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~

 

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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~

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

BYE & HELLO

As I type, a mere 10 days away from Fall, & less than a week away from moving to our new house.  I moved here 9 months pregnant.  Two & a half years later, this is the only home H has ever known.  I bustle him in the stroller & take in all of the small joys (a swarm of parks, sunny streets, farmers market in our backyard, & other mamas & dads with their own sweet babes in strollers) of our neighborhood, letting the goodness of this place soak into remembrance.

Walk Mama!  H says.  We walk on foot, in the stroller, or in a new wagon my step-dad purchased recently.

He is saying a lot of things these days.  2 & a half is my new favorite age.  He’s still in full tantrum mode, but he’s so darn interactive these days.  He parrots everything we say.  He surprises me with his reactions to things.

We purchased a strange mechanical dinosaur at a garage sale.

What do you want to name it? 

Cracker, he instantly responded.  He changed it to Cracker Blue later, a homage to his love of crackers & the color blue.  Of course.

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Our home has vacant gaps.  Stuff put on Craigslist or sold at our own yard sale have left us forever.

Wook, Mama!  He cries, pointing at the large bald piece of wood floor where the dining room set used to stand (‘Wook’ if you haven’t guessed is ‘look’).

He doesn’t get it & it freaks him out, but only slightly.  He’s still happy.  He still plays, eats, snuggles, & naps just like always.

He is scared of bees & flies, but wants to hold lady bugs & rollie pollies in his hands.  He spends long stretches of time with his diggers, trucks, & cars, moving dirt & gravel around.

He’s started to pretend & play act which for some reason really melts my heart.

Papa fall!  No, Papa, no fall!  He says at the kitchen counter the salt shaker taking papa’s place for the time being in his intricate little mind.

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He will lightly rest his hand on my cheek at bedtime right before he falls asleep.

Mama? 

Yea, sweet pea?

No answer, he just wants to know I’m there I guess.

So we say bye to this place at the end of the week, a lovely new family is moving in, I know they will love it as much as I did.

In yoga news, I’ve been teaching the Niyamas & they are kicking my booty.  Two weeks ago, Santosha/Contentment something I always need more of.  Putting forth my best effort & then being in ACCEPTANCE of the result.

Last week, Saucha/Purity which really threw me for a loop.  I probably shouldn’t have made goals to drop sugar, Netflix, & Facebook in order to strive for the pure the week while we were packing & getting ready  for a yard sale.  I relapsed on all those which bummed me out at first, but then I had a revelation during class:  We are all born pure.  We have this unique to ourselves pure energy.  We do have to guard it, what we put inside ourselves & who we associate with.  These ideas helped me get out of the legalistic place I had put myself in.  It’s easy to get all religious with the Niyamas.  I would rather get all spiritual with them.  I wonder if my students think I’ve lost my mind since I usually have just taught on alignment or to specific parts of the body for one class.

I heard a stand up comedian say on NPR that you have to risk trying out new material & bombing it.  That’s where the real gold comes forth.  So we’ll see.

Send us good vibes if you think of it as we make this transition.

Vibes of contentment, purity, & bravery to all of you.

~Namaste

RAINBOW WEATHER

My son likes to ‘talk’ about rainbows often.  He signs rainbow, spreading his chunky toddler hand out in the shape of a rainbow & pointing up at the sky.  You have to wait for one, I say, but of course he doesn’t understand that.  The sky here in Oregon is an ever changing landscape in June.  In SoCal I grew very used to the vast, unchanging blue bowl of a sky.  Outdoor plans are always okay.  No rain gear needed, hardly, or whatsoever.  Here, however it could be hailing one stretch of minutes & sunny shortly after.  Rain, hail, cloud cover, bright sun, just wait & it will change.  It is rainbow weather out here.

I was sweating it, last Saturday I had two outdoor yoga events to attend, both at which I was teaching at.  My phone forecast had been rain all week.  The morning was cool & gray.  We practiced on a slab of pavement to avoid the wet ground.  The weather was actually perfect as our bodies warmed up during flow.  A couple hours later thunderstorms erupted.  The afternoon event was something made up of unicorns & sunbeams, (literal sunbeams, figurative unicorns) the sun shining hot & bright while the rain came down somewhere in between a mist & a sprinkle.

Rainbow weather.

Those times you believe anything is possible.  How often, I think, do I usually believe the opposite?  Fear steps in before belief can take root.  My 2016 resolution/intention was to have a good Summer, to be more positive about it, to see the glass half Summer full.  Knowing I was going to teach at a Summer Solstice event I wrote a Solstice flow.  All week long I taught a particular set of asanas & also alluded to the intangible.  Breathe in & let the golden Summer sun grow bright at your center.  Exhale & let that mystical light spread out all around you.  Send some to those that need it most.  What door do you want to open this Summer?  What path do you want to walk down?

