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Everything I know about “The Godfather” I got from the Tom Hanks character in “You’ve Got Mail” – this pandemic taught me to go to the mattresses. This is war. How am I going to make it through this?
I educated myself on how to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. I live with someone who works on Broadway and several members of their company contracted Covid-19 and sadly, one of them lost the battle. I have to fight. If someone has had close contact with a person who died from this Coronavirus, it is smart to assume that person is an asymptomatic carrier. Think of how many common surfaces there are in a household – light switches, doorknobs, drawer handles, refrigerator door handles, kitchen utensils, faucets, toilet seats, etc. I cannot control how much someone else disinfects and practices good hand hygiene but I can make sure I am fighting every moment.
Mental Health & Acceptance
I knew I had to dedicate a lot of time to mindfulness practices so that I can accept my circumstances and become okay with not knowing the future. One battle I was not willing to engage with was reality. Pick your battles? Yes. I knew if I tried to fight reality, I would lose. Acceptance became key. Where do I learn and practice acceptance? On my yoga mat. Yoga has physical benefits, yes. But rarely do I practice for physical health – yoga is the key to my mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
I used to get my physical health through cycling, boxing, and walking. Walking was out of the question – I live in NYC – so it was time to get endorphins in my apartment. I ordered a stationary bike for less than $200 from Amazon (Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike with Adjustable Resistance) and started doing Peloton cycle classes through their app.
I needed to simplify my life in order to cultivate mindfulness. I worked on puzzles. The activity became a moving meditation. I listened to audiobooks and lectures (“Walden”, “Learning to Walk in the Dark”, “The Golden Compass”, “The Subtle Knife”, “Learning the Human Game”, “Still the Mind”, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”). I took baths. I lit candles. I rose before the sun and went to bed at dusk. I made my life very small. I managed to find contentment.
I was aching to connect but didn’t know how. Then, a former student (who was my balance beam coach when I was a competitive gymnast) reached out from 1,500 miles away and asked me if there was any way I could give her a yoga class. I taught a class and filmed it. Then it came time to edit and I knew this would be an obstacle because of how long it would take me, so I decided to send the uncut video to the her. Then another student reached out. Then another. Then another. We were all longing for connection and yoga was the profound vehicle that brought all of us together.
I decided to start offering live classes and let the word out. I figured out the platform I wanted to use, worked through a long list of production issues, and committed to offer class only when I have something to say and have the energy to give.
I learned early in my teaching career that it was important to remember I am a mirror for my students. Yes, I do a LOT of hard work to bring them a high-quality yoga experience but it’s really the yoga itself that works. Teaching over 4,000 classes gives you a certain perspective and you know it isn’t about you. I don’t have special powers; I just spend a lot of time working on my craft. The students are the ones doing the work on their mats – I hold the space. Whether a student has a good class or a bad class isn’t up to me, so I don’t take credit for either.
After yesterday’s class, I received an email from one of my students that I’d like to share with you.
The beauty she described made me cry and it’s making me tear up now thinking about it. She carved out time during a pandemic to take care of herself. She practiced in the sun and heard her son’s giggles during her practice. She experienced joy. She was able to go deep. That is extraordinary.
This is why I teach – to create something that has the potential to help people in so many different ways. Yoga works. But it only works if we (teacher and student) both do the work. I go deep in my personal practice and learn so much about who I am, what I can let go of, and who I want to become. I am grateful to my teachers who held (and hold) the space for me to grow.
In February, I emerged from a dark night of the soul that lasted years. I felt lost. I started to reclaim my essence and looked to find my voice again. In March, I simplified my life and started deeply listening again. In April, I taught my first live class and now here we are, at war with an invisible enemy. I hope that what I’m doing in this will help you in your battle – whatever it is that you are fighting.
I am so grateful to all my students who show up to my live classes. I’m so grateful they asked me to teach again. Teaching, connecting, and sharing has given me a sense of purpose and I almost forgot what it feels like. I humbly bow to all of you.
Here’s the playlist from today’s Sunday PHUNday yoga class, you guys! Class started with “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Buddy Guy, featuring Tracy Chapman.
If you haven’t already, sign up to receive invitations for classes.
I am so excited to share some virtual space with you during these interesting times in which we’ve all found ourselves. I will offer tools to help you cope with and perhaps thrive in the pandemic including yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation through Zoom live classes. If you don’t have a Zoom account, sign up here: https://zoom.us/signin.
Commandments for Coronayoga:
– Thou shalt listen to the body. If your body is in pain, don’t do what I’m asking you to do. There is a difference between discomfort and pain. We lean into discomfort and back away from pain.
– Thou shalt breathe – never hold your breath – even when it is challenging.
– Thou shalt make time for Savasana.
– Thou shalt smile in the heart.
– Thou shalt witness the mind.
– Thou shalt zen all the way out.
If you haven’t already, sign up to receive invitations for classes.
I made a playlist for all of you with some of my favorite female voices – hope you enjoy them as much I do! Happy International Women’s Day and a special shout out to the one who gave me life and the ones who change my life by being in it. ❤
This is a piece I made for a show at The Dallas Museum of Art in, I think, 2005. I had a lot of late night sessions in my studio playing with different mediums… this one used oil paint, lipstick and menstrual blood.
I wondered about beauty. I wondered about shame. I wondered why I was afraid I would be “found out” when I was on my period.
When this piece hung in the show, I was afraid to list the mediums, so I hid behind “Mixed Media” but one day, one of the security guards pulled me aside and asked, “I’ve heard some rumors about what that dark color is on the painting. Are they true?” I told her that it was, in fact, menstrual blood and I wondered why we felt ashamed as women to have a period and why we felt the need to hide it.
Though I was asking the questions with this piece, I was still afraid to be bold.
I’m newly obsessed with Mark Ronson because YouTube’s algorithm showed me an interview he gave at the beginning of the summer that literally changed my life. I don’t know how but it woke me up in a profound way.
So now I follow him on social media and and he posted on IG that he came out as sapiosexual. My understanding is that means that one is attracted to someone’s mind.
We made this video back in 2015 and now that being sapiosexual is cool, I wanted to grab this moment and publish this so hopefully more eyeballs will land on it. 🙂
Starring Hannah Kessler
Voice Acting Tom Hall & Bad Voice Acting by Trina Hall
Original music by: Andrew Griffith – Musical Direction, Drums
David Zoller – Piano
Jonathan Fisher – Bass
Shelley Carroll – Saxophone
Recorded at Soundomatic Studio
Engineered by Carlos Savetman
All the other stuff done by me
Plant roots, feel the sun,
give it all away,
nothing need be done.
Be but loving
in the midst of the frost
Sink into being
realize nothing was lost
It is without love that a human burns.
Love (comes) in forms
I have nothing to lose by loving you…
except pride, which I’ve not earned because I still kneel.
Foolish is my middle name.
Your gamble lives in the moments, ideas, relationships, promises, intentions set up by that idea.
But what is the idea?
What do you want?
What are you willing to do?
I bear sacred witness. Your time
The energy in my body is that of love – it pulses through my arms and rounds out its presence into the palms that long to hold your face.
Placing my left cheek in the welcoming part of my hand, I sigh with the breath of the only one of the pair who knows this love.
No tragedy nor sadness grace these moments yet tears escape my eyes.
Oh, feelings, why can’t I control you?
Adventure calls but its voice can only be felt. It’s a feather tickling the heart and a longing in the belly. Those who follow the call arrive in their lives with masks of comedy and tragedy tucked in their back pockets, showing those behind of their past.
