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Anything is Possible

Different Behavior =  Better experience

Changing how you think, and changing your behavior is a considerable amount of work but anything is possible.

Being aware of your thoughts is telling, because you can create something new by training yourself to think more toward growth instead of going back to old ideas and patterns.

What pattern would you like to change? For myself it is the love/hate relationship with myself. I have moments of really great choices and things and stuff and then shit goes south and hey, there I am back at the starting line again. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m the only person stopping me from doing everything I want, and it’s really damn annoying not to have anyone to blame, ya know? Can I just blame the Boomers? That’s what the rest of my generation does!

So, I’ve been bored and stagnant in my life because I’m not teaching this semester at the university. I will say that not having my email go off 700 times a day is a blessing, but I miss teaching. At first I was okay with it because I had things to do. We just moved and there were things to paint and renovations to make! I was so busy I didn’t notice that I didn’t have anything to do. Then my part time work started back, and that takes up the afternoons. But now I just waste my mornings. Sometimes I go workout. Sometimes I just do yoga in the floor. Sometimes I clean or other domestic shit. Sometimes absolutely nothing.

Because I’m bored, and applying for jobs is only something I can do for so long before I’ve applied for them all, I am working on volunteering. This week I start at the local library branch. In May, shadowing to be a docent at the local art museum. Art and Libraries, the two things I know and love. If I can’t get paid to do it I can at least still participate and do something I really love. I’m starting a 6 week course in conversational French to prepare for my trip to Paris. It will end the Friday before I depart. Oh, and it’s Free, yes Free, through my local library. Once I come back I’m going to take more courses through them on various computer programs, other languages, and some writing.

What’s missing from my life is that I miss learning. I’ve been completely submerged in an academic lifestyle for like 20 years, part student part faculty. It’s really hard to not have that to stimulate conversation and inspire work. Having a lot of time to be  domestic goddess is REALLY not my cup of tea. And it’s really becoming a struggle. Being at home so much is depressing as fuck and I don’t have the money to go do things that cost anything, so I am pulling all the strings I can to inspire myself back into a productive mind set. At this point I need something to spark me back into the world of interaction and thought and balance and inspiration. Even something as simple as helping people with simple computer questions, putting books on a shelf, and asking little kids what they think about something they see brings so much more joy to my mind than sitting around here any longer. I thought was going to be somewhat cool to just have some time off to do whatever. Yeah, it’s not that exciting. It is mind numbing.

So, by changing my behavior, I am hoping to cultivate something more inspiring and delightful in my own life. Something that brings me joy and sense of purpose. Adding these volunteer opportunities on top of the yoga I am already doing is really like a trifecta for me. All things I really like. Too bad I can’t get paid to do it all! Maybe one day that will change, but for now I’m just excited to start a new adventure.

Anything is possible. I’m ready to see what is out there.

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Yoga

I’m fat and I teach Yoga.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and it isn’t one that I talk about. Weight is that one touchy subject for most people, especially if they weigh more than they’re supposed to, and even more so when you’re into yoga. Say what?! Yoga? That practice that makes sure people understand that they are acceptable and perfect just the way that you are?! How could you possibly have any kind of problem if you do yoga? Isn’t that the point? To take your problems away? Ideally, but it isn’t always the case.

The first time I did yoga it was with my best friend and a YouTube Video. When I started practicing it was to gain relief from the vigorous weigh lifting that I was participating in at the time. I was always stiff and wanted to get relief and stretch the muscles that I worked so hard building. I started my journey doing Yin style yoga. I needed the calm, long stretches, in order to make the gains I wanted in my weight lifting routines. The yin of my practice helped me find balance with the powerful vigorous yang style I was lifting. If nothing else, I am strong. I am also obese, or if it makes you more comfortable, fat.

Now that we have that out of the way, you will understand why it was intimidating the first time I walked into a live action yoga class. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the very limber and thin yogi’s I practiced with the first time? I have always been a back row person, and I will always be one, but at that point it was for me to hide. I wasn’t really good at anything, since I was just starting my practice, but I was also determined. Yes, being the fat girl in the back of a yoga class was intimidating, and every time I go into a new studio I have the same thought “Please don’t let anyone notice.” News flash: They always notice! But it is empowering now, because people expect you to be one thing, and then you show them you’re another and they can no longer assume.

Why do you let the opinions of others bother you, you ask? Because it takes a LOT to get to the point where you ignore that kind of thing. Most days it is fine, other days it isn’t fine. Most days I am full of confidence and know I have the knowledge to succeed in my practice and the practice of others that I happen to teach. But teaching, being the fat yoga teacher, that is a different bag of tricks!

