Contentment

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Contentment

This morning I am sitting here, looking inside to see what is "here right now."  This is a question I have been asked many times in my yoga programs and I ask all the time when I lead - "what is here for you right now."  At this moment, contentment.  Most of my life I would not be satisfied with that answer because it is not active, it is not doing, it is not productive.  I am not even sure if I knew what it really felt like.  Right here, right now, it feels peaceful.  I feel no anxiety or depression.  I feel nothing around the past or future, they are not even occurring to me.  And with that, I feel no desire or motivation to do anything either.  And that is perfect.

Where do we not allow ourselves to do the thing we want so much?  I often here all the time people say they just want pease and contentment.  And though I also here "I cannot sit still", "I cannot be doing nothing," "I must be productive." What is driving that for you? My driver was always fear.  If I was not doing something then I was not good enough and I would miss out.  The so-called train would leave me and I would miss my opportunity.  What if we are missing all the opportunities because we refuse to be still and content.  What if we cannot actually see all the possibilities in our life because we are too busy making things happen, things that really do not matter so much? 

So I will be content.  I will savor it for as long as possible until it passes.  Then I will do my things, stay present and welcome the next moment of contentment. 

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Failing

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Failing

I was recently asked "How are you failing at dealing with failure powerfully." Wow - hold on a second, what? This is a game changer for me.  While I fear failure and avoid it as much as possible, my brain knows that it is the only way to learn.  That I must make mistakes in order to make progress and grow. But this is a whole new level.  What if true failure only lies in the decisions we make when we fail?

When something does not go my way or does not turn out as I expected, I am not getting the results I want, then there has been a failure. Great, lessoned learned, lets move on.  But I have to notice how often I walk away or just avoid working it out all together.  It becomes a "that did not work," and I leave it.  I stay in the "lesson learned" state which is much different from dealing with it powerfully.

I am right now in the middle of making some difficult decisions around my personal teaching, my coaching business, my studio, travel opportunities and just about everything my life.  The lens from which I have been looking is "what do I need to walk away from, say a not to?"  I am now motivated to take those glasses off and look at where I can LEAN into the thing that is the biggest failure and deal with it powerfully.  Re-create it as something brand new that builds on what is failing versus walking away from it.  I can move away from the lesson (concept) and into real action that will create something beyond my wildest dreams (creation).  And I cannot wait to share it all with you!

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Attention

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Attention

Where your attention goes, energy flows.  I have said and heard this so many times but finally getting clear on it.  I had committed to myself that I would blog every day.  I knew that I had missed a day this weekend and was totally ok with it. Then I log on to write (and I am unsure of what to write) and I see that it was Thursday when I blogged last.  My reality was very different from what I thought.  My attention was not on doing this, so I did not do it.  

This is so real all the time.  Anytime something is not getting done in my life or not working, if I get clear on where my attention is, it explains everything.  If something is going all wrong, you better bet that my attention has only been on all the things going wrong.  If I totally forget about something all together, yes my attention has been on other things completely.  And getting present to your attention is the work.  Do you know what you are doing most of the time? Do you know what you are thinking about? 

 

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Hate

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Hate

I am taking a page from Brene Brown today, "People are hard to hate close up, move in."

Yesterday I wrote about love.  Today I am sadden that I will write about hate.  I am sad and frustrated to hear of another school shooting. I went to college at Virginia Tech and was on campus just 4 days after their mass school shooting where 32 died.  My father and uncle committed suicide using a gun.  I had a step-father pull a gun on me and my mother. I believe that we are not being a responsible country and are not keeping our citizens safe.  I believe that the conversation around gun regulation tends to lean to the far extremes, preventing us to do anything in between.

And, let me be very clear that I grew up in the rural south and learned to shoot when I was 10 years old.  I grew up with guns in the house and had a clear understanding of how to keep them safe and secure.  I celebrated many holidays eating deer or rabbit from the morning hunt. I went on bird hunts and watched in joy as my dog retrieved the birds, doing the work they loved.  I believe in gun ownership. And I believe in regulation of gun ownership and limitations to the types of guns we have access to. 

