Over the summer, I had decided to catch up on some chores that had not been done in years. Years of living in my wonderful house. There are some chores that take up A LOT of time, but you don't realize it until you get started.
One of those chores on this particular day was power washing my pool deck. I don't recall doing it once in the 8 years that I had lived in my home. It seemed fine. I didn't think it was that bad, until I got started.
The accumulation of dirt and debris was unbelievable. This was going to be a bigger task than I first thought. So I decide to take my time. Only 1-2 hours a day instead of tackling the whole things at once.
I realized a couple of things that week.
1. Until you give your utmost attention to anything, you don't really know what you will discover
2. The work became something to look forward to...it was a meditative time to feel water splashing on my feet, to pay close attention to detail so I wouldn't miss a spot, to feel a sense of accomplishment....seeing the difference my work made (see photo).
3. I realized I could compare my pool deck to people's lives, bodies, and emotions. Sometime we don't realize what "stuff" is accumulating in our hearts, bodies, and minds because it's such a slow process over time. That pool deck didn't get layer and layer of dirt on it overnight. It took years and years of neglect for it to get to the point that is was at that moment.
Our hearts, bodies, and mind are sometimes neglected for years and years as well. And we don't notice the those things that can build up inside of us ...fear, anger, despair, sadness. All the things that can't be seen until you start to pay attention, until you do something about it.
We need a power washer to rid those things within us. My power washer for my life has been yoga, meditation, and contemplation. Just like I took a week to clean the pool deck, I have taken many years to add practices and refine them. If I jumped all into those things at once, I might have just walked away before I noticed a difference.
You can wash away those cumulative hurts, but it takes time and the right tool. For my pool deck, it was a power washer.
For your hear, mind, or spirit, it might be mindfulness, yoga, meditation, contemplation, therapy, self study or some other tool, but you need a tool.
It's only when we "know" there is an accumulation of ________(you fill in the blank). When we stop and decide to work on it. Can you see just how tarnished you felt. Can you see it's there? Can you say Oh yeah, that's a problem for me. Then we can start to work to rise all that "stuff" away that is maybe holding us back or making us feel like we aren't who we really are.
Because under that "dirt" is a bright light, an amazing person that wants to shine through. That's been there all along.
What techniques or tools do you use in your life to wash away anything your body, mind, or soul doesn't need?
Share below so we can all learn from each other!
Did I mention, this takes time, patience, and persistence, and paying really close attention to what's pulling you away from the present moment.
Namaste. The light in me honor the light in you!
I love the time around New Years. It reminds me to look back at the past year to see what felt great in my life and what was just meh or downright awful.
I look through my calendar day by day "to see" where my time, money, and attention was spent. This is done while having a written list of my personal values close by to see if I have been true to myself or not.
I must do this to remember. I forget so many things good and not so good. I think we tend to remember the not so good things more than the good. So, a reflection on the past, helps to plan your future. And focus on the good and the progress and growth that happens in a year and maybe even in several years.
This past year brought me:
To a new yoga space, one that is filled with warmth (literally from radiant floor heat) and so many new friends I have met through our community.
To meeting so many new professionals talking about Yoga Therapy, to Tai Chi, to meditation.
To being awarded a mentor pin from my 15-year-old son who received his Eagle Scout Award.
To paying extra close attention to my body and building strength to help alleviate back pain I had been experiencing for some time.
To starting an "exercise class" Core Strength and Balance that was new to me teaching that has been so much fun and helpful in keeping me motivated to do core strengthening.
To letting go of the things that were not enriching my life.
To letting go of relationships that didn't sync up with my personal values.
What was missing in 2018?
Education...The stuff that keeps my creativity flowing and time away to give me space from my day to day.
I realized in my year review that I had been putting off some course that I have been wanting to take for some time now. I love to take courses and to learn new things and ways to help myself and my clients as well.
For example, I had been looking at this Life Coaching Course at a local community college for more than the last year, but it's only on Saturdays and Saturdays are busy with my family and I teach yoga on Saturdays. Case in point....there will never be a good time to take this course, AND I signed up for it New Year's Day and I will not be able to teach my Saturday Class and I will miss a Gymnastics and Swim meet, AND it will be just fine when I explain that all to my students and family members.
SO, I registered, and I can't wait to attend!
Other exciting opportunities that I already scheduled? A weekend in a Tiny House to give it a go, a sports medicine class in Boston that will keep my young gymnast her healthiest, A myofascial release course that's been on my to do for 10 years!
How many people have you heard I'll do that when...I am on vacation, or when my kids are older, or some other time in the future? That when might never come.
I say listen to your heart and start today. Make the time for what's important to you. Write those things on the calendar before your calendar gets filled up with all the other things to do.
I encourage you to look at your calendar and see what you did last year and see what is calling you and challenge yourself to follow the call...Make it work somehow. Don't wait to learn and grow. Do it now. Ask for help. Take baby steps to design the life you want to live.
Happy New Year! And let us know what it is that you have been drawn to doing.... writing a book, learning an instrument, painting, starting an exercise program, switching jobs, spending more time with family, traveling adventures?
When I first heard this questions, I thought it was the best. It can apply to anything new that might be happening in our lives or it might apply when we know we need to make a change but we just don't know where to start.
Fear can be so paralyzing at times, that we do nothing for so long, while longing for something different to happen.
We get stuck and stick with what we know even though, something better might be just around the corner.
You have to want something more than you are afraid of it to make a change.
Want to live a less busy life?
Want to lose weight or get in shape?
Want a new job or start your own business?
Want a better relationship with your spouse or children?
YOU can improve your situation, most of the time, but a lot of people are afraid. They get stuck. They don't know what to do, so they do nothing at all.
If you are in this predicament at the moment, I think you should ask yourself this question:
Do I want it more than I am afraid of it?
Really think about it.
And then ask...
Am I stuck?
And really think about that too.
And then ask yourself:
What is the one things I can do that is different than what I am doing now to make that change happen?
Sometime I like to throw in one more questions:
What's the worst thing that would happen if I followed this through?
My mind gives some fantastical stories. Then I have to ask:
Are they true?...most times they are not. And that helps to give me perspective.
What do you want more than you are afraid of? Is there something in your life right now you want to change? What's worse doing the same thing over and over again or getting a little uncomfortable with change? What do you have to do to live a life you want to live? How will you start making small changes to make it happen?
Share in the comment section below so we can all learn from one another!
Here's to asking the right questions!
I have been feeling a little angry this week. Angry about "the world" not seeing the big picture anymore. And also feeling ALONE in my thinking.
Why do we get so hyper-focused in the things we do? Why can't we remember what is really important...the essence of all things and activities?
