Stretch The Body, Stretch The Mind

Hi Friends,

i am back in Belize, enjoying the sun, sea, laughter, and beauty that is my home here.

Every day i wake up here and give thanks for this place that has welcomed me home.  i have been so embraced by the community, that i get asked to go to funerals and weddings of people i do not even know.  That is just how it goes here in this village–once you are connected in, it is all about community.

i did my best when i first came here to keep the public side of who i am hidden– not because i am ashamed of who i am, but because i wanted to just be another person in the community.   Over time, people have figured it out and now much of the community knows that “the girl who lived in the tree”  is now the same girl who lives in the village.

The beautiful part though is that people got to know me as just another person who moved in, but was doing what i could to make the community and place even better.  Helping out on various projects and even, unexpectedly, becoming a yoga teacher.

Someone came up to me one night and asked, “Do you do yoga?”  i replied. “Yes!” excited because i thought maybe someone was opening up a yoga studio in town (i had heard rumors of it.)  She said, “I thought you do; you look like you do.  We need a yoga instructor; will you teach us yoga?”

i started laughing and told her, “i do not lead yoga professionally; i just have my own practice.”

“We don’t care.  We just need someone to lead us.  Please, will you lead us in yoga?” she asked.

i told her that i would be happy to give it a try to see if i could support them in that way, but that if they did not like my style, they needed to let me know, so i wouldn’t have my feelings hurt by people just disappearing on me.

That was almost 4 months ago now, with a break in between while i was gone on tour.  i returned from tour only to find even more people asking for yoga.  i am now leading 12 yoga classes a week!  Working with beginners and up to people with more experienced yoga practices.

It is so beautiful to watch and support people’s process and to see the sweet community beginning to build around it.  All of my classes are donation based, no one is turned away for having no money; people who can, give; people who can not still come and receive the benefits and blessings of the practice.  Local businesses have opened up space for free for us to practice and one couple even allowed us to use their home while they were away.

It is so in my nature to serve and to give.  It brings so much joy to me and activates my purpose.  i had a few yoga instructor friends over time tell me i should be a yoga instructor, and i always laughed and said that was not my calling.  Well, it wasn’t my calling, but others called out and asked it from me, and now, here i am leading yoga.

As with everything i do in my life, i incorporate my commitments of caring for the Earth, caring for ourselves and one another, and exploring how the gifts of the yoga practice on the mat translate into making a difference in our own lives and the world around us.  i feel so blessed by this unfolding process.

i am now facing another choice around living situation.  The house i have been living is not the right home for me long-term and needs a lot more work on it than i am willing to invest in some one else’s place.  i have not found another place in the village the meets my needs (space, affordability, near the sea, and secure–  sadly there are a lot of robberies where i live.)  i have completely fallen in love with my ever-growing community here, and the thought of leaving is hard for me.  At the same time, i have been dating someone for 6 months now who lives in the north of Belize (i live in the south) and so it feels like since i can’t find the right place here; i will go try out living in the north.  It is beautiful there.  Both places have plus and minuses about them.  i feel a little torn about the choice.  i am trusting the yoga of life practice to help guide me. i am going to move to the north for a while to experience living there.  i will see if i am able to find community there like i have here.  i will stretch into it and breathe and see what opens up; trusting that clarity and growth will emerge in the process.  Yoga and life are not about the destination.  They are about the journey into the ever-expanding present moment; the exploration of mind, body, heart, spirit, world, and planet.  Letting go of attachments to outcomes and results.  Giving ourselves fully and showing up with presence and commitment, and then surrendering to the flow, the breath, the journey that is life.

Here’s to all of us showing up committed with presence and then getting out of our own way.  Life is juicier and yummier there.

Blessings on your journey wherever it leads.

Love,

julia

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Published in: on November 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm  Comments (25)  

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How often have I stretched mentally by taking on a new activity or task that was out of my comfort zone. Thanks for the inspiring words and have a great thanksgiving.

