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happy birthday to me

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I’ll be 32, I think.

2022-1980 = 32.
Yes, that’s right.

Oops.
Nope, that’s wrong.

42. I’ll be 42.

When I wrote 32, it felt a little lighter.

A time hop of sorts.

Much had not happened at 32 that has now happened at 42.

When I write 42, there is a bit more weight to it in my heart, in my chest, and in my throat.

There’s a bit more sadness.

But there’s also something else.

A bit more awe.

At all of it.

I don’t think I would trade the awe for no sadness. I don’t think I would.

Because the awe, the wonder, the magic, the grace, the stunning crispness of the moments I catch in full technicolor.

They are poignant.

They are poignant because they are Now.

Crisp and clear around the edges.

Fading into next with the shimmer glow smudge.

Now.

It is miraculous.

Now.

Three things I wish for you on my birthday are 3 things that have brought me to Now. Like this.

The first one is,
the Pause.

Learning to quiet, to still, to reject the “We are allergic to stillness” stance that our society seems to have adopted. To stop and become an epicenter of the rotation. For a single moment in time to be the center.

The second one is,
the Feeling.

Not good, not bad, not right, not wrong. Just the chance for pulse and throb and flow to be in your veins, arms and torso. To feel shimmer and shake inside of you like the power that it is. Always and forever it is.

The third one is,
the Hope.

The suction of how hard it can all feel, how gnarly messy twisty you can pull against and yet how steadily, how magnetically, the slipstream grabs you and allows you to keep your head above water if you go with her. Go with her.

So that’s it. That’s what I wish for you on this eve of my birth. (Doesn’t that sound fancy?)

The Pause. The Feeling. The Hope.

One of the yoga tools that is central to my clarity is consistent Yoga Nidra. I’m teaching an iRest yoga nidra workshop on Saturday, January 7th, from 1:30 to 4:30pm, to slide you into this incredibly accessible, efficient and effective piece of my own practice. Find all the details and a chance to register here.

Please join me if clarity is something you seek.

Join me if the Pause, the Feeling, and the Hope are gifts that you desire too.

Happy birthday to me. 😊

Take good care,
Rachel

touch in, touch down

 

psst.

Hey, you there…

How’s the whirl twirl of the season feeling??

Are you skimming across the ice backward, sideways and with seamless pivots? Are you pushing the blue plastic skate “aid” thing along plowing the 2 inch thick layer of NC fake snow with your rented skate blades? Are you sitting over in the corner of the rink making piles of snow since that’s more interesting (and even possible at all) than trying to do this thing of skating?

(Yes, I witnessed all of this on the rink near our house last week.)

No matter.

Christmas and this season can feel all ways. From one minute to the next, it can be a ride.

And.

In the midst of it as in the midst of all, there are constants.

Grace.
Softening of comforts large and small that is everywhere. It’s shock absorbers in the hard stuff.

Joy.
Spacious and lightening. It’s a soaring upward and outward with tailwinds all its own.

Compassion.
Enveloping and courageous. It’s to love it all, “Come on in and stay a while” in rest from cold exile.

Gratitude.
Grounding and expanding. It’s bowing down to it all, the gifts both clear and confounding.

Peace.
Steady. It’s quiet and stillness deep in center.

Beneath the layers of loud, they’re always waiting.
Always present.

A place to sit back and rest when the hard is too hard, the pain is too high, the sticky is too stuck. A place to pause for even a moment and rest back into something bigger.

The realm of the heart.

May you touch the heart this holiday season. In the midst of the boom and bustle, the clinking glasses and the tinkling bells. May you be still enough to touch the heart in all its shades of splendor.

Grace. Joy. Compassion. Gratitude. Peace.

Welcome to you all. Welcome.

Take good care,
Rachel

p.s. I’ve got a 1/2 day workshop coming up on Saturday, January 7th where we’ll practice touching these constants of the heart. This tool of deep rest is a very favorite in my own practice. Set the pace for your New Year and signup here. I’d love to spend time with you.

give it freely

My grandmother was

magical.

She was magical because

around her

I felt loved

exactly

as

I am.

When I think of her now,

my heart gapes.

She and my Granddaddy were the sun to our earth, moon and stars. And at Christmas, our time together was brilliant.