I'll give you two examples:
1) My son will be entering high school next year. At the parent orientation the school talked the good talk about our kids having a balanced course schedule, but it felt insincere to me. The voice in my head was shouting "liar liar pants on fire."
When thinking about school, some people are focused just on the grades and on the college and on setting a kids up for success in life and I say wait a sec...slow down. What's the purpose of school? What's the essence of that experience for yourself or your children?
It's not about how many AP courses you can jam into your schedule or about his weighted ranking. I see this thinking as a direct flight to stress and anxiety.
The essence of school is to figuring out what my son might like to, how he can contribute in this world, what might be his purpose, how to be independent, how to make tough decision, how to find out what he values, and to make mistakes that he can learn from.
Maybe it's OK not to take one more AP class, or get a bad grade, or not turn in an assignment. In the big picture, does this really matter? And why do we get so worked up about it? Do we really have to micromanage our children or anyone else for that matter?
2) My daughter was getting an assessment for softball so she could be ranked for a draft. I was very conflicted about this process. She was in 5th grade for god's sake. Anyway, while sitting there, I over heard a man who was going to be a coach say. "I don't mind coaching a team as long as I get a couple of bats and pitches." This made me so fired up. Again 3rd-5th graders we are talking about, not major league professional athletes. I would never want this guy to coach my kid. He's not understanding the essence of kids sports, he is just worried about "bats and pitches", not about my kid.
What is the essence of kids sports? It's NOT about being ranked #1; to win, win, win. It's for kids to learn to persist, to find the value in practice, to interact with their peers and learn sportsmanship within their own team and between the teams they play. It's to work hard and keep trying when you are having a bad day and things are tough and not going your way.
I wish that we would stop more in order to shift our perspective. Taking a little time, would help us to remember the essence of things, to boil down those activities that we do every day, so we can get to the core of the matter.
Maybe you can look at something that you do in your life and re-think the why of it? Maybe taking that time will give you a different perspective? Maybe we would all have a little less stress and more joy if we lived this way....JUST MAYBE....
What do you think? Can you think of any other examples of when or where these principles can be applied to your life? Or when there are other times you might forget the big picture?
Please share below so we can all learn from each other.
I had 2 opportunities to play ball inside with my daughter this month. It was precarious. Things could have been broken, but it was worth the risk. Our relationship was strengthened. That is more important than ANY THING I own.
The first time we played ball, it was totally for her. It was cold and raining and she had softball evaluations later that day. So we played inside. It was fun and spontaneous.
On the second occasion it was for me. I bought a volleyball. I love/loved volleyball and had not played in so many years. My daughter choose one for me at the store. It was so colorful. She happened to pick it up, for a few minutes, I had fun, I had some play time, and was able to teach her a couple of things.
Did you noticed I mentioned fun 2x already? FUN IS GOOD. FUN CAN BE SPONTANEOUS. Fun can happen indoors on rainy days for short or long periods of time.
Making time for "playing ball", being spontaneous even when conditions are not ideal is really important in my opinion. You can play in so many ways. Maybe it's not ball in the house. Maybe it's a video tournament with your kids. Maybe you can make a masterpiece.
Fun in important in life. It renews our energy. It connects us to each other, perhaps a spouse, friend, child, or parent. So if FUN knocks on your door in a way that's not practical-Like when it's raining and you might break something. I challenge you to take that risk. To jump in and have spontaneous fun. Build your energy and make connections.
My advice Play ball inside! I think you might see that it was worth it!
How do you play ball inside? Have you had a recent experience that you can relate this to? Please share below in the comments your thought and examples, so we all can learn from each other.
Maybe you will be more open to doing so if the experience comes your way.
"Commitment is an agreement or pledge to do something in the future." When I looked up the meaning, it kind of made me pause.
In yoga, we tell you to focus on the present on the here and now. So for a commitment to stand you have to look to the future and make a promise that you will do it.
I see priorities shifting in people's schedule all the time (myself included). Often we commit to something, we change our mind, try again, again something comes up. I see this in some of my student's yoga practice as well. There can always be something better to do, than what you have planned today. I guess that's the problem with the future and the difficulty with commitment.
A pledge is a binding promise or agreement. We will keep our pledges to others but will quickly break a pledge to ourselves. Why do so many people break their commitment or pledge to take care of themselves? As a wellness professional, I find this very heartbreaking because in the long run I know there will be pain and suffering that comes with that.
In general, we know what will help us to stay healthy and to be happy, but there is this pressure to do other things: work things, family things, house things, many things that interfere with our commitments to our health and well being.
Don't you function better when you are healthy and happy?
We have yoga students and bodywork clients who are just rock solid with their commitment to show up at a class or make regular appointments to take care of their bodies. When I asked them what their driving force was, here are some replies:
"I know what it feels like to be in pain from and injury and never ever wanting to experience that again, so I put my workout and bodywork appointments in my calendar. It keep me focused on my health."-AW
"This is the one thing I do for myself and it always makes me feel better after I get a session. I work so hard all the other time of the week."-EY
"Life is no different for me than everyone else: I'm busy and over-committed between work, family, and a myriad of other responsibilities. I make time for yoga and taking care of myself because it's some of the best time I spend all week and it gives me the energy I need to meet other commitments, Yoga is an essential part of my life." -FA
"I'm a busy professional and father and experience a lot of stress and time demands. Monthly Thai sessions are an oasis in an other wise crazy life. The sessions help me to manage emotional stress, physical aches and pains, and generally a reset of my mind, body and spirit." -PM
Personally, when I turned 40, I committed to a monthly bodywork session. It has helped me to manage so many things. I look forward to my monthly sessions. I always, always book my next session because if I do not, I won't necessarily have the open space in my schedule when I need some healing work. I have been doing this for my yoga practice as well. Scheduling a class with the same teacher each week has been a good practice for me. Even though I can do yoga on my own at home. Having someone guide me and to give me something else to think about during class has been invaluable.
Committing to health and well being makes the rest of your life run more smoothly. Even though it's hard to keep those commitments to yourself, it's so worth it in the end. You often do get the immediate results of this. It might not even seem to be making a difference until you stop doing it. And there will always to the temptation to stop because life happens. BUT you can recommit at anytime. So if you have let your well-being take a back seat, I urge you to recommit today.
Sign up and pay for a weekly yoga or meditation class now. Stick with a day and a certain teacher. After 8 weeks, you might have a new healthy habit that fuels and energizes and focuses you enough to do all the other commitments you have. The practice might also make it clearer that some commitments that are not serving you need to go.
Get a monthly or bimonthly bodywork sessions when you stick with a specific body worker or massage therapist, they get to know your bodies quirks and can help you navigate your habits that might be causing you dysfunction, stress, or strain in your body.
