Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall, Fall, Fall...I Love Fall.

Okay, I love the season of Fall. I have fond memories of raking leaves all day, drinking apple cider, carving pumpkins, the wind blowing on my face while chasing seagulls on the beach, and just feeling good, really good.

I know I have not written in a LONG time. I would have to say that life has been full of transitions-lots of transitions, circumstances, bumps, detours, etc. All of these include health challenges, new jobs, new friendships and communities, conversations, dreams, and many other amazing learning opportunities.

In this time of transition, I have been learning a lot about myself and taking the idea of introspection to heart. Looking within can be sometimes the scariest and most valuable skill we possess as humans. I have been working with emotions in terms of how they link to my physical well-being. This has been a very in depth journey including experiencing pain, sadness, fear, rage, anxiety, jealousy, etc.

What I have taken away from this is the ability to stay present as the witness to my experience both physically and emotionally with these emotions. There is a saying that I use a lot with my past inability to process my emotions-especially those that are termed "negative" in the culture we live in. That saying is "That's okay-don't deal with it-just keep pushing it down past the cancer tumor."

Well, my tumor could not take it anymore and it showed up as 3 significant ovarian cysts sitting on my right ovary. I have known that they have been there for awhile and just recently as summer ended and fall was upon us, my ovary said "Stop!" I had to face the music. I ended up in the ER for a day pumped up with painkillers, then in bed for 4 days. I was scheduled for surgery and then had a powerful experience with intuition.

My ovary was saying stop and LISTEN. I was so focused on living within my pain body, I was not aware that there was my energy body yelling at me to listen. What I needed wasn't surgery but instead, a holistic approach. I made an immediate appointment with a naturopath and took a remedy. I feel great-no pain, bloating, emotional instability, etc. It's like they are gone. But it's not like I am cured...I am using the process to process :)

Sometimes when we hold onto something so much and we get addicted to the grip of having control, we can't let things flow through us, including trauma, emotions, negative energy, etc. What I dealing with is a block-a block within my reproductive system that needs nourishment, love, healing, and peace.

Processing the process has been truly amazing. I am energized. I am peaceful. I am present.

I am human again.

Enjoy fall-
Jen

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Love

Well, it is summer and it feels awesome. The sun rising in the early mornings, the bluebird skies, staying light out until 10:00pm, the smell of BBQ, and being able to be bare feet or wear sandals all the time. The summer has proven just as busy as spring and I keep wondering where the hours go as I transition into bed at night. I have energy like I have never had and I am juggling lots of awesome things including weekend escapes to the mountains, experiencing the feelings of being in a career/livelihood transition, practicing lots of yoga, taking on more personal development opportunities such as a financial class & Landmark Education's Self Expression & Leadership Program. Mix all of this with socializing, a relationship, a household, eating, running errands, and I find myself having lots of energy at the beginning of my days and then being drained at the end.

In my last post, I talked about walking the tightrope and I continue to wobble and smile and sometimes fall, and laugh at myself because I am the only one responsible for my situation which I have finally come to realize.

In our culture, there is a tendency to agree with the notion that the busiest people are the most successful, popular, and most well-off. Well, that notion for me has finally been destroyed. Ever since leaving my full time job and transitioning to a contractor status, I have experienced the joy that comes with not checking e-mail for three days straight, turning off the cell phone, and listening to more fun music, reading for pleasure, and eating better. I still find myself addicted a bit to the stress and frenetic energy that is imposed by working long hours, meeting a deadline, and working on challenging projects.

I have taken a liking to a mellow morning routine, integrating a walk with our dog, eating in silence without music or reading, doing some inspirational reading, maybe some yoga or breathing and really planning my day and creating what my Dharma" should be for the day.

Recently, I picked up my Meditations from the Mat book and read a passage talking about the Niyamas of yoga-one of them is purpose & livelihood. What I have really been conscious about is taking the idea of living your purpose on a more day to day, moment to moment basis. It does not mean you have to have your life purpose spelled out for you for the rest of your life, but instead, it is about living for the Now, what is my purpose right now?

Is it to deliver an outstanding experiential learning program for at risk youth? Is it to spend a great night with my partner making dinner and watching a movie? Is it to make my best friend laugh and smile when they may have had a down day? Is it to take time for myself and pull back from the strain of life's daily duties? What is my dharma in this moment?

Living this way has been fulfilling, nourishing, and rich. I have started to embrace joy and surrender in all of this too. When we take something for what it is and not try to strain, push, change, or rework it, we surrender to the now. What better time to do it than in the summer when that lazy, slow, succulent environment and energy is all around us? Take your live and joy and put it back into your summer.