Talk about intimidating to step into the place of the teacher, and be the biggest person in the room. People think you don’t know anything, or that you can’t do anything, or that you can’t possibly be a yogi because you’re fat. That is because we spend so much time thinking that our weight defines us and determines who we are. We are conditioned as a society to shame and think terribly of people who are fat, no matter where we encounter them. I want to be the person that helps adjust the way people think and what people think yoga is supposed to be/look like.  I assume that when someone who has never taken a class with me before walks into the room and meets me as the teacher, the prejudice comes out. Why? Well, because that is what we’ve been taught to do. All yoga instructors can tie themselves into a knot and stand on their head, without the help of their hands, and must weigh less than 150 pounds, right? I mean, if you believe the internet then yes! But if you have the ability to think and experience things for yourself, then No.

If nothing else, as a yoga instructor I want to be able to influence others in the way they think and perceive what the shell of a yogi should be. Because that is simply what the fat I cary on my body is–a shell. It doesn’t tell you anything about me as a person. It doesn’t determine my value or skill level. It doesn’t effect you in any way, shape or form. I want people– fat or thin–to understand that you should accept people for who they are, instead of what you think they are. Give them a chance to explore what it is they have to offer the world, and let them do that without judging them. If you walk into a yoga class and the teacher is as big as two normal sized yogi’s, don’t underestimate them. I’ve seen some fat girls do some pretty impressive things!

Every single day I am thankful that I found a studio where I don’t feel judged or unappreciated because of my size. In my studio I’m not afraid of being the fat girl in the class. And if at all possible I hope to inspire other people who think they may not be able to do something to at least try. Cause you know if the fat girl can do it, you probably can too.

In closing, to all the fat girls in the back row of the yoga class, or the one at the head of the class teaching–you’re not alone. You are a spectacular being who deserves a place to celebrate the abilities that you have while not being judged for the things you can’t do yet (key word is YET). So, own your space on the mat and off. Own your body and your choices, and even though it seems impossible sometimes, ignore the negativity that others have for you. Yes, easier said than done as always. What if they stare? Stare back. What if they snicker and laugh at you? Honestly, if they want to make fun of you they will, but the beautiful thing is that the reason they make fun is because they don’t have the courage to do what you’re doing. They don’t understand the struggle of being the fat yogi or the fat instructor. And if they have time to sit and make fun of you, really they’re probably projecting their own view of themselves. We make fun of the things we don’t understand or that make us uncomfortable, and I can tell you right now that people get REAL uncomfortable when the fat girl isn’t afraid of being confident in herself.

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Holiday Reflections

It is a week until Christmas Eve. A week until I make moves to go see my family. Thankfully it is only a 3ish hour drive to my mom’s house, so nothing crazy travel wise. Leaving Zack behind and not getting to spend Christmas with him makes me sad. His job doesn’t allow for travel at the holidays, or much of anything else beyond work 100% of the time, so I suck it up. I wish it was different, and one day in the future it will be, but right now it makes me sad. Mostly sad because I like having him around, and being the first Christmas without my dad, I wish I could have him with me. Just for little things, like holding my hand or something.

I want to be in the holiday spirit, and some moments I am, but other times I just find it to be too much. Too much traffic. Too much of a hassle. Too much worry over “will this fit them?” Or “Will they like it” or other things along those lines. Christmas has just turned into a pissing match. Who can spend the most on things that people don’t actually need? What I need is some time with people. Time to sit and chat about the year. Time to share a meal that we made together. Time to laugh and cry if necessary. To just appreciate one another over some cookies and coffee or tea. I want to reconnect. To know you guys and who you’ve become this year is all I actually want for Christmas. Just had a thought about how excited I am to stand around my sisters kitchen and eat her homemade cheese straws and talk about nothing. Or sit around my other sisters living room and watch my niece run around babbling in her 2 year old language while the rest of us eat flavored goat cheese on crackers and share a bottle of wine from my brother-in-law’s vineyard. I can’t wait. I just long to have Zack by my side to do all the things. But alas, life doesn’t work that way.

2018 didn’t turn out to be the year I wanted it to be. Dad died at the end of February, and while things were going really well up until that point, it obviously caused a rift in the rest of the year. Dealing with him being gone has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Mind you, I’ve still got 3 grandparents, and the 4th I never knew, so I haven’t been burdened with the emotions of death in my close family, ever. I don’t know if I am doing it right, and I know there is no right, so either way I guess I am. Either way it is my journey, and I will do what I have to do, because it is all I can do. Each day is a new day, a new experience, like no other day.

