A Masterpiece & A Work in Progress, Simultaneously

As much as I want to not care what people think…sometimes I do worry what people think….maybe because I worry they’ll misunderstand my process. Not because I feel like I have to…but because I want to make sure I’ve explained it clearly. I hate being misunderstood. It’s something I face all the time.

I am not someone who puts my best face forward all the time. I do sometimes and enjoy it. I also want to show the hard days and the in-between days. I posted a glimpse from a hard moment that was about a trigger I had on my personal facebook page yesterday and am so grateful it was handled with care and well received and supported.

But…I wonder about the after effects, not just about that post…but overall. How will I be perceived now? I guess it’s a little bit of a vulnerability hangover.  These questions arise:

Will people think I’m too broken to take me seriously and will this put people off from following my work?

But the truth is I don’t believe that I’m broken if I am grounded in inner wholeness and know that I am aligned with Original Blessing. I fully acknowledge that I am a work in progress AND a masterpiece. Simultaneously.

masterpiece work in progress sophia bush

This quote gives me life. It’s so honest and so true. 

And then I go back to the zone of not caring what people think. The little boost I need to remind me that it’s okay. I’ve used my voice and said what I needed to say and it is what it is. What people think is not my responsibility.

There are so many instances of both/and. We can be walking contradictions. We can be both perfect and imperfect. We can be soft and strong. Fierce and tender.  Maybe they’re not so much contradictions as contrasts or variations on a spectrum. I am the fierce mama bear I need for myself, and I am also tender and nurturing. It can feel confusing if you let other people tell you that you’re only one thing. But last time I checked rainbows come with more than one color. Multifaceted, prisms of light, rays of sunshine. Different timbres. Celebrating our unique differences and honoring the light that is in all of us. Sameness was never the goal. Resonance is.

“…we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. Surely we must have a little–however little–native luminosity?

-C.S. Lewis

Being a masterpiece and embracing our inner wholeness doesn’t mean we have our head in the clouds, but that we’re choosing to embrace every part…all our paradoxes. Holding joy in one hand and grief in the other. The light & the dark. “Darkness is as light to you…”

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
    For You the night is just as bright as the day.
    Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

Psalm 139:12 VOICE

“The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings.” 

Parker Palmer

So here we are…walking each other home. Being kind with each other in each of our masterpiece-in-progress selves.

IMG_8366

 

Advertisements

Bedtime Meditations for Kids

I wanted to do a bedtime meditation last night but I couldn’t find any prayers that I liked for littles. Silly me, I got this. I didn’t need to search for ideas outside, when I had everything I need within. So tonight I just did what I do and we breathed and prayed together.

See, I don’t want to just teach him yoga, I want him to be equipped to handle big emotions with deep breaths, but also teach a more mindful approach to prayer and not a weird creepy version of toxic or over spiritualized Christianity.

A faith that empowers him and is liberating, not ill-fitting.
Unforced rhythms.
Freely and lightly.
Soft and tender.
Age appropriate.
And would be natural based on how we interact already and who I am.


26804344_1953298908221027_8237792996059362627_n

This bedtime meditation prayer was magic.

✨🙏✨
Get settled. Seated with little one on your lap so they can feel your inhales and exhales. Begin with a couple inhales and exhales.

I decided to do an embodied prayer of thanks.

Beginning with our hearts, and touching on topics and body parts he’s familiar with, I merely said thank you for our heartbeats and our breath, pausing here to inhale and exhale again.

Then I went to the five senses. Thank you for eyes so we can see, ears to hear, noses to smell and breathe (inhale audibly with nose) or make sniffing sound.

For hands and touch, as I gently caressed his upper back and tops of his shoulders.
For mouths and tongue that can taste the yummy Mac and cheese. (his dinner) This was a fun one.
🙏
Then I went back to our hearts and the hearts of all those he loves, by name.
Lots of thank you’s.
🙏
Then, thank you for always being with us, for taking care of us, and those we love. Thank you for your angels and watching over us and being together with us and in every breath we take.
🙏
I then named a few big prayer requests and let Eben hear my heart prayers, some pretty big ones. His little heart was so affirming, such a tender moment to share some of my deepest prayers and desires, to speak them aloud in the presence of a fellow human.
🙏
We prayed for restful, peaceful sleep. For happy dreams about puppies and Nemo and Dory. He liked that idea.
🙏
He really seemed to enjoy it and slept soundly and it helped him sleep restfully all night. And if it’s something you would like to try, just go for it.

