Berlin update

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If you think I’ve been quiet this month, you’re partly right.  I’m currently in Berlin assisting the Forrest Yoga Foundation Training with Ana, Jose, and some of my best friends/mentors/family/yogi’s on the planet as fellow assistants.  It’s been an incredible month so far, with over 70 trainees learning to become Forrest Yoga teachers.  It’s humbling to be part of their journeys.

While the focus is on helping the trainees step into their own power, we assistants have regular feedback from Ana (and each other) to become stronger versions of ourselves.  The focus for my month has been around my heart and all of the stupid shields I put up as protection, the patterns and habits I developed around those shields, and pretty much shaking them all up.

IT’S BEEN AMAZING!  Working with such a strong team is inspiring and I’ll be heading home with a few ideas to work on and develop.  So much more to say about this but there’s a time and place for everything.  So stay tuned.

If you want to really see what I’m up to, follow me on social media — @badyogidc.

August Intention

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Wait.  It’s already August 7?  I have no idea how that happened.  Good news is my intention for this month finally landed completely.  Bad news is it apparently took seven days to do so.

Acceptance.  It’s the word that’s been floating around me for longer than a month and I thought it would come to play in my intention.  I just wasn’t sure how.  There are a few forks in the path toward acceptance but the one I’m working on is for myself.

The question “How do I celebrate these scars that have shaped me?” came up last week.  Wow.  It’s a big one.  Because I’ve got scars.  I’m not talking my appendectomy scar or the time I scraped my shin to the bone.

But the times my heart was broken and then shattered; the trust that was taken away from me by the actions of others; the times I punished myself for not being or not doing; I can keep going.

And I think most of us can.  But what does that serve?  Yep, we all have scars and while we might have wanted to live without the pain, who would we be without them?  I can honestly say I would not be a yoga teacher.  Probably.  I don’t know who I’d be.  And that’s kind of the point.

My month ahead is with the understanding that I can’t change the fact that I have scars.  I can change how I continue to react to them, giving them power over my current life, and work towards becoming that man who no longer sees his own scars but sees his light.

Strength

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I stumbled onto something today literally by accident.  On Instagram.  Today in my therapy session, we talked some about why I fear my destiny, my power, my light.  After the session, I sat with it briefly, and decided to write a post on a photo about that fear.

Because we’re all afraid of something.  I’m not talking clowns, zombies, bears, or bugs.  I’m talking something bigger about ourselves that when it hits, literally freezes us in our steps.  For me, the fears typically manifest in some reminder and I avoid being that version of myself.  I think that fearing something about ourselves is a common thing.

I also think it’s a learned behavior.  I fear my light, because when I let myself shine, others see it and take advantage.  I fear my light because it draws attention to the fact that I’m not perfect.  I fear my power because I don’t understand how it works; and I may never understand how it works.  I fear because I was either hurt by someone in the past or because society at large isn’t sure what to do with me.

And that’s all bullshit.  Imagine seeing how brightly you can shine, and then realizing how you shine even brighter.  Imagine owning your gifts, given by a universe that understood you could handle them, and using them to heal – not only yourself but others.  Imagine not being afraid of who you are.  Because that person is you.

I’m in good company.  Ana Forrest’s book, “Fierce Medicine,” starts with the chapter “Stalk you fear: Turning from prey to predator.”  She also very wisely says we should stop trying to slay the dragons and ally with them.

Which I think I finally get.  From our greatest fears, comes our greatest strengths.  When we begin to realize that our strength can pull us over/through/away from our fear, that is when we truly begin to step into our power.  And I for one am ready to step into my power.  Who’s with me?

July Intention – Show Up.

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June quite frankly went by incredibly too fast.  And for whatever reason, many of my old demons and thought patterns surfaced.  Honestly, I stumbled.  I compared myself to others, I compared to this “expectation” of where I should be, and I let those win.  I don’t know if I really even fought back.

This month, with a new focus, new drive, I’m showing up for myself.  When those moments pop up, I won’t vacate, but I’ll feel them out, sit with them, and work on becoming a stronger version of myself.  I’ll listen to and honor the requests my body, my mind, and my spirit want.

