Please realize I say it’s episode 22 but really it is episode 23!!! Serving our soul requires us to also nourish the vessel that allows it to express itself in this world. For me, this is the invitation of yoga. This practice holds twists and heart openers to bring you into a greater alignment physically that will allow you to choose to align with that which is life enhancing. That sounds a whole lot better than just winging it and hoping that the way we move supports us rather than depletes us.
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone is asking you to do something…on the inside you are saying one thing then you open your mouth and say another. You try to capture the words before they roll off your tongue but it just doesn’t work. You are left dreading the upcoming event or maybe you feel like you are going to miss out on something amazing if you don’t do it even if it doesn’t go really well with what is already on your calendar. You just carry on and give yourself a bunch of reasons why you chose to ignore your inner voice because ultimately you have to be doing the right thing.
Let’s say you are really busy or just hate missing out on anything and someone asks you to go out to lunch, be on the board, give them a discount, cover for them, co-host an event, bake something….you get the picture, you say you’ll make 5 dozen cookies and you don’t even bake! It can go in the opposite direction as well. You’ve been given the opportunity to do something that deep down you know will nourish your soul, it’s like they know you know how amazing this will be, and you say in the most polite way, no thank you. Then you find yourself overwhelmed by all that’s on your plate, or perhaps underwhelmed and down right board and frustrated by life because you continue to get in your own way.
Who knows why this pattern repeats itself… Maybe there’s too much on your plate to be present to all the things coming at you? Perhaps it’s that you just like to keep everyone happy. Maybe it’s hard to value your own self, like you just forget to take care of you because taking care of your needs first just isn’t the way things work. Or you don’t want to miss out and you don’t mind the chaos if you’re having fun. We may never know the exact root cause. But if you’re sending mixed messages then it’s hard for those around you to support you and well no one is really having fun.
Motherhood is the first time I had to learn how to say no thank you and yes please based on what I was feeling internally and it has to be aligned with what I am articulating outwardly. So digging in and understanding more of my own inner workings is a necessity. Clearly stating my needs becomes a full time job. Being able to articulate in a way that nourishes my heart while respecting the complexity & dynamic relationship we all are navigating takes serious conviction. (By the way I’m not always very good at it and completely forget from time to time.) I have learned to stop comparing or looking to how everyone else is doing it and trust that I am capable of doing it in a way that was best for me. There’s a saying, if mom is happy everyone is happy…
Certain areas of my life I’ve always done it according to me. There are many experiences from my past where I knew when to say yes please and when to say no thank you (though I wasn’t always graceful in saying no thanks). When I said yes it came from deep inside, my whole being said yes without hesitation, doubt, or concern if it was going to work out, because every cell was certain. Honestly I’m easy going until I make up my mind. But I also don’t like to disrupt the flow and that flow can also distract me from what is best. Some might even take my clarity as arrogant or selfish, but I’ve come to learn that is a misunderstanding that extends well past my responsibility for how other people respond.
Life is complicated…so being even clear regarding what’s happening in your inner reality and how you engage with what’s going on around you can ease up the pressure to please, preform or pretend your interested when really you are not.
Know What’s Most Important.
Knowing what matters to you will help you say yes when you mean yes & no when you mean no. You are always allowed to change your mind. As a matter of fact this is an evolving list. But having the list is essential. It gives you a place to measure. Let’s say you have two new job opportunities. Both are aligned with your profession one a little more glamorous than the other. Both make good money but the glamorous one you’ll be traveling & away from your family. If family is most important and you know that means being present for games, events & family outings, then it’s easier to say yes to one and no to the other.
Know What Being In Alignment Feels Like.
Think of a time where it feels everything comes together. How did you feel physically? Mentally? Emotionally? It doesn’t mean you’ll feel this way all the time but when you’re on the spot you can think ahead, a day from now, five minutes from now, and check in with how you will be feeling. You may not have 100% certainty in your decision but you know you’re attempting to remain in alignment.
Know What Nourishes You.
When you have free time, 5 minutes or 5 hours, what’s your favorite way to spend that time. Alone or with others? Out in nature or home reading a book? Cooking a meal or going out to dinner? Being able to know if something is going to drain you because it doesn’t nourish you is incredibly helpful. You’ll have moments you are committed to things that aren’t on this list, we are not always free to do everything according to our own needs. However when you clearly have a choice you’ll be in a position to take action that feeds you & restores you.
