The interesting thing is not that change happens… it’s that change MUST happen.
I remember when my kids were very young and they would be intensely involved in an activity, their little brows furrowed as they concentrated on the playdoh figure or making the lego castle. They were content… until the moment they realized it was time to do something else… ugh – bring on the tantrum because the world has come to an end as they know it. All the parents say in unison, ‘Yeah, been there, got the t-shirt’. It took time, but slowly they figured out by the age of 5 or 6 that it wasn’t the end of the world afterall and that the next activity might actually be… fun? So I was thinking just yesterday – does this mean I’m still a child at heart? Hopefully in some ways this is true! However, I would like to imagine that maturity has finally arrived by the age of 38. Perhaps it’s not a lack of maturity, but rather a lack of awareness that change is not a random unexpected event. It is a constant companion. Always present, even if undetected.
And so it is. Undetected indeed. It turns out that All of life IS change. A dance with the universe. The ebb and flow in our lives truly does have rhythm, even if it seems to be abrupt and downright violent at times. When I look back over recent history in my life I can see the pattern, the perfection of timing… almost as if there is a master planner. One who sees it all and like a coach, sends in his players at just the right moment and makes a substitution when each needs rest.
I have needed rest. Life. Decisions. Mistakes. Consequences. Truth. Disappointment. Betrayal. Expectation. All have conspired to take their toll. And when I look deeply into my heart I realize that at the moment of loss – losing something I valued – there was relief. Relief that it wasn’t mine after all. That I am free from it. Only bound and enslaved because I CHOSE to be. Funny. The things we choose when we think we can save the world and everyone in it. Didn’t you know I wore a cape on my back? Why yes, with a capital ‘G’. Only the truly arrogant think they can do it all. I really don’t want to be that. Not anymore. And so I have made a different choice. To be FREE. So coach called in a substitution and it’s name was CHANGE. As a good friend once told me, “G, you gotta keep it moving”. The fact is, I am uncomfortable with change, just as most of us are. But deep down there is a thread of excitement. Anticipation. Because I trust. I trust that there will be something ELSE. That the end is not the end afterall. But rather it is the beginning of something MORE.
I realized something else… about those who love me. Those I love. Those kindred spirits who are on a similar path… we don’t lose each other when Change comes. Instead, we carry each other in our hearts, memories, and in our very souls. Because we are all connected by threads of humanity. And I am grateful for each. They have been my teachers and though some lessons where long and difficult, I am better for it. So I pray they are as well.
And so i smile… and I sigh. Gotta Keep it moving…
Fear is the only four letter word that offends me. It’s a creepy sort of word. Creeps into my life like a stealth warrior, sword in hand, ready to steal my joy… my peace. It shows up as I parent my children. When I am in front of my students teaching. As I lay my hands of healing on a massage therapy client. It comes in the back door of my mind as I look to my future.. relationships, finances, career… its reach knows no bounds. It has run wild over my emotions and played me like a fool in my friendships. All begging the question, “Am I enough?” And the kicker is this… it has only had power over me to the extend that I have allowed it.
We all have stuff. There is no escaping this broken world and all the woundings and valleys we fall in to from the mountain top we think we stood on… if only for a moment. But something happens when we choose. When we choose love. Instead. Because they don’t exist together. There is EITHER love or there is fear. That is all. They both take up space in our souls. Greedily. They don’t share and play nice together. So I have decided. And in deciding, become aware that it is a minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day CHOICE. Either I will live from a place of fear today. Or I will embrace the love that is all around me, inside me, enveloping me. We must simply break down the walls of our resistance to it. Fear is comfortable for many – it has been for me. I have lived it, breathed it into others, propagated it to those who looked to me for hope, harbored it against those who tried to love me. It became like a blanket I used to protect myself against whomever and whatever I perceived as a threat. And then everything was gone. I got to the bottom of me and saw that fear is bottomless… I could continue on that path on my way to NO WHERE. Or I could choose love and get NOW HERE.
I choose love. Every day. And not that sappy everything is rainbows bullshit. No. It’s the reality that in choosing love I have ended the reign of fear in my life. Freedom. To express myself. To love who I love. To do what I love to do with PASSION. To touch the lives of others with the gifts I have been given. And I AM enough.
“What if religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water – the rivers, lakes, and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being.” ~ Ganga White
When there are no words to express the pain and No amount of sorrow is adequate to sooth the raw wound of such senseless destruction, there is only one thing to do. Knit together. For we are all one and the strength that lies in each with be the tie that binds us all. My heart and soul cry out for those suffering and mourning. May you feel the love and strength that float to you on the winds of hope and healing. Peace. Be still. There is rest for the souls of those lost and comfort for those left with empty arms. For their beautiful souls are lights in the sky. And they will guide us all home.
