The Gift of Mothering

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Sunday was Mother’s Day and…I did a lot of mothering. It just turned out that way. Some things went down (no trouble, just life) and presence is what was required. ⁣

⁣A lot of what I do as a mother is that I am present. I am available. I listen…as best I can. Turns out I’m so easily distractible! I use the other’s face and sound of voice as dristi/focus points and keep coming back. Compassion is a helpful motivator. ⁣

When I have thoughts or perspective I try to offer them in a respectful way that is translatable. At the right time. To help navigate. Sometimes I do this better than others. Yet more than anything I am just here. ⁣

Parenting in a pandemic is hard. There is a lot to face and continuous hard choices to make. Kids and young adults want to be with their friends and from what we have been told so far they are likely not at high risk. ⁣

Yet their lives that are just beginning are being seemingly derailed to keep safe the elders, many of whom have already lived long lives, and the immune compromised…like myself.

There are conflicting motivations for sure, and most of what we are going on is speculation at this point. It’s hard to make choices in this climate and then have to live with whatever that brings. Once again, always true. Yet accentuated. ⁣

Late high school and college age kids are deciding if they want to sign up for major debt while trying to plan their future when nothing seems clear. We just paid for likely the highest priced online schooling so far in history while having the highly anticipated freshman year experience cut off with no warning after moving cross country together to make it happen! Each of us has our own unique story…⁣

These kids have worked so hard doing what they have been told they have to do only to have the rules change at the last moment. I suppose we are all experiencing this but it is really accentuated for the upcoming generations about to step into the world as adults on their own. ⁣

Although there is this…they have experienced the old way and yet are not already as ingrained in their life path. Perhaps they can more easily adapt to life as it presents going forward. Without the same preconceptions of how things are supposed to or have to be. They can help evolve the old to meet the new. ⁣

This is what I will encourage. ⁣

In myself, my child and whoever else I encounter. Whether the new way is full of roadblocks, newfound possibilities, or both. We may not be able to recreate the future in the image of the past, we will have to adapt. Yet the more seamlessly we can do this with fresh, open eyes the more likely we are to succeed in the new environment. ⁣

Perhaps this is post covid parenting. Expectation, entitlement and arrogance will only get in the way. We have to keep adapting as quickly as the world around us. Once again, this is not new, but even more so. ⁣

It seems…people want accolades and congratulatory pampering about their parenting. It is helpful to support the caregivers, yet remember, mother’s day was at least in part developed as a consumer holiday with a political agenda. Every day can be appreciation day! Yet that’s not why I parent.⁣

While I sure could use a massage or a delicious meal I didn’t make myself sometimes, the real gift I receive is the parenting itself…learning how to adapt and meet my child and a situation right where they are. Not in the way I think I want things to be. As they are. And respond to that.

When I stop fighting or forcing I can better see what we have to work with. I see my child as a being with needs that are trying to express…and I can help or hinder that.⁣

For being a mother…is really about mothering. It is something you give. The potential-yet-not-guaranteed reward is the connection, and your child. You give without knowing what, if anything, you’re going to get. In my case, I have given a lot. And been given back so so very much. Not always what I thought or expected, and sometimes so far beyond what I could have imagined.

It’s not for everyone, parenting, and at times seems not for me! Yet once you’re in it there is no easy out. We adapt or we suffer. And we pass that on.

Once again, this is not new. But accentuated. ⁣

We are all presented with this opportunity right now – evolve together or get stuck trying to force things to be some preconceived way. In parenting and in this post covid world. Same thing, accentuated.⁣

I…am going to keep trying to meet things with fresh, open eyes, and continuously, consciously adapt to the situation as it presents itself. I don’t already know better, I am learning as I go.⁣

In life and parenting.⁣

This is my precious Mother’s Day gift.⁣

♥️

Quarantine Awakening

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There is something so electric about the sunrise. The way the light slowly increases to illuminate the landscape, revealing all that was shrouded in mystery. I feel more capable, wise, like I understand things a bit more clearly.

We made it through the night again to face another day. ⁣⁣
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I slept on the couch last night so I could awake with the sunrise on this snow capped hill across from my window. I feel like I’m finally waking up, I’ve been so tired for such a long time. ⁣⁣
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That’s what I’ve been doing during this time of isolation, I’ve been resting. At first I could hardly get off the couch. I figured I was stressed, depressed, overwhelmed, afraid and triggered from ptsd for a variety of reasons in this situation.