There are two phrases that come up frequently in my life.  The first: Dedicate yourself to the effort.  Change, growth, evolution – they don’t just happen.  When we learn something new, we get better with time and practice.  That’s the path we’re all (I’m) on; it’s not a quick fix overnight, I’ve made tremendous progress, but I still have areas to improve.

The other phrase: There is a time and a place for everything. This is my time.  This is my place.

Because my future starts now.

Sunday musings, #1

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It’s Sunday, June 11.  This weekend in DC was the official “Pride Weekend.”  And I missed it.  I went to New Haven, CT to spend time as a student of Ana.  I took morning intensives the past three days and I’m going to be honest – they still have the power to shift me into a different place, much like they did when I went through my Forrest Yoga Foundation training in 2014.

As I sit here and begin to process some of the nuggets she gave me; some of the ceremony Jose inspired me with, I realize – pride is something I haven’t really felt in my life.  See, I was raised in a church going, Bible reading family.  When I really began to realize I was gay, I fought it.  I fought myself.  I shunned myself.  Some would say that a portion of my soul was sent away when I turned away from myself.

And I still struggle.  To be honest, I don’t really approve much of organized religions these days.  Mainly because I know what I went through to get where I am right now.  There are moments I still don’t accept myself.  There are moments I still feel less than fully human.

And that’s bullshit.  I am exactly who I was intended to be.  I’ve survived what I’ve survived not because I’m a “sinner” or have a karmic balance to uphold, but because my light, even on its darkest days, outshines my dark.

I interchange the word pride with acceptance.  Because that’s what we’re all seeking.  It’s not about being proudly gay, or proudly straight, or proudly trans….

It’s about being accepted for who I (you) am (are) in that moment in time.

June, Intentions

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Wow.  It somehow became June.  I’m a bit is disbelief.  May went by really fast but I learned so much.  And it’s coming back with me in this month’s intentions.

I came back from assisting a training and as is often the case, had a rough time re-establishing a regular schedule, routine, and getting back to my life.  I floundered a few days and then punished myself mentally – to the point that I created a migraine.  There were moments that I knew what was going down and the tail spin was happening.

So this month, I’m returning to me – remembering who I am, where I’m headed, what I want to do, and how I want to be.  Basically the questions of a reporter.  Most important of these is the how – I will be kinder to myself; I will give myself space; I will let steps happen naturally and not force any; and I will be my true self by allowing my light to shine naturally, not forcing it out, and not competing with others.

There’s been a lot of hate, aggression, and all around negative treatment toward others lately.  Kindness, honor, respect start within self and work out from there.  There’s a bigger intention coming in the next few months that ties in with this – I can feel the dragons directing me toward it – but right here, right now, it’s all within myself.  Who wants to play along?

May intention, 2017

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Ok, I’ll be honest.  I specifically only put blogs out when I’m feeling them in my heart and in my voice.  I want to work on that more this month and write more.  So if you’re reading this and want me to write about a topic – family and bad yogi friendly – comment below or message me and I’ll see what I can do.

I spent the last two weeks of April immersed in training for myself and this month’s intentions involve some of my key take aways.  Many of these take aways include becoming more comfortable in my own skin – as a teacher, a student, a human.

One of the biggest things I’m working on and playing with is shifting out of old habits and patterns that no longer serve me and feeling for what does.  It’s so far been a lot of catching myself, stopping myself, feeling what I was about to say/do, and then changing the direction.  It’s been fun to feel the smaller shifts in how I see and feel the world and myself.

I’ll end it here – brief but to my point.  As always feel free to play along or share you intentions.  Where you want to be starts with where you are.

April 2017, intentions

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What am I for?  Can I believe it?

There’s a line from a song that I’m currently obsessed with that, when taken out of context, asks the simple question – what am I for?  And if I knew, could I believe it?  Maybe.

This month, my biggest intention I’m chasing is rediscovering my passions.  I teach yoga – I love teaching yoga.  I get to play in a week with one of my best friends when he comes to the States, I’m assisting Ana Forrest this month, and then I get to play more with Jambo.  When I’m around people that love their craft and students as much as Ana, Jose, and Jambo, it’s so inspirational.  I think I get bonus time with Brian and Szilvia, who always seem to be exactly what I need them to be in that moment.  It’s a good month to rediscover.

But I’m also taking action outside of yoga.  I’m back playing softball.  We had a practice yesterday.  While it was completely obvious I haven’t played in two years, I got some of the rust off – and hung out with some really amazing friends.  My rediscovery – connection.

I’m cooking one “extravagant” meal a month.  Just for me.  I love to cook and love to bake.  And while I cook most meals, I don’t go “balls to the wall” cooking anymore.  You know those recipes – they challenge us; they could go bad; and I might eat take out.  But cooking is meditative for me and I want to spend a few meal times making it more ceremonial.

I’m a healer.  I can say that now and believe it most moments.  Part of healing is understanding that I still get to work on myself.  Most specifically, I have some issues where my tendencies don’t serve and it’s in those spots I want to stalk in my body, find where they live, and learn to work with them.  I may end up removing them altogether but that’s the discovery.

Stepping into my biggest, my brightest, my best self takes time.  Awareness.  Authenticity.  Spirit.  It also takes the desire to get there.  And the understanding that even when I’m shining boldly and brightly today, there’s always tomorrow to shine more.

Why I practice yoga

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I’m in the middle of a move.  I’d love to be able to snap my fingers, twitch my nose, and be completely done with it.  But I’m not.  I spent yesterday going through things and deciding keep or throw away/donate.  I found in the back of my closet a flannel shirt that belonged to “M.”  There’s a part of me that’s held onto it for reasons like the scene from “Brokeback Mountain.”  After the death of Jack, Ennis keeps a jacket of his in a closet under one of his own shirts and pulls it out missing the man he loved.

I thought that was what I’d do as well.  But to be honest, I haven’t thought much about that shirt for a few years and definitely haven’t been pulling it out.  So I decided to throw it out.  And the waves of sadness, nostalgia, solitude, guilt, anger, and every other grief emotion came up.

I wasn’t sure I would have time to practice but I made time – because yesterday, I needed to get into my body and get back to feeling who I am.  When I got to pigeon on the right side, the tears began to flow.  My right hip is where I carry the strongest attachments to my ex and yesterday they wanted out.  So I let them out.  I cried.  And cried a bit more.  And then sat in silence.  After, I played – because there’s no better way for me to get to my spirit than to play on my hands.

I practice yoga because it continues to save me from myself, from my old patterns, and from those nemesis thoughts.  I practice because I want to stay in feeling and I want to feel from a place of authenticity.  I practice for me.  And there’s no better reason to practice.

March, Intention

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Wow.  It’s March already.  Not only that but I’m three days in.  My intention this month has been forming for a few weeks now, it hasn’t completely landed but it’s here.  So away I go…

During the Forrest Foundation training, we are introduced to our “future selves.”  It’s who we are X number of years down the road.  It’s where we are in life.  It’s how we act, walk, talk, carry ourselves.  It was me, but only future me.  I won’t say where in time my future self was because that feels like cheating him in some way.  But he’s out there, waiting.

In January, working with Ana in Monterrey, MX, she uttered the absolutely true words “Aren’t you sick of dealing with those *nemesis thoughts?”  And then gave me one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.  In January, I was sick of those thoughts.  On March 1, I followed them.  During a practice that started when I doubted a decision I made, it all came up.  I stayed with it though.  I kept activating my feet; I kept my breath; when my instinct to run or crack a joke kicked in — I stayed.  And I learned so much.

This month, I want to stay present.  I want to feel, not only myself but those around me.  I want to connect – in real life – with students/friends/family and not via text.  I want to step into this version of myself I know is already inside of me.  I’m taking those steps now.   I’ve deleted apps from my phone that keep me on my phone and not in life.  I’m working toward calling over texting.  I’m stepping into life.

I’m also not afraid.  My friend, mentor, Forrest Teacher, studio owner AD gave me a pink dragon vein agate mala last year.  I don’t wear it often.  That particular stone amplifies the ability to manifest.  I’m already really good at manifesting things.  I have never wanted to manifest something accidentally.  But I’m wearing it more.  I’m holding it.  Because if I’m the best version of myself, I’m only manifesting good things to come.  And if I manifest good things to come, I’m getting stronger, happier, more confident.

This month, my intention is to not dim out, to not hide, and to not play coy.  I’m a fucking dragon.  I don’t need to roar.  But I will.

*Nemesis thoughts are those that are on replay in our heads, taking us down, telling us we’re not good enough, strong enough, etc.