When there are no words…

BeTheLight
The Light Surrounds Us

“The best work is done with either the heart broken or overflowing.”  Mignon McGlaughlin

A favorite quote of mine.  Sometimes the heart can be both broken and overflowing.

This past weekend was beautiful in California.  All the winter rain has brought spring flowers, blossoming trees and the most life-affirming color of green everywhere!  In the grasses, the leaves, the hillsides.

This past weekend was also my daughter’s 20th birthday.  On April 20th.  Which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  I remember calling my father in Denver to tell him he had a granddaughter (his first grandchild) and he said “Thank God something good happened today.” He then told me the tragic news that had happened in Colorado.  In the United States.  Right on this phone call, our hearts breaking and overflowing.

15 years later, living in Boulder, the baby now a teenager.  She was cutting her body.  Depressed.  Questioning life.  5 years ago today, I woke my daughter up at 5:30am and told her that we were getting on a plane.  We flew to Durango and 2 wholesome looking strangers walked up to us and took my daughter away.  (Staff from the Wilderness program her father and I had chosen.)  I never exited the airport, just got on the next flight back to Denver.

Yesterday I got a text from a friend:  “Call me when you can.”  My first thoughts were ‘who died?’ and ‘who has cancer?’.  The news:  A friend’s son had taken his life.  A howling black hole of wordlessness.  Tears.

All I could do is cry and play this Mantra.  Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Aykanna.  It is a mantra used to remove fear, anxiety and phobias.  It is a mantra to lift one out of despair.  “Chattr Chakkr Vartee is the mantra for the heart center, it gives direct energy to it. When you are sinking, if you know this mantra and can sing it, you can totally recuperate yourself.” — Yogi Bhajan

Meditation class last night – I’m leading a group for some of the parents of the preschool I work at.  Sweet, young parents of sweet, young children.  It’s all about being in the now, practicing presence.  I wondered how much to share at check-in.  I decided to tell the group what I was sitting with – talking about heart ache.  About child loss and parent grief.  Appreciating the ‘ALL’ of life.  Celebrating that both of my kids have bumped along in adolescence and for right now, just for today, they are both in such sweet places in their lives.  Heart overflowing with love for both of them.  It was a beautiful group, with tears, kindness and connection.  Heart overflowing with love for these sweet, earnest parents, and their worries and their struggles.

I taught them a Buddhist meditation, that my dear friend Sue taught me many years ago.  It’s my ‘go-to’ when there are no words.  When I don’t know what to do, or say.

Tonglen Meditation

“Tonglen is one of the richest and bravest practices that we can do.  This is one of the great meditation jewels that offers a way us to cultivate our natural mercy.”  Joan Halifax

The practice of Tonglen, or Giving and Receiving, is done to develop our compassion and our ability to be present for our own suffering and the suffering of others.  Pema Chodron teaches that Tonglen is a practice of  “sending and taking,” an ancient Buddhist practice to awaken compassion.  With each in-breath, we take in others’ pain.  With each exhale, we send them relief.  I like to think of myself as a being of light, composting the darkness.  Breathing in the sorrow, transforming it and exhaling out love.  

Get still, close your eyes, feel free to place your hands on your heart.  Inhale through the nose and breathe in any painful emotion that may be coming up for you (shame, anger, rage, fear, anxiety, frustration, judgement).  Stay neutral to the emotions, just breathe them in and allow them to be.  On the exhale through the nose, release these emotions and cultivate acceptance and compassion for yourself.  Allow the emotions to release through you and surround yourself with an energy of unconditional love.  

 

Note:  My daughter gave me permission to write and post this.

 

 

On Being a Woman

WomenFly

On Being a Woman

On this day, March 8th, International Women’s Day, I give thanks for being a woman. For navigating this country, this culture, as a woman. I am a strong, independent, tall, intelligent woman and it isn’t always easy or pretty to navigate in a predominantly man’s world. In fact, it can be a DRAG sometimes. But what lifts me UP are the WOMEN in my life. I love you. I see you.

