Welcome to your Wild Sacred Journey (a re-branding announcement)

FullSizeRender.jpgAs we can all agree, life is a journey and it takes us places that were unexpected. When I started Fertile Ground Yoga about three years ago, I used a free website because I had no overhead and wasn’t even sure this was all going to work. I was coming out of an 8-month period where I had to move every two months. I was only teaching a few classes. I doubted myself and my ability to do this…. whatever this was. 2013 was ending and 2014 was beginning and I took a leap of faith.

The journey of these last few years has brought me to a place I would never have imagined. I have now been supporting myself solely teaching yoga for a little over a year. I am teaching about 10 classes per week (give or take a few). I have led workshops, daylong retreats, and even several weekend-long retreats. I set my schedule. I maintain my website. I come up with material and try and network… when I remember to. It has been challenging and rewarding and so many other things. Every part of running this business has brought up my limiting beliefs. And I have faced some deep-seated fears about finances and being good enough. And I have grown: in confidence, in scope, in experience.

Last Fall, I answered a call from deep within that I hadn’t even known I had and began a two-year Integrative Energy Medicine Training. As I began, a little voice inside me knew that this program and saying ‘yes’ to this new path on my journey would cause me to outgrow the Fertile Ground of my original business. I was right. It has taken a year of being present to the ever-increasing clarity of who I am and what message I am walking on this Earth, but at this time but I am finally ready to announce my new business name: Wild Sacred Journey.

In all of this change, I am still me. In fact, I am more me than I have been in a while. And my hope for this journey is that is brings me back, again and again, to being more myself. I have reached deeper places of knowing the limitless, sacred spirit that resides in this body, And I have reached deeper levels of compassion for the limited-but-still-wondrous human form that I have for walking this journey. And I have a stronger connection to the wild heart that holds space for the intersection of these two truths. Yoga is a journey of going deeper and deeper into ourselves to find the hidden treasures of this life, and what’s the secret to growth and cultivation and fertile soil, but this wild, wondrous, sacred journey.

I hope you will continue to join me in practices, meditations, retreats, and other offerings. Information about me can now be found at wildsacredjourney.com

For the month of October, I am celebrating this change by posting (on my new blog) one blog a day of something I saw or heard or experienced that reminds me I am on a wild sacred journey. Join me?

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#funFebruary; post 2

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Falling behind in my posting challenge, but it’s all good!

February can be a challenging time for outdoor fun – and for me, I’m discovering that fresh air is vital to me feeling balanced.

Last winter I started learning to snowboard and loved it. This has been a tricky winter for keeping up with that since it was so warm for so long and then has been rainy and icy since our one, good, big snow… but I still try and make it out.

When I went last year, I would go with a couple of friends and some of the fun was in the singing in the car and the laughter. On the slopes, I’m more in my own world so that’s more of a solitary fun and then this year, I go by myself which is a different kind of fun.

Now, even the car ride is my time to retreat from the world, from work, from social engagements – to get away. I still sing silly songs in the car, I watch birds soar over the road, I look at clouds. When I get to the slopes, I get into my gear and take off. When I went last week, the snow was deep and soft (perfect for falling on, which I still sometimes do)! It was cloudy, but generally pretty quiet. Sometimes in the lift, I would be near groups of kids all shouting and being silly, but other times there was just the sound of peoples’ skis and boards, swishing down the mountain below and the creaking of the lift chair.

Riding is a meditation for me. My mantra: trust yourself. I set off down the mountain, pushing the edges of my comfort zone as I pick up speed. Breath through fear. Trust yourself, trust your board…. If I don’t, I panic and fall over.

Last week, I really linked turns for the first time. It used to be I could start to cut one direction, then as I tried to even back out, I would overcompensate and eat snow. This time, instead of thinking about the air I was hurtling into, I thought more about the solid mountain supporting me and oriented myself that way. I stopped thinking about the moves or trying to have my feet move separately from each other and I really settled into my board, freeing up my hips and shoulders to be the ones steering. I found a rhythm. I relaxed.

There’s something about learning something new – a childlike wonder takes over. Many of us block ourselves from that with expectations or judgements about where we SHOULD be and what it SHOULD look like. When we can drop all that and become present, when we can become completely absorbed in something, there is a joy and a freedom – play. There’s also something about using our bodies in a way that requires no thought. Just breath and movement. An intuitive dance. Potentiality and energy expressed. When we find that sweet spot between strength and ease, whether on our yoga mats or off, Flow takes over and that, too, is joy and play.

