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I have spent the past 5 years working towards something. I have spent 1175 hours in training, taught over 1500 classes, led 5 teacher trainings and dozens of workshops and short programs. So what was I working towards? At the end of the day, I do not know that I ever really knew. I knew that I loved what I was doing, that it was changing my life and that it was what I was meant to do, yet I could never really put into words what I was doing it for. And, that is perfect! It is perfect because I was never disappointed with what I got. I was surprised. Sometimes joyous, sometimes upset and often confused, but never disappointed. And at the end of it all what I got was a new beginning. And a new awareness of exactly who I am choosing to be without me as a person changing at all.
Yes, after 5 years and hours and hours of time and effort, what I now know is that I am aware of what is around me, what I am doing and what I have always done. In essence, nothing has changed while everything is different. I see what I have never been able to see before and am beyond curious to see what comes up moving forward. I have given up fear, sadness, anger, resentment, the concern for looking good, people pleasing over and over and over again. And in all that giving up what was really in my way was the "figuring out" of what to give up. The thinking and figuring and working it all out. The trying to make sense of it all and explaining and justifying of it all. It is exhausting!
So what did I learn from it all? What did I get? I got FREEDOM. The freedom in I do not know. The freedom in nothing is wrong and nothing needs to be fixed. The freedom in that I do not need to DO anything. All I need is to be with, be with what is so and what is happening right in front of me. To not figure it out, fix it, or do anything, just show up and choose who I will be. And then what happens will happen, a new moment will arrive and I get to be with all over again.
A week ago I finished leading the first weekend of my first training outside of Moonshine. I was nervous and excited, unsure of what would happen. It was the first time in a while that I found myself with very little expectations or story around how it would go. What I got was one of the biggest surprises of my life!
I left Georgia after 3 long and amazing days in tears. I cried as if I had been in program or training myself. And I cried with joy and love in my heart. I felt alive. I felt fulfilled. I felt complete! The time I spent in a new place doing what I love to do brought out an expression in me I did not know was possible. I was completely open and transparent in a new way. I was at complete ease with myself and everyone else. I was powerful. I was someone I did not recognize and sure wanted to see a lot more of. And I say this knowing that I thought I had felt all those things before, just not at this level. I got curious and had to ask myself, "what did I give up unconsciously that allowed this part of me to come out?"
Attachment! It was so clear. I had no attachment to anything or anyone going into this training. I did not have an expectation for any specific result nor any attachment to any outcome for anyone. Sure, I wanted everyone to get something out of the weekend, to fall in love with the practice and methods and to have a breakthrough, but I was not fixated on it. It was my intention, but not my attachment. So what did I get? An experience for both myself and the participants that I did now know was possible. What occurred was outside of my realm of knowing and imagination. What I got was more than I could have expected.
What I now know, is that when I attach myself to a specific result, I inevitably limit myself to that result or most often, something smaller. When I give up attachment, get real and honest and do what I love, my results will exceed anything I could have imagined and go far beyond my limited expectation. What are you missing out on because you limit yourself to only what you can expect and attach to?
Two nights ago I had made plans that I thought I was very excited about. It was something that I kept saying that I wanted to do and finally my timing lined up and I was "free" to go. A few hours before I was to leave, I had this dread in the pit of my stomach. I felt myself getting upset. My mood shifted. It was right then and there that I got clear in that I did not want to go to this thing at all. I felt like I should go and in going it would make me look good and feel important. And if I did not go I might miss out on something. All of this very different from going in with a real intention to be present, make a connection and participate with my whole heart.
Getting clear on what I really want is coming up for me daily right now. I am finding that I can do a lot of things. I am skilled at a lot of things. And there are possibilities all around me. With that, I have to make choices, and I can choose to do what my ego and my inner critic says I should do or I can get really real with myself and be honest. I cannot do them all! I must give up the things I am attached to simple because I think they will make me look good or "be important" if I participate. This one is difficult for me as I spent so much of my life saying yes to everything and doing it all so it could be on a list somewhere as something accomplished. That I was involved. That I did not miss out! Lets get real, this is what it is about. How often are we saying yes simply because we fear getting left behind if we do not. We fear missing out on an opportunity and the what ifs. The big FOMO of life.
Right now my attention is on the short list and off the long list. What is my long game and what do I need to do right now to make it happen.
Owning a yoga studio is amazing. Three years in to this journey I am amazed at what has been created. The people I have met and the community that has been built. The amazing teachers that have come through my programs and I am in awe of where each and every one of them are right now and what they have created, what they are up to. The lives I have touched and the lives that have touched me. Each moment has truly been an inspiring experience for me and I have no regrets. And my attention is not on that. I know all of this to be true, but it is not what I am feeling right now, and I have been hiding how I feel.
