getting down to the roots with abi robins

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getting down to the roots with abi robins

How often do we go into a situation without really knowing what we’re getting into? We may know something is wrong, but all our efforts to eradicate the surface level issues seem futile. It may be gone or under control for a little while, but something always happens to bring it right back. It’s not until we go deeper, and often down into something we didn’t expect, that things really shift and change in our lives. As they say, the branch is far from the root. 

Working as a private yoga teacher and soon-to-be yoga therapist, clients bring me all sorts of branches: stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and all manner of physical aches and pains. The benefit of my chosen profession is that yoga therapists are trained to guide clients to the roots of their issues, which leads to some very interesting places. The work I do with my clients in our tenth session often looks nothing like what it did in our second session. Someone may come in with pain in their hip, and by the fifth session we may be doing breathing and meditation focused on soothing their anxiety around an upcoming life transition. It’s all about moving closer to the root.

I love watching my clients engage deeply with their internal work. That’s when the branches really start to change. The things that brought them to me rarely stay a focus for long. As they start to dig a little deeper and move in toward the roots, the branches seem to take care of themselves. Once they've learned to step into their life transition with balance and grace, their hip pain has disappeared. Often the process is so subtle, clients don’t remember what brought them to me in the first place! 

The things that gets us in the door are rarely the end of the story. But if we choose to engage with what we find on the other side, even if it’s not what we originally expected, often find a deeper and more meaningful experience. So, what are your branches, and how are you moving closer to your roots?

Interview with paper artist Nikki McClure

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Interview with paper artist Nikki McClure

working within your limitations

Matt: So starting off, I want to talk about the inefficiency of your craft. What are your thoughts on lasers, specifically laser cutting machines? You could totally sketch something on black paper and have a machine efficiently and precisely cut something out.

Nikki: (laughter) Well, it might not be as efficient as you think. Allowing a computer to make your decisions as far as line weight and what is light and dark, that's asking a lot of a computer. You'd end up doing a lot of work at the computer for the computer to be able to do the work.

I sketch, cut and send it to a friend who scans it for me. I have limited myself, but I'm also totally dependent on this other person. So, that's how I feel about laser cutters, or computers. It has this idea that it was supposed to save us so much time, but it hasn’t; its just made us spend more time with it. 

Matt: Yeah, that's deep and really good! What do you get out of your slower, deliberate art? What's in it, that even if a laser cutter could do your art, it just can't communicate?

Nikki: Right. I love the decisiveness of it. That actions have immediate results to the cutting. It is really meditative. As I'm cutting, it’s just my thought. I really like the actual physical part of it, and it stimulates me in ways other things don't.