For those who walk the lonely path toward meaning offer the opposites to the present like a sacrifice to the gods on the altar of fear. Babylon should be so lucky to imbibe the river’s floods.
Drink up. Suck upon the marrow of time.
Let the city unfold your perceptions as a lover opens a letter.
Retreat into yourself but watch.
There are patterns, signs, and ways of thinking.
Discern them all!
Allow the blossom of your heart to unfold like the petals of a flower seeking the sun.
Learn the ways of the world but don’t become those ways.
Walk your own path and feel those who’ve passed by.
Looking, searching for myself in others, I find the streets.
Uptown and downtown, I walk along designed graph paper, seeking.
The seer sees.
The seeker seeks.
The bird, he sings,
And the tree, she weeps.
Oh city, take me under your wing.
Tell me your secrets like the train passes the breeze.
Remember, Atlas shrugged, too.
Seeking an answer is like trying to understand the tree by only looking into its shadow.
In the silence, the beat, butterfly wings pulsing at your heart.
Witness sacred in mundane.
Take care of yourself and wear your apron.
Sweep your own floors.
Make dinner as you linger in another’s depth.
See the resonance – the relics and the seeds.
Look to the tree, inspiration between limbs. It holds up the sky where you shine.
Sometimes we make important life decisions based on what we think we should do. The “should” can become a barometer for being loved or accepted by others. Much of my life was spent as a purposeful outsider… Never wanting to be adopted into one group, I joined them all. It is like how I can’t choose my favorite color – wouldn’t green get its feelings hurt if I chose pink?
While working in an art gallery and at a museum, I found yoga. Finally, something pure enough for me to want to dig my teeth into. I said my vows, got my membership card and thought of how to best serve yoga itself. I wanted to give people something to look up to… I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to be heard.
So I traded in my vintage hat collection for an ascetic life, trying to free myself from desires and craving. I cleansed. I purified. I tried to honor what the yogic teachings offered me. Glamour and elegance no longer mattered to me. I wanted to embody the perfect yogi. As a girly girl who started wearing high heels before she could ride a bike, it was a stretch to stop wearing make up, but I did.
I became obsessed with my ideal of what I thought I should be. My self-esteem was garnered from an external perception and I somehow always fell short.
All this did is isolate me further from my own truth: anything other than following your heart is a form of self-deception. I was too truthful outwardly to others but little by little, I lied to my heart.
I’ve embraced more of myself – who I am beyond archetypes and titles – and my art is now reflecting my heart instead of my issues. It’s ok to be in love with who I really am and at the end of the day, I’m the only one who is keeping score.
I don’t want to be an ascetic. That isn’t the key to happiness. Happiness lives in the space. Happiness lives in gratitude… Fall down on your knees kind of gratitude. Find the things that make your heart smile and do more of that. I don’t want to be a part of anything less than helping people remember this. We all know it, we just need to be reminded – everything is cool.
Score one for me – I can finally put on my cocktail dress, open a bottle of champagne and do yoga in my favorite pair of heels. Ok so it wasn’t the most comfortable of endeavors, but you get the point, right?
I’d rather stand on my head than talk about the weather.
What is love but the preamble to loss?
A sacred contract extracting attachment that pierces the experience of now.
Dancing with fools was a thing of the past.
Co-creation of the unconventional, they imagined their hieros gamos.
Rules and boundaries are made, not borrowed.
She holds a heart to be opened, not broken.
Life is really simple; you live and you die.
Life’s riches come from attachment and the learning of another is the sweetness of life.
She wants to feel the richness of life’s color and know the sound of the vibration.
So many possibilities as Spring announced her arrival.
The tree is lush and she wants to be seen beyond the leaves.
What causes a sigh?
What brings the ache?
Where is the longing?
How does one wake up?
Where is the line of acceptance
and when does one keep going?
What is the shadow but an expression of fallen light?
The sacred overwhelms my heart
Love for the fearful covers doubt
Perfection lives in the heart of nature
Return to her roots!
Your rapture is found in her flow!
The golden thread that weaves me as a tapestry
braids me to you.
The Trinity of the Now.
Yoga College Series at The Mat Yoga Studio
Join Trina Hall for this amazing opportunity to go to Yoga College! The Yoga College Series is like going back to school but much more cost-effective and fun! This is your chance to enrich your mind in the philosophy of yoga as you engage in lecture and discussion with like-minded yogis.
Pick the topics to choose your “degree plan”. Come to one or all of the seminars in the series to expand your knowledge on a wide variety of philosophical topics.
Trina Hall, a former college yoga professor, will be giving each of the lectures and accepts apples from the teacher’s pet.
What to bring: Bring a notebook and a pen to take notes.
Cost: $20 per session. Register here.
I was interviewed by Marquette Falbo on meditation. Hear the interview here on BlogTalkRadio
“Created in response to Magmart Video Festival Director Enrico Tomaselli’s 2014 Global Video Program “The Five Senses” representing artists from five continents, this video Touchpoint explores touch as a signifier for a moment of physical and emotional connection, a moment of self and communal discovery… a moment of truth.” – Colette Copeland
Directed, filmed and edited by Colette Copeland
Filmed at The Mat Yoga Studio
Starring yogis Lisa Coyle & Trina Hall
Music by Frame “Global Communication” (Free Music Archive)
1. Yes, that is me. No, it is not Photoshopped.
2. Yes, I am on a ledge. No, I did not pee in my pants.
3. Right after this shot, I stuck out my tongue at the photographer, Stevan Koye, and I fell and almost busted my butt.
4. Yes, it was worth it!
Thanks to the incomparable StevanKoye.com for the amazing shot and thank you for not publishing me biting it. 🙂
It was such a treat to work with the team of producers at “Good Morning, America”. You can read the story and see the entire piece here. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/25/confessions-of-a-temporarily-fat-yogi/
Thanks to the incredible team at Good Morning America!
I’ve gained weight and I’m not pregnant. I’ve followed the brand new, yogi-approved Seat Diet.
See it… eat it.
As a yoga teacher, this could be considered career suicide. Instead of slaying my means of supporting myself, I want to slay the notion that people who do yoga need to look like the beauties on the cover of magazines. Last year, my best friend said crying as she dealt with her lifelong eating disorder, “I don’t want to be known as the fat yoga teacher.” I was taken aback by this statement because I would classify her as beautiful, fit, and trim. I wanted to explore her statement that resonated in my mind like the frequency of fingernails tagging with sound their presence on the chalkboard.
To me, ‘fat’ is an arbitrary word that is used as ammunition to harm another. I’m not at war.
I thought this would be an experiment in empowering people to love their bodies and not try to fit society’s mold. Instead, reality of my latent insecurities came like a football team’s kicker being put in as the center (my identity was pummeled).
The stories I made up about what people thought of me were changing and I was emotionally affected. Suddenly, my self-worth was proving to be connected to how good I looked wearing spandex – something I completely denied giving a shit about before this experiment – and that pissed me off. Guilt from eating foods I typically considered bad for me were constant companions in my thoughts. Shame did cameo appearances in my mind’s movie reel daily.
My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved. I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface. I feared no man would want me this way and that I would die alone, probably from choking on a potato chip. There was a war going on inside of me and neither side was winning. Once I unraveled the fears and self-assaulting language as irrational, they no longer had power over me and I began to relax into my new found “goods”.
Nietzsche says the thing separating men from gods is the belly. May we all expand our bellies to digest our fears and empower our minds to think. May we all understand that we all want to be loved for who we are… however we are in the moment. And may we all find love and not die alone, from potato chip asphyxiation.