If you are committed to a wellness practice, share your why below! Perhaps you will inspire other to re-commit to their health and well-being too!
I am feeling the pull of despair in my throat and heart.
Both seem to be sinking.
An invisible pull downward and inward perhaps with suffering and sorrow.
And it’s OK.
It’s Ok to notice and feel.
It’s OK to be worried and anxious.
It’s all OK. I tell myself again.
Everyone feels this way sometimes.
I sit and I notice.
I take deep breaths and sigh.
I know this too shall pass.
So I write and think and do what I can and have energy for and I rest and take the time I need to build back up again for I am always whole, no matter what thoughts pass through my mind or what feelings want to tug me under.
I am whole and so are you…
Remember this with all your heart and soul.
When I share my truth, the heaviness lifts.
Thank You for listening and hearing me without fixing it.
When I move my body the cord begins to soften, the grip is not so tight.
There is a lightness just around the corner in my heart if I notice and allow….
I wrote this last November, but have been feeling this way again the last few days. This happens from time to time. We all have dark days. It's impossible not to.
Holidays are hard for me sometime and maybe they are hard for you too. Holidays bring the past and future to us. They pull us out of the present quite a bit. Anticipation comes: what to eat, who to buy for, how you will spend your precious hours off? Who will you visit and when? Juggling. Bending. Compromising. Sometime pretending.
So again I noticed and allowed. I felt it and those feelings sucked. I told someone my feelings they didn't try to fix it and I was grateful. And again the darkness started to lift.
Can you notice and allow? Can you find someone to share these feelings with? What might help you get to that place where you can notice and allow?
Please share your thoughts and comments below so we can all learn from each other!
I'll never be a Lifetime Fitness Center. It's a fact. Pure and Simple. Over the summer, Lifetime Fitness came to town. Being a small business owner, was I worried. At first, not really. I didn't think anything about it. I was happy, content, and confident about what I was offering at Balanced for Life Yoga. We have grown so much in our 3 years of business. The studio feels like home to me and for many of our students as well. I know what we offer at Balanced for Life Yoga Therapy is different than what you get at a big chain.
Unique programs and experiences
A teaching staff with so many varied skills and styles
A small a caring community
A wanting to bring people together
A willingness to get to know our students on a deeper level
BUT then I got nervous! I started to hear chatter at other local yoga studios, or people who worked at the Y, saying they noticed a decline in attendance in their spaces. Then various students of ours mentioned about "all my friends just joined Lifetime" or "several of our yoga teachers are teaching there now".
Bigger is better thinking can undermine everything we do. (If you let it!)
I had to stop myself and reflect. I'll never be a Lifetime is true, but I never really want to be either. I'm OK being the little guy, doing my part in the way I am. It's OK to have my little space and to grow organically. Not forcing myself to be something I am not.
I am grateful for my yoga community. I am grateful for my space that holds 8 students. I am grateful for our regular teachers (Josette, Leslie, Mindie, Jen, Allie, Molly, Daria) and those who have been our guests. Because I am grateful for being able to also hold space for those who join us. I see people change, sometimes it is gradually over time, sometimes it's like a lights switch has been turned on. It's like I am a witness to little miracles every day.
I've seen people get help for their demons that have been haunting them, letting go of past hurts from childhood, change from having so many anxieties and fears to becoming confident and calm, to ask for support when they would have done it alone, and so many other things that seem small, but are not at all. I am so grateful for being able to witness all these miracles.
There is a place for bigger. There is a place for all the Lifetimes, and there is definitely a place for all the small places like Balanced for Life Yoga, that don't ever want to be big. Bigger isn't better. It's just different.
With 3 years of Balanced for Life Yoga in the books, I am just hoping that we can continue to provide a community, with caring and connected teachers, in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere where our clients and teachers can feel safe, heard, and be themselves without judgement.
Do you ever feel pressured to be or do more? Share below so we can all learn from each other!
Thanks to you!
Recently, I decided to give myself a 24 hour respite to Cape May, NJ. On the drive there, I made a decision. Drive in silence. No radio, no GPS. Two and a half hours should be a cakewalk, right?
Not so...I notice my attention being drawn back to the radio nob again and again. Maybe I should use the GPS, then I will have some company.
But after a while, I started to settle. I was in no hurry. So what if I got a little lost. I started to notice so many more details with out the distraction of those things I usually have on in the background when I am driving.
A sign in a small town painted on the side of a barn read "The grass is greener here".
How interesting I think. I notice all the small abandoned homes covered in moss, crumbling steps and all. I wonder why are there so many? I am tempted to stop my car and look around. What has become of the inhabitants that once lived here?
I notice that I do not trust my instincts. Maybe I will just look at the map on my phone and see where I am and how much longer until I get there. Where am I headed? Not trusting I will find the way without outside help.
WOW what a realization! Not trusting that I will find the way without outside help.
As I write that sentence I am drawn to the fact that I might do this in real life more often than I care to admit. Doubting my inner GPS in favor of a shinier, more technologically advanced version.
Perhaps yours, but definitely my inner intuition gets fuzzy, staticy at times just like a radio station might get between towns.
How do we tune in? How do we start to believe that the static that comes across our radio waves, our inner GPS, will disapate? So that we will hear the music of our own lives coming in loud and clear?
I am a work in progress. Constantly noticing things about myself. Trying desparately to trust the inner guidance system within me even when the signal is fuzzy.
The silence might be tough, but it is so necessary. When I take it in, experience it, and live it for a little while, the signal within gets stronger. It's like a new cell phone tower was placed close by to make the communication stronger, clearer, and louder without the static.
Find you quite place...maybe you have no choice but to change your routine to get it. Maybe you need to get out of town like I did. Maybe you can drive without the radio or GPS.
We all need that quiet time no matter how tough it is or how scary it is to you. It's time to forget the fancy gadgets, and what everyone else thinks and says we should do.
Tune into silence, connect to your inner guidance system. You might be surprised at what comes through!
Do you take time for silence now? Why or Why Not? If not, what is holding you back? Please share a comment below, like this blog, or share on FB, so we can all learn from each other.
But there are many days that I don't. The word that is going through my head at the moment is CHAOS.
This is a far cry from what my 2 words for the year are supposed to be...Relaxed and Easy.
Now chaos is a little funny and a little sneaky...you've been doing and feeling great, relaxed, and easy and then bang, you are not.
You might not be able to find something(my computer for work) that you know you were using the night before. Piles maybe everywhere in your home and there is no food in the fridge.
You think to yourself "How the heck did I get here?"
I tried to prevent the chaos in the beginning of the week. I realized I had too many things on my schedule. And that my husband was going to be away for work. I did some rearranging. I cancelled a meeting. I was proactive. But it wasn't enough.