While all that was valid, I then recognized I was exhausted from the move and the last year of getting Philip settled into college, then before that from 20 years of parenting. Then I thought, wow, I’ve been running since I graduated high school! Then I realized I have been going since way before that. As long as I can remember I’ve been running. And I was starting to falter in it too. I really needed some rest. ⁣⁣
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So I have been. Resting. When else have I ever been given the time and space to finally, fully rest? In the beginning of this I spent time purposefully allowing myself to be as slow as I wanted. I am always being rushed in life; I could finally go at my own pace. Maybe nothing has ever felt this good.

I stayed in bed as long as I wanted. I took naps anywhere and anytime. I didn’t make myself leave the house if I didn’t want to. I let go of any pressure to get anything done. I let myself be. So much underlying static rose up and was processed or released, or both.⁣⁣
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I have been spending a lot of time in a liminal meditative space between wake and sleep where I allow a free flow of thought while retaining consciousness. My tolerance to retaining presence in any state is increasing and a sense of adaptability and underlying peace is stabilizing.

Much insight into things that have plagued me is arising while I am also coming to terms with what I can’t know and don’t have the power to fully control. In doing this I start to see what choices I do have and where I can have an affect.

I am not doing all this but just being and allowing it to rise and process.⁣

I’ve gone from perhaps the most afraid and triggered I’ve ever been (as it was the culmination of a lifetime) to feeling that the perspective of this lifetime is the most integrated it has ever been. Because I finally have the space to let myself be. ⁣

I know this isn’t everyone’s experience. Many are working harder than ever before, many are in unsafe conditions without enough resources. Many appear to be struggling with being alone and not being able to get out or be entertained while others are suffering from being with the people with whom they are isolating. Some have been terribly sick or losing loved ones. There are usually many sides to each experience.

I may have been sick too, maybe with a physical illness, certainly soul sick and exhausted from a lifetime of trying to keep up. All I know is the mist is clearing. We are all going through something right now. ⁣

We are all in this together, sure, but we are not all in the same situation. Each have our own life tragedies born from this and otherwise and each will learn what we learn. ⁣

I could tell you my tragedies but you already have your own. Instead today I chose to share some of the beauty that I am experiencing. ⁣

Waking up inside the parable of my life and learning to let myself be. Slow and steady like the sunrise, until suddenly, when everything is illuminated.⁣

No matter your story, perhaps you will experience some of this too.⁣

We made it through the night again to face another day.
♥️

Gayatri Mantra

Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ

Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ

Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayāt

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्

Gratefully dilating open to allow the all pervasive radiant light beyond individual form to shine through.

Dissipating the veils, pixelating the solidity of the forms, clearing the lenses that block us from wisdom, from experiencing the continuum of the infinite.

(current transliteration and experience of the moment)

Framing

Thoughts upon awakening:

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I do not want to allow challenges from the past to negatively define how I envision my potential moving forward. I want to utilize the perspective and wisdom I learn through all my experiences to inspire me to be adaptive and resilient, to inform me of ways I can continue to grow with discernment, empathy and grace.

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How we perceive things is greatly dependent upon the frame we see it through.

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Every experience relevant, a springboard for the alchemy of transformation.

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Planting seeds, observing how they grow, refining as I go.

Formless Infinite in Finite Form

I have been experiencing that one of the functions of postural practice in the system of yoga is as counterbalance, anchoring into an embodied awareness of a relative sense of space and time to help orient and function in those realms while simultaneously opening into a connection with the formless infinite beyond these finite boundaries of form.

