Saying Goodbye

Photo on 2-11-13 at 4.56 PM IMG_3583 IMG_3668 IMG_3671 IMG_3490 IMG_3855 IMG_3999 IMG_4071and just like that it’s time to go.

I remember so clearly the days she was being built, the love we gave her- we would sit and dream.

“we’ll put a couch here, open up the windows and take naps”  and we did.

My hubby built this house as a gift for us, about to be married we built this place on so much love. future, kids,” some day”, busy meaningful jobs, friends and just an overwhelming sense of our life ahead.

and now on our 2nd to last night here, the house that heard my babies cry and that held me so tight over the past 9 years, it’s time to say goodbye.

I’ve been waiting for this moment. I don’t know if it’s the non stop rain or the water pouring over my hands on the dishes but it’s like I’m drowning in change. I’m ready to let go and part of this NEW MOON intention time is looking ahead, cleansing, clearing, LETTING go.  this beautiful place that held so much love, I’m ready to say goodbye AND grieve a little. I’m ready for what’s next AND I’m sad about what I’m leaving behind.

Goodbye house. You gave me so much. lil omm was dreamed up here, worked on here, loved here and cried about here, in these very walls  So many tears happened here. My heart broke here over and over.  I loved here like I had never known. You are holding our memories. AS I look towards our next chapter, I’m in a really good place. I feel totally supported in my life. I feel deeply connected to the work and the life I have, and I know that no HOUSE carries that. I know that I carry happiness and contentment inside of myself. that no PLACE or person will ever hold that key but me.

BUT, tonight I say goodbye to the place that supported the deep personal inquiry I have explored. I pulled back a lot of layers here, my heart exploded here and the deepest unveiling of  my self  TO my own self has occurred over the past 9 years here.  I healed. I became a mom. I grew up. I came  home.

this house gave me the space and the beauty to study, to learn, to practice and to be curious about my life and eventually, I found my way back  to ME.

In this house that  actually “grew me up” I found my heart, my calling, my love, my self.

 

mindful moving

I keep joking that I am going to write a book after this experience called “Mindful Moving”

 

I am in the midst of boxes, papers, stacks, piles and clutter. very unsettled. and I’m actually loving it.

I am watching it all happen- totally out of my control , in it’s own time.

 

and poof it changes. just minutes after deep calm and quiet- the kids came in screaming & yelling. hungry & tired looking for dinner and mommy.

whoa- huge breakdown leading to my thoughts of … “its okay, this is how it is”

I reminded myself to not freak out. I could feel myself getting frustrated, irritated, mad, I could breathe and feel
it soften. Then Milo would scream and hit Saylor & I would be back in the fire.. and start again.

If I could boil the water, set the table, find the candles, we could start.

And just like that with some extra hugs and lots of “one minute sweeties”
dinner was served. we made it.

a long slow clean up made it
real, the mess that we created and the day to day routines that I may miss someday.

awake to it all… just noticing how this will all unfold. one week left in our home. capturing the moments of the heart in the crazy of our life!

20140426-080752.jpg

living my life.

Why Yoga?

“I can’t touch my toes.” 

“ It’s boring” 

“My mind wont stop racing.“

“My doctor told me I should do it, to increase my balance and flexibility.” 

These are some of the common things people tell me when they hear I teach yoga. 

The first thing I want to clear up is that yoga means YOKE. to yoke/ unite our body, mind and spirit. So it actually does not have ANYTHING to do with touching your toes or quieting the mind.  The physical practice of yoga poses were created in order to help us sit quietly in some form of meditation. The great new is that when thinking about stress management … we now have the brain science and evidence which PROVES stillness and pause in our daily lives changes our brain patterns, blood pressure, response to our others and create a sense of inner strength & well being.

Yoga & meditation are often linked b/c many practitioners USE the physical poses and linking breath to movement in order to create a “moving meditation”. Some folks use walking meditation where they become aware of the sounds around them, as a way to connect, notice and be “awake”.  Experienced practitioners are able to sit quietly for long periods of time just noticing what arises in the body and in the mind. Some use mantras to focus the mind, some use candles – there are MANY ways to focus the mind. 

Many of us have a “ monkey mind” and find ourselves chasing & clinging to thoughts all day long. This leads to fatigue, irritation, stress and dis- ease in the body. 90% of illness and disease are because of stress. It is of UTMOST importance that we  consider how we are living and what our priorities are each day in order to achieve this balance in our inner world.

Being connected to our phones, computers, & being accessible at all times of day and night is overwhelming to our systems. We are meant to move our bodies a few times each day as well as pause for meals, connect with others and have some alone time. ANd REST. We deeply need REST. Many of us are overtired as well as undernourished. The foods we eat & what we drink are  generally not contributing to our overall health or well being. 

