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~

PANIC BEAR

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Finally getting around to writing a bouldering post.

I always knew that I really loved that tree climbing part of my childhood.  We lived out in the country for many years so being out in nature, digging & climbing around was a normal activity.  We also went to the same campground Summer after Summer & I climbed many a tree there as well.  The memory of how I felt when I climbed has always stayed with me.  Similar to the peace I receive during vinyasa, my brain just shuts off & I find a deep purpose in just moving & being.

Outdoor rock climbing never really appealed to me, it all looked just too complicated & hard!  I recently started following different yogis who posted videos of themselves doing something called “bouldering” & I was instantly intrigued.   Most of these yogis do a lot of inversions very successfully so it seemed like a good way to cross train & build that upper body strength.  Here are some initial short observations:

*There are no ropes or harnesses.

*The walls are at 15 foot or lower.

*The floors are padded.

*You wear special shoes.

*You can do it both indoor at a bouldering gym or outdoors if you’re really crazy.

There had been a climbing/yoga gym on my radar because it was somewhat nearby, just a couple small cities over, & about a 15 minute drive from home.  It had been something that floated on the outskirts of my mind, but seeing it so much on Instagram made me get really interested in it.

That & a new student & I were talking about it & he had some extra passes.  That helped.

Starting a new adventure like this is scary!  Like the days leading up to my yoga teacher training program I found my mind filled with all kinds of doomful futuristic thoughts like, what if everyone knows I’m new?  Or, what if I fall on my ass?  And, what if I suck?  And much more of course.  Isn’t that how it always is with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?  I see it a lot in classes I teach.  I’m always filled with a deep gratitude for students who walk in under a cloud of fear of the unknown.  I am always rooting for them because I know how it feels.

Luckily my desire to try it outweighed my fears.  What I’ve learned in the past two months since I’ve been bouldering on a 2 to 3 times a week basis:

*There is a term climbers use for a person who gets caught at the top of the wall, unsure how to get down & very tired:  Panic Bear.  Yes, I’ve been a panic bear.  It’s not fun.  It’s either grind out the down climb or jump!

*You climp UP then you climb DOWN.  Rock climbers rapel down whereas boulderers (is that a word?!) down climb.  This takes A LOT out of you.  The days after I bouldered the first time it seemed like every single last cell in my fingers, hands, arms, & shoulders were gong to be sore forever.  I struggled to take caps off pens and any other tasks you use your fingers for.  Also many people will hop off of the wall after getting pretty low to the ground.  I’m turning 40 in a week & I don’t want a ton of forceful compression like this on my knees so I try to always climb all the way down, unless I’m being a panic bear, lol.

*Shoes are a major thing part 1:  I rented the shoes at first at $6 a session.  I wanted to spend some time renting shoes because I didn’t know if I would really love bouldering or not.  After realizing I did love it I started looking for climbing shoes online.  After realizing they were muy expensive I started to research used climbing shoes.  I found a seller on craigslist selling 4 pairs at various sizes.  Research online had told me that it’s common for climbers to size down one or two sizes.  Basically if I’m an 8 & a half I might try 7 & a half or gasp 6 & a half?  Ouch.  I guess climbers like their shoes to fit tightly so they can really…… okay uh, I still don’t get this whole part all the way.  Stay tuned.

*Shoes are a major thing part 2:  Soooo I got some 7.5’s & damn gina these hurt my tootsies to no end.  I started noticing people taking their shoes off in between climbs.  I wondered if everyone at the gym was suffering like me!  I kept researching & finally came across the absolute best online article (which I can’t find or I’d link it here) that said in part, why are all the climbers killing their feet?  Get shoes that just fit like a glove.  So this really resonated with me, I couldn’t even focus on climbing because of theses tight shoes.

