The Paradox

It is funny how this time of year always brings a set of emotions that range from grief to gratitude, and everything in between.  This year especially I am finding myself even more in need for solitude as I navigate the sea of feelings that I seem to be experiencing.

This month I have witnessed the most beautiful moment as my sweet grand-baby took her first breath.  It was truly magical.  Within days of being consumed with a love I did not know existed, I learned of those sweet souls I have known in my work who took their very last breath. I was reminded again that within those two important breaths, life offers so much joy and an often an equal amount of pain. Ultimately it is what we do with both that makes our life have meaning.

Twenty five years ago I lost a dream and gained a purpose. While on one hand having a child with a disability has been one of the hardest things I have done, it is also the source of my direction. So the paradox is one that I allow my mind to explore.

It is often during this week every year that I allow myself to ask the “what ifs”; what if she was typical, what if she was graduating college, what if she was getting married, what if she was having a baby, etc.  On the flip side of those questions I look at who she is and what she has given me; purpose, direction, unconditional love, simplicity, and a divine plan.

This paradox of life and death, grief and gratitude, loss and gain, joy and pain always finds me to be remarkable.  I suppose it is just like everything in life–temporary.  So that breath I just took in, I must also be let go.

And so is life.

I have decided yet again that the space between the first and the last is truly where LIFE exists–love, magic, connection, acceptance, passion and purpose. So, we must learn to lean into the joys and the pains because it is just part of what is.

I am incredibly grateful that I have had time alone in the trees to figure all this out and makes sense and peace with what is.  What I have come to know is that all things happen as they should and it is a choice as to what I do with it.

Today, I choose gratitude for being given the gift of my girl. I choose to remain aware of the space between the first and the last and commit to making my life the best it can be.

Morning Offering

Spring is such a rich time of hope.  It lends itself to a sense of newness and birth of ideas and even more, of dreams.  A time when the determination of a plant gives hope to my own life that I too can forge on through the hardened crust and bloom.  Spring is a time of sensational colors and a giant breathe of LIFE.  Too often I find myself forgetting that each morning can be exactly the same.

Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~ John O’Donahue

 

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My Introvert Self

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

This morning I took off on a solo hike and did just that. I visited one of my favorite tree friends I have ever known. She has been a friend for many years and though I haven’t gone to say hello in a long time, she still greeted me with the same wonderful welcome. I played on the icy trails and I basked in the warm sun. My sweet dog and I crossed over 4 miles of Mother Earth and it was just what I needed to refuel and get clarity on a few things weighing on me.

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

I was reminded again just how blessed I am and how grateful I am that my health has finally returned. I am able to freely walk and enjoy activities without pain. I am so happy to finally say I am on my way!

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

Limitless

Ahhh….with a new year comes a sense of spaciousness that awaits.  For some it is about resolutions, or as one of my greatest teachers once said a resolution is simply a premeditated disappointment.  We have all been there–the vow to lose weight, or save money, or leave the crappy job, or find the perfect mate–only to be greatly let down when a few months into the year those desires seem to fade, or at the least the effort it takes to get the desires diminishes.

I get it.

We set goals, and we often get tired or frustrated because we live in an instant world and we should all know by now that some of the things we typically make resolutions around take time.  Yep, they take time.  And time means we have to be diligent and patient.  Sounds like a bunch of let downs, doesn’t it?

This year I spent way too much time thinking of a word or a vision for my upcoming year.  Rather than get into my heart space, I was consumed in my head with thoughts and ideas. I had a direction I thought I might want to take my year and my life, but neither of the two words that I had in my mind seemed to really hit me in the gut.

And just like that, I was sitting around minding my own business, NOT thinking about a word or a vision and it struck me.  And I mean, STRUCK me.  I felt it in my heart.

LIMITLESS. As defined, it is without end, limit or boundary; vast, infinite. Ahhh, yes.

As I spent the last week contemplating all the ways that I flourished last year, I was in awe of the magic in my life.  From the booming of my business, the falling into place of my personal life, the welcoming of a new life as a grandmother (what??) and the fullness of my bounty , I am in deep gratitude for all that I have created in my life.

Of course there are still really hard days.  There is still the reality of having a child who requires supervision all. the. time. And there is the bigger picture of that puzzle that I can worry about from time to time. There are still days of pain and discomfort.  And as part of being human, there are thoughts of lack or limits.  It just is.  I no longer deny those things but rather embrace them as part of the paradox of life.

As I look into the blank pages of 2019, I take in a deep breath.  I welcome the emptiness and vastness that awaits.  I feel hope with the open fields that are there for me to begin to walk into. I am ready.

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Freedom

It has been FREEDOM to finally be back on the trails, hiking where I want and for as long as I want. I am not limited by pain or endurance. I am back!

Being in nature is so soulful for me. I find my clarity, I am fueled with inspiration and I am so deeply grateful.

The patience and work I’ve done to get here brings tears to my eyes. The grit I didn’t think I had astounds me and yet, I know that we all have that same grit inside of us.

Dig deep. Listen. And seek out things that support you and your journey.

Along with a great mindset, hard work and tons of support, I am also LOVING that my body has responded so well to a blend of essential oils that have reduced all my discomfort. I am free!

The Loss Never Really Ends

I suppose this all comes up since my kids are now all grown and have moved into the next phase of the their life where major life decisions are usually made and their adulthood really starts to take shape. Add to this acknowledgment of their next life season, with the start of a school year I usually have these super strong mothering inklings that fill my head with memories.  The long ago time when packing lunches, new backpacks and fingers crossed for the favorite teacher where the talk of the dinner table in the late summer.  Of course there is also the horrific memories, too; stuffing my girl into the bus, watching her on the playground with no friends, seeing the other moms in their perfect world getting a good-bye hug from their perfect child.

Recently, I have been wondering about those mom’s and their daughters.  I am curious to know what their daughter’s are doing now and how they fit into their young adults life.  At age 24, are they graduating college?  Planning a wedding? Having a baby of their own?

Mostly, I want to know if they ever think about what kids like mine are now up to?  Does it ever occur to them that they stopped tying their kids shoelaces decades ago? Do they ever stop to think that their days of carpooling kids ended years ago and they can plan their own day based on their desires?  Do they fully take in that when they want to go out on a date they no longer have to find someone to stay with their kid?

In an honest moment I realize that I may have some bitterness bubbling up.  I am sure that they have had their fair share of challenges and having a typical daughter can certainly bring up a plethora of drama.  I know that, and most days I am grateful that I have avoided that.

But today I want to acknowledge that the loss never really ends.  Those lucky families get to experience the next phase of parenting that is often filled with joy and anticipation. As I watch my young men planning important and exciting events in their life, I am deeply reminded that I will not have those same experiences with my girl.  There will not be any choosing of wedding gowns and planning the color scheme of a nursery.  No college graduations and career plans to mull over.  Heck, it is rare to even get a conversation beyond the basic needs of the moment.

And yet, it is what it is.  I hope that my men will give me a little nugget of the goodness as they embark into the next season knowing that their momma got robbed of some of the greatest hopes a gal can dream of.

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.

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.

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