For my Grandmother I bow at your feet.  You are softness and grace.  For my Mother I lay my head on your belly.  You are infinite and deep.  For my Daughter, I hold my arms wide.  You are sensitivity and grit – and so much more. You gave me the gift of experiencing unconditional love.

For my Sisters I give thanks.  You are Shakti and Mountain. I am inspired and awed by you! You keep on keepin’ on 24/7.  You are the ones, We are the ones, the Sisterhood.  You are all so beautiful.  Your reverence for beauty, for ceremony, for love, for children, for passion and sex, for life, for healing, for shining your lights and the commitment to be seen and heard.  Reminding each other of our gifts when we lose the way or forget. Powerful.

For gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and STILL making it delicious and nutritious and nourishing.  You SHINE with the undying light of your spirit.  Your kindness humbles.  Your wicked humor shocks and delights.  Your energy is palpable.

For the artists, the writers, the students, the moms, the divorced and still married – navigating, negotiating the FREE wild horses of you.  The solid rocks of you, the grieving of you.  The busy of you, tending, caring, giving generously – carrying me, loving me.  Claiming me.  Re-membering me, saving my place.  Crying with me, adorning me, laughing with me. Kissing my throat.   I humbly say thank you.

Thank YOU!

thanksAgain

My turn!  2017 has been quite a year and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you cheering me on (literally!) and sharing your love and kindness with me.  When I didn’t know how I was going to pull off Road School 2017, family, friends and strangers donated money and offered support and love throughout our journey.  When I needed to raise $2300 in order to walk in San Diego for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk, you gave.  When I was terrified to do my first Sprint Triathlon last month,  your love and encouragement got me through!  There are so many people who have lifted me up and shared their love and light with me.  I am forever changed and I know I am blessed to have you in my life.

Now I would like to give something to you:

This December, I am showing my gratitude for my community of family, friends and generous supporters, and to everyone that could use some sweet reminders to slow down and stay present during the busy month of December.  I want to help you bump up your Self Care, and encourage you to give yourself extra love and support during this holiday season.

My Gratitude Giveback is an invitation for you to turn inwards, to your soul sanctuary, and create a conscious, caring respite space for yourself during this often busy month.

Each week will focus on a different theme:

  • BODY BASICS   (as in ‘duh’ I knew this already, but sometimes we forget!)
  • LETS GET PHYSICAL   (I like to move it move it)
  • NOURISH THE SOUL   (don’t forget your beautiful soul)
  • PRESENCE vs. PRESENTS   (be here now)
You will be guided through each theme with weekly meditations, journal prompts, live Q & A conversations on Facebook, tips and tools for maximizing self care, and a resource list to support you if you would like to go deeper.
When all our reptilian instincts are telling us to stay in and hibernate, our culture is inviting us to “Eat, Drink & Be Merry.”  When the days are getting shorter and it feels good to snuggle up to a fire and a good book, society is giving us the messages to go out every night and celebrate until sunrise, shop till you drop, and eat and drink all the things that you spend the rest of the year avoiding because they aren’t healthy.  This can also be a lonely time for folks who watch the Hallmark holiday movies and compare themselves to the picture perfect lives on the screen.
I know things get busy at this time of year and the intention of this offering is to help make December more easeful, nurturing, and meaningful.  You can join on the first of the month or the last day of the month, all the material is FREE and offered from the heart.  It is my joy to share this with you all!  The only thing I need from you to keep you in the loop is your email address.
Ready to Receive?  Click here to join!
Wishing you all much love and light this December,
Roxanna
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Road School 2017 – Home Sweet Home
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Marin Sprint Triathlon
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Crossing the finish line with Barbara

Bearing the Beams of Love

thelight
And we are put on this earth a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love. -William Blake

 I work with people with broken hearts.  I am deeply touched by their stories, their tears, their longing.  I am also touched by their resiliency and bravery; to seek support and be willing to share with strangers.  I am heartened by the comfort these group members take from connecting with each other.  It reminds me how much we humans are social creatures longing for connection.