PS – I’m not fat; I’m fucking awesome!
There was a time when all I needed for inspiration was a quote, horoscope, fortune cookie, or one of those refrigerator magnet poems. The days of fluffing the pillows of hope to make the world seem less random are over. I am simultaneously distraught and relieved that I no longer rely on my tea bag for a shot of wisdom.
My industry is known for injecting the public with heightened inspiration, feel-good yumminess, and the perception that one can be happy all the time. I’m a generally calm and happy person but I’m over the illusion that we can talk ourselves into seeing the half-full glass as overflowing.
Nature is my teacher. People are a part of nature and in my work, I come in contact with a diverse group of humans. A lot of people subscribe to the theory posed by a new-age book that claims to reveal the one secret law of the universe. Basically, it says one just has to specifically ask the universe for what one wants and, like a genie granting wishes, it will appear.
I’m a big believer in setting a goal and a bigger believer in working my ass off to achieve the goal. Whether or not I accomplish the goal seems to only come down to how I choose to spend my time… Not whether I put the right picture on my vision board/talked with my angel guides/chose the right spirit animal before my vision quest.
We have an immense amount of power in our brains to change the way we think about things, but because we change our thoughts does not make something manifest into this world.
I’ve found the people who talk the most about manifesting are the people who are doing the furthest thing from their ideal job. I get that we all want direction and we all want a plan, but the thing that pisses me off about “The Secret” will hopefully become clear by the end of this rant.
Driving down a busy street in Dallas in the middle of Summer, I saw a man carrying his groceries. He was blind and using a walking stick. Do you think it would help him to wish himself out of blindness? Do you think having a clear intention would spontaneously make him able to see? No. And an intention like that would be a complete waste of time and energy whose results would be futile.
He inspired me. He didn’t let his fear take hold of him.
A student of mine was struggling in a yoga class this morning. We were doing Downward Facing Dog. For many healthy people, this pose is a breeze. This man would get into the pose for about one second and need to come down to his knees again. He did this five times in the eight seconds we held the pose. This student has Cerebral Palsy and wants so badly to do the yoga poses everyone else in the class is doing. Do you think if he was very clear that he is asking the universe to heal him that he would get better? Do you think it is a good use of his mental capacities to dream of having use of all motor and mental functions?
He inspired me. He kept trying. He isn’t giving up.
People who do their best with what they have inspire me. Determination and focus inspire me. Vision and creativity inspire me. Don’t tell me the world is going to shimmer with sparkles and happiness when sometimes it is just going to suck. Teach me how to work with what I have – to shape my own clay into something I really love. Teach me how to get re-focussed when I lose sight. Teach me how to love.
Energy, or prana, flows through the body and the chakras provide a sacred roadmap to our consciousness. The subtle energy we experience can be explored through the architectural design of the chakras, their traits, qualities, and physical manifestations. In this workshop, we will investigate the chakras as an energy system as it relates to the healing practice of yoga.
Sign up here – very limited space available
Watching someone grow over 200 hours of yoga teacher training is a beautiful thing to see. What’s even more beautiful is to watch the group dynamic as unspoken bonds are formed in the process of witnessing and being witnessed. My friend calls it “Sacred Witnessing” and I am a firm believer in the power it has to help us grow individually and collectively.
I hold space for my students’ growth and in my myopic focus in aiding in their journey, I can sometimes forget that I am also simultaneously growing on my journey. They are unconsciously holding space for my growth and I feel very lucky now to realize that. There was a part of me that neglected my evolution. I’m reminded through these words one of my students wrote me in a card that I, too, was being witnessed, “From every part of my being, I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you and I love you.” I feel this way about my students.
Because I don’t believe in the guru structure and I bask in my utter humanness, I rejected a lot of the love and appreciation they’ve sent my way over the years. It isn’t a form of self-loathing – I was afraid it would aid my ego and my head would get so big that I would have to change the height of the doors in my house. I’ve come to realize you can’t fully witness without being witnessed. It takes two to be in relationship and my students teach me so much just by being present in my life.
I am grateful.
Sacred witness being seen
Love floats through air
lands in our embrace.
Steadfast, oh silent heart
The bounty of my love’s fruit
cannot be found in dreams.
Words are easy
words come cheap
therefore, do not speak.
Our magic lives in a space of
I garnish a life.
Equations make sense because we’ve all agreed on the meaning of the symbols within the equation. The plus sign means what it means and there isn’t any argument. We don’t put our subjective vacillating thoughts on the number 8, expecting it to adapt to our will.
Labels and titles are different. When we embark on a journey of any kind with any sort of title or label, we carry along the expectations of said title with us. We project our desires and insecurities onto the title, or moreso, onto the person we’ve bestowed the title upon. This projection creates a disparity between truth (undifferentiated reality – looking at ‘what is’) and our projection of what we think the truth should be.
We all do this unconsciously. How can we begin to recognize the pattern? Notice when you complain about something someone else is doing. A complaint is simply saying, “Reality is different from my projection of what I think reality should be.” You can easily get into a battle of wills stemmed from your desire to control someone or a situation. Reality always wins – it is more of a control freak than you are and it will make you happier if you accept other people the way they are without complaining.
Don’t try to make someone better. You can only attempt to make yourself better.
Accepting someone how they are without trying to change them is a form of love. My most fulfilling relationships are the ones where acceptance is mutual. My dearest friends see my character flaws. They don’t spend time dwelling in my apparent short comings and they don’t remind me of my inability to be perfect. They love me in spite of myself.
I’m in love with many people. I’m in love with the wholeness of them. I am in love with their humanness. I love the unspoken connection. I love the knowing. I lean into the ease of loving.
Yoga is a beautiful tool for communicating with people. However, its reach is limited.
The public’s perception of what yoga is and what yoga does is tainted. Far too often, yogis are portrayed as idiots who are so out of touch with reality. You’ve seen them: the aging men wearing robes or something that resembles a diaper… or as the smiley chick in spandex doing some crazy pose on the cover of many magazines on display at your local Whole Foods… or as the long-haired hippie who touches your spouse in inappropriate places during yoga class while on a couples retreat.
That’s what the public sees…
What they don’t see is that behind each yoga studio door, we are collectively studying what is energy. We are practicing presence. We are basically like Luke in Star Wars – learning to use the force.
I recently watched Star Wars again. Having seen it probably close to 100 times as a child, it was fascinating to watch it through the eyes of someone who has studied yoga. My favorite concept from the film is the force, followed by the myth of the hero.
When Luke asks Han if he believes in the force, Han says there is no proof of one force controlling everything. There are some of my students who are just like Han Solo – they hear the word ‘energy’ just like Han hears ‘the force’ and think it is a bunch of nonsense.
We all want proof. Science gives us proof. Yoga is a science.
I only know what my experience on the mat has proven to me. Every time I step on the mat, I form a hypothesis, perform the experiment, and come to a conclusion. I don’t know if the artistic side is creating the experience or the scientific method is proving the hypothesis.
Either way, the force is one hell of a ride –
My favorite thing to do is be creative… however that shows up – whether through creating an experience for my students, cooking for my friends, painting, or photography, it is something that brings me an infinite amount of satisfaction and joy to share.
There are a select few who have seen me in my creative state. It is sacred for me. One of my closest advisers has pushed me to another level where I am exploring the idea of sharing parts of my creative process. This video is part of this new idea.
I’m scared to death as I post this. It isn’t about fear of what people think or how people may judge me. It is a vulnerability – a true showing of my heart. I figure I might as well be even more real and more honest. Isn’t it true that is something scares you, it is worth doing? 🙂
The Stewpot Art Program is a community outreach serving the homeless and at-risk populations of Dallas. It is open to people looking for an environment to express and create through the medium of art.