How do you play in winter?

#funFebruary; post 1

As with generous January, the idea behind #funFebruary is to intentionally cultivate more of something in my life… and this time it’s play!

I would love to say that I haven’t been keeping up with my writing challenge because I’ve been so busy playing and having fun, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. Work has been keeping me really busy. And then too much work, mixed with an overemphasis on fun led to being sick. So, here I am – and this first post will cover some of the different ‘faces of Fun’ from February so far.

At the beginning of February, I had just finished leading my first weekend-long retreat and jumped right into leading a 40 Days program. I was feeling really excited but also a little overwhelmed by everything and so I took a break from work to bake cookies – and because I used eggs from a farmer I trust and I know that the chickens are healthy… I ate plenty of raw dough along the way! There’s nothing like the smell of fresh-baked cookies coming out of the oven to brighten the day. And then giving cookies to friends who needed a little bit of a boost… even better!

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I also took some time to play with silly yoga poses and fall on my face while trying to take pictures of them. It’s in these moments that I start to see how cultivating a child-like spontaneity and joy, even as an adult, brings more fun and laughter.

I have gone for walks in the sun and soaked it up, I have laughed and connected with yoga students in all the classes I taught. I Baked brownies, watched the Super Bowl with friends and ate junk food. I saw an art show with brightly colored, textured pieces that made me smile and dream of beaches. And when there were too many things going on, I dropped a couple of ‘fun’ things (like going to a winery) off my list to free up time to talk on the phone with a friend, or just sit there and stare at a wall for a few moments.

And when I felt myself getting sick, fun turned into ordering takeout, watching Netflix, and treating myself to a nice bath. It’s the feeling of falling into bed at the end of the day, tired and ready to lay down. It’s wearing warm, comfy socks and drinking tea while watching birds soar out the window. It’s getting caught up on writing. And dreaming of feeling well enough to soon go outside for a hike or a day snowboarding… depending on the weather!

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I hope you find time to play. And I hope you find the play in both work and rest. Here’s to a fun February!

 

#generousJanuary; post 7

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(I know it’s not technically January anymore, but I’ve got one more January that wants written and the last week has just been so crazy, I couldn’t get it done until now).

Pssst. Kate. Lean in closer. I don’t want to raise my voice in case Mind overhears and starts to freak out…. But you know the life you always wanted to live? The things you always thought you’d do someday… when you were smarter, better prepared, more experienced, more worthy? Well… don’t look now, but…. you’re already doing them. And you’re not perfect and you make mistakes and you’re human so you still sometimes feel hurt, angry, disappointed. But that hasn’t stopped you. And everything you do is better because of it. Keep going. I love you.

– Heart

As I lay in bed on the second night of my first weekend-long retreat, this message came to me. And I did freak out a little. And I cried a little – some of it happy, some of it fearful. You see, living a life of total accountability for yourself is scary as sh*t. And it’s also mindblowingly amazing.

This last weekend at the retreat, I did make mistakes. I realized part way through the first full day that everything I had planned was totally wrong for the group I had in front of me. So I threw it all out the window, admitted I didn’t quite know where to go from there, asked them what they wanted, and started over. And because I was nervous, when I started over, I threw too much info at them in a way that wasn’t organized for ideal effectiveness. But this isn’t Ideal Land – it’s MessyLovingBeautifullyAuthentic Land and in this land, it’s all OK. In fact, it’s better than OK. It’s perfect.

You see, when I planned the retreat, I had an agenda and it came from my head. Luckily, I’ve been practicing speaking and listening more from my heart, so when I was advertising for the retreat, I attracted the people who wanted the exact message I was most passionate about. Which means that when I asked them what they wanted, their answers were what I am most suited to give. And so, without knowing that that’s what they were doing, they brought me back to myself. And in that moment of true, heartfelt connection and vulnerability, I found more clarity in my voice and my purpose.

What an incredible gift to be given.

There is a Sanskrit word adikara, which Deborah Adele explains as meaning “the right to know or the right to have.” She fleshes this concept out in conjunction with asteya (non-stealing; the third yama laid out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras): if we want something, we need to build the competency to prove we are able to handle having it. In order to practice non-stealing in our lives, we must be capable of holding what we ask for and receive. Although not as many people signed up for this retreat as I would have liked, if looking at it from a monetary/abundance perspective, I knew that this experience and these trusted women, were meant to happen for me to feel safe building competency.

