Thursday, February 27, 2014

Always Evolving

Shoveling snow, watching dogs, rushing so I could get to work and Fynn to school on time. Every morning and every afternoon it is the same. While I have a to do list an arm long, he sits idle usually in front of a screen.

When we get in the car and I am trying to explain to my 12, soon to be 13 year old, that he has a responsibility to look around himself and notice the impact his choices and actions have on those around him.
He told me he is still a child and should not have to be responsible. I promptly explained if he wanted to be considered a child, I would be happy to take away some of the freedoms that come with becoming a teenager, along with my expectations for him to be responsible.

As I ponder this encounter, I come to think about our society and it's expectations that someone else will take responsibility. Culturally we don't like to take responsibility and yet, we demand the right to happiness and freedom. Just like my son.

The news of late has been full of the backlash surrounding an article that suggests Nova Scotians need to take preventive actions toward personal health. It is not the governments job to pay for all ailments, treatments and services. While some people find this refreshing, others are taken aback.

I feel so very fortunate to live in a country that is not at war or political unrest. I feel blessed to have clean air and to have been given the opportunities to become educated and employable. To have a health care system that is there in time of need.

And I am especially grateful for the opportunity that the study of Yoga has brought to me. The study of Yoga has taught me that I am responsible for my unhappiness. In the ParaYoga newsletter in my inbox this morning, it read,

"You are constantly changing. From moment to moment, propelled by the force of becoming, you are endlessly becoming... something. According to the yoga tradition, every moment is a choice, which winds up either supporting your personal growth or moving you in the opposite direction. The study of yoga is learning to identify the methods that will most positively influence you in the direction of change and, in the process, enhance the whole of your life and fulfill its highest purpose. The practice of yoga is the discipline of applying what you have learned. It always comes down to practice."

Although I worry about a child who seems self absorbed and desire for him to become a kind and helpful adult, I know that the only choices I control are my own. Setting boundaries for myself in relationships with others will be paramount to my successful growth.

What about you? What will you practice?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A little down time.

Yesterday I was exhausted and defeated by the end of the day. I have been practicing and doing Nidra and still I was spent. It's been a seven day work week with evening calls and worries and yet, I just committed myself to one more thing every week.

Why do I do this to myself?

Because I do not know how to set boundaries. Because I want my life to have meaning so I chase things people want from me or stick with people who do not support me. Actually let me rephrase that... I stick with people, support people to my own detriment.

I know things are bad when I get in the car and head off to do another task and I am thinking... I want to be like those people sitting in that cafe. I want to have down time.

And I am a Yogini. I know that I am the one who gets to choose what I do and how much love I take into every action. When I feel this way, it is time to step back, move beyond the three lower chakras and enable myself to come to these tasks with love, not resistance. It is up to me to connect to something bigger than myself to get back on track.

Time to haul out my Ayurveda notes and start with physical self care.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One pointedness

Saturday morning.
Rushing toward quiet.
Preparation for a workshop.
I want to do a practice. But there is a class in the studio. I cannot go there.
I could do the class.
Why are we in this pose again?
Aren't we going to do a different pose?
It's warm.
Maybe I should take off another layer.
Finally savasana.

There she is.
I am that.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where do I go from here?

Yesterday I watched a TED talk about stress. The message was that it is actually the belief that stress is harmful that makes it harmful. In addition, the good news is that connecting and doing for others who are in stress actually helps the body process the physiological effects of stress, making us better at managing stress.

A lightbulb went off. I believe we like challenge; it keeps us feeling alive and full of purpose. When I consider the climbing community it is a fantastic example of how people put themselves into the position of challenge (there is usually an easier way to the top), then they have people around them supporting them and cheering them on, even when they fall. They share ideas on how to get through that difficult section and they try again. From the perspective of someone like my dad this is the most ridiculous way to spend your time. Why use all that energy trying to climb something you don't need to when you could be using that strength to cut down trees and haul the wood home to heat the house? The unnecessary challenge and the connection with others is what we call play - creating stress and creating connections to reduce the stress of the challenge. That's why.

Friday I stood watching lots of climbers do just that, stand around in a busy room of people and try to climb some walls. I saw people cheering others on and sharing ideas about how to climb a particular route. I used to be one of them and now I don't climb very often. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why. The simple answer is that it isn't that enjoyable for me now. But why don't I enjoy it as much. Friday that answer showed up... I don't feel that same connection as I go through the challenge. I used to climb with a steady partner, but that partnership ended. Now when the opportunity to climb arises, it is alone or with a large group of people, many of whom I am fairly certain disagree with the way I run a climbing gym. I don't feel that support from them and I don't want to try to earn it with them. So I hold back and I don't climb alone.

Next question; where do I go from here?

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Yesterday I learned of a broken heart.

This morning as I sat to meditate I became overwhelmed with the feelings of confusion and hurt I too had experienced the last time my heart was broken. I recall that feeling of loss, but it is so much more than that. It is also a sense of loss of one's own self. When my heart was last broken, I did not know fully who I was anymore. I felt that perhaps there was something wrong or flawed with me. After all this person had loved me once.

Then I recalled the words of Byron Katie, "no one can leave you." Her point is not that people do not physically leave us, but rather we can always choose to keep them in our heart and our thoughts. Similarly, no one can tell me that I am not beautiful unless I believe what they are saying is true. So the work is always with our own choice in thoughts.

