it kinda seems weird.

I gave myself a hug the other day…

and spontaneously burst into tears.

They weren’t tears really of sadness or joy or anything… maybe just relief

relief a the knowing that I can be my own comfort.  I can be my best friend too.

It kinda seems weird.  Im an adult, I have a great husband who gives me lots of hugs.. why would I need a hug from myself?

BUT REALLY… I did.

I was helped along and given permission to do this by the riotous self-love queen SARK who I dearly love.  I saw an interview with her a few months ago, and she un-bashfully said she used to give herself hugs, and how it has grown in to a 10 minute morning ritual of hugging and rolling about – basically exuberant hugging and giving herself all the love she needs for that day.

The SARK Hug - found via google search

The SARK Hug – found via google search

I actually thought it was a little bit ridiculous, but thanks to her open-ness it planted the seed for me to give myself a hug.. and I really can’t remember the last time I did that!  So grateful!

So I invite all who read this –  into the hugging ritual!  I invite you to remember that what we really need is contained within us.  And that our own power to give love, is so magnificent, so transformative, such a change agent, a gift, a radiant beam and heart healer.  We  turn our love  inward, so we can then turn it outward.   

Touch.  Its our 5th sense.  And such an important one.  Touch can so often be a healer and can reach us on a deeper level than words can.  Hugs do that.  What is so beautiful about a hug is that both people recieve.

I love teaching about touch in my classes and recently I did a lesson on just that… the fact that when we give touch, we are also recieving it.  Its such a beautiful connection.  So …I have sufficiently inspired myself to share the wonders of SELF GENERATED HUGS!

touch - in the classroom

touch – in the classroom

Thank you for your presence.  

Feel free to share your thoughts here and I will love to respond.

happy hugging,

Ashley

p.s.  Yes I am becoming aware there is a theme brewing here with hugs and kisses in my latest posts!  haha!   Well…. enjoy!

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kiss your life! – divinely timed graffiti

Last weekend I got to see a dear friend Monica for a lazy sunday afternoon – evening.

The whole evening was delicious, including the food she prepared, soul satisfying conversation and even some family videos.  I got a treat at the end of the night when Monica showed me a new flamenco choreography she is working on… and i got to see her original

my friend Monica Cortes dancing...in a beautiful portrait by Julieta Noé

my friend Monica Cortes dancing…in a beautiful portrait by Julieta Noé

movements, set to original music and fancy feet work.  I am quite a flamenco novice, but I am certainly enjoying learning more from Monica.  There is lots of passion, changes in energy, lots of emotive rythmic moments and you just kind of feel this history behind it… it holds its own tradition in the movement.  I got to be a good spectator and comment after the performance… and the one thing I observed that I shared at the end was… I wanted more pauses!  More stillness.  More moments to just let us be present with her in her experience.  That not every moment has to be full,  or filled up.  That in the pauses is when I remembered.  And I felt closer to her in the stillnesses, as I watched her dance unfold.

My comment sparked something inside me that I realized I also needed to hear.  This concept of pausing… and how it really has even deeper meanings for our lives.

I headed home pretty late after our lovely evening… caught up in thought and reflextion.  Sitting on the Metro Bus,  I glanced to my right out the window of the metro bus, with the light just right …I got a little Mexico City divine graffiti confirmation

just as I turned I caught a flash of Graffiti scrawled on a cement bodega.  It read:

LA PAUSA DIVINA DE UN BESO

(the divine pause of a kiss)

What a great confirmation!  I was so excited when I saw it!  And it is so true.  When we KISS, we don’t think about anything else.  There is something just so verbal and momentaneous about it.  You don’t KISS someone and think about how you need to do the laundry.  You KISS!  and you are there in that moment.  THE PRESENT.

SO, I WAS JUST SO EXCITED about the graffiti, of course I sent Monica a text right away… and then I not only drew the memory of it… but I just had to share it with you all in cyberspace.  🙂

a photo of my journal sketch... with awesome filters of course

a photo of my journal sketch… with awesome filters of course

To kiss your life.  Kiss moments that you want to remember.  Kiss them into pauses.  and let the pauses be luxurious and languishing.  We connect here with the sweetness of life.   We register it and remember it.  When a pause naturally comes in life, whether its 10 mintues waiting somewhere, a weekend off, or even a bigger pause like a job change or life moment or indescicion… let us embrace those pauses and kiss them too. This is where we also connect with the Divine.  In the silences… this is where we can listen.

