Be Well

I think about this a lot.  What does it mean to “be well”?

Does it mean I’m not sick?

This makes me think of Peggy Lee’s song “Is That All There Is”?

Hahaha~my dog is dancing to this in his sleep!

That’s part of what it means to be well! Playing, dancing, creating.  Peggy, I’ll skip the booze and open my heart up to other “is’s”.

My friend Connie Hozvicka and I know that the day-to-day grind is not all there is.  Life is meant to experienced with an open heart, open eyes and open mind.  It’s mean to be juicy, exciting, full of adventure, creativity and bewilderment.  We are meant to cultivate health and balance on all levels.

So, as part of her bi-annual online art journaling experience, 21 Secrets, Connie and I co-hosted a workshop that blends yoga nidra and art journaling.  You get all comfy, receive a delicious yoga nidra then roll right on out of that into your art journaling experience.

If you’ve never done it, yoga nidra is a guided meditation that leaves you very relaxed and at ease, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  This is the perfect state to create from–the brain isn’t all intense and in planning, critiquing and analyzing mode.

Go on over to Dirty Footprints Studio and see all of the goodness, all of the ways to “Be Well” through creativity that the 21 artists Connie commissions to be a part of 21 Secrets Fall has to offer!  21 Secrets Fall is on sale now, and it starts on October 1~you don’t want to wait for these goodies, trust me!

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Easeatarian

Last Friday, my spiritual guide gave me some encouragement to cultivate some tendencies of an “easeatarian”.  This designation is a term that captures the perspective of one of his spiritual guides and suggests that we live with hearts turned toward joy, fun, ease and play.  This is an area that I most certainly need to work on.

So, this morning, during our customary walk,  my dogs helped me out.  The image above?  Taken from the seat of an easeatarian-in-process.  As was this one:

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How did I end up in the posture of an easeatarian this morning?  I followed Tashi (the black dogs) lead.  It was hot and she was, quite simply, over her walk.  She found a cool spot to lie down and did just that.  So, I followed.

I really enjoyed these moments.  It’s been so long since I just let myself be, with nothing to accomplish, no agenda .  Just lying on the grass, breathing, looking around, taking in the scents and sounds of nature.

IMG_2742The easeatarian view is quite a nice one.  Of course, the possibilities are endless–if you choose to incorporate more easeatarianism in your life, make it your own!  You are bound to be seeing more photo documentation of my easeatarian life.

And, those photos will come from the road.  I have made a decision to let my portion of the shared space where I was teaching yoga in Tempe go and to go back into the world of ultrasound as a traveler for a bit.   Group classes are not where I excel, it is in private as well as therapeutic yoga sessions (where the deepest shifts happen for students) and I need time and space to figure out how to create a sustainable life helping others transform their own lives via yoga.

This means I will be taking 13-week contracts nationwide, having grand adventures and creating my ideal business when I am not working in a hospital taking pictures of people’s hearts.   As always, in service to the heart.

My last day teaching in Tempe will be Sunday, August 31.  I am so grateful to each and every student who has entered my classroom in the past two-and-a-half years.  And I am grateful for my spiritual path in which I find the clarity and strength with which to move forward, to keep transforming, to keep expanding.

This clarity and strength comes from releasing the mind into the heart and allowing myself to be love.  May you find the same.

 

 

~A Good Read~

As I sat down to write this post, I realized that this is the first time I have actually suggested someone read a blog post.  I have referenced blog posts before and gave the author credit, but not actually expressed thoughts that someone should go read the blog post I referenced.

My friend Connie wrote a blog post today that tells a bit about her work in the world and what is important to her.  Here is a quote that resonated deep within my soul:

“But each time I do show up, each time I answer the call and make space for women to gather, real transformation and growth happens. Every time.  And that’s why I feel very passionate about supporting other women in creating their own creative circles and gatherings. We need to come together like this. We need to tell our stories, to heal in each others presence, and to invite the Feminine into our lives”.

As a woman who grew up without a mother and who has tumbled through domestic violence and addiction, and a woman who has experienced the loving transformational space that Connie holds-

I agree.

You can read Connie’s full post at Dirty Footprints Studio.

Love,

Opal

The Wings Of My Heart

SufiLogoThis morning, long before I was ready to be welcomed into this day, a Rottweiler velcro-hugged my heart.

