Monday, January 31, 2011

The Winter of Listening

What does it look like to close your eyes, to go inside your head and to go inside your heart and really take a look at what’s inside there? I’m talking a deep knowing of your own soul, away from the chatter of our every-day business. The process is as easy as closing the door, turning off your phone, sitting on the floor and closing your eyes. Yet, Sometimes we’re afraid to go inside and turn off the chatter because we’re afraid of what it might look like in there. We’re so accustomed to the noise that we don’t know who we’d be if we turned it all off. And indeed we have to prepare ourselves to take that big look inside and confront whatever might come to the surface, sometimes a well-spring of grief or loneliness or hurt. Sometimes we find a world of doubt, worry, ennui, or maybe the worst of them all, The Shoulds—that damning list of expectations about our life which is not fulfilled nor is it on track to be.

With a little practice and maybe a smidge of direction, what’s possible is to apprentice oneself to the true and deep knowing of Self. What’s possible is the ability to see yourself for who you are, a radiant, conscious, sentient being with beautiful complexities that might include sadness or loneliness or worry but seeing that who you are is fundamentally whole. I may have worry, but who I am is larger than worry. So, it’s the ability to hold and even love the complexity of our own being, to somehow embrace and love what feels like the damaged parts of ourselves, knowing we’re deeper than that.

Here’s my invitation: today, right after you read this, maybe, or sometime today, go into a different room or turn off the computer and sit. Close your eyes and do what I call the “There Is” practice. This is where you simply point to all the things you are aware of or become aware of with the phrase, “there is” in a way that puts you as the observer rather than the subject. If you were to hear my thoughts do this practice it would sound like this: “There are closed eyes. There is semi-comfortable sitting position. There is worry about responsibilities later today. There is a cat licking my toe. There is a feeling of sadness. There is business in my head. There is peacefulness creeping around the corner.” Notice there are no personal pronouns: I, me, my. This enables us to observe the world as it is on its terms rather than from the egocentric realm of “me.” Or, if you want to go deep, it helps me see that who I am is all of these things. Another form of simple meditation is to notice what comes up and if, say, an emotion emerges, say in your mind, “I have worry, but who I am is larger than worry,” or “I have a busy mind but who I am is larger than a busy mind.” This inevitably invites us to consider the larger concept of our being.
This is exactly what I’ve dedicated to this year’s Winter Yoga Retreat happening this Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon in Woodland, Utah, near Kamas. It’s the opportunity through meditation, yoga, fun, storytelling, snowshoeing and ceremony to put us back into conversation with the True Self. There is so much I want to share which takes a few days and some time away to set in. I have a couple spots left and would love to have you join me for this remarkable weekend. Here is some basic information. Click on the link below for more details.
February 3-6. Show up around 5 pm Thursday evening and leave Sunday 12pm.
$345 Cozy, dorm-style log bunk bed

$375 Each for you and a friend to share a private bedroom with a queen-size bed

$295 Couch spot, (1 spots left).

• Amazing all-levels yoga, and meditation
• Breathtaking winter landscapes, pines and juniper trees and fresh air!
• Cozy lodging and sleeping arrangements
• Native American sweat lodge ceremony
• Snowshoe hike
• Gourmet food prepared by chef Amanda Gooch.
• On-site massage therapist
• Stars like you've never seen in the city
• Thee of the happiest dogs you'll ever meet
• Poetry, music, stories
• People meet their best friends up here
• Deeper practice in body, mind, and heart.


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