Bold #1

My intention this year is to BOLD. To take risks and walk to the edge of my comfort zone, or even beyond. 

Last year I learned that my deepest and most rooted core value is safety. The decisions I make and the people with who I surround myself all support my need and value of safety. I am meticulous and deliberate with most, if not all, aspects of my life both personally and professionally. 

It’s how I operate. 

Following my second hip surgery in just eight months and with some encouragement from my love, I opted to begin looking at a car that would be easier to get in and out of and offer me more comfort and safety. Reluctant to spend the money, I hesitated. The idea of a car payment played with my sense of safety, despite the fact I make plenty of money and my credit score came back 844 (which initially I was more stoked about than the car itself). 

Add in the laborious decision of what car to choose. I immediately sensed the shaking of my sense of security. 

So here is where being BOLD comes in. Rather than play safe and buy a car that is average and middle of the road in looks and features, I walked to the edge of my safety bubble to buy something functional, safe, fun and oh, so sassy. 

Life isn’t for shying away from. Life is to be BOLD. 

True Oneness

For about ten years, I have been sharing Yoga with people living with disabilities. A variety of limitations and challenges ranging from autism to down syndrome to traumatic brain injuries to intellectual disabilities.  When I listened to the whispering to bring Yoga to people who could not easily access a traditional class, I knew that my soul was aligned.

Since I began teaching, I have always felt that it truly is a reciprocal sharing and that I am not the ‘teacher’.  Certainly, I bring a set of skills and knowledge to share with them, but we are in it together and I believe that there is no separation from student and teacher.

My teaching style has always been to teach in a circle.  A union.  A circle to me represents no beginning and no end, a continuum. Within that sacred space of the circle, we can see each other and connect.  I feel that this creates a community within the group and fosters a sense of ‘oneness’.

People ask me if I am a Yoga Therapist. I will never describe myself as that, and I even shy away from the title ‘teacher’.  I feel that my work, and my service, is a united and shared experience in which I learn as much as those in the circle.

A beautiful showcase of this ‘oneness’ is featured in a short news segment documenting one of the classes I share Yoga with.  Enjoy!

http://www.koaa.com/clip/13002428/adaptive-yoga-sessions-help-people-with-traumatic-brain-injuries-recover

 

BOLD 2017

It came to me through a deep sleep state. The word for 2017 is BOLD, defined as (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

Fiercely bold.

Adventurously bold.

Sensationally  bold.

Deliberately bold.

Passionately bold.

I cannot wait to see how this powerhouse shows up this year!

 

Reflection 2016

As I have written time and time again, this is my favorite time of year to reflect upon my year and cultivate a sense of openness to what may arrive for my coming year.  For the last many years I have used one word as a starting point for the next 365 days. At the end of the year, as I read my journal entries and get quiet in reflection, I am always in awe as to how that single word showed up in my life the past twelves months.

2016 the word was Peace.  Let’s just see how it showed up.

January: The beginning of a new year and a new intention.Throughout this month there was deep conflict in my significant romantic relationship.  Bouts of turmoil and challenging conversations forced me at that time to think I needed to maintain a sense of peace.  Despite my greatest efforts, the month was a painful and difficult start of my year. My birthday was a complete disaster and I was fighting for my sense of survival and self.  Around the end of the month, a gigantic snow (and my stubbornness to take care of myself) resulted in a final blow to my already compromised hip and back issues. What was about to come would test my ability to carry peace for the months ahead.

February:  I  enrolled in an online course with Brene Brown called Living Brave in January and I had begun to learn more about myself than I had ever thought possible.  I learned about my core value and how throughout my life, I had made decision after decision (or reacted again, and again) to what I now realize was attempting to protect my core value. Just knowing and understanding this was a platform for the rest of my year.  The fella and I began our process of resolution and understanding that would take us down a road of deep love and shared growth.  What I realized this month, was that peace is available–always available when you know who you are and own your stuff.

March: During the early days of spring, I wrote in my journal about how my personal yoga and meditation practice was helping me to find that spacious stillness that had seemed to gotten lost through the development of grueling physical pain and the ever-transforming romance and connection. As it happens when one practices gratitude and steps away from their story, a celebration of divine intervention can happen. This was a definite love wins kind of month and that allowed for peace. I also worked diligently on embracing what was showing up, rather than pushing it aside.

