Thursday, November 29, 2012

School for Different Reasons

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Recently after re-reading the book Dynamic Health, I was reminded of the negative physiological effects judgment can have on the person who is doing the judging. It's often the case that the object of the judgment doesn't even experience negative effects at all---and if they do, it's because they are judging themselves.

"Judgment of others is a mental exercise in asserting that you are smarter, more astute, and better equipped to handle someone else's situation than they are. And you may be--but it's their lesson. Keep your mental nose out of it" (Morter 1997, 212).

The other day I was talking to a PARTICULARLY astute client of mine about taking classes at the local university. She was saying something about being frustrated with her peer group at first for not bringing much stimulation to class discussions. "But who am I to judge?" she summarized. "Everybody's in school for different reasons."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh My God, I get It!

Years ago my teacher Jen told me that if I take very good care of myself, God will take care of the rest. For some reason I took her word for it and have been living that way ever since.

A few weeks ago, I was talking about this way of living with one of my clients and he said, "Yes, all of the great teachers say to work ten times harder on yourself than you do on anything else and everything else will take care of itself."

"Yeah," I thought. "I dig that, too."

Then all of a sudden I got it. If we really GO FOR IT self-care wise, we are living gratitude. Each action we take to care for ourselves says a big THANK YOU to whatever creator created us.

Everything else taking care of itself from there is the creator's way of saying, "You're welcome."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Condition My Condition Was In

I like practicing gratitude every day and I don't particularly like the holiday "Thanksgiving." It seems like a very nice idea, but every year I struggle with how the nice idea gets carried out. This year was no exception.

I committed to plans with friends and food, as I often do. And when today arrived, I didn't feel like it, like I often don't. But I knew it'd be fun if I pressed on and followed through with my commitments. It was a close call when I got home from running errands, to prepare a food dish,  to leave for the party, but I did make time to sit and meditate. As soon as I sat down I realized how deeply sad I felt. I am a big believer in feeling how you feel and I was grateful for taking the time to figure out just how I felt. Believe it or not, what did make me feel better was to allow myself to feel sad, to not cover up that I had been crying, and go to the party.  I had a good time, but I believe holidays, just like anything, don't have to be pleasant. Often it's the fighting to make them so that makes them just the opposite.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rigid in My Yoga

Since writing about rigid thinking, I've been noticing it more in myself. The other day, I got a "comment" from a student who took one of my classes saying they weren't able to relax because I didn't demonstrate. The truth is: I do demonstrate, sometimes,  but I do my best not to. Turns out I have a VERY STRONG opinion that you are not doing yoga if you are watching me do yoga and trying to do what I do.

I was taught to teach without demonstrating. My young yoga-teacher-in-training-mind was told very explicitly that there is no way a teacher can tell if their students are doing the postures safely and correctly while also doing yoga. I have been teaching this way for years without much discussion. It is only since I moved to New Mexico that this way I do things has come under scrutiny. The thing is, other teachers whose classes I take around here demonstrate a little, maybe a little bit more than me, but certainly not the whole class. The question that begs to be asked is why all the hullabaloo around my class? Do the other teachers have hullabaloo too? I don't think they do. The fuss is about me because I have a charge around the subject. I don't WANT to demonstrate, if you're in my class, I don't want you to look at me. Yoga in Sanskrit is defined as union, the joining together, of: your body and your breath, your mind and your body, yourself with your Self with a capital S. Don't look at me! This is between you and you! I'm yelling! And this here yelling is what we at tipsandtricks call a charge.

I have no choice but to laugh at my self with a lower-case s. Getting rigid in my thinking about yoga is pretty funny. And now that I'm coming to understand how hard rigid thinking can be on one's health, I can work on letting it go.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doughnuts in my Mind

Girlfriend over here has been a bit of a wreck. I spilled water on my computer, lost an envelope on the way to the post office, and my car has been making a funny noise. Good news though: everybody is being really freaking nice to me, which is makes the whole being-a-mess thing easier. The folks at the computer shop were super kind about my mistake and helped me make decisions and move forward. My friends have been lovely, my boyfriend let me use his computer lots of times and the lady who's hosting my workshop in December said she'd make the flyer for me. All of the guys at the auto shops I've been to have been sweet and helpful even though it's hard to say if anything's not working.

Basically I want to blow up my spot and tell everyone how much I love them and bring them all doughnuts. Not all acquaintances and strangers I come across really get the whole me-loving-them thing. And maybe it's a little big to bring all of the employees at AutoZone treats when just one guy said, "I don't know Miss, it might be your battery." So I try and stay cool and just bring people doughnuts in my mind. Sometimes I'm more general about it and just, you know, send them love. Yesterday, I couldn't be cool anymore and brought doughnuts to the computer shop people in real life.

More good news: they didn't mind at all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Be Impeccable with Your Everything

I was talking to my super cool friend Luke yesterday about being impeccable. I was telling him the story of how I spilled water on my laptop. Last weekend, even though Saturday's are usually my day off, I had a client in the morning who was coming back again the next day in the afternoon. Because it was the weekend, and I teach all day Sundays, I didn't re-set my house to being a house. I put my massage table away, but I did not put my coffee table back to its usual spot, thinking to myself, "Heck, I never use it for coffee, anyways."

