I need to say less and listen more....Most times it really doesn't matter what I think. Thinking is over rated. Saying less and listening more is a skill that is tough to master. Everyone is trying to figure out what is going on inside of them and how to relate to this world. By saying less and listening more, you might provide the space that someone needs to feel and understand what they themselves need without another's interpretation.
My interpretation of an event or experience in someone else's life could be dead wrong. So just listening without thinking of a response could do wonders for another. Or asking thoughtful questions instead of giving advise. We can't change someone else's perceptions or expectations. They can only do that for themselves.
We can say less and listen more for ourselves as well by just sitting, and letting thoughts come, and releasing the judgements that often come with the thoughts. YOU DON'T HAVE TO MEDIATE, just find quiet and give yourself time to sit, especially if you WANT to meditate. If you go, go, go all the time...This is a good place to start.
Without judgements, we can become more accepting of what is and be OK with that.
Good luck with the above practice. I know I need to think about this often.
If you have any thoughts or insights to share, please comment below! I would love to hear from you.
To me it feels like my throat is closing, my heart is being compressed, and I can’t quite take a deep breath. My head gets a little fuzzy and I get an ache in my neck on both sides. It really feels bad in my body. It hurts my body.
That is a good thing to recognize. What physical things does your body help you to identify when emotions are running high?
Frustration can come about when my expectations and perceptions are not in alignment with other’s expectations and perceptions. Does it mean I am right and the other person is wrong or vice versa? Not necessarily. It just means that our points of view are very different.
Noticing the tightness in my body and forcing myself to take a deep breath and move seems to help me deal with those feelings in my body. Writing this blurb is helping me to deal with the fuzzy thoughts in my brain.
How do you deal with those physical feelings that come up in your body? Do you breathe? Do you move? Do you write? Do you ignore them? Just curious. We all get signals from our bodies from time to time. Do you listen to them?
For now I will breathe, and move, and write and be OK with my own thoughts and expectations of myself. I will release my thoughts and expectations of others too, especially when it affects my body and mind.
What feelings come to you, when your thoughts and expectations about a situation differs from others? And how do you handle it? Please share in comments below!
I’ve been drawn to the concept of balance quite a bit of late. I know that when I feel I am in balance there’s something simply unstoppable about it. It’s as if nothing can get in the way of me and that which I hope to manifest. I have my eyes on the prize and I’m cruising mindfully along at full speed ahead. And then, there are the times when I seem to fall out of balance.
I’m not really sure what that means, per say, though the feeling is one which I hope to not consciously expose myself to with any great frequency. It’s almost like a hangover. When we wake up in that out of balance place and go “UGH! How did I let myself get here?!?”
And, I’ve been challenging myself to see this as a gift. Displayed on my refrigerator are images, quotes, and memorabilia which nourish me through daily reminders and support to “stay the course.” Among them is the Mary Oliver quote, “Someone I once loved gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
I find the funny thing with balance is that sometimes we have no idea how in or out of sync we may be until something shakes our world such that we are forced to stop and reflect. Denise, Leslie, and I were chatting the other day about placing the visualization of a swinging pendulum to this concept of balance. A pendulum is always moving. Though it appears to be in balance when hanging in the center, the pendulum will always be in a position of swaying, even if it’s just ever so slightly, to the right or to the left.
This past week marked the annual Cicacci Family Jersey Shore trip. Ahhh, the joys of family time! I love my family from the depths of my being with everything that I have. We are a very close bunch … And, they can push my buttons in a big way. I embarked upon this trip having set the intention to remain in a grounded, conscious state of presence with each passing breath. Overall, that served me quite well. However, no family vacation would be complete without the gift of a good challenge or two.
A series of triggering events provided me with the perfect opportunity to watch myself swing farther than I might have chosen away from my center. As I began to swing off center, although I was aware as it was happening, it became clear to me that I was not fully certain how to intervene in the most effective and efficient manner. My response in striving to swing back towards my center has been one worth noting. For, through reflection, I’ve been able to identify how I can and will proceed in facing similar challenge(s) next time. As you and I know both know, there very well may be a next time.
