Age 46 and alive

Hello Friends,

I find myself celebrating the past year for my birthday but feeling quieter and more reflective than in past years. When I read that George Floyd was also 46 years old I realized we shared an age, but are separated by a yawning gap of white body privilege. His life was cut short, and my life continues.

I spent the past week re-reading portions of “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem. I downloaded the audio book so I could listen to it as well. Coincidentally, Krista Tippett had a conversation with Resmaa on her podcast On Being just before the pandemic, but it aired only within the last week. If you have not heard it, I recommend a listen.

There is also a simple body practice that is about 4-5 minutes that Krista released yesterday that I really love. It helps us engage the vagus nerve and the psoas muscle in a way that is calming. Resmaa describes how “bodies of culture” must orient when they feel in danger.

Resmaa web photo
This photo is stolen right from Resmaa’s website. I hope he will not mind since I am using it to promote his work and not my own. 

One of my loyal yoga practitioners (Jackie) told me last week that Resmaa’s book is sold out right now, since she had looked for it online. I find that wonderful and hopeful. Maybe we white folks are ready to grow up and out of our privilege in a way that can support “bodies of culture” (I love Resmaa’s terminology) to achieve their dreams as well.

We must do the work, and we must begin now, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. One thing that yoga teaches us is that we can stay with discomfort, a moment longer, to hear what it has to say. I love it that we have the tools to do that. It is our practice off the mat, and it is why we can succeed in this effort.

As a white woman from a multi-cultural (Swedish Mexican) heritage, I have struggled with knowing what my role can or should be in this effort. I have to admit I don’t have a complete answer right now, except to highlight voices that may not otherwise be heard. I also hope to hold space for other “white bodies” that know we must be part of the solution here.

Resmaa recommends we do our own work, with each other, to educate and get over our “fragility” around race discussions. In my 46 years of life I have never worried about being killed by a police officer. My level of discomfort is a tiny sliver compared to a daily stress of someone who’s life has been cut short by a police officer. While police bodies also need to do their own work, we can and must begin in our own bodies.

I close this reflection by saying all of this begins in our bodies. We unwind our stories and social conditioning by exploring their origins, questioning the protective habits that our “primitive lizard” brains developed, and by learning better ways to sharing the bounty we all have. When all do better, all do better (a phrase Paul Wellstone used to use frequently).

Best regards,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. Resmaa’s Cultural Somatics Institute offers a free 5-day e-course which summarizes the principles in his book. The videos are short and they are helpful. They will make you want to get the book.

 

I have done goat yoga

Hi Friends,

It has been a challenging week, but I know that grief and sadness need to be processed, need to be felt in the body, in order to release them. I hope you are finding safe places to do that as well.

I know I was planning to start a series on clinical trials, and I intend to start that next week. But this week, I think it is more important to hear from people of color on their perspective, to highlight voices that are often unheard. I love the poignancy of this 3-minute Tyler Merritt YouTube video, so I encourage you to watch.

 

I am committed to help end racism and also to help us unwind the “traumas” that black bodies, white bodies and police bodies have suffered. This is why I practice yoga. This is why I dance. This is why I take time each day to breathe and pay attention to my emotions.

Sometimes the situation in our country can feel hopeless, like there are so many forces pushing against justice. And other times, like when one of my yoga students told me today that the book I recommended, My Grandmother’s Hands by Resma Menakem is actually sold out in all the places she tried to find it, I have great hope.

Here’s to learning more about each other, and teaching ourselves to love all, and extend justice to all.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Weekend haiku post retreat

I was off the grid for the weekend, a planned retreat to my primitive place in the woods before we began experiencing as a collective the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the chaos that descended upon the Twin Cities.

Friday the following haiku tumbled forth:

Our hearts grieve deeply

Sorrow of generations

Collective trauma 

***

On Saturday, after reading old journals and during a re-read of Dani Shapiro’s memoir devotion, the following emerged:

Our paradoxes

Ideas contradicting

And nested within

***

Ferns at 1224 Cramer
A lovely stand of ferns captured while on a hike 5/30/2020.

A part of me felt anxiety while I was off the grid, missing the news, away from the internet. I was not even able to receive texts unless the wind was right and my cell intermittently had reception. Another part of me felt grateful for the retreat and the space away from knowing all of the heartbreaking external events of the world.

I used the weekend for reading past journals (I’m up to 2016 after about a year of reviewing my collection which goes back to 1992), reflection, writing and grieving. I went on walks and listened to what my inner voice seemed to request. I fasted for 20 hours on Saturday, allowing my body to be awake to any and all sensations.

Retreating requires enormous privilege, I realize. And it is something that feeds me psychologically and spiritually. Since I was very young I have always valued and treasured solitude and personal space. I wish it is something everyone could have when it is necessary.

After a retreat, there is the return. We live together in an interdependent web. We love each other. We hurt each other. We forgive each other. We acknowledge and apologize for past misdeeds. We resolve to treat each other with more respect. We understand that how we treat others is a reflection of our beliefs. We examine and unpack those beliefs, conditioned patterns we did not necessarily create consciously.

In the end, many of us realize that we are not separate from others. All living beings contain a divine spark, an unlikely miracle of energy and matter, defying the physical law of entropy.

How can we learn to value and love all humans, and all creatures of this earth? How can we remember our divine connection, our shared fate on this small planet? 

These are questions for which I have no answers. Yet I keep asking them and my soul keeps beckoning me to live these questions as I strive to serve.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Sunday haiku – off the grid (2 verses)

I am off the grid.

Technology permits us

Scheduling and sleep.

*

Heed our own signals

For downtime and renewal

Nature and healing.

Afton State park off the grid post
Photo taken at Afton State Park, May 9, 2020 Copyright meximinnesotana. Use with attribution.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. Next Sunday I’m co-teaching a Sunday (re)Treat: SomaRestore for Gardening with my friend and teacher Grant Foster! Hope you will join us – click this link to learn more.

Mother’s Day virtual retreat

Hi Friends,

My mother’s day virtual retreat may have an international audience! So far a couple of my yoga students are inviting daughter or family members and right now it looks like we may have one participant from Mexico and one from Portugal. I’m so honored. I also may have a cousin from Alaska and from Oregon there, I’m psyched!

But still, there is room for a few more, and I had such a great response to my last offering of this kind, I’m humbly putting out the invitation again. The special offer is to buy one registration (sliding fee: $12-25) and send the link to a family member or friend who also wants to have a Sunday (Re)treat with you! Physical distance plus social presence! Everyone can benefit.

This 90-minute yoga experience is video optional via Zoom. We will start with soma yoga, a gentle practice of movement to release tension in our spine and joints. We then do some yin yoga, longer-held poses to work with the fascia. We end with restorative yoga, some long-held poses to calm the nervous system. I will cue the entire practice so that you can be eyes closed and relaxed onto a mat, the bed or the floor. Bring blankets, pillows and towels to help “craft” the supports and I will show you those as well.

Sunday Retreat Mother's Day edition

Cheers, and hope to see you there! Happy Mother’s Day! For the link to register, see this page. Thanks in advance for supporting Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio.

-cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you sign up by 6pm on Saturday I’ll have the best likelihood of sending the Zoom link on time. And if you’ve never tried a yoga experience with me, and have some financial hardship, email me to let me know and I’ll send you a free “coupon” if you join my mailing list.