YOGA BIRD

This time two years ago I was showing up several times a week to a storefront out in Milwaukie (Oregon) filled with impressive looking Pilates equipment just hoping that someone would show up for yoga.  It was my first official gig as a yoga instructor, besides this I had offered some free outdoor yoga and was putting in apprenticeship hours at a local studio.

Some days one person would show, usually none, and I think one day I was lucky enough to get two actually breathing humans in the same class.

That gig ended and I got a job at a aquatic center.  Mine were brand new classes and no one showed up to these either.  My low came one night when the manager suggested that I walk around the pool telling people about my classes if no one showed.  Luckily that night a person came so I didn’t have to stoop over wet swimmers and try to explain to them how cool yoga was (although I probably would have done it!).  I still have that gig and now it’s my favorite one.  Two years later I have a steady stream of regulars, most of which I consider my friends.

I got more yoga gigs, I started teaching gentle/restorative yoga, and spent A LOT of time LEARNING how to teach soft instead of intense. I subbed for Hatha and learned how to teach without a bunch of flow.

I also learned to not care so much what other people think, but to follow my own intuition.  I learned that you can’t please everyone and that’s okay.  I learned that yoga is yoga, which sounds overly simple, but if I can manage to remember that while I teach, I’ll be okay.  Yoga is yoga is yoga.  Just teach yoga.

I scrambled to get jobs two years ago, now I have to turn some down. I have some corporate gigs where I go teach working professionals at their places of work after their shifts.  I teach a class at a bouldering gym.  I don’t have one actual ‘yoga studio’ job, but for me that feels like normal.

If I could say something to myself two years ago I would tell me not to give up.  That’s definitely a message I’d love to pass on to any new yoga teachers out there who are just starting out.  Yes, there will be criticism and countless jobs given to other more experienced teachers instead of you.  That’s okay, just keep going.  My experience hustling for yoga jobs has taught me the valuable lesson of working hard for something even though I though it was pointless at the time.  I remember telling my friend at the time I just wanted so badly to tell these people I was auditioning for, “I can do it.  Please let me just fly.”

I’m flying now in this whole yoga deal.  It won’t last forever, I long to get a ‘normal’ 9 to 5 again, but I’m enjoying it for right now.  I’m able to be with my son instead of sending him to day care and that means so much to me.

Wishing all of you out there to find wings and the space to try them out in.

~Peace & Namaste.

Picture from that first gig ❤️

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A BLOODY MESS

Whew, boy I managed to go a whole month without blogging!  That’s a first for me in 2 years & I’m trying not to feel too bad about it.  I have another writing project in the works and it’s been hard to switch gears when I have some dedicated time to write.

But I’m here now.

Life has been a little crazy lately…I feel like it’s always a little crazy.  I mean c’mon I have a toddler, it’s not going to be well manicured.  It’s gonna get messy.  Messy like last week when I got a call from my mom after an AA meeting, “Holden’s okay but…”  I couldn’t let her finish, all of the blood seemed to rush out of my body.  “What happened?!” I asked.  “He fell and bit through his tongue.”

I rushed home and we all went to the ER, first trip for this mama.  He was in pain but the bleeding had slowed to a trickle.  He had a pretty big open gash on the tip of his tongue.  It was late, he kept falling asleep & then waking back up to the pain.  We were seen pretty fast & the doctor said it could really go either way, if he was unable to get stitches he would probably be fine but he was going to stitch his tongue up anyways.  They administered some drugs up his nose and swaddled him in some white blankets like a little toddler burrito.  My son became like a happy drunk, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and laughing at anything that was even reasonably funny.  The doctor managed to get a couple of stitches in before H became wise to what was happening.  He started jerking around, so the doctor gave up on that last perfect stitch.

As we drove home my son begged to go back to the hospital.  The drugs were still working through his system, he now vacillated between happy and mean drunk.  “I want to go back!” he shouted.  He kept crying & wailing.  It was around two in the morning now & us three adults were really only thinking about our beds & some sanity.  He refused to get out of his car seat.  He kept hitting me.  I had to carry him out of the car and into the house against his will.  He wasn’t supposed to walk on his own, because of the drugs he could fall.  I finally got him to bed with my mom’s help.  Nope, it wasn’t fun.

