Our neon times have neglected and evaded the depth-kingdoms of interiority in favor of the ghost realms of cyberspace. We have unlearned the patience and attention of lingering at the thresholds where the unknown awaits us. We have become haunted pilgrims addicted to distraction and driven by the speed and color of images.
– John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
Fully Woven is a collection of embodied contemplative activities* that have been shown to be effective in calming the nervous system and quieting the mind. Activities such as hatha yoga, creative arts, journal writing, meditation, and retreat. All activities and practices offered are informed by strength-based and trauma-sensitive principles.
I trust these activities and practice them myself to effectively manage my mental health and strengthen my immune system. Drawing from more than 40 years of contemplative practices, 18 years as a Third Order monastic, and many decades devoted to the study of yoga, I seek to create a space where you can unfurl and root down into your own wisdom.
I am an experienced retreat and workshop facilitator as well as a trauma-informed yoga teacher and somatic narrative therapist. I work in collaboration with various community collectives and non-profits as well as in my own private practice with the abiding focus of emotional and mental well-being.
Why this phrase “Fully Woven”?
“Fully“ because when we are fully immersed and fully engaged — that challenge vs skill sweet spot — we are in a transcendent state and open to generative options. The word is also a cheeky nod to me being a fat, full-bodied woman. And because I’m a feminist and a yarn enthusiast I find it interesting that the cottage industry of fulling wool has contributed to women’s autonomy and economic freedom throughout history and across cultures.
“Woven“ because I love to weave; whether it’s a good tale or a colourful piece of cloth or a mindful yoga sequence. Furthermore, woven is an apt metaphor for our seemingly disconnected and lonely existence because if we stop and pay attention, we will see not only our own rich tapestry but also our unique thread in the vastly intricate fabric all around us.
What is embodied?
Embodied is being aware of your body’s sensations, movements, and expressions. We are far too often checked-out of our bodies and tend to live from the neck up and the shoulders down to the (texting) fingertips. During times of trauma and stress, our wise minds have various defence mechanisms such as disassociation, compartmentalization, and repression to help us endure and survive. While these defence mechanisms may serve us well in time of need they cease being useful and are a hindrance when they become a habitual response to any stress stimulus regardless of the threat level. In practising embodied awareness–when we feel safe and supported–we can retrain our minds and tone our nervous systems to stay present and involved with what we are experiencing.
What is contemplative?
Being contemplative is a way of being that is slowed down, curious, observant, and thoughtful. Contemplation, meditation, and mindfulness are all close cousins in that they are all gateways into witnessing our own thoughts and perspectives without judgement. To many people, throughout time, having a contemplative practice is been a keystone to peacefulness.
*What does embodied contemplative activities mean?
You know those moments when you’re absorbed in an activity and time ceases to exist? Those moments when you feel calm and completely alive? Plugged in and full steam ahead? Embodied contemplative activities are those activities you enjoy, have a level of aptitude for, and are challenging enough for you to feel both motivated and rewarded. This is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow phase and it’s what I call Fully Woven.