Realizing that the week was going to get messy and taking the steps to ease that fell short.
I could have...
And I did have right now, I realized.
I did decide....
So that is how I preceded. I set a timer for 30 minutes and did the first thing that I noticed. Washed the dishes until I was done. Then I wiped down the counters and put the stuff away. Then I ran the sweeper. When that 30 minutes was up, I took a break for 10 minutes and wrote, then I went back to work...just progressing with one task at a time...
By the end, my house was straightened up, I found my computer for work, and I had more energy than I thought I would.
Guess what? I'm not perfect and neither are you. I'm doing the best I can and that is OK.
Noticing and learning to create a relaxed and easy life this year, might not be easy after all.
It comes down to noticing, being proactive, making sense of what I NEED to have the life I WANT, and making blunders, having chaos, and learning from it all and moving forward from all the messes I have created consciously and unconsciously.
Was it worth taking the bath and writing breaks in the mist of chaos? You betcha!
I hope you address chaos in your life with kindness and compassion to your self and others. Feel free to share how you cope below so we can all learn from each other!
(Written Feb 2017)
When you are used to being tightly scheduled, it might be difficult to settle in when you have all the time in the world. It's tough to be OK with not going, going, going all the time.
It might be difficult deciding what to do. I usually do not have the luxury of open space in my calendar to decide what to do next. I know that is my own fault. It's my choice to keep the schedule I keep. It would seem strange not to. Doesn't everyone else do the same thing I do?
When my schedule is packed, I DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE. I don't necessarily have to think and feel. I can just keep going mindlessly from one thing to the next.
By decreasing what's on my schedule maybe I will get a better understanding of what I love to do.
Check out How to Under Calendar at Be More one of my favorite Blogs Be More with Less by Courtney Carver at the link below:
What happen to you when there is space in your calendar? Do you rush to fill it? Afraid you will get board? Do you wonder what to do next?
In this particular instance for me, I chose to read and in reading, and in reading this sentence popped out for me.
"Even small casual things take significance if they are washed in space" from A Gift from The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Wow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh has read my mind.
Maybe you will pick up A Gift from The Sea and explore space and time in your calendar.
I challenge you to not fill in the space as it becomes available in your calendar or even get rid of a thing or two that is already on there. Maybe you will get the opportunity to see the significance in those everyday small things that we do.
Do you think you can do this? What would be the most difficult part of creating space for you? Share in the comments section below so we can all learn from each other, and like and share this blog post so others might ponder their use of their calendar.
I recently had a "light bulb" moment. It was a series of interactions that lead up to the actual "A-HA"! You know that feeling when you actually fell lighter, like something secret was revealed to you. A feeling that something finally sank in deeply in your mind. It could be a little a-ha or something life changing.
I love these moments of clarity. It's like little messages from the heavens being revealed to me. The problem I noted was that I quickly "forgot" all about the a-ha as my day progressed. It actually didn't take much time at all for the a-ha to get so dim that I had to really think to get it back.
If we don't focus on the light bulb moment when it comes and continue with the everyday stuff that needs to be done, it starts to burn out, so much so that you might loose that light all together.
If you had this happen to you, I would love to hear about it. OR if you manage to hold onto those moments, HOW do you do it?
I guess I never notice how quickly these moments can fade. For me that realization was kind of scary. I do tend to write a lot when things affect me. (As you can see with this blog). But for some reason this morning I did not. Maybe I was too into what I had to get done. Maybe I had family obligations to take care of at the moment.
If we don't focus on those insights that come to us even in not the best of times. We might miss out on an opportunity to get to know how we tick, why we are doing the things we are doing, and maybe how to make our lives better.
My advice to you and myself is to take a little time no matter what is going on during that light bulb moment. Really process it, take it to heart, remember the feel that comes with the A-Ha.
It might just change your whole being. Those insights are our soul's way of reaching out to us, of letting us know who we really are, what we really need.
I hope that you get many light bulb moments in your life. I encourage you to cultivate the space you need to receive those messages in whatever way works for you. Be it yoga, meditation, being in nature, daydreaming, or just quiet time.
Thanks for reading. Keep in touch.
When we have a lack of focus, nothing gets done well. You can't be a present and connected parent, boss, spouse, daughter, co-worker or whatever other role you may have without focus.
Focus is key to our success in love, money, and health, or another way to look at is basically having the life you want to live.
And we all have a choice...
Is it important enough for me to pay attention and cultivate that focus?
For some, the answer is NO. Some may prefer to deny, manipulate truth, put on the happy face, pretend that everything is OK.
Don't get me wrong finding focus takes courage and effort. You have to have the courage to look at your life and analyze what is working and what is not honestly and openly.
Once you have that realization, you have to put the effort into making the changes to move forward in your life. You might have to have difficult conversations with those around you, you might have to accept where you are failing, you might have to recognize what habits and beliefs are holding you back.
This is NOT AN EASY PATH...but it is necessary for change to happen. And boy change does not happen quick enough for most of us to keep going.
I am here to tell you TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE, but TIME CAN BE AGAIST YOU AS WELL. This little catch 22 is difficult to deal with. Time keeps on ticking. If you realized that little actions today will and can make big changes in your life later, maybe even much later, than you get it.
Going for a 15 minute walk today instead of insert your favorite way to waste time: FB, tweeting, watching TV, whatever.
Eating that orange today instead of insert your favorite junk food.
Going to a therapist today to help you get rid of insert what you need to let go of that is toxic in your life.
All these things take time and effort. You are making little deposits of health, wealth, and well being each time you choose to take this little actions each day.
These actions move you forward. And will change your life. But you have to have the focus and you have to have the courage, and you have to do the work, BUT a LITTLE EVERYDAY will make a big difference, so I'm here to tell you, you can do it!
There are many ways to cultivate that focus
I promise you that TIME IS REALLY ON YOUR SIDE and you can do it!
Let There Be Light
Recently, as I helped set up class for another teacher, I took a few moments to light a long line of candles. As I did so I found myself watching quite closely to see what it looks like when the wick lights...what can I see that tells me the candle is lit? I see a bit more brightness, just a bit more light. Sometimes a tiny and slightly separate flame appears. It only takes a few seconds, and the signs of the new light are small, but visible if I watch and wait, even if only briefly.
As I was doing this, it occurred to me that this is a bit like teaching someone something new or sharing an idea or a belief with someone that is new to them.
Like connecting minds or hearts. I let my mind imagine teaching a child in particular and think about how you see the light of understanding appear.