This is a somewhat extreme example of how hard being a parent can be (it could have been worse, yes I’ve heard the stories!), it’s not just roses and sunbeams all of the time.  You will be inconvenienced.  You will be karate chopped on the bridge of your nose by a very small (but strong) toddler.

You will be questioned incessantly.  You will be stressed.  You will be tired.  You will want to give up.

Lately I’ve had to seek a shift.  Morning hits me like a freight truck.  “Get up Mommy!”  I’ve had to switch my ways of thinking about him & how I react.  Because it’s easy to react wrong & it’s harder to react right.


I don’t react right all of the time & no, none of us is perfect.  But, I am my son’s only parent.  He has his grandparents too (Thank you Jesus) but I’m going to be with him for most of his early life.  This is a weighty thing to think about.  I’m it for him.  What I do will shape his mindset & beliefs.  It’s scary to think of myself like that.  It’s scary when my rational brain shuts off & I just feel annoyance or anger.

Because damn, three-almost-four-year-olds are quick.  While I was typing an email on my phone earlier, he dumped out two card decks, mixed them together, and poured all his toys over them.  Why?  So he could jump up and down on this flotsam, of course!  Pretty fun to clean up & yes he has to help too because that’s the lesson I want to teach him.

So I’ve begun to have to change my ideas about what he or I should be.  I’ve had to take breaks.  I’ve had to take more time to explain things to him.  I’ve had to discipline which is not natural for me to do.  I’ve had to nourish his spirit because I don’t want to crush it.  I’ve had to answer non explainable questions.  I’ve had to reach a little bit deeper.

I’m not feeling like I’m perfect at it, but I am feeling like I’m trying & doing my best.  I’m asking my HP for help always.  I know as other parents read this they will chuckle, their heads naturally nodding in agreement, remembering their own experiences & struggles.

Wishing all parents & kids out there a break.  A deeper understanding & love for one another.  This is what it’s all about.

~Namaste.

 

TAKING A BREAK

I appreciated how, on our last weekend of teacher training, our master teacher asked us what relationship with money was like.  I specifically liked how she worded it:

“Is your relationship with money adversarial?  Or is it a tool?”

This post isn’t about money, but about social media as it’s been useful for me to view it within the same framework.  Is it adversarial?  Or is it a tool?

Sometimes for me it’s one or the other or even both.  A couple years after getting sober in 2008 I ran with a crowd that rejected Facebook.  Everyone was deleting their accounts, they didn’t like how vapid it could get, they didn’t want to waste their time with it.  They wanted to focus more of their energy on being spiritual and living in the present.

I did it too.  I went ‘off’ Facebook for years. People would comment to me about it and I would tell them that I didn’t have one.  I would get weird looks.  Lots of people consider having a Facebook (& other social media accounts) as being normal although there are many people out there who don’t engage.

I later found Instagram & took to its simplicity.  Fast forward to the present:  I am a Facebooker again & I have both types of accounts, continuously posting & streaming pictures about yoga, my son, & my life.  Facebook became a sort of ‘necessity’ for all of my yoga stuff.


But sometimes it’s too much.  I waste too much time scrolling though useless stuff.  It makes me feel like a zombie.  And I do best when I’m not following an outline, I recently tried out my first yoga challenge on Instagram (post every day about yoga for a month) & it made me feel trapped.  Creativity & freedom always works best for me.  It’s not fun if it feels forced.

I always have to remember that no one places me in a box, except for myself!  And I have the power to step back or remove myself from it.  

So I’ve taken breaks from it.  My head got quiet.  I want a quiet head so I think it will be something that I will do more often.  Going back to that idea that group of AA’s in early sobriety taught me.  Not deleting, just abstaining for periods of time.

Balance.  It’s hard to find.

Wishing all you out there balance in what you need.

Peace, love, & namaste~

❤️

BEING STILL

Since I’ve been back from the festival, all I’ve really wanted to do is slow down.  Just stay at home, & as cliche as it sounds, cook & clean.  All Summer long I’ve been going strong & have had some amazing opportunities.  In between those opportunities:  swim lessons, splash parks, & tons of time outside or at our local pool.

