23
Jan

A New Dawn: The Divine Feminine
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
~John Lenon

After witnessing the extraordinary display of passion and purpose around the globe for womenkind and our rights–really for all human rights, announcing our strength to the new (you’ll excuse the expression) President, I thought I would offer up some writing –an excerpt I wrote last year from my upcoming Harper Collins release, Waking Energy …. because all of Waking Energy is about the energy of love.

And when you come from love, anything is possible …

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I feel like singing Imagine right now. Though we have started to wake up in fundamental ways, we have a long way to go. The utter insanity of humanity and the destruction and violence we have wreaked against nature, one another, our wild life, and our natural world provokes rage inside me, and brings me to tears. Our continued unconscious actions threaten life on this planet. We have arrived at a place where the wounds of this conflict are a reflection of our individual and collective disconnection from the very source of all life.

We are being called into an era of conscious evolution, to collectively heal the discord and disharmony and to reconnect to ourselves and each other, to actively participate in creating a new earth, centered in the awareness of our inherent oneness— to finally acknowledge that we are connected with all that is.
In order for us to heal ourselves and the planet, we need to honor the Divine Feminine energy of creation—Gaia, the Goddess of earth, our connection to love, to nature, the source of creation and life itself. Oracle and insight, wisdom, intuition, love, the Divine Feminine is the force of love and unity that flows within our individual and collective psyche, male and female alike.
In early history, people of the earth revered the Goddess. They celebrated a heart centered and vibrant connection to nature and their bodies, enjoying rich creativity and a pouring forth of light and love. Even during the Dark Ages, the ancient wisdom traditions, from Tantra to Taoism rejected formal, puritanical missives, always opening new doors, inviting women to share their expansive knowledge, often deferring to them, studying under their tutelage, and above all, honoring them for their intuition, insight and strengths. Recognizing themselves in one another, with the Taiji, female and male co-creative energies of the universe, responsible for all life—the yin-yang balance an ever-presence in their consciousness and the way they lived their lives, they made no class distinctions between their own male and female aspects. Seeing them as separate parts of a greater whole, they sought to abolish derisive differences, and instead embraced their mutual gifts, profiting in ways their Western counterparts could never imagine.

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23
Mar

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When I first read Joseph Pilates’ Return to Life, the line that stopped me in my tracks was “Decide to remain true to yourself.” To me, this statement encapsulates the very essence of The Method.

There is an unparalleled feeling when you do the work and feel it in your own body. When you show up for yourself,  you experience a kind of euphoric high that simultaneously makes you feel lighter than air and grounded, confident and powerful. You feel this way, because when you move your body intelligently, allowing the breath to illuminate the path ahead, you enliven and awaken the spirit. You feel lighter because you become more enlightened, more conscious, more sentient!

It comes from a commitment to yourself and the practice of following through, so that you can be your very best.

When you honor yourself and do the work, you are rewarded. You are left with a feeling of magic brewing … you are reminded of what it feels like to be truly alive! When you dedicate yourself consistently to a ritual of self-love, it entitles you to a lifetime of learning and upward-spiraling excellence, not only in body and mind, but in spirit—how on any given day, even when you’re feeling tired or low, meeting yourself exactly where you are with lovingkindness and appreciation is how you’ll invite your body to partner with you in your daily excursions and help you rise to your own occasion— to be true to you!

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Don’t you think it’s time that this joyful feeling of self-fulfillment be yours?

Time to rise to your own occasion and make yourself proud. When you commit to being your best, you inspire the same in others–hence the origins of “living by example … ” This superlative interconnection between the self and the world at large, particularly our trusted intimates, provides everyone who chooses to notice the connection– with a mirror. When movement springs from a place of knowing and experience, like the truth itself, it can be passed along in that same spirit of purity, dynamism and inspiration. Executed with finesse, vim and vigor, even the simplest gesture tempts the onlooker to want to move in the same way! Why? Because it’s magic. You’ve turned it on and it’s irresistible.

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24
Jan

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Fear. Loneliness. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. Despair.

Alongside what I still believe is my life-embracing, joyful essence, and moments of uplift from my own inner flame and the love of a few dear friends and family, I’ve been surfing these treacherous waves for the past two years.

We know that Pilates is one of the finest ways to sculpt a beautiful and powerful body, but what about our spiritual selves? What about the life inside that body? What about its truly profound effects on the mind and the spirit?