I’ve taken to the challenge of seeking clarity on what is most serving to my greater good, and ultimately the greater good for all those with whom I have contact. I am finding that this means exposing myself to the people, places, and things which prevent my pendulum from wavering too far off to the right or to the left.
For me this includes a number of things. Above all else, I've identified that it means remaining with my breath at all times. It means staying pure and authentic in my relationships with both myself and those with whom I interact on a day-to-day basis. It means physically fueling myself with nourishment in the form of foods and drink which enable me to thrive, as well as providing myself with an adequate balance of rest and mindful movement and meditation daily.
For you, this will undoubtedly look very different. Alas, we are all humans moving through this life in our own ways. I hope that you may choose to acknowledge, and perhaps even soften to the fact that, sometimes the greatest gift of all is in experiencing those moments in which we feel off center, as they provide us with insight for which to return, with gratitude, back towards balance.
Here's to finding your balance within,
At retreat in the beginning of May, we opened with poem about a man who was drowning, not waving.
I've been thinking about that poem a lot today. Am I drowning and don't even know it? I can see the shore, so I must be Ok, right? The light is at the end of the tunnel! I've been crossing off days off the calendar, just trudging along. Is that the way I want to live?
I'm thinking NO! This is yet another learning opportunity that has been put in my path. But what am I supposed to learn? I'm not so sure at this moment.
I had 2 people who are close to me in the last week ask me if there was something they did or didn't do to me that has made me distant or not approachable to them. I find this fascinating. Of course, I should know better than anyone that energy travels. And my energy has been really off lately. There is a long laundry list of things I could list, but that really doesn't matter much. But it does affect others. I am happy that these 2 individuals had the courage to say something to me because I had no idea they felt what the felt.
Sometimes it's better to say nothing to take a little space especially if you can't verbalize what is wrong. I need to sit with what's happening in my body and mind, and learn and try to figure things out on my own. Both had offered me help, but sometimes there is no way to help. Sometime time and space is what a person needs. And those closet to them might get the wrong idea. It's me not you.
Asking if something is up when you are unsure of a person's intention is like a breath of fresh air. Wires get crossed, energy gets depleted, silence is golden. It's a complicated process being in real relationships. But the ups and downs that come are what relationships are all about.
You might not know it, but the person you are getting those vibes from might be drowning in their own stuff. When we get to that place of stuff coming up and threatening to drown us, sometime we do need to reach out for that lifeline that someone else is offering, sometimes we need to go with the flow of the current and not fight against it to stop drowning, sometimes we need to learn a new skill or technique to swim safely to shore.
I'd bet that 99% of the time it has nothing to do with you...asking and clarifying is an excellent way for you not to get swept away by the current too!
As I strive to integrate the teachings of the immersion that I just completed with my teacher from Martha’s Vineyard, Sherry Sidoti, I can’t help but reflect back to two years ago when I last attended a teacher’s immersion on island. It feels empowering to acknowledge the growth – physically, emotionally, and spiritually - which has evolved, and it is incredibly humbling to realize how much of my “stuff” is still so very present in my life. “Longing to be seen,” as Sherry rather matter of factly explained it. I am learning to accept the fact that when we create the space in our lives for ourselves to fully drop into the teachings, our “stuff” undeniably rears its head.
Through her teachings, Sherry shared of the subtle bodies of yogic philosophy - the different layers of the body which exist beyond one’s physical form. These bodies encompass the mental, emotional, spiritual, and ultimately, the soul bodies. It is only through addressing EACH layer that we may have the potential to truly find inner peace, contentment, and joy. Devoted practice to the asana (yoga poses) can be the catalyst in through the physical body to see what lies beneath this on a deeper level, that which is longing to be seen.
I am grateful to have provided myself with a few days on the island to decompress following this immersion to receive the fruitful riches of Martha’s land. I feel fully here, and fully open. Simple blessings have been finding me and from them I am sourcing strength for continued growth.