So much time in the sun & I’ve really  relished every golden moment of it.  

But now it’s time to slow down & listen softly for the season to turn.  I spent so many years in Southern California before moving to Oregon almost 4 years ago, if you can imagine I was sick of the sun.  Exactly 3 Oregon Winters cured that insanity & I really embraced the summer this year which felt really good.

Going slow & being still feels good too because I have been a bit sick this past week.  Also, yesterday I was minding my own business walking down the stairs when my right heel missed the step.  I overcompensated & somehow my left toes came crashing down ballerina style, which I don’t even know why I would be pointing my toes, lol.  I felt a ghastly snapping & doubled over backwards in horrible pain.

A bruising, taping, & iced 24 hours later I’m still hobbling around.  I teach power Vinyasa at 7!  Another opportunity to stretch & strengthen my yoga wings, eh?

Looking forward to cold air, sweaters, & fires in the fireplace.  Wishing all of you out there to receive what you most need & maybe some of what you want too.

Namaste~

A SOUL-FULL ECLIPSE

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A couple months ago I was tagged in a post about needing a yoga teach at the big Oregon Eclipse Festival out in Ochoco National Forest by Prineville.  I didn’t put much thought into it as I responded, tell me more in the comments.  After an email conversation back & forth I became more interested & it wasn’t long until I committed myself to the event.  I would be co-teaching 4 rounds of ‘Space Yoga’ & I would need to camp on site.

I left my house last Thursday at 7am, plenty of time I thought to make the 4 hour drive out to Ochoco.  I stopped in Sisters, OR to sight see a small bit, I had never been to that quaint town before & it was really amazing.  I arrived to Prineville at around noon.  I read one last email from my contact from the company I was working for, it read:  it took us 10 hours to get inside the gate yesterday, be prepared for long waits, & you will lose cell service outside of Prineville.  Sure enough, both my phone & a long line of cars stalled right outside of town.  I was still optimistic, we were only 40-ish miles away from the site, I had plenty of food & water, & there was still 8 hours of daylight ahead.  I thought it would be easy to set up camp on site.  How wrong I was!

I arrived with the hordes of other festival goers at the ‘gate’ at 3am.  The main camping area entrance & parking lot got filled so they created a new road on the opposite side of the festival to guide us into.  I parked & made my bleary way to a staff welcome tent nearby.  I was given my wristbands & was told there was a shuttle up to the gate.  I loaded my crate of camping supplies & bedroll on the fold up hand cart my step-dad had let me borrow.  Thank goodness for that little cart!  Everyone I met at that parking lot area was in a less than stellar mood.  A group of us gathered by the shuttle area.  There were no lines set up to qualify who was there first, I experienced this many times at festival, the lack of lines meant anyone could cut if they really wanted to.  This was annoying but was part of the whole deal of festival, we are all one, we should learn how to work together & put each other before ourselves.  It was an interesting concept & sometimes it worked & sometimes people did cut!  Such is the nature of us all, eh?

Within my bleary, tired state, I witnessed this group of waiting artists (which comprised all sorts of professions such as musicians, or yoga teachers as in my case) yell at a staff member on a go cart.  She zoomed by us telling us to move back & behind her were 4 or 5 buses which almost ran over someone’s luggage & kicked up a whole wave of dust all over us.  This happening upset the artists even further & I made the questionable decision to ditch the shuttle area & walk up the hill with my precarious cart.

