GIVE ME LOVE

So, the holidays are here again.

Joy.

People are gathering together in spirit and in plenty for the next few weeks and it’s lovely. It’s also a time of excess for most. Excess spending, excess food, excess emotions, and excess alcohol consumption (generally to deal with said emotions).

Tis’ the season of overdoing it, or something.

So, while we’re all filled with the holiday spirit(s) these next few weeks, we spend a lot of time with people. People we love, people we like, people we’ve never met, people we never wanted to meet, people we can tolerate in small quantities, and well, people that we spend the other 364 days of the year avoiding.

You know what who I mean?

Button pushers. Irritating people. People that send you running for the Belvedere before you can say “Bob’s your uncle” (because, um, actually, he is).

These are the people that you just downright wouldn’t choose to spend time with, like ever, and for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have a lot of negative energy. Maybe they go out of their way to be difficult and offensive. They badger you with questions, make passive-aggressive remarks, put you down using lots of “jokes,” and purposely make statements in your presence that they anticipate to which you will respond.

Ya feel me?

Sigh.

Here’s the thing, no matter what flavor of shut-the-fuckupcakes you’d like to serve them, or where you’d like to place the mistletoe for them to kiss your ass under, remember that they are actively seeking engagement with you. They want your attention. It is intentional. Purposeful. And it stems from a basic human need for connection.

In other words (not mine),

“Every action is an expression of, or a cry for, love.”

The reason Uncle Frank is so annoying probably has something to do with his self esteem and he’s learned to manage it through negative attention seeking behaviors that feed his ego.

Aunt Susan makes condescending remarks about your “hippy-dippy cosmic lifestyle” and lack of  “real” job because of her own insecurities.

Your cousin from Back East whose dark commentary streams from the chair in the corner all evening? He feels like he doesn’t belong.

Your sister who performs the whole night, interrupts conversations and tells loud stories and jokes using all of her appendages, ensuring she is constantly the center of attention? She wants to know you love and accept her.

Your mother, who drives you bat shit crazy, does so because of her own guilt, perception and needs, not yours. Granted, it may feel a bit less like a Hallmark commercial and more like a Steinbeck re-enactment, but at least she’s trying.

Love prompts us do some stupid ass shit.

Yes, even you.

Newsflash, you fit into one of the previously mentioned categories for someone else. You might be the irritating one. The loud one. The attention seeker. The avoider. The overachiever.

Just like you don’t like everyone, um, not everybody likes you either. And, to add salt to the wound, the things that bother you most about someone else, are probably things you see in yourself.

Gulp.

Let’s add a serving of humble pie to scarf down before and after Nana’s famous pumpkin pastry, shall we?

So how about this- how about we choose not to bring a few things to the table with us this year?

How about this year we don’t invite:

  1. Expectations
  2. Judgement
  3. Assumptions
  4. Agendas
  5. Boxes
  6. Fixed mindsets
  7. Lists, timelines, deadlines, and itineraries

Instead, let’s show up with:

  1. Mindfulness of the current reality- however and with whomever it shows up
  2. Positive perceptions and intentions
  3. Acceptance
  4. A willingness to see and serve
  5. An attitude of gratitude
  6. A growth mindset
  7. A open heart, schedule, and presence

Want to create a different experience this year? Try looking for something else. Chances are, if you look for love, you’ll find love. If you look for softness, you’ll find a feather. If you seek peace and serenity, zen will find its way to you.

If you let go of your expectations of how things “should” be, what you wanted to happen, what you always do, and simply CTFD and let it be as it actually is, you just might find yourself smiling at the dinner table. Like for real, and not just because your brother just opened the third bottle of zin.

Try it, see how it works. The worst thing that can happen is you’re just as miserable as you always are, and hey, at least you know how to cope with that (I hope).

Speaking of coping, for the really difficult people in your lives, like the ones that drain your energy to the point of exhaustion, here’s some related reading to help you out (possibly literally, as in, out the door to a place that’s healthier for you).

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/03/6-tips-on-how-to-deal-with-difficult-people-karen-naumann/

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/08/how-to-deal-with-difficult-people/

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/how-to-deal-with-an-emotionally-difficult-relative-alice-williams/

relationships1

 

Good luck to you all, self included.

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TKO

So. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but, ahem. I’m feeling rather rested today.

Yes. It’s Monday morning, and I’m feeling rested.

No, pigs are not flying (as far as I know), and I’m fairly certain hell hasn’t frozen over yet either, but I, for the first time in. . .  I have no idea how long, actually, did not wake up Monday morning already tired.

Holy.Shit.

I don’t anticipate an encore performance of this anomaly anytime soon (maybe ever), but damn it feels good to not have bags under my eyes right now.

Wondering how this all happened?

Yin.

It was Yin Yoga.

I took a 15 hour Yin Yoga teacher training this weekend and committed myself to being still and resting in between sessions.

Me. Committing to being still. For an ENTIRE weekend. It was fucking tortuous. But also, um, kind of great.