~ for group or individual movement meditation, yoga and Thai yoga sessions check out my services or send me a message. Gift certificates make great presents of appreciation for your loved ones or yourselves. If you are interested in holiday discounts, make me an offer ~

February 14, 2018

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On this day when many people are basking in the bliss of romantic love or lamenting that they are not, I would like to offer another perspective for those of us who are not partnered. Many times I have felt very sorry for myself that I don’t seem to get to have what other people seem to have and so many songs and stories say is the ultimate experience that everyone wants, the companionship of mutual romantic love. There are myriad reasons why some of us don’t find this, or perhaps don’t have it currently, and while having it can certainly be lovely, finding romantic love does not necessarily make or break a fulfilling, vibrant life. Many people hold on to relationships that have expired or perhaps were never even all that good to begin with in order to avoid the seemingly horrific potential of life without a romantic partner. Sometimes we put ourselves into situations that are not viable and at times even dangerous because we are more afraid that we need to be held in order to be okay. And many, myself included at times, miss seeing the beauty that’s right in front of us in pining for something that we imagine would make us complete and can’t seem to find. I have been without romantic relationship for many years now, with only very few unsuccessful attempts along the way. In each case we would have likely benefited each other much more to have related as friends instead. While I still get caught up in the desire for that at times, and am not closed to the possibility that at some point I may find mutual romantic love, I have also found great peace in letting go of needing to have it, in being complete in myself.

Some of the benefits for me have been: I am very comfortable going almost anywhere alone and enjoy my own company, whether or not I engage with other people on my journeys. I have come to often prefer it, especially the ability to come and go as I please without having to compromise with someone else’s desires (other than my son, but that is another situation, and also part of why I deeply appreciate my times of pure freedom). I am pretty capable of doing most things on my own, and when I’m not, I am becoming adept at finding ways to support myself to get those things done too. I am not resentful and waiting for someone else to do their part to balance the tally, I just get it done or not. I relate well with men and women and value them as beings worthy in themselves, not so dominated by the tension of being potential sexual partners or not. I am becoming more comfortable walking away when this is not respected, and am able to take it less personally through time and practice. This helps me feel safer and more comfortable in my own skin, and in my own integrity, and sometimes wakes people up to how they are limiting the ways we may be able to relate by fixating on sexuality and romantic love. I experience the transmutation of sexual energy into vitality and creative inspiration, and sexual attraction into appreciation and connection beyond just that initial potential interest. I am often able to desire without having to obtain the object of desire and enjoy the beautiful experience of the desire in itself. Which…is freedom. My identity is not confined to being a partner and I am able to relate with whoever I want, however I want, as long as it is agreeable with the person I am relating with, and perhaps their partners  I continuously discover what I think and enjoy without the influence of others defining what is possible or valid. I have come to trust myself and am my own validation.

I’m not saying these things can’t be found in the context of a romantic relationship, monogamous or otherwise, I’m just sharing that life can be beautiful and satisfying even if you don’t find romantic love. Even if that’s not what we’re conditioned to believe, and even on a day like today. If you’re feeling alone, just know you’re not alone in being alone. And that being solo doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There are many ways to have companionship, including the companionship of your own heart.

On this and everyday.
Love

Turiya Yoga Spontaneous Movement and Dance Meditation at Unifier Festival 2016

Photo Jul 24, 5 53 00 PM

Unifier Transformational Healing & Expressive Arts Festival
Camp Timber Trails, Tolland, MA
June 17-20, 2016

In this workshop we will utilize guided meditative yoga, mindfulness movement exercises and spontaneous freeform dance meditation as experiential metaphor for resetting unconscious yet familiar patterns; in the way we approach our yoga practice, in the way we move when we dance and in how we relate to the unique circumstances of our lives. Noticing how the forces of momentum, conditioned habits, preconceptions, our own will, each other, the environment around us and even the music direct our movement, we will experiment with consciously unhooking ourselves from following this momentum. In the space of the pause we can potentially tap into the experiencing witness state of turiya, pure aware consciousness underlying all other states of consciousness – the silence ever-present behind the sound, the spaciousness inside our form and the stillness of each moment within the movement – and allow fresh insight and creative possibilities to arise. Instead of repeating pattern or even identifying as the “dancer” and moving by our own will alone, the dance takes form through us. Informed yet not defined, limited or controlled by everything we have experienced so far in our lives.
All levels welcome, no prior experience necessary. I will offer variations to suit every body.

Accompanied with live improvisational sound and music by Kālidāsa Joseph Getter.

For more information go to deniseporterkemp.com/events/tandava/

Denise Porter Kemp makes yoga practice accessible to the uniqueness of every body while expressing the deeper teachings of yoga through the experiential practice of the physical form. Based in the forests of New Hampshire, she brings her traveling yoga school ~ Turiya Yoga ~ to private homes, offices at lunchtime, ski mountains, addiction recovery centers, yoga studios and music festivals all along the east coast. Certified at the 500 hour level in the Shakti Flow Vinyasa style of yoga by Asa Dustin of At OM Yoga, Level 1 in Thai Yoga by Shai Plonski of Still Light Center and initiated into the Kaula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism by Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati, Denise has studied with many teachers and learns from everyone who comes her way. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and offering Thai Yoga since 2011.

