As I walk each day, I am happy to be reminded that nature calls us to be awake and aware. The first signs of green are starting to pop up and I believe it teaches us about resiliency and the rhythms of nature. It is such a great season to notice Life. My knee surgery has been much harder than I anticipated and it has been a true test of my patience and resiliency, but I find great hope when I see tiny shoots of green or the beginning of a tree’s bud.
As we enter into April next week, despite what is going on around us, we can be reminded of the cycles of life that exist in all forms. This is a beautiful time to look to nature for the lessons and to welcome your own time of growth.
Springtime is a great time to scatter seeds within yourself to create the beautiful blossoms in your life that you desire.
Take time to notice the changes around you as you see the trees begin to bud, the crocus flowers pop open and the bright yellow daffodils smile at you. Simply noticing and then cultivating growth within yourself will do wonders for your spirit as you blossom this season.
If we look at seeds as a symbol for our growth we can see that some great ideas for personal growth include increasing tolerance, having patience, loving yourself more, laughing daily, or slowing down to enjoy life. How about planting some of those seeds in your heart?
Once you set your intention and scatter your seeds, it is time to nurture these powerful thoughts and water them with love and tenderness. Keeping weeds away through positive thoughts and affirmations are a sure way to have a great harvest in the coming months.
What seeds will you scatter this season?
I am planning to plant more seeds of kindness to all beings this year. Spreading kindness is something I feel the world needs more of. One of my favorite acts of kindness is to give packets of wildflower seeds to random people. The smile that comes on their face when give you something so simple as a packet of potential beauty brings me so much happiness.
One of my biggest seeds I ever grew was the vision I had for my business. I knew my seed had to have the intention of service at its heart. I have been teaching yoga for over sixteen years in my community and way back in April of 2011, I decided to create the vision that has become known as Embracing Spirit Yoga. I am so blessed to share Yoga with people of ALL abilities in the community and in my studio. I am beyond grateful for those who have supported and loved me all these years. Like all strong plants, the seeds naturally sow themselves year after year and my business is thriving.
It truly does all start with a vision. A seed. Then with mindful attention to the seed, or vision, in time it will indeed grow into something amazing. Sure, there have been seasons where things needed to be replanted and readjusted, but in time it all grew into something that I am so proud of.
Now is the time to gather up your seeds and be ready to scatter them.
I have said before that March has been a powerful month for me historically. This is the month I took my very first yoga teacher training many years ago and it is also the month that I took specialized training to teach yoga to adults with disabilities. On a personal note, it was in March of 2005 that I woke up one day so tired of being 75+ pounds overweight that I took the first steps (literally) in changing my life. March is also when I have made major decisions about relationships that weren’t healthy for me and have met special and unique people that continue to influence who I am for the better. March for me has been a month of tremendous growth and a huge saying yes to life.
Each year I circle back to this and wonder what may have been the initial steps that I may have not even realized I was taking during what I call my great “wake up”. On that cold March day, I grabbed the dog leash and laced up my shoes determined to discover myself. I was tired of being the angry, judgmental, insecure woman that I had become. Something in me was yearning for more.
This morning as I was planning my month of lessons it occurred to me that there was indeed something that called to me to begin the wakeup, and then to step into the arena of teaching yoga.
What was the something? What was the the spark that led to me to unravel the tangled mess my life had become and to reveal the person I knew I wanted to be?
The something was self awareness. It was looking in the mirror and seeing the truth. It was hearing my voice speak to my children. It was observing the thoughts I had constantly flooding my mind. It was watching the destructive actions that I took.
This powerful practice of self awareness led me to the teaching that I circle back to year after year in the the month of March-preparing our soil. Imagining that our beautiful soul is much like a garden bed that is awaiting the warmth of spring. Self awareness is seeing that garden bed within our heart and looking at all the old leaves, trash and twigs that are cluttering our garden. We all know that if we were to try to plant or grow anything in a bed filled with old stuff, nothing is likely to grow.