There is still refining and training to do with my voice. And I will make more mistakes. And I will get better each time. But I left with an unbelievably powerful gift and I am unbelievably grateful for these three women who generously gave me their love, their belief in me, their patience and constructive feedback, and their willingness to go deep – with authenticity and vulnerability. And I acknowledge myself, for a generosity of spirit and love that cooked delicious meals for us all, taught five varied and genuinely responsive yoga classes over the course of the weekend, and facilitated conversations about our lives’ challenges and lessons and how we can put our yoga into action, to meet them with deeper grace and acceptance and love.

#generousJanuary; post 6

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Early last week I stopped by the gas station to fill up before the big storm, but blocking my way in was a man, pushing his car up the hill and into the station. My instinct was to leap out and help him, but my car was in the middle of a fairly busy road and I was afraid to leave it there. As I looked around desperately for a solution, two other young men (who had their cars safely parked) came running over to help him.

Connection among strangers. How beautiful.

Afterwards, one young man walked away and went about the rest of his day. The other one stayed and chatted with the young man who owned the broken down car for a little while. Maybe he was making sure the other could get the help he needed with his car. Maybe they were talking about something unrelated. Either way, I’m sure the connection they had affected the rest of their day in some small way.

Generosity as a way of connecting with strangers.

After the snow storm, I saw more of that. Suddenly, people were out of their houses, out of their cars, and we were talking, shoveling, connecting over the snow and the challenges. The barriers that usually exist between all of us were down and what loomed in front of us was what we have in common, larger even than the ways in which we’re different.

So, deeper even than putting yourself in the shoes of another: can you let them be other and see yourself in them. They may not have the same experiences as you, their perceptions of the world my be different, their body and history are their own… but there is something in another, when we look and listen for it, that is us. And there are moments (usually crises) where it becomes easier to see our hearts vibrating as one. And in that moment, we are moved to acts of generosity.

Now that the roads are clearing and businesses are starting to reopen, there will most likely be some contraction and competition. People will be fighting over shoveled out spots. We will once again retreat into our houses, our offices, our cars and The Others will become these nameless, faceless beings that seem to our egos to be between us and contentment.

Opening and closing, like each beat of the heart, like each breath, is natural. But I choose to try and see what we have in common, along with honoring the ways in which we’re different. I choose the generous act of love of strangers as myself. I choose to let heart-felt connection lead to generous acts. And on days when I am contracted and I can’t find the commonalities, I choose to let small, kind acts serve to bring me back to connection.

#generousJanuary; post 5

DSCN3695watermark.jpgLast night I slept unbelievably well – the kind of sleep where you wake up in the morning and the sheets and blankets are basically undisturbed, letting you know you didn’t toss and turn. It was the perfect night – slightly chilly to snuggle up, I had showered but my hair wasn’t sopping wet on the pillow, I had just put clean sheets on the bed… and I had bought myself two new pillows.

It’s silly, I know, but I forget I can do things like that. I’m not very good at spending money on myself anyway and pillows are just there… until they’re really not. But there’s often something else that’s more of a priority or flashier. I don’t take the tags off of clothes. I have buyers remorse even on purchases that bring me joy AND are useful (like my crockpot). I’m just gonna say it: I have money issues and they show up in how I treat myself. So generosity shout-out to me… for treating myself like I’m worth it. And for literally putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to walking the talk of self-care and joy-of-life.

I’ve also been reflecting a lot recently on love and how many acts performed in the name of love are actually fear-based. How many times do we try and protect the people we care about from something or some truth because we’re afraid of losing them… yup. That’s not love. That’s fear. How often do we hold ourselves back – saying we’re protecting ourselves and it’s an act of love when really, we’re diminishing our growth, limiting our learning opportunities, and sending ourselves the message that we are not the infinitely strong and loving Beings that we are? Again, that’s not love – it’s fear. So when I see and hear stories of people like my friends Ashley N. and Jackson, who adopt older pets as animals – knowing that they will grow to love these creatures with all their hearts, only to ‘have’ them in their lives for a short time – and doing it so the animal can live out its last days knowing love and care… I see people who are choosing love over fear. They are courageously looking the certainty of a broken heart in the eye and saying that it’s worth it. They are giving of themselves, their time, their resources: all in the name of spreading love – and not just among other humans. If only we could look at each other in such a way – not afraid of the outcome, knowing it will most likely end in heartache in some way or another, and still walking in, eyes wide open, heart held out in our hands… the most generous offering we could ever give.

