Good Night, Thank You

Last night, as I was getting ready to teach virtual yoga, I wanted to find a certain reading about the end of the day. I couldn't find anything that summarized all I wanted so I sat down by candlelight and this came out:

The Day is Done. 

Let me know in my heart

I have done everything I could

Let me see clearly the truth of my being.

Let me trust in the deep wisdom and knowingness of my soul's deepest yearnings.

Let me trust the process and practice that is undoing and unfolding around and within me. 

The Day is Done. 

Let me be at peace with what is was in all of its shortcomings and beautiful moments of heartfelt joy. 

If there was sorrow or anger or hurt let me forgive and move on.

If there was joy, progress and peace

let me trust and move on.

The Day is Done. 

Let it be so. 

Why yoga is a practice

My shoulders were crunched up into my ears, my mind was racing and my blood pressure was about 7000 over one million. The light turned green but the cars were not moving. I decided they needed the gentle warning of my horn. Beep Beep. Just a little nudge, not a, I’m a Mass-hole get out of my way sort of honk or a NYC taxi driver I’m entitled to be everywhere first sort of honk. Just a gentle kind reminder sort of honk. 

It turned out the traffic was backed up due to an accident up a head. My daughter and I laughed. No problem. My bad. I re-routed. 

The problem was I thought we actually left the house on time this morning. I was wrong. The clock struck 820. School starts at 830. I was at least 20 minutes away. Hmmmm. 

Instead of climbing on top of my mindset and affirming everything was going to be ok I decided to go with the undesirable feeling of being completely out of control. Even through all my many years of personal development, meetings, step work meditation, yoga practices and workshops I still have to make a conscious choice in each moment to be a decent, kind, compassionate loving gentle human being with myself and others .

Ahem, I should re phrase that, I GET to I get to make a conscious choice in each moment to be a kind conscious loving, gentle human being to myself and others. 

But in this instance I hopped on the train of everyone is in my way, the stop lights must be broken because they are not turning green fast enough, no one on planet earth knows how to drive andtoday must be national industrial sized truck day because we were stuck behind TWO big construction trucks that ironically have those big orange signs DO NOT FOLLOW to which my daughter always asks quixotically.....Mom, what do they mean by do not follow...you have to follow them..

I know dear. I know. 

It was as if Iwas operating at a quicker speed and every single particle of matter around me was operating in slow motion or worse even rewind. 

My mind quivered between observing how the uncontrollable was affecting me and wanting to scream at all the cars. It was a feeling of combustion of complete lack of control which to someone like me is a trigger for many other cascades of feelings of being out of control. 

I said a prayer. I tried to engage my daughter with conversation. Are you excited for school? 

I couldn’t manage it. I observed myself losing my internal calm based upon the external circumstances. 

I apologized to my daughter. I’m so sorry, tomorrow we will leave extra early so we are on time. 

She was forgiving. 

I wanted her to see me as a good example of how to remain calm even when things don’t go your way, something as small as a traffic interruption and being ten minutes late. 

That is not the show she got to witness. 

I managed it the best I could, I didn't;t drop any bad words, I just silently vented my frustration every few moments and tried to focus myself in the present by enjoying the scenery. 

10 minutes was all it was. We left with an I love you have a good day and I zoomed off to yoga. That’s right, the real pit of the peach was that I was afraid mommy would miss her yoga class. 

Do you see the layers?

Of course yoga was amazing. Amazing. And it nudged away any feeling of rush or out of control that I was previously holding onto. It restored the pathway of neurons to be set in a place ofinternalpeace and calm like gold that nothing could touch. 

That is the magic of yoga. 

That is the magic of my practice. 

IT works when I show up for it. 

The traffic in retrospect? no big deal. It just isn’t its like not even a thing. 

The muscle memory of feeling, that flood of endorphins and rush of being out of control? Completely replaced by a sense of expansive loving kindness and calm. 

My cells are fueled to function on love. 

What a gift this practice is. 

Shall I never forgot the power of practice and it is an ever changing practice no matter how many years I have practiced. I will forever be humbled by its effectiveness at soothing the torments of my disillusioned my and unhinged heart. 

The breath is the magic. 

The savasana is the magic. 

Just being me, in my body showing up. Who I am and how I am. 

Thank You yoga. 

May I always remember.

 

 

Are We There Yet?

I distinctly remember sitting in the way way back seat of our families stations wagon, you know? the one with the rear facing seats? that I’m pretty sure we were not even wearing seat belts. It was the ‘80s after all. My sister and I played Star Wars while my dad and mom sat a comfortable distance from us in silence to undertake the trip to our grandparents house just west of Boston. 

I shot laser beams out of my light saver to oncoming traffic while my sister was on high alert for oncoming threats. 

Pew, whoosh, pew pew, whoosh 

“I got one we are safe”

“Not for long, look at the big 18 wheeler coming up behind us...” she said

Pew,whoosh, pew, pew

 “I need back up, grab your weapon.”

