About the creative process and the “monsters” that hold us back

Liz Gilbert

In Australia, when the ocean is a mess of waves and foam they say it’s like a “washing machine.” From the shore it certainly looks that way: waves breaking in all directions and tons of foam everywhere. Sometimes, life takes you to a similar place within yourself. It shakes you up and turns you around until everything you thought to be certain is completely questionable. You try to calm yourself down and find a logical explanation to your situation. When that doesn’t work you cry, kick and scream.. still, no relief. Finally, there’s nothing left to do but surrender. This is how my last few week have been.

Yoga puts you face to face with yourself and sometimes what you discover  is hard to swallow. During the last weeks a few monsters turned up to reap havoc in my internal landscape. They are ugly and scary. They love to criticize everything and they’re never satisfied. “If only this were different it would be much better,” they say. They are actively looking for the flaw in every thing, in every circumstance and in me. We have long arguments that feel like and endless ping-pong match going on in my head. It’s exhausting. 

I found some solace two weeks ago at an event with Liz Gilbert, the author of the Eat, Pray, Love book. She was touring this side of the world with her friend (and hairstylist) who just published her own book. On the stage, they had a casual and intimate discussion about the creative process and the obstacles we encounter along the way. They talked a lot about how to confront the ugly thoughts I call “monsters.”

Liz described her “monsters” as abandoned children with grubby faces who clamor for her attention. She said that at a certain point in her life she had to come to terms with them and figure out how to deal with them. She imagines herself as their mother and makes it her responsibility to care for them. It is a metaphor for taking care of herself, for being her own mother.

She also told us that at the start of each new project she writes a sort of proclamation, a formal letter that she reads out loud in her studio. In it she invites Creativity and also Fear to join her on a new adventure. She know she cannot exclude Fear, but there’s one condition. She tells Fear: “You can have a voice and you can have a seat, but you don’t get to vote!” I thought that was brilliant.

Liz encouraged us to continue forth with our creative work and to “get it done!” She reminded us that our art “doesn’t have to be good, helpful, marketable or pleasing. It just has to be Done. Get it done!” 

 She ended with these words of wisdom:

“What differentiates a life of suffering from a life of learning is a sense of belief that life is your friend. Do the work. Repeatedly. Build a life of meaning.”

Here’s to to a life of learning. Onward!

My Best Posts on Yoga, Anatomy Rolfing and Spirituality

best of..

When this entry goes live I’ll be in the air on my way to Sydney. By now, I should be landing in Singapur, which is great because I’ll finally get to stretch my legs a little bit. This trip is killer: 22 hours from start to finish.

While I’m binging on movies and bad food up in the sky, I’ve prepared a compilation of my best posts to tide you over till next time. Hope you enjoy ’em!

**Big hug!**

Anatomy

Anatomy resources and links

About Fascia

Psoas, breath and grounding

Yoga

Ever wonder why yogis are strong but don’t have bulky muscles?

How to prevent and heal hamstring strain

What limits flexibility?

10 Gift ideas for the yogi in your life

Spirituality

The three day rule 

How to invite positive change into your life

My gratitude journal

“Energy flows where attention goes” ..what I learned in 2014

Rolfing from the practitioner’s perspective

An interview with Aline Newton

An interview with Liz Stewart

..and here’s what the clients say

Jaume

Joan-Artur

Montse

Aurora

Enjoy!

~ Julia

Yoga, Buddhism and Body Awareness, Inspiration for Your Week

alaya 2

The Yoga and Rolfing retreat is this Friday. I am so stoked to get out of the city! We’re having such a beautiful fall this year and I am looking forward to savoring it in the counrtyside.

One of the things I really like about Cal Pau Cruset is its surroundings. The house overlooks vinyards and open fields which allows one to see far, far away. This is such a treat for a city dweller like myself. To top it off, the yoga room is on the top floor and has windows going all the way around the room, so from there we’ll be able to broaden our horizons, literally!

alaya sala adjusted light

When it comes to choosing the activities for the retreat, the hardest thing is to decide what to leave out. There’s so much I love about Yoga and Rolfing that it’s a challenge to stay focused and deliver simple, bite-sized information. The theme for this weekend will be the breath and we will visit it from both disciplines.