If you’re operating from a clear center, your inner compass is guiding you in the direction that elevates, enhances and expands your life, then I’m guessing you’re a little more happy. If your discounting what your heart desires, the message you send out tends to create a mixture of experiences that leaves you in a place of overwhelm, exhaustion & dissatisfied with life.
All of this is being offered to support you in the highest of ways. These emails, the podcast, Facebook group, the group courses as well as one on one work that I offer. I truly believe if we gain clarity internally we will step forward in our life in ways that bring more joy to our life, the people around us and to the world. In counseling we call it congruence, in yoga we call it divine alignment, in coaching it’s called living your best life. I encourage you to explore how you can transform just one aspect to shift the way you engage with life. It may appear like work at first, but the benefits lady a lifetime. Who doesn’t want to live a more elevated experience? Would it be nice to contain an inner certainty when you are faced with some of life’s challenges?
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Being guided during an introspective practice helps the body feel safe and focused. Guided meditations are a different process to be present. In this case the heart and breath are invoked to cultivate a stronger connection. You are encouraged to spend some time after this meditation to write down any insight or information you gained. Being in a receptive place, rather than a creative space, your great wisdom surfaces. Breathe deeply and enjoy.
What are you planting in your inner landscape?I ask as this is how you see the world and well, the world brings to you what you see. It goes back to the idea that everything is energy and that there is a simple default of the universe that we know called the Law of Attraction. It however is not the law of I think positive so only good positive things happen. That is the law of foolish thought. Instead it is a recognition that you can choose what you want to feel. Then once you’ve begun to connect to feelings and energy that are supportive, nourishing and encouraging, well then you know how to go out into the world to connect to these qualities.
Here’s an example. I’ve spent a lot of time acknowledging that I am fortunate as I was conditioned to always see the good in a situation. So while my husband and I are not supporting a robust bank account we live an abundant life that is rich with experience and opportunities to participate with what we cultivate and also with what we are provided. Yes we work, pay bills and have responsibilities, but our mindset is aligned with how we want to experience our life.
We have a friend that is also abundant yet she regularly speaks of how broke they are, that they will have to dip into savings and that they are struggling. It’s kind of a drag as she’s experiencing life from this vantage point, one of scarcity and lack. So our lives, actually pretty parallel, are being experienced completely different. All because of the way we perceive. So the world may easily provide both of us the same, one of us will embrace it from the perspective of lack and the other from the perspective of abundance.
But it goes deeper than that. I can’t just think positively about my life or bank account. I tried that and fooled myself into a dark spiral. I’ve had to work on understanding what abundance and prosperity really feel like and connect to those feelings while also acknowledging limiting and lower energies like sadness, anger (lots of that really) and fear/doubt. I also have worked way hard on not silencing these energies or suppressing them and instead welcoming them, giving them a voice on the committee but not allowing them to be the director. I had to ask for help, get vulnerable, let my guard down and stop hiding as well as trying to do it all in my own. And I continue to be real. It’s just that this reality includes authentic joy, abundance and honestly I feel like I’m prospering! And when I doubt myself, which I will, probably when I go to post this, I won’t ignore or pretend the doubt isn’t there. Instead I’ll ask myself why am I feeling like this. What message is behind this energy and is that message honoring my true self. You could say I hold my emotions accountable and and allow them to be guides, hero’s really rather than villains.
Think about it. You are part of this universe and what do you believe the universe, world, your life to be? Now tell me what you are experiencing in your life. If that’s too much, look at other people in your life and what they are experiencing. It’s easier only because the tendency to take it personally is less.
Now what would it be like to get in touch with a perspective that is anchored in belief, thought & emotion that supported you, your life, those you love? And you woke up to what makes a major shift in how you experience life and then this starts to amplify into more success, love, gratitude, abundance and prosperity. Pretty good? What will it be like if you just continue on as you are right now?
Last example…my passion is to support people in their growth, to help them recognize they deserve a radiant life as they, we all, are a magnificent miracle. I have had this passion since I was very little. But somewhere along the way I got a message that said I had to give up a piece of me in order for someone else to grow. Another layer of that message, I would lose something significant to gain something. When you read this you might relate or think that is such a ridiculous belief. It was my unconscious normal and in my quest to serve I have lost a lot. There’s one more layer. Though I love to support people there are other amazing people that do it way better than me so I must continue to learn more and once I’ve learned enough I’ll be ready to really help others the way I have always envisioned. This has been a safe way of limiting myself and supporting the belief that nothing more will be taken from me. These beliefs by the way are no ones fault and I blame no one. But I have done some serious investigating and realized that this is my inner landscape. It was an unconscious one for most of my life. So no matter how much I learn the inner soil won’t allow it to blossom because I have unknowingly allowed in an invasive species that is not aligned with the natural environment choking out the potential.
