Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pep Talk: Let it Show

Dear One,

It's time to let it out.  It's time to start talking.  To start showing how you feel.  All of this keeping it in -in your head is crazy-making.  It's time for you to boldly step forward into feeling your feelings and letting them be known.

I can see how much you are fighting.  Is it that they are not allowed? Anger, Fear, Shame, Guilt, Sadness?   Are they allowed to be a part of your repertoire?  If not, you know you are denying an enormous part of your human existence.  Time to let that start to come out.

The way emotions work is a lot like a faucet.  Best when unclogged and freed up to flow easily.  If you try to block the cold eventually the hot will be blocked too.

You can't experience joy until you allow your sadness and anger to move out of the way.

Again, there's no one to be but you.  But it's time to really BE YOU.  Full force.  Angry, messy, wonder-filled, joy filled.  Turn off the mute button to your feelings and let them flow.

with love,

And here's some Ben Folds Five to encourage you.... (no idea why there are fraggles, but OK)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Talk. Don't Type

I've spent a good part of the weekend and now into my Monday in a state of low-level anxiety brought on by the knowledge that I need a babysitter so that I'll be able to go to work tomorrow.  If parenthood is a full-time job, this is most definitely one of the more stressful parts of my job.  I loathe finding babysitters.

I really hate to do it for several reasons... not the least of which is that it means I actually have to ask for help (gasp!).  That is a skill I seem to have missed during basic human training.

Once I get over that and I finally decide to bite the bullet and ask someone, then comes the piece I resist even more:  I have to ask, and then, they may actually turn me down.  And it's not that I mind being rejected in this way.  I honestly don't take it personally if my babysitter has plans when I'm calling at the last minute, I have the ego strength to handle that.  No.  The problem is, that I might make them feel bad for having to turn me down.  And so instead of making them feel bad for, you know, having clear boundaries and turning me down,  I'd rather sweat it out, and make myself sick with anxiety.

And yes, I do see the humor and absolute absurdity in this situation.

(and my babysitters are sweet gals who do genuinely seem to feel bad when they turn me down, but that's besides the point)

It's funny.  So I've perfected all sorts of methods (with gratitude to modern society) for avoiding the intensity of the fleeting discomfort for my babysitters or myself in the rejection.  Mostly I use texting, email, and facebook.  I type anything I possibly can.  That way, they just type back, we don't see each other, we don't speak to each other, no disappointment or dismay is really conveyed and there is a sense of separation from the actual interaction.  It works.


That's not what I'm here to do.  I'm here to literally learn how to courageously step into the intensity of intimacy over and over again.  I'm here to learn to use my voice to ask for what I need, say what I think, and build connections.  Texting, emails, and facebook messages just don't afford me any sense of really doing that.

I have little mantras that I live by... or, well, they bounce around in my head when I'm needing a reminder to live as the person I want to be.  The one that kicked in again today was this:  Talk. Don't Type.  As in, pick up the phone, or walk into a personal connection with someone else.  Sticky and messy and confusing and intense as it is.  This is the crucible of humanity.  If I want to be an amazing human, and I DO, I've got to start talking to other humans.

Tonight I switched gears after several failed attempts via messaging techniques... I called a babysitter who was a long shot.  Though she turned me down, she helped me.  She found me someone else.  That wouldn't have happened over a text, and I'd probably still be chewing my nails trying to decide what to do.

I want to live as a full human being.  I'll do my best to remember to:  Talk. Don't Type.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Attention Grabbers

Sitting at my desk, late afternoon (almost to the witching hour, but not quite) writing an email... or maybe it's facebooking, not quite sure.. a faint buzzing, a feeling of warmth and pressure on my arm.  Slowly.  Slowly.  Slowly out of the glaze of computer screen eyes it comes into focus.

