Monday, December 17, 2012


I could literally see the hugeness of my daughter's tonsils tonight as she raged against the inevitable putting on of pajamas and going to bed.  She has this way of screaming that isn't a high-pitched shriek but nevertheless hits a tone that precisely rattles the eardrums of anyone within a five-mile radius, I'd guess.  It's enough to make dogs roll over and run away, tail between their legs.

Parenting is not the easiest role I've ever taken on, and going into it a second time feels more daunting than the first, not less.

But there is something here.  I am learning something different here.  In these moments of her absolute rage-driven fury and full-fledged anger, I'm learning to hold steady.  I'm learning to be the center of calm no matter what.  To reassure this tiny little lady that all is well whether her emotions feel overwhelming or not.  I'm learning I can withstand the torrent of her rage and come out on the other side, frazzled some nights, calm on others.  But I can stand.  (well, many nights I can stand, sometimes I crumble)  And within the storm I can offer her something more.

I can offer.  I can tell her she's ok.  I can tell her emotions (even anger, rage, and sadness) are normal, fleeting, and absolutely NOT who she actually IS on the inside.  When I do that, it makes a difference.  After a good purge she calms herself and reluctantly does what needs to be done.  It's kind of amazing to watch, but then my kid is amazing (as all parents know of their own children)

We have these tiny opportunities with everyone we know.  Opportunities that are totally fleeting when the other person, or we ourselves are open in a raw, vulnerable, or rage/fear-filled way.  If those moments are passed over, or we allow them to drag us into rage, fear, and pain - we're missing the prime opportunity to build real intimacy.

Brene Brown (you know, the Vulnerability TEDtalk) calls it Ordinary Courage.  That is, it's not heroic to stand with my child while she screams bloody murder and to tell her she is a healthy wonderful being.  I'm not rushing into a fire and saving puppies and kittens when I share my fears with my husband and don't know how he'll respond.... or when I kindly tell someone something I think they don't want to hear, but I need to say.  But I'm being hugely courageous within the context of my ordinary life.

(I feel it as courage, which is to say, it doesn't feel comfortable ... and doesn't come easy)

Making the heart-to-heart connection, rather than the rage-to-rage connection moves us from a place of disconnect to a place of deepening trust, intimacy, respect, and love. That's where I want to be.  It's where I want to LIVE all the time.

With the holiday season upon us I think it's time to prepare, not for war as we meet our families - challenging and lovely as they are - but to prepare for love.  To look for those tiny moments to align heart-to-heart... a word, a listening ear, a touch, stepping up and being guided by heart rather than head. I think we can do it.  Just takes some ordinary courage.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quote for Friday

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” -Pablo Picasso

Thursday, December 13, 2012

As Little as Possible

In the last two days a flip was switched and I went from generally chill and relaxed into anxiety-ridden frustration.  And so I immediately hopped on my mat and took care of it dove into munching on the sweets that have piled up in our house and nearly nibbled my fingernails off.  Yesterday about all I could do to work with the situation was to set about making a small amount of order out of my house.

Today I had 20 minutes so a I sat down to sort out what on Earth was the cause... and so what could I do about it?    

Guess what?  In typical fashion for this time of year, I'd let my mental To-Do list absolutely overwhelm my actual amount of time and energy available.  I even thought I'd paired down my list this year, but when preggo, the list apparently needs to be much shorter.

After sitting with it, my list for the next two days looks like this:

Make cookies for the teachers at school
Bake gifts to give at the two parties we're going to this weekend
Wash, Dry, Fold, Sort, Put away  Laundry
Pull out the bed for my parents who are arriving tonight
Make food for the family at school who could use it
Make food for my bro and wife who just had a baby
Make healthy food for us and my parents who'll be around this weekend helping with said bro and baby
Put up the Chistmas tree
Put up holiday lights
Wrap the presents
Make the one little crafty thing for my daughter that I want to make
work on my website
find a permanent babysitter.

I took a page from the mom-book of a friend of mine and decided to do absolutely as little as possible that I could still feel OK about getting at least something done.  

