Lessons Learned

They say we often learn the most during the hardest times. Having a total hip replacement earlier this year has definitely been packed with lessons. I have grown so much in the last couple months and despite the challenges, I am in some ways very grateful for this opportunity. It is my greatest hope that I will heal and continue to evolve into the best version I can, and also help others along the way.

My top lessons I have learned are:

  • Letting go of the “numbers” and instead listening to my body. For decades I have tracked my steps and calories to point of obsession. Since I am not walking as much, I have realized that the numbers are not a reflection of my worthiness or goodness. I have instead learned that tuning into my body and listening to how she feels instead of relying on an outcome or goal is way more joyful.
  • It is okay to receive. My whole life I have been one that relies solely on myself for success, accomplishment, comfort and most basic needs. I have learned the allowing others to give to me is not an indication of weakness. Instead, I have learned that receiving from others empowers both the giver and the receiver. How blessed I have been to be shown so much love.
  • Living equanimity is attainable. I chose the word equanimity this year and my intention was to remain steady no matter what life handed me. Despite infection, blood clots and many trips to the emergency room I was challenged greatly to remain steady and strong. Having daily gratitude is what has kept me steady. The intention that I set in the beginning of the year remains possible based on how I respond or react to the challenges I face. Remembering that I am in control of my thoughts is what grounds me.
  • Being more balanced. I have a tendency to give 100% to my work. I thrive in being productive and prior to hip replacement had very little time or energy outside of work. I have learned that I can work AND be balanced in other things that bring me joy.

Taking proactive steps every day to remain grateful is the key. The humbling this has taught me will propel me into something great. I encourage you to reflect on your own challenges and the lessons you may have learned through whatever life challenge you go through.

And for the millionth time–never dismiss what someone is going through because of their strength or project your experience onto someone else.

Maybe the greatest lesson is that my life may be different post hip replacement, and that is okay.

Something

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.

Something.

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!

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Confinement

“The confinement that I feel is only what I ALLOW myself to feel.”

I often say that I am putting all of the amazing nuggets of wisdom that come from my students with brain injuries into my future book. Who knows, maybe someday a future Ted Talk. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Year after year I am humbled at the insights that come from people living with brain injuries. I feel so strongly that they can teach the world so many things about truly living. Over the years I have kept a little notebook with some of the teachings that they bring to my life. It is common that I often pull inspiration from that notebook and share with others.

This one is a keeper.

I have been teaching from the theme of freedom this month. According to Webster’s dictionary, freedom is defined as having the ability to think, speak and act without hindrance or restraint. As we broke down each of those areas and shared the hinderances in our lives it is easy to see that everyone has certain hinderances or restraints that keep them from living fully free. For some, it is living without the ability to move their legs, or for others it is not being able to drive or work. Although I can drive and work, I have certain physical limitations and responsibilities that keep me from being fully free in my actions.

We then moved onto our ability to speak without hinderance or restraint and it was evident that while the idea of free speech exists, there is a limitation to what we can all say and not get into a little hot water, whether that it within our own home or in the community.

We finished our discussion with the realization that the only true place we have freedom is in our thoughts. It was decided that we are all free to think what we think. No matter what our challenges or our struggles are, it is ultimately what do with it through our mindset.

Here is the moment of ah-ha that has stayed in my heart for weeks. As we were closing up our discussion on living freedom, this was spoken:

“The confinement that I feel is only what I ALLOW myself to feel.”

Read that again.

The woman who said this is a student who lives in assisted living and occasionally comes down for yoga. Her body is riddled with pain so her practice is breathing and sharing. She is brave and wise.

She also lost her independence, her family, her ability to work and drive, and do things that feed her soul. And yet, she has the insight to see that despite all of her lack of freedoms, she can escape the cage with her thoughts.  She is one of the most insightful and grateful people I have ever met.

To think that I am called the teacher. I disagree.

The truth is, I am a conduit for their wisdom. I get to be the messenger. 

Foundation

It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. ~ David Allen Coe

This time of year is ideal for getting back into ourselves after a summer season of play, vacations, kids home, and way less structure. This is the time where we reclaim our sense of self. We aim to rediscover the aspects of ourselves that support us in our everyday life.