My 4 year old daughter by my side:  "Mommy,  I'm here."  Barely any response from me, maybe it's a grunt.  "Oh, Mommy, it's Me."  A turning and looking into her eyes. "Hi Sweetie"  And a turning back away.  Just finishing up.  She exits.
And returns holding the stuffed seal that was mine from about her age until when she took it over.  "Mommy,  look who it is;  It's your favorite."  Another turn.  And finally a closed laptop.  It took the big gun to get me to actually pay attention.  I seriously hope this is not her only memory of me from her childhood -- the back of my head with a glowing screen just beyond it.

She's standing by my side saying: "It's Me" (the most amazing wonderful creature that ever walked the Earth, she could add)  And I'm zoned into something else.


Our bodies do the same thing for us every single day.  They give us little tiny moments of saying: "Hello.  It's me.  I'm Here."  They tell us "I'm needing a little stretch, or a snack, or to use the bathroom.  Hey, I could use some rest"  They're pretty remarkable in how they give us those tiny little inklings.  I think though, a lot of times those tiny impulses are completely lost on me as I dive into what "has to happen" and the "requirements of my day" or of motherhood.

And then our bodies do just what my daughter so brilliantly did today: they up the anty.  Usually the tactic becomes PAIN.  The less than kind indicator that we could be paying closer attention.  Physical pain is, in general in my opinion, an indication that something just isn't quite right.  That we could honestly offer just a little bit more focus to the real, truth-filled needs of our bodies.

And so in the practice of Hatha Yoga, HeartFirst Yoga, as I like to describe what I'm teaching now,  we can offer our bodies a moment of deeper listening.  An authentic honoring of the knowledge living there.  We can slow down, or speed up.  We can rest or hold the pose.  We can skip class or go to class based not on the day of the week but on the impulse in our blood.

You always have a choice of where to put your attention.  I know my body will never guide me in the wrong direction.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cirque du Soleil-ing it

A friend of mine started her meditation practice about a year ago.  She started small, just a few minutes a day and had great consistency for probably 6 months or more.  After a little hiccup, she started up again this spring.  Then in the summer she upped her time to somewhere around 30 minutes.  The first time she spoke to me about it she was so thrilled!  Things were shifting in the practice.  Things were new and different and exciting.  She felt she just might be able to enjoy it and really get into meditating.

And then.  It just stopped.  Something shifted and she absolutely cannot make it to her seat.

When I spoke to her shortly after the meditation stopped she sounded so dejected.  She seemed entirely down on herself and strung out about it.  Judging herself and her stopping.

I listened intently and reminded her that we all have fits and starts with everything, especially when we're working on incorporating a new habit into our lives.  Even really great habits, probably because they're so good for us, are challenging to maintain as we get started.  I'm not sure where she is on things now.

But I've been thinking about it as I watch myself, my students, and my friends struggle with maintaining consistency in our practices over time.

Did you ever see Cirque du Soleil?  If you've ever caught them live or on TV you might have witnessed something pretty remarkable, a missed trick, a mistake.  While it's kind of remarkable that they miss the trick - it seems to be an incredibly well oiled machine, but human obviously - what I find even more remarkable is how the performers don't even miss a beat before attempting again, and even again if needed.  Usually by the 3rd attempt they've gotten it down and the show moves on.  No judgement, no fear, no stopping along the way to hem-and-haw, b*tch and moan... none of that,  just doing it again.
Ha, maybe it's the yoda concept: Either do or do not, there is no try.

I think we could stand to take a little bit of a Cirque approach to our practices.  Certainly life makes practice challenging at times (inner life or outer life), and so practices drop off.  I'm not particularly worried about that.  I'm much more interested in how quickly I can pick myself back up, do a triple flip and land back on my feet.  No judgement about time lost along the way.  The longer we dwell in the misery of "I stopped practicing" and "I should practice today" the more mired down we become.

If instead we focus on how to pick ourselves back up and assess what we really truly want to include in our lives, the practice may just have the chance to truly take root and become a deeply important part of our daily (or near daily) lives.