On the solstice & the moon

Theres been lots happening this week.  The weather, for one, has had the quality of instability.  Quickly changing its mind from one moment to the next.  Yesterday felt like an early spring day, with the  promise of  warmth to come.

To look outside the weather patterns,  this instability has been mapped and mirrored all around us.   In the midst of all this, we have the Winter Solstice,  right before the Full Cold Moon.

I’ve led many a Winter Solstice event over the years, and this one really did feel different.  It was even quieter, simpler, more introspective, less talking, less sharing, less ‘words’ period… than I can ever remember (and I’m not one to include a lot of that anyway!).    It was as though I couldn’t pull “in” far enough.

As I was aligning with the events this week, I was struck by how quickly and easily information on something as straightforward as the moon and the Solstice, became misunderstood and misrepresented.  Suddenly there were posts about the coinciding of the Full Moon ON the Winter Solstice.  Which, btw, is not what happened.  Close to each other?  Yes.  On the same day?  No.  By quickly fact checking straight up data driven astrology sites, its pretty easy to find the actual information.  How odd then, that so many were creating posts on Social Media claiming an untruth. And while the actual coinciding of the full moon on the winter solstice is a somewhat rare event, I wasn’t sure (despite the rarity) that I was feeling any particular resonance or significance of that alignment (which didn’t happen).  I had more of a “yeah…so?” read.

As I took a step back and watched this unfold curiously, I was reminded again of the messages I kept getting all week:  slow down, watch closely, pay attention, be diligent. Be SUPER mindful of our actions and words and be extremely discerning in all matters.  Take nothing for granted.  Watch everything with a larger perspective in mind.

So I stepped back even further and detached from the mini whirlwind of drama being stirred up.  It looked and felt to me just like that:  debris swirling around creating a kind of vortex.  Good to know… and to stay clear of.

Perhaps this gives me my final messages for the coming days.  When something doesn’t quite sound or seem right:  step back from it. Far enough back to see the bigger picture.  Without interfering in whatever might be unfolding in the unconscious realms, we can choose at least to notice, without judgement, and decide not be a part of it.

This year, as I launch into a new series of Full & New Moon ceremonies, of Solstice & Equinox events…. I want to remember this moment, here, now.  I want to disconnect from the need to pump up a particular lunation or celestial alignment to the point of frenzy.  To caution myself against the reflex to assign extraordinary and superfluous meaning to any event.  To get caught up in the hype.

Instead, may I continue on my steady, clear, course.  Celebrating with quiet reverence and consciousness. It is enough.  Enough to gather on the moons and the transitions.  Just to witness and notice and commune.  May we all find comfort and joy in these ordinary moments of cycling together.  May we learn that we are enough, that all of this is enough… just as it is.  May we be in true peace.

Happy Full Moon to all.

peace

Jeneen

 

 

Advertisements

Live your truth…. quietly.

If you see the words “unique, never-before, once in a lifetime, new, cutting-edge, original, experimental, latest, hip, popular, trendy, hot, big, now, ‘In’ “ describing an event, I urge you to be cautious.  Well, personally, I would run the other way!  OK, I don’t actually mean ANYTIME you see the words, but within a context of promoting something thats supposed to make you think you will become cool or part of the “in” crowd if you attend this event. 

This all feeds into our collective addiction to feeling special, or feeling like we are doing something that is totally trend setting, or that we are all visionaries with our finger on the pulse of the latest fashion.  The thing is, all of this is ALREADY TRUE.  You ARE special, You ARE a visionary, You ARE relevant. …without the pomp & circumstance. Without the need to shout it from the rooftops in neon flashing lights or post it all over social media.  Without the need to dress it up in stand out clothing and place a spotlight on it. 

I wonder why, over and over again, we insist on making everything into a spectacle of some sort or another?  The cult of the ‘spectacle’. Its something I consider a lot.  What is it that causes us to want to do the things that make us seem really funky or brave or radical in some way?  This is a juicy territory.  Lots to think about, lots to sort through with no one way through it all.  I just know that something in my eternal being cringes every time I see another example of this.  Not because I’m triggered, but because I’m being pinged…from a collective sadness place . 

“really?  again?”  my soul whispers. 

