Breathing Into My Authentic Story

trees in chula vista by Katariina Fagering

I’m typing tonight as the sun descends into the ocean, filled with gratitude for my gorgeous husband who took the kids to play somewhere far away so I could be alone for the first time in I can’t remember when. The lack of quiet, reflective, creative solitude is just one of the downsides to living in such a small space and leaving our nanny behind in Houston (I miss you Ana).

Beyond the RV park we are living in, I hear laughter and shouts from a boisterous game of volleyball in the harbor park. Willow, my dog snores under the day bed while Crow caws as she flies overhead, perhaps to say goodnight and remind me to stay the course.

crow with buzz on the wall at dancing crow yoga (love that name!)

Whether the myth about Crow being the keeper of Sacred Law holds water or not, I hardly care. Crow has kept me true and everyday truer to my course of living the fullest, healthiest expression of myself. She reminds me that I am an active, radiant being inside and out, full of life, love and wisdom to share. My authentic story is better told when I am living congruently with my highest expression, instead of succumbing to those more base desires, like drinking, gorging, consuming, and overindulging and a tendency to want to lay down as often as is possible (that’s a Kapha for you).

Living these three months on the shore of the pacific ocean has softened me into a new devotion for the wellness of my body, mind and spirit. I feel like a toddler in many ways, learning to trust my new legs on this path towards inward devotion.

larry yoga photo by Katariina Fagering

As I wrote in my previous post, Birthing a New Lifestyle, our life took a left turn in February. We sold our house, one of our two vehicles, and rid ourselves of a lot of excess stuff that no longer served us.  We slowed down the over-consumption and paid down nearly all our debt (just a little bit to go!). Those steps were just the beginning.

Laura and Bhava photo by Katariina Fagering

We came to San Diego to take an intensive yoga course called, Mastery of Life Training, a yoga course taught with the vedic wisdom of the Eight Limbs of Yoga (our teacher, Bhava, wrote a book about this). Mastery of Life Training is a 10 week course that meets every other weekend for about 20 hours of yoga, breathing, meditation, movement and mantra. This course is both gentle and challenging, loving and stirring; it taught me to embrace my discomfort while pushing my comfort levels.

The learning curve for us has been steep, but we are committed to living more healthy and active.  This practice takes a lot of devotion.

Larry can Dance by Katariina Fagering

Larry and I view this experience as an opportunity for a total system reset; a chance to shift our lifestyle. Living in Houston wasn’t kind to us in many ways. When a buffalo burger and a pint of delicious craft beer is within arms reach, we found ourselves out of balance and  drinking every night to survive the humidity, heat and concrete (please don’t get me wrong Houston is an awesome city in many ways, I’m just not a city girl – it doesn’t work with my dosha).

laura plumb photo by Katariina Fagering

A few weeks after arriving in San Diego, Laura Plumb, one of our yoga instructors offered an Ayurvedic 21 Day Spring Cleanse which included eliminating meat, alcohol, gluten, sugar (the hardest for me), dairy and caffeine. Instead, we learned how to eat amazingly delicious dishes of rice or quinoa, beans and greens with ayurvedic spices like turmeric, fenugreek, cloves, fennel and ginger. We drank a lot of teas and yummy smoothies.

We are long past the 21 days – moving into ten weeks of no alcohol and pure healthy eating. Our bodies are slimming down.  I’m feeling stronger, Larry’s back is forgetting the constant pain he once accepted. Most importantly, we are softening into an unconditional love and devotion for ourselves.

dinner photo by Katariina Fagering

It feels like a natural progression to first clean up our home and outer lifestyle, before turning inward to that healthy physical stasis we knew at one point in our lives. We decided to adopt this way of eating for six months, give our livers a rest and then see how we feel. I don’t want to be militant or absolute about anything.  This isn’t a path of fundamentalism; it is a path of grace and devotion. If my mom makes us a wonderful cheesecake when we visit her, I’ll savor each bite with gratitude for the love she put into creating it for us.

Bhava photo by Katariina Fagering

Bhava Ram – check out his amazing journey by clicking the photo

We began our cleaning up and clearing out with our home and possessions, before moving onto our bodies. Now I am beginning to experience the subtle (emotional) body in a new and poetic way. To allow every breath to be a conversation towards a more congruent expression of my highest version of my self.

With every breath I am audaciously learning to tell my story with my whole heart.

om home photo by Katariina Fagering

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Birthing a New Lifestyle

chula vista marina

This morning, as the sun rose I practiced my yoga asanas out on the lawn next to Chula Vista Marina in southern California. The cool breeze carried the taste of salt as the sun warmed my face. I felt cradled in the beauty of Mother Earth. My heart filled with gratitude for the freedom to make new life choices and know that Mother Earth will always catch and embrace me when I fall.

crow

Crow (keeper of the Sacred Law) keeps showing up to remind me to step deeper into my own integrity and live in congruence with the woman I know I am. Crow wants me to stay present in this timeless moment where past, present and future exist as one. Where I am standing in my full expression of self, creating audaciously connecting to the deep wisdom held by my ancestors. I’ve missed crow’s gentle reminder because in Houston there are very few crows, seldom heard or seen. Can you imagine going a day without conversing with a crow? I can’t and yet I did for 3 years.

