Hello Stranger….

Yes, I am talking to myself. As I continue to recognize we never have it figured out…really…on some level we are constantly reintroducing ourselves to a part of ourself that at one time was nothing more than a stranger. (That and I haven’t posted anything in months).

I was listening to advice being given to my sister about having a new born baby. (Yes, if you know any of her story, she has a healthy little 7 week boy!!!) But the advice was in reference to parenting in these first few weeks. “As soon as you have it figured out, just know it will all change”. I’ve thought on this for a few days, as I think, in my late 30’s, this is still true. No I am not a parent, but in reference to my own life…there is always something changing.

The other day the class I taught just barely touched on the topic of the 3 malas, or what I like to call “that which hides your deepest truth”. Afterwards a participant in class confessed to his practice being one of those practices where he was being bullied by his mind the whole time and he apologized. This caught me by surprise as he later went on to say, if my mind is my enemy, how can I make friends. Right?!?! But the surprise was, for me, I don’t see the mind as an enemy, nor do I see a reason to feel bad for having a practice where you are working through the shit storm of your life. The practice of yoga is BODY, MIND, & SPIRIT. So, please don’t ask your mind to shut up, instead give it the acknowledgement it deserves. Yes, sometimes the mind dresses up in tough guy gear and bosses you around, and sometimes it starts to cry when you hear of an amazing triumph, but it’s not an enemy, not for me at least. It’s just asking for attention, acknowledgement, acceptance and then there is a chance for transformation.

Though I don’t always have time, I love listening to people after class. For one, since I was the one leading, hearing people’s contemplation then leads me to be a better guide in the future. Maybe I am just curious, but I find an individual’s thoughts during their practice to be just as significant as their body’s movement. So I had the time to listen to the insight of the participant that shifted from wanting to find friendship with the enemy and train the mind to hold only peaceful and loving thoughts. Yes, this is what we are told a yoga practitioner is supposed to do. But then the conversation went onto how no one is immune to hardship, sadness, or even being bullied by their own self not to mention each other. Recognizing that we can greet these ‘strange’ or unwanted feelings and thoughts and allow them to be noticed rather than silencing them, there is a way to celebrate the many expressions. Sure, witness the emotional roller coaster, but each emotion is the one great love dressed up in different clothing. It’s part of our nature to see the darkness and well, it becomes a more simple yet sophisticated practice when you realize you can choose the light.

 

One of my teachers shared with me the practice of meditation is the practice of making friends with your consciousness. Rather than the mind being a stranger or an enemy that your trying to control, it’s a beautiful expression of the divine that helps and assists in the recognition of the beauty and love life holds.

Yes we will battle our own thoughts. Our own thoughts will frighten us and even make us feel heavy and insignificant. Alright then…come on we are human. For me the practice of yoga, seated or moving, isn’t about emptying out or leaving your troubles at the door, nor is it a practice of perfection. Rather it’s a practice of listening to the full gamete and learning how to connect, hear, and trust the many expressions of love. This process/practice allows one to choose in the highest way available at that moment. Because it’s all going to change. Yep, as soon as you think you have it all figured out…

 

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latch on to the (fill in the blank)

Every now and again a tune from when I was just a kiddo leaps into my head. This morning’s classic…

“You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum” by Johny Mercer (yes I had to look up who wrote the song). And it goes on… “latch on to the affirmative, eliminate the negative”. Simple but oh so true.

At this moment you have a choice…I’m all about being realistic, but what are you latching onto? The misery or mystery? The beauty or the ugly? Sometimes so much is happening there seems there is no beauty at all. But that’s when it takes great work. Don’t deny what’s happening but find a way to latch on to the affirmative and spread joy up to the maximum.

What’s the big deal?

Courage is about being brave but it usually makes me feel sick to my stomach. I love helping people, making their life/yoga more enjoyable. I’m the pleaser again and again so I stay quiet rather than make anyone else uncomfortable.