As you experience a more predictable schedule and life begins to resume some sort of normalcy, take a few minutes to consider the four walls, or four main roots of a tree, that represent your foundation. This is the scaffolding which supports all the other parts of our home, or tree, during times of turbulence.

Here are some ideas; faith, service, accountability, kindness, diligence, love, fulfillment, action, compassion, etc.

You may know if you stop here often that I believe in the power of aroma to shift our chemical response in our brain. We can influence our state of arousal and our emotional state simply by smelling something. How cool is that?

Not sure where to start? Grab one of these blends, take 4-5 deep breaths, apply it to your spine and under your nose and then listen. You already know…you just need to listen.

By the way, check out the emotional benefits of these oils:

  • Douglas Fir.This one invites you to invoke your high wisdom and learn from the past experiences and people who may have crossed your path. This essential oil is perfect for turning inward in the season of more introspection.
  • Frankincense.Frankincense asks you to welcome in feelings of protection, wisdom, discernment, and a spiritual awakening. This sacred essential oil invites individuals to shed the lower vibration feelings that are often negative and draining. This truly brings our your own magnificence.
  • Ho Wood. This peaceful oil brings out a sense of calm and helps to quiet the mind. By clearing the mind of anxious thoughts or simply clutter, we can fine tune into the deepest parts of who we are. This helps us to live in alignment with our principles and aspects of our foundation.
  • Blue Tansy. This one is a powerful aroma that helps to bring out inspiration and the committed response of tacking action. This helps to be more purposeful and responsible, which is such a beautiful aspect to a solid constitution. Blue tansy welcomes in a sense of freedom and sense of walking towards your deepest dreams and desires.
  • Blue Chamomile.This sweet and delicate flower is commonly known as German chamomile and offers a beautiful blue hue to the oil. Like its counter part Roman Chamomile, this flower oil is the perfect choice for bringing out a peaceful and serene mental state. This brings out emotional harmony and illuminates the wisdom with your soul.
  • Spruce. This stable, grounded aroma brings out an enduring balanced outlook to life while also giving strength through your wisdom. When we soak in this aroma we are reminded of the rhythms and ancient wisdom the earth offers.
  • Cassia. This bold oil which a friend of cinnamon is warm and earthy as it invites you to feel courageous, strong, self-assured and confident in your authentic self. This brings an embracing warmth to the confident and meaningful connections in our life.
  • Petrified Wood Chips. It helps to create balance and offers a foundation from which to launch new goals or undertake a different path. This grounding stone helps to calm scattered energies and look closely at the essence of what guides our decisions.

These beautiful oils and solid gemstones will be a constant as your dive into the fall season of a slower pace, a calmer mind, and as you seek out the principles in which your life is sustained by. To learn more about the principles I have chosen for myself, check out this blog post.

You can purchase this blend here and it will soon arrive in your mailbox with lots of grounding love.

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Third Eye Chakra

YOUR VISION WILL BECOME CLEAR ONLY WHEN YOU CAN LOOK INTO YOUR OWN HEART. WHO LOOKS OUTSIDE, DREAMS; WHO LOOKS INSIDE, AWAKES. ~ CARL JUNG

The Third Eye Chakra is located in the brain, at the brow, above the base of the nose. The gift of this chakra is seeing – both inner and outer worlds. The energy of this chakra allows us to experience clear thought as well as gifts of spiritual contemplation and self reflection. Through the gift of seeing we can internalize the outer world and with symbolic language we can externalize the inner world.The energy of this chakra allows us to access our inner guidance that comes from the depths of our being. It allows us to cut through illusion and to access deeper truths – to see beyond the mind, beyond the words. The “way of the third eye” is seeing everything as it is from a point of “witness” or “observer”, or from simply being mindful – moment by moment.

Third Eye Chakra

LOCATION: center of the forehead

REPRESENTS: self reflection and knowing

ASSOCIATED ANATOMY: pituitary gland, left brain hemisphere, left eye, nose, ears, sinuses, conscious mind

BODILY FUNCTIONS: endocrine system, neurological system, small muscle control

PHYSICAL ELEMENT: light

COLOR: indigo

AFFIRMATION: I see

Understanding the subtle changes in our physical body and emotions can lead us to understand more about who we are.