Forget what you think it “should” be and do what feels natural, age appropriate and don’t be afraid of speaking your own heart prayers aloud. (Unless you don’t want them repeating anything to strangers lol) I think there was a special moment between us when I shared honestly. Tonight thank you’s felt welcome, and gave us ways of looking back at our day and some of the highlights, in a kind of examen sort of way, now that I think about it.

Would you like to see more of these bedtime meditations for tinies? Let me know.

I’m definitely adding this to our nightly routine. 🙏

The Cult of Following

mike-wilson-263700

https://unsplash.com/@mkwlsn (image credit) 

I read something today that brought on sadness, frustration, a mini-migraine, and a bit of a mini-crisis. Just a few raw thoughts follow today.

It reminded me of how easy it is to find yourself somewhere you never meant to end up.

How do intelligent people get caught in cults or manipulative or abusive groups? Here’s a hint. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

We see this in marketing too. (And keep in mind marketers use psychology…so there’s that..) *Side note: Reason #1009 why I love Tad Hargrave from Marketing for Hippies. I also have a mini crush on him.*

There are two large competing essential oil companies and there are people I know, love and respect in both. And I have my own personal oil stash primarily from one…but I also have some from the other so I have oils from both. My sister likes one, I like the other…but I use both now. There was a time that I wanted to pursue additional training to help build my own Oily Business with the “upline’s” in the group I joined (not my sponsor who was very laid back and open handed about the process)…but some of the pre-training material language was immediately off-putting and manipulative or coercive, in addition to cherry picking a Bible verse to “prove” her point (which was completely out of context). (And this was just the sign-up process…which demanded you would make “no excuses” during the business “bootcamp” training period. Gross.

Then there are the food groups/diets/eating plans/lifestyles. The enthusiasm and benefits are touted. And I suppose it would only be fair to say this about yoga too. And cross-fit…so I’ve heard…lol.

I guess it’s not that word-of-mouth is wrong…but remember your experience is rarely duplicated. What “works” for one person, may not be the best _____(fill in the blank)____ for your friend.

Each creates a sort of cult following.

Churches promote small groups and attendance by enticing friendships and the overused and under-explained “community,” or worse, by calling it “family.” The peer pressure. The overspiritualized language. The bait of “belonging.” Formulas: do this “x” and get that “y.”

Imperfect people create imperfect organizations and companies.

But when is enough, enough? When do you draw the line in the sand or burn the bridge? When do you blow the whistle and call them out and demand accountability?

There is a big difference between imperfect and toxic; between imperfect and abusive; imperfect and manipulative.

Where do we go from here? More awareness. More freedom. Room for healthy skepticism and questions. Not fear.  Pursuing wholeness and freedom and spiritual health is a wholistic/holistic journey. No more shame throwing. No more judgment throwing or dualism. Permission to ask hard questions. Space and room to ask those questions and have them asked of you…and without being defensive or exclusive.

I’m going from memory..but I think in the book Families where Grace is in Place it talks about how unhealthy families that keep secrets become very defensive, reactive, and will quickly reject anyone who is not going to play along and turn them into an outsider, excommunicating, banishing or ostracizing them rather than sending them on with grace and understanding. (And unhealthy families aren’t just about your biological families, but can relate to other groups as well, including churches and religious groups or clubs even).

This is not to say that defensive is always a negative reaction…but it can be symptomatic, and being made an outsider…well that is a gross feeling, even when you have chosen to leave…to be told you’re kicked out…even after you have already left is a very strange, icky feeling.

Is it enough to just say that not everything is for everyone? Or that abuse of power can happen slowly, subtly and creep up on you, just like the frog who dies a slow death while cooked at a low temperature rather than a fast boil.

Does this resonate? Where have you noticed the cult of following?