My garden back then was filled with comparison, judgment, self-hatred, insecurities, fear, doubt, anger and deeply seeded thoughts that I was not enough. I realized that part of my great wakeup that day in March when I ventured out on a walk was the first step at purging and cleaning out my then, very toxic garden bed in my soul.
Days turned into weeks and soon by late spring I had found little tiny signs of hope popping up in my life. Tiny little shows of growth. It took months for the little shoots of newness to develop into anything substantial but the fact that my soil was now clean and uncluttered due to my diligence with self-awareness, the prospect of me blooming was just a matter of time.
And bloom I did.
March is a time to look inward through self-awareness and see what is left of the last year, or the last decade, that is cluttering your soul and ultimately preventing anything new from growing. It is a time to purge the old feeling and thought patterns that take up too much space in your heart and mind. It is right now that we prepare our soul/soil for the months ahead of growth.
Go get your hands dirty and start clearing out the old stuff because major changes and growth are available to you!
Over the years I have had the opportunity to share my story a few times through interviews and podcasts and each time I get to tell it I realize that it wasn’t until I literally woke up and stepped into acceptance and gratitude that my life began to transform into greatness.
We all have a story and hopefully we all have opportunities to tell it and use it as a springboard to inspire others. This recent interview cut right to the chase of what I do and why.
What’s your business, and who are your customers?
I teach adaptive Yoga and wellness to individuals living in an assisted living setting with traumatic brain injuries.
Tell us about yourself
I am the mother and caregiver to an adult daughter with a disability, and I had initially found yoga for myself to help with stress and self-confidence. I soon realized that it was much more than that. I believe that when I allowed healing to come to my heart and sadness and find acceptance for the struggles I had been a single mom to three little kids and one significantly disabled, I was able to see that perhaps my girl was a beautiful door that opened for me to share yoga with those unable to access traditional yoga settings. I am now contracted with over 100 individuals per month with TBI and have become a success in my field. I am motivated by my students and their resiliency and how their trauma has influenced them to be their best selves. I am inspired by them in every class I get to share with them.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been showing individuals that yoga is not about the physical body and that the intent is to find wholeness within themselves. I am so proud of the method that I have developed that has shown over a decade of success using yoga as a modality to find contentment, inner awareness, and life after injury.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest part is having enough time to reach all my students, learning to say no, and keeping myself healthy in mind, body, and spirit to be able to continue to show up as my best self.
What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Be yourself and use your passion to fuel your business.
Having the opportunity to share Yoga and wellness in the community with individuals unable to access a traditional setting has been life changing for me. I hope that you find ways that your story can influence and help others. It is through our own growth that we give others permission to do the same.
Ahhhh….Can you believe that spring is just around the corner? Soon we will push our clocks forward and the longer days will be upon on us. I can’t wait! I love a good snowy day, but to see the beginnings of green growth popping out is so exciting to me! Last year I had a wonderful garden and look forward to an even better one this year. Something so wonderful about growing your own veggies. My backyard is already chirping with birds and it seems so alive already.
I love spring and the symbolism it represents to me. It is during the springtime that we often think of beginnings, newness, and growth. I can recall at least four times in my life that major changes occurred in March. This is a great time to begin to cultivate your “soil” so that soon you can plant seeds of intention. One way to do this is to write down anything in your life you wish to increase—friendships, health, abundance or joy, peace, etc. Be clear about your visions, review your intentions often, and dream big!
While you are preparing yourself for a season of growth, this is also a time to eliminate the old stuff of the past season that is leftover–things like thoughts of limitation, fears or doubts. That kind of clutter can easily invade your precious garden of growth. I like to think of it much like my actual garden bed in my backyard where last years leaves, twigs, trash and growth clutter and cover the soil. If I want to give the new growth any chance to break through, I better take the time to clear away the old stuff. This blog post explains it so well.
Another great practice that brings us into the now is to become aware of the subtle changes in Nature during this time of the year. You might see the peeking of crocus bulbs emerging from the hardened winter ground. Watch as the trees begin to grow tiny nubs that will soon break into full leaves. Listen as the birds start to make a song in the early mornings and the air has a scent of newness. Use all of your senses to experience what is happening around you.
