Archives for posts with tag: life

The thunder was rolling, like the growl from deep in the gut of the discontent and indifference I had been feeling for the last few weeks: A familiar, yet long unvisited territory. As the thunder was reminding me of the shifts that were set to occur, the lightening was the resurrection. The sharp flash of lights that would stretch from one edge of the cloud through the belly of the thunder was fierce, powerful, determined and necessary.

Just like change.

As I sat and watched Mother Nature’s magical theater display I was struck by something all at once: when I feel like this I feel disconnected and separate, when I feel like that I feel connected and supported. Just as the thunder and lightening are created by each other, they create for each other. What they create for each other is meaning- a purpose for their moment in time. When I feel disconnected and indifferent I feel no sense of purpose or any good reason why.

I find it so interesting what even a small dose of depression will completely un-do any kind of motivation or momentum that you might carry into any and all aspects of your life.

Sometimes, stepping away from our ‘normal’ state of living gives us the breathing room to redefine the life we want to be living.

So there, in rural Missouri, I started to look at what in my life was working, and what wasn’t. I started to ask myself about the things I was holding myself accountable for. I needed to understand what was serving me and what wasn’t so that I had a road map to redirect these feelings of discontent and exhaustion, really. How could I make reasonable changes that would serve to create the life that I wanted to live: a life of love, contentment, creativity and fulfillment.

Here are a few things I was able to distill:

  1. I was spending a lot of time supporting people who didn’t necessarily support me in the same way. Relationships of all kinds can be a big piece of the exhaustion puzzle.
  2. The 30-day challenge is not my gig (anymore). After trying a few of these and ‘failing’ miserably I’m ready to let this Insta-standard go. At first I thought it was because my life didn’t have the room for this type of commitment. Now I realize I just haven’t ever bought in 100% because it’s not authentic to me.
  3. Several of my daily habits- even self-care habits, weren’t helping to restore ME. Now- I am a yoga teacher. I know all about meditation, and breathing, and eating right etc. But some of the things I was doing because I ‘should’ were adding pressure on me to achieve them. They were great rituals and they served a purpose at some point. But I needed to revitalize in ways that were effective for ME.

From these realizations I’ve created a new check-in list. Something to keep me on track with decisions about time management and truly living the life I want to be living:

  1. I am done with ‘shoulds’! I intend to pause and ask myself: Is this something I should be doing, or is this something I want to be doing. Inevitably there will be coffee dates that I want to do, and those that I should do. At least this mantra helps me to create a moment of pause before I make the commitment. Time is a valuable commodity!
  2. Acceptance and Authenticity. My life is what it is because I created it this way. Accepting it and accepting myself gives me room to breathe and to be. One of my core values is authenticity. When I feel the competitive voice speaking up I intend to remind myself of acceptance and authenticity, and to move, work, love, post from that place.
  3. Mindfulness. It truly is important to me to live with intention, to love with intention, to teach with intention. So a lot of what this comes down to is time. Making the time for myself to light a candle and be still, or to wake up just a bit earlier to drink some lemon water. But maybe more than that, mindfulness allows for the opportunity to explore: what am I really needing to feel good, grounded, balanced, alive.

I have intentionally kept this list short- reflective of the main realizations I had while I was away. When I need to be tender with myself the last thing I want to do is write up a shopping list of all of the things I’m unsettled about. Instead I choose to focus on these main ideas that cast a broad net so that more of the little things are impacted by my new way of thinking and tuning in.

I also head in to this challenge fully aware that it doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t just wake up and say: I’m gonna change x,y and z so that my life is more fulfilling. It takes time. Besides- I have a great life, yet something in me was still stirring. The press to improve ourselves is a process. And if we are lucky enough we get to watch it and participate fully in this dance with grace.

The process itself can be quite transformative. Like the fade of a magnificent thunder and lightening show into the tranquil dance of tall green grasses in the residual wind of the storm across the plains. A beautiful reminder that the storm magnifies the tranquility. One gives purpose to the other. Its the dance between the two, storm and serenity, that makes us whole.

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When I was in high school I played volley ball. We had to run ‘the mile’ every week for conditioning, and I HATED it.

When I went away to college I crafted a passion for trail running out of the sheer necessity of needing something to do as a freshman… without a car… at a campus on top of a mountain.

Its been an off-and-on relationship dependent upon many different variables in my life. But recently I’ve been using my trail runs as a tool for my half marathon training.

On my run this AM these thoughts came to me…

1. Sometimes the best path is unstable. When there is a split in the trail, one side gravel, the other slick rock, there really is no stable choice. No matter which side you choose there IS instability. The real choice your making is how will this next step get me to where I want to go NOW. Its instinctual. You want to keep going, so in the moment, you don’t think, you GO. There’s no way around it. In fact, the instability of either choice will teach you a different lesson: how to grip the gravel and be light on your feet OR how to push off and catapult without slipping. Which brings me to my next thought…

2. Its slow getting to the push-off point, but the momentum is all worth it. Each extra bit of UMPH I can give myself, exertion, heavy breathing, bouncing off my feet, helps propel me to the next push-off point. The next push-off point is another obstacle. Its the space in between that we get to experience that momentum. Its the stillness of time before my foot lands on another rock, that’s what its all for.