I’ve taken a few walks along one of my favorites beaches on the island, Lucy Vincent’s Beach. As I was drawn to particular rocks, I began to notice a trend. Each of the rocks which were catching my eye was some blending of white, black, and/or gray. Some of the rocks appeared to be white with black speckles and spots throughout, some black with white speckles and spots throughout, and some a complete marriage of the two, thus yielding a rock which appeared to be gray. (See photo)
As I walked further, I started to consider the fact that there was opportunity for learning from these rocks. Right before my eyes, Martha was delivering me with a message. In life there is darkness, and there is light … Always!!! Even when we are devout in our practice, there will be challenging days. Not one of us is exempt from this. Life is NOT always about happiness and sunshine. Acknowledging and accepting this can be pivotal in releasing our conditioned human response to achieve a sense of perfection which is never actually attainable, nor is it sustainable. What we DO have control over is how we choose to perceive that which life throws our way.
Some days life may feel generally light – like a white rock – with dark spots interspersed here and there, while some days life may feel generally dark – like a black rock – with only glimpses of light here and there. Other days may feel like a true mix of darkness and light – gray. As a human being who’s been granted embodiment in this physical form on our planet, I challenge you to decide how you will greet the gift of each passing day.
Our “stuff” may never fully go away. Gray moments, days, and sometimes even longer stretches of time are all a part of our journey. It is impossible to appreciate and fully experience pleasure, if you’ve not also faced trying times. Afterall, the tough moments show up only because they are longing to be seen. By choosing to face rather than to ignore and/or to distract ourselves from them, we can make conscious strides towards freedom from the control of that which they may have over us.
The practice of yoga seems to find us in the most pristine of times. Ancient yogic philosophy supports that which I feel blessed to be learning as my practice continues to evolve. Remaining dedicated to the practice and striving to commit to BE with the lows and the highs – both the darkness and the light – becomes more manageable. This awareness, has and continues to yield an increased ability to hear my true essence, the voice of the intuitive self, which speaks the loudest and the clearest when I remain steadfast in honoring alignment of the mind, body, and spirit. Some days through the asana, the physical body practice, and other days through stillness and breath. And that it is ok, too.
With eyes wide open,
I’m pretty much the worst coach there is. I’m kind of naïve to believe that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game.
Maybe that statement has never been true. I’m not liking the pressure there is in sports that starts at age 9 or 10 (probably sooner for others). It’s really awful in my opinion. Kids are expected to play sports harder and more competitively. It seems that that just burns them out early or drives them away all together.
This might hit close to home because I have had my own personal experience with this. Luckily I was adaptable. And found ways to participate in physical activities even when I found my coaches were not ideal.
This year in coaching my daughter’s team is a little different, I am noticing a shift. There seems to be more pressure on me as well. I’m not sure if it’s imagined or real. But I feel it, so I guess it’s real to me. And I don’t really like it.
It makes me think that I shouldn’t be coaching at all. But on the other hand, maybe I should suck it up and stick with it for those girls who want to have fun and don’t care about the score. I’m so torn.
There are plenty of people out there who gauge success by the score. I just hope there are just as many who don’t. I hope there are more and more people who care about team work, good sportsmanship, picking a teammate up when they are down, and giving encouragement when needed. I choose to forget the score. I choose to care about those who are playing the game. I care about creating a lifetime of health and fitness through sports activities. I care about developing a love for the game.
I challenge you to take a look at your thinking. Are you super competitive with everything you do? You could be super competitive even with yourself, not just with others. Maybe shift your thinking to being super cooperative instead.
I guess that is why I am drawn to yoga. There is no winning or losing when you come to you mat. It’s just being and discovering who you want to be. In yoga, you have to bring your mind and body together and nurture yourself in that moment. Not worrying about getting that elaborate pose just right.
For now, I will release the pressure I am feeling that is imagined or real. I just need to keep coaching the way I am, and stick with it. My team might not win lots of games, but I sure hope they have fun and learn a lot!
Initially this may strike you as somewhat of an oxymoron, yes? Interestingly enough, this message has been coming to me from a number of different angles of late. In a recent training my teacher, Sherry Sidoti, discussed how the role of a yogi involves a prioritizing of self. Sherry advised “Do not give away your power by engaging in a conversation in which you are asked to justify a self-serving lifestyle.” She went on to discuss how it is impossible to effectively carry out ones’ life’s work if not foundationally maintaining your own well-being through mindful self-care.