By paying close attention we can find out throughout self discovery what we need to feel more balanced and harmonious.

Balanced: A balanced Sixth Chakra is having a spiritual awareness of movement and change, knowing that there is an appropriate time for endings as well as beginnings. It is having the ability to release old thought patterns and embrace the new. When you balance the third eye chakra, you experience clarity of thought and vision, you are imaginative, intuitive, and see the events in your life as symbolic and lessons to be learned. You will remember your dreams and contemplate their meanings. You are flexible in your opinions.

Excessive: When the third eye is excessively abuzz with energy, we experience headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating. A person with excessive sixth chakra may lack concentration with the mind flitting here and there. There can be obsessiveness, nightmares, spending far too much time in self-evaluation with no results. Often times they can be narrow focused with a lack of mental flexibility. A person may be often religious but self-righteously so to the point of becoming tyrannical. They tend to be over analytical but missing main factors. 

Deficient: When this chakra is underactive, there is no imagination or visualization skill. A person may have difficulty changing their minds—they only see one side of a story which is their way. Generally, they cannot see the outcomes or ramifications of their actions. They don’t learn from their mistakes and are doomed to keep repeating them. People with underactive third eye chakras are undisciplined, weak-willed, and afraid of success, they are unable to set goals, or when set, their goals are very low. Visioning and dreaming is a challenge. When this chakra is deficient, we have a poor memory, experience eye problems, have difficulty recognizing patterns, and can’t visualize well.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE THIRD EYE CHAKRA

Apply the essential oils to the bottoms of the feet and/or roll between the brow on forehead.

Aromatically: apply the oils to your palms and cup your nose and take deep, long breaths.

Cedarwood inspires feelings of belonging and assists in receiving the love and support of others. Cedarwood reminds us that we are not alone and that life is a shared experience. Cedarwood assists in opening awareness to individuals to the support system that is available to them, including those who have passed on. This essential oil helps to feel a sense of belonging, feeling supported and and emotionally connected.

Lemongrass is a powerful cleanser of energy and helps the individual let go of limiting thoughts and beliefs. Lemongrass clears negative energy from the brow chakra and spiritual eyes. It supports those to feel energy flowing freely and smoothly while assisting in spiritual cleansing. This one helps limits spiritual clarity, cleansing, non-attachment, simplicity, and releasing what is no longer needed.

Frankincense helps you to raise awareness and shine your bright inner light. This essential oil is a powerful oil for assisting in spiritual awakening and helps one to feel the love of the Divine. Frankincense also shields the body and soul from negative influences and assists the soul in spiritual evolution. Frankincense brings about feeling of enlightenment, wisdom, discernment, feeling spiritually open and connected. 

Marjoram is a beautiful herbaceous essential oil that restores trust and openness while softening the heart and tending to past wounds. Marjoram kindles the fires of trust within the self and others. This oil is perfect for feeling emotionally connected and open to others, developing a soft heart and cultivating the ability to trust.

Deep Blue Blend is a blend of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, ylang ylang, helichrysum, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and Osmanthus. This blend encourages individuals to let go of resistance to pain while learning to accept and tolerate the challenges of life. This blend invites one to feel strengthened, soothed, serene and find healing. The Blue Tansy in this blend is particularly strong at bringing about feelings of inspiration, motivated, purposeful and insightful.

Arise is known as the blend of enlightening. The essential oils in this blend include lemon, grapefruit, Siberian Fir, Osmanthus and Melissa. This oil reawakens intuition and insight. It encourages all parts of the mind, body and spirit to unite in wholeness. Arise Blend is powerful in helping someone feel integrated, intuitive, lifted, joyful, optimistic, actualized and enthusiastic. This powerful blend invites one to reclaim the wholeness and to not live beneath their potential.

GEMSTONE FOR THE THIRD EYE CHAKRA

Amethyst. This purple stone is said to be incredibly protective, healing, and purifying. It’s claimed it can help rid the mind of negative thoughts and bring forth humility, sincerity, and spiritual wisdom. Amethyst stimulates the third eye crown as itt helps in enhancing cognitive perception as well as accelerating the development of intuitive and psychic abilities. Also, its inherent high frequency purifies the aura of any negative energy or attachments and creates a protective shield of light around the body. Amethyst helps in developing an ability to think more clearly and decision making. It works deeply on the emotional level to help in building the skill to recognize emotional patterns. 

