Have we cooled down now? I'm lucky enough to have family in West Wales and so managed to make a swift exit to the coast in the middle of the week. And yes the sea was wonderful (as was the teeniest of breezes) but to be honest getting away for a few days served me far beyond that too. You might want to grab a cuppa - today's mail is one of the longer ones...
I'd been spinning in circles for a while, with a mind that's been determined to foist onto me this antiquated idea that busy equals productive equals valuable. Which of course is a pile of bollocks. But while I really have known that to be the truth, it's been quite the situation to try and untangle from - with the space afforded to me by getting away freeing up the critical first piece.
As my mind occupied itself with driving (again) the dots began to join up. At the root of it all sat my old friend fear. Or more specifically, its close relative shame. Shame that I can't possibly be good enough without someone else telling me what to do. Without sitting at a screen for 8 hours a day, ticking things off lists. Without having more money in the bank, Without having my worth proven and reinforced by the acknowledgment of others.
Now shame is one hell of an emotion to work with. It undermines your self-worth and has you questioning all kinds of things about your existence. Until you release it from the shadows and into the light that is. And so shine a light on it I did, softly (but firmly) wrestling it out of the driver's seat with conversation, reflection, movement and a good old paddle around the bay.
"If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive."
~ Brené Brown
The thing is, shame (indeed all this 'stuff') is age-old right? Age-old, human and universal stuff that we all experience at different times and to different extents. Which is why I share my own experiences with you.
Because it feels like shit sitting on your (apparent) own in the midst of it all when the truth is that you're not alone in the slightest. And it feels infinitely better when you name it, confess it, speak it. When you choose vulnerability over (apparent) strength. When you choose courage over fear.
All of it will SHIFT - but only once you've given it the S P A C E to be seen, understood and worked with.
And that S P A C E is critical - not just in dealing with fear and shame (and yep, all the rest of it too) but in allowing yourself to continue finding your way in the world. Which is what we're each trying to do isn't it? Or what deep down our souls are asking us to do...
I started reading a new book yesterday (that I was kindly gifted last week) and as is often the case, its appropriateness to what I'd been wanting to write this week blew my mind. Allow me to quote...
"Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That's where the most important things come from, where you yourself come from, and where you will go."
"Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration - how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?"
"That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost."
~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide To Getting Lost.
Every paragraph, every line supports what I know. That finding our way requires getting lost. That finding our way requires a faithful lean into the unknown. That finding our way requires S P A C E.
The thing is, this is hard to facilitate by yourself. And the things that prevent you from getting lost, that prevent you from that faithful lean into the unknown, that tie you up into the knots I got into last week... Well they absolutely thrive on a lack of space.
Let's tie this up...
It turns out that unlearning 20+ years of programming for 'productivity' (more if you include schooling) and merging the pieces of myself back into a single whole is tricky. But as we moved down the M4 and space opened up around me (both physically and metaphorically) I not only saw what was going on but began to cultivate the self-acceptance, understanding and empathy that would loosen its hold.
I commit and recommit each and every day to finding space and leaning into the unknown. I get outside, I move, I journal, I read... But I'm only truly successful because I'm supported by others. Because I choose to show up for myself in containers dedicated to this work. Because I elect to work with a handful of teachers/mentors who are walking this path ahead of me.
It's together we step forward with vulnerability. Together we show up without needing to control the outcome. Together we know ourselves to be worthy. Together we remember that we are all and all is we.
Bottom line? We do this together - not alone.
In June I alluded to change, new horizons, new opportunities. I admitted that I didn't know exactly what it was all going to look like (already I was leaning into the unknown).
Here's what I know today:
S P A C E
Most likely beginning in September, there will be an opportunity for two or three of you to work with me one-on-one in a container that will support you in faithfully putting one foot in front of the other to find what it is you need to find. This isn't a 121 yoga practice but a bringing together of all of the threads of what I do. It might even end up being called SPACE :)
If there is the tiniest recognition within yourself that this is support that you need, let's talk - no obligation. You don't have to already be practicing with me, you don't have to want to do yoga. You do need to have an inkling that there's something more...
I keep being asked about when I'll return to in-person classes, and every time I refrain from giving a definite response. The truth is though that I won't be returning to weekly in-person classes at my old venues St. Mary's Hall and Conway Road.
I will continue to teach weekly online. I will continue to teach weekly outdoors (except for this Sunday!). You know where the timetable is...
There's a new kid on the block. SHIFT is a movement and embodiment practice that is designed to be a powerful moving through of 'the stuff'. It comes with music. Think of it as a way of bringing the unknown into the known, of getting into deep conversation with yourself. And expect it to be a mix of subtle, soft and strong. I ran one test session the other week and I'd like to run another. Want a place to try it out? Let me know...
I'm actively looking for venues to run a different style of in-person event - frequency to be confirmed. I would LOVE your recommendations of places (they don't have to be in Cardiff) that aren't typical yoga spaces but have a real sense of heart and soul. Please do email me.
At some point soon there'll be news about retreats. We'll do more of this than ever before and it will pretty much always be near the sea. If anyone has recommendations of venues/airbnbs to rent in the Gower that have appropriate practice space (this is where my own search has fallen short) I'd again love to hear from you.
Everything I share with you in this mail, on the blog, in our sessions - it's all human stuff that is far from unique to me. I share it so all of us know we're not alone. I share it so you too can feel that spark - of awareness, truth, spirit. That spark that says YES, I know this too. I can do this too.
Every week we deal with this stuff - in MOVE, in SHIFT, in WRITE, in REST (which incidentally is coming up this Friday... I've just run out of space to promote it!).
In each and every session we cultivate a deep care for ourselves, and we lean a little more into the unknown. Which to be honest is why I (right now) won't go back to weekly in person classes. This work is different when it's done outside of the influence of others. There's no reflection, no comparison, no distraction - just an opportunity to show up for yourself. And that, well that's the magic.
Let's close up today with our list... you may find that there's a theme...
Things to read/watch/listen to...
I'll be back with more of course but for now, much love, take care and please do get in touch.