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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Aug 20, 2014

Filling my Work with Ease and Pleasure

--> I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve spent a lot of years “glorifying busyness” and proud of being a workaholic. My attitude was that if I am not working hard – and living on a sort of fiery edge I’m taking up too much room on the planet. Even my spiritual life and practices have reflected this attitude.
Lately I am having a revelation of sorts….. a change of heart. This worker attitude of mine has come toe-to-toe with teachings that are coming to me through several remarkable women (Claudia Welch, Mirabai Starr, Saida Desilet, Lisa Shrader, Sally Kempton…..and the list is growing). It is as if a magic door has opened and in through that portal is rushing a river of women’s wisdom. And all of it is ECHOING, in one way or another, what the Dalai Lama said: that it will be Western women who will save the world.

I think it will NOT be western women who are brittle and parched - too long away from the natural wellspring of our own feminine essence as we’ve tried to survive and “win” in the world by playing the boys’ game better than the boys.

I think it WILL be women who know the power of waiting, listening deeply, suspending judgment and response; who know how to bring the moistening of ease; who value the irrigation of body and mind that comes from pleasure and delight and friendship; who honor the qualities of slowness, space and quiet.

I am hearing from my own body and heart and from the voices of remarkable women teachers, that what we women feed ourselves – through all of our 5 senses – is what we feed the world. What we deny ourselves is what we deny the world.

I DO have a lot of work on my horizon – so I AM grateful for my ability to work hard and engage my masculine energy. I LOVE being able to “turn the wheel” of life through my doing and my work.

I love work and doing….. and also I feel an impulse to add in a balancing of expression that is juicier and slower.

Maybe it’s how an apple tree full of ripe apples might feel  – like she MUST give those apples out. But also she must keep those apples sweet and juicy. Not scorch them with too much push and friction and work and tension. 

So I am riveted and alert with studentship right now – to the graceful wisdom of the feminine. And I am asking her – a true teacher within my body and heart  - please to teach me how to stay steady at a strong and focused working edge, and fill that edge with pleasure and spaciousness and friendliness (maître) and tender heartedness (karuna) and unreasonable happiness (mudita).  

I’m asking her – a true teacher that is the Sacred Feminine - to show me how to better feed myself beauty every day, through all of my senses, to show me how to irrigate places in my senses and my heart that have become brittle and dry, hurried and hot.

The minute I ask for these teachings I get an answer. And it is always a simple answer, never one that will get me ahead in the world. For example, I might hear a little voice inside tell me to look out the window at a shimmering tree, feed myself beauty through my eyes, and not hurry past that visual feast in order to get back to my computer screen.
Or turn on some music in my office.
Or pause and be fed the richness of silence.   

And in this way I am feeding the world. I am not denying myself – and therefore am not denying the world - the beauty and shimmering light that swirls out before me as an invitation. I can say YES to that AND do my work and turn the wheel.  I know in my woman's body what my rational mind does not know. I know that I am connected to the whole world. My body is connected to the body of the Earth.  My heart is connected via an amazing web to all hearts.


  1. I will not be a western woman who is brittle and parched! I love this-- humble gratitude for you Beloved Teacher!

  2. Karen, this is amazingly beautiful and important. And very helpful for me to read on the eve of starting grad school. Your soul shines through your work and words so clearly!