Luckily, the two of us combined were able to fend off the 18 wheeler. 

Now what? All told I think we were able to stay immersed in our game for a solid 20 minutes. Sitting still for long periods of time was never a skill set I had. 

Then, I just had to know. I knew I shouldn’t ask. I just knew it. I knew what the reply was going to be I just did. Just as sure as I was about the fact I HAD to wear a pretty dress to visit Grandma and Grandpa so I looked PERFECT for THEM. 

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The words escaped me.

“Mom, Dad?”

I just knew what they would say. I just did. But I did it anyway. I couldn’t help it. I was sitting on idle time. 

“ARE WE THERE YET?” 

Clearly, obviously, not. Clearly we were well en route on 93 south with just over an hour left of our trip. 

DUH.

What was I expecting?

Uh...not quite...we have a ways to go. Replied my Dad.

This question seemed to be the driving force of my existence for the next three decades of life. 

ARE WE THERE YET? AM I THERE? HAVE I ARRIVED? WHERE AM I GOING ANYWAY?

I was hugely mistaken about this illusive THERE anyway. For a long time I never thought I would make it past twenty. Then when twenty came and went I was quite certain I would never see the light of my thirtieth birthday. Then when thirty came and went....I realized I was living into the other side of my there and it might be a good time to evaluate, just in case, god willing I make it another 5, 6 or 10 decades to decide what I want my NOW to be so I am not so concerned with or attached to the future of there because where I am HERE, NOW is my then there. Get it?

The there always changes. It just does. For as long as I get to be a living breathing entity in this physical realm, my there will be forever evolving with the density and destiny of time. 

My there depends on these questions

Have I grown?

Have I changed?

Am I a better person NOW then I was 5 minutes ago?

Where am I headed?

Where am I going?

Where am I now?

What do I want?

Not what does society expect of me. 

Not what do my friends think of me.

Not what are the social expectations of a woman in her mid thirties. Am I measuring up?

No. 

None of that. 

Just in the here and now. Diving into the practice of being me. Centered in my power. My personal power of experience, wisdom, insight, humility, and wit. Accepting of what is. Frustrated by what isn’t. Understanding of the wholeness of the evolution of our species. 

And just showing up. Keep showing up. Because the there I want, is already, and always was, HERE

 

 

Stay curious about what is possible.

For the past month my eight year old soon to be nine year old daughter has been working on a plan to fly to London. Not on a plan mind you, but literally Fly to england. With her fairy wings. She is so enraptured with this notion that she will fly to england with her fairy wings that she has enrolled four of her neighbor friends in the process. 

After school I find them collecting in the backyard, practicing for the big day they will “take off.” They are hard at work practicing the opening ceremony “good bye” song and crafting costumes that are woven out of leaves, and creating piles of pixie dust (aka dirt).

Adorable? Yes. 

She came to me one night with disappointment in her face...”mom I don’t think Sonja (made up name) will get to come with us. She thinks her dad won’t let her. She thinks hell say that she has a great imagination but he doesn't really believe she will be able to fly to london. 

You believe we can fly to london right?

Fu$%. I mean... Nope. Fu$%. 

Yes. Yes I do. 

My daughter believes so passionately in this happening that I have yet to tell her that based upon the current laws of physics and a few other reasons she and her friends are actually indeed not going to be able to make the flight down to south america then back up through our planned pitstop in Paris and then our final destination in London. Even if I am chaperoning and bringing thirty dollars for our “meals out”. 

But who am I to squash her vibrant curiosity and belief? I’m sure she’ll figure out soon enough that no matter how hard she practices jumping off of picnic tables flapping her arms in the correct wing shaped fashion she still will succumb to the laws of gravity and material form we are all subject to. Believe me, If I could actually fly with my own fairy wings I would be all over it. 

Curiosity can lead us to the strangest of places. Curiosity is what leads to ingenuity, innovation, and discovery. 

Without it...where would we be?

In yoga practice another way to frame this is having a beginners mindset. 

This creates a foundation of freedom. When I practice as a beginner at anything, business, parenting, yoga, relationships,  it is easier to be more gentle, loving and kind towards myself. I have said to my daughter on more than one occasion “look this is all new for me, I have never done this parenting thing before, I’m so sorry, let me try again”

How to approach anything with a beginners mindset:

  1. Resolve to be unresolved- all too often we can get fixated on the “END RESULT”. The looser the outcome can be held in the pocket of our hand the more space there is for it to breathe and evolve with a little bit of fairy dust universal magic. 
  2. Awareness of the limiting belief- That word “I CAN’T” must be eradicated from our vernacular. It all comes down to fear and scarcity. “I can’t” is really fear showing it’s face. The good thing about that is that it can easily be transformed once it is acknowledged. “Hi fear, I see you, I get it, you want to be acknowledged. So there. I acknowledged you, but you do not get to run the show, so I am going to do this anyway.”  
  3. Not knowing is part of the process- This can be tricky for our intelligent selves. The mind wants to attach to knowledge in order to create order and sense of this whole experience of life. The uncertainty we feel is really just made up anyway. The only thing that is certain is that life is a process in it’s entirety with all of it’s endings and beginnings. There is a certain rhythm we all are part of and part of the magic of being alive is the unfolding of our own unique path as part of a greater whole.