YOGA FOR THE THIRD EYE CHAKRA

This practice will open and build awareness in your third eye chakra and you may begin to see everything in your life more clearly. The third eye chakra is associated with vision, reality, inspiration, intuition, perception of subtle dimensions and movements of energy, access to mystical states, illumination, connection to wisdom, insight.

Candle Gazing: A candle gazing meditation helps bring energy to the third eye, increases concentration, and improves memory. By channeling our thoughts and focusing our mind, we can regain wasted energy and move towards peace. Through consistent open-eye meditation, you can increase your memory and find an increased state of awareness, which will hone your attention and focus. When your gaze is focused on the flame of a candle, you see nothing else. This allows your mind to fully focus on the candle as everything else in the room fades away from your awareness. At the same time, any invasive thoughts or distractions will also fade away. 

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama:“Nadi” is a Sanskrit word meaning “subtle energy channel” and “shuddhi” means cleansing or purifying. So in yogic speak, this practice cleanses the subtle energy channels so that our prana (life force energy or breath) can flow freely through the body. Inhaling through the left nostril triggers the rest/relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and inhaling through the right stimulates the fight/flight response (sympathetic nervous system). Alternate nostril breathing is about bringing these two opposites into balance. The benefits include: calms and centers the mind, brings the mind to the present moment, increases respiratory health, stress relieving, relaxing for the body and mind, helps purify and balance the the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body, helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality, help to maintain body temperature

Child’s Pose: Child’s Pose is a true resting pose. A pause for the mind, and the body. Placing your forehead, specifically your ‘third eye’ down on the mat (or on stacked fists) has an instant calming and soothing effect on the brain. The inward fold of the body, with the eyes looking back towards you sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe.  This posture creates a light pressure which stimulates the third eye chakra. As you stretch leaning forward and breathe in and out, the practice brings your mental and physical state to a relaxed and stress-free position. 

Downward Dog: This standing, forward bend calms the mind (and sixth chakra), stretches the calves, arms, and spine and energizes the rest of the body. This posture helps us to experience ease of physical balance as well as mental balance. Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression while also energizing the body. This simple and yet complex posture can also decrease tension and headaches, decrease anxiety and provide whole body circulation. 

Forward Fold: When we fold, we lower out head below our heart which helps the tapping of the third eye, and awakens the energy stored in the chakra and cleanses it. The pose further accentuates the feeling of relaxation, works deeply on the hamstring and works on the spine as well. The flow of blood is directed towards third eye chakra in this pose.

Wide-Legged Forward Fold: Another inverted posture that brings your head below your heart and provides a powerful shift for your perception. This pose has benefits on the brain as it helps relaxation, and in some cases the alleviation of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress as well as insomnia, fatigue and headache.

Head-to-Knee Pose: This seated pose brings with it a sense of grounding while also developing flexibility in the back, hamstrings, and hips. Sitting tall with a long spine and legs outstretched in front of you, bend your right knee and place the sole of the right foot against the inner left thigh.

To purchase the essential oils, just go here! I also have chakra blends with gemstones available for sale.

Principles to Live By

In the Yoga world, Pantanjali wrote ancient texts thousands and thousands of year ago and have become the “rules” in which a Yogi attempts to live by. Part of the texts include the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas focus on the ethical standards of how we should conduct ourselves in daily life and the behavior to develop during interactions with the self and others. The five Yamas include truthfulness, non violence, non stealing, non greed, right energy. The five Niyamas are constructive tools for cultivating happiness and self-confidence and they are purification, contentment, self-discipline, self study, and self surrender.

As I have been going back to studying the Sutras, reviewing these principles is always a rich self exploration, especially during this month as I have been teaching my classes around the concept of understanding the foundation of our spirit.

Over the years I have found that knowing (and living within) my values or principles is paramount for my success and overall well-being. When I step aside from them and life becomes challenging, as it often does, I am less likely to respond well.

In contemplative questions, it is useful to ask yourself what are some of the core principles in which you live by.

I like to think of the foundation of a home being what sustains the rest of the structure when storms come by, or the roots of tree that holds it upright during turmoil.

