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.

Let it go, to let it in

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I had the chance to go play with (aka ‘assist’) Ana and Jose last month.  Something that Ana said during one of our morning practices has been sitting with me and just over month later, it’s resonating and I feel it.

During our pre-class practice, Ana called me out on my lion’s breaths.  She said that I was moving things away from me effectively, but it was the uptick that I wasn’t doing enough. She told me to lion’s breath again, but that time, feel for my inhale.  Holy. Shit.

I’m really good at seeing what doesn’t serve me and working to eliminate it from my habits, my practice, my life.  But where I’ve been failing has been in how do I replace it?  The inhale, after a really big exhale, is even more important.  Can I bring in sweetness/kindness/hope/strength – the opposite of what I’ve just expelled?

I’ve been playing with this an intent in my practice and in my teaching the past few days.  My practice has already begun to evolve from a “race to get there” to more allowing the pose magick to happen.  I think that there are so many layers under letting in and I’m excited to continue feeling for what they reveal.  Where else in my life can I feel for what I bring in and work to bring in Beauty.

Take a good look at me now.

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I heard the Phil Collins song “Against all odds” randomly play on my phone this week.  That line – take a good look at me now – resonates with me so strongly.

Five years ago today, I scattered Mike’s ashes.  In a place known only to me, the vicinity known to a few others, I said good bye. His death – and more importantly my reaction to it – initiated every step on my path since then.  Yoga saved me – more specifically Forrest Yoga saved me.  Not many know how dark I went after Mike’s death.  But I went there.  I tried to numb out.  I tried to hide.  But here I am.

Take a look at me now.  I’m different.  I’m stronger.  I like to think I’m wiser.  I’ve stepped into being the dragon that the universe saw me being when I was born.

Take a look at me now.  I’m learning my worth doesn’t come from external forces but it’s something I carry within myself.

Take a look at me now.  My light, and the light I share with those of my choosing, is mine.  End of statement.

Take a good look at me now.  This is my life.  My path.  My magick.  I’m beginning to be more and more unapologetically me.  And that, to me, has so much power.  I’m mending the hoop of my own healing now.  When I work from a place of fulfillment, my students/teachers/friends/family feel it.

Truth Speak – 02/03/17

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I’m pretty sure we all suffer from them.  And when they hit us, we feel blindsided.  They are our nemesis thoughts.  The asshole critic that lives in our own head.  That never shuts up.  My critic, my nemesis thoughts, get more aggressive, more ugly, more hateful when I ignore them.  They spiral out of control.  They break my spirit.  Dim my light.  I’m sick of them.

Today on my mat, in a practice that I thought would feel good in my body and wouldn’t bring up much of anything, a few of these thoughts came up.  I felt them hit my body full force.  I stopped my practice.  I wasted some time by drinking some tea.  I almost gave up.

But I didn’t.  In a very brief moment, the voice of Ana Forrest snuck in.  She saw me.  And she reminded me that I learned a long time ago that those thoughts are lies.  To jump on a popular hashtag, they are #alternativefacts.

In Forrest Yoga, we teach to an apex pose – it’s the pose in the sequence that we warm the body up for, work on opening and creating space for, and is the “most advanced” pose of class.  My apex today was staying on my mat.  That one brief respite when Ana very much spoke the exact opposite of my nemesis gave me the courage to say those words for myself.  I cried.  And I tried to not cry.  But I cried more.

My apex today was showing up for myself.  Because I’m worth it.  Because my students are worth it.  My teacher is worth it.  My friends/family are worth.  I will continue to show up.  I will have my moments where my nemesis thought is loud, abrasive, ugly.  But someone, in that moment, will sneak into my mind and remind me – the toughest work is often done with another.  And I am not alone.

***I film practices to take pictures from often; I take pictures throughout practice.  This picture is that moment when the thought landed.  When I thought I wasn’t worth ….

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February, 2017

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Welcome to February.  My monthly intentions are still circling, they haven’t landed, but I definitely have some things I want to work with this month.  I’ve also added to my initial intention setting question.  While I feel for “who do I want to be on the last day of the month,” I’ve added a few additional phrases to help me shape my path – How do I become my biggest, my brightest, my best self?

With all of that, the word “healing” is pulling me in.  Healing.  For myself.  My students.  My community.  It can be a scary path – this whole stepping into and out for healing.  But in my core, in my cell tissue, I think we’re all worth it.  I’m a work in progress; so are these intentions.  Feel free to play along, to share your own.  Ask yourself that question.  Biggest.  Brightest.  Best self.

As a yoga teacher and healer, I commit to holding space.  For everyone.  Time on the mat is time to connect more deeply, more authentically with self.  I will honor this for every class, every student.  I will see you and I will not look away.  I want you to see me too.  We are same – human.  And there is much healing to be had from that alone.

