Hemma Blog

30 Days of Practice

Why is it that the things in life that are so meaningful, so beneficial, are often so difficult to accomplish?  Something simple like a personal daily practice that involves nurturing self, connecting with self, strengthening self.  For myself I notice that my practice is always easiest in times of great stress or trauma.  During these moments I am quick to return to meditation, yoga, running, music, writing poetry, praying…Yet as I move through a crisis from fear to calm I often see my practice begin to wain.  “I can skip it today” “I feel great today, no need to practice”, I hear myself say, as I move towards the infinite tasks — the dirty dish, the email that needs a response.

I was recently talking with a friend who has had two close encounters with death in the last four years. Our conversation reminded me how trivial most of what I struggle with is, and how important the choices we make on a daily basis are. From that perspective, my daily practice feels like a vital ritual to me, a way to remind myself of what is truly important in life, and a chance to connect with my deeper Self and my deepest intentions. Bottom line, don’t wait until you have a life altering experience to adopt the ritual of practice.

Why is it so easy to drop our practice?  I’m a runner, one who is prone to sprain my right ankle, due to a weakness in that leg.  Whenever I fall, whenever I sprain my ankle — get twisted sideways — it’s my wake-up call.  For hours, days, even weeks after the injury, my awareness increases, I am more present.  Slowly, over time, this awareness dulls until I am running along one day worrying about something, and boom, my foot lands on uneven ground. “Wake-up”, I hear my ankle scream!  Instantly my focus sharpens and I feel alive, aware, and alert, in a good way.

My advice to you?  Don’t wait until you sprain your ankle, break up with your lover, or find yourself with a life threatening illness, before you adopt the ritual of practice.  Remember that your daily practice will not always feel so productive or easy, and yet the ritual of a daily practice is so important to cultivate, for you, and for those around you.  Start with 30 days, whether it’s meditation, walking, yoga, running, writing a poem. Find a practice to devote yourself to that connects you to you – and what is really important to you, in this brief lifetime of yours. And when it feels challenging, remember that we are all practicing right alongside you, each and every day… for at least the next 30!

Michael

“No matter what your spiritual condition is, no matter where you find yourself in the universe, your choice is always the same: to expand your awareness or contract it.”
Thaddeus Golas

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Leaving the nest to build a nest

As I prepare to step away from Hemma for maternity leave, I realize it’s been nine and a half years since I wandered through Hemma’s front door to check out a class. Little did I know that these orange and yellow walls would become my second home for nearly a decade! Sure I was looking for a nice Yoga class, but I was also quietly seeking a welcoming community where I could practice Karma Yoga (the Yoga of Action). I immediately knew I had found a home and started volunteering at Hemma shortly after. Over the years, as a student, teacher, patient, and manager I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the depth of this community from many different angles. I’ve been inspired by your stories, humbled by your practice, and honoured to have witnessed so much kindness amoung strangers. The consistent thread I’ve seen weaved through many of these interactions is a sense of openness and belonging. It’s an invisible yet palpable feeling that everyone who walks through the front door here can find a sense of home — regardless of your beliefs, your style, your budget, or what kind of day you’re having. My gratitude runs deep to have experienced this in this lifetime and in such a rich way.

Now I’m leaving the Hemma nest to embark on a whole new quest: Motherhood. After nine and a half months, my partner and I will be expecting our first baby this March. Our nesting instincts have begun – shifting furniture, making space, organizing every corner. (more…)

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Hello 2018

I attended a New Year’s Dance this morning as a way of appreciating everything 2017 brought me and welcoming in a New Year.  As I was celebrating the spirit of all these people dancing together — connecting with themselves and sharing the celebration of movement and dance — I was struck with an appreciation for  community and my own place within it.  So many I have watched over while they slept in a recliner.  Tears, laughter, sadness and joy, death, birth, stillbirth, so many stories I have heard…witnessed and watched over.  I think all of us who have had the privilege of working in the clinic have felt this awesomeness — the privilege of holding space for all of you — to nurture and care for.

10 years ago we started with a vision of a healing place where people could come and share their joys and their sorrows, together — a place where healing could happen, and where each could contribute to the other in that process.  That vision has so come to fruition thanks to all of you who have shared and participated in this beautiful experiment.  I am so grateful to each and every one of you.  In these ten years Hemma Community Acupuncture has taken on a life of its own, beyond my wildest dreams…and for that I am very proud and very grateful.

I look forward to seeing you in 2018 — to sharing, caring, and healing together!

Happy New Year,

Michael

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