Thursday, July 20, 2017

The "How" = Paralysis [Step 1 to addressing this age-old Question]

I often notice themes in the thoughts, feelings and conversations of those around me and closest to me. The most recent theme that surfaced was what I like to call, "the How."

The How can lead to:

  1. Confusion
  2. Procrastination
  3. Analysis Paralysis
  4. Immobility
  5. Laziness
  6. Fear
  7. Avoidance
  8. Distraction-tactics
  9. Derailing
  10. Setbacks
  11. and the most dreaded.... nothingness. A total and complete halt and lack of movement. In other words, you stay stuck.

The How is the age-old question we ask when we want to change something.  We want something else, want to be something or somewhere different, we want to acquire or achieve something... "But, how?" We just don't know HOW to do it, get it, be it, or get there from HERE.

Here sucks... but how do I get out of "here?"

Let me share a story with you. I recently stumbled upon a note I had written someone about four years back. As I read it, I gasped in horror [insert gagging face here]. Someone had asked how I was doing, and I basically said: life sucks. In different words, of course, and in MANY words as I described ALL the ways my life sucked. From my point of view now, it sounded like I could find something negative in any situation. And I did just that. I went on and on about why my life sucked [cue: snoring]. I think the most alarming thing about this message I had written was that this was a story I had told for YEARS. And guess what? Because I kept telling the story, it kept it alive and real for me. The story kept feeding itself and recycling and my situation never changed but compounded to be MORE of what I was complaining about as the years passed.

Fast forward to 2017... with the story still playing actively in real life, I decided one day to make a new choice. I decided that I was going to stop being the victim in this horror flick and start shifting my perception so that I can not only receive more blessings but RECOGNIZE them as they came along.

This was a process. It's months later now and I am JUST beginning to fully embrace my life as it is and the challenges, and maintain a good attitude about it. Not just a good attitude, but GRATITUDE for what is, and what isn't.  What I complained about in 2013, I am grateful for today. Not an easy switch, but totally doable with practice and patience and commitment.

Here's the problem... 

So often we get stuck in the "how" that we live in LACK and keep repeating the same old stories. Our stories are our beliefs and become our reality. With our view so narrow, we can't even recognize the good things that come our way. We are too busy focused on what's going wrong. So blessing after blessing, lesson after lesson, are passing us by... and we are too busy whining and moaning to notice... never mind embrace them!

We wonder HOW can we get from A to Z? From here to there? Our options can feel limitless or limited. We don't know the answer and we become incredibly frustrated. Incredibly overwhelmed. And sometimes, hopeless. But here's a teeny, tiny secret wearing a giant red cape, coming to save you.... 

You don't have to DO anything or figure anything out to start changing your life. [insert applause here] 

The How is less about doing, and more about being. Being grateful, that is, and shifting your focus, attention and perception. That's it. Pretty simple stuff, kids. Not always so simply to implement and maintain, though, as you have to recondition your brain and programming. And ditch those stories (they really aren't serving you anyway). 

So, Step 1 in the How is to:

  1. Ditch the story.
  2. Re-focus your attention and energy.
  3. Practice gratitude daily.


Instead of complaining about your job, for example, find ways to appreciate your job and what it gives you. It provides income, learning, opportunity, social interaction... the list goes on, and it's your choice how to create that list. Another example... if you're complaining about how you always have to do the chores around the house, be grateful you have a house to do chores in. Be grateful you have an able body that allows you to do those chores. Shift your focus and perception off of what's missing or wrong, and onto what's right and how much you do have. 

Here's another secret: as long as you're breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong (Cory Muscara).  With every breath you take, you have choice and power. And the fact that you're breathing indicates you're alive, and life is limitless. There is always something to be grateful for. 

So, here's how it works. The more you focus on the positive, the more positive things are brought to you. Period. And not only that, you are able to recognize and accept positive things in your life because that is now your focus. Thoughts become things (Mike Dooley); the more you focus on the good, the more good things are born and brought to you. If you're busy telling that age-old snooze story, you guessed it: you're going to continue living in the hamster wheel. The more you cling to your story, and play victim, the more it will continue to show up for you. And even if it doesn't, that's all you're going to see, anyway.... more story, more drama, more yuck.

So How do we change our lives? Step one..... change our minds. And watch life unfold before you... it doesn't seem like much, and you may say, "that's it?" [insert raised brow] but give it a try... gratitude with a shift in perception is a surefire way to turn a bad mood around, a day around, a week around, a month around, a year and ultimately..... a life. 