In February our lives took a left turn and suddenly we were packing up our house to be sold, buying a travel trailer (I like to call it our Caravan) and making plans to head west to study yogic living for a few months. It felt like such a quick birthing of a new lifestyle but as I thought further I realized this idea was first conceived nine months ago at our wedding.

Larry at wedding

The weekend of Big Luscious Matrimony in Dripping Springs, Texas was really more of a coming out party for Larry and I. It was the first time we had experienced our imperfectly, authentic dream of cultivating our creativity, connecting with our community and exploring sustainability. We planned the minute details of the wedding for over a year so that it would be a direct reflection of ourselves. We had local ice cream, local beer, local pies, local dinner. We collected mason jars for the year to use as reusable water glasses for the guests. We got he flowers from a flower farm down the street.

wedding flowers

Then we allowed for mystery to show up and help us complete our dream. The ceremony was planned that morning before the wedding and it was perfect. We had a circle gathering of all our guests just before the rehearsal dinner and I wasn’t sure what would happen but we wanted to create an opportunity to share our intention for the weekend and for people to meet each other. What happened actually blew me away. Deep sharing, tears, laughter, and bonding. We only planned to hold the space for coming together. kat and larry wedding day

On our last morning at the venue, sipping our coffee on the front porch, Larry and I decided that we needed to live this way. So we figured naturally that meant to buy a ranch and create our structures and call in our tribe. We dreamed of swimming in our natural pond pool, hosting gatherings of all sorts while we raised our feral children to run wild and free.

the land that heals

Nine moths later when we are getting ready to put some money down on 50 acres in Hill Country, Texas, Larry asks if we might want to postpone the buying of land and instead travel a bit in that “caravan” we were buying to live in while we built our first structure. With only a few seconds of thought I shouted, “YES” and we were off to pack up, haul out, donate, toss out and give away our collection of stuff so we could easily live in our tiny caravan.

As it turns out the baby we birthed didn’t look anything like we expected. Instead of us living stationary calling in our tribe, it looks like we will be riding with the wind at our backs with our hearts full of honey gathering new members of the tribe and visiting and “talking story” with our antiquated tribal peeps.

Goodbye Happy Home!

Goodbye Happy Home!

This labor was arduous, both physically and mentally taxing as all of my labors are. Then there was the painful limbo period between contractions where I wasn’t able to express my creativity and our dream didn’t quite look like we had planned. Yet the further we traveled across the Sonoran Desert away from Houston the clearer the path became. It’s as if the fog of living in the humid urban hub of concrete and strip malls had lifted and I could breath again and the scent of the pacific ocean was calling us home.

Sonoran Desert

Our passage to California is just the first stop in our new mobile life. We are attending an intensive yoga course called, Mastery of Life Course by Laura and Bhava. I will write more about this experience now that the wild, salty winds from the sea are cleaning out all the sluggishness and waking up my feral, creative soul.  The sea and crow will bring me back to my balanced stasis of audacious-ness.

Where will we go next? We’re not quite sure yet, perhaps north, perhaps east, we’ll have to see what plan we conceive and hatch during the next few months in glorious San Diego.

dirty laundry in California . . .

Ginger with Maggie & Luna

I flew out to visit with my BFF, Ginger & attend the Annual Sophia Conference which she was hosting in her beautiful Yoga Studio & house. It was a fabulous event & after we were able to make some time to create in her art studio which is  behind her yoga studio.

We warmed up with a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop & then headed home for some real “Dirty Laundry” creating.

i love small local coffee shops

The Sacred Studio

We started our creations with pasting paper on wood plaques for our foundation. Then we painted over the paper, laid down our focal center, pasted it, painted more, added more, used pens, more paint, & on & on. It’s so hard to explain because it is just a process that is intuitive & very flowing. There really isn’t any rights or wrongs. I think it is a good idea to keep in mind composition principles & color but really there is no “right” way to get from A to B.

But it isn’t about the end product. It is really about the creating together, watching what evolves, experiencing the magic, connecting & tending to the conversation as it deepens, dips & meanders into places unexpected.

Ginger & her collage, Simply Love Yourself

my collage

Our creations

I have since worked on this one a little too much, seeing the first version reminds me to not work & re-work things too much. Instead just love what I make in the first place & allow it to stretch its legs a bit before I judge it too harshly & wish to redo it!

broken wings & cosmos