Smile more. Love more. Hug more. Swim more, nap in the grass more. Drink lemonade and eat ice cream more often. Be your joy. Be your surrender. Illuminate your dharma and purpose on a moment to moment basis.

Happy summer. Don't forget to walk barefoot and stand under the moonlight too :)

Aliveness & Vitality all summer long,
Jen

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Transition Time

So Spring has Sprung all around! It was so nice to see the cherry blossoms bud, bloom, and then shrivel up near my apartment building about a week ago. There are tulips too, by the dumpster of course :) and my dog Ashley likes to take care of her business right on top of them.

Wow, what an amazing time of year spring is with all of its life and its roots and new flowers. It seems that people, animals, and the flora just come out of hiding eager and ready to start all over again. I know dusting off the winter cobwebs was nice and I found myself putting on my Chacos, sunglasses, and even my Prana capris. Its so nice to show the white leg skin to the world.

Since my last blog post, I have quit my full-time job, participated in an amazing course through Landmark, my relationship took on a new look and feel, and we have extended our apartment lease here in Seattle for another 6 months. All in all, Spring has proven busy.

It was amazing about a month ago, my best friend Shannon came and visited and we drove up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and did yoga poses in the snow, was amazed by the peaks in the distance, and reconnected on a level of friendship as well as connected with ourselves.

Since leaving my job, I have had more and more moments like those, reconnecting with being alive all over again and I wonder, "Wow, how much of my life I let go and die and hibernate in a sense."

With that said, spring has proven to be an uprooting season in the lives of myself and others and what I am left with is "What can I do to make this transition manageable and enjoyable, even among heartache, stress, and sadness?"

I found that the connection with breath has been the key to my coping. I can literally envision the tension that forms under stressful situations and playing both the participant and observer in those tense and stressful moments has been interesting and an amazing personal journey with lots of work and layers to be discovered. I think back to my last day of work while packing up my personal belongings in my office and I realized that this was a sad moment. It was hard and sad and the main reason why I was feeling those things is because it was different in my head.

It is always different in my head. Whether it is a visit with a loved one, a road trip, a meal at a restaurant or a music performance. Its not so much about not getting what you want in a moment, but it is about handling what is thrown at you and then figuring out where you align.

Recently, I feel like a tightrope performer, balancing very carefully, delicately, so as not to fall to one side or another but occasionally I slip and it is in the skills of coping with stress, the breath, the yoga, the resting, and the support systems that I regain my stance, powerful and empowered to continue on.

I hope this post finds you well and I hope the transitions you are encountering are able to be looked at as a delightful learning experience even amongst the stress and anxiety we are all seeming to face on a daily basis.

Peace & Love,

Jen

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love: Practice Daily

So I am coming off the Valentine's Day high-spending quality time with those you love, getting in touch with that part of you that gets excited at the sight of a rose or the taste of chocolate. This Valentine's day was amazing-truly authentic in the respect of getting in touch with my senses which I am realizing I neglect in my day to day hurried life.

For example, I put together a Valentine's Evening picnic for my partner and myself. Just sharing in the process of fresh, delicious, flavorful food was so enjoyable and succulent. I got to sit and eat and be present and taste the robustness of each item placed into my mouth-shrimp, strawberries, bread & cheese, italian meats, and olives, artichokes, and peppers and wash everything down with wine.

In the afternoon, I took a friend to a yoga workshop themed around Valentine's Day. It was truly awesome. I accessed the deep part of my core, the authentic self, the belly which can bring up feelings of vulnerability. We did a breathing exercise where I tapped into a part of my emotional being that I have not accessed in a long time and instead of running from it and freaking out, I sat with it-I rested in the posture and savored that moment because I go through daily life without getting in touch with that part of myself.

We left that workshop and walked into the world with our hearts shining, roses in our hands given by the teacher and allowed ourselves to take our yoga into the world. I recognized in that moment that I could be okay with what is and what was. The work, the yoga, it is lies in our hearts-a powerful, complex yet simple organ that alllows us to be awake and present in the world.

Valentine's day has a meaning for me and yesterday I found it-never ignore loving yourself or others, not even for just one minute-I cannot afford to let it go unnoticed.

In my effort to be part of activism in the world, watch the video below and see what comes up for you.
http://www.couragecampaign.org/Divorce

I enjoy Chinese food and one of my favorite parts of Chinese food is the fortune cookie. There was one fortune I got that I have kept on my fridge forever. "Love is the glue that holds together everything in the world."

