Hello friends, strangers, here we are, we made it to August.
 Have you watched the sunrise yet this month? Or the sunset?
 I think you should. The sun rising and the sun setting are nourishing acts of time passing. 
For me, the rise and fall of the sun signify change, and an opportunity to start again.
And so it begins.
August.
 
When I turned twenty I decided that I would run one marathon a year until I could no longer run.
 I’m not sure what possessed me to think in that way, but it stuck.
 I’m thirty six now and have sixteen marathons under my belt. I’ve cried through some, laughed through some, powered through others, and peed through many. Marathon training is no joke, it takes every part of you to make it through.
Over the years, what was once a physical challenge has become a mental challenge, much like parenting.
 
I love to run, I almost always have. I fell in to running by accident when a friend of mine in Australia asked me to join her at Little Athletics one evening.
 Latu, was her name, she was from Fiji, and had an arm like nobody I’d met before.
 When she had a javelin or a shotput in her hand, you better duck, or hide. She was fierce and I admired her energy and ease with which she threw. 
I was shy and uncertain in my body.
I found myself at many starting lines that first evening on a grassy track under fluorescent lights.
 I quickly befriended the strongest looking young woman on the track, and by the end of the evening she had introduced me to her coach. I began my athletic career at thirteen with this exact coach, Anne, the following week.
 
Anne Saville was a friend, a mother, and a guiding force in life for many years. She often picked me up for training, took me to pre-dawn swimming sessions, drove me to physical therapy appointments, tracked my eating habits when I struggled with eating disorders, and monitored my sleep through a weekly training log I kept. I ran under a few different  coaches during my athletic career, but Anne, was the most prolific for me.
 Running became my lifeline. I do believe that it saved me from the mess of drugs or alcohol that could have been my future.
 
Through running I met some of my best friends, my boyfriend, and people that I refer to as family.
 When you spend hours side by side extending energy, sweating, encouraging, and often moving with very little text between you, you begin to track each others breathing patterns.
 It is the same way in yoga. When you attend a practice for a long period of time, you learn to know each other without having to express words between you. 
 I could tell all of my running mates breathing patterns without seeing there faces. I could hear them, and then usually I could smell them. We would laugh and pant and fold over at the finish line together. We would share knowing smiles, sighs, tears, farts, and pain together. We would run in the rain, hail or shine, sometimes twice a day. Our training was mixed with pilates, swimming, hill reps, gym sessions, drug testing, and yearly altitude training blocks.
 
My running career seems like a lifetime ago, and yet, I still run a marathon a year. I still hold dear friendships from my training days and follow my friends athletic careers. Currently, I’m beginning my training for the Portland Marathon. This will be my fifth time running this race, and although I don’t really race anymore, I still enjoy the training and the yearly event. Running has become less of a competition for me, and more a way of life. It allows me to process emotionally, move physically, and find balance mentally.
 
I ran through both my pregnancies, even the day both my children were born. During my runs, I would talk to each of my girls out loud. We named them ahead of time, so often this was my alone time with them. The ritual of running and the ritual of saying their names, and conversing with them, before I could see them. These daily runs gave a place to create ritual, and a place to create meaning with them.
 
Once they existed on the outside of my body, I continued my runs with them, this time in the carseat attached to the stroller. I spent many countless hours running with that contraption in whatever location I happened to be in. I remember once running twenty miles with Ellliette in the Berkshires, in between rehearsals for a show, as I prepped for a marathon. We took a water break at the Norman Rockwell museum. I’ll never forget those windy country roads, the smell of grass, and the open countryside as I stared into my babies sleeping eyes.
 
Marathon running has taught me about dedication, perseverance, and strength. It’s given me tools to start from nothing and build to a finish line. It’s showed me that my body is capable of so much more than I believe, and that my mind can be trained to do extraordinary things too. Some days the miles fly by, and other days I plod along like an old race horse.
 
Mothering is the same to me. It’s taught me more about humility and patience than I ever could have understood before having children. It’s the biggest gift and the largest hurdle. With children, I can’t just run out the door, I have to plan ahead. I’m lucky to have a partner that encourages this early morning habit of mine and kicks me out of bed just in time to see the sunrise. When he does, I’m better for it. I miss my early morning runs if I skip them. The mornings have always worked best for me. And I look forward to my runs almost as much as I look forward to my first sip of coffee. On the days he goes to yoga I run extra early to make sure I am home in time for him to have his movement fix too. Mothering is about adapting, and compromising.
 
The marathon of mothering is a fine dance between heaven and hell. It’s full of so much beauty in watching someone learn, see, and discover something for the first time.
And then it is also full of inexplicable tears, fits, and mishaps.
It is the longest improvisation lesson I have ever been in, and one that seems never to be ending.
It makes me laugh and cry, sometimes in the same moment when I recognize that I am the one in charge.
Mothering is an endurance sport, and I thank the lucky gods, I picked up those running shoes all those years ago.
 
