Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yoga Blah Blah

Well, it is early here in Sydney, Australia and Kelly and I are up having some tea and breakfast. We left Chicago on Sunday evening and arrived here on Tuesday morning and now it is Thursday morning. Somewhere in there we lost a day, I think, due to the international date line, or something. At any rate, the transition, travel and adjustment has been relatively easy so far.  I generally like the early morning wake-ups on these international trips as the early rising gives me a gracious amount of time for meditation and pranayama in the morning. And once my breakfast settles a bit I will do some asana- all before most people in the city are awake! Of course, we are going to bed at like 7pm so I suppose it all evens out.
I had a great time in Chicago. The folks were welcoming, accepting, down-to-earth and funny. My sarcastic wit seemed to fall right in line with the general attitude of the students there. I was in a bit of a cynical mood in the beginning of the weekend and actually gave my opening remarks as such, commenting that I am a ‘bit tired of yoga blah-blah these days’. And just so we are clear, its not just the commentary on the Anusara scandal that I have hit a certain limit with it is actually just the endless commentary of so much of modern yoga.
Look, as we know, I love yoga and its teachings and I am certainly adding my two cents to the huge amount of blah-blah that is out there to be digested through various media. And as cynical as I am about everyone’ supposed yogic expertise and the vast array of articles out there on how juicing is a mandatory part of a yogic lifestyle and so is touching one’s vagina skillfully (I am not making that up, that article was posted recently) and so is taking political action and so is recycling and how green vegetables will save the world and goddess body painting (whatever that is- not making that one up either) will set you free and on and on, I am actually not tired at all of practicing asana, pranayama and meditation.  
So that was my weekend opening rant- “Hello, thanks for coming, my name is Christina Sell, I live in Austin, TX and I can’t stand yoga blah-blah but I actually love asana so let’s do some of that...”
As the weekend went on I definitely broadened my message as one might predict but the thing is that there is a lot of yoga commentary out there that has very little to do with what I experience as yoga and what draws me to the practice. I was recently interviewed about how yoga has changed my life and the question, for some reason, struck me as really odd. I have been doing yoga with various degrees of commitment and rigor since 1991. So, its just been in my life. It has been there in good times and it has been there in terrible times and it has been there in those long drama-free stretches of “just living.”  How could I say it was “the thing” that changed me or my life? I mean, maybe it was also the therapy, my marriage, my friendships, the various heartbreaks, the surprising lucky breaks, the travel, the books I have read and so on. I mean, everything creates an imprint and shapes us- from our daily activities to the company we keep to the thoughts we think. 
And I am not actually sure how much I have “changed”. I like to think I have, in some important ways, matured and grown up and with that process,  I have let go of certain beliefs and behaviors along the way. But so we are clear, I am,  in a very real way, still me, Christina, the same self I have always been. So,  when I think about it these days, what I really think is that what yoga has given me is yoga. 
Yoga has given me great tools, that, when I use them in the spirit in which they are intended to be used, have given me access to my inner wisdom, my deeper truths and a freedom that lives beyond my conditioned responses. Now, paradoxically, having a practice like that and having access to those teachings through all the ups and downs of life is somewhat life-changing, I suppose. (Always a paradox, this yoga stuff, but that is another post.)  But my point is that there is no part of my story that goes like: “And then I found yoga and all of a sudden I was this new person and I always _____________________________  from that point forward and I never _________________________________ ever again.”
Nope, not me. Every single dysfunctional behavior I ever had I have done as a “yogi” and every great trait or “yogic virtue” I live by, I had before. There was evidence of compassion, honesty and insight before I ever knew about down dog and down dog in and of itself never did save me from addictive behaviors, dishonesty and so on.  So yoga is more about determining which side of myself I am going to cultivate, attend to and pour my energy into than it is about creating something out of nothing or eradicating some aspect of myself once and for all. For me, growing up through yoga is a big process of unfolding where there are moments where my conditioned armor cracks and insight arises and those moments are often times linked to a workshop, a retreat, a scripture, or a practice and yet, honestly, I believe that such insight has to be grounded over a long period of time, rooted in practice and sustained through necessary challenges for me to really think “oh yes, I am changed” in a fundamental way.
Patanjali even talks about that with samskaras, telling us that many times the seeds of the patterns are not gone, they are just latent and will arise at a future time given the right circumstance. We may have worked something out in one domain and think we have really overcome the issue only to see it come up in a different aspect of our life or in a new life circumstance. I see it all the time with relationships and also with people who, with the zeal of the newly converted, testify about their new gluten-free-ness or vegan-ness or their new love of this, that. or the other diet approach. And, to be fair,  they honestly are, in that moment of testifying,  free of craving, etc.  but three to nine months down the line, two food plans later and so on, we find out the shift actually wasn’t something that stood the test of time.
Manorama once said that we can’t actually change ourselves. All we can do is put ourselves in a stream of practice and change occurs naturally, in its own time, as a result of the right circumstances  being present, not as something we can actually orchestrate from the vantage point of ego. This does not mean that we don’t try, or bring disciplined efforts to bear on our life and choices as sadhana certainly involves just that. I think it just means that we practice to practice, not to change. We do yoga because yoga is a good thing to do, not because it is promising us change. To me, these basic practices hold a certain kind of dignity within them and to me, engaging them is worthwhile as time spent in a dynamic relationship with our dignity is a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself. Perhaps, over the long haul that dignity takes root and grows within us and we learn to prefer its influence over and above other distractions.
Well, enough of all that for now. More later.
We have had some great fun touristy stuff here- a visit to the art museum, the aquarium, the zoo and  the maritime museum as well as some great walks through the city.  Pictures to come.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yoga of Shifting

