Musings from the Path

There is so much wisdom in Ayurveda about aligning with cycles--the cycles of day and night, spring into summer, one life phase into the next.


I love having a system of health care that is rooted in Nature and which includes the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of wellness.


I remember as a young yoga student in need of healing, and finding the worlds of the body, psychology and spirituality presented as separate spheres. I wanted to know how my yoga practice would help me heal the trauma I carried in my body. I wanted to know how meditation was different from the dissociation I had done to manage a challenging childhood. I wanted to understand the interrelationship of my body pain and my mental pain. I wanted to understand how to heal and evolve through past challenges, not skip over them and push them away.


At that time, in the early 80's I had to step outside of the yoga tradition to find the somatic-psycho-spiritual integration I sought (thank god for Authentic Movement). Today, it's hard to find a psychotherapist who isn't grounded in mindfulness and the body. Times have changed. We're evolving.


I've been thinking lately about what drew me to study Ayurveda. What was it that caused me to pick up and leave everything to dive into the study? Partly, it was my experience of love from the Ayurvedic doctor who became my teacher. Later it was the elegance of the system, itself, the pure poetry of it, the way it just made sense to my body. And, of course, the community of other practitioners drawn to this healing path.


Working with Ayurvedic lifestyle, and sharing it with others is so fulfilling because for those who are motivated to change the way they are living, so much opens up and healing happens. Reconnection with our very organism happens. Possibilities open up about how to age wisely. More than that, even, how to live a happy life.


I came from family history of much disfunction. Depression, alcoholism, abuse, divorce and unhappiness/not wanting to be here, ran through parts of my lineage. For so long I wanted to know what it was that made life meaningful. What was it to live a good life? I was full of interest in learning and growing and expressing myself with others. I wanted to find those others who wanted that too.


For much of my 20's I identified with the disfunction of my lineage. I thought someday I, too, would become depressed, alcoholic of worse. It seemed unlikely I would ever love myself in a real way. I felt broken by association.


Can you relate?


But through the Grace of Life itself, I was led to those things, like yoga and somatic meditation, that heal. Authentic Movement, the Diamond Approach, body-based psychotherapy, conscious, loving community...all of these things allowed for a transformation so that I was able to identify not with what was broken, but with that which is whole and connected.


We all belong. We are all whole and love-able. Those knowings come when we are freed from the patterns of distortion we carry. Those patterns come from our lineage, from our culture, and they can be healed when we are able to feel all the way through them to the truth that is always here now.


Yoga teaches that, but I wasn't able to learn that through yoga.The East Indian traditions come out of a culture where belonging is central. Healing wounds around love-ability and belonging aren't needed, as they are here in the west, where our rugged individualism causes many wounds in the area of belonging. For westerners to heal and grow through a path like yoga, often adjunct therapies are needed to get to that core wound, and the particular shape it takes within each one of us.


Last year I connected with a new yoga teacher, who is also a practitioner of eastern medicine. I have been loving my new practice, and loving sharing it. My Ayurveda studies continue, and I am finding ways to give voice to all I've learned in support of helping others heal and live into more of their authentic nature. This often involves releasing patterns of behavior, habits, that don't serve, while learning and adopting those which do. It's heartening to be in community with sincere seekers and willing practitioners. It's what I've always wanted and been drawn to.


I'm going to offer a short program this summer to a small group to help folks go deeper into understanding their unique nature and how to care for it. It's amazing how small tweaks can bring transformation to the body, the psyche and the spirit. I'll say more about this soon.


Mostly, I just wanted to share what's on my heart today.


As we continue to navigate these challenging times, I hope you'll find pockets of true solace through your art, your practice, nature, and your communities. We need each other more than ever. We need to keep shining our light, and when it feels like the light's growing dim, to reach out for support. I've been doing that more and more. Sharing my vulnerability when it's just a bit too much. That in itself is so healing. Holding the space for others, and then leaning into that space when I need it.


You matter.

Thanks for being here.


Love,

Shannon


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