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.

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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.

OF RACE & GENDER

When I was 21 I asked my mom if she would help me get into rehab.  This was in 1998.  I had been only drinking for about five months but I was a messy mess right from the start.  Every time I have ever taken a drink there has never been enough. Those first drunks (& drugs!) were no exception.

My mom had me on greyhound the day after I asked for her help.  Three days later I was completely panicked & calling her from a payphone. Please, I begged, can I just come home?  She refused & I eventually got with the program & stayed sober till 2004/2005 before relapsing again.  I stayed in this rehab (in all different locations) for 2 and a half years.  It was a faith based rehab & we never attended AA meetings.

We were with one another A LOT.  Rather-we were in each others faces all day long.  I had never been raised to see race, or to think that one racial group is more superior than another.  My grandpa made some racist remarks when I was growing up, but I didn’t understand them until I was much older.  We lived in a small rural area that was predominantly white with a small Hispanic group.  I attribute this blindness to my mother who was our sole caregiver until my step-dad entered the picture.  She never ever once said anything disparaging about another race.  Not once.

So when I entered this rehab which was a melting pot of all races, I didn’t blink.  I didn’t try to hang out with all the other white girls.  I was overly naive, I didn’t even know that was a thing.  I made friends without discrimination.  I think it helped too that we were all broken.  We had reached the end, for the time being, of our addictions.  I’m sure there was pride, but there was a whole bunch of humility too.

Not only do I think my own color blindness remarkable, but also their love for me.  I learned so much from them!  I learned about growing up in the projects.  I learned how to make different foods.  I learned their stories.  Some were rich & some were poor.  But we all needed help.

So now, as I ponder this current political climate I can’t help but scratch my head.  You are going to keep people from coming here, just goes round & round my head, and, you are going to make things even harder for the weak?   

After marching in the women’s march a couple of weeks ago I was equally baffled by the responses I saw on social media.  Anger was a common thread.  It’s amazing how polarized the two sides are, if one was to say they love chocolate peanut butter ice cream, the other is sure to insist that chocolate peanut butter ice cream was sourced from Hades.

So that was such a loopy comparison, but what I want to know in all of this is:  Are we all humans in this together?  Do we all have our own versions of what makes the United States (or shock, the whole wide world) amazing?  Can we at least say we want what the best for ourselves?  If you saw someone sick, would you try to help them?  Can we go back to those basic questions?  I also had a random brain wave the other day, the censored version is, we are all imperfect humans.  This can be applied to all of us in varying degrees.  Our imperfections seem to be on display right now.  This for some reason made me feel a little bit better & I need that little bit of better deeply.

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2000 or 2001?  Snapped after one of many church functions.

 

& what does it mean for me to be a female?  I can say that growing into was hard.  My body, the one I relied on to climb trees became weighted down by curves too soon.  It felt wrong,  like someone had reversed gravity on me.  Periods were a wicked joke, blood baths, & being preyed upon & sexualized was the norm.  I remember so many times thinking that it was normal to be treated a certain way, like nothing more than an object, & I’m so glad I don’t believe this anymore.

It’s different now, & a big change in my mindset has come post pregnancy (not that you need to have a baby to realize this, it’s basic anatomy!  Just my personal experience).  It makes so much more sense to me why we are the way we are.  Not just baby makers, but exquisite machines with exquisite parts.  Bodies that MAKE HUMANS.  How can we ever be kept down?  How can anyone think they can keep us down, make us different, put us in corners???

For me the march was all about that.  I won’t lie either, I feel as though the current regime is oppressive, that it targets the weak, and I marched on behalf of everyone who feels vulnerable.

No matter what color your skin is, no matter what kind of parts you carry, no one will every no what goes on inside of you.  Evil comes in all colors & so does goodness.

It’s hard to blog right now because I feel like I can’t blog about the stuff I normally do.  I have to get this out.  I thought about writing this post so much more than any other post I’ve ever written.  I hate to open myself up like this, to possibly become a target.

But what the heart wants, the heart wants.  & this is what my heart wanted to say today.

Wishing/dreaming/standing up for more opportunities for all of you out there, that we can have that American dream & all together as one.

~Namaste

SNOW DAZE

When I moved here under 3 years ago it had just freshly snowed.  Don’t worry, a woman from the rooms said.  It only happens like every 7 years.

