Monday, February 24, 2014

on engagement, all the gratitude, resistance to downtime, and intention

Whoa buddy! Where did February go? I mean, weren't we just popping open champagne and saying goodbye to 2013? It always feels (at least in the Pacific Northwest anyway) that February can feel both like the longest month and the shortest month all at the same time. The holidays have passed their prime, the newness of gifts and such maybe are lacking their initial luster, those intentions/resolutions/goals/etc. just don't light you up like they did on January 2nd, and life can seem, well, blah...at least for me. Well this February had a whole bunch of those emotions and lots of highs too. 

Photo: Resized and official.  #bliss #engagement #soulmateFebruary reminds me to hunker down just a little bit, make space for sleeping in, enjoy lazy Sunday mornings with coffee and donuts, and be in my sweats more than skirts. My GoreTex gets used a bit more, the bulbs I planted in the fall start to creep up in the whiskey barrel planters and bring me joy when I head out for my commute in the mornings, and there is a settling in of sorts with the routines I have set for 2014. The biggest change for me in this still very new year is the fact that I got engaged on February 1st. It has been blissful to settle into this new chapter (and exhausting!). It has included getting in touch with family and friends, celebrating with our tribe with dinners, champagne, and delicious treats, lots of laughter and tears, Skype time with my parents, dabbling into wedding Pinterest boards (rabbit hole central), doing some serious purging of stuff, which led to me experiencing the closing of a life chapter. The best part of engagement is both having that direction of knowing where we are going but also this amazingly deep, soulful, telepathic, love vibe that has infected us. I am giddy and totally loving our time to just be in the moment. 

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." - Dalai LamaOn top of that huge life movement came my passing of my yoga teacher training exam. I finished up my course February 9th and am getting ready for Part II, a week long retreat at the hot springs in Oregon where I will be totally in turn-off mode, yoga bliss, and mind bending with my yoga tribe in the first week of April. I am filled with huge amounts of gratitude for the experience of going through this process. It has turned my life completely upside down (in a good way of course). One of the biggest pieces of the five month process is this return to gratitude for all my practice provides me...stability during the storms, joy in the dark, and the capacity to live a full, multidimensional life. It's oh so good.

February also brought the opportunity to start working with a life coach. It was an opportunity that fell into my lap and I said a holy yes to it, simply because there are some patterns of mine that I want to examine a bit more and change in these next few months. I feel like I am totally ready to launch into that next chapter. Part of this is the integration/resistance of downtime for me. Think: white calendar space. Yep, don't have much of that going on these days. I am working on figuring out where does that come from, how does it feel in my body, how does it create ripple impacts across other areas of my life, etc.? Great questions to ask...answers? Not so much yet, but totally loving the process. 

Intention + Action = MagicAnd in the end, it comes back to intention. Intentions resonate with me a little bit more than goals do, simply because it feels a little stronger and provides a little bit more flexibility. I had dinner with a colleague and we were talking about intentions leading us into action. It becomes quite magical when the intention is created and things do fall into place. Our conversation reminded me that I have this choice every day to create from a blank slate...the intentions I set create my attitudes and beliefs and perceptions. It's juicy stuff...

So, as I step into the last week of February, there is so much to be excited about, despite the dampness, heaviness, and desire to hibernate in my fiance's old rowing sweatshirt from 1991. Cultivation is game...setting the foundation up for launch and growth. May the last few days of the shortest month treat you well. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

gratitude week 5: the valuable lessons

The past couple weeks have had that full capacity/overdrive/treading water kind of feeling, yet there was an adequate amount of effort and ease. I am excited to announce that I have completed the first part of my 200 hour yoga teacher training program (the school, lecture, exam part) and now get to embrace some white space in the calendar as well as the building up of excitement for a week long retreat in April. I will be getting back to my personal practice a little more, enjoying time with my fiance (yes, I got engaged a week ago), and bringing some focus back to my house, cooking in my kitchen, spending some time outside, and taking some self-care breaks.
Gallery - Inner Alignment Mandalas
Throughout my yoga teacher training, there have been mind blowing insights into my own personal life and my journey and path and it's been not only a process of self-discovery and inquiry, but also of inner work and vulnerability; learning my patterns, habits, escape valves, etc. All of this spurs inner reflections on the many years of life work I have been embarking on and I thought that drawing a few lessons out would reaffirm both growth and hope, even in the doldrums and dreariness of February.

These lessons come from the peaks, the valleys, the mundane, and the extraordinary and most of them of course are from my twenties and as I get ready to move into my 30's, it's fun to look back and see what has shaped, morphed, and transformed.

Know how I want to feel and do the things that help me feel that way. I am totally blessed to have stumbled across Danielle LaPorte a few years ago. Her work is inspirational, grounded, and a no-bullshit approach to not only leading and loving your life, but radically changes the whole approach to goal setting and striving. The Desire Map program has taken years of personal work and self-study and pulled it all in to a very accessible bible of sorts that I can reference day after day, moment to moment.

Rest more. As a pusher, the whole idea of rest in general was stunningly, well, lazy. I trained myself to constantly be pushing, going, moving, etc., and well, I got tired. This became especially relevant when I was battling Lyme Disease and also some depression stuff in college. Rest has become a huge part of my own life and takes many forms. For instance, sleeping in here and there, driving without radio, getting in some walks and laughter, and taking my self offline through retreats and scheduled time off. It just makes sense.

Saying no is just as powerful as saying yes. Choice is the key lesson here. I always have choice not only in what I take on but what I choose not to take on as well. This I struggle with on a daily basis. It is the root of my own suffering and boundaries are my new "project" of sorts. Just playing the witness and the observer can be a very magical experience with this. One of my yoga teachers tells me, "If it isn't a hell yes, it's a no."

Vulnerability is sexy and strong. Whoa buddy! Yep...this was huge for me. I was a brick and mortar gal for so many years, putting up layer upon layer, wall after wall, not really letting folks in. I was in a deep place of hurting, fear, and sadness and when I slowly let those walls down, there were some massive shifts in my life, particularly in my love life. I transitioned out of old patterns and into new possibilities, and became a little luv bug with myself and the people in my life.

Always be learning. There is so much out there in the world which can be both difficult but such a blessing. I love the fact that I can tune into podcasts from the other side of the world or put a book on hold at the library from my phone after talking about it with a colleague. The time I make to read at night before bed or meetup with the women in my new moon circle makes my own brain work. Love. It. Lots.

I am responsible for my own happiness. This was a biggie. The external conditions are just how it is. I get to choose how I am about them and the actions I take in regards to them. It's tough because we always want the best for folks but it's not my job to manage other people's happiness. It's only by job to be authentic, grounded, and totally in tune with me and my happiness.

Let go, quit, move on...when it doesn't work. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. It's said over and over to let go of things, quit, move on but sometimes it does not translate into action. If it's not working, giving ourselves and each other permission to walk away can be so powerful for everyone, including the folks on the other side.

This list of lessons continues to grow and evolve but these make the cut...always. There are other things sprinkled in of course...eating well, resourcing myself through passions, innovation and invention, community building, intimacy and honesty...but it all comes back to aligning the actions of everyday to the alignment of the rest of my life. May your lessons appear and be totally acknowledged and appreciated.