Friday, December 31, 2010

Apples and Onions

Another year passes into the past and all of the potential of a new calendar sits in wait. As this time rolls forward, and on the heels of an evening with friends of my youth, I have taken a moment to reflect back. My apple for this year of 2010 has probably been the moment in a hostel at one o'clock in the morning, awake from the sounds of fellow hostelers having a grand time, when the words of a master came to me, "Have integrity, sit up and present all of yourself to this practice, you are here for you."

In that moment, a shift occurred. I was the person selling me short. There is no need for the world to change, rather it is up to me to really show up in my life. No one is going to bring life to me. I am the one who must believe in my own value and live my life fully.

Last night I listened to very near and dear friends discuss the economics of practicing medicine in Canada verses the UK; the merits of world travel and meeting the right people and making ten times more money than make. I wanted to tell them they weren't focused on the right things in life. I wanted to point out how no amount of things could replace the experiences we had as friends growing up on a lake, skating all winter and swimming or paddling in the summer. I wanted to shout at them to notice they have money, but at the cost of having to take blood pressure medication, being overweight and living to for the next vacation.

But how do I really know what is true? This may be their truth for them in this lifetime. For me in this lifetime, I need to learn how to believe in my self, my own potential to be all that I desire to be, to "sit up and have integrity;" to really show up for myself.

My onion for this year.... that it took me so long to really believe it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Courage

This summer while on a Yoga retreat in Colorado, it became very apparent that I still have some growing to do. As this was clearly identified, I felt my whole body resist it. I felt the tears well up into my eyes and the restriction in my abdomen. My shoulders tensed and I wanted to hide. My mind raced with thoughts of... "I am tired of growing. Haven't I done enough these past 3 years!?! I want safe and comfortable. I want to coast." And yet, even with those thoughts swirling around in my head, I knew in my heart that life has never really felt that safe or comfortable.

Rod Stryker once said, "You don't forgive someone, you practice loving them and forgiveness comes." These words rang true for me. As I reflect on my willingness to grow, it became apparent to me I will never be fearless, I can only face the things that scare me and courage will come.

Yesterday I strapped on a snowboard for the second time in over 10 yrs and went down an intermediate run at our local ski hill. I did it for me. I did it to feel that sense of adrenalin that comes with hard physical effort and the unknown outcome. I did it because it made me feel truly alive.

In 2011, I will face my challenges, one breath at a time, moment by moment, with love in my heart.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sleepless

Alerted awake by the ringing of the phone, I leapt out of bed rushing down the stairs. Too late.
Who would be calling me at 2:30 am?
No one. It must have been a wrong number.
What if it was an emergency call?
No message.
I wander back to bed and try to settle into sleep. The replays of the previous day swirl around me. Sleep alludes me.

3:12 am another call.
Maybe it is my friend Pete from England. Maybe it is about someone being hurt or killed.
God.... The rain lashes the windows, and the wind lifts the shingles, the thoughts roll along pushing forth an emotional snowball, growing and growing.

I get up. It's 4:30 am.
More wood in the stove. A little immune drink. Warm socks. I sit in stillness and allow only the thoughts of my beautiful child, his love and enthusiasm, pushing all other thoughts and their chains of emotion out. There is only room now for love. I offer this love to myself. I wrap myself in the warmth and comfort of this feeling.
I sleep.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Greatness & Joy


I remember being about 9 yrs old and building a raft with construction materials my Dad had discarded. A little foam insulation, a palette, a paddle made from end cuts of two by four. Then I would proudly launch this raft onto the lake behind our house and I was off. The adventure would end with a half sunken raft, floating debris, a broken paddle and a petrified and angry father shouting at me not to be so stupid.

This message to play it safe reiterated with countless raft-like stunts through my youth taught me well. As I grew, I learned not to trust myself. I didn't stop having adventures, I just put the trust in someone else. Then all those eggs broke and I was alone and very afraid. I wished things were different. But all that wishing was just my fear of not being great, or even just good enough.

Realizing this, brings real joy. Not the joy of presents on Christmas morning, rather the joy of looking into the eyes of a newborn and seeing only love. It was not whether the raft floated that made me feel special or happy, it was believing that I could do it. Today I sometimes still lose my paddle, but at least I believe that, for me, nothing is impossible. I believe in my own greatness.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creating my day

My son is off with his Dad. I feel sad. Incomplete. I am resisting all that is. I am resisting this split in our family.

I am caught in the idea of what MY family should be.
I am caught in MY judgment of what would make ME happier.
I am caught in MY thoughts of 'I haven't been able to do enough to be accepted, loved and valued.'
I am caught in my feelings of worthlessness, poverty, fear, loneliness.

Me Me Me. There is so much of me wrapped up in this. And then...
... around me are beautiful souls inviting me home... yes calling their home, MY home. They are MY family. Friends sending me love in emails. Blessed by people offering to help me, support me.
I almost missed it in my grief and sadness.

Both realities are always present.
Today I choose the reality of love and beauty. It takes more effort in some relationships, but I will focus on the ones where it is so evident. I will begin with holding myself; it is okay to not like some of what is happening. It is okay to resist this situation. It is also okay to choose love, attending to others with love to open my heart.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Room for a View

Yesterday, as I waited for a friend in a coffee shop, I listened as a woman complained of a co-worker. She was speaking of this co-workers complete disregard for sustainable living in the lunch room. as I listened, I could sense her negativity, her anger and I thought, "What is it she really wants; to be right or to be happy?"

In a discussion over a rite of passage for our son, Nick and I were not on the same page. I struggled with how to handle it. I wanted to be understood. Then it occurred to me, Nick just wants to be understood too. I narrated my impression of the experience of this rite of passage, and acknowledged, I don't know if it is right.
I simply tried to see it from his side, and that made all the difference. It opened his heart and we came to a peaceful and supportive agreement. We are both right.

We all just want to be right. But if I cannot leave room for others to also be right, they cannot see my view. And they are less likely to try. Now to keep practicing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I M agination

When I was little, I recall many nights of trepidation-how could I across the vast expanse of 3 feet between my own bed and that of my older sisters bed? I was looking for comfort from my own thoughts. That vast expanse was a great ocean of danger with things that might grab my ankles. Many times I just jumped from one bed onto the other.

As a little girl, I believed anything was possible and I was just the one to be a part of it. As I stumbled through adolescence and my early 20's something changed and I no longer believed in all of me. I always believed in my physical potential. I could pull a bobsleigh loaded with logs across William's Lake for my Dad when I was 14 or 15 yrs old. I could pass my level 4 CRCA Instructor certification and I did. I did not however believe I was lovable enough. Surely I must need to be different, prettier, have bigger boobs. I rejected parts of me more than anyone else ever did.

Today I still believe in my physical potential. Anything is possible if I practice enough, fail and learn enough. That is not where I need to work. I need to believe that all that I am and all I can become is worthy of the greatest love and devotion, loyalty and worship. Oh... I don't mean in a narcissistic way. I mean in the way that I approach all things I do, all relationships with a sense of my own worth, fearless to offer my best and fearless of failure. Fearless of the monsters who may grab my ankles.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something's cooking

I have tried to write a descent blog for days and I am not getting anywhere. I keep moving into my teacher voice, "Let me tell you what the world is really all about." I hate that voice. There is no softness to it. How can I know everything and leave room for you to be who you are at the same time? I can't.

That is my edge. When I am so busy being wonder woman, there is no room for any other super heroes in my life. Ironically, the only reason I try so hard is so that I will have the acceptance and love, the affirmation that I am good enough.

I know that people like it when you ask them for help, because then they feel important. We all want that affirmation that our life is important, meaningful. Maybe today I will focus not on being important, rather on just being open to people and letting them be meaningful.

Just the being.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thank you for making me stronger, wiser.

The late afternoon rays of sun emanate light in an endless blue sky. I stared into the sky with wonder at the vast expanse and changing light of the red rocks surrounding me.
'How do I make every moment like this one, so peaceful and content; alone and yet not feeling alone?' I wondered.
As if my thoughts were carried on the air, a gentle breeze touched my skin and I knew. It is not about getting somewhere, it is the being where you are that gives this feeling. Being where you are with utter pleasure and happiness to just be there. Not running from this moment into the next. Not looking for something different.
'Why didn't I get this before?' I was too busy running into the future I wanted.

It is 16 years later and this memory echos in my mind. The vibration shaking me awake. Slow down. No, things don't need to be slower. I just need to be present in this moment, not looking for the next joy, outcome, goal...

How do I create the life I desire and not look forward to it at the same time. How do I discipline my thoughts to stay present and keep my heart open to my desires?

