TOLT #87 – Searching

This past week has been a little bit better in the checking off things department. However, yesterday I didn’t get a chance to do a Wellness Wednesday post because my Wellness Inventory account was closed for most of the day. I was able to do a little work on myself there today, but I didn’t want to post late.

Instead, I opted to post today about a meditation/podcast I did this week. I used my Insight Timer app to finally listen to a podcast about self-love. It started out in a way that reminded me so much of SNL’s Delicious Dish segments that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to take it seriously. I decided to listen to the podcast while I did my yoga practice since I felt it wasn’t the same as a meditation. This had both positives (two birds with one stone) and negatives (my kids often talk through my physical practice and it was sometimes hard to focus on both the posture/breath work and their discussion).

I really don’t know how people listen to podcasts while they drive!

But, I just wanted to share one thought from the podcast with you today:

You are searching for what you’re searching with.

I am sure that this will mean something different to each of you, so I encourage you to share how that phrase resonates with you…..

 

 

Missing the Mom I Used to Be

This morning I did my yoga again and a 5 minute meditation. Yesterday’s meditation wasn’t for me, so I tried a new one today. I can tell that my heart chakra is very much in need of repair right now. My yoga practice keeps telling me to open my chest (closed poses are hard) and in my meditation today….I cried.

It was a simple instruction…..

Think back to one moment in your life that really brought you lots of joy

I flashed back to this moment that I have recorded. I was pregnant with my second and my husband is blowing bubbles in the dining room of our old house for my oldest to catch. He is two years old. He is adorably excited and telling me how he caught 2 bubbles or a Mama Bubble or a Baby Alligator bubble (that’s what we called the little one until we knew his name). He is smiling, my husband is smiling, I was smiling.

I felt joy and happiness and growth inside of me. I felt complete; as if this was the life I was going to have and it was perfect. What could be more perfect than watching your child’s joy amplified by bubbles?

I cried because that little boy is no longer so happy and joyful and easily entertained. That’s our fault. WE have taken away a lot of the joy and simplicity from his life.

I am not the same mom I used to be then. Then, I was less busy with work and more into designing my life around these two little lives. I was so joyful and content every day to take them places and watch them grow. Now I want to take them places and watch them learn new things and experience all of the highs and lows of their life, but I don’t feel I have the freedom to do that. I feel restricted because I tried to follow someone else’s rules about parenting and that made me strict toward my kids…..

I admit that I’ve always been a plan maker and a rule follower when it comes to my kids. I try to feed them well and raise them to be good people, but now I feel pressured to make sure that they are allowed to be “normal” kids and get to watch tv a ton and play video games and drink soda every day. I have been told how to talk to them and when I can and cannot talk to them. I have been told not to yell, but that I am not authoritative enough. I have been called names for limiting time on electronics, but then asked, what are they supposed to do? Read a book? As if education is a bad thing….

My way I parent has changed and caused me to be bitter toward parenting…..so I cried at what I have given up. Now I feel tense as I parent, as if I’m being watched and my choices judged or overruled at every turn.

I cried because I am angry in a way I don’t want to be. I cried because there are days I don’t want to parent because I know it can’t be what I used to have. I want more for them and more for myself as a parent who truly loves to spend time with her children; to watch them grow……

 

TOLT #82 – A Call to Open

I hope that this post finds you well and safe wherever you are. I have taken a serious backseat in the last couple of months. I didn’t want to write about my coronavirus day to day or my negative opinions on how our country is acting around this international pandemic. I didn’t want to turn my blog political or have it just be a journal of the monotony that is quarantine life.

Instead, I put my head down and focused on the two main objectives I have had these past two months:

  • Finish the semester for my students
  • Keep homeschooling and life at home as normal as possible for my kids

I have not succeeded at the level I had hoped for either, but this week is finals week, so objective one is coming to an end. Other things in my life are coming to an end as well, but I’m not ready to write about that at this moment.

This morning I didn’t have to grade at 6am. I still got up at 6am and did my normal, go to the bathroom, check my phone, head upstairs. I spent a few minutes with my oldest who always wakes up early. I snuggled with my youngest when he found his way upstairs. I didn’t open the computer or respond to emails. We had breakfast and then I did something I haven’t done in FOREVER! I went upstairs and did yoga and meditated.

A few times over this at home period I have done yoga to film videos for my class. At one point I was trying to do some simple poses each day for gut health because my whole body is off at this moment. But, to be honest, I have abandoned a lot of my training. Life has taken many different turns for me and I have sacrificed some of the things that keep me most centered.

Today I chose differently. I did this video from Erin Motz at Bad Yogi:

As I was doing pigeon pose on the right side I noticed something unusual…..I couldn’t lay forward in the pose. I didn’t hurt, but felt trapped when I closed my body forward. It was as if I couldn’t breathe. So, I opened up the body and pushed it toward a backbend….not much of one, but one all the same. As I was doing it I realized that it was helping my heart chakra immensely. I was feeling open and free for the first time in a long time. So, when pigeon came up on the left side, I was surprised that I could do some of the fold, but also how great it felt to backbend and be open for a few breaths there. I usually ONLY love to fold forward in pigeon.

Later in my practice, as we were doing seated forward fold, Erin said something profound to me. She said to focus today on the feeling of the pose and not necessarily on how it looks. Right now I am in the process of making my life feel good; no matter how that’s going to look to the rest of the world…..

Namaste

TOLT #79 – End of Another Semester

Another semester is over and done. Each time one ends I wonder how I could have done better and what I will change the next time around. When the next semester starts I have high hopes and ambitions and nerves like crazy! There’s always a little bit of….what if they don’t like me? In that same moment I think, it doesn’t matter if they like me or not.

For me, my self-esteem is not caught up in my image of how I teach. I know that I am a good teacher. To some I am a great teacher. For myself I am satisfied in my work and my work makes me happy. Every semester I get both bad and good reviews. This semester was no exception.

However, in grading one student’s paper I read something that has really struck me as wise and something I want to remember. She wrote:

My goal is consistency, not perfection.

It couldn’t be more simple than that. Life, for me, is about consistently being in a place where I can be content. I want to know I’m doing a good job and that someone is benefiting from my existence. I won’t be able to make all of my students happy. I won’t be able to get to everything I want to do. I will miss workouts and kill workouts; not send some emails on time and send too many emails sometimes; be tired and cranky some days and overly perky some days; let the laundry pile up and have a completely spotless home; spend hours grading or skip grading to be with my kids; eat too many snacks and forget to eat lunch; write on my blog and then abandon my blog for work or a nap or a workout or to read……I am not perfect and my life is not perfection. But, really, that’s what makes it kind of perfect for me.

At every point in my life I am consistently where I need to be….striving for my best, but accepting that each day is what it is. I am content and balanced.

What does consistency look like for you?

 

Awakening to Life – Guest Post

Some of my favorite yoga stories from my students are when they just become more aware of their own existence and power in life….as in this beautiful story.

The past couple of years I’ve thought of yoga to be more of a trend rather than a therapy. I would see posts on Instagram of friends doing difficult poses and thought it was cool, but I never really saw myself getting into yoga. Well, I am two years out of high school which means two years without sports or any physical training really. Because I was refusing to workout, this past year I started to notice my body changing into my “adult body” and I was hating it. So, this summer I decided to investigate healthy living. I read of different ways to live healthy with diets and different types of exercising. The one healthy living style that stuck out to me the most was yoga. As I read, I was shocked to read all the benefits. Toning and flexibility were the two benefits that urged me to start going to classes. Though I was interested, because of my work schedule this summer I never had time to go to classes. So, when I learned that CFCC offered a yoga class I had to sign up.

 

Throughout this Fall semester I have learned so much. I have learned of ways to relax, how to improve my understanding of others, and lastly, I learned how to truly appreciate my surroundings. Almost all my life I have let stress overcome me, whether it was because of something small or big, I would over think a situation until I was stressed. Yoga has helped me cope with stress through breathing exercises and different yoga poses. I never realized that stretching was so healthy, and that breathing a certain way could help with different emotions. Alternate-nostril breathing and sound of breath breathing are two types of breathing exercises that I use on a daily basis to ease my mind. The supine spinal twist and child’s pose also help me when I am feeling stressed. Taking this yoga class has helped me understand others through a statement that Mrs. P. said one day in class. She said, “a truth is not a truth but an opinion”. This is something I will always remember because it has opened my eyes to why there is so much hate in this world today. Now when I hear others talk about certain topics, I am not judgmental to their opinion as I was before, but more open to why they feel the way they feel. Lastly, in this class I learned the importance of tuning into your five senses. Since I started to do so, I have gained an appreciation for so many things in my life. From cooking and smelling the aroma of my food, to walking downtown and noticing how beautiful the history of Wilmington is. I now have a different appreciation to my surroundings.

