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Today I gathered the three of you around

to apologize

Not a new path, but a re-commitment

To your youth

the path we now walk together

until your womanhood

forging your own

A re-commitment to your soft skin

your innocence

the sweet knowing that peers out from behind your eyes

An acknowledgment of the importance of

now

that Spirit entrusted me with your well-being

The original intent

going back to the ground from which I was formed

you were formed

To learn there

in the warmth of a sun cut by the limbs of trees

A re-commitment to out foremothers

their well trodden path

not a new path

 

Today, Confluence Herbals and Spiritual Coaching is born, and I feel the relief and exhaustion that comes after the labor that is listening to Spirit.

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

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We see now that we do not live by acquiring, gaining, or achieving.  We live by Grace;…

-Joel S. Goldsmith, The Infinite Way

This week I learned some things.  I learned that peace starts inside.  I learned that once we know better that negative reactions are a choice.  Struggle in many ways is also a choice.  I don’t know if readers of this blog come here to read about spirituality, yoga, or personal growth.  I reckon most of you come here to read about Appalachia and mountain folks (if I go by my search engine hits), or copperhead snakes.  But, this blog documents our lives, and at this point it is as much for me and my girls as it is for those reading.  I’m putting the truth of our life out there into the regions of cyberspace and that is also a choice.  When you visit here you are reading the journey of an Appalachian woman born and raised, whose family has been here for many generations.  You are getting true Appalachia, folks.  Is it how you thought it would be?

Thursday, I came home from the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School with the girls.  Ivy hadn’t had a real nap since Monday.  I laid her down since she fell asleep in the truck.  I started my yoga practice as Deladis played.  I needed this time.  About ten minutes in, Ivy wakes up crying every breath.  Nothing wrong, just not happy and tired.  I try to continue to practice, hoping that she will soon get woke up enough to practice too or play.  Then, the power goes out.  It has been out so much this week.  The wind blows and it is out for hours. 😦  It comes back on, and I restart my DVD.  About two minutes later the power is out again.  I lay down.  Ivy grabs my head and shakes it back and forth.  I feel my body tense.  I feel myself wanting to cry.  I begin to whine – “just a few minutes girls.”  I was tired.  I was all touched out.  I was frustrated.

Inside, a voice spoke to me.  STOP.  This is not the way. Whatever I was perceiving as a wrong was not a wrong.  It wasn’t the end of my world.  I could whine and raise my voice, lament my ruined practice, or I could do something else.  I called my mother to watch the girls and I went to yoga in town.  I ran to yoga.

I met my needs and I met the girls needs with one decision that saved me a whole evening of being disheartened and aggravating to the girls.  Five other women were at the studio that evening, each coming with their own reason to practice.  Each coming with their own weight of the day, but all with a bit of joy and release in their hearts.  It was a beautiful practice.  We laughed.  We relaxed.  We loved.  We released.  I particularly enjoyed Lord of the Dance asana.

This is not me, but feel like my pose resembled this one.  Yoga is not efforting.  Yoga is not struggling.  It is relying on what you know to free you to take the risk of stepping into the unknown.  I can change bad habits.  I can change my attitude.  I can live with simple means in abundance of Grace.  In Luke chapter 15 verse 31, the father of the prodigal son explains to his oldest son who remained with him, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  God, The Creator, The Universe, The Collective Unconscious, whatever name you have for the Supreme Existence/Being is always with us, even when we choose to separate ourselves.  All that is, is ours.  Not finite material things, but simple being.  Very simple being.  And that is enough.  That is what is lasting into infinity.

I’m so excited because before I was so out of touch with options that in situations where it seemed that struggle was inevitable, I fell right into that way of being.  I became struggle with all my heart and soul.  I didn’t hear the Spirit within.  I was deaf to the voice.  I hear the voice now.  Eventhough, it is still easier to fall into old patterns.  I hear the voice.  I hear it!  I’m finding the yoga.  The union.  The living to the full capacity of who I am.  I’m very excited about what that might mean for my life.  What miserable ways of being I might be released from.  Not that anything is any better, but that I am present.

The break in the weather today was nice.  Really nice.  The truck is stuck in the creek because of all the ice and us trying to get it out before John took another short trip.  Today, it almost reached fifty degrees and I got to come home from my mother’s, where I’ve been staying for lack of ability to leave the holler in an emergency.

