Inner marriage. Reuniting & honouring all the pieces of me

In recent years I’ve read beautiful writings about the awakened man apologising to woman for her suppression and abuse. In particular I think of this one:

“We have burned you at the stake, bought and sold your bodies for sexual pleasure, barred you from religious and political office, relegated you to subservient chores, forced you to hide your faces and even cut off your organs of sexual pleasure.

Although I may not have done these things personally, I am aware of the forces in the masculine psyche that are responsible for dishonoring the feminine.

As a man, I feel sorrow that women and feminine energy have been suppressed for so many thousands of years on our planet.

I take responsibility for those forces and choose no longer to be run by them….

I commit to treat your heart as the sacred temple it is, and I commit to celebrating the feminine in my intimate relationships as well as in my relationship to all life.

I honor your pathways of spiritual awakening, and I commit to the celebration of feminine spirituality. I honor your deep connection to the earth.
I honor your intuition and your ability to feel.
I love the beauty of your body.
I honor your capacity for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
I honor your capacity to listen to your body and its needs for food, rest and playtime.
I honor your sense of compassionate justice.
I know that together we can co-create in bringing forth the wisdom of sufficiency” ~ Based on the Manifesto for Conscious Men

These words ring deeply in my heart and every cell in my body. But more and more these days I contemplate the incompleteness of it and recognise how important it is for me to own my piece in both the suppression of the feminine, and the wounding of the masculine.

For years I longed to meet a man who would honour the feminine aspects of me that I felt had been shamed and suppressed for many years, I was frustrated when partner after partner fell short in some way…where I felt unseen, unheard, and not honoured.

But the truth is I was never going to meet a man like this until I was willing to truly look inside. Until I was ready to ask myself some tough questions. Do I see these things in myself? Do I honour these parts of myself? Do I really truly see and love the beauty of my body? Do I honour my connection to the earth? Do I really listen to my body and it’s need for rest and playtime?

For so many years the honest answer is No. For so long I didn’t value rest, I didn’t listen to the wisdom of my body. I didn’t value or respect my capacity to feel. I didn’t honour my heart or body as the sacred temple that it is. It’s only when I have began to truly honour the feminine within me have I attracted a beautiful man in my life who is ready and willing to walk this path of healing, growth, love, play and service together.

So this is just a little reminder that this love thing, is completely an inside job people. While seeing the divine in each other is of course a beautiful and pivotal part of this journey to reunite masculine and feminine to work together, this only becomes possible when we are ready and willing to explore this marriage inside of ourselves. Are we ready to love and accept ourselves as we are, and to honour completely the divine feminine and masculine?

Acknowledging that inside each of us we have the essence of both masculine and feminine is the first step if we want to stop projecting our wounds onto our loved ones. Working on these parts of ourself with loving compassion and awareness to remember what it is to feel at home, whole and reunited with every piece of who we are.

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To me it also feels like a key step in owning our wholeness is to also acknowledge it’s not just the feminine essence that has been suppressed and dishonoured. Our masculine is hurting too, both the inner and the outer. Carrying the weight of the feminine wounding, the guilt of past acts, so much shaming and blaming. But more than that our masculine has been tempted by the promise of love and adoration only to find in moments of revealing himself authentically & vulnerably he has been shamed, manipulated and dominated by the feminine nurturer who chose fear over love.

Some years ago I sat in a cacao ceremony where as a group we were guided to work with our inner masculine and feminine and invite them to come face to face. What I experienced in this journey continues to touch me today because I feel how true it is. When I saw my version of divine feminine in all her glory – she was this beautiful strong but flowing woman radiating love and purity and by her side was a black panther, beautiful but clearly powerful….

At the time I understood how distinctly separate I was experiencing my light and shadow, that’s a whole other story but what touched me most is the mistrust I saw in my divine masculines eyes, the protection he had around his heart and the heaviness on his shoulders. Because time and time again he had been wounded. He had opened himself to this promise of love and purity and then at his most vulnerable the panther had struck and mauled him, beating him into submission or destroying him completely.

I’ve progressively been laying down my sword, the sword I once wielded against myself and against the masculine (inner & outer). And I’m blessed these days to have a beautiful man walking with me on this path, a man who continues to do his own work, and can own his piece in the past, who can express his heart ache over the suffering and suppression of women & who chooses to now rise together. Together we choose to work through relational wounding when it arises, we actively choose to not get stuck in blame and shame, we choose to do it a different way, to cultivate trust, gentleness and intimacy and to focus on love and gratitude. And we choose to practice forgiveness when one of us forgets and falls.

The time of finger pointing, blaming, shaming and turning our backs away is done. It’s time to sit together. To be willing to do our own inner work and talk to each other with openness about our hurts, accepting responsibility for our own feelings and be willing to listen without defending, attacking or closing. I truly believe that when it comes to our core relational wounds there comes a time where the inner work needs to also transform into work in real time relationships with loved ones.