That is what I leave you with so go out and love someone.

With Love for all in the world,
Jen

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Yoga Day!

Happy Yoga Day 2009! Today Yogis around the country and world are celebrating Yoga. This designated day is a day when yogis alike can come together, breathe peace and joyfulness into the world and practice a few asanas (postures). This day for me brings up memories and smiles of what yoga means to me. In 2007, I lost my yoga teacher. She unexpectedly passed away and I was left confused, hurt, and sad. In a way, I abandoned my practice because of the feelings it brought up for me-especially resentment and anger around losing her. Yes, it was sad and I let a crisis get in the way of opportunity and growth. I did grieve, along with my fellow yogis who practiced next to me in her studio.

It took many weeks for me to get enough courage to come to the mat and I recognized in that first sun salutation that I should have gone to my mat first-immediately after I had received the news of her passing. The mat is the place I can come to recharge, gain perspective, and pause in my stimulus-response driven world. Today, I taught a private with a good friend in his living room while the sun peeked through the windows and his dog sat on the couch content. It was truly a peaceful event seeing the movement being led by the breath and the meditation at the beginning and end of the practice. This is peace. This is purpose. This is community.

Yoga Day is not the only day when you have to dedicate a yoga practice to something bigger than yourself and it does not event take a yoga mat to do the practice. In our yoga, we must learn to take it off the mat and into the world. Seane Corn, a world renowned teacher has started a foundation revolving around this concept-combinging yoga, activism, and leadership to create joy and compassion in the world on a global scale.
http://www.offthematintotheworld.org

In this coming week, take it off the mat or try a yoga class for the first time. Start NOW because it is all we have.

Namaste!

Jen

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Connections Through Conversation

2009 is off to a great and somewhat busy start and I am in Maui right now enjoying the warm air, the star filled sky, and the peacefulness the island of Hawaii has to offer. Unfortunately, this is not another tropical vacation but instead a work trip but this time it is different. I get to travel with another colleague which is a change of pace from traveling alone. We walked the area today-we are staying at the Ritz Carlton, a little above my league in most, if not all areas and we went down to the beach where the surf crashed onto the shore minute after minute where I stood and felt the salty mist hit my sunkissed skin. I smiled. This is what life is and it is in these moments that I feel extremely small, like a "Blip" in the world.

I looked out over the horizon and saw so much expansion, space, natural wonder, and lots of unknown. Lately, I have been thinking about how I can impact the world when me, wee little me is so small in relation to everything. Then it came to me. Through my practice and teaching others yoga and in my goal to create "matterful" conversations with those around me, I can help grow the seeds of compassion and love in the world.

For instance, I have been doing free private yoga sessions with some friends and I am finding that in those moments of teaching, I am truly authentic in my being. I am in love and at peace with the world and with those around me. I am igniting a spark in my life and for once, a fire has been growing deeper and deeper inside of me because of this new path I am embarking on.

It is so inspiring to see the individuals that I teach progress, each in their own way whether it be revolved triangle pose or being able to expand their Udjyi Pranyama breath, or to see them truly let go in savasana. It is in these moments I feel truly alive and at peace and know that the world is on its way to becoming a better place.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thirsty for More

Wow! 2009 has finally arrived. There is always something about the new year that is so exciting...like a clean slate, a blank canvas, a chance to start the game over. It is very common when this time of year presents itself, we want to make resolutions, intentions, set goals for ourselves that we hope to accomplish. Why do we do this? Well many answers come immediately to mind, we strive for continuous self-improvement, to better ourselves, our lives, and those who we are close to and love immensely. For many, it may be the fact that our personal resolutions, goals, intentions give us a chance to work on ourselves which we sometimes neglect and put to the side in our daily lives.

Today, while listening to "The Conversation" on NPR, the topic of the conversation was New Years resolutions and how to really get to where you want to go. It was really interesting to hear what people had to say, both guests and callers. I think the most valid comment made that really hit home was not to be so hard on yourself during the year, post-January 1st. The analogy that was made was view your resolutions and goals like you were coaching a little league team and trying to get all the little kiddies to get their batting average above the norm by the end of the season. If you remain critical and cynical throughout the season and ignore the small accomplishments and are not compassionate during the tough times, you won't get any results.

Key learnings from this analogy: Be gentle...with yourself, be compassionate...with yourself, celebrate the small accomplishments, and set yourself up for success-be realistic, write it down, look at it every day and be proud of every step you take to get yourself to reaching your full potential.

Happy new year and enjoy what this prosperous time has to offer.

Peace and Happiness in 2009!
Jen