When I was asked to participate in Mark Pedri’s exceptional film, A Movement of Movement a few years ago now, I spoke about how Pilates had created his method between two world wars as a means to survive life’s twists and turns and hard knocks and to rise above them and thrive. Little did I know then that I would be fighting on my own battlefield not so long after, going into one of the darkest, deepest caves of my life.

Pilates never intended for his method of physical and mental conditioning to be a vanity exercise system. He devised it to help us navigate this human life through the body. It was meant to help us evolve and appreciate ourselves, to make the most of our miraculous machines—body, mind and yes, to enliven–to literally LIFT our spirits.

Yes, undeniably, Pilates can help you to create a body you can be proud of, but in the bargain, it can also save your life.

In January, 2014, I found myself atop a slippery slope and by mid-summer, I had slid into hell. Flying solo in a new city, my mother, who had fought her brave battle with multiple myeloma long enough, decided on July 18th that it was time to leave this world.  To say that I was heartbroken and traumatized doesn’t come close. I was beside myself—literally. Exhausted from the rapid fire, cataclysmic shifts in my life,  from having to grasp how to travel this new terrain, each day, I awoke feeling like I didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. Every rug had been pulled out from underneath me, and while I had a full toolkit, an arsenal of techniques to pull from, I had become so accustomed to sharing them with others, that in some way, it felt like I had forgotten how to redirect that rich water flow back to myself.  Read the rest of this entry »

25
Nov

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In honor of Thanksgiving, which is fast approaching, I know that you’re all buzzing around and collecting your goods for the big feast. And while the feast itself can be delightful when spent in the right company, preparing for it can be very stressful.

I’m here to supply you with a pick-me-up that will get you ready for the fray!  Nothing like a good Pilates exercise to serve as the perfect outlet for some of that nervous holiday energy, right?! Can’t think of anything better than the Open Leg Rocker to remind you of your ability to literally “roll” with the punches while you’re doing battle in the lines at Whole Foods!

This little Pilates wonder not only strengthens your core the way every exercise in the Classical Pilates Mat work series does, but let’s talk turkey (couldn’t help myself) –it also sparks the baby monkey inside you, your kid self that just wants to roll around on the floor, go upside-down, scream and yell to your heart’s content and have someone else cook your Thanksgiving dinner!

In all seriousness, it’s a great reminder to have fun while you’re dealing with the grown-up stressors of life.

Adding to this burgeoning list of benefits,  in just a few repetitions, your entire spine and surrounding muscles get a deep massage, stimulating your cerebral spinal fluid, which calms your central nervous system. Add to this, that your will and determination, as well as patience and fortitude are all invited to this party, because the only way you can successfully rock back up to a balance is by calling upon a high-level focus of mind, and selectively recruiting the muscles you need to execute the movement.

But the very best part of the Open Leg Rocker? When you do it, you look like a harvest “Horn of Plenty!” And by virtue of the very shape you create with your body (like a human letter in the Erte alphabet) you feel grateful for all of the bounty you have in your life, and the gifts you are going to enjoy come this Thursday!

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Bet you’ll never look at The Open Leg Rocker in quite the same way after this … and for that alone, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful.

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14
Aug

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Did you know that there is no separation between the mind, the emotions and the body?

Grief has found its way into my lungs, and I am sick with the worst chest cold I have had in years. In some strangely comforting way, it is affirming to know that while we are vulnerable to the sometimes extreme vicissitudes of life, if we can survive the trauma that we experience, we then may also have the power to decide how we meet them, what we do with them, and how we evolve as a result.

My beloved Mother left this earth on July 18th and is now peacefully soaring with the angels, magnificent swallow that she is, exquisite and intentional, swooping and gliding, buoyed aloft by purest love and the light of infinite stars. Like a beautiful bell, music itself, her voice, her laughter, her bright eyes, her face tilted up smiling to receive the sun … radiant with excitement, introducing one soul to another, the grand connector and brilliant creatrice, glowing pearl, shining light, elixir of life! This is how we will remember her–these ways and countless more. The people who knew her were each forever changed for the better, their lives and their very selves magically illuminated by knowing her, truly blessed to have been touched by her singular, other-worldly magic as long as they had, and I know that she will be with us always. No language can express the power, beauty, heroism, and majesty of my Mother, Jane’s joyful love, its radiance, quenchless fidelity like a star.