What drives us to keep going?  For me, it is the most basic and yet profound human experience I can describe:  connecting from the heart with others.  Love.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

They say we have star particles inside of us.  It’s true.  Look it up.  I think this is as magic as it gets.  I like to imagine that I used to be a star, before I came into this body.   In my fantasy, I peek down on planet earth and I see people living their lives.  Tucking their babies close to their hearts, right under their chins, breathing them in.  Getting licked by their dogs and succumbing to their joyful, unconditional expressions of love.  I see lovers, breathing, bodies moving, sensual awareness and electricity.   Watch friends sharing a smile, no need for words.  I admire a body running fast along a trail, legs pumping and lungs bursting.  I would want that, as a star.  To experience humanness.  To BE.

“Sign me up!” I shout.  “I want to feel!  I want to touch.  I want to love!

But…the Universe answers…’In this full tilt, multifaceted life, there are ups and downs.  Not every day is filled with laughter and joy.  There is hardship and strife.  Do you still want this?’  “Yes I do!” I exclaim without a second thought.  “See ya!” and off I go without a backward glance.  That is so me.

But that is just a fairy tale.  And here I am.  Alive.  On Earth.  And some days life feels excrutiatingly painful.  My dog dies.  My lover betrays.  My baby grows up and pulls away.  My friendships end.  A relative takes his life. There are bills to pay.  My body hurts when I run.

What do I do when life feels unbearable?  I Isolate.  Cry.  Pray.  Reach out.  In that order.

I reached a very low point several weeks ago.  I felt alone and out of choices.  I was scared.  I cried and prayed.  Then I got up off my knees and I made a couple phone calls.  To some “lifeline” friends.  I wrote to my community and asked for daily texts through the month of October and people started signing up.  Every day I would get a message of love and support on my phone.  Some people sent inspirational poems.  In just a few short weeks, I started to feel better.  Uplifted even.  I felt the loving connection of human contact and was filled with gratitude for the people in my life.

They say there are no accidents in life.  The ongoing grief support group I had agreed to facilitate started during that time.  I got to sit with people who where struggling with their grief; to witness people who loved so deeply that their hearts were broken when their person died.  Being of service added meaning and depth to my life and I felt on purpose again.  I am humbled and amazed at both the tenderness and ferocity of love.  And the tenacious courage we humans – made of skin, blood, water and bone – access again and again to continue loving.  Even when it breaks us.

Since I started letting people know about the online suicide support group that begins next Monday, I have been contacted almost daily by people who are suffering, sometimes years after their loved one’s death.  Each person has held their grief tenderly in their hands and I have held out my hands to hold it with them for awhile.  Not wanting to move too quickly or speak suddenly, wanting to keep the reverence of this moment.  Being allowed to hear these sacred stories has been my honor.

Humans have a deep need to belong – to each other, to someone, to a group, to a purpose.  After a traumatic loss like suicide, people tend to lose their bearings for a time.  Who am I?  What’s next?  How do I keep going?  What’s the point?  are all questions that can come up.  Gratitude can feel impossibly elusive.  The main focus of the Suicide Loss Support Group is to connect people to each other.  To share our stories and to learn to bear the beams of love – together.

Please share this information with anyone you think could be served by having a supportive community to belong to:

Suicide Loss Support Group:  Losing a loved one to suicide can be extremly shocking and sad.  There can also be shame or societal stigma associated with this type of loss.  In this group, you will be connected with others who have each experienced this particular type of loss and have the opportunity to share your story with each other.  This is a six week support group that meets online once a week.  The group is open to 8 participants who have lost a loved one to suicide.  Each week we will begin with an exercise (breath work, guided relaxation) to open the group.  Everyone will have an opportunity to check-in with the group and share.  There will also be topics for discussion and materials emailed weekly.  There is no “homework” for this group, only handouts that are optional and ideally helpful.  Cost for this group is $180 and includes 6 weekly group sessions and weekly materials that will be emailed to each participant.  A pre-group screening call is required.  To arrange a phone call, please contact me.

Dates and time:  Mondays; 11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19 & 12/26  6:00 – 7:30pm MST Time

Location:  Your comfiest chair, wifi is required.