the WAKE UP call

Comment

the WAKE UP call

Last weekend I arrived at the studio totally prepared for the day’s battle. The heat was not working, yet again. I snuck in just before the class was letting out and when I got to the office there were two black blocks sitting on my desk. There was a note that said, “we love what you have done with the place but there is just one thing blocking you from you fullest potential.” I was like WTF! Who does not like my blocks? What vendor has wondered in and is attempting a passive-aggressive sales pitch to buy new blocks. I worked my ass off on this new studio, I grew its potential the best I could - is that not enough for you? Bad enough I have had a flood, sewer problems, weekly HVAC issues, ants and so on. Give me a fucking break.

And there I was - STUCK in my world of defensiveness, hustle, judgment. Living one day to the next just running around putting out fires. Surviving what is going on, not living. Definitely not basking in what I had created and all the amazing things that were happening right in front of me. I was in a big story in my head and the world was against me.

So……back to the blocks. Turns out, every teacher at the studio pitched in and bought the community brand new blocks. They were a gift! A show of support. They had taken all the old blocks away and replaced them so when I walked into the practice room I was surprised. Didn’t I feel like an asshole!

I have been pondering on this for a few days now. What other gifts have I been missing out on? What moment of gratitude have I been shitting on with “whats wrong now?” And wow, is “I am not good enough, I am not doing it right” showing up for me again. And this is why I love this practice. Just when you get comfortable, when you think you are somewhere, you actually discover exactly where you are. And what is awesome about this place is that the potential for growth is amazing. It is there for me, all of the time. I just have to be willing to give my stories up and step up to the plate and grab it.

Comment

Being Unstoppable

Comment

Being Unstoppable

This past weekend I truly experienced what is possible if you give up all the inconveniences in your life, put your attention on what you want to have happen and be for it, with passion and enthusiasm.  

I have had the privilege to lead the #UNSTOPPABLE training for the Baptiste Foundation these past few months.  This weekend I fulfilled on a major goal and led one in Camden.  It is very safe to say that I over plan everything, consider lots of possibilities around “what if” and have everything laid out for the timeline, in about 15 minutes increments.  One of my favorite things around facilitating programs is working with the content and timeline and making it all work.  I was ready for anything! And everything was what I got.

The team arrived and we had to wait 30 minutes to get into the facility to setup (and it was cold Saturday morning).  No worries, we still got setup in plenty of time. We started about 20 minutes late so we could accommodate all the odds and ends around the participants – cars were not starting, people were lost, etc. etc. – no worries, we made some rearrangements. The room temp got up to about 60 degrees at its max, I taught in 2 pairs of pants, socks, and 2 shirts and a jacket. We kept trucking.  At lunch, pipes burst and a portion of the space flooded. The host got into gear and spent hours cleaning up the water.  We did not get all of the materials – no worries, we sprang into action and had what we needed when we needed it.  

With all of that, I looked around at the end of the day and no one was complaining.  Everyone was smiling.  The team was in great spirits and I was having an amazing time. Program was delivered and breakthroughs were had. I left inspired and lit up and totally rejuvenated from being of service and spending time with some extraordinary souls throughout the day. 

The circumstances of our lives only impact us if we allow them to.  The circumstances around what we are doing only matter if we let them matter. If you put your drishti on the “thing” you are there for, be for it and do it, none of the circumstances matter.  They simply make you resilient and unstoppable!

Comment

The Physical Breaking Point

Comment

The Physical Breaking Point

On Friday, I was super excited to practice, it would be my 3rd practice in the new studio space, and I couldn’t wait to get my groove on. I was feeling good. Flying high from everything that had been happening - the studio rebrand, the move, all the new trainings, things I am facilitating and so much more. A lot has been happening and it has been amazing. I knew this practice would be as well, I was feeling free and powerful.

Well, my body had a different plan. The teacher called child’s pose - and it hurt. In down dog, my body felt like I had 20 pound weights on my shoulders and then finally in a standing pose I fell to my knees. Like literally, my body said stop and I crumbled on my mat. This was a new crumbling for me. I have had several mental and emotional meltdowns on my mat, never a physical one like this. I made it through practice modifying nearly every pose and doing less than 50% of the overall practice. I had to give up what the teacher and other students must have thought (like Gina is just rolling around on her mat). I could not even do 1/2 pigeon my hips felt so bad. It was clear that no matter how good I thought I felt, my body was not matching my mind and was having none of it. My body said STOP - TAKE A BREAK!

