Hold Space – Aim for the Horizon

I heard the phrase “holding space” several times but didn’t grasp what it meant until recently. I am grateful for all the loving people who hold space for me to realize what I am subconsciously doing, how I am feeling and my potential in life. I am learning to hold space for myself now.

Space to feel. Space to grow. Space to change in ways that serve my highest good. Space to be uncomfortable.

It’s both terrifying and liberating to be where I am in life. I see how much I have defined myself by my relationships. I rushed into two marriages and they didn’t last. I forced intimacy with friends only to lose them later. No matter how they turn out, relationships provide opportunities for me to see both the best and worst qualities within.

I am starting to see my relationship issues stem from trying to maintain a feeling of comfort. A fully present, conscious life isn’t always comfortable. In my experience, sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful.

I am practicing applying a concept learned on my yoga mat. When it’s uncomfortable, I am on my way to new territory. When I focus on the process (the muscles I need to flex, the movements I need to make on my way into position, my breath… keeping my gaze steady and my fingers wide) progress happens. When I get too obsessed with the destination (ultimate pose) or start to define myself by the progress I have made, I get off track. I aim for the pose I am working towards like a pilot aims for the horizon. I believe the ultimate pose is possible for me with time and consistent practice.

When it’s uncomfortable on the mat, I have learned to relax into the discomfort. Sometimes I remind myself I am not going to die. My body won’t go too far if I am relaxing into it while being fully aware of where I am in space and time (gaze and breath). I tried straining through it and stalled. Relaxing into the discomfort of life is a bit more daunting but I have faith it will work just as well eventually.

I have started journaling again. It’s helped me immensely in the past and it’s helping me again. Reading through old entries, I see how although I still struggle with some of the same issues, I have grown. I have peeled back layer after layer and keep going deeper.

Personal growth isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s been worth every heartache I have experienced. When faced with discomfort, I can run, fight or lean in. I now choose to lean in and learn…hold space and aim for the horizon.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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Time to Fly

I often told people my husband held my kite string so I could fly.  What I didn’t realize I was saying at the time is I felt I needed holding down.  I didn’t feel safe being all I could be, letting go, riding the winds.  I feared if I did that, I would lose control and everything in my life would potentially fall apart.

As I sit on my new bed in my new location, I no longer have that fear.  I am here, sitting with myself and quite content with that.  Everything I am not is crumbling away but I am here as centered and at peace as I have ever been.  I am learning to fly.

When I was around ten, I was taken on my first flight in a little two seater airplane.  I remember looking down in awe as ‘big’ buildings started looking like toys and people were nothing more than little specs.  We didn’t go that high because it was such a small craft but it was high enough to get a different perspective than I had ever had before.  I remember thinking perspective changes everything.  I have a better understanding now of how true that observation was than I did then.

My pilot explained the controls on the dashboard and how he watched the horizon to make sure he was straight.  I had no desire to learn to operate a plane but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  It was exhilarating to experience something so new!

I don’t know exactly when it happened but, at some point, new things became scary instead of exciting.  I tried to make things as much the same as possible.  I started being addicted to control.  I trained people in my life not to surprise me.  I built relationships with impressionable folks.  The older I got, the more power I sought.  Eventually, I realized I didn’t want to try and control others but I still tried to control what happened to me.  I still braced myself for any pitfall that may come my way.  That created tension in my body… a lot of it.

I am in the process of letting go of all of that now.  The personal work I need to do in order to coach is teaching me more about myself than I ever imagined.  My client’s lives mirror mine and the more work I do in my own life, the more present I can be for them.

Here is my understanding of life today… The secret to making progress without creating tension is to keep my eyes on the horizon and do the next right thing.  There isn’t much use in writing a script for how things are going to go.  My ‘law of attraction’ work has taught me the best way to create the life I want is to imagine it already here and let go of trying to figure out ‘how’ it will happen.  I tune into what I call ‘spirit’ and take action steps in the direction I want to go.  One small step at the time, enjoying the process along the way.

I have a good life.  Almost everything outside of myself I used to identify with has either changed or gone away.  I am grieving the loss of a marriage I thought would last forever but I haven’t lost the memories of wonderful times spent together.  Life is in the moments.  Forever is a series of ‘right nows’ strung together.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

Embrace the Unknown

It’s been said “life is a journey, not a destination”.  I am living that reality these days.  I am recognizing how focusing on the destination (end result), without appreciating the process, leads to heartache.  When I live in the moment with a spirit of gratitude, I experience peace amongst chaos.

