I was talking to a friend today who told me that his Dad sends prayers of gratitude while he swims every stroke in the water. Isn’t that fantastic? In my meditation practice, I start by rooting in and beginning with gratitude. And here’s just a few things I feel grateful for today!
1) my family
2) clean, fresh water
3) deep breaths
4) wise mentors
6) new friends
7) a sweet 3 yr old mixing up her vs she
8) music, music, music
9) a happy heart
10) rolling out my yoga mat
11) giggles in the park
12) the healers in my life
13) my healthy body
14) leaves bursting from the trees
15) sunshine, glorious warm sunshine
This list could be MUCH longer. My heart lifts when I truly realize all the blessings in my life. I read recently that a study revealed grateful people are more compassionate, supportive and are better friends. Show a little thankfulness and people want to be around more!
I know that certain days or even weeks can pull us down and cause us to feel less than grateful. But taking the time to look inside and around us to really appreciate what is here now will boost your mind, body and spirit.
This past weekend, we almost bought a new house. Should be exciting right?
Yes, except that means someone else will be living in OUR house. Within two months a family could be living here making their own memories in my house.
I feel completely ready to start somewhere new – enjoy a fresh start in an entirely different house and neighbourhood. Yet, I also know that I have roots here and so many memories. I was shocked when our realtor (and dear friend) told us that Calgarians move on average every 3 years. We built this house and have lived here for almost 12 years. We’ve far exceeded the typical trend. When I was in my 20’s, I lived in 9 different places in 10 years! I loved the excitement of moving somewhere new. The Gemini sweet spot in me loved change!
Each time we consider a new house, I feel a deep pull on my heart. So what am I hanging on to here? Most of our married life has happened in this house. Big joys and huge heartbreaks. Our family has started to grow in this house. My loves live here. And even though I know these are just walls holding our space, it’ll be difficult to say good-bye one day.
Ahhhh, that’s it. It’s an ending! I’ve never like good-byes, even when it’s right.
My roots of loyalty run deep.
I arrived at my yoga class, introduced myself to the teacher and walked in the class to find seven of us practicing. It’s lovely when there’s a small group. It’s like we’re in on a special secret. Maybe the rest of the world is out there with the ‘busy’ but we’re inside where it’s calm, peaceful and oh so quiet.
As we moved through the practice, the teacher was super encouraging, adjusted some people and often addressed people by their first names. Plenty of praise as they settled into a deep extension, held a beautiful downward dog or moved through a beautiful flow. This went on for the entire class for everyone - except me.
I’ll be honest, my very first thought was a typical childhood response - ‘What about me? I’m here with you all too! Are my asanas not good enough to be encouraged or recognized?’
I’ve been practicing yoga for over fifteen years and there were times when I loved to hear teachers praise my pose. But how did that make the person beside me feel? Did it awaken their competitiveness or a sense of lacking? And for me? Perhaps it kept me coming back to hear more? Sparked my perfectionism or gave me a push to strive harder so all my poses were worthy of praise? Quite likely.
I didn’t feel sad about this at all - it was a great gift. Now that I’ve experienced this first hand, it’ll be impossible to forget this lesson. I’m studying yoga teacher training and my amazing teacher has shared this learning with us recently. But now feeling this deep in my heart, I know I won’t hold space in a class that would cause anyone to feel left out. With all my very best intentions, I promise to do my absolute best to create a safe place for everyone to practice. Wherever they are in their yoga journey. And that can only be done by recognizing and seeing the entire class as one — not as individuals. Ahhh, the blessed union of yoga. Ommmm indeed.
Coming to our mats we should find a sacred place free from judgement - our own, or anyone else. I’ve truly accepted that honouring my practice can only come from inside of me.
Now comes the work of taking that wisdom off the mat.
p.s. One last thought - I know my teacher was praising students with only her best intentions as well. I hold nothing but peace for her in my heart. Namaste.
Remember that childhood chant….liar, liar, pants on fire? Not sure what lying had to do with combustible pants, but I’m sure there’s an origin that unfortunately I know nothing about.