But, hey, you can sit there unsatisfied with this response and continue to ponder your "How" as you stay stagnant, stuck, bland and bored. Your choice!

I'm going to go with Gratitude ;)

Psst.... I am grateful for YOU, reading this. Keep your head up. You're going to get there.

(( to be continued...))


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Water Bottle "Challenge"....

I was driving back from the store last week, and was hit with a totally unexpected turn of events...

As I was driving, my water bottle fell over.  Yep. That's it... but what's interesting here is that this seemingly insignificant occurrence became an important message for me. And it came bearing not one, not two, but THREE lessons within it... 

When you stop laughing or shaking your head I'll continue............ (pause)

OK so, here's the story.  I was driving and I had the bottle standing up against my bag and the back of the passenger seat. It fell over.  I picked it up. As I refocused on the road, I noticed in my peripheral it had fallen, again. So I picked it back up. I moved it around, adjusted it some and carried on driving. As I approached a red light, I looked over and saw it fall...AGAIN. I laughed, and left it there. 

Now, here comes the important part... 

I could have easily gotten annoyed and my day could have taken a quick turn sour if I let this get to me or feed my "story." A story is something we play like a broken record and attach incidents to. For example, I could have said, "Seriously? Why does everything go wrong for me?" Admittedly this sounds silly BUT.... tell me how silly it is when you spill your coffee while you're driving and you're late to work. 

So, here is lesson numero uno, compliments of the water bottle: We cannot control the water bottle, aka LIFE. But we can absolutely choose how we respond to it. When we are hit with stimuli, it's our choice to feed our story, fuel our ego-fire, or take it as it comes and respond differently or more peacefully. I chose to see this very non-important occurrence as an opportunity for growth and learning. A water bottle falling over, seemingly meaningless, became a message for me to share. Through the "challenge" (the bottle not staying up) I was able to uncover a hidden gift. We can always choose to find healing, growth and lessons in challenges. That is our choice. And how we handle what comes to us, will dictate the quality of our moods... and our lives. 

Secondly, the water bottle became a symbol for the human existence. We will often hit a bump in the road, and fall down. The important part is that we get back up. And yes, we will fall, again. It's inevitable as we ride with the ebb and flow and life that we will go up and down and all around. We will stumble and fall, and that's OK. It's all part of life and expansion and learning our soul lessons. 

The third lesson I took away from this 30-second experience was that we are very much like the water bottle in the sense that, just because we fall, doesn't mean we lose our value. When the water bottle fell over, I didn't have to throw it out. It didn't lose its value. It's still water, it's still hydrating, it's still good for the body. It was not tainted in any way. When we "fail" or fall, we do not lose our value or worth as a person. We are not muddied, tainted, or ruined. We still remain intact, we are still priceless and beautiful souls in our human bodies. Falling is part of life; part of being human. What's inside does not in any way, shape, or form, get tarnished.  Falling and getting up makes us stronger, not weaker. Remember this when you're having a self-loathing, beat-up session after a stumble-and-fall. 

Yes, this can sound very silly from the outside... but any experience we encounter can become meaningful for us. And life holds valuable lessons and messages for us when we are willing to quiet the mind long enough to pay attention and receive them. 

So, to recap:

You are a water bottle.  Ha.  No, but yes... symbolically.

  1. We cannot control our environment but we can control our response.
  2. We will hit bumps in the road and fall, and that's OK. What's important is that we get back up. 
  3. Just because we fall, does NOT mean we lose our value or worth. Quite the opposite.
Take this with you as you journey through life and remember.... it may be a bumpy ride, but it's your ride and you get to choose how to view and experience it. 

Sending positive vibes your way! 
xo

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Did some one say "Suicide?"

I am continually surprised when I hear of a wildly successful, seemingly-happy-and-put-together person overdosing or committing suicide. The news is alarming, sad and really puts things into perspective.

Money, fame, and "having it all" does not necessarily mean that someone has peace, joy, love and fulfillment. And though some may appear to be smiling and laughing, this does not necessarily mean it's real, authentic or lasting.

It's so important we spend the time to see what's inside, not just judge a book by its cover. The people we interact with may be struggling with something we have no idea about. This is why it's so vital we extend kindness and compassion wherever we go. 