I walked.  & walked.  & walked, later learning that the distance from my car in the far reaches of the parking lot to the festival interior was about 2 miles.  This was a walk I would come to know very well, & would later refer to as the ‘festival workout.’  I burned a lot of calories on that walk!  Everything was dark & who knew where my head lamp was.  The ground was super uneven & there were rocks all over the place.  There were also many different hills to walk up & down, some larger & some medium sized.  All that to say it was an insane place to try to roll a cart through in the dark.  Now it had to be around 4am & I somehow made my way to the prairie gate (one of the entrances inside the festival past the normal camp area).  From there I bumbled along asking countless drugged out wanderers, do you know where the Guerilla Science tent is?  No one knew, it was the first early morning of festival & the show hadn’t started yet.  Finally a drunk, tall Australian dude with long dread locks asked, do you need some help love?  Yes, yes sir I do need help & very desperately, lol.  I now had an extra set of strong arms to help me & it turned out that there was probably no one else at that festival better suited to help me get to where I needed to be.  He was super kind & resourceful asking everyone where the tent was & scouring my map I had screenshot of on my iphone.  I started crying at one point & he refused to continue on but insisted on pulling me in a beer soaked hug until I stopped!  I believe that my higher power definitely put him there to guide me.  We finally found the tent & he even stayed to help me set my tent up.  I told him to come visit me later but I never saw him again!  That was the nature of festival, there were so many people there (estimated 30,000), cell phones didn’t work as communication devices, you never knew if you’d see someone again.  I fell asleep that early morning to beats from the music tents pulsing up at me through the ground.

I hauled the rest of my stuff up the hill twice the next day with the aid of a shuttle truck.  I co-taught the space yoga that late morning & it actually went very well even though I was so tired.  Out of everything at festival, teaching & being present for that was by far the easiest thing I did.  After the class I got settled with my stuff & began to take in my surroundings.  We were camped within the center of festival.  The Big Top (circus type of shows & music performances) was to our right & the Dance Shala (hopefully self explanatory) was to our left.  Countless different type of performance types of tents were our neighbors left & right.  My tent backed up to a small see through fence which was separating us from the our stage.  I could literally look out my tent & see all the action.  Not coming from a performing/stage background this was all really amazing to me.  Also, the dust!  You have to wear a mask most of the time or you won’t be able to breathe.  This dust covered everything, I could even smell in in my covered tent.

Further away from us was the Yoga Shala & I spent most of my time there, setting my mat down & taking multiple classes.  This was my thing at festival.  I came there with too much physical baggage, looking back I would have packed differently & lighter.  I also arrived with a bunch of spiritual baggage.  I heard it in that first yoga class the first full day I was there, my soul was speaking loudly to me, desperate thoughts like, why am I so stupid?  What am I doing with my life?  Why am I here?  Why am I such a failure?  My eyes clouded & I let the tears flow over.  It was the perfect place for that, mats pressed edges together, during poses your neighbors arms & legs resting on your own, a stranger reaching over to you to give you a hug.  Everything was dirty, we were dirt, everything was very raw, simple, & clear in that yoga tent.  & even though I spent so much time there, I literally wished I could have spent all of my time there.  After 3 hours I walked out empty.  Souless so to speak.  All the baggage dropped & gone.  I went back to our backstage tent site, ate, put my ear plugs in, & slept from 9pm to 6am through multiple rave like music events all around me & well into the early morning.

Day 2 passed much like day 1, I taught, ate, visited the yoga shala once more.  I discovered that the shala was really the only draw of festival for me, the rest of the time I stayed back stage with the scientists.  The differences of conversations backstage & within the festival being pretty starkly different.  The scientists having deep conversations about sound therapy & doing research about how to change the soundscape in hospitals to make people feel more connected with nature (the topic of sound came up a lot since there was so much sound all around us all of the time!).  I would step outside our campsite & hear snippets of conversation, he offered it to me & I was like sure!  I’m not going to turn down free drugs....Lol, very different perspectives.

Day 3 I started to worry about my exodus.  After class I made a trip down, I think with the shuttle the walk was about a mile between the interior of the festival to the shuttle stop & the rest of the way to my car after the shuttle dropped us off.  Right about that time I began to have an idea, what if I camp by my car???  My car sat parked next to this amazingly beautiful field & I had already seen plenty of people doing the same.  I told my contact at GS & she didn’t disagree so I started breaking my tent down.  I set up my tent down by that field by last light & I trekked back up to get my last load.  I had my head lamp this time!  Walking down to my car my soul began to fill back up.  You’re gonna be okay.  You are so strong.  All of those desperate thoughts I had days before in the Yoga Shala were gone, filled over & full with assurance & peace.

