Ain’t That Some Shit

You think can just entirely get rid of something about yourself?” I recently heard a someone say, “No. Whoever told you that is a liar!

Well no,” I’d replied, “I just keep thinking that if I work hard enough it will like… go into remission or something.

Ha.

I guess it kind of works like that, and doesn’t. Our things, hang-ups, issues, kleshas, struggles, or whatever label you’d like to slap on them, don’t really exactly so much go all the way away, they just show up in new ways . . .

Yeah. FUCK.

Translation: your shit is your shit is your shit.

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CLARITY

Clear. Clearer. Clearest.

To get what you want, what you really want, you have got to get clear with yourself and the universe.

Be specific, to the detail, as line item detailed as is possible for you.

And, think BIG. Ask for the thing that seems out of reach right now. Ask for the thing you want but think you don’t deserve. Ask for the thing that belongs to you. It’s already yours.

Pause. One of two things are probably happening now. Continue reading

WHY

Mid January. Two weeks into the New Year. Somewhere between establishing new habits and abandoning them completely.

Yes?

Yes.

Here’s what keeps coming up for me:

Start with the end in mind.

Everywhere I look. Everywhere I turn. Everything I read. Every time I create a marketing piece for the studio, program a workshop or training, or set quarterly goals. Some variation of setting an intention and creating action around that energy. I hear my teachers sharing it. I see it on other blogs, and posts, and in curriculum, and in the books on my nightstand begging me to finish them.

Start.With the END.In Mind.

And, I’ve been trying this out on a daily basis, instead of just big picture, zoom out a year from now, what am I inviting into my life kind of work. I’ve been applying to my daily interactions, habits, actions, and thoughts. And, I’ve been writing it down using my Best Self planner, which was a suggestion from my teacher.

This planner works differently than most. It’s not about listing shit to do, or prioritizing the shit, or labeling and categorizing the shit. Or tasking the shit out of the shit.

It’s not about the shit itself, it’s about identifying WHY you want to do the shit in the first place, and then choosing your actions based on that.

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THE RUB

I’ve always been a little bit outside “the norm.”  Not average. Challenging. Bold. Big in body, mind, and presence. Strong-willed, determined, and overly verbal about it. A storyteller by nature. I’m a dreamer who likes to make lists. A “YES” who likes to map it.

I rarely choose to do things the easy way. I like puzzles, and problem solving. I crave adventure. I need variety like I need air. I don’t like the word or the state of “normal.” I don’t like to hold still. Conventions make me nauseated. I like to learn the rules so I can bend and twist and break them when it’s time.   

I rarely play it safe. I’m uncomfortable playing small. There are never enough ideas or things for me to learn.  If you say we can go ten miles I want to go one hundred. My quench for growth is insatiable.

I love the way change calls me out of my comfort zone and into a terrifyingly fresh new space.

This, makes me . . . well. Me. It makes me, me. And I’m not sorry for that, anymore. It’s who I am. I’m good with it. Great, actually. Continue reading

Dark Side Of The Moon

Last week I wrote about hitting the Wall. Or rather, hitting walls, plural. About what it looks like when my body draws a #Nope card.

But there’s a wall I didn’t talk about. It’s a wall I don’t want to acknowledge. A wall that, quite frankly, isn’t supposed to be there.

It’s a wall I unintentionally built myself.

I have a charmed life. My husband is amazing. My kids are thriving. I’m getting along with my ex-husband, and his wife. I live in a cool city, I get to go do epic shit with kickass people. My friends are supportive ,and funny, and kind, and all the things I could want my friends to be.  I have more events to attend and opportunities for culture and learning and fun than time to do them all.

I am surrounded by love and laughter and play and light.

And yet, there are still shadows. Big ones. The kind that wake me up at night in a cold sweat, the kind that start arguments where arguments weren’t expected. The kind that attract mistakes. The kind that undercut my self esteem, that prevent me from showing up, and the kind that invite me to spend a Saturday in bed, under the covers, sleeping my reality away. Continue reading

GET REAL

Softness.

I’ve spent the better part of this year seeking softness, learning how I can move more gently, speak with more love, offer myself and others compassion and explore exactly what being a yes means to me.

And, at the same time, I’ve been moving from a place of real, not simply “nice.” Yes, these two concepts — softness and realness —  can co-exist.

Real is honest, present and clear about where I am, what my intentions are, and what assists me in staying in alignment.  Real is soft, because it is choosing to see myself as I am, and not as what I believe I should be. Soft is seeing situations and interactions as an act of or a cry for love, and real is not assigning them additional meaning.

Soft and real together are what happens when I stay out of the box and stand in my true north.

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SIDEWAYS

Don’t wait.  Change now. Get out of your comfort zone. Wake up and move differently. Create awareness. Be mindful. Live fully. Seize the moment. Grow. Get up and go for it. New Year, New You. . .

