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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
Yoga

A Year Later…

So, how has it been a year since I graduated from my Yoga teacher training? It’s amazing how this year has changed me. I’ve gone through a lot, and I have to say that even though I have struggled with everything, including yoga, it is still something that I have been able to keep consistent. I try to ask myself what I’ve learned over the last year, and I’ve really had to dig down and figure out what that has been. Sometimes what we’ve learned gets clouded by what happened or other things in life.

First and foremost I have learned that people not coming to your yoga class is not a reflection on you, but on them and their inconsistencies. Since I live and work by the beach, especially this time of the year, I have to compete with the ocean on nice days. Since I teach on Saturday mornings, especially!

Second, I’ve learned that teaching can be defeating feeling. I’ve taught so many classes since I graduated from kids to caretakers, from a group of friends to a group of regular students. Somedays everything is lively and amazing, other days it actually feels like work. You can only hope that when shit is feeling like work that there is some kind of saving grace in your class that helps your students through, so they don’t feel like it’s work.

Third, you meet really interesting people along the way. They might be students or other teachers, but you do get to know some interesting folks.

Fourth, planning a workshop is not the easiest thing in the world. So many questions! I’m working on one currently, and I don’t know how or when it will all fall into place, but it will and I’m certain it will be amazing. Sometime this Fall!

Fifth, it is perfectly acceptable to take a risk. Whether it is with sequencing or theme or whatever, it is awesome to try those things, even if they’re kind of rocky in the beginning, the more you try, the easier it will become. I had this issue teaching a yoga class on the beach. It isn’t as easy as you’d think! It was truly a challenge for me but I’m glad I had the opportunity. And, if all goes well, if I do it again, I dare say it will be as much of a struggle.

Teaching is something that I enjoy doing. I make a living in a classroom, so taking my knowledge to the yoga studio seemed like it would be pretty similar. It is. But instead of talking about art everyday, I get to help people through an activity. I try my best to incorporate visuals, based around the myths of why we do what we do, so they can reflect back and think about their actions.

I am excited to see what the next year has to offer me. I look forward to seeing how much things change, and while they are, doing my best to live in the present moment and focus here and now. What can I accomplish today? Well, I strive to be 1% better than I was yesterday, since that is all I can do.

Happy Anniversary to all my Kula girls. And Happy Anniversary to me ❤

Life, Yoga

Father’s Day & Things

We made it through Mother’s Day, and even though I didn’t see my mom I made sure she knew she was loved. Tomorrow is my parents anniversary, followed by Father’s Day Sunday. At this moment I’m not sure how I feel. I am so sad for my mom, and I know the only thing I can do is let her know she isn’t alone. She’s taking a trip up to the town where they got married and where they spent the majority of their anniversaries. I know it will be painful for her, but I think it may also bring her some peace.

I have spent the majority of June celebrating my father. I took a trip around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Along this trip I hiked in rain forests, cliff faces down to the ocean, over fallen drift wood, and scaled the sides of mountains. I took with me a vile of my dad’s ashes so that I could have a little piece of him with me and so I could take him to see some cool ass places. This way, he got to see the world with me, ya know? I scattered the first ashes at Ruby Beach. I built little stone markers for each spot, but Ruby Beach there was a distant view of a light house, and the spot where I left him was one where fresh water met the salt. This is the first time I have seen the Pacific Ocean.

I also spread some of his ashes at Rialto Beach. When I was doing that I tried to write his name in the sand but in doing so I stopped watching the ocean, and it came up and got me. My shoes were soaked, which wasn’t super good news, but I had to laugh because I figured it was dad showing me he was there. This is also a beach that looked like where they filmed the Goonies, but that one is farther south (I think that’s what she told me).

Turns out that I still had a fair amount of ashes, so we had to find one more places to leave him. We were already done hiking the Olympic National Forest trails that we had planned on hiking. We ended up back in Seattle and I still had these ashes. So, Rose took us to a beach that was still part of the city. According to the stamp on my photographs it was called Golden Gardens Park. The fun thing about this spot was not only did he end up with a view of the water, he gets to watch boats go by because there is a marina near by. He also gets to watch the trains, because the tracks run along the back of the park. All of those things are, were, things he loved. The crazy way he showed me he was there was after I covered the ashes with sand, I turned to walk back to where my friends were, and lightning struck and thunder bellowed all around. The rain started just moments later. Apparently, it never really thunders in Seattle, or lightnings either. So, the old man made a loud sign to show me he was there. ❤

Dad didn’t have a connection to the Pacific Northwest, and honestly pretty sure he never had been there before ever. But when mom asked me if I wanted to take some ashes, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only did I want him to come, but I want him to go everywhere I go, from now on. One of the parts that hurt the most was not being able to come home and see his face and get a big hug and tell him all about my trip. It was the only way I actually had this experience. Even though there was no bear hug, and no breakfast talk about life (I had one with my mom instead and it was good too). So Sunday, to keep celebrating him I think I will go and roam around in nature, sit by the ocean, and absorb all the grace I can from the world and myself.

This is one of those moments when I think, had I know last Father’s Day would be the last I would have done something better. Shown more love. Been a better daughter. I don’t know what I would have done but it would have been something. My life is different now. I exist in a world where half of my genetics no longer does. I go one each day, and yet he’s not here. Some days are perfectly fine, but this whole month has been hell on my emotions. I know they say it comes in waves, and yes it does seem to do that, but this is one of those big long waves that surfers get a lot of good moves out of before it falls flat. It’s been going to a real long time, and I still have a couple days.

Love your people a little more today than usual, and each day from now add a little more. It makes it worth it.

 

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.