Yoga has been a blessing in my life. I am thankful for this course this Fall semester because I have overall grown as a person throughout this semester. Learning different ways to make myself better not only physically, but mentally is the best kind of healthy living I could ask for.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Peace with the Past, Present, and Future – Guest Post

Sometimes the best yoga stories are the simplest to share. This beautifully short story on the peace that a student last Fall found in yoga shows the impact of yoga in all areas of our life….past, present, and future.

Taking yoga this past Fall I have learned not only how to better myself physically, but mentally as well. Ever since I was young, I was obsessed with my weight. This stemmed from my childhood, and how my mother started putting me on diets when I was about seven or eight. With the help of meditation that I learned in yoga, I learned how to ease some of the worries I have about my weight, and how to accept myself as a person despite having a few extra pounds. I plan on using meditation in the future and whenever I need to find peace.

I also learned some great ways to deal with stress and anger. I have always had a short temper; however, with the help of some breathing techniques that I have learned from this yoga course, I can practice healthy ways of dealing with it. I also use yoga breathing for when I am babysitting my nephews. The calming nature of Ocean Breathing lulls them to sleep and lets them rest easy. I plan on using these breathing techniques in the future all throughout my daily life.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

2019

I haven’t written on the blog since October 20, 2018, but that doesn’t mean that I have lost my love for writing or my intention to keep this going. With each new year I learn a little more about myself and I learned A LOT last year. This year will be different (as each one also is) and I decided to wait until today to write. I am not making resolutions this year or setting outright goals. I am trying to be as “yogic” as I can and kind of just let life be. If anything, I am hoping to be more well-rounded this year. I hope to find more time for everything that I want to do and to stop doing the things that I don’t. So, while I still had 19 minutes until my planned run for the day….I wrote to you.

And, in usual OGB fashion, I will leave you with a question:

What will 2019 be for you?

Meditation Monday #50 – Wisdom from Within

A lot of Gates’ writing in this section of the book talks about discipline (tapas) and turning inward. In Day 82 he notes that we all start out learning from others, but eventually have to trust our own judgements. Thus is the story of life.

Discipline is about creating our own path by following in the footsteps of others before us. Our parents probably taught us differently and therefore we have a skewed vision of the word. But think about it…..

If I am your parent, teacher, trainer, etc….and I want you to follow what I do, then why would I punish you? Instead I should model and teach you to be my disciple, to follow me, to cultivate your own discipline.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through yoga and I’ve learned a lot from others teaching me. In the end, it’s all about choosing what is right for me in life. This is a lesson I’ve learned along the way in blogging too. The “right way” to blog may not be my way.

So, this week I am taking off to enjoy Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. I am taking my own path. I have a pre-scheduled post for Friday, but other than that you won’t see me here until next Monday. My family, my friends, and myself have taught me that holidays are for enjoying. I encourage you to find joy this week….away from the news, the internet, and other things that force us to disconnect from those directly in front of us.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Meditation Monday #49 – Answers Within

In the Day 81 Reading Gates writes

….we always have everything we need. When we fail to believe this, we suffer. (p.109)

How many times have I looked inward for the answer, seen it, and still kept searching? External validation doesn’t equal internal happiness…yet, it’s a hard cycle to break.

Today when I was doing my 68 Sun Salutations (more about why I’m not further along on Thursday) I asked my youngest to help me finish them out….because doing them with someone else somehow makes them easier to finish. I suffered and struggled through the first 67 and there it was…ease on number 68 with his little arms and legs moving beside me.

But, I need to listen better to myself because I am sure there are signs that I’m ignoring. This takes discipline….tapas

Are you still stuck in the cycle of seeking answers outside of yourself?

Do you know that the end to your suffering is within you?

What is always easier for you to do with someone else?