I have been thinking about this blog post for several days and debated about how much to share.  I have a few special followers who sometimes believe I am talking about them even when I’m not.  Understanding the ripple effect of my words and actions, I have been taking care to be particularly mindful of what I write.  I would like my readers to take what they  like and leave the rest.  If it hurts or offends, I promise that was not my intention.

I write to grow myself and, in so doing, believe I give others permission to show up, be vulnerable, take chances and grow too!  If my words inspire anything other than growth, please let them be.  At the same time, for what it’s worth, I have learned the most from the things that were the most uncomfortable.

Talk about discomfort!  I process and integrate personal growth work quickly but I have been on some kind of uber-superhighway growth cycle the past couple of months.  It’s been quick and intense, even for me!  I have experienced both the highest elation of my life and the greatest heartache, sometimes within 24 hours!

It has come to my attention I have spent most of my life to this point either working to recreate good feelings or running away from uncomfortable ones (mostly running away).  Early on in my yoga practice, I recognized how much I avoid discomfort and have been practicing sitting with myself wherever that may be.  My practice has taught me all discomfort is temporary and sometimes the best thing to do is lean into it.  If I just keep showing up and practicing, focusing my energy on each breath and my physical center, everything else falls into place.

I remember when I couldn’t reach my hands straight above my head or touch my toes.  I can now put my chest on my knees at the end of my routine.  I didn’t get there by focusing on being able to put my chest on my knees (In fact, I didn’t think my body would ever do that!)… I got there by showing up, doing my best and letting go a little bit more every time.  I have learned that if I always avoid what’s uncomfortable, I plateau.  If go just a little past what I am used to, I improve a little bit at a time.  Almost every new pose has scared me and my first step is believing the pose is possible for me.

My yoga teacher says that ‘how you do one thing is how you do everything’.  I believe he’s right.  I have certainly seen the correlation between my practice and my life.  Most recently, it’s given me insight into the difference between integrity and control.

Integrity is a tenant of Adamantine, control is not.  Integrity brings stability.  Control brings tension.  I have confused the two in the past… Abounding in my illusion of ‘control’ but lacking integrity (oops).

Recently, I have taken a good, hard look at what I did to get my marriage to the place it’s in today.  I played a role… Lacking integrity, I lost touch with who I am and got caught up in the status of having a “good marriage”.  There were flags that all was not what I wanted it to be but I ignored them.  I held back my opinion on some little things when I could have just mentioned my preference in the beginning.  My husband did the same and here we are…

I consider myself a very loving person and I am for the most part.  However, I also have a shadow side when someone is ‘in the way’ of what I want.  By not getting what I want, I am learning how to be more compassionate and love unconditionally.  It’s not a challenge to love people who are how I like them… it is challenging to love fully when things aren’t going my way.  It’s uncomfortable… But I am learning how.

I have learned I can either be angry and hurt that good times had to end or I can rejoice and be grateful they happened.  The latter is much more joyful.  Gratitude always takes the edge off my suffering and puts my attitude in a better place.  I believe occasional pain is a mandatory part of human living but suffering is truly optional.  I choose my thoughts and my thoughts create my reality.

I am learning just because something feels good and I CAN do it, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.  That’s a BIG ONE!  Every since my father preached having “a quiet and mild spirit” is a virtue and pleaded with me to ‘get control of my emotions’, I have rebelled against anyone or anything I perceived as trying to control me.  By doing so, I made a lot of choices that were not in my best interest.  I lived life as if there were only two modes, being in control or being controlled.

I now see there is an ideal space in between I call ‘allowing with intention’.  It’s a place where I get clear on what I want and believe I deserve it.  If I can imagine it, I believe the universe can provide it and lots of things better!  It’s a place where I live in accordance with my highest truth (integrity) without trying to control anything outside of myself.  It’s a place where I decide what is important to me and don’t settle for anything less.  It’s a place where I embrace the unknown for the adventure of living!

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

Where Attention Goes, Energy Flows

I blamed my employment for stress and lack of time.  It turns out, I am capable of creating stress and running out of time no matter what I do for employment!  I have heard variations of the phrase ‘where attention goes, energy flows’ multiple times in multiple contexts.  I am experiencing how true that statement is first hand.

There are always two or more ways to look at any situation.  The first two are 1) the way I see it now and 2) the OPPOSITE of how I see it now.  In between, there are hundreds of more ways to see any situation if I take enough time to think about them.  My power lies in being able to choose which way I want to focus my energy on.

