Friday, July 31, 2015

Reflection



"The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving, and friendly, and helpful to you. The world is what you are." --Thomas Dreier

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Even Realized



Today is my teacher Jen's birthday. I met Jen when she had her B.E.S.T. practice in a little healing center just south of Grand Central Station. I got a job there as a receptionist after graduating from yoga school. God's honest truth? I didn't like Jen at first. She's kooky and a little over-communicative. The owner of the healing center had been my friend for several years, he had told me about B.E.S.T. and Jen many times. He said B.E.S.T. was helping him and he thought I'd really like Jen. "Ugh, weird, why?" I thought, "She's dorky." Dorky like me.

There at the healing center, I met my first private yoga client, a broker on Wall Street who was committed to changing his relationship to stress. We met twice a week, and I started teaching group classes too. Before long, I was working a lot. The vibe at the healing center was often challenging, the owner and his partner, who was the mother of his child, were going through a break-up; many of their fights happened in the healing space. I became more and more aware of how I didn't really like working there, the stress of the dismantling partnership was hard on everyone around it. I honestly don't remember how, but I ended up with an appointment with Jen. The first "priority" we worked on together for my health was quitting my job at the healing center. "But keep coming here to see you?" I asked. How awkward. I wasn't sure about B.E.S.T. at first, but over the months, she helped me navigate many more awkward situations, she helped me take responsibility for myself and get honest about the resentments I was harboring. I felt clearer in myself and about everything else in my life.

After working with Jen for four years, she helped me navigate my fears around leaving the lovely life I had in New York. One day, after she said something particularity profound I said, "You know Jen, you should write all this stuff down; people should read it." "Yeah," she laughed, "but I'm not a writer. You, you're a writer." Jen has used the computer like twice. I moved, I started tipsandtricks, I kept working with Jen, I learned more about B.E.S.T. She still helps me navigate awkward situations, I keep feeling clearer, things still get hard, and we work through them. About a year ago when I was back in New York, I had an in person session with her. She said something that she had said before, something I was still learning, "I should get this by now," I said, "there's even a tipandtrick about it." I told her about how often I quote her and what I'm learning from her. She only reads these posts if I send them to her email, but she knows. "Yeah, like we talked about," she said, "you're the writer." I hadn't even realized.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Flow



The other night, sitting in my kitchen, I realized I was flexing my foot. This noticing made me realize that actually I've been flexing my foot regularly since my ankle injury; to protect it. But my ankle's better now, my chiropractor moved a misplaced bone back into the right place and healing has been happening since. "How interesting," I thought, "I'm still defending it even though it's better." No doubt all the unnecessary foot flexion is not helping release and lengthen the tendons around the ankle. Time to let the habit go.

All week I've been mediating on "letting the energy continue to flow," rather than letting it get stuck around ALL aspects of my life. My exploration was highlighted when my teacher-crush Elena Brower talked about the same stuff with such wise words in her weekly newsletter to fellow yoga teachers:

"In Taoist philosphy, rather than placing emphasis on an individual component in any given context, the most important aspect is the flow. How well is energy moving through this situation, moment, pose, body, mind? 
When things become confusing, we have a tendency to focus, fix or finish this one thing--and think that will make it better. This mindset feels fearful, limiting and stagnent. 
Let's practice giving preference to fluency, fluidity, and allowing. Each time we do, we hand ourselves over to the highest intelligence. To stay connected to Source, to be in the flow, just a few remembrances will do.
Trust that all is moving in an evolutionary direction. Apologize when it's time to own it; and forgive when it's time to let go. Let the universe lead sometimes; but be ready when it's time to grow. And move, and meditate."

