Monday, September 17, 2012
Why is it so challenging to self affirm? Why do negative words come so easily when said to ourselves? Most of us keep ourselves in check when we feel the need to say something negative to someone else so why do we say such nasty things to ourselves. We all give support to others in need so freely but often we deny ourselves the same. We look for the good in others but are often blind to what is good within us.
For the past couple of months I have not been verbally kind to myself. I have told myself that I can't: get a good job, make enough money to support my family, advance myself socially and professionally. I've also told myself that I don't: matter, have the strength to carry on, have the the experience and talent to make something of myself in this stage of my life. I have even told myself that I'm not: good enough, smart enough, capable enough. Why exactly do I do that to myself? This self sabotage is ridiculous! I can't expect to be, do and have the things I want when I'm the one who's keeping all those things distant.
I was given an assignment of sorts by my therapist who is helping me through my divorce. She told me to go home and write down ten or more things that I appreciate about myself. They can be attributes I have or actions I embody. At first I thought ten would be easy, no sweat I can totally come up with that, but then I sat down to start the list and I was challenged once again by all those negative thoughts about myself. For every one positive thing I came up with at least five negative things accompanied it. As I progressed with my list it became easier to think of positive things while not having so many negative thoughts sprouting up.
So far I've come up with fifteen things I see in myself. They are:
*able to adjust easily
*capable (this came up after I took my dryer door off and dismantled it so that I could attache it to open the other way)
*coordinated (in terms of athletic and physical activity)
*good with kids
I'm sure with more time and focus I could come up with some more but this will do for now. It's funny how this small list with positive qualities has made me feel better already. Now the idea is for me to incorporate them into my daily self talk. There is no need for negative words to be scuttling around in my head and heart. I am a good, kind and loving person to those around me and it is imperative that I be good, kind and loving to myself.
From now on it's only I can, I do, and I am...
Friday, September 14, 2012
Ok so it's not a photo of me doing yoga but it does reflect the topic of this post. Changes big and small have been happening for me since the last post. The most recent change is my hair. I got it cut Saturday. I had been growing my hair to donate to Locks of Love. (This is the 5th time I have donated.) I had been talking about cutting it for weeks. Finally Saturday morning I couldn't go another day without cutting it. I decided to go extreme and get a pixie cut. So I walked into the salon with one end goal; cut the hair and get rid of the memories and negative energy it contained. My hair wasn't doing me any favors but it certainly could do a great deal of good for someone else. After all, since the separation and progress of the divorce I needed to establish a completely new version of me.
Since the last time I donated my hair; my family bought a house and moved into it, we were separated for 9 months when my ex took a job across the country, we endured a difficult move from MD to UT, I suffered the continued breakdown of my marriage, we went through marriage and personal counseling, I processed the loss of my business that was beginning to prosper, I have been trying and not really succeeding in finding gainful employment in UT and ultimately we are going ahead in the dissolution of our marriage. That's a lot to be carrying around on my head, literally and figuratively.
Now I've lightened my load. I am, by way of my hair, letting go of the past and making way for the future. I have cleared the path for new growth, personally and professionally. I'm getting positive feedback and it feels great. I must admit it also feels good to shock the bejesus out of people! To do something so unexpected that it makes the people around me place more consideration on me and what I stand for. Not only do people see me as selfless by helping such a great cause but they see me as a daring and spontaneous person who can roll with the punches and come up with a smile on my face no matter how extreme the outcome. I also needed to do this to remind myself that no matter how I look, how I feel, or how things seem to be, I am the only one who can make myself truly happy. There may not be any asana reflected in the photo but there is yoga none the less. Mental and emotional yoga is just as, if not more, important than the physical portion of the practice. Heaven knows that even though my physical yoga is lacking these days I am doing more mental and emotional yoga than I have done in years.