Feminine Wholeness Includes Sexuality | My Favorite Resources

Back in August I posted this on Instagram,
bw sexy selfie

So I’ve been thinking about some recent conversations I’ve had and wondering if any of you beauties would be interested in reading some of my favorite resources for breaking free from repressed sexuality and harmful purify culture? Embracing the skin you’re in and shedding shame? That last one was a huge game changer for me. I’ve got books, my favorite teachers and mentors and amazing online havens. It will probably take a week or so to put together so let me know if you want to see it! 💘💌🍇🌺🐯👑

And it was met enthusiastically. So I am excited to finally share the following resources: books, links, Instagram accounts, teachers and guides that have been helpful on my journey, and continued journey of Feminine Wholeness and Embodied Faith.

Why?

Do you really need to ask why this is important? casual selfie SHE

The short answer is really simple. We are embodied spiritual beings and humans. I am a soul and I have a body, to borrow words from C.S. Lewis.  I am also a woman. As a woman and a person of faith, it is important to me to understand what it means to live in this skin, this flesh, this body, which just so happens to be female. I was never satisfied to live a life that was purely “spiritual.” After all, we’re not just spirit beings.  And we aren’t meant to be either. I grew up in purity culture, that icky sub-culture; cloaked in shame and unconscious body shame, under the guise of “modesty.” Guess what, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, modesty is just another word for shame. Not in its intent, or even original meaning, but in its impact. And impact must be looked at.

I am tired of being in groups with young women who feel compelled to confess their shame because they falsely believe they are committing sin. I was one of those young women. Until I read Ruby Slippers, Eve’s Revenge and Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers blog, and any thread or question of shame was completely erased when I began reading and following the Feminine Wholeness work of Morgan Day Cecil. (All of these lovely people and resources are listed below.)

legs

It’s actually possible to carry shame even if you’ve never crossed any physical boundaries. Surprised?

My jaw dropped as I began reading the blog of Dr. Tina Sellers and her research on purity culture and the negative impacts it has left behind. One fact astounded me most of all. One of her blog articles talked about the impact and symptoms of repressed sexuality in a marriage were similar to those of sexual abuse. Two extremes. One more traumatic, while the other was not healthy. It’s both completely mind-boggling and revealing. I believe it points to the fact that we are sexual beings and repressing that fact does no one any favors.

This is a Good Body

Here’s a bit more of my own words from a few years ago during a really important challenge on instagram.

August 4th, 2015
I snagged a pic from over a year ago when I had just begun yoga. I chose this picture because of the caption. “I wouldn’t be caught dead posting a pic of my middle but this pose somehow elongated it, so I was okay with it” When I look at this photo now, I love it, it’s beautiful, it’s Wild Thing, it’s strength + freedom.

thisisagoodbody

I have only just begun uncovering the lies + shame that I carry in my body – the weight of being a woman.  My healing journey began 2 years ago when I read an incredibly healing book called Eve’s Revenge: Women & a Spirituality of the Body by Lilian Calles Barger. She walks through the ways that religion + the church have taken poor directions both for women and the human body. Instead of a wholistic perspective, as it was created to be, it became separate. The human body became divorced from spirituality + has created an avalanche of hurts and problems. We were not created to be separate.

I always felt that I was a pretty confident, positive self-esteemed, kind-a gal. But the negative voices came from too close to home & lodged themselves like cheap shots – well intentioned but absolutely harmful. My dad thought it was funny to tell me to “get some abs”. It struck a chord as I already wished my stomach was smaller & flatter than it was. I have gone face to face with the lie of “not good enough” my entire life & this just amplified that.

What I’ve discovered over the past 2 years is just how much shame I’ve carried in my body.  The shame of Not-Good-Enough. Somewhere along the road I actually believed I was larger or “fatter” than I really was, when I looked in the mirror, my perception was barely tolerable, eh, it was okay.  I uncovered these lies & areas of shame at the same time that I began practicing yoga & seeing myself for who I really was in that moment. I saw my body grow stronger, & suddenly, for the first time I believed that I was beautiful, not just acceptable or pretty enough, or a pretty face or nice legs, but all of me, the whole me was beautiful. I began experiencing God’s love FOR me, all of me.