There were endless cookies and candies that she and my mother produced from the oven. There were bag laden shopping trips to Heronimous and a slew of other department stores. There were visits to the mall where we’d ride the little train to see Santa, through the tiny cave with the elves making their toys, my heart clambering with excitement to see the man in the red suit and to whisper tentatively what I wanted for Christmas. There was Christmas Eve at my childhood home playing with the olivewood manger scene on the fireplace hearth and waiting – w a i t i n g – waiting for my grandparents Buick (exact model progressing with the decade of reference). When that car finally heaved up my parents steep, black asphalt driveway, joy was allowed to explode in my chest.

They were here!!!

My time with these people felt like this year round. Magical.

I remember.

I can feel the magic, the joy, the space and light as I remember it in detail… her voice and her laugh, her lips brushing my cheek (and my subsequent wiping it off), her long fingers and manicured nails, her winter coat on my skin.

I remember.

And in remembering, I choose to embrace the feelings as alive here and now.

When I remember, she is with me.

So I know.

That when I dive into this memory with all its sights, sounds, and beautiful textures, a flip will eventually sneak through. Most days.

A sadness. That their bodies are done now.
That they are lives complete.

I miss them.

I honor them each holiday with active remembering. And with time for active grief. Grief that I invite in with a compassionate and loving group of people that also recognizes this sacred act.

Over the past 5 years of my holiday Grief & Gratitude donation class, I’ve had the honor of sitting with people in their loss. Each year, it’s a small but intimate group. And we move a little (because this somehow makes it all a little easier), then we pour chai and sip a little, then we talk a little.

Some people stay quiet because they want to hold their memories that way.

Some people speak because they want to hold their memories that way.

Some people are filled with love for those that have passed.

Some people are confused about how they feel for those that have passed.

Some people have someone who is in the process of passing.

It looks all ways.

And there is space for all of it.

So whether you choose to join me in-person on Saturday, December 10th or it’s not quite right for you, please slow down to remember that which has passed this holiday. Do it in the way that fits what you need – in a church, in the chapel of nature, in your living room with a single lit candle.

Choose time to remember, choose time for the tears or anger or confusion. And know there is a group of us holding your grief with loving care.

Holding you with loving care.

Just as my Grandmother did for me.

With so much love,
Rachel

p.s. Click here if you want to register. Or even if you don’t want to but decide you need to. That works too.

pause… listen

Nora’s wall of love

An invitation awaits.

To pause. To listen. To feel.

What waits in the silence?

A vastness.
Beyond your toes.
Beyond your touch.
Beyond your reach.

Big sky space.

And in it,

a container
big enough
for

the hard.

Please join me for this annual gathering that comes from deep within my heart.

5th Annual Donation class in benefit of Transitions LifeCare 
In Grief and Gratitude –
All-Levels Gentle Yoga and Share session
Saturday, December 10th
2:30-4:30pm
Cary Yoga Collective
2425 Kildaire Farm Rd, Suite 407, Cary
Registration required – click here to register
Sharing is optional, silence is welcome. There is space for all of it.I’ll collect donations on December 10th in cash or check made out to Transitions LifeCare, our local hospice organization.

Grief passes through so many colors, so many stages, so many flavors. I invite you to join me in showing it kind, loving attention in whatever form it takes for you right now.

We remember most fully in the quiet. We honor what we’ve loved in the space between.

Please join me.

Email me with any questions,
Rachel@PureResilienceYoga.com

With love and gratitude,
Rachel

p.s. Grief is ever present as a messenger – from the raw, scorched pain over someone who has passed to the dull, throbbing ache for a life different than what we’ve got. Please forward this to anyone who needs time to honor their grief. We’ll build our own live-action “wall of love” like Nora’s above. (We won’t literally build a wall of love; I mean figuratively.😝 )
So reserve your spot and forward to a friend now… I’ll be glad to see you.

know the difference

Nora, Ru and I are in the carpool line waiting for AM drop-off to begin.

BRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Morning bell rings. Cars start up. Almost time to inch forward.

“Oh no!!!!!” 7 year old Nora shrieks, “My water bottle wasn’t closed all the way!!!!!!!!!!!”

She’s digging through her backpack, pulling stuff out.

Dripping gloves, sopping purple crushed velvet purse (?!?) , damp crumpled up paper balls, more damp crumpled up paper balls.

Older sister Ruthie freezes for a split-second and flashes to the fix, “Grab a shopping bag and the towel from the back!” she orders.

We do. We dry. We get what is necessary. (Not the purple crushed velvet purse.)

We drop Nora’s lunch, her daily folder, and her now-closed water bottle into the paper bag.

We leave the rest.

We pull forward.