What are the signs...head nodding, smiling, taking on the learning themselves. So like a candle, I felt kind of amazed. Yes, just like the small signs of the unlit candle taking on flame. The child or person, whoever you are talking to or teaching, shows small signs of taking in what you extend, the light begins to show. Then they take on the flame themselves, the signs of a separate light, they repeat, or take on the activity. They start to tie their own shoe, or say “yeah I know what you mean.” Of course in yoga class we see this and do this all the time.
As I moved from candle to candle I noticed that once lit, when I removed the lighter, the flame diminished and flickered a bit as it took hold. This was especially true for the new candles that had never been lit before. The ones whose wick was used a bit took the flame quickly. But did I need to take the lighter back to these candles?
No, we know we don't. At least not right away. This also seems like human connection to me. Where we had connected with light before, the light takes again quickly. Where we are setting the flame for the first time it takes a moment, and it is natural that when left to itself, unsupported the new light diminishes a bit as it builds on its own. But give it a few seconds, and it will.
Also, just like teaching and learning, the child or student left on their own wavers in their new skill or thinking, leave them to find their own resources or strength, their own oxygen, and their flame will burn bright as well. But you must watch, because if the flame dies, it will need to be lit again.
And there are all kinds of candles, right?
Sometimes the candle is burned way down in its container and you have to turn it on its side and reach your light far inside to get it to light…some people are like this. If you are outside or face a breeze or other disturbing forces, you have to protect the light with your hand to transfer it from one to another.
So interesting…makes me think about how we transfer our light from one to another. And how and whether we remain to let the flame grow or light it again.
But what about me? Who lights my flame? If my light diminishes or burns out, do I have someone watching who can relight the flame? Am I doing the same for others? Holding light available, watching with patience, but still nearby, available to offer light again, but trusting others to shine with their own flame.
And what about the cardinal candle rule…never leave unattended! Do we do that to each other? Are we watching? Are we present? Is someone attending us…are we attending ourselves?
Maybe this is a good simple life rule...Light with Care and never leave unattended.
What do you think? Please share below in the comment sections so we can all learn from each other.
Gifts to Give
We all give many gifts to this world big and small.
When we give our gifts freely and honestly we are being true to ourselves.
When we hold back our gifts because of insecurity, doubt, shame, or any other reason….
We die a little on the inside.
Gifts we give can make our light glow brighter.
When that happens and others truly see us in that light, we give others the courage to be bright and shiny as well.
It also gives us the energy to keep giving.
On the other hand, we have to be open to receive gifts from others as well.
When we receive gifts, it also refuels us while kindling that light in others.
Do you need practice in one or both of these areas?
I think sometimes we might be very one sided…giving too much and not being open to receiving. Or taking too much and not giving all that we have to give.
Finding that balance helps to create balance with others and within ourselves.
What area do you need to focus on? Giving? Receiving? Both?
How will you do it?
Share your comments below so we can all learn from each other…
Yours in giving and receiving,
I roll down my car window and turn the radio up loud. I sing as loudly as I can, and some days, when the mood really strikes, I don’t care who sees. I don’t care if I’m speeding along the highway or sitting at a light. Well . . . maybe at a light I’ll look to see if anybody’s watching, or I’ll roll up the window or turn the volume down. Maybe I’ll stop singing. Sometimes I do let my reluctance for other people to see my exuberance bring my energy down. Fear of my joy intruding on others or, let’s face it, of their judgment that I’m annoying or weird.
Recently my church hosted a performance by a group of Sufi musicians. They played the songs they use to worship in a temple where they serve in Northern India. Not only was the music amazing, vibrant, moving, and the rhythms irresistible. But the devotion and joy of the music was clear. In the smiles they wore, in their bodies, their gestures, and the way they let the music enrapture them, you could see joy. It seemed to come so easily, was part of the music and part of them…the reason they played and sang. It was great! Joy created! And even better than that it was permission for all of us to feel joyful.
And it really made me think about how we tend to tamp down our joy. It’s fine for kids, but as adults we learn to rein it in. Being happy is fine. And being really motivated and energetic too. But joy kind of makes us uncomfortable, especially any kind of devotional ecstasy, makes us nervous or suspicious that you might be trying to preach to me.
My yoga practice teaches me to reframe my thinking about emotional ups and downs as energy cycles. High & low, up & down. Sometimes my highs and lows are responses to physical conditions and sometimes about people and situations. But I try to see whatever my mood—high energy, like being stirred up by anger or happiness, or low energy, like sadness and anxiety or evenness in between—as part of a natural cycle. But it is easy, addictive sometimes, to fixate on the angry, and I don’t want my only “Up” energy to be something negative. I want joy.
And I don’t want it accidentally. You know how you might turn on the music because you feel good. I do that. But how about turning on the music to create joy…to do it by intention. (Maybe it’s something else for you!)
Think of the imbalanced place we can leave ourselves in when on that cycle of up or down energy the only “Up” we allow ourselves is some form of anger. So many of us struggle with stress and feeling busy and overwhelmed….negative forms of energy themselves.
Yet we have within us our own ability to heal some of the draining impact of that with our joy. Joy fills and heals. We know when we see the face of a joyful child. I felt it taking in the joy of our guest musicians. After all, there are plenty of voices giving us permission to vent the energy of our anger and stress, but few that tell us it’s okay to be fully joyful.. …ecstatically joyful. Intentionally and purposefully joyful!
So The next time you crank up the radio in the car and then pull up to a light, don’t turn it down, roll down your window, keep singing, turn to your neighbor and smile.
How do you find joy in your life? Does it come easy or do you have to make an intention to bring it into your life?
Please share in the comments below so we all can learn from each other.
During my last retreat. I spent some time at this Labyrinth to be quiet and think. Creativity and wisdom come to us in moments of silence and pause. We feel lost sometime, we feel overwhelmed and out of control, we feel like there is just too much to do...but when we pause, just pause, something magical happens. I encourage you to pause to fins the wisdom inside of you!
You can’t get lost in a Labyrinth.
There is a way out.
You need to stay the course
and walk YOUR path.
The twists and turns happen,
but do not despair.
You are strong on your two feet.
You may see others on the way.
Breathe deep and trust.
There is a beginning, middle, and end.
No matter where you are
keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Thoughts will come and go.
Breathe and feel into your body.
You are connected with earth and sky,
and flesh and blood.
You are powerful and strong beyond your imagination.
Just put one foot in front of the other.
Be light and you will find your way.
Just reading the writing above. How did it make you feel? Anything resonate with you? Please share below so we can all learn from each other.
The research says YES! Our students and teachers wholeheartedly agree.
Restorative yoga—a gentle, passive style of yoga—invites you to drop into your vast, wise, peaceful, creative self. Scientifically speaking, it gives your nervous system a chance to shift into the parasympathetic state—also known as the healing state.
