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.

 

 

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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.

 

2018–Flourish

I am so happy that 2017 has passed and a new and fresh start is here.  I am usually not one to see a year end but for 2017, I was ready.

My process for the last fifteen years or so has been to close the year with gratitude for all its lessons and welcome in a new year with a new intention.  Finding one word that will carry me through the year has been such a great practice for me.  It is like the thread of my tapestry.

The word for 2018 came to me in a sleep state and it is perfect!

Here it is! I intend to flourish physically, emotionally, spirituality and more. I intend to thrive in my purpose, my business and my very essence. I am so excited to see how my life unfolds like a blossom this year!

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End of Year–2017

I have been anxiously awaiting the end of this year to not only move past the challenging time, but also make space for a new and much healthier 2018. The challenges of my body have definitely taken priority in my life this year and I am ready to move on.  I chose the word BOLD for the year and I love looking back and seeing how it showed up in my life.  I have done this process for many years and I usually quite surprised to see just how the thread of my chosen word was woven into the tapestry of my life.

As I begin the process of reviewing and reading my 2017 journal, I found that asking myself some contemplative questions is a good starting point to start the inward journey.

* How did your love for self, life and others, show up this year in the different areas of your life? Through the process of healing from hip surgery #2 that was 12/30 of last year and preparing for hip surgery #3 I learned deep lessons in self-love, as well as for others.  I learned to set boundaries with myself and others as I learned to navigate new territory in the way of resting more and saying yes to other more.  I also learned to love life on a much more intimate level by experiencing the depths of chronic pain.  I watched my youngest son go through one of his hardest experiences and that offered me another layer of motherly love–balancing love and also allowing him to find his own way. 

* How did universal love and love from others show up for you this year in all that came your way? I received love in so many ways both tangible and unseen yet powerfully felt.  I received financial help, nurturing meals, encouragement, love, time and countless prayers.  The greatest gift of love came from a complete stranger when I received tissue from a cadaver to help reduce my pain–this was the ultimate gift of love. 

* What did you learn/accept/heal/transform about yourself this year? I learned to accept about myself that I am not interested or likely ever capable again of the physical activities that once filled my soul.  I am content with a short and slow walk.  My personal yoga practice has become much deeper, and much less physical.   I transformed my willingness to say yes to ME and to let go of the patterns and wiring that caused exhaustion and a breakdown of my body.

* What blessings did this year bring? One blessing came in the form of a black and white kitten that has filled out home with joy.  Another blessing showed up in learning to BE rather than DO.

* What personal strengths did you discover, apply, or develop? I developed grit like not other.  I always knew that I was strong and edged on being a badass, but this year I dug deep into the marrow of my being and found grit.  I applied this in dealing with pain and adversity of my work schedule and self-sustaining ability. I discovered that there is also a deep satisfaction in saying yes to myself.  

* What new skills, insights, or wisdom did you gain? New skills that I gained was an increase in my confidence and my ability to stretch myself in a BOLD way.  I let go of worrying about what others thought and instead, going for it!  I said yes time and time again to me and my dreams! 

* What served as a catalyst for healing or transformation that you can now be grateful for, even if challenging at the time? The catalyst was/is accepting and handling chronic pain and the life-changing events, while also turning them into moments of grace. 

* What can you forgive yourself for? I can forgive myself for not always honoring my body in the past and for taking for granted health.  I can forgive myself for being so stubborn and strong-willed that I spent years not receiving what I now know I am totally worthy of. 

* What and who else can you forgive? I can forgive my father for never really telling me that he was proud of me.  I realized through the wisdom of a client that I never really told my dad I was proud of him either…..karma?

* What can you let go of (limiting belief, attachment, attitude, grievance…)? I can let go of the disappointment I feel about my father.  I can also let go of the attachment I have had of healing faster than my body dictates. 

* What achievements and accomplishments can you acknowledge and celebrate? Through the process of being forced to have down-time and heal I had plenty of time to study and test to pass and become a Certified Brain Injury Specialist!  This was a huge exam and something that I was not required at all to do but I chose to do so that I would learn more to apply to my clients. By being diligent–and mindful–I was able to pass the exam and get my credentials. 

* What ‘lessons’ did you learn? I learned that it is absolutely–without ANY doubts–imperative that we as humans learn (and do so with love) to receiving.  That I am not weak or unworthy when I say YES.  Just the opposite is true. 

* What and who are you grateful for that happened this year gone, and why? I am grateful for the person who died who chose to donate their body so that I could be in less pain. I am grateful for the skilled surgeon who compassionately did his work on my hip.  I am grateful for the people who loved me and supported me through this really challenging year.  I am grateful for the teachers in my life that show up week after week to share Yoga with me.  I am grateful for the generosity of others.  I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and to keep seeking. 