April:  It seemed that the beginning and end of this month was all about the parent-child relationship. From the parent vantage, the start of this month I watched as my youngest son made some grown up decisions that validated my presence/influence in his life which demonstrated  his ability to make choices that were (hopefully) setting him up for success and a path to self-confidence. The end of the month gave me the most beautiful gift of healing with my mom. Sandwiched between these two special moments, I revisited what it means to really practice.

May: They say that laughter opens the heart and soothes to soul.  I can attest to the truth in that statement. The peace is palpable when I read about through the month of May. From receiving the unexpected heirloom gift to the wheelchair rides through the Garden of the Gods, it is evident that even though the surgery was painful there was also such space to receive love. I loved how I got to learn about myself and where I had been investing my focus.

June:  About six months into the year and there has been a tremendous amount of peace through the newness of my home, the practice of observing rather than doing as my body heals,and being incredibly vulnerable.  As we know with all that goodness, there must most certainly be some darkness to balance life out–the paradox of life. As I worked through my life long lesson of survival and surrender, I learned that to give, one must also be willing to receive.  Settling into that form of peace took some serious growth on my part.

July: Living with chronic pain and the up and downs that come with hopes, and then disappointments can be as exhausting as the pain itself.  I learned that there is humility in owning the truth. Through the unfolding comes a great amount of freedom.  I worked through fear and uncertainty by coming back to my truth.  In my journal this month, the word truth was scribbled over and over.  I repeatedly wrote about soul-work and truth.  I decided this month that nurturing myself through service was how I could overcome the wretched pain that was eating my soul.  My meditation practice and reading a lovely extended book about the wonderful poem The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, was my saving grace and opportunity for peace this month.

August: This month I chose to reclaim my practices for the self.  I vowed to go back to my yoga mat, my solo walks, my meditation practice to name a few in search of peace.  I also dug deep into the continual life long pattern of ‘pleasing’ and how the anxiety of feeling unworthy can spiral into a dark place.  I looked to nature to see that despite set-backs in my health and challenges that life gives, I too can be persistent.

September: As I turned the 4th month mark of my hip surgery, I began to experience pain again that felt all too familiar.  Weary with it, I began the journey back to the doctor to try to resolve what my be going on.  This painful reality scraped at my soul.  I knew that I was becoming weakened by the daily grind and the energy it took to keep moving forward. And yet, despite the physical agony and fear that I would never improve, I fell further in love with the man who would offer soothing balm for so many of my lifelong wounds.  He would be the one that led me to a different way of viewing things that allowed me to open doors of freedom and ultimate peace. Through one of the doors, I found that this type of unconditional love bought out the sweet little girl inside of me to experience all of life’s little gifts.

October: Early this month as I was hiking in one of my favorite spaces I looked at my patterns and noticed old behaviors lurking.  I saw that I was still carrying regrets, judgments, blame and unhealthy thoughts.  As I was surrounded by the paradox of glorious color of fall and the ease of leaves effortlessly letting go, I realized that just like that I could simply let go.  Release what no longer needed to be held onto and settle into peace. Softly allow those memories to fall. As I made space in my heart I had an ah-h moment where I realized the masks I have been hiding behind for much of life and as a result the patterns I noticed early were easily recognizable.

November: The chaos of this nation during election year brought a chance for me to practice peace on a nearly daily basis. While I found myself reacting to the different views and opinions, I knew that this was simply a test for me to stay on course and to be with the peace that exists in me, no matter turmoil was around me. I also was called back to offer the world something besides hatred and separation.

December: For about 10 years, I have had a meditation and gratitude practice that includes affirmative prayer and mantra.  I have been committed to being thankful for is yet come into my life as a way of believing in the law of attraction and intention.  Early in the month during meditation something hit me and boy, did it hit me hard. The effortlessness of the energy spiraling outward, rather than grasping or seeking to obtain, completely opened my heart in a new and refreshingly peaceful way. I had intended for this to be a year of peace, and instead life showed up in a very real and painful way.  As the days of this month came to a close, life handed me one of the most difficult of days. Through this experience I can reflect now that I did not just maintain peace, but I had come to rely on it.  Another surgery to hopefully repair the hip (again) closed out my year, and I sit now with a smile on my face and a happy heart knowing that I am deeply loved and appreciated.