Ashes are what is left… after the fall from grace. And there are those who remain to gather them. We can create beauty from ashes. With our breath we can breathe into them and bring something new to life.
Click this link for an uplifting song to inspire you to pick yourself you and celebrate life!
I found this picture below from a friend of mine and the quote says what I have been trying to figure out and put into words…for most of my life…. but most especially for THIS time in my life.
There has always been this feeling that love is conditional. Love is contingent. On performance. On manipulation. On compromise. On appearance. On ANYTHING, you fill in the ________.
But at the end of it all love is simply love. You don’t add anything to love. And you can’t take anything away. Love can not be manipulated or controlled or based on anything tangible. It can’t be distorted and woven into a web of fragmented worlds. Love simply IS. All that other stuff we do – it’s just other stuff we do… But it’s NOT love. Perhaps it is fear. Fear of losing something or someone. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being ENOUGH. The list of fears is endless.
Only just now… just NOW have I BEGUN to understand love. And I have learned that to explain love – real love for another human being – is to DIMINISH it. You must feel it. You must understand that it exists with or without you. I can not make love more or less. I can only choose to stand in it or choose to stand in the shadows and fear it.
I use to rely on religion… back when I thought there was only one WAY to do life. I found religion to be a prop of the weak minded and fearful. I now see that no matter what I do, what I say, how I walk through the world… I am LOVED. Period. There is no power that I hold over whether I am loved. I am made of love and made for love and made through love. I have no power to diminsh real love. It encompasses all and forgives all.
So now, when I choose to express love for another, it is without expectation. Without anticipation of control or security or safety. It isn’t because I need something that doesn’t already exist within me. It is because I have seen the darkest part of the heart and soul and chosen to love anyway. Because just as fear is a choice, love is also.
I choose LOVE.
I came across this from when I was Instructor of the Month at Charlotte Family Yoga Center. It’s funny how you can forget your own wisdom sometimes 😉
Yoga is a practice, breath is a practice, meditation is a practice, love is a practice, kindness is a practice, peace is a practice… Life is a practice. Practice often.
My yoga practice is practice for the rest of my life. Everything that happens on my mat is a mini version of what happens off my mat. A difficult pose in my practice can be like a difficult relationship in my life. How do I react? Can I soften my edges and be okay with what is?
Can I choose love even when choosing fear seems so right? What about falling out of a pose? Falling out of Vrksasana (tree) can be like failing that test or being turned down for that job.
Can I choose to fall with grace and ease? Can I remember that failing is simply practice for winning? And isn’t it all practice? It is not the arrival but the journey that shapes the character of the traveler. We are all travelers, just passing through. Learning from each other and growing in grace.
When we think of life as practice we become aware of everything. We wake up to the breath, to connection, to the beauty of creation, to the love in our lives, to the gratitude that we are invited to share, to the art of being. Peace… be still… all is practice.
So it’s kind of funny how things come along at just the WRONG time. haha. not what you were expecting? good! cuz that’s what it is: unexpected. I have never loved being thrown a curve ball… just give it to me straight for crying out loud! But that’s not how it works. Life is curvy, full of pits and dips and peaks and wide open places that end in long quiet spaces and round and back again. How’s that for unexpected? my sentence structure will never win a literary award… it’s just so… unexpected! But truly, think of all the weirdly awesome and wildly crazy things that have happened to you… expected? I think NOT.
I tend to be a roller coaster rider… no not the REAL ones, they make me throw up, I’m taking about the ones that exist in your mind and heart and soul. The ups and downs and ins and out. So although one could argue that I am someone in need of medication, I am not currently medicated. Nope. I CHOOSE to ride the coaster. I choose to FEEL. I choose to notice all the little fickle sways of emotion and thought. THIS is my experience, my journey, my ride on life. I don’t want to miss a thing. This is the real reason. Why I left my old life. I was missing out. On ME. On what COULD be. It was easier to check out. And truthfully, checking in has been no picnic. My knees shake beneath me and on most days my fears get the best of me… and then… love.
Love? Yes. Somehow it always shows up. You might not invite it to the party, but it finds the back door. You could change your address and remove your number from the book and it will send a message in a bottle. Love in the form of friends who care, even when they shouldn’t. Love sent by far away family and close sisters of your soul. Love in the shape of soup containers and redbox movies. Love in the soft cloud of butterfly kisses and the hard muscle play wrestling of a 10 year old who thinks he’s Hulk. Love in the sound of laughter… the deep belly snorting kind (yes I snort, laugh if you must). Love in the touch of Someone your soul once knew. Love on the yoga mat floating on the breath of meditation and flow of asana. This love we give to ourselves. From this love all other love grows. Long in coming and so very… Unexpected.