In those pauses we awaken our desires and our heart.  Not in the busy-ness and the hustle – bustle.  In the stillness, in the patient waiting. Those who dare to be naked in the silence, in the stillness, in the pauses are those who can dance for no one, and still feel satisfied.  

Kissing this divine moment here with you.  

love,

Ashley

“an 80 person hug” – holding the space.

We had a really special day in June.  We got married!

My husband’s brother commented on the event in the following way:  That even though people came from all directions and places to be at the wedding, and although many had never met each other, and although there were  language barriers, and different cultures present, …the word he used to describe what he felt throughout the ceremony and reception was:  COMMUNITY and TOGETHERNESS.

When I reflect back on it, as so many told me before the day, to make sure to take it all in… I really do have so many memories and faces and special moments in my mind.  But bigger than all that was a feeling.  An emotional intelligence about it all.  Like something in the air, holding the space.  I guess the best way I could describe it would be like an 80-person hug.  An embrace and a holding, that lasted for hours and hours and hours.  ahhhhhhhohhhhh how yummy!

One of my favorite moments of the 80-person hug when everyone joyously greeted us as we drove into the parking lot of the reception venue!  all smiles!

One of my favorite moments of the 80-person hug when everyone joyously greeted us as we drove into the parking lot of the reception venue! all smiles!

Ive heard a lot in teaching, in bodywork and therapeutic circumstances the phrase “to hold the space.”  The idea being to give permission, space ,and our presence to allow something to take place.  It could be holding the space for a grieving friend, and just letting them cry.  It could be in bodywork, waiting and allowing for the body to move or change how it needs to.  It could even be holding the space for dialogue in an important business discussion.  The idea being, to create a loving intention of allowing something to transpire.

In the wedding, this 80-person hug was the most extreme version of anything I have ever felt like that of holding the space.  Like a communal effort of support and energy and love all for the success, honoring and celebration of two people.  It was one of the most miraculous things that I have felt.   …And the most beautiful part is that the feeling has stayed with me.  That feeling still feels so accessible.  I am so thankful.  And so I have been thinking a lot about it and have been trying on that feeling…finding ways to share it, ways to embrace a situation, a space, a person – even just with my energy.

Holding the space.

Like in guiding my classes,   (Ive returned to teaching and its been wonderful.) I am teeaching two classes that I am calling “Contemporary Movement” which invite the whole person.  I try to allow and invite each students’ whole experience into the class.  I encourage them through my words and demeanor to bring into connection not just  their body, but also theri emotions, mind, spirit, life experiences, and uniqueness into each class. Its open to anyone its been amazing that both professional dancers and non-movers are attending the same class.  During this class I have actually been challenged to let go of the notion of teacher, and accept myself as a guide.

I think that the idea of “holding the space” requires a little bit of letting the “teacher” go inside us.  That we don’t necessarily control the outcome, but just are present and witness.  I have found that in this space is where some of where the most profound healing can begin as well.     We trust and believe that the person, or process, or body, deep down has the knowledge to heal, grow, transform, transcend, get better etc.  By holding the space for someone else, we allow them to “go through it” or “do the work” without judgement or opinion… its a safe space.  A vulnerable one.  I guess thats why so many people cry at weddings.  🙂

Haha, so in the notion of weddings and other events, I suppose its important to mention that we don’t just have to “hold the space” for sadness, struggle or pain.  But that we can hold it for moments of joy as well.  Really be present in that moment with those we are with … and that presence, that holding of the space kind of acts like a kind of imprint on the nervous system.  A YES.  This is it.  It is good.  All is well.

- a picture of my contemporary movement class -

– a picture of my contemporary movement class –

I am so thankful for these new experiences!  Its great to be writing about my musings again, and as always great to know a few might be on the other end enjoying my unravelings.

So if you encounter something this week,  try holding the space and let me know how it goes.

Love,

Ashley

needed time

So much talk of violence and gun control, and I think, what about the love?

Ive taken in a lot of world and US news in the recent months, weeks, and days.  On wednesday I  felt such a heaviness and sadness, almost a paralysis of it all.

Cooking last night I put on a blues album and found the answer in Eric Bibb’s beautiful interpretation of “Needed Time.” So I challenge myself. And I challenge you. Not out of any cause, but the cause of love. If you believe in Light more than Darkness. Love more than hate. Resolution more than conflict. Can you find it in your heart not to “be right” but to BE LOVE.

