Holding Myself Accountable and Terrified!

Holding Myself Accountable and Terrified!

Everyone has hopes and dreams—goals that we set for ourselves and want to be held accountable for. Starting this blog was a dream of mine, and now that I’ve reached that goal, it’s time to set another. My dream is to write a novel, and I can’t think of a better place to put that dream in writing and publicly hold myself accountable:  

She waits with anticipated breath. Waiting for her heart to explode out of her chest with pure inspiration. Inspiration she feels is necessary to write her beloved novel. When will this inspiration come? When will ideas pop into her head and organize themselves all at once? When will she be able to write her first page with wit and spontaneity? How will she know the exact words to write line by line?  

When will this happen?  

Suddenly, a voice whispers inside her head, “Little by little. Piece by piece. Creativity comes from trial and error. It’s not magical or romantic. It’s a lot of work and a lot of patience and a lot of humility mixed in between.”  

 And so she begins, terrified, as she enters into the next chapter towards her life goals….   

Can We Love Ourselves Enough To Celebrate Progress Over Perfection?

Can We Love Ourselves Enough To Celebrate Progress Over Perfection?

We are all doing our best to flow through life’s challenges as we work together during this crazy time in our lives. Yoga helps me stay calm and focused as I navigate through stressful situations all around me. And sometimes it surprises me with important life lessons when I least expect it.  

During a recent outdoor Power Yoga session, I was feeling triumphant over the fact that I had found the perfect spot in the park for practice. As I lay out my mat in a spot that wasn’t as lumpy as some other spots in the park, I thought, “Wow! I finally have found the perfect spot for practice! I won’t have to worry about one side being higher than the other during Tree Pose or almost falling downhill in Downward-facing Dog! I can manage my flow and balance much better here!”  

I was feeling proud of myself, when all of a sudden, I was thrown a curve ball as my instructor challenged us to incorporate a new pose. There went my proud moment of finding the perfect flat spot in the park! As he explained how to fall into low plank from standing without breaking our wrists (yes, you read that right), I suddenly felt humbled. With a slight lump in my throat and my stomach churning, I started to panic. This was not an easy transitional pose and it would be very easy to hurt myself. I am not the most graceful, but I do know how to fall down!  

I began to inhale and exhale deeply to reduce my anxiety. After a few breaths and shaking out my arms and legs, I found myself focusing on what others might think of me. What if I couldn’t do the pose? Or what if I looked awkward doing it? I reasoned with myself–everyone else would look awkward as well and some people might not try it at all.  

I decided I would try my best. I started out slow and low to the ground, bending deeply before landing in low plank. I was in shock at how it didn’t seem bad at all, and I did it with control during my first attempt. I decided to try it again standing up a little higher and landing on my hands. I looked down and realized my hands were still attached to my body. It worked! I kept trying–starting out a little higher each time until I was almost at full standing pose before dropping down into low plank. After a few minutes of trying this transitional drop into low plank, we were able to move on through our flow and I finished with my body parts still intact.  

This was a huge teaching moment for me. I often won’t attempt to do scary, challenging poses because I’m afraid they will hurt me, or I will look awkward. I fret that it might take me years to accomplish a challenging pose and maybe people will look at me as if I’m not accomplished enough to be a yoga instructor. I worry that I won’t be perfect. But I realized in that moment that perfection was not the goal. Maybe progress was all I was aiming for.  

Ironically, I’m reading Real Love by Sharon Salzberg this month. I say it’s ironic, because in it, she explains how the idea of perfection is the opposite of self-love. Yoga teaches us to take risks and to believe in ourselves and to trust our bodies. But perfection is never taught in yoga, nor has it ever been a part of its teachings. Society has taught us to aim for perfection to appear as if we live perfect lives.  

As we celebrate National Yoga Month in September, don’t lose sight of the wholistic approach of yoga. We don’t just celebrate yoga for its physical benefits, but for the mindful connections we make along the way—the progress. This is one of the many reasons why yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. Let’s celebrate National Yoga Month together, knowing that everyone is on their own journey, at their own pace, and for their own reasons.  

