learning to love your essence.

DSC_0571

Meditation taught me that to love someone doesn’t require them to be without flaws or to ignore the fullness of who they are; to love someone is simply to care deeply for their well-being.
When we love, we naturally incline toward nurture, acceptance, grace, forgiveness and actions that make space for wholeness to emerge. Maintaining and caring for well-being becomes the primary action and intention of the relationship.”

The people I love most in the world are perfection.

They always make mistakes and they apologize for their mistakes. They laugh loudly and forget appointments and show up late and smile sheepishly and snap at me when they are tired or hungry or bug-eyed overwhelmed. They are tall and they are short; they are a little overweight and a little underweight. They are sometimes frazzled and other times they are put together and impeccably dressed.

They sometimes call me at weird times of the day to rant their fears and unintelligible misunderstandings and they sometimes hug me deeply and with meaning at the exact moment when I feel unmoored and disconnected. They are unhealed and they are healing; they are working through profound emotional trauma and they are also ministers in their own right, gracing me and their families with wisdom and acceptance.

They are perfect and they are VERY VERY MESSY HUMAN BEINGS… and, because of all this messiness, I care deeply for their well-being.

Through years of emotional discernment and chasing joy and looking deeply for wonder and listening deeply through meditation, I’ve learned that even I belong in this category of humans. The category being: people who are messy and perfect and deserve to be loved into wholeness and loved at their essence.

Meditation taught me that to love someone doesn’t require them to be without flaws or to ignore the fullness of who they are; to love someone is simply to care deeply for their well-being.

When we love, we naturally incline toward nurture, acceptance, grace, forgiveness and actions that make space for wholeness to emerge. Maintaining and caring for well-being becomes the primary action and intention of the relationship.

I’ve witnessed powerful and profound effects within the hearts and lives of my meditation students when they use their meditation time to deliberately nurture their well-being. One student told me that in learning to meditate she uncovered her belief that she didn’t deserve health and well-being. Her meditation practice then became a deliberate time of remembering how to care for herself, how to remind herself that she was perfectly imperfect and worthy of love.

Here is the meditation I gave her; I hope it helps you remember which category of humans you belong to: the one that is perfect, in essence.

Learning to Love Your Essence Meditation:

Happy loving,

-lisa

 

 

re-set your day through meditation.

DSC_0586

Did I tell you about our new washing machine? A month after we moved in to our new house, our washing machine stopped draining. It would get halfway through a cycle, flash the dreaded F2 error code and act like an almighty flood was coming.  My Ironman figured out a way to “fix” it through a complicated procedure of button pushing with very specific intermittent waiting times.

It was not a fix. I mean, I had to truck myself down those basement stairs every 4.5 to 6.7 minutes to re-set/drain/re-start that washing machine. 

Meditation, too, is like a re-set button during my day. And some days, I have to hit it a few times before I get my mood fixed. 

But every time I stop, take a deep breath, consciously dwell with my inhale and my exhale, I reaffirm a healthy relationship with my body, my mind, my spirit.

When I do this, I draw my scattered mind back to the present moment and am able to make wise, deliberate choices. I’m kinder and more empathetic. When I’m able to do this, I feel a little more fresh, more focused, more ready for the day.


When I teach meditation, I teach that there are five simple steps to organizing a formal meditation practice.

  1. Establish a posture that leads to a feeling of stillness. Move around a little bit. No one expects you to be perfectly statue-still the first time you hit the re-set button.
  2. Take a few deep, diaphragmatic inhales and exhales. Clear out distracting thoughts.
  3.  Systematically relax your body. Release a little physical tension. You know how good it feels to relax, you may not know how much tension you are unconsciously holding on to.
  4. Focus on the natural breath entering and exiting your body. Notice everything about the rhythm and feel of the breath. Give yourself the job of being in one place, at one time, appreciating your breath.
  5. Refine your mental focus by repeating a phrase silently. Give your thinking mind something positive to think about it. A mantra works wonders.

 

To get you started with this “re-set,” here’s a few of my favorite meditation practices:

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

Beginning Breath Meditation

 


Guided Meditation Teachings

Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:

$4.00

28 day meditation challenge with lisa.