And if we truly understand to love to be connecting to the essence in our own heart, then we never have to stop loving someone. The nature of our relationship may change, my ex is now remarried and happily living in Colorado, but I can still love him and have the co-parenting relationship that I value so much. In many ways, this arrangement is way better for me ;)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Poses for the mind

Yoga practice gives us an opportunity to slow things down and digest our experience. I recall at a training a few years ago, Rod Stryker continued to warn us that we would do a long hold practice - not Yin, long holds. Other people were intimidated, but in my naiveté I was not worried. Curious though. When we began the practice I noticed how quickly and readily I would move into a pose, Warrior I. And continued to stay, feeling that this isn't bad. As the clock ticked and the directs to remain still and steady were coached, I started to notice feelings of agitation arise. Soon my mind was beginning to become really curious about how long were we really going to stay here. Not curious in a pleasant way - curious and angry. The Pitta fire was growing steadily as we stayed. I could sense the physical discomfort and the mental discomfort urging me to move out of the pose. I was at war in my mind and body and my tenacious nature. Eventually, I felt I could stay no longer. My spirit gave in and I gave myself over in trust that I would really not be harmed by staying longer. I stopped fighting the idea of being in the pose. And I stayed.

I survived the experience and learned some very powerful things. While I am quite willing to work hard, I am very happy to be in control of that effort. However, it was only through the eventual giving over of that control, that tenacious desire to be in control and do what is comfortable, that I was able to complete the practice. IN the debrief after the class, Yogarupa spoke of the first 15 seconds in a pose, we are still arriving there, getting into the pose. The next 30 seconds of the pose, we are managing the pose. But once we go beyond a minute in the pose, we are tapping into our minds willingness, it's tendencies, in the expression of the pose.

Challenges we meet in life really are no different. Usually the first few moments of the experience are not significant. It is as the challenge persists that we begin to develop our story about the challenge. We begin to resist, not digest what is happening.

Monday, February 3, 2014


"The fear of death overshadows our every step with a silent dread of loss. The only cure is an intimacy with permanence. Welcome to meditation. Between the earliest and final stages of practice, as perception shifts, you recognize the hidden truth––the real you is not confined by time, gender, or job. Collect enough glances of this flawless Self and you gradually break the bondage of fear that rules so many." -- Yogarupa Rod Stryker

Yesterday I listened to Tapestry on CBC - the subject, death and how we prepare ourselves for our inevitable end. There is a teacher who takes her class to a morgue, to an autopsy, to a funeral home. In the end it is so that the students can realize they too will die and rather than live in fear of that end, live... truly live while you can.

Gets me to thinking about whether I am truly living. Have to admit in some ways the weight of responsibility makes it hard to make clear decisions about doing what is truly in ones heart. I love my son and I want to be his mother and watch him grow. And I want to continue to grow myself, learn more about this philosophy that has stretched me so far. I want to have more people and activity in my life. And I was clearly reminded on Saturday, that children change your pace. They slow you down and you learn to actually see things like seaweed and snow on rocks a little differently. You laugh a little more and appreciate the little things. That's not so bad either.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I am responsible

I recognize that I like to take on a role of responsibility. Not because I want more to do, but because I want control in what is done. I did not even consider not being full time single parent. I willingly took it on because I wanted some control over my son's life. There are times he comes home from visiting his dad and I get frustrated and angry because his father will teach him to do things like shoot things with a gun or drive an ATV. I don't get asked if I'm okay with it... it just happens - like swimming with sharks. I hear about it later. Truth is that it is the hearing about it after the fact that drives me crazy. There really hasn't been one thing I have said or would have said no to... except flying across the country by himself at 12.

The same applies at work too. I take on running the gym, not because I necessarily want the task of running a climbing gym, but rather because I want to control the climbing that happens and how much climbing I get to teach. I want to have a say perhaps is better way of thinking about it. Not control. I just want to make sure that someone is looking out for the non climber who wants to become a climber.

When I look even closer, I can see something else. Being the person who is responsible for others or caring the torch of the big picture, means I get to hold myself a little apart from others. I get to keep myself separate from the climbing community, from my ex. Keeping myself a separate from them means they cannot hurt me. They can disappoint me when they go against what I believe in, but it doesn't hurt my feelings. I expect to be betrayed. Why is a whole other story, but I do. So I just don't let them in close enough for it to hurt too much.

Now that Fynn is getting close to the magic 13 years, he is pushing back a lot more. It's little things like bed time and screen time. But I know it will escalate. He is becoming his own person and rather than answer to a mom, he wants full control over the decisions that impact him. I have always tried to be fair with him and offer him choices - just choices I wanted. Now that doesn't work. And I don't want to become a parent who holds him away from me so I won't be hurt.

I have come to notice that the feeling that arises when I keep people a part from my heart is negative. I feel neutral or negative toward them and they in turn feel this way toward me.

But how do you open your heart to people and hold people responsible AND not get hurt?
I am sure Byron Katie would say that no one can hurt you. You hurt you by how you think about what others should or shouldn't do. And that would be self responsibility.
Still my vulnerable ego really doesn't want to be betrayed. Guess I just need to spend more time with my Divine Self. ;)