Starting on Wednesday, we will be offering my Creative Process Yoga class to provide a format for the artists to get to know their creative process in a more intimate way through yoga, meditation and conscious breathing.
I feel a deep connection to those I will serve because there is a part of me who identifies with this feeling of not having a home. I feel honored to volunteer the wisdom yoga provides to all people – regardless of their social status, income or belief structure.
I have my grandpa’s cowboy hat, his cameras, the book he read to me as a little girl. He was a boisterous, jolly architect (who never graduated high school), who loved to fish, played the fiddle, was an elder in the Church of Christ, and escaped as a POW during World War II. Never settling for anything average, Grandpa added color and depth to my life as if I lived in the Wizard of Oz after the house landed on the witch. He believed in family. He believed in laughter. He believed in love. I sure do wish I could hug him now and tell him what is going on in my life. I’m having one of those moments where I realize he would be proud of me and who I have become. The tears magnify the letters on my screen as I know what it feels like to be loved.
My dad often gave me pens as a child because of my love of office supplies. Just like a musical instrument can be a muse, a new pen is my muse. I love to test drive a pen to feel how it performs in my hand and glides across the paper. My dad also gave me determination and project-based thinking, a logical mind, as well as the desire to see things differently. After his dad’s funeral, we took a three-hour drive home and discussed the nature of time. It was the first time I saw him as a philosopher as we bantered back and forth about alternate universes. He took what are called “Daddy shortcuts” where we would take the time from point A to B to see something beautiful. I do this now. Thanks to him, I know how to take my time. Poppa took me on dates as a little girl and I fell in love with this protector who worked full time and went to school full time to take better care of us. He is the kind of person who knows what the weather is going to be. He always carries a pocket knife and is active in his church choir. He was a boy scout troop leader who can start a fire with dryer lint. I can’t believe he is my dad. I’m lucky.
Rob Brown was my mentor and friend. A wicked sense of humor and impeccable timing joined us together along with our love of art, music, and generally messing with people. He said, “I want to change all I’s in the alphabet to U’s,” So we dud. Every sungle one of them was changed un oir dauly conversatuons and emauls. Before he died, he gave me a book of Richard Avedon photography that holds a special place on my bookshelf. He was listening to Desperados Waiting on a Train by Jerry Jeff Walker the entire week before he prematurely passed – so now that song is one that will make me cry no matter what. It summed up what our relationship was – I was his sidekick. That man left the planet way too soon.
I suppose the purpose of this very personal blog post is to convey that I’ve known extraordinary men who have taught me love. I have reminders of that love all around me that hold space for something special.
I love my life and I feel so grateful to be able to do what I do. The basis of what I do is teach people how to find their center in the midst of life’s inevitable chaos. I hold space for people to heal what needs to be healed so they can live a more authentic, purpose-driven life. Everything I do revolves around the creative process – something so personal, yet completely universal. It transcends language barriers. It communicates with us and through us. It is magical to me.
Part of my daily practice involves walking through the woods. I bring my keys, my journal, my music, my dog and I run. I meditate. I allow life to unfold around me and I get excited when I notice things… and there is always something new to notice so I am in a constant state of awe.
Yesterday, I was listening to this particular piece of music that put me more into a daydream – I started to run faster than I ever have before – like I was being chased. Suddenly, I tripped over a small tree stump, flew through the air and literally tumbled down to the ground. It was surreal to have my world flipped so suddenly.
When coming back to my car, I noticed I didn’t have my keys with me. I thought perhaps I had left them in the car so I went to check. Someone found my keys on the trail and left me a note.
Today, I cried for the kindness of strangers. You guys are all around me. The world is filled with kind hearted people – there are more of us than those who make the news. Everyone I’ve told this story to is shocked. They say, “Wow,” and, “You’re lucky,” and things like that but I don’t believe that. I believe they would do the same thing when put in that situation. We are inherently good. My mom said I see the world through rose-colored glasses but I’m not naive – I know desperate people do desperate things – but I do believe in the good within each of us. I believe in you. So thanks for being a stranger and thanks for helping those who aren’t yet believers see the fact that you are kind.
He has two gods: nature and music. The notes were his companion, the former rests somewhere beyond the view, begging to be graced with his footsteps. “Don’t look at me. Be with me,” Mother Nature commanded, knowing he was afraid of the dark. Did he need more strength to be strong?
Burying the barbed wire beneath the brush, a toll was paid to the cheribum, Fear and Desire, to enter the garden at Giverny. The forest was disenchanted, the wolf his companion as the path was marked with art.
For seven days, he ran. He collapsed and shouted his hands skyward, seeking the mother he never had in a tree. This was his other.
She was concerned about the depth of his faith so decided to practice hers. She already survived Hades resting place where creativity’s marrow was sucked from her soul and she sought counsel in the clouds.
Sounds of a ritualized morning beckoned her from the sky. He opened the aperture of her life and grew himself in her womb. The body of his home now received her touch, the echoes of laughter and love making swam through stone and wood. She held her lion’s hand as his compass for navigating the shadow. He always had courage and seeing Waxing Gibbous reminded him of her light. He knew his light was lovable and finally had proof the entirety of his makeup being dressed down was loved, too.
She was his shelter. She was his light. They were love.
Investing their dividends, they wrote a business plan for their perspectives: luxurious utilitarianism and altruistic indulgence.
She heard a voice while searching for a sign in the woods that closed her throat in on itself like a black hole swallowing matter. It sucked her breath, her umbilical cord to source. The alchemy of longing changed to feeling. All grown up, she waved the white flag to no one among the silence in the trees, her heart open, revealing to the space her fear that he was only in the vivid hues of imagination.
All this time selecting, grading, discarding, she turned herself into a miner. Infatuation was all a matter of perspective as she snapped up, documented and filed the moments through her left eye. The view from the high rise was the same as the view from the lake. She became a key collector.
Daily, her ritual bath was self-awareness. Doing what was filtered into her imagination, she knew.
Can she change her last name to Hope? It resided in her thoughts where truth murders time and expectation dances with faith. She’s known this is the place only she can go – never looking back like Orpheus did and never wearing a watch. At least this way she could blame it on their individual mission statements and the IPO.
Is this the last time she cries for the love only held through conversations with Mr. Rogers? Relief comes in the stillness, the knowing, that he will find her.
As sculptors, they created each other. They were detectives searching for the seed planted by children force fed a diet of judgement. At the end of the day, she drew him from the mountain, home to rest his head upon her breast. Who is with you at the end of the day is what matters. Thought bubbles held songs that shaped her upbringing and he read them like a comic strip. She listened to his ideas, connections, contemplation, confessions and worries. He was only waiting to hear her voice. She talked of her gratitude, her forgiveness, her knowing, and confessed her fears.
Everyday they walked in the woods, showing each other the signs, drinking the nectar of the gods.
And on the 9th day, Beatrice heard the tree, “Sing. Sing not for the sense but sing for my breath, my life. Our soul.”
Today, it was announced that researchers at CERN discovered a particle that is in line with the “God particle” Higgs believed to be at the core of the Theory of Everything… It explains why matter has a mass. Pretty cool stuff.
Before this discovery, it was just a theory… An idea… Somethig floating in the ether with no proof to ground it to reality.
Isn’t that what all dreams are?