So often, brilliant, intelligent, empathic and sensitive people are suffering behind closed doors. Even "successful" people that seem to have everything you could possibly ever want could be missing out on life's great (priceless but free) treasures. And at times, the pressure of keeping up with their reputation, responsibilities and role in life can be downright overwhelming.  This is something we may neglect to recognize; we see the results of their hard work and dedication but rarely do we realize the time, energy and sacrifices that go into creating and manifesting their success...and maintaining it.

Hearing the news of a popular wellness professional passing in March, concluded to be suicide, really was an eye-opener for me. A reminder that we are all in this together, we are all one, we are all connected, and we all have ups and downs. No matter what our title, how large our bank accounts, or how popular or famous we are. Suffering does not judge and it is not biased. It can come in many forms, and it can knock on anyone and everyone's door. It's the flow of life... up, down, pain, bliss, up, down, pain, bliss... Like waves in the ocean, they each come and go. 

When we begin to attach to pain and suffering, and the thoughts in our mind, we can create an imbalance and disrupt the flow. This is where many get stuck and ultimately end up in despair. Our "problems" seem insurmountable and appear to far outweigh the calm, peace and quiet moments where we can enjoy life. Anxiety, depression, sadness, chronic pain, insomnia, illness and apathy can all take over and bring us to our knees. Some of the strongest people suffer from these ailments, and often times no one even notices because we are so caught up in appearances: the covers of the book. 

Ask yourself, do you spend the time reading the inside pages? Do you take the time to try to understand what life may be like for someone else? Or do you make snapshot judgments? 

It's easy to judge and condemn someone for being short or snippy with you. But the real question is, why are they irritable? Perhaps they are going through something difficult right now. Maybe they feel overwhelmed and alone. I am sure you can relate; we've all been there at one point or another.  We must remember that nothing is ever personal and whatever people say or do is a direct reflection of their own inner state of being. It's like a barometer. We can read what is going on for them by how they are acting towards us. The barometer indicates whether they are acting out of love, or acting out, seeking out love. 

Suicide may be an often-overlooked or swept-under-the-rug topic. It's also highly controversial. It makes some people uncomfortable. Others are in denial about it. Sometimes, we feel guilty when we think about someone committing suicide. Sometimes, we get angry. Some people are suicidal and understand this very delicate, confusing topic all too well and personally. No matter what though... it's real. And according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, there are 121 suicides a day.  

Think about that number.  Think about all the people you know, and imagine that 121 of them died today. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (according to AFSP), affecting over 44,000 Americans each year. 

Sadly, the AFSP estimates "the numbers to be higher. Stigma surrounding suicide leads to underreporting, and data collection methods critical to suicide prevention need to be improved." 

Imagine that. Stigma around suffering. Stigma surrounding something so real, so ever-present and something that affects millions of people. According to Scientific American, 1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug. Antidepressants were most common, followed by anxiety relievers and antipsychotics. We are learning to numb our symptoms, rather than address the underlying issues. We numb our pain, and because of certain stereotypes or judgments, we carry on mostly silent. Mostly alone. How unnecessary is that?

So, for every 6 people you see today, imagine that at least one of them is suffering and trying to compensate and function by taking a prescription drug. Maybe that someone is you. 

Remember, we are all on this ride together. We share this adventure called life. And what one person does affects the next... so on and so forth.

So, what can we do? For starters, we can practice healthy habits and make healthy lifestyle choices. The healthier and happier we are, the better we can help others.  Mindfulness, meditation, exercise, clean eating, sleeping and resting are all obviously-beneficial practices. 

We can be consciously aware that we are all united and connected, and treat others with kindness, love and respect. What we give out comes back to us. Extend love, receive love, and the ripple effect reaches many more. Be open minded and curb judgments wherever possible. You are not the other person, so you cannot really say with certainty what is right, wrong, true or false about them, or for them and their lives. Remember, that your judgment and negativity is a direct reflection of what is going on inside of you. Spend some time reflecting on how you can clean house. 

If you are seriously struggling, there are people out there willing to help. We are never doomed or alone, even when we feel like we are. It takes courage to seek out help, guidance or support. But the benefits far out weigh the risks. 

We cannot continue as a society to quiet, dismiss or condemn our hurting people. We cannot continue to numb our pain, to silence our inner guidance and the voice within us that says something is not right. The discord we feel is an indication that we are not living authentically and in alignment with our true Essence which is love and light. We are resisting, not accepting, hiding, censoring, changing, pushing, conforming in an effort to fit in or out of fear, conditioning and self-limiting beliefs... at the expense of our own joy. At the expense of our own lives.