I will see myself in all of my brightness, my scars, my hopes, my dark.  I am worth it.  So are you.  How can we honestly say we have come so far if we still refuse to see who we are? We cannot nor should we deny what we’ve come through.  But we should own up – take some pride even – in what we’ve accomplished.

I will act with kindness as my guide.  I will feel more.  And let others know how deeply I feel.  I will stand with everyone energetically – even if I cannot physically.  We stand together, or we pull ourselves apart.  I choose to stand.

I’m feeling pulled to be quiet – observing by seeing, hearing, feeling more.  I don’t know what that really means.  But for me, it’s a time to reflect on how I can give back, how can I be of service.  How can my healing story help yours.  And yours help mine.

We are same.  Human.

 

Breathe into your …

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I taught a class this morning.  And I did what I thought at the time was a Freudian slip…as the class was in pigeon, I used the cue “Inhale into the suffering.”  I quickly tried to correct to softening but the class wasn’t convinced.  We had a laugh, moved on with class, and it sat with me.

Because we’ve been taught that we should just pull the boots up and deal with our suffering.  That we should put blinders on and not see the pain.  Because we take (insert drug/drink legal or not here) in efforts to try and smooth the edges.  Why?

Because for what ever reason, we’ve been taught by the powers that be that only positive emotions are to be felt and are to be shared.  Have you ever had a shitty day, downloaded on a close friend/family member, and had the words “get over it” uttered your direction?  We don’t want to see or commiserate with another person’s rough spots.

That though is when we need to be seen and heard the most.  When we are the most vulnerable, we need others.  When we show empathy, we heal a part of ourselves that has been broken.  When we stand together, we realize that we won’t fall apart.

Why I (still) teach, 01/24/17

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I’ve had this as a blog post before, but as I said then – I think it’s important for teachers to revisit.  If you’re a teacher reading this blog, your turn.

I teach yoga because I’m still in love with the power of yoga to change lives.  I see it happen every fucking day.  I feel it happen every day in my own life.  There’s the obvious power on the mat, when we suddenly realize our own ability and take strides toward a pose that had previously intimidated.  I have moments off the mat when I’m reminded my breath, my strength, my power, and my worth all start with “my.”

I teach because I’m a student.  I want to learn.  From my teachers.  From my students.  From my friends.  I take every interaction in and process it because I’ve got a hunch – and pretty much always right – that there’s a nugget of wisdom in there.  And I want that wisdom.

But most importantly, I teach for my students.  They are the absolute ultimate reason I get up in the front of the room  Their commitment to being the best versions of themselves on the mat is inspiring; it’s humbling; it challenges me to be better.  Not because I want it.  But because they deserve it.

I got a gift of journals from a student.  As a “bad yogi,” I literally waited until today to open.  Not realizing there was a card inside.  I told you, bad yogi.  Quite frankly, her (BB) card to me reminded me why I teach – connection.  I see her weekly.  More than once most weeks.  And every time I am interested in her life; she (I hope) is interested in mine.  But we see each other.  We don’t look away.  And we support each other for what may lie ahead.

I teach yoga.  It’s my passion.  It’s my calling.  The universe has made it clear my direction.  I teach yoga because every day I want to become a better version of myself.  And I need someone to hold my hand so I won’t drift away.

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Truth Speak — January 16, 2017

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Five Years.

His death put me on this path.  His death changed me in ways I never thought could happen.  I went really dark the first few months after.  And in all honesty, some of that darkness remains.  A friend of mine, also my so incredible tarot reader, told me once that we who have the brightest lights are often the ones that come through the darkest dark.

I’m beginning to forget how he said my name.

Guilt.  I couldn’t save him.  Suicide is funny like that.  It leaves the survivors wondering what we could have done differently.  We question the last conversations, those precious last moments.  I’ve broken apart our interactions the final weekend for clues.  As a healer, I failed in healing.  One conversation repeatedly stands out.  He said something.  I felt something.  I called him on it, he laughed.  I shook it off.  Guilt.

This isn’t about him.

This is about me.  He chose to take himself out.  I hate being that blunt about it but he did.  And he didn’t care in that moment to think of someone else.  Anyone else.  Part of my healing has been to call him an asshole daily.  It’s a piece of homework given by my teacher that I do.  And now, more than a year after she gave it, I believe it most days.  There is more healing for me to do.

Starting fresh.

I’m lucky.  At some point, I realized I wanted to thrive.  Not just to live.  I don’t know what or how the catalyst kicked in, but it happened with the pull of Forrest Yoga.  I’m luckier still because the universe – in all its power – and the Sacred Ones – those that have gone before with all of their knowledge – granted me passage.  I don’t know if it was the fire from my dragon that put the spark of survival in me, but it burns brighter.  I’m learning more and more about dragon magick.  And I’m lucky to have another fire creature flying with me – the Phoenix.  New birth.  Fresh starts.  Out of the ashes comes Beauty.

Out of this darkness come the brightest light.