So I am eternally grateful for relationships to some incredible men who have helped me see and heal so many old wounds that continued to play out in my life so unconsciously. Like many I found it difficult to see the person standing before me as they are, instead I saw them through the filter of my past experiences, and my past hurts…with old wounds triggered and my desire to protect myself strong I lashed out at them. I forgive myself for these acts because I won’t let shame and guilt weigh me down. But I’m clear on the laying down of the sword, and I’m clear that I need to remind myself again and again that there is a new way of walking this path together that is only possible when I’m ready to let the other come close enough to join.

Have you ever considered where you still wield a sword? Against pieces of yourself? Or against those you say you love the most? Are you ready to lay down the sword?

Reach out if you need any support in this process. I work 1:1 with women and in small groups to cultivate Emotional Freedom. Through yoga, mindfulness, movement, nature, cacao and community we learn a new way of Intimacy, Wholeness and Juicy Aliveness.

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Much Love ❤

Magic Beans of the Ceremonial Cacao kind

You’ve heard the stories of the magical beans in Jack and the Beanstalk, well our very own version of the magic cacao bean has arrived in Perth. Keith’s cacao is now shipping their magical hand peeled cacao beans to Australia and we have received our first shipment!

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These are the original form of the cacao paste we use for ceremony but they can be used in a slightly different way, a few beans gives a nice little pick me up or refocus for creative & productive works. They also add a delicious crunch & heart burst to breakfast bowls and smoothies so I’m super stoked to have access again to this deliciousness.

I get asked regularly why is this cacao, or these cacao beans different to the cacao powder or cacao nibs you can buy in the supermarket or health food store. Well first and foremost this is cacao that from sourcing to production is done so with the purpose and intention of helping you to “open your heart, focus your mind, and energize your spirit to Bring on Your Magic! words taken directly from http://www.keithscacao.com 😉

Once you’ve heard that little whisper that says it’s time to explore this magical thing called cacao I suggest people always trust their intuition and heart’s calling as to which cacao is right for them. I choose to only work with Keith’s cacao because this is where my heart has guided me but there are also more tangible and practical reasons for my choice.

One is taste, out of all the beans I’ve ever tasted (and I tasted more than I can even remember when I lived and travelled in Guatemala, Bolivia Peru, Mexico & Bali) Keith’s is the smoothest, nuttiest and least bitter, making it by far the yummiest I know.

Another is that I truly value the heart centred business structure that has now been created around Keith’s cacao Keith that allows for the sourcing and shipping internationally of this beautiful product so that I (and many other practitioners around the world) can continue to offer you such a heart connected and consistently amazing product that is also supporting the local community in the small village where Keith lives in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Here’s a little excerpt from Keith’s website telling you more about the sourcing and production of the cacao:

“Kaqchikel Mayan women from 20+ local families earn an independent income, while working at home, at their own pace, preparing our cacao beans. There are few employment opportunities for women in our community. As we grow, we will create jobs for many more local, indigenous women, providing them with good pay and flexible hours. We are proud to help our community grow in this way.

The women give our beans a quick, light toast over a wood-fired stove. They are highly skilled because the toasting process for cacao and the locally grown coffee beans is very similar. Their experience getting the “perfect toast” with coffee goes back many generations. This light toasting assures that the complex, subtle flavors of the cacao are not masked by a burnt taste.⠀

Next, the women hand peel and inspect each bean. The process of hand-peeling allows for the moldy beans to be discarded -and NOT incorporated into our products. They give the inferior beans to the chickens, who love them and lay very rich eggs! We don’t want to eat mold, and we don’t want it in our cacao. We are proud of our traditional approach; making cacao as the Cacao Spirit directs and as shamans have made it for thousands of years. We are delighted that this magical cacao adds so much to our community, financially and spiritually.

In our workshop, a team of local indigenous workers hand inspect every bean a second time to remove any remaining low-quality beans or other contaminants.  Some of the nicest looking, mostly whole, beans are packaged to be sold as our “Hand Peeled Cacao Beans”.  But most of our beans are milled to create the smooth, magical cacao paste that we use in our ceremonies and drink every day.

We are proud of our traditional approach; making cacao as the Cacao Spirit directs and as shamans have made it for thousands of years.  We are delighted that this magical cacao adds so much to our community, financially and spiritually. ~ Keithscacao.com”

For all of these reasons I know that not all cacaos are made equal and it really is a process of following your heart and asking questions about where the cacao you’re drinking came from, how was it sourced? and how is it processed?

If you’re in Perth and would like to order some of Keith’s magic beans or a block of ceremonial cacao paste contact Lani on 0434 748 758 or lani@heartofrest.com.au. Not in Perth, no problems you can order directly online from Keith at www.keithscacao.com and receive a 5% discount on your order.

May your heart be touched by the spirit of cacao, may she be there with you as you remember your magic!