We did not incarnate to become zombies walking around high on drugs, low on life. We came to be brilliant co-creators, high on life. This madness dims our sparkle, steals our zest for life and really creates a tremendous amount of pain, suffering and disease in our precious people. 

We deserve joy, peace, love and fulfillment. It's our birthright. It's natural to us, and for us. But it's an inside job. And unfortunately, most of us are not trained in real life-skills such as healthy emotional habits, management and spirituality. This doesn't make it impossible, it's available to everyone. It just makes it new to some. And with anything new, there may be some discomfort or growing pains. Just like it took time to become hurt, it may take some time to heal. But, as long as you are still breathing, there is still hope. 

Extend a hand today... to someone else, for yourself. But walk around with eyes wide open, seeing the aforementioned numbers as a wake up call that we must come together.  Every single person that wakes up to Love benefits the whole of mankind, Mother Earth and her creatures. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A candid Father's Day reflection...

My relationship with men is just about as expansive and well-rounded as you can get... 

I have loved them, hated them, respected them, minimized them, wanted to be them, shunned them, liked them, and been incredibly intrigued by them. They have been my best friends, enemies, I have trusted them and I have majorly distrusted them. They have been victim of my shit, and I have been at the hand of their abuse. They have hurt me, they have loved me, and I have done both to them. I've had many more male friends and relationships than I ever have had with women. And I have had more ups and downs and all-arounds (rollercoaster rides) with men than with women. By far. 

As a child, I adored my father with every fiber of my being. And I was the center of his world. But there was some conflict there. I was loved so dearly, given anything and everything I ever wanted, but the love felt very conditional in ways. I believed I was to be a certain way, or else I was not treated with love. I was reprimanded. Being just a child, I didn't understand fear, or worldly things or lofty concepts yet, and I was not yet jaded. But as a result of this disconnection to true love and light, the disconnect I could feel between others and their divine self, I began to set up a false belief system I carried everywhere I went that I was not good enough, that I was only loved when conditions were met, that I was able to be pushed aside or victimized for being myself.  That being me was fundamentally flawed. And this continued and escalated into my teen years where my relationship with my father began to take a turn for the worse. We were at odds. I was depressed.  I was rebellious. There was (real) love lacking and fear/ego had gone haywire. (Of course underneath it all, we loved each other but we did not know how to deal with the reflection the other person held up for us.)

So, I turned to other men for attention and love. From teens to twenties, I dated more men than I can count and liked a wide variety of them. Most "relationships" didn't last very long. Just weeks, really. And I was on to the next one. I was unfaithful, moving on to someone else almost instantly. Often times, before the current fling even knew I had moved on (mentally and emotionally and physically). 

Then, suddenly, there reached a period of time where I became wildly monogamous. And this pattern continued into my thirties. I would find one man, devote my all, and never pass another glance at any other men. A year and a half there, a 6 year relationship into marriage here, another two year relationship there.... and lastly, a two and a half year relationship that brings us to the present. 

Not much has changed. 

This love/hate, push/pull thing has been going on for as long as I can remember. And at the end of it all, I always find myself questioning why I am where I am. Why doesn't love last? I end up broken hearted, disappointed, seeking, sulking, hurting, angry and questioning so many things about myself, others and life. 

It comes as no surprise, I bet, that I spent 90 days at the onset of my last relationship asking questions, finding answers and really devoting the time to some serious digging. The result was a book I wrote about Love. The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self was born. It helped me in ways I didn't know possible and it has helped many others. But still, after the book was finished, my life took a turn I wasn't expecting. And I was slammed with all the ups and downs that I had endured my life-long, and in many ways harder than before. I do have other books brewing, but this time of self-reflection and living the words in my first book have brought me here in this moment. This journey is one that I began fully committed to, and remain today. 

Despite my falls, despite my failures and setbacks, despite the pain and anguish I felt on many days, I continue on. And the greatest lesson I continually take from this profound, albeit sometimes exhausting, journey is this...

Our relationships are a reflection of our inner state. 

As I repeated many times over in the book, relationships are our greatest mirrors and teachers. They show us where we are at, what we need to learn, what we need to let go or of heal, and which direction to go next. Relationships are no coincidence. The people in our lives are there for a reason. As Gabbie Bernstein puts it so perfectly, "the world is your classroom and other people are your assignments." 