As we connect with Nature we also connect with ourselves. We realize that we too are ever-changing and growing beings. We can set the seeds of intention and begin to nurture and cultivate what we wish to have growing in our lives. It here we are reminded of the union that Life offers.
Personal development has been a hobby of mine for the last 15 years. What has come from this hobby has been truly amazing and I am grateful for the wake up. Over the last decade and a half, I have dug deep into healthy living, meditation, yoga, spirituality, soul-searching and the gut wrenching-digging-out-the-crap-of-old-beliefs-and-stories. I can say with honesty that I have also struggled to maintain my momentum without finding myself overly critical. Self-loathing and microscopic analysis of all that I need to “work on” can be consuming for a habit-forming personality type like myself. In contrast, there has been plenty of times when I have also neatly stacked all the self-help, goddess inspiring, soul inspiring books and walked away to take a breather.
I am in the midst of another cycle where I am looking at my stuff and balancing it with the confidence and self-assurance that I am really okay. In fact, I am beyond okay. I am an empowered and magnificently flawed human that is willing to grow.
And like all growing spurts, there is usually some pain. The deep aches that wake you in the middle night. The stretching of the mind, body and soul to embark on a new way of seeing the world, and specifically myself in the world.
While I balance what needs to be examined; work patterns, where I put my energy, habits that don’t serve my greatest good, words that hurt, etc., with the understanding what I hold my faith in–and that is, ALL experiences are opportunities to grow.
This includes the sticky experiences that are challenging and the opposing joy filled experiences that are exhilarating. I believe in the deepest of my very essence that every experience is a lesson. I also hold confidence that embedded in each ‘lesson’ is the calling to fall back into your faith. Lay softy down in the knowing that all is well. I do this by consciously handing over to God what is showing up with a trusting that in the end, I will be okay. In truth, I am far better than okay and whatever is showing up in my life, is temporary and by bringing more of my intention to my faith the more fearless I do become.
Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.
Spring is such a fantastic time to renew and rejuvenate our bodies. We can also look at our mind and clear out some of the thoughts we have that are getting in the way of our potential.
In this class we will use Yoga and intentionally applied essential oils to start that process. If you need essential oils samples to work with this class, please reach out to me.
For this online workshop you will need:
Quiet space to practice
A yoga mat or towel, block or pillow
Water in a glass or stainless bottle
Soft, comforting meditation type music (optional)
PEPPERMINT & WILD ORANGE (AROMATIC/DIFFUSE):
PHYSICAL (PEPPERMINT): Supports healthy respiratory function –chosen to help us breathe freely to open up to let go–exhale what doesn’t serve us. Assists in lowering body temperature temporarily. Alleviates occasional stomach upset –relieves occasional gas and colic, relieves occasional acid indigestion. Freshens breath. Stimulating to the mind –wakes us up –makes us more aware.
EMOTIONAL: The Oil of the Buoyant Heart lifts our spirits and soul –gives us a break. Helps us feel free to move on and avoid get entangled in our difficulties. Energizing aroma allows us to see a bigger picture –increase our vision and tolerance for things that aren’t to our liking and make other choices. Helps us “stomach” any concerns. Used in our ENERGY theme today to encourage us to let go and move on with awareness and to help us make new choices and move on with renewed energy and awareness.
PHYSICAL: Included in our workshop, and taken internally as a gentle, internal cleanser for the body–delicious flavor in water and for antioxidant support. Supports a healthy immune function. Known to liftmood and relieve anxious feelingswith its stimulating aroma. Supports the healthy function of the lymphatic system –our system to remove excess water, proteins and toxins from the body. Supports a healthy respiratory system when diffused.
EMOTIONAL: The Oil of Zest for Life. Helps elevate those who are discouraged or grieving. Cleanses the heart of emotional toxins that have been repressed and stored.Dispels apathy and resignation, instilling hope, joy, courage and determination in the face of life’s challenges. Especially beneficial to those who are overly developed intellectually but need to further develop themselves emotionally. Encourages a balance between the heart and mind. Used in today’s workshop to lighten our mental load, release toxic thinking and physical concerns so we can move ahead, lighter, this spring.