Much Love

Lani

Finding peace within the expansion and contraction

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ~ Rumi

Embracing all the colours, all the flavours, all the delicious variety of life means also recognising that both expansion AND contraction are important and healthy parts of being human.

I spent the most incredible weekend guiding a group of women on a 3 day Cacao Yin retreat. Together we journeyed into what it felt like to come home to ourselves, to feel safe and connected, to show up in our truth and share with each other. It was powerful, deep, joyful at times and incredibly touching to watch these beautiful women dare to bump up against their edges, gently, with compassion, with love for themselves and each other and to soften into the tender places in their wombs and hearts.

After a weekend like this, immersed in nature and flying high with the sweetness of ceremonial cacao I should feel amazing yes? Well actually when I arrived home I was tired and tender. In amongst the sweetness, the resting and the nurturing a lot of energy moved, a lot of tender places were touched, a lot of edges massaged and a lot of wounds given space to heal. It’s not so crazy then to understand space around this process might be needed to allow full integration.

We all process and integrate differently and some need more time for the body to catch up. I’m one of these people. After periods of real transformation I really value a little bit of time alone to let the wisdom of the experience anchor into my body and beliefs.

For me this is when the real work begins…we all love to have the big bang, high of a retreat experience (it was wisely pointed out to me last year that I’d become a bit of an experience junkie so trust me I do know how great these highs are). But after the retreat finishes what happens now? After the expansion – what then?

Can I integrate the insights and wisdom that come through during retreat?

Can I rest in this new moment where nothing is happening and not start grasping for the next step?

Can I trust the things that fall away, fall away for a reason?

And what happens when the next contraction comes?

Can I accept not only the expansive high joyful part of me but also the parts I deem to be slightly less than shiny – the contracted, tired, tender and a little raw?

Hence the purpose of this blog post 🙂 For me retreats are an opportunity to let the daily routines fall away and offer a little space for the magic, the mystical and the intuitive to be deeply felt and embodied. It’s an invitation to peel back another layer of an old outdated mask and when we no longer have the mask to hide behind it can feel vulnerable. Without vulnerability true intimacy is never possible and without intimacy there is no real connection so vulnerability for me is a sign I’m growing and living life fully.

There’s no magic pill, no one path suits all solution to unravelling years (or lifetimes) of tension, over-thinking, self judgement, low self worth or whatever it is that you’ve been holding against yourself. But for me the real magic seems to unveil when I can let feelings just be feelings. To watch them as sensations in the body moving through. They come they go, expansion, contraction, expansion, contraction – just like the breath, let them come, let them go. Can we drop the judgement, drop the expectation, drop the labelling of right and wrong and let the feelings just be feeling.

Tiredness is just tiredness, grief is just grief, tenderness is just tenderness – they’re not a sign I’ve done something wrong. They’re not a sign that you’ve done something wrong. Can you receive their gifts as readily as you receive laughter and joy? How can we exercise this muscle of expansion (physically, mentally, emotionally and in consciousness) if there were no contraction to begin with?

Could it really be as simple as Being gentle. Being kind. Just BEing.

PASSION… P A S S I O N … P A S S I O N!!

“So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

For the past week I’ve discovered such a joy in simply saying the word passion outloud – to myself and to others….⠀

P A S S I O N… P A S S I O N … P A S S I O N!⠀

What does this word evoke in you? For me it’s like a fire has been lit in my belly and my heart. And it brings a big fat smile to my face! ⠀

‘With passion pray. With passion make love. With passion eat and drink and dance and play. Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God?’ ~ Rumi⠀

To me this doesn’t mean I ‘should’ always be smiling but it does mean that when life delivers it’s challenges, when loss and grief knock on my door passion helps me to remember a deeper knowing of who I am. To see every part of life as a gift. To move towards the fire and be grateful for the gifts in every experience. Like a moth to a flame, give me the burning of the heart any day.

P A S S I O N ❤

“So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion.
Passion is the supreme alchemical elixir, and renews all things.
No-one can grow exhausted when passion is born,
so don’t sigh heavily, your brows bleak with boredom and cynicism and despair—
look for passion! passion! passion! passion!

Futile solutions deceive the force of passion.
They are banded to extort money through lies.
Marshy and stagnant water is no cure for thirst.
No matter how limpid and delicious it might look,
it will only stop and prevent you from looking for fresh rivers
that could feed and make flourish a hundred gardens,
just as each piece of false gold prevents you
from recognizing real gold and where to find it.