Mindful Moments Meditation Challenge picture May 2020

28 day meditation challenge with lisa

beginning May 20, 2020

Enroll to receive a daily text reminder that invites you to dwell in a moment of mindfulness. Each text will contain a link taking you directly to an Audio Guided Meditation and daily inspiration.

Enroll Here


Meditation is a skill that can be learned and practiced. Initially, looking for a space of quiet stillness between your thoughts can confirm just how busy your mind really is. It may feel difficult, nearly impossible, to slow down your thoughts. However, with time and practice, you can learn to distinguish individual thoughts and clearly examine the quality of each thought.  

Meditation is an invitation to become intimately aware of each thought moving through your awareness so that you can discern which thoughts are helpful in your healing journey and which thoughts set the stage for unease and frustration.

With this awareness, you gain the skill of choosing which thoughts to give your time and energy; you gain the ability to perceive your mental landscape with wisdom and clarity.

This awareness allows you to respond with compassion and ultimately uncover an inner contentment and ease.  


Join me for a 28 Day Meditation Challenge Beginning May 20, 2020

Enroll to receive a daily text reminder that invites you to dwell in a moment of mindfulness.

Each text will contain a link taking you directly to an Audio Guided Meditation and daily inspiration.

Please enroll through Westport Yoga Kansas City.

Investment $28

Enroll Here

You’ll get your first text on May 20, 2020! Please provide phone number when enrolling. Please note, your phone number will be secure and you will be automatically un-enrolled at the end of the 28 day challenge. Enrollment closes on May 19, 2020.

a re-think of an hour: an invitation into presence.

re think of time picture

When we retell the stories of ideal, transcendent, meaningful moments in life– those moments when we felt alive, connected, whole and present with joy– we often say that we lost track of time.

We spent an entire weekend laughing and sunbathing with our girlfriends on the dock, never once checking our watches. Our two mile hike under budding trees turned into two hours on the trail and a languid picnic in the grass, not noticing the day was ending until the sun set. We got lost wandering around the art museum and stayed past closing. We went to lunch with a dear friend and talked for hours.

Our memory reminds us that in times of great presence, we were immersed in an unfolding of time that was outside linear constraints.

As I reflect on the disruption of my daily routine as a result of the compassionate community response to the COVID-19 crisis in which many of us are staying at home, I think about my relationship to time.

(In my household, the two activities that transcended time during the Coronavirus shelter-at-home mandate were eating leaves on the back porch and watching music videos on YouTube. Potentially less-than-ideal Parenting Choices, but … no whining for the win.)

Actual hours of my day have been handed back to me. And yet I am often restless and disconnected– owl-eye watching the clock until my IronMan takes over baby duty and I can go accomplish something.

The stay-at-home mandate reveals a conditioning that bases the worth of one hour on its accomplishment and production. And while that conditioning is comfortable and often lucrative, I’m discovering that a less restrained interpretation of an hour reveals greater depth… and great deal less anxiety.

Previously, the question asked of time was this: how much can I get done in this hour?

This pandemic experience, for many of us who are sheltering-at-home, has changed that question to: how can I experience this hour in presence?

Yes, many of the structures and boundaries that organized our time have been altered and removed. This restructuring is disorienting and sometimes frustrating and sometimes boring and sometimes excruciating.

And also, this restructuring is an invitation to see time differently. 

Because, in times of great connection and deepest joy, time unfolds in a cyclical, silky, unhurried manner.

There’s nowhere to be but right here, allowing the hour to recline and recede, appreciated not for its productivity, but for its presence.

re think of time picture

Happy re-thinking,

-lisa


Enjoy these teachings that help re-think time and engage in presence.


Guided Meditation: Open to Timelessness

Mindfulness Meditation: Core Breathing Technique


Guided Meditation Teachings

Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:

$4.00

much love and gratitude-

we must choose stillness.

DSC_4087

Collectively, we don’t know the answers yet, which means that individually, we must be part of the answers.

But first, we must learn to listen very carefully to the fear that tells us we are alone and we should be afraid and we will not make it through this tumult strong enough to find a new normal. We must hear this, so we can choose to disregard it.

We must calm this overactive, anxious, panicked voice by saying, “I hear you fear, but you are not Truth; you are not the way of Light and depth and love. I choose connection and kindness and quiet. I choose to stay grounded in what I know is Life Giving and what brings me closer to Wholeness.”