When you take time to rest in your self, in this state, it feels rejuvenating AND the benefits are often surprising, powerful, and consistent. We hear people say things like:
Everything just seems easier for a few days after class.
I hadn't felt that relaxed since I can remember. It was like I'd spent a day at the spa!
After class, I slept peacefully through the night for the first time in weeks.
I noticed I was much less anxious and more confident at work.
My back feels so much better!
How does it work?
Your body experiences soft support from props—blankets, blocks and bolsters—while your mind receives support through the graceful guidance of the teacher. Together this creates the perfect recipe for relaxation and rejuvenation.
What if you have a hard time relaxing?
Having taught hundreds of students, I find that with skilled teaching like we have at Balanced for Life most people drop into relaxation relatively quickly. Some, like me, are exceptions. While it's getting easier with practice, really relaxing has long been a challenge for me.
If I can remember to make space for what is, even when it’s uncomfortable and far from what I think “should” be happening, I soften a bit. The breath starts to open up of it’s own accord.
Yet Restorative Yoga is life changing for me too. I attended Narayani's beautiful class this past Saturday. My mind had a hard time settling. I heard the steady breathing—snoring at times—of the lovely student to my right. My own breath felt shallow, uneven.
Of course my first reaction is to judge—I should be breathing more fully, I’m a yoga teacher for crying out loud! So then the next instinct is to try to change my breathing, to make it more like what I think it “should” be.
If I can remember to make space for what is, even when it’s uncomfortable and far from what I think “should” be happening, I soften a bit. The breath starts to open up of it’s own accord.
I find myself glimpsing peace in moments. And even though I didn’t drift away to dimensions unknown in our lovely extended Savasana, I felt slower, more grounded when I got up at the end of class. My body, tight from cycling, felt looser and more graceful.
The cloud of funk and gunk that seemed to be hanging over me all morning had mysteriously disappeared, and I drove away from the studio feeling uplifted and grateful.
Whatever you’re looking for, it’s closer than you think. And chances are, restorative yoga can remind you of this truth as it invites you home to your self.
You are brilliant.
I believe, and yoga teaches, that you are brilliant in all of your human ways of seeing and being and experiencing this life. And always lying just beneath the surface of your experience waits an infinitely wise, peaceful, magnificent self.
Restorative yoga is a powerful, delicious way to learn to hold the space for yourself exactly where and as you are, while also opening doorways into other dimensions that life within.
We are blessed to have a number of skilled and gifted Restorative Yoga teachers at Balanced for Life, each bringing her own unique skills and gifts.
Whatever you’re looking for, it’s closer than you think. And chances are, restorative yoga can remind you of this truth as it invites you home to your self.
Hope to see you soon.
If it’s not a Hell Yes, then it’s a no.
For about the last year this theme has been coming back to me. Do you guys ever get the same message over and over? My guess is yes. And maybe finally I am ready to listen. I am posting this phrase everywhere. In my journal, by my desk, on post-it’s around the house. Why? Because it’s time to receive this message and start to live it.
I have made the same mistakes over and over this past year.
Not listening to my intuition when it was whispering
“excuse me um, sorry to disturb you but I don’t think this for you”.
We shut that voice down. It gets smaller and meeker. We rationalize, we try to be the good person, we look outside ourselves for answers, but we know that the answers are not there. How do you get to the point to really listen to that inner voice?
You may have pushed that voice away so many times that now you can barely hear it. Now my voice is starting to scream in my face/head.
“I told you so, just listen to me!!!!”
We all know deep down inside what is and isn’t for us.
How do you get to the point to really listen to that inner voice? The one true voice that we all can trust and believe in completely!
It all comes back to practice. Yes I know I am a broken record here, but it’s true. The more we practice listening to that voice, the stronger and louder it will become. There will be lots of mistakes along the way. We will get distracted and look outside of ourselves. For some it might take lots and lots of mistakes, maybe even the same ones that happen over and over and over again (you know who you are). For others, they might get that a-ha a lot sooner.
But to get to the practicing part, we first have to notice. It’s hard to get to that point at all, especially with the busyness of the world and our lives. If we don’t take the time to notice, you’ll never get to the practice. This is hard stuff. I struggle with this all the time. So that stopping, either through yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness practices helps us to make and take the time to listen and feel and be present which in turn fosters awareness.
So here I am telling you I am far from perfect to listening to my inner voice, but I recognize and realize that this is something I want and need to change, so I will practice and post notes all around the house to remind myself of how important I am and that I can trust myself!
How will you practice listening to your voice? Let us know in the comments below, so we can all learn from each other.
The photo above is of a tree which I stumbled upon while on a walk in San Diego. There was no way of knowing that I would find myself in the presence of such a picturesque landmark. And yet, there was undoubtedly something which led me to her. Something which I believe to be bigger than anything worldly. Call that something what you will - God, Source, Universe … the name with which you align is not what’s important to me. What was important in that moment was noticing the message which I was to receive upon divinely landing in its presence.
Having left PA on June 15th, my journey thus far has had no shortages of ups and downs. As many of you know, I have been actively calling more travel into my life. I consciously created space from the normalcy of my day-to-day existence in which to manifest a month of learning, exploration, and growth.
The plan was loosely defined. I would spend one week in Sedona, then one week in San Diego, followed by about a week of wiggle room to roam as guided by my heart before ultimately landing in Big Sur prior to my return home mid-July. What I forgot to plan for was the fact that actually surrendering to the concept of flowing with the unfolding of said series of events would prove to stretch me hugely outside of my innately Type A (FYI: west coasters seem to believe this to be a deep seeded neuroses instilled among us east coasters) comfort zone.
Intellectually, I acknowledge and accept the fact that it is only through stretching one’s comfort zone that growth can be experienced. In fact, I believe this to be why I have taken to traveling more of late. And yet, to date, this has not proven to make it any easier. So yes, it’s true, even the yogi/meditation instructor struggles with the concept of fully releasing control and going with the flow.
Use your imagination, if you would, now to consider how it might prove to be interesting for a planner such as myself to share space with an individual whose daily mantra is committed to the word flow. Enter into the equation my dear friend and fellow healer, Heather Fleming of consciousnutrition.com It is thanks to Heather that I have a safe place to call home-base during my stay in San Diego. Heather seemed to catch on pretty quickly to the fact that I was struggling a bit with the concept of truly surrendering to the concept of flowing. One morning as she observed me moving through my Ayurvedic AM practices, Heather casually commented “Wow! You have quite the morning routine. Does that help to (brief pause) ground you?” Whether she realized it or not, Heather was totally calling my bluff. I was simply moving through the motions of my morning practice.
