Higher Self: Father
Mudra: Vishuddha Mudra
It's hard to imagine the part of my Self that is the archetype of the father. Gender roles can be blinding, even when we're clearly talking about metaphors. I turn to the shadow attributes of this card: "Dictatorial control. Abuse of authority." Okay, I can imagine myself doing the work to avoid abusing authority. The light attributes are a "talent for creating and supporting life. Positive guiding light within a tribal unit." That is a lot of responsibility for my little s self. Which is undoubtedly why the rest of the reading is about surrendering to Spirit.
"The nightingale sings to us of the reality behind the illusion of life. The nightingale reminds us that while we think we suffer and weep, our universe is singing all the time. If we could but tune into that song, our suffering would just evaporate... You have a choice today: hold onto your attachment to this particular form of things, or let go, and discover that - instead of losing something - you have gained an expanded possibility."
The Spirituality card from The Artist's Way, reminds me to continue last month's work with connection. "Spirituality has often been misused as a route to an unloving solitude, a stance where we proclaim ourselves above our human nature. This spiritual superiority is really only one more form of denial."
So, in essence, I can avoid abuse of authority and be a guiding light, if I surrender to Spirit through my humanness, as it is in my role as a human that I am connected to the All in this moment.
The Vishuddha Mudra is the gesture of purification. It is helpful for releasing tension in the neck and vocal cords and awakening the intuition. If I am meant to be a guiding light, I will need to speak.
This month I showed up in my humanness and connected with divinity.
I showed up this month and breathed through my imperfection. With my partner in presence, Jennifer, I said an enthusiastic yes to a Mindful Meditation Studio Class at Spirit of Yoga. I facilitated a Love Talk on privilege and definitely breathed through my imperfection on that one. I did my first Facebook Live. I also gave a bit of tough love to someone who needed a bit of encouragement to face some fears. I'm normally not a tough love person.
In allowing myself to be seen, I also have the opportunity to truly see others. I coached several yoga teacher training practicums this month and realized what a privilege it is and how much I love this work. In observing others take that giant leap of faith by stepping into the seat of the teacher, I see so much. I'm not even sure I can describe or explain it. I just know it is beautiful experience. I feel trusted and blessed and honored to be a witness.
Spirituality in Humanity:
I also had the opportunity to create a coaching program aligned with Ramadan [long pause where I don't say all the awesome things I'm thinking because of client confidentiality.] And of course, my google searches were noted by the data collectors. In my news feed was a video of a woman discussing being period shamed during Ramadan. Talk about being human in your spirituality. Women are excused from fasting while pregnant, breast-feeding, or menstruating. This makes a lot of sense, from a purely biological perspective. However, the shame and stigma around menstruation in most cultures just makes everything weird. When I look for the divinity, the spirituality, within the humanity of menstruation, though, I wonder if women will ever be able to proudly display to the world the evidence of their fertility. Will there come a day that a muslim woman eating during Ramadan, a blood stain, a tampon purchase, or hot water bottle at work will get a nod of, "hey, goddess, I see you cleaning out your uterus and preparing for another cycle of potential creation."
Inner Child VS Adulting:
I did not suppress my inner child this month, no matter how silly I might appear. One of the pieces of advice from the WomanSpeak Festival last month was to imagine a tail of any animal species extending from your tailbone. It automatically straightens your posture and distracts you from your nervousness. It even gives me a little sassy attitude like I've got a secret and no one else can see my lion tail. So, this month I actually bought a clip-on tail and lion ears. And I wore them to work.
I also bought a mermaid tail for myself and my grand-niece. I realized afterwards that my niece is much too young for the mermaid tail as you have to be able to swim underwater with a dolphin kick. I had just bought one for her to justify getting one for myself. Hopefully that will be the last time I hide my inner child behind actual children, lol. I will play if I want to play.
Ironically, by not fighting the inner child, I also made some progress with adulting this month. I've cleaned the pool as a mermaid. I spilled a giant bucket of celery water out of the fridge and my sister and I ended up using it to mop. It was fun. I was later able to stick with a couple of other spills until they were completely clean, without too much negative self-talk.
By showing up in my full humanness, I have expanded my possibilities and I integrate my Father archetype and show up as a guiding light.
Engage without striving; flow without force.
Engage your core.
For many of us this is a pretty loaded request. It sounds an awful lot like “suck in your gut,” which sounds a lot like your belly is not allowed to be here in this space. For me, the act of sucking in my gut is violent. It feels like my organs are being stifled, “Shhhh…. Stay quiet and take up as little space as possible until bed time, then you can be organs.”
When I stopped caring about the belly-should-brigade, I just let it all hang out… I had organs floating around 10 feet in front of me, leading the way as I walked.
Through the practice of yoga, though, I’ve discovered that engaging the core is more subtle, intentional, and loving. It’s not about the belly and the organs, it’s about the spine. When we engage the core, it’s an invitation to support the spine with love.
“Suck in your gut” is the Elmyra version of love.
Engage your core is the kind of love in the anonymous quote “When you like a flower, you pluck it. When you love a flower, you water it.”
Engage the core just enough to support the spine. There is still room in the abdomen to breathe and for the organs to do their thing. Imagine the spine is a baby just learning to sit up. You want the baby to learn to sit up, so you’re not going to hold on to her tightly. However, you hold your hands so close so that if she topples, you’ve got her. You might even provide a soft cushion for support.
Experiment with the differences between these experiences in the body. Pay attention to how each feels.
First suck in your gut in the way that you normally would. Do you have room to breathe? Do you feel relaxed or anxious? Does this feel sustainable? Perhaps you've been engaging all along.
Next relax your core completely. Does your spine feel supported? Do you feel like you can do what needs to be done safely or do you feel a bit disjointed or untethered? Do your organs feel like they have room to do their work?
Now move between these two extremes like a pendulum. Engaging the core a little at a time, checking in with your breath, feelings, and organs. The goal is to support the spine while remaining pliable in the abdomen for breath and digestion.
This is engagement without striving, flow without force.
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After burning out from a long career as a middle school/high school reading/math/science teacher, I returned to school to study massage, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, aromatherapy, and yoga.