* What or who can you let go of? (This may include a pattern, grievance, person, belief, attitude, emotion, attribute, behavior, story, situation, judgment (against self or other), habit, and so on) I have learned this year that I can let go of the need to always be responsible and instead, be a bit more joyful.  I have learned that it is okay to worry less about being capable and worry more about being present.  I have learned that the days of over-exercising and abusing my body served another version of needing control and that to loosen my grip on that need will result in a great freedom.  I have learned that stigmas and stereotypes rarely are accurate.  I have learned that I am stronger than I thought possible while I also witnessed a sense of vulnerability that I didn’t know existed. 

* Where did you courageously step outside of your comfort zone? I stepped out of my comfort zone by allowing people to help me.  Instead of thinking that I had something to prove by doing it all myself, I said yes to others helping me. In that process I learned that it is absolutely okay and in fact, it is richly rewarding to allow others to give. 

* What did you absolutely LOVE that happened this year? This year I LOVED my family, my home, my time visiting my momma, my backyard, my work, time in nature, traveling to Taos, removing the wallpaper in my old childhood bedroom, nurturing friendships, getting clear about many difficult situations, but mostly I LOVED saying yes to me and coming into a stronger and more self-assured Stacie. 

Their Stories

The incredibly special individuals with brain injuries that I am so fortunate to share Yoga with just completed a month-long project with Unmasking Brain Injury.  This process required them to dig deep into the emotions related to their brain injury and express themselves through art.  I have never asked to know the details of their injury because I want to see them NOW, however, part of this project was to go there–to describe how they came to be in the rehab setting that they are in. What I learned about each one will be carried deep in my soul.

I watched as they went into their inner self to go to a place many have not ventured in a long time, if ever.  The sacredness of the moment when tears were shed was something I will hold dear forever.  To witness the grief, anger and deep loss be transmuted into a beautiful expression of their voice was remarkable.  I am so honored to be part of their lives.

As I laid out all of the masks on my living room floor, I felt both a heaviness for the people and the stories that were displayed.  And yet, I was also so deeply touched that most were able to express that despite life changing effects of their event, they have found gratitude somehow within the tragedy.

I say over and over that they really are the teachers.

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Look Dad, Look

I believe that we all have the capacity to be in tune and be aware.  Sometimes this comes in a simple knowing that something in our life needs to change, thinking of someone and bumping into them a few hours later, or having vivid dreams. It is our consciousness speaking to us and it is powerful when we listen.

My dad had been sick for a couple of months and I knew his life was near ending.  For the last few weeks I was aware that he was slipping away.  Each night before I went to bed I would speak to him–soul to soul–and assure him that it was okay to go.

Yesterday was the death anniversary of my former husband and father of my children.  Each year I take my kids out for dinner to honor him for being their father and sharing the creation of our little tribe.  Last night, I fell into a deep sleep where I slipped into a dream where I was watching a home movie of my first wedding to my kids father. In the video, my stepmom was looking to my dad and saying “Larry, Larry, look!…Larry look”.  He was not visible in the dream.

I woke with a startle and a deep, deep knowing that he was going to die today. I spoke out loud, “my dad is going to die today”.

A few hours ago, I got the call that he was gone. The knowing that I so strongly had gives me great peace that we were connected in his final moments. He was there, but not there–much like my life with him.

I am glad that I had the closure I needed years ago and have come to peace with what was.  Because of that I can recall with a fond heart so many things; the camping trips and snowmobile runs, just going into the post office and smelling the environment can still remind me of him coming home from work smelling like an office with lots of paper, the afternoons of lying around eating doritos out of the bag while playing Uno, learning how to lay beans in the rows each spring and having the big responsibility of covering up them up with soil, catching fish early in the morning while everyone else was sleeping and feeling such pride that we were the only ones who could usually catch a fish,  watching him create stain glass, hours and hours of ping-pong tournaments, summer putt putt golf, afternoon movies, shoe shopping, the smell of burgers he grilled to perfection, fried chicken after church, standing on his back learning to balance, my first solo snowmobile run, the new blue banana seat bicycle and the day my brother got caught convincing me that eating grasshoppers was okay.   All good memories.

I know for sure that he is in awe of what is in front him now.  Now I am the one saying, “look dad, look”.

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The Pinõn Pine

This morning I was staring at the pinõn pine tree in my front yard thinking about my dad who planted the little seedling 46 years ago. It is amazingly comforting that as he is closing in on the final days of his physical life, his hands once held this tree’s trunk. Although we are not close, it is as easy as touching the trunk and knowing he is nearby.