This Rottweiler:

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Tashi Indira (auspicious Goddess)

In my stupor, I pushed her away.  I truly wasn’t awake and wasn’t ready to have another being in my space.  Within just a few minutes, I came around and began my morning routine:

(1) snuggle with furkids

(2) say, aloud, five things I am grateful for

(3) say my morning prayer, reach over and touch the earth and feel her nurturing energy move through me

I then got out of bed and transitioned into the rest of my routine.  I was cranky though.  My head hurt and I just didn’t want the world to need anything from me today.  I am going through a serious detox from Reiki training.  Reiki training requires daily self-treatments and there is a cleansing period of which I am having almost every possible symptom.  I welcome them, I can feel that they are all good things, but they are definitely not fun and definitely test one’s level of commitment to the Reiki path.

As I was in the kitchen preparing my breakfast, I stepped to the fridge to get the usual suspects and my other dog-this dog:

Ravi (the sun)

Ravi (the sun)

got in between me and the fridge.  I politely said, with true loving energy, “Love bug, can you scoot out of the way so Mommie can get to the fridge”?, which he politely did.  I proceeded to get what I needed out of the fridge-and noticed something.

My head did not feel like being that nice and kind.  My head felt like being a grump at everyone and everything.  I took pause.  How could my head feel one way and something completely different effortlessly, without any premeditation, come out of my mouth?  I was puzzled.

So, I did as my Spiritual Guide has taught me.  I felt into it.  

And I discovered that my heart felt completely different than my head.  In my heart, I felt love just pouring out of it, pouring without beginning or end.  My request to my precious little Ravi at the fridge taught me that my heart is running the show, not my head.  At least this morning it was, I am all too aware of how that can slip away unbeknownst to me if I am not diligent in my spiritual practice.

I contemplated this experience further as I walked the dogs this morning.  It was just one of the most beautiful recognitions to me that my head can be all sorts of bent-up and irritated, that this pain can exist there and I can emanate the opposite energy.  It was an oracle to me of my deepening emotional sobriety.  This is part of surrendering to a power greater than myself.  I felt such freedom from my addictive patterns, so empowered.

I want my dogs and all the beings in my life to be held in the infinite energy of the love in my heart, not confined by the narrow energy of what is in my head, whether it be actual physical pain or the limited mind activity.  I know that holding others in this energy is the energy in which they can thrive and can unfold into their authentic selves.  And that is what just unfolded naturally for me this morning.

Events like this one is when I see the “fruits of my practice”.  This is why my friends and family, my yoga practice, my Sufi practices, my 12-Step meetings, Reiki treatments, my balanced nutrition and exercise are CRUCIAL to me.  Without them, I would not show up in the world this way,  I would be impulsively living out what was in my head, as I did for so many years, sadly leaving a path of heartbreak and self-and-other destruction to prove it.

This authentic heart expressiveness is new to me.  I have absolutely been that sweet and considerate to others over the years, but, to be honest, it was forced through layers of anger and grief.  Since being blessed with my Spirtual Guide, his teachings, his example and the teachings and practices within the Sufi path, my heart has shifted tremendously.  Much healing has occurred, and I am grateful.  And, as they say in the 12 Step path “A grateful [person who experiences addiction] (my own wording-I do not ever refer to myself as an addict) does not use”.

To finish this post from my heart to yours, here is an explanation of the symbology within the symbol of the Sufi Order, the image at the top, that captures the essence of what I shared with you today.

“The symbol of the Sufi Order, which is a heart with wings, is symbolic of its ideal. The heart is both earthly and heavenly. The heart is a receptacle on earth of the divine spirit, and when it holds the divine spirit it soars heavenward; the wings picture its rising. The crescent in the heart symbolizes responsiveness; it is the heart that responds to the spirit of God that rises. The crescent is a symbol of responsiveness because it grows fuller by responding more and more to the sun as it progresses. The light one sees in the crescent is the light of the sun. It gets more light with increasing response, so it becomes fuller of the light of the sun. The star in the heart of the crescent represents the divine spark reflected in the human heart as love, which helps the crescent toward its fullness.”  http://wahiduddin.net/hik/hik_sufism_heart.htm

All Love,

Opal

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Oh, The People We Meet

A friend of mine told me recently, “You need to contact Marci Cagen. You and her are interested in the same things”.  And, so, I did.

I still haven’t met her, but I will next week.  She offered me the opportunity to share a yoga nidra session at her Women’s Empowerment Group.  I am humbled…and EXCITED to FINALLY connect with her.