I am learning to love this good body he gave me. This is a good body.

 SHE_selfie

Important distinctions and verbiage:

“Our Western Christian tradition often has given the impression, and at times explicitly taught, that this tension is primarily between the soul and the body. • The result has been a denigration of the human body and a distrust of our deepest physical energies. The biblical term ‘the flesh’, which refers to the sinful tendency in us to disregard our inmost self, incorrectly has been equated with ‘the body’.

‘The flesh’ and ‘the body’ in the New Testament are *different concepts.* The consequences of the confusion has been disastrous.

We have ended up obscuring the truth that our bodies are made in the image of God. When St. Paul teaches that we are to live ‘according to the spiritRATHER than ‘according to the flesh‘, he is NOT suggesting that 👉 we should NOT live according to the body.

(an importance distinction❗️)

It is precisely IN our bodies that we are to live according to the spirit, rather than allowing ourselves, including our bodies, to be dictated to by what is opposed to our inmost being.

The invitation is to be liberated, to be reconciled to what is deepest in us instead of being held in bondage to what is false in us.”

excerpt from Echo of the Soul: The Sacredness of the Human Body by J. Philip Newell

attitude

Books

Kind of in order that I went through them. Oh, and I’ve mentioned some of these before (they’re that good, and they’ve been that helpful so I may borrow a few of my previous words, again.) This is really just a starting place, not comprehensive by any means, and not including books I read years ago that I don’t necessarily agree with, anymore, or ever. (I’m looking at you, Captivating. *eye roll) There are some good titles out there…and some awful titles too. If you’re looking for help navigating who to trust…pay attention to the author’s worldview and theological bent. Believe me, everyone has an agenda. And I’m no longer willing to entertain the bent that says women need to submit to men. Jesus never asks that of me, so I shan’t.

Eve’s Revenge: Women & A Spirituality of the Body
by Lilian Calles Barger

1169902

To read my description of this important book go here:

Ruby Slippers by Jonalyn Fincher

51bf58mvrl-_sx342_bo1204203200_

Heart Made Whole

by Christa Black Gifford

Heart_Made_Whole

Other more spiritual / faith / theological / books about / for and from women that are solid and not ill-fitting: Any and everything by Carolyn Custis James, Sarah Bessey, Kathy Escobar, Danielle Shroyer. You won’t find any corsets here.

Additional Books I recommend but haven’t actually read in full or am still in the middle of, but based on their previous work, blog posts etc, I am eager to read and are on my list. 

Echo of the Soul: The Sacredness of the Human Body by J. Philip Newell
Sex, God, & the Conservative Church by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers
Be sure to also check out her blog and facebook page:

erase sexual shame

Blogs:

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Morgan Day Cecil: Feminine Wholeness: 

Basically, everything you need is here–there. So please go follow her, check out her site, sign up for her emails, read her blog posts and take a yoga class on her youtube channel. You won’t regret it. She also has an excellent organized book list by topic. So check it out! 🙂

 

Instagram Accounts:

Morgan Day Cecil: Feminine Wholeness
@morgandaycecil

Romance & Adventure:  The Cecils
@romanceandadventure

This Is A Good Body Stories Archive
#thisisagoodbody

Christa Black Gifford
@christablackgifford

Final thoughts. 

The best advice I’ve been given by my amazing Feminine Wholeness Coach is (in my own words)

  • No more shame.
  • It’s a good idea not to use sex as an escape. But don’t be afraid of pleasure. 😉

Be free, dear sisters, whether you’re single and unattached or otherwise entangled. Be free of your shame. Here’s a parting poem to encourage and embolden you:

walt whitman - dismis whatever insults your own soul

*Amazon Affiliate links have been added for each book listed, should you decide to purchase a book, following my link simply means that I can receive a small commission that helps support my work. I only link to things that I wholeheartedly recommend and/or use myself.*

Begin Again

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left [God].