#generousJanuary; post 4

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I’m going to be really honest: I am struggling with this month’s theme way more than I expected. This is not the post I sat down to write last night. The one I wrote last night felt flat. Uninspired. Too abstract. Inauthentic.  I started noticing that when I sat down to write posts about generosity, the main theme of each post was all the ways in which I ‘fail’ and others are ‘better than me’. And that’s not the way to attract more of what you want in to your life. It’s not a celebration of all the ways we, as humans, can momentarily touch upon something so much greater and transcend our limitations to uplift each other. So I’m writing this one, instead.

In the past when I have sat down to write on a theme, if I brought the theme to mind, examples started coming – even if I wasn’t aware of feeling or seeing the trait in the moment, my brain could think back on the day and say, “ah yes – that was gratitude.” When I sit down to write about generosity, I find myself afraid to speak about it. I see acts of generosity all the time, but they seem like they should be private to me. And maybe this is the tip of the block I seem to have against generosity and deeper connection with people and circumstances in my life. If I can’t speak it, I can’t manifest it. And life isn’t to be understood, it’s to be experienced.

So today, I am speaking it. Please know, this is not an exhaustive list. But this morning, when I think about generosity the people that pop into my mind are two of my friends Rachel – one who gave me the shirt off her back, crocheted me my dream hat, and walks down the street aware of who is around her and what she can do to help; the other, just finished being a doula for a friend of hers (and incredibly generous act of service and love) and is always finding small, simple gestures to show the people in her life that she cares. Michael, a yoga student who gives to friends and when shown an act of kindness, quietly reciprocates it back in gestures of gratitude that reverberate with kindness. And Caroline, a good friend and boss who listens from her heart and with the intent of seeing the best in whoever is in front of her.

I see that in you which is great and generous and I honor it.

If you see love, speak it. So that it can bloom.

#generousJanuary; post 3

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Showing up in service to others is an act of generosity. When we show up for others, we are not approaching people and situations wondering what we can GET from them, but what we can GIVE.

It’s the difference between moving through the world from your heart and moving through the world from your mind. There is a joy in it, partly because it feels good to help others, but also because most stressful thoughts start with the word “I.” When we focus on ourselves, we bring awareness to how we’re separate from those around us and then a feeling of disconnect begins to creep in. By being there for others, we automatically connect and give energy to that which we have in common.

I can practice this pretty easily when I’m teaching yoga, but feels like more of an effort for me to practice it off my mat. I am reminded when I see a friend offer to hold the door open for someone walking past whose hands are full and I think: why didn’t I see that and do that? Or with friends who are so good at asking questions, they rarely end up sharing when we catch up and later I think of myself as selfish. Or giving to strangers whether it’s money, food, or time and a listening ear – later I think, “What if I don’t have enough or what they need turns out to be more than I can handle? What if they’re lying and trying to use me?” It’s not that I never do those acts of service – it just doesn’t always come easily to me, or I can’t sustain that way of being without exhausting myself… or at least not all the time. So what’s the difference?

Most of the difference is in the noticing. When I am attuned to others and to what’s going on around me, it’s easy to care and to offer and to ask. When I am zoned out, disconnected from what’s happening around me, or rushing through, it just doesn’t occur to me.

The other difference is in feeling safe. If I look at when I am least likely to be helpful and most likely to be absorbed and not noticing others, it often when in public places (walking down the street) or when I’m somewhere where I don’t feel any sense of ownership. I focus on myself and tune out others as a way of setting boundaries in response to harassment or the general discomfort of not knowing how I want to respond to requests for money or other things I don’t feel comfortable giving…as a way of feeling in control. And so that’s really what keeps me from generosity and service: insecurity in my own boundaries and fear. Fear of the unfamiliar and fear that I don’t have enough to give, materially or emotionally.

And this is where it gets tricky – because boundaries ARE healthy and necessary and there ARE times when it IS inappropriate to give, or people who will take and take and drain you of everything you have.

So how do I start to practice more generosity through service in my life… healthily? Paradoxically, by taking better care of myself. I notice a difference in how engaged I am in conversations with friends when I’m tired and burnt out versus when I am excited to see them and can’t wait to hear more about their lives and give them the gift of attention and listening. There’s also a difference in how aware I am of ways I can be helpful depending on whether I’ve taken care of my own needs or not and thus feel supported and cared for. And taking care of myself in terms of time management means not rushing past opportunities to give and be generous. It also means practicing feeling ownership of myself regardless of where I am. And to do that, I need to trust myself. I need to trust that I will stop giving away power, that I am strong enough to handle the situation if any of my fears DO ever come to pass.

