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Kirtan- A Night of Community Music

Join in the magical ritual of kirtan, or devotional singing.
All voices, songs and traditions are welcome.
Grace will lead this monthly night of chanting (bhajans) to different names and forms of the Divine.Please bring your voices, any instruments you’d like to play, and an open heart.
No religious or spiritual belief is necessary to enjoy the vibration of Mantra, sacred sound, and the harmony and joy that making music from the Heart brings.

Cost: Donation Only

What is a Kirtan?
By Grace

Kirtan is a beautiful meeting of community to sing, dance and rejoice in the Divine vibration. I will lead a number of songs that you can join in or sing call-and-response style. The words and melodies are simple and there’s no need to “be a singer” to join us. All voices and bodies are welcome. The intention is to create vibration from the Heart, to join in Love and offer our spirit to the Great Spirit.

I have always found Kirtan to be so uplifting, so rejuvenate my body and attitude, to remind me of my connection to the everything.

There will also be a time of open expression where you can sing, lead a song, poem or something else that inspires you in the spirit of Bhakti, devotion to Love.

Come sing with us! I hope to see you there!

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Coming Home – Inside & Out

intuition

Here we are, embarking on a new journey around the sun. Another winter solstice has passed and we are slowly returning to the light. So, now what? I hear that question a lot and every time I greet it with a new response.

Now we pause for gratitude.

Now we breathe in the life around us.

Now we get quiet and listen.

Now we learn and grow.

Now we dance and sing.

Now we shed the old and make way for the new.

Now…we stop.

Winter is the season of slowing down, of being yin, turning inwards and reflecting quietly. I have taken some time in the past few months to reflect on my intention of 2015 to trust my intuition and that little voice and feeling in my gut that says, “Yes!” or “No.” I’ve found that the more I listen to it, the more it rings like a gong instead of dinging like a triangle. It captures my attention and has programmed my mouth to respond authentically, instead of following what I “should” do. And that has created the fearlessness with which I enter 2016…and return to you.  

The notion of “coming home” is very sacred in the mystic traditions of this planet. It is called many names, but always means returning to who we really are, instead of living from the limitations we create for ourselves. This year I’m so excited to embark on some new authentic offerings with courageous and inspiring teachers here in Seoul and in the Pacific Northwest. The rumors are true: I’ll be in Seattle in early April and will spend the Spring and Summer offering workshops, courses and retreats in the Seattle and Portland area, and beyond. With these offerings comes the call to “come home,” to step into the light and to manifest the life that truly inspires you.

I am in the process of creating a new website and fine-tuning the offerings I am most inspired to share this year. While I have some ideas already lined up, I am also open to the needs and desires of my communities near and far.

So, here is my call to you: Join me in creating and sharing offerings of authentic exploration and creation!

Contact me with…

  • Your personal or professional desire for 1 on 1 Yoga Coaching or Life Coaching
  • Connections to yoga studios to host offerings for Conscious Living and Relationships
  • Companies, corporations or groups interested in Mindfulness Training
  • Retreat or workshop centers geared towards Satsang – Communities of Truth
  • Women’s groups yearning to explore the Sacred Feminine
  • Inspired ideas for collaboration

Stay tuned for another email this month with dates and details. And in the meantime, let’s set a collective intention to fearlessly connect with those who inspire us to be more than what we think we are. I’ve created a vision board with the teachers who most inspire me and with whom I’d like to study and share. For I’ve found that the only limitations I have are those I impose on myself. Let’s shatter those limitations and grow together.

 

Shattering Our Illusions

I once had a yoga teacher who said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go home.” The point of that statement is that our home is where most of our programming came from. Our samskaras, our patterns, our habits. As I immerse in the study of karma yoga with an eager group of yogis, we all unravel together the illusory bonds that keep us coming back to the causes of our suffering day after day. And where better to remember those than with the sights, smells, and memories that we grew up with. We look at how to shatter the illusions that keep us bound, safe, small and less than our full human and divine potential.

I will admit that part of why I love traveling is going to places where no one knows a thing about me and I can show up fully present to what that moment needs. It’s easy to put down baggage when it’s not attached to my immediate surroundings. And part of why I love coming back is because the hugs, kisses, and chats are so deeply familiar and filled with years of collected understanding.