What does interest me, are the lies. Or even more so, the lies I tell myself. You’d think at some point, I’d maybe clue in and realize that possibly I’ve told myself this one before. And yet every time, I actually believe myself. (Ha, that sounds hilarious to me as I type that.) Here’s a recent example.
I really need to establish a daily yoga home practice. I’ve figured out that doing it at the end of the day won’t work, too tired. Mid-day, too busy. Early morning before my family wakes up - definitely the best time. However, someone like me who needs a solid 8-9 hours of sleep that becomes a bit challenging. I have to be awake and practicing by 6:00 a.m. And for all of you who spring out of bed with endless energy, I’m lying when I say, ‘good for you.’ (Sorry, but I believe that was some residual morning energy.)
Back to my dilemma. I’ve got up and practiced in the morning twice in the past few weeks. And it was just so good. My daughter came in at the very end while I was in savasana and gave me a huge hug and then we sat on the mat together and said ‘namaste’ to one other and started our day. It was truly lovely. And yet…, and yet…I tell myself I’m going to do it. Get up in the morning and resist the urge to roll over. Lies, lies.
At some level, I’ve convinced myself that I am not a morning person and that I can’t do it. I know that I can do this, because I have. I need to really sink into the juicy goodness of my practice to want to do it. That’s where I need to be. And just this past weekend, I felt that. A calling to be on the mat and moving to release some energy that felt stuck. And ohhh did it feel good.
This is where it needs to be so it isn’t about the time, but it’s about a choice. That’s when I know I’m speaking a truth.
I love yoga.
I choose yoga.
I will be on the mat tomorrow morning.
If you could choose just one thing you’ve never done and do it, what would it be?
For me, it’s hip hop. And oh my…I am so terribly bad. A tall, rhythmically challenged and some would say a less than graceful 40 year old woman might not be the ideal participant. Was I frustrated? YES. Was I slower than everyone else? HELLS YES! Did I laugh at myself? PLENTY. But I did it. And I loved it.
You know that list that sits in the back of your mind right now? The one with all the things you thought you’d maybe like to try but haven’t yet?
Pick one. Sign up. Say yes. Don’t wait any more. This life is made for lovin’!
We are such a culture of achievers. Work hard, and you will be rewarded. There’s no success without the pain of persistence. And in many areas of life that may be true.
But in my life, I’ve realized there are times when as much as I want something and as much as I want the outcome to be different, it isn’t meant to be. Like when my Dad was dying and my world wouldn’t be the same anymore because he was leaving me. Or the day I walked into my Doctor’s office and she told me that yes, it was cancer. And now, we truly want another baby, yet the test was negative. Again.
It’s been said that we won’t hear a truth until we’re truly ready. That the lesson will continue to come again and again. This time, when the test said negative, I felt like the message came a little quieter. It didn’t rip my feet from underneath me and let me land so hard. The grief was still there, but my reaction to it wasn’t so intense.
There’s a part of me that believes I have control of my life. That all the effort I put in will result in the outcome I desire. And why do I believe this? Because it’s happened — many, many times. But the times that it doesn’t, I start to spin looking for reasons as to why. What did I do, what I didn’t. This form of vacillation creates an acute case of even more suffering.
Yet what pulls me out every time, is gratitude. To open my eyes and heart and accept what is with me now, loving me. And in that I find all I need until my heart is ready to try again.
Acceptance. May you find a home in me.