Friday, June 22, 2012
I'm taking the reigns again. It's been 13 years since I've been in a position to map out my life without running it by someone else first. It's both daunting and exciting to be in control, to have the thought of endless possibilities. Right now, even though there is so much I could do, I'm in survival mode. I had to get a job, any job, so that I could pay the rent on my new cabin, pay for my car, put food on the table for me and my daughters, etc. It's not ideal but then again neither was starting over. My yoga practice has seen better days and I've gained over 10 pounds from stress and a lack of the physical activity that I'm used to. I feel a bit like I've lost myself in this process and I'm anxious to get reacquainted with who I've been striving to be for so many years and who I'm discovering I can be if I put my heart and soul in to it. It's a strange new world and I'm just starting to see all the opportunities that it presents.
I'm looking to my heart for guidance. My mind has done nothing but add to the chaos lately so I'm sending it on vacation. My heart needs to take the lead because it sees things more clearly. Each time I need to make a decision I'm looking to what feels right in my heart. I'm telling myself each day that I have the right to be happy, I have the right to be healthy, I have the right to be loved, and I have the right to be me. If I'm presented with any situations that don't support that I also have the right to say NO. I'm the one who is choosing the path and that means I get to take any detours I like along the way or site see if I find a place that's worth staying for a while.
Wish me luck and give me a swell bon voyage!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I have this strange mix of sensations; one of getting ready to explode from the starting line and one of being tied up in a knot, unable to move. It's as if I have been spending all my time in bound Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/876 Yoga Journal, 2012) This posture is taken by standing in a runners lunge, twisting the torso toward the front inner thigh, reaching the lower arm outside the front leg and under the torso while reaching the upper arm behind the back and clasping the hands together. Such extreme feelings and yet they are both at the forefront of my being. The time is coming for me to make some decisions in my life. "Where do I want to be?" "What do I want to do?" "How do I get to those places?" Those questions though are the least of my worries. The most important question is "Who do I want to be?" Do I want to be the person who idly watches their life float by or to do I want to be the person who controls their destiny? I guess the way to get to that answer is by working on the other questions first.
I have it within my own power to make external choices. Those choices in turn effect who I am as a person. While there is no doubt so much more than those external things that make me who I am, the choices are the clear and tangible sign to myself and those around me what I stand for.
I am making choices that can change my life from this day on. These are not easy choices, but are ones which impact my family as a whole. Precisely because of this fact is the reason I feel tied up in a knot. I'm not the only one who will feel the effect of my decisions. That is what keeps holding me back, but I can't just keep saying "I don't know". I have to confirm what I feel and follow through on my thoughts with action. That's the only way I'll ever undo the knots and make my way out of the starting gate into this next phase in my life.
Every choice that you make has the ability to set you free or bind you where you are. There are choices I have made in the past that have bound me down and there are those that have let me loose. I can only hope that the choices I make now will be there right ones for me at this time.
Friday, February 3, 2012
It's been a while. Three months to be exact. Things started picking up in our lives. The blog went by the wayside. Not to say that it hasn't crossed my mind numerous times, but every time that it did I had no idea what I would write about. It's hard to write a blog when nothing strikes you as inspiration. I was feeling pretty uninspired for a while before I started working at the resort. As you may remember my last blog was all about spreading my wings and finding my place in Park City. At the time when I wrote that installment I was feeling pretty confident that I was starting to figure it out around here. It was a short lived sense of confidence. My experience subbing the yoga class was a disappointment and I have not been contacted by the studio since. Not to say that the class didn't go well because that part certainly did, it was my experience with one of the owners of the studio that was a let down. I also had a mysterious situation with a person who I thought was becoming my friend confuse me and make me feel self conscious. I wasn't sure how to handle it so I withdrew. I took to the land and hung with my dog continuing to hike and bike. I missed my friends in MD and longed to be closer to my friends in CO. I felt lonely and yet wanted to be alone. I looked forward to starting my job at the resort because it would be another opportunity to meet people. I also was just looking forward to having a consistent place to go. I mean I'm a pretty cool chick but even I was getting bored of being with me!