I get to, i'm blessed to.

This past weekend I overcame a ton of fear and resistance and did something I had been dreaming of doing for the past eight years. I got on a bus and went straight to New York City to meet with aproducer about my musical. 

A bold move for a first time writer like me, but as I said in our meeting this musical is something I can’t not do, it will be birthed, I am just hanging on for the process of it to unfold. 

Even though I lived there when I was 19 and have been there a handful of times since, I was in shock that I was actually there. It took me a few moments to orient myself but once I did, I felt like it was all coming back to me. It was dirty and loud, people were screaming and having conversations with their demons right out in the middle of broad day light, something I admired and slightly feared.There was an intense pace and contrast of the mighty wealthy and the ultra broke. Even though I was in the flow of the experience, my anxiety came along for the ride with me, but mostly it was just pure excitement that I was DOING this. It was happening. I never would have had the courage and self-confidence to pursue this if it weren’t for my yoga, meditation, and functional training practices. 

The most important practice (I mean they are really all uber important)? My morning ritual. This helps transform my energy and mind first thing in the morning so I am not attached to the “past failures” but work with a clean slate of opportunity and divine connection. What I do? First things first. I make a cup of coffee, sit on my special pillow with a blanket. This is very personal, and I actually have not shared this in  detail, but I believe in the transformative healing power of the morning ritual SO much that I think it is important to share. I drink my  coffee as slowly as possible because I just Love it so much. Then I fold forward/ bow down and say a prayer I have been saying for over 15 years now, I’ll share it:

"God, I offer myself to thee to build with thee and do with thee as though wilt, relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of thy power thy love and thy way of life. AMEN." 

I then sit comfortably in a seated cross legged position, I close my eyes and connect with ujaii breath. Eventually I let go of the ujaii breath all together. If thoughts come, I let them. If my to do list starts to ramble off, I let it. If I start feeling sad, I cry. If I feel blocked I ask for it to be revealed..what is blocking me? If I don’t feel connected to my heart, I breathe deeply into it. If I am struggling somewhere in my life, I say BLESS this whatever it is that is troubling me.

I have gone through phases where I chant, where I journal after the prayer...  but I always say the prayer and I always do the meditation. We don’t meditate just when things are going great,  I meditate so I am prepared to better handle this human life experience. There was a time in my life where my mind would kill me if I let it.

The thing about creating a morning ritual is that it is very personal. and the other secret is, it is something you DO EVERY DAY no matter what. My foundation of my morning ritual is what has helped me be the parent I am and It is exactly what helped me get on that bus to New York City and take a bold step forward in one of my biggest dreams in the world. 

Actions to take to create your morning ritual:

  1. Is there a prayer/verse /writing that you resonate with that helps you feel connected to spirit/energy/god/the divine, universal energy whatever you want to call it? Pick ONE and stick with it. You can always change it, but give it some time first. 
  2. Connect with your breath. 4 counts in 4 counts out. That’s it. In and out of the nose. Whether you have been doing ujaii for ever or never..you can breath in and out of your nose.
  3. Let go and see what is possible. Give yourself a chance to just sit and be. No where you must GO, nothing you must DO. Just a process of watching your thoughts. Letting the mind be. Connecting to your heart. 
  4. Journal. I have recommended this to my clients who have a really tough time just sitting. I get it. This comes from The Artists Way and it is genius. Essentially write for three pages, hand write. With zero agenda. With zero expectation. It is just pure writing, getting the words on paper free flow. The main purpose of it is to practice getting the surface “junk” out of the way. Somedays you might spill out golden nuggets of insight you never knew existed and you’ll think....oh my . god. I am a Fucking genius. Other days it might be pure garbage and you’ll seek to destroy it immediately. IT doesn't matter. Just try it and see what happens. 
  5. Give thanks for what is yet to come. This is a sneaky trick. If the things you want to have happened have not already happened and are still in the process of becoming, giving thanks will only increase your receptivity to them unfolding. For example, I used to feel burdened by my creativity and all of million brilliant ideas I had. I felt weighed down by them because I felt as If I could not ever do anything with them. Until one day, My life coach at the time pointed out to me I could actually be grateful for all my brilliant inspired ideas and trust that the one’s that were meant to actuate would find a way. This shifted everything for me. While its true I literally have stacks of paper and some bits of recycled paper with every amazing thought or idea I have ever had in a pile in a file folder, I am grateful for each and every one of them. It has shifted my perspective on my creativity. Instead of me looking at it as a burden, I am so grateful to be me. 

What is your morning ritual?