Waking up at the edge of this field, the festival pulsing away in the distance, not mere feet away from me, was the most amazing experience.  Birds chattered & flew by.  A mouse like creature came out a couple times but ran away when I moved.  I took my time drinking coffee, meditating, eating, & getting ready.  I watched the eclipse, grateful that I was here by myself instead of standing in a throng of people.  I watched the world get dark & snuggled into my flannel shirt as the temperature dropped.  After it was over I walked up to teach my last class.  I hugged my co-teacher & my contact & said good bye.  I looked at the vacant spot next to the stage wall where my tent had been.  I walked away & made one last long walk down to my vehicle.

So my festival experience was probably different than most.  Or maybe it was exactly the same.  Going someplace strange to realize who you really are deep down inside all over again.  A place to meet your Higher Power.  Maybe other people felt like that.  I also really enjoyed teaching Space Yoga & the company I worked for, they were so amazing & kind.

Wishing that all of you out there can realize how special you really are & that you can come back to that truth if you’ve wandered away.

Xoxo & Namaste~

 

OH SPAIN

Jet lag still running through my bones as I’m on my fourth day back from Spain & here I am typing, not being able to sleep since 2:30am.

It’s impossible to have a great experience without a little pain & pain I felt on the trip back, 13ish hours up in the sky, 3 different planes, weirder than weird experience on the 10 hour flight, my butt went numb & sore, & I just couldn’t get comfortable in my seat.  I had the loveliest of seat companions, this mom-like lady from nearby Hillsboro.  Ah, so grateful for feminine loving care these days.  She kept checking on me & smiling.  It’s those things that make me so happy even though I was pretty miserable at the time.

& then stepping off of the plane in 90 degree Utah to weave my way through the strange labyrinth that is customs.  Another security line.  Disassemble, take off shoes, walk through scanner, thankfully no invasive pat down like on the way there.  Luckily I was in a really good mood for that one.

The day after I got back I traveled to beloved Cannon Beach for the cutesy little parade with my step sister & her 2 kiddos whom I love.  H was playing in the day care at the retreat center my parents volunteer at.  I was prepared for him not to make a big deal after not seeing me for a week but he got super excited & hugged onto me really tight.

I couldn’t sleep that night & the next day was a really hard one.  I don’t do well on little sleep, H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) kept coming to mind.  I had to go walk my grandmother’s dog & H wouldn’t stay with her.  I was exhausted & he sat down in the street & wanted to be picked up.  I had to call my mom & ask for help, something I really hate to do, but is very necessary for this alcoholic.  Thankfully slept like a rock & was back to normal yesterday.

& Southern Spain, oh Southern Spain!  If you can go, go!  Someday.  So much good there, but for me, a homebody by nature, the best part was the villa.  Way too many pictures posted here, and this is even edited down from what I have.  I couldn’t help what was left, too magical:

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MY ROOM

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I SLEPT IN ALMOST EVERY DAY.  ONE DAY I SLEPT 12 HOURS!  OUTSIDE THIS DOOR I WOULD SIT ON THE STOOP & MEDITATE.  I WOULD PRACTICE JUST A LITTLE YOGA OUTSIDE.

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DINING ROOM ADJACENT TO KITCHEN.  IF YOU CAN PICK IT OUT AT THE CENTER OF THE TABLE THERE IS A PIG LEG THERE COVERED BY A TOWEL.  CURED PIG LEGS COMMONLY KEPT LIKE THIS.  YOU (NOT ME LOL, I DON’T EAT PIG) JUST CUT WHAT YOU WANT OFF OF THE LEG & EAT IT HOWEVER.

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DINING ROOM LEADING TO THE LIVING ROOM.

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LIVING ROOM.

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COME WALK INTO THE LIGHT.

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FROM THE VILLA YOU COULD SEE THE TINY, QUAINT MOJACAR PUEBLO.

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AFTER MEDITATING & ALL THAT WE WOULD ASSEMBLE HERE AROUND NOON TO DRINK STRONG COFFEE.  DEFINITE HIGHLIGHT OF EACH DAY.