3. Where the ‘rubber meets the road’ must be diligent… or you land on your face! Now let me be real… I’ve landed on my face. And its embarassing, but it sure checks me. Many times I’ve made mistakes, fought for approval, shape-shifted to be what someone else wanted. But after the splatter, if I really sit with ‘what just happened’? Its that I wasn’t paying attention to ME. My ego is what tripped my up. Ego is like that huge rock jutting out of the trail that you don’t see because your daydreaming, or caught in the glare of the sun. That rock isn’t going to go away. So just Be careful! You can push-off of it, or you can run over it. Be diligent.

4.You can’t only, ever run uphill. As much as I love a good uphill challenge, I’m almost convinced that the satisfaction of finding a downhill is what its all about. Downhill gives the chance to go with the flow and catch our breath. Some of life is meant to be enjoyed. Plain and simple. My very wise Granddad taught me that moderation is the key. If we are only, ever running UP hill we miss the flowers and the butterflies riding the trail with us. If we are only, ever intense and focused we miss the joy of sunshine on our skin, dust in our shoes and why we ever started running in the first place.

 

 

In 2014 I’m looking forward to exploring more of The Middle Way.

After several shifts and awakenings this year, I can honestly say that I think my soul is starting to rub her eyes, inspirate and move. Its a looong, slooow process. Like when my little guy rises with the sun, he jabbers at the dark for a few minutes, then I go in and say ‘good morning’. He then likes to tell me about how he slept and what first came to mind when he woke up, like ‘reach the lights’ (meaning that he can now reach the light switch and turn his bedroom light on… and off… and on and off again… at 5:30.

At times I’ve been reluctant to my own arousal. Maybe even tried to slip back underneath the veil of my ego and chase the things I’m used to chasing. I’ve tried for money, fame, status. All of which have led me back to the same realization. The Middle Way.

lotus-flower.jpg

Its certainly tempting to want to push my career to a place where everybody knows my name. And its just as easy to follow the same trance that so many other people seem to be in: that you should work your life a way, make a bunch more money than you need and attain the stuff that makes you who you are. But again, when I find myself on the ledge that plummets to that same spot, something in my gut always guides me to stillness. And in that stillness I recall contentment and the truth of what MY happiness.

And now, I know, you are just waiting for me to tell you what that is. Like if one more person were to tell you what their happiness came from you could go after it and you would find happiness too… but would you?  So today I refrain from sharing my happiness. With the intention that 2014 be THE year that you find your own sense of truth. That you and everyone around you be guided by that inner voice that guides us all home.

May we all find happiness, and the root of happiness.

namaste.

It seemed to me that September was a month full of enthusiasm, inspiration and creativity. I was thriving! My classes were coming easily, my playlists were fun and impactful, even my own workouts seemed to build me up. I had direction and motivation and felt I had pushed through at least a handful of some of the barriers that I have put in my own way.

Then came October…  SCREEEEEEECH (sound of car coming to a tragically abrupt stop!)

I had been struggling with ev-ry-thing!

I was at a total lack of motivation, I couldn’t seem to keep any kind of pace to keep up with my grueling teaching schedule and at home I was at a total loss for ideas of what to eat for dinner for crying out loud!

I was having a hard time even getting myself to do the things that I would have done in the past in similar type of crisis…. I couldn’t…

What happened??? I felt truly stuck. It was like writers block, but for my whole life.  LIFE block. UGH!

Then, last week I was teaching a class and one of my favorite songs came on and I was reminded of how much I love my life, I love what I do, I love my family, my students, my body, my house, my dog… you get the idea. Something just clicked. It was like a spark of gratitude that reminded me that our reality is built on push and shove.

If we were high on life 24/7 then even that would get old. The buddhists say ‘lean into it.’ Well now that I am working my way out of the dulldrum vortex I get it even more.

I’m taking detailed inventory of the things that provoke me and what might distract me from being my inner light. I’ve noticed for myself that when I don’t get my ME time, thats when the threads begins to unravel. I would even go so far as to say that most instructors are givers in nature. I myself am completely willing to give everything to my students. Then I come home and give everything to my family. I have another cup of coffee and I can then give everything to my house, my emails, my laundry etc. But those things don’t contribute to the spiritual connection with myself that truly fills my cup. What fills your cup? And why aren’t you doing it everyday?!

I think maybe I was gifted with that spark of gratitude last week because I needed to be reminded what it was like to have that passion and clarity and joy in my life. We can do our damndest to create and maintain balance, but the inevitable WILL happen and we WILL be off balance again for one reason or another. If we ‘lean into’ our personal challenges and things that cause disruption from the balance we may perhaps get a clearer view of how to stay balanced for longer. Or better yet, how to lose balance, but not fall completely off the rails.

Besides, no one who goes to yoga wants to have an unhappy, less than glossy yoga teacher. WE are supposed to radiate Bliss… ok, thats another topic all together.