Working at the resort has given me the opportunity to meet lots of new people, many of whom are transplants like me. It's nice to be with others who don't know that many people outside the resort. I have become friends with people who are my age, some who are young enough to be children of mine and others who are old enough to be my parent. I love the fact that we're all so different, coming from places all over the country and even the world yet we've all come here to work at a world class ski resort. I am really enjoying my job. Working at the resort I get to ski for free. Needless to say I have been taking full advantage. I had never skied before December 10, 2011. On that day I took a four hour lesson. By the end of that lesson I went from never being on downhill skis to being classified as an advanced beginner. The following Monday I went out by myself and skied for 4 hours, hitting as many green runs as I could. From that point on I have skied almost every day that I've had off from work. In just under 2 months I have progressed to mastering double blues and am hoping to hit some black runs within the next couple of weeks.
Along with making friends at your work place, it never seems to fail that once you have kids your friends come as a result of their friendships. I am so pleased that we have become friends with a wonderful family. Their daughter is in Juliana's class and the two of them have become inseparable. Each weeks sees us swapping days to pick up the kids from school, driving the girls to and from their sporting activities and afternoon tea and chit chat. Each week we get to know each other better and each week we find we have more and more in common. It's good to feel that I have finally found that friend here who I know I can depend on and who can in turn depend upon me.
Thanks to all my skiing my thighs are becoming stronger. Chair pose or Utkatasana (http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/493 Yoga Journal, 2012) has always been one of my least favorite postures. I always felt the need to fight it, never really releasing and settling into it. However now that I spend 2 to 3 days a week and hours at a time in this pose while skiing I find it oddly relaxing. To quote my friend Ryan Montbleau and his band, I have learned to "sit back, relax and have yourself a ball". This is really what I should have been doing all along. I should not have let myself get insecure about things that were indeed beyond my control. Skiing has become a direct connection to the idea of going with the flow. I can't control everything no matter how much I would like to. I need to remember to just let things happen naturally, staying loose and making adjustments as necessary, just like one does when they are skiing. The same holds true for taking chair pose. It can't be forced, instead it should be loose and fluid with unconfined expectations.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Planning seems to be all I've been doing lately. Planning ways to teach again, planning how I'll make some money, planning how we'll enjoy our first ski season in UT, planning how I'll volunteer at the girls' school, planning for the immediate and distant future. It's been a while since I've had to do so much plotting out of my life. I've forgotten how exhausting it can be. Being constantly grounded and working on my life's foundation again has made me energetically heavy. It's time for me to lighten things up again. This is also part of the reason that it's time for me to "fly", not only in my practice but in my life in general. Bringing that sense of lightness and ease back into my life will help to keep me from being bogged down in all the planning.
Don't get me wrong, my days have not all been filled with the weight of starting again. I have been thoroughly enjoying my free time. I have filled it with my natural surroundings. I have hiked and biked more in the past few months than I have done in many years, probably more than I have done at any other time in my life. If I already had a job and had gotten myself into other daily commitments I would not have the joy and wonderfully intense experience of seeing the seasons change around me in one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. I am truly grateful for this time and have immensely enjoyed it. It truly is the one thing that has kept me happy while working to reinvent myself yet once again. Being outside every day has also provided me with moments to "fly". Climbing to the peak of mountains to see the land spread out below me and cruising downhill on my bike while feeling the wind in my face are two ways that I feel those sensations of being free, of experiencing a sense of flight.
I need to feel this in my practice too. For those of us who seek to find our way through life's messy parts by taking to our yoga mats it is understood that the practice can create moments of transformation. Transformation not only in the practice of yoga itself but transformation in life as well. When I'm on my mat I can become whoever or whatever I want. I have the opportunity to be still like a rock, flow like a river or fly like an eagle. I can be as quiet as a mouse or as ferocious as a lion. My practice can help me find solutions to problems by calming my mind and releasing stress from my body. This week I need to fly. I'm not ready to take on the nobleness of an eagle but I do need to spread my wings and become light as the air. I'm taking Bakasana or crow (or crane) pose (http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/468 Yoga Journal, 2011) for this reason. Crow pose is all about inner balance. When looking at the pose one would assume that strong arms are needed. This is not the case. There is no need for physical strength. The ability to do the pose comes from inner focus and a sense of "I can do this" wonder. If doubt creeps in the pose collapses. One must take on a sense of self containment and let the outside world fade into the background. It's an interesting combination of "letting go" of anything beyond the physical body and "taking hold" of all that is within the skin.