I’ve always been a dreamer. I have always lived in my own mind, and as Lyle Lovett says, ain’t nothin but a good time. My mom has been my sounding board for most of these ideas and she always, without a doubt, thought I was crazy and that it couldn’t happen. I think it always surprises her when my dreams come true.
The bottom line is we are here for a limited time. With our dreams, it is like some people see there is an expiration date on the milk, but ignore it… Nah, there’s time.
I see two reasons why my dreams come true:
1. I visualize whatever it is happening… And I get a little bit obsessed with it. I work tirelessly toward fulfilling that dream.
2. I believe it can happen. I have faith.
A dream of mine is coming true tomorrow as I teach my new Creative Process Yoga class at The Crow Collection of Asian Art. I get to fulfill more of my purpose to teach about the creative process and yoga.
I see the expiration date but I’m not fighting against it… today. Today, the “God particle” was brought down to reality and I watched several mindless clips on YouTube… really. I think everything is right in the world.
Getting behind the wheel is something that gives me a feeling of freedom… the car door is like the door to a secret passage way that you KNOW will lead you to adventure. I packed up my car with my dog in the backseat, Joseph Campbell and Kahlil Gibran audiobooks, two new music albums and headed from Texas to Colorado with hope. I’m not sure what I was hopeful for or hoping would happen but I was inspired to the very core of my soul. My sense of sound was bathed in truth by these sonic muses as a new awareness permeated my being.
Back when I started training to be a yoga teacher, I sold my TV because I didn’t want it as a distraction from the work I felt ready to do. I decided to follow my bliss and figure out what I could do to help make the world a better place. I felt a strong calling and I needed to use my time wisely. This trip taught me that I was consumed with my work and it became an easy way to hide from love by making myself busy.
The time in the car helped me see my television addiction just shifted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram. What was my motivation for all this checking in? I wanted to connect with more people but instead I avoided connecting to the silence and depth of my love. Afraid of my own sensitivity, I used my library card.
I can’t wait to get back into teaching this week so I can keep having the conversations that really matter to me. I start my new Creative Process Yoga class when I do a month-long residency at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. My hope is to provide space for deeper listening and honesty with this class… Both for myself and my students.
The Mat Yoga Studio is where I teach one of my babies – the training program, Advanced Yoga Studies. I was at their event, Karma Yoga Happy Hour, when the video crew asked to do an interview with me. I didn’t know what I had to say except that The Mat is a beautiful place to work because of the people there – but they pulled so much more out of me about AYS. I guess we can call this a promo for AYS – Katie and I talk about it at 2:40 or so. You may want to check out the end because I show some dance moves as poetic as Elaine from Seinfeld and her thumb dance.
We are all on a hero’s journey. Some of us know what we seek and others are completely unaware they are living a life of purpose. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called A Hero with a Thousand faces that outlines the myth of the hero. You can think of it as if your life is a book and you are the hero of the book. The hero changes the world. The hero helps others. The hero lives an extraordinary life.
In order to live this type of larger-than-life myth, the hero is put through a series of tests that give him the wisdom he needs to continue on his path. He learns the truths of the universe.
There is usually a refusal to go once he has been called on the adventure of life. Typically, he is in a place of comfort and security and he knows by moving outside of his comfort zone, there will be the void of the unknown. At least there is a nice little graphic that can help navigate the process.
The more we deny our purpose and ignore the call… the more we convince ourselves we want to live our lives according to our own plans, the more we suffer. Suffering can come in the form of bad relationships, illness, a desire to numb out, or distractions of any kind.
When we practice surrendering, we can observe how much we are clinging to our own ideals. We want to get closer to universal truth and further away from ego and mind-constructs. A practice that helps with this is Yin and Restorative yoga. The best pose I’ve found to notice how to surrender is Balasana, or Child’s Pose: Come to all fours, lower hips to heels, forehead comes to floor, hands move beside body, palms face up. As you breathe, notice the gripping within the muscles of the legs… the face… the shoulders. Practice letting go.
Are you in the water
or on the shore?
Do you navigate
or do you stand?
Because navigation is, itself,
taking a stand.
The answer isn’t wrong
The truth lives in your sole
as you find your wings
an essence in the unseen.
The melodic aching of her soul’s longing
Comes in waves
Pluck from her tree
The taste of one great love
She, a firecracker
Icarus was he
But fly they must
Through divine inquiry.
I feel blessed. This week, I take my Advanced Yoga Studies students on their graduation retreat to Playa del Carmen.
I’ve been meditating on what to teach and I’m thrilled to say we will be exploring several ideas:
Don’t Hold Back – Show Us Who You Are
Are You Fiercely Loving?
Inspire & Be Inspired – The Light Within
The Soundtrack to Your Mind
I can’t wait to share the space with you guys… This is going to be fun!!
After I re-apply my melted face from the show, I lay awake in my hammock listening to music through my headphones. I remember the moment my boyfriend introduced me to an intimate stereo sonic experience – I was hooked. The way a stereo sound evokes the imagination is like the difference between being friends and lovers. Then, my next boyfriend sat me down in his “listening chair” and through his super-duper-amazing Naim speakers, I saw an entire symphony in the space of sound. The waves came from the speakers and somehow each wave placed itself strategically as if the band was performing in his listening room. It was crazy.
I was never really into live music (except blues and jazz) until recently. The idea of listening to songs with a bunch of strangers wasn’t my idea of fun. It wasn’t so much a statement of the crowd or the performers but more of an acknowledgement of my anxiety in big crowds.
What I’ve come to realize is I’m less interested in a performance and more interested in witnessing creative process as it unfolds. The former is fun while the latter is spiritual. The performance art outside the Kessler was both performance and creative process. The performances inside the Kessler were both performance and creative process. Ahh, the bliss!
My life is fun and spiritual. I aim to live both aspects to their fullest extent and Saturday night was an idealized version of that goal. I witnessed creative process through performance art in two venues – inside and outside The Kessler in Dallas. I won’t even go into the details but suffice it to say my heart was broken open and my face was melted off.
As I listen to my music tonight in bed, I am reminded of the power of connection. I’m grateful.
I, too, had a series of small strokes that left me with double vision and debilitating headaches. My left eye could no longer move and I had resigned myself to always rely on other people to take care of me – a huge feat for a person who craves solitude and independence. I was sad. I was depressed. I needed help taking myself to the bathroom. My life looked so much different than what I had dreamed of as a little girl.
To cheer me up, I was given art supplies because I had said in passing, “I always wanted to be an artist.” I never took lessons but I discovered how to play and tap into the rhythm of oil painting. It was the biggest gift I had been given – relief from the pain, joy from expression, and a love of color that still charms me today.
The creative process is what healed me back to my version of normal (notice I didn’t say “normal” but “my version of normal” because I am definitely a little off-center)… but this time, I had a mission – to live a creative life and teach others how to heal themselves through creative process.
My mind seeks connection in its isolation so I seek to find ways of joining things together. Yoga was the best medium I found for joining people to a deeper connection within and outside of themselves. My teachers always talked about energy in class. Though I understood its meaning in an abstract way, I couldn’t stop thinking about the E in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. I’ve re-imagined his theory to show how our lives and connection to source/spirit/universe can be enhanced through simple conscious breathing and movement as a meditation. I found conscious breathing is the single most beneficial thing we can do to enhance brain function, spiritual connection and overall wellness. So I need a platform to share this with more people.
I decided I wanted to give my own TED talk so I applied and was accepted to audition a 5 minute talk at TEDxSMU. I learned so much about myself, my expectations, my hopes, my dreams and my desire to communicate effectively. The stillness was palpable when the crowd was observing their senses.
