Friday, May 31, 2013

Fake It Til You Make It

I know I've been a broken record lately, talking about forgiveness. "Forgiveness this, forgiveness that, forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness," has been all tipsandtricks has been saying lately; but really you guys, it's been feeling SO good.

The other day in my morning meditation, I was feeling angry and resistant to forgiving. I was going through The 5 Steps of Forgiveness, just kinda robot pilot over and over. Then all of a sudden, something shifted, and no joke, my heart felt like it got wider.

It dawned on me. "What else am I going to do?" I thought, "Hold on to this anger? Just leave it inside of me?" "Heck no!" is the answer to that question. Ahhhhh, it felt like the first time, the very first time, I ever forgave anything. I surrendered to it, "You're right, 5 Steps of Forgiveness," I thought, "I don't want to be angry, I want to love."

After my meditation, I got myself ready to go to work and on my way out the door, I dropped the book I was bringing to a friend to borrow. The words on the page it opened to validated my experience, "When we surrender to love, we allow the ultimate reality to carry through us."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Ways

 "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." -Edith Warton

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ho'oponopono Prayer

To tell you the truth, I haven't been being very nice to myself lately. Oh I've been going to bed early, eating healthy food, meditating and doing yoga, but inside the privacy of my own mind, I've been saying some mean stuff. To me.

Yesterday, it dawned on me to drop it--I realized I was only making myself sad. And then I got sad that I had made myself sad. So I decided to forgive myself. I went to yoga and tried to silently say the 5 Steps of Forgiveness to myself inside of my head, like a mantra. But the 5 Steps proved to be kinda cumbersome; I was trying to do what the teacher said and pay attention to my breath after all.

Somehow I remembered the Ho'oponopono Prayer and started to repeat it silently to myself: "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you." I still have more forgiving to do, but it feels better to have the prayer running through my brain; it's cleaning out those nasty things that were there before. You guys, someday we're going to die, let's be nice to ourselves and to each other.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Good Couple of Days

All of a sudden, a few days ago, I wanted to defend myself. Somehow instead of defending, I remembered something that my teacher Jen said once: "Defending is fighting." I knew for sure I didn't want to fight.

So I waited with my feelings and I remembered a Pema Chodron quote my genius friend Hilary told me once, "Patience is the antidote to aggression."

The situation was resolved the next morning peacefully with very little defending from me. Then I finished reading a wonderful book on yoga called The Art of Attention. In the one of the last few pages of the book, there is a quote from Red Hawk:

"We are so conditioned to believe that when we see a problem we must immediately fix it, that one of the most difficult things to do in this work is to observe without interference, neither judging nor changing what is observed. Lay down your sword and cease fighting weary traveler. To fight is a trap."

It was a good couple of days.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Some Seeing for Me and My Sisters

"When you stop struggling, stop suffering, stop pushing and pulling yourself around food and your body, when you stop manipulating and controlling, when you actually relax and listen to the truth of what is there, something bigger than your fear will catch you. With repeated experiences of opening and ease, you learn to trust something infinitely more powerful than a set of rules that someone else made up: your own being." -Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God

Pretty sure it was Donald Draper who said, "Every woman worries about her figure." I think he's right. Worrying about our figures is just like worrying about anything else; it doesn't help. For some of us, it's just another addiction: something negative to give our power to. If you've ever thought you were anything other than totally lovely, please read Women, Food and God, stop worrying and start trusting yourself. One of my teachers taught me that in that moment when we want to start a diet, or never eat again or throw away all of our bathing suits, that's the moment we have the power. Cancel that thought, talk to someone else about it and start learning how to love yourself. A lot of these fears and projections aren't actually ours; they're in the water and we don't have to drink it.

I like what Elena Brower's best friend from 7th grade says, "Tell the truth about your feelings and your experiences; the good and the difficult and see the golden road appear that immediately connects you to others on the path. It's my favorite alchemy: this turning the garbage of shame and pain into the gold of understanding and relationship."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Peace on the Wheel

One of my favorite things about living in Taos County is a phenomenon I'd like to refer to as the "Wave on the Wheel" or the "Peace on the Wheel." Here's what happens: when you're driving along one of the less busy streets, often the driver in the car that's passing you going the other way, will, while keeping their hands on the wheel, either, wave to you or flash you a brief peace sign. "That is so nice!" I remember thinking when I first moved here and I'd enthusiastically wave back, "HIIIIIIII!"