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

new year begin again

I can begin again.
Life can begin again.
Today I begin again.
A new year to love myself.
A new year to love those around me.
A new year to shed the weight of expectations.
A new year to embrace all of me.
A new year to be fully present.
A new year to step forward, one step at a time, inch by inch.
A new year to say yes to all the good things.

A new year to embrace all of who I am. Body, heart, mind, & soul.
A new year to take flight & take up my space.
A new year to hope again, believe again, & reconstructing.
A new year to be equipped, empowered, enlightened and embodied.
A new year to be rooted and grounded in Love Divine.
A new year of freedom.
A new year to teach what I know.
A new year to be unapologetically, wonderfully me.
A year of wholeness.

The Language of Freedom

If you’ve known me for a while, you may or may not have noticed that my language has shifted. I’ve drastically cut back on the “religious” language that I use. This is completely intentional. It is part of my healing. It is part of my attempts at sobriety from religious addiction and trauma. Our subcultures and super-sub-subcultures have got to change.  We’re going around in circles talking about things we don’t even mean nor do we know how to say what we mean. We’re padding ourselves with religious bubble-wrap and cushioning, to keep ourselves safe. Hashtag blessed (hear the sarcasm?) From what exactly? From people who are different than us?


The language we use is very telling; and, very important. Pointed,  jagged, sharp, loaded and painful, hurtful words can sound like this:

submit, obey, character, trust, faith, choice, direction, death, self, die-to-self, surrender, sacrifice.


Here’s an example: “Your character needs to grow/change/improve.”

And slowly the word “character” digs sharper and sharper into my chest like a dagger. It sounds more like this. “We don’t like you the way you are. You need to be better. You don’t look like / operate like/ conform like us.” What is this, the survival of the fittest, most ultra spiritual person?

“You need to trust God.” or the accusatory, “You don’t trust God.”

Loaded. Bang. Bang. Do you hear it?


Oftentimes it becomes necessary and healthy to take a step back from the thorns that have entangled the true and good meaning of these words, and look again with fresh eyes at their true meaning and remove the religious stigma and legalism, and religious and spiritual addiction and spiritual manipulation, abuse and triggers.

Faith and trust can become gentle, and even trustworthy again.

A deeper listening and mindful awareness of the power of control, self-control and free will. The will to make decisions and power to consent.

Bodies and hearts are good. Intuition and wisdom are good. Paying attention, being aware and mindful of what’s going on inside your body and outside and noticing how your body is reacting or responding to various stimuli.

We don’t have to embed religious language into everything we do in order to “redeem” it. In fact, it can be quite dangerous, and unhealthy. Because you stop thinking for yourself (with your God-given brain) and you become a religious parrot, which we are not called to be. Our uniqueness and diversity is to be celebrated. You are a poem, did you know that? Our unique gifts and abilities; gifted to each one.

I dare you. Pay attention to your language. Use your thesaurus and your own words. It takes practice and it will take time. This is so important.

Not only are others desperate for this fresh, raw language, many of us on the fringes are in need of words that don’t hurt and burn and scar and wound and push us farther away.

language of freedom blog graphic

One Year Ago | A Uhaul & Unforced Rhythms

IMG_2599

One year ago I loaded up all my belongings from my second floor apartment into a small Uhaul squeezed in our narrow alley along with the help of some dear friends and their friends and escaped from some really toxic relationships. To this day, I still have a couple kitchen boxes packed. I drove over 400 miles in a Uhaul truck and moved in with my sister and became my nephew’s nanny; arriving at about 11pm that night. We took care of each other and I found refuge there with my family.

IMG_2797

I’ve walked with Jesus the whole way. It was his words in Matthew (below) that signaled that it was time to go. And he’s never left my side, he’s always been with me. I may never understand how I ended up where I did, or why it got as bad as it did, but what I do know is that He was the one who rescued me.  He was the One who provided a way out, along with the help my family and some very dear friends. He was the original rebel; rejecting rules and religious addicts and bad religion. (cue the Gungor song, Bad Religion)

IMG_2630

When I found myself unable to say the words it is well with my soul,” I knew my soul was not well. I will say it, and quote this ’til my last breath, a healthy soul is an integrated soul.” (Dallas Willard words to John Ortberg in Soul Keeping) It is so critically important. 


