Sunday, October 30, 2011


How can I move from here to where I want to go?
Put one foot in front of the other.
The problem is, I am carrying too may things to be able to open a door and keep moving over there.
I am a mother, full time with no co parent to assist me. No father for my son.
I am a coordinator with no administrative assistant, only part time help doing the best they can with how important this work is to them.
I am a Yoga teacher with only a few students. Not enough to sustain that role as a primary source of security.
I am a friend with what little time and energy I have.
What can I put down to get closer to where I want to be? What needs to go to make room for something different?
I love my role as a mother and I will not trade that for anything.
Being a teacher grounds me and cultivates peace and joy in my life.
Love and our friendships are what matter most.
I guess that means I need more assistance with my role as a coordinator. I guess that means I need to let go of the idea that only I know how to do it. I need to trust that whatever happens will be what should be happening.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Climbing, Football and Lacrosse

Yesterday I attended three sports and, other than tossing a ball, the only sport I participated in was the sport of relationship. Lacrosse was an opportunity to connect to my son, taking an interest in his interests. Football gave me an opportunity to connect to Dalhousie peers. At the climbing wall, I tried to re-connected with climbers; friends. This morning as I awoke and found myself at the games; again sparring and defending myself to these 'climbers'. Wait.... why do I need to defend myself? I may have connected with them as friends, though perhaps not as climbers. I also realized something else... A large part of relationship is what they feel, not just what I feel.

The support these climbers want from me is not the support I have offered. Maybe what these climbers really want from me is acceptance and affirmation. The only way for me to give them that is to hear what that means to them. Indirectly, my choice to not place my own climbing as high on the list as many other responsibilities in my life can be interpreted as elite level climbing is not important. That is why they want me to climb - to reaffirm their own idea that living climbing is important.

My teacher has been shaping my understanding that real fulfillment is not about getting affirmation from outside of myself; it is acting from the solid foundation of my heart. I used to get a short high from a big send (success in climbing). But then there was always just another route to do. The greatest sense of fulfillment came from teaching someone else how to succeed. In this community of climbers, only some want that from me. These friends don't need me to climb hard and probably don't feel I have much to offer them. So I have difficulty feeling purposeful with them.

As Yogarupa says.... "Meet people where they are, then you can take them for a ride." I guess I need to find a new way to meet these climbers. And a new way to serve them. And I need to let them go.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dare you to Live Fully

What does that mean? Live fully. To some it may mean deep water soloing and landing in the water from a 40 foot fall and doing it again. It may mean to have a challenging career, beautiful smart and talented children, a handsome and loving partner, a fancy house with panoramic views. Still others dream of PhD's and farms.

This chick takes living fully to mean living with an open heart. That means being able to stop defending myself and judging myself and others. No easy task I can say. As I awake in the morning I am doing 'morning pages.' Three free hand written pages of whatever pops into my head. It is fascinating to see all the things that pop up. "People have to want to participate." "He didn't feel compelled to help people..." Are either of these thoughts true? How would I know what someone else was compelled to do or not do. Maybe he was compelled, but also afraid or feeling helpless. Do people people really have to want to participate or is it part of meeting them where they are to entice, inspire them to participate?

The tone is one of "I know" not of "I wonder."

Perhaps living fully means being curious about the things the mind thinks. Perhaps deep water soloing is just curiosity about what it feels like to be that high with only water below. Perhaps the challenging career happens when one is curious about 'what if?' at work.

Hmmm, something to think about.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New floor, old steps

I am not sure how it happened... we just had a few hours to kill before climbing started and we were talking about floors, Home Depot came up and the next thing I knew I was buying 10 boxes of flooring for Fynn's room. Well of course there was no climbing to follow and home we went. With the fire of intensity I bring to any job that needs getting done, I laid the floor that evening.

