Long time no blog

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It is 3:47am, after being woken up by my biological urge to go to the bathroom I am kept awake by the biological warfare that is currently waging in my head. I am supposed to feel fortunate right now, I have left my former life of working for someone else and am now a full-time employee of both life on life’s terms and Wild Bull in a China Shop. This scenario, working for myself, is a long time dream come true, the ability to get up and start writing in the pre-dawn hours without stressing that I have to go to “work” is what I have longed for. Why then, I am wondering, does it not feel like that at the moment? Why is it that as I have moved my business and relationship from small town to big city that I feel more and more closed in upon, more panicked, more claustrophobic?

Side Note: My partner and I recently packed up shop and left Nantucket Island to find ourselves in South Philadelphia, a plan that we have been working toward for quite some time, a plan that in my mind I have developed quite a specific picture of how it all should be working.

Let’s just say that at the moment I am feeling particularly raw and vulnerable, so the fears that come up about life not painting itself out as I imagined have a particularly overwhelming power over me. In all my wonderful life practices I know in my heart that this too shall pass, however at now 3:59am, the power of doubt & fear reign supreme. I started writing because creatively that is what I know to do about train wreck emotional states; that in my deepest knowing I am clear are not reality but I can’t seem to escape. I am opening up my tool box big time this morning: write and pray and meditate and get mad at the universe that I still have room to grow and change, accept and let go, get scared & mad again and then take a deep breath, etc…

Aside from a wrath of thoughts and feelings, what came up for me as I tried to meditate my way back to sleep at about 3:00am, when I first realized this sleep/tired feeling was also going to pass, was the yogic concept of attachment and aversion. Intellectually, I can map these fears right to the fantasy I hold on to about how this whole move is “supposed” to work out and the panic that is created when I think about other not so pleasant alternatives.

I often find myself in the position of coaching others through these tricky times and here I am seeking the coaching. I searched for “attachment & aversion” and found the text below. These principles are embedded in my knowledge, my intellect, yet they are still feel fresh and newly practiced in my being. I think I want to be “good” at letting go, accepting the moment. I think I want to get an “A” in the subject. My intellect craves an end to the semster of practicing this way of life a check in the mastery column of spiritual contentment. My spirit on the other hand suspects that this is the curriculum for my current life and now at 4:15am I am simply annoyed by that!

Shared from: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm

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Creating from the Core

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As a yoga teacher and student I often find myself focusing on the core, that belly center that when engaged protects the lower spine and build necessary heat to move through sometimes challenging postures/experiences. Our core (as much as that term can annoy me, its connection to flat abs and hot bods is SOOOO over done), like the core of the earth is our center for fiery energy, the kind of energy that gets us spinning in a direction.

When we take the time to dream about our lives in a distant future hints of what moves us at our center, our truth, our core evolve. This past week in our session we connected 3-4 core values that each participant felt truly resonated out of their heart and into that future. It’s important to narrow these down, it’s not that we don’t have and hold other values dear it is simply that at this current phase of life, 3-4 are our most powerful guides for making choices in our life.

My core values are creativity, sustainability and community (depending on my phase of life community oscillates with the value of family, these 2 values are interchangeable for me and if you know the way I have been raise this would make sense). Having these values has simplified my life, when opportunities arise I match them up with my core values, sometimes it is obvious and sometimes subtle, if I pay close attention I can tell when an opportunity doesn’t resonate and I can move on. When this was new to me, it wasn’t always clear, it has taken time and practice (and continues to develop) to discern what opportunities align and which ones don’t.

Soooo, if you have been playing along with this path I encourage you to sit with your vision of your life 10-years from now and then gaze over the list of values, see which 3-4 values percolate to the surface, you might find ones that aren’t on the list…add them! This is the critical next step in defining a pathway, it is like seeing the dirt path defined as you clear through the brush and weeds.

Values

Entrepreneur

Balance

Integrity

Creativity

Fun

Diversity

Legacy

Knowledge

Passion

Commitment

Loyalty

Responsibility

Leadership

Greatness

Patience

Wealth

Development

Family

Growth

Quality

Health

Recognition

Achievement

Courage

The Rim of Possibility

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Last Monday was the first of four sessions in this Treasure Map making journey that these lovely participants are on. As promised, I will be navigating my own way through this here, in my blog. Please use, distort, experiment with the following…it might be helpful to read the posts Map Making and Sketching the Outline before continuing.