It’s the season of gratitude. and even so that gratitude hasn’t come easy for me lately. i have a ‘new normal’ that I haven’t quite gotten use to. everything has changed and it’s uncomfortable… awkward like the 8th grade dance. who knew a bowl cut and a quaker style dress wouldn’t earn me my first dance with a boy. i laugh thinking of that moment. i am smiling in the pictures… full of anticipation. mercifully 9th grade did come and hair grows out over the summer. and i began again. funny things is… this time around I am the author of this current change. that isn’t always the case. it seems we are often swept along into change without choice and control. but not this time. one day i put my scaredy pants away and took a bold (arguably insane) leap into the unknown. financial independence for the first time. being alone. creating new traditions and ways to be a ‘family’ with my children. letting go of what WAS hurts to my core. especially when my children ask me how santa will find them in this new place. 16 years of marriage and suddenly i’m on my own. some days I am over joyed that I wrote this new beginning to my story. other days I am stuck mourning the past and wondering where all my brave resolve went. it’s the in-between that gets me. the transitions. makes me think about moving from airplane to half moon… or triangle to twisted triangle. that transition… at times awkward, at worst painful, at best slow and mindful and a little frustrating. but there is a time for everything. we can’t stay in airplane forever. gotta land somewhere. perhaps each breath is a way of transition. an exchange of energy and physiology that moves us and prepares us for that next breath. i don’t know why change happens. i can’t pinpoint the moment that shift occurs. i only know we can’t go back. back into the airplane from the airplane. transition must happen first. to that next pose. that next moment. so i am grateful for this ‘in-between’ place. as i prepare to move forward to my next pose i have a moment of reflection. what have i learned? how can i use this experience to unfold a little more. love a little deeper. forgive a bit more freely. begin again. and again and again. gratitude then for the 8th grade dance that wasn’t a dance after all haha and gratitude now for my new normal. my new story.
someone once said to me that going to yoga class was like going to church. at the time i was floored. all wrapped up in religion such as i was my feathers were truly ruffled. that’s blasphemy and i’m looking around for the inquisition! ok so that was a little 15th century, but you get my point. i was completely unaware that you could have a SPIRITUAL experience during a yoga class. isn’t everyone just there to sweat and stuff? um… ima have to see about this…
a little background… my life, as i imagine it is for many of us, has been largely wrapped up in the physical realm. what am i going to eat today? is it pleasant outside or am i ready to launch a complaint against God for this less than stellar weather? what am I going to wear? this typical drivel is what drives most people. thoughts come and go and are usually based on lies we have chosen to believe about ourselves and others. We act out of our lies based on our fear that others will see our lies and find out the ‘truth’ about us. its all so… comical. i chuckle when i think of my old way of being… and how easily i slip back to that way when i forget. when i forget how FREAK’N AWESOME I AM! that’s right, freak’n awesome. there was a day… oh along about 6 or 7 years of age when i completely believed how amazing I was. how could i NOT be? that possibility was not even on the edge of my imaginings. think for a moment… when how old were you? now don’t get all party pooper mode on me and start thinking things like, ‘that’s the way of the world’, or ‘all children grow up eventually’… no no no my friends, this is not what i ask of my bored readers today. I ask something more of you. IMAGINE. for just a moment what your life would be like WITHOUT all the crappy stuff you tell yourself? I’m not good enough. Oh my god I’m so fat/ugly/tall/short/loud/stupid. No one loves me, how could they, look at what i’ve done. I’ve got to be perfect. perfect. or i’ll never amount to anything. money. if i could just make more money. have a bigger penis/boobs/house/car/vacation than my neighbor then i would have MADE it. STOP the madness!!!!! lol. i just wanted to type that. someday i will be the crazy old lady in some play and i’ll stand up and shout something like that. it will be a total freak’n riot. i love the word freak’n by the way. it might just well be the most expressive (appropriate for all circles) word I have come up with in recent years. but i digress…
retraining the brain. that is where it’s AT. And frankly, the quiet spaces on the yoga mat are some of the ONLY moments many of us have to consider these things. Our thoughts. How what we think is then played out in our actions and our reactions. Our thoughts, Ours stories, which we CREATE, then control our lives. WE GIVE our thoughts that much power. What if. What if we decided to CHANGE our thoughts. Truly insurmountable you say. Well I agree, except to say, so What? That’s not going to keep me from trying. Making an effort to create change in myself so that perhaps change might manifest through me and around me. This is what what she meant. Yoga=Church. When you see the lie that you are NOT FREAK’N AWESOME, well then you LIVE that way. Less than. Lack of integrity. Dishonest. and so on. In a way it’s easier. Easier to be less. BLAH. Get to that point friends. Tired of not shining your life. Tired of simply existing when you could be truly ALIVE. This is a SPIRITUAL street fight for your soul! <—— that’s my teacher Baron Baptiste coming out. See how I can just channel him like that. Good stuff. So anyway MAN and WO’MAN the FREAK up friends. Be courageous. Dare to take your seat in the LIGHT as a child of GOD. Who, incidentally, doesn’t make ANYTHING that isn’t totally FREAK’N AWESOME. Get on your yoga mat. Borrow a friends mat. Show up and I’ll give you a mat. Just get on a mat. At first you will hate the mat. You will hate your friend for making you come. You will hate the teacher and me for writing this useless blog. and then something will happen. if you keep going. if you dedicate yourself to the WORK you find on your mat, you will begin to see. glimpses of you when you were CONVINCED you were NOTHING but AWESOMENESS.
