Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

Comparison is the thief of joy.

As human beings we are likely to have had a few times in our life where we longed for the greener grass that others seem to have. We might even spend some of our time filled with envy wishing that our experience is different than it is and that others have it better than we do. Comparison is indeed the thief of joy.

When I was a young mom I spent way too many days comparing myself and my kids to others. It was exhausting and I broke free of all of that during my great wake up in my early thirties. I dropped the desire to compare myself with others long ago for the most part, however, major life events typically bring out our vulnerability and we might find ourselves once again looking at other people’s experience and comparing ourselves to them.

This old feeling of comparing myself started to come back lately when it comes to my recent hip replacement surgery. If I had a nickel for everyone who has told me that their 80 year old whoever was walking in a week without a cane I probably wouldn’t have to go back to work. Seriously…how is that useful? Or the stories of young athletes getting back to their sport within weeks. I get it…those miracles and amazing stories do happen and that is awesome, but not everyone has that experience.

When I hear these examples it is hard to not compare myself with them and it is something I am working on daily while also finding the opportunity to remind others who share their fast healing stories with me that it isn’s always that way for everyone, although I am thrilled for them.

Awareness is the key to cultivating true compassion but that is another day’s blog post.

Instead of comparing myself to those stories I have decided instead to look for small daily wins and remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. It might be that showering without any help is my win. Or getting out to my yoga studio to record a session is a win. Maybe making a simple dinner is a win. Definitely the sourdough English muffins this week were a win. ?

If I spent my days comparing myself to others I would lose my joy in those small, yet huge wins.

My surgeon and physical therapist were great this week at reminding me that my experience is vastly different than most. The factors that go into my own healing are unique to me, so breathe and be patient. Also look for those small wins each day to carry me through until I am back in the “normal” swing of things. And, I am reminding myself that “normal” may look very different for me compared to pre-surgery.

It is natural for people to compare themselves with others. I want to encourage the world to stop doing that. Many times people even compare themselves with me. Instead, I try to ask them to look at their own gifts and be proud of them. We are all special in some way. While it may seem to some that I have myself all together, I really don’t. I work at it each and every day.

Find the joy in YOU and in your own small victories. Comparing yourself will definitely steal your joy and life is simply too short to live a joy-less life.

I have also learned that although the grass may appear greener, there is always some other species of “weeds” that have taken space in the seemingly green space and my own green is perfect for me, weeds and all.


Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life.

Turning 53

In a tradition I typically save for my personal journal on the eve of my birthday, I usually write a letter to myself to celebrate, and encourage the constant evolving that I choose to do. These are the words that came today as I reflected on my year and as I turn 53.

Dear beautiful self,

Another year wiser and with a few more wrinkles, I’ve seen you grow in your willingness to reach out and ask (and receive) help. I’ve seen you overcome challenges that were unexpected, and do it with grace and gratitude. I watched you grow your business and become more confident and more self-assured in what you’re here to do. I’ve seen you stay consistent with your strength training program, sometimes battling the pain like wielding a sword against an enemy. I’ve seen you be generous and kind to those who may not have always deserved it. I watched you demonstrate bravery in extremely challenging situations.

As you continue to age, I see you learning to ride the waves of the process of the body changing. I see you worry about the things that you may not have control over and I hope that you remember that like fine wine and good cheese, the aging process just gets better.

I hope that this coming year you will continue to embrace all of you. You will navigate what life hands you with tremendous courage, and also an openness to staying with vulnerability. Your determination to find equanimity—or the balance between effort and ease—will be something that becomes quite easy for you if you stay the course.

Believe in yourself, beautiful one.

Love, Me

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A Guide to Yin—Getting Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

As we look to create space for ourselves, discovering Yin style yoga can be a huge awakening. For many of us our constantly committed schedules leaves very little space for anything else. It is also a practice that encourages a person to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

I am personally devoted to changing this in my life starting this year. I am seeking the fine balance between effort and ease. To do this, I am being deliberate either my choices and incorporating Yin yoga into my practice and teachings.

Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that involves long holds in various seated and reclined poses to access deeper layers of fascia and to quiet the mind. Yin yoga also requires conscious and controlled breathing, often emphasized by relaxed belly breathing. This intimate practice encourages one to connect with their physical self, emotions, and sensations. It’s a simple practice with profound therapeutic benefits for longevity, vitality, flexibility, emotional resilience and much more.