This particular Winter that little snow flake has shown up on my phone over & over.  It’s like looking at another persons phone, someone who lives in a snowier state.  It’s always shocking to see it for this native Californian & even more shocking when fat flakes start drifting forth!

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THIS CACTUS IS LIKE, NAH.

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I left home yesterday with my camera & just walked & walked, taking pictures.  I didn’t tell my parents how long I’d be.  From the caged in feeling I had the last major time it snowed, I knew I’d have to find ways to get out.  Last night I got rides to the meeting, the one that’s 5 minutes drive from our house.

& if you can believe it last weekend it snowed too!  This snow melted fast, turned into slush, & allowed for road travel.  My friends (old & new, about 7 of them) came out to stay on the Tualatin River for a couple days.  They came to my yoga class, had dinner at our house, went to my home group, & then I stayed with them for a couple nights.  My mood lifted significantly while I was there.  I told my one old friend that I want to wear a shirt that says, I Hate Everyone.  Whoa!  She responded.  Her tone was shocked but also filled with humor.  Aren’t our friends (the good ones) like mirrors?  They allow us to see ourselves for who we truly are without lecturing.

I was single & childless last weekend, my old friends being there strengthened that old definition of myself.  I could get food without worrying about getting food for my toddler first.  I could sleep in.  I could stare my friends in the eyes & really hear them without being constantly interrupted.  I could simply focus on having a good time.

I’ll interrupt this string of thoughts with the fact that I really dislike writing stuff like this.  I also dislike writing fake & happy stuff too.  This place is a optimistic place but it has to veer towards the truth too.  I guess it’s been months, ever since the potty training debacle that I just haven’t felt like a happy, grateful MOM.  I feel resentful.  I am depressed.  I don’t like the label of depression.  Once I sought counseling because I was bummed about people dying in AA all the time.  Forever, that word was on my rap sheet at my hospital, it says here that you have suffered from depression…?  Me:  Yeah, when people OD & shoot themselves in the head, it can be rather sad…

& I think I’m just tired of lying to myself.  We are working on step 1 in my mini sponsorship group & it has been easy to see where my life is unmanageable & where I feel powerless.  I already did the work.  I don’t feel any better.  I keep doing the deal, going to meetings, meeting with sponsor family, praying, giving things up, but I don’t feel any damn better.

The women that shared in the very first meeting I went to, April 15 2008 said some knarly things.  They were broke, had cancer, had kids that died.  They stayed sober.  They laughed again.  Things made sense again.  I shared at the meeting last night that when you go through something hard it just doesn’t make any sense.  AFTER you feel totally different.  You are different.  I feel like I’ve been in that space.  I don’t get it but I keep trying to do the deal.  Higher Power has a sense of humor because the whole meeting last night was about children, young & old.  People came up to me after the meeting said so many encouraging words.

I just can’t analyze it anymore.  I have to just keep going.  Today the clouds cleared away & the sun was out in full force:

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It was really good to be with & see my friends.  I’m hoping they make it an annual trip.

Yoga is going well!  I was in the stinkiest of all moods last Tuesday as I drove to my new gig.  I thought, this is going to be a bad class!  It turned out to be one of the best I’ve taught in a while!  I feel myself getting used to the new space & like chatting with people after class.  My longer gig’s fitness room is under renovation so the classes have been pretty light.  I’m looking forward to that being finished.

So here’s to truth, even though it’s not what I always want to see in myself.  Thinking of all of you out there & hoping you can keep it real too.

~Namaste

PALM TREES FOR CHRISTMAS

Christmas seemed to stretch out long in either direction, we had an early celebration with one side of the family right after Thanksgiving.  Decorations were up, I finished shopping early, carols were being played on the daily.  The season crescendoed into a week long visit down to San Diego, and a flight out of that most southern city on Christmas day.  We were pumped:  THE SUN, palm trees, other people cooking for us, & I was going to take a quick jaunt to Long Beach to go to my old home group.

I let some people know I was maybe coming, we went back & forth trying to decide which meeting to go to.  Someone mentioned a women’s meeting.  A lightning bolt thought crossed my mind:  that’s the first meeting you ever went to!   So I was doubly pumped.  The parents had agreed, our flight was getting in with plenty of time.

