I had a recent teaching experience that gave me pause for deep reflection. I saw more deeply into the ways that how we do what we do reflects what we deeply believe about the nature of reality.
I recently taught The Practices of Freedom and Wellbeing Day Retreat at triyoga Soho (Bridget Luff and I have another event like this coming up at The Life Centre Islington) . During that day, I led a guided conscious eating practice.
Before the exercise, I asked people to write out all the thoughts they had about food in the previous 24 hours.
In my own reflection, I realised that I had actually resented food several times myself!
The day before, I had been busy (prepping for the day retreat, albeit with OTHER self care practices, !!!!). I resented having to take the time to get it, prepare it, and eat it. And it wasn’t until I was preparing lunch that evening for the day retreat that I settled back into appreciation and joy.
Then came leading the exercise – this was a very interesting experience for me, because during the actual Immersion, the nourishment piece is held by my amazing friend and colleague Heather Umlah. So I was already travelling into territory of something I have never formally done before (though I have both practiced and participated in such exercises with different teachers). Further, I was aware that I was right up against my own edge.
I find it really difficult to remain mindful and present while eating. I easily can forget to eat. When my life is busy, I can just jam through my meals unconsciously. And, my ‘resentment’ about preparing food and eating comes up regularly – the time it takes, the effort – it feels like nourishment time is genuinely competing against other interests and even other uplifting practices!
Further, at this point, I really can’t skimp or cut corners in the nutrition department – I know too much and value my health too much to let the junk food through; and the food I label ‘junk’ includes a lot of stuff many people consider ‘healthy’.
For example, in my view, the energetics of food plays an important role – who prepared this food? What state were they in when they prepared it? What kind of environment was it prepared in?
Was there an energy of love, joy, and awareness present as this food made it’s way to meet my mouth?
Start asking these questions yourself – and a whole other definition of ‘junk’ might come into play.
So I really do have to pony up and make love as I stand in my kitchen! Now, this does naturally happen once I get in there… but boy o boy, a lot of stuff happens before that moment, I can tell you. A new edge of opening for me is cultivating a deeper appreciation in the realm of my thinking about time and food for the practices of nourishment that I DO so enjoy when I get down to it…
As I led the practice, I could feel the prickliness of discomfort swirl in the room. It was so hard for everyone to stay present! Now, we were all hungry after a big yoga practice, to be sure (Next time I’ll time it differently!) But even considering that – a lot of stuff came up. Afterwards, people shared how they had never thought of where there food came from quite like that;
they found it so hard to eat slowly…
there were waves of ecstasy as the slowness took effect and they could feel the digestive process under way…
the appetite was sated after less food with more time and attention on the process…
Listening to the feedback afterwards was such a powerful experience for me. I REALLY saw in a new way how a very different portrait of our worldview shows up in the things we unthinkingly do every day.
Here’s what I was thinking:
How does How You Eat tell the story of what you believe your body is? What you believe the world is like?
One of the things that we share in the Immersion is the Tantric worldview – life-affirming, infinitely abundant, super potent, and charged with revelation.
And one of the things we explore is what our worldview actually is.
Though we may, at the surface level of our minds, feel that we view the universe as a friendly place, or that we view the world from a strictly materialist perspective – that there is no spirit, only matter –
our actions and deeper thought/feeling tides often belie a very different view.
We may think we don’t believe in spirit, only matter – but at a deeper level we hold fearful beliefs about a vengeful omnipotent god, for example.
Each choice we make, and the energy we bring to our life in every respect is like a portrait of our worldview in motion. And it usually is more ‘old school’ than we think – lined up with coping strategies from childhood, genetic/ancestral factors, cultural conditioning –
a whole mess of stuff that, for a yogi like me, begs to be untangled and re-calibrated.
Practice – steady and over time – untangles and re-calibrates.
Being given a collection of practices that impact all of the things you definitely do each day –
Like, wake up – think – eat – sleep – interact with others, for example,
practices that are aligned with a MORE UPLIFTED and EMPOWERING view of the world,
that give you TRACTION on the ‘under the radar’ shit that anchors you into behaviour you probably don’t prefer –
THIS is a GAME CHANGER.
This is why I teach the Immersion. This is why I have dedicated my life to sharing these beautiful teachings and igniting community around what is, frankly, a much more pimpin’ way of doing and being in the world.
Tomorrow, the early bird rate for the Immersion expires. If you have been considering it – I can’t urge you with more genuine gusto.
Folks from past Immersions are already saying, as they did last year as well – ‘I want to do the Immersion again!’.
It’s so hard to describe, even though it might seem so expensive, time-consuming, and ‘impossible’ given your current lifestyle, how the experience seems to cut across all of that and open up a whole new set of possibilities.
I’m a confident woman, it’s true – but the self-promotion gambit is not as easy for me as it might look. I have to really consider, deeply – is this offering worthy of my students’ attention and time? Is what I am saying about the event really true?
So, just so you know, with the Immersion, I have come to a hearty conclusion:
YES. Worthy. Amazing. Surprising. Awesome. Good Stuff. GAME CHANGER.