When I had projects, I would learn the moves, figuring out what my body had to do to stay in balance and move up the rock. Whatever worked, sometimes even what initially did not seem to make sense, in the end was the key to balance. The day I knew I was ready to complete the project, I would sit at the base and say, 'Today I will try 10 times, then I am going to get you to take weight for me and do another 10 tries. I can always come back next Monday.'

In this process, I very consciously let the weight of completing the project go. I would release my expectations for success. I became focused on the moves, positive as the process unfolded. I tried hard. I had faith that one day it would happen.

Today I will let go of the weight of my desires, I will let go of the weight of my past disappointments, knowing that those events are a part of the process that had to happen to place me here. I will know this is where I need to be now. If I fail today, I can always try again tomorrow. I will faithfully believe in myself even if who I become is not what I expect.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Perfection in a Pose

Standing in the shower with hot water running over me, I was thinking of the day ahead. The Yoga class to teach, the mentoring before me. I was thinking of my own intensity I bring to things... wanting challenging people toward growth, change. It is not always welcome. It is when I bring forth the softer side of ease and nurture that I find my will is more successful.

Then I knew my message. The perfection of a pose is not how deeply one can achieve the pose. Perfection in a pose is the place where I apply effort to opening and deepening and yet I can stay, I can feel a sense of ease or repose. Perhaps, better put, I can challenge myself, applying effort and yet there is a quality, a Bhavana of love for myself, care and respect for my physical state. There is a nurturing quality to my own effort. I move in with my breath guiding me. The discomfort is stroked and softened with my awareness.

Off the mat -- my relationships should be tended to in kind. Applying my attention to my efforts and holding all of it in the warm blanket of love, softly and with absolute reverence.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is fair?

Life seems to throw us for a spin every once in a while. We get dumped, we fail an exam we studied really hard for, the fridge dies or worse. Some people lose loved ones or their own health. It just doesn't seem fair.

So why does it happen?
After the trials I have faced, I go back to the only thing I can put faith in. My mother taught me from the time I was little that God only gives you what you can handle. As Mother Teresa said, I wish God did not think I could handle so much.

The next thing, because that sense of helpless resignation does not suit my fiery intense personality, is to ask what am I supposed to learn from this?

With recent life events I am learning, keep faith in what you offer, not how it is received. Persist until you succeed, bearing in mind success might not look like what you expected. Finally all that really matters is to fill my heart with love. Love for all that is for there is no greater teacher than to be able to stay open to life experience.

I hear the sound of the clock, I see the beautiful sun, I feel my son's attention to his game, I sense my dogs joy at galavanting around. I feel my own body's health and vitality with a tremor of angst about the changes around the house. Just holding it all in awareness, emotion, story and me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Then it hit me!

I asked....

What do I want that badly that I would suffer the split tips, the cold and the thousands of failures for?

I answered...
Loving and nurturing my son. Loving and nurturing others. Seeing the potential in others and helping them figure out how to shine. I would suffer all of that pain and discomfort if I could just do that. Helping people believe in themselves.

Then I realized...
The split tips is my own broken heart, the cold is the time feeling so alone and disconnected, the thousands of failures are all the many little rejections, resistance and betrayals.

The knowing...
Offering without expectation is the only way to true happiness and fulfillment. To do that, I must truly believe in what I offer, regardless of how it is received. I must truly believe in me.

What a beautiful approach to practice... Namaste

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In the shadow

Tonight, I went to the Reel Rock films. I saw these people I know in films about pushing the next level. My palms were sweaty watching Chris reach for the next hold, my abds tightening for him. I've been there.

Then shot widens and you see the belayer, in this case the girlfriend. She is just holding the rope. I've been there. Hours of belaying so the person you love, the person who gets so much more recognition for this than you, can do their thing. And all you want is their success.
Who is this person willing to fore go their own desire for Chris?
I am curious.
Why did I do it?
Because he wanted it so badly and I believed in him so much, especially when he didn't believe in himself.

Can I believe in me that much?
Can I offer me that much?
Do I have a desire that great for myself?
Can I want that much success for myself?
What do I want that badly that I would suffer the split tips, the cold and the thousands of failures for?

Loving and nurturing my son. Loving and nurturing others. Seeing the potential in others and helping them figure out how to shine. I would suffer all of that pain and discomfort if I could just do that. Helping people believe in themselves.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meaningful

I believe being my best is what brings me happiness, meaning to all that I do.

As a teenager I ran, I ran my best.
As a young woman I climbed, I climbed my best.
Now I teach, I teach my best.
I love, I love with all my heart.
I do not just offer my best, I strive to be better than anyone else; perfect.
In being my best and being better, maybe I will feel loved, important, accepted.

It is painful to live this way and it is very hard to live in this shadow of perfection and being better, always better. Always waiting for acceptance from outside of me. Always feeling disappointment and always feeling there is more to do.

This week I was caught in this story, this hidden agenda in the back of my heart. Fortunately, yesterday in meditation, I recalled a warm sunny afternoon in Colorado when I watched a little hummingbird fluttering from one flower to another, the sound of a brook bubbling along beneath the little bird. In that moment a feeling of understanding washed over me. One flower is not trying to out scent the other, grow taller than another. Each flower was just trying to grow toward the light. The brook was just moving downhill, working around obstacles in the path. Not speeding in pursuit of a destination.

Life is a lot softer, easier in the moments of this realization.
Perhaps being my best means nurturing, accepting and loving me and then sharing this wonderful sense of who I am with the world. Being stronger for it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Whirlwind of the Mind

"Mind is the key, the difference between prison and expansive freedom!" Rod Stryker

Yes, it has been a week of imprisonment for me. Wanting so many things to be different. Not present, definitely wanting, wanting, wanting.

The emotion attached to all this wanting? Poverty. Anxiety. Shame.

Anxiety is a like a leaf in the wind, that flutters about, changing direction. It shifts to fear. How can I trust that all will be okay if I accept everything as it is? I don't like everything that is. It doesn't feel good.

I guess the trust is with oneself not with the circumstances.

My teacher once told me, "We cannot forgive. We just practice love and forgiveness happens." Perhaps here, the trick is to just practice courage and the faith will come.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unsteady

The coffee is finished.
I surf the internet, dissatisfied. There is no purpose other than distraction.
It is always like this when Fynn is away. I have no one to reflect my heart.

A week ago I said to a friend, "I don't know if I have room to take on another heart." What I meant was, I don't know that I can allow another heart to penetrate that deeply and to maybe lose sight of me again. With divorce, I lost a view of me as a capable, beautiful, sexy, tenacious, adventurous, strong, heartfelt, loving woman. While married, I saw my fire and my light accepted and appreciated through his heart. When he left, my confidence in the beauty of that fire left too.

These past 3 years, I have retrieved pieces of the picture back. I am strong and capable, knowledgeable, tenacious - a survivor. I am a nurturing and supportive mother; I see these things through Fynn's heart. My spirit of adventure, my sexiness, my feminine beauty still elude me. I am so much in my head keeping my world, Fynn's world together and in balance. Not trying to find those pieces, after all, those are the ones most shattered.

Last night I met a group of women who have all came together through a University social group I was a part of initiating 25 years ago, Omega Pi. As I listened to their stories, their connections, I realized they spoke of the group as the force behind them; they thanked me. What I felt was their own force behind the group. Without their own effort and openness, they would not have gotten from things they did together the experience. It was their own fire exposed for others to see that gave the group a collective force.

So where does that lead me? To fully experience my own beauty, my own light, sexiness and adventure means effort and openness of my heart. It may mean going out of balance. Maybe not keeping it all together all the time. Ohh... that's scary.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A cape and a tiara

Nine years old and launching myself out onto the lake, no real plan, just knowing there was a lake to be explored.

Thirteen years old and falling deeply, passionately in love. And then again and again and again. Each time a little more strategically and a little less passionately.

Twenty seven years old, selling everything and going on a climbing trip that spanned 3 continents and six years. The adventure was the seed and catalyst for a book, a marriage and many boundless friendships and a beautiful child. I knew unconditional love. My eyes and heart opened.
Then the adventure led to a devastating heart break.
I picked up a sword and a shield.

The stuff of all heroic epics - adventure, love found and love lost. And in the end the heroine prevails. As I recently read, "I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world." My own world. Where the heck did I leave my cape and tiara!?! Perhaps it is time to put down the sword and shield.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Complicated

Last night I sat uncomfortable watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love...
“We must have our hearts broken. It means we tried for something.”
“My heart was so broken the last time it still hurts.”
My grief of my own loss washes over me. The defiance of the worthiness of the pain.

That is how I feel. The pieces may be glued back together and new supports erected, but there is still fear. Fear of new relationships, new love. I am unable to completely trust this bridge I am constructing between my Self and the world. Oh... I am fairly certain the body will go on and the breath will still come and go from my body. I am not certain that I will keep myself firmly rooted in this world. I may just lose myself in trying for something.