I like being cold much more than being hot, and I wonder sometimes if it is part in partial to my being a bit of an introvert.  Winter makes us go inward.  The bustle is not so much and it forces us to spend more time with ourselves.  We renew and we make big plans.  We resolve to do and be things.  We get really excited and then frustrated because we suddenly have lots of things we want to be doing and the weather doesn’t allow for us to do them.  We grow tired of inner conversation.  Then, we get stir crazy.  Then, it is Spring.

I enjoy the little breaks in the weather of Winter that gives you a moment to exhale, to take a fresher deep breath and begin again.  I am enjoying my time this Winter, and I hope the feelings I have gained are ones that I will never lose.  I hope to only grow in them and to go forward with the change they bring.

I have some simple things I will be focusing on this year.  Things that will change my life, my being, my heart, my work, and my basic approach to life.  Hey, it’s about time. 🙂

  1. I’m going to complete my childbirth educator training and classes with Lamaze International beginning in February.  I will become a certified childbirth educator and begin helping the women of my region take a look at all the possibilities and miracles of birth.  I will also become trained to teach prenatal yoga in April and tie that into my work as a childbirth educator.
  2. I will be reading the writing of Rudolph Steiner.  I want to learn about the Waldorf philosophy of education directly from the source and take what I learn to create the experience of education for our girls.  Lately, I’m too caught up in “being” Waldorf as in the examples from the many blogs, books, classes, and things that are Waldorf inspired.  The real “Waldorf” education will be the experience that works and fits with our own family culture.  It won’t look the same as what works for others.
  3. I am learning more about Spirituality.  I am exploring my beliefs and trying to learn all I can about living a life that is tuned in, out, and grounded. 😉
  4. Continue to practice Kundalini Yoga and to learn all I can about it.  This will also help me with number three.
  5. Finish my novel and continue to look for publication for my stories.

It feels good because it is nothing unrealistic like keeping the house in perfect order, or making sure the girls never get their feelings hurt. 😉  It is life in simple.  I’m so excited, I’m smiling as I type.

Photos by Brett Marshall

In religions all over the world the number 40 is significant.  The Buddha took forty days to achieve Enlightenment.  Muhammad is said to have been 40 years old when he first received revelation from an angel.  Many Hindu prayers consist of 40 stanzas or couplets.

As a Christian, I am very familiar with the number 40 being prevalent throughout scripture.  There are the Old Testament Bible references.  The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  It rained for 40 days and nights while Noah and his family was inside the ark, among others.  When I think about the significance of 40, I can’t help but to focus on the life of Jesus.  Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days where He was tempted by the Devil before His ministry.  He was whipped with 40 lashes before he was placed on the cross.  Jesus walked the earth again for 40 days after His crucifixion.

It seems that the number 40 marks a time of trial – a time when a person is tested to their limit.  It is often a time that is followed by renewal of spirit.  Today marks the beginning of my own embarking with the number 40.  I am tired of attempts that I make at various things being marked by my moods and a schedule that is as up and down as my fleeting thoughts.  Today, I begin the journey of dedicating to a few areas in my life and their improvement.

  1. Daily Kundalini yoga practice of the same set each day.  I am starting with a set for Detoxing and Destressing with Maya Fiennes as it deals with the first three chakras mostly, and that is where I want to focus my work for now.  These chakras deal with the human talents of acceptance, creativity, and commitment, as well as the shadow emotions of resentment, guilt, and anger.  I figure that’s as good a place to start as any.  Start with the base of most problems.  The set on this DVD also throws into the mix some work on the thyroid, parathyroid, and the adrenals.  This is where most of my health problems lie.
  2. To pay attention to my emotions and become less reactive.  I want to make a conscious effort to stop and assess my feelings before riding them and allowing them to take over my actions.
  3. To work through Heaven on Earth and take my time with it so that the useful things I glean from it will become our family culture.  I will be beginning with rhythm in our home, starting with bedtime.  I am making 8pm the regular bedtime for the girls.  So, far it’s kind of okay.  Deladis is asleep.  Ivy, I rocked for twenty minutes, laid her down asleep, and as soon as I started typing here, she trotted into the living room.  She is rolling around next to me on the couch as I type, singing.
  4. To acknowledge, grow in, and embrace more fully my role as a wife and mother in the home as being my most important job.  To go about my homemaking with gratitude and joy instead of a rushed resentment that housework is in the way of the things I’d rather be doing.  I’m making it my only thing to do during daylight hours.  Also, making my homemaking and homesteading my big projects that I can immerse myself in and have fun doing.
  5. My bedtime is 10pm.  I have to work on my issues with fatigue and adrenal fatigue which affects everything else I attempt to do.  I will also be working my way through weaning off of coffee from my now 4 cups every morning.  I go back and forth with the feeling that I can give it up to that there is no way I can.  We’ll see how that goes.