At times I admittedly feel challenged to be fully at peace in carrying out a self-serving lifestyle. I acknowledge that it is not only what’s best for me, but also for the greater good of all individuals with whom I interact on a day-to-day basis. Yet still, unfortunately, sometimes that filthy seven letter word – selfish – comes to mind. During these times I try to draw to mind the fact that I have experienced times throughout my life when I may not have been able to offer my best self to my family, friends, colleagues, and clients because I was simply not prioritizing my own self-care.
Recently I read a blog post written by Chelsea Roff, another teacher who has a strong presence in my life. In this post she shared, “I grew up thinking of self-care as something indulgent, even selfish ‒ something you do only after you've checked off everything else on your list. The truth is, neglecting self-care and trying to give from a half empty tank is a lot more selfish than heroic.” This truly hit home for me. It inspired me to write ...
As I basked in the sunshine partaking in a delicious late afternoon snack from the daily harvest of the garden following a fabulous Esalen massage, I endeavored to soak up my first significant stretch of me time since heading off to the west coast one week prior. And still, I found myself struggling to simply take in the goodness of an afternoon off. For, it seems that we are hardwired to “go go go” and “do do do.” Even as I sat immersed in an environment (see pictured above) which I’ve come to believe to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I felt challenged to give myself permission to just be; to fully take it all in; to embrace the pampering, and the downtime.
I elected to optimize upon this time. I mindfully drew to my awareness the most important aspects of my self-care routine such that when I returned home I might be able to re-affirm these as priority throughout my normal day-to-day. For, this is simply not optional. My loved ones, my colleagues, and my clients deserve to experience the best Josette possible. In proceeding, I am consciously choosing to acknowledge the fact that it is only through maintaining myself as priority – and through softening to the thought of some pampering here and there – that I can and will be able to best offer this.
As I sat reflecting, I was reminded of a mantra to which I was first introduced a number of years ago ... “I nourish myself for the service of others.” Makes sense, yes? I challenge you now to consider what crucial aspects of self-care you might choose to grant to yourself on a daily basis so that you too will be able to face each day offering those around you your best (enter name here) possible?!
With loving kindness,
A text message can stab you like a knife. Egos are terribly fragile entities. They can be broken in an instant. It could be a look, a word that is spoken, or a written message that makes your heart sink. Who knows why certain things trigger us at certain times? I just know that it happens to everyone. And it is a palpable feeling in your body when it does happen.
In my past, I might choose to stuff those feelings down when they arise. Today I decided to feel it completely. This is no picnic. I noticed actual constriction in my heart and throat. That really was uncomfortable. It hurt a little or more than a little dare I say. There was a sting of tears in my eyes. I felt it all and let the tears come. My reaction to this interaction was exaggerated for sure. But it was how I was feeling.
It was not even a terrible message. There was no direct attack or confrontation. My mind and habitual doubts came up automatically. Old feelings of hurt and rejection are there sometimes even when we are not conscious of them.
This experience gave me an opportunity to let go, even just a little bit, of past feelings and hurt, that were living in my mind and body. Those feelings and hurt are deeply rooted in our beliefs and come up from time to time. For me it’s that feeling of not being quite good enough.
Just feeling and releasing those stuck emotions and beliefs are important work that we must do to move forward in our lives. As I sit on my yoga mat and write this down, I feel a deeper healing taking place inside of me. There is a shift in perspective within me.
It’s OK to feel the sting of a word, message, or look…to really feel it and process it. I give thanks for the opportunity to face this little challenged within me today. Thank you to the person who allowed me to process this information right here, right now… even though it was raw pain…increasing, building...then with awareness fading away.
Feel the knife when it stabs you. Release the pain and get a new perspective, but speak your truth if it’s right for you. Sometimes you need to say…yeah that kinda did hurt my feelings….I’ve been teaching my kids this since they were little and I think it is a good practice in and of itself. By saying so, it helps me to release any negativity surrounding an event. It’s not the person’s fault you are feeling what you are feeling. It is a valuable glimpse into your “own stuff” that needs and wants to be resolved.
Ego is a fragile thing. It needs to be cracked every once in a while. Share your comments below so we all can learn from each other.
Learning and growing … This is a phrase which seems to be consistently showing up in each and every one of my journal entries of late. Thus, I had been feeling called to use this as the foundation for this month’s blog post. It was only after having the incredibly fortunate experience of studying this past weekend with my teacher from Martha’s Vineyard, Sherry Sidoti, that I felt inspired to fully divulge upon this.