“I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man and stayed longer than I should waiting for him to ascend to his greatness.”
Perfect. This is my vikalpa. Not just with men, with all relationships. I seek results. I do not sit in the moment and the beauty it holds. I strategize, manipulate how 'we' can reach happiness. And yet the only place happiness can ever be found is in the moment, within oneself.

Can I just sit in the place of offering, generous of spirit and surrendering the outcome? I am watching.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Faith, love and marriage

News of an upcoming wedding celebration arrived in my mail. I smiled with thoughts of warmth and joy. My thoughts eventually turned to the end of my own marriage, sadness following on the heels of the thoughts of betrayal and loss.

Two people celebrating their love for each other? No. in my view, marriage is two people celebrating their ability to love themselves in the shadow of each other.

Can marriage last forever? Since the end of my marriage, my love has grown. Through relationship with Nick as an ex-husband I have come to really appreciate and love me even more.

So marriage then is an expression of faith in ones own ability to love oneself. Funny to discover that in divorce.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Caught up in the heat...

Sleepless, I am caught. Tossing & turning, caught in building a story that may never come to pass. I feel all the beauty and joy of a future of adventure and intimacy, passion and deep love. The story becomes rehearsed in my mind, the characters more real, the experiences moving my heart - I lose touch with what really is true. Woman, lying in bed, sleepless.

The seed of the expectation is planted and nurtured, growing ever stronger as I continue to hold more and more tightly to the dream. The story is filled in and the characters begin to take shape. They are strong and loving, there is no room for weak or unloving. I am smiling and happy; never unhappy or discontent. The shadows are filled in, obscuring any other aspects of the characters. I am blind to any other truth, seeing only what I want to see. Muddying reality.

It is a beautiful dream, but just a dream. What is real? I had a beautiful afternoon, laughed a lot. That has past. Right now, I am a sleepy woman typing on a computer. I am in my home with my dog, cat and child. Alone. I have no idea what will happen in the future. Can approach the future with this not knowing? No dreams, expectations or beliefs. I guess I'll try... but man it was a beautiful dream and the sex... hot!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dual or Duel

The days have seemed utterly disorganized and disjointed. What seem like huge challenges, once faced suddenly seem so insignificant. It is as if I stand in a desert sand storm unable to move and struggling to keep the sand from my eyes, nose, mouth and when it all stops - it is just harmless sand.

Energy follows thought. Thought follows energy.

Today I will practice with my heart open to receiving love and utter gratitude for all that is in my existence. For each challenge is another opportunity to always come back to knowing 'I am a single cell in the organism that is the Universe.' Without me there cannot be you. Without you, there cannot be carbon dioxide or waste that becomes fertilizer. Without plants, there cannot be us. And on and on it goes.

I just need to be me. It's not just biology though -- without my action and words, there cannot be your thoughts and actions....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Loosening the Grip

This morning as I was practicing, the words of my teacher came to me. "Yogis love their tools: asana, bandha, et all. Glorious catalysts, the lot of them. But be warned: Don’t ignore your life’s predicaments. Pain–the most apt catalyst–is Nature’s grindstone, Her way of sharpening your instrument, so you cut away your dullness and silliness. If you want to be fit enough to do Her work, forget your hamstrings. Accumulate a ton of right deeds and make sure what you are seeing is true."

This was perfect. I was pushing my way into practice, driven by guilt and determination. I was practicing so my world would be perfect, rather than seeing the perfection in my world. My body, face and heart softened.

Patience. When I am looking for the outcome that I want to result from my effort, I cannot possibly experience the beauty of what IS in THIS moment. Being in the job I am in, parenting alone, being single, I GET TO sharpen my instruments and learn to appreciate love in Her many disguises.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weathering the Storm

I have this bloody judge in my head who keeps telling me I should be preparing for work projects or cleaning the house. I should be playing a game with Fynn. I never seem to be doing enough for this shadow of my mind. There is always something healthier to eat, better to be doing or less to be consuming. Suddenly, I recall my teacher. "Have integrity." His intention was to wake us up to really respect our Self in our practice - come to it with real intention; with our best; our whole being.

I cannot be my best for this judge for she comes to me with anger and negativity. The judge in my head is certainly not coming to me with compassion and support, generous of spirit and with love. Perhaps I would find it easier to offer my best; to make better choices and not be so swayed by what is outside of me rather than what is in my heart.

Expectant

The morning light is dim and the winds are just beginning a light spin around the house. "This is it." I think. Then I check my watch and remember, I heard it would really arrive later. Waiting.

Thoughts tumble through my brain, remembering the past evening, the comments. Everyone seems to be waiting for this storm to hit. Once the storm is past, what will we be waiting for next? Or maybe we will be remembering.

My thoughts are interrupted by the sounds of an animal. I look out from the deck over my yard. Thoughts - coyote, bird? Dying. A little prayer passes through my mind.

I almost missed this passing of a life with the thoughts that crowd my mind. What else am I missing right now, that is right in front of me?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stuff I've learned

Yesterday, I learned friends of mine have received some challenging news. It reminded me of my experiences of three years ago, my then husband was having an affair and our marriage ended. I was devastated. I can relate to how my friends feel. Loss, grief, despair, betrayal, rejection.

Now, I have just returned from the most amazing 2 weeks of Yoga training - 2 weeks by myself, doing what I love to do with like-minded individual. I am reunited with my beautiful child - the result of that marriage. I am in love with my life.

About a week ago, in Savasana, my teacher said, "Think of a challenging circumstance you have experienced in the past. Notice how it now seems like a dream..... Now is just another dream."

I hope I remember this thought, it let's me hold it all a little more lightly.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home again

Returning home is bittersweet.
I miss my Colorado home already. The splendor of the mountains. (memories)
Home has the splendor of the ocean and cool breeze. (senses)

Dog hair everywhere - how does that happen when the dog hasn't been here. (expectation)
Reality?
What is real?
Sitting at a computer typing.
Even in this moment I am setting the stage for the next moment. Time to get skillfully in action.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prana

The sun rises and heat begins to warm the air. The energy builds with the arrival of more and more Yogis. The chaos flutters about the room as people settle in. The teacher arrives, energy settles onto each mat. Expectation fills the space. The words flow over me with a catches of understanding.

The practice begins; the movement of energy, finding breath, cultivating stillness, surrendering, in the pose, stillness in the mind and the heart. Opening from solid ground. Truly a science, an alchemy of momentum, physiology, psyche and emotion, pulling away the pieces of the story and coming to oneself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flow

Desire - a wanting of something. Desire then, inherently means that there is a sense of something missing or of loss or that something is wrong with the way things are.

Lately, I have discovered that when I shift my focus to all that I am grateful for, the desires slip behind all that the world holds right now; the beauty of what is.

Lovely really and so simple. Just need to keep coming back.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Intending and then letting it go

Last night, I had dinner with neighbors. They were busy, trying to fix something for me I was not concerned with. They were so consumed with offering, but I was content to just chat. I was fascinated to just watch, notice and realize. They had trouble connecting to what was important to me. Their focus was on what was important to them.

Sometimes when I write this blog, I focus more on how it will be perceived, rather than the message I want to offer. Funny way to do things - we can't make anyone like or dislike anything, be happy or sad. And yet we think we can.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Surrender

Tree pose. Standing on my left foot, the right foot is pressing into the inner thigh of the left leg. Knee reaching out and to the right. Hands moving from prayer position at the breast bone into the air, over head.

Strength in the standing leg, softening the left hip. Surrendering the weight of the shoulders, reaching through the arms. The glance drifts upward to the hands.

Balance. The art of effort and letting go in a variety of ways.
Balance in its many forms appears from moment to moment.

Now -- off the mat.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Receiving

An employee quits so I won't have to worry about working around his schedule. A new employee, more training. Instructors trying to teach amid the chaos of changing groups, heat and the relative newness of it all. Youth trying to have fun with so many different ideas of what fun is. Parents looking for support. Registrations coming and going. Administering the van rental, the gear, payroll, schedules, communication. The future week preparation. This week clarification of who is where when. Planning for fall. An email from my son. An invitation from a friend. An email reminding me of a vacation to come.
In stillness I get it.
All these people want to receive from me. Opening to me. They trust me.
They believe in my ability to get it done and to do it well.
Maybe more than I trust myself.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Work

The sun is slowly creeping across the horizon and the clock ticks the seconds by. My legs are beginning to hurt sitting in this chair for so long. I could have gone for a paddle. I could have gone to meet friends for a glass of wine. I could have sat in the evening sun with one of many good books.

I watched Byron Katie doing The Work. Then I did.

She said, "Question anything that brings on sadness." "I am the source of my pain – only 100% of it."
My own pain seeps in behind thoughts like, "My son will want to leave me and live with his father.""I have lost my best friend." And "My abs are not what they were."