When I started practicing yoga I had no sense of how what I put in my body effected the different parts of my system and my moods.  I did not have a sense of how foods were effecting my whole system. After a few classes I started noticing that I felt different if I ate certain foods before I went to class and then I only wanted certain things after. Slowly, the more I practiced the better I felt. I was then able to tune in to what poses helped me through a rough day, loosen up a tight lower back, or just give me a “yoga high”. 

What does this have to do with You?  EVERYTHING. Yoga allows us to connect to our inner life, our inner teacher, our true self. We are beautiful, creative and kind beings but with too much TV, PHONE and To- do lists, we loose site of this. Yoga helps with our well being and our stress management b/c  teachers guide us towards our intuition and connects us to our life purpose. 

Stress Effects Your Buisness and Your Life 

You wake up to realize your alarm did not go off- you jump out of bed into a too hot shower, check your phone, call a client while dressing your kids,  you don’t have breakfast instead you grab coffee. Kids are running late and can’t find what they need, You run from meeting to meeting until 2pm when you are starving so you grab a huge sandwich and fries to fill you up. You might as well have a soda to give you some caffeine to get through the rest of the day. And probably another coffee mid afternoon to get you to tonight. You get home and go for a quick run while your kids do homework. ( or not, you work instead) Dinner, work and then feeling bad that you didn’t get anything done that day.  After your kids to get to bed , you work, scan facebook, read a magazine, and stay up too late. eventually, you fall into your own bed only to repeat this sequence the next day. You find yourself always coming up with excuses for why you don’t take care of your self , why you can’t eat right, exercise or sleep and WHY are you feeling so darn tired.  You keep saying you don’t have time to goal set in fact you find yourself saying you dont have time for a lot of things..

You wake up 30 minutes before others in your house. you decide this morning you’d like to  journal for your “me-time” today. yesterday you took a quick morning walk and the day before you started the day sitting quietly in meditation. some days you sit and have a cup of coffee – the most enjoyable few moments of your day. When your family arise you are prepares to greet them, you are centered and intentional with how you want today to go. You have noticed that a while back you were only giving yourself 15 minutes in the morning but now you love this time so much you have increased it to 30! You do not check email or look at your phone until your children are off to school. You take 2 -10 minute walk breaks throughout your day that are non negotiable to get your blood flowing- which always energizes you and a 20-30 minute lunch where you sit and enjoy your delicious food (and you don’t bring your phone! unless you have a phone date with a friend or spouse). You are able to complete the 3 most impt priorities for today and find that you even have a little time to spare so you sweep the house, and decide to make a healthy dinner for your family. Your kids go to bed after some family time, homework time and you choose to do a few stretches on your yoga mat or take the dog around the block.  Before you go to bed you set your 3 targets for tomorrow and get into bed either reading something positive or thoughtful trying to stay away from anything over stimulating. You feel connected that your deepest priorities are in check and that those who are important to you- feel important to you. You may review your life goals and visions daily or weekly in order to make sure you are living your life the way you intend.  You find that you actually have plenty of time for all the people, work and activities that you enjoy. 

20140426-075559.jpg

what if

do I get to wear the label if I dont stand on my head? I don’t do what they do, don’t look like they look. its not about them, it always been about saving me.

I choose breath over posture. I dont easily do this work. it takes time. I am no gymanst, no dancer. just years of unhealthy stuff put into this body to cover the pain that was layering on. fast food, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar.

the practice sets me straight over & over. clearer & clearer until like magic.. I am me.
whole & loved
open & scared
awake & aware

its all here, in my heart.
(and it was the whole time)

20140426-075822.jpg

Yoga for me.

What does yoga mean to me? 

Yoga is a a way to connect with myself. My Yoga practice is the integration of self, truth and renewal.

For me, it’s practical. I practice breathing, I soften my shoulders. I am kinder and more compassionate in this world to all beings. It’s quite simple. I sit still. I observe. I learn about myself. I build strength in order to serve others.

I teach my daughter and my students ” all beings everywhere shall be happy and free” and I mean it.

I dedicate my life, my work and my self to studying yoga.. the physical practice, the spiritual texts and  I tune OUT in order to tune IN to my inner teacher, my real guru.

I am not afraid to talk about life OR death. I face the truth of what is difficult in life and honor that it is. Through acknowledging my own fears, doubts, insecurities and growth. Yoga has taught me this. BE Real, be yourself.

Yoga is a way of living- an integration of the science, the energy and the essence.

It manifests differently for us all and changes throughout out journey.

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo ( I bow to the teacher within. I honor you)

Right now, my yoga is practical. breath, pause, move, play, sit quietly.

Feel the intensity that arises in work, family and life.

