Hello lovely humans
I write, today, on a truly beautiful Spring morning. It was a lovely moment to leave the house to do the school run, little hands gripped in mine, and feel the sun on my incredibly pale skin. It also caused me to pause and reflect on how little attention I had paid to the changing season. Life has been extremely busy for me over recent months. With a backdrop of loss, of stressful things, but also of incredible opportunities and positive change.
When I work, in my own life, on presence, on stillness, I most often turn to my tools in the form of stretching, posture, breathing, meditation, to running, to creating… but they always tend to be ‘doing’ things. The ‘doing’ can, from its effort, allow a sense of stillness to come in the aftermath. Or the stillness can come to the mind in the process – my mind is never less anxious than as I run. It is as if it is entirely cleansed. Running feels like taking my brain to a car wash and letting some kind of magical machine make it sparkle like new. And I get the endorphins at the end too which, these days, I am so much better at allowing to get to work in gobbling up the stress hormones by actually experiencing them rather than going straight from my run, or my yoga practise, on to whatever stressful thing I have coming up next.
What feels important to me right now is to allow the stillness to come in through more subtle practise too. To be present in nature is a big one. I could perhaps say that it doesn’t always feel easy, living as I do in a post-industrial city, the pollution from the main road forming soot over the porch tiles on the daily. But, in fact, where I live is a truly beautiful place.
For a long time I have taken daily walks down an old, meandering, railway line in a nature reserve only minutes from my home. A railway line that has been reclaimed by the earth, allowed to be reabsorbed by nature. Some days I even spot a Muntjac deer. A Muntjac deer! Only minutes from a main road, the local Premier League Football Team’s floodlit training ground and two huge comprehensive schools, in the middle of a city. It never fails to make me feel overwhelmed with joy when I see them dash across my path as the dogs pull at their leads and the squirrels scatter. I walk along the manmade canals with nothing for company but the herons and the ducklings and the swans. I know the local swans well. They become predictable in their presence at certain marker points on my walks. I know their pairings. Last year’s babies, long departed and, to me, missed. It can feel shabby and even bleak on grey days. But it is always very beautiful to me. It always helps me. Soothes.
I haven’t been going so often lately. My dog, Rebel, is very sick. She has cancer. And it’s not curable. She isn’t yet 5. She is having chemotherapy. 16 weeks. We’re 4 weeks in. And she is better, in herself, than she was. Some days are harder than others. She’s a lovely companion, Rebel. She hasn’t really been up to walks. I came to feel as if I was abandoning her to go our usual routes when she cannot join me. The impact on my mind of taking this daily commitment away has been felt through every part of my life. So I need to work out a compromise. One day last week she managed a walk a little of our usual route. It was very lovely to have that 30 minutes out with her. Walking a mile rather than our usual 6. It made me really sad, though, too.
Right now I notice the bumblebee at the window of my yoga room, enjoying what exists, still, of the lavender I planted there last Spring that looks so leggy and sad now. Neglected. The bee doesn’t seem to mind. Just as I don’t mind the shabby, bleakness of the canal path on a rainy day.
Perhaps the answer is to put my usual walking time in to the garden. It certainly needs the attention. In fact that’s a glorious idea because Rebel can join me then, too.
I usually include, in each post, details of what I have been reading. My reading material of late has so much been to support my yoga teaching and practise that my hugely eclectic to be read pile sits sadly in the corner, literally, like a dusty tower of remembrance for what I had hoped for …
You see, reading for pleasure has fallen away somewhat this year so far. Another aspect of my self care and experiences of presence that needs some serious attention.
The most glorious thing I have read in recent weeks, by some way, is a new subscription newsletter from Carolyn Cowan called The Exquisites which she has launched on the rather glorious and fascinating platform Sub-stack.
Substack is a great place to explore, to find interesting writers who have new ideas and perspectives to share. Writers can use it as a platform to say, essentially, whatever they want, unencumbered by editors. I like that independent writers that join the platform own their own content. And it really does attract some incredible writers. Carolyn is my my favourite of those because her writing is other-worldly… exquisite. And what she has to say… what she has said already, is exactly what I need to hear.
Carolyn has made something so unique, so elegant, so beguiling… it really blew me away to have the first issue sent to my inbox a few days ago.
