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

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The Key to a Joy Filled Life

I have been going through another transformative period in my life this past year.  I started pursuing a Bachelors Degree in February and spent a lot of my ‘free’ time in the first half of the year training with dear friends and running races.  By June, I was noticing that running was adding stress to my life and not relieving it.  An invitation to consult with James Miller at Adamantine Yoga came into my inbox from a kindred spirit who knew my stress and suggested I give it a try.

I started my practice like I started everything else until that point.  Full force, with all my might, focused on a goal of being flexible, healthy and filled with inner peace…as quickly as possible.  Between classes, I thought about what I didn’t do right and what I could do better.  I emailed James what was going through my mind and he was not impressed.  He, like so many others before him, told me just “show up” and stop thinking so much.  I took this feedback as another challenge to “work” on.

Then, one day, while not working on my shoulder roll, my shoulder roll happened.  Of all the things I was trying to accomplish, that pose was not one of them, yet, it was the first to come.  James told me he has observed that pose signifying the the most psychological change compared to other poses.  I could tell he was happy for me but I didn’t care.  Most of the time, I care if people are happy for me or if I accomplish a goal.  That day was different.  Something significant changed, I could feel that, but I didn’t sense my usual level of pride or excitement for another item checked off my endless list of tasks I intended to accomplish as quickly as possible.  In a way, I felt reborn that day.  It changed the way I see “effort” and “trying” to do things.  Like Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try”.  He is right about that… That day, I tasted what those words meant for the first time.  I’ve been just showing up ever since.

Around one month ago, another kindred spirit who knew me as a teenager crossed my path.  She gave me “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz.  I read it.  Cover to cover.  I absorbed it’s contents and gave myself permission to experience the world in a different way.  I released yet another layer of “need to suffer” and committed to practicing the Toltec path.   The connection with her gave me the strength to call together a women’s group that I’d only dreamed of previously.  The right people showed up and we had an incredible time sharing our stories and building each other up.

This past week, I have been meditating, reading and practicing Adamantine Yoga daily.  I am not stressed although stressful things are happening.  I have felt irritated and angry for a few moments here and there but I have not carried them with me beyond the moments they were experienced.  I felt my emotions, let them go, and decided to make different choices.

In my yoga practice, I’ve stopped comparing today to yesterday or where I want to be tomorrow.  I have started embracing this moment, this day, and being grateful for it.  When my legs shake or something is tender, I ask, “what are you trying to tell me today?” and I usually get an answer.

I have come to understand that we have choices in every moment.  Every…single…moment.  The past is over, the future is not yet here. I have a choice as to how I live my life in this moment, right now.

I’ve been reading about how to want things but not be attached to how things come or in what form.  I’m asked to drill down to what it is I REALLY WANT and be open to it being fulfilled.  I’ve come to realize that the key to a joy filled life is letting go of expectations but being wide open to possibility.  I realized that is the element I have been missing. I either set expectations for the positive or expect nothing positive will come. I have just now come to understand the freedom of letting go of expectations, positive or negative!

As I experience this new level of joy and freedom, I hesitate to share it because of old tapes telling me “don’t let your head get too big” or “there are starving children in Africa”….  Yes, there are some really shitty things that happen in the world and many, many people are going through some tough stuff right now but unless I can do something about it in this moment, it has no consequence in my life.  Those are old tapes.  They do not define me.  I can choose the life I want to live.  I am called to share my experience.  My intention is that by spreading more love and joy in the world, more can be created.

I’ve sought freedom my entire life and freedom is here, now, inside my soul!  I wish the same for you!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

To learn more about Adamantine, visit:  http://adamantineyoga.com/about-adamantine-yoga/

Mindful Movement

Recovering from a recent injury, I asked myself why I was doing what I was doing.  I had intended to run 1,000 miles this year, complete some kind of race every month (one being another marathon) while working full time and going to school online.  Six months in, I realized my activity has been taking me away from myself and I’m losing connection with my soul.

My school studies are challenging on an emotional level because in order to be prepared to help others, I must address my own issues.  I’m allowing myself to do this work, to feel what I feel when I feel it.  It is not a coincidence that the area of my back I recently injured is in the location of my heart chakra, a place that has refused to move for some time.  I do believe there is connection between our minds, our experiences, and the tissues in our body.  I have learned that by listening to my body, I can discover areas of my mind that need attention.

I am embarking on a new journey of daily mindful movement in the form of Adamantine Yoga taught by a local guru starting Monday.  I have a fire in my belly and desire to share my gifts with anyone who wishes to receive them.  I have no plans to stop running at this time and I will continue to support others in their running goals but I am being called in a different direction in this time of my life.

This morning, I went a little over nine miles with people I love.  I ran with my heart until I didn’t want to run anymore, until my breath was labored instead of deep.  Then, I walked until I wished to run again.  With each step, I was aware of the energy flowing through my veins.  The day was beautifully cloudy, warm and humid.  The forest was green and wildlife filled the air.  I am grateful for what my body can do.

I must take care of my body, it’s the only place I have to live (Jim Rohn).

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading