March 6, 2017

betrayal.

betrayal.
you hurt.
you took something i thought
was mine
(my heart)
and you pulled it from within
me.
you edged a little closer then,
to the raw wound
and smiled into my eyes
as you stood on my heart,
it squishing between your toes
'nothing' you said
'nothing to see here'
and you walked away
leaving me thinking i was crazy
for seeing a truth
-
but that wound bled
and bled
until the blood revived
the heart still left at my
feet
and i
made a choice to pick it up
and neatly place it,
wounds and all, back into
my body.
and to love and nurture it more than i did before.
betrayal - you taught me trust, discernment and faith
(and the scars are there as a reminder)


February 28, 2017

dear grief

Dear Grief, 

Welcome back. 


At first I didn't realise it was you again. 
You often wear a mask. Sometimes it's anger, or fear, or a loss of control. At first instinct I think 'powerlessness'. But then I drop a layer deeper. 
And then, you gush. 
At times I wish you'd be a trickle, something I could have just a little more say in, or control over. (Maybe we could dialogue about your arrival so that your arrival is more convenient)
But you never, ever, are. 
And to be honest, that scares the shit out of me. 
I wonder how long I'll play host to you this time. I know you'll eventually dissipate and climb back into your cave until you hear the gentle whisper of my soul to return to surface. 
(You're a reminder of everything I lost. And everything I had. And everything that remains)
I imagine you gasping for breath in that moment, resurfacing begrudgingly but fully committed to your purpose. Sometimes I don't know where or how to hold you. 
I'ts awkward. 
I figure I could pretend you don't exist, stuff you down a little further. 
But. You. Keep. Coming. Back. 
You're loyal to me, Grief, I give it to you for that. Loyal, and persistent. 
I value and respect that. 
I thought I could kill you off with whisky, or sex, or exercise, or chocolate. Late night conversations with friends. Yoga. Meditation. 
But then I discovered these were just aids, things to help me hold you in a different light. 
I know you'll grow with me, Grief. But in a disproportionate way (I'm sure there's a word to describe this relationship of growth ...)
It will eventually be you who'll give your life for me, not the other way around. As I grow, you will bow down a little lower, until the ashes of you rest and land softly inside me as a constant reminder of the times I chose to hold, and host you, not push you away or put you aside. 
We'll get through this Grief: I know we will. 

We always do. 

Love, 
Kate x



Ps. Thanks Clare Bowditch for giving me inspiration to finally publish this letter which I wrote a while back - here are the words that encouraged me: 

"The thing about grief is
Few people know that the I goes before the E
And it's hard to give away because it's
The last thing you gave to me.
I've scrambled it together and

Collaged it in a lighted frame
Sometimes I'm scared to speak your name." 
(The thing about grief' song lyrics)

February 6, 2017

when it breaks

it's been a while, and then, boom, just like that and out of inside me come words flowing like they haven't been able to flow before.

when i was little and i broke a plate, i was terrified. i remember one time distinctly when i ran out of the house and along these wooden steps alongside our house, in tears after breaking a plate, only to find a carpet snake making it's personal journey of transformation out of its skin.

as if i wasn't already terrified, and then that snake bombed my journey! what i now see was happening, was the insight that comes from shedding your karma. which we do.
every time something breaks.

more recently, the one relationship of my adult life that was everything, broke.

to be fair, i think it had been broken for quite some time and it had been years (of which i can count) from the nine and a half, that my partner and i seemed to be slipping further and further away from one another. babies. toddlers. preschoolers. drop offs. pick ups. work. tending to the household on a daily basis. deciding to strengthen the relationship with myself after endless years of deeply caring for others. a mismatch of values. it doesn't really matter what or how it was, it broke.

the weirdest thing about how it broke is that i found myself, that same little girl, running through the world seeing carpet snakes everywhere. but i wasn't in tears, and i wasn't afraid, i was powerful and skilful and capable and able to direct myself and confidently put myself where i wanted to be.

except:

that i wasn't.

and everything i thought i was starting to build, slowly fell apart, too.

i moved out, and on, or so i thought. i worked hard and hard and harder.

and then i developed acne. small, painful pimples around my mouth that showed up when i least wanted them. powerful people who leave painful situations surely don't have pimples.