I have been growing both of my businesses, leading a training of some sort every weekend, physically moving the studio, doing construction and cleaning up floods (this is not an exaggeration - like 3 inches of water filled the studio 4 days after opening). I looked at my calendar and realized that I had not taken one day off in the past 27 days. I felt great about all of this, but my body was taking a beating and I was not listening. After this practice I took stock on what I actually felt. My hips felt stuck, probably a symptom of sitting on the floor for 5 hours the day before and crawling around with a wet vac for another 3 hours. My back felt like it was on fire - from all the furniture I had been moving. My shoulders did not want to lift, because they had done so much painting and lifting already. And so on and so on. My body hurt and I did not even know it until it took me out.

What I learned is that you cannot do it all. At some point, if you do not rest and recover, you will be forced to. That when I get wrapped up in BUSY I am not listening to what is actually in front of me and what my body is trying to tell me. And so I rested. I rejuvenated. Took some long baths, took a couple of days off, slept in and ate some real food. After all, none of it is worth it if you cannot be a part of what you are creating in the first place.

Comment

Sensitivity to Words

Comment

Sensitivity to Words

This morning I was reading 40 Days to Personal Revolution and something jumped out at me for the first time - “this sensitivity to words continued to shape us in ways we didn’t even realize.” While I have spent a lot of time in inquiry around words and teaching about the power of word, I never looked at it as a sensitivity level. We each have unique sensitivities to food, smells, sensations in particular parts of our bodies etc - the same goes with words. And it is so clear that this sensitivity level is something that we have the power to adjust.

I have learned to stay in yoga poses for very long periods of time. Yes, I feel the burning of the tapas, the nerve and muscle signals from my body parts telling my brain to adjust or move and I have chosen to stay in the experience rather than react to it. It has been a practice and a learning. A eye opening of sorts that nothing in fact will happen to me and that those bodily processes are normal. I am not sensitive to them and I see the truth of what is happening in the moment. What is possible if we looked at words the same way?

I know what it looks and sounds like when I hear something or someone says something to me and I choose to react. It is a downward spiral of hurtful feelings and internal story telling which often leads to physical exhaustion and a lot of wasted time. And I never get the result I am looking for. Just like if I constantly move away from the pose, I will never get the result I am looking for. What if we lean into others words, take away our personal sensitivity and stay in the experience. What if we create an atmosphere that allows us to get to the truth vs reacting to the superficial surface? I believe the results of our interactions would dramatically change and in that we could start to respond to one another versus reacting to one another. And the words themselves just might change as well.

Comment

Messy, unclear - it is all ok!

Comment

Messy, unclear - it is all ok!

It has been a while since I sat down and put anything down on paper, but I have been blogging every day in my head for the past month. When I consider writing, I suddenly feel stuck. Even now, I am typing in Word versus directly into my blog. I have been feeling foggy and uncertain around my words. There are a lot of things swirling around, all good things but seemingly difficult to sort out. What I have discovered, is that it is ok!

It is ok that I do not understand what I am thinking or what is happening right now.  It is ok that everything is just a little unclear and yet I keep moving forward. It is ok that it is all messy right now.  And once I got clear that it is ok, I realized I feel really good in messy and unclear.  It is exciting.  It leaves me open to discover little things about myself every day. Messy and unclear is new, thus something new can arise out of it. For the longest time whenever I was unsure of what was going on, unsure of a timeline around my life and unsure of what might happen, I tirelessly worked to figure it out. To make something happen. To find out what was making me feel this way and fix it.  To come up with an answer.  Guess what, with every answer or false sense of clarity also came another moment of unclarity, another unexpected situation, another something to work out.  In reality, I was stuck on the same hamster real of “working my life out.” And that is exhausting!