Can we bridge those two lives? Can we create familial community abroad and non-attached presence at home? Maybe that is part of my yogic exploration on this journey. I’ve recently come to call this ‘shattering the illusions.’ What illusions? All of them that keep us trapped in unconscious living, repetitive patterns that we were ready to break long ago, and stuck in a loop of fear and reaction – towards life and the people we desperately need to help set us free.

I am offering a workshop on Sept. 27th in Seattle – mostly likely my last on American soil this year – on breaking the illusion of separation that we all face through authentic connection with ourselves (on the mat) and others (off the mat). Not just breaking, but shattering. Because it is only a mask, a facade, a mirror reflecting an obscured picture of the world. What is actually shining back at us is pure satchitananda – truth, consciousness and bliss. Come and find it.

My Lifelong Fear of Being Still

As my partner, Circus, and I sail down the coast toward San Francisco, stopping at ports for a few nights here and there, the transition of being “gone” is a strange one. Usually when I move away or take off for a long trip there is at least a time difference – if not a great distance – between where I’ve been and where I’m going. This “going” is the operative word, as it helps quell my lifelong fear of…simply being still.

Maybe I’m used to the buffer of comfort in being in a totally different culture with constant acclimation and newness to distract me from feelings of home- (or other place) -sickness. But with more than a week of bumming through coastal towns and minimal distractions on the boat, I allow myself no choice to be present with what is. And that is a mix of contentment, sadness, dull excitement, some residual sea-sickness and achy-ness from boat travel, and the hope that I’m headed down the right path.

Often when there are periods of quiet and introspection, little sprouts of doubt and fear creep in, trying to disguise themselves as caution and rationality. Fortunately I’ve learned to recognize their stories – which are based on distrust of the ability to flow with the waters of life and accept what is given – as just stories, and not listen hard enough to change my course. I think I still have some trouble with just enjoying life when it’s not directly benefiting a big community or working towards some life-changing goal. For all that I teach about finding balance and the necessary beauty of play, I apparently still have some negative self-talk! And for this and many other reasons, I still practice every day as diligently as travel allows. I find in my meditation more space to accept the places I am growing and integrating, and the clarity to see the small strides that I make every day. Those little negative voices tend to recede when I don’t feed them and my practice lays the tracks that I prefer to be my habitual mind-speak. Namely, presentness and a mind less distracted by negative talk and self-doubt.

I found a book called Money, Sex, War, Karma by David R. Loy at a bookshop before I left, and its relevance in my life right now makes me smile. It’s about how the spiritual path doesn’t give us permission to sit quietly and “be spiritual” but instead holds us accountable to our actions and our everyday impact. Rising consciousness hopefully inspires us to understand more macro-cosmically (on the large scale) how every thought, word, and deed has an impact on our community of human beings and our Mother Earth. We get to make moment-by-moment choices about how to relate to people, where to put our money and our energy, and how all this affects our circles at home and abroad. I guess one of the reasons I like traveling is the tangibility with which I see those effects. And the moment-to-moment impermanence that is living out of a backpack.

Lastly, I’ve been musing over my life-long discomfort with living in the place I was born. I don’t know where this seed came from, but I’ve always had a gnawing little voice that said if I stay in Seattle my whole life – or even come back there to live long-term – I am a failure. I know that is a big, fat lie and probably even hurtful to my friends and family in Seattle. It’s certainly not a judgement that I impose on anyone else. In my current musings, I identify this as my silly little ego. These past few years in my hometown have convinced me that a life in Seattle is just as noble as a life on the road or anywhere else and hopefully has laid to rest that voice of insecurity and personal judgment.

Today we sit in Newport to provision for the next leg, perhaps to Coos Bay and then to California. The rains have stopped and the skies are gray with touches of blue as I watch the rolling ocean waves outside the jetty that our boat is safely tucked behind. It’s nice to have times of calm mixed with days of excitement. The days of integration are important for me to process, be still, and communicate with you. And the days of excitement are awesome!. Gratitude for all of it and for my patient, kind and fun-loving travel companions.