I want to make 2019 about exploring and adventure. I want my relationship to grow. I want to focus on living my life, doing better for myself daily, and continuing to make my father proud. I struggle so much with focusing on myself. I have moments where it is all I do, and my yoga practice is on point, my stress is low, I’m writing daily, and putting forth great efforts to love and take care of myself. And this year it has been the biggest struggle. I’m ready to take that power back (even though it never left) and cultivate it into something. Nothing perfect, just something better. And I am promising myself now, in this moment, that I am worth so much to myself that I will take the time, listen to my body, expand my mind, and generally just focus on bettering myself. I’ve been a huge factor in my own isolation this year, and I’m not like that usually. Sure I’ve been dealing with some shit, but it is up to me to end the isolation. I don’t need it for any reason, and spending this time alone, away from friends, family, and Zack has been necessary I guess in some way. I needed a retreat. I’m done retreating. Being social and active again is necessary. Being a functioning person in the world! Motivated and alive again. It has been long enough. I get now why people back in the day would be in mourning for so much time. Years may have been a bit too much, but I completely understand the reasoning.

So, 2019 a year of adventure and excitement. A year dedicated to bettering myself. A year dedicated to not being a hermit all the time. A year dedicated to accepting the world as it is, myself included, and doing my best to make it better. Whatever that looks like!

I sincerely wish you all the best, whomever you are. A new year of promise! Love! Life! Beauty! And everything that comes with it. ❤

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“Climb Every Mountain

Forde every stream! Follow every rainbow, til you find your dream. ” ~The Sound of Music

 

I am a mountain girl. I live at the beach now, but I was born in the elevation and I often hear those stacks of granite calling my name. Earlier this summer I went to the Pacific Northwest and did a lot of exploring in nature. Growin up on the East Coast, our mountains and coastline look drastically different. Our mountains are much older and thus much smaller. Being up high in Hurricane Ridge was terrifying to me. I have a heights issue, weird I know. But the climbing is exhilarating. Terrifying at times, but I think it is more about the effort, the challenge.

I am not a star athlete or anything similar. I have a decent amount of strength and flexibility and I don’t mind walking long distances, so hiking is decent fun to me. If the hill is steep I will take breaks as needed. If there are bugs I will spray my body. If it begins to rain, I will get wet. I think now that my life is so much different, I feel more connected to the earth. I’m doing my best to stay grounded and still explore. I think that’s another reason the mountains call out to me. The provide that grounding and great exploration.

Zack has inspired me. He does a pretty epic job of it regularly, but one thing he’s accomplishing is a pretty big goal. Visit all 50 states by the time he’s 30. And we’re going to his last 3 of the main 48 next week. It is the first time we’re going to travel together beyond a short car ride. I’m excited! Beyond being excited I am using his example to have a life goal. Not accomplished by a specific age, but a life goal. I want to visit all of the National Parks. I was going to say the National Forests, but there’s like 150 of those compared to 60 parks. Of course I’ve been to a few already, but on par with Zack–in order for you to have been to that state you have to eat there–so in order for me to get credit for my National Park, I have to have a picture with the sign. Seems only fair.

It’s weird. I have this epic need to travel and see things. Even if it is just local travel. I’ve been doing my hermit shit since Dad died and I think I’m ready to take on the world. I’m moving forward with my career goals. I’m working on the PhD application process. I applied for an award to see if I can get funding to do some research. If I don’t get the funding I’m still going to write it, but I won’t be able to visit the countries and use the sources. That just makes it harder. But I want to see things. I love the idea of having roots, and being able to bounce around and come back to the familiar. I also always wanted someone to travel with and have experiences with. Seems I may have found one. 🙂

So, next week when we go to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont there will be some hiking in the White Mountains. It is not a national park, but a forest, and the views are apparently epic. So as my part of this journey I want to hike. He’s down for it, so we’re going to do it! And I’m excited to plan other adventures to National Parks across the country! Here’s to adventure!

Climb ev’ry mountain
Search high and low
Follow ev’ry by-way
Every path you know
Climb ev’ry mountain
Ford ev’ry stream
Follow ev’ry rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Everyday of your life
For as long as you live
Climb ev’ry mountain
Ford ev’ry stream
Follow ev’ry rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Climb ev’ry mountain
Ford ev’ry stream
Follow ev’ry rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Life

All that L-O-V-E

I don’t know how many of you watched the Royal Wedding yesterday, but I did for about 45 minutes. I stopped just after they exchanged rings because I had a life to live. It was a really delightful service because of the inclusion of the minister who spoke about love. Not only was he a powerful and delightful to watch, but he spoke with such conviction about love and what it really is. I’m not a religious person, spiritual yes, religious no. I know a lot about religions from around the world, and I find a lot of the aspects of various religions to be quite delightful, and other parts not. And in all the religions I have studied or read about have I ever heard such a beautiful explanation of love. He truly made me cry. But he also gave me a lot to think about.