Now is the needed time.

now is the needed time for love. for compassion. for outreach. for service. for forgiveness. for understanding. for love, for love, for love.

the challenge is to today, this afternoon, this evening.  Make a list of three people who are in need. I could be financially but most likely behind that is a  spiritual or emotional need. Be the “needed time” for them.

not later. not tomorrow. now.

our world aches each day. and with senseless acts of violence, abuse, and greed. These conditions exist out of fear and can only be cured through the light of love.

one less day for sadness, for loneliness, for violence, for someone.

lets move as one body of compassion. one voice of love.

what ever your job, whatever your position, whatever your creed –

now is the needed time.

You in your unique role, with your unique perspective, talents, experience and wisdom, are in the PERFECT role to help someone.  If you don’t know who to reach out to, just ask that they be sent your way.  Pray or meditate, or just start making a list.  This person will be revealed to you, if you are willing.  IF YOU ARE WILLING, they will come in some form or another.  And you might not even notice it at first.  A new student in your class, a facebook message youve been meaning to get back to.  Open yourself up to the possibility that you could make a difference for someone.  A forgotten neighbor, a friend, a stranger, a cousin on the fringe of society, a service man or woman you see every day.

Sometimes I think we think a challenge like this is just too much to ask.  We don’t have the time, or the money.  But love is free, and easy to give. This doesn’t mean putting on more burden.  Commiting to something you don’t want to do.  NO.  Its realizing you, in your natural state, in your job, in your community, have easily the power to help someone.  It will be of VALUE, LOVE, KINDNESS, SUPPORT, and JOY naturally.

YOU

Lastly, if you dear friend are that person who really needs some love.  If you are the one that is in need.  I want you to do three things right now.

1.  reach out in any way and ASK FOR HELP.  I, and many of your friends are just a phone call away.

2. start to forgive yourself for how you are feeling.

3. find 5 ways to give yourself some love.  it could be the silliest things, but something that really lights you up.  Find a frisbee partner in the park, take a hot bath, eat something that is so healthy you can feel it deep in your cells, write a list of all the ways you are inspiring, take a walk just because you love your feet, take yourself out on the town, write yourself a love note and post it on your mirror!

CLICK TO PLAY "NEEDED TIME"

CLICK TO PLAY “NEEDED TIME”

http://youtu.be/oWRDM_qMbjk

Right now is the needed time, is the needed time, now is the neeeeedeed time
Wooo Riiight now is the needed time, right now in the needed time
I’m down on my bended knees, I’m on my knees, praaayin’ want you come back, come back here?
Yes I’m down on my bended knees, prayiiin want you come back, come back here
Singing Right now is the needed time, right now
Wooo Right now is the neeeded time, now is the neeeeded time
Even if you don’t stay long, oh my Jesus, If you don’t stay long, I’m prayiiin, Come back here
Ohhhhhh Jesus, If you don’t stay long, I’m prayiiin want you come back, come back here
Singing Right now is the needed time, I know you feel the needed time right now
Oooooh Riiight now is the needed time, Right now is the neeeeeded time,
Ooooooh, Oooooh, Bless us!
 
 

LOVING YOU ALWAYS,

ASHLEY

its not about waiting

Instead of thinking about what you need to do today.

Try thinking about how you want to feel.

Life isn’t about waiting 

Its about creating

What do you want to feel today?

And then what things can you do, create, generate, connect to, see, eat, touch, feel, that create that feeling in you?

cool eh?

Sometimes I feel like personally I become a victim of my days… I do and do and do and then at the end of the day, decide how it all went.  The above idea is kinda like the opposite.  Thinking about it all in reverse!

SO ANNOUNCING IT OUT LOUD,  today I want to feel JOY, LOVE, LUXURIOUS, and VALUED.  And like I said above, its not about waiting for it!  So im off to go create some joy, love, luxury and value for me and for others!

Today I have invited some lovely women to join me in a small “urban retreat” – relaxing in my home with some yoga, meditation, yummy snacks and journaling!  This idea grew from listening to my heart and thinking about what i want to create, instead of waiting around for something to happen.  🙂

Retiro Urbano

Check out http://www.daniellelaporte.com/thedesiremap/  to learn about the founder of this philosoy and more ideas about this topic!

Let me know what you will be creating today!

What you don’t need to plug in…

We all have cell phones right?

Yup.

We all have our computer that runs out of juice, and our frig that needs electricity to stay cold or everything inside goes rotten.  We have a lot of things that need to be plugged in.

And then we have this body.  A body that miraculously doesn’t need to be plugged in.

