More Than a Yoga Teacher

I have heard over and over to not play small.  To not shrink.  To not settle.  To not allow your light to shine bright because it might blind another.

And yet, I have.

I minimize the work I do with the thought that I don’t want to brag or seem like I am speaking from a place of ego.  So when someone asks me what I do for a living, I tend to answer (in a small voice), “a yoga teacher”.

Yes, I am that. But I am so much more. I am a giver, a teacher, a light.  I bring hope to others who may have little. I am a wellness coach and bringer of strategies and opportunities to change lives.  I am a healer. I am a beacon.  I touch people, figuratively and literally.  I am a business woman.  No… a SUCCESSFUL beyond my wildest imagination business owner.  I am the CEO/accountant/administrator/marketing team/delivery driver/assistant/strategist and CFO.

I am that.

And that is whole lot more than just “a yoga teacher”.

So the next time someone asks me what I do, my answer is going to be bigger.  It is going to be “I am a successful business owner in the field of holistic wellness”.

No more playing small for this lady.

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When the Bees Come

If you want something different in your life, go out and get it!

Years ago, I had a J.O.B and even though it was fulfilling and I made a difference in people’s lives (I worked in special education), I knew that I wanted to do more.

I took a huge risk—especially financially and in my sense of safety. Some of you know that when I took a Brene Brown course a few years ago, I learned that safety is my #1 value—a must have in every aspect of my life. And yet, here I was leaving a job with a steady income and benefits to teach yoga.

Was I crazy? Nope, I was determined and I was in alignment with my soul. I was the blossom and I knew that the bees would come. And boy have they ever!

Today, I teach on average 28 classes a week and am abundantly rewarded in so many ways, not just financially. The bees are definitely buzzing but even more important, I know that I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Go for it!

Dear Mom

Even though we have made it through the hardest of times. Still, being a momma to a special needs kid is it’s own unique and often so difficult journey……

Dear Special Needs Mom,

I want you to know that I see you.

I see you running your child to therapy when your friends are running their kids to Little League.

I see you slipping out the of conversation when your friends are all chiming in about milestones and test grades.

I see you juggling appointments and meetings, always making sure you do the best for your child.

I see you sitting at your computer for hours researching what your child needs.

I see you cringe when people whine about the petty things that pale in comparison to your day.

I see you spread thin, but still going the extra mile for your family, and managing to do it with a smile.

I see you digging for depths of strength you never dreamed you had.

I see you showing appreciation to the teachers, therapists and medical professionals who serve your child with you.

I see you reluctantly rising early in the morning to do it all again after another chaotic night.

I see you when you’re hanging on to the end of your rope for dear life.

I know you feel invisible, like nobody notices any of it. But I want you to know that I notice you. I see you in the trenches, relentlessly pushing onward. I see you keep choosing to do everything in your power to give your child the best possible care at home, in school, at therapy, and the doctor. What you’re doing matters. It’s worth it. On those days when you wonder if you can do it another minute, I want you to know that I see you. I want you to know that you’re beautiful. I want you to know that it’s worth it. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. I want you to know that love is what matters most, and you have that nailed.

And on those days when you have breakthroughs, those times when the hard work, pays off and success is yours to cherish, I see you then too, and I am proud of you.

Whichever day today is, you’re worthy, you’re good, and I see you.

My Manifesto

A couple of years ago I took a course online with one of my favorite teachers ever–Brene Brown. It was a game changer for me.

In the course I learned so much about my myself and taking ownership of my life, my stories and ultimately my future. She is one that reminded me to pick myself up, wipe off the dust and get on with it.

I also discovered my deepest core value–safety. The core value is the thing that when you are off course, you feel it in painful ways.

This means that in all aspects of my life I must have safety. Relationships have to be steady and safe without those inconsistent and unpredictable where-the-hell-did-that-come-from stuff that usually happens. You know, things are going smooth and all of a sudden you see the other side? I can’t handle that. Anything that rocks my boat and causes me to feel on shaky ground is no good for me.

My work has to be from my heart and with an ethical foundation. Otherwise, my safety value is shook up. If I am asked to do something out of alignment, I immediately feel the gut sensation that this is not going to be good. Thankfully, since being self-employed I get to choose, and therefore feel safe. I walk away and let go of opportunities that don’t jive with my value. It’s powerful to know this and then be able to make decisions that are part of your own Truth.

Financially I need to know exactly where I am at with money because that feels safe. I have a tight and methodical budget and I know exactly what I need to reach my goals.

It may sound like I am a control freak, but it’s not that at all. My deepest value–the thing that I must have in place–is what drives my ship. And when I am engaging in something that rattles my sense of safety, I know I need to go back and take a look at what is showing up.

I am unable to be in a relationship or a job that doesn’t have an element of feeling safe and secure. Unsteady ground chips away at my spirit and pulls me away from my soul purpose.