This was an experience I will always treasure despite it being a horrible record of my public speaking skills. I couldn’t remember any of my jokes or any of the points I wanted to make. All in all, I sucked but at least I can say I did it.
He awakened me in Spring. His vision standing brought feeling that needed to be penetrated to be understood. Only by going deep into the now does one understand why. Choppy and rough was my demeanor with Bacchus leading the way to ceremonies. Preparation was in my hands and the only mystery was that of timing as each guard placed around the home left.
Creativity is my life and he wore a comforting glow of familiarity. His hair and lips I want to touch with full consciousness and presence, though I know nothing of love. Desire’s trumpeting gaze took hold of me and I crave more.
The pit of longing, belonging and rapture sit in my stomach while serpents swallow each other’s tails into my thoughts, digesting.
Disservice mounted this hero’s steed and rode into the sunrise with a hint of lingering appreciation.
I’m giving away free hugs to hundreds of yogis as I teach during One Love Dallas (I promise to shower and wear deodorant) but Lululemon is giving away some groovy schwag to the 108th person to register for One Love.
We will be doing 108 sun salutations for charity at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on April 28. Find out more!
What is Yin Yoga? It is a passive style of yoga designed to guide the practitioner into a state of bliss.
We increase parasympathetic nervous system tone by holding relaxing poses between 3 and 15 minutes each, allowing the muscles to stretch and the connective tissue to open.
This practice is perfect for anyone looking to relieve stress… yes, that means it is perfect for you. 🙂
It was a glorious Spring day when I found myself laying down, looking at the clouds drift through expansive sky-space. I noticed grey dots and wavy lines in between my eyes and my vision of the sky. The more I tried to look into the lines, the further they moved away. These are called “floaters”.
Interesting facts about these floaters:
– they cast shadows on the retina
– they are easier to see on a clear blue sky
– when we try to look directly at one, they move
Though we all develop floaters at some point, they become more prominent as we age, and none of our floaters look exactly alike.
I was thinking about how this related to my life and my vision of my life…
What are the floaters in my life? What seems just beyond my grasp? What is casting a shadow on my ability to see clearly?
This week, I will approach my life with more clarity as I set an intention to develop one-pointed vision and soften through the periphery.
There is a man who pushes a cart around the neighborhood, collecting cans from recycle bins. I’m assuming he is homeless. He’s become as familiar as my next door neighbor with his routine stop in front of my house and we always wave, give the obligatory smile, and the neighborly exchange of conversational pleasantries.
At first, I felt pity for this man… how it must feel to not have a home… how he must be living in fear. My ability to project my own fears of survival on this man led me to see there is no indication from him that he is afraid. He actually seems quite happy as he delivers a nugget of wisdom in conversation, “You deserve the truth.”
Then I felt envious of his reality – time is simply measured by sunlight. He need not wear a watch as he is free to do anything with his time. The watch is my albatross. Freedom exists in the mind and reality is what we make of it.
I aim to live more like this man – wandering with the sun as my guide, wondering with my shadow behind.
Perfume of coffee and taste of unshaven legs… the anticipation of art as a container for infinite expression. How does a shadow dance? Where do glances fall? As she approached the tarmac, she wasn’t yet cleared for landing. Baited in breath, the path became clear. There is something rich in mistaken identity as the winter’s trees pretend to have no protection. Just as in every theory, it has yet to be proven.
Her shade was taken away so the sun was in connection – more directly this time. Who was it? Where is that voice?
Belief – faith, even – is what resonates. Recalling bleeding retinas, her grandfather hadn’t warned her about looking into the sun. She assumed it was necessary to go into the light – to bathe in the rays of glorified nothingness.
To become who you truly are and imbibe power beyond form is what creates discernment. Just as the clouds scraped the rays from her skin, she exhaled. Guilt became an extension in the call directory of her thoughts; the number rarely dialed. This unwavering disregard for punishment along the gallows resulted in a sensation between her shoulder blades. What would she do with this new sense of freedom?
She put in place a policy of truth-seeking and truth-speaking that became the touchstone in her future conversations that always pierced into the essence of now. Ultimately, she was her own beneficiary and time an imagined jaded lover. She became provocative… pro-active. Gentle in her approach, the blending of creative energies was her offering.
It’s been quite some time since I posted a playlist. Tuesday’s Open Flow class was special for me because I was thinking about how I’ve been inspired by beautiful art and performances recently.
I wanted to bring forward an exciting energy to help us get closer to our human desires and ultimate longing. I posed the question, “What is your purpose?” I’m interested in those dreams you fear are too big to be uttered… those things you pictured doing when you were a kid… the ideal life you know you are meant to lead.
I think it was 1999 and I was watching a rehearsal on the SNL set. Lorne Michaels’ office is at the top of the seats and there were two kids hanging out there. I introduced myself and learned that one was Lorne’s son and the other was Paul Simon’s. They were on a baseball team together and Paul Simon’s kid said when he grows up, he wants to colonize the moon. Really. That was his dream.
Some of us know exactly what we are supposed to be doing with our lives and some of us aren’t even sure where to begin in writing life’s mission statement.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist. I’ve always known my main goal is happiness. I was not, however, always true to that vision. I adhered to a standard of what was expected of me. I lived my life through the lens of another’s expectation. Then everything changed and I kept my focus on what I truly want, re-defining the means to get there along the way. The path isn’t always clear but I do keep stepping, even when it seems like the next step my lead me off a cliff. It’s ok, if I fall, I know how to use my wings to land safely again.
What makes you happy? Joseph Campbell calls it “Follow Your Bliss” and how beautiful is that notion? You possess the bliss already… you just have to follow the path.
The thing that unites us is love. It is our highest calling. Love is the best we can possibly be. It is a presence, an openness, a vulnerability, a doing… it is a way of being. We can think about this pretty easily as we’ve all loved and been loved before. But are we fully living up to love’s standard of equality and infinite capacity? If I were to gather an accurate picture of how much I am fully, 100% loving, I am sad to say that far too often, fear and judgement make guest appearances in the sitcom of my mind. We can make it a practice – practice love. Practice acceptance.
We’ve all built up ways of protecting our hearts and hiding from our co-created destiny. But it is time. It is time for us to live! It is time to live our lives inspired. It is time to watch our dreams come true.
All. of. Us.
Sending you love. 🙂
Ever wondered why a song gets stuck in your head?
Inspire me beyond illusion
In the space where
we are both seen
Taming the wild dream
Love into your vision
Let’s tie you up
in my apron strings
I’ve been asked by hundreds of people about yoga privates for creatives. OK, that is a lie… no one has asked me about that but I have found that as an artist, my yoga practice is the single most valuable thing that helps me remain creative.
I am now offering custom privates for any creative professional who would like to light their creative fire again, find peace of mind, or just relax while on the road or traveling.
Creative Process Privates – Designed for the musician, artist, or creative professional who is looking to find their muse again. The privates are custom-designed for the artist’s needs and goals to include yoga poses, mindfulness techniques, meditations, and guided relaxation. The sessions are recorded so they can be taken while traveling.
Email trina at treenuh dot com for more information.
What is faith?
My journey into answering this question started with the observation that for most of my life, I was living in fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being pretty, fear of speaking my mind, fear of heights… the list goes on. So if I am living in fear, I need to understand how to turn the other way. What is the opposite of fear?
I sought counsel from one of my teachers who said, “There is a net beneath you. Let go. You will be caught.” I don’t know how much I believed her but I wanted to go straight into feeling my fear to see what is on the other side. I needed a goal to bring me face to face with fear, so I decided to conquer my fear of heights by flying on a circus trapeze.