& then it got delayed.  I held onto the hope of making it all the way until we took off, 2 & a half hours after schedule.

We arrived to rain.  We had been checking our silly phones for weeks gloating over the tiny suns we saw there.  Now?  Four days of predicted rain.

We arrived at our turn key exhausted.  We rallied only because we needed food.  Silly smart phones deposited us at a most hipster grocery store, we wandered around like zombies picking up packages of food.  I capitalized on my parents drugged out states & sneakily slipped in some unhealthier types of items.  My son even managed to stick a full bag of onions in our cart even while being safely sanctioned in the cart seat!  Luckily my mom saw at check out & we were able to fish them out.

I don’t really remember the rest of that day, we were all really tired.  Silly how hanging at airports, delays, & only a 2 hour flight can exhaust you?!

Hands down the next day was my favorite.  I missed my son, his other grandma took him for the whole day since she lives close to SD.  But holy wow, was it so great to drive around with my cousin all day.  Do you want coffee?  She asked.  What do you want for lunch?  Do you want to go anywhere?  My brain had a hard time computing all of these questions.  We ran her errands too.  She had me at coffee really, I was happy to just go along for the ride.  We went back to her & her girlfriend’s new place & watched t.v.  Perfect day.  She brought me back & H was dropped off later.  I ran outside to get him.  His face lit up when he saw me.

It rained again the day after that.  The rest of the trip was a blur.  Car rides, scheduled (slightly unscheduled) dinners & lunches.  Wrapping paper.  More rain, even hail.  It was rushed & stressful at times.  It was still good to be with & see family.  Loud voices, dance offs on the Wii, food, so much food.  Hot tubs, strong coffee, so many dogs, & of course millions of palm trees.

Our turn key was on a hill overlooking the airport.  The planes landing whooshing next to us seemingly every five minutes but stopped around 10pm.  They started landing again around 6:30 but when you have a toddler that doesn’t bother you.

My other favorite was H’s face Christmas morning.  Me:  I think Santa has been here, should we go look if left anything?  His face lights up again.  This is new of course, last year he still didn’t really get it.  This year he does.

At home:

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SNOW:

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San Diego:

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Turn key didn’t have a bath but luckily he loved this.

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More on yoga news next post.  I’m grateful to get back to routine & dig into my new classes.

Wishing/hoping/dreaming the best last day of the old year to you all!

~Namaste.

A MOVEABLE FEAST

As Christmas day approaches I feel increasingly grateful. The latter part of 2016 has been tough. Things haven’t gone as planned & my expectations of people, places, & things have been skewed & off the mark to say the least. I feel all that still, but I also am having moments of real contentment. Almost like I’m in a moveable snapshot as an active participant, but also able to look in from the outside with appreciation & stillness.

My son has started spouting off measurements of time, 2 seconds Mama! Mama, I look for backhoe ALL NIGHT! He says the all night thing a lot which I find funny because he’s comatose all night, although according to him LOTS of things are happening all night.  All night!  Ten more minutes Mama!

Even funnier I asked my parents to return a Red Box movie since they were headed out that direction.  I kept trying to shove the movie in, my mom said.  It wouldn’t take it!  We walked to the other one because we thought that one was broken!  Finally we asked someone & they told us to push return.  It slid right in!  My mom has an Iphone & compared too most her age is very tech savvy.  But I still found this story hilarious (it’s funnier when hearing them tell it too, of course).  How different my son will be from both generations as he already knows how to manipulate screens all by himself at 2.

I got the job at the new spot!  I’m both excited & nervous as I know it will stretch & hone my teaching skills.  It’s gentle so I have to slow everything down.  That big chunk of vinyasa during class is my foundation, when it’s removed what will be left?  Will I still be able to be me?  I have a lot of fear & wondering if I can do it.  I’ve been carrying my book (full of lessons) everywhere & have been obsessing over it.  Last night as I was falling asleep I realized I was trying to come up with verbal cues about poses without even consciously realizing that I was doing it.  Is that possible?  Unconscious yoga teaching in your head while (mostly) awake?!  It’s kind of like over studying for a test.  It’s time to put the book down & take a long walk/bath.