Nora giggles with her flowered shopping bag on her shoulder and yells over her shoulder at me, “Bye mom!”

I smile. Satiated by the simplicity of solving in this moment.

This.

Was a problem to be solved.

A thing to fix.

(Feels so good.)

These things happen.

Sometimes.

And sometimes
they
don’t.

Sometimes, our greatest power in the here and now is
to feel.
(ugh, yes, that thing.)

With love, care, admiration, and wonder.

What is here?

We can ask,

What is here?

Is it a problem to fix?
Or a moment to feel?

A solution to find?
Or a softening to be?

Is it the black and white?
Or the grey zone?
(Always and forever.)

I wonder. Sometimes I wonder.

Big love as we wonder – and dry up the spilled stuff as necessary,
Rachel

this made me laugh…

Not gonna’ lie, things are rocky in the valley of people-whom-I-love right now.

And I’m tripping over the rocks left and right.

Clues abound reflecting the obvious.

Clue #1: No appetite for Rachel last night. At all.

(Softening #1: Made ojas milk – similar to this one from Kripalu – to ground, nourish, and just-because it tasted darn good. Also popped a few dates while I was at it. They were super-yum in that crap moment.)

Clue #2: When I’m usually in bed come 10:00pm, I decided AT 10:00pm last night that I should organize my bookshelf. Like the whole thing. After all, I can control the damn bookshelf but I can’t control the other steaming piles of horse poo those around me are mucking through.

(Softening #2: I did it. Moved books around to the rhythm of “pull-move-insert-repeat,” for 10 minutes. Then when the timer went off, I walked away and got ready for bed.)

(Helper alert: My husband set a timer for me and oversaw my walk-away. Because I probably couldn’t have done it on my own.)

Clue #3: I just spent 2 hours escaping into “learning clips.” With the excuse of cleaning out my Inbox. Applied psychology, movement education, TED talks, and more, my oh my. About 90 minutes of indulgence in learning. Which is a sneaky escape from the moment for me. Granted, a not so harmful one to myself or others.

Until it is because it’s standing in the way of what I need to do.

Write the blog already, RM.

(Softening #3: See that I fell in the hole. Watch another clip to finish up which is, of course, about not being a jerk to yourself with the very real Dan Harris. Yup yup. I’m a fan of that approach but time to practice now.)

Stop the watching. Call it complete. Do the thing that needs to be done.

Don’t need to beat myself up for my learning binge but onward to the writing.
Er – and making some chai as a reward on the other end.

Yoga Therapy is apparently about pulling your head out of your ass.

(If you didn’t watch the video above, that reference will feel a bit crass. So circle on back when done reading because it’s worth a watch.)

Yoga Therapy is about reclaiming where we have choice and responsibility in our lives and learning to actually let go of the rest.

In whatever shape or form or act letting go takes for you. Or for me.

Over and over again.

This is not a single wash cycle we are on. Lots of laundry to do in a life.

So that’s it. I’m in some stuff right now. Watching those around me work through their stuff. Me doing my thing of seeing and sitting and Being. And thinking and writing and doing.

Being me.

Doing my Rachel’ing.

While you do your you’ing.

And onward we go.

Take good care,
Rachel

won’t you be my neighbor?

When we look out at nature, we’re looking at a mirror of ourselves.

We’re looking at ourselves.

Yoga also gives us this gift. The gift of a mirror to see ourselves. A mirror through the body in movement, the mind in philosophy, and the heart in meditation.

Yoga’s sister science of Ayurveda gives us this gift too. The chance to directly see ourselves as lived nature. No different than the tree, or the woodpecker, or the spider, or the grasses.

Each of us doing our duty. Each of us finding our way through the bounty and brutality of a universe seeking perpetual balance.

I’ve got 2 chances coming up to check-out the mirror of you through the lens of yoga and Ayurveda. How can these practices teach you more about you?

How can these practices help to heal you?

Opportunity #1 is a chance for you to nurture healing by way of moving smarter and different’er :

4 weeks of Yoga Therapy for Shoulder & Neck Pain
Fridays, October 14, 21, 28 and November 4
2:00-3:00 p.m.
$135 for series or $35 / one class drop-in
Cary Yoga Collective
2425 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC

Opportunity #2 is a chance for you to practice whole body, mind and heart healing. You’ll learn the simple yet brilliant Ayurvedic framework for moving forward in your life step by step, day by day. It’s a bigger investment in both time and money but also akin to a day at the spa. According to past attendees, you complete the day feeling grounded and calmer (aka spa day and nourishing meals) but you also walk away with tools to recreate the feeling at home.