In The Exquisites, Carolyn is taking us on a journey through, as she puts it, an accumulation of Exquisite experiences. Using written word, spoken word, audio, video, gorgeous artwork. . .
It is an email that opens up a very magical interactive experience. It’s very sensory. The whispers and the music and the feelings that come as you follow the practises that you are guided, gently, kindly, beautifully, through.
It’s impossible to do it justice, really, because it has to be experienced to be believed. But when the first issue landed with me it also LANDED me. Like a feather slowly floating to the ground and then nestling in, securely, to rest amongst the twigs and pebbles and earth. I felt divine after working my way through it. Twice. In fact. And I may just do it all again today.
I can’t recommend it enough. Subscriptions to The Exquisites are paid for. The work that goes in to such offers is enormous and it’s a very good thing, in my view, to support talented writers who have interesting and hugely valuable things to share.
If you want to try it out, Carolyn’s offer is £10 per month, or £100 if you subscribe for a year. To me, with the continual offer of horror, offence, violence and stress from platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, Now TV and the news… £10 per month is the most incredible value to be gifted in return something that has been created only with the aim to give us stillness. To give us an altered experience of ourselves. An exquisite experience of ourselves in an altered state.
If you want to subscribe or find out more go here:
This Life Divine
This Life Divine is only a week away. Beginning on Good Friday, This Life Divine is a two day event to help us move through addictive or anxious behaviours.
Here’s a little trailer for the event.
If you would like more information feel free to email me or visit the website at www.thislifedivine.com
I have a special link and code for 50% off tickets so let me know if you would like that.
Me and my brain
At the start of the year I was invited by The Priory Group to take part in a campaign on Instagram called #ShareTheArt. The idea was that a number of artists (I have never considered myself an artist but was flattered to be named as such) were to be commissioned to create a piece of art as a reflection of the role of creative expression on our mental health. Mental health awareness is one of my biggest passions and art one of my most treasured tools for presence, so I was really excited to take part.
It has been an honour and an incredible experience to be a part of this campaign and I truly believe the message. Art, being creative, helps me enormously. HUGELY.
I did not expect to create what I ended up creating. My plan, always, was to draw ‘My Brain’ (as a character) every day over the duration of the campaign and create something from those drawings. I thought I would be showing me and my mind picnicking in meadows, all still and soothed and serene.
But, really, as I got to work, I knew that wasn’t right. Me and my mind do have those still, soothed, moments. But they most often come as a result of me embracing my mind’s true nature. After creating, laughing and smiling as I go, things where I truly feel I have expressed ME. And I don’t think anything ever has quite like this.
Creative expression is one of the most fantastic tools available to us as humans in managing our relationship to ourselves, our stories, our emotions… what that looks like, sounds like… how it is received by others… to me, that’s not the important part.
The important part is that it helps. It helps you feel present. It helps you feel heard. It allows the release of emotion in a really powerful way.
And my brain is weird. Unusual. It really is. And I’m getting to a place where I really am very proud of that.
The Priory Group are inviting everyone to join in with Share The Art by creating their own piece of art on the value of creative expression. To take part use the hashtag on Instagram #ShareTheArt and tag @priorygroup
And let me know if you join. I’d love to see what you make. You can find more about my journey with the campaign over on my instagram @sarajaynekundalini
Free Classes Continue:
My free classes continue every Saturday morning at 8am. I love them. So much. It’s community building at its best. Totally suitable for beginners. No flexibility required. We breathe together, stretch together and hopefully take the time to land in to the present moment. Maybe even laughing as we go.
I would love to see you there.
To sign up go here:
In the coming week I will be announcing the dates for my next two workshops. I AM: Creative and I AM: Safe. Both will come with gifts, with affirmation cards and other goodies. I am working on that now. Along with another exciting project that is in my other area of passion and expertise: publishing. I’m going to be publishing something that I hope will be really special. That is likely going to be toward the end of April but I am working with some incredible humans to create something MAGIC for you.
Do stay in touch. Leave a comment, send an email I love to hear from you.
With all my love
PS – if you made it ALL the way through this post (which was much longer than I intended) thank you so much. Mwah! xxx