Is this true? Right away I stumble. Holding onto this thought - "my son will want to leave me and live with his father."I realize, my son always wants to live with both of us. He doesn't like leaving me and he wants to be with Nick. "I have lost my best friend." Is he my best friend right now? Do I know he doesn't still love me? I have left no room for him to love me in silence, in his own way. There is no room for me to be my own best friend. There is no room for a best friend.

What felt like lead in my stomach and pain in my heart lightens and lifts. I soften.

I am the one creating the story that holds up the lie that I am somehow responsible for what others choose. I could write a story about people loving me just because I am me. Fun birthday skype with my beautiful child who fills my heart with joy when I see him, a wonderful invitation to dinner with a friend, a glass of wine with another and an amazing gift of exploration with yet a third - so many blessings to count. I could write the love story of two people who respect each other more, forgive each other and choose consciously to work together to raise a beautiful child. I could hold in my awareness the strength of my body in my Yoga practice and climbing.

I am 100% responsible for the pain I have experienced this past week. I have chosen to see only one side of the many possibilities for everything I am experiencing.

I am working on it. I apologize to myself for not loving me. I am doing the best I can and I am enough for me. I apologize to all of those people who I have negative thoughts. It is my own story writing that creates this pain and I have dishonestly blamed you. In this moment it is clearer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Expectations

Yesterday, someone said to me, "It is easy to speak kindly to the children, but not so easy with other adults." I agreed totally. I would much rather speak to children than to the adults. Why is that?

This morning it occurred to me that my ease with children is based on the fact that I do not expect them to behave in a particular way. I expect adults to know better, to accept responsibility. To act with integrity. I do not necessarily expect this from children because they have not learned all the rules yet. And I think I probably hold the parents responsible for teaching them.

We are all children to some degree, but maybe some of us learn different lessons. I learned that you do not let other people down. When I wanted to quit Guides after only a few months, I received a very stern lesson on the importance of thinking about other people. This was reinforced when I did not want to finish a meal --"think of all the starving children in Africa." In some strange way I was responsible for their life situation.

But I also watched for years as one teenager, young adult could leave a family dinner table, with seconds uneaten on the plate, and there was no expectation to help with clean up or even to say thank you.

Even as I write, I sense the disdain I have for people who do not look for opportunity to support others. But I also see how all the years of being raised as I was contributed to my sense of responsibility to others - even over and above myself. But if I continually offer of myself, as I have been doing at work for the past month, I feel sick and unhappy. I sense my fatigue and general with drawl from my own life. I am not grounded, making conscious choices, I am reactionary.

Can I remember that we are all the product of our life experiences and some we had no choice in?
Can I remember that balance in giving and receiving is essential to happiness?
Can I then hold myself and others with more compassion?

Fearful living

Every loving thought is true.

Today I received news that someone I am counting on, may not be there when I need them to be there. The thoughts are not loving ones. If only the loving ones are true and everything else is is a cry for help, what is the cry for help about? I trust this person, no, I expect this person to take on the responsibility they said they wanted. I expect them to fully participate. Now they are indicating a desire not to. I feel betrayed. But really it is not about me. He is not doing this because of me in anyway. He is just following what is important to him and clearly this other potential is more important to him than the commitments he has made.

My mind screams in argument, throwing around words like integrity and loyalty, participation. And there is some quiet part responding with words like, this is his best and he is not you.

Ahhh... as I paused to sip coffee, another thought arose...'this doesn't mean you are responsible to make it up for him.' Yes. That is what I am really angry about. I feel like it is my job to fix it for him. And I am angry because I already fixed it for me so I could go away and take care of me. Now he will no longer be there to take care of what I take care of. He is letting me down. But not me... he is letting down the other instructors, the parents, the kids, and the other employees. It is not my responsibility to be there instead. It is a choice I can make. I can choose to follow through on my plans or I can choose to be there. That choice has to be made by what I feel is right FOR ME in my heart. I can choose to fix this for him, or I can choose to ask him to take responsibility for it. And know he may choose not to.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Loving oneself

I stood in Warrior 2 feeling so comfortable. I connected with the spirit of stability, power with arms wide as if sending my energy across the room and through the hearts of others. My torso turned; my heart turned aside to the energy coming toward me, shielding me.

My mind began to judge. This is how I am in my relationships. Sending my energy out with great force and directness. I shield my heart from the energy coming my way. I stay grounded with the strength of my wide stance across many disciplines.

Camel pose... No No No... Fear arising quickly. I do not want to trust here. I ease slowly, not fully committing to the opening. Happy to come out. Quickly to a forward bend. Shielding myself again.

Balance on the arms - love the challenge. It is magic to move with the breath and just stay focused on the breathing, my arms strong and stable, my body knowing where to offer more opening. Holding it all in balance with the power of my arms, my core and a lifted heart - yes this is who I am as a mother. Always exploring, trusting myself to know how far to go.

The mat is such an extraordinary arena. The lesson, acceptance of what feels right now and then slowly to get curious and playful in practice, softening and opening my heart to that which it fears. That is real love for oneself.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Arena of life

I see the disappointment on the faces, one has his face in his jersey, another with head down and eyes looking to the floor. Still others are complaining, citing the litany of mistakes and unfair action. I just want to fix it. I look at all of them and say - "What an great game you guys played! What is your apple? Fynn tell me what is your apple?" There is confusion and some curiosity. Then the Dad's, the male coaches come in and the moment is lost.

The coach speaks and the boys heads pop up and their eyes gravitate to him. They look to them in a hopeful way. They are rewarded with acclaim and positive feedback. It counts. These little men, eat it up. It matters to them and they feel better.

What is this guy thing? Why do little boys look for affirmation from men? Why do they need to compete in physical prowess? They don't just go down a slide, they find a more dangerous way to go down a slide. Perhaps the physical power of their body is the way they relate to each other and themselves. Ahhhh... maybe it is because boys like to know where they stand in their boyness. Just as all humans like to know where they stand in their humanness.

So we are all just trying to define where we fit in this arena of life. We are trying to stake our claim and get a sense of who we are. And who we are not. Yet change the teams and usually that personal sense of who one is changes. We struggle constantly with this need to know, and yet we are each like a chameleon, constantly adapting to what we know now.

This is helpful. Input is processed to determine where I stand with that person, in this arena. I write these words to ensure I am understood by others. I look for comments and relate them to my own beliefs. But can I write for me, from my heart and not step into the arena? Can I remain constant, rooted in the spirit of my own heart allowing others to swirl in reaction, accepting all of it as helpful in seeing myself and others clearly?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black or White

I awoke this morning to the thoughts of discomfort. Not peace. My dream involved my son careening down our hill toward the main road going so fast there was no way to stop. Out of control.

As I follow my morning routine, a message appears - "If you are reading this on a computer, you are rich. If you will be with people today, you are connected. If anyone knows where you are right now, you are loved."

There are all those little things we take for granted. Nothing is black or white. I am never completely out of control or alone. Nor am I ever completely in control. I alone am not the cause or root of anything.

Can I allow for uncertainty? When something doesn't feel right, can I pay attention? Can I allow the discomfort and be patient for the right answer to come?

Can I have faith that somehow, as long as I continue to be curious and I continue to act with honesty, kindness, necessity and the intent to be helpful, that it is the way it should be and I will be able to see it?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Trusting

"...trust who they are, not trust who I want them to be."

Ahhh...I want people to be conscious of their relationships and act accordingly. What if I stop trusting that is the way it should be? It feels lighter.

If I trust everyone is who they are for some purpose, do I just set myself up for expectations that may never materialize? Trusting that everything happens for a reason does not feel right. Maybe things happen and I have the potential to maximize the potential growth from the event. Or to continue without seeing the potential.

I trust that everyone has some inherent goodness despite the role they play? Everything that happens is an opportunity to uncover the basic goodness or not.

"Tis nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Judgment; good or bad limits or expands the potential.
Yeah - that feels right.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where is the love?

The clock did not start as the ball moved through the scramble of legs and sticks. The score board was off by 33 points. One child limps to the bench after two sticks slashed across his bruised knee. Parents are screaming - yelling at kids to try harder. Yelling at refs for missing calls. Screaming about the timers. I can feel my own anger bubbling up. I see the confusion and disappointment,... no fear on the faces of the team. They are just nine yr old boys trying to play a game.

Why did it stop being fun?

No one's expectations are being met. Games have expectations around the way they should be played, clocks start when the play starts. refs call penalties when they are supposed to be called. The object is the ball, not taking players out. Parents will love you no matter what.

We lost 7:6 with the opposing team scoring a final goal in the last second of the game. We played a player short for over 12 min of the 45 min game. The boys played their best, they tried hard and yet no one had fun and no one felt like celebrating.

