Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More than Breathing

Yesterday I shared someone's article that indicated addiction is the result of a lack of connection. This article struck me profoundly. Last fall, my son left home to embark on a new adventure at boarding school. I was suddenly living alone. I had not lived alone since 198? A long time.
It was a long hard winter; in fact the worst in over 50 years.
I had reprieves... the Wednesday evenings I spent hours with the beautiful souls in teacher training and the long weekends we practiced and learned together. The colder the days, the more snow, the more I felt buried in self-pity. My eating habits digressed, I drank more wine and watched TV than I usually do and I stopped walking my dogs further than a fifteen minute jaunt. I became depressed and less and less connected to others and myself.
It was a negative cycle that was swirling toward addiction.
I am fortunate. I have a spiritual practice. Although my practice suffered, it never stopped. And I knew I needed to do something.
I reached out. I made a plan to see my teacher. I sat in the light of all those fabulous souls that believe in something beyond what we see and feel. I connected to great hearts and I my heart began to come alive again. I became re-inspired. I stopped TV. I stopped the eating. I started walking the dogs. I went climbing.
Although the fears and doubts remain, I feel more joy and possibility because of the love of those around me.
As you go out today, remember to love those around you. Remember they may be struggling with a darkness you cannot see. And if you are struggling, look for the bright souls that invite you to connect.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Absolutes, Limits and Expectations

When we KNOW a thing - I know I don't like swimming - for example, we create two things; limits in our experience of life and expectations. We will avoid opportunities to swim and perhaps even people who like swimming because we expect we will dislike the experience. We are no longer like a child who is curious and open to the idea of swimming.

Humans like knowing. It creates a sense of safety and identity. I am a climber because I like to climb. Some people like to go climbing once a year and do things they know how to do and some may live in a van and give up everything else to just climb every day. Are they both climbers? If not, what are the defining characteristics of a climber?

This is why things like Myers-Briggs and Predictive Indexes, Dosha Quizzes capture our attention - we want to know who we are. I know I am a INFP and predominantly Pitta, with a little Vata. These quizzes have validated what I believe about myself and they also give me guidance on how to live, engage with the world. Since I now have a reference, I can now create expectations about my experience. I expect myself to be intuitive and have a strong reaction to skipping meals.

What I love about Yoga is the continual quest to stay curious. Remember that with every quiz - these were created and delivered to groups of people and not everyone had exactly the same answers. Nor do we. We can try to define ourselves, but ultimately our life experiences, our past life experiences and life circumstances in the moment we do the quiz will be influencing the outcome.

Stay curious... and you may discover you are far more diverse than you first believed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Post Road Trip Depression

It's a thing... really it is.
The many years I lived on the road, we would travel to a climbing destination and spend weeks working on new found projects. Each day we got up, chose the routes to climb, the rest days, the place to sleep and what to eat. Gradually the money got low, the projects were sent and sometimes, the weather would begin to change. That meant we needed to move on. Time to go make some more money for the next trip. So we would head back to the place we called work, book some clients, and well... work.

Brian Capps, RMP, photo: Nick Sagar

The initial return is fun. Time to reconnect with friends that don't leave and sharing the adventure. After a few days though, it would get depressing. There is a sense of loss of the freedom of spontaneity. Freedom from the obligations and responsibilities of work. Freedom from choosing to be there.

Yes... that is what is missing... the freedom of the choice to be doing exactly what you are doing.

I now feel this same sense of loss and depression when I return from studying with my teacher or time at the Himalayan Institute. Initially it is fun to reconnect, to share what I learned. Then it starts to just be a longing to be in the study again, away from the responsibilities of day to day.

I wonder, if it is only about choice, what would happen if you chose what was happening where you are?
Would each moment be as awesome as a retreat, a road trip?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What does it mean to be a woman?

The Facebook feed and the news proudly shows this pic of Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn. Wow! What a transformation! I am curious how someone who feels they are meant to be a woman, but was born in a male body, can only feel authentic with so many inauthentic props?
What happens when the props come off?
Why a beautiful, sexy woman and not a plain Jane?
Why a bigger chested woman than a small breasted woman?
I say this with real curiosity.
Is this image of Caitlyn what we as a culture really think being a woman means?

I know some amazing and beautiful female athletes who are strong, willing to try hard, tenacious and spirited. And their beauty is in the face devoid of make-up, hair pulled into a ponytail, and chalk on their hands. And breasts just get in the way. They are awesome girlfriends, wives and mommies. Are these women not really women?
A woman doesn't need props to feel like a woman. A real woman can rest in her authentic, natural beauty.