As I have been looking inward and reviewing the Yamas/Niyamas, I spent a few weeks discovering the ten principles in which I live by.

I have come to learn that when we know who we are, we can begin to show up in life through our thoughts, words, and actions in alignment with that inner truth. Knowing who we are is very different than what we are. To learn more about labels, check out this post.

I know when I am showing up outside of these parameters or guidelines because I get easily rattled, I am quick with sharp words, I am impatient and easily overwhelmed. When I am in my truth and aligned with these principles, I feel the wholeness of who I am and know that I am showing up in my most authentic self.

Have you ever thought about what guides you? What your foundation is?

After several weeks of pondering, here are my ten principles.

My Ten Principles

  1. Faith (in my purpose)
  2. Service (to do without gain)
  3. Kindness (just be kind)
  4. Acceptance (for everything)
  5. Diligence (don’t half ass)
  6. Action (necessary for success)
  7. Awareness (stay awake to now)
  8. Belief (knowing, empowering)
  9. Fulfillment (attention to good)
  10. Love (act in alignment with my heart)

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The Gifts of the Present Moment

Can you recall a time recently that you felt completely in the moment? Not thinking about the future, the what-if’s, the pulling away into the chasm of unknowns?

For me, it was this morning.

I have recently reconnected with an old and dear friend, my bicycle.  Since my recent years included multiple hip surgeries I have been unable to really enjoy my bike riding, and I had said a painful goodbye to her years ago. Or so I thought.

I had forgotten how bicycling for me is much different than walking in the sense of presence. The intensity that is required to ride a bike on a bumpy trail, paired with the rhythm of pedal strokes and controlled breathing I found I had the perfect combination to allow the sorrows of recent days and weeks to fade, and to be completely in the now.

This was exactly what I needed.

I discovered while in the spaciousness of being totally present the range of emotion that I have stuffed over the last couple of months.  For a strong-willed person who rarely loses control or allows emotion to take front and center, I simply said yes. I watched as tears fell from my eyes and blurred my vision of the trail, I felt the consuming love only a mom understands, and I let my heart fill with compassion and grace, that at times took the breath right from my lungs.

I stopped.  I took in what was around me.  I let it all sink in.  I welcomed and allowed the emotions that were sunk deep into the cells of my body to the surface.

I said yes. I said yes to what has been ruminating in me since late March.

Not unlike others in recent weeks, you may have heard people sharing how COVID has changed their outlook on life, even in the middle of what seems like a constant division.  Not just a division politically or socially, but sometimes a division within even the dynamics of a family or close circle of friends.  It appears that people are seeming to realize that there are priorities that need to be adjusted and that the things we may have held important need to be reevaluated. I am not any different in taking an inventory of my own life and determining what may need to change.

For me, I have honestly loved the pace of my life that COVID has offered me.  Since I have a hard time saying no to things, this has been an opportunity to have no said for me and I believe wholeheartedly that I will be able to move out of this season with a strong voice that says no to that which does not align with the vision of my life I want to create.

I have also learned to look at the reasons behind saying yes to everything, except myself.  Many of my yes’s were based on fear and some crazy need to be that person who does it all and does it all with perfection.  To the point of exhaustion.

I have enjoyed the space of my home and being deliberate with how I spend my time.  I have a schedule that I stick to and it contains many sections of time devoted to reading, resting, being in my garden, on my bike, or enjoying a french press coffee on my patio. Not racing from facility to facility, cursing at drivers who were driving too slow because I was always late, often because I kept saying yes to something else. I never seemed to have enough time, I was always late and always stressed.

I have also come to see that life isn’t all about work. In fact, I have adjusted my work so much that I don’t know that it will ever resemble what it was.  And, I am more than okay with that. I will return to the things that feed my soul, rather than drain my soul, and I won’t be working to exhaustion–ever again.  I trust that I have built a solid foundation to take my work into the platform it has been proven to be successful the last two months and continue to build from there, but with a thread of honor and deliberate action.

I learned quickly to let go of many people in my life that have an obvious view that is in direct incongruency of who I want to surround myself with. I have seen characteristics of people I would have never guessed that frankly, I don’t have any interest in being around.  Again, more choice and less yes.