We must  truly honor the people in our lives. They show up when and where we need them, if nothing more than to show us our point of attraction (our own energy). But often times, they come with many more gifts than that... even when the gifts come as challenges, obstacles, discord, disagreement, pain and such. 

My weeble-wobble relationship with men is indicative of the flux going on internally. It highlights my own self-worth issues, lack of confidence, feelings of instability, seeking external validation, feeling unappreciated or fundamentally not good enough, wrong or unlovable. 

While relationships highlight all of our "shit," our only answer is love, presence and self-fulfillment.  

I learned that we must give ourselves what we seek from others.  No man could love me enough or put me on a pedestal high enough (but thanks for trying!) to keep me feeling lovable, good enough or fulfilled. [and on the flip side of the same coin, I had to learn that my value is not determined by anyone else's opinions or actions] That was my job. And I wasn't very successful at it because of the old, non-serving stories and self-limiting beliefs I was carrying around (and still do to a degree). 

If I am seeking out love and acceptance from some one else, validation or to feel important, that means I am not doing the housework and homework. I must find self-love, acceptance and feel good enough on my own. 

How do we do that? We can begin by forgiving ourselves and others. By realizing that we always do the best we can with the resources we have and sometimes we just don't know any better. If we did, we would do better. Forgive.  Accept. And be gentle with yourself. We are perfect, divine creatures. We are innocent at our core. And as Marianne Williamson says, "Everything we do is either an act of love or a cry for help (for love)." 

Even our imperfections are a perfect match for our life purpose and path. All puzzle pieces that create the whole. We are whole already. We do not need anything outside of ourself to be whole or lovable. No one can plug up our holes; only we can fill our own voids by realizing our true essence. By living authentically, honestly and humbly. By being grateful. Gratitude opens the door to so much positive experience and abundance. We are rich; our lives are full of love. We are love. It's our true essence. 

Begin to heal the pain from the past by building a state of awareness and presence today. Even if you begin with just one minute a day, being present and aware (amplified by a meditation practice) brings you to the here and Now where everything - including you - is perfect and at peace. You are not your past. It does not define you. And the things from your past do not exist today. You may be carrying them with you and keeping them alive, but it is all an illusion. It's ok to begin to let go... to heal the wounds... to find your true being, your inner child staring at you, waiting for you to return to yourself. Patient, loving, kind and compassionate. He/she is always there. Ready to take this adventure with you.

Don't judge or punish others for their role in your life; thank them for bringing things to light for you. For showing you what you want, don't want, need, desire, have to heal, change or grow into. Thank them for sharing this intense journey with you, and no matter how it ended, if it ended, know that there were so many gifts left with you both, if you are ready and choose to see it as such. 

Byron Katie says, "All the advice you ever gave your partner is for you to hear." And what does this mean? There's a reason that things bother you, bug you, drive you mad, hurt you, scare you or upset you. And none of it has anything to do with the other person. It's all about you. Your shadow self, the part you deny, and the pain you carry with you from the past to the present. We do not see people as they are, we see them as we are. Always.  

I'm not quite sure why men have played the role they have in my life, from a soul-standpoint. But I know it's for a reason. Or many reasons. And I know it has already birthed many miracles in my life and pushed me to become who I am today, which is closer to who I am meant to be and why I came here in the first place. The ups and downs have only been a very clear reflection of my own inner state. I am ready to begin to truly love and honor men, and most importantly, myself. And I am ready to begin this next chapter, to continue the journey to peace, love, joy and fulfillment. And sharing it with the World Wide Web (the divine web of interconnected beings, that is). 

And so today... I would like to honor all of the men in my life, whether past, present or future. Thank you for the role you have played in making me who I am today. For the lessons you have taught me and continue to teach me. Forgive me for the pain I may have ignited within you. Thank you for the love you have given me, for the love I have felt in my own heart. Thank you for showing up as my earthly assignments. Thank you for sharing this magnificent, giant classroom with me. There is no greater honor. 

In the words of Namaste...

My soul honors your soul. 
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me.
In sharing these things, we are united. We are the same. 
We are one.

Happy Father's Day 2017.
xo

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thanks, Mom...

Today I am going to give a huge shout-out to my Mother.  

The woman that brought me into this world continues to remind me of why I am here in the first place... She has become (perhaps always was) one of my greatest support systems, friends and teachers. 



Life is not always easy. And lately, my life has challenged me in so many ways there are days I feel like it's so far ahead of me I cannot catch up. 