and then i realised after a long sojourn that involved a lot of things 'yogis wouldn't normally do', i was wounded. and what was deep within me wanted to break out, to scream out, to have the injustice and the pain and the utter brokenness of my heart and soul to be held.

somehow.

the fascinating thing at the time, that i had no idea about - was that I WAS THE HEALER. it was only me who could rise from that place with the same confidence, boldness and love that had seen me find the strength to leave in the first place. if i can birth two babies into the world with little support and lots of presence, then from this i will too heal.

if we listen to our bodies, we will hear what we need to heal - but we have to be willing to hear, and we have to be willing to heal. that's the deal.

we have to want it, we have to go there. to the parts of us that are fractured and broken. where the edges are sharp and maybe you have to put on special shoes to navigate around the space. i stumble, and make mistakes. i yoga. and fall. i pick myself up. i have even started to cry. i watch sunsets and breathe deep. i eat too much dark chocolate, cause it helps. i tune into the utter wonder that is my children. i dance, sometimes to nirvana, but mostly to deep house. in my kitchen, and anywhere else i can. i go into the salty underground, several times a day - she is my truest and most trustworthy friend.
i smile when i'm reminded of the gratitude in my heart.


is it worth it? you are.

is it confronting? daily

do i know where the journey is going?
mostly, yes, it's leading me to myself.

where are you going? be moving towards you.

big love peeps, big love x




November 15, 2016

the words on my soul

i'm not what you think i am
i'm not who you think i am
and i'll never be
what you want me to be

because
you see
so gently
i'm free
of what you want for me
or how you think i should be

i'm both lilith in the dark and mary poppins in the morning
i am absolutely everything
at different times
i'm fertile
and ripe
and devoid

i'm vast
and contained

open
and maintained

i am.

i belong
to
myself.

November 28, 2015

spiritual practices for when we hurt

Some of you may have read the last post I wrote and I loved receiving your messages of support, and shared sentiment. It really is in our collective intention that we will rise up and start to spread more of what we want to see in the world. 

But the thing that struck me most was that we all hurt differently. 

Same torturous event, different person, completely different hurt and process of healing. 

On a personal level, my hurt is ugly. It blames. I've been learning to love it, to be with it, to nurture it without seeing it act out - just watching the ugliness from afar and tending to it as the different manifestations of it arise. The anger. The betrayal. The rage. The feeling that you will never trust again. 

This quote from Pema Chodron has so inspired me to investigate all that is: 

"Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. That's the compassionate thing to do. That's the brave thing to do. We could smell that piece of shit. We could feel it; what is its texture, colour, shape? We can explore the nature of that piece of shit. We can know the nature of dislike, shame and embarrassment and believe there's not something wrong with that ... We can't just jump over ourselves as if we were not there. It's better to take a straight look at all our hopes and fears ..." 

The truth is, this is so incredibly challenging. The process of holding the space for ourselves is really a process of standing within ourselves, holding our own hands, silently whispering "it will be ok". Because everything will be ok, no matter what, you will make it through this. Trust yourself. 

Here are some of the practices I try to do, on a daily basis when hurt is overwhelmingly present: 

Metta Bhavana meditation practice

Metta bhavana literally translates as 'loving kindness' and the practice is a traditional Buddhist practice. It begins by dropping your awareness into the heart and cultivating a sense of tenderness, care and a general feeling of warmth. Sit with that for a while. Get a sense of how it is to be in your heart, and not in your head. The stories we create in our head can get messy, let the heart guide the way, even if it is only dipping in and out. 

Then silently or out loud, repeat the following: 

"May I be well
May I be at peace
May I feel connected
May I be free of suffering, and the roots of suffering" 

From here let your awareness reach out to a loved one, it might be a family member, or a dear friend, and then repeat

"May you be well
May you be at peace
May you feel connected
May you be free of suffering, and the roots of suffering"

Next, let your awareness reach out to someone towards whom you feel indifferent - it could be the bus driver, or the person who makes your morning coffee. Repeat the metta phrases above. 

Now, think of someone who you don't like. Try not to get caught up in the stories of hatred and send them the metta just as equally as the last people. 