And finally, I need to stop judging myself for not being a saint and giving all the time, and I need to honor the times when I can’t find it in myself to give as sign posts that I have to take better care of myself and look a little more deeply at my fears and whether they’re protecting me or barricading me off.

Self-care, self-confidence, boundaries, and trust that I am taken care of – acts of generosity.

#generousJanuary; post 2

DSCN3503watermarkLast night I had a friend literally offer me the shirt off her back. She did request we wait until a time when she wasn’t wearing it… but still. It’s hard enough for me to take a compliment, much less turn that back around into a gift.

Thinking on it now, I have (at least once that I can think of) gifted someone something of mine that they had admired. And I remember a stingy, fear-based voice in my head fighting me all the way. That voice said things like: what if you need those earrings later? what if you regret giving them away?

I’m glad I didn’t listen to that voice. Because I have NEVER needed those earrings since then in anyway that would negate the joy of having given them to a friend whose face lit up on receiving them.

The things we own have weight. And often it is a far heavier weight than what the objects would measure, placed on a scale. They have the weight of expectations, of memories, of our dysfunctions with the money used to purchase them, of fears of lack in the future. But that’s only if we let them have that weight. If we invest some part of our identity in them. And I do that. And it drives me crazy. Wherever we go, there we are: in the weight I give to my material possessions, I see all my fears about a lack of abundance. I see a lack of Faith that I will have what I need provided for me in some way when I need it. I see grasping and a choking off of Flow. I see everything I preach to work against on my mat in my yoga practice and when teaching.

I’ve been putting off cleaning my room for months now. I stopped seeing the clutter to avoid it. And it’s because I don’t want to have to make decisions about what stays and what goes. Because I don’t want to have to ‘throw out perfectly good things’ or ‘pollute the Earth with my shit.’ Guess what? Waste is waste wherever it is. And in my bedroom, it clutters my mind and distracts from my sense of peace, which affects the Earth just as much. Healing the Earth does NOT mean taking all the disease into myself. That serves no one.

So I have begun to ascribe to a new way of thinking about clothes and now I pass it on to other material possessions: does it bring me Joy RIGHT NOW? Does it serve a purpose. If the answer is no, it goes. And hopefully to someone to whom it does bring joy. Our environments reflect our insides: I choose Joy, I choose Connection, I choose Light. And those things combined lead to generosity – a sense of abundance and a willingness to share it. I cherish this offer of a shirt to help remind me of what’s important.

And that’s the biggest gift I could be given.

New Year, new themes (#generousJanuary; post 1)

imageI had hoped that my practice of writing every day for 30 days of gratitude would help me start a more consistent writing practice, but it has not… turns out I do better with prompts!

I’ve also been truly touched by all of you who reached out to me, letting me know you followed (and appreciated) my project of practicing gratitude.

Because of those two things, and that I believe the lenses through which we view our lives affect what comes to us, I’m embarking on a new challenge. I’ve brainstormed a list of traits I want to seek and manifest more in my life and assigned one to each month. It’s an unrealistic goal for my life to think that I’ll be able to write a post each day, but achievable would be to commit to writing on the month’s theme at least twice per week. I hope you’ll consider joining in – not just be reading but by weighing in with your own experiences of the month’s theme (either in the comments section below or on your own social media platform. I’ll start a hashtag to go with each month, so you can link yours, if you feel so inclined). Together, we elevate the world. Together, we create the shift we seek.

We start with: #generousJanuary

All too often, we think of generosity as something tangible – usually linked with money or goods – and as something being passed from those who have to those who have not.

But we all know the heady satisfaction of giving with no thought in return – as an act of love, because we WANT to. Our souls long to offer that act because it validates us as infinite Beings, creatures of Love, someone who has enough and can afford to share that abundance. I think, perhaps, one of the stingiest things we can do is to not see or hold space for those offerings, as they are, in whatever form they are offered in, and from whoever wishes to share them with us.

Today, I acknowledge the generosity of all those who read this blog, listen to what I share when I teach, and remind me that my words and expressions of experience are my gift. Because of you, I move forward on this journey of finding and lifting up my voice. Because of you, I am affirmed. As I am. Simply because I exist. Thank you.