-“a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble”
-“something providing shelter”

In this past week’s intention much more developed over the course of the week then I could imagine. It was a wonderful journey! And it led to some beautiful realizations.

I started each class with these words that originally came to me at the beginning of the week when tapping into the essence of this word, refuge:

“I invite you into refuge of your own heart.
To feel the innate peace in the slow movements of your body.
To know your heart as Source* itself.
To be held by the safe space of your breath.
To be guided towards the light of knowing your freedom by quieting your mind.
I invite you into the refuge of your higher self, your intuition.
This is home, 
this is love, 
this is peace, 
this is eternal freedom. 

*I reference the words of my dear friend Dr. Deb Adamy, by saying, as she said in her podcast ‘Enlighten; uplift and inspire’, “When I reference source, God, or Divine, know that I want to be inclusive and honor what resonates for you. Regardless of your religious, spiritual, or atheist beliefs, people generally agree on the importance of silence and stillness”. I echo her words here, and always.

In each class, I quickly invited everyone into curiosity.  Did it feel possible for them to take refuge in their body?  In the slow movements of their body? In their breath? In their own Spiritual Heart? In their Intuition?

For me, the answer became clearer and clearer. The answer was yes. To become so mindful in connecting to the small movements, to each flow of the undulation of the breath, to be in Intimate experience with one’s body, gave the condition for shelter. Can our bodies be our refuge? Can it be that thing that provides shelter? And again, I say yes; if we allow it.

Even when our body has been violated, or has known trauma, or is in a state of constant pain and discomfort, can we still experience our body as a refuge?  I do not have as clear an answer to this question.  I imagine it determines on the perception of how one views one’s own body.  And also how one views the purpose of pain.  However, this is causing me to think of something else that I came to discover and feel throughout this week’s intention….

There is a place within each of us, a place in our spiritual heart that is Energy. This Energy cannot die, cannot be disturbed, and is made of everything that is love and peace, compassion and forgiveness.  This is Source. This is who we are. I Am That, That I Am.  I am free.

Through our breath, through our movements, through the practice, through the directing of our consciousness, and our seeking of connection and communion with that place within ourselves that is Divine, we create the condition of being our own refuge.  

I found this article and really enjoyed its offerings around refuge. One of the takeaways that stood out to me was how it was translating what I was sharing in my classes. How a lot of what I was inviting my students to take refuge in is not seen by the physical eye. It is something that can only be felt and experienced.  I obviously loved this quote that came from the article, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”(2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). It truly reminded me of how we simultaneously need to invite our self to trust the unseen, and to invite our self to trust the wisdom of our body, heart, breath, Spirit, Soul, Higher self, and Intuition.  

Other places of refuge that came up, especially in relationship to the practice of yoga was; chanting, spiritual texts, prayer, all the practices, mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude. Some other places in which I found myself taking refuge during this week’s intention where; the birds chirping outside when we opened our windows, the laughter of my kids, the hug of my husband, the sunlight through my bathroom window, and dance parties before bedtime!  This picture is such a CUTE depiction of a refuge! Ah, my heart. 🙂

Where do you go and what do you turn to, as places of refuge?  Is it social media, alcohol, movies, shopping, pets, reading, dancing, art, singing, running, friends, food, drugs? As my mind started pacing with ideas of what others might use as places of refuge, that guided my mind to remember to practice moderation. One of my refuge places is with chocolate. Another place of my refuge is in dance. However, if I have too much or do too much of either of these, it definitely depletes me and does not make me feel good. So, I invite you to take refuge in those things and places and people that bring great joy and happiness to you, and to do so in the most healthful of ways possible for every level and dimension of your Being.  

This also brought my mind circling back around to questioning where would we like to take refuge first?  For the health of our self, and all others, we would want to take refuge in those things that are most supportive, loving, and healthful for all involved.  Here is a soft example; instead of eating so much chocolate that I make myself sick, and therefore make myself unavailable to take care of the kids or to help my husband out around the house, I could first take refuge in a couple of deep breaths.  After taking a few deep breaths, if I have any chocolate in the house, I will go eat a couple of bites and enjoy them, be present with the taste, smell, and texture.  Or, maybe I choose in that moment, especially if I don’t have any chocolate in the house, to just go to the breath, feel into what is troubling me, and take it from there. These are mindfulness practices, and they reminded me of the yogic practice of brahmacharya in relationship with this concept of refuge.  Brahmacharya is often translated as celibacy, but it has a much wider meaning. Brahmacharya means “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”.  So, through self-control, and taking refuge first in those things that are unseen, such as the breath, and our subtle body, and Spirit, we can always be in an actionable practice of fixing our inner gaze towards the Light.  It is said that thru this practice, we can come to know the Atman, the Self.

I invite you to imagine a place you can take refuge in. whether it’s a place that you’ve actually been to, or a place created through your imagination.  This is a place that lives in your spiritual heart. It is a place you can always take refuge in. It is a place of safety and shelter. It is a place where troubles disappear.

This week’s intention gave a whole new meaning to the words “shelter-in”.  Shelter inward. ♥️🙏

I will leave you with this quote that I found and loved immediately, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”-Maya Angelou.

You are not alone. Take refuge in knowing this.  I am here for you, should you need me.

With all my heart, 

Breathe and Believe.