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Monday, October 31, 2011

Last weekend I took myself down to the golden foothills of California's North Bay for a silent yoga retreat with a dear kindred spirit.  I've been unpacking the events of the weekend, slowly, carefully, trying to allow them space to breath and become.  Trying to let them be just a sacred experience that I may never fully explain away.  I'm not ready to bare my heart on this one yet, but the events of the day seared themselves so deeply upon my heart that I can think of nothing else to speak of.  I filled pages and pages with writings and sketches.  I acquired verbiage for images I've only known as guttural response.  I know the depth is still descending, like a pebble in a bottomless well, but I desire to share this with you.
* * *
We drove in the dark under shooting stars, headlights cutting a trail through coyote brush and chaparral scrub, winding upward, onward, deeper, older, wiser.  The hills are soft with age and when you step lightly upon them, you feel a sense of stillness, of smallness as though the grandeur of what they once were held only a fraction of the power they now possess. The fauna was a live walk through the animals I chose for next year's calendar: deer in droves, jack rabbits, quail, owls, sparrows, goldfinch, moths, and one lone fox.  I felt arrived, I felt communal, I felt the holy nature of that place, baptized by the scent of eucalyptus, the trinity of hooves, feathers and fur.  I was alone with my thoughts, my hurts, my small victories.  We marched over hill and knoll, cold sunlight on the small of my back, dropping down into ancient creek beds that whispered.  I laid down, stretched out, on sturdy boughs that cradled my heart and soul.  
I said "I'm hurt."  I heard "I know."  
I said "I'm afraid."  I heard "I know that too."
No false promises, no rush for salvation, just a deep sorrow, a deeper understanding, smoothing of hair and an encompassing love.
And I wept because those tears were the only true offering I had to give.  There was no pride, there was no agenda.  They were pure.  Holy.  My heart unfurled a little more; great beating petals unfolding their true center.  Love became a brilliant beam pouring forth, pouring in, and I learned something, was reminded something about the power of self-love.
I tell you this: a stitch was put in an age old wound.  A balm was held to my forehead.  I felt safer with myself, safer with my heart, safer with my fears, my hopes, my wild imagination in that place than I have in a long, long time.  Perhaps since I was child who did not know better.  And that was so, so long ago.  
* * *


lulu said...

Powerful. Real.

Was this a public Yoga retreat or private? I'm on the prowl for a good recommendation in CA!

Much love,

kerin rose said...

umber, these words, though very personal, still remain profound and true....

It truly does begin w. stitching together your own heart first...I think after all these years, its what allows us the freedom to find and truly know our 'place' in this world, and allow others theirs....

xox K

she said...

oh beautiful one. thank heavens for life's deep and gentle lessons.

Cat said...

this is truth
and as I stand here typing the tears cloud my eyes
how beautiful
how perfect
how these words could be mine
how these words could be hers...theirs
when one opens their heart so do other follow
this I believe heart and soul
we are all connected...intricate threads in this tapestry of life, over lapping one another, touching one another, feeling one another
these words
your words.....I needed this morning
to remind me all is well, as I walk forward in my own journey of forgiveness and freedom
today I woke up feeling tired
vulnerability is not always been easy...
and grief needs to be acknowledged
but you have reminded me...all is well

thank you Sweet Dove

Love and Light

MrsLittleJeans said...

Glad you went there...there is no experience as powerful as looking at oneself from the inside with all honesty...what if we wore that honesty 24/7 with ourselves and with others...I think we would be in a different place xx

Mum said...

I love


creative quest said...

This world of blogs does amaze me. Somehow a platform for vibrations deep within us that want to spring into song and to be shared with willing and grateful ears.
Thank you for sharing.

Yoga is such a powerful teacher.

we are all powerful teachers - if we choose to be.

you are so strong in your courage to be vulnerable.

Thank you.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

I am so grateful you said yes,
and so moved by the honesty and clarity of your words.

I miss you already.


Nancy*McKay said...

to surrender
to your feelings
your fears
is knowing
that you will not
prevent you
from LIVING...
with a deep, deep respect
your truth.

~there's so much art in your heart & beauty in your soul~
egads girl, you move me in waves!

pencilfox said...

knowing you, my friend, is a holy experience, in and of itself.

be well: heal well.


Runs4fun said...

Those are beautiful, powerful, and ever-so-gentle words Kelly.
Sometimes, you have to get down to the bare bones---strip yourself naked to the soul---and let the rain wash away the sadness, the tears---and then let the beautiful dapped sunlight...gentle you back to your'self' again.

There is nothing quite like retreats like the one you and a sunshiny girl make that happen:)


Nichole said...

your words resonate with me on a sonic level. i too have heard the universe talking back to me. thank you so much for sharing this and encouraging me to walk with an open heart.

Cat said...

I linked up to this post here:
it was too gorgeous not to
thank you
thank you
thank you

love and light

jordan said...

the love of others is essential to human survival, but i've learned that without loving oneself that outside love has no power anyway. any exercise which deepens that awareness and affection for your own feelings, thoughts, spirit is so important. i only wish i had more such lucky you are to have had this amazing weekend to enrich yourself...

cbumpmax said...

I cannot respond in such beautiful words as yours but this post reminds me that it is hard to be as light and strong as I picture you. All the grace and confidence you portray with your art (leather, stone, canvas and words) is fueled by raw emotion. Still waters run deep; thank you for the reminder.

UmberDove said...


You're responses have been so beautiful, so clear, so, well, UNDERSTANDING that as ever, I am wowed.

I appreciate you.

I'm grateful to have you in my life.
- Umber

(LuLu, email me! I can't find yours but I'd be HAPPY to give you the details)