Becoming Still

Winter brings with it a hectic hustle unlike no other time. As a yogi and a nature lover my natural inclination is to become reflective and quiet this time of year. Long cups of tea, reading and writing by the fire is my preference as we move toward the darkest days of the year. But as a business owner (oh the conflicts are many) this time of year calls for action. There are so many minute details and the inevitable need to manage multiple obligations. Though I personally choose to celebrate Solstice over any other winter holiday, family traditions and obligations require my presence. And then there is the unending pressure and the heighten emotions that come with holiday expectations and avoidance of those expectations. The doing and swirling and tension builds on all side, swirling and churning. 

Inside of me I have been feeling a strong urge to explore stillness in a way that I have never felt so strongly. The energy all around me feels frenetic and slightly out of control. The outer world is saying, society is saying, “You must do something NOW and on my terms.” Nature is saying, “Turn inward and rest.” Today particularly, the Winter Solstice, my Inner world is sending a different message. Higher Awareness says, ” Do not act. Be still. Listen. Let the darkness fall. Be with the quiet, be with the dark. Breathe in, listen deeply, reflect. Breathe out and be with the churning, embrace the darkness until stillness comes. Be present here in this moment as if you have nothing else to do, nowhere else to be. Be stillness itself. And when you move again, move with renewed spirit to act, with Awareness.” I believe it is time to listen to that awareness.

Happy Solstice. May we all find stillness in the darkness and celebrate the light, for it is never lost. ~ Jai, Bhagwan, Susan 🙏l

The Story of No Story

Yoga teaches us that when we identify with our “story” (an identity or belief that is developed from our individual ego rather than identifying with our true nature) we are suffering, blinded by illusion. I was originally introduced to this idea by Sudakar Ken McRae and the concept allowed me to move beyond the limiting beliefs of my mind that held me hostage for many years. As a result of that I rarely talk about my experience with chronic illness because I do no longer define myself by that story. Yoga practices (Big Y Yoga) allowed me to use connection to the present moment to overcome the limitations I once experienced in body that therefore impacted my mind. However, I am making an exception to revisit my past experiences and share them with you.

II was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) when I was 16, unfortunately it was a very severe case. After years of suffering from anemia, pain, malnutrition and frequent hospitalizations I was sent to the Mayo Clinic to have the diseased gut removed at age 29. Unfortunately, the surgery resulted in a confounding number of other complications including obstruction, infection, and poor motility resulting in frequent hospitalizations for about 8 more years. My life at that time was one of severe pain and was limited by this severe illness.
Read More »