With that being said, I refuse to hate and I refuse to dehumanize those I disagree with.  In order to navigate difficult conversations or a difference of opinions, we must see each other as human.  We must deepen a mutual understanding of each other. We must have the courage to NOT pick sides and adopt the attitude and behaviors of those we oppose. We must not protect our beliefs so powerfully and defensively that the result we get is further disconnection and dehumanization of each other.  What we must do is lean in and "intentionally be with people who are different from us. We're going to have to sign up, join and take a seat at the table."-Brene Brown

I have some very strong beliefs.  I am not afraid to speak my mind and stand behind my beliefs.  I am also not afraid to listen.  But I know that my listening is not purely open and unfiltered when the speaker is screaming, calling me names, calling me wrong, attacking and making me feel small and less than human.  So I will not scream, name call, make wrong, attack and make others feel small.  I will not create a bigger division so that I can take a seat at the table and have an honest, vulnerable, and meaningful conversation.  I will move closer and work towards a common understanding so that we can come together. 

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Love

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Love

I went through much of my life not knowing if love was real.  Or if it was just not accessible to me. I closed off early in life, sometime in my teens and developing relationships was difficult for me.  When friendships or romantic relationships started to get hard, I just left. It was safer that way, it kept me ahead of the game and kept me from feeling. I will never forget one of the last things my mother said to me when I was 18, "you were such a sweet little kid and now your heart is just hard."  I believed that for a very long time.

And then I fell in love about a decade later, after a decade of sadness and hurt. It was the first time I felt something like that ever in my life.  And so I married that guy.  It was the first time I wanted to stay when things were no longer easy, but my hard was still there and my leaving still happened, it just happened for brief moments of time.  And then I discovered a community of people who supported me just like I was.  And that support and their love changed how I saw things and I developed new friendships.  People started to surround me and love me.  It was then that I realized that love has always been accessible to me, I was just blocking it.  Not allowing it to come in.  Once I gave up "hard" and allowed my husband to love me, my friends to love me, my Baptiste community to love me, I knew I could do the same.  

Love was a word I only used a few times a year, during special occasions or when my parents spoke it first.   Now it is a word I use daily.  I love Joe.  I love my community. I love my team. I love my friends near and far.  There is not much I do not love and I am so excited to celebrate Valentines Day with the world. 

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BUSY

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BUSY

I often say and hear from others that "I am busy."  I find it as my go to phrase. And when I hear it, I get frustrated.  I feel brushed off.  I feel like I have been given an excuse. I feel left with very little information.  Like, we are all busy so of course I know you are too.  When I feel this way, I have to stop and think, how often do I say it and leave others feeling that way? And what does it even mean? So, lets get technical.  

Per the dictionary, busy is "actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime". Great, that sounds about right.  That sounds like most of my day.  But let me make sure. Back to the dictionary, work is "exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something," and pastime is "something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport." So, basically if I am not sleeping, then I am busy.  And for me, sleep is busy because it is a way to "make time pass agreeably" as I LOVE sleep. 

My point is, I am always busy, we are all always busy.  I am busy doing yoga, typing, eating, talking, sitting there doing nothing, watching TV, reading a book, taking a shower, petting my dog, etc, etc. That when I tell someone that I am busy, I am not giving them any new information. I am giving them a vague excuse.  My other option, to leave them in the experience of what is actually going on, is "I committed to XYZ and will not be able to go," OR "I am really not interested in that, maybe something else," Or a simple "no thank you." Or if they are just asking how are you? Busy is not an answer but "great, bad, joyful, angry," etc are a lot of good options, we just have to be truthful. How can we be more clear in our communication with others and get more real with ourselves that we are always doing something and we are the ones making the choice of what we are doing? 

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Conversations

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Conversations

When I am not in the conversation, I make one up, and it is not pretty. And then I realize I am making it up and need it validated, then I rope others into the made up conversation (aka-gossip).  And it really is not a conversation, it is complaining. And lets get real, most often we do not need to be in the conversations, but we sure want to be! And there are three lessons in all of this.

1. Conversations are important, and the only way to start it is to reach out and make a request or ask a question.  What I have learned is that 99% of the time the real conversation being had has nothing to do with the one I make up. And at the end of the day, it was going to happen anyway, I just needed to be patient. 