So I have been home fighting a stomach bug of some kind. I think I have mostly been winning but I had to fight lying on the couch most of the day, so I think a case could also be made that the bug kicked my ass a little bit. All perspective, I suppose, like so many things.

So here I am enjoying my first real food in a few days and getting ready to go to Chicago this weekend and then to Australia and then to Singapore. All in all, we will be gone for a month, which is a pretty big trip to pack for from the couch! Anyway, I think I am almost ready.

I also managed to get off the couch yesterday with enough energy to teach the last session of my sequencing webinar which went very well.  I am so pleased with the online forum for teaching as it allows for so many people to access a class and for me to prepare a lesson and deliver it in what feels to me a very effective and focused way. I am planning to do a follow up course-- "Sequencing Strategies Part 2" for the folks who completed this course, so stay tuned for that. (Of course, if you want to do Part 2 and you didn't do Part 1, its not too late to sign up for the course.  Click here and you can register for the course and then join us for Part 2 sometime in late August.

Another exciting program I am offering is a webinar with me and Elena

The Yoga of Shifting: Inner Work for Yoga Practitioners and Teachers
 A Webinar Series with Elena Brower and Christina Sell
"What I found is that I wanted more, I wanted to know how to feel as amazing in my house as I’d felt on my mat. As expansive, as calm, as beautiful, as connected, as real. I couldn’t link my behavior at home to my composure in my practice, and I needed other ways to learn how to be more remarkable as a Mama, an ex-wife, a girlfriend, and most importantly these days, a daughter. My practice was giving me feelings of fulfillment but they didn’t last, and I was still going home and acting out of alignment with my yoga, which was getting painful.
So I sought out coaching, other styles of yoga, other voices, other visions, quietly, over time. And in that process, while I found more rules, I also found more freedom. Through coaching I’ve found that I can finally look at my behaviors head-on, and not flinch, but instead, HANDLE them. Talk about them. Apologize for them instead of being too proud to address them. And then – most importantly – SHIFT THEM. I’m proud of that most of all."  -Elena Brower
Join Christina Sell and Elena Brower for a thought-provoking, inspiring and perhaps life-changing webinar designed to help you shift self-defeating patterns of thought, feeling and behavior. Perfect for yoga practitioners of all levels and experiences who want to learn practical ways to bridge the gap between the peace and clarity they feel on their mats and the way they experience themselves off the mat. Both known for their commitment to the inner work of yoga, their passion for conscious living and their down-to-earth teaching styles, Elena and Christina will share directly from their own experience and training and encourage participants to step boldly into a more authentic  relationship with themselves and the people in their lives through journal assignments, visualizations, weekly assignments, and will speak directly about how to use asana practice to facilitate and  stabilize one's inner work. 
All sessions will be recorded and available for download so it is not necessary to attend the sessions live. We will create an online forum for community sharing and connection between sessions.
Dates: August 1, 8, 15, & 22, 2012
Time: 3pm EST
Tuition: $100.