Can you believe it?  We just go and go!  Our bodies love us so much, they serve us and run and run.

Even when we don’t always treat them right.

Have you thought about that lately?  How much your body loves you?  How much it serves you.  How it magically knows how to heal from a wound, get better from a cold, how it knows how to grow from a baby to an adult, how it breathes and pumps without our asking or needing you to remind it. By design we grow, we heal we get better.

The heart or cardiac muscle… the muscle tissue of the heart, is one of the most unique kinds of muscle in the body.  It is the energizer bunny of love, adapted for continous loving rhythmic contraction.  The heart is a  magnetic force field, a super charged super power of special tissue that doesn’t get tired.  It doesn’t need to rest, and loving you gives you life, beating over 2.5 billion times by the time you are 66 years old.

Our lungs, they have these lovely lobes.  Like petals.  You have three lung lobes on the your right side, under

Your lungs and heart love you.

Your lungs and heart love you.

your ribs. like scalloped petals. And you have two lovely lung lobes on your left side.

Why?  Because by magical design they made room for your heart.

So when you breath fully into your 5 loving lobes they give a little massage to your heart. Isn’t that just so sweet?

In a recent interview I heard featuring Marianne Williamson, she reminded us of this quote by Albert Einstein:

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

 

Given the above proof, it is hard to deny our universe isn’t divinely made, that even our basic programming, the basic nature of all beings is to grow, heal, get better.  Our hearts love us unconditionally. 

So get out of your own way.

And take a huge breath.  Write down 5 things you can do to love your body, and do them.  Eat deliciously healthy.  Exercise.  Breath deeply.  Care for you.  Care for your body.  Listen to it,  because it cares for you every day.  Our bodies are programmed to love us.

You are divinely designed and magically made.

Love yourself.  And then share that love with another.

 

Another stunning image by Huebucket:  Daydreamer

Another stunning image by Huebucket: Daydreamer

This post is dedicated to my loving neighbor Ester.  After being in the hospital on the edge of life, she has safely returned home and is recovering slowly.  

Please love yourselves.

 

If you don’t… who will?

Love,

Ashley

Heart Songs – on “being a boomer”

my voice

my voice

sing

sing

sing my soul.

I want to share. I want to express.

choke. swallow. stop. how? with who? where? in what language!? gulp! gosh darn!

So. I have been loving a new special time in my life: Thursday afternoons I take a voice lesson.

Its been amazing to feel my voice move inside me, feel it soar or crack, push it up or down, coo softly, or wail with delight. To feel the many sides of singing, the many tones and colors of my voice.

My dad, well he is a boomer.

And I am not talking about a baby boomer. I always say I can pick him out of a crowd just by his voice. If we ever arrived late to church with mom, all we would have to do is wait for the hymn sing, and I could find dad in seconds. His voice is definitive, operatic, confident, strong, goosebump worthy, and… well, LOUD.

One thing my voice teacher has been working with me on is singing softer. I always tend to go to the loud parts, to go to the fullest feeling of the singing. I think it is because I want to FEEL myself singing – feel like Im really doing it! Maybe singing loudly comes from a need to feel the limits, to know its there… my voice. To feel that I exist, that I can shout, that I can shake a room or vibrate in my body.

my first voice lesson

my first voice lesson

So in my Thursday afternoon lessons, among many other things that I am learning, I am being taught to sing softly. And isn’t it nice. Yes it is.

Its a new feeling. ….I do have to be reminded again and again. “Softer Ashley.”

So here on this blog, my heart whispers. I listen, I speak, I write …not too loudly.

Sometimes i feel it isn’t enough. I feel limited. “I should be writing in spanish,” I think. But up until now, it is flowing in english. So I might as well not force too much, and just let it out how it comes.

Flow. Sing. Coo. Oh, I am so happy for my dad and his booming ways. He is the best boomer I know! And how my heart longs to boom onto my tongue and be able to fill a room with eager listeners, to make a difference, to shout from the rooftops.

but then I realize something.

something big…

maybe I can’t be a boomer to do what my heart is calling for.

maybe its more the gentle whispers that will touch hearts,

that will land in the ears of the sleeping dreamer

that will pull out the desires of radiant ladies

that will bring the mind back to the body

that will guide

that will open

that will support

that will enfuse

that will wait

that will nourish

Softly Ashley.  Softly.

So friends…What is something this weekend, that you can do softly? Do share, I would love to hear your songs.

Much love,

Ashley

p.s. Thank you Jen for all your loving teachings!