My whole life feels like that at times - like now. I have played my heart out and yet things haven't seemed to be good enough. I guess the question is - What am I using to measure success - the wins or the quality of my game? How much fun I'm having or how much I've grown and learned?

Yesterday I instructed High Five training. The WHY behind High Five - relationship. It is a program centered on offering a relationship centered approach as a teacher of young children. Am I living my life as a relationship-centered friend, mother, daughter, niece, cousin, employee, employer, teacher, co-parent?

The world does not appear to be relationship-centered. What else could explain our wars, over use of our resources? We celebrate the winners when they win, but not the losers. It feels lonely to lose.

We win so people will take the time to smile at us and bask in our light - even if they really only do it because they believe it gives them some validation. Maybe everyone is just playing as hard as they can. Maybe everyone is lonely and we strive to win in order to shield ourselves from the loneliness.

If ever there was a reason to march to my own drum, there it is.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Uninspired

I awoke early; before 4am. The dog moving around on the deck outside brought me out of the world of dreams. The world of dreams was not comfortable either.

Why am I so stressed? Why am I thinking so many resistive thoughts?
I am assuming things should be the way I want them to be, rather than the way they are. I am assuming that because I am not directly involved, it is not getting done right. AND I am assuming that my place in the world is so insignificant.

Hmmm... that's pretty narcissistic AND not very confident. Duality; therein lies the struggle.

In this challenge, I am noticing my own inability to stay grounded in the present. Perhaps I should just practice following one breath at a time. Perhaps then, I will not feel like just giving up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Peaceful Warrior

A Saturday evening with a movie - Peaceful Warrior. The line, "because it was the first thing I was sure that I loved."

What was the first thing that I was sure that I loved? As I search through my earliest memories, the ones that arrive involve taking things apart, building and constructing things, running, paddling, skating, climbing trees. I search for the common thread. It is Kinesthetic. There is learning. Everything involves learning. I reach for my Journal from 2 summers ago with the thoughts from Yoga for Fulfillment. Growth is the word that continually came up.

Doesn't everyone strive to grow and learn all the time? Am I really just meant to find my passion in this life in learning? It seems so... unimportant in the scheme of the real world where we go out there and become famous for our contributions. Learning is more receiving than giving. How can I offer my talent to the world if all I am doing is learning?

Maybe my passion is learning and I have talent in expression? Maybe that is why when I teach and when I write it feels effortless (most of the time). When I teach what I am passionate about, it feels effortless. When I teach or write at a depth of understanding I am still processing. Ahhh... yes.

So glad I am planning on growing more this summer. Loving myself as I am.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Present gifts

Pants - check, Jacket - check. Car locked - check.
The others have already arrived. I rush down the steps and greet everyone. In my haste I answer, "I am great!" There is a niggling in the back of my head. 'No, I'm busy,' I think, but do not say.
We get the boats out, I less than patiently wait through the review of information, for my turn to get my boat in last. Finally giving up and lifting it myself despite the instructions not to. But I know I can lift the boat and I know I want to get going.

Settling onto the water with the evening sun gleaming through the clouds, I slow my pace to allow the others to catch up. Ian arrives first. "It doesn't get any better than this," he offers. I look around. As if for the first time that day, I stop trying to go somewhere. I allow myself to just be on the water following someone else.

It only lasts for the paddle. As we head back, I am thinking of retrieving my son, getting him to bed, the dog, the cat and the enjoyment of a glass of wine to slow the pace and close the day. I haven't eaten yet either.

As I awoke this morning, in the fog of sleep, the thought came that having the glass of wine was a part of a checklist. It is as if there is no conscious awareness of whether this is what I want, rather I operate on a kind of routine checklist of things to get done between getting out of bed and crawling back in.

Maybe there are just too many things on my checklist and I need to start paring it down - perhaps after lacrosse season. Or maybe I need to practice real presence - which I feel I get to do when I write. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The sharp edge

I open my facebook page and discover a comment to my status and it hurts. My reaction is defense – kind of ironic since my status was questioning the need to defend. So I look at it. Initially my mind attacks the dialogue with defense and questions.

Outward attention where I create stories about this person, the exchange, my own defense of the intention.

Then I read an article on ripening courage and this question intrigued me: "At this time in my life, what is my edge? What's the biggest thing I'm confronting? Where do I need to exercise courage?"
I check in. I get quiet and let go of all my stories around this dialogue and I just listen for guidance.
I realize the edge in this moment is this feeling that I am not a good enough teacher. I wrote that status because I want to ‘teach’. It was all about me.
There is a saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Well, I was trying to force the students to attend the class. Ha Ha!
There is love in the desire to serve, love in the desire to share one's experience and love in the awareness of truth. There is more compassion in the middle way.

Love does not always come in beautiful smiles and kindness.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

To thine own heart be true.

It's year end review and the successes are being touted through short speeches and thank yous. Down to business. What lies ahead? We are asked to describe our vision for the future.

It is an exercise in wish lists and promises. Some responses are very concrete, describing team awards and human resources. Other responses are very abstract, unfolding as a feeling or atmosphere. Integration is key.

But what is the point? What is the point of all these big dreams and concrete steps? Why are we doing what we are doing; why are these dreams important to us collectively and individually?

As I sit listening and questioning whether anyone feels I am valuable to this organization, I chuckle and then ask, why is it important to me to be valuable to the organization? I want to be important, needed, loved. Am I asking how I can love and support this big organizational machine or am I only focusing on what I want and need?

Can I value my own work for the sake of what I believe in even if no one else sees it? Ahhhh... there is happiness and love.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Seeds of love

"Can we have a playdate?"
"Sure."
The plan is in place - ride the skateboard and the scooter to Point Pleasant. The skateboard was not cooperating, veering dangerously off in one direction seemingly on it's own.
Anger and frustration arise. "Great, I'll just get hit by a truck." A cry for help.
I did not hear it at first, my own anger resisting his.
Then I did hear the cry of distress. "Do you need a parachute." I ask as my body softens. Giggles and smiles - love is sprouting.

Dinner over store bought pizza and friendship.
The nutrition is in the relationship. There is a choice to share experience. "I realized everyone's distress is them same to them whether I think the situation warrants it. The situations are different, but both people wore the same distress in their faces. I realized I should not judge. I wanted to come home. I realized my life is so beautiful."
My response, "Judging is human. Thank you for sharing."
Responding with a desire to soften the distress is love. 
So many opportunities to do a little planting everyday in little ways.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crafting love

Does anyone else have an 8 year old who wants to spend his money on a leaf blower so he can build a hovercraft? I do. Actually, not just one leaf blower, 2 leaf blowers. He washed windows to earn enough money. I was non-committal.

I was negotiating my way around saying no. I realized I was holding something about this. I had always wanted to invent stuff as a kid. I built rafts and took apart dolls and TV's. I always got in trouble for my curiosity and creativity. I did not want to do that to my child. I also did not think it reasonable to spend $ on leaf blowers that would be used for a homemade hovercraft that will probably be forgotten when the next creative inspiration hit.

Finally I just said no to the leaf blowers. He can use the shopvac and still make a hovercraft. I was inspired by wanting him to create AND to learn how to distinguish the hungry ghost desire from the hearts desire.

Sometimes love is about teaching a different lesson.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An act of love for myself

The negotiations of summer holiday time is in full swing. Actually it was supposed to be decided. I was looking forward to 2 weeks with a teacher in Colorado, getting to deepen my own Yoga practice.
The new suggestion - me missing my mid summer visit with Fynn and my second week of Yoga.
I mistakenly replied trying to negotiate. I knew as soon as I sent the email stating that I would miss the second week that I was not happy. I was questioning why I always miss what I want, why I don't get to take summer vacation from work.
It hit me --- because I don't let me.

Fortunately my suggestion was not good enough and an opportunity arose to restate my intention for myself. I will go to those Yoga Intensives. I will have some time with my son this summer. I am the only one with the power to really take care of me; to truly love me. So thankful I see this now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1000 acts of love

So I heard about this blog - 1000 Awesome things. I love it. It is all about things that are awesome. It inspired this idea to write about the random acts of love I can identify. Here goes.

I come in the door to a cat meowing, a dog prancing, dry clothes waiting to be folded, dinner to be prepared, consumed and cleaned up within the next 75 min before we head back out to lacrosse.
"Fynn would you mind taking your bike and riding up the road with Tour so he gets a jaunt?"
"How far?"
"As far as you are comfortable. He needs a walk and I have to get dinner ready for you so we can get to lacrosse on time."
"Okay."
"Thank you."