Oh there’s power – power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it – it actually feels right. There’s something right about it.

And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here.~Bishop Curry 5/19/18

So powerful. Love is the reason we’re here. But like he said it isn’t just romantic love, but to love all because we are all one. Loving even when it is hard. Loving people who you completely don’t trust or someone who has terribly bad moral convictions or is just a terrible person for whatever reason, is viciously hard. But the thing is, it isn’t impossible. If that is the only reason that we’re on this earth, then why wouldn’t we strive to be this being of love?

I think of these lessons and I also think about how lucky I am to love someone who truly loves me back. Someone who I can say I love you to and have it feel right. I have said I love you to people in the past, and I always thought, and still do, that if saying it out loud took your breath away then it was real. The difference in telling those in my past that I loved them vs. telling Zack is that I don’t question that he means it when he replies. I don’t question if I mean it either, I just feel completely right in saying it. I’ve never felt completely right. Something was always wrong, like when I said it there would be a feeling of anticipation of whether or not someone would say it and actually mean it. And there were times I said it and I didn’t mean it, so there’s always a chance that they didn’t mean it. And the shitty thing is, we all didn’t know any better. But oddly enough I think I finally know better.

I was in love with Zack long before I ever told him. I was always afraid to screw up something by being too emotional, you know women have that stigma about them. But because I didn’t say it, and because I wasn’t being honest with him or myself it would give me anxiety. Dumb thing to have anxiety over, I know this, but anxiety is one of those things you can’t control. And after I said it I was totally scared about it, but I was also ready to not be anxious about something silly anymore. He’d proven to me many times that he wasn’t going anywhere, so why not go for it? And then I did and the words were welcomed and expressed back. And I never actually had anxiety over or about him or his feelings ever sense. For the first time in my life I seem to be right when I express that feeling, and when I say it I really mean it.

The weird thing is sitting here reflecting on those few people I expressed my love for and how really insignificant they were to me, but rather I was determined to have someone love me. I think the biggest difference is that I finally learned to accept and love myself the way I wanted someone else to love me. I spoil myself from time to time. I tell myself I love you. I take care of my body the best way I know how. I set goals and attempt to achieve them. And even when life sends me blow after blow I get the fuck back up. It might take me longer depending on what the blow is, but I find my way. It took me a desperately long time to not hate myself, and I think when I was telling those people that I loved them I wanted them to show me how to love me. Because I didn’t know how. But the awesome thing is now, everyday, when I wake up, even though sometimes it is hard to do, I find a way to love myself. And I don’t need Zack to validate me, but I do appreciate the affection and all the love he does provide. Sometimes I don’t think I deserve him, but I know he’s part of my life for a reason, to show me something, to be the catalyst for something, or maybe just to be a force of love in my life. I know one thing, I am so blessed.

So yesterday, when I was listening to the Bishop speak about love I really understood what he was talking about for the first time. I will continue to focus on how my life is here because of love and for love. Even when it is hard. Even when it seems impossible. I am here for love and I will do my best to not do anything else.

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.

Life

When Your Path Shifts…

We always think we know what is best for us, and honestly sometimes we do, but sometimes the universe knows better than we do. Some of us call it God, some of us call it a force greater than ourselves. Whatever it is that you call it, that force helps dictate the right path. Even though we think we know what we want, sometimes we just do things because we think that is what is supposed to happen, and then it doesn’t. Then we end up back at square one, trying to figure out what the fuck we’re actually supposed to be doing. That my friends is where I am today.

In the two weeks following the death of my father I wanted to make a big change and take a huge chance in my life. I applied to an EdD program (Doctor of Education) at the university where I work. I got all my paperwork together really quickly, and if we’re being honest, applied to the easiest program I could find. They didn’t require GRE scores (mine are out of date and I REALLY don’t want to take it again), they didn’t require huge essays, lots of writing examples, etc. It was super cut and dry. So, I applied. Wrote the letter of interest, focused on a topic that I thought they would gravitate toward. None of it was a lie, but it wasn’t the real truth of my being, if that makes sense. I got all the paperwork done and submitted. Then came the wait. I assumed I wouldn’t hear back until the official cut off date was here (May 15). Yesterday, I got my rejection letter.

