Changing the daily ups and downs to something better.

There is a chaos in busy-ness. Things are going well. Patience brought its reward, and rather than wondering when things will start happening, suddenly everything happens at once, the to-do list is crazy, and there isn’t enough time. Not long after the initial high, depletion and a sense of feeling taken sets in. Was this the path I signed up for? Is it worth it? Did I say yes to the right thing? Or maybe it is the right thing, but is this it?

I experience this when I drop my non-negotiables. I experience this when I don’t keep my ultimate values at the forefront of consciousness. These non-negotiables and ultimate values are made up of those things which keep me grounded, nourished, and filled with life force. This includes getting enough sleep; having enough alone space to settle back, or deeper, into myself; having the time to make and take in the food that provides me with calm energy rather than depletes or wires me; and honestly practicing my self-care disciplines. It also includes making sure I have enough resources to take care of myself and my household needs. We live in the world, and our rent doesn’t get paid through magical thinking. I just read yesterday a comment by Yogi Bhajan about prosperity, and he said there is one caveat to becoming prosperous: you must be home to receive it. You must be grounded, not flying off into space. Get into your body.

Am I running so fast that I forget to check in with my breath throughout the day? This is not a matter of doing yoga as much as it is a matter of finding the presence in the moment as a practicality; a pragmatic practice to become better tooled and supported, offering an edge and a broader, birds-eye view that we otherwise throw away. When we breathe correctly, it connects our spirit to our body and grounds us while we fly. We respond rather than react. We are better able to not take things so personally. We have the ability to access our neutral mind. This isn’t boring stuff. It’s exciting because it’s empowering.

When my practice in self-care becomes rote, when my eyes on my ultimate values slowly move to the back burner of my consciousness, and when I forget to check in to my breath, the ups and downs happen, and life feels more challenging. When I keep those things sacred, anything can happen, time expands, and I am home, receptive.

We don't want to know

A couple of weeks ago, my son and I was having a conversation about climate change, and I was asking the question on why the varying degrees of acceptance in responsibility; why do people ask the same questions repeatedly, and as if they aren’t already answered by scientists; why the ambiguity?

He said, “because people don’t want to know.”

Even last night as we revisited this topic, he said, “and I know, and it’s hard for me to believe it, so imagine those that don’t want to know.”

Since the first time he said that, I’ve been observing my own internal response to things in my life – outside of climate change – in relation to how much I want to know, or how much responsibility I want to take. So far, it seems to correlate directly the level of ownership I want to take and the level of ambiguity I experience around it.

We didn’t want to know about the Holocaust when we first learned about it in America. Right now, we don’t want to know about other genocides. Many still don’t want to know about past and current atrocious behaviors against certain races, genders, and religions. And we don’t want to know about our own individual acts of psychological self dis-memberment, under which we attempt to protect and persecute ourselves all at once, not allowing us to live fully by taking responsibility to re-member who we are, clear out the crap, and make choices that will bring us back to wholeness.

It seems strange to start a paragraph with the Holocaust and end with our individual wholeness, but not so when we look through the lens: as is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm. When we want to change the world, as Michael Jackson sings, we need to look at the Man in the Mirror. Our insistence on closing our eyes to our part in the persecution of the world, including our planet, feels daunting and unproductive when there is work to do. It’s so much easier to point at others and articulate their mistakes. We feel righteous, like we solved something for the moment. But to look in the mirror and to acknowledge our own destructive, persecuting ways is step one in acknowledging something that needs to be looked at and bringing power back to us so that we may honestly begin to turn ourselves around, beginning with small acts of self-care, self-love, and forgiveness. As we see and heal ourselves, we begin to see and heal the world.

It's a struggle, but also, a full circle.

I really hadn’t gotten sick since my early 30s, and I’m now 51. I experience that window where I know that if I don’t take care of myself I will get sick, and if I do, it will have been just a couple days of something that’s going around that could have come on. I’m good at catching those windows and giving myself added attention through self-care.

I might still be able to argue that I haven’t gotten full blown sick… I lost my voice before Christmas, both my eyes were red for several days, and now I might be feeling a little something in my chest. Gratefully, my energy is fine, I feel steady, my body doesn’t ache, I don’t have a fever, nor a headache or stomachache, or anything that might make me feel otherwise slightly incapacitated.

But it makes me wonder what I need to attune to. It’s at the tip of my awareness, but I am not fully there.

