come practice with me

As I re-read last week’s blog post after it was published, I giggled at myself. Nowhere – absolutely nowhere – in the email subject or header line did I mention the fact that there was an actual class offering included.


Email marketing folks for sure rolled their eyes knowingly at my novice oversight.

Self-awareness junkies may have thought, “Well, that makes sense. If she is so in the “I don’t wanna'” head space, then of course she didn’t mention her teaching in the subject.”

And all of this is true. But the part that makes me smile at little ol’ me here and now is that 7 days later, I DO wanna’. Fortunately for me, last week when I wrote, I trusted that my boat would come around the bend and the rapids would settle and I would be able to see the landscape again instead of dodging rocks this way and that.

Ah, the river.
Ah, this raft.
Ah, the sights and sounds on the banks surrounding.

And so. Once again, I invite you…
this time with not only open heart but also aligned mind.

Please join me on Saturday, December 19th to move, breathe, listen and – if desired – to share what is swirling for you this holiday season. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. I am not charging for the session but donation to a charity of your choice is encouraged – whether $5 or $50, please spread your good intentions.

Grief, Grit, and Gratitude
All levels therapeutic yoga class and share session
Forward this invitation along to anyone who comes to mind. To anyone who braids grief, grit and gratitude throughout their days. Just like me. Probably just like you. Just like so many whom we know and hold dear.

Take good care. Now and always,

i don’t wanna’

I don’t wanna’.

I don’t wanna’ write.
I don’t wanna’ do yoga.
I don’t wanna’ go on a walk.
I don’t wanna’ meditate.
I don’t wanna’ eat healthily.
I don’t wanna’ clean the playroom.
I don’t wanna’ travel.
I don’t wanna’ have a migraine.
I don’t wanna’ make a decision on my kids’ school for next semester.
I don’t wanna’ feel that spot in my back.
I don’t wanna’ have that racing heart sneak into my day.
I don’t wanna’
I don’t wanna’
i don’t wanna.

And, I don’t wanna’ teach.
Or share.
Or write. (I think I already said that one.)

I don’t want to be in service to anything else.
I want to do what I want to do.
I want to feel good AND to do whatever, or NOT do whatever, I want to do.

This game is the pits.

(But you see what’s happening, right? I’m writing. I don’t want to write. So, I’m writing about not writing. shhh… don’t tell me. Let’s keep going.)

I don’t wanna’ is a well practiced art form for me.

“I haven’t written in a week,” I say to my husband who has popped upstairs for a few minutes during his lunch break. “And I don’t want to. At all. I wrote everyday since May for at least 750 words but now I don’t want to do it.”

“huh. Like exercise,” he observes.

“Exactly,” I respond. “It’s just like exercise. To the point it is something I know my body loves and needs to feel its best, and yet I fight kicking and screaming to not do it anyway.”

Screw it. The things I know are “good” for me. The talking. The sharing. The truth telling. The writing. The eating well. The good rest. The outside. The Being Here Now with the godforsaken guaranteed sooth saying of the sun, the trees, the wind and the hard packed earth.

Screw it.
I don’t wanna’.

What a funny and unrefined segue to an invitation to spend time with me. But that’s what is next. Because, my well practiced “I don’t wanna'” tantrum doesn’t mean “I’m not gonna'”. Those are different words altogether, see?

“I don’t wanna'” tends to be a sneaky way of me fighting all that is. Finding my last “ROAR!!!!!” to take back control with my mighty stiff arm to reality.


“I don’t wanna'” is a harbinger of my grief. For the messy “is.” For the inescapable “ought.” For the crash of two currents moving from opposite directions toward center.

“I don’t wanna'” tells me I’m getting closer. Closer to more truth.

The truth that states clearly and directly,

“I don’t want this current truth to be The Truth anymore. I’m all done now, please.
Next Act.”

Next Act beyond the pandemic. Beyond structural racism. Beyond my kids’ lives turned upside down. Beyond my own business twisted into a pretzel. Beyond my nephew’s death. Beyond the epidemic of suicide. Beyond the suffering of the world. Beyond my fears of doing more. Beyond my tired. Beyond my busted up heart. Beyond beyond beyond…….

Oh….. Look there. Out the window. The birds are picking through the roof leaves, browned and dried, for small bits of water. Finding the sustenance in between the death. The decay. The memory of what lived before.

Right. So, let’s do that.

Let’s “I don’t wanna'” Grinch it with our Grief – our tremendously unholdable grief, our small pebbled grief and all sizes in between – and let’s allow whatever transformation to come of its own accord.

Perhaps Gratitude.
Perhaps Grit.
Perhaps Grace.

Join me on Saturday, December 19th to move, breathe and share. Or, if you desire, to sit, stew, settle and sort through. All is welcome. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. The session is free but donation to a charity of your choice is encouraged – whether $5 or $50, please spread your good intentions.

Please forward this invitation along to anyone who comes to mind.

Grief, Grit, and Gratitude
All levels therapeutic yoga class and share session
Saturday, December 19th
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Zoom link here for session (live 15 minutes prior)
RSVP to rachel@pureresilienceyoga.com

See you soon. I sincerely hope.

don’t break the rules

A text message from my husband to his family late last week includes:

I’m grumpy today.”

The subsequent replies from my husband’s family read along the lines of:
What!? Don’t be grumpy!”
“There’s no point in being grumpy.”
“What’s up with you!?”

And his well meaning father the next day (in all seriousness) says to him over the phone,
“I’m really worried about this grumpy thing…”

(Insert my single eyebrow raise here.)
To all this, I say,


Grumpy is a thing.

So is rainy and cloudy.
And we don’t tell rainy and cloudy it’s wrong for being here.

So bring on the grumpy.
Bring on the tantrums of frustrated.
Bring on the “WTF?”
Bring on the “Heck, yeah!”
Bring on the steaming rage.
Bring on the tears of bottomless grief.
Bring on the fits of giggles.
Bring on the furrowed brows.
Bring on the “eh – who gives a crap?”
Bring on the joyous revere.

Bring on the flurry of fountainous feeling.
It’s all shades of nature.
It’s all a flavor to taste and let go of.
It’s all a sliver of being here.

Sure, you don’t have to add tinder to the flames.
But you don’t have to smother them either.
Trust them. Let them burn down their kindling.
Turn to coals.
Cool to ash.

Go on with your grumpy self.
All of you is welcome.

Journey on starship,

what do you see?

I have some words that I wrote in a journal years ago,

There is no comfort in growth,
And no growth in comfort.

Curious words I put together.

I suppose they are partly true.
But they are not the whole truth. (Is it ever really?)

Because if we can allow ourselves to trust the growth, to know that it is uncomfortable but that we will emerge from the other side changed, transmorphed, evolved in some way big or small – but in all ways important – then we can find some shade of comfort in it.

The growth then lives beside the comforts.

The growth – and discomfort – is not the only visitor to this room of Now.

The sunshine and the moon flow. The dirt and the breeze breathe. The warm fire and the cooling, smooth waters swirl. The aliveness of nature and humans all around us churns now as for time immemorial. A soft blanket; warm and perfumed bath waters; the taste of a meal made with love and care; the words of a wise teacher; the sound of a familiar song; the company of a friend or stranger with kind, seeing eyes; the space between the branches in the trees towering above; the magic knowing of a plant that contracts at night and opens in the morning; the photographs of days gone by filled with joy and innocence; the hot cup of tea; the relics of past travels on a shelf.

Look around you.

Right now, look around.

All of this lies side by side with the growth.
With the change.
That is ever there from seed placed in dirt spun into fruit suspended in air.
Supported by the grace of comforts that feed from bottom up into
and top down into

There might not be comfort in growth and there might not be growth in comfort.

But there is – undoubtedly – comfort surrounding growth and – as we evolve this awareness and trust – growth in our deep knowing of comfort.

Look wisely. Look quietly. Just wait. See more.

Take such good care,

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,

*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.
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.


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.

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…

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

zoom crash flash float


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


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.”


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,

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


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,

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,