So where can you just arrive in nothing more than “it is ok”.  Give up arriving in “this is exactly what is wrong”, “I now understand”, “I need to be fixed”, etc etc.  In reality guys, arrival sucks! When you arrive, you are at your destination and the journey is over and then you just have to do more figuring out of where to go next. This is your life, the only thing that is next is death. Give it up. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of constantly going somewhere next and am grateful and very content to be in the process of my life right now, as it is. With only growth and yet with no arrival in site. 

Comment

On Getting Stuck.......

Comment

On Getting Stuck.......

The other day in class I was teaching and class was moving, I was ON, tapas and flow was happening and then something suddenly occurred that got in the way and stopped everything, literally.  I called Upward Facing Dog, called the breath and then asked them to stay and everyone moved instead! So, I repeated myself, stay, they still moved.  I was like what is happening. Why is no one listening.  It was after the 3rdtime that I repeated the word stay, waiting for the class to come back to what we were doing, in the pose I called, that someone in class (who happens to be a teacher) whispered “you called Downward Facing Dog, not Upward Facing Dog.” Lightbulb on!!!!

This is a perfect example of when we are sure that we are right, that everyone else is wrong (in this case 7 other people) and that we simply get in our own way of reality.  It was so funny, I laughed out loud, everyone else laughed and I used that exact moment to create a share on how this practice of Baptiste Yoga shows up everywhere in our lives. I was so sure the class was not listening (my reality) and what was actually happening was they were listening to every single thing I was saying (reality). I was the one not listening, to the own words coming out of my mouth. In those 30 seconds I was stuck in “me” and my perceptions and literally arguing with others in my head and thinking “what is wrong with them.”

The bigger picture and the point is, where in your life are you so sure of what is happening and in reality it isn’t even close, possibly even the opposite. Where do you get stuck in “I am right” and “they are wrong”? Where do you keep repeating yourself because you cannot see past your perceptions?  It was a perfect moment in time where me versus them showed up, listening was turned off and I got stuck.  In my stuckness, I created everyone else to be stuck.  So, where in your life are you stuck and what are you not listening to that is a contribution to what is actually happening.  Step out of what you think and see what is. 

Comment

Connect

Comment

Connect

Let me tell you a story about a trip to Florida. We arrived on Tuesday, checked in to our hotel and immediately noticed the sign across the street that said "best tacos in town."  Well if you know me that is like a dog seeing a squirrel - I honed in and made a bee-line right up to the bar.  I did not order food first, or even a drink, I asked the bartender what her name was.  And that was the beginning of our vacation.  That conversation brought us back later that evening for margaritas and a pool game, where we met a local and chatted up the northeast, he was from Pittsburgh. The next day we came back and met the new bartender, Jamie, and another vacationer from Canada, Jeff.  Through conversation, Jamie directed us to one of the best sushi places I have ever eaten at.  Jeff later spent the day with us at the beach and invited us to his home for a visit in Canada. Towards the end of the vacation, we decided to check out a new bar, and much to our surprise the bartender was the local from Pittsburgh we had met two days ago, he remembered us and made us some special drinks.  It seems like our entire vacation was based off our first conversation, and it only got better.  The first day on the beach we spoke to a couple from Ohio, it was their last day, so they gifted us their boogie boards (which make excellent drink holders in the gulf), we later gifted them to a couple with kids when we left. We met and chatted with every Uber driver.  We made friends with another Jamie, the front desk greeter at the hotel, who later saved a fresh banana for me as I wanted one without brown spots.  And so on and so on.

The point is, everything we need is right in front of us.  Connection! I used to be one of those people who sat in the corner and refused to talk to strangers.  My vacation was meant only for me, time to relax and find peace and quiet.  What I was really finding was isolation.  I discovered more than ever on this last trip that the gift we can give ourselves and each other is connection.  Talk to people. Ask questions. Get curious. Allow the universe to introduce you to new people and things and then happily receive all the toys, food, drink and kindness that comes your way. Simply by starting a conversation!

Comment

The Journey and The Path

Comment

The Journey and The Path

Opening a yoga studio looked perfect on paper. All the classes laid out in excel, expenses calculated, teachers lined up, contracts signed, a fancy business plan in place, it was everything I needed. I was ready. Now, a little over three years later I can share that about 85% of all of that never happened.  Or it happened and within weeks fell apart, much of before day one. All of the details that seemed so important and necessary before I told myself I could start, didn't mean anything at all (except a lot of work and worry).