I am grateful for my fear because it serves to keep me safe.  It’s a warning light that says “hey, something is different here” but that is all it is.  Beyond acknowledging and being grateful for the warning, it doesn’t do me any good to think about fears.

In the major life transition I am experiencing now, I see I have the choice between thinking about how to prevent what I’m afraid of and thinking about how to create the life I want.  If I spend energy thinking about preventing catastrophe, I feel limited, smothered, anxious.  If I spend energy thinking about creating the life I want, taking steps in that direction, I feel light, energized, excited and free!  No one makes that choice for me.  I decide where my energy flows.

I am becoming much more picky about where I spend my energy these days.  I have a list of high priority items which include: peace, joy, satisfaction and purpose.  There are distractions from those things everywhere, all the time, but I don’t have to feed into them.  I can choose peace and joy at any time, no matter what is happening around me.  When I get off track, I remind myself of that fact and move on.  When I focus my efforts on being present and showing up, I am blown away by the opportunities that effortlessly fall into my lap.

My relationship with my son is improving because I am opening myself up to experience the world in his way instead of trying to make him fit into mine.  I can look at all the things he’s not, or I can cherish all the things he IS!  The latter is much more satisfying than the former.  In learning how to focus on his strengths, I am also learning to focus on mine.

I am learning how vitally important it is for me to take time to get quiet within.  It is only in the quiet moments that I can hear my inner most desires and identify what brings me joy.  The quiet moments give me clarity and remind me that all is well in my world now, in this moment.  I am safe and protected.  Life supports me!

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

Grateful for the Bunny In My Backyard

A rabbit has taken up residence in the MIDDLE of my open backyard.  He spends most of the day in the same spot.  The dog leash is long enough the dogs could chase him if they wanted but they don’t bother.  I sense that if I were to try and approach him, I wouldn’t catch him, and maybe the dogs feel the same thing.  He doesn’t move when they come out; he just hunkers down in his spot and watches where they are.

In him, I see the capacity to be hyperaware, vulnerable, and yet completely calm.  He knows exactly what’s happening around him but chooses not to move.  He doesn’t hide under or behind anything and yet is somehow protected.  In the place where he sits, he can exit in any direction at any time but he lives in the moment.  Perhaps I can too.

In my yoga practice this week, I have set my intention on moving steadily, effortlessly, through the movements, letting my breath guide me.  I let go of being having perfect timing and just let my pace come naturally.  I think about the peaceful bunny in my backyard when I catch myself having jerky movements or feeling afraid.

Rabbits can bounce around frantically or they can be completely still.  I have the same ability.  My mental adjustment has made my practice feel completely different. I feel vulnerable on my mat but I’m learning to embrace that feeling.  I am safe.  My body knows what to do.

Life supports me.

I’ve spent much energy in my lifetime, running away, resisting, fighting, opposing…  I’m learning I can be just as effective sitting still.  My stillness does not mean I can’t move quickly.  It doesn’t make me stuck or less significant.  I can be aware and move where I choose, when I choose, just like the bunny in my backyard.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Trust, Love, Show Up, Repeat

My yoga practice is teaching me that I tend to distrust life. I have not trusted the natural flow of life events and the result is tension and pain. As I learn to surrender to what is naturally occurring, wonderful things happen. Progress gets made. Not because I fought something, forced it or thought a lot about it but simply because I showed up.

When trying to explain this transformation to my husband, I likened it to learning to float. If you thrash about, afraid of drowning, you can drown. If you are too stiff and rigid, you can drown. However, if you just relax…let your limbs hang and work with the water, it holds you up and you FLOAT. You have to float before you can learn to move in such a way to make progress.

The feeling of letting go is not comfortable for me but I am learning it is necessary to experience the peace I seek. So… I’m practicing learning to float in the water of life.

Guess what?!…it’s holding me up! I’m experiencing my emotions instead of getting consumed by them. I’m having fun AND getting my work done. Say what?! I didn’t even know that was possible.

I want to do more than just “not drown” in life. I want to float, swim, glide with ease. I want to fly. I’ve experienced it enough now, I know it’s possible. However, just like air or water, I can’t hold it in my hand. I can’t clutch it or grasp for it. I have to relax into it.