 
Daily Practice-
 
Chasing my bliss. No really. This month I’m spending my time asking the question, does this bring me joy? If the answer is yes, then I’m saying yes. If not, then my answer is no. A friend of mine spent a year of her life living this way and watched as things opened up and those things that were no longer serving her fell away. For me, as I’ve been thinking about this question, it means a lot of friend dates, a lot of time with my family, and a whole bunch of travel. 
 
 
Monthly Essential Oil-
 
 Whisper. My current favorite DoTerra blend is made specifically for women. I currently diffuse this blend in my kitchen when I’m writing in the evenings (like now:) or when I’m drinking my coffee on the weekends. It’s got a real warmth too by combining- jasmine, yang yang, patchouli, vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa. So warm you might just want to eat it.
 
Listening to-
 
My favorite podcast for enlightenment, On Being with Krista Tippett.
Current episode is all about finding joy.
It’s called: Tending Joy and Practicing Delight.
You can find it here: 
 
 
 
Gatherings-
 
 I hope you will consider joining me for one of these special upcoming events. I’ve gathered some of the best practitioners, colleagues, and friends for all of these. So not only will I be leading, but I’ll be learning right alongside you.
 
 
  • Pickathon Music Festival Portland, Oregon August 1-4 ( Wellness Lead)
  • Vibrant Living in Lucca, Italy with Julie Jeske September 7-14
  • Be Love/D in Portland, Oregon with Atieno Bird October 11-14
  • Community Yoga Classes at Portland Playhouse (studio)
 
Pickathon- Are you here this weekend? Come say hi and let’s play together.
Find me Friday morning taking yoga with all the wonderful teachers here in the Lucky Barn. 
Or on Saturday, 7am leading the fun run near the medical tent for 3 and 6 miles options, or at The Refuge on Saturday and Sunday at 12pm for an acoustic singer-songwriter music jam led by the gifted, Alia Farah.
 Or on Sunday at 9:30am for our final class of the weekend, in the Lucky Barn, with Kendall Hassemer; as we lead you through a blissful yoga collaboration complete with some singing (moi!) and essential oils.
 
Vibrant Living Italy has only one spot left, for a big hearted person. Is it you?!
Join Julie Jeske and I for a nourishing retreat as we play together in nature. Join this fantastic, all female group for a weeklong retreat at a private villa in the hills of Tuscany for daily yoga, walks and talks, cooking classes, wine and olive oil tasting, and excursions.
 
Be Love/D is open to women of all life experience to come play in your body and in your heart as we explore movement, theatre, and nature together in Portland, Oregon. This retreat is co-led by Atieno Bird and I. We will explore psychodrama as a means to healing ourselves, daily yoga, an intimate singer songwriter gathering at the Portland Playhouse studio space, and two theatre outings (Portland Playhouse and Portland Center Stage).
 
Community Yoga Classes at the Portland Playhouse are back! Classes are $10 for a drop in, free to artists currently working at the Playhouse. I will not turn anyone away and classes are open to all levels of life experience- yoga, music, meditation, rest, and essential oils. Bring your own mat, please. Mark your calendars and come play, move, and breathe together. Bring a friend. 
 
My hope is that these classes will build community, connection, and balance in our lives. Please help spread the word to your family and friends! Then go for coffee or brunch after class. I'll start with these dates and then see how it goes. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. I'm excited to see how these might take off or not. 
 
Community Yoga  on Saturday and Sunday mornings 9-10:30am, 
$10 suggested donation fee. No one turned away.
 
Sunday September 1
Saturday September 21
Sunday September 22
Saturday October 5
Sunday October 20
Saturday October 26
Sunday October 27
Sunday November 10
Saturday November 16
Sunday November 17
Saturday November 23
Sunday November 24
Saturday November 30
Sunday December 1
Saturday December 14
Sunday December 15
 
 
A Blessing for You-
 
Take this question with you: Will this bring me joy?
And then go out into the world, and spread all the joy you have ever found.
 
 
 
Two Hands Together,
 
Nikki
Vibrant Living:
A Women's Retreat in Italy
Co-led with Julie Jeske (pictured below)
September 7-14th, 2019
Lucca, Italy

Together, we will share conversations and movement on pleasure, presence, ancestry, moon cycles, vulnerability and humility, daily essential oil treatments
, creativity, wholistic living, practices for being grounded & heard, massage, learn from our stories,and practice reiki.
Julie is one of my favorite people to lead with, if you haven’t met her you should, and if you have you are probably better for her presence in your life.
On this retreat we will collect the beauties of Italy, shared with new friends as we cook together, yoga each morning inside the great hall or by the pool, explore local towns, swim, sip wine, taste olive oils, and enjoy art. We hope you can join us for this nourishing experience!
*1 spot left*
Register Here
Be Love/d: You are an Infinite Being
Co-led with Atieno Bird
October 11th-14th, 2019
Portland, OR

Are you ready to be loved, beloveds? Are you ready to be reminded that, as infinite beings, we can meet the challenges of our lives very adequately, and often even brilliantly? Are you ready to join a circle of women and see your divinity reflected in their eyes? Are you ready to be love?

Click Here for more info and to join us!
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