There are three main tenets of Yin Yoga:

  • find your edge where you can feel the stretch, but without straining
  • remain still
  • allow yourself to stay here for some time—typically three to five minutes.

Three to five minutes seems easy, right?

My top five Yin style postures are:

  • Butterfly: From a seated position, draw the soles of the feet together and slide them away from you creating a “diamond-like” shape of the legs. Fold forward, allowing the spine to round and the head to drop towards the heels. Rest the hands on the floor or on your feet. Hold for 3-6 minutes. TARGET AREA: Inner thighs and groins, outer hips, spine. TIP: sit on the edge of a blanket to elevate the hips and potentially increase the sensation in the hips and/or assist with the flexion of the pelvis. Having the hips higher than the knees can be helpful in the event of sciatica.
  • Melting Heart: Start on your hands and knees, and walk the hands forward, allowing the chest and head to drop towards the floor, keeping the thighs more or less vertical. Hold for 3-4 minutes. TARGET AREA: Chest, spine, arms and shoulders. TIP: pad the knees with a blanket; experiment with the angle of the arms if shoulder flexion is compromised.
  • Lizard lunge: From hands and knees, place your right hand to the center of your mat and step your right foot outside the right hand. Keeping the back knee down, slide it behind the line of the hip, or back far enough to potentially observe sensation in the front of the thigh. Back toes may be untucked or tucked. Hold for 2-3 minutes. TARGET AREA: Hip flexors, quadriceps of back leg, inner groin, hamstrings and outer hip of front leg. TIP: pad the knees with a blanket; remember to play the edge appropriately – this can be a powerful pose!
  • Bananasana: From your back, bend your knees and plant the feet to the floor. Pick up the hips and move them to the right side of your mat, keeping the sacrum in contact with the floor. Straighten the legs toward the left corner of the mat, and shift the upper body toward the left, creating a “banana-like” shape with the body. Raise the arms overhead, elbows bent or straight, with option of clasping wrists or forearms. Hold for 3-6 minutes (repeat other side). TARGET AREA: Side body, especially the side waist. TIP: explore crossing the ankles – inner ankle over outer or outer ankle over inner – and determine which, if any, is preferred based on what you feel in the target area.
  • Spinal Twist: Lying on your back, draw your knees into your chest and roll to your right side. Peel the left arm open, allowing the upper body to rest toward the floor, arm extended to the left. Hold for 3-6 minutes (repeat other side). TARGET AREA: Spine, Chest/Arms. TIP: Explore variations of the arms, and turn of the head to influence other potential target areas of the upper body.

Ready to join me in slowing down and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable? Try this practice at home.

Margins

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

I stumbled across this and it hit me right in the heart.

We’ve all heard the term “having a boundary.” In fact, these days it common lingo when it comes to self care. Several years ago a dear friend of mine talked to me about the word boundaries versus margins. A boundary is something that keeps someone or certain things away from you. Whereas, a margin is what you choose to allow in.

We need boundaries to obviously keep away things that are dangerous to us or could be harmful. We need boundaries to keep toxic people away from us. We need boundaries around our personal and work time. Those are important things for sure. But I’m really looking at the difference between what I protect and keep away, to what I invite and allow in.

What I choose to put inside my margins feels empowering unlike a boundary which feels harsh and cold.

As I begin this new year with seeking equanimity in my life, I’m really paying close attention to what I put inside the margins. As a person who gives so much all the time, I’m learning to give to myself a little, too. Over the last year, I really learned to listen to the things in my life that feed me or drain me. My intention is never to hurt someone while navigating these margins. It can be challenging as I tend to put others needs first. The chronic people pleaser syndrome. I’m committed to putting me a little higher on the pleasing list.

In order to be deliberate with my time and energy, I’ve first identified a few key things. I needed to be really clear as to what drains me and what feeds me.

The things that drain me:

  • People. I say that with a hint of joking and quite a bit of truth. Considering that I am with people all day every day and again when I get home I’m with more people, it is imperative that I learn to listen to how much people can drain me. If given a choice to be alone or with people, it’s 99% certain that I’m going to choose to be alone.
  • Mindlessly walking through a department store for the sake of shopping. If I don’t know exactly what I need, there’s no way I’m going to walk into a store just to look. In fact, most of my shopping is done online. I have no interest in being in stores just to kill time.
  • Soending time in crowded places, unless it’s a crowded coffee shop by myself. Again, partially joking here and a lot of truth. I love being in a crowded coffee shop if I’m by myself. Are we getting a theme here?
  • Loud and noisy places with lots of people. I’m not a huge fan of crowded spaces and I definitely don’t like to just be in a group of people for no purpose.
  • Loud music. Loud people. Loud environments.