False gold will only cut your feet and bind your wings,
saying “I will remove your difficulties”
when in fact it is only dregs and defeat in the robes of victory.
So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

– Rumi

Photography by: Lani Noble, Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, Koh Phanang Thailand, 2015

Recommitment to LOVE

On this Aquarius new moon and on the tail of yesterday’s celebration of love I’m feeling the power of LOVE. And I’m recognising how often I have shied away from using this word LOVE to express how I’m feeling in fear of how it will be received, of how I will be viewed or judged. Maybe it’s too woo woo, maybe it’s too feminine, maybe it’s too much is what the little voice inside has been saying. Maybe if I haven’t known you long and I tell you I love you you will think I belong in a looney bin 🙂
But today I recommit to my own Journey into the Heart and I choose LOVE over fear. I allow that little voice to have safe passage to speak it’s fears but no longer let it be what guides my actions. I recommit to allowing Love to guide me in all actions.
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When I arrived in Guatemala in 2012 I discovered Hridaya Yoga, Yoga of the Spiritual Heart and I fell in love, not with someone or something but instead with a feeling that came from inside. It felt like a coming home, like the answering of some question I didn’t even know I’d been asking. I still don’t even really know what the question was. But the answer was and still is LOVE.
Something in me understood then that beyond all the ideas of right and wrong my very essence was LOVE and from that point on I’ve set about creating a life where every day my intention is to keep on remembering this and in that remembering support others to do the same.
But I’m human, and I’m messy, I can be selfish and immature and I often forget the beauty of the Heart, I forget what true unconditional love is and I forget that my true essence is LOVE. And I forget that your true essence is also LOVE. I even let judgement and blame come between us when all I really want is to be close to you. All I want is to LOVE and be LOVED. I’m on a journey towards owning and loving these parts of me that forget, these parts that are so conditioned and yet are so counter productive to the life of LOVE I long to live.
Most importantly today I recommit to LOVE, love well beyond the personal emotional meaning we often attach to the word, and all the way to LOVE as pure being, as awareness, as the direct radiance of Spirit. I’m choosing to focus on the activation of my own Heart’s LOVE for spirit, my devotion to Grace, God, truth, the absolute, presence, awareness…whatever you wish to call it.
And in that refocussing I choose LOVE over fear again and again and again. Mahatma Ghandi’s quote ‘BE the change you wish to see’ has always rung true for me..and that feels pertinent here now, to BE the LOVE I wish to see. And as a beautiful friend recently reminded the greatest question I can ask in every moment is, ‘What would LOVE do now?’
May every day be LOVE day. And may we continue to play with the nuances of this magical word LOVE and not shy away from using it every single day. May the words I love you not be held back, may they be shared from the Heart again and again and again.
I LOVE YOU and PS by loving you it doesn’t mean I want to marry you and have your babies…ooooorrrrr maybe it does 😉 ❤
BIG BIG LOVE
Lani
Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, Greek three, and English only one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling. Eskimos have 30 words for snow, because it is a life-and-death matter to them to have exact information about the element they live with so intimately. If we had a vocabulary of 30 words for love … we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart. An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow; we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love. Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it comes to feeling.
– Robert Johnson, The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden

Your deepest longing by Jeff Foster

Your deepest longing has already been fulfilled, and you were the last to know.

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“Everything you have ever longed for is already present, here and now – which is the last place you’d ever look. The miracle to end all miracles is happening, and it is this moment exactly as it is.

Yes – this, this is the grace. Every breath. Each sensation. Every sound. That which has already been allowed in. That which cannot be blocked out.

Even pain, even boredom, even despair – those most unwanted and unloved waves of human experience – are finally allowed to flood into the space where ‘you’ are not, and have never been.

And the paradox is this: none of it can touch you anymore, not even the greatest pain. And yet, and yet, you experience all of it, you feel it all more intensely than ever before, unable to block it out anymore, unable to turn away. Who would turn away, and from what? This is life in its fullness, no holds barred.

So what is left but simple gratitude? Gratitude for the fact that anything has ever happened at all.

And if nothing ever happens again, know this, dear friend – you have been here to witness the miracle of life. You have known it. Tasted it. Felt it. Seen it. The reflection of a waning moon in a car window. The taste of still water. The fragrance of cotton. The silent depths of meditation. The fierce intensity of fear. Your grandmother’s bones. It has been enough. Oh, it has been more than enough.

It has been too much, in fact. Too much grace. And so the separate self turned away from it, and looked for more, seeking a future that never came, and cannot come. You’ve only been seeking yourself.

Awe and wonder, my friend. Awe and wonder.”

by Jeff Foster, Life without a Centre

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Simplicity of Beauty

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The Prophet  by Kahlil Gibran
And a poet said, speak to us of Beauty:
And he answered:
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?
The aggrieved and injured say, ‘Beauty is kind and gentle.
‘Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us’
And the passionate said, ‘Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
‘Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.’
The tired and weary say, ‘Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
‘Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.’
But the restless say, ‘We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
‘And with her cries came the sounds of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.’
At night the watchmen of the city say, ‘Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east’
And at noontide the toilers and wayfarers say, ‘We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.’
In winter say the snow-bound, ‘She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.’
And in the summer heat the reapers say, ‘We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair’
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears,
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw.
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
People of Orpahelese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Flow…Cognitive Ecstasy..Creativity & Intellectual Bliss


Just over a year ago I was living out of my backpack and moving from country to country as projects with friends & teachers called to my Heart. Unexpected circumstances eventually drew me back to my hometown, where I’ve spent the last 5 months adapting to a more grounded way of living, sharing my Heart’s passions with people I love… and meeting some very real ‘real world’ responsibilities, real world responsibilities that hadn’t played a part of my life for the past 6 years.