She and I are interested in the same things.  I feel that each one of us knows what we need to do to heal ourselves, to guide our lives–if we can get quiet and listen to ourselves AND if we find the courage, get the support to honor our truths.  When I entered into my recovery, I was stumbling and bumping around amongst the options out there.  I started in the mainstream path, being as I worked at a prestigious medical institution and was immersed in the “throw a pill at it” environment.

I tried that approach and had some relief for which I am grateful for, but I knew it was wrong for me to have that be the only thing I did to get better.  I knew I had to dig deeper, that there was something more that would lead me to the root of my addictive habits so I could pull them up from there.  So, I went on a mission.  Yoga, meditation, herbs, acupuncture, Ayurveda, DBT, Reiki and EMDR are a few tools I have in my toolbox.

I’m still rooting things out that don’t serve my wholeness and path of providing warm, loving  guidance for others on the journey to discovering their truth.

Here’s an excerpt from Marci’s website:

 I believe we each hold the innate ability to heal our lives,
on all levels. Nothing about my approach is ever right or
wrong.’ I simply present tools that can be learned and
applied as needed. I will act as a guide as you begin to
develop and understand new awarenesses that can
create permanent change in your life, empowering YOU
to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

This is a woman I want to know.  She’s doing important work in this world and I am honored to support the women that will attend her monthly Women’s Empowerment Group next Wednesday.  Yoga nidra, a deep, guided meditation, supports empowerment by getting the junk that is holding us back, keeping us small, out of our subconscious and unconscious.

Today, just a few hours before I sat down to write this, someone I know got the news that her best friend had just lost her life to addiction. This very morning.  She was young, really young.

As I sat with my hand on my friend’s shoulder and looked at her teary face, listening to her talk I thought how lost and empty so many women, younger and older can feel.

We need each other, we need natural healing tools.  We need to do our self-care.  And I am going to do my part to make some modalities available to others.  I am here to serve.  I am here to love.

Heart Opening

Polishing The Rust Off

What a week.  An amazing one.  I feel so…just in awe of life, the magic that is unfolding everywhere!

My spiritual practice is deepening, tremendously.  Having my Spiritual Guide enter my life is bringing profound transformation, and I am in awe that we found our way into one another’s lives.  In the Sufi path, it is often said that, with our spiritual path we are polishing the rust off of our hearts so that our true, radiant nature can shine through.

I’ve been through some stuff in my life.  I’ve been doing some work for some time to open up and heal.

I didn’t know that darned heart of mine was that rusty.  I wasn’t clear on the work I needed to do to really wake up to life at the deepest of levels, in the most phenomenal of ways.  No one I have ever met or worked with in my healing journey was attuned enough to what was going on with me to know how to support me.

As I participated in the Dances of Universal Peace last eve and looked many beautiful souls right in the eye fearlessly as they looked me in the eyes, fearlessly, another layer of rust was removed,  another layer of awareness of my tendency to shield my heart from others, from all that life offers, was revealed.  After leaving the Dances, I felt so cleansed, so alive, so connected to everything and everyone around me.

I think that the nature of our cultures structure also contributes to rusty, closed hearts.  There are so many things to distract us from allowing our heart to unfold to it’s capacity.

In the dawn of this realization of mine, my AMAZING friend Connie Hozvicka (http://www.dirtyfootprints-studio.com) and I are co-leading a Heart Opening yoga and art journaling experience for women on Saturday,  July 19 from 5-8 pm.  This was planned before I started to realize what was truly going on in my heart, and as my this realization has came around, it has confirmed to me that this workshop is just what us women need to help us open up even more and live the most vibrant lives possible.

And…treats will follow. No heart opening is complete without sweet treats!

~We hope you join us, we do have room for a few more wonderful women to participate~

Register right here:  http://www.feedyoursoulyogatherapy.com/events-workshops/

Heart Opening

Join Me In July And Uncover Your Creative Side

We are all creative.

Yes, that is the truth.  And my dear, dear friend Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio is a gifted artist and guide who helps many women uncover the volumes of creativity that lies within them.

She and I both know from experience that a powerful way to access our creativity is through gentle movement and a gentle approach to art journaling.

On Saturday, July 19th from 5 to 8 PM, Connie and I will be leading a very nourishing, juicy workshop called HEART OPENING at Feed Your Soul Yoga Studio in Tempe, Arizona.