Yin yoga does everything that its counterpart, Yang styles of yoga such as the Power Vinyasa practice I have five to seven days a week, doesn’t. Yin stretches the connective tissues, exercises the joints and stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, which is essentially the  WD40 of the body.

For a short science lesson (because why not?) — Hyaluronic acid, in addition to being super fun to say five times, is the fluid that binds water and lubricates our joints. As our bodies age, the viscosity of our joint fluid lessens. This is why we see fusion and compression of the joints which decreases mobility and range of motion.  It’s also why we see Grannie hunched over a cane and Grandpa barely able to rise from his recliner on his own.

So, if you’ll follow me just a bit longer as I role play Bill Nye the Science Guy, the more Hyaluronic acid we build, the more youthful and mobile our joints will stay.

Sounds kinda like a no brainer, yes?

Well. Here’s the bad news. If we don’t allow our bodies time to build that fluid and we, say (hypothetically speaking of course), are always instead pounding the shit out of our joints doing intense exercise then we hit our bone structures with a double whammy- it’s like a chisel with a hammer behind it. Don’t stop until it breaks.

Sounds like my kind of plan, doesn’t it?

But really.

The last time I had x-rays done (which was um, like two weeks ago when my doctor was checking to see if my ribcage was broken-broken, or just kind-of broken [sidenote, it was the latter]) I discovered that my otherwise quite healthy 34 year old self is already developing bone spurs and arthritis in my thoracic spine.

Fan.Tastic.

This means, that my go-big or go home, balls-to-the-wall, don’t stop until you’re dead approach to life, but especially exercise, is actually beginning to catch up with me, from the inside out.

Oops.

There’s that whole “exercise and rest are essential to human health” bullshit again.

Only it’s not bullshit, actually. It’s legit.

So. Back to Yin Teacher Training. And rest. And softening.

In Yin Yoga, you hold poses for three to seven minutes, sometimes even ten. The room is quiet, dark, and room temperature. There is very little talking, a small amount of music on occassion, and a whole lot of holding still. Very still. Very, very, very still.

It’s almost like meditation with asana, actually. And we all know how much I like to meditate. . .

Increasing the level of difficulty is the fact that most of the poses are some version of a hip or heart opener. This means your chakras- particularly your first and fourth- are wide open, and for long periods of time.

If this sounds greek, er, uh, sanskrit?, to you, let me help you out a bit (more). To oversimplify it, chakras are the body’s internal energy circuits. They are, as are all things, connected, both to each other and to our lives.

So, when your chakras are opening and activated through asana, meditation, or what have you, it basically means your emotional control centers are being triggered, in a big and powerful way.

This is not a simple thing, actually. It’s a BFD, and not something to be treated lightly.

As such, it’s important to have someone who knows what the hell they are doing to guide you through it. Hence the training. Also, hence the pain, and then, the rest and the peace.

Yes, pain.

Being still, looking within, and laying exposed and vulnerable isn’t easy.

Creating internal and external room to move is hard work. Letting go, as it turns out, takes more strength than holding on does.

Softening hurts.

Well, until it doesn’t.

When we finally surrender, relief comes gently, the pain goes away, and we can rest in the sweet embrace of peace.

Bliss. Grace. Contentment.

It’s a beautiful thing, even it it only lasts but a moment.

This weekend- I did it. I lay there, breathing, thinking, watching my train of thought as I considered- where in my life can I soften? What can I let go of, right here, right now, that will best serve me in growth? What am I holding on to that I am willing to release? What would my life look like if I did? How would I feel? What would I have to gain from it?

Everything. The answer is everything.

I have nothing to gain from a tenacious grasp on that which it hurts me to hold, and everything to benefit in yielding to what doesn’t.

And also, to all things there is a balance, an opposite, a yin to the yang, to be quite cliche.

This means, if I want to go hard, I must also rest. If I want to receive, I must surrender.

If I want to build, I must also take inventory of my supplies.  If I want to run forever, I must also lay down sometimes.

Today, I invite you to consider this- where in your life can you soften? What’s not serving you? What can you let go of? How will your life look if and when you do?

Scared to consider it? Don’t be. Grab a mat, lay down, and let the universe guide you there.

Everything you want is already yours, go create some space to receive it.

 

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RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

One of my yoga teachers wrote the other day,

“. . . Like attracts like, we attract what we are, not what we want. . . ”

I couldn’t agree more. And this EXACTLY why I’m letting go of what’s not serving me. This is exactly why I left the “safe” job. This is exactly why my life looks like it does right now.

I’m letting go, and letting in. And that could be scary as shit, if I thought of it that way, but I don’t.

Surprise.

But really, on a practical level, wondering how my quixotic idealism is working out so far?

Um. Awesome, actually.

Because,

Everything is connected.

You know the theory of six degrees of separation, right? How about two? Seriously. Reno might be the biggest little city in the world but Sacramento is the smallest big(ish) city in California.

No joke.

There is nowhere to hide here. But also, We are fam-il-y. Or something. I love it. One good turn deserves another, and one good person knows another, who knows another, who knows another. . .

Know one person in the fitness industry or yoga community? Know them all. Make one connection? Get ten more. So basically, finding work networks- not a problem. Like at all.