On many levels 2016 required me to dig deep into my very own wellspring of peace that lies deep in my own heart space. As I would be forced to lie face down in the dirt of life’s arena countless times, I learned that my safety and secuirty is paramount to my healthy existence and that it is not peace that I seek, but rather I am peace.

Blessings to each of you as you welcome 2017.

Bittersweet

It is the middle of the night phone call no mother wants to get.  The one where time stops.

The feeling of slowness in which you can’t seem get to him fast enough.  The moment your eyes see him.  Touch his face.  Hold his hand.  Wipe his tears.  Look into his eyes.

And when the initial panic is over and the reassurance that by a miracle he will be okay,  momma crumbles with the weight of it all. One minute I am strong and the next I find myself washed up in heartache.

In the coming days the sound of a siren punches me in the stomach.  The overwhelming worry crushes me. The relief that he is okay consumes me.  The closeness of what may have been devours me. I am in a riptide of emotion wanting badly to gasp for air.

In one breath I am so grateful, in another breath I am so sad.

Bittersweet.  So very bittersweet.

As I process the last five days, I realize that through this experience I discovered within myself another deep, deep layer of compassion being exposed. Painfully exposed. During this I witnessed an insight as to what the family members and parents have gone through with the clients I share yoga with; the bedside tears, the inundation of medical information, the crushing sadness and fear.

Perhaps this pain will make be a better person. It will crack me open into new territory that I would have missed had my child not had a brush with mortality. I know that I will hold him a bit tighter, I will feel a little deeper, I will pause a little more, and I will for sure use this to love a whole bunch more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generous

Like a slap in the face (gently and with much love), meditation this morning brought me the word ‘generous’.  Generous is defined as characterized by a noble or kindly spirit;  liberal in giving ; marked by abundance.

As I went deeper into understanding generous through my space of stillness, I realized that as I choose to focus on being generous versus being abundant, the flow goes from inward grasping of obtaining to an outward flow of giving.

If I am generous with my faith, there is no space for fear.

If I am generous with my love, there is no space for separation.

If I am generous with my money, there is no space for lack.

If I am generous with my presence, there is no space for distance.

If I am generous with my listening, there is no space for indifference.

If I am generous with my attentiveness, there is no space neglect.

If I am generous with my understanding, there is no space for ignorance.

If I am generous with my compassion, there is no space for judgment.

If I am generous with my patience, there is no space for frustration.

If I am generous with my time, there is no space for feeling overwhelmed.

If I am generous with my health, there is no space for illness.

If I am generous with my light, there is no space for dark.

For years I have lived by, and reaped the benefits of following and understanding the law of attraction.  Going into a much deeper level of the idea of generous feels so free to be no longer in the mind-set of obtaining, but instead an outward flow of bestowing.

How wonderfully simple.

 

 

 

Being Real

No matter how much I try to stay hopeful and find comfort through my belief that good does eventually come from most not-so good situations, I would be lying if I said I am not scared, shocked, terrified, but mostly deeply saddened by the outcome of our election.

So sad that when I woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning  I gasped in shock, then immediately went to the shower to wash off what felt like filth as tears poured down my face.

I am sad for people with disabilities. I am sad for people of color.  I am sad for women.  The many questions that I ask and that I hear others asking continue to swirl in my mind….how can this be?  How did we get to this point in American history that we elect someone who has been recorded as being so full of hate.  How?

Maybe because we need to crack so that new light can come in.  Maybe because we need to fall apart in order to rebuild. Maybe because our culture has become so full of hatred and entitlement and blame that it is easier to be angry than it is to be responsible.

I realize that the responsibility starts with myself.  And so I take responsibility for not stuffing my feelings of despair in order to see some far-away potential. Instead, I am choosing to let myself feel what I feel; the anguish, the sadness, the fear.

And then I get on with my day.  Making a difference.  Being light.  Showing love and kindness.  Being real.

Ripple Effect

As I observe the happenings of the country during this election season, and my own reactions to the chaos, I am reminded that what we/I choose to act upon or engage in influences others.

I go back time and time again to the idea of the ripple effect of our words, thoughts and actions.  Words I cannot take back, actions that hurt others or are out of alignment with peace, and thoughts of separation that do not involve acceptance.

