Last week Gabriel celebrated his 18th birthday; in a month he graduates from high school.
This is an exciting time, and also a nostalgic time for me!
I remember so clearly the day he was born—it was the day after his due date, almost 90 degrees in New York City, and I was so ready to meet that little person!
I remember Gabriel's second birthday party when his favorite color was orange and I made him an orange cake; his tenth birthday party when a group of friends slept over on our living room floor; and his thirteenth birthday party when we went to a hut in the white mountains.
Time is so remarkable.
And mother/parent love is so strange, because our children change so much faster than we do: I see the baby and the child in Gabriel now at the same time that I miss the baby and child that was—I will never hold Gabriel (who is now almost 6 feet) in my arms the way I did when he was one or two or three; so there is loss. And these transitions bring that up for me.
And while my Buddhist and mindfulness meditation practices help me stay present and also to put all these shifts in perspective—everything is impermanent—I’m also grateful to be able to experience the fullness of human experience even with the real pains that I experience. Yes, impermanence and attachment are hard, but I wouldn't want to give them up.
But, I wouldn’t want to give up all of that pain either because it’s a sign to me of how deeply I value the things I care for; and the very way in which I feel just slightly out of alignment with time makes me wonder all the more at the miracle of the world.
No mud no lotus, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, even in the best of times.
The pain and the love inter-are. If I didn’t love, I wouldn’t feel the pain.
This helps me also when things aren’t going traditionally “well.” I mourn violence or loss because I care. And while not caring might make me feel less pain, it helps me, instead, to see that the pain itself can be a sign of love, and I wouldn’t want to give up or hide from love.
My meditation practice helps me (even if it's not always easy!) be present for it all.
Here are some questions that I sometimes ask myself that I find helpful. You might want to ask yourself them:
*) Is there pain even in the things that are going well in your life? Can you see them as part of the mud that grows the lotus?
*) And similarly, if things aren’t going “traditionally” well in your life, can you see that part of the pain comes from the fact that you love and care for things?
I'm so grateful to my children that I can be a mother. And I'm so grateful for my mindfulness practice that I can be more present with what is.
As always, please pass this on to any friends who might be interested and
Keep reading...below one of my favorite poems about the passage of time!
Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Have you ever started doing something and then found yourself questioning why you are doing it?
Or have you started out doing something with one set of expectations and then found yourself doing something quite different?
In my last video, I told you a bit about how I came to the more integrated coaching and teaching of writing that I do. Today, in this new video, I want to share some thoughts on how to stick with writing even when you don't know where it's going or when you want to stop altogether.
I share some of the experiences of two of my clients and the ways in which their most uncomfortable moments led to real growth. I discuss how isolating that particular moment when you feel most uncertain about your writing, sitting with it, instead of running away, and really listening to the messages coming up in your body can lead to exciting creative breakthroughs.
And I offer four practical tips to help anyone deepen their writing practice—especially when it's getting uncomfortable.
The holidays are upon us. In my house, Simone is particularly excited; we’re going to do a lot of baking together, and next weekend, we’ll string up our lights in our living room.
But the holidays are also a time that bring many of us into stress—to top all the stress that so many of us are feeling in the larger world.
As an early holiday gift and a sign of my thanks for you all for being in my life and for being part of my community, I want to share a short video to help you come back to your center and get through the season—or any time that is challenging for you.
I’ve found that one of the biggest stressors in our lives is the disconnection between mind and body.
This disconnection helps explain our nation’s current health problems, our sexual abuse epidemic, and our environmental crises, to name just a few things, and it affects us both as a society and as individuals.
We live in such a segregated, siloed way that there are very few practices that help us bring mind and body back together.
But when we bring meditation, yoga and writing together, we can begin to make connections again between the different parts of ourselves.
Click above or watch here: https://youtu.be/hL0liGYAGeQ
In this video, I offer a balancing meditation, some gentle yoga to awaken the spine, and a writing prompt. Done together, the practice invites you to listen to yourself, reconnect with your integrated self, and tap into your inner knowledge and creativity.