When a Guru is wrong for you - Roots of She
Spanx & Self-Development - Tanya Geisler
Superhero Interview with Daniel Gregory - Andrea Scher
Invitation to Awaken - Jackie Dumaine
The Truth about Telling the Truth - Kate Swoboda
A few nights ago, I got together with a group of beautiful ladies for our monthly book club. On a typical night, the book is about 10% of our conversation. We could call ourselves the:
“Can you believe that?” Club
“Yes, More Wine Please.” Club
We have fantastic conversation about everything. It’s a time to gather and let it all out and rarely do we hold back. We take turns hosting and that means providing a yummy dinner, wine and a delicious dessert. And that’s what happened last week. We sat down to a meal of the following:
An appetizer of cheese, crackers, blueberries & hummus
Pasta Carbonara made fresh pasta and with salty proscuitto (does it get any better?) with a side salad topped with nuts and fruit
A vanilla cake swirled on the inside with delicious cinnamon, topped with a glazed icing
And here’s the best part….we all had the Eat, Pray Love experience that Elizabeth Gilbert had in Rome. No one wondered about the calories, the gluten, the fat, the nuts, the fruit, the combination of it all. We just sat side by side savouring this beautiful meal and loving every bite of it. There’s something special about enjoying a dinner that was prepared with love. It tastes sooooo good.
When we arrived at my friend’s house, one of the first things she said to me while holding her freshly baked cake, “Here, just smell this! Doesn’t that smell amazing?” And it did. It really did. And you know what? Everyone else thought so too because we all had two pieces each including a side of vanilla bean ice cream!
Ummm, I’m not an official researcher, but I’m pretty sure I can say I have never witnessed 5 women have a second piece of cake. In the lyrics of Taylor Swift, like ever.
The next day I met with my friend who hosted the lovely evening and she commented that she had absolutely no stomach issues the night before. (Typically gluten bothers her.) Red wine often causes her to sleep poorly. But not that night, she slept peacefully.
We didn’t spend time talking about the ingredients we were eating instead we connected, laughed, advised, considered, listened, shared and celebrated. While we were filled with gratitude to have such a delicious meal, the actual food was the foundation holding us there. It was the power of a guilt free meal, made with love and surrounded by those who you love. It doesn’t get any better. And the best part? Our stomachs agreed.
It’s winter. And it’s really cold right now….yuck. I can think of a far more descriptive word that describes my feelings about winter and it actually rhymes with yuck…but we’ll leave that for now. Anyway… in an effort to embrace winter, my husband I have decided to explore our adventurous sides more. We choose to live in Canada, so might as well like it. We decided to try sledding. The motorized kind. In between Christmas and New Year’s, my brother lent us his to give it a try.
And surprise, after we pile on layer after layer, we love it! Climbing hills, speeding on the flats, gulps of fresh air, snow flying and finally sipping hot chocolate to warm up after it’s all done. Mmmhmmm, we’ve decided it’s all good. With one teeny tiny small thing. It’s crowded.
Since we’re both considered tall (as reported by ongoing stranger comments…), it can get a bit tight on the seat when all three of us squish on. Me in my huge snow pants hanging off the back and Jason looking every bit the squirrel with his arms all jammed up trying to drive. Our three year old daughter completely oblivious to anyone else’s discomfort happily asks to go faster.
Seems the only answer — buy one more snowmobile. On Saturday night, we meet ‘a guy’ who posted an ad on Kijiji with just the right snowmobile for us. He works shift work so we end up meeting at 8:00 at night in his back yard, where it’s pitch black and in the middle of the city where it’s pretty much impossible to try it out. The sled is in perfect condition, he clearly loves it and offers that we try it out in the back alley. We decline and say no worries, we’ve heard it start, so we’re sure it’ll be all good. After a few more minutes chatting with him about engine size, Jason gives me the nod that he’d like to go for it, so we do. It’s going to be ours. We want to give him a deposit until we can pay him, but he refuses and says absolutely not. It’s more trouble…he suggests we pay him when he brings it over.
I wasn’t there when our new-to-us snowmobile was dropped off, but the previous owner told Jason this: ‘I’m glad you and your wife will enjoy this - you both are just so positive.’
My first thought? WHO SAYS THAT? And a guy’s guy…said it? Wow.
That is such a nice thing to say! Here is someone we’ve had hardly any contact with and yet in a short time, he realized exactly who we are. Positive. After all we’ve been through. a stranger was able to recognize in us that our light is still shining bright. It felt so good to be seen.
I am going to do my absolute best to let people know I see them too.