Friday, May 9, 2014

nourishing engagement

Photo: Spring morning at UWIt's May. It's gorgeous. It's fun and full and yet feels so nourishing and, well, beautiful. Part of this fullness is the simple fact that it's my birthday month and this year is a biggie...I am turning 30. I am putting the twenties away, wrapping them up in glittery paper with lots of sparkles, and bowing to them with deep, pure gratitude. There is pizza, chocolate, wine, delicious cheese, and cake as well. Of course, a birthday milestone brings up so much reflective qualities that are truly hard to ignore. It can whip your mind into the future and modes of "what if," and deep insecurities. "Am I where I want to be?," "Have I done enough?," "Am I rocking it?"

In this deeply reflective space, I can't help but look back on this year in general. 2014 has rocked the bliss. It has proven that no matter how full and good you feel, you can always add more full and good. The words that have been most prominent have been nourish and vitality, hence the name for my new yoga business Nourished Vitality: Yoga for the Soul which launched this week and by launch, I mean a business license, domain name, and website building in process. It has been a dream of mine since I was 16 to become a certified yoga teacher and now, 14 years later, the dream has come to fruition.

On top of my yoga, I got engaged and am also building my tribe of amazing, wonderful women. Connecting with new & old friends, making time and space for engagement and connection with key folks in my communities, as well as sowing the seeds for a sacred partnership with The Man, have all made me realize that connection can nourish us, right to the deepest places of our souls. We crave it, yet sometimes we are pulled away from making it happen. It takes work. Period. The cool thing about partnerships is that there is an equilibrium that is created when two people come together and create energy that works. There is nourishment on both ends, people feel supported, heard, and valued. Love flows.

All of these happenings have catapulted me into what it means to be part of a community, of something bigger than us. In Buddhism, we consider it sangha and some cultures term it as your tribe. Being part of a community is only one half of the equation. Being nourished in that community is the second part. Below are a few of my personal reflections on what nourishing engagement & communities mean to me, based on living in this new realm for the past few months.

It takes awhile to find your tribe. When I moved to Seattle in 2007 (now almost seven years ago!) I was lost for awhile. It was my first experience living in a big city and like every region, there were some quirks. It was harder to make friends due to my introverted nature. Over time, I got grounded in my space, engaged with my hobbies & passions, created relationships at work, embraced new experiences that were scary at times (going to a concert in a new part of town with a group of people I barely knew through a coworker), and having some bad fits. We never force a child to make friends quickly, we let it develop. 

It takes some elbow grease. You gotta make the time to connect, and I mean, make the time for in person, face to face, eye contact, hugs, etc. That time is valuable and is so nourishing. Due to my introverted nature, one-to-one time is so much easier for me than large events. I can manage my energy better, I can be present, and really tune in, but you gotta nurture those opportunities like a tomato or basil start in the garden. That means getting things on the calendar, calling people back, involving some food and beverages, and battling the "I'm too tired, busy, fill in the blank."

Know Your Energy. I have already mentioned plenty about my introverted nature, but to expand on this a bit, my personal philosophy/values/core desired feelings are all about alignment, nourishment, vitality, and engagement. I can't have one of those without the others. I know that I work late on Tuesdays and that Wednesdays are yoga nights and Thursdays are couple nights. That leaves Mondays, Friday's, and the weekend to nourish relationships and be in community. I monitor my energy and self-care to not be overextended and white space is standard in my calendar. Once or twice a week for nourishing outside relationships is my standard. Usually it does not involved late nights, drinking, or loud environments.

My hope for you is that you are out in the world sharing your fabulous self and spirit, because we need more of that. Go forth and engage with the folks that bring you joy. Let them support you, support them, and most of all, let it be the most nourishing thing you do.

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