I used to snicker at the Self-Improvement section when I first worked in the book world. Snobby, I know. But over the years I would find myself sneaking over there, browsing shelves and buying things pretending they were for ‘a friend’. When I had to do a lot of driving between stores I could listen to audiobooks fearlessly. Wayne Dyer’s the Power of Intention had a profound impact. I hadn’t yet made the decision to make some radical life changes- but a seed was planted. I also loved watching his special on PBS when fundraising was in full effect.
It took a few years after the seed was planted but I changed the way that I looked at things. Things changed.
Thank you Wayne Dyer. Enjoy the adventure.
Today I got lost in my sit. This was the intention. I’m meant to stay present, but I wandered deeply into my thoughts. During meditation I have a teacher that says, ‘Notice the vastness of your inner world.’ That is exactly what happened. Inside me seemed never ending. Some areas felt strange, others felt beautiful but it was all mine and so rich. Why hadn’t I seen this before? Spending so many years distracted by outside things kept me from seeing that so much was inside me.
2015 is my year of living mindfully.
Last night I spent the evening at Radical Wellness, my neighborhood wellness store that is drenched with warmth. The Essential Oils Club meets monthly and yesterday was the Pride Edition since Jersey City celebrates Pride tomorrow. Rashena is a wealth of knowledge and paired oils with the chakras. She talked a lot about grounding and self-love. I was honored to lead off the discussion with a guided meditation that centered around self-love, acceptance and intuition. Whether you are coming out to the world as LGBT or coming out as yourself, there’s a need to step into that with a sense of strength rather than fear. Transitions are scary. Not everyone will agree with you. Some will abandon you.
That’s the big pill to swallow. But you have to trust that your people are out there and it starts with a tribe of one.
So go ahead. Astound yourself. And let’s high-five on the other side.
I had to walk my dog in a different direction due to construction. Even though I’ve been walking her for years, she gets a little panicked when we wander too far from home or take a different route. Dakota plants herself on the ground, stops walking or sometimes even tries to turn back. I’m not sure if it’s the past trauma she’s suffered or anxiety. Years ago, it was really bad and we couldn’t go very far- but now I have her sit and pause. Then we resume our walk with some encouragement from yours truly. After a few minutes, the anxiety dissipates and her dog smile appears. She transforms- no longer worried about where’s she’s going but enjoying dog stuff.
The next time I have that anxious feeling about starting again- I’m going to remember the furry creature that lives in my space.
We all start where we start.
Sometimes a teacher will change up the movements of a sun salutation. Same movements, different order. It changes everything. I feel uncomfortable because I’m used to doing things in a certain way. But it shows me something new…
It’s the same feeling I have when my morning sit is atypical to what my expectations are. It forces me to listen in the quiet. These moments are the powerful ones.
I don’t know if I have wisdom but I do know that when I started yoga it was because I was unconsciously looking to change the world- starting with me.
If I could live in the present paying attention to how I was living and participating with the people around me I was bound to see a shift. That shift led to service. That shift led to a new career. That shift led to sharing my story with others who are called to serve forgotten populations.
I started small with a need to stop trying to control the world around me. Yoga has taught me to surrender to myself.
I think about this quote often. When I’m riding my bike home from somewhere I’m alert but also keenly aware of my connection with the outside world. I can only imagine that sense must get heightened on a motorcycle. Even when I’m tired I often take the long way home, just so I can extend the ride.
Slow can be the way to go. I’m in Martha’s Vineyard this weekend and my mom and I took a Yin class with Josh Montoya at the Yoga Barn. The class was slow, deliberate and taught without commands. I was given an opportunity to linger in shapes that worked for my body in the moment. Longer holds were sometimes challenging. A four minute camel pose was a slow build but one of more intense things I’ve attempted in asana in a long time. Sometimes faster doesn’t mean harder and you can run the risk of missing a moment of clarity. Holding camel pose for an extended period let me explore the my breathing as awareness glided over the front of my body from my head to knees. And though my monkey mind tried to wander off to escape the intensity it wasn’t possible. I had to stay put. Four minutes seemed like four hours. Time felt suspended. Focus shifted to the internal and I went from listening to the insects outside to noticing how deep my inhales and exhales felt. I didn’t feel like I was going too far. I realized that it’s important that I spend more time with this practice.
Yin is a way for me to begin again and again.
This list of ways in which I wanted to change change was endless. There was always one more thing. Then what? Would I be ‘perfect’? Okay? Passable? Acceptable? And by whom? The world? The person I was dating?
I won’t fault myself for wanting to improve but my thought process was out of order. Until I could fully accept myself in the present moment- no change was going to take place. Meditation allows for the present moment to be whatever it is. In those moments I’ve been able to decide whether change is necessary or if the longing to change is simply a distraction from my true feelings. On some days this is liberating. On others its terrifying. But what it isn’t is false or without intention.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.