The things that feed me:

  • Being alone.
  • Setting goals and creating action plans.
  • Making sourdough bread.
  • Spending time in my garden.
  • Long, solitary walks.
  • A jigsaw puzzle that allows my mind to wander.

Before saying yes to anything these days, I am learning to stop and ask myself the following—

  • Does the serve me today?
  • Will this feed me or drain me?
  • Am I saying yes to please someone else?
  • Does this feel good to me?

Margin is the space between load and limit. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed.

If it’s going to push me past my limit, then it’s a no. I’m trying really hard to recognize when my load is full and not add on anything that would break that limit. As I do things that feed me, my load reduces and I have space for more. Tuning inward to myself is key, then listening, and then choosing wisely.

Selfish? Maybe.

Radical self care? Absolutely.

Beginnings

Imagine a self paced program that is on your own time that includes yoga, mindfulness, wellness coaching, intention setting, self care and much more delivered right to your inbox?

Beginnings is for you are wanting to make changes to your life and need a little push and motivation.

It’s time for you to begin.

It’s time for YOU.

Starting in January this three day program will be available for YOU. The content is yours forever and you can revisit it any time you feel like you need to begin again. That happens to all of us, believe me.

This program called Beginnings is well explained in this short video.

About Stacie

Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life.

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is an experienced 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Certified Trauma Informed Coach, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.

Stacie brings her personal life experience of raising a daughter with a disability and over 12 years working in special education to her everyday Yoga classes.

My Introverted Self

I love people—I really do. But I also love taking care of my introverted self and my favorite way to do that is to go into the forest. To commune with the trees and be totally at peace and in oneness by the sights and sounds.

Research is showing that visiting a forest has real, quantifiable health benefits, both mental and physical. Even five minutes around trees or in green spaces may improve health. Think of it as a prescription with no negative side effects that’s also free.

Health Benefits From Forests

Exposure to forests and trees:

  • boosts the immune system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces stress
  • improves mood
  • increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
  • increases energy level
  • improves sleep

Usually on Saturday mornings I take off on a solo hike and find that silent, yet so alive space. I usually visit one of my favorite tree friends I have ever known. She has been a friend for many years and though I haven’t gone to say hello in a long time, she still greets me with the same wonderful welcome. Over the years on this trail, I have played on the icy trails and I basked in the warm sun. I love to cross over the miles of Mother Earth and it usually is just what I need to refuel and get clarity on a few things weighing on me.

I love how the sound of my feet crunching the earth somehow brings the answers I have been seeking. It’s like the world stops for a moment and I can listen.

I am often reminded again just how blessed I am and how grateful I am that my life has unfolded in perfection. Just like the trees and how they know exactly when to let go and when to grow, I find myself in the same cycle.

During these solo walks I reconnect with the truth of myself. I find the quiet space between my thoughts. I receive all the goodness the trees offer.

Of course putting my hands on my favorite tree friend never hurts.

Alignment Blend

When we combine our thoughts, our bodies and our minds with the magical gifts of mother nature, we reveal wisdom.

The wisdom of our true Selves. The wisdom of the Earth. The wisdom held in the vibration of every living cell.

Last month we dove into discovering what our true values are that sustain us during hard times or simply how we navigate our everyday. Knowing our values is step one, living in alignment with those values is step two.

Our actions and the words we speak, and even the thoughts we have, all must strive to be in alignment with those values. When we step into daily living in alignment we become our best selves.

I try to look at my values daily. I try to pause before I respond. I think before I speak. And, I try to ask myself if what I am about to do going to help me create the life I want.

I also love my body everyday with intention. I try to eat mindfully. I also find time every day for moments of stillness.

This beautiful blend I perfectly crafted and named Alignment helps me to stay in living within my values. This blend includes Frankincense–Oil of Truth, Rosemary–Oil of Knowledge, Lavender–Oil of Communication, Roman Chamomile–Oil of Spiritual Purpose, Sandalwood–Oil of Sacred Devotion, and Tiger Eye which is a stone of protection. Tiger Eye may also bring good luck to the wearer. It has the power to focus the mind, promoting mental clarity, assisting us to resolve problems objectively and unclouded by emotions.