One of the final lessons in this course was to take your value and create a personal manifesto. Something that speaks to the life you are committed to living and is a powerful reminder of your purpose.

I have my manifesto placed in locations where I see it over and over. It’s also at the bottom of my email signature. My manifesto is what drives me and that makes me feel incredibly safe.

Every word, thought and action needs to benefit humanity and my own spiritual path. Being of service and living in a way that is rooted in my deepest value is my only way to live.

Truth Is

Truth is I am tired. Raising a kid with a disability (alone) and figuring out adult things like housing, long term care, respite providers are just a few of the burdens that rest on my strong shoulders. Being able to take a weekend away, attend a training or go on vacation are added layers of frustration and loss. Worrying about her when I am no longer here can easily push me over the brink.

Since she was a young girl I have visioned and seen her living partially independent in a cottage/mother-in-law house behind my house. You know where we share a backyard? Where she has access to support but also learning how to be independent. Where she can have her space and I can have mine. I am SO close to having this happen, but then again I am so far away.

I am tired.

Tired of worrying about her.

Tired of working so hard.

Tired of EVERYDAY being responsible for her.

But, I must go on.

I must keep going. It will happen. I have faith and I know I have the strength and endurance to do this….otherwise, I would not have her.

Breaking Cycles

Part of the unfolding of my life has been removing the barriers and the layers of unneccessary beliefs and stories that I had made up about myself. It has also been deciding that enough is enough and then committing to change. Part of those changes have been breaking cycles of dysfunction not only to better myself, but to also be an example, especially to my kids.

Becoming a young mom required me to become selfless at a really young age.  As much as I treasured having three little humans to care for and love, it was not until I was about thirty-five that I began to give to myself as much as I gave to them. I am not sure that even if  I had the do-over I would change anything. Of course it would have been possible to give to both them and myself, but the wake up that I had in my mid-thirties was absolutely perfect as it was.

The process of waking up was the beginning of me taking back my power–grabbing back the light that I truly am and stoking the flame with goodness.  I found my soul purpose work, I reclaimed my physical health, I took hold of my inherent love and began to blossom into who I am today.

The cycle of self-loathing and self-destructive behaviors ended and with complete affirmation–I decided that there would be no more.  I took back my health, my emotions, my dreams and my mojo.

It struck me the other day that there is another cycle that I have the power to break.

Here is what it has looked like in my family–live and die fairly financially strapped.  Perhaps living month to month with no real financial future like retirement funds, second homes, investments.  Except for my father who died very wealthy but chose to not inherit any of the funds to myself or my kids, my family has been very “middle class”.  Personally, I have never experienced a windfall–no big settlements from a divorce, not one alimony check (it was rare to even get child support), money from a wealthy relative, no big real estate wins….nada.  Sadly, my children’s father died incredibly broke and had chosen to not have life insurance, so he left my kids with nothing but heartache. And so the cycle was continued for them.

But I have the power to change that.

I realized the other morning that just as I have changed old beliefs and pattens and then created an amazing life, I also have the power to do the same with money for my kids. It hit me that everything that I have achieved has been my own doing from decades of really hard work, and that although I have demonstrated great work-ethic to my kids, I have the power to change their lives.  They learned how to work and be self-sufficient, they learned how to budget and live within their means, they have eaten ramen for weeks on end in order to pay rent.

But what would happen if they were given something I have never been given?  What if they had help buying their first home? What if their dreams could come true with the gift of financial freedom? What if they had the financial security that I never had?

I have the power to change their lives.

I have the power to break the cycle of financial dysfunction.

I have the power to leave not just a legacy, but also security.

I have the power. Say that out loud a few times and just watch what happens to your confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

I Did It

Today is a HUGE day for me. And it has nothing to do with a crazy good teaching yoga and business month.

This celebration is personal and it has been something I have been working SO hard on for months. You see, back in November I chose 3/1 to be the last day I would never take another narcotic pain medication. I have been prescribed these drugs for over 5 years for a variety of orthopedic reasons and last fall it was determined that my brain was dependent on them. Thankfully I am an incredibly strong willed woman and when I set a goal, I do not give up until it is reached. I actually stopped taking the narcotic 4 days ago, but today is a huge day in my overall recovery because it is the day I knew that I would be done. It was the day I chose to reclaim my body and my spirit. It was the day that I would be done. And I am.

The tapering off was slow and mindful, and not easy at all—I relied on meditation, essential oils, many, many long baths, friends and support from those closest to me. I suffered from withdrawals and it took crazy, crazy strength and tenacity to get through it, but I am so grateful to say that I have. I realize that I still will still likely have some bad days, but I each day that I am further away from it all, the more empowered I feel to handle anything.

So, today I am buying myself some flowers and celebrating my overcoming and success on the absolute hardest thing I have EVER done.

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Sacred Friends

There are some people who come into your life and stay forever despite the ups an downs of life and the distance that comes when moving hundreds of miles away.  For some it may seem that it takes an effort to maintain a friendship where you no longer see each other face to face each week, but for me it has been anything but effort.