Love

Fynn wakes up and begins immediately to interrupt my thoughts as I ponder my day.
"Mom"..... "Mom"
"Morning Fynn"
"I'm hungry"
This is the demand for food and me to get it for him. An expectation comes with it that I will carry it upstairs for him so he can enjoy it in bed while watching his show.
What is loving here? I could get up and get the food and take it too him while I consider that really he is old enough to get his own breakfast and quite capable. And that I do love him and would love to have someone bring me breakfast in bed. Conversely, I could remind him that he is quite capable of getting his own breakfast and please come downstairs and do so. I am not a slave.
The answer with love, the skillful choice lies is what feels right for me. There is not just the answer to his need, but also the delivery of the answer. What does feel right? Can I deliver the food without feeling negative judgment?
Ahhh... when I do something I cannot do with absolute positive love and offering, I should not be doing it because I am not loving myself. The tricky business here is that I love my son and want him to have a healthy breakfast and I feel compelled to ensure that happens  AND I also believe it is important for him to learn how to take care of some of his own needs.

It's all in the delivery.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trust Yourself

The morning birds are chirping and the dogs wait somewhat impatiently at the back door. Another day has arrived and soon enough will depart. Yesterday I was not noticing the birds. I was planning for the session I was to deliver, hoping that I had everything together enough to make it all make sense. As I opened my email, I read the message, "Trust yourself." Ahhhh.... perfect.

As I moved through surprises, challenges and discussions during the session, what I watched was the continued desire to move back to details and not to rest in the intention of why each person was running this business. "How do we get the instructors to not act like police?" I would guide them back through the maze of why and then how that might look different, "how can I support my instructors in maintaining safety and building relationship with our clients?" and then they would move back to a detail. "We get them all to test one specific method." The method may work, but does it add to the experience of the customer?

I do this too. I want to be compassionate, playful and joyful, yet I hear the voices in my head telling me that I should go for a run or I shouldn't buy a coffee pot. My face tightens, my shoulders lift as I roll into a dialogue about finances, aging and health. In that moment I am stressed, dissatisfied. "Trust yourself." The focus shifts to HOW do I want to be right now, relaxed, joyful... I don't care about the coffee pot - it is not in front of me. I am not running, I am writing. A smile creeps onto my face and the shoulders drop - just a smidge. Maybe now I will choose a run and it will be because I want to play in my body that way, surely that is the only way to run.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breathe

Spring has arrived and there is beautiful evidence of rebirth everywhere. The sun rises and the sun sets, life continues. So too with each breath there is a beginning and an end and then there is the next breath. In a sense a rebirth in each moment. Yet it is so very hard to look at each moment as each moment. I carry into the next moment all the history of the past moments.

I remember when I was learning to surf - I had no idea what would happen next. I could not predict when I would catch a wave, I could no know when I would find the right balance to stand and it was all happening so fast there was no time to think, only to act. I could only paddle as hard as I could, then push down on the board and pop up to standing. Then I was either on the beach or in the water, swimming to the surface.

One day I missed catching the wave and the water pushed me face first hard into the ocean floor and held me there. Surfing was never the same after that. I paddled and yet never quite hard enough. I resisted the force and flow of the water. I carried the memory and fear of that fall into my next moments with the waves.

Can I look at each moment with a beginner's mind and paddle as hard as I can, fearless of the outcome? Or at least with enough courage to try as hard as I can and know I may still be pushed to the ground? What do I tell the students in my Yoga class when I ask them to be courageous? "Stay with your breath, focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath; breathe all the way in and out." Practice. Sounds so simple, but not all the waves are as apparent as the ones in the ocean.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Not Knowing

Once in the Orient, a seeker talked of suicide with a sage, whose clear and gentle eyes seemed to be gazing at a never-ending sunset.
"Dying is no solution." the sage affirmed. 
"And living?" the seeker asked.
"Nor living either," the sage conceded, "but who tells you there is a solution?"
~story from If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him

This says to me that when we look for solutions, we miss the moment. And it is only in this moment that we can know the correct action. The choice to live is a moment by moment choice. Even if you choose life, you can only choose it for THIS moment, because you do not know what comes in 100 moments from now.

I started this blog as a way for me to drop my teacher voice and relate to myself as a vulnerable human. Initially, I didn't tell anyone so I could stay courageous and honest. Since I started telling people about this blog, I have seen myself move into my teacher voice again. My shield is up and I stick to discussing ideas. If I am the expert, I affirm my knowledge and my value to you. The problem is, it is a lot of work to try to be important to someone in every moment. I am dependent on an audience - a kind and generous audience.

If I drop the shield, what do I need or want right now? I want to know I am of value, my life has some meaning - that their is a solution. So what happens when is none. At one point my life was built around a marriage - it didn't last. There was no solution.

Funny isn't it. None of you can give me a sense of meaning until you are with me and even then it is only for that moment. It is temporary, roles, meaning comes and goes just as my role as wife was came and went as will my role as a mother continue to change. There is no solution - no end, there are only the moments, each moment as it comes.

Can I choose to value myself in this moment and the next and the next and the..... even when no one is telling me, even when I am making mistakes - even when there is no reference point? I guess that is the real practice. 

Who do I want to be here in this moment? I want to be open to all of you. I want to be courageous. I want to be able to love when hurt, I want to be able to be brave when consumed with fear. My experience is that even by questioning - as I have just done in this writing, questioning why I am preaching, I can see what is behind it - my fear of not being good enough for all of you. (And as I am editing this, apparently I still need to practice being enough for myself).

Seeing beneath the surface, I can hold this moment less tightly and it feels lighter. Now I can focus on being open and brave. Thank you for listening.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Disconnected

Lunching with a friend and she paraphrases the following, all negative emotion is just a cry for help. I immediately understand how much I have been crying out and why.

I keep thinking I need to do it all on my own and I keep resenting that I am doing it all on my own, BUT what I am not seeing is what I am not paying attention to. I am paying attention to the external things, the material world the relative reality where I am a mother because I have a son. A world where I feel it might be easier to do it myself than to coordinate others. A world where I am constructed from the things, people and experiences of my life.

Then there is a reality where I place my attention on the lesson in the experience, I place my intention on how I want to be, not who I want to be. I see that when I stop trying to be connected, stop worrying about continuing people's ideas about who I am, communication is much lighter and freer and opening to the connection is more probable. I feel that everything is perfect, just as it should be.

Even as I write this, I watch myself censor my words -- my own fear to accept who I am, the fear of rejection by the reader. But then in not writing from my heart with the intention of support you the reader, I am the one rejecting me. And I am the one trying through pleasing language to connect. A subtle shift in awareness, but so very key.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Growing

I have been listening to new audiobooks these days, in an effort to fill my mind with something other than the thoughts of buying Nick out of the house and the feelings that have been stimulated. Very well meaning people tell me their thoughts and it feeds the mind frenzy as this process unfolds.

The books are my distraction - a way to ignore what I think is right or wrong and how I feel about it. They definitely let me close off from my heart and analyze the concepts and ideas. Safe - somehow this makes me safe. Problem is that every book has a truth hidden within it and the heart, upon hearing the truth will not lay quietly under the blanket of rationalization.

The result; very early mornings, more salt than I need in my diet, variable breaths and a need to garden, cut down trees - do physically demanding work. I guess it is just a way to get things done. The truth; stay focused on the intention - who I want to be. Then put skillful effort into the actions that support the who.

Who do I want to be - compassionate, kind, loving, nurturing and supportive held together with the strength of resolve and discipline. Joyful. Therein lies the work - softening enough to see the joy in all that is.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's the use...

"What's the use of a beautiful voice if you nothing to say,
What's the use of strength and muscle if it is only to push and shove,
What's the use of two ears if you don't hear the ones you love." ~Ted.com- Eddi Reader

Powerful truth.
These words speak of compassion and opening to the views of others. It is so easy to be confused by the needs and desires for oneself and the greater good. These are powerful thoughts for me as I attempt to move forward skillfully these days.

I wish to use my strength and muscles to embrace those I can.
I wish to use my ears to hear the dreams of those I love, and those I don't.
I wish to use my voice to open hearts and minds.
Staying here is sometimes frightening and groundless.
But is only with groundlessness that we can feel true faith in oneself. Therein lies real power.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boys will be boys

The gymnasium style room is cool, filled with male energy. I stand there - all 63 inches of me - alone with an inclination to cross my arms across my chest. I begin trying to draw out the fellow to my right by making him laugh -- at me and my inexperience.

Why do boys like this? They seem to like rough physical contact. They seem to like strict discipline.
 These coaches do not want parents in the dressing room - they want control of the team's attention. Boys like control of situations so they can throw their bodies into challenge. I recently was reading that boys don't just learn to ride a bike, they want to make it jump off a ramp - certainly true with my son. And I have to say, I have witnessed many more males skip the last clip and take the whipper just for the fun of it.

