“We are broken within relationships; we need to be healed within relationships.” -Ojibway Elder: Hilda Nadjiwan (2008)
“I have come to recognize the intricacies and wonder of relationship as I acknowledge that we are broken through relationship and through relationship we are also healed.” -Dorothy Vaandering, Restorative Theory in Practice
I had decided a while ago to participate in a yoga retreat the weekend before heading out on my round the world 93 day journey. As many of you already know, I hurt my toe a month ago. I wasn’t sure it would be healed enough for a yoga-thon. It did and I did yoga full force this last weekend. We spent two days practicing yoga, meditating, writing reflections, eating really amazing vegan meals and gazing at the ocean in Yachats, Oregon. I dragged my good friend Anne Margaret with me and welcomed the company. I love the ocean. I enjoy meditating and writing, as reflection comes natural to me. I also savor big plates of delicious food and yummy banana bread. I spent last year appreciating growth by adding something I am not the best at into my life: yoga. It has definitely brought a much needed stress relief and centering into my life. So needless to say, the last two days were the best way to center myself before heading off to Iceland this Thursday. (North Portland Yoga is lovely if you’re in the Portland area.)
We reflected in writing about the question: Who am I? What I wrote at the start of our time, wasn’t the same as what I wrote at the end of our time. There were similarities, but the experience of the weekend shifted my mindset and sense of self. I believe our idea of self is fluid and can be answered in various ways. One question during meditating, “Can you be with your heart on your ocean?” ran on repeat in my head. I shifted it to the “I.” Can I be with my heart on my ocean? I imagined my heart in a boat by itself floating the beautiful sea. The waves shifting, ebbing and flowing. I hear Cary’s voice guide us with the phrase whatever comes up for you is the practice. She also asks can you ‘be with’ your inner self, as well as the outer world.
The concept of ‘being with’, this is very much a restorative practice concept. As I am reading more and contemplating the journey of learning, I am also on this year, with diving deeper into restorative practices I am very much aware the journey of ‘being with’ starts with understanding and knowing the self. Who am I as a teacher? Who am I as a person? What is my story? How do I experience my own narrative? These questions all play a role in the knowledge can I ‘be with’ myself, and also with ‘be with’ others. It is a call to be reflective, mindful, and aware. It is a call to start with myself. Check my own feelings, needs, and thoughts. This last weekend I was able to do just that because I had the space and time to delve into myself. When we are in the business of working with others, especially children I think we need to have a sense of who we are in the work. Culturally relevant teaching practices also calls us to have a reflective practice as educators. I personally think as humans, that interact with other humans we also need an awareness in our interactions and relationships, with not just each other, but also with ourselves. It is an ebb and flow, but it is through the practice we grow and deepen our awareness whether it ‘be with’ each other or ourselves.
On a side note: Anne Margaret and I grabbed the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck and Guidebook in between sessions during our retreat. The on point animal spirit cards we pulled were surprising. I pulled for my Past Dynamic: the Buffalo / Present Situation: the Peacock / Future Potential: the Eagle. (All was for fun and ended up revealing some apropo animal spirits.)
My 2nd Who Am I Reflection: Who Am I? I am my heart riding the waves of my ocean. I am my flowing breath, in and out. I am the laughter and pain that lives on the boat journeying to her next shore. I am the love that surrounds and the love that gives. The heartbreak that allows for repair, for growth, for strength. I am the traveler following the ever changing wave. I am the sound of water crashing against rocks and meandering through pebbles, sinking into sand. I am the shifting tide, the changing season. I am the buffalo, who is now a peacock, and finding herself soaring as an eagle.
P.S. Not all photos are from Yachats. Sunday was so beautiful we took our time getting home and enjoyed the journey!