I am currently in a transitional time in my life where both my children are seniors; my youngest will be going to college next year, and my oldest is graduating from college. Over the next few months, they will both know what city they will be living in. Maybe one will even live with me, or maybe I will have a different roommate (my boyfriend). Alas it could be both. Or neither. I haven’t lived with another adult in 17 years. Also, my studio is in transition where my business partner and I have moved from being the main teachers at the studio to giving the floor to many others. We are figuring out how to make this transition seamless (probably more emotionally than anything else) and have us all come out prosperous with the growing community that is as strong and as dynamic as ever. I get how growing a business is an incredibly spiritual practice.

We care about the world, and the world is moving fast, and the divide so intense and painful, and at the same time there are voices that speak poetry, inspire, make phenomenal change, and blur the lines of separation to bring us together as one human race. We feel so threatened by hearing the other side, trying to understand them. Working alongside them can feel like selling out, and we have trouble reconciling with that. Yet that’s what it would take to heal the world and to heal ourselves.

I feel caught in this constant reconciliation between the two sides, because I can see that everyone is doing their best. I think I’ve got it, but I realize that it will feel like effort for a while until maybe my own life transition settles down, at least in my heart if not physically. I think perhaps the intensity of our socio-political world that I am so sensitive to and the transition in my work and personal life all at once has created more internal pressure than I was aware of, and my body is telling me to step back for a moment. Check out the landscape, switch gears a little bit, and remember and reassess what I am doing and why.

As I share this, I can say with sincerity that I love where I am, and I do embrace this period where how the next phase of my life will roll out (and what the world will look like) is unknown to me. But clearly, it’s stressing me out a bit. And as I write this sentence, I laugh as I recognize that I get to go through another huge shift that I hadn’t gone through since my early 30s.

Like everyone else, I want to experience living fully.

So I’m enjoying paying attention to the ways that I don’t want to live fully; to the ways that I don’t show up. From the moment that I press the snooze button to the ease at which fear can cancel plans.

When the bed beckons, and I lie down in it for a moment, and it feels so good- what was the contrast that preceded it that opened the bed up to such a pleasureful experience?

What is that?

I’m enjoying this conversation between the two places that I’ve become conscious to. It was always there. I just hadn’t realized I was having it.

Loneliness and our need to be seen

What if our sense of belonging is directly correlated with our willingness to be (or stand by) ourselves? Can we feel like we truly belong when we become what we think others want us to be?

For those of us who might not be able to distinguish the difference, there’s a lot to unpack. But it seems totally worth it as it is that one of our essential human need is to be seen.

We work from our past

Let’s use it to our advantage. We know we look to it, and we know it shapes us. We also know that our memories are not the most accurate, and we’ve reshaped them to be what they are today. It’s the reason why my sister and I can share stories of our past, having lived in the same household, and wonder if in fact we grew up in the same household.

We tend to focus on the stuff that limit us, or where things (we, or others) went wrong. As if this is the responsible and productive thing to do. But what it does is have us believing we aren’t enough, we aren’t deserving; that we are victims, and when we come from that place, we can’t act in accordance with our higher selves, nor can we receive the gifts and joys that come our way (which they do, more frequently than one might believe), at least without feeling like they are on loan.

People that have money make it with greater ease because having it is in their reality so they don’t question it. People that didn’t have it growing up and make it don’t carry the weight of the tempting story of its unattainability, laboriousness, and the magic formula paired with the right emotions needed to make it. Nor do they question whether they should accept it. The very same goes with relationships and the company we surround ourselves in.

How would things change if we focused on what we have? On what we love, what makes us feel good beyond the split moment, what nourishes us and makes us feel connected? How would the experiences of our relationships shift if we saw the best in all?

When we can spend more time focusing on what creates joy in our lives, we can see more of it, we necessitate more of those things to show up (because the Universe seems to make our deepest truest thoughts right), and because we don’t energy drain on the shortcomings we’ve made to be true, we don’t shackle ourselves with questions of our self worth and whether or not we are deserving. We just show up, we serve, we ask, we smile from a more cellular level, and we receive and integrate what’s coming to us without questioning that reality.

So let’s create a more wealthy, fun, and happy habit of looking to the past at what’s connected and nourished us, and what’s brought us joy. Let’s look to how the people in our lives have done the best that they could, and still do, given the tools that they’ve had. Let’s focus on those things, because those things strike cords in us that vibrate in a way that feels resonant with prosperity. We’ve got to resonate with it in order to fully receive it: the connection, abundance, good health, digestion, sleep/relaxation, the thoughtfulness and generosity of others. Let’s trust this, and call on it, with 2020 clarity.