There is so much packed into those five goals, but they are all interrelated.  I’m beyond excited about what might result.  I know change is so very hard for me, but I’m ready.  I will breathe through it and rely on my Creator to mold me.  Above all I’ll be seeking my God and His guidance through everything I feel to be right for me and my family and these goals.  I’ve not been the best at that.  I like to be in control of things.  Why?  I’m starting to wonder that myself. 😉

Psychologists say that a committment of 40 days is a good start to breaking old habits or making new ones.  I’m hoping for the best here.  40 days doesn’t seem like a long time, but with my interests and focus skirting all over the place, this will probably be a challenge.  I can wait to look back over my blogging after the 40 days are up.  How much can we grow and change in 40 days?

If two people got into a fight, who would win?  One person is very spiritual.  They study their theology and philosophy, feel comfortable and sure in their beliefs.  They are at peace with their existence.  One person is very physical.  They train their body and have achieved the best physical condition they can.  They are very sure of their physical capabilities.  The two prepare to face off and the bets are being placed.  Who will win?

The answer isn’t as easy as you would think.  The obvious answer is the person who is most physically strong.  We take it for granted that strength comes from physical ability.  But, the answer would be the one who was well fed.  The winner would be the one who could outlast the other.  The one who was more sure of the end and confident in his/her winning.  The one who is filled and fulfilled, not lacking in any area he/she longs for.

We see this scenario play out in many stories, legends, and slices of life.  Take for instance David and Goliath.  David knew he had the living God on his side.  With God for him, who could stand against him.  Another example is Jack and the Giant he faces in many Jack Tales.  He always outsmarts the giant who could out do him physically.  Then, from life we see this reality so often in childbirth.  A prepared and supported woman can birth successfully without pain medication in any environment she chooses barring any medically necessary procedure.  Those unprepared will almost always fail and fall prey to medical intervention.  That is a physical and mental preparation.  Aside from birth we see it in death.  Those who die “well”.  Those living with terminal illnesses and achieving more than any well person we know.

Our approach to life should not be one sided.  We should approach life holistically to achieve the best life possible.  Motherhood/Parenting should be approached the same way.  If we are not fed as the parent in our personal lives, how can we ever hope to feed and nurture our children.  In thinking about the fight, I believe it would be a toss up.  The spiritual person could be full spiritually, but weak physically because he/she has neglected to care for the vessel they were given for earthly dwelling.  The physical person could have all the strength in the world, but without spirituality will fail because they lack mental peace.  I believe as well that spirituality and physicality would look different for each of us and is dependent upon our situations.

At this moment in my life, I’m fed well physically and am fairly strong there.  Spiritually I’m lacking.  I find stress eating at me.  It in turn makes me weak physically.  In my mothering it reveals itself as impatience.  It leaves me seeking.  Without God’s (my spiritual anchor) help, I will sink and drown.  I can’t do it alone for I am only human.  I’ve been reminded of that recently.  As an Appalachian woman, it is ingrained in us to be strong and not complain when we feel weak.  We are to push through it without a fuss even if it kills us.  The duality of this quality is one that brings us great courage and a capacity to do for ourselves, but also can be detrimental to our spirit, because it can leave us feeling alone and reluctant to ask for communal help get things accomplished.

I’m hoping as mothers and parents we can remind each other that wellness is a holistic endeavor.  Our physical strength is nothing without spiritual backing and vice versa.

-Thanks to Pastor Ruby Couch for getting me thinking on that one.  It was a much needed thought.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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