Sat Nam ( I am)

I teach my children respect for the inner life. The integration of mind, body, spirit. How to BE in our lives , rather than DO our lives.  I model respect for the earth, cleanliness, truthfulness, discipline and devotion. Service. I spend time thinking of ways I can give to people I know, people I love, and total strangers. It’s SO MUCH BIGGER THAN A 90 minute hot sweaty POWER vinyasa Flow on your mat. Do you know what is POWERFUL? demonstrating love and kindness to human beings in this life , in Washington, DC on a daily basis.  That does create WARRIORS.

This is what Yoga is to me. just moment to moment life. They watch me cry. They watch me laugh. They watch me live.

My Yoga practice is the lifestyle choice that I make , it’s not about the mat or the pants or even the studio.

To me it’s about being real. sharing my struggles and CONNECTING to something much larger than this life.

Enlightenment? who knows.. but it’s making this world much more beautiful.

My eyes and heart OPENED when I started the practice. 

IMG_4965

What to do & Why?

“The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It’s relaxing. It’s energizing. It’s strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don’t. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion – which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being.

As you practice yoga and meditation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivations, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life”

-Erich Schiffman 

What I do

I have been thinking about what I do that allows me to have a sense of purpose, intention and connection in my life.

I have noticed that most of my days are full of things I want to do and I’m surrounded by people I love who are inspiring and positive. 

This is not by accident. This is my intentional life. I spend a lot of time getting clear on how I want to contribute to my family, the community and myself. I review my core values, regularly. I plan and re- work my schedule to make sure there is plenty of me time, family time, work time and open time. 

Sometimes, I have a habit of belittling the work I do and telling folks, oh it’s nothing or its not big deal or I’m so lucky. And the truth is, I am lucky AND I work every day on committing to this life, this day, this world. I sacrifice and I say no, regularly. I’m not able to do everything. I work a lot, I teach a lot. I like quiet and sleeping.  

what does this mean?

It means that I do the work. I show up for classes, I meet teachers, I ask questions, I study, I read & read & read. I plan and practice and when things don’t work I find a way to change it up. I listen to elders. I try new things. I feel the pain & the fear, which does not go away just because I am generally a positive person.  over time, this has been the proven strategy for me to feel as if I actually have all the time I need to do the things that are the highest priority to me and that I really only do things that truly bring me JOY. 

One of the teachings that I recently heard loud and clear from Maezen was in a difficult situation, we have 3 options. 

  1. Change our mind, don’t hold too tight to our beliefs. ( this comes in handy in many of my relationships. I often apologize, put myself in someones shoes, communicate that something is unfair , relate to our common human experience, OR admit that I made a mistake) 
  2. Change the situation, let go of how we WANT it to be. ( get creative with how we approach our lives, it DOES NOT have to be a certain way. it does not have to be clean, it can be messy. they don’t have to eat all of the vegetables every night! )  
  3. Sit, and see what happens. ( have no clue what to do? then pause. sit. watch. observe. eventually something will happen, always) 

At any given moment, these are our choices. For example, recently I had a student who was upset about something at the studio & she really wanted a refund. I thought about our policy and what felt reasonable. I decided I was not going to give the refund BUT I would give her a pass into a different event. This type of flexible leadership allowed her to felt HEARD and appreciated and for us to stick to the integrity of our policies by sticking to our expectations. This happens each week with students, teachers, friends and family. 

The more flexible I become with my thoughts, expectations and views the stronger my relationships become. The more I respect the people in my life, the more they open up to me. Honestly, I have a lot less suffering as a result. 

This practice has drastically changed the tension or blame games that used to occur in my life. I try to come at each unique situation with open eyes and more importantly an open heart. 

Here is something else I have learned along the way. All of us are suffering in some way. We are tired. We are angry. We are stressed. We are sick. We don’t feel cared for at home or at work. We don’t feel heard. 

When I remember this, my heart softens. I cannot be angry with other human beings who are experiencing so much suffering. I know this might sound a little out there- but for me, it works. When I see someone so irritated, angry, yelling or rude- I just try to step back and look at the big picture. It becomes so clear that this person is suffering, the holistic view of this being is that he/ she is not in a good place.  And I’m not here to make that worse. In fact, I feel one of the reasons I am here is to make that pain go away. To demonstrate that we do have the capacity not only to shift our thoughts and perspective but that ANYONE can do it. If I can, YOU can. I don’t believe in doing this a preachy way, but through modeling. I can only change myself. I can only be myself and show love to all those I come in contact with. I can hold your hand and hug your heart. The more I practice, the easier this becomes for me and the clearer my purpose becomes. 

I know we all are fundamentally loving and compassionate. I know when we strip away all the drama and the bullshit and the thoughts of our “crazy busy” lives, tears start to swell, hearts start to open and peace abides.

Can you stop and think about each beautiful being you come into contact with today and see them whole.