Week #1- ACKNOWLEDGE: Waking Up to Growth and Change: Moments of Clarity
Week #2- HANDLE: Secrets, Shame and the Light of Truth 
Week #3- OWN:Ending the Blame Game
Week #4- SHIFT: Forgiveness, Compassion and Self-Love

To register: Click Here.

All in all, it's been very full year for me and in the last few intensives I have given myself a lot of time to reflect on my own direction for the future. One thing I want to do is to move more of my trainings and intensives to my training center in San Marcos, TX and to offer more online programs. (I just cleared the upcoming programs at School of Yoga- San Marcos to be able to offer continuing education credit with Yoga Alliance, so that is an exciting thing. ) I was thinking recently that I moved to Austin over six years ago and have been traveling almost non-stop for the last five years. Teaching on the road has been exhilarating and exciting and full of adventure and now I am feeling a deep pull to be more grounded and stable in my work. I still want to travel some (so please keep inviting me as this is not an all-or-nothing kind of thing by any means) but I also want to grow some roots and to be home more than I have been these last few years and strike a more functional balance in my life. 

My vision about School of Yoga-San Marcos continues to inspire me and the few intensives and trainings I have offered there these last few months have been so great. To be in a close-knit learning community, in a non-urban setting where we can practice and explore the teachings without so much fanfare but with depth, sanity and stillness is really at the heart of where I want to take my teaching right now.  The thing is that I feel a bit tired from the "big road show of yoga" where everything has to be bigger and louder to be better. I want to contribute to the conversation in a different way where sanity is the order of the day, where celebration is balanced with introspection and where play meets it mate in rigor and discipline. It may not be the most popular game in town, but who knows, it might be just the thing that some are looking for and at the end of the day, as teachers, teaching the people who want to learn what we have to teach is generally the best strategy.

All right, more on this later. Speaking of travel, next post will be from the road!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Magnet For Magnificence

 So here me, Darren and Amy Ippoliti  are in Tucson, AZ for a week we call Magnet for Magnificence. This course was envisioned over two years ago as a graduate course for people who have done Immersions and as a way for us a friends and colleagues to offer something together. This year- the course is not so much an Immersion Graduate Program course as it is a Intermediate/Advanced Intensive for experienced students. I suppose these are all small distinctions on one level and yet I find that there is a lot of work these days in those kinds of  nuances that exist in the aftermath of the Anusara breakup and breakdown.

I spoke a little about that in class as we are all feeling our way through this transition and everyone is at different stages of their work with the issues involved. I find that there is just no easy way to speak to it all these days as it is very easy to say too much, say too little, joke just a little too honestly or sarcastically, over-process it and/or  not allow optimal time for folks to actually acknowledge what's going on. Put 50 people in a room and there is no way the teacher's offering is "on the money" for everyone.

At any rate, I  have gone back and forth between the "do not mention it and move only in the forward direction" and the "joke about it" and the "offer my own thoughts and perspectives frankly and as respectfully as I can." I am not just talking ethics here as that is only one angle of the situation. I am also talking about my growing understanding and relationship to the UPA's and to asana practice and execution.  To me, the thing is I think that in 75% of the poses at least, the UPA's are really great alignment cues. And by this I mean, they are great things to actually say as a teacher about "what to do to do the pose". But I think in maybe 25% of the poses, the principles are there energetically but are not exactly the salient feature of the posture, not the main thing you need to know about how to do the pose. So maybe in 75% of the poses they are fine in the foreground but in 25% of the poses they are more in the background as energetic aspects.  (Don't quote me on this- I haven't worked out the exact percentages, that is just meant to be illustrative.)

For instance, this came up in lolasana in class and I was saying "push down and lift up" and someone, very well-trained and practiced asked, "Is it more important to lift off the floor or to keep the arm bones back and the shoulder blades on the back?" It was  sincere question as she is a super sincere student and teacher and I teased her later that she opened up a door for me to walk through. You see, that question (and many that come up just like it) is an example of a widespread confusion, in my opinion, about the UPA's. To actually do that pose, lolasana, the shape has no real element of "side body long, arm bones back". To do the pose the pushing down through the arms to lift up will shorten the side body (particularly for the short-armed folks) and will take the shoulders and upper back into a rounded position.  It's not that there isn't some energetic quality of stabilizing that can happen by working the actions to some degree, but at that point, the UPA's are not helpful in executing the posture (ie- getting off the floor). And as a side note, I also think that there is a lot of value in shoulder blades on the back but if that is such a good position, why not also work the opposite position, especially since the thoracic curve is kyphotic. (this could be a longer digression than I have I have time for, however.)