~ body geometry, pure aware consciousness ~
deniseporterkemp.com

Kālidāsa Joseph Getter is a creative world musician whose transcendent sounds awaken the mind and open the heart. He leads kirtan sessions, composes and performs for dance and theater, crafts soundscapes for yoga, and plays experimental and free improvisation music. Kālidāsa is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, specializing in the bamboo flute of South India and gamelan music of Java. He is on the faculty of several music schools, leads the Wesleyan Youth Gamelan program, and is music director for ArtFarm theater of Middletown, Connecticut.

https://www.facebook.com/kalidasakirtan

Just Enough and Not Too Much

I am generally not into slogans, although there is a Buddhist one I have heard that I think of a lot – just enough and not too much. It is kind of a Goldilocks approach to life 🙂
Practicing yoga helps me experiment with this balance on a physical, experiential level, balancing how much weight forward, how much back, where do I lift from, where do I contract, when I shift one aspect of the posture how does that affect the rest, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of it is mental, I remember the ways I have played with the posture before and cues other teachers and students have suggested to me, yet it is not only a mental thinking it out. It includes body memory and develops an awareness beyond just the thinking of the mind, beyond just the discursive thought or continuous defining of the mind, it becomes a direct felt experience of the balance that integrates and grows with me.
I am also finding this true with my experience of the continuous learning curve of skiing and snowboarding, dynamic practices of the subtleties of the shifts of weight and posture responding to the shape of the skis or board, the texture of the snow and the contours of the mountain. The practice of yoga does help support the sport in that it can be cross training to warm up and bring awareness into the body and center the mind before going on the mountain and decompressing to unwind tension, reduce soreness and recovery time and prepare the body for the next day. Yet there is also potential for utilizing yoga to refine sensitivity to the effects of stance and the subtle shift of weight in any posture and especially in ones that directly inform the body of movements used in skiing and riding, teaching our bodies how to efficiently perform these movements and giving ourself practice both on and off the hill. Perhaps beginning with mental inquiry and developing into experiential wisdom.
When I ski and ride it is very much a physical yoga practice in that I start with a variety of cues in myself that gradually build – just enough and not too much, a little bit of this and a little bit of that – until it all flows together and I am not thinking out the skiing, all my awarenesses are coming together and the skiing is happening right through me. It is kind of a sahaja approach to life, the sahaja the purely spontaneous being who has trained their body and mind to instead of compulsively react to phenomena, appropriately respond to the specifics of each situation. In the case of your sport or your art this plays out as learning and practicing the form first so then the creativity can unfold and grow through that structure. If you never learned some of the building blocks, through a teacher and/or your own mindful practice, in snowsports you’d likely just fall down the hill. Yet with practice and experiential awareness of your posture, how to read the terrain and the conditions and how subtle shifts of weight drive the edges of your equipment, the falling down the hill can become a graceful and efficient dance of balance. Just enough and not too much.
This is what I am currently into 🙂 If you’d like to play with me with it come to The Mountain Club on Loon at Loon Mountain Resort on Sunday March 13, 2016 for Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation 3/13/16 or be in touch and we can do a private with snowsports or just physical yoga – and develop a practice to support whatever sport or art you are currently into.
Love

desire as inspiration

When you desire something and become attached to the attainment of what you think you want it can be depleting. And torturous. Yet when you desire and don’t need to attain it can be rejuvenating. And inspiring. Which doesn’t mean you won’t receive what you desire or put any effort towards it, it just means you don’t believe you have to attain or strive in order to be okay.
Do you feel the difference?
I am starting to more and more of the time.

lalita

i am a child
who is older than you
living in this body
that becomes younger with age

and my mind that was once wrest
as yours is now with strife
with shame and other’s taboos
has gradually left that behind me

for my foolishness has an innocence
that matures as i grow wise
and instead of turning cold and tough
i let it tenderize me

as i step into the interplay
of the light and shadow dance
shimmering on the snow
in pine forests