Thank you Elena, for the work that you do and for your wisdom, and for sharing yourself with us. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Enough and More



"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." --Melody Beattie

Friday, July 17, 2015

Two Mamas



Recently the inside of my head was telling the inside of my head all kinds of big and crazy untrue stories. The perspective I was getting on the 68 x 24 inch rectangle of my yoga mat felt helpful and then all of a sudden too small. Best I could, I stayed in practice and I busted out on a walk, just like that, still wearing my sandals. With the movement of the walk, the air on my skin, and the gorgeous New Mexico sky as my friends, I started to feel better. And then I came upon a family of cows, two mamas and a baby. Animal Speak has just a little to say about cows: "[The] cow is predominately a symbol of motherhood and nourishment..."

Sometimes when I'm feeling sad, off-center or kooky in the head, I say out loud or silently to myself what I'm feeling. And then, sometimes, what happens after is that a wiser, more removed version of myself responds, and usually has some pretty insightful things to say. I started to do this after learning about something called "re-parenting." Re-parenting is exactly how it sounds and if you do it, it doesn't mean you have or had bad parents, although it might. Re-parenting acknowledges that we all have a "parent" inside of us, kind of like a therapist, who can give us the response we want and need. Those of us who are lucky enough to still have our moms alive and around for us to call when the going gets tough (Hi Mom!) have two moms, maybe even three. Re-parenting says that those of us who have a mom on the other side or a mom who's not so easy to talk to, still have this "parent" inside of us and maybe even a dad or two who's nice to talk to (Hi Dad!).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whims of Approval



Speaking of apologizing, in the program there's this really cool thing called a "Living Amends." It's when you change the offending behavior rather than just apologizing for it. I'm pretty open to changing my behavior and I like to do right by my loved ones. Recently, it became clear to me that I sometimes "over-correct" my conduct, by taking it to the other extreme. If someone points out that I keep complaining about something rather than doing anything about it, I might never talk to that person about that complaint again. That's pretty defensive and according to Jen, "severely codependent." How to step back from this extreme behavior is easier said than done. "Work towards approving of yourself," says Jen. When we approve of ourselves and our behavior, and know that we are doing the best we can, right by us, we're not reacting to the whims of approval of others.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lucy's Skin



I know we've already talked about snakes, but that was before I had a snake living under the flagstone in front of the door to my laundry room named Lucy. Today while I was on my way out of the laundry room, I noticed that Lucy had shed her skin. That's a good sign people! Snakes shed their skin to support continued growth.

Animal Speak says, "In the Americas, the snake served as a prominent symbol in art and lore. To the Native Americans, the snake is a symbol of transformation and healing."

It's been a weird summer since I sprained my ankle and then re-sprained it; I haven't been able to go hiking, my favorite summer thing. I've been resting my ankle and icing it and not practicing Child's Pose or Upward Dog for the last month and it still hasn't felt much better. I went to the chiropractor the other day and he moved a bone from the wrong place back into the right place. My ankle felt more stable immediately, although stiff. Lucy's skin is making me hopeful that all this ankle stuff is just me learning about patience aka growing. William C. Hannan says "I know this transformation is painful but you're not falling apart you're falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful." That's so nice.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Open to the Ordinary Encounter"



 "My greatest challenge is to be open to the ordinary encounter, to not withhold the love in me from the bored or incompetent person behind the counter, the slow driver ahead of me on a country road."--Rolf Gates

Friday, July 3, 2015

Taking a Break



One day recently, a friend of mine didn't leave the house, she stayed in her PJ's all day and ordered pizza from Dominoes. She wasn't sick, she was just taking a break. When she told her sponsor about it, her sponsor congratulated her. "For some people, this might be a slip," her sponsor said, "but for you, it's progress."

My friend Kyoko told me this morning that today was a federal holiday and then a few minutes later, the mail was delivered via US Mail. I guess I'm not the only one confused about what a break looks like; this tiny post pondering the idea is about as close as I'm going to get. At least for today.

Sorry for being cryptic dear readers; what I'm trying to say is if you ever don't see me here on a Tuesday or a Friday, congratulate me. For me, that would be progress.