so here i am. still. first case of the flu in Harrisburg the doctor said. 2 weeks ago. not sure why it’s taking so looooong to get over this. and i don’t do well with being sick. there is way too much to do. work. kids. you get the picture. i will say that being sick has shed some light on whether i am enjoying being separated from my husband. the answer to that question is a swift NO. try taking care of yourself when you are sick. and your kids. this is why we have families. to take care of each other. families are imperfect. i get that. but they do serve a purpose. and i am missing mine. i am the bad guy in this situation. i left. swiftly. after 18 years. there was warning over the years, but when it came right down to the moment, it was brutal. because i have never been on my own. owned anything. taken care of myself. i was initially thrilled. invigorated. i am woman and hear me roar. and then things have started to go wrong. one of my break lights was out. i got sick. you get the picture. this is when the realization hit me. duh. right on cue woman with yellow flip flops and impossibly small dog. eye candy will be along soon. read my previous post people. i don’t have time to explain. so can i get back. do i want to? when i see my husband i ask him if i can have a hug. he gives me one. i don’t let go. for a long time. i forgot how nice his hugs were. maybe we don’t get back. maybe somethings cant be undone.
so im not going to punctuate… much… or capitalize because well im sick and sick people can make their own rules. it’s been a definite 10 years since i’ve had the achy breaky sweaty blues. and yes, i did just say to a friend the other day, ‘i never get the flu’. the universe turned her head my way and rolled her eyes. she was thinking, y do they always have to say that shit? don’t they know thats like a triple dog dare? amateurs
whats cool about being forced to slow down is all the time looking out my window. apartment living leaves a lot to be desired but the abundance of comical scenes is not lacking by any means. i had no idea that one of my rather large neighbors makes her route to the communal trash compactor in her house dress, yellow flip flops, and tiny toy poodle on a string at precisely 8am each morning. and throw your hands up in the air for the 20 something hottie who feels the need to stroll sans shirt by my window at least every other day on his way to the gym room. a little eye candy never heard nobody is what my inner goddess always says. but i digress… my ramblings today are not in vain my poor bored readers. i had a moment.
it was day 5 of sickness and i just needed someone other than my cat to touch me. my toe polish looked like it had been chiseled off randomly so i figured i would take my feverish self to the nail spa. of course this was BEFORE i knew i had the flu so all you germaphobs can just get off my back alrighty? it was the worst best 40 minutes of my day. this time the universe must have looked over and decided i wasnt so bad afterall because this woman ministered to me. she was the mother of the other two giggly girls in the spa doing nails – and i could tell she was one of those make the sunday brunch every week kind of moms who annoy the shit out of you but actually make the world go around. she told me all about her girls and how they were going out for halloween that night and how in her country they don’t have halloween or turkey for that matter. she ran down the list of differences pretty quickly pausing just long enough to look into my soul, pat my leg and say ‘you ok? you ok miss?’ at regular intervals. well about the 10th time she pats me the tears start to fall. i lean back in the chair and just let them come. its been a long long time since i had anyone mother me. say about 18 years. you know mom is the only one you can really let in. cuz her love is like air and water. it just is. can’t do anything to make it go away. unconditional. and i’ve been a mom for 10 years now but mine has been MIA. she told me once she just decided it was her time. her mothering days were over.
nail lady was from cambodia. a place ive never been and probably will never go. and yet God, yes God, used her hands and her words to break a watershed of hurt so deep in my soul i had forgotten, no not forgotten, just buried so down down deep it was up. makes no sense but you get my meaning. how foolish i felt sitting there sobbing like an idiot because she was patting me and asking if i was ok. fortunately she was kind enough to pretend she was deaf and blind because she prattled on until i got myself together, paid and left. it was only when i got home and glanced at my toes that i realized id just received the worst polish job ever. she’d gotten that blue polish everywhere. but i didn’t even care. not one bit.