*Shoes are a major thing part 3:  This is getting silly now, but for me finding the right shoes really made me feel more confident.  Remember that climber student?  He had told me about this mecca called Next Adventure.  OMG this place!  I loved it!  They had new stuff on the main level & all sorts of used adventure gear in their basement.  Climbing shoes galore!  So affordable!  Even kids climbing shoes if H ever wants to tag along someday.  So I got a great pair that fit like a glove & feet are happy.  I do take them off between climbs as they are still a wee bit tight.  Lastly, I’ve been playing around with sockless climbs.  It feels very gross but I do have to say I can ‘feel’ the holds a bit better.

*Still on the same subject of the feet, my feet that feel so nimble & graceful during yoga, feel like awkward, wandering vestages  during climbs.  What in the hell are my legs & feet doing?!  This is a thought I often think during climbs.  And, look here legs & feet, arms & hands are killing themselves here, the least you could do is be a little more graceful!  C’mon!  Nope.  They just kind of flail around sometimes.  Plus, I’m hyper focus on the area around my eyes as I don’t want to be a panic bear or FALL DOWN.  I have seen some climbers hold their feet against the wall or even get some traction with the rubber undersold of their shoes until the foot can contact with a hold.  These climbers are usually the ones looking like they are doing a quick climbing ballet up & down the wall.

*Bouldering is humbling.  One day I went on the side of the gym that is kind of hidden so I could try a V3 hopefully mostly unseen.  I fell off on hold 3 to 5 (fourth of the way up) each time.  What I decided to be a 13 year old girl walked by me and flew up it in 5 seconds flat.  It kind of feels good to be so humbled.  I’m a beginner & I’m mostly okay with that.  I still experience a wall of fear when I park in the lot before walking in.  Climbers all sit & rest in between climbs & if you don’t have your phone with you there’s not much else to do besides watch what’s right in front of you which is other people climbing.  So this has been good for me to face my fear of failure & to let go (but hold on, lol).

*I got climbers arm.  Two weeks ago I started experiencing a fiery pain in my right elbow.  Back to the internet I went & I learned about a plethora of injuries one can get from climbing.  A severe case of climbing arm can force you to stop climbing for months.  Many recommended a serious work out before climbing which I had not been doing at all!  I found some good techniques & now head over to the workout section of the gym & take 15 minutes to warm up before beginning to climb.  I had also been pushing myself too hard.  I wouldn’t rest that much between climbs.  I would sometimes only go for a half hour so would think that I had to get as much climbing in as I could.  The sweet spot for me is to allow at least an hour for a climbing session.  I warm up for 15, I rest a lot, & I get plenty of climbs in.

*I’m afraid of heights!  When I get to the top of the wall at about 15 feet high, whether the route is easy or no, my heart starts beating fast, fear sweats the chalk off of my hands, & I start shaking!  So sometimes I don’t even go to the top.  I just suss out that I can get to the top hold then I head down.  Maybe this will pass, but it’s a thing right now.

I’m sure there’s more, another post or threaded into a different post later on.

Oh yeah, I got a new job!  It’s at the bouldering gym!!!!!!  I’ll teach Fridays at 7pm, I’m pretty stoked.  Climbing & yoga go together like peanut butter & jelly so I’m excited to teach there.

Wishing/hoping/vibing that all of you out there on the interwebs find a way to face a fear or embark on a new adventure soon.

Peace, love, & namaste~

JUST A NUMBER

I turn 40 in a couple of weeks & to celebrate am traveling to Spain at the end of June.  I’m not one of those people who dislikes getting older.  I found sobriety at 31 & ever since then, my life gets better & better.  I was a pretty unhappy lady in my 20’s (which I spent a fair amount of time in rehab), so there’s no wishing to go back for me, only forward.  I do however stroke into a big cringe upon remembering what it was like sometimes.  As it says in the “promises” portion of the Big Big on page 83:

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

I’m not there yet.  I’m good with the door to my past staying cemented shut UNLESS it will help someone else.  Maybe I’ll get to a better place with the cringe worthiness of what happened, but for now I will be consoled that at least if I share in a meeting or with a newcomer the mess I was compared to what I am now, it will give them hope.