Yep, it’s still January alright, and as the nearest cardio room would indicate, we, as a general community, are spending this month rededicating ourselves to, well, ourselves.

It’s awesome. I love seeing the yoga studio packed with students doing 30 day challenges. I think it’s fantastic that gym memberships are spiking and I totally support my friends doing a no-sugar January.

People are trying to find a new normal, create new habits, build better selves.

For now, that’s happening. But what about come February? Super Bowl Sunday? Dia de Godiva chocolate and red wine? A long weekend snuggled up near the Baileys fire in a cabin in the snow?

What happens when life challenges our intentions?

We compromise, negotiate, and usually, we fall right off the (delusional) train we rode in on. We get knocked down, not becuase it’s too hard, but because we stepped so far out to the right that we simply could not maintain balance any longer.

That’s good, it’s how we learn. The problem is, not all of us get back up on that. . . treadmill. Sometimes we just stay off out of fear of further injury.

How to avoid that classic pitfall? Set yourself up for success. Reset your equillibrium. Learn how to find a happy, and sustainable, medium.

balancing act: a how to

1. Where you at fool?

Take a quick look at your current reality. Pull your head out (of the sand silly. . .). What’s going down in your world, right now? How do you feel about that?

2. Get grounded: What do you want? When do you want it? 

What do you know to be real, and true and good about yourself and your world? Consider: a) where you are, b) where you’d like to be, and c) what’s standing in the space in between those two places.

3. Gather Your Resources and Prepare to Engage.

What’s your ETA? What props would you like to to use to arrive in a timely fashion? What do you already have on hand to help you get there? What could you rid yourself of? What would be helpful for you to do, go or get? Pick up the phone, open up your browser, hit send on an e-mail and ask for it.

4. Sound the Battle Cry and Move Your Ass.

Take positive action, now. You will never make progress without action. Do something, anything, that propels you even one centimeter closer to your destination. If you are not willing to risk falling, then you are not ready to grow. Do it. Do it now.

5. Now Flow.

Move gracefully and with care. Don’t be the bull in the china shop, be a fucking ninja. Breathe. Do one thing  at a time. Notice your surroundings.  Be present, but keep moving. Two steps forward, one step back. Cha, cha, cha-cha-cha.

6. Check for Understanding (and Authenticity).

At the end of your day, and before you say “yes” to anything else, check in with yourself. Do your actions match your intentions? Does the opportunity come with wings, or a chain? Are you holding too much, or not enough?

7. Pat Yourself (And a Friend) On the Back.

Prefer knuckles instead? Selfie high five perhaps? Namaste? Go for it. Positive thoughts and intentions generate positive results. Acknowledge what you have done, the progress you have made, the problems you solved, the new space you’ve created. Focus on growth to expand. See good to create great. Give validation to receive love.

8. Just Keep Swimming.

You’ll get there Dory, if you just keep pushing on. Ride the current every now and then as it assists you, but stay out dark caves and stop following bright shiny lights. Focused movement, regardless of the pace.

9. Keep It Tight and Light.

Three things help you hold balancing poses— driste (your gaze), a tight core, and a strong foundation. Um, guess what? Same thing applies here. Keep looking ahead, hold true to who you are, and build up your support. We cannot balance for long on just our big toes; if you fall, and you will, shake it off, feel your feet planted firmly on the ground, press down to lift up, and then rise tall again.

 

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ONE MINUTE MORE

Okay, so from my last post you learned about how to make today Friday, right? You totally read that. I just know it.  If you, uh, didn’t, well, you know, click here, read that, then come back here. Or don’t. Whatever. The point was, if you want to make a change in your life, the steps are basically:

  1. Wake the hell up
  2. Get clear about your current reality and decide what the fuck it is you actually want
  3. Make that shit happen right about. . .  NOW.

Got it?

Super easy right? Clear as mud.

Well, let’s assume that you’ve already taken step one, or are at least in the process of awakening. If you haven’t, then well, good luck there Sleeping Beauty. Keep your eyes shut and have a nice (life)long nap while you wait for the fairytale ending to roll with the credits. Good luck with that.

However, for those ready for step two, let’s talk a bit.  There are lots of ways you can get a nice clear ultimate selfie of your life, who and what is in it, who and what you actually want in it, and just how in or out of balance your world is. I can help you with that if you’d like actually, and I promise to deliver your reality check with smile too.

The process for step two essentially prompts you to do the following:

Look with ravenous honesty.

Who are you? Who are you not? What is important to you? What is not? What are you prioritizing, and why? What’s happening off the mat- where and how do your habits, attitudes and beliefs show up in your life? Are they helping, or hindering you from becoming the best version of yourself?

Listen with your whole soul.

What do you know to be good, and true and real about you and the world? What lights you up inside? What gives you sparkly eyes and jazz hands? What can you never stop talking about? What are you drawn to, repeatedly? What messages are you ignoring?

