and satiation for her puddle fun.
An awakening from the sometimes sludge of homebound aloneness.
Me cracking Nora’s door moments ago at 3:30pm to find her snuggled into bed.
Rabbit string lights aglow above her bed and whispering waves  crawling out of her sound machine.
Her mouth closed in peaceful slumber as her breath slips in and out of her nose.

My heart breaks open as it flies high into the air. Far above our house it goes with joy to see this Being in all her aliveness.

A raindrop in time. We fall together from Before to Next.
I am in awe.

Joy.

And with my next inhale, Knowing. Sand through my fingers.

Joy is a hair’s width away from heartbreak.

It allows us to orbit around the axis of Now. Joy into heartbreak. Heartbreak into joy. Inextricable as night and day.

Embark upon your quest for joy. Joy doesn’t have to be big and flashy. Joy doesn’t have to be arresting and mind blowing. Joy pulses as the beat of our soul. Joy rests on the slipstream threading its way in and out of every. single. moment. It hides in corners. Dances behind doors. It awaits us even in the darkest of times.

And I choose to believe that those who’ve died wish us to Live. They wish us a few more spins on this rock called Earth. So let the heartbreak in. Read obituaries and feel the weight of those lives lost. And then look at what stands in front of you. That child. That neighbor. That parent. That dog. That tree. That ocean. Those stars. That moon.

That big, glowing, white washed moon suspended in the pitch of night sky.

Look at them with eyes clean of your tears of grief. And drink in the joy that is here and now.

Pause. Reflect. And, if you desire, leave a comment sharing your truth,

Joy is……

Then breathe it in.

Feel it.

 

1 breath.

2 breaths.

3 breaths.

 

Choose to see the heartbreak. Choose to see the joy.

Your courage travels galaxies. And you never stand alone.
May we be in it and move through it together.

With gratitude for your presence,
Rachel

p.s. If you’d like to hear about joy as a tool of yoga, take a look at this 5 minute clip about ojas that I’ve posted to Vimeo. Explore and expand.

 

Don’t miss this (it might not be what you think)

The ground is moving. The earth is spinning. The air is swirling. The light is flying.
It’s all changing.
Unknowns. Unseens. Understand nots.

But.

Don’t miss it.

The birds feeding outside.
The water boiling behind you.
The deep purple of the grapes on the counter.
The bright green of the limes in the bowl.
Nora watching storytime in front of you blowing bubbles into her leftover lemonade. From last night’s desperate dinner drive through.
The sun filling the expanse of the bay window.
Your butt in full on contraction as you stand at the counter typing.
The whisp of a cat who runs up and in.
The clunk of ice cubes.
The voice of your husband filtering up from the basement.
The wind in the leaves of high spring.
The boil in the pit of your belly.
The craving of a chai mid-morning.
The growl of the trash truck outside.
The piles of laundry in the playroom.

Don’t miss it.

See this. Here. Now.

This is the magic.

This is a life. Alive and pulsing and beckoning you to be Here.

There is nothing to wait for.
Even though your shivering chest thinks otherwise.
And your doing mind craves more.

This Now. Allow it.

Pause now.
See. Listen. Feel.
Arrive.


I am grateful for your reading eye. And I’d love to connect with you.

Leave a comment to share 10 things from your Now.
What else is there beyond your first glance, your first listen?
10 things.
20 if you dare.

With gratitude,
Rachel

p.s. If you’re curious about one yoga tool that I used in writing this piece, check out my 90 second video overview of mindfulness. Please excuse the back light. Learning am I. And imperfection is a core value for me. Enjoy.