Back to lolasana and arm bones back- Compare that example to setting the arm bones back into the socket to stabilize the shoulders before going up into handstand. In the handstand case the UPA is very useful as a "how to" instruction.  Or compare garudasana arms to hands clasped behind the back arms. etc.

So to me, I guess I might say they are "universal" but the way I understand their application in that sense is very nuanced and we need to make distinction between when those principles are energetic and when they are mechanical, when they are actually reflected within the shape and when the shape appears and requires and action that sounds exactly opposite of the principle.  I also think there are actions we do to get into postures and actions we can do to create and sustain the posture and they are not always the same. And as a teacher, I am going to be talking about that and chances are it may sound critical or something, but you know, even when I was certified, I was talking about that stuff. So its actually not like that is some new topic of conversation for me or a new line of inquiry for me to be  exploring as a practitioner and teacher. It's just now, everyone is a tad more sensitive.  (So, in some ways, the same line of inquiry is actually seen and experienced really differently, which is another story.)

To me, I actually found the need to "make everything fit" a bit tedious. Immensely helpful at first as it gets so much done with broad strokes. And then after a while, it became problematic since there are nuances that appear to live outside those broad strokes and to understand nuance requires a much richer and deeper understanding. And so as so many students and teachers are struggling and exploring how to take the best of what they learned in Anusara and bring it forward into the next iteration of their teaching, I anticipate having more frank discussions on the topic. Also, I am not trying to teach Anusara yoga without its name. I am actually in what feels like a very creative process of awakening to the next iteration of my own practice and so that is what I am teaching. I figure I should warn people again, it may be raw at times, edgy and uncomfortable. It is for me so, well, I suppose that's not surprising if it is for my students.

I said it a while back but I have not taken the "Four Gates of Speech" vow and I am not committed to the "if you can't say something nice do not say anything at all" motto nor do I see myself or promote myself as a "nurturing" or "politically correct" yoga teacher.  I do restrict my speech and I do avoid certain topics in  public that are related to the scandal, etc. but why I do not cue "arm bones back" in every pose is not something I am shying away from.

Of course, more could be said about all of that for sure.  More on Magnet for Magnificence soon.

Have a good day.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Making the Obvious Obvious

I am here waiting for the air conditioning folks to come over. Or perhaps its the insulation inspector. Anyway, something like that. I have had a nice long stretch of time to be home and I have to say I am feeling so much better for it. I was feeling a bit run down and ragged and being home, getting a lot of sleep and having a chance to connect to some of my friends here has been really great.

One thing I did while I was home was launch a webinar program on sequencing toward pinnacle postures. We had our first class last night and I had so much fun. I scheduled an hour and half, knowing that I can never keep it down to one hour and even with the extra time allotted, I went over! (The picture above is me at my webinar headquarters which is actually my puja/practice room.)

Sequencing is one of my very favorite things to talk about with yoga teachers and students. I think it keeps my brain and intellect happy in terms of asana practice and teaching. I am certainly a very physical person and enjoy being in the physicality of the asana practice a lot but the part of me that like analysis gets exercised when it comes to sequencing. Sequencing, to me, is really as much about pose architecture and pose knowledge as it is about anything else.  Given that I am not working from prescribed sequences but from a fairly wide open kind of approach, I use general principles for sequencing but within that framework, there is so much room to explore, create and investigate.

So a webinar on sequencing to me is partly about presenting the "general principles" but also about what I call "Cracking the Code" of how the poses relate to each other.  A lot of what I am covering has to do with pointing people in the direction of how to see the ways the poses relate, how to access what is many times, for many people, the hidden wisdom of Light on Yoga and to give some practical pointers about sequencing so we have both a baseline as well as some insight about how to intelligently veer from the rules! (I use that word "rules" very lightly when it comes to teaching yoga these days, just so we are clear.)

So we worked a lot last night with reviewing the basic template so that we could establish the basic template as a place to veer from. I gave my usual reminder to keep in mind that in any class we have:
1. Athletes and Dancers who like to MOVE and SWEAT
2. Scientists and Engineers who like to UNDERSTAND and ANALYZE
3. Mystics and Poets who like to FEEL and EXPRESS

In terms of sequencing, this idea is relevant because, in my opinion, a good sequence can help us serve those three different types all in the same class. A good sequence weaves so many threads together so that the athletes get a workout and get further access into the physicality of a posture, the engineers get to further insight into the workings of the poses and the mystics get their required does of inspiration. Of course, we are each a  bit of all of these and  to varying degrees and as students and as teachers we have to keep an eye on playing to our strengths as well as developing ourselves fully. Always a fun balance to strike.