Truth is it hasn’t been the easiest transition…but not because of the responsibilities…but because I felt my connection to Self , and Flow, challenged far more regularly in the community I found myself living in, than in the spiritual circles I was previously immersed in. I had to look a little closer within myself and be a little more patient to uncover connections with others who love to ‘nerd out’ on the human unknowing…and who feel the call to explore with curiosity without succumbing to the imprisonment of generations of conditioning of fear.

I’ve had to learn to choose not to blame or rely on my surroundings for my happiness – or unhappiness – if I’m crazy enough to link my happiness to the outer world – then reality is I set myself up for disappointment. Really the only thing that determines my joy and passion for life…is my connection to creativity, life force, God, Love, the absolute…whatever you want to call it.

And so when I watched this video by Jason Silva on cognitive ecstasy this morning I was reminded of my fascination for life..creativity…intellectual…understanding….I get off on intellectual & mystical conversations – hypothesising around all of the unanswerable questions – just the discussions and confusion that would often come from hours and hours of curious explorations – would remind me of just how vast, infinite & unfuckingbelievable this life is that we are.

“Cognitive ecstasy – an exhilarating neurostorm of intense intellectual pleasure”

So to all of you out there who courageously curiously explore the unknown, with the insatiable drive of a child to understand, stepping over gigantic fears and conditioning that instead demands control and knowing – I celebrate you & honour you…and am deeply humbled by you. Thank you for helping to seed my curiosity and finding the courage to remember my sole/soul intention & purpose in life is to remember our magic…to wake up the wonder junkie in me…the brave reckless God in us all! That is why I’m here, that is what I live for….ahhhhh thank you Jason Silva for the beautiful reminder.

“Beauty is truth..truth is beauty”

So much love ❤

 

 

Floatation tanks…my sweet salty delicious version of heaven on earth!

expanding-consciousnessFloatation tanks…float, isolation, sensory reduction or REST tanks…all the same thing – ever heard of them? Originally made known in the 1950’s to conduct sensory deprivation tests…these days they’re used more mainstream for meditation, stress relief, relaxation and improving physical, mental & emotional health and wellbeing.

“Sensory deprivation tank has been the most important tool I have ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.” ~ Joe Rogan

When I arrived back in Australia last year I was super excited to find there were a few around the place…but I didn’t like the idea of having to travel through peak hour traffic to get to one. So it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when the excitement got REAL…when Float Fremantle opened within walking distance of my house and workplace!! In the heart of Fremantle ❤

So what exactly is a float tank? And why am I so excited?

Practically Float Fremantle is set up with 4 float pods, or tanks…they look a little like a space shuttle…and in many ways that’s exactly what they are..amazing little pods to transport you into another world…of peace, rest and expansion.

Filled with water heated to body temperature, and hundreds of kilograms of epsom salts to allow the body to float effortlessly. The pods have gentle lights that you operate from inside…and music that gently plays before fading out into silence and sweet sweet darkness (if you choose).

For me this is heaven…a place where all of the outer world stimulations gently fall away, and I can allow my body to rest – suspended perfectly – no effort required. Where all the outer world noise is dissolved into silence…and I’m left with just myself…and this is where it gets interesting. When I removed all the outer stimulation and stresses, I immediately saw how much of my tensions (mental & physical) came from within….a very similar experience to one I had in my first 5 day Hridaya silent meditation retreat. I got to sit with my mind and all of the millions of thoughts that rise and fall, and I got to really feel where my body & mind are creating noise…holding on unnecessarily – creating tension.

I first heard about floatation tanks from my meditation teacher who recommended them highly as a way to deepen our meditation practice. When I researched a little more I understood how the float tanks offer huge benefits for meditation & also just for all of us needing a little relaxation, recovery from our busy lives – including recovery post sports…and healing – so so so much healing possibility. High in magnesium the tanks offer so many physiological benefits, but if you subscribe to the point of view that tension in the body is a psycho-somatic reflection of tension in the mind…how can all parts of yourself not benefit from some time in an environment where the mind is not fed with external stimulation??

Stress is rampant these days, bombarded by sensory stimulation everywhere we turn – our nervous systems struggle to find the space to drop back into rest and digest and restoration (activating the vagus nerve & the parasympathetic nervous system). Yoga and meditation are the daily tools I use to help my nervous system cope with everything happening in both my inner & outer worlds…and now I’m super excited to add floating to my self care practices.