As I am writing this blog this morning and wondering where I am going with it, what comes to mind is that I am drawing comparison of these men and me as a woman. I really don't want to be the same kind of coach these guys want to be. I don't want to throw myself off jumps on a snowboard like Nick does with Fynn. I want to help him put together his lacrosse net, even though I am not excited to stand in it and have Fynn take shots on me. I want to help him get his homework done or listen as he reads to me. I do want to love Fynn with all my heart and be open to whoever he becomes.

My real struggle is that I wonder if that will be enough.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

The sun is sitting there behind the fog.
The wind is blowing through the branches.
The flowers are naturally moving up through the earth toward the sky.
The breath moves in and out of my body.
One heart beat is not faster, stronger than the next to sustain my breath.
The flowers are not racing against one another to get to be more beautiful.
The wind is not resisting the trees, merely moving through them.
The sun is not pressing closer to the earth to move the fog.
All nature is just being as it is, moving in harmony with the existence of the other.
To BE is enough.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Truth

Recently, I listened to someone tell me all the reasons we couldn't do something. I heard them tell me why it is done as it is. I suggested we try something different because what we do isn't necessarily helpful to everyone. I asked point blank would they be willing. I watched as this person refuse to answer my question. I watched the conversation be deflected to other topics.

"Knowledge is what you learn from a book. Truth comes from the experience." ~ The Voice of Knowledge
This reminds me of the Peaceful Warrior where Socrates says, "Intelligence is knowing, wisdom is doing."

Truth then is the result of action. If the action I take creates limits for myself, that is my truth about my life; it has limits. This is interesting for me to ponder as I consider taking a personal step that seems like a big one. I was fascinated to watch myself use this same tactic yesterday. An obstacle has arisen in my path. My thoughts went to "well, maybe this isn't meant to be. Perhaps I should wait."

I noticed my thoughts. I saw how willingly I was believing what might be truth for someone else, not what was true for me. To achieve what I desire, may mean I need to take other steps first or perhaps in a different direction, but the potential is there... if I believe in the potential.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Clear seeing

The week is over and the voices of children calling my name, demanding my attention has come to an end. I am relishing the silence within the walls of my home. My thoughts move back over the week and see the little faces and hear their voices... Heather, Heather, Heather.... I draw them in and ask them to see I am one person watching 6 people - we need to share, we need to see what is happening, not seek for ourselves.

I recall giving assist to two little ones, only 5 years old, holding each other up, balancing. I help, ensuring one doesn't accidentally land on the other. I see the little face as he looks and me and says, "it's okay, I've got this." So much determination, so much spirit and so much desire to succeed. I laugh with pure joy.

One young lady leans into me, talks to me, stands by me as I chat with another instructor... waiting for my attention. Listening to me. Her comment, 'you ask hard questions." I want to hold her tight.

Maybe I am not the person to be teaching these little minds and bodies. Then I reflect on the adults I also try to coach and teach and I see the same look of questioning, I see the same deafness to my words and see the same distraction. I also see the same passion for meaning in their lives.

Maybe I must just focus on offering my message and leave the receiving to the students. This means letting go of the importance of me as the successful teacher. Ahhh... it feels lighter now. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Sword of Courage, the Strength of true friends.

While recently listening to an audio of Pema Chodron, advice she offered in times of struggle are to just begin by turning up the corners of the lips. Since my son is now away and I have recognized my need to practice present moment awareness in order to manage the negative feelings and thoughts that keep arising when he goes away. Anxiety and resentment.

Practice - I committed to Yoga with the corners of my lips turned up as per the instruction. I often practice alone - but now I chose a class in the company of friends. Immediately, with friends and the smile playing on my lips, the poses felt a little lighter. There was great physical challenge, I stayed with my breath and my will; and I kept coming back to the small smile.

As the practice came to an end, I allowed myself to fully receive the assist, the love and compassion of a friend. My heart broke through. The steel wall of resentment and anxiety that shielded my heart split in half. Underneath lay grief, sorrow and fear. Bare to my own vulnerability, I truly saw my enemy. This was not first offering of love in recent days, but the first only cracked the surface.

My heart wept with compassion. I could not fix it - I could not make a person I loved happy. With an open heart I could finally gain more acceptance that I can never fix things for anyone, only myself; and not by changing the conditions of the material world, but only by how I see them. I can offer love, support and conditions, but I cannot make anyone appreciate them. AND as others offer me their love and support, it is only I who can chose to see it, appreciate it and integrate it.
Thank you beautiful ladies.

The tears washed away the grief, the sense of failure, I was holding. Seeing it allowed me to really understand what was real in my heart and more importantly, what I needed to do. Behind the shield lay the sword of courage and freedom. I can now chose to pick it up.

Am I happy? - You betcha! But I am sure there will be more steel walls and more swords to be discovered along this path I call life. Now I have faith I will continue to look for the sword.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Suffering

I can feel the anger and resentment bubbling up and interrupting me. Like a constant wind blowing in my face I feel like I am pushing back against an unmovable force. I can't hit the right keys on the keyboard, the fire won't light, the dog doesn't come when I call and one day seems to reel after the other in an never ending series of meaninglessness.

What is the point? I wonder. I can try to be the best I can be and it never lulls the wind. The world still seems full of drivers trying to go when it isn't their turn, people taking what doesn't belong to them and immeasurable suffering with far more immediacy than my pitiful feelings of loss and grief.

I try to allow this groundlessness. I try to move into the emotion and immediately my mind steps in to analyze whether the moving in is working at relieving my suffering. This only enhances it.

What's left? Practice and hopelessness. There will always be this suffering but just maybe with enough practice I will not fear it's presence. Or perhaps I will, but I will laugh at my willfulness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vulnerable connections

The day ahead a little structure but not much. Opportunity came in the form of time with friends , fellow Yogis. As we sat in this space where there were mats and room to move. I craved moving. I longed to suggest that we practice. I talked about wanting to practice. 

Eventually, one by one, they began to practice. I watched. I hesitated. Now it would look like I was copying them. I hesitated. Finally, I asked one person to share an experience with me - I wanted to see if I could help her fly. It eventually lead to my own flying experience. As I came though the air and eventually to my own feet, my heart raced, my head dizzy, the world seemed upside down.

I have watched these ladies do this for months. I have wanted to do this for months.
Why could I not say what I wanted months ago and that very morning? Why was I afraid to own my own desire?
This came back to me:

Once upon a time you took shelter against real or imagined storms. Eventually the tempests passed, but to hedge against future turmoil you fortified yourself, silently holding fast to the haven you built. Just like that, what was once protection becomes your ball and chain. To break your chains you’ll need to see that there was no “I” to protect and that the only real refuge is the Boundless. ~ Rod Stryker


Trying to protect the "I" from rejection and unsatisfied desire. 

Flying taught me that without out asking for what I want, I cannot receive all the love and support from the strong foundation of others. In silence, I reject the opportunity to connect with my own inner spark and theirs.

As it comes time to post -- I am questioning whether this text is good enough. Thinking about choosing silence. But it is time to emerge from the haven.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

To 'Be' is Enough

I watch my mind spin out of control as the wind swirls and the dampness seeps through my skin. I want more, to be more, to have more, to succeed. But what does it mean? I don't even see a clear goal - it is just an experience of 'this is not enough' somehow. I am not enough somehow.

I devour books in search of truth. I look to horoscopes and pearls of wisdom for guidance. Then I see the passage, "Consciousness is colored by the states that visit it." ~ Buddha.
As a further explanation, 'the way we experience life is created by particular states of mind with which we meet it.' ~ Jack Kornfield

What is my state of mind? Agitated and disappointed with this woman who sees things differently than I do. Frustrated with the media for their negativity and constant search for the bad news. Joyful to see a childhood friend and know he is healthy and happy. Calmed by heart-felt conversation. Anticipation for more Olympic success.

My state of mind and emotion move with the the conditions and experiences of my external reality, but breath just continues to move in and out of my body, subtly responding to my interpretation of things; a little more shallow with anticipation, holding in fear, deeply in joy. What happens if I just breathe the breath that is calming and joyful? Continual nurturing breath, feeding the body and the heart.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Agreements

The room was filled with a curious, perhaps intrepid energy. All 20 of us expecting to learn partner postures. Some with the idea of learning new poses, some with the idea of currying favor with a partner and perhaps some with no expectation or desire at all. The foundation for the practice was presented as 4 agreements; to take nothing personally, to be impeccable with our word (owning our experience), to make no assumptions (particularly about our partner's experience) and to participate fully.

We flowed through very beautiful and opening, strenuous movements. Partner Yoga, is relationship Yoga. I did not know my partner before beginning and I watched as I evaluated her practice. Then I watched myself and my own relationship to her. I saw my inclination to draw away from being impeccable with my word, draw away from sharing my experience. I saw my inclination for my own space and to have MY OWN practice. I watched my own resistance to HER practice, my desire to control it in some way - to 'fix' it for her. And I saw the struggle for us both.