With so much preparation for the coming retreat I haven’t had much time to think about this week’s blog post. So I’ve decided to share with you some thought provoking gems that I’ve found very inspiring. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Dalai Lama on Happiness

The XIV Dalai Lama seems to many to embody happiness — happiness against the odds, a virtue that is acquired and practiced. Before a live audience in Atlanta, Georgia, Krista had a rare opportunity to mull over the meaning of happiness in contemporary life with him and three global spiritual leaders: a Muslim scholar, a chief rabbi, and a presiding bishop. An invigorating and unpredictable discussion exploring the themes of suffering, beauty, and the nature of the body.

Yoga ruins your life

I can’t get tired of watching this video! It was just about two ago that I practiced yoga in this very studio, Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. I love Richard’s quirky sense of humor! Here’s his intro to the video:

Yoga Ruins Your Life? That sounds terrible!

But it’s not. In fact having yoga ruin your life is a huge relief. Because when you practice yoga on a regular basis, the auto-pilot of “life” that, if you’re like most of us you may have fallen into, slowly transforms into a life that is naturally more awake, balanced, healthy and happy. The little things that used to bother you don’t so much any more. You feel less stressed and happier. Relationships become easier as emotions, thoughts and feelings become clearer and less reactive. And best of all, who you really are shines through. So yes, your auto pilot life is “ruined,” but that’s not so terrible after all.

Richard is unbelievably clear when it comes to explainign the intricacies of yogic philosophy in a funny, practical and down to earth way. His studio talks are beautiful pearls of wisdom that have helped me better understand the yogic process, how to recognize it’s fruits and how to manage the obstacles that arise along the way. In this next recording Richard discusses saṁsāra hālāhala (the poison of conditioned existence) from which yoga is meant to free us.

The Secret of Relaxation

Lastly, here’s a video by the lovely Mary Bond. Mary is a Rolfer and faculty member at the Rolf Institute of Boulder, Colorado. On her Youtube channel you’ll find lots of useful videos on how to cultivate a relaxed and upright posture. 

This particular one is about relaxing before we go to sleep. Lots of us will bring the day’s stress right into bed with us and then won’t be able to let go of it. In this video Mary shows us how to relax in bed before we fall asleep. Enjoy!

 

How to Invite Positive Change into Your Life

 

cristal castle view

This photo is from a day trip to Crystal Castle with my friend Kerry. Kerry is an amazing woman who captivated me from the start with her smile. She is sincere, joyful, unpretentious and 100% genuine. How does she doit? How can a 60-something-year-old woman have the glowing smile of a young girl? How is it that life hasn’t succeded in dulling her spirit?

We met in ByronBay. Kerry came to stay at our house because she needed a rest. After years of selfless giving as a mother (of five!), wife and midwife, she needed a break. She requested an extended leave from work and “headed north.”

I interpreted her appearance in our house as an auspicious omen announcing new beginnings. I was approaching the end of the intensive 3 month yoga training and Kerry came at the right time to show me how to step into my old life with a new perspective.Spending time with Kerry taught me a lot about how to welcome positive change with a smile.

What’s Your Calling?

Kerry had a secret, she wanted to find her calling. She knew there was something she’s “meant to do,” but she didn’t know what it was. I found this shocking. I thought one’s calling is a fixed and unchanging thing that you stick to. It didn’t occur to me that every stage of life offers it’s own calling. Kerry faced her search with the excitement of a child on Christmas eve. She would ask herself “What wonderful gifts would this new thing bring?”
Trust Your Heart

“That’s all mind stuff, isn’t it? Come back to the center, back to the heart” She told me patting her chest with her hand. Kerry taught me to trust my center, my own heart. What feels good? What gives me energy? What sparks excitement and aticipation? What action does my heart require?

Appreciate Life’s Miracles

When you relate to life from the heart, you develop an appreciation for its magnificence, I learned that from Kerry too. She expreses a deep appreciation for life in very simple gestures, like in the way she speaks from the heart with sincerity, excitement and humor; or in the care she takes when preparing delicious wholesome foods and in her tidyness. She appreciates and cares for the small everyday miracles, the details that make each moment unique. Everything she touches glows. It’s the palpable result of her wholehearted intereaction with life.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Another thing I learned from Kerry is to celebrate my accomplishments. Some accomplishments seem small and I’ll often forget to recognize and honor what is big for me. It’s important to give ourselves credit for our accomplishments, no matter how small they seem from the outside. As they say in Oz: “Good on ‘ya!”

Back to You

What new things are you stepping into?
What are their gifts and challenges?