We choose this by sitting with our fear and our hope and our panic and the fullness of what is, until we feel grounded in stillness. We choose this stillness because this stillness is the place where inspiration and hope and answers emerge.

According to the yoga tradition, we develop inner stillness through Meditation, Breath and Community.

Learn the Guided Meditation Technique called Body Scan to ground into the present moment when you most need it.

Body Scan Guided Meditation

Learn the Yoga Breathing Teaching called Extended Exhale to ground into stillness when you most need it.

Extended Exhale Breathing: Vishama Vritti Pranayama

Learn more and practice additional Yoga Breathing Techniques Here:  The Power of Pranayama

 


Enjoyed these teachings? Consider partnering with Lisa so she can continue creating quality resources. Thank you!

Pranayama Guided Teachings

$4.00

 

contentment amidst COVID-19.

santosha

Feeling contentment during this time of global unease, disease and angst that is the COVID-19 disaster of 2020 is patently ludicrous.

To me, feeling contentment happens when I’m resting in a lawn chair watching aspens glitter, drinking coffee after a long trail hike. Or hunkering down on the couch with RussellClive, a chai and Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, spending the afternoon going nowhere.

In these scenarios, of course, I have nothing to worry about. No pressing deadlines, no new website platforms to learn in order to keep my business afloat because my entire city is locked in their homes, terrified to touch anything or anyone. No parents or grandparents who could get sick. No friends who have suddenly lost their source of income just weeks before having their second baby. No cell phone to continually check the unnerving minute-by-minute alteration of the Rules of Coronavirus. In these contentment daydreams, I am a veritable fortress of ease.

This is not happening so far in 2020. I’m not feeling contentment. I’m feeling sometimes like the roof is falling in and other times like this whole thing is an inside joke that I’m smiling frantically along to, not unlike my mentor Michael Scott.

In Yoga Philosophy, inner contentment is one of the five core personal practices, called niyamas. You can read more about core Yoga Philosophy on my page key yoga learnings.

The Yoga Sutra written about contentment (santosha) is translated as, “From contentment one gains supreme happiness.” (II.41)

Which, at the moment, sounds naive and opaque and wildly unhelpful. But as a yogi and spiritual seeker, my responsibility is to pause and discern: where is there wisdom in this?

Here is the wisdom:

If my primary aim is to feel contentment, I’m doomed. There will always be something newer, shinier, bigger and better promising “supreme happiness!” Feelings are fleeting unreliable (you nailed it with Inside Out, Pixar), and suffering is an inevitable part of the human experience.

However, if my primary aim is to be contentment, secure in my worth, my deepest connection to Source, my commitment to my vision of a healed world and to my values of compassion and graciousness and authenticity…. no matter what… I might have a chance.

Contentment cannot be based on what I own or my hierarchy on the corporate restructuring chart or what plaques I hang on the wall or how many people look up to me or how relevant I am on social media. The minute I start attaching my worth, my identity, my sense of fulfillment and sense of self to any external situation, it can be taken away. Suffering will surely follow.

Contentment has to be based on who I am and how I forge a refuge of reverence for the incredible gift that is my next breath.

Contentment isn’t a feeling. Contentment is a Knowing. It’s a deep inner knowing that, even in the midst of suffering, I’ve chosen to be grateful that I am alive in this present moment. And to act with compassion in this present moment. And to speak with integrity and clarity, and counsel wisely and care deeply and choose authentically in this present moment.

People flow in and out of our lives, possessions come and go, even opinions and ideals change over time. In other words, the outer world is in constant flux; yoga says that the only conceivable way to feel anchored in contentment is to remember that our depth, meaning and deepest Self orbits not around these changing circumstances (prakriti) but is anchored to the permanent light of awareness and Creative Source that sustains all living things. That, readers, is santosha. 

I offer you this Santosha Guided Meditation as a practice of reverence and refuge. Please return to it often and share it with loved ones.

