What Shows Up Here

Sep 12, 2017

In the mornings, I pad softly down to the basement with a cup of lukewarm lemon water.  I close the door of my office behind me, and crack the window if it’s humid.  I turn on my salt lamp and flick my thumb over the top of my lighter to light my favourite candle.  I turn off the big overhead light that guided me down the steps in the dark, and sigh into the ambience:  I can wake up slowly, to the smell of geranium and black pepper, with the softness of my yoga mat beneath my palms and knees.

I have been doing my yoga teacher training for the last eight months or so, and as I near the end of my training, I’ve been asked to commit to a forty day-long daily practice.

The practice itself was custom-designed based on an assessment of where my body was most blocked, energetically, as well as on my current life circumstances (read: massive, all-consuming shift).  It’s a simple, short practice full of forward bends and twisting postures, and ending in a breathing exercise and a ten minute meditation.


And it is seriously, seriously fucking with me.


At first, I felt really distracted during my practice.  I thought that was probably just the nature of getting used to things; my teacher reassured me that it was my way of expressing resistance to the daily practice, and that it would go away as I continued.

It didn’t.  And then other things started to happen, too.

In my practice journal, I found myself writing things like:

“I feel like I’m putting in a ton of effort with my mind in this practice, and not enough with my body.”

Finding my meditation difficult to visualize and relate to.  Maybe I’m trying too hard?”

I can’t help but think I’m doing this wrong in some way.  I have so much resistance to this practice, and yet at the same time I feel like it can’t be long enough or challenging enough to actually be making a difference to me.”

And there it is.  Effort.  Using my mind too much, not paying attention to my body.  Trying too hard.  Fear of *doing it wrong.*  Desire for “effectiveness.”  Not enough, not enough, not enough.


What shows up here, shows up everywhere.


I chuckle, a little, to read the ways in which my daily yoga practice has been triggering all of my current (and long-time) hot-button issues.  Just when I thought I had started to make progress on these aspects of my life, here they are again.  And I chuckle because this is the effect that any practice that pushes an edge for us in one way or another, whether it’s because it’s new, or more regular than usual, or uncomfortable in some way, brings out the patterns that we most need to address.

I find this all the time when I work with people using the labyrinth as a healing tool.  When they trace their finger around a labyrinth for the first time, true natures come thundering forth:  “am I doing this right?” “oh, I’ve got this” “what is everyone else doing?” “am I there yet?”

What shows up here, shows up everywhere, too.


Have you had this experience?  What brings your old patterns out of hiding?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!