I trust in this new time and I know that in the emotions there are also windows of clarity.  I also know the gifts that come in the space of presence.  I welcomed this morning’s gift and promised myself to say yes to this unprecedented time with an open heart and a new path ahead of me.

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Finding Alignment

Imagine for a second if prior to any action you were about to complete you were able to pause and ask yourself this–

What am I doing this for? Why am I doing this?

If your answer is connected to a deep desire for soul fulfillment then YES act on your desires. But if you are engaging for reasons that drag you away from inner peace, then it is a big NO. (Why is this such a hard lesson for so many women to get)?? As I explore this question in the coming days and weeks, I vow to become fearless in my honesty and clear about my motivation while also exploring the beliefs that fuel my action.

I learned at a very age that hard work = validation and love. The harder I worked, the more my mom approved of me and that lended to a warm and happy home. As a young person I found great validation in juggling all of the demands of a sweet family while keeping an immaculate home. In my thirties I added being a single mom, working hard and going to school. In my forties I left my job and became a self-employed entrepreneur. All the while maintaining personal development and a healthy lifestyle. It might be easy to see that I am a perfectionist and get fueled by its demands.

And, I also suffer from burnout and exhaustion. So as I begin to teach this throughout the week and how perfectionism can get in the way of inner peace, I am going to offer up the question “why am I doing this?” with each crossroad of a decision. If the answer doesn’t resonate deeply with my soul in an effort to be aligned with my best self, then the answer will be a resounding no. With that I am ready to discover a force far bigger than myself and take in what the freedom that comes with doing things that feel good, not what is expected.

The Potential

The Course in Miracles tells us that we have two basic emotions–love and fear. It goes on to say that we are either acting in love or we are acting in fear. To act in Love means that we are joyful, creative, aligned with our vision and service is at the heart of our actions. To act in Fear means we are competitive, judgmental, living in a mindset of lack and accumulating nonsense for the self.

We can see this so easily when we take a hard look at our reactions or responses to everyday things. The “me” mentality that seems to overshadow the potential for goodness in our communities and even our country. While the world arounds us lives in the space of winning and gathering up all the abundance they can, it has become my mission this month to go into love….deep into love as I look intensely at my life and the choices that I make everyday.

Last week I began to ask myself if the choices I am making support the life I am trying to create. Is the hustle and bustle worth it? Am I in alignment with the vision I have for my life, which as you recall is a form of love. Am I coming at my work from the place of service or grasping at the concept of more, which is rooted in fear.

This week on the mat as we continue looking at freedom and liberation, we will explore the idea of love and fear as it relates to a current obstacle in our life. I have a few challenges of my own and I am choosing to see the potential versus the problem.

The Commitment

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 a night of grief and despair, 

weary and bruised to the bone, 

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

Do you have it in you? Can you dig deep even on the days when you are exhausted, riddled with grief and despair and do what needs to be done?

Life cries out in its needs whether we feel good or not.  It cries out whether we are rich or poor, filled with excitement or anguish.

To take care of life and all its children; mother earth, animals, plants, our babies we must fall back onto our commitment to simply show up and do what needs to be done.  It may not always be our best, or the prettiest, but we must.

It is actually in the moments when surrender to what IS and we stop fighting with life when she calls us, we actually become lifted and often inspired.  It is in that inspiration that we find strength.  And it is there we go back to our commitment. It is often when whatever we are facing seems impossible, we let go of the grips of trying and instead just buckle under and do what needs to be done.

When we eventually move out of the troubling situation, the exhaustion, the anguish we can see that we actually did so with great strength, and at times even nobility.

Each of us has a commitment to feed “children”.  It is the way you care for your home, your community, your earth, and how you go about your life.

See the world and all the millions of people who are weary and tired and yet, somehow get up and do what needs to be done.  See yourself as the little child and someone in your life cared for you, whether it was a parent, grandparent, teacher or neighbor, see the times when your little body felt loved. See those in our world who are not able to feed their children; refugees, starving places of war and horror, a momma waiting for her boy who is lost in drugs and violence.  Feel their dreams coupled with desperation. See yourself now. See who you feed now.  Be aware of how everyone is so deserving of love and care.

Take a breath of willingness to commit. Commit your body into the pose.  Commit your thoughts to be in alignment with your vision. Commit your heart to be of love.

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