So, last night's lesson had an introduction to the "repetition of shape" as a sequencing tool. This has a lot to do with what I call the "lineage of the posture" which is a term I first heard in Iyengar Yoga. Each pose is part of a big clan- like standing poses, back bends, etc. then they can be subdivided into family units like belly-down back bends or lateral angle standing postures or seated forward bends, etc. But we can also look at other ways they relate to one another in terms of component parts of postures and repeating shapes as well as the common key actions required to safely perform the postures.

So often in Anusara Yoga we worked with repetition of key actions, which I think is very effective for granting access into the poses. In terms of peak postures and pinnacle pose sequencing, I like to we weave the repetition of key actions into a sequence that is built on repeating shapes so that we have more than one strand at play in the tapestry of the sequence. Here is one of the slides from last night's program where we can see our friend Darren Rhodes in the repeating shapes toward a full vasisthasana.  You can see the shapes mimic one another in different relationships to the floor.

Hint: turn side angle pose on quarter turn to the right and his legs would look just like the picture under it.
Turn triangle pose one quarter turn to the right and it becomes the pose underneath it. Keep going one more quarter turn and utthita hasta padangusthasana becomes vasisthasana. lay that pose down on its back and you get supta padangusthasana to the side. AND SO ON....

Oh, the fun is endless. It really is.

So, we worked with several examples of these repeating shapes last night and I gave some assignments about how to work with Light on Yoga to begin the process of mining it for its secrets. So much of yoga, I think- perhaps of life- has to do with learning how to see what is hiding in plain sight. Darren always tells me that my teaching style can be boiled down to "making the obvious obvious".  I suppose that is true but the thing is that it just isn't obvious until it is obvious. (How obvious is that?) Anyway- learning to see is the thing and a huge part of what we get to do as teacher is not just impart information but help people to see and to learn to see for themselves. I think that creates a much healthier bond between teacher and student because the student become empowered through their own learning as opposed to being forever dependent on the teacher for answers, keys and clues.

I personally always recoil inside when teachers say they teach to "empower others" because my opinion is that the power is not ours to give. We can educate, draw forth, inspire as teachers and when that takes root in a student the process is what empowers, the knowledge is what empowers, the discipline that is honed along the way empowers and all that lives already- either as potential or as actuality-  in the heart of the student. It is not my place to attempt to empower anyone nor do I want to accept that responsibility because, in my opinion, it is unlawful. Small digression here but to me, if we can help people learn to learn, if we can inspire them to see, if we can support one another in the process of asking good questions, we are doing our jobs as teachers.

We talked about that a bit last night as well  and so many other behind-the scenes- aspects of teaching. (see why I went over time? yes the course is about sequencing but then, it seems, sequencing is also about so many other things). At any rate, that is a bit of a recap and review. It's not too late if you want to join in the conversation- you can get the recordings of the sessions and the 90-page workbook I made as a learning tool. Register here.

This is also a great time for me to plug Darren's new e-book project. He is working on creating an ebook with poses, instructions, etc. and he is a fundraising stage with it right now, asking for pledges of support. Here is the link to the info about the project to find out more: 

Have a great day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Morning

Well, let's see- since last we spoke....

Honestly, this has been bit of a rough week for me in a lot of ways. Rumor has it its in the "stars" this week and from all reports, I am not alone in a certain process of soul-searching, self-inquiry and life-review. Obviously, most of this particular challenge is "internal" as the outer circumstances of life are, for the most part,  just fine. In talking to my therapist these days she says this is all typical of a "mid-life passage" which I think actually may be her nice way to say "mid-life crisis". Crisis, passage, opportunity.... whatever.