Sherry spoke on patterns … “Go into the patterns, the habits, the stuck-ness,” she encouraged and went on to say “then commit to FEEL.” For, it is only through facing this – in stirring stuff up that we are then able to sit with, process, and ultimately move through these things. Thus, therein lies the practice of yoga.
Physical body yoga, the asana practice, is only the first layer of yoga. By investing time and energy in this, we begin to touch, perhaps only superficially at first, upon the practice. I say this not to discredit or devalue that which we do during our time invested on our mats in the asana practice. And, I applaud each and every one of you who has been steadfast in your gathering to practice at Balanced for Life Yoga Therapy, for this is what readies us for the deeper layers of yoga.
Of late, the true practice for me has not been with the physical practice. Instead, it has been presenting itself throughout day to day “life stuff” in moments spent off the mat. For instance … the wherewithal to not implode after hours of troubleshooting with the MindBody system, the patience to sort through how to best co-operatively ready monthly newsletters with Denise, or the perseverance to observe, without judgment, how I am triggered both in relationship with myself and others.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to me that in discussing patterns, old habits of mine were triggered this past weekend. As I laid awake restless in the wee hours of the night , amidst an irrefutable desire to with a snapping of my fingers reverse the systemic effects of fatigue and dehydration, for a moment this journey did not feel so picturesque. For a moment, I wanted to fall into the familiar negative thought patterning of beating myself up. Instead, I began to draw in gratitude for my awareness of the fact that these feelings were the direct result of my not fully honoring practices which I’ve identified to be serving to my greater good. (Note to self: my body does NOT like to metabolize margaritas with loads of salt – though it tastes divine in the moment). Mark my words - I will be damned if I allow myself to falter down this very same path again.
For as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME.” So … I chose to write, to breathe, and to surrender to rest. A new dawn presented a new opportunity. My morning practices of detoxifying, cleansing, healthful food selection, and adequate hydration allowed me to source energy for my final day of study with Sherry. As my yoga momma so often encourages me, “Lather, rinse, repeat.” Thus, I continue to learn, and I will continue to grow.
This life is a challenging path. In choosing to face the challenge by fully doing the yoga –meshing the mind/body/spirit – or perhaps in allowing the yoga to do you, to move through you, one can take on the course of what Sherry refers to as devotional warrior. She went on to quote Sri Auorbindo, "By your stumbling the world is perfected." On this journey, we stand to enrich not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us.
Please stay tuned for dates of my next workshop (likely in early April), which will integrate much of the material that I gained from my weekend with Sherry. For now, enjoy the journey - guided by breath ... learning and growing!
What are your dreams?
“A dream is a starting point. It won’t take you where you want to go. A plan of action takes you to fulfillment” (Regina Leeds, One Year to An Organized Life)
I pick up this book often throughout the year. I love it and work through sections over and over again because of how it is written and how it makes me look at things differently. I don’t do resolutions anymore, but I do think it is wise to think about what your dreams are and make changes to fit your life and then have a plan to get there. The New Year is the perfect time for this, if you evaluated your dreams every year, more and more of them may be achieved.
We have several areas of our lives that should be considered when thinking about dreams. Everyone thinks about health, wealth, and work, but what about other areas of your life? Social/family, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, fun, and rest?
We are multidimensional beings with a variety of needs in different life areas which all contribute to our happiness and health. When we are ignoring other areas of our life and just focusing on one or two we are setting ourselves up for pain and suffering.
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates. I’m not sure I agree with Socrates. Life is worth living! I think when we examine our lives we might live more fully. Who doesn’t want that? When we do the work and examine what’s going on good and not so good, we can take action and make a plan!
Why not take a minute right now and examine your quality of life? I was introduced to this tool when I did my Thai Yoga Bodywork Training and find it very helpful as a quick idea of how I am doing in each life area.
I stumbled across this resource on the web which might be helpful as well.
Discover and follow your dreams. Live your life the way you want to live. Use a plan to get you there. And enjoy the journey!
Share one area of your life where you might examine and make a plan for and share it below in the comments. For me it’s going to be fun!!!