This blend is perfect for creating a sense of alignment with yourSelf and with others. Grab yours HERE!

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Roots

Imagine for a second living your entire life without a concept that you are anything more than just your body. You spend every year working to lose the extra fifteen pounds around the middle, you obsess on the dress size, you might try exercising but realize it can be challenging, you spend the majority of your adult life defining what you do, you gather accolades and awards and letters behind your name, you seek people to validate your existence and then one day, usually when life becomes gravely challenging, you realize that you are so much more than the what that you have aimed for decades to become.

What if I could encourage you to see that you are so much more than the what that you have been told you are, or what you have strived to achieve? What if I could invite you into a place where you see that much more than what meets the outer eye.

Let’s back up. Think about this:

What is the most important part of a house? What is the most important part of a tree?

Without the foundation and the roots, we may never see the beautiful windows and stunning branches and leaves. So if your body is the windows and branches and you have neglected the foundation or the roots, what will happen when life gets hard? (It will get hard, you know that).

Will your walls cave in? Will you blow over in a “storm”?

What are the parts of you that hold up the windows and branches?

What sustains you? What supports you?

What are the aspects of you that is your foundation or your roots?

I like to think of these as values or principles in which we live our physical life as. The branches that we become are all based on the root system that feeds, stabilizes and ensures we are our best self.

For me, my root system consists of the following four main roots (or four main foundation walls):

  • gratitude: the minute I step away from recognizing all that I have in my life and start complaining I have gotten lost and the root rot begins
  • strength: opting for the easy way out or choosing to give up is a sure sign that I will blow over the second life gets hard
  • positivity: there is nothing like a dose of negativity to squelch your growth. Period. If it isn’t nice or hopeful then don’t say it.
  • responsibility: doing what I say I will do and keeping myself accountable has served me so well both personally and professionally. If I walk away from that, I am done.

Ask yourself these questions and sit with yourself. Peel away all the “what’” that makes you up—man, woman, mother, father, heavy, thin, your job title, your credentials, and your outer form.

Now, ask yourself who am I? What is the essence of me? How do I show up in the world? You might find that the values/roots that make up your beautiful tree are things like love, purpose, courage, family, service, honesty, respect, accountability, knowledge, faith, and many more.

Do this important work now because soon we will take it a little further and look at how our actions, thoughts and words are aligning with those identified values.

Hang on, my friends. It’s about to get real!

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Mastering the Art of Self Love

“As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering were only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.”

Charlie Chaplin

Self-love is the foundation and basis for all the love that flows from our hearts to others.

For many years I was a seeker of love outside of myself. In some ways we all are—we want validation and to be seen—that is normal human behavior. My trouble came when in the truthful and quiet moments with myself, I really didn’t like who I was, and actually loving myself was not even in the ball park.

Then I woke up.

I realized that my kids needed a healthy mom. They needed someone who demonstrated self love. They required a mom who was no longer angry but instead developed an acceptance for life’s hard things and took them as lessons to grow.

I also became radically aware of self care. For decades I thought self care was selfish and totally for the elite. Wow, right? I came to realize that the only way I was to find pure unconditional love was to begin by loving myself unconditionally. You attract what you are.

Today I actually coach women (and men) on the power of a deliberate self care routine to help become the very best version of yourself. It’s not all about bubble baths, although those those do help tremendously.

This month I am teaching that we all have a foundation of values that sustains us, especially when life becomes hard or when we are challenged.

Self love is now one of my deepest values. It is one of the four main “roots” or “walls” that hold me up during storms. Without it, I’d crumble.

I choose self love daily by walking, working out, spending time in my garden, playing on a yoga mat, sipping nice vodka, daily gratitude, enjoying delicious coffee and of course, lavish bubble baths. One way that I combat living with chronic pain is to fight back against it with so much self love and self care through movement that my mind simply cannot focus on the pain long, because I am instead experiencing the joy of being alive.

I can’t believe that I once told myself that self love was selfish. After two decades of self love it has now become a part of everyday living. I know that without this radical practice of self love I would not be able to handle life’s challenges and I would not be able to give so much love. Truly by filling up myself with love daily, I am able to give more to others.

Don’t wait for a health crisis or a divorce to learn you are worthy.

Love yourself radically and fiercely now.

Trust me, mastering the art of self love is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself. You deserve it.

xo

Reach out to me for a free wellness consult and learn how YOU can change your mindset!

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is a E-500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.