One Of My Favorite Books Of All Time!

One Of My Favorite Books Of All Time!

If you are looking for a good murder mystery with a whodunit til the last page, then I highly recommend the book, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It’s a mystery mixed with some romance, good vs. evil, dark and eerie twists sprinkled with Mother Nature and poetry! Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite poems in the book:

“Eventide is a disguise,

Covering tracks,

Covering lies.

We don’t care

That dusk deceives.

We see brilliant colors,

And never learn

The sun has dropped

Beneath the earth

By the time we see the burn.”

A.H.

I hope this excerpt drew you in as much as it drew me in! I could not put the book down!

Are We Evolving?

Are We Evolving?

Have you noticed how people are reaching out to others more? Have you noticed how people are sharing their vulnerabilities and how others respond to those who are struggling? Have you noticed how people are checking in daily to see how their loved ones are doing?  

Yes, there are always going to be assholes out there twisting and destroying humankind, but for the most part, I see and hear more people than ever asking how I’m doing, and total strangers are offering to help if I ever need it.  

Is it that obvious that I need help? I mean, I have gained an extra 20 pounds. Maybe it’s because I celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day with a cookie in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Or perhaps it’s just me being overly sensitive to my vulnerabilities, and people just care and truly want to know how I’m doing.  

I see humankind evolving despite how unsure we are of the future. We are evolving into more caring individuals. We are showing more vulnerability, and people are learning to step up to ask for help as they never have before. How can we see our lives as so narrow and dark if others are reaching out all the time? It’s very hard when people are looking out for you and rooting you on. 

As I begin to study Abundance Meditation, I’ve started to take inventory of all that I have and practice being satisfied with what I have. This is not an easy thing to do, and it takes time to practice, but I will give you an example of all that I am grateful for today:  

My and my family’s health  

My cuddly kitties always cheering me up with their cuteness  

The smell of summer rain  

Time and space to practice outdoor yoga  

A roof over our head  

Healthy food on our table  

Good friends I can confide in  

Meditation apps  

The flexibility to work from home  

Planning my husband’s birthday celebration Covid-style  

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  

I don’t have to look very far to find abundance in my life. I just have to be able to open my eyes and choose to find the silver lining. With the help of my family and friends, I can do this, and so can you. After all, I am in the middle of evolving along with the rest of the world.  

We can evolve, or find the abundance, the silver lining, or whatever you want to call it, because we are all in this together and no one will let you drink alone.  

If you are looking for a good meditation app/podcast, I suggest the following:  

Insight Timer

Meditative Story Podcast

21 Days of Abundance Meditation with Deepak Chopra

Waking Up app with Sam Harris

Do You Avoid Triggers or Tackle Them Head On?

Do You Avoid Triggers or Tackle Them Head On?

Recently, I needed to remind myself of the quote by Vienna Pharaon, “Avoiding your triggers isn’t healing. Healing happens when you’re triggered and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, and the story and walk your way to a different ending.”

This quote about mindfulness can probably be applied to almost any situation, but it seems most relatable during this unsettling moment in our history. We are fortunate to live in a time where mental healing is emphasized just as much as physical health. However, mindfulness can still be difficult to find—without getting a little help from a glass of wine or pint of ice cream, that is.

Kidding aside, I do find it hard to sit with the triggers and move through the pain, because I try to avoid triggers so that I can remain calm and present for others. There is a constant inner struggle between keeping the mind calm and moving through the pain.

When I’m on the mat and I’m in a difficult bind trying to breathe through the pain, all I can think about is my next breath. In yoga, we purposely put ourselves in a bind or a very strenuous situation so that we can practice getting out of it. Over time, we build enough strength so that we are able to come out of our binds with ease.

A few months ago, I accomplished a half moon pose without the assistance of a block to keep me balanced for the very first time! I have always needed a block prior to that instance. But over time, I learned to face my trigger head on and kept trying to move through the pain to get stronger each time until I was able to accomplish a difficult pose without any assistance.