Trust. Love. Show up. Repeat.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Get Off the Roller Coaster

Three things in my life have caused me to feel like I was on an emotional roller coaster:
1) trying to make a relationship into something it isn’t
2) trying to control what I don’t have the power to influence
3) thinking that “bad” negates “good”, not understanding that both happen simultaneously

I am coming to a deeper understanding that there are positives and negatives to everything. My mom used to say “you have to decide what advantages you have to have and what disadvantages you can put up with”. My parents will celebrate 50 years together on September 5. I will not be at the celebration but my ex husband and my son are planning to be. My value system and my immediate family’s are not compatible to such a degree it is better if we stay out of each other’s presence as much as possible. My family used to put me on a roller coaster. They don’t anymore. I still grieve a relationship that never was and never will be but I’m coming to peace with it more and more all the time. I am grateful for my upbringing and concurrently grateful I don’t have to live under that oppression any longer.

My yoga instructor told me I did something wrong today. When I say it like that, it’s nothing. At the time, and for most of the day, it felt like something. The truth is, it was a movement that I didn’t understand and now I understand it better. When I expressed wanting to have better tools to understand what I was supposed to do, my teacher told me to work on relaxing and embrace the day for what it was. His message is one that I’ve received over and over again since I’ve started trying to achieve a better quality of existence. Patience? Ya, ya, ya, how long does that take and how do I do it right?

My current understanding of life, the universe and everything is that nothing is either all good or all bad. Believing this, keeps me on a level plane but sometimes I forget what I know. Admittedly, nothing feels quite as exciting as believing I have done something perfectly but nothing feels quite as terrible as believing I’ve done everything wrong. I consider it a fair trade off.

As I caught myself rehearsing my yoga error this morning over and over, I noted that I have never repeated something I’ve done well over and over like that. Things I do well feel good for about two seconds and then I dismiss them as chance, being lucky, being blessed for a moment. What would life be like if I instead rehearsed the positive and quickly dismissed the negative after I took a moment to reflect on if there was a lesson in it for me?

The week of my birth anniversary, I had some people give me some INCREDIBLE compliments. They said heartfelt things expressing appreciation for all that I am, all that I strive to be. I also had some people tell me hurtful things, publicly proclaiming I am a disappointment to my father and that I disregarded the sanctity of marriage by filing for divorce from my first husband. A few weeks later, the hurtful comments are still bouncing around my head and the compliments are a more distant memory. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

A few people, who I do not aspire to be like, said a few hurtful things. That is all. Many more people I care about said loving, uplifting, wonderful things.

So, friends, I’m trying something new… I’m getting off the roller coaster again. I’m going to rehearse all the wonderful, kind things that beautiful people in my life have taken time to share with me because they are worth it! I am worth it!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

I Am Already Enough

During a yoga studio social hour last night, I had a conversation with an amazing young woman who’s leaving for seminary to Berklee, CA in a couple weeks.  I thanked her for the time she came up to me when I was having a mat meltdown, touched my shoulder and said it had happened to her too.  I experienced a moment where I felt safe and completely understood by someone I’d only interacted with for a few moments of life.  I am grateful women like her exist.

We exchanged background stories and agreed that challenging life circumstances have positioned us to be helpers.  I’m becoming more grateful for the opportunities to grow from them more and more all the time.  However, I’ve also caught myself creating challenges when none are necessary or believing something is going to be difficult when I haven’t even tried it.

Adamanine® Yoga teaches the concept of “effortless effort” which has challenged my core belief that if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t count.  I’m working on releasing my need to suffer.  I’m releasing tension from years of holding in, holding on, and pushing through.  Some if it isn’t even mine, it’s my parent’s tension passed on to me.  I don’t need to hold on to it any more.

Nothing lasts forever.  The sun rises and the sun sets everyday.  There is consistency to life but nothing is forever.  I’m giving myself permission to try things I’ve never tried before.  In fact, if I’m looking for results I’ve never had before, it’s likely to come from a source I’ve never tried before.

I’ve seen in myself and others that if you simply give yourself permission to stop believing you are stuck this way, allow yourself to change your mind, ask the universe questions and open your heart to answers, A-MA-ZING things happen.  However, my amazing is not the same as your amazing.  Each individual has their own path, their own journey, their own gifts.  From what I gather, the right path for each individual is “effortless effort” as much as my ideal yoga practice.

For every thing that doesn’t work out, I’ve narrowed down possibilities of what will.  I try things… no longer settling for mediocre.  I’m already enough, there’s no need to try to prove it.

Wow, what a relief!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

More about Adamantine Yoga can be found here: 

https://adamantineyoga.com/

Much more on changing thinking patterns can be found in this book: 

“You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay