Sensitivity to Words

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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.

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Messy, unclear - it is all ok!

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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. 

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On Getting Stuck.......

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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. 

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Connect

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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!

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The Journey and The Path

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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.

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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

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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.

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Less Attachment, More Amazement

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Less Attachment, More Amazement

A week ago I finished leading the first weekend of my first training outside of Moonshine.  I was nervous and excited, unsure of what would happen. It was the first time in a while that I found myself with very little expectations or story around how it would go.  What I got was one of the biggest surprises of my life!

I left Georgia after 3 long and amazing days in tears.  I cried as if I had been in program or training myself. And I cried with joy and love in my heart.  I felt alive. I felt fulfilled. I felt complete! The time I spent in a new place doing what I love to do brought out an expression in me I did not know was possible.  I was completely open and transparent in a new way.  I was at complete ease with myself and everyone else. I was powerful. I was someone I did not recognize and sure wanted to see a lot more of. And I say this knowing that I thought I had felt all those things before, just not at this level.  I got curious and had to ask myself, "what did I give up unconsciously that allowed this part of me to come out?"

Attachment! It was so clear.  I had no attachment to anything or anyone going into this training. I did not have an expectation for any specific result nor any attachment to any outcome for anyone. Sure, I wanted everyone to get something out of the weekend, to fall in love with the practice and methods and to have a breakthrough, but I was not fixated on it.  It was my intention, but not my attachment. So what did I get? An experience for both myself and the participants that I did now know was possible. What occurred was outside of my realm of knowing and imagination. What I got was more than I could have expected.  

What I now know, is that when I attach myself to a specific result, I inevitably limit myself to that result or most often, something smaller.  When I give up attachment, get real and honest and do what I love, my results will exceed anything I could have imagined and go far beyond my limited expectation. What are you missing out on because you limit yourself to only what you can expect and attach to?

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FOMO

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FOMO

Two nights ago I had made plans that I thought I was very excited about.  It was something that I kept saying that I wanted to do and finally my timing lined up and I was "free" to go.  A few hours before I was to leave, I had this dread in the pit of my stomach.  I felt myself getting upset. My mood shifted. It was right then and there that I got clear in that I did not want to go to this thing at all.  I felt like I should go and in going it would make me look good and feel important. And if I did not go I might miss out on something. All of this very different from going in with a real intention to be present, make a connection and participate with my whole heart.

Getting clear on what I really want is coming up for me daily right now.  I am finding that I can do a lot of things. I am skilled at a lot of things. And there are possibilities all around me.  With that, I have to make choices, and I can choose to do what my ego and my inner critic says I should do or I can get really real with myself and be honest. I cannot do them all! I must give up the things I am attached to simple because I think they will make me look good or "be important" if I participate. This one is difficult for me as I spent so much of my life saying yes to everything and doing it all so it could be on a list somewhere as something accomplished.  That I was involved. That I did not miss out! Lets get real, this is what it is about.  How often are we saying yes simply because we fear getting left behind if we do not.  We fear missing out on an opportunity and the what ifs.  The big FOMO of life.

Right now my attention is on the short list and off the long list.  What is my long game and what do I need to do right now to make it happen.  

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Truth

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Truth

Owning a yoga studio is amazing.  Three years in to this journey I am amazed at what has been created. The people I have met and the community that has been built. The amazing teachers that have come through my programs and I am in awe of where each and every one of them are right now and what they have created, what they are up to. The lives I have touched and the lives that have touched me. Each moment has truly been an inspiring experience for me and I have no regrets. And my attention is not on that. I know all of this to be true, but it is not what I am feeling right now, and I have been hiding how I feel.

It is hard. It is lonely. I doubt myself and think about quitting all the time.  Yes, let me be honest, it is not all fun and games. It looks great from the outside, lots of happy smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram.  Full classes all sweating together. What you do not see are the classes with 2-3 people. What you do not hear is the fear that I can keep it going. The tears that roll down my face when I am sitting in my office wondering why the fuck I gave up all the money and security that I had.  When I am missing my husband.  When I wake up some mornings and feel like I cannot crawl out of bed and do this one more day.

Moonshine turned 3 this week and I found myself feeling sad.  Not full of joy and excitement and then I became very hard on myself for feeling this way.  What is wrong with me? I cannot look like this or talk about this, what would others think? What kind of leader am I being? Bad yogi!!!!! And so our Open House rolled around and it was the least attended celebration since opening day.  That is right, I am stuck in that.  I feel sad, I feel scared and I feel like a failure.  Yes, I as failure, which is why it seems so hard right now.  You see, failing at something is completely different that feeling like a failure.  I am taking this as who I am, owning it and I feel shame around it. I am taking it personally and I am making it mean something that I know it is not. And on the flip side I also feel scared in sharing this, but it is rooted deep in me and if I do not get it out it will swallow me until I retreat and run. 

Right now my heart is full AND it hurts. I am grateful for all the support and though I do not want to hide anymore.  I do not want to pretend.  I want to say loudly and powerfully that it is not perfect and it is not working out as planned. And that I can have all these feelings at the same time.  Sad and grateful. Love and fear. I want to say that it is ok to feel all of this at once and that they are not exclusive.  That it is ok to not act or respond how you are "supposed to."  To stop hiding, come out here and feel everything with everyone. It is less scary when we know that we all feel the same way and we are all in this life together. And that even though days like these come up, that I keep going.  That I am clear in what I want to have happen and that I did not come this far to quit.  

 

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