With Hanukkah already in full swing and Christmas less than one week away, the hustle and bustle of the season is tangible. It can be somewhat of a feat to stay on top of one’s well-being as this all unfolds. If you are not careful, you may run the risk of falling victim to overlooking some of the very things which keep you functioning best.
I challenge you now to consider the following – How might I be able to consistently provide myself with foods that optimally nourish me? With exercise which enhances not depletes me? With adequate time allotted for rest, such that I will wake each day feeling refreshed and best suited to take in the simple joys which this season bestows upon us?
In a weak moment, or moments, you may be tempted to fall into “auto pilot mode,” traveling from one holiday gathering to the next mindlessly eating and drinking anything and everything in sight … afterall, ‘Tis the season.
The vicious cycle may continue. You have a food or alcohol or worst of all - a combination of both, hangover. You feel exhausted because you are consistently staying up too late at social gatherings, or baking, or wrapping gifts (insert your excuse here). Thus, you begin to feel as if you have no energy to exercise. The energy which it would take to provide yourself and/or your family with wholesome meals seems daunting, and so you pick something up on the go. Just when it feels as if you ought you throw in the towel altogether, you do what so many of us are tempted to do … You set your sights to January. “In January, I’ll start again fresh - with a clean slate!” We tend to equate the dropping of the ball at midnight on December 31st as a breath of fresh air. A new year equates to a new beginning.
I sincerely hope that you will take a few moments now to honestly consider how you might ward off that sense of spiraling out of control which this, the latter portion of December, can present. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, the holidays inevitably seem to leave us feeling defeated and/or depleted to some degree. Not exactly the foot upon which to optimally “start fresh,” right?
Perhaps you will consider joining me for an afternoon of Accessing Mindfulness Saturday January 3rd 12:30 – 3PM. This workshop will provide you with a safe forum in which to identify and mindfully establish lifestyle practices which will truly support your well-being. Feel free to contact me directly for EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION by Saturday December 20th.
For now, please remember, mindfulness is NEVER more than one breath away. You have complete control over how the days ahead unfold. I challenge you to mindfully embrace it all … with gratitude. Afterall, ‘tis the season!
Can you hear me? What language am I speaking?
It’s been awhile since I have not been “heard”. You know you say something and the person you are talking to doesn’t get what you are saying. You say it again in a different way over and over again. You feel like a broken record. It’s frustrating to get nowhere.
So what happens next? It’s funny I witnessed 2 very different responses to the same situation. My reaction to not being heard was to not bother and walk away. My friend’s response was more direct- Ah Hello! Are you listening to me? I wanted to avoid the conflict at all cost, and she was ready to go for it. We were both feeling our frustrations build as the miscommunications progressed.
This experience made me stop and think. And eventually write this little post.
It’s really hard when you feel like you are not being heard!
It’s happens all the time. It happens between parents and kids. It happens between partners in business and life. It happens with our friends. Really it happens all the time!
When this happens to you once and a while, it might just be annoying or frustrating, but you can take a deep breath and move on or come back to the conversation at a later time. We might need to have compassion for the person who does not understand us and a bit for ourselves as well. And maybe it’s Ok if we are not understood, if it’s someone we won’t see again or need to have a close relationship with, maybe we can let it go. We can’t expect everyone to understand us all of the time.
When it is or seems to be happening all the time, chronically not being heard, resentments might start to build. This could be especially with people who are close to us or who we have interactions with on a daily basis. If you are not being heard by your parent, child, boss, friend, sister, or brother, anger might build as well blocking the communication even more.
You might actually need to get some help to learn each other’s language. You might need to apply different techniques of listening or speech. It might take effort and work to come to a place of awareness or to a place where understanding can occur. A broken communication system wears us down and puts strain on those relationships that mean the most to us. You might notice this strain is more apparent during the holiday season. Be mindful of it and breathe. With a little patience we might all be heard.
I’m just wondering what you do when you feel like you are not heard? Please share your thoughts and comments below so we can all learn from each other!
As I settle into my new home at Balanced for Life Yoga Therapy, I find myself turning to a practice which I’ve come to know as a “weather check” quite often. Several deep breaths followed by this check in allow me to assess what is most important … RIGHT NOW! I consider the following: “Who am I? What do I most need in this moment? How can I meet this/these need(s) as efficiently and effectively as possible?”