In my desire to get it done, Fynn learned through instructions yelled from his room how to cook pasta. But it got done. This is the way it happens for me... the task becomes all consuming and the relationships, the nourishment and nurturing off to the side. A very helpful skill in a war or natural disaster, but perhaps not that helpful in most everyday living. Perhaps that is why I am a little less focused most of the time. Living does not require such attention - unless you are practicing Yoga.

This must be why I love Yoga so much... bringing this attention and energy to every moment.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Man's search for meaning

If you haven't read Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, then I think you should. The next time you think life sucks, imagine being in a prison camp. Imagine what it must feel like to know that everyone you love has died or is dying, that the probability of survival of the situation you are in has very low odds. You are hungry, tired and worked tirelessly and beaten frequently. And somewhere in this hell, you choose to survive.

As I reflect on what enabled this man to choose survival I realize some fundamental things. He did not have anything to give up. He did not have a loved one he was trying to please... they were all dead. He did not have a comfortable salary and home to go home to at the end of the day. He had squalor and hard planks to sleep on with no blankets. It was rock bottom; there was no safety net, no comforts, no disappointing anyone.

It takes great faith to believe that no matter what, risking any of this will be for the best, especially when I do not even have a clear picture of what that looks like or see a path. Maybe it just needs to get that uncomfortable and that dark before we have faith in the light, our own light.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Move toward fear.

Following My gut is the challenge I have put forth for myself as Fynn spends this weekend with his Dad. Yesterday my gut told me to show up for a group expecting to go geo-caching, so I did. And I had a great time. My gut told me to listen to my audiobook instead of the radio or watching TV. My gut told me to practice this morning. And now my gut is telling me to write. I am not even sure what needs to be said. But I am following my gut.

Pema Chodron says move toward your fear. Don't repress it, don't ignore it, don't distract yourself away from it. Real compassion for yourself is to turn toward it and allow yourself to experience it. My fears seem so large it is much easier to run. But what I have noticed when I have followed this advice, is that I actually soften toward myself. I accept my own imperfection and allow myself to be less than perfect. And a smile can usually creep across my face.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Play isn't something you do... it's an attitude.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation." ~ Plato

This morning I tried this new activity to try to begin to get beyond my stream of consciousness and as I sat there doing this writing project. I was ranting about how much time it was taking and how was I going to get my meditation in and there would be no room for asana. I was striving to complete all the things I was expecting of myself. And I was striving for things to be different.

As I continued this writing and glimpsing at the clock, I decided I could change my attitude. I could do this because I believe there is value in it and I appreciate the process. Then as I approached my meditation cushion, I took the same idea with me. I would just open to what would happen, even if I did not have a lot of time.

A simple change in attitude and a beautiful feeling of lightness.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I see that in the folks who come to the Yoga classes I teach. Some really like pushing themselves as deeply into a pose as possible. These folks remind me of the athletes I know who are comfortable being uncomfortable. The irony is that what makes them really uncomfortable is to relax and surrender to a more comfortable version of a pose where the breath is steady and the mind is calm.

We all have comfort zones. Even when we are challenged there is a response that makes us comfortable. This week I was rejected. My comfort zone was to rally the "you're okay" from supporters and to, in turn, reject this person. As I went through my habitual response, (yep, I've been bullied before), I held tightly to how wrong this person was and how right I was.

I am not sure how it happened or where it came from, but a thought creeped through my consciousness. What would make me most uncomfortable would be to let that person know they are right. I am not and cannot be what they believe I should be. As the thought went through my mind, I realized a sense of empowerment behind it and a softening. He is right. And it is okay.

"I must sacrifice what I am for what I could become." I must sacrifice what I am... the expert climber I try to be, for what I could become... the real expression of my soul, a teacher and a creative force.
I am not an exceptional climber.
I am a person who loves to explore possibilities and create ways and space for people to learn and grow.
It is okay that some people want me to be an amazing climber and dislike that I am not pursuing that and supporting them. And it's okay that it is not what I want for myself. No one is wrong, we are all right.