We leave in a about a week for San Diego to have Christmas with cousins & friends.  A different kind of Christmas, a break in the gray, & the beach!  Also, faces I’m excited to see, stories I’m excited to tell & listen to, food I’m excited to eat, & a hot tub I’m looking forward to sitting in.  I’ll have two checked bags & one of them is already sitting here next to me filled with wrapped presents.  I’m grateful to be flying with my parents, three adults to one toddler is a great ratio.

Only two pictures, I cannot find my camera!  Outtakes from last two Christmas cards:

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2016

Love this kid.  So grateful for him!

I’m slated to teach a big class New Year’s Eve & I’m thinking of having students set some intentions for 2017.  I’ve thought a lot lately about how much more the spiritual things are worth than the just things type of things.  But sometimes I think the things that are physical (like a house) have many spiritual & emotional connotations.  Give a poor person some shoes when they have none, & I’m sure it will feel like a spiritual experience.  I want to define my happiness so many times, but happiness comes on the sly instead, it’s suddenly unexpected & strangely rewarding.  It’s something I didn’t ask for but it’s there.  It’s a moveable feast, mostly spiritual but sometimes physical.  It’s not what I’ve asked for, but what I needed.

Lastly & completely off topic (it’s that sort of post), I’m going to get a lotus flower tattoo in early 2017.  Yes.

Wishing/hoping/vibing/dreaming all contented things the rest of this December.  May you hold those you love close.

~Namaste

THAT HOLIDAY RESPITE

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I recently came across an article on Facebook about how to relieve stress & create more inner peace.  Sometimes the holidays (& life) can get a little stressful so I immediately clicked on it.  I was pretty surprised at how both alternately overly specific & sometimes general it was.  I need more than that, I instantly thought.  I also thought, I ain’t got time for that!  As a mom, any type of stress reliever has to be quick & mostly easy to do while watching a busy toddler.  Which got me thinking about how I do have different stress management tools to cope during tumultuous times (although I could always use more!)  My cousin recently used the word, respite, which really resonated with me:

Respite: A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Isn’t that something we all look for during times of stress?  I know that in the past couple months I have been challenged & have tried to find things & places to relieve some of that stress.  I would love to hear anyone’s go to stress relievers, but the following are some of the things that I do.

1.)  FORWARD FOLDS:  Lots of them!

So this is something I’ve been doing for a while.  I really believe that the reason that folds come so easy to me now in my yoga practice is because I used to get really stressed out at my corporate 9-5 job (that I had for 10 years) & I would do forward fold in the bathroom stall every time I took a bathroom break.  I got really stressed so I did a lot of folds!  Only pictures in this post are 4 different ways of doing folds, the arm hold is very accessible to almost anyone as long as knees are bent.  You can also use blocks to hold on to.  Breath work & folds go together like peanut butter & jelly.  Breathing & folding will reduce stress!  Be careful if you have back issues, always talk to your doc first before attempting.

*Other stress relieving poses that I love:  Downward facing dog & child’s pose.

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2.  MEDITATION:  Sometimes for just one second!

I suck at meditation sometimes, & you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.  Like yoga, meditation is a gradual practice, it’s something we just try to do & don’t measure results in.  My go to meditation when stressed is to just stop, sit, close eyes, & breathe.  This can be at the park while my son plays (It’s okay to get weird looks from people).  This can be when I need some ‘soul enrichment’ for a couple minutes while my son plays inside or watches cartoons.  Once or twice a week I can sit for 10-15 minutes in silence, in easy seat & meditate, but mostly I snatch meditation where I can.  I can still be hard on myself about not rising at 4am every day to meditate, which brings me to my next stress reliever:

3.  LET SHIT GO:  Because it’s not worth holding on to!

This has been my mantra for the last couple weeks.  It’s also kind of a trendy thing to say, even though the actual concept is ancient.  Like meditation, I’m less than perfect at letting stuff go.  I get so involved in the drama.  This is why it’s a current mantra for me, I have to constantly remind myself!  Aren’t the holidays such great fodder for setting high expectations for people, places, & things?  Grrrr.  A friend recently said, some days I’m the windshield & some days I’m the bug.  We all laughed because isn’t that true?  Let it go because you probably can’t change people, places, & things anyways, right?  Lastly, let go of those high expectations for yourself.  If you got out of bed today & did just one right thing, you are good enough.  Focus on the positive about yourself & let the negative fall by the wayside.  I seem to be transitioning seamlessly here, wow so positive, eh?  See next:

4.  POSITIVE SELF TALK:  You aren’t who they say you are, don’t forget!

I really believe that our loved ones, friends & family, since they’re so close, since we love them so much, can really push our buttons!  Aunt Mildred (name & situation fictitious here) may always ask you at every holiday gathering when are you ever getting married/having kids/getting that good job, but it doesn’t mean we have to believe her image of us, right?  My scenarios are way more complicated & yours probably are too.  Do we really have to let other people’s judgement seep into us?  For me, sometimes it does & sometimes it doesn’t.  Days that it does I will be taking a bunch of bath room breaks (see #1).  I also like to counter negative energy from others into positive self talk.  I will repeat the exact opposite of what they are inferring.  Example:  You have such nice hair!  Why do you dye it pink?  My self talk:  My pink hair is effing awesome.  I love it.  Take that Aunt Mildred.

5.  PRIORITIZE THE FUN:  It’s okay to have a sink full of dirty dishes.

It’s hard for me to not clean or do dishes when the messes are there & instead go do a bit of writing, or yoga, or whatever fun project I’m into at the moment.  I do really have to pick, choose, & schedule this fun wisely.  At this stage in my life I will not be able to do all the things I want to do.  But you know what?  I can do some.  Some days there’s so much to do I have to force myself to have fun as sad as that sounds!

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I hope someone out there gets something out of these little tips.  Again would love to hear detailed ideas anyone else has, I need more tools!  I also have to say that the recovery program of AA has given me these stress relievers.  I learned them all there from other members.  Have to give credit where credit is due.

Just be easy on yourself, or just a bit more easy than you would normally be.  Sending you all good vibes.

~Namaste

DIFFERENCES OF OPINION

It has become evident that a reduced yoga class load (center where I teach has been closed for 3 weeks) has renewed my own yoga practice.  I’ve been doing yoga on my own (with help of the internet) almost every day.  I’ve found some particularly challenging sequences that have led me to see inversions differently & have renewed my effort with them.

So much so that a couple days ago I kicked a hole in the wall.  Oops.

I was attempting to press up from a wide legged fold into a half head stand (just barely putting pressure on the head for more balance) half shoulder stand.  Something always goes wrong once my legs are all the way up & I lost control.  My heel plunged into the dry wall.

I don’t wait days, weeks, or month to tell the truth anymore.  Telling the truth after a week & coming clean to my sponsor used to be major progress.  For the most part I can be prompt.  I waited till after dinner.  Thank goodness for AA!  It taught me how to have better timing & how not to make everything about me!

Me to my step dad:  So you know how you just filled in the holes & patched up the wall where those light fixtures used to be?

SD:  Nervously replies, Yes…?

Me:  While getting a weird smile/very unpoker type of look on my face, Was it hard?

SD:  Getting wise to the situation now, No, why???

Me:  Explaining current obsession with inversions to two blank faced parents & concluding with, So I kicked a hole in the wall...

They were completely cool about it.  The hole will be repaired eventually, it’s a funny story, & also let’s me know that I should maybe chill the eff out with the handstanding/headstanding/shoulderstanding stuff.

Learn new ways, go slower, scale back a bit.

BALANCE THAT STUFF OUT, right?

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Thinking about kicking up one more time…?

 

My heart was heavy the day after election day.  That statement alone tells you most of what you need to know about my voting preferences, right?  I feel like I am on one side speaking a different language than the other side.  It’s maddening.  I am so sad for so many different reasons.  I cried.  I took a break from Facebook, I had to.  Thoughts still spilled onto my Instagram feed, a public account where I mostly just follow yogis.  Some ranted.  Some said don’t pay any attention.  Some said there’s no point in getting sad.  I had friends cut me off mid-sentence.  I felt very alone.

So strange to get so affected by a election!  New experience for me.  I have always voted Democrat since right before I got sober.  Obama came into office the same year as my sobriety date.  The Big Book (AA’s main piece of literature) speaks of SECURITY as being one thing that really fries our character defects.  I don’t feel secure so I get fearful.  I get fearful so I act out.  When I act out a whole bunch of unnecessary drama unfolds.  This election really brought that up for me.  I freakin love Obama.  He makes me feel safe.