Last, bring the four people back into your awareness, and then slowly visualise, with each breath you take, this metta spreading out into the surrounding neighbourhood, the city you live in, the country you live in, and then out across the oceans and lands and skies to everyone in the world. 

Offering thoughts and hopes of peace and love to people by whom we have been hurt doesn't mean we excuse the behaviour. What it means is that we can begin to see again who they are, beyond the hurt. Who are they? Someone who is deeply hurting, too. Someone, a human just like you, who at some time, somewhere, experienced the pain as deeply as you do right now. Why did they do it? Well, that's for another post! But simply, karma (it's not what you think). Things that help are to remind yourself that you're going to get through, that you have been provided with a platform here to grow, to really get into your shit and clean it up or maybe just sit in it for a while. 

Mantra

My two favourites for when we hurt are:

Lokah Samastah Sukhinoh Bhavantu = may all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of our own lives contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all

and 

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshwara, Guru sakshat, param Brahma, tasmai shri guravay namah = our creation is that guru; the duration of our lives is that guru; our trials, tribulations, illnesses, calamities and the death of the body is that guru. There is a guru nearby and a guru that is beyond the beyond. I make my offering to the beautiful remover of darkness, my ignorance; it is to you I bow and lay down my life. 

Chanting helps, do it in the shower or in the car. Do it every single time you notice yourself climbing into that place of suffering that is needless. It doesn't mean we don't feel what we are feeling, or stay there, it just means that alongside it we begin to discipline the mind. 

Read

Pema Chodron's book "When things fall apart" is timely and so incredibly powerful when the hurt becomes all you live with. Find someone with whose philosophy you resonate and read their stuff. It can help to offer up another perspective, practices and soften the edges of the experience. Try a novel, too - - if you're stuck in your head and struggling to sleep a novel can be the very thing to lull you into sleepfulness. 

Friends

Keep them close. The ones who cut you a key for their apartment so you can stay anytime, the ones who don't even ask what is going but just silently put the kettle on when you turn up to their house in tears, the ones who sit and listen until late and then lean over, put their arm around you and whisper into your ear "I am so sorry to see you hurting like this". Those friends. They are the ones you want to have hold you when you get to the point where you can't hold yourself. When you're cracked open - focus on these people who hold you in that vulnerable space, they are the nurses of your broken heart. They tend to you while you dream, pray and cry. They are the midwives of the new you who will be birthed. Let them wipe your forehead, hold your heart and ease the transition. 

Backbend

They open the heart and get the energy flowing where it is most needed. Respond to where you're at - if you're tired and overwhelmed just take a gentle sphinx pose for 5 minutes, or rest in supta badokonasana on a bolster with your arms out wide for a while. It doesn't have to be a wheel, or a bow, but it can be those too. When we tune into our body, the asana practice really becomes the mother of how we need to guide ourselves. Which way we go next, how long we stay for. 

Breathe deeply

When we are hurt, it can often trigger in us a deep sense of insecurity or fear. As a response, the sympathetic nervous system tells the body we're in danger, and this message activates the secretion of adrenaline (and other hormones) into the body system. Deep breathing helps to stimulate the vagus nerve, which initiates the relaxation response. The relaxation response is necessary for the body to heal, repair and renew. 

Go to places you love

This goes without saying really, but go where the soul deeply resonates. Nature knows. It has so many healing properties. Go listen to the waves, they echo the pulsing of the heart. Let the sun beat down on you and burn through the questioning. Allow the earth to hold the weight of how heavy you feel. And listen, listen to the whisperings that travel through the wind, they've got something just for you. 

If I can offer you anything during this time, it's to believe that you won't hurt forever but to trust in the process. We need to feel all that we feel and give space to that. We can't rush this process. We need to be as graceful and steady as a giant sea turtle, who walk their paths in peace and stick to it with determination and serenity. Trust me when I say you will get there, even if it feels like a long time, even if the injustice of what happened feels too strong to ever love or forgive or trust again.

Be patient with yourself, this is a period of intense growth and all things shift, change and evolve. 

With so much love, 
Kate x

Ps. For more on trust, go check out this: http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sessions/the-anatomy-of-trust/ (you won't be sorry)