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COULD ALSO LOOK OUT TO THE INDIGO MEDITERRANEAN FROM THE VILLA.

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SO MUCH DETAILED TILE WORK TO GET LOST IN.

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MY COUSINS GF’S SISTER WAS ON THE TOP LEVEL WITH HER PARTNER & DAUGHTER.  MY COUSIN & GF HAD A DOWNSTAIRS ROOM & I HAD THE RUN OF THIS LITTLE LIBRARY, MY ROOM, & THE KIDS ROOM.

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WIFI WAS OFF IN MY ROOM SO I SPENT TIME IN THE KIDS ROOM WRITING EVERY DAY.

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MESS.

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OCD.

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IF YOU LOOK CENTER/TOP YOU CAN MAKE OUT THE PUEBLO.

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I got to a very relaxed state here at this villa.  I’m normally a total freak when it comes to bees, I jerk around & say inappropriate things to them when they fly too close, not something I feel great about but chalk it up to being adorably quirky, right?  I got to such a comatose place at that pool pictured above, & they still flew very close, hell one possibly could have even landed on my thigh & I would have just have lazily swiped it away (we’ll never know because that didn’t happen, ha).  I think Spain was just what the spiritual doctor ordered, I can definitely get very tightly wound, type A, & workaholic on the daily.

So many “wrong” smells there.  The food, the soap, the smell of the villa & my room, the laundry detergent (washer was in my bathroom).  All of these off smells made me crave home, made me want to smell my bedroom in Oregon, fall face down into my comforter, & just breathe in the familiarity.  But, funnily enough now, I pulled out a tank to wear, one that my cousin washed for me & now tears come to my eyes as I smell the Spanish detergent.  What strange nostalgic creatures we are, or maybe that’s just me.

 

It barely gets light outside now, I’m going to try to write another post with Granada pictures while H still sleeps.  Because there’s so much more to write about Spain.

My friends, family, & the errant reader:  I wish you so much love.  The love of the Spanish winds into your hearts.

~Namaste.

 

PINCHED HIPS

My girl pinched my hips to see if I still exist.

~The Fugees, Ready or Not

We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.  Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?  Can He now take them all, every one?  If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.

~Big Book, p. 76

I noticed that my face was hurting yesterday.  Not from any accident or dental pain, although I did recently get some cavities filled.

No, I realized that my face hurt because I was smiling so much.

Several times in the recent weeks I have thought, I am so grateful for what my life is right now.  Not living in the future or rehashing the past, I have had real moments of living in the present gratitude which is always a miracle for someone like me.  I feel like asking someone to pinch me, because I still remember all too vividly what it used to be like.

Before I got sober a little over 9 years ago I was suicidal, my only friends were my cats, & I could only exist at all if I had alcohol in my system for most of the time.

Then I miraculously found myself in an AA meeting, a big book was given to me, I got a sponsor, & I started to deal with all of the emotional baggage I had been running away from for so long.  If you’ve been to meetings you may have heard the line in one form or another:  If you were like me you would have drank too.

When I lost that both great & horrible numbing agent, alcohol, I was overwhelmed by all of the resentments & emotions I had.  Lately I’ve been going through all of this old stuff again, its been really hard to dig up past relationships, those warped ones, when I thought that I had already gotten to a good place about them around working the steps.

You hear in the rooms that as you keep reworking the steps, things get deeper, & more layers are pulled off.  Ouch, right?  Layers under layers under layers.  Too be rigorously honest, I don’t really feel like getting to deep, once the layers start getting pulled up, all sorts of weird emotions pop up.  Tears rush to my eyes while I’m doing dishes, & I don’t know why I’m sad at first.

My favorite AA saying, one of the first ones I heard when I got sober was, it takes what it takes.  It’s taken what it’s taken to get me where I am now.  It’ll probably take a little more to keep me both sober & change my emotional & spiritual state.  The question I have to ask myself is, am I ready?  Am I ready to change?

It’s a hard question as I can probably skate by for a good while in my sobriety without being so open hearted.  I will feel much safer if I keep these scary emotions locked down below all those layers.  I can isolate, not do the step work, be alone.  I can be safe or I can change.