2. I believe strongly in rigorous communication. I believe in accountability and integrity. And I am outspoken and say what is on my mind, I will not hide or cover up.  

3. If you put #1 and #2 together you can be mighty powerful and your conversations can create BIG things!

 

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JOY

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JOY

Yesterday I finally took a yoga class, had a non-death related conversation and went out with a friend to dinner and a movie.  In each moment I was clear and present.  And in being present, I experienced JOY. 

I have come to learn that most of the feelings that I have that I do not like occur in moments in which I am not present.  Not really looking, listening and feeling the exact moment I am in, instead I am listening to my self talk, looking at imaginary scenarios in my head and feeling old feelings.  In fact most of my reaction this past week to the passing of my father-in-law was about the deaths of my parents, which happened 21 and 5 years ago. And I know that this is something that I cannot control or even stop, and I am learning that I would never want it to stop. Why? Because it gives me access to empathy, compassion and allows me to relate to others.  Our memories and stories will always be there, but we can decide what we will do with them and how best to use them in the present moment. And if I never felt really bad again, I certainly would not get so excited around my joyous moments.

Our life is a string of moments, moments filled with experiences, feelings and people.  Soak it up. Bath in it. Love it.  All the hurt and the happy, all the pain and the joy - it is the moment that you are still alive. Do not wish it away. And when JOY hits you, stand still and experience it with all your heart. 

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Popcorn & Crazy

Because in reality we all are! If I could just start with today, all of the things I have made up in my head. My friend is mad at me because I have not seen her and she sent me what I thought was a weird email and so I sent her a weirder email back which led to another email of "are you mad at me." So lets pause, my first delusion was that the first email was odd.  So the story starts with once upon a time I had a great friend who now does not like me and is leaving me (which was totally not what the actual words were). So I will create a story around how it is trivial and not important and live in that for a while (making sure to go a lot of explanation and justification so it all looks good on the outside).  Then that does not work out and now the new story is that it is significant and I better just go ahead and start the fight if there is going to be one, why put it off, thus email number 3.  And then her response, "are you crazy," well yes I am.

Like really, if we voiced all the stories we make up in our head out loud, we would all be locked up for delusions of grandeur (because obviously my friend must be spending all of her time sitting around trying to figure out what and how to email me), hallucinations (lets get real, we see and hear shit that did not really happen) and then long boughts of anxiety and depression around our crazy stories (aka, shit that is not really happening).  How do we even survive like this, we are the luckiest species on earth.

So yes, I am crazy (which is awesome because we are all the same and can relate) and I make up crazy shift, but I think I will be ok as long as I know that I am doing it and when I do not know I have some awesome friends who will call me out on the crazy!

SIDENOTE: I have loved writing about food the past few days so just wanted to let you know that I am going to the movies and yes I will eat the popcorn.

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Small

I have been in observation of myself the past few days and have become so aware of how small I have felt.  There was a moment standing in the funeral session line, next to my husband, being introduced to people I do not know and feeling like I was a teenager.  I do not know why? Maybe because I felt out of place.  Because it is awkward meeting people in that setting. Or maybe because it flashed me back to my mom's funeral where I was an acutal teenager and I felt helpless.  

I felt so helpless when mom died.  I was responsible for everything and yet felt like I made no decisions. I had so many grownups pulling me in different directions and telling me what to do and I remember it all going by in a flash and I was left feeling "what just happened?" And now, I look back with regrets. That I was not big enough to speak up, to say slow down. So now in death, I play big (play being the odd word), I do a lot, I fix, I make the calls and make everything ok, but I still feel small and uncomfortable.

And lets be honest, I like small.  Small allows me to stay home and hide. It allows me to NOT talk to anyone. Like really, I just do not want to talk.  Small allows me to not see people and most importantly to not be seen. Because I know as soon as you see me, I will break.  I will cry, I will not make sense and I will feel it all. Small is safe. 

But small sucks as well. As I sit here on my studio floor, getting ready to teach my first class in a week, I feel the panic.  I feel the urge to ask for someone to cover for me, to run. to give up. I feel the urge to quit. And though now I know that it is not an option. That I am big and I must step up. That this is the time to be in creation of something other than helplessness.  That the only way to not feel small, is to not be small. 

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