I did steps 3 & 4 this past month.  Our sponsorship group had to compress them because none of us could meet last month.  I had never realized before how well the two steps intertwine.  If I manage to trust my HP fully I will turn all of my resentments over faster.  If I turn them over faster with more willingness my pain decreases leaps & bounds.  Step 4 is all about the work for me, the writing out of grievances.  I dislike the thinking about doing it, but I start to feel relief & am delivered of resentments right when I start writing about them.  It is both an Ahhhh & Duh moment.

I’ll meet with my sponsor next month to tell her all about my resentments, big & small.  When you do the work in the steps in AA life only gets better.  When we meet we’ll talk strategy about resentment patterns (most of them don’t change at least with me).  She’ll thankfully offer solutions that I’d never think of.  My HP will work through her.  I’m excited because I’m doing a little extra work on a subject I really have a hard time with.  I feel ready.  Well to be honest, I actually feel scared, stubborn, AND ready about it.  So we’ll see where it actually goes.  It takes what it takes.  I heard someone say in a meeting, time takes time.  I thought I’d heard all the sayings but I had never really heard that one before.  Works for spiritual growth so well.

We went to the Gilbert House in Salem a couple months ago, pics below.  We have to get very creative with stuff to do with all of this rain!  This rain lover is so ready for a big block of sunshine.

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My newest set of gentle yoga classes that I recently started teaching are going really well.  A year ago if someone would have asked me to sub a gentle class I would have either said no or panicked.  It feels really good to have done the hard work of sequencing, trial & error, asking for help (from teachers & students), & just showing up.  Now I am experiencing an ease with teaching the class although I’m not 100% comfortable.  Today I taught a free mini class & noticed that many of the people seemed more of the gentle variety & it felt pretty damn good to give them what they needed instead of only teaching whats in my comfort zone.

H & I are in a good spot, I feel comfortable turning 40, I’m looking forward to bright sunshine & Spain, yoga teaching is going really well, I’m in a really good place.  Oh yeah & I celebrated 9 years sober.  I can’t believe I remembered to mention this until the end of the post, but for me sobriety is a miracle each day although I do love to gather a couple of chips & speak at some meetings.  I’m just really, really grateful today for my whole life.  I don’t think I could say the same if I would have kept drinking for the last 9 years.

Wishing all of you & the world a sense of ease & forgiveness with your own pasts no matter how old you all are.

~Namaste.

 

 

THREE

My little guy is 3!!!  Can’t believe it.

The taco theme was a really fun one to do:

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This cake was relatively easy to execute, just cut out layers of rolled fondant & cut slices to resemble pinata layers.  That’s a taco truck topper if you can’t make it out!

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Photobooth.

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Whappity-whap.

Planning this party taught me the value of tissue paper.  This stuff is like gold!  It’s also super inexpensive gold at that.  You do have to love detail to work with it.  Pinatas proved to be pretty forgiving projects, the taco pinata was especially easy if not time consuming to make.  There are so many online diy tutorials that really just guide you through it.  I used this one which also inspired much else in the party.

I found this party to be an all around crowd pleaser for adults & kids alike.  I mean c’mon, it’s tacos.  Where can you go wrong?

My favorites (other than eating tacos) was the story reading by my step-dad who is an epic book reader.  I often walk into a room when he’s reading to H & he always deviates from the plot & makes stuff up which is pretty entertaining.  For this party he read, Dragons Love Tacos which is such an awesome book!  I love this illustrator & author, H also has their book, Robo-Sauce.

Second fave, watching toddlers hit pinatas.  They just do a light whappity-whap, they don’t quit get the bashing in part just yet which is pretty darn adorable.  H has some older cousins luckily who do get the bashing in part & thus the candy flowed freely.  H even asked me a couple times to hit it for him.