Crows are humble and plentiful birds. You can find them anywhere in the US. They are sleek black and of moderate size. They can be loud and are social animals. I think right now I am more like a crow then any other animal. Now that I'm trying to find my place here in UT I find that I'm not that unique. I'm in an area where being a yoga teacher isn't that different, I have another yoga teacher in my neighborhood after all. I'm just one of the flock. For now I'm OK with that. I mean I need to become a part of the community before I can show them all how I'm different and special. In order to show people what makes me unique I need to get my wings back. I need to be fearless again, confident once more and comfortable being one of the crowd. While at the same time I need to let go of whatever thoughts and feelings I have projected into the people around me and take hold of all that I have within me. If I doubt myself I will fall but if I focus on all that is within me I will fly high.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
There's a fine line between being excited and manic, being assertive and aggressive, being brave and reckless. I feel like I'm always walking the line. It's like being on a tightrope, one wrong step and you're over the edge, falling and hoping you make it out alive. It's hard when you are in the midst of reestablishing yourself in a new community, to know where exactly that line exists. In MD it was easy because I knew all the boundaries. I knew who I could cut loose with and who I should be conservative around, here not so much. I have made friends with a couple of neighborhood moms and I'm starting to know where I stand with them but now that I'm starting to meet other parents at the girls' school I am still hesitant about just how "me" I can be. Sometimes I like to be raucous and rowdy, will they think I'm a loud mouth? Sometimes I am quiet and observant, will they think I'm a snob? I'm not living in a big fancy 3500 sq ft mountain house, will they think I'm not good enough to be their friend? I teach yoga and help women have their babies, will they think I'm too crunchy earthy hippie? In the grand scheme of things it's not like I truly care either way but it's still hard when you're unsure of just where the boundaries lay.
No matter what others think of me and where my place ends up being in this community I will always stay true to "me". I'm a dancing queen! I like to kick up my heels and have a good time. I like to sing at the top of my lungs when I love the song. Most importantly I love to laugh. I hope that the people I meet here can see this about me.
Since the move I have been lucky enough to see friends who have known me for a very long time. Some have known me since high school, some have known me since Americorps, some have known me since my single party girl days, but all of them have held on to their appreciation for all that I was, am and always will be. For this I am truly grateful! Now I get to make my way into new friendships that will no doubt continue on into my old age. I am excited for these new people to get to know me. I can't wait to make new friends to dance, giggle and share stories with.
The opportunities are coming fast and furious for this to happen. I got the job at Deer Valley Resort and while it doesn't start until December 1st I will meet some new people there and most likely make some great friends. I have met some other moms at the girls' school and have already begun to establish a great friendship with one mom in particular. I have gotten closer to two neighborhood moms and we are now hanging out socially as well as in the 'hood. The doors are opening and I'm shimmying and shaking right on through doing what I do best, meeting new people and making new friends.
My practice this week is dedicated to me and my social personality. I'm dancing my way through my practice and indeed through my life. Natarajasana or Dancer pose (http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/936 Yoga Journal, 2011) is hard to do. The pose is done standing on one foot while holding the other extended behind you, this in and of itself is challenging. Then you have to reach the other hand for the sky while kicking your lifted foot upward and back, this makes the chest open and the heart shines forward. It's like being a ballerina just without the pirouetting and plies-ing. It takes grace and confidence. These are two characteristics that I think I have, even when I'm guffawing at myself because I've tripped over my own feet. After all it takes grace and confidence to be able laugh at yourself and get on with life. This is the most important part of me that I want those I'm inviting into my life to be aware of.