These musings had an effect on me also.  What am I holding onto?  What am I not letting in that should be let in?  How can I let go of fear & open my heart up wider?  My defense mechanisms rise up & clamp down before I even know what’s going on most times.  Last night I shared, when I was afraid of doing something I found much relief in praying that my HP give me the strength to walk through it.  Afterwards, driving home I thought, Damn girl, you just gave yourself your answer.  I found my door.  I found my switchback.

Rainbow weather.  Anything is possible.

In mama news, H & I are stepping on each others toes.  He would prefer to be rocked to bed for an hour & said bed time being at 10pm.  He would also prefer to only eat crackers.  Cracka, he pleads.   Cracka?  Of all that is holy child, please eat something with some nutrition in it!  I’ve been praying much.  I want to dance smoothly with him once more.  We embark on a camping adventure tomorrow.  I will be looking for rainbows to point out to him.  I will say yes more than I will say no.

Pictures below, we visited Antique Powerland, which was not the you-can-climb-all-over the-beloved-old-vehicles as H wished it to be.  Luckily for H my step-dad is a bit of a rebel & did sneak him on quite a few.

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HMMM…WHERE DO I START…

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C’MON PAPA!  HELP ME UP ON THESE THINGS!

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SO MANY TRACTORS, SO LITTLE TIME.

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Ahhh, unicorns, golden light, & Summer Solstice blessings to you all.  Peace & love to all hurt recently & so much more than that multiplied by infinity.

~Namaste

 

 

 

GRACE OR GRIND

Little guy & I took a quick road trip to the ocean a couple of weeks ago.  I had been planning on hitting the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport later during our June trip, but I got crazy cabin fever suddenly so we just took off.  I grabbed toothbrushes & pajamas for him just in case.  He was more into the digger outside than the actual aquarium.  We left after I got tired of saying, Look at the fish, over & over again.  He knows what he’s into & I have to respect that.

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JUST POINT ME TOWARDS THE DIGGERS.

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And to his amazement the city of Newport happened to be doing some construction at the foot of the hotel we were staying at (you may be able to barely make out the construction site in the picture right below).  Who needs to look at the ocean when there are excavators to view???

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Staying beach side is the way to go, especially if one is in care of a toddler.  Much easier than getting in the car & schlepping to the beach.  The next day we drove North through Tillamook to Rockaway Beach, destination of a train ride we will take in a couple of weeks.  Train station below, yes he was all over it.

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I AM CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH ANYTHING THAT HAS A STEERING WHEEL.

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ROCKAWAY BEACH

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I WILL CLUTCH CARS, TRAINS, & TRUCKS ON EVERY OCCASION TO BE STRIPPED FROM ME ONLY WHEN I SLEEP!

The weather on the drive up the coast was mystical, sunny perfect weather, I felt like I was in the center of a perfect blue diamond looking out.  I canceled our hotel for the June trip & booked a camping spot walking distance to the beach.  I’m looking forward to it, but also placed an order for a portable dvd player, Curious George on my side to help in a pinch or while I build a fire.

I believe that both AA & yoga are a sort of oral tradition.  You can read about both, you can YouTube yoga videos, but most of the stuff said in meetings & in yoga class is parroted by people who heard it from their friends & sponsors who heard it from their friends & sponsors all the way back & up (& new stuff made up along the way!).  I’ve heard so many good things in meetings that have blown me away.  Those tools that come in handy at the tightest of moments.  I also hear amazing cues in class.  Last week:  Rest your right footprint down on the mat.  Footprint.  Ah, I loved that cue.  Anyone hearing that cue would get it.

Back in Long Beach a woman said her sponsor told her, grace or grind.  You can be led to do the right thing the hard way or the easy way, it’s your choice.  True, many times I bumble around wondering, why is this so hard?  Until I get it.  Other times I know the right thing & I choose the wrong thing on purpose.  I suffer.  I pick back up & start over again.  H is at an age where he knows what he wants (diggers, mama not fish), but many times I find myself pointing at another child saying, see how much fun she has swimming?  Don’t you want to swim like her?  Finding myself forcing him into situations he’s not into.  I’m grateful for the awareness of this.

Grace or grind.

Doesn’t he have his whole life ahead of him to embrace swimming & fish?  Grace comes when I let him choose his own path.  I’m sure I will have moments still of trying to engage him in an unwanted task, isn’t that one of the golden burdens of parenthood?  Wanting your children to experience life & sometimes forgetting to just let them be.

Life is good today.  I’ve subbed for other teachers in the past week & have other classes lined up to sub this Summer.  The first Free Yoga on the Green was today, woo-hoo a bunch of people showed up!  I love being able to facilitate a outdoor space to practice yoga!  That was such a big part of my practice, I hope many people can find the peace I found in it.  I’m grateful for AA & the years I have spent being sober one day at a time.  I would have no good thing in my life if for that.

Wishing/vibing graceful actions & thoughts to you all out there.

Xo & Namaste~