The only truly NEW thing would be to ditch the emphasis on the new.  To choose humble, simple, deep, meaningful, living instead.  To not have to compete for attention or success through being more, bolder, bigger, brighter, better.  To truly honor the quiet, the intimate.  Which, in this day and age, might look like:  getting off social media, not taking any more selfies, reading a book on the bus instead of being on a device…..   In other words, truly connecting IN to your self, fully, wholly without adding anything.  YOU ARE ENOUGH.  Which, in truth, is a quiet private act of intimacy. of relationship. of the most important relationship of your life: the one with you.  Its not necessary for it to be a public display.  We don’t need to share these moment of privacy publicly to prove they exist. 

I know you sometimes dress up outrageously, mess around with your hair,  dance like a wild woman,  act silly and goofy in front of a mirror, get naked in the moonlight, paint your body, sing with abandonment, jump on the bed, go barefoot in the snow, play in the rain… or whatever version of this free spirited essential you comes out in private.  And thats a beautiful thing. A gift. To you, for you, from you.  The important thing is that it fills YOU.  You don’t need to turn it into an inspiration for others.  Let others find there own inspiration from within.  If we keep looking outside ourself to be inspired, we will miss the beauty and truth of our deepest selves.  We can be the inspiration we so long to be by simply, quietly, being ourselves. 

Live your Truth. Without the publicity. Now thats radical.

The truth behind becoming “bored” with yoga (or any other spiritual path).

First. 

You must recognize the path of yoga or meditation you are on is a spiritual journey inward, as opposed to an externally driven one.  We must start here because of course we are going to become bored with ANYTHING that is externally driven.  We will eventually fall in to the pattern of needing more or different in order to stay interested.

Thats the case with externals.  Like our homes, our stuff, our gadgets, our clothes, our apps, our appliances, our electronics, our car, …. etc. When something is or becomes a commodity in that way, when we interact with it from a place of “entertainment” in some form or another, yes… indeed… boredom will ensue.  Without the depth of understanding and truly relating, boredom will continually steer our ship invisibly forward toward some unknown destination.  And it may take a lifetime before we realize just how lost we really are. Like someone who needs to move or switch jobs or change relationships every 3-5 years to stay “interested”, nothing will every hold our attention for very long if we don’t first understand the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which we expect to be engaged and entertained by others, by activities and by things.  

This tendency is largely driven by our own boredom.  But what perpetuates this boredom?  I believe it is at least partially caused by misplacing our understanding and becoming focused, as it were, on a false “goal” or any definable goals for that matter!  If we think that asanas, for instance, are poses meant to be mastered and that the more challenging the better, we’ve created a structure within which we are expecting ourselves to achieve a certain level of skill.  One we have “gotten” there, whether thats 5 months or 5 years or 15 years, there becomes a kind of “OK, now what?!” realization.  Sure, you can take a long time to get there and kind of learning all the way up to that point.

All the while, however, the practice was not in fact a practice at all,  but a perfection toward an attainable goal. Perhaps that goal in our minds eye was something we saw someone else achieve, on you tube, on social media, in a master class, etc.  Perhaps we’ve deemed it as good, rewarding or otherwise beneficial. But yoga and other self awareness systems like it, require you to let go of goal driven truths and to embrace instead, the inquiry itself AS the path and not as a means to an end.  This is quite subtle, actually.  And I meet and know very few who truly embody and live this aspect of yoga.  In this way, “practicing” is not so much about how many hours a week you put in on your mat, or teach or have studied or how many hours of training you have or even how ‘successful’ your yoga business is, but the quality of time spent both on and (perhaps more importantly ) OFF the mat.  How do you show up when you are not wearing your yoga pants?!

In this age where yoga clearly has “fad” status, where it is often relegated to “fitness” alone, where social media produces images of perfect lean young (or well kept older) bodies in perfect poses (or even in imperfect poses!), everyone is vulnerable to this conditioning.  And honestly, yes, yoga will work to get you in shape and help you feel better improving your overall health including your state of mind (which, comes with improved health anyway!). But if we fall into this conditioning, we miss the point. 

And the point, quite frankly,  is incredibly beautiful and well worth paying attention to.  

Why do we become bored or uniterested in Yoga?  Why do we need a million “new” kinds and styles and combinations and tricks and props and additions to yoga to keep us engaged?  Because, we forget that Yoga does not happen on the mat or in a gym or hanging from the ceiling or flying with another person or when we sweat or feel a deep stretch or sense the adrenaline rush from a vigorous flow or experience the endorphin release after a physical practice…

no.   

Yoga is union (overstated, but barely understood). 

Union of stillness and motion. 

Union of inhale and exhale. 

Union of mind and body. 

Union of heart and mind. 

Union of life and death. 

Union of effort and surrender. 

The union of all parts of you on every level in every way through every lens.  It is a delicately crafted, indescribably tender balance.  And the moment we separate out these parts, these pieces, we are sadly no longer cultivating union.  No matter how much we claim or say we are. Our words won’t make up for this lack of understanding. We are no longer bringing long term balance to the body and systems.  We are no longer practicing the ancient transformational ART of yoga.  

So how about this:

Forget your fancy yoga mat. (the ancient Rishis didn’t have them!)  and the stylized clothing.  Forget your “practice” of asana all together.  Forget about “Posing”.  Forget about impressing anyone, even yourself. Forget about yoga as something you ‘do’. Think of it more as a verb itself. How do you YOGA at work?  How do you YOGA at the computer?  How do you YOGA while you are commuting?  How do you YOGA when you are engaged with your children or partner?  How do you YOGA when you are by yourself at home and nobody is watching or listening?  How do you come into balance and union and softness and strength and clarity and discernment?  How do you embody your center in every moment… live from this place?  Otherwise, your yoga is truly just you ‘going through the motions’.

Its not enough to step in to this awareness every once in a while, to visit it like a fun stopping point along the way.  Don’t you see:  this place, this union, this delicate balance IS the path and the goal all wrapped up in Oneness.

 And every time you do step on to that mat, step fresh, new as a beginner as though you know nothing, because in that moment, if you show up authentically, you really don’t.  And stay away from  inversions or twists or backbends.  Try keeping your practice humbler, simpler and deeper than you’ve ever dared.  When you travel deeply in this way, internally, instead of externally, there is no limit to how far you can go. There is no need to create something new or better or more advanced or more complex or sweatier or more fun or harder or more challenging.

There is only surrender, surrender, surrender, sweet surrender. 

And trust me, there is no boredom anywhere to be found in this place of deep surrender.

namaste.

Jeneen

Me & the Moon

Why Full Moon Offerrings? 

They are everywhere these days and have become a bit of a marketing hook to get people in the door.  But I have to tell you, from the bottom of my infinite heart, how deeply I resonate with the lunar energy and how my work came to be.  You see, it unfolded over time.  Years, maybe millennia, from a shared communal connection to the moon and her pull, her sway, to something much more specific and directional. She led me to uncloak information in the darkest of darks that came from many traditions over time and space and that required nothing less than to leap into her shadows to know the secrets that lie there.  My moon training is by no means traditional.  Although I have done my share of research and study through both Astronomy and Astrology to understand her waxing and waning and her continuous cycling.  I have also been trained to work with womens rhythms, their cycles and to understand the wisdom through reflection that the moon provides.  

But thats not even at the heart of my path, of my work.  I live in ceremony with the moon at all times and hear her whispers, and sometimes her desperate calls, as she directs me to work in specific ways through monthly patterns and flow.   It is absolutely not just about me showing up and “going with the flow” and being spontaneous.  I don’t work with the moon because its “cool” or “trendy” or even “fun”.  Its actually, an incredible service and an enormous amount of work to be fully present with her. Before each lunar event, I go deep into meditation to listen to and respect her guidance for that particular creation.  For this reason, no two moon events are ever identical AND it is almost impossible for me to script the details too far in advance. 

Her overall guiding message is to be gentle and nurturing for even as her work contains and embraces the shadow, we must remember that this life, that this being, is fragile and delicate and must be held with the utmost care and tenderness.  I use sound mostly now, but in the past I have used dance and movement and art and silence as my main tools.  The sound in collaboration with my Moon offerrings is very consciously crafted to move through cycles for connection, which, by my training and experience, requires the most reverential approach for establishing long lasting quality harmony within each person present.  This harmonizing requires an intimate knowledge of ceremony and discernment that cannot be learned quickly or superficially, but takes place over a long un-folding, over a lifetime, and many lifetimes.  

The moon, she is powerful.  And we would be best served by respecting and honoring her power with those who have dedicated themselves to guiding on her behalf. 

Blessings on this moon, and always.

The cult of the new

I only need one Gong.  One Crystal Bowl.  One drum.  One.  Only One.  More than one confuses things, can create chaos or can shift the focus.  The mind, the being then is trained to want more, to desire bigger, to yearn for “better”.  Both in the one who is receiving the work and, more problematic still, in the one who is guiding the work.  By “better” I don Not mean in the sense of of what is truly best for us, but in a false perception that more is better.  that bigger is better.  that larger, that stronger, that higher, is better.  

Perhaps this is human nature. The tendency to get caught in the trap that we need MORE.  That somehow, in this very moment, we, it, they, us….. are not ‘enough’.  That somehow if only:  we had more money, a new job, a bigger house,  more trainings, more tools, better marketing… that we’d take off and fly and leap into the life of our dreams. 

 I am here to hold the space of understanding that includes the life of our dreams as it is here and now. This heaven on earth. Through the radical lens of acceptance.  Not through the lens of wanting, desiring or grasping.    We have lost touch with the most fundamental knowledge we possess:  the completeness of simplicity, the truth of this moment, the wholeness of our being which needs nothing more to be Full except this very breath.  In fact, I don’t even need the Gong, or the Bowl, or the Drum or any “tool” at all.  And neither do you.  All the work, the depth, the transformation, the shift, the release, that you long for, can be achieved by simply sitting in silence together. With one who knows how to guide in the dark and in the stillenss. I don’t even need any technique, no scripted visualizations or guided imagery, no mantra or meditation ‘style’, no book or quote, no message cards or fun games,  none of it.  That is the truth.  The only truth. Every tool we use is in essence an illusion.  The danger being, we can confuse the path itself for the ultimate goal.   We can confuse the ‘method’ of our choice for the end result.  Then we will be stuck forever, on this treadmill of thinking we are progressing, but really being stuck .  We might be stuck in an “ok” place and so that may feel “ok”.  And we might even register “ok” as ‘good’! But sooner or later, sooner or later, our soul remembers its eternal longing and realizes it has been tricked and this is when we truly wake up.  And I must tell you, it is a rather rude and shocking awakening. (set apart by the many false awakening that arise in ones life which are often described as “aha” moments) And in that moment, we understand that we truly need nothing and we let it all go, without any hesitation. And then, only then, do we really know what it means to fly.   

You are Already There.

A breath in, a breath out.  One breath.  This breath.  This very one.  It connects you to the moment.

The Truth is: We are always in this place, this moment. This life IS a mediation.

The Journey is: We return to this realization over and over and over again until the re-membering is a part of us.  Until we are living it in every breath.

This balance of awareness and understanding with what already is present brings us into our true alignment. With what already exists.  There is nothing to “do” here, nothing to “be” here.  We have a proclivity for making everything more complex than it needs to be.

Just remember.

Remember who you are.

The breath will show you everything you need to know.  Stop looking outside yourself for the answer.

Just breathe.

on Inspiration

January, 2018

Inspiration. Its whats on my mind this wild wonderful Winter.  Honestly,  its what’s always on my mind.  As an Artist, inspiration is the fire to my soul; what keeps me joyful, enlivened and vibrant.  Someone at the museum after my workshop today commented “you always have so much energy”!  I would re-frame that:  I’m always deeply inspired.  By everything I see, feel, do, create.  It doesn’t mean I necessarily find it all easy or comfortable or even ‘good’.  But this world, this life, my breath, every person I meet, I am most truly inspired by.  Call it living life in a constant state of being taken by happy surprise or in a state of awe. Each moment, precious and new and full of wonder.  The ‘energy’ I have, is from this connection to inspiration.  I live and breathe it.

Consider this for a moment.  The literal definition of ‘inspiration’:

in·spi·ra·tion:  noun

  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  2. the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

That just blew my mind:  the drawing in of breath.  Inspiration.  to do or feel something, especially something Creative.  Inspiration.

Wow. Did you get that?  Did you feel it?  Did it sink in?

Inspiration IS in every breath, because it IS the breath.  This is available to us all, in every moment, to live a life aware of and engaged in inspiration.  It’s not just the domain of the Artist.  What a powerful understanding and teaching.

This year, I wish you all an inspired life.  And I’m cultivating and creating workshops, retreats, series and classes designed to hold you and guide you to this place of inspiration.

May we walk this journey together, with love & inspiration.