Thursday, October 12, 2017

On Universal Downloads and Co-Creating with Your Muse

I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that my yoga mat is my teacher and my guide.

Lately, most of the lessons I learn in life start on that rubbery rectangle. And many of the creative ideas I develop start as inspiration that appears while I'm in Downward Facing Dog or Child's Pose.

This morning, as I was moving through my practice I started feeling the excitement some new ideas percolating. When I sat down in meditation for a few minutes after my asana practice, the flood of ideas just kept coming.

This is why I keep a notebook handy when I'm practicing yoga and meditating. There's something about moving in time with my breath, about breathing deeply and centering on the inhale and exhale, that triggers creativity. So the minute I'm done with my practice (and sometimes right in the middle of it so that I don't lose a specific idea), I sit down with pen and paper and take notes.

I honestly believe that in those moments I'm transcribing a direct download from the Universe. I'm a true believer in the Muse and know that if I don't take hold of those lightbulb moments, of those clear and fresh ideas, and start developing them and stretching into them that they will pass me by in favor of someone else who is ready.

I've been there. I've had amazing ideas that I didn't delve into and before I knew it someone else was doing exactly what I wanted to do but didn't.

There are a lot of reasons why we don't take inspiration and run with it: lack of time, lack of energy, fear of failure (or success), to name just a few. But if we're willing to push through all of that, to connect to that inspiring thought or idea long enough to see it through, it's amazing what we can accomplish.

I'm telling you all this so that you understand what to do with those ideas when they come up. So that you don't miss out on Universal downloads. So that you can recognize the Muse when she shows up and sit down with her to co-create.

Don't wait when inspiration strikes. Get started and see what can happen!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Letting Go of Easy

I was chatting with a friend today about some struggles I'm going through and at one point in the conversation I said, "I just want it to be easy."

Like seriously. I'm so exhausted by the regular struggles I'm finding myself in. And I bet I'm not alone. I can guarantee if you're reading this you've felt that way before, too. It's part of our human nature to want to avoid the hard stuff.

We don't want to struggle. We don't want to fight. We don't want to experience pain or disappointment or discontent. We want it to be EASY.

But the minute that sentence was out of my mouth today, I took it back. The Universe hit me with a good old dose of wisdom and I realized how wrong I was.

I don't want it to be easy. Because there's no learning in easy. There's no growing in easy. Easy robs me of the lessons life is has to teach me.

What do I have to offer anyone else if not the wisdom I gain in all these experiences?

If I want to help other women recognize their passions, I have to learn to recognize my own. If I want to teach them to tune into their inner voice and make their dreams come true, I have to figure out how to get there myself. In order for me to teach from a place of wisdom and authenticity, I need to know where they've been. I need to take my own path toward my dreams, through all the hard stuff. Only then can I help others walk a similar path.

Sure, easy would be nice. It IS nice when things happen easily, when life seems to line up perfectly in front of us so that we can just coast along for a bit. But easy can't be all there is.

So today, after my vent session with my friend, I'm choosing to be grateful for the hard stuff. It's in all that hard stuff that I'm going to grow and learn and lead. I'll take the easy when it comes--and I'll be damned grateful for it. Then, when the hard stuff comes calling, I'll take that with gratitude, too, knowing I'm learning and growing and stretching so that the next challenge might seem a little easier to face.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Cleaning Out the Closet

I've been holding on to pre-baby clothes (from the thinnest period of my life) for five years. Five. Freaking. Years.
At first, I was hopeful to be back in them by the time my oldest was a year old. Then I was pregnant with my second...and now he's almost three and I'm at the heaviest weight I've ever been. 
I'm working on that. But it's tough feeding myself well and squeezing in exercise with two little ones who require so much attention and love and care--all of which I want to heap on them every available minute. So getting my body healthy and strong again is a process and I'm trying to be positive about it. 
Still, every time I opened my closet (or even thought about it because I knew the clothes were in there) I felt miserable. I felt angry and upset with myself. I felt sad that I'm not able to wear those clothes, because I really loved some of them.
For some reason, though, today I decided it was time to change that. I suddenly felt like it was time to let those clothes go.
So with my boys' help, I pulled out every last piece of "skinny" clothing and packed it into a box for Goodwill or set it aside to sell. It was a little like a funeral, saying goodbye to all those dresses and shirts I loved. But it was also cathartic. It was like I was releasing all the negative feelings I had been holding in. 
I feel like I can finally move forward instead of dwelling in the past. And that feels pretty amazing.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mirror, Mirror

object mirror object by Emilie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I've never been a fan of the mirror. Even at my thinnest, I wasn't one to spend much time checking my reflection. But in the last few weeks I've realized that for months (maybe even years) I've been avoiding the mirror.

I don't know when I stopped looking in the mirror. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just happened. My mirror avoidance developed as quickly and quietly as the pounds packed on.

Of course I glance at my face as I wash or apply lotion. I sometimes check my outfit to make sure there aren't any hand prints or stains on my clothes. But I won't linger. I won't really LOOK at my reflection.

Why? What am I afraid of?

I'm afraid of the thoughts that might arise as I scan my body, recognizing curves that have become rounder and fuller than they were a few years ago. I'm ashamed and embarrassed by what my body has become.

I know that's not what I'm supposed to think. I know it's not how I'm supposed to feel about this body that has created life, that has carried me through challenges and adventures and tragedies alike. I know I'm supposed to love my body just as it is. But right now, I just can't. Or at least until now, I haven't been able to.

Today, I stood in front of the mirror before I got into the shower. I looked--really looked--at my body. This is what I saw: a round face that looks tired but happy; shoulders that keep creeping up toward my ears instead of relaxing down my back; a chest that is rounder and hangs lower than ever before; a belly that droops over a long scar, hiding the evidence that babies formed and grew inside me; thighs that overlap and rub against one another; ankles that are like tree trunks and feet that are wide and flat from years of bearing the weight above them.

This is all what IS. I'm doing my best not to judge it. It is my body after growing two healthy boys. It is my body after several years of stress, overwhelm, poor eating, lack of exercise and minimal self-care. This is where I am now. It does not have to be where I end up.

I worry, though, that I've let things go too far. I fear I've forgotten how to be healthy. I wonder if there's really time and energy to take care of myself, to plan healthy meals (and cook them), to exercise and practice yoga on more than an occasional basis.

I still have to try. My body is begging me. I feel so heavy and uncomfortable. I lack energy and I'm irritable. I realize I can't change what has already happened. I can only change what I do and feel from here forward.

And so today I choose to go to the gym. Today I choose to eat healthier than yesterday. Today I choose to stand in front of the mirror and look at my body without judgement.

With each day, hopefully, I can rebuild those healthier habits. I can do one thing to take care of myself. I can learn to look in the mirror and see my body through a lens of appreciation again, no matter what the scale says and no matter what size my pants are.

I will do my best today. That's all I can do.

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