Again, ack!  How can this kid be three?  We’ve negotiated a rough patch over the Winter but now our souls, like the Spring time weather seems to be in a warm & sunny place.  Motherhood has taught me so many lessons, right now it’s all about a ton of prayer & learning how to be really easy on myself.

Wishing the best for all of you out there as the Spring time buds unfold!  See additional party credits below.

Peace & namaste~

***Taco wrapping paper for photo booth:  Rowhouse via Etsy.  Cactus cookies on tier:  Lux Sucre Desserts.  Taco Bout a Party gold foil balloons (which are reusable): My Unique Party via Etsy.

PROFESSIONAL YOGA DRIVER

I went bouldering (will have to write a separate post on that subject!) yesterday before I was to sub a class at the Y.  My head was in the clouds as I typed in a search for the YMCA in the town I teach in.  I drove there feeling very full, mentally, spiritually, & physically satiated, a feeling that I’ve been getting a lot of lately.  As it was, my mind wasn’t so much on earth as in the clouds.  I may have not been paying too much attention to anything, including where I was driving.

Low & behold I had chosen the search for the Y’s office instead of the actual gym.  The anxiety hit, I was in North Portland & I was going to be late!  For some reason at every veerrrryyy long stop light I kept applying more & more of the essential oils I keep in my car (had to do something, right?): patchouli & lavender.  I usually dab on a few drops before class, I always liked it when my teachers smelled like essential oils.

I arrived only 4 minutes late, luckily there’s a dance class in the same room prior & it always takes about 4 or so minutes for people to shuffle on out & shuffle on in.

It’s a big class, 20-30 usually & I didn’t have time (or forethought) to remind about props which added to my irritation.  I just put on the mic, the music, & started rolling with it.  This class is unusual for me too because they are used to being split down the middle.  What is that, you ask?  I instruct from the center side of the long side of the rectangular room.  Yogis on one side of the rectangle face inward.  Yogis on the other side face inward towards the other yogis.  So, split up into two parts, each half of the room facing towards the middle.

This usually ain’t too big of a thing, but this particular weeks sequence called for many rounds of facing towards the back of the room, or in this case, backs of their mats.

Biggest issue in a nutshell:  Once we made this flip, one half of the room couldn’t see me.  I’ve been on that end in a class before & it sucks to be the one in the front whom everyone is watching now since they can’t see the teacher.

I was already feeling pretty flummoxed being late & seeing some wild looks towards me added to my feeling of nervousness.  Thankfully I’ve experienced these types of situations before teaching, so I knew where to go.  Slow down Liz.  Slow down class.  Everyone into childs pose.  Everyone through this flip flop sequence again, this time SLOWLY.  This time with a bunch of cues.  This time with me switching from each side of the room, of course so they could see me.

They got it.  & then I was thrown again briefly.  Where’s the fun if teaching when it’s super easy, right?!?

During another childs pose resting sesh, a student popped right up, walked over to me & whispered furtively, Can you like turn the scent off?

Me:  The scent? 

Her:  Yeah, it’s like there’s a Scentsy or something being piped into the room. 

Me:  It’s me.

Her in disbelief:  No.

There wasn’t too much to talk about after that standstill so she went back to her mat.  Remember all of those essential oils I had been washing myself in nervously during stop lights?  I went on teaching, flip it on back people, flip it forward, you got it?  Me too, & yes I do smell like a giant Scentsy product alright?  Alright.  Breathe.

Back to anxiety fueled driving, there is this length of street in Long Beach south of downtown called 4th street.  Lots to do & see on 4th street, also it’s really difficult not to hit an actual person while coasting down this stretch.  My room mate at the time & I started referring to it as the, ‘obstacle course.’  Did you know that in Long Beach (other places too, I’m sure, this is just the only place I’ve seen this happen) it’s perfectly acceptable to walk into oncoming traffic?  Yes, yes it is.  Pedestrians have the roads, the roads are owned by them.  Many times I would haltingly stop in from of one to watch them meander, yes slowly walk across and if I was really lucky they would shoot me a look as if to say, what?!  At which I would of course smile & nod & wait patiently for them to get out of the way.