I stood there at the bottom of the rig, analyzing every detail of how this whole thing could go wrong. The ladder could break. The net could be poorly attached to the bars and I could fall to my death. The person catching me could drop me, sending me head-first into a tree (I have flown from a trampoline head-first into a tree so this one wasn’t so irrational). Just thinking about the experience is making my palms sweat. I climbed 32 feet up this wobbly ladder onto a platform, and as I held the bar, ready to jump off the ledge, I realized I have to have faith in order to jump. Faith that everyone who put the rig together did it properly…. faith that my trapeze partner will catch me. Then I looked down and saw the net. Funny how life works.
I flew through the air and when I landed safely in the net, I exhaled and thought of all the agony I put myself through by listening to my fear.
What fears am I listening to in my life? I wanted to share my passion for yoga but I was afraid I wasn’t good enough to be a teacher. When I got home from the trapeze experience, I signed up for a yoga teacher training program. If I had not acknowledged my fear, I never would have had the faith in myself to sign up for the training.
Faith is mysterious and sometimes ellusive. Faith is knowing there is a net. Faith is knowing we are exactly where we need to be.
Are you ready to jump?
How often do you think about what you are grateful for? Me? Not as much as I would like. I’m too busy moving forward, trying to accomplish something, be something, or learn something that sometimes I forget to get down into the mushy gushy love that is my life.
Today’s yoga class was about abundance. What if we aren’t glass-half-full nor glass-half-empty kind of people? What if our cup runneth over? When we spend time counting our blessings and being in the moment it sure is easier to love with a full, over-flowing heart.
You guys brought it today, rocked it out and made me feel even more love for life… thank you!
Last night, one of my students offered a toast as we celebrated the end of our 100 hour educational journey, “Even when you think you aren’t making a difference in someone’s life, you are.” Of course, I start crying because it hit me first like a pin into a pin cushion, then like a freight train with the realization this is what I am trying to do.
I want to make a difference. Yoga is the best tool I have found for bringing people together… and I want more people to feel connected. I want to connect to as many people as possible.
Making something ancient and esoteric into something approachable and applicable to modern life has been a beautiful process. Looking over all my lesson plans, my notes, recorded classes, manuals, research, etc., it is evident that I have loved the process of unearthing my ideas.
It was so much fun celebrating the two-year anniversary with The Mat Yoga Studio and all our students. At noon, I taught a fun class and this was the playlist. For those of you making a playlist at home, the class begins with Firecracker.
For the 6:30 Open Flow and Meditation classes, we brought in The Sound and the Meaning for a live music yoga class. If you haven’t done yoga to live music, you are missing something Uh-freaking-may-zeeeeeng!! Do you remember the first time you kissed someone? It is similar… filled with unfamiliar sensations and once finished, you REALLY want more.
Taylor says, “I still have a smile on face due to last night’s class. Practicing yoga between Trina’s style and live music was a memory made. Taking in the music while moving my body was extremely pleasurable and I feel blessed I was able to experience such….. Coolness.”
There you have it – she says it was cool…. besides our moms, not many people say that. We will take it! Gravy.
… and we decided live music + yoga is ALMOST as good as sex… almost.
Yes, I am the kind of person who stops to smell roses… I enjoy the drinking of nectar from life’s fruits. There are times, though, when I seem to be the nail and life seems to be the hammer continuously teaching me a painful lesson. Perhaps the bleeding from my skull should be and indication that it is time to make a change… Time to stop wanting more and time to inhale the fragrance of this moment. If we can all accept that everything is temporary, why do we want to extend the good times and get away from the darkness in life?
My job affords me the opportunity to meet amazing men and women who share such a sacred space with little ol me. I had a moment in class this morning when I realized I am over flowing with gratitude to be able to teach yoga the way I do to the people I do. Each of my students touches me in such a profound and special way and I am forever grateful. It is moments like this I want to sustain… I want to contain… I want to name… As if documenting it makes it more real… As if sharing it in this forum and with friends and family helps me inhale its perfume just a weeeeeee bit longer…
I am content with that illusion.
Live recording of the class I taught on 10-14-11 at The Mat Yoga Studio. This is a Vinyasa class – all levels. We talked about the heart as a light, your life as a map, following your dreams, and questioned if we REALLY believe things are as they should be.
Raindrops have marching orders
Falling in line.
All mistresses of the Infinite.
A yellow marker along the human experience.
The story you are about to read is completely true. All names have been changed to protect those with a guilt-ridden grin turning up their rosy cheeks.
Bob: When was the last time you kissed someone?
Me: Someone tried to kiss me Thursday.
Bob: What do you mean someone tried? Do you not like kissing? Kissing is good.
Me: I love kissing – it just has to feel right.
Bob: Do you think you could ever be in love with me?
Me: There is no way I can know that after 10 minutes of knowing you.
Bob: Sure there is. Maybe yes or maybe no.
Me: I haven’t a clue.
Bob: Can I impregnate you?
Persephone dreamed of a man she had seen.
Sounds of a soul
The face, a cerulean hue.
A week ago, I was out walking and came across this pond. It seemed magical as I looked at it from the shore. It is as if the pond wanted to insulate itself with this covering… a security blanket adding an aura of solidarity, protecting the fragile and sensitive nature of the water.
Algae is the most basic natural food source in a pond and helps balance the entire ecosystem. If there was no algae, the food system would fall apart.
I think sometimes we feel that if we don’t have our blanket of security to distance us from true heart and spirit connection, we would fall apart. The truth is, we want to appear strong as a survival instinct. Beneath all the layers, we all just want to be loved.
Last night, something shifted as I lay awake at 2am, listening to music. I questioned my beliefs. I thought about my attachments. There was a time when I wanted to learn what was important to me. I moved into my run down art studio – it didn’t have a kitchen or a shower and was probably 100 square feet or something. I became keenly aware of what I needed and was able to see and feel my attachments to things. Turns out I don’t need that love letter from my ex but I do want the book my grandpa read to me as a little girl. We get to choose what we keep from our past. There is something symbolic about letting the physical go – we shift the energy. We make space.
This afternoon, I cut about one foot off my hair. Thoughts of identity, labels, femininity, love crossed my mind as the scissors sheared through my attachments and released freedom. Liberation and I embraced.
The funny part – that I only realized afterward – is my mom called me two days ago. She and my brother were watching the Cowboys vs. Redskins football game. When I was 3 or so, I cut my hair EXTREMELY short when these two teams played each other. Every year, they call me to tell me to hide my scissors.
“Yoga is a tool to help us connect to the Creative Source.”
Earth waits for her lover to whisper a new season on her breast. The breeze is hinting at change; a softening of the air that graces Earth’s skin. Sky makes love to the horizon – the unattainable vision of unity out of division. Her body aches as she lay in silent breath.
Come to me, my lover. Breathe light inside me. All at once, devour me – enlighten me – frighten me – become me. My womb is your grave.
What does it mean to realize the Self? I enjoy the idea of realizing instead of finding – it lends my mind to the idea of presence. I see a look of awe on my face with my eyes slightly turned upward… a sigh as slight and soft as a lover’s touch. Sinking into the back body of feminine faith, I fall into the arms of earth and float through the air of time. Deep wisdom as I embody light. Speaking what I hear, heart opening to tears… knowing love.