I admire one of my friends who waves at everybody all the time. Even though I don't always practice it, it's not lost on me that this is a great idea. Maybe it's because I'm still a baby driver, but I think for lots of us, it can be easy to develop animosity towards other drivers while on the road; or at least to cultivate feelings of otherness. There's lots of large loud trucks around here. Some of them even have flames on the sides, or a skull and crossbones on the back. When a big noisy one is driving faster than me, without meaning to, I can think of it as the bad guy. I remember being a kid in the front seat and my dad yelling at another car, "What are you doing you twit?" I felt like our car was a team onto itself and all of the other cars were different teams; someone was bound to loose.

Thanks to my upcoming Partner Yoga Workshop, I have been reflecting on one of my favorite quotes about yoga, "If we are interested in yoga, we might ask ourselves, what is yoga interested in? Yoga has one goal: enlightenment, a state in which separateness of self and other dissolves in the realization of oneness of being. What holds us back from that realization is a false perception of reality. Instead of perceiving oneness, we see separateness, disconnection and otherness. Because the term yoga refers not only to the goal of enlightenment but also to the practical method for reaching that goal, all of the practices must address the basic issue of “other.” Otherness is the main obstacle to enlightenment.” (Gannon, 2008, 22).

Turns out, I don't want to feel like I'm on opposite teams as the car to my left, or the one in front of me; I want to practice kindness and oneness whenever I can. I want us to be in this thing together and Peace on the Wheel, hokey as it may sound, totally helps.

Friday, May 10, 2013


and everyday, I choose to stop giving energy to my fears.

"Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere." -Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Best Way to Communicate

Sometimes I just can't help myself. I love so many people. I love our waitress, the guy at the Verizon store, the homeless man with the puppy...

Most especially I love my clients, like a whole whole lot. I don't know what it is, but when people help me, when they're nice to me, or when they're just open, sometimes I can't help but love them so much.

My teacher once said that I'm a "love bug." A few weeks back a lady took my class at Ojo and afterwards she asked me if I was a Pisces. "Yes," I said, getting excited.

"What else does she know about me?" I wondered. "Maybe some stuff I don't even know. Neato."

She guessed I was a Pisces because she's one, too. Then she told me pretty much everything about herself and lots of stuff about other people, too. Her big thing is that sometimes she "cares too much about other people." And speaking of caring too much for other people, she really liked the bartender, thought he was so cute, and she wanted to see him settled. "I have a boyfriend," I replied quickly. She fell quiet.

"This lady out love-bugs even me," I thought.

I have lots of friends and family who I say "I love you" to, and it makes me feel good to say it. I also have people in my life who I love, but it's not necessarily appropriate for me to tell them. If I told my favorite private client "I love you," I think he'd feel shy. And certainly the guy at the smoothie place wouldn't know what to do either. And speaking of my boyfriend, I can't just sit around and text 'I love you' to him all the time. Even though that's how I feel, I've got stuff to do.

I was particularly struck at one of my first B.E.S.T. trainings when the teacher told us the best way to communicate whatever you're feeling is to just feel it in your heart. "Woah," I marveled.

After sitting with this "best way to communicate" stuff for awhile, I actually really believe that certain things do need to be voiced. But for those times when words can't express how much I love someone, and when I don't want to make folks feel shy or uncomfortable, I just feel that love in my heart. It feels good to be able to do something about it; to consciously feel it in my heart.

And I believe that whether or not they hear it from me, the people I love know that I do.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Feeling Strict

My friend Doug and I were joking last night about how strict I am when I'm teaching yoga.

See, I have some wild and crazy folks who come to class and they sometimes need a little reigning in. For example, I teach two days a week in a room at a gym that has mirrors on the walls. Sometimes I have to remind people to "look at the horizon" rather than at their reflection when we're in Tadasana.

Today's class started like many have in the past. I said, "Let's inhale together deeply for the sound of om," after which, a few folks started in on their oms as early and as loud as they could. "Maybe they think it's a contest," I thought to myself. More likely, they might be a little nervous or want to get on to the next thing.

At the end of today's class, feeling strict, I said, "We'll close our time together with the sound of om once more. And like pretty much everything else in life, om is really just about listening."

Boy did I show them: their om was so open, clear and most especially, present.