Floating at Float Fremantle wasn’t my first float…but it was my favourite, for many reasons (including the awesomeness of Sav & Ash guiding you through the float experience) but mostly the fact that I can make it a part of my regular self loving.  In fact I was so excited about the prospect of regular floats…the first 25 minutes of my first float in Fremantle was full of a very active mind creating incredible ideas for meditation techniques and experiments…but even that faded out into stillness as the body dropped deeper and deeper into relaxation, tensions dissolving. Eventually my mind began to detach and I was left in this beautiful space of nothing to be done, nowhere to go, no-one to be…actually the same feeling I have when I practice a good session of yoga and then immediately sit in meditation – the body relaxed…and I’m left with just me and my Heart to explore no-thing.images-1

And I know I’m not alone. We offer free meditation classes at Spanda Yoga School  and other than watching the games of the monkey mind…the most common challenge people speak  about is the discomfort of their physical body. Getting through the physical aches and pains can be really distracting to begin with… over time the mind eventually stops focussing on this, and the tensions do begin to dissolve but with floating these physical limitations are removed almost completely right from the beginning.

Its not thafreedom-exists-in-your-own-body-heart-mind-and-soult the tensions weren’t there – actually being in the tank showed me exactly where I was tense and tight…but because I was floating in the water with no pressure on my spine and neck..I had a chance to breathe into all of the tensions and really consciously release them. As the tensions dissolved my focus on my body softened and then I found myself unable to tell where my body finished and the water began..and this is where the magic is at..in floating, yoga, meditation….to feel this sense of absolute freedom within the body.

‘It’s so important. Everybody should do the tank. You will learn more about yourself than any other way.’ ~ Joe Rogan
So if you’re keen to know more, or more importantly to explore this freedom for yourself go and check out this beautiful oasis in the middle of Fremantle…clean, quiet and created by an amazing family who have worked together to open their doors so that people can walk in and float out.

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www.floatfremantle.com.au

They’re now open with a sweet intro price of $60 for a one hour float…and you just might see me there 😉  And don’t be shy, share your experiences…with floating or anything you do to calm the mind, relax the body and give your nervous system a little bit of love? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy floating loved ones! May we all know the joy of freedom within the body ❤

Freedom within our emotions…being OK with not being OK

Would you believe me if I told you there is a ridiculous amount of freedom to be revealed in the acceptance of our emotions?  And a scary amount of suffering in the resistance of them! What would you think if I shared with you it’s really OK to not be OK? And that it’s also OK to be OK…what if I were to tell you that both OK and not OK were perfectly OK? What if wherever we’re at, is OK..exactly where we are. OK..or not OK..what exactly does OK mean anyway? And where and when did we start to become so obsessed with one way being the right way?

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How often do you get asked are you OK? And even if you’re not feeling ‘good’ you feel the pressure to say yeah I’m OK! Well I’ve been having a bit of a ride lately with the labelling of emotions & experiences as positive or negative. It feels like collectively we’re stuck in the polarity of right & wrong, good & bad…and if you’re experiencing emotions that are not joy and happiness – you’re not OK and that’s probably not OK.

I don’t think it’s a big secret that as a race, the human race, we are obsessed with feeling good, the seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain..but in the seeking for feeling good, collectively we seem to have embraced a belief that anything that doesn’t fit within our idea of what that little bucket of goodness looks or feels like needs to be suppressed or denied.

While the suppression might initially appear to be a success in the avoidance of pain – it is for sure just a temporary avoidance as whatever we suppress will reappear again and again and again until it is given space to be be seen, felt & heard. More than that we’re definitely not helping ourselves on the path to feeling good by blocking energy or denying the innate intelligence of our human constitution. All we’re successfully doing is creating more separation, making boxes to put ourself in, self imposed prison cells of how we must look and feel in order to be a successful, happy, feel good human being….and we become weighted down by these ideas, closing ourself off to the full potential of being an alive, fully feeling human BEING.

“Label me and you negate me” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

When I first began teaching yoga I was told by a student they were shocked to hear me swear, ‘but you’re so spiritual…how can you swear?’ they said, and it was the first time I realised maybe I had just stepped out of one box (my corporate career) into a brand new ‘spiritual box’ where I was still expected to behave a certain way in order to belong? Triggered massively I launched into a stream of swear words to express my individuality…maybe not the most eloquent, but in the moment it was my authentic response. What I was feeling was

‘Don’t label me and box me into your ideas of what spiritual is, I never asked to be ‘spiritual’, all I asked was to be free to FEEL, and live life from the Heart.’

Really this sweet student just showed me my inner idea of what spiritual ‘should’ look like – so I could make a conscious decision to step out of that box…and into my authentic expression & still today I find myself continuously bringing down the walls of that box. But lately it’s the permission to not be OK I’m journeying with. A few months ago I found myself again feeling really boxed in this time by the belief that the experiencing & expression of so called ‘negative’ emotions such as sadness, anger or confusion means I’m not doing my ‘spiritual job’ well enough, that I’m not OK and even worse than that ….it’s NOT OK to not be OK.