The point is, I always thought I needed someone or something to keep me balanced and calm when working through my triggers. But I’ve realized that the power lies within and that I’m strong enough to pull myself out of these difficult situations or triggers. By doing so, I can walk my way to a different ending, because I’ve built up enough strength over time to prepare myself for this difficult time in history.

And yes, wine and a pint of ice cream help me along the way. After all, I’m only human.

Adapting to a world of unpredictability

“Through failure, we become more successful when we learn how to become more adaptable to the challenge before us”, says Forrest Galante.

He continues on….

“With each and every phase of our lives, we cultivate a unique skill set for being adaptable and being communicative and slowing down and being respectful and taking a breath. That allows us to see everything from a bigger picture and navigate what ever comes our way. This is how we are meant to evolve as humans. This is how we adapt.”

Now I know I’m not a professional wildlife biologist and adventurist with my own show on Animal Planet like Forrest Galante, but I can’t help but ask when I’m outside, surrounded in nature, “What is here to be known and enjoyed”? I am always noticing new plants, new habitats that animals have created, new foliage and sometimes new damage such as a whole or pipe or some kind of foreign object put there by us humans that disrupted a part of nature. But as I look closer, nature continues to adapt by growing lush new greenery surrounding the whole or the pipe or what ever damage there once was. After all, birds build nests on man made objects such as utility poles and basketball hoops. Who is to say we are not as adaptable as well as the nature that surrounds us?

This motivates me to get outside when I feel down or defeated by this depressing virus and just looking around, observing how nature adapts and works around its surroundings to keep on moving, is very inspiring to me.

How are you adapting? What inspires you to adapt through this unexpected life changing virus that effects all of us? If you are not finding ways to adapt, I challenge you to find one specific thing that motivates you to adapt to this change this week. What was the result? If you would like to share your ideas, please do so. I would love to hear about them and hopefully, we can all help others around us get through adapting to a world of unpredictability.

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Finding Flexibility In A Time of Crisis(yes, it is possible!)

As I’m fighting anxiety and fear from this pandemic known as COVID-19 or Coronavirus through eating, drinking and baking(not successfully). I realize just how close our mind and body are connected. The more I fear, the more my body tenses up. The more anxious I feel, the more aches and pains I feel. The more I watch the news and get upset about all the politics behind it, the more nervous I get and can’t seem to sit down. If I’m feeling this way, I have to think there are others out there with the same thoughts and actions as myself, right?! At least I have to think that, otherwise, I’m just going crazy, which my husband reminds me is very possible.

So, here is my first attempt at doing my very small part in helping others to get through this together. Despite our differences and where we see ourselves on the other side of this pandemic, I hope we can all agree that we are all one in the universe. I listened to a podcast today that helped put these thoughts into context. I listened to Meditative Story, the one titled, “Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe”(March 21, 2020) with astronomer Michelle Thaller. She reminded us how vast the universe is and how tiny we are. The universe doesn’t care about our trivial worries or fears. It just moves on and continues to evolve through the death and rebirth of the stars. And this death and rebirth creates Earth and everything around us, including us as humans. It made me realize how I need to be flexible and move with the universe in good and bad times. To create a sense of awareness, but yet still trust in the universe to show it’s goodness. I know this is very difficult to do, but Michelle Thaller reminds us to give ourselves permission to be human. After all, we beat ourselves up, thinking we can control everything sometimes, but this episode in Meditative Story grounded me even if it’s only for a few minutes today. I hope you can find some grounding yourself and the flexibility to remove yourself from worry and fear, to realize we are not in control and to give into the universe. Otherwise, you might be baking up a storm, trying to fix your anxiety ridden sugar cravings like I did the other day, only to realize your chocolate chip cookies are adding to the frustrating weight gain and extra emotional baggage this virus is leaving us all with!

May you be happy

May you be well

May you be healthy

May you be free from suffering

May you stay away from the cookie jar!

If you are interested in listening to the podcast Meditative Story-Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe”(March 21, 2020) with astronomer Michelle Thaller, here is the link below:

https://player.fm/series/meditative-story-2527252/our-tiny-meaningful-lives-in-the-vast-universe