In the book I’m reading by Brene Brown she gives an early definition of courage “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”. My dad tells me that I am not just honest but can be brutally honest and if you have had yoga class with me then you know sometimes I have a little sting :). But I am comfortable to speak my heart with my family and as a yoga teacher/co-worker because my heart can’t tolerate it otherwise. Have you had a conversation with someone that was uncomfortable but you had to do it because your heart gave you an ultimatum? Speaking from your heart openly & honestly. No longer sitting behind the illusion that it’s all good. Your, mine, everyone’s life is going to contain pain, it’s inevitable, yet if you’re steady to your truth you’ll get through it, I promise.

Then I realized the other part of this is being honest with both yourself and with others. (Brown speaks on this and it hit hard for me). Acting like you’re not that excited about something or someone. Playing down your enthusiasm so that if it doesn’t work you won’t get hurt. I’ve been hurt a lot, by people, by loss, by humans being humans. Physically, mentally and emotionally hurt and so I play down all the time. “No worries, not a problem, I don’t really give a sh*t”. I am certain this is a coping/defense mechanism that protects my heart and keeps me guarded so I don’t get sizzled…or look like a fool….or flat out betrayed.

Perhaps if we go for things and tell people how we really feel knowing that or being aware that it may not work out, that it may not go over well, or we may crash and burn, that instead of down playing our excitement we move courageously from our hearts, that if it does happen we can experience it much more fully. That we give ourselves the greater cause to celebrate, that we make it a big deal because it is a big deal. Not only that if we let people know that we care, or that something meant a lot to us and we gave it our all, that they can then help us if we fall/fail.

Kind of like this blog…I haven’t made a big deal about it…I put it on facebook, sometimes, and I have mentioned it directly to only a few people that told me they like hearing what I have to say. But then today I realized. Every time someone likes a post or I get a message that someone new is following, I’m motivated to keep going and I tell someone else just what I am doing. Revealing this side of me still scares the living crap out of me, but it’s YOU that is inspiring me to keep going for it sharing the contemplations of my heart and setting them free. So one of the braver things I can do right now is thank you because it is kind of a big deal.

Entourage

This sunday was a day where the sun was concealed. The clouds were thick and every so often it would just pour down rain. The weather affected my intention for the day, but then I found myself cleaning house and watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, which I’ve only done one other time. On the show was Brene Brown who I had never heard of before. I know, I was like almost the 10 millionth person to watch her TED talk. ┬áThen all the sudden, here is another dot in the bigger picture of living fully for me.

When the yoga world and community I was a part of leader lost any sense of displaying integrity, I decided to look outside of the yoga world for inspiration. Which by the way, he isn’t the first yoga teacher to be super human and not uphold a code of ethics. Regardless his actions and the community inspired me to look outside of the world of yoga in order to say it differently. I wanted to be open to seeing, as my friend would say, the universal truths. Now in graduate school to diversify my means of helping people enhance and empower their lives and have academic credentials to do just this – yes, also inspired by the on going fall that happens in the yoga world. I’m realizing how everyone is saying the same thing on a certain level, it really is universal. Though I am only in my 8th month of a 3 1/2 year program, I’m collecting information for the research I want to do post graduate school. Then, thanks to Oprah, I am introduced to someone else who has done a great bit of research, academically, but is also pursuing the spiritual, which means there is a lot of support already established for what my heart cares so deeply to bring forward.

Here is the interesting part… my recent contemplations have been on the idea of worth, connection, and being enough. No longer pretending, bullying yourself (myself, as I am way to hard on me) or alienating from the bigger picture. Dropping the stereotype and expectation and instead believing and being. Committing to this 108 days, which is a long time – what the bleep was I thinking – has lead me to a whole lot more inspiration that is fully aligned with all that I have been contemplating with no yoga mat insight.

When you start to pay attention your realize the divine will surround you with what you need. Being aware of these winks from the universe you discover there is an entire spiritual entourage with you day in and day out. Letting the divine flow through you and working with the offerings of grace, amazing things begin to happen…you know it’s safe to set your heart free. Or in the words of Brene Brown, to live wholeheartedly!