• Jaya Julienne Ashmore

Nourished nourishers

Softening and coming alive in the upper rib-cage, up under the shoulder girdle... A breath or two or three just floating the first top rib into aliveness. And then the second rib from the top, flexible and cohesive and floating and strong. Feeling the upper rib-cage like the body of a large water bird, and letting the shoulders and upper arms melt back into soft, powerful wings at rest. Letting the underarms release and have space, and be spaces, with quietness and energy. Letting the face and front brain melt and flow energy down into the breastbone and heart and belly. Melting the caging around the breastbone.

By disarming, by feeling whole and contained and simple in our long central line, we can let our arms dance free. Without the habitual should that tends to live in shoulders. The wings of our mind, heart and spirit spread. This centering, melting and freeing seems to go along with some opening around the diaphragm. A release, perhaps, of power struggles that have blinded and deafened us to what is important. Falling back and down behind the scenes of our dramatic personal stories, and into our own laps, into the lap of aliveness. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, in her wonderful online classes on Embodied Anatomy, asked us last week to be present in the breastbone or sternum...to let the three parts of the sternum have movement. (Please know that you can still join her Winter Series, and that Bonnie is offering Pay From the Heart scholarship support--offering her masterful teachings with decades of experience on the basis of dana, or generosity, like I do. https://bonniebainbridgecohen.com/)


The shape of the sternum speaks to me...and is also literally coming up in conversations this week. The breastbone.

But in addition to this physical bone that we all miraculously share, I also sense in some of us some shape of protection and pretense, like the sternum but larger...as if somehow in our inherited armoring, there is maybe some breastplate of defensiveness that we would do well to heal and melt. To redirect some of that energy from guarding the heart in the front, to supporting the heart from the back and sides. (Images from Essential Anatomy 3.)


An article shared by Danny Cohen articulates the revolutionary nature of unilateral disarmament. Living with less defensiveness and power struggle, and empowering our nurturing for the sheer joy of letting it awaken. Simple and natural, but revolutionary. http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv16n07page22.html

On the last day of January, on our day-long deep rest retreat, we explored defensiveness, and what it is built of and how it feels in the body. How being caught in defensiveness makes us food for our own negativity. I have been fascinated and appalled by how much defensiveness there can be when we get in touch with the topic of racism.How powerful just to know it for what it is. And let life take over from there. On retreat, we then moved on to remember shifting out of defensiveness, unlocking from the closed system of lack. Shifting from being food for dis-ease, and rediscovering reality: an open system where we receive nourishment. What does it feel like when something is nourishing? And what helps us be receptive? Perhaps appreciation or gratitude shift us from being eaten away by our own defensiveness...and into the flow of letting life in And as soon as we let life in, we also let life come through. Along with unilateral disarmament, a rustling of wings. Letting down our guard for the sheer fulfillment of opening our hearts, we let in, and are let in. Letting nourishment in at once allows life to flow through us, and we are nourished nourishers. This is a revolution. To understand that it is deeply natural for what is nourished to be part of nourishing. To understand that it is natural and proper for what gives nourishment also to be nourished.

There is a gaping hole in our cultural ability to take care of the caretakers. The singles parents, mostly mothers. The percentage of jobs lost this year by single mothers. It is an honor to support what supports life. That is the heart of dana.

This subtle revolution brings us into the generosity of life. The given-ness, the gift-ness, the un-owned-ness of life. What could be better?

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