PHYSICAL: Relaxing to the body and mind, cedarwood is a calming oil. Dissipates anxious feelings. Letting go of “tightness” in the body to allow it to open to flow. Supports a healthy respiratory function to take in a deep breath. Promotes healthy, clear skin by supporting a balanced inflammatory response while soothing imperfections. (use caution with pregnancy)
EMOTIONAL: The Oil of Community. Helps us see we are not alone and that we have support. Good for those who tend to ignore potential help and become overly self-reliant. Brings people together to experience the value of community–bonds together families, friends, community. Inspires feeling of belonging –allowing us to both give & receive LOVE. Allows us to experience the joy of relationships. Used in today’s workshop to clean out stale thought patterns our bodies may be holding and relax so we can open up to new insights and connections of support in our world.
PHYSICAL: Supports a healthy respiratory function to take in a deep breath. Known as the Herb or Oil of “Remembrance” Helps us let go of mental fatigue so we can improve our recall and memory. Uplifting and exhilarating to awaken our minds to the spring season–especially if feeling a bit “foggy.” Energizes the heart and encourages blood flow in the body and to the brain. Helps us to open our conscious mind to take in our practice today.
EMOTIONAL: TheOil of Knowledge and Transition. Encourages us to look deeper within and excavate our true knowledge to discover our own answers. Supports a healthy ego –one that values itself and its purpose in this world. Helps us know we CAN learn new information and experiences and that although we may not see it yet –there is a grand plan for us, our destiny! Boosts our confidence and morale to have faith in our own potential. Used in today’s workshop to further clean out mental & emotional sluggishness on a deep level, opening our conscious mind to new thinking and optimism for our future
PHYSICAL: The ultimate “balancing”oil that assist our body, mind & spirit to be well and healthy. (A little bit goes a long way aromatically. ) Assists with blood flow and circulation–a gentle oil used to calm nerves and lessen anxious feelings. Effective to use in supporting a healthy balance of skin sebum —balancing oily or drier skin and scalp. Supports a healthy circulatory system in the body –allowing the body to release and contract, release and contract in an effective way.
EMOTIONAL: The Oil of Love and Trust. Helps us restore our confidence in the goodness that surrounds us and in our world, to reestablish trust when trust has been broken by others. Reopens the heart –softening anger and helping heal emotional wounds. Instills unconditional love and trust with those who are stuck in the mind so they can begin focusing on their heart. Used in today’s workshop to help balance the life force within us, guiding us to release any anger or resentment or emotional wounds to encourage feelings of love and trust.
PHYSICAL–Wild orange is a powerful cleanser and purifying agent for surfaces and for our bodies. Protects against seasonal and environmental threats –as it is high in antioxidants and supportive to the immune system. Uplifting aroma lifts the mind and body. Taken internally or applied topically, this oil can provide relief from occasional digestive discomfort.
EMOTIONAL— The Oil of Abundance. Helps reduces anxious feelings, and calm emotions. Inspires creativity, a positive mood and brings joy & peace, happiness and FUN into your day. Encourages creative thinking and fearlessness. Used in today’s workshop to both begin and end our practice by cleansing and releasing anything that no longer serves us, and opening us up to receive courage, creativity and peace. This oil encourages knowledge that the world is an abundant place that welcome us and the renewed energy we offer.
In these uncertain times I find myself longing for what I know and for what brings me a sense of feeling grounded. For many years I come back time and time again to this poem. I share it with those who I know are willing to meet me in the space of vulnerability and see me from the heart of compassion. For me this poem invites me into myself and reveals the truths of who I am, or who I strive to be.
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
Iwant to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
We know that sign of a healthy plant is new growth. The bright green and tender new leaves that form are indication that the plant is thriving.