Her innate, all-encompassing, boundless joy for life, her strength and her indomitable spirit lives on inside me and my family. Endlessly brilliant, insatiably curious, multi-talented, magnetic, beyond generous, compassionate, kind, inventive, creative, intuitive, insightful, inventor, idea-maker, entrepreneur, writer, poet, accomplished pianist, voracious reader and lover of the earth, nature, history, and all things beautiful, exceptional tennis player, talented designer, seamstress, baker, champion of the wrongfully accused and underprivileged, powerful catalyst for social change, alchemist and connector of souls, teacher of what it means to live life to the fullest in the spirit of sharing and love.

Jane sailed on July 18th, her perfect day, as it turns out, because in Judaism, “Chai,” the number “18” literally means “LIFE!” It is considered the luckiest number of Gematria, our mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters. Gifts are often given in multiples of 18, which literally signify the giving of life. It means to “enjoy the time we are all given on earth,” and is said at every celebration as a blessing acknowledging the anticipation of all the good things to come …  in her parting, this was the greatest gift she left behind, that of hope and joy, and this is where I draw my strength, knowing that she wants me to continue her legacy of love and celebrating life, no matter how painful it might become in moments.
Many of you have reached out to me to express how awestruck you are at my courage … please know that I don’t feel my courage. In moments, like a silent, steady heartbeat, I may feel the strength I have inherited from my ancestors, specifically from my maternal Grandfather and my Mother, both of whom were powerfully optimistic, “I will prevail,” kind of people, but make no mistake, I am suffering with agonies I have never felt until now, and the manifestation of these feelings is my very breath, or lack thereof.

After we lost Robin Williams this week, having suffered from suicidal depression myself in the past and survived by the grace of some inexplicable confluence of events, realizations and shifts— by some miracle, really … my heart, which was already cracked in two, started bleeding.

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23
Jan

‎”Accomplish what is in your heart!”

Happy, Prosperous New Year of The Water Dragon~ May this year be one of Great Blessings, Awakenings & Miracles~

Powerful energies are swirling around in the universe now- can you feel it? Change is happening, like water rushing over river rocks, fluid and inevitable.

Believe in yourself. Believe that anything is possible. Say YES to yourself. Say YES to your intentions, say YES and welcome it all!

May it be so~!

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15
Jan

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This morning I had a dream that I was sledding down the side of a snow-covered hill on my black Tumi backpack, and suddenly, a red-tailed hawk flew down from the sky, and came to light on my left arm. It was so unbelievable. I was so amazed. I can still feel my lips parted in awe that such a magical, spirit, such a wild, solitary, elusive bird had chosen to come to me in such a bold act of intimacy.

It was as if freedom itself had decided to come to me. And not only did it just float there on my arm, but it softly sank his beautiful talons into my flesh, gently holding on, knowing exactly how hard to press, accepting my warm breath on his beak. To see if it was real, I gently went to stroke his head, and he let me and spread his gorgeous wings of white and red in appreciation that I had chosen to reciprocate his intimate gesture with one of my own.

Even now, the feeling of lightness and warmth as big as the sky above, spreads across my chest, from deep within my heart center to his, this magnificent hawk; we were connected, united, and FREE!  What a joy, what a gift that dream was! I am still celebrating it … A message from above. I am still aglow from that moment when my eyes caught him and tracked his trajectory, incredulous that he was coming toward me –when I saw his wings beating in an upward draw, slowing his descent, as he floated down from the ethers, and chose me as his landing pad, a confidant to whom he could silently transmit the message: “Believe it. You are FREE.”

Trial by fire. Oh, and it is.

When I first found this image, I wanted to kiss the earth that I had located a visual depiction that managed to encapsulate the very feeling I have had over the past month. I feel like a stuntwoman walking away from a well-played crash scene, except the “scene” isn’t staged. It’s real. Never before has this conscious awareness of contrast between incarceration and liberty been as stark, as naked as it has been for me of late. And when I say this contrast- I am referring to the battle of black vs. white, shadow vs. sun that comes to dominate the grand stage of the mind. The duel to the death that happens when we entrap ourselves in the stories that we ourselves author, when we imprison ourselves in the cells we construct, when we fashion the very shackles that keep our feet well-fettered.

Rumi said it so well,  “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”

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14
Feb

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”
~Oscar Wilde

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When was the last time you actually interrupted the relentless flow of tasks, emails, texts, calls … and took a real moment for yourself, BY YOURSELF and stood in front of the mirror and had a conversation with yourself? And what if you actually made yourself turn off the bad radio inside your head, the one that is ceaselessly self-critical? And what if you stood there basking in the wonderment of who you are as a perfect, loving, whole being on this earth?