Thank goodness I have had a strong pursuit to learn more because it’s directed me back to my truth. The fertile soil that is allowing the treasures of my heart to be revealed and it is bountiful! I also know that I will continue to seek more and grow more, I’ll continue to draw support from others that believe in me. But I’m done hiding. I’ve realized that the world is waiting on me and my light. It’s waiting on yours too by the way. And well it’s amazing!
So I’m putting together something special that takes all my gifts and brings forward an opportunity to reveal to you your own gifts. Yes, I already have a package put together and if anything I’ve been saying resonates, reach out, let’s talk and gain some clarity. But if you are interested in a day where you immerse yourself into an experience that will elevate you, support you, and nourish your inner landscape in a way that you can live with more abundance. Stay tuned as this is going to be a very impactful presentation that is tailored to your specific needs. Yes it’s a chance for you to truly discover your brilliant, beautiful, bada•s self! And if you don’t feel like waiting to find out what it is, I’m happy to tell you, but you have to reach out to me!
Directly impacts the quality of our life. Right? This is probably a main theme I have been contemplating and teaching from for the past year. Destiny, fate, free will, everyone has a different view point and really it's all subjective, (just like this post) we will never really know. But what I have come to realize is I don't have much of a say so in what is happening, but I have a huge say so in how I choose to respond. This is not a new and radical idea, but thinking about it, taking the time to integrate it, feel it and live it…consciously, this is a new process of wholeness for me.
Almost a year ago it was brought to my attention that I was selectively choosing when to be conscious and caring and well, when I wasn't. Let's just say it wasn't fun for those around me. Regardless of how I arrived at this point of despair, I had to become responsible for my actions, my behaviors, that all were a result of my choices. The biggest revelation, I was not allowing myself to feel and be real. Shoot, I was/am a yogi, and all the years practicing and studying, I was well beyond the average person. HA! Yes yoga has helped me process the events of my life, to gain insight and manage chronic pain. Yoga has been an amazing light in my life dealing with the mental, physical and spiritual aspects. It is a practice that allows you to engage with a level of consciousness that improves your self awareness. This was me, the responsible, adult yogi…until I realized that the practice was actually hiding what really needed to be worked on…my relationship with myself, how I was choosing to participate with my inner messy reality. By the way…I am not the only one that does yoga and ignores their raw truth.
Yes, really, people do yoga and ignore what is right in front of them. They tell themselves that they are a yogi, a great practitioner of self awareness, yet this is all a band aid for what is really going on in their life. This was me! This may not be every yogi, but there are a lot of us, and well, thank goodness I woke up to (and continue to the best of my ability) this shallow and distorted level of awareness. In my life, walls were crumbling on many levels, every element of my life seemed to be bottoming out, leaving me little by little. Slowly revealing I am HUMAN and I was breaking down. As if my whole life was laid out before me and there I was…all alone at the bottom of a well with a lot of darkness and the only way out was to wake up to my own shit. How I had been choosing to participate with this life, led me to a serious emotional breakdown. For years I chose to avoid the raw feelings, this is where the yoga mat is brilliant! The intellectual, physical and subtle had become an amazing potion to avoid my own truth.
For me, yoga is a safe space. It has been pivotal in healing from numerous traumas and has provided a level of love and awakening that cannot be undone. But it was inhibiting my own ability to actually acknowledge my own weaknesses – to accept that even I have some serious stuff and not only is it ok to feel them it is completely necessary to acknowledge and accept them. Some would say it was my ego that was in the way, and yes, if you are speaking of pride being in the way, I will say yes, that is exactly it. The ego is how we identify with our life, and I was totally identifying with my own self as if I was above or better than this life I was living. I get sadness, but I was too tough to ever be really be sad. I get anger, but this little angel never gets mad. The process of refinement, oh yes, I love to speak on this one, our flaws are marks of beauty, but I certainly was not going to expose my deepest flaws. May not make sense to you, but honestly, my attention had been focused on being a divine being rather than being human and actually participating and feeling the broad spectrum life offers everyone.