I opened the letter, assuming that I honestly didn’t get in, and I was right. I didn’t get upset. I honestly hadn’t invested THAT much time in this attempt at higher education. I honestly didn’t even really want to get an EdD, but I did want a big change. I wanted something to happen in my life. I needed to fill a void. I needed to continue making my dad proud. I needed to do all these things, but the thing is I wasn’t being true to myself or the path I know I am supposed to take. My heart wasn’t in it. It wasn’t the right path. And despite my attempt at changing something quite big in my life, it didn’t work because I wasn’t supposed to do it. My sister told me to apply again next year. And I very well could, but why would I want to try this path again, when I honestly know it isn’t the right path.

For a long time my path has been art. It is the only thing I have ever been really passionate about. I really like yoga too, but we all know no one actually makes a living on yoga. Art keeps my attention. Genuinely, there is no way that I would want to continue a career that didn’t involve art. I tried the library thing, I thought it would get me a solid job and put me in a career that I would get to have for the next 50 years. It wasn’t my path either. It was a huge supplement to the art path, because it made me a much better researcher, still not meant to be my path. All of the rejection over the years should have been the indication of that, yet I still apply for library jobs and things never happen.

But the thing is I’m applying for those library jobs and the EdD program for the wrong reasons. I did it for the potential of a ‘good’ job, where I could have benefits and a decent income. I did it for the wrong reason though. Why would I even attempt to do those things when I know it would make me feel empty inside. I don’t want to work in university administration. I don’t want to work in a library (unless it is an art library). I just don’t. I want to be a scholar. I don’t even necessarily want to be a PhD, but I want to be a scholar. I want to write articles, have them published one day. I want to maybe even write a book and have it published too. I want to work on innovative new ways to take my art history courses to the online platform that is much more interesting than the way I have them now. I want to show the world that art, be it visual or musical or literary, is the most important thing in society. I want to present at conferences and show the world what I know. I want to be a scholar.

The one question is how does one become a scholar? Well, that part I have to figure out, but lucky for me I have some amazing mentors who are helping me each step of the way. I have a family that supports me. I have amazing friends who support me. I have an amazing man in my life who wants nothing more than to be supportive and help me in any way possible. I have the knowledge to explore different topics. I just have to find the time and dedication to make it all happen. This time I have, and this time I will start to utilize until I get on the right path and become the scholar that I know I am supposed to be.

Will there be hiccups along the way? Yes. Will there be highs and lows? Yes. Will there be many sleepless nights? More than likely so. Will I keep trying? Every. Day.

I hope everyone has a productive Sunday!

Yoga

Full, Blue Moon Yoga

Let me just say that today has been an awesome day.

The cat might have yelled at me to get up at the normal 6:15 to feed her, but it’s still been awesome.

I put together an awesome full moon yoga class on this lovely full and blue moon day. So much power to be absorbed today. I really had so much fun with the ladies from my class today. We made our way through a couple different moon cycles and had some balancing fun in half moon. It was also the best I’ve probably ever done half moon in my life!

One of the parts of my theme today was to pay attention to the impulsive behavior that comes along with a full moon, as well as the emotions and potential heightened senses. Something along the lines if you’re an impulsive shopper, probably don’t go shopping today. Or if you have a tendency to be emotional to be a little easier on yourself and just pay attention to the feelings that arrive in your mind. It happens to all of us. But not everyone pays attention.

From there I asked them to let go of the things that are no longer serving a purpose in their life. I think this part is a reason I’m having a good day! I’m starting to let go of things that have plagued me for a while. And by a while I mean some of them the majority of my life. Also, most of them are self inflicted. Tells you something. But in the moment, letting go is such a welcomed thing. You genuinely become lighter and smile brighter and all kinds of other thing!

In addition, yesterday was kind of monumental and plays into this. Letting go of anger and bitterness I have toward people I’m related to was a fucking powerful thing. And today, working with my students, helping them get rid of whatever they needed was so energizing! I can’t explain it, but the reward of teaching yoga is powerful. And because moon cycles aren’t super common I went through them with demonstrations. The full effect of the class was not achieved for me because I’m still the teacher, but the little bit of it that I did get was spectacular!

Now, I’m off to make a red velvet cake from scratch, for the first time, to take to the Stauble’s Easter celebration. Pray I don’t fuck it up! I cook, I don’t do so well baking, but I have faith that today, being as awesome as it is, will keep on being awesome and bring me success with this baking.

Have a happy Easter everyone. Love your people. Love yourself.