Because the table was not in place that afternoon, as I listened to a lecture on my computer, my computer sat on the ground--where it never usually sits. Wouldn't you know it? The one time my computer sat on the ground is the one time my water bottle's cap isn't all the way fastened, which is the one time I'm feeling particularly tired and clumsy without a day off, and is the one time I have a $1200 accident. Even though I prefer not to use the word "should," I SHOULD'VE known -- because I can't get away with anything.

And by anything I mean I can't get away with not doing everything impeccably all the freaking time. The one time I don't turn my heat down while spending the night at my boyfriend's is the one time my landlord needs to come inside to look for a leak; the one time I accidentally run a stop sign is the one time I get a ticket; the one time I break the new hardcore-movie-theater-rules, is the one time there's a movie theater cop who catches me and confiscates that same stinking water bottle.

Despite having to do everything all the way all the time, I am grateful to be me. I hope that what I think of as "me" is in a kind of constant evolution towards being a more aware, more patient, and more giving person. And as Lous Brandeis says, "There are no shortcuts in evolution."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sides of History

The other day I was talking to someone a generation or two older than me. He said he was "violently opposed to gay marriage."

The book I'm reading right now talks about chaos as a good thing: "In a healthy body, chaotic information is available to every DNA molecule. Chaotic completeness is the raw material of development and life. When chaos diminishes, old age begins. When people retire, the amount of chaos in their lives is dramatically reduced. Of course, that's what most "working people" look for--a little less chaos, stress and general mayhem. But with retirement, many people become even more set in their ways than they were before. They "know" how things should be and they have a tendency to become quite negative when the world around them is different from the way they think it should be. As we become older in thought, we have a tendency to become "set in our ways." We have a firm "mind set." Which means our thinking is not as flexible as it once was. When our thinking becomes "rigid," we are not as open to new ideas and information. And our field follows suit. Workers face stimulating energy enhancing situations that exposes their minds to new thoughts and their fields to new quanta of chaos for the DNA to process and make coherent...Chaotic energy can be viewed as "creative energy"or "complete energy" or "total energy" or "collective energy."

I told my best friend about the conversation I had with the gentleman "violently opposed to gay marriage." She said at this point, it's just a matter of "which side of history do you want to be on?" I agreed. And I'm glad I'm on the same side as "collective energy."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Field

Puke-fest 2012: on Saturday, I spilled water on my laptop. I moved quickly to get it off using gravity; I turned it off and dried it for 24 hours and then when I turned it back on, the trackpad worked but not the keyboard. I was relieved when I walked into the local computer shop first thing on Monday and turned it over.

Those 24 hours when it was turned off and I didn't know if it was going to work or not were rough. I tried my best not to worry and keep it positive. Turns out it's better for all of me when I keep it positive:

"Your conscious thoughts, attitudes, and choices determine the type of energy that you project into your field*. The more positive, the better. For every experience you have in life, no matter how bad the experience is to you, recognize the lesson being "taught," and find some element of good in the experience. Realize that every experience--especially a negative experience that makes you "feel bad"---is a lesson for you to recognize and learn from. Identify something good in the experience. Finding the good may not make the experience any less painful; however, finding the good injects at least a modicum of positive energy into the situation."--Dynamic Health

*"Your personal field is your direct link with the universe and all of the of the information in it. Your field, like your body, isn't isolated and it isn't static. Both body and field are dynamic. Ever active. Your field, like your body, is effected by its internal and external environments. Your field is ever-present and ever-changing. It can be vibrant, it can be subdued. We might say that your field can be "healthy" or it can be "sick." And the health of your field determines the health of your visible body....(T)he biggest influence on your field-health is your thoughts and feelings. Your thoughts and feeling affect your field, your field effects your health."

I'm grateful for less time in front of a screen, for my best friend who has spilled water on her laptop many times before, and my boyfriend for letting me use his computer for these tipsandtricks. Nothing but white girl problems up-in-here and gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Intention Appropriation

You guys, I teach yoga in a yurt. Every Sunday, it is part of yoga class policy to ask each student to write down an intention they have for class, their day, their year or their life on a piece of paper. I hand out the pieces of paper which are made out of seeds. After class, the students pin their intentions up on the Intention Tree. From there, the seed papers are gathered in a box and eventually planted in the Intention Garden, just east of the yurt. Some students fold their intentions up before pinning them to the Tree, while other students pin theirs up boldly, the words of their longing in full view, should anyone care to see.

I couldn't help but notice one lately that said: "Discipline: Quality not Quantity." DAMN. That's GOOD. This is something I have been working on for a while now but without being able to articulate it so succinctly. Occasionally in the past, I have felt bad for things that I knew, really, there was no need to feel bad about---like practicing yoga at home rather than going to class, skipping my Morning Pages, or not volunteering more at CAV, like I told myself I would. I even spoke to my teacher about these feelings, she said it sounded like my perfectionism was rearing its ugly head. She reminded me that everything I do is between me and God, there isn't some magic checklist somewhere and I'm certainly not getting graded on this. Big time relief.