It is hard. It is lonely. I doubt myself and think about quitting all the time. Yes, let me be honest, it is not all fun and games. It looks great from the outside, lots of happy smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram. Full classes all sweating together. What you do not see are the classes with 2-3 people. What you do not hear is the fear that I can keep it going. The tears that roll down my face when I am sitting in my office wondering why the fuck I gave up all the money and security that I had. When I am missing my husband. When I wake up some mornings and feel like I cannot crawl out of bed and do this one more day.
Moonshine turned 3 this week and I found myself feeling sad. Not full of joy and excitement and then I became very hard on myself for feeling this way. What is wrong with me? I cannot look like this or talk about this, what would others think? What kind of leader am I being? Bad yogi!!!!! And so our Open House rolled around and it was the least attended celebration since opening day. That is right, I am stuck in that. I feel sad, I feel scared and I feel like a failure. Yes, I as failure, which is why it seems so hard right now. You see, failing at something is completely different that feeling like a failure. I am taking this as who I am, owning it and I feel shame around it. I am taking it personally and I am making it mean something that I know it is not. And on the flip side I also feel scared in sharing this, but it is rooted deep in me and if I do not get it out it will swallow me until I retreat and run.
Right now my heart is full AND it hurts. I am grateful for all the support and though I do not want to hide anymore. I do not want to pretend. I want to say loudly and powerfully that it is not perfect and it is not working out as planned. And that I can have all these feelings at the same time. Sad and grateful. Love and fear. I want to say that it is ok to feel all of this at once and that they are not exclusive. That it is ok to not act or respond how you are "supposed to." To stop hiding, come out here and feel everything with everyone. It is less scary when we know that we all feel the same way and we are all in this life together. And that even though days like these come up, that I keep going. That I am clear in what I want to have happen and that I did not come this far to quit.
This morning I am sitting here, looking inside to see what is "here right now." This is a question I have been asked many times in my yoga programs and I ask all the time when I lead - "what is here for you right now." At this moment, contentment. Most of my life I would not be satisfied with that answer because it is not active, it is not doing, it is not productive. I am not even sure if I knew what it really felt like. Right here, right now, it feels peaceful. I feel no anxiety or depression. I feel nothing around the past or future, they are not even occurring to me. And with that, I feel no desire or motivation to do anything either. And that is perfect.
Where do we not allow ourselves to do the thing we want so much? I often here all the time people say they just want pease and contentment. And though I also here "I cannot sit still", "I cannot be doing nothing," "I must be productive." What is driving that for you? My driver was always fear. If I was not doing something then I was not good enough and I would miss out. The so-called train would leave me and I would miss my opportunity. What if we are missing all the opportunities because we refuse to be still and content. What if we cannot actually see all the possibilities in our life because we are too busy making things happen, things that really do not matter so much?
So I will be content. I will savor it for as long as possible until it passes. Then I will do my things, stay present and welcome the next moment of contentment.
I was recently asked "How are you failing at dealing with failure powerfully." Wow - hold on a second, what? This is a game changer for me. While I fear failure and avoid it as much as possible, my brain knows that it is the only way to learn. That I must make mistakes in order to make progress and grow. But this is a whole new level. What if true failure only lies in the decisions we make when we fail?
When something does not go my way or does not turn out as I expected, I am not getting the results I want, then there has been a failure. Great, lessoned learned, lets move on. But I have to notice how often I walk away or just avoid working it out all together. It becomes a "that did not work," and I leave it. I stay in the "lesson learned" state which is much different from dealing with it powerfully.
I am right now in the middle of making some difficult decisions around my personal teaching, my coaching business, my studio, travel opportunities and just about everything my life. The lens from which I have been looking is "what do I need to walk away from, say a not to?" I am now motivated to take those glasses off and look at where I can LEAN into the thing that is the biggest failure and deal with it powerfully. Re-create it as something brand new that builds on what is failing versus walking away from it. I can move away from the lesson (concept) and into real action that will create something beyond my wildest dreams (creation). And I cannot wait to share it all with you!
Where your attention goes, energy flows. I have said and heard this so many times but finally getting clear on it. I had committed to myself that I would blog every day. I knew that I had missed a day this weekend and was totally ok with it. Then I log on to write (and I am unsure of what to write) and I see that it was Thursday when I blogged last. My reality was very different from what I thought. My attention was not on doing this, so I did not do it.
This is so real all the time. Anytime something is not getting done in my life or not working, if I get clear on where my attention is, it explains everything. If something is going all wrong, you better bet that my attention has only been on all the things going wrong. If I totally forget about something all together, yes my attention has been on other things completely. And getting present to your attention is the work. Do you know what you are doing most of the time? Do you know what you are thinking about?
