Feed Your Soul: Reclaiming Wonder & Creativity - Carie Garrett

Feed Your Soul: Reclaiming Wonder & Creativity – Carie Garrett

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? …Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”

~Angeles Arrien, author of The Four-Fold Way & Signs of Life, from the foreword of the book Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth


I love this quote and have been sharing it with my students for years. I find tremendous solace in the idea that something as simple as dance, song, story, and silence can be foundational in the care and feeding of our souls.

No study and striving are required to learn these things; they are innate and have been a part of us since we were children. I work with 4 and 5 year-olds and every day I see how these healing salves are woven into their world. Free movement and song is as natural to them as breathing. I’ve never once heard a child comment that they are too self-conscious to dance or sing, or that they just can’t. Stories fill their days in so many ways; in the classroom, on the playground, in the song and dance, and even in the way they tell you about something they did or discovered. And the moments of silence are so sweet and natural. I can sit at a snack table with a child, saying no words at all, easily dropping into the comfort of deep, wordless presence.

But somehow, somewhere along the way we stopped our dance, quieted our song, and closed our story. And we filled up moments of healing silence with incessant thoughts, constant talking, and never-ending noise; multi-tasking it all to keep it going faster and faster. We’ve adulted the magic right out of our lives, squeezed out the spontaneity and freedom, and wonder why we feel so disheartened and dispirited and spiritually depressed.

This freedom that we long for is a function of relaxing back into who we are, reclaiming our natural childlike free-flowing state of wonder and creativity. Freedom is a feeling of rightness that comes from an unplanned, creative experience of being completely in the moment, following its lead wherever it takes you. When we can become brave enough to say “yes” to it flowing through us, it completely feeds the soul. As a result, our true colors, the one-of-a-kind, beautiful expression of The Divine that each of us is, comes to the surface and bursts open into full bloom.

Freedom Yoga is an excellent way to cultivate all of this. I share the quote because it accurately describes the aspects of my approach to Freedom Yoga that feeds my soul. Creativity, authenticity, and courage are at the center of my teaching. We get out of the heady thinking and drop down into the heart space of feeling. Being creative in this experience means we open to infinite possibilities in all we do (on the mat and in life), resting in not-knowing, letting go of advanced planning, being present and open to Divine Flow, however that looks and sounds. Movement begins to become more dance-like, a fluid and flowing morph of inner guidance made manifest. What we say becomes more song-like as our voices open to speak our truth and sing our song with a newfound clarity and resonance. Courage and self-trust wells up in us and empowers us to tell our own unique stories, letting ourselves be seen, as we listen to others’ stories and see them, too. And the moments of silent pause brings us back to a deep center, back to the magic of who we really are.


About Carie Garrett:

Carie Garrett - Freedom Yoga

December 2, 2022 – Today we bow to our longtime friend Carie Garrett — a sparkling, colorful, bhakti-loving, freedom-yoga-inspired spirit who flew off on the evening of 1 December.

Many Feathered Pipe friends knew Carie from her 14 years coming to the Ranch as the teaching assistant to Erich Schiffmann at his annual workshop-lovefests each summer. Carie floated around the room offering gentle assists and encouragement, making lifelong friends along the way. After Erich took his sabbatical from teaching, Carie led freedom yoga and bhakti-focused workshops of her own at the Ranch, cultivating new cherished friendships as she took her own seat under the elk.
Ten years ago, she wrote about the Ranch:
“If you haven’t been to the Ranch before, it’s hard to understand how special it is. It’s not just another retreat center where you get away to feel better, do a bunch of yoga, and then go home, back to the grind. Feathered Pipe Ranch is a place of healing transformation that nourishes and fills your soul to the brim and overflowing; not just so you can feel better, but, most importantly, so that you can take it home and begin to help nourish others and make a difference in the world. The spirit of the ranch will wrap its loving arms around you so that you effortlessly enter into your true essence.”
Susan Smiley recalls sitting on the Ranch lawn with Carie when a red-tailed hawk flew over. Carie asked Susan if she knew what it was. Susan told her and then shared the First Peoples’ legend of the eagle and the red-tail: a story about friendship, respect, and honoring our differences.
We are grateful for the spirit, joy, sparkle, and light she shared with such enthusiasm at the Ranch. We are deeply thankful, too, to her family and her friends for all the tenderness and courage they showed, especially in the last 17 months, as she walked her journey.
Godspeed, dearly beloved Carie, as you make that “effortless journey” into your true essence.
How can we help?