Together we are crafting a journey that will guide you through gentle yoga poses, sweet heart meditation, and a beautiful art journaling experience intended to open your heart and help lift the weight of the world so that you can shine like the radiant Soul that you are.

No experience with either yoga or art journaling is required. Simply come with an open mind, a willingness to open your heart, a yoga mat, and an art journal.

What Comes After The Fourth Of July?

The fifth.  Which means…

a two-hour restorative yoga and gong event open to everyone!  Preparing for and experiencing a holiday can be stressful, even if it is in a good way.

Take some time to unwind and let restorative yoga postures and a gong bath help to detoxify you from that stress and, possibly, any over-indulgences of the Fourth.

You are worth it.  Balance all of that going and running around with some you downtime~

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-gong-buddhist-monastery-kathmandu-nepal-image30073325

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Fourth of July Celebration!

I don’t know about you other folks in recovery, but holidays can be a bit turbulent.  They aren’t as internally turbulent as they used to be now that I never have one single craving for a drink, but a little tension and friction can arise.  The intensity isn’t always about cravings for me, sometimes it is about the impacts my addiction had on my life prior to my awareness that I needed to change, and I needed to change a lot if I were to have a healthy life with healthy people in it.

I am still transforming and I hope that continues for the rest of my days on this beautiful planet.

Yoga and my Sufi spiritual practices are what I thank for the deep internal shifts that unfold for me.  And the loving support of my friends, my Spiritual Guide, my animals as well as my students who teach me more than they know.

The Fourth may be a holiday, but addictive habits don’t go on holiday.  Neither does a yoga teacher and a gong player who are in service to others in recovery.  I will be teaching my regular Y12SR (Yoga and the 12-Steps of Recovery) class from 6-8 pm on Friday, and it will be a super-yummy restorative yoga class with a gong sound bath.  Followed up with healthy (yes, healthy) chocolate peppermint brownies.

The “meeting after the meeting” this Friday will be a hike to the top of Piestewa Peak to see the fireworks and finish off our celebration of our independence from our experience of addiction.  We should have the best view of all for the local fireworks celebrations.

My friend Mike of Mindful Hike Arizona will be leading the hike.  Here is the information from him about the hike:

NOTE: The next mindful hike in Phoenix will be a night hike on July 4th.
We will be hiking to the top of Piestewa Peak at 845pm to get a spot to
watch fireworks displays all over the valley. I did this hike last year
and it was really a lot of fun and necessitates that you go mindfully UP
and Down a darkened mountain. It will be hot and dark and we will be at
the summit for over an hour so please bring plenty of water and snacks…it
is not necessary, but a headlamp might also be helpful. If there are any
takers for this hike, please email me as soon as possible so we can get a
head count and coordinate carpooling/parking.

His email is:  mindfulhikeaz@gmail.com, so if you are going to join us for this AMAZING experience, please send a shout out to him so he can prepare.

Celebrate the new, vibrant life you have committed to and are creating in an incredibly healthy, nourishing, connected way.  You deserve it.  See you in a few days!

Love, Opal

Y12Sr new flyer Opal PNX

Wow. My Dream Has, and Is, Manifesting.

I went to yoga teacher training because yoga saved my life.  Yoga made my recovery possible, and still does.  Every single day.

I dreamed of having yoga for recovery classes in different areas of the Valley.

Now I do.  Thanks to the support and guidance of many wonderful mentors and Divine Guidance.

Sunday, I will teach the first Freedom From Addiction class at my studio in Tempe (you can find out more here: http://www.feedyoursoulyogatherapy.com/class-descriptions/).

Then, I drive to Acacia Internal Medicine (20040 N 19th Ave, Phoenix) to teach a Y12SR class, the very first in the North Valley and one of only of three Y12SR classes available in all of Arizona!  How cool is that?

Y12SR stands for Yoga and the 12 Steps of Recovery and truly helps to make many of the concepts in the 12 Step traditions more of an experience for you, more of a tool than just an idea.  You will be amazed at the transformation, not to mention detoxification, strength and flexibility that will be created on your mat.  Y12SR is not affiliated with the 12 Step Programs nor is it a substitute for working a 12 Step program.

Explore more about Y12SR here:  http://www.y12sr.com.

What an honor to be of service to those courageous souls walking the path of sobriety every day, just like me.

Hope to see you lovely people somewhere soon!

All Love,

Opal