I’m currently choosing to do the work & to feel all the feelings.  I don’t know if it will be the same tomorrow, I only can account for today.  My sponsorship group is working steps 6, were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, & the work I did on my 4th & 5th this go around has seeped into this particular step.  Old pain I thought I had dealt with just keeps coming up.  Its interwoven into my defects.  I created survival mechanisms which just aren’t attractive to me as they used to be, although I still sometimes find them pretty attractive.

It’s kind of like the end of my drinking.  I’m not ready to let go of the bottle, but I really hate it at the same time.

My only hope is that quote at the top of this post, if I’m still not willing, I just keep asking my HP for the willingness.  And of course I can’t minimize the results.  I’m very sure the only reason I feel like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life directly correlates to how I’m working my program right now.  That’s pretty strong incentive to keep at it.  I want those sore smile muscles!

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In yoga news, I’ve reached the end of a six week theme of working through the chakras for my classes.  It’s been uncomfortable.  Subtle body stuff has never been my strong suit when I teach, I feel much more comfortable teaching to alignment or theming classes around a body part.  Experiencing chakra work can bring up a lot of stuff too, I think that focusing on these during so much intense step work has really helped facilitate the whole onion peeling deal.

& even though I’ve been uncomfortable, there are so many facets to yoga that I feel like I do need to explore & push myself.  I go through stages where I feel like the best yoga teacher ever (!), & then others when I feel like the absolute worst & am really hard on myself.  I have a steady schedule too, the free Summer classes are 2 weeks in.

All that to say, I think I need a little break, & serendipitously I leave for Spain next Monday.  I was sharing at a meeting last night that all of the downtime, getting out of my normal schedule, is really terrifying to me.  I think it is also just what I need right now.  Next post or couple posts will probably be filled with pictures of Spain.

As I experience deeper contentment, my heart prays for all those out there still struggling.  Asking today what I can do for the (wo)man who is still sick.

& wishing so much inner contentment for you all.

~Namaste.

TREADING WATER

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”

~Linda Wooten

I feel like the older I get & the more days I accumulate as a sober person, the less I feel I know.  The more vulnerable I feel, & also the more forgiving.  More able to forgive others because I can forgive myself.  Also, the little bit less I realize that what others think about me is really none of my business.

I was so excited for our pools to open last weekend.  H was doing really well with swim lessons, the week before he even jumped into the water for his teacher, getting his head mostly submerged.

My expectations were way too high, he behaved like he did last Summer, more comfortable sitting on the edge, splashing his toes in the water.  I picked him up once and he screamed & thrashed so I didn’t push it.

Then, surprisingly he asked to go on the paddle board shaped floatie.  We went around the pool, he on his belly, me pulling him around while holding onto his arms to make sure he didn’t topple.  He asked for his orange pool noodle, way on the other side past the 9 foot deep end.  I was very relaxed.  The sun was warm & the water was cool.  I mentally debated between getting out and walking over to get the noodle or just swimming over.  I’m a pretty strong swimmer, I can tread water for a fair amount of time.  I have decent lung capacity.

So the unwise decision of swimming over was made, he not even wearing any floaties attached to his body.  I somehow negotiated us going under a pool rope mid pool (those used to section off pools) without my feet touching.  We made it all the way to the other side & I was just reaching for the edge of the pool when he slid off the floatie.

Down I went, the only thought I had in my mind was to keep his head above water.  And I also thought about how full of people the pool was.  Someone will see us struggling, I remember thinking.  I kept kicking, fully submerged under water except for my hands which were keeping him up.  It seemed like forever.  I finally struggled up & my head reached breathable air once more.

Another mom was standing right next to the edge in front of me.  What do you need?  She said which still brings tears to my eyes.   I asked her to pick him up out of the pool & of course she did.  I saw that she had already fished my hat out of the water & had placed it on the side.

I noticed as I was lifting myself up over the edge that water was flowing out of my nose so I must have inhaled a good amount of the stuff.  It was the first time I believed that whole deal about mothers getting a rush of adrenaline in order to save their children.  It was also the first time when I was given a choice:  him or me?  It was very clearly him, I would have drowned to save him, this I know.