Fortunately, I am surrounded by lovely and amazing beings that believe in me. I reached out for help, which required me to admit I did not have it all figured out, and ask for their guidance. But I had to step away from practices that were providing an escape route…mainly yoga. I never lost the faith that those practices provided. I grabbed ahold of my own heart and quietly stepped into the fire pit of my own emotions and feelings. It has been uncomfortable and well have you heard that saying, you breakdown to breakthrough….it is true. Not some superficial breakdown that sounds good, but a royal shattering of all that you have known.
What broke me down though is helping me build a stronger foundation that is grounded but still awakening to the highest. Yet it is taking shape beyond the yoga mat and well, the permission I have given myself to be more real, to not have everything look so pretty, has provided more freedom than any wild yoga pose or meditation practice. There is a lot more gratitude for all our different parts, humility, contentment and a unconditional love.
If our practices are not allowing us to feel everything from anger to love, disdain to contentment, fear to joy, then are we really engaged and united to Grace, the divine, are we really practitioners of consciousness? Learning to connect the outer world to the inner world and back again, this is what it's all about, this is the practice of yoga – for me. Even when it get’s messy, we can build a deeper path that is clear and in harmony both with our inner vision of ourselves and our outer expression. But we have to be vulnerable, willing to take risks, and hold a level of self-compassion in order for it to work. We can not simply intellectualize it, make it all look pretty and think that we are creating a strong sense of alignment. Yes, go deep, but pay attention to your own tendency to bypass, or excuse some major aspects of your own self. Learn where you are and how you are truly participating in your life.
What happens to us in life is not the only thing that defines us, it’s our ability to choose how we are going to participate with these events that creates our reality. Creating a life based on the whole heart….this is how I now choose to participate.
This is sometimes what I want to call my style of yoga. Even the way I practice off the mat because that takes more of the form of a seat these days than a bunch of down dogs. Yes I still practice asana since I teach asana, but I also think that meditation will rock your world (in a safe and good way) faster than any down dog or pigeon pose. Yet, the asana, the physical is the entry point. Those whose practice contains a lot of sweat and spacing out are doing more than the people who never try it and the physical brings a level of awareness and confidence in thinking positively about themselves. So as a student I know what I like, or what is of best service for myself, mainly cause I’ve tried it all out. Except I can’t keep up with the times. I saw a video of an old friend’s class that it appeared they did the ‘train’ during class…more power to her and everyone for waking up more of their creative flow. So I guess I haven’t tried out everything.
As a teacher, I feel that if I am going to teach yoga I can’t just know a script and ask everyone else to fit the mold. That I have to continue to diversify the way I offer a class so an advanced yoga still is challenged to expand and a newby can feel enough trust to explore ~ especially if they are in the same class. For about 8 years straight I was doing about 3 major trainings a year. It was almost habit to be running off learning more, but I was teaching in environments that weren’t just upper middle class (this is the non-diversified side of yoga in my public classes currently which makes me sad). I was in settings that required me to be able to work with a woman that is 250 pounds that was in the same class as a male athlete training for the boston marathon. This is just one example of the diverse nature of physicality that has entered the room. In order though to help facilitate a connection to caring for themselves, for cultivating self compassion, worth and serenity, my own skills have to be diversified.
There are so many styles of yoga ~ but that isn’t exactly what I am talking about ~ instead it’s being able to be draw from a variety of methods of connecting with individuals. Sure the context is yoga, but holding space so that each person can feel valued and be supported in their efforts, (and even practice meditation) means for me, my style of yoga has to expand beyond just one approach, method, or style. Yoga Full of Grace, a diversified approach to awakening the wellspring of your own heart.
When I was little, it was difficult for me to see differences, but at the same time I remember that things would get blurry if I didn’t understand. (Now as an adult I should ware glasses as things really do get blurry the further away they are, but I choose not to ware them unless I am driving). But I have thought on this idea in relationship to my heart’s vision. What I am able to see clearly and what is still a little foggy.
Do I know exactly what my heart wants and or cares for, yes and no. There are parts that I know are not satisfying like violent movies and guns. (I get people hunting, but I don’t get people killing from fear or hate). There are also things I don’t do well with like awkward humor. That is when you make someone else feel small for a laugh ~ it’s just not worth it to me. I also know that my heart wants every being to realize that it is totally worth it and that this life is completely worth it and that all God, the Divine, the Universe, whatever you call it, wants you to LOVE. Recently I have wondered if really it’s about an inward love, peace and joy rather than an outward one. (By the way – I am not talking about the love we see on TV but rather unconditional love).