I allowed this to go on for maybe a day or two more before I found myself lacing up my sneaks to set out for some me time. To check out to check in. To move some energy. To simply get lost – which I actually did at first – in nature. To trust physically stepping well outside of my comfort zone. To notice what that brought up. And, to surrender to feeling that experience.
Stumbling upon this tree provided me with a wonderful reality check. What beauty and wisdom she had to offer! Tucked – seemingly – in the middle of nowhere. But, no more than a few blocks from Heather’s home. As I sat in silence in the presence of this tree, I surrendered to that something which is bigger than anything worldly. I asked for support in navigating through the next few weeks. To trusting the unfolding of my journey. As if my prayer had been instantaneously answered, I was granted the gift of an incredibly supportive phone conversation with a dear friend whom I’d been missing from home.
After hanging up, I sat for a few moments longer continuing to enjoy this sacred space. I drew in a very deep breath - the deepest breath I believe that I’d taken throughout my entire trip thus far. Breath, or prana, literally translates to life force. In that moment, I visualized myself breathing in life and all that it had to offer. I knew whole-heartedly that I was ready to embark upon the remainder of my journey from a different perspective. With the agenda of dropping the plan. With the agenda of surrendering to flow …
As you now gaze at the image of this beautifully wise tree, I challenge you to ask yourself how/what supports you in surrendering to flowing from one moment to the next amidst the chaos of this life? Maybe it’s a walk outdoors. Maybe it’s time spent on your yoga mat. Maybe it’s prayer/meditation to whatever higher presence aligns with your belief system. Maybe it’s a cup of tea and a heartfelt talk with a loved one. Whatever the approach, my hope is that you may be inspired by my faltering to commit, or perhaps to re-commit, to embrace your practice(s) of choice! I implore you to try stepping outside of your comfort zone - to take the time to slow down, to notice, to feel, and to surrender to the flow of life.
Recently I found myself wondering . . . what kind of teacher am I? And despite being prone to just this type of self-analysis I couldn’t find an answer. I began reflecting on the teachers I have had who have had the biggest impact on me. Who have been the best teachers for me?
Of course, my Yoga Teacher has been my most recent Best Teacher. But further back, three people come to mind. It’s amazing that from years of schooling, just a few really stand out.
One was an undergrad teacher, a true old-fashioned English professor, down to the tweed jacket. And he was hard; most students avoided him. I didn’t even really like his specialty area that much, 18th century English poets. But he was good. He stands out because he had high expectations and didn’t “suffer fools gladly,” which is probably why most students didn’t like him. He sent us on tedious jaunts into the (pre Internet!) library to hone our research skills and gave long reading and writing assignments, expecting accuracy and wit. If you got a good grade from him, you felt like you had accomplished something. I remember feeling weary from his classes, but I’ve always looked back and been proud of the work I did for him. He believed we were capable of top-notch work, and he showed us how to do it.
The second person that came to mind was also a literature professor, but a very different one. This woman was a passionate feminist and brought her mindset into her classes by introducing writers outside the canon. She was much more than a teacher to me; she was a mentor and guide. She was unassuming—but passionate—about her philosophical views, but also about education. She was one of the few professors experimenting with how she taught and how students interacted to deepen the learning process. It was in her blood to be enriching her own learning, and she was passionate about creating similar experiences for her students. She was a role model for challenge, but also risk.
The final “teacher” who came into my mind is my maternal Grandmother. With the simple act of holding me and saying “I love you.” My grandmother made sure I knew I was loved, that she loved me, no matter what. The fact of her love has remained powerful and continues to nourish my heart; I can still feel the impact of her “I love you’s.”
What good touchstones. So for me, “good teacher” means someone who believes in my potential, shares her passion in creative ways, and loves.
They were imperfect; so am I. But that’s not what I remember. What has lasted is the way each of these 3 people put themselves forward, made sure that their voice was not just heard, but felt.
Really the question isn’t what am I, but what am I trying to be? Not simply as a teacher, but as me. Who has shaped your path? Who helps you see the kind of person you want to be?
3:39AM … that is when I awoke – wide awake – on this blessed April 1st … April Fool’s Day … despite having nodded off only a few hours prior! The phrase which greeted me at this opportune hour was “Take responsibility, Josette.” In my restlessness, I began to consider how I might embody that statement, placing my trust wholeheartedly in the fact that it must have intuitively found me at this obscene hour for some reason. And so I was led to ponder… Responsibility for my thoughts; responsibility for my actions; and responsibility for my words.
In choosing to embrace this as an opportunity to reflect in a manner which tends to serve me best, I’ve turned to writing. Writing with the intention of sharing. For, I am striving to embrace the fact that I have valuable knowledge and insight to share.
I am aware of the fact that sharing in such a manner is an admittedly vulnerable endeavor. I am also aware of the fact that this is simply an opportunity for growth; an opportunity to establish and nurture new neural pathways. Furthermore, in choosing to use such “I statements” through my thoughts, my words, and my actions, I am aware of the fact that I am embracing a Gestalt based approach of existence.
This is something which I embodied throughout my time spent at The Esalen Institute. I’d brainstormed that the reflective blog which I might draft to share publicly of my time away could be entitled checking out to check in. And yet, throwing my plan out the window in an effort to trust what feels right in this moment is precisely in accordance with that which I’ve learned to embrace during my time away. And so, in the wee hours of this AM … on this joyous April 1st … I feel this to be a ridiculously fortuitous time to reflect. So, here goes nothing …
I’ve been home one week now to date and re-integration has been nothing short of a whirlwind. It seems my body still has NO idea upon what coast I am currently residing. Each night as I lay my head upon my pillow with the intention of a full night’s rest, unfortunately I wake after a few short hours. Some nights 5 – 6 hours of shut eye, though last night only 3 – 4, having obtained what one might consider a respectable nap, but certainly NOT a full night’s rest. And yet, somehow, someway, I have been incredibly productive. I have sincerely enjoyed re-connecting with many of my family, friends, and clients. I feel abundantly grateful for these connections, and even more grateful for the resilience of my body.
I’ve come to learn, in short, that the body is miraculous. And, with regards to my body in particular, I have come to acknowledge and accept the fact that it has been through a heck of a lot! I would be remiss in neglecting to admit that some of that which I’ve been challenged to overcome has been admittedly self-induced.
In removing myself from “normal life,” as I’ve seemingly known it, to reside in the remoteness of community based living at the fairy-tale existence of reality which I grew to know and love at The Esalen Institute- shout out to the gods/goddess which I’ve left behind – I was provided with what proved to be a fabulous opportunity to learn that which truly enables me to function well. And what I learned is that absolutely no one is control of me but me.