Finally, I surrendered. I let go of the outcome I wanted, I let go of how the pose should be and held on to the relationship to her. I let go of my relationship to my own desire to be best, better, more - even at the cost of relationships to others
Now... to practice off the mat.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Abundance

The morning came too early with little feet kicking me under the covers and an arm carelessly dropped onto my head. In a half awake state, wanting the solitude of my bed, the thoughts began bombarding my mind. Thoughts of judgment, resentment, anxiety. Gradually, wakefulness expanded and I could eventually repeat the mantra, "I am not my thoughts."

Making my way downstairs, I commit to meditation. Practice. Practice. Striving for a tool to counter the thought imposed suffering. Thoughts can change. I choose whether to stick with the thoughts. Impermanence. In each moment I am never the same as the last moment.

Diving into the cyber world I am immediately caught by the pictures--the memories of beautiful feelings. I recognize the unchecked smile and expression in one of the pictures. Not trying, completely surprised and open. Feeling so rich!

Abundance is not what I have, it is what I FEEL I have to share. Resources, love, intelligence, potential. Those are feelings of a sage - absolute potential to share.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Me first

I parked illegally on the wrong side of the street as I checked my phone messages. The University vicinty side streets lined with cars and there was no where else to stop. I felt this was not a busy street, I should only be a minute. Two or three cars came along in what seemed to be succession and struggled to get around me. I tried to finish quickly. Then a car came behind me and another to my left. They rallied with each other to get past. I dropped my phone and put my car into gear and tried to move quickly - and yes I was irritated. The tires spun on the icy shoulder and I could not get going beyond a crawl. I gave it more gas. My irritation rose. Finally four blocks away I found legal parking and stopped.

As I told myself the story about how they shouldn't have been so pushy and there shouldn't have been so much traffic and then ranted about parking in this area, suddenly this other idea came creeping up on me. I was just as selfish as those guys trying to hustle around me. I felt I deserved to parked illegally because I had phone messages to respond to. I, I, I, me, me, me.

I had behaved exactly as they had - with the intention to believe myself to be more important. To take care of myself, my desire first.
Man. So human. We all just want to feel important.

Then it struck me, the question is: Does this action support me in BEING me?Am I expressing the values and virtues that feel right to me? Why do I need to feel important? That morning I did not.

That question seemed to open Pandora's box.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A friend said...

'I wondered whether I was using my voice to say what I really wanted to say or whether I wanted to say something very different.' (paraphrase).
Powerful. It has had me wondering what I really wanted to say.

When I teach Yoga I speak the truth of what I want I believe. Get in touch with your body. Experience fully how it feels to stand on one leg, don't just stand on one leg. I was that kind of climbing coach. Understand how it feels to move through your core and engage your hip flexor, to relax your shoulder and extend your reach.
Skillful action comes with awareness.

Listening to what is skillful in my effort - I need to teach.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Energy

Yesterday I spent the entire day in a state of awe at the amount of energy in the room of people committed to raising money for Bust A Move. As I gazed around the room I saw women of different shapes, sizes, degrees of fitness and health moving in their bodies. I saw men supporting women. I saw families coming together. I saw exuberance and I saw restraint. I saw volunteers, moving and shaking, I saw stage hands keeping us on track. I felt so much. Love.

As these beautiful belly dancers came on the stage and moved with such magic and inspiration, I realized how rigidly I hold my own rules about my own body -- still. I saw my self-consciousness of my very small titties as so absolutely ridiculous. I felt my own self- rejection.

Richard Simmons filled the room with his 3 rules - move your body, moderation and LOVE your self. And in the end, he looked into my face and offered me the love I withhold from myself. So many people offered love and acceptance and now I know I am controlling what comes in.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Receiving

Yesterday I was tired. My body was achy and I wanted to curl in a chair in the sunshine and read a book. My beautiful child wanted to go sledding. It was cold and the snow hard and the wind present. Choice. I wanted to give to myself the gift of peace and quiet. I also wanted to give to myself the opportunity to have fun and connect to my son.

We barreled down the hill with laughter as we hit the slide, or the trees or came off the side of the ramp. The sun lowered behind the horizon and finally it was time to go in and warm up. I went out because I 'should' give my attention and love to my son.

What I did not realize when I was trying to chose was that this was a great time for me to receive.
The sun's reflection of pink, orange and purple light, the warmth in my coat and boots, mitts and hat, the crispness of the air reminded me of all that is coming to me - given to me - without my realization.

I was not there to entertain my son, I was there to receive his laughter and joy in racing down the hill  completely out of control and with absolute exuberance.... if and only if I opened my heart to it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Listening

There is tension across my shoulders, the collar bones collapse inward, my brow is furrowed and my tummy is tight. Closed. My general state is thinking. My heart is not open and I can see how my words push people away. I see it so clearly and yet seem powerless to change my energy.

I am overwhelmed with responsibility. All the responsibilities that I cannot let go of are what I wish to let go of. I struggle and resist the reality of what is. I struggle against what I believe to be the closed hearts of others and how can I fix it. If I do not feel I can connect, how do I engage them? How do I interact? Then clarity comes and I know.
It is MY heart that resisting who they are - it is MY heart that is closed. Ahhhh....

As I move toward beautiful people who will be offering their hearts, bodies and minds to a beautiful cause, I see the power I feel from one person in particular. She hears me. I know she listens and that makes all the difference.

Listen - I draw my attention into my heart and I listen. I need to hear what others are saying to me. Not their words. I need to feel their feeling about what they are saying. Then I will know what is skillful.
Practice.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who are you?

The most important part of sticking with those New Year resolutions, goals or resolves, intentions, whatever you wish to call them, is that it needs to be pleasurable. As organisms, we move toward pleasurable things and away from pain. If the resolution is painful, we will not stick to it. However, everything has both the flavor of good and bad - think of a long run. Usually during the run (especially if running is not what you usually do) there is pain. A couple days after the run, there can continue to be pain. If you stick with running, down the road, it feels great to be so fit and strong. But when you can't experience fit and strong immediately, it is hard to stick with it.

And why are you running anyway? Why be fit and strong? Finding the answer to these questions is where you can make the connection to the immediate pleasure. Continuing with this example, I want to be fit so I can continue to engage in sport with my son.
Why is that important to me?
It is important to me to share, connect with him in ways that are fun and expressive.
What is it about connecting expressively that matters to me?
When we have fun together, the connection seems deeper, richer. I feel that I can be silly and so can he and we just accept each other.
So being fit is really all about connecting in a meaningful, authentic way with people. Hmmm. Who knew!?!
Now when I plan to run - how can I make it an opportunity to make that connection? My son could ride his bike next to me. Or maybe I shouldn't plan to run. Maybe we should do karate together. Or both.

Your turn. Why do you want to reach these goals you have? Why is it important to you? Keep asking until you get the real understanding of what feeling you are hoping to achieve through the pursuit of the goal.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sticking to it - attitude

This time of year, resolutions are popular. I prefer to call mine a resolve. As you may have noted, I resolve to offer my best to the situations I am in and the people I am with. The trick is sticking with this and remembering it day after day. And how on earth do you remember it when that s.o.b. just cut you off?

I touched on it in the last blog. You need a strategy. You have to plan the execution of the resolution into your day. Easy enough - set an alarm on a watch to go off periodically each day to remind you to do it right now - no excuses! Or wear a bracelet - every time you notice it, execute.

The main thing here is quality. I can 'offer my best' in a variety of ways, but if my heart isn't in it, it won't matter - it won't be my best. Exercise resolutions are only as effective as your attention to the activity. Your heart has to be in it - you have to carry the right attitude.

Attitude is choice. To create the right attitude, you have to think about all the pleasure this action, deed brings to you. When I was bouldering, there was one particularly challenging project I had. Within the first 3 moves, the granite crystals would cut deeply into the tips, and within three tries, my tips would be bleeding. Taping was not a solution because I couldn't feel the holds and accuracy was everything at this grade for me. It was painfully hard to be motivated to even try. Where I put my attention made all the difference. To cultivate the will to try, I would recall how painful childbirth was, well this was nothing relative to that experience. Then with the will to try in place, I would visualize my successful attempt. I would close my eyes and watch myself move over the rock, successfully getting the key hold to the finish. I would feel the muscles and joints in my body responding to the effort. This action of mindfullness changed my attitude from one of resistance to one of excitement and motivation.

The mind does not know the difference between imagined, visualized success and actual success. In a Yoga pose, rather than critically analyzing my limitations, or paying attention to the discomfort, I can visualize myself holding the pose in perfect alignment, feeling my grace, strength and flexibility. With these feelings, the process is beautiful, pleasurable, pure joy. When I see only my perfection and success, I feel successful and perfect. That is exactly as it should be, after all, we are all perfect just as we are.