Santosha Guided Meditation


Guided Meditation Teachings

Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:

$4.00

 

learn more about santosha:

the contents of my Soul: santosha

is your cup too big?

every day a gift: santosha

not needing more: santosha

access additional Guided Meditations for Stress Relief:

guided meditations

and learn about the power of breathing techniques to mitigate stress:

yoga breathing techniques and pranayama exercises


Guided Meditation Teachings

Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:

$4.00

what we will say when this is over:

DSC_3901-Edit

What we will say when this is over:

“We read books and we listened to stories and we listened to each other.
We rested and we waited and the ground turned green and the daylillies bloomed secretly overnight.

We looked lovingly into each other‘s eyes and saw each other in stillness for the first time in many weeks or many years.

We took walks together as families and we cuddled our pets as we reassured those that we love that everything would be ok.

We took a look at what we loved, and who we loved and how we supported each other. We thought about the impact of our purchases, our spending, our investments, our time.

We consciously decided how to support businesses and people that we cared about.

We took a hard look at what we valued and how we lived by these values. We made decisions to be more mindful with our time in the future. And move a little slower and appreciate a little more.

We valued our health.

We sat and we watched the rain fall and we ate nourishing meals and drank copious amounts of coffee.

We reached out to each other and we said, how can I help? And we meant it.
We were kind and gracious. When an appointment was cancelled or an event was postponed we said, I understand; stay safe and stay well.

We paid attention to what we were buying, where we were buying it, how we were using it, and what we could do without. We chose to share instead of to hoard.

We said thank you. We meant it.

We said, we are in this together.”


Readers and Seekers:
We are in this together.  Listen to this Podcast Interview with Lisa about the benefits of Yoga as a Spiritual Practice. Take a moment to re-set and ground yourself. Now is the time to practice your yoga.
LAD PODCAST PIC HOLY GROUNDS sq

PROJECT ZION PODCAST

If this was of value to you, please consider Partnering with Lisa so she can continue creating content that supports mental, emotional and spiritual health. Invest via PayPal:

Partner Investment: $5

 

meditate your weight.

Meditation may be the key to sticking to a healthy eating plan, accurately perceiving your body’s hunger cues and staying at your optimal weight without a diet plan. Research shows that your chance of staying at your optimal weight after weight loss programs of increases when you incorporate relaxing breathing techniques and meditation practices into your daily routine.

When you’re meditating, you’re honing your ability to perceive hunger cues, mitigating stress hormones that lead to weight gain, strengthening your resolve to make healthier food choices, and enhancing your self-image.

The Mindfulness Connection:

Mindfulness is the ability to identify and examine the individual thoughts that pass through your consciousness. It’s integral to the practice of meditation, where the goal is not to stop or judge your thoughts, but to notice them enough to choose healthy thoughts over unhealthy thoughts.

In her book, Meditate Your Weight, Tiffany Cruikshank founder of Yoga Medicine, posits that your most helpful ally in weight loss is your mind-body connection, which is significantly strengthened by meditation and mindfulness practices. “Mind-body connection is essential for long term permanent weight and health changes. From research we know that the small changes we can commit to over time are much more impactful on our long-term health; the mindfulness we bring to our daily habits can be life changing,” Cruikshank explains. “A non-judgmental awareness [is] additional protection that allows us to be human and imperfect along the way, safeguarding us from the roller coaster of falling off the wagon of our extreme health plans.”

This program with Lisa Ash Drackert, Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist, includes a Book Study of Meditate Your Weight by yoga teacher and health expert Tiffany Cruikshank as well as detailed yoga, breathing, and meditation instruction to help you approach your health with confidence and a sense of empowerment.

“Meditate Your Weight” 5 Week Series and Book Study

Thursdays at 4:30 beginning April 2, 2020

Meditate Your Weight April 2020

Meet for book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive and encouraging accountability group on Thursday afternoons in April at Westport Yoga KC: April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30th, 2020.

Your Investment Includes:

  • 5 Specialized Classes with book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive environment

  • Your own copy of Tiffany Cruikshank’s book Meditate Your Weight

  • Complimentary attendance at 2 regularly scheduled yoga classes at Westport Yoga KC

  • 15% off enrollment in Special Events and Workshops at Westport Yoga KC April- May 2020

  • 15% Private Yoga and Life Coaching Sessions booked with Lisa

  • Weekly email literature and encouragement to help keep you focused on making positive mental and physical health changes in your life!

Investment: $95