This is a nice, gentle practice that you can do every day.
I hope that you’ll enjoy the video and the practice. As you practice more, you’ll find the experience deepens.
The poem I read in the video, Guest House, by Rumi, translated by Colman Barks, is one I often use because it’s a good reminder to be present with whatever arises and to cultivate gratefulness. And every time I read it, it brings something else up for me.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I’d love to hear any experiences you have with the practice. And of course, please share with any friends who may be interested.
We all have stories, but how do we listen to them mindfully so that they lead us to our true purpose and we don't get overly attached to the thorny pieces?
In our complicated world, how can we calm our nervous system so that we are more available to ourselves and others?
I'm so excited to share with you my conversation with Jillian Pransky, a yoga teacher of over 20 years and the author of the newly published book Deep Listening, in which we discuss these questions.
In our conversation, we talk about:
Jillian's also a great storyteller, and she tells some memorable stories that I think you'll enjoy!
(Click above or watch here: https://youtu.be/BywY5dFjCqc)
If you want to listen to the conversation you can listen here:
You can see more about Jillian and her new book Deep Listening at her website www.jillianpransky.com.
As always, I love to hear from you. Let me know your reactions to the conversation and your own experiences with deep listening. And please share with any friends who might be interested.
I want to invite you to join me over the next three weeks for three live meditation and writing sessions.
I know that life has a way of creeping in and preventing us from doing what we want to do.
I talk to so many people who tell me that if only they could find the time for their writing, they would LOVE to write. And yet they don't. Even professional writers often tell me that they don't have enough time for their own writing. And that their writing time becomes yet another thing on their to do list—something that no longer feels creative and peaceful.
We live in a time of anxiety. When we don't do what we want to do, when we don't give space for our own voice and growth, that anxiety grows.
So I want to help you make time: What if you take from 15 minutes to 45 minutes once a week for the next three weeks and join me in live meditation/writing sessions? Come all three times. Come once. Come only for fifteen minutes.
Sign up and I'll send you an access code.
We'll write together at the following times:
Friday, April 7th from 12:00-12:50 ET
Wednesday, April 12th from 12:00-12:50 ET
Friday, April 21st from 12:00-12:50 ET
I'll start each fifteen minutes (on the fifteen minute) with a meditation and writing prompt and then give you time to write in community.
There will also be time for questions and conversation.
By the end of each session, you'll have taken time to meditate and to create some powerful writing; you'll be more in touch with your center, with your creativity, and with your voice.
Why does this matter?
It matters because we live in a time in which the arts and truth are under assault, a time in which individual voices are being silenced, a time in which many of us feel off our own center.
How do we address this situation? By being the change, ourselves, that we want to see in the world.
You'll be amazed at how you can shift your energy in just a few minutes and what you can write in just a short time. And when we come together this shift is even more powerful.
Together, we can create powerful, peaceful, creative energy.
So sign up today and please invite friends and family! Either email me directly by responding to this email or sign up with the link below.
Sign Up To Join
Poetry and Mindful Writing Workshop
Eight Session Semester
April 10th, 10am-12pm
Creative Nonfiction and Memoir Class
Eight Session Semester
April 10th 12:30-2:30pm
Align Your Story: Online class that includes yoga, meditation, reading, writing and community
April 24th-June 10
Self paced online ten week class with lifetime access
Why Your Writing Matters: Half Day Workshop
April 28th 10:30-1:00
Grub Street, Boston
Breathing Out Fear: Day Long Retreat
April 29th, 10:00-5:00
Copper Beach Institue, West Hartford
see more at http://www.nadiacolburn.com/events.html
As always, please share with any friends or family who might be interested.
And reach out with any questions or just to say hi. I love to hear from you.
In my last post, I wrote about getting our story straight, and I said that I’d talk about supports that help us in this process so that we can and live with more health, vivacity, creativity and agency.
Emotional Healing & Mindful Writing Blog | Nadia Colburn
I blog about creativity, writing, yoga, meditation, justice, women, the environment and integrated well being for the individual and society.