Claim your own destiny.

Declare what you want. Do not hold back for fear of judgment or failure. Be specific, very, very specific. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Own it. Every single part of it. It’s yours. It always has been. It always will be.


Again, the first part is usually not terribly difficult. Most of us can do this with some good tools and coaching. What comes next though, is where we get scared. We stall out, paralyzed in the unknown.

Choosing to stay in a place we don’t like simply because we don’t know where else to stand, or if we’ll really like it there.

But, if you are ready, really ready, deep down in your bones desiring to make a change, then I urge you to do the following:

Try
Fail
Learn
Grow
Repeat

Sound familiar?

Good. It should by now.

But really. You will never, not ever, find your purpose, your passion, your life’s work just sitting there. The U.S. postal service delivers a whole lot of nice packages, but I can assure you that the new and improved model of yourself is not going to arrive with your DMV bill this January.

You have to go and get it. Yes. Have to. The only way to get to “there,” to that special place that makes your heart sing, is with your own two feet.

So, if your eyes are open, so might be your heart. If your heart is open, then so might be your hands. And if your hands are open, then honey, even if you can’t walk, you can climb.

Reach up, reach out, come on up. The air up here is lovely. Let’s take a look at your life and start painting a new picture together.

Oh, and bring a smock or two, would you please? This is going to be messy.

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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.

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


SOMETIMES I LISTEN

So, I’ve been going along here, full speed ahead. 13-15 hour work days almost seven days a week. Getting my shit done. Saying “yes” to everything. Saying “no” to very, very, very little.

It’s been awesome. Amazing. Fan.Fucking.Tastic.

Things like this have happened:

  1. My yoga classes are growing, some even doubling in size.
  2. My writing is growing, I have more assignments and clients.
  3. My business plan is progressing and my website is getting updated to reflect it.
  4. I have two evenings a week to myself now, every week, to handle my shit sans kids and I make sure to use every.single.minute of that time. No seriously, if I’m not working up until midnight those nights it’s a fucking miracle.
  5. I almost fell asleep on top of the table at a training on Tuesday

Did you see number five there?

Yeah, about that. . .

There is a yoga axiom “exercise and rest are essential for human health.” Guess which part I choose to follow?

Here’s a hint. It starts and ends with the same letter. . .

So. . . rest. It’s just not my thing.

Even when it maybe, um, should be.

You know that whole Reticular Activation System deal I’ve talked about before, where basically, once you become aware of something the more often you see it, when you never did before? The more often you notice it, everywhere, all the time?

Guess what keeps showing up in my life this week?

Articles about resting. Astrology reports about the new moon and Mercury being in retrograde or some shit and how savasana is actually the best pose to take right now, and not, in fact, balancing half-moon.

And then there’s all those research reports showing the importance of quality sleep. Friends who whisper shout things at me during yoga like “MICHELLE! YOUR RIBS. REMEMBER YOUR RIBS AND JUST LIE DOWN ALREADY!”

Ummmmmm. Thanks but no thanks?

But today I listened.

Today I reconsidered what I was saying “yes” to as I drove (way over the speed limit) to work, running late (again) to a job site thirty miles away. My mind, though, was going even faster than the wheels of my mamamobile, if you can believe that. I wasn’t present. My shoulders were hunching. I was kind of sort of, well, here, actually.

And then I spilled an entire cup of hot coffee all over me, and the car. Then I remembered that the person who picks up the kids on Fridays while I’m teaching is out of town. Then my friend texted me, asking where the keys were that I was supposed to have dropped off that morning. Then two e-mails popped up asking when the Press Releases I’d promised to get out asap would be ready. Oh, and just to throw salt in the wound, my calendar alert setting let me know that I was late for the TB test reading for the TB test I was supposed to have done Wednesday (but didn’t).

I looked down at my wet, coffee covered skirt, wiped the creamy brown streaks off my calves, pulled off the freeway and turned my ass around.

Fuck it.

I hear you universe.

That work+Me+Today=Not happening.

Namaste? Nope. Namago (nah-mah-go), actually.

There’s a reason I have personal days available.

Today, I need a day to check in with my person, apparently, because otherwise she’s going to show up to teach, a literal hot mess and smelling like eau’de café for the next four hours while she pretends that she is fully aware and present in lesson delivery and that the ujjayi breathing she’s doing to keep her shit together isn’t actually freaking out the children.

Yes, universe. Yes. I will go home. I will rest. No really. I will.

Actually, I’m going to take a nap now. Yep. A nap. Me. In the middle of the day. Such a rule breaker.

I’m taking twenty. And then I’ll get (the rest of) that work done. After I care for me. Not before. After.

I’m saying “yes” to rest today. Real rest. No exercise. Rest.

Peace out friends. May you find a place to take pause today as well, even if just for a minute.