At some point, I woke up and wondered if I could take better care of myself. I vowed to concentrate the efforts usually given to another toward care for me. I am now in a relationship with myself. I was quite happy about my private declaration but I thought I would make it public by announcing it through Facebook. FB has this cute little option where you can declare cyber-love for another so I opted to choose myself as my own relationship status. FB says I cannot create a relationship with myself. Really? I am in a deeply committed relationship with myself and FB doesn’t recognize it. No fair.
One of the inherent gifts of a relationship with another is that you get to engage in a very present spiritual practice. People trigger other people. Other people bring up your insecurities, doubts, fears, attachments, and desire to be right. There is duality. There is a vacillating motion seeking balance. There is a subject and an object.
Life with Daisy (my dog) is beautiful and peaceful. We are constantly in a state of bliss. She never triggers me but what she does do is keep me in a state of being open in my heart. This is a practice I can’t do alone – I believe love is something you do. There is a subject who is loving and an object that is being loved.
So perhaps FB is right, relationships require subject and object, too. What I hope to experience in this life is a state of loving that doesn’t require subject nor object… Non-Duality Lovin’. Simply by contemplating non-duality, it is within a state of duality. The rational mind cannot comprehend this state – reality must be pierced… it must be experienced. 🙂 The ultimate balance isn’t in the shift side to side but in the Creative state as conduit… straight up.
How do you explain a moment – a fleeting instant of purity from a magic wand hovering in the sky? You can’t. You can’t touch what it feels like to be connected. You simply can’t explain love… though we try. And, oh my, do I TRY. My senses take in an instant in time like a Polaroid that doesn’t produce a photo. I have this obsession with recording an instant with a camera – so I can convey the beauty I see – but the moment of experience is what arrests me. Look at a photo and see what I see but you can’t smell a sound or taste the air. You can’t feel the joy bubbling from my heart that I am here…. now… That life is filled with beauty in EVERY moment.
Sunday, one of my students brought this sweet suffering baby into the studio, trying to make his last moments as comfortable as possible. We gathered around him as he seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness, closing his eyes and tilting his head up to bring more air into his lungs. He was gripping to life.
This made me wonder what happened to bring him to this state. Chances are, he flew head-first into our windows and gave himself a concussion.
As everyone went into class, I took him outside and simply watched him breathe. As I centered into this experience of watching life struggle for life, I was reminded of how many times I have flown head-first into something… how many times I have given myself a concussion of sorts… how many times my perception of what is ahead of me has been skewed by my vision.
I thought about people in my life who are suffering and how much I want to help ease their pain.
I was certain these would be his last moments and I wanted to connect as deeply as I could. I began to breathe with him.
It is in these moments I am reminded of the incredible experience of being connected. Sometimes life gives us a concussion where we can’t connect as deeply as we want and we have to allow our loved ones to breathe with us.
Then I felt a sensation best described as a WHOOSH! as he lifted his head, came to his senses and flew up to the ledge near the window. As I celebrated his life, he flew off beyond the trees with a new lesson under his wings. I walked away from the studio inspired to spread my own wings and dance along the wind to my next life lesson. T h a n k y o u !
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Vacillate in the contrast
white on white.
Black and white
Dark to light
Dive into grey.
Between fear and Faith
The cross between vision and expectation
Hang me there.
Lift the veil
Tears mourning Hope
Keep the change.
Sacrifice the mind
Fall in the well
A technicolor parachute
turns to grey dreams.
Alone in Creation
Banked on the river of Self Love, she splashes her face.
And then she asked of souls, “One? Two?”
Abiding Peace cleared the path in the foothills
Climb Mountain, offering life line
Stoking fire, undertaking flame.
River as perfume.
Self baptism, soak in wisdom.
Breathe in love
She asks, “Palm to palm as lovers touch, who is this?”
Then the roar came from Mountain’s core, “It’s me. It’s me.”
Mountain abides and answers her call.
Whispering in syncopated breaths, “It’s you. It’s you.”
I used to feel the ghost of people gone by.
Now my senses mate with the essence of me swallowing myself.
Raw, powerful devotion.
The sound of my body’s longing.
Goodbye to the good byes that don’t need a voice.
There is nothing wrong. There is nothing I need to fix. There is nothing I need to change. What’s up with that?
Don’t get me wrong, in the past, I could Zen myself out of any heartbreak or death but this moment is different in that I am aware of the surrender in the present moment. It is beautiful to sit in acceptance of how things are in this very moment… how things are different in this very moment.
I’ve danced between polarities of needing get to the root of my problems to denial of inner monologues as the seed of the tree of suffering from which I plucked the fruit. I am aware of the dichotomy that exists between my former and present selves. Beneath my faith that everything is exactly as it should be was always a fear that things would be better in my life ‘if only…’
Inhaling a specter
Forms dance though mind
Accepting into Being
What do you identify with? Emotions? Thoughts? Titles? Labels? We all struggle to find balance through external mechanisms. We try to balance by holding on to something that changes and fades.
Isn’t it worth noticing that when we identify with the temporary, we suffer? In yoga, we aim to create union and learn to identify with that which does not change. It is a remembering of who we really are… spirit.
I was exposed to death when my hero, Grandpa, died 20 years ago. He was my idea of what a man should be – strong, caring, kind, loving, funny – yet when he died, it was sudden and so easy. I still feel him around me.
I witnessed death face to face when my cat of 14 years, Ebby, died in my arms. It may sound morbid but I feel so grateful to have been there with her as she passed. Watching her take her last breath and her spirit drifting off… I will never forget how that felt.
My grandma, Grace, died on Thursday. Grace… a name so appropriate for this woman. She and I spoke openly and clearly about her death for 10 years, discussing how she was ready to let go. When I visited her the day before her passing, she was unresponsive. As we gather around her bed, surrounding her with love, she came back to life. Her speech was slow to develop but after about 10 minutes, she was talking to me as if nothing was wrong, “Trina, it is so good to be loved.” “Yes, Grandma, it is good to be loved and it is good to love. You can let go now. We will all be fine.”
Letting go – what a beautiful experience. Life is the final attachment we must relinquish and I believe it involves cutting the connection to our bodies, our loved ones, our minds and surrendering to space.
The space between the thoughts.
The source beyond knowing.
The being beyond being.
Feeling the parts of me Grandma directly impacted and pieces of my character Grandpa is directly responsible for make me think of the sum of a human life. We are the result of all our experiences and we hold pieces of loved one within ourselves. Looking back at the people who have loved me and those who I have loved, I am deeply grateful.
Yes, we all experience loss… What we do with it is what matters. Are we going to stay in the darkness of sadness, regret, and shame or are we going to move to light? I’ve lost loved ones from death, divorce, and distance. I am still in the grieving process for many of these lost loves. The process of grief is the same and we end in acceptance. My prayer is that I accept and surrender with gratitude and faith.
I just received a text message from one of my dearest chosen family members: “I bet your grandma is enjoying the view of the fireworks from the clouds.” Yes, I bet she is.
(The photo on this post is a painting I did when I found out a friend of mine lost his mother. This is my expression of the way it feels when you lose someone you love.)
Sometimes the energy of a class spreads to everyone like butter. Tonight was one of those nights – everyone connected to their bodies, to their highest potential, to their dreams. I asked everyone to recall their dreams (not the ones at night, but the ones you fantasize about but don’t share for fear of it being too big). We created space in our hearts to make room for compassion, placed the dreams in our hands and sealed our dreams with our breath.
Tonight’s meditation accessed the Witness and connected us to the light of the full moon. The room was completely still… each person meditating on their Witness brought us to a place where everyone seemed to be breathed by a force greater than all of us combined. WOW – they really went there and it was beautiful!
It was a night I will remember. I’m so grateful – my students make my life so much richer.