What does matter, is the 15% that did occur. That 15% looks like my vision, my dream of community, changing lives and developing leaders. That part has been realized in a way that I could not plan for. You see, when you plan every detail, then you can only come up with what you already know.  What I have discovered is that there is so much more out there than what my simple mind can imagine and the universe has surprised be beyond belief. In all the mistakes, failures, disagreements and broken promises, bigger possibilities opened up.  Possibilities that would not have been present without failure. I have learned to give and receive love in a way that I did not know existed.  I have developed deeper relationships that I have ever known, something bigger and stronger than the traditional definition of family.  And I have seen others do the same.  People have come to the studio and people have left the studio, but regardless, relationships have been formed and continue. This is my vision. This is the WHY behind everything else. So when things do not go as you plan, set your sights on your path, get clear around your vision, buckle up and stay the path. Allow things to happen, especially the things you dont want to happen and then sit back allow the surprises to unfold. You might just be surprised around how much more awesome everything can be when you give up the need to control and plan it all. You might just discovery your best self! I know I did.

Comment

Ownership vs Stewardship

Ownership vs Stewardship

I have recently had a new outlook on my life, my practice, my teaching and just about everything else.  A looking from a place of observation and for search of a better word, from detachment. Then I cam across the word stewardship as I was prepping for yoga teacher training. I have heard this word so many times, spoke it and taught it.  But in this moment, it really hit me.  That is the new place from where I am living.  Moving away from ownership and towards stewardship.

Stewardship: "the careful and responsible management of something entrusted in one's care." THIS IS IT my friends! Recently I keep speaking to the idea of giving up "mine". My studio, my classes, my students and even my life.  I am discovering that in order to truly be up to something bigger than myself, "me" has to step aside. And if I step aside, give up ownership and attachment, it will not only give me access to peace and freedom but to also the POWER to be a steward in life.  A steward of the studio, the class, the practice, this LIFE that we all share.  To take on the responsibility to carefully manage something that has been entrusted in my care. The body I live in has been entrusted into my care.  The practice I lead has been entrusted into my care.  The people who come into the studio have been entrusted into my care.  

When I put aside my wants, my likes and my ownership, I get to put aside my reality and take a look at THE reality.  What is really happening. What has been entrusted in me to play a role in. This is the opportunity to be really up to something. To be fully awake and alive and to create from a place of wholeness.  This is what it is all about!

About Last Week

1 Comment

About Last Week

I have spent the past 5 years working towards something.  I have spent 1175 hours in training, taught over 1500 classes, led 5 teacher trainings and dozens of workshops and short programs. So what was I working towards? At the end of the day, I do not know that I ever really knew.  I knew that I loved what I was doing, that it was changing my life and that it was what I was meant to do, yet I could never really put into words what I was doing it for. And, that is perfect! It is perfect because I was never disappointed with what I got.  I was surprised. Sometimes joyous, sometimes upset and often confused, but never disappointed.  And at the end of it all what I got was a new beginning.  And a new awareness of exactly who I am choosing to be without me as a person changing at all.

Yes, after 5 years and hours and hours of time and effort, what I now know is that I am aware of what is around me, what I am doing and what I have always done.  In essence, nothing has changed while everything is different. I see what I have never been able to see before and am beyond curious to see what comes up moving forward.  I have given up fear, sadness, anger, resentment, the concern for looking good, people pleasing over and over and over again. And in all that giving up what was really in my way was the "figuring out" of what to give up.  The thinking and figuring and working it all out. The trying to make sense of it all and explaining and justifying of it all.  It is exhausting! 

So what did I learn from it all? What did I get? I got FREEDOM. The freedom in I do not know. The freedom in nothing is wrong and nothing needs to be fixed. The freedom in that I do not need to DO anything.  All I need is to be with, be with what is so and what is happening right in front of me. To not figure it out, fix it, or do anything, just show up and choose who I will be. And then what happens will happen, a new moment will arrive and I get to be with all over again.

1 Comment