I am taking a page from Brene Brown today, "People are hard to hate close up, move in."
Yesterday I wrote about love. Today I am sadden that I will write about hate. I am sad and frustrated to hear of another school shooting. I went to college at Virginia Tech and was on campus just 4 days after their mass school shooting where 32 died. My father and uncle committed suicide using a gun. I had a step-father pull a gun on me and my mother. I believe that we are not being a responsible country and are not keeping our citizens safe. I believe that the conversation around gun regulation tends to lean to the far extremes, preventing us to do anything in between.
And, let me be very clear that I grew up in the rural south and learned to shoot when I was 10 years old. I grew up with guns in the house and had a clear understanding of how to keep them safe and secure. I celebrated many holidays eating deer or rabbit from the morning hunt. I went on bird hunts and watched in joy as my dog retrieved the birds, doing the work they loved. I believe in gun ownership. And I believe in regulation of gun ownership and limitations to the types of guns we have access to.
With that being said, I refuse to hate and I refuse to dehumanize those I disagree with. In order to navigate difficult conversations or a difference of opinions, we must see each other as human. We must deepen a mutual understanding of each other. We must have the courage to NOT pick sides and adopt the attitude and behaviors of those we oppose. We must not protect our beliefs so powerfully and defensively that the result we get is further disconnection and dehumanization of each other. What we must do is lean in and "intentionally be with people who are different from us. We're going to have to sign up, join and take a seat at the table."-Brene Brown
I have some very strong beliefs. I am not afraid to speak my mind and stand behind my beliefs. I am also not afraid to listen. But I know that my listening is not purely open and unfiltered when the speaker is screaming, calling me names, calling me wrong, attacking and making me feel small and less than human. So I will not scream, name call, make wrong, attack and make others feel small. I will not create a bigger division so that I can take a seat at the table and have an honest, vulnerable, and meaningful conversation. I will move closer and work towards a common understanding so that we can come together.
I went through much of my life not knowing if love was real. Or if it was just not accessible to me. I closed off early in life, sometime in my teens and developing relationships was difficult for me. When friendships or romantic relationships started to get hard, I just left. It was safer that way, it kept me ahead of the game and kept me from feeling. I will never forget one of the last things my mother said to me when I was 18, "you were such a sweet little kid and now your heart is just hard." I believed that for a very long time.
And then I fell in love about a decade later, after a decade of sadness and hurt. It was the first time I felt something like that ever in my life. And so I married that guy. It was the first time I wanted to stay when things were no longer easy, but my hard was still there and my leaving still happened, it just happened for brief moments of time. And then I discovered a community of people who supported me just like I was. And that support and their love changed how I saw things and I developed new friendships. People started to surround me and love me. It was then that I realized that love has always been accessible to me, I was just blocking it. Not allowing it to come in. Once I gave up "hard" and allowed my husband to love me, my friends to love me, my Baptiste community to love me, I knew I could do the same.
Love was a word I only used a few times a year, during special occasions or when my parents spoke it first. Now it is a word I use daily. I love Joe. I love my community. I love my team. I love my friends near and far. There is not much I do not love and I am so excited to celebrate Valentines Day with the world.
I often say and hear from others that "I am busy." I find it as my go to phrase. And when I hear it, I get frustrated. I feel brushed off. I feel like I have been given an excuse. I feel left with very little information. Like, we are all busy so of course I know you are too. When I feel this way, I have to stop and think, how often do I say it and leave others feeling that way? And what does it even mean? So, lets get technical.
Per the dictionary, busy is "actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime". Great, that sounds about right. That sounds like most of my day. But let me make sure. Back to the dictionary, work is "exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something," and pastime is "something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport." So, basically if I am not sleeping, then I am busy. And for me, sleep is busy because it is a way to "make time pass agreeably" as I LOVE sleep.
My point is, I am always busy, we are all always busy. I am busy doing yoga, typing, eating, talking, sitting there doing nothing, watching TV, reading a book, taking a shower, petting my dog, etc, etc. That when I tell someone that I am busy, I am not giving them any new information. I am giving them a vague excuse. My other option, to leave them in the experience of what is actually going on, is "I committed to XYZ and will not be able to go," OR "I am really not interested in that, maybe something else," Or a simple "no thank you." Or if they are just asking how are you? Busy is not an answer but "great, bad, joyful, angry," etc are a lot of good options, we just have to be truthful. How can we be more clear in our communication with others and get more real with ourselves that we are always doing something and we are the ones making the choice of what we are doing?
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