Maybe today’s the day you need to do it. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I say you do it … And this is how the conversation should go:

“Hello there, stranger. How have you been? How are you today? Right this minute? Right here, right now?  Did you know that I love you and I appreciate you? All of the little things you do for me, body and mind, to keep all of my finely-tuned involuntary systems humming along … keeping me alive so that I can stop and smell the roses and share a smile with that lovely child holding his Mother’s hand? Here I am, self, here I am spirit, saying hello and giving you some much deserved, overdue love.

I did this very thing today, and was surprised and delighted to find that when I looked at myself, I felt a sudden sense of comfort, peace and quiet. It was some kind of unexpected magic. There I was floating inside this bubble of surreal amazement, this rare opportunity that I had chosen to create, suspended in time, holding the rest of the world at bay in order to have this very important conversation … with myself.  I was suddenly no longer just a person, but an entire world unto myself– yes, that’s right, bigger than my own reality outside- no longer merely a person, a person who interacts with the world and focuses most of her energy and attention out there, but pristinely alone in this stolen, dedicated moment in time.  I was the only one alive and ready to be lavished with the love that only I knew how to give. And I smiled at myself- I felt overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude to be alive, in this body, with this heart, silently pumping inside. And I gave thanks to myself, my body, my mind, my soul and I kissed myself on the forehead, the way I would tenderly kiss my child. And then, I smiled, a deep, broad smile that lit up my face- the face that was staring back at me, and inside, I could feel the new, life-giving energy that can only come from love zephyring up and down my spine and traveling to every part of my being, igniting me with inspiration and epiphany. It led me to put fingers to keyboard today and share this with all of you … that to love yourself is the only way to go. I highly recommend it, this loving of yourself, this smiling to yourself in the mirror, and I have vowed to myself, that even on my darkest days, I will perform this most sacred ritual of not just checking in with myself, but loving myself and giving myself a smile, which serves as a perfect segue to the “Inner Smile,” perhaps one of the most powerful ways to love thyself, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.
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03
Feb

Welcome, Resilient Rabbit!

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“The year of the metal rabbit is about harmony and goodwill,” as well as a time to rest and recuperate from the wild ride we all had with the Tiger … and what better way to do this than with a Yin practice?! Join me, February 19-20th at YogaWorks NYC Soho for a rejuvenating, harmonizing weekend of Waking Energy and Yin Yoga

And tonight, in honor of the delicate, elegant and peace-loving hare who brings great treasures of fortune and blessings, I am featuring this excerpt from Susan Levitt this evening … Enjoy!

THE YEAR OF THE HARE 2011

Hare year can be a nurturing time of peace, calm, leisure, and rest after the intensity of the previous Tiger year. During gentle Hare’s influence, good taste and refinement are valued, and comfort is desired. Money can be made easily, but spent easily. Dragon year 2012 will be a wild, exhausting time, so appreciate the small pleasures of Hare year as opportunities to heal, relax, and entertain. Make time for family gatherings and comfortable travel. Expect political compromise and diplomatic peacemaking on a global level. Discretion and persuasion are effective in a Hare year, whereas force does not work.

The year of the Hare begins on the new Moon of February 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM PST. This is also the date of Imbolc, or Candlemas, the cross quarter-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Lovely Hare is a symbol of purity: fastidiously clean Hare washes its face with its front paws to look beautiful as polished jade. According to Chinese legend, a magical jade Hare lives in a palace on the Moon. The Chinese Moon Goddess Ch’ang-o allows this charming jade Hare to keep her company so she will not be lonely. The Hare is an herbalist and alchemist who peacefully mixes elixirs of immortality under a cassia tree on the Moon for the Great Mother of the West, a Chinese Goddess of death and rebirth. Hare’s Moon palace is delightful, and the company of the Moon Goddess so enjoyable, that Hare never leaves the Moon. Over time, Hare has become a yin Moon spirit.

For more from Susan Levitt: The Hare

21
Dec

101220-winter-sunset-hmed-1139agrid-6x2This Winter Solstice is a special one, folks … it will not come again any time soon, and it is a magical window to fly through. It is a time of both letting go and ushering in- a time when the combination of the full moon, total eclipse and solstice is so powerful, that the energy of the three can literally catalyze instantaneous transformation in our beings- if we are willing to offer up what is old and say goodbye to it to make space for what is new, for what we wish for in our deepest hearts - what we ARE manifesting.

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