I thanked this lady over & over.  We made our way to the shallow end.  I still haven’t stopped processing it.  Luckily H seemed unfazed by the whole ordeal.

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Because we all make mistakes.  But there’s such a difference when the mistake only effects you as opposed to when the mistake you make effects your child.

Your sweet, innocent, & beautiful child.

Another mistake:  Back to the potty training grind.  It brought me to my knees & tears again & I don’t know why I was so surprised.  It took an hour long google session of, why won’t my three year old poop in the potty to let it all go.  Again.  Followed by days spent praying that I can change & be a better mother.

That I can let him decide for himself when he wants to poop.

That I can stop pushing.  That I can forgive myself.  That I can start over.

That I can let other people’s expectations of him (& me) go.

So all of the goddamn feels lately.  Yes, I have felt like a shitty mother a lot lately.  I have also felt like a pretty damn good one too.

Because even though I push & make the wrong decisions I will always show back up & try to be better.

This has been a pretty vulnerable post to write.  I tried two different subjects but just couldn’t shake this one.

Wishing/hoping/dreaming that all of you out there enjoy the sunshine out there wherever you are.  Wear your floaties!  Spiritual or otherwise.

~Namaste

THE CURVES AHEAD

I had wanted to do the whole professional yoga shoot for a while.  Since I’m saying hello to my fourth decade this year it seemed like the right thing to do.  I’ll only get older & who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do the poses that I can now do.

I document my son & much of my yoga life on Instagram publicly which doesn’t come easy to me.  I fall prey to comparing myself to other yogis on Instagram:  more flexible, more strong, & I’ll just come out and say it:  more skinnier.

As I waited for Chelsea on Alberta Street last Saturday, my hands were shaking.  My breath was jagged.  I stretched as best as I could, but felt very nervous & awkward.  Cars rushed by & a line of excited Portlandiers waited in line behind me at Pine State Biscuits.

I was so scared.  I texted this to Chelsea a couple times & she only was reassuring, it’s going to be fine.

My fear blossoms from many things: scared that people will see me & laugh at me, scared that I won’t be able to perform (pose well for the shoot), & most of all?  I’m afraid I won’t look ‘good enough.’

Because I’ve never felt like I’ve looked good enough since I was about 12 when I started going through puberty.  I was blessed with voluptuous curves & I had many friends that stayed flat chested & skinny for years.  Yes, the grass is always greener & I’ve known plenty of women who wish they had my bra size.  Believe me, I get that.

When I discovered yoga, I loved how it made me feel weightless & graceful.  It felt like the soul I knew I had deep on the inside was allowed to come out & play.  I felt beautiful.  I saw my insides more than my outsides.

I’ve always swung up & down with my weight, I’m one of those people who gains very easily.  Before H was born I was probably at my skinniest, dieting heavily before an AA retreat in Palm Springs.  Even then I felt far from comfortable in a bikini!

I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy & it has been very hard to lose.  I had to buy special high chested tank tops during teacher training (boobs + chaturanga = a very good view in a regular tank!).  When we covered the section on how to best teach those with extra weight, they practiced on me!

At 40 I am OK with the way I look.

Mostly.

I still have times when I cringe.  When my identity is too tied up with the way my butt looks during down dog.

When I wonder if bathing suit season will ever not make my stomach drop.

When I wonder if people look at me and think, she can’t be a yoga teacherShe doesn’t look like one.

But I am!  And I am not skinny.  Today this is okay.  I hope tomorrow & every day after that will strengthen any negative self image I have of myself.

This is who I am.

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All pictures magically taken by Chelsea of Anything But Dull Photography.  Thank you Chelsea for making me feel comfortable.

The murals are clustered in the art district of Alberta Street in Portland, OR.  We shot mostly at the cross streets of NE Alberta & 20th through 23rd.  We also shot at Rocky Butte which makes for some amazing scenic views of Portland.

This was an emotional post to write & I hope all the young girls out in the world feel that their insides more than their outsides are beautiful & important.

Love to you all~