I often get overwhelmed by what is going on around me, my external world, and become defeated and fear-based. Little by little, I lose the glimmer of hope that normally keeps me going. I let people steal my power, my sparkle and my shine. I let a lack of sleep interfere in my normal joy and tolerance. I let life's challenges chip away at my strength, resilience and determination. And slowly, I fall.  And hard.

I was having a particularly overwhelming day yesterday. I said, "I've just had it with everyone and everything." (can you relate to this feeling?)

She looked at me straight in the face, serious as can be, with so much passion and emphasis on what she said, she seemed emotional. She said, "Camille, you have so much to accomplish still in your life. Do NOT let anyone or anything get in the way of that." 

It was maybe the first time anyone has ever said that to me. Maybe, it was the way she said it that stopped me dead in my tracks. I am not positive why it was so impactful but it literally felt like time stopped for a second. It felt as though she froze time, grabbed the run-away train and put it back on course after being derailed, and I was just observing this from the outside.

Wow.  

I do have so much to accomplish.  

I have so much life to live. And here I am, giving my power away to everyone and everything outside of myself.  Allowing "life" to dictate how I feel, where I go, and how far I get. Letting other people and circumstances determine my value and worth. Whether I feel good or bad. Forgetting why I'm here in the first place.

I came here with a very specific life path...as we all did. I have lessons to learn, missions to accomplish. We all do. But when we are too busy playing victim, or giving our power away, we cannot live the life we intended to or become the people we are meant to be. 

We must take ownership, fully, and step back into our own Power. We have so much life left to live, and so many things to accomplish. So much joy and love to share and experience. So many opportunities, lessons, insights to gain. Don't lose sight of that. Do not forget that you came here for a reason...and that reason was never to give it all away or shrink away because of people, places or things outside of you. 

Make the choice today to remember why you are here. 
To remember that you have the Power and the power is in those (your) choices. 
Start living. Fully. Today.

And when you fall (which we all do), pick yourself back up.

Let me remind you today what my Mother reminded me of... 

You have so much to accomplish in this life. 
Do not let anyone or anything interfere in that. 
Stay on track, keep going. 
It's so worth it. And you are so worth it.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Well, that was intense...

So, today I got to visit a Barn (for the first time in years) and I went to yoga (for the first time in almost a year). I'd call that a successful day. #success

Let's rewind for a minute...


This morning, I got myself and my youngest daughter ready, and drove out to Rockaby Farms in Yaphank where I'll be holding my event in two weeks. While I waited for the studio owner to show up, my daughter and I stood outside, the sun blazing, the horses neighing, the chickens doing whatever it is chickens do (she was just delighted by one chicken nearby)... it was so peaceful, so beautiful. I spent much of my childhood horseback riding, on and off, and the Barn and its scents and sensations still resonates deeply with me. We hung around for a while, met with the Studio owner, dropped off some flyers for the event, met one of her instructors and saw the Reiki practitioner, spent a few more moments outside observing the animals and went back home. 

My daughter loved the farm just as much as I did. It was a really quiet, beautiful hour. I was in my childhood glory and still happy for hours after. 

Later on, I committed to going back to yoga for the first time since last summer when I had to stop after only going three times (after almost a decade of being pretty sedentary, with the later years pregnant or nursing, then again) due to undiagnosed medical conditions. I've recently had some new medical issues and am waiting on an MRI (I don't often go to the doctors and when I do it usually ends up a mystery to all and I carry on with life as if it never happened), but really felt called to go back to yoga even despite my possible limitations. I called the studio and spoke to a man on the phone that reassured me that starting is what was important, and to go at my own pace. Just be where you are. If I treated it that way, and not a competition, just the fact I was going would be a great step.  This validated how I already felt. I reserved my spot. 

At 415, I arrived at the yoga studio. 

The class begin shortly after, and we set our intentions for the next 75 minutes. My intention was to have the strength to get through the class, sent some love to people close to me, and asked that I also be given the strength to carry myself through the current transition to the next phase of my life. 

I'm not sure if it was the heat (hot Vinyasa yoga), the music ("Come Away with Me" by Norah Jones) or the simple but absolutely profound message the instructor gave, but towards the end of class I found myself crying on the mat (I've only heard of this happening to a select few, and wondered how and why it did). The movement, the message, the music was all reaching me in an intense way. I was deeply moved. She said, quite frequently throughout class, that being on the mat prepared us for life. That pain, and struggle, never lasted. It always ends. It passes. The pain goes away... it never stays.  If you hold on, it will move through you and pass. 