Throughout this transition, there has certainly not been a shortage of To-Do’s on the list day-to-day. In fact, one day’s list tends to spill over onto the next, and the next, and so on. This can feel rather overwhelming to a “Type-A get it done yesterday” personality. I would be remiss if I did not immediately admit – guilty as charged! But by repeatedly drawing my focus onto what is most important … RIGHT NOW, I’ve found that I am able to prioritize my thoughts in an effort to proceed mindfully.
Without doing so, I know that I am personally tempted to respond in one of two ways: Option A involves tackling what I refer to as the “low hanging fruit.” “Low hanging fruit” likely refers to something different for each one of us. Generally, it includes the things on our ongoing list which can and will always be there – the laundry, the dirty dishes, picking up the dry cleaning – you get the picture. It can be tempting to tackle one or many of these tasks because they are easy to do. You can cross it off the list, and instantly you’ve gained that “Ahhh, I’ve accomplished something” feeling. But, how productive was it honestly? Option B involves throwing up the surrender flag. “It’s all too much. I can’t take it.” Immediately, pessimistic martyr-like feelings of defeat rush inward.
Regularly performing a "weather check" has enabled me to maintain sanity throughout this period of transitioning. I am proud to admit that I have been consistently rising above options A or B. I know that this is thanks in part to the opportunities which I’ve been granted at Balanced for Life Yoga Therapy. So, I thank you, my clients and students for providing me with a forum in which to share my teachings. This is my life’s work – of that I am very clear.
It is my belief that all aspects of the body - physical, psychological, and emotional - have an innate need to be heard. To shed light on this/these, I’d encourage you to try out the practice of a “weather check.” Simply ask yourself, “Who am I? What do I most need in this moment? How can I meet this/these need(s) as efficiently and effectively as possible?”
Yoga, be it on or off of the yoga mat, is about being in relationship with your body. It is my hope that you might consider applying this to your relationship with your body. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, I’d challenge you to remain intimately in relationship with yourself. In striving to maintain your wants, needs, and desires as priority, it is my hope that time spent at Balanced for Life Yoga Therapy will become a regular part of your day-to-day throughout this holiday season.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,
Do you embrace the chaos?
I read a Facebook post the other day all about the chaos of life. You know how it goes….woke up early, walked the dog, exercised, cooked my kids a real breakfast, made lunches, worked…ect. ect., stayed up until 1 am to get it all done. It then talked about how the person was going to do it all again the next day. They were just embracing this chaotic life. Is this is your life as well? Is it a hectic nonstop doing everything for everybody?
It’s funny how so many of us wear chaos as a badge of honor. I think this is a BIG MISTAKE! Why? Why? Why are we doing this to ourselves day after day? I’m cautioning you, even challenging you to break this cycle. If this is your day to day, it’s not healthy. It’s not balanced. And it’s not sustainable. It’s also bad for our children to see this behavior day in and day out.
There are plenty of things you can choose not to do or better yet get your spouse, kids, or roommate, to chip in and help do.
I rarely make my kids their breakfast or lunch on a school day. They can do that themselves. I rarely if ever stay up to 1 am to get stuff done. Most things can wait until the morning. Sometimes dishes sit in the sink. And that’s OK. Everyone who lives in the household can help out. That’s OK too! You shouldn’t do it all, even if you think you can!
Well those around you may benefit from the experience and responsibility of helping out at home. It’s not healthy to go, go, go, all the time. Fatigue, decreased energy, decreased motivation, moodiness are all symptoms of doing too much or burning out. Your body, mind, and spirit are going to suffer. When that happens those around you will suffer as well, because we might not be that nice.
I can go into biology here. Have you heard of fight, flight, and fright reaction. The go, go, go person is running on adrenaline all the time. You have increased stress hormones. You probably can’t lose any weight even if you are trying. Eventually your body is going to crash- literally with an accident, sickness, or injury. There will be a breakdown in the system.
If you are running all the time, you HAVE TO spend time counteracting that with relaxation, yoga, breathing, or meditation or some kind of down time to soothe the nervous system. Screen (computer and TV) time does not count!