It’s kind of a ridiculously simple premise.

Basically, when I leave room in my schedule to make them (contacts), work shows up. When I’m occupied doing other things (like, say, things that are 30 miles away and not even remotely related to my purpose) it doesnt.

So rather than placing an ad in the “Missed Connections” section of the paper to locate said lost opportunties, I’m modifying my schedule. I’m making the effort, creating the space, and doing the work.

And every day— Every.Damn.Day. New work is finding me. Landing in my lap. Opportunities abound.

Which confirms my second point:

You are (I am) exactly where you’re (I’m) supposed to be.

This is so clearly my path.

Every part of it. The stable parts, the freak out moments, and especially the scary parts.

This is it— the place I’m supposed to be. Right here. Right now.

Reinforcement of this fact is everywhere I look. Everywhere.

Like, if my life were the movie I sincerely believe sometimes think it is, Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch would be bumping some “Good Vibrations” while I walked down a sidewalk lined with flashing arrows and signs labeled  “This Way!” “Open Now ” and “Enter Here.”

Stop laughing and get your mind out of the gutter.

You know what I mean.

I have not reached this moment by accident or luck. I’m here because of hard work, karma, good intentions, and because, quite frankly, I stopped caring.

Not about people or myself, obviously, but about what others thought of me.

I stopped listening to conventional “wisdom” and got in tune with my own intuition and energy.

I decided to let things play out with grace, not force. With faith, not fear. With my whole heart exposed, and not my head buried in the sand.

I’m in upward facing dog, dammit, and I’m looking right in front of me.

If even a sliver of doubt creeps into my mind about my decision, the universe throws down a sign, fast and clear, to knock that shit off and keep trusting.

Here’s an example, because I love examples, but also, because they do such a lovely job illustrating the point.

A friend of mine said to me this past weekend- “so. . .  you’re telling me you quit a job without having a new job or income to replace it?”

Um. Yeah. Kinda. But not. But yes. Well, actually, I quit a job a 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday and replaced it with three new yoga classes a week and two writing jobs by the end of that same day so. . . . yes, I did but, it’s not like it was a long wait.

No, I’m not kidding. I’m dead fucking serious. Talk about immediate returns. Pretty amazing, dontcha think?

So, dear universe, thank you. Thank you for providing. Thank you for reminding me to trust. Thank you for showing me how to live the life I love.

And you, dear reader, by the way, thanks for reading. Thank you for your words of inspiration back at me. Thank you for reminding me why I’m doing this. Thanks for helping me live the life I love.

Namaste (Bitches).

(SHE’S GOING) THE DISTANCE

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but for real people, when you know what you want, and you let the universe know- IT DELIVERS.

Remember those miracles I mentioned last month? And how once I was very clear about what I wanted the universe just made it rain?

Yep. So that happened. Or, er, is still happening.

Well, I also made a list regarding what I want my career to include and resemble based on what I’ve learned about myself in the last eighteen(ish) months and what the best version of me looks and feels like. I made it, and then I started taking some positive action to manifest exactly that.

Here’s what I outlined.

  1. Flexible schedule, as the exact opposite of M-F 9-5,
  2. Ability to work from home (or um, the beach) at least two days a week.
  3. Three components- writing, yoga and empowering people- must be included
  4. Room to grow. However, wherever, and with whomever.
  5. Income must be reliable, consistent and sufficient to maintain my lifestyle and live debt free.

Yep. That’s a list with just five things on it.

Five. Down from . . . 25 a year ago? Reduced from “I don’t know what I want to do but I know it’s not this” and improved from “I know with every fiber of my being that this is 100% the right direction and path but I have no idea of how to make actual money doing it.”

It’s just five things.

They are broad enough to be open to possibility, but narrow enough to rule out things that are quite simply not going to work in my life anymore. It’s kind of like with relationships— I’m just not settling this go around.

I know what I want. I know it’s time. I can see my life’s work ahead of me with the most certainty I’ve had in at least a decade, maybe ever.

I get goosebumps talking about it. My eyes get all sparkly and my hands start talking with me.

Shit just got real (clear).

Figuring out who I wanted to be when I grew up was step one. Step two? Do it.

The biggest hurdle in front of me right now regarding just that is time, and how I’ve been using it. Namely- not sleeping, eating, or exercising much (for me) and switching job hats and titles every two to three hours all day long six or seven days a week.

Not exactly what I was shooting for there regarding the whole resting place deal. .  .

So, I’m fixing it.

I’m conscientiously saying yes to the things that are aligned with my path and my growth. I’m letting them in, all of them, while simultaneously letting go of the things that aren’t serving me— all of them too. Gulp.

I’m jumping back in the water to swim, and swim strong.

I appreciate the abundance. I’m grateful for the lessons, but some (more) things, it’s time to let go. Even the safe ones. Especially the ones that I am most desperately clinging to with wanton abandon.

It’s right choice. It’s the scary choice, it’s the brave choice, it’s the “are you crazy” choice. But it’s mine.

I trust the universe, 100%, to provide, and it is. It always is.

 

Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox. Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest