When You’re Missing Something

It has been months since I wrote an actual blog post and I miss it terribly. Not having time to write creatively has made me realize how much I enjoy that kind of writing. And how much I miss it.

So, today, as I sit watching the first storm of April 2017 outside my office windows, I’ve decided that I am going to take the time to do some free writing. My hope is that it will be today’s blog post AND that it will spark more regular writing, and therefore more regular posts here again.

When life gets busy the natural consequence is that you have to give up some things. With a new job, finishing my yoga certification, taking some courses, having a new grand-baby, beginning to teach yoga classes. . .it’s the writing that has fallen by the wayside. Throughout the last few months I have realized that I need creativity in my life. Creativity and the space to be creative.

In recent weeks some parts of my job have become particularly challenging and I found myself falling into some old patterns of negativity and angst. Both emotional reactions that can result in an overall sense of unhappiness. I know from past experience that in order to bring stability into my life a creative outlet is necessary.

It is the habits we cultivate in life that make us who we are and we certainly can cultivate negative habits as easily as positive ones. Any habit is the result of practicing that habit, therefore I will need to get back into a routine of regular writing. It is not easy to change habits because it requires a great deal of commitment, will power, and focus. Sometimes a mantra (“Just write” ~ “You can do it”) is helpful and making the time is essential.

Starting small will allow me some feeling of success and that will be a reward in itself. This is a time to let the ‘noise’ of the world around me dissipate ~ listening to the voices that say “not good enough”, “not enough”, “no one cares” will not prove helpful, so I will practice pushing the negative noises away and replace them with affirmations like “I did it”, “every voice is important”. In this way I am creating a sense of positivity related to the habit I want to increase.

To cultivate is to prepare and use something, so in order to cultivate the habits I want in my life I will need to dig, hoe, mulch, and weed as necessary to ensure I am providing the most fertile ground for the habits to thrive in. As the words begin to take root and grow that will be the encouragement to maintain the habit and return equilibrium to my world.

Yoga Certified

Wow! This journey of becoming a certified yoga teacher has been a fantastic adventure of learning, reflection, and camaraderie. Beginning in August of 2015 and ending August 2016, a group of 18 came together for one weekend each month to delve into the world of yoga. Along with that I found myself also delving deeper into the self, striving to better understand the inner workings that led me to this wonderful experience.

the-gang

Like the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly, emerging from the safety of Heart Space Yoga and teacher trainer Andrea Thibaudeau has been a metamorphosis of sorts. We delved into the history and philosophy of yoga, anatomy, and dived deeply into ourselves, becoming more aware of all that we need to feel spiritually and physically complete.

My most powerful takeaway is that I already have within in me, as do all living things, what is needed to be fulfilled. To learn to trust your own wisdom is a compelling lesson – one that should not be forgotten or dismissed. As I move forward with newfound skills and knowledge I hope to instill this same teaching into the work I do with others. Another way of saying this is that each of us is enough, just as we are. At our core is perfection and when we take the time to look inward with awareness and a non-judgmental mind, we can see the perfection that exists within. Perfection does not mean without flaws or challenges, but rather that what we are is all we need to be. This does not mean we never change, because without change there is not growth. By looking inward we can recognize the challenges we face. Andrea often referred to this as ‘the rub’ – those things we encounter in life that make us feel a bit uncomfortable. These ‘rubs’ are the truths we want to access through self-awareness and when we treat them as opportunities to expand we can enhance our lives.

Moving toward my own expansion and a desire to bring the world of yoga and mindfulness to others, I am taking steps to creating my own studio and offering of classes. I am so excited about the possibilities, which are endless. To begin I have ordered the supplies I will need to teach my classes. . .

They arrived this week~
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Whew! What a load of boxes! I was so excited that I poured myself a glass of wine and went to work making a celebration of the unpacking ~ and look how wonderful my props are~

yoga-props-2

My hope is to tie nature into my yoga practices and so I went for the natural, earthy tones and hope my students will love them as much as I do. More importantly I hope I will put them to good use helping others.

I immediately invited my husband to a little restorative session with the new props and I think he appreciated my experimentation. He certainly looked relaxed.

As I move forward on this journey I will be looking for places to offer classes. I have been approached by a number of friends and acquaintances, mostly in the 50-70 age group, and I am working on developing classes for beginners as well as restorative classes for those who need more directed relaxation and mindfulness time or those who have physical limitations.

I have added “Sweetwater Studios” to my menu bar on the home page of the blog, where readers can access information about Sweetwater Studios~Fitness, or Sweetwater Studios~Photography.

There is so much to be appreciative for these days, and so many who have, and continue to support me in my journey!

Namaste to you all!

heart hands

I am Concerned

I find myself being concerned about a great many things in this world. You may have heard some of this from me in previous posts, but to give you an idea of a few things that concern me in this life:

~the drug commercials that are far too prevalent on television
~the excessive use of cell phones
~traffic accidents caused by the excessive use of cell phones
~people who say “I don’t care”
~the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”
~lack of accountability

Yet, at the very same time, I try to remain positive and think often about all the amazing and wonderful things this life brings!

That is a paradox at times ~ on the one hand horrible and tragic events occur daily while simultaneously miraculous events are happening.

Positivity usually wins out, but there are times when I simply have to spend time with the concerns, and perhaps figure out a way to accept/cope with/manage/overcome them. I believe in being pro-active ~ in planning ahead to make things work well before problems occur. In the real world that doesn’t always happen.

Change is sometimes necessary ~ often even unavoidable. In trying to be a change agent there are a lot of barriers to overcome. It seems the greatest one is that much of the time people don’t want change to happen. This is what concerns me today: how to manage being an agent for change when surrounded by people who don’t want change.

I’m taking my dilemma to the ‘streets’ so to speak and asking to hear from you. Are you the kind of person who struggles with change? If so, how does it feel when someone is trying to tell you the change MUST happen? Is there a time when someone around you managed change in a way that worked well? Do you have experience as a change agent? What works for you to help move things along?

I look forward to your ideas and know that each one of you will potentially contribute something that will help me move in the right direction. Thank you.

sunflower

Rearranging Life

I find myself wanting to rearrange the furniture in my house often. It’s always been this way. It took my husband a little getting use to at first, but he’s adaptable.

New arrangements is just one of many ‘new’ ideas that I seem attached to. I like the new.

Sometimes I wonder – when living in a world full of people who seem to NOT like change, why am I enthused and motivated by it?

The short answer is that I see change as progress.

Okay, okay, before you jump on the idea that all change does not equal progress let me say that I do understand that. All change is not for the better.

Yet. . . sometimes change can be painful and for that reason can be equated with bad change. Like when my husband comes home late, after I’ve rearranged the living room, and he stubs his toe on the chair that wasn’t there the day before.

Even when change IS for the better, sometimes it isn’t easy to see that right from the beginning. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith – a belief that something happens for a reason – a good reason, and we just need to trust that not knowing the reason doesn’t mean it isn’t change for the better.

How many times have you heard about, or experienced a situation that you thought, in the beginning, was tragic? Yet later, after all was said and done, you could look back and say, things are better now.

It was all for the best.
Blessing in disguise.
If hindsight were foresight.
Things happen for a reason.

These are things we hear often because there is some truth to them.

Thinking back to my life 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, I know that the changes I’ve experienced have been good – they represent progress in my life. Many of the changes were the result of difficulty and often challenging circumstances. Yet, they did lead me to where I am today and I think that’s a pretty great place.

I remember my mom telling me that after my father passed, when my siblings and I were young children, she talked to us about moving. We begged her not to. We didn’t want anything else to change in our lives and pleaded with her not to make us leave our friends, our school, our home. But she moved anyway – out of necessity – and after only a few short weeks we told her, “This is the best thing you could have done. We love it here (in our new home.)”

She learned from that experience to trust her choices. That’s an important change and certainly represented progress in her growth as a human being.

Today, I suggest we acknowledge that change can be difficult, or challenging, and sometimes even painful. I suggest we also acknowledge that while we often don’t know the outcomes of the changes we are experiencing, it would serve us well to embrace the change. Recognize that we cannot make progress in life, or society, or the world, without change. Change is inevitable, so why not accept that, hold that close and see how acceptance rather than rejection can simplify our lives.

change

First Days of School

Today was the first day of school for students at the high school where I work. It’s an exciting time that I enjoy each year – seeing returning students, happy to be back and excited to be moving forward – closer to graduation and adulthood.

It’s also an exciting, and anxious, time for new students. The freshmen class typically worries about whether they will be able to find their classes, of if they will know anyone. Many of our students come from towns, or countries, far away and have not yet met anyone in this new community they will be a part of.

For me it was a pleasure to roam the halls between classes, greeting familiar faces, meeting so many new students, and helping others to find their way.

In a new position this year, I too am trying to find my way. It is a good thing to be forced to have a “beginner’s mind” – to be always looking at things as if for the first time.

Beginner’s mind is Zen practice in action. It is the mind that is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgments and prejudices. Beginner’s mind is just present to explore and observe and see “things as-it-is.” I think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. “I wonder what this is? I wonder what that is? I wonder what this means?” Without approaching things with a fixed point of view or a prior judgment, just asking “what is it?”
~Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman

As we face the many challenges of change this year, I most often find myself asking how will I do that? or what will it take to get that done?
We often believe that to teach we must be the experts. The truth is that education must be about change because the world is an evolutionary place and it is impossible to be an expert each and every day. Donald M. Murray says the reason he writes is “to discover what I am thinking, not what I have already thought. I write not to confirm or document what I know. . .but to discover what I do not yet know. If I am to surprise myself with fresh insight, I need to be disloyal to what I have written – thought, felt, believe, remembered before. I want to discover what I know that I didn’t know I knew…”

This is not only true for the writer, but for every learner. In order to look at life from many perspectives we must never be too certain of what we know, but always aware of what others think they know, and what none of us yet know. I have learned that when you go through life with a beginner’s mind you launch more possibilities than you ever imagined before. The world seems to open up and become filled with opportunities.

“The very nature of beginner’s mind is not knowing in a certain way, not being an expert.” As Suzuki Roshi said in the prologue to Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.” As an expert, you’ve already got it figured out, so you don’t need to pay attention to what’s happening. Pity.”

New Viola

New Viola