I was amazed by what my body was able to do after such a long reprieve when I simply focused intently on the moment and quieted the chatter of my mind. I was so much stronger than I realized. I was able to do way more than I imagined I would be able to. I didn't focus on what the others were doing.  I just paid close attention to the instructions and my own body. And how powerful is this, when applied to life?  When we are not consumed by thoughts of the past, future or present, to comparing ourselves to everyone and everything else, and when we quiet the mind and its chatter and self-limiting beliefs, we can do so much more than we anticipated. We have strength we didn't even realize we had. We have what it takes to get through the pain until it passes, because it never lasts.  

As you hold a yoga pose (go through a phase of life), if you stay ever-present and fully experience all that is going on in the Now, you gain the strength to get through the suffering and then it ends... just the same way it came. 

Albeit emotional for me, and a challenge, this was exactly what I needed (there are no coincidences). I felt compelled to share this story, and instill a sense of hope and determination in you. Whatever you are going through right now, know that the pain will pass. You can get through it, and you will.  

The instructor also said, whenever we are having difficult in life, "return to the mat."  Be with yourself. Quiet your mind, tune into your body, and come back to your original intention(s). Stay intently focused in the present moment and know that you have what it takes. You are strong enough. You are beautiful enough. You are worthy and priceless. The pain comes and goes, but your everlasting, magnificent Self shines on and carries on. 

With so much gratitude and love in my heart, I left class... to return to life. Knowing that I have what it takes to get through the challenges and extend love outward, and that one day the pain will be gone. And all I will remember is the beauty of the experience and journey. 

Sending so much love and light to carry you through anything you may be going through right now, any suffering or pain, and to lift you and bring you hope during the challenging times. I'll see you on the other side, my friend.

Namaste.

xo

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Everyone's hair is messy sometimes...

Though I have not pushed my daughter in any which way to strive to be "perfect," and in fact I have tried to tell her to relax a bit (with a lot of "who cares"), she tends to be a little perfectionist. I can't judge; when I had the time to tend to the details, I was one, too. Dot all your I's and cross all your T's.  

Apparently, when I was a little girl I would get mad if there was one tiny bump in my pony tail.  However, my mother always made sure my hair was perfect. So I must have picked this up from her.  No one liked doing my hair because I always gave them a hard time and made them do it over.... many times. (arghhh)

When I do my eldest daughter's hair upon her request (the only one who has hair long enough to do anything to), I don't really pay attention to the bumps or loose, fly-away pieces.  For starters, she has really curly hair! I've never promoted perfectionism and it's been an eternity since I cared about what my hair looked like (who was that person?). Now that I remember how I was, it's quite humorous... but she takes her hair out multiple times before the bus comes and makes me redo her hair. Sometimes she gives up on me, and does it herself.  It's just never good enough.  I'm certainly not good enough at it.  And it has to be perfect! No bumps! 

She goes on to tell me about so-and-so's hair and how it's just perfect and slick back... not one bump!! And I try to tell her that no one is perfect. And I highly doubt that so-and-so has perfect hair everyday.  That would be near impossible. And who cares, anyway? It's just hair. You're 7 (OK, I admit in writing this, I realize that sounds sort of dismissive! I just try to get her to lighten up a bit).

She displays other behaviors that vividly illustrate her perfectionism in play (did I mention she's a Virgo?). And I wonder how she developed them when I haven't really promoted it or enabled it. The more kids I had and the older they get, the more I realize how some things are just so individual... it really has so much to do with personality. 

Well, the other day something very funny happened.  I never really think she's listening to me because she fidgets and changes the subject and acts very antsy when I try to have "talks" with her or teach her life lessons. So, imagine my surprise when she threw my advice back at me like a hot potato. 

Me: We really have to change all your shirts before company comes. 
Her: Why? It's fine...
Me: Yea, but there is dirt all over them from playing outside.
Her: So what mom? No one is perfect. 
Me: (chuckle) You're right.
Her: You told me this. Now I'm teaching you a lesson. 
Me: Oh, thank you... (laughs)
Her: Everyone's hair is messy sometimes.

Yes.... everyone's hair is messy sometimes.  

And by hair... I mean hair...and life

Thanks, little one. I am glad you were listening.... and I appreciate the reminder.