Death is a such a strange process.  It can come so quick for some and for others it seems the process is grueling in length. As I have watched from several states away his recent months, I have been thinking not just of him and his life, but the life of my children’s dad who died just four years ago this month.  While my father and I are not close, I now have the ability to relate to my children’s experience as they sat and watched their dad in his final days.  It is not really the commonality that one might wish for, however, I feel an even deeper appreciation for their feelings.

It is comforting to trust in my love for trees and the morning time of refection and realization that this amazing pine is a symbol of not just the totality of life, but that it is also a place that I can go to recall times with my dad, let my hands touch the bark knowing that his hands once did as well.  I can look at the pine tree and be reminded of his long life that had its own rough spots, growth periods, blossoms and seasons of shedding.

I know that I have the ability to see the good of his life and allow this tree to remind me of the beauty we shared, and for that I am so grateful.

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I Am Okay

Personal development has been a hobby of mine for the last 15 years.  What has come from this hobby has been truly amazing and I am grateful for the wake up.  Over the last decade and a half, I have dug deep into healthy living, meditation, yoga, spirituality, soul-searching and the gut wrenching-digging-out-the-crap-of-old-beliefs-and-stories.  I can say with honesty that I have also struggled to maintain my momentum without finding myself overly critical.  Self-loathing and microscopic analysis of all that I need to “work on” can be consuming for a habit-forming personality type like myself.  In contrast, there has been plenty of times when I have also neatly stacked all the self-help, goddess inspiring, soul inspiring books and walked away to take a breather.

I am in the midst of another cycle where I am looking at my stuff and balancing it with the confidence and self-assurance that I am really okay.  In fact, I am beyond okay.  I am an empowered and magnificently flawed human that is willing to grow.

And like all growing spurts, there is usually some pain. The deep aches that wake you in the middle night.  The stretching of the mind, body and soul to embark on a new way of seeing the world, and specifically myself in the world.

While I balance what needs to be examined; work patterns, where I put my energy, habits that don’t serve my greatest good, words that hurt, etc., with the understanding what I hold my faith in–and that is, ALL experiences are opportunities to grow.

ALL.

This includes the sticky experiences that are challenging and the opposing joy filled experiences that are exhilarating.  I believe in the deepest of my very essence that every experience is a lesson. I also hold confidence that embedded in each ‘lesson’ is the calling to fall back into your faith.  Lay softy down in the knowing that all is well.  I do this my consciously handing over to God what is showing up with a trusting that in the end, I will be okay.  In truth, I am far better than okay and whatever is showing up in my life, is temporary and God has my back.

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This Is

All month long we had been learning about how to use our senses to bring about awareness. By exploring what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste in THIS moment we are no longer longing for the past or future.  To complete our month long lesson, I wanted desperately to give the gift of nature to my clients, who rarely get to witness the beauty of nature.

There really are no words to describe the contentment that I felt when all the logistics came together and I was able to successfully coordinate transportation and staff support to take groups of people with brain injuries to the lake for outdoor yoga.

The picture says it all.

This is what I am supposed to do, and I am doing it.

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Simple

Just a few years ago I was an exercise addict.  I pushed my body far beyond what it should have been pushed.  I tracked every morsel that passed across my lips and I spent so much time worrying about my steps or my carbs.  I basically was a prisoner of my own doing held hostage to food and movement.

And then I got hurt.

That was the greatest thing that could have happened to me.  I did not realize this at the time, but I have come to know that when I broke free from all the consuming of data, I began to live again.

I began to live in the moments of pleasure and joy.  I took in life in a way that had nothing to do with ‘how many’ of anything. Food became my friend again.  I started to walk each day again for happiness and to get grounded, not how fast and how far I could go.  I began to appreciate again.

I am currently sitting on a gorgeous adobe patio in the south part of Taos, off the busy hustle of galleries and restaurants, reflecting on just how much getting hurt has influenced my life for the better. My list could be endless of appreciation.

  • Gardens are where joy begins
  • Time away is one of the best ways to refuel
  • Often what I teach is what I need to learn myself
  • Sometimes falling apart is where the greatest rebuilding happens
  • Honoring my body has been my greatest gift this last 18 months
  • Love heals
  • Faith over fear returns a bazillion times over
  • The smallest of gestures add up to tremendous abundance
  • Generosity from others reminds me that karma exists

Rather than wait to get injured I say to anyone willing to listen to breathe, eat, rest and mostly enjoy. At the end of your life is it really going to matter that you walked 17,000 steps every single day or that you ate more protein than carbs?

To me, it is really that simple.