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (AMP)

IMG_2715.JPG

So I rested. and rested and rested.

28 Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” (TLB)

image1-2.JPG
And I began to recover my life. With room to breathe. Room to reconnect with who I really am, not a restrictive, distorted, lifeless, suffocated version of me.
I learned that so-called holy words were twisted and forced on me and used against me. My entire being, my spirit was torn down, there was no building up. I wasn’t enough for them. I was too much for them. I wasn’t accepted for who I was and for who and how God designed me.
 

This is the face of freedom, just a few days after my move:

IMG_2816

Lorde (the artist/singer/songwriter) sings a haunting song that resonates with me. It is one of the things that was said to me, almost verbatim. She sings:
‘They say, You’re a little much for me
You’re a liability
You’re a little much for me”
So they pull back, make other plans
I understand, I’m a liability
Get you wild, make you leave
I’m a little much for
E-a-na-na-na, everyone’

Since that day, I have moved again, this time flying back to California with my nephew and a much lighter load, in more than one sense of the word. Just one year on with four years of trauma behind me and I still have a long road of recovery. It’s been a hard, lonely road; pursuing a healthy soul is no easy road but it is a spacious road of freedom.
 
IMG_0788.PNG

If you’ve experienced spiritual trauma and been hurt by the church, you are welcome here. I hope to offer spiritual sobriety here, soul care, and compassion, both for ourselves, and for each other. That is my commitment to you. Your story, your voice, your feelings are valid and you’re invited here, whether you join me on your mat in a class or online. And I’m always down for a latte and a conversation. Not everything is appropriate or ready for public consumption, and only you will know when you’re ready to tell your story, and how.

Taking My Voice Back | One Year Later

She devoted no less than half her life, time, resources, education to becoming a worship leader. Hours of practice, voice lessons, and conferences and studying, and a degree in music. Listening, taking notes, writing, reviewing, again and again. Saying yes to opportunities when they arose. Women’s retreats, women’s groups. Finding the courage to seek out more opportunities. Looking for places to belong.

And in one conversation she gave her voice away.


I should have asked more questions, taken more time to pray and contemplate what I was doing. I believed (falsely) that because someone “said so” that I needed to do what I was told.

Because I was a religious addict and thought I needed to ask permission and follow the rules even when they went against everything I believed in. I gave my power away. I settled for rules and shoved it all into a box that was ill-fitting, fit myself into a corset that wasn’t made for me. I forgot about free will and choice and using my mind and trusting the Voice within to guide me.

The problem is I never stopped believing in my calling. I just gave up, with the calling still burning inside me.

I tried to pretend that I was okay with it and even made stories up to convince myself that was the way it was going to be. I figured out a way to tell a new story, one that didn’t include music but I didn’t believe it at all. I was numb.

After a couple of years of trying to put out the fire, it became relentless, burning within me. How could I NOT do the one thing I knew I was born to do? What made me come alive, what filled my soul and brought joy to my soul, and healing to others?

It’s no wonder I became a shell of a person. I had lost my purpose and it wasn’t coming back.


Again and again, I asked. And every time the gatekeepers said “no.”

They said “no” to being who I was created to be.
They said “no” to allowing me to be myself.
They said “no” to the gifts I had to offer.
They said “you’re too much.”
They said “you’re not enough.”
They said “there’s nothing you can do to participate”.
They said my dreams needed to die.

Everything I had laid bare and had been vulnerable about was used against me.

Well, they succeeded — my soul was dead.
It’s enough to make a girl go mad.