I was telling someone recently that when I resigned my license to teach Anusara Yoga, it wasn't because I knew firsthand  of all the scandalous details and tidbits, it was more that I had been dealing with the symptoms of the dysfunction for so long and in so many different arenas of my involvement that I had come to the stark and liberating conclusion that Anusara was solely owned by John Friend and that we, as his teachers, actually did not have the freedom he told us we did or that we thought we did. Furthermore, I had this moment of clarity that it was actually his right, as sole owner, to do whatever he wanted to do with the company, his personal life, his professional relationships and so on. Don't get me wrong, I didn't agree with this situation but I realized that I had placed myself, unknowingly and a bit too trustingly in a very precarious situation personally and professionally. I kept thinking about those West Wing episodes I used to watch where the members of the President's staff said they "serve at the pleasure of the president" and in some ways, while this was not what it looked like on paper, this was exactly what the situation was on one level. (Not every level, but on certain, very important levels.)

Pause the story- keep in mind I am simply musing about  my experience, not everyone's. My blog, my story, etc.

So for me, resignation was simply the result of the blinding flash of the obvious that it was his company, he had no "real" reason to do with it anything other than what he wanted to do and that if I resigned, it could, potentially,  cease to be my problem. And initially, I did have this great period of freedom, joy and liberation. And then, as we all know, the shit hit the proverbial fan and my reprieve somehow ended and there have been other issues to reconcile, deal with, move through and sort out.

I am dealing with loss, I suppose.  Necessary loss, but loss still the same. It's sobering to look back at a long-term relationship and to weigh the pros and cons, gains and losses from my involvement. Part of that process is examining to what degree the "Anusara Yoga Experiment" was successful and to what degree it wasn't. I am also questioning  to what degree did parts of it fail, not because of implementation or John's shortcomings as a leader,  but because the vision was off in some way.

Take community, for instance. To what degree did it become so toxic because we lacked training in communication, conflict management and everyone needed to do a bit more therapy these last few years and to what degree did it become toxic because large-scale community simply cannot meet the needs of true intimacy and so it was set up to fail/disappoint/exclude/etc. from the beginning?

Or even alignment- I love the UPA's and benefitted from them (and still do) but I also think that every pose is not the same and they do call for different actions-- especially as you work into the advanced syllabus-- and people are so different that I actually think the principles  are "almost Universal". So did they fail people or was it faulty at premise, that the art of asana could be reduced down to simple broad strokes? (Yes,  I know the principles are sophisticated and so on and are aimed at balanced action between the practitioner, the optional blueprint, and the form, but really, generally, they are not taught and understood in a  sophisticated manner, in my opinion.) I worked with them a lot as a practitioner and a teacher and in my opinion, that approach is a bit of a mixed bag. Lots of good. Some problems but why do we actually need to have everything be so consistent and "match up" all the time? Why can't we actually learn what each pose requires as well as the universalizing actions?

Same with philosophy. I mean, the thing with "it's all good", as we know, has some pretty significant limitations and the power of tantra, in my opinion is in it's tools for helping us mange what is dark, unseemly and uncertain within us, not in its ability to simply create a philosophy of silver linings. More could be said on that for sure and I know its not that simple, but that is kind of my point- its not that simple.

Or with teaching expectations- is it realistic to expect that every student feel inspired in every class? No way. Not that I didn't have my own issues to work through and sort out as a teacher, because I did and I have and I am- but I have had that premise thrown in my face more than once- "Well, I did not feel inspired by the way you gave me that adjustment/correction/feedback" etc. Again, I needed to and still do need to refine my skillful means as a teacher and yet, I think the premise we were working with placed an undue amount of responsibility on the teacher.

Of course, all this can go on forever and a day and I give these more as examples of the review that I am doing as I sort out and move into a new stage of my life both as a practitioner and a teacher. It's not like I think I have some "better way" but I can't kick a feeling of feeling a bit homeless these days as I become some weird hybrid blend of Iyengar, Anusara, Ashtanga and Bikram Yoga! My practice is improving and I am certainly learning a lot and my thoughts on practicing and teaching are expanding but I have to say that that is happening in a way that is surprisingly uncomfortable.

Maybe its like being a kid and getting new shoes every year before school started. I used to get two pairs every fall- one pair of gym shoes and one pair of "school shoes". And we always started the year with the shoes a bit too big, knowing that throughout the year, my feet would grow. At the same time, after a summer of being barefoot, the shoes felt confining. Yep, that's how it feels. Roomy, yet tight.

Anyway- thanks for the indulgence this morning of my personal process a bit. Just writing it all out helps me recognize this stage clearly. I have been here before and I know this stage ALWAYS carves out something quite worthwhile inside me.

And  as always, feel free to chime in about your process if you care to.