I believe that true friends can be apart and remain close because there is an energetic pull that keeps two people connected. The foundation that my friend and I created years ago is the solid footing that has kept our sacred friendship intact.

Saturday morning bike rides to get coffee, breakfasts out, hiking weekly, laughing until we are literally leaking in places we should not be leaking, sacred weekends in Sedona, exploring spirituality, eating amazing food together and so much more was the brick and mortar that built our friendship.

Because we had those years of creating memories when we have each been handed life challenges since she moved to another state our friendship has only deepened. Without any doubt in my mind, I know that no matter what is happening in our lives, we have each others back.  We have the unconditional and most sacred kind of friendship where there is no space for judgment or comparison–it is simply pure love.

This past weekend I hopped on a plane to surprise her as this amazing soul is embarking on a journey that is going to test her to her core.  It has been three years since I saw her face and it was a moment that I will never forget.  Her weeping and laughing all at once was absolutely perfect.

My heart will be full of love for her in the coming weeks and months.  I am surrounding her and her family with light and love. I am honoring her life, her journey and her incredible strength.

She is my best friend.  She is my hero.  She is my inspiration.

After all , her motto is–Live, Laugh, Love.

 

Five Minutes of My Life

I have come to learn that during this season of focusing on our own goals and our own aspirations we can sometimes become consumed with ourselves.  This is not necessarily a bad thing but I have found that this time of year we can lose site of the openings of kindness for someone else that trickle in all the time.

Last week in my state of business as I was leaving a class at a senior facility I grabbed my bag and attempted to hurry out the store.  I stopped for a second to say goodbye to the sweet little man who often just sits at the computer and cries.  He chooses to never participate in yoga and I rarely see him interact with anyone. Instead, he just cried. Weeps is more like it.

There was my moment to choose myself or choose kindness.

I pulled up a chair and leaned towards him.  He wiped his tears and stuttered a bit as I sat to talk to him. Since the yoga class prior was about setting goals for growth and personal development, I asked him if he had a goal.  He very quietly whispered, “do you think it is too late to learn to read?”

He is 61 years old.  He had never learned to read.

No wonder he sits in front a computer crying until someone types into the search bar what he is looking for. I got a bit closer and pulled up an easy online reading game and together, we sounded out the letters of the alphabet and some simple words in the game. His face was beaming when he realized that he looked at a picture, a letter and a word and together “read” the word apple. He clutched at my arm and said, “I am reading”.

Five minutes of my life.

I got out of my life and my goals and gave kindness.  It really is so simple.

 

 

Divine Plan

I have always been a believer in all things happen for a reason.  I have lived with the faith that there is a much greater source with a divine plan in mind.  It is up to me to be open to live according to the plan with grace.

Recently, I began to share openly that I am in the middle of a struggle with a dependency on opioids following several surgeries and chronic pain over the last two years. I have a great set of strategies that includes meditation, tapering slow, essential oils, tons of support from those who love me and more.   I am confident that because of my tenacity and positive outlook, I will overcome this.

As soon as I spoke the words aloud and began to own the issue by voicing it and not being consumed with shame or let down with myself, I have experienced moments where I am being validated by Spirit that this is indeed what I am supposed to be speaking about. Sharing our truth can not only be freeing for ourselves, but it can be a portal for empowerment for others.

Following the day that I first wrote about my struggle on my other blog, I had an encounter that was a solid affirmation that what I am experiencing is a chance to choose to do something powerful with it.   I was sitting at a local starbucks with my laptop doing some work between clients.  Most of the tables were full with similar people doing similar things. Prior to getting up to leave, a young girl about 17 years old approached my table and then walked away.  She approached me again and said, “I need help….I need to make it to an appointment but I am not sure where I am and how to get there from here…..can you google it for me?” I quickly opened up another tab and asked her where she was trying to go.  As I looked at her face, I saw a haunting familiar look in her eyes.  She said, “An addiction place….I have to get to a meeting…..it is really important”.  Of all the people in the coffee shop, she chose me.  Like two souls connecting in a way that neither spoke about.  I gave her the route and wished her well.

The next day I received an email from a friend who I have not seen in a long time, but has seen pictures of me on social media.  We exchanged a few emails and I openly shared my struggle.  In her next response she said she suspected something was going on based on the look in my eyes.  The look.

Affirmations.

I learned this week in big ways that it is okay to speak about this.  Not just speak but speak loudly.  To share and open up the conversation that this is REAL. And it sucks, but it real.  It is what I am facing and it is an opportunity to do something with it; make a difference, be the voice, spread awareness, be transparent and be authentic.

And who knows, maybe this is a doorway to walk through that will use my teachings and my gifts to bring light to others who walk the same path.  Maybe a support group.  Maybe a Yoga and Meditation series designed specifically for those who share my story.

For sure a Divine Plan.