A Day of Balance:
Fall Education and Reset for Body, Mind & Heart
Saturday, October 15
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sky Pond, 118 Rocky Rd, Apex, NC 27523
Click here to see the schedule for the day and for registration details.
(Can you say fruit crisp, homemade chai, chicken soup, muffins, and more? Heart and soul food from my kitchen will abound…)

So that’s it.

When we look at nature, there’s a chance to see ourselves. In our purest, sweetest and most resilient form.

I deeply love being with the people that show up for this work. They never cease to amaze me.

You never cease to amaze me.

Won’t you be my neighbor for a bit?

I can’t wait to see you.

Take good care,
Rachel

4 weeks for shoulders and neck

A lot of clients come to me with neck pain.

And I’ve felt a decent amount of it myself – starting when I was a toddler, in fact.

My personal neck pain du jour tends toward a pinching inside my right shoulder blade that travels up and around to the back right side of my neck, locks the whole thing down and says (screams),

“GAME ON!!!”



It’s a bizarrely trustworthy friend of mine that never fails to tell me when I’ve pushed beyond my current capacity.

So I (usually) back off, listen well and respond with love.

It sounds cheesy but it’s true.

Love in this case is some combo of movement, breath, rest and – above all – mindfulness.

I listen. I respond. My lockup unravels over the subsequent days. I start again with a bit more skill on my next loop around the Galaxy of Shoulder and Neck Junk. (Because what’s lovely is that I now get to visit lots of other galaxies too… yet when I return – eventually one day someday always – to the Galaxy of Shoulder and Neck Junk, I don’t freak out. I know how to take good care there too.)

And I get to share much of my training and learning with a handful (handful = 8 humans max) of people soon. Here’s the scoop:

4 weeks of Yoga Therapy for Shoulder & Neck Pain
Fridays, October 14, 21, 28 and November 4
2:00-3:00 p.m.
$135 for series or $35 / one class drop-in
Cary Yoga Collective
2425 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC


Registered students will receive a pre-series questionnaire so I can target the class for the folks who show up. And afterward, you’ll get a short Vimeo home practice in which I sample from the movements that we do in class. (Kind of like this one.) One prior student from my spring hips & low back series sent me this note after she used her post-class party favor:

I just did 6 ways for the hips to move (10 minute practice) and it was wonderful! It was the perfect reinforcement that I needed for putting into practice what I learned in class.”

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!
was my celebratory response to that note.

What I love about yoga therapy is that it’s all about how we transfer the tools of yoga to our everyday life. It’s real, on the ground, and in-the-dirt-of-it-all-practice. Yoga therapy isn’t about making things look pretty or smoothing them over for a moment of Zen.

It’s about learning how to gently, skillfully and sometimes clunkily take good care.

I’d love to work with you on your cranky shoulders and neck.

Click here to register and join me for class.

I’m looking forward to it in a big way.

Take good care,
Rachel

p.s. Forward this along to a friend and encourage them to join you for the series. There’s a wonderful coffee shop around the corner that’s perfect for post-class together time. Their lemon ginger tea is a personal favorite.

free space inside!!! come one come all!

“All I need is a little S-P-A-C-E!!!!!” my insides rage.
(And sometimes my outsides too. oopsie.)

This happens to me for sure.

And it seems to visit more frequently in the heat of summer than other seasons.

Metta, or loving kindness, meditation can help to create some space.

And soften the heart, mind and body.

I recorded this 12 minute metta practice a couple of weeks ago for my Ayurvedic summer workshop participants. I think you should have it too.

When we try a something (truly any something) for a set amount of time, the rubber hits the road.

And we learn more about ourselves.

So maybe try this metta for the next few minutes. Or the next 3 days. Or 5 days.

To see what you see. Feel what you feel. Learn what you learn.

Or choose something else that suits.
???

There’s no one way.

Just a bunch of different choices.

So we begin.

Take good care,
Rachel

p.s. I hereby vow to only send you a practice snippit (whether movement, meditation or breath) once a month. Practice whiplash is a thing for me and I want to be mindful of it in our distracted culture. (Let alone my distracted mind.) Any other weeks I write to you will continue to be for my little wonder-walks-on-paper. Or perhaps some borrowed wisdom.

p.p.s. Forward along this metta meditation to someone who needs some love and care. Imagine our ripples heading out there…  Ah… see how they roll???