A year into sobriety my beater car broke down & I rode the bus for a couple of months.  I didn’t want a car payment but I was over the bus after those months so I broke down and made it to the Toyota dealership.  I purchased 2004 Toyota Corolla with 1400 miles on it in 2009.  Said car below:

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Best car I have ever owned, it now has 130,000 miles on it & is still going strong.  Which is great since as a yoga teacher I do A LOT of driving.  Which my all my driving around the obstacle course in Long Beach really prepared me for.  Now, I just have to lay off the oils.

Will post pics from H’s 3rd birthday on next post!

Hoping everyone out there in blog land is doing well.  Keep rolling with it.  Keep it up & things will always shift if you need them to.

Peace, love & namaste~

 

PALATE CLEANSE

H’s sickness finally cleared & we have been feeling like normal again.  My new gig works out great as I can check him into the child care area while I teach (!).  We drive on a curvy road in the woods on the edge of town & I always appreciate how the purity of nature cleanses the palate of my soul.

There have been day long breaks in the weather so that has been very helpful, allowing us to get out & explore & play.  Must haves in the toddler world.

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Routine always makes me feel more sane.  Recently I began to go back to the women’s meeting I used to go to all the time.  I also added a new noon meeting.  In sobriety I’ve never been the type to go to the same meetings all of the time.  I will find a meeting I love & go to it for years, but I also find it helpful to switch things up from time to time.  Sometimes you just need it.  Palate cleansing as well.

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I love my yoga gigs & I’ve been subbing A LOT, which is great.  I remember yoga teachers mentioning to me when I first started teaching that burn out is inevitable.  It made me feel sad hearing that, like c’mon I’m just starting out here, & it also felt very far away.  Some classes, as I call out the trillionth vinyasa it can feel that way, overly repetitive, or even meaningless.  Some weeks I’m tired & I don’t ‘feel’ like teaching (which can be true of any job, I’m sure!).   At the worst times I feel like I’m letting students down, or that my classes aren’t good enough.  Or those classes where 2 people show up & instead of not even noticing it, it bothers me.

I luckily don’t feel that way to often.  I can usually remember that every student HAS their own specific yoga practice.  Their soul tells them what they need, if they listen, & it’s not up to me to be yoga for them.  Yoga is yoga & I’m just a guide.  I know this as truth because when I go to a class it takes a rather lot for me to dislike anything the teacher does.  I have my own personal practice so the teacher’s cues are always filtered through that first.  I try to remind students of this, for them to do their OWN thing.  It’s their practice & it’s a sacred thing because it’s so unique.

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Just yesterday I went to breakfast with another teacher who happens to be my friend, & then I also went to Portland to meet two teacher training buddies.  We took a Hatha class & then went to get some desert.  Yoga + friends + desert.  Good combo, right?  I should make a t-shirt.

As I strive for balance as a single mom, making time to hang out with friends is never a priority.  I have to fight for it tooth & nail, fight my schedule, fight for child care (thank you endlessly parents), & the biggest fight is with myself.  To remind myself that I need some time with my buddies.  I need to speak.  I need to hear.  I need to laugh!

We had such a good time.  It feels so good to have people in your life that you don’t feel defensive around, you can say something silly & everyone laughs instead of judging.

I had that in Long Beach with so many sober women.  The biggest change is that most of my friends here are normies.  It’s definitely different but good.  I do have a couple of sober women I am close with & that’s okay.

This cleanses my palate too.

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It’s a big accomplishment for me when I can follow the route of self care.  I know it also makes me a better person/mom/friend/daughter/ect.

Looking forward to more of it while grateful living in the present.  Wishing some self care to all of you, especially if you think it’s too hard right now.  You need it!

~Namaste.