Dear Wise Women,
Yesterday a truly amazing group of women gathered in Michelle’s sacred space and embarked on a six week journey together. I could not be more excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. I absolutely LOVED our exploration of JOY and am really looking forward to diving into Pamela Wilson’s book “A Golden Retriever’s Guide to Joy” with you over the coming weeks!
I began our gathering by sharing with you my newly formulated mission for our circles. As many of you know, the unfoldment of my work has been purely organic and continues to evolve (doesn’t all of ours?) This past week, I took the time to focus on what exactly it is that I aim to co-create with the women who gather with me. All of YOU have helped develop this mission and to fine-tune our purpose and I could not be more grateful! I have added the following to the about page on my website and am also including here for you to easily take in once again. 💞
The mission of Practicing Grace Qigong
To provide a safe, warm, welcoming and nurturing environment for participants to access the healing power of a women’s circle. The primary practice of qigong is infused with teachings from a broad range of traditions. Meditation, sharing circles, and movement are used to cultivate presence, compassion, open-heartedness, vulnerability, gratitude and grace.
Circle of Presence Purpose and Protocol:
The sharing circle is a sacred space where all who come, come to listen and respect the views of all others in the circle. In our circle, we pass a heart shaped stone to represent our shared desire to open our hearts. Whoever is holding the stone has the right to speak and receive the full presence of the others. The nuance of subtle energy created from using this respectful approach provides a sense of communion and interconnectedness that is not often present in common methods of communicating.
The person holding the stone has the opportunity to freely express in any way that is comfortable. She is safe to say whatever is in her heart with the knowledge that nobody will criticize it or interrupt it.
The person with the stone receives full attention from everyone in the circle. Listeners make every effort to listen attentively without forming mental judgements or comparisons (to listen to what is being said without automatically relating it back to one’s own experience is one of the most divine gifts one can give to another).
After all have had a chance to share, participants will have another opportunity to speak by asking to hold the stone.
Participants refrain from making comments or offering advice about what someone else has shared (positive relation to what someone else has spoken is welcome).
The personal nature of what is shared is confidential to the circle.
Connection and communication outside of the sharing circle (during tea time before and after class) is encouraged. Please be mindful an respectful that some participants may want to internalize and not wish to further discuss what they shared in the circle.
As the facilitator, Patti may relate or expand on what has been shared in her teachings in a positive and supportive way.
Though sharing is without limitation, a conscious effort is made to keep sharing to a few minutes.
When passing the stone, visualize it as pure and clean and pass it on.
Wise Women, thank-you for your deep honouring of this process and for creating such a meaningful, insightful and interconnected sharing circle! 🙏
Now onto the exploration of one of my most favourite topics - JOY!
Joy Is Not An Emotion
When we are involved in the the pursuit of happiness, we assume that joy in an emotion. We imagine that joy is a state other than what we are currently experiencing - a state in which we feel exceedingly happy all the time. This is a major perceptual error.
Joy may be expressed physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it is not an emotion. Joy is a relationship we have with our emotional body.
Joy is a relationship we have with our emotional body in which we allow ourselves to feel all emotional states moving through our field of experience because we embrace the vast array of feelings within these emotional states - especially those that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar - as the letters of the felt-alphabet that empowers us to consciously commune with the vibrational.
In other words, we may awaken one morning feeling an emotional resonance that in the past we may have described as feeling depressed. Instead of reacting negatively to this experience by canceling our activities, altering our schedule, or moaning to others in an attempt to get their attention, we choose to observe our state with awareness. We do not allow ourselves to start telling a story about what we think is happening to us. We do not behave as if something is wrong, or as if this should not be happening. Instead we allow our attention to rest compassionately upon this strangely uncomfortable energetic resonance as we move throughout our day. Consequently, when our day comes to a close, we realize we have experienced our life more deeply. We have felt something.
This is of course not easy. But as we enter heart-work, we realize that “easy” is overrated. Joy is not about feeling good or having life be easy. Joy is about feeling everything and having life be just as it is.
As long as we are still navigating our experiences towards that which is easy, we automatically navigate away from that which makes life real. This is why we enter boredom.
Joy takes us beyond boredom into The Kingdom of Life, where all is constantly created anew through the embrace of the unknown. The pursuit of happiness, on the other hand, is a constant stance of avoid-dance - a dance around the void instead of into it.
- From the book “Inner Alchemy” by Michael Brown (Michael Brown is one of the few authors that my dear teacher, Pamela Wilson, recommends
After a full qigong session where we experienced the felt sensation of JOY, we closed with this prayer from Pamela’s book…
Dear ones, may you know yourselves to be the Heart that holds everything and may that realization and experience bring you moments of pure JOY!