What enables me to function optimally is likely quite different than what enables you to function optimally. The beauty, and opportunity for application, of this realization is that each one of us has been given our own unique body, our vessel, through which to navigate this life. While this seems to be common sense, I found it to be a profound realization. I’ve learned that I can choose to embrace this by taking responsibility for myself fully, by consciously choosing to conduct my thoughts, my actions, and my words, in a manner which will truly honor that which serves me best … or not. At the end of the day, no one but is in control of this but ME!
And so I challenge you now to take a look at your life. How have you been showing up (or not) for you? How might you optimally honor that which serves your greater good? I challenge you to consider the following … have you been taking responsibility for your thoughts, for your actions, and for your words in a manner which can and will optimally serve your greater good?
Perhaps you too might look to this April 1st … this April Fool’s Day … as not a day for foolery, but rather, as a day of opportunity. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Through an embracing of a Gestalt based existence, I vow publicly to truly take responsibility! In the month ahead, I elect to embody this phrase. I choose to take responsibility ... for my thoughts … for my actions … and for my words. I choose April as a month of Awareness; to honor that which will serve me optimally. I offer you the opportunity to join me!!!!
With A Wide Open Heart,
Literally I have no voice. I have been fighting some weird head cold sore throat thing all week. And now I cannot talk. I’m sitting at home alone and am quiet. Now normally I don’t talk to myself when I am home alone and you would think that this would be no big deal, but the fact that I have no voice whatsoever make it feel even more quite in my mind because I know I can’t speak even if I wanted to.
Trust me I usually have plenty to say. And this year was my time to listen more and talk less. Now I am maybe regretting that I said that all to you in an early post (feel free to go back and read that one from 10/28/15).
This week I have had to put into place everything that I was working on and thinking about doing this year: asking for help more, accepting help when it is offered to me, speaking less, listening more, speaking my truth, holding a space for others to do the same, and the big one for me-working on boundaries.
It’s one thing to think about or talk about all the things you want to work on in your life. It’s a completely other thing to actually do it! This week alone I have had to do all those things and let me tell you even though I cannot speak, it has been so difficult to surrender to the reality and actually just accept those facts.
I am realizing how lucky I am that I can normally speak freely. Not everyone can. I am so grateful for my voice and have been neglecting what that means for me. To speak your truth is the only way to live. Speaking truth can be scary. It’s all about showing your true self to the world and who knows how the world will react to you. Maybe it’s even scarier for us to deny ourselves the ability to be true to who we really are.
This has been an uncomfortable week for me. Both physically and emotionally, but it’s ok. I say that all the time in yoga class. It’s Ok to be uncomfortable. In the moments when we hang in with the discomfort on our yoga mats or in our life, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to expand our minds, reach new heights, and learn something new.
I have a new appreciation for my voice and plan to use it wisely when it returns.
What have you been talking about but need to take action on? What has been making you uncomfortable lately? How will you grow?
Be well and feel free to share your thought below!
As we face the new-ness of the start of a calendar year, I’ve been finding myself feeling rather disenchanted by the rah rah rah which enters into the vocabulary of so many in January. I am not typically someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I find the conventional approach to grandiose celebration around NYE to be somewhat confusing. And, to each his own.
At some point about mid-December, I was asked directly “Have you placed any thought towards your 2016 New Year’s Resolution yet?” I find many of the common suspects – a renewed commitment to eat healthfully, to exercise with regularity, to get enough rest etc – to be aspects of self-care which I strive to maintain throughout the calendar year. This is not to say that I honor that notion optimally 365 days/year. As humans we all falter; therein lies the phrase human nature.
And yet, I am aware of the fact that being asked to consider a New Year’s Resolution provided me with a lovely opportunity to reflect upon how I might consider shifting my day-to-day such that it would be conducive to my overall well-being. Doing so lent itself nicely to a practice which I have exercised on NYE for the past three years. After being gifted a Gratitude Jar for Christmas, I began the practice of jotting down simple things for which I am grateful. I document not only positive experiences, but also challenging lessons learned. On December 31st, I read each and every slip of paper which has made its way into my jar for the year. Reflecting in this manner affords me the opportunity to notice trends having occurred throughout the past calendar year. People, places, and things by which I was moved – good, bad, or indifferently. I take it for what it’s worth. And, I make note of these trends. People, places, or things which consistently show up are good information.
Through this practice I gain an awareness of concepts which I may have lost sight of that feel beneficial to revisit. Additionally, I am provided with an opportunity to consider how might I do things differently! I recently attended a master’s yoga class with my teacher, Sherry Sidoti, in which she approached the entire class from this perspective. “Raise your leg, but maybe not quite as high as you usually would; step forward, but maybe a little bit to the right/left of your typical foot placement; sweep your arms to the sky, but if you always do so rigidly perhaps notice this time how/where you might soften.” Sherry taught that the yoga mat is safe place in which to practice doing things differently. To rise above our samskaras (Sanskrit), or habitual patterns. This is so very true, and yet, this does not make it any easier.
Reflection and introspection have led me to the following truth: Human nature is a pesky little concept which consistently tempts me to move through life conducting my decisions based upon how things should be done, rather than always honoring what feels innately right. Even if it’s different than how I normally would. Maybe even a little uncomfortable. In choosing to step outside of the comfort zone, one consciously enters into the realm of endless potential. I challenge you to consider how you might do so for yourself in 2016 – both on and off of your yoga mat! Then trust, breathe, and revel at the growth as it unfolds.
I love looking back and reflecting on what happened in the past year and where I want to focus on the next. Granted you don't need the New Year to do this. You can reflect and change things up just about any day. Maybe your birthday could be the trigger or maybe some other event.
It's best to pick the time of year that speaks to you.
"If you don't know where you are going, you will go where the wind takes you." is one of my favorite quotes.
To me, this means you have to plan the life you want to live. Granted planning and getting exactly what you want are 2 different things. By having a plan, you decide what is important to you. I think that is the key. First of all, we have to know what is important to us and then how do you design your life to include that. Always remember what is important to us is constantly changing. This is why it is best to reevaluate and do so often.
If relationships are important to you, then you need to plan and schedule time with those people you love. If you don’t, you’ll be “too busy” with all the other “stuff” that gets in the way and you might find yourself feeling disconnected.
If having fun is important, figure out what it is that makes you happy and go do it without guilt!
If your work is important, make the goals, do what you can to put things in motion. Don't worry about the tedious stuff, do the things that matter and will move you forward, then be patient and open to the things that come your way.
Only you can make your life the way you want it to be. So if there is something you were not happy with last year. Make a change, go out on a limb, be ready to fail and get off course, try a different path to explore. Maybe you will find another destination to explore that you didn’t expect to want to before you went on the journey and maybe that will change the goals you had in the first place.
What are your goals this year? What path do you want to start your journey on? Please share in the comments below!
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!