  2. …an OLB friend will be there supporting in finding a new sense of community ;)

  3. glad to see ya blogging again enjoy fb but,,,, hope north is not too far from south to allow u to stretch =)

  4. Blessings Relatives!
    On this day may we give thanks for our lives and firm our selves in a stand to heal the atrocities inflicted upon others in the past and which continue here in the present. Like Quan Yin who vowed to not rest until every sentient being is freed from suffering, let us not rest until every being on the earth has food, safety and shelter. Blessings to you and ours!
    Even if I have nothing left to give, I can always give thanks
    Miraculous Spirit Of Love Within And All Around Us May You Ever Lift Us Up Where We Belong http://youtu.be/rLCk066o9sU

  5. I am glad to hear that you are doing well.
    :)

  6. Nobody, after having turned a table-lamp on, covers it with a pot or hides it under the bed..
    Simply, he places it on the table, so that everyone who enters can see the light, can realise what light is..
    There is nothing secret which does not become known or nothing done out of the sight of someone that does not become clear, eventually..
    So, the stress should not be put on something in particular or diverted from something in particular..
    It is needless..
    The “unit of measurement” is one’s own awareness..
    The more a person understands, the more he “has” inside of him, the more that fragrance can be shared and left behind, like an “aroma”..
    This is what the search for truth/love/God is all about..
    Ciao

    P.S.
    I’m satisfied that things are fine with you, all the best for your health, love affair and job

    Marcello

  7. I remember when you spoke in Oakland many months ago you stated that you sensed life was going to take you in a different direction than the last decade. Maybe yoga is going to have something to do with that? Just remember your own advice…. keep yourself empty so that The Universe can give you what it wants for you.

  8. Hi Julia,

    I have been so touched by all your words and actions.

    Especially I have known that dark placeof which you speak, the not feeling that it is not fair to be alive when it is feels that living is somehow a violation of our earth.

    The person who has helped me completely live and love anew, everyday, is Byron Katie. One quote of hers, specifically, as of late, has blown my mind away. It is her quote on innocence, which she has posted to her twitter. Please, when you have time, please read her twitter and check out her videos online.

    Her new video, which is an hour long movie on youtube, includes some brilliant insights for those of us who love animals and the earth, with an open and alive heart.

    Much love to you,

    Lisi

  9. Thanks Lisi. i am very aware of Byron Katie’s work.

    Blessings,

    julia

  10. Hey, cool! :)

    Thanks sincerely, sweet lady, for speaking so candidly about your successes and struggles!!! It is a brave soul who will share those feelings with others, and risk getting feedback!!! :-) :-) :-)

    Hope you are breathing well and clearly and that your hips feel good!!! You deserve so much hapiness and wellness!!!

    Thank you again, Julia.

  11. happy to have found your blog and just to say that what you wrote about trees in a storm has helped me sooo much in the past month or so (wrote about it here faeriesrevenge.com/2011/11/14/trees-in-a-storm/)

    thanks again for the timely wisdom.
    jeannine

  12. Hi Jeannine!

    i am so glad to know that lesson from the trees is helping and supporting you.

    Blessings,

    julia

  13. You are a beautiful soul

  14. hi julia,
    i am 17 years old, from Ottawa, Canada and and got assigned to do a research essay. I choose you, i have learned so much in the past week learning and listening to your speeches and words of wisdom. i watched a movie in class , i have read your book The Legacy of Luna and you have truly amazed me. you are a role model and you have made me listen. thank you julia for you have changed my perspective on a lot of things. Hope to maybe meet you one day.

    melanie

  15. Hi Melanie!

    Thanks so much for your message! i am happy to know i have inspired you to know that YOU MAKE THE DIFFERENCE too!

    All the very best,

    julia

  16. Hi Julia,
    I don’t know if you check these comments often but I wanted you to know that today my ten-year-old daughter, who admires you, dressed up as “Julia Butterfly Hill” and went to her Montessori school to give an oral presentation about how you saved Luna. I was very proud of her, and she was choosing between going as you, Jesus (!), Gertrude Stein, Gen. Patton or Abe Lincoln! (-:
    I have posted a photo of her on my blog if you would like to see it – she was very proud to go as you: http://themomalog.com/snapshots/

    (-:
    Adrienne and Fiona

  17. My cousin’s wife is orginally from Belize. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to you posts about your life there.