My advice, STOP EMBRACING THE CHAOS, choose peace and start finding calmness you can create in your life!
Please share your thoughts on this topic below.
Many thanks and be well!
Recently, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand what is often said about weddings – That they can bring out the best of people and the worst of people. For me, my best friend’s wedding brought out the “I’m still coming into who I am and for what I firmly stand.” This event shed light on the fact that I’m on a journey of learning to embrace this and truly own it - Regardless of how well it may or may not be received by the company in which I am surrounded. So, I allowed fear to paralyze me to some degree. I chose to “play it safe” and blend in with the pre-conceived image that I have in my mind of how a maid of honor should act.
Playing it safe almost always means opting for the easy way out. Our bodies seem drawn on an innate level towards choosing what feels comfortably familiar. Alas, it is only in facing the uncomfortable that one can grow. Arguably the most challengingly uncomfortable part of it all is in consciously choosing to not beat one’s self up over what is now in the past and instead striving to embrace it as a learning opportunity.
What lies beneath all of this is that terrible little four letter word … F E A R!!! Fear seems to be rearing its head throughout many aspects of my life, as the days leading up to our November opening rapidly approach. Through all the fear, I am eternally grateful for my yoga practice. Additionally, I extend an abundant amount of gratitude for Denise - as she has been a wonderful source of grounding over these past several months. You will find that Denise and I have been trying to step into practice in one another’s classes as frequently as possible. I believe I can speak for us both in acknowledging that it is the practice, throughout these times of building stressors, which bring us back to what is most important RIGHT now.
Fear often presents itself on the mat. These times offers us a great opportunity to watch our response(s). I challenge you to notice, “Is it in the moments when I am entering into a new pose, or one with which I really struggle, that I hold my breath? That the mind chatter picks up? That perhaps I begin to judge myself? Or to look around at the others in the room to see what/how they are doing?” Our time spent on the mat becomes a very tangible opportunity to embrace a softening within ourselves in which we can mindfully carry out what matters most RIGHT now. Maybe that means dropping into child’s pose for respite today. Or, maybe it means kicking up your practice a bit to burn off some energy which is no longer serving you. Only YOU will truly know this. Again, I challenge you to watch your response(s). I give you fair warning: This may bring up vulnerability! Rest assured … It has been my experience that in allowing one’s self to breathe into these uncomfortably challenging spaces on the mat, we become better able to face those “real life” off-the-mat challenges head on.
So, here’s who I am – Josette Cicacci - Fully exposed!!! For those of you who have yet to meet me, and/or experience my work, I look forward to having the opportunity to do so soon. Perhaps you will consider joining Denise and I on the evening of Friday November 7th in which we will gather in celebration to open our doors to the public for the first time! Stay tuned for our newsletters in the days ahead, in which we will highlight upon many special November offerings and the additional classes which I will be adding to our existing schedule.
By: Denise Orsulak
Baby Steps is my new mantra....
Thinking about baby steps has really been helping me to keep things in perspective. I have been working towards opening a new yoga studio space with my dear friend, Josette Cicacci, the past 2 months and things could not be crazier.
There is a long list of things to do and learn. Ugh think technology! Technology and I have a hate-hate relationship. But with baby steps things have been progressing slowly and steadily. This is huge for me.
While I have been going though this process, it's been very helpful to have someone to keep me honest and to check in with, just like a child who is learning to walk needs that support from someone else. Who could be your check in person?
Baby steps allow you to move slowly and carefully and to adjust to things as they come your way. Children learning to walk.... fall, get back up, just to fall again, over and over. They also realize when it's better to keep crawling to get to that goal more quickly and when they should stay on their feet.
When you are doing something/anything new, I think this is the best approach. Before your brain or body gets overloaded, take a break. Get back up and then continue on with the baby steps.
This could be applied to anything really....starting or pushing ahead with a new business venture, eating healthier, exercising more, saving money, learning something new, whatever.
What baby steps are you taking today to make your dreams come true or life better?
When you add all those baby steps up in a week or month or year, you might be surprised by how far you have come!
This blog is a reflection of things going on my life and the world around us. Through yoga we always try to look at things in a different light!