We could have a conversation about do you have to love out in the world to know love on the inside or do you have to first love yourself to love others, but I think it is both, you can’t have one without the other and well, it’s your life that is going to influence where it begins ~ not mine. So just think on where you are coming from and respect where others may begin.
Me, I am a pleaser and am surrounded by a ton of pleasers, but I am learning that being a pleaser isn’t honoring my own heart’s call or anyone else’s around me. This is a real hard thing to swallow so I am getting some help and am also expanding my ways of helping others. One thing I am doing is looking at how others are saying the same thing, whether it is in the texts of yoga (which are really really old), teachings from when I was a child, or modern day perspective on timeless considerations. (I mentioned this a while back). One spot I found myself to was Maston’s ‘The Daily Love” who is doing a free week long online course that is doing just what I mentioned above…yes I love the cosmic secretary and there is no way I will be able to listen to everyone, but I am working hard on listening to my heart and my heart is looking for the dots of connection to the universal love that helps each of us feel connected, fulfilled and completely worthy. Perhaps, honoring our heart’s song is the ultimate purpose even if it is scary, blurry or crystal clear.
If our heart, as I firmly believe, contains a full spectrum of feelings from pity to contentment, anger to ultimate love, terror to ultimate delight, then one could consider turning our heart to the highest good…that which there is none higher… This means when we turn to our highest good we turn to and participate fully with the divine’s intention. We begin to take a seat in our truest self and meet the divine there. This is the power in knowledge and experience coming together, taking the form of ourself.
If we make a connection, to our feet, legs, hips, spine, heart arms, hands and head, we start to connect to our container, the vessel in which we take on this journey called life. It’s, let’s say, an entry point to understanding that we contain something great. Then we start to think about ourselves, our relationship to each other to the life we are living, the many dimensions of ourselves. If you haven’t been sad, you haven’t lived, if you haven’t laughed spontaneously and out of control, you haven’t lived, if you haven’t felt isolated or rejected, you haven’t lived, if you haven’t felt like you belong to something greater…we should talk.
Let me just say, orienting ourselves to our greatness isn’t easy. Making choices to get there is tough stuff, but when we do it, when we believe in ourselves, we actually believe in the divine, the greater cosmic connection. Since you are going to get into an argument, you are going to find yourself in deep sadness. Find ways to believe in a greater goodness about yourself, helps you believe in the greater good of humanity.
if you do what’s in your heart.
People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships – DeWall, Deckman, Pond & Bonser
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do – Brown
The self is a consistent pattern, an organized whole – Schultz & Schultz
What does this have to do with anything…it’s everything. Yes I am in graduate school and have been teaching yoga for 10 years, there is a collision of an ancient practice meeting academic standards in my own life currently. If you were to step onto your yoga mat right now – and if I see you in the next 48 hours this is where I will be teaching from – can you, assuming you have all limbs in tack and if not then there is probably a cellular remembrance of what has gone missing, separate your heart from the whole? Can you separate your mind from the whole? Can you separate your physical, arms legs, hands, head from the whole? You could probably be on your mat mindlessly, but I wonder if it will offer a positive relationship with yourself or others later in the day. You could probable separate your heart, but I doubt you would be very successful loving yourself or others later in the day. And really, could you separate your body, the physical from the mental?
Often the concept of our heart and our mind get left out of the bigger picture. In cases of physical abuse or eating disorder, the body or positive regard of the body gets left. Yoga, as I have said before is a practice of uniting, connecting, allowing all parts of oneself to belong, to make a connection to the whole. Interestingly enough, the lack of satisfaction in our lives is seeing everyone else as separate. Isolating cultures, race, religion, sexual preference, politics, yet we all share the same breath, live on this planet together and everyone, as Paul Tournier puts it, “holds a sense of being lovable without having to qualify for that acceptance”. The success of our human race depends on having connections with others…yet we are still at war, and the biggest battle is probably within yourself. I am most definitely the hardest person on myself and tend to be the first one to get in my own way and tend to be the last one to put myself first…but I am working on it and refining little patterns that pull me from the collective love of myself. Working on creating a sense of belonging within in order to reflect it back out in to the wild world in which we participate.
We’ve heard it many times before and I wonder if he was ever hard on himself …
Be the change that you want to see – Gandhi
Yesterday’s post, just as you are, refers to the idea that you contain an unimaginable magnificence as Paul Muller-Ortega has taught me. Yes there are the layers that grip us into the non-loving expressions of our humanness, but we also contain the ability to belong, connect and the potential as well as the encouragement to bring forward your best self. What more is there?