IMG_1274When you think about what the word OK means…it means to say something is acceptable…so when we’re feeling something – and we think it’s not acceptable to feel that something – we’re actually not OK…literally speaking…not OK..because we don’t accept the feeling that is arising and we want it to go away. But what would happen if we accepted the feeling as it arose…would we then be turning our not OK, into an OK?…and maybe just maybe would that feeling feel seen, heard, loved…and no longer need to fight for it’s right to exist…and maybe just maybe could we receive the wisdom of that feeling, rest and enjoy life…and heaven forbid feel good?

Who knows…the mind could entertain itself for lifetimes upon lifetimes with the semantics of the english language and infinite possibilities. What I’m more interested in is looking at this toxic belief that we must always be OK..whatever that might mean?! The consequence of this belief is that many people are struggling with what they’re feeling, or more to the point desperately trying to bury the feelings trying to be felt.

Rather than embracing where we’re at, we’re being told by ourselves or others, that we’re not OK, that we’re depressed and so we’re medicating. We’re medicating either to 1) stop feeling the feelings that are arising…numbing out or 2) to try and stimulate ourselves out of the numbness we previously created to avoid feeling our feelings because when we shut our feelings down we disconnected ourselves…and now we want to feel connected again but don’t know how.

We medicate – to numb or to un-numb – with antidepressants, or alcohol, drugs, sex, social media, relationships, shopping, gambling, food, even sports, yoga, meditation & other spiritual practices can be used as a medication…to disconnect further and further from what’s really moving inside of us. If the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but actually connection as one researcher suggested…how crazy is it that we’re actually doing things to further disconnect ourselves from others and from our Self?

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety…it’s connection” ~ Johann Hari

So is it possible instead of medicating we just start to get real with ourselves and each other about what we’re really feeling? I’ve been using the word ‘we’ but I’m not hiding behind the collective on this one.  I’m choosing to share my personal experience because the only commitment I want to make is to authenticity…and that doesn’t always look like the perfect ‘spiritual’ package I once imagined it might.

Returning home to Perth earlier this year life didn’t play out quite the way I had planned. Life gave me everything I needed and a whole lot more, but not what I wanted and I struggled many times to feel joyful as I journeyed with a sadness and anger I’d never met before, never had the courage to stand face to face with before and I was overwhelmed by it’s intensity.

Having passed my whole life with this belief it’s NOT OK TO NOT BE OK, I buried my sadness and anger and held on tightly to the belief they burdened and hurt other people and therefore did not belong. I put on the strong independent woman mask instead and threw myself into serving others…and when that wasn’t possible I removed myself from being with people, deeming myself ‘not fit for human interaction’. Are you surprised to hear that neither were very successful in making me feel good..or avoiding my pain?!

Now let me be super frank, this wasn’t the first time I’d met sadness & anger. But over the years I’d become quite skilled at only touching the tip of the iceberg when it came to emotions. Have you ever tried to hold a ball or a balloon full of air under water?…eventually it explodes back out to the surface, unwilling to be suppressed any longer. As my ‘balls’ of emotion would eventually explode out to the surface, I’d have no choice but to acknowledge the feelings…but still desperate to make them go away again I’d acknowledge the feelings only enough for the ball to be small enough to shove back under the water. Until the ball was so full it wouldn’t go back down, and that’s where I found myself…no longer able to contain the grief and anger but unconsciously still trying to figure out what I needed to do to make it go away.

So life in it’s infinite wisdom & mysterious ways threw me all the experiences I needed to help me see I couldn’t suppress these emotions anymore. Each time I felt this overwhelming sadness and anger I found myself sitting before someone who reflected back to me their discomfort with my discomfort and the spoken or unspoken message…it’s NOT OK to not be OK. These loved ones were simply loving me the best they could and thankfully they loved me enough to help me play out my bullshit drama….until I could ignore it no more, and started to see this wasn’t about other people telling me it wasn’t OK to not be OK…it was about ME, TELLING MYSELF it’s not OK to not be OK..a message I carried deep inside my psyche.

Black PantherI was uncomfortable with my own feelings, afraid of them, terrified if I really felt them and allowed myself to not be OK, they would consume me, and ‘I’ would never come back. Maybe I’d stay in bed and never be able to function in the world again?! Or maybe I’d lash out and the black jaguar inside of me would actually leap out and rip someone to shreds…or worse maybe my emotions (which trigger my behaviour) would stop people from liking me, and I would no longer be welcome in my tribe, in my community.

The truth is the idea of who I thought ‘I’ should be was continuously dying, and this version of the mind made ‘I’ was never coming back. By suppressing the emotions I didn’t make them go away…I just ended up drowning in my own pity party unconsciously pushing away those who I wanted to be closest to. With the emotions unable to be ‘energy-in-motion’, having nowhere to go they just repeated themselves again and again and again and again, begging to be witnessed, begging to be loved.