The result:  I feel a whole ton better.  I'm sitting here blogging when I don't even "have" to be, and something inside of me feels a lot softer than it did when I woke up this morning.  I'm also running on way less sugar.

It's reminding me of the teaching that we don't actually need to over-do, and over effort in our asana poses or in the application of the principles to the poses.  In the practice, in our bodies, and in our lives, it is so much more about being sensitive to subtlies and adjusting mindfully, always doing just what is needed and not a bit more.  Doing more usually doesn't help.

My new to-do list for the holiday season:
Asana (even if it's all restoratives all month)
Yoga Nidra and guided savasanas
Meditation and Pranayama
Go to bed early when possible
Give Presence

and that's enough.  
Anything else is icing on the gingerbread.

Contemplation: How little could you allow yourself to do in the next few weeks?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Quote

"You must give up the life you had planned 
in order to have the life that is waiting for you." 
 - Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why I'm Grateful for the Destruction of Anusara

I couldn't exactly decide how to name this post.  "Destruction of Anusara" seems so massive, but "Anusara Situation" doesn't really sum up where things are within the ruins of that organization and the continuation of John Friend and all of the teachers who were once a part of it - now 10 months later.

To me it feels like a destruction.  Still feels like a death.  (Super rosy post tonight, huh!)  Not what I'd usually be grateful for - the demise of a living breathing amazing thing I once loved.  And yet, as I shared with students a few weeks ago, I most certainly am deeply grateful.

A year ago at this time I was striving for acceptance into a club that I thought I would never be good enough to fit into.  I was deeply afraid of the man who held my entire yoga teaching career fate in his hands, and I was slowly but surely trying to quietly and gently tap my way into a system that I wasn't sure would ever want me.  I certainly thought I would never be good enough and I'd heard just a tiny amount of stories of the scrutiny that I might be put under for even attempting my way in. (now I've heard enough to make my head spin!!!)

I wanted it.  I needed it. I thought I was nothing without it.  I didn't believe for a single second that I would ever be enough.  And secretly all of this confirmed my deeply held beliefs that I didn't matter, wasn't important, and honestly would never ever be worthy.  I thought I needed a piece of paper with someone important signing off on it to tell me that I belonged.

Probably even if I was in the club "Certified Teachers"  I'd still never measure up because I was second generation, not one of the first who actually had John's ear.

And then the world turned on its head.  And I left.

All of this stuff I'd poured my heart and soul into vanished by my own free will. Suddenly I was inviting myself to stand shakily on my own two feet, and only on my own two feet.  To make it or break it, attract or repel, grow or shrink by my own volition.  

The first few months were blurry.  I lost any juice I'd ever had, but thank goodness other teachers said that happens to them too.  

(and then I got pregnant and the haze of 3 months of hormonal hangover didn't help)

But then, Autumn.  The hormonal fog lifted and suddenly I feel different.  

I am grateful for the downturn of Anusara because now I own my own life.  I am my own teacher, and not one single person can tell me whether I'm doing well, or deserving, or am worthy to stand up in front of people.  Well, not a person who's barely shared the room with me and who inspires fear.... my students can always offer feedback - the biggest being that they return or not.  

I've learned that I don't need the piece of paper.  I don't need the signature, or someone coming in from outside to tell me I've made it, I'm worthy, I'm enough, I'm doing a good job.  I'll do that for myself thank you very much.

Instead I'm learning now to stand STRONG on my own two feet.  To count on my intuition and Shakti-Ma, and to get honest and open.  I'm learning not to stop and simultaneously to open myself to new ideas and to some seriously kick-ass people around me.  I'm learning that my inspiration flows much better when I let go of the rules of 'how it has to be done' to fit the bill and instead follow the way my spirit moves me.  

I'm no cookie-cutter.  Not striving to be someone I'm not for one instant anymore.  Reality is way more interesting and way more REAL.  

And so I'm glad for the change.  Grateful to be heading into 2013 a free woman.