    Why is it that you intentionally do not capitilaize “I” when you reference yourself? Is that meant to be a sign of humilty?

  18. hello julia,

    how beautiful to read of your willingness to not know, to be completely in the unknown, vulnerable, uncertain in your humanness, allowing the greater energies of life to inspire and guide in their own timing, a timing that is as divine and sublime as the first bird in the forest to herald the morning sun with its song…

    letting life live us is quite a juicy path… thank you for your candidness and invitation for us to do the same!

    aloha,

    joe

  19. i do not capitalize “i” as an expression of how i am interrelated with everything else… not separate from or better than. i do not exist alone as an entity. i am but a thread in this amazing tapestry of life. It is pretty humbling to be present to this.

  20. Hi Adrienne and Fiona!

    So honored to have been chosen for the oral presentation. Thanks for caring and sharing!!

    Love,

    julia

  21. Thank you for allowing my comment and responding.

    Have a wonderful day.

  22. Hola, Julia. Qué tal te va? por aquí todo ha terminado, la verdad ha prevalecido sobre la mentira, la luz ha vencido a la oscuridad. Quiero que sepas que no tienes que seguir disimulando: se perfectamente que viniste a verme a la farmacia. Tu amigo es encantador, un saludo de mi parte. También quiero decirte que he escrito un libro, que no me han dejado publicar, pero tengo un ejemplar para ti, si lo quieres puedes venir a buscarlo cuando quieras. No dejes que nadie decida por ti, ese libro es tuyo. Libre albedrío, Julia, somos libres….

  23. While watching “Splash” with Darryl Hannah pretty late at night here, near the Puget Sound, I found myself thinking of you in Belize, oddly…

    I saw you on Youtube with Darryl Hannah some weeks ago while I was in Missoula, Montana sitting at a computer at the University of Montana (you see, I’ve been back at school to become more “global” and pick up some tools in order to participate somewhere, somehow in the effort to promote environmentalism in my own small way).

    I’m, personally, very glad that you are not hobbling around like poor Dian Fossey (another “Spartan” woman who, as Gorgo, a Spartan queen once said, is the only kind of woman who can “give birth” to Spartan men–who helped give me a sort of rebirth) on crutches, but are enjoying the healing waters in Belize, teaching yoga, staying fit and healthy. I look to you, a kind of Artemis, very often to point me toward the moon, as on the cover of “Luna”, shining through the branches over that barefoot kid with wild, windblown, black hair.

    I think of the ocean very often in connection with these images as I march forward on my own path through the wilderness. These days, however, I think mostly about the seas and oceans, the ice caps, the Pacific islands shoring up their perimeters with scrap automobiles and literal refuse purchased by the tons to keep them from sinking.

    All this religious nonsense about the end of the world, worrying about Mayan calendars, etc. boggles my mind in the face of the obvious and impending calamity that is taking place in the overfished, overpolluted, undernourished oceans. It occurs to me that testimony to the calamity that is real and really happening in the life giving waters according to scientific minds all over the planet simply must not be ignored. I’ve always cared. What can I do?

    I think of you laying in some shallow lagoon, perhpas, in Belize. I think to myself: “I can do something…something….”

    Enjoy the warmth of Belize, the warmth of your community, frineds like Darryl Hannah. I’ll do my best to preserve the mermaid habitat. :)

  24. Hi Race,

    Thanks for your sweet message. And THANK YOU for exploring what you can do with your life to be a contribution our world and planet!

    Blessings from Belize,

    julia

  25. And you also thought Yoga Exercise Was Just Extending…

    Throughout the best way to place a friend associated with mine in the nearby YMCA, this individual asked why We didn’t just sign up for the gym and that i told him which i practice Yoga exercise and periodic calisthenics in your own home for the exerci…


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