Once we are aware of the thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. that get in our way (this is GOOD NEWS by the way) we begin to have the ability to push those limits, test our boundaries and move beyond the limitations that are made up in our thoughts (usually informed by past experience that most likely have no bearing on our current reality). This is the inherent value in Clearing the Canvas.

Once the canvas has a fresh coat of white paint, it is time to start dreaming. It is important to grant ourselves full permission to DREAM, like a child, like someone without constraints of finances or time. In a workshop setting, I lead people through a meditation exercise. First, guiding people into the sensory experience of their body, drawing awareness to their breath, how they feel in their body at the moment and then follow that thread out to their surroundings. The intention is to bring people into the moment before they start dreaming.

Then the fun begins! Imagine yourself 10 years from now released from limits of opinions (yours and others), money and time…what would you look like? What would you be wearing? What sensations might you be having? What would your surrounding look like? home? apartment? country? city? burbs? Do your surroundings give you chills, light you up? What about who is around? are you solo? filled with a gaggle of giggles? partner/spouse? co-workers? What about work? What activities fill your day to day life?

Allow this picture to be painted, use your breath to just notice what images come up, what sensations you feel. Give yourself time to linger in this and trust. Chances are if the images evoke passion, love, excitement, joy they are connected to the thread that runs from your heart, your truth. GOOD NEWS!

Write this down as soon as you open your eyes. Ultimately, you will create a full description in words or images of this vision but for right now get key words, images, desires and dreams on paper without giving yourself time to think. Include: scenery, surroundings, people, activities, work, play, leisure. Remember it is 10 years form now, let go, give complete permission to touch the rim of possibility.

Over the course of a few days start to elaborate on your first thoughts, feelings, images. Write in prose and/or create a vision board something to give your thoughts a place in reality to begin to crystallize. Be detailed and thorough in your descriptions, hit every area of your life, start to notice what key values thread through this version of you.

The most important thing is to use the technique from the meditation practice, Clearing the Canvas. Simply notice what comes up when you go on this vision quest, suspend judgment and be open to your picture of yourself 10 years from now. It makes no difference whether it makes sense in your current life. If it doesn’t match up to your current life, that too is GOOD NEWS, it might feel hard or strange but it is just as important to know when we are working against our hearts desire so that we can begin carving out a path that is true to who we are at our core.

Sketching the outline

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I remember in English class we were taught how to make an outline before writing a five paragraph essay. Most things in school I just did because I was told and doing that was the way to get good grades, my dad paid me for good grades and took fun away when I didn’t make the mark, simple and effective motivation strategy. However, being motivated by money and fame did nothing to help me UNDERSTAND the value in what I was rotely completing. When I was 22 and CHOSE to go to school to LEARN I was ready to accept the full value of practices like outlines and HOLY CRAP they really did WORK!

For this workshop I am guiding in a couple weeks the practice of outlining is equally valuable. Nowadays I don’t always use the Roman Numeral system to precisely orientate what thoughts interject where, for something like this I sketch more of a rough drawing. This kind of project is a community affair. While the outline is rough and tumble the participants and myself will begin to refine and shape what the overall picture will be.

To begin with I imagine that the canvas we are using has been worked on before, after all everyone, including myself, is showing up with our thoughts/opinions/ideas of what it means to set goals. The most important thing to do in the beginning is clear the canvas. Before that can even begin, a practice of basic meditation is essential, the simple, regular act of sitting still and noticing when thinking takes over, simply noticing and labeling thoughts “thoughts” and continuing to sit as they pass. This meditation thing doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, it could be five minutes or 10 breaths just to connect and ignite the process of hearing yourself from the inside, becoming a curious observer of yourself.

Once that simple practice starts cooking, the next thing is to begin contemplating, even writing down, thoughts, opinions, feelings that come up when we cogitate about creating a vision, understanding our values, setting goals and sharing the process with people in our lives. Across the board, in every practice I employ in my life, the first step is to know thyself, to remain open to discovering what gets in my way AND what assists me in moving forward. It is a practice that employs the heart over the mind, as the heart is naturally prone to openness and willingness. It requires me to sit still and FEEL what is evoked when I think about these topics.