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The pity party wasn’t going anywhere until I allowed myself to rest in the sadness and anger, to feel the weight of the feelings I had been buried under –  and this was so different from the pity puddle I’d been wading in for weeks. This meant really allowing myself to sit still with what was arising in me. Really truly sit still. And listen to the wisdom within those feelings…all of these emotions were inviting me to enter a conversation with myself – to hear needs that had not been met and allow love to touch my pain, rather than fear.

When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity, when your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.” ~ Stephen Levine

The absurd part is yes I had to get really quiet so I could allow the emotions to be felt, but they didn’t consume me, I didn’t need to wallow in my sorrow for weeks. The reality is, the more I practiced honouring the feelings as they arose, hearing and honouring their wisdom, the more naturally they moved through me. It turns out it wasn’t the actual feelings overwhelming me but my resistance to feeling them.

In Chinese medicine, there is a school of thought that emotions are a cause of disease. Not that having emotions causes disease, but more so when emotions are out of balance, and imbalances arise when we don’t allow the expression of energy (and emotions are energy) in the moment they arise. What begins as a pure feeling of life (energy) wanting to be expressed through you, unexpressed becomes a weighted toxic charge, an accumulation of feelings, energy in motion that has not been expressed freely. This energy becomes trapped within the body giving us physical symptoms of something that needs our loving attention.

The step into this loving attention, and the move away from resistance came for me in discerning the difference between honouring and creating a safe space for my feelings to be felt and expressed AND drowning in my own pity puddle. If I stopped needing to be ‘ good’ all the time, if I allowed whatever was arising in the moment to be present, then there was actually no puddle to drown in… the emotions really could become energy in motion – their wisdom & insights could be revealed, no longer suppressed, no longer being judged, no longer being expected to be anything other than what they were in that moment.

I also needed a little help from family and friends – I needed to ask for help and I needed to really let people into my life, so that they could do what they do best..love me. But to do that I needed to allow myself to be vulnerable, to be real, to be open and express what I had been perceiving as a weakness – my emotions. I resisted this step for a long time because I didn’t want anyone’s pity, which is what I felt I received when I expressed my full range of sadness and anger. What I wanted was their love and support, their compassion, I wanted to know that all the pieces of me were loveable and welcome and that they wouldn’t leave me just because I wasn’t overflowing with magic and joy.

The irony was I couldn’t allow myself to feel that love from my loved ones, until I made space for the emotions in my self – until I was able to give myself permission to not feel ‘good’ for a moment and let that be OK. To allow myself to not be OK…and in that allowing, in the acceptance of life exactly as it was in that moment I was OK…

Sometimes we don’t feel ‘good’, sometimes there are feelings we don’t know what to do with, sometimes they overwhelm us and we can’t participate in life the way we normally would, AND THIS IS OK! Like everything in this manifested world this is temporary and it too shall pass…it’s only our resistance to what is arising that causes suffering.

If we can be present with life it has a message for us. It’s calling us back to ourselves, to be all of ourselves, to embrace all the pieces of our Self…including these feelings of sadness, grief, anger. They’re all an invitation to enter a conversation in the present moment, to let go of our previous ideas of who we thought we should be and start to rest in the truth of who we are alive and present right Now.

Practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, exercise, nutrition – all of these things become super important tools to help drop the mind down into the heart, to not get lost in the illusion of the pity puddle and monkey mind that believes every thought and feeling is real, but they were never intended to be used as a means of suppressing our feelings, spiritual bypassing only perpetuates the cycle of disconnection.

3c0c40686786125fef6c0e63704c9477I’m sharing this because I know so many people who feel they are struggling with anxiety and depression – and I can tell you that those of us on the ‘spiritual path’ – including me have not been immune. It’s sometimes really tricky to distinguish between depression…and the many dark nights of the soul that we might encounter on the path.

But I like to embrace the idea of depression that Jeff Foster puts forth – as a feeling of life pressing down on me, that I am being de-pressed, by the ideas I had of who I should be or what I should be doing. As I shifted my perception to this I started to see depression as an invitation to come into a space of deep-rest, to rest deeply in whatever is moving in this moment, and a space of deep acceptance of all the pieces of me.

 The truth is, as important as tribe and community are, we will walk much of this path alone, so we need to take the time to really get to know ourselves – to know who we are beyond all of these ideas of good and bad. How can we expect to really connect authentically with our tribe if we can not even be authentic with ourselves?

There is no red pill, to magically pull us out of the illusion…there is only Love…and that love equates to deep rest and acceptance. So next time you’re feeling something see if you can allow yourself to really go into that feeling, feel it all the way down into the very core of your being…and then feel it some more. Feel what happens and listen…really listen to the wisdom of the Heart waiting to be shared with you. And if you still have a little voice (your’s or another’s) telling you it’s not OK to feel what you’re feeling…see if you can offer up some love to the part of yourself that tells you it’s not OK to feel that way…or if that still doesn’t feel do-able.. love that part of you that can’t love the part of you that tells you it’s not OK to feel that way…and remember we are all in this together in this divine dance of life.