This week, a new season of mindful movement begins.
I'm excited to see you again after summer's adventures and to gratefully celebrate the power of shared practice. Whether you can commit to a weekly routine or you join us now and then through the fall, your presence matters!
Last weekend, I gave myself a gift of presence in laying out a calendar for fall. I sat down with pencil crayons, markers, paintbrushes, a pot of tea, and plenty of time to spare. For me, these things make the task unhurried, fun, and special. I coloured in the spaces for classes and private clients, times away, appointments, and family commitments. I did some writing about how I wanted to be and feel this season and what kinds of practices and projects I wanted to include.
Clarity and inspiration emerged in this process. I saw some unclaimed chunks of time in my week. I understood that if I claimed them for the experiences and activities that best support how I want to be and feel, then all the already-coloured-in spaces would be illuminated by the blessing of that nourishment.
Lately I've been reading Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass. I love this book and recommend it to anyone who feels kinship with the Earth and each other and questions how we live here together. There's one story she tells about learning to construct a black ash basket at the hands of an Indigenous master maker. Her teacher says:
"Just think of the tree before you begin and all its hard work before you start. It gave its life for this basket, so you know your responsibility. Make something beautiful in return...Slow down - it's thirty years of a tree's life you've got in your hands there. Don't you owe it a few minutes to think about what you'll do with it?"
This advice landed right in the heart of my fall calendar. It reminded me that I'm giving my life in exchange for how I spend my days. While I can't see and hold time and existence in the way I can a tree or a piece of paper, it's the medium with which I create and participate in my life.
I remember the late American activist and author Claire Wineland who passed away at this time last year. She was 21 and had lived much of her life in and out of hospital with cystic fibrosis. She wrote:
"We can make our lives into a piece of art...LIfe isn't going to stop unfolding itself to you just because you're sick or just because your life isn't how you think it's supposed to be."
We are surrounded by so much wisdom and so many teachings - from this planet and her web of life, from each other, from our experiences as we journey along, from the voices of our own hearts. I want my calendar to help me live into this learning. May my calendar cultivate gratitude and reverence in me, call me to courage and generosity, inspire loving action, and nourish me with rest. May my calendar to help me make something beautiful in return for the gifts I continually receive.
These longings and intentions bring me back to presence. I believe it's through presence and attention that we vibrantly live these lives that just keep unfolding themselves to us. We can't control all the details of that unfolding but we can slow down and think about what we'll do with it.
I hope you too will claim a chunk of time for a practice that nourishes you this season. And if that claiming brings us together, I hope our time will illuminate your already-coloured-in spaces. I hope our shared presence can be part of the beauty you make.