And so it is with us as well. The sweet and innocent, and often incredibly vulnerable, new challenges we face are indications we are not just growing but on our way to thriving. It seems that with each new season of growth we are often faced with a burst of freshness that makes us feel invigorated and ready to take shape into an amazing blossom.
This week in my yoga classes we are exploring the concept of new growth. Whether that is a revitalized wellness plan, a new job, a fresh relationship, or perhaps a commitment to self-love, it is a time to discover the joy in sprouting new growth.
In order to grow, we must create. When we cease to find our creative expression, a little bit of us dies either emotionally or physically. We wither under the pressure of being mundanely human.
Yet, at any moment we can refocus our power towards transformation. There are two ways that we can tap into our creative process: 1. Revealing glorious physical creations, such as colorful works of art, beautiful products, time in nature’s process and even how we decorate our homes, and 2. Bringing about a positive attitude and outlook that fuels one to transform and lift others. Basically being of service.
I find that connecting with the earth element is such a vital tap into the biggest creative process. To me, it is like taking a drink of water that immediately squelches any thirst I might have and gives me just what I need for my next push in life. Just like a plant with new growth needing fresh water. I also find that when I lean towards the warmth of things that make me feel good, I am more likely to be positive and upbeat in my outlook on life. This alone can make a world of difference in how we either wither or bloom.
I am so looking forward to exploring these concepts on the mat (or in a chair this week). As a wise mentor once told me, “the teacher teaches what the teachers needs to learn”.
Have you ever spent time looking at a flower that is about to bloom? The rose that is still tight in a bud? The daisy that is closed and not yet in full happiness mode? Whichever flower you have gazed at has spent months growing into what was about to happen. Day after day this amazing form of life kept the course of growth, never wavering despite the external elements.
Here we are halfway through the year and if you are like me, you might be thinking about that intention you set back in January. You know, when the year felt fresh and new? And yet, it was during the heart of winter you were thinking about growing your goals and dreams.
Here we are in the start of the growing season and it is a great time to look at your intention again and see if some of those seeds you planted in the dormant season have started to take shape into small shoots of growth. Seeing the beginnings of growth is a great motivator to keep going because in time, the bloom will come.
For me, I am reviewing all of my goals; business goals and personal goals. I am looking at the areas in my life that I have succeeded, and areas that I have developed some gaps, and how I can fill them in.
As I plan to teach the concept of blooming this month I am going to return to nature time and time again to be both marveled and motivated.
I think of early March as a time to prepare for growth. To toil the ground and prepare ourselves for deep growth. I also love spring and the symbolism it represents. It is during the spring time that we often think of beginnings, newness, and growth. For some, this is a great time to begin to cultivate your “soil” to soon plant seeds of intention. One way to do this is to write down anything in your life you wish to increase–friendships, health, abundance or joy, are just a few ideas. Be clear with your visions as this brings life to your “seeds”.
Next, it is so important to prepare your inner “soil” by eliminating and removing the old and now transpired blossoms of last year. The memories of past that have come and go and no longer as vibrant as they were just a few short months ago. When we invest time in preparing ourselves for a season of growth (no matter what time of year, really) we must start with cleaning up the areas so that we are open to allow space for growth. When we spend time doing this we are investing time into right now. We are dirtying our hands with the fertile soil that awaits.
As you do this, become aware of the subtle changes in Nature during this time of the year. You might see the peeking of crocus bulbs emerging from the hardened winter ground. Watch as the trees begin to grow tiny nubs that will soon break into full leaves. Listen as the birds start to make song in the early mornings and the air has a scent of newness. Use all of your senses to experience what is happening around you.
As we connect with Nature we also connect with ourselves. We realize that we too, are ever-changing and growing beings. We can set the seeds of intention and begin to nurture and cultivate what we wish to have grown in our lives.
This week in my classes we will be exploring cleansing postures to eliminate the old and make space for new. We will also be looking at ways our bodies can twist and unwind to come fully into the now.
Here is to growing, less pain, more joy and flourishing! Happy Spring and while you are preparing your soul for growth it is never a bad idea to get your hands dirty in Mother Earth, either.