If I were to toss out hatred, the people closest to me would be impacted by this.  They would either move away from me, or join me in my dislike and negativity.  As they  began engage in that belief, the people closest to them would begin to shift, and so on and so on.

Soon–as I believe we see everyday–the circles of hatred would grow to be larger and larger.

Coming upon a group of middle school children waiting for their bus yesterday, I watched as a man stopped his truck in traffic and jumped out of his vehicle and begin screaming and chasing these innocent children.  His manic and outright violent behavior will forever be embedded in these kids minds.  I pray that they use this experience as an agent for change and for peace.  I pray that they learn to not engage with behavior like this, including racial animosity.  I pray that they become the faces of peace.

It is my hope that we all can learn to toss out love and then watch the ripple effect of goodness permeate our circles, and beyond.  It is my hope that we can become the world that is demonstrated through the obvious signs of nature–a harmony and rhythm that requires only observation.

I choose to toss out love.

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The real deal

This week I have been teaching the concept of how we are often wearing masks and how to ultimately learn to live from a place of authenticity and true Self. While doing my research on this topic, I ran across a great article from Huffington Post about five common masks we wear.

Like a poke in the eye, two of the five masks jumped from the article to blatantly scream out to me–YES, YES!  Recognize me???

How many times in an effort to remain positive and always looking through the lens of roses and perfection have I denied the painful truth? When has June Cleaver taken over the reality that life is hard.  And by hard, I mean H.A.R.D.  Living with a disabled adult child, which is really like living with a full-grown eight year old, is hard.  It is far from the perfect mask that I often wear.

The ‘June Cleaver’ mask of perfection hides the shame.  The pain. The loss. The frustration.  Mostly, this mask hides the quiet whispers that say  “I don’t want to do this anymore….that I am done”.

I want a life outside of disability and from being a caregiver.  I long for that phase of life when the kids are raised and my life can be lived for myself with the pleasures that I dream of.

It is fair to also say that the mask of perfection serves as a shield to hide the guilt I feel when I utter those words.

Certainly it can also be a great coping strategy. By believing and sharing that all is perfect, it often though keeps me from crumbling into the arms of anyone willing to listen when I reveal that I am tired, I am done living with an eight year old and that worrying about the daily happenings of someone else is truly exhausting.

That is not the only mask I wear.

When I am not wearing my perfection mask, I am donning my mask of strength.  The counter mask to the perfection mask, this one protects all that is.  It stands tall for anyone daring to mess with me, or the girl.  It is the mask that overcomes physical and emotional pain.  It subdues anyone who questions me, or my choices.

It is the epitome of badass.

Throughout this week of teaching/learning about life with and without a mask, I not only had the chance to look squarely in the face of what I do to cope, but also at the reality of what is.

The authenticity of what is.

The real deal is that I am tired.  Some days I am really sick of autism.  I am struggling many days to hang with the physical pain my broken body feels.  I worry about the future.  I fear the unknown.  I ache for what I have never had.

Without the masks to shield me, that is my truth.  Am I any less?  Nah, I am more real. I am far more genuine than the girl who hides behind perfection and strength. And a bit of me feels far more free for admitting it.

 

 

 

 

The Letting Go

I noticed this morning the letting go of the leaves and I was reminded that the beautiful colors are a sign that growth is coming to the end of a cycle. A time when we also enter into a cycle of letting go.  No longer striving to be bountiful, a softness enters and we have the opportunity to shed, to fall away, to take time to rejuvenate and rest.

I looked at my life and considered that I too am experiencing my own seasonal change.  Or perhaps more specifically, I am seeing what no longer serves me, or what I have carried through perhaps too many seasons.  I believe at the heart of these metamorphic transitions– whether subtle or bold–we hold the key to the life we deserve and are destined to live.

As my feet plodded along the rocky trail and while I took in the presence of Life, my prayers flowed.

May I find within my shadow what needs to be shed and allow it to shed.

May I have the grace to loosen my grip on the aspects of my daily life that impede my peace.

May I find the forgiveness for others that I wish upon for myself.

May I let go of what is holding me back and keeping me from what I am worth.

May I be the light that I am and not hide in the dark corners of life.

May I release the old to make room for the new.

May I find the clarity to embrace what is and let go of what was.

May I surrender, and in doing that, be free.

May I be beautiful in the process of letting go.

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