This is clearing the canvas, readying ourselves for something completely new and surprising…Let the adventure begin!

Map Making

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I have the distinct honor and blessing of working with a group of women seeking goal coaching. SIDE NOTE: I long for a different name for this process that I facilitate. Goal Coaching reminds me too much of my former corporate application, not that there is anything wrong with that,it is simply a new time to honor the current phase of life. hmmm, something to ponder…

The workshop will play out over 4-sessions, once a week for 2-hours. Each week will travel through a distinct element of what I have experienced as a roughly 4-part process with lots of hills and valleys to traverse along the way. In my experience, these “steps” give a loose structure, a charcol outline if you will, to our hearts longing and passion and then, life, doing what it does best, fills in and reshapes along the way.

That part, the life filling in along the way, has been one of my favorite things to discover. What is most adventurous in this is that each individual begins to dismantle some seriously restricting beliefs that somehow what they want for their fulfillment is out of reach. If there is one thing that breaks my heart more than most it is when people feel they need to settle, that somehow they are not inherently worthy of knowing and expressing their greatness, whatever that means to them. To settling I say a big F-U!

Over the next few blogs, my intent is to share my own process of re-creating this workshop. I am beyond grateful to have this occur over 4-weeks, in the past I have had to distill it into an evening workshop, while valuable it only provides a taste, a hint. Considering what I am guiding is a process in itself, so too the workshop shall be.

Looking forward to sharing the details as we go…

Taking things step by conscious step

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Taking things step by conscious step…that was the take away from my reading this morning on teaching yoga. Not sure if I mentioned it before but that is also a way I feel expressed in the world, teaching yoga. I certainly didn’t expect it when I went through the teacher training program at Wake Up Yoga a couple years ago. My only intention was to deepen my personal practice so that no matter where I was I could harness the love, intention and grace of the classes I took at Wake Up Yoga. I love when a plan doesn’t come together, when my expectation is derailed and I find myself surprised and delighted with an undercover outcome…FUN TIMES all around!

As usual, I digress…”step by step”, right?! That’s where I was. So it had me thinking just how important that has become in my world. It never used to be, I LEAPED, PLOWED or BOWLED, or at least attempted to, over what I considered to be menial task along a path toward a goal. Leap no more, my friends (okay maybe at times it is perfectly acceptable, this leaping, I am definitely keeping it handy).  However, I have been well served at this stage of life to step one foot in front of the other; to follow the lead of my sweet niece who can take 10 hours to walk a path that would take me 10 minutes. It is time in my life to find the adventure and discovery under rocks, between flowers, in each breath.

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I am finding the benefits of this in all aspects of my life, taking things step by step in my romantic relationship has brought me into a place of trust and connection. My business grows and flourishes, rather than crashing and burning, as I pay full attention to one detail at a time. The same is true as I am teaching yoga again, blossoming in my teaching practice as I honor these seedling students in their beginning stages of yoga as a practice and my own seedling nature in my teaching practice.

My goodness, life is so short, time moves so quickly. I am grateful I no longer need to run to concur it. I am so blessed to be in a stage of life where I can walk with it hand in hand.

“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.
Lyndon B. Johnson

Share and share alike

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Sharing is caring they say…and I believe them (whoever “they” are). I take a great deal of care in the work I do and experience tremendous gratitude to be working for and with inspiring and dynamic people. In my day job I work as a gardener, this effort not only pays the primary bills but feeds the soul.  I have grown so much through trial and error in choosing my career/work experience, meaning I seek and stay in work that feeds my soul and continue to develop my trust and faith that doing what I love will trail money along with it. As I have evolved in this aspect of life I find that work seams up nicely with the other aspects of life and ebbs and flows accordingly.

This season my boss and friend, Amy Pallenberg, launched her blog and each week one of us on the crew is taking on sharing our take, inspiration, joy and love of gardening. This past week I was a “guest blogger” for the company and I am sharing the link to that blog because it fits so perfectly in here. I also wanted to share Amy’s amazing site and photography, a truly inspiring collection of her ongoing life work and creativity. So please, visit often and enjoy.

http://www.amypallenberg.com/

http://www.amypallenberg.com/site/2013/05/not-so-hidden-treasures/