& what’s so obviously polarizing is that he’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  People dislike him.  I have family members & many friends that think very differently from me.  I have had to really let that sink in.  Some of the fundamental beliefs I have aren’t shared by so many other people.  Wouldn’t be scary if we were talking about liking croissants instead of donuts.  We’re talking about way bigger & more important issues.

& I love these people.  There’s the rub.  They are filled with value.  They are good.  I have spent time with them.  I know their hearts.  WE JUST HAVE DIFFERENCES IN OPINION.  There’s much more I could say about the election here, but I question if it’s helpful.

The Big Book says:

The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.  Page 66

&

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.  Page 417

So I’m going to frost AA all over my life like I usually try to do.  I’m not going to try to figure shit out.  I’m going to agree to disagree with those that think/feel differently than me.

I’m going to show respect.

I’m grateful that I feel happy, joyous, & free just for today.  I have yet another yoga audition manana, yikes!  I was telling my parents how I’ve never gotten a gig from an audition, that really stings!  But I’m glad for where I’ve taught this past year, it’s been right where I needed to be.

Ah, wishing/sending so much love out to you all & the whole earth this holiday season.  That those that feel lack will feel very full.

Xo & ~Namaste.

 

WALKING BACK INTO THE LIGHT

Oregon is filthy with pumpkin patches.  They’re everywhere & all the ones that I’ve ever been to will let you roam around for free on the weekdays which is like gold for a mama looking for get-the-heck-outta-the-house activities, especially after potty training.  Run, child.  Run amongst the pumpkins.

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It’s been raining buckets.  The days have been gray & short.  This is usually my favorite time of year, it’s the precursor to even colder weather (yes!) & Thanksgiving & Christmas (yes & yes!).  I used to feel so bad for people who shared in meetings about apprehension & sadness as this time of year rolled around.

I perhaps have more to relate to them this go around, October was a mother trucker.  I glared at the trees exploding gold & the gusty bales of rain crashing against windows.  Most the time I didn’t see Fall, I had tunnel vision.  I couldn’t see the good or the light.

I struggled.

I have a huge deal with imperfection.  It takes me a long time to swallow that pill.  I heard on an AA podcast that there are two sides to a scale that will eff with your spirituality:  Perfectionism & high expectations being on one side (with people, places, & things) & IMPERFECTION & realistic expectations.  This lesson I learn over & over.  Not sure I’ll ever ‘graduate.’

Today the sun came out & shined the hell out of Oregon.  People were commenting on it at yoga class & on FB.

Today I’m okay that my son was going in one direction & me in the exact other.  As he throws food on the floor I started to grumble, as I stoop to pick it up he kicks me in the head.  I make a face & the grumbling turns into laughter.

This is the deal girl, my head says calmly.  It’s gonna be okay.

I meet with my sponsor tonight & I’m looking forward to talking stuff out with her.  My biggest fear right now?  That I won’t be a good mother.  If I was a stranger on the outside looking in I would wonder if I was crazy.  Look at all that love you have for that toddler there, I would tell myself.

But it’s a fear no less.  & it weighs on me heavy.

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Today felt really good.  My expectations of myself & my toddler are back to being right sized.

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I will take things day by day, it doesn’t just apply to drinking.  I will be easier on myself.

Yoga is going really well, I taught a ‘glowga’ class last night.  All the regulars showed up & we had so much fun painting glow paint on & selecting glow bracelets.  If I do it again I will make it darker with more black lights….Ech, sounds like perfectionism again, eh?  It was imperfectly perfect last night.  That’s what I meant to say. 😉

I’m taking some extra time off as the center where I teach is closed for most of November.  I’ll teach, but my classes are down to half.  I’ve received a couple leads for gigs, but I don’t feel the pressure I felt before.  I feel more of a peace when I teach too, like it’s up to the individual yoga student to grow in their practice, not just up to me.  Very freeing.  I’m happy where I am yoga-wise & it feels good to be there.

These are the patches we’ve visited so far & above in the pictures:

Lee Farms

Fir Point Farms

Ryser’s Farm

Wishing you all a CONTENTED Fall season leading into Winter.  Sending out much love.

~Namaste.