After four years I said enough; I took my voice back and I walked away.

blog-graphics-taking-my-voice-back

Breathe Love Give | Holy Yoga Riverside | May 27th

*Note: This event took place in 2017 and has now passed.*

“I had forgotten what peace felt like.  I had forgotten what I felt like.  It was the first time I felt complete removal of the monster inside.  I felt the first few beats of the heart that had died a year previous.  I felt alive and I felt hope.  I started my path to healing that day.  Yoga literally saved my life.  It brought me to a place of safety to be able to find a way to heal my PTSD.”  – Heidi Williams

*****

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
I’ve always had survivors of trauma on my heart, for as long as I can remember. One encounter took place when I embraced a woman who had recently been rescued. It was an event and all I did was sing a couple songs and she was moved, and her response and her presence absolutely overwhelmed me. I know that music has a way of speaking to our hearts and wrapping loving arms around those deeply broken places.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, I got to hear firsthand how my donations from last year’s Global campaign for Breathe Love Give were used, for new bathroom facilities and training and resources for those who work with survivors in India and around the world. I love that yoga and music have a powerful way of bringing us together to help empower and resource trauma workers and survivors. It would be my honor, and I say this trembling because I don’t know if anyone will come, but, with trembling holy confidence. We will be in an indoor location so your girl can bring her keyboard and sing for you. But if this too, is on your heart, would you, maybe think about coming? And if you have a love language that includes food, or baked goods, or some other creative endeavor that you would like to bring? A live painting? Anything.

This is not about me. This is about giving all I have and inviting you into it. See, I wasn’t even going to do an event. Who me? I am just starting, I’m new, just stepped off the training boat. I don’t know the teachers in my area yet. But, guess what, two of us are joining together for something we can’t even dream or imagine. Ready or not, diving in the deep end. Here we go!!

*****

Join me on your mat for a Breathe Love Give class in Rancho Cucamonga, CA as we take an outward focus and become agents of healing and change for survivors of trauma around the globe!

*LOCATION: 9255 Base Line Rd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
(at Summit Christian Church)
*Live acoustic worship with Lori Joanne Music*
*Holy Yoga Flow taught by Hannah Ford*
*Give-what-you can, donations go to Holy Yoga Global Outreach.

Breathe Love Give is our collective outreach within Holy Yoga where we seek to create opportunities for those who have survived trauma to find healing from the inside out. Each individual that attends helps make that happen for an individual they may never meet! To learn more about the Breathe Love Give campaign check out this page: https://holyyoga.net/outreach/

Any questions, let us know 🙂 Please share, if you would.

Loved Back to Life: Redemption

n56905082_32011958_7475

I studied music with a calling to lead worship. I was honored to have space to do this for several years. But I was restless. I attempted to get work at churches unsuccessfully for a countless number of years. Countless number of resumes and interviews, just to get my foot in the door. I was willing to settle for anything at that point.

apu angel
Seeking, I spent a year long process applying and joined cru in 2011. While I loved our training, I crashed and burned and still felt out of place as far as gifts and interests went. Support raising was impossible. Broken and hungry for purpose and new direction I moved to chicago on a “mission.”

IMG_1693

My voice was taken away from me. (And I don’t mean my vocal chords). I lost all meaning and purpose in my life. For months I described my state as feeling like an empty carcass. Yeah. I felt like shit. Eventually, my body began speaking to me through anxiety. As we learned this week at retreat, “listen to your body for it knows before you do!” This has been so true in my experience.

lori and sarah W IMG_9433

I found refuge in Holy Yoga Chicago. Experiential worship through movement and prayer in stillness and listening. I was loved back to life as I attended weekly classes with Sarah at Greatly Gracious.

I believe the reason God led me to Chicago was to find my way to Sarah’s class that first night and to be rescued. I came back every single week, for two years. That was three years ago. The same year I attended HY Touch training with Jonnie and a month later attended the Soul Care retreat in St Louis with Jill, Laura, and Whitney. That was just the beginning.
IMG_9792
Every single encounter, every person I have met in this Yoga family has spoken LIFE to me.
IMG_0027
LOVED BACK TO LIFE.
img_0008.jpg
Redemption. Are you ready for this?

I have found myself in a worship ministry. A ministry of healing and soul care and holistic ministry. I will speak LIFE and hold space for others.

Quick Christmas (115 of 7)

How’s that for redemption?

I’m still amazed. I can’t wait for the rest. As I dream and step into this next season in great anticipation and HOPE.
18199376_10100756240485370_2765031062018236633_n

Pictured here with some of my LIFEgroup gals who have been just that: LIFE for the past 4 months.