What an uncomfortable time to be alive. When I open social media, which is way too often these days, I see two types of people. The excessively grateful and the excessively pissy. The pissy ones are the ones arguing with everyone and posting nothing but doom and gloom. Arguing with everyone. I tend to fall on the excessively grateful side. Don’t get me wrong, I can be all kinds of pissy and I am at some point every day lately, I just don’t spread that out into the world. I keep it to myself, take it out on my yoga mat, put it in my journal and my husband gets more than his fair share of it. Sorry Leon. The world is stuck right now. What I see is that those of us who have a practice are getting through a little easier than those who don’t. When we actually practice. Which is proving to be a challenge for me. That’s why it’s called a practice, right? I’m completely off my schedule like the rest of the world I imagine. Staying up late and sleeping in. I miss my morning quiet time, before the world wakes up. Some days I set my alarm, but most days I don’t. Getting up early is one of those things I “should” be doing. My mind swims in the things I “should” be doing. I “should” be reading all those books on my shelf, and I am trying, but I’m just not into it. I have two books that I am currently working my way through, both by authors I know and love. And I hate both books. I’m sure it’s just me and the weird mood and lack of focus I’m experiencing. Maybe I just need some good fiction in my life. I “should” get my ass off social media because it’s a waste of time and since the studio is closed, I don’t have to promote my business. But, my friends live there and it keeps me connected. I unfollow and unfriend people constantly. The negative Nelly’s. Limiting screen time is on my list of things to do. It’s seriously right at the top of my intentions. I “should” be streaming online classes. I paid for a Zoom account and everything. But here’s the thing. I don’t want to. And I have some guilt about it. I feel bad about leaving my people high and dry, but the reality is that while yoga is absolutely essential, I am not. Anyone can lead people through an asana practice. Every teacher I know is streaming on Zoom. It might be the Rebel in me that is refusing, but my heart just isn’t in it. I could change my mind next week. Or even tomorrow. That’s what I’m noticing more than anything is the way my mind and emotions are all over the place. I know that’s not unique to me and we are all experiencing that. I’m just trying to be gentle with myself and the rest of you. All of this is showing me that I am judgmental AF. That’s my lesson this week, this month, this year and maybe this lifetime. I judge myself more than I am judging everyone else, but I catch myself doing that too and I have to stop and remind myself that we are all doing the best we can with what we have. I just wish some of y’all could do better…….lol. I “should” be writing. I “should” be doing my taxes, but now I have that extension, and if you know me, you know I’m not. I “should” be connecting to my community and leading everyone in group meditation because the world needs that right now. The list of things I should be doing goes on and on and here I am doing none of it. That’s where I am. Stuck. And I know it’s ok. I really do. I know I’m not alone in this. Every day is a new opportunity to practice. Practice moving forward through the stuck-ness. This feels a lot like early sobriety to me. The being unsure of what I’m supposed to be doing. The emotional rollercoaster. The uncertainty. The being uncomfortable. All of it. It’s not my favorite. But unlike early sobriety, I have the tools to navigate this. I can be uncomfortable. I can be uncertain. It’s about going back to basics. It’s about sitting with myself. Just sitting. Writing my way through it, which I will admit I haven’t done. I opened my journal yesterday and saw that I hadn’t written in it since March 10th. Which is craziness, but these are crazy times. And I wrote. No guilt over all the days that had gone by. I just poured my heart out onto the pages. Back to basics means that I might be taking two baths a day. Snuggling my boys. Netflix. I don’t even watch TV, but here I am on the Tiger King train(wreck). I even busted out the adult coloring book today. That took me way back. I’m getting by the best I can. I believe we all are. Whatever that looks like for each of us. I’m letting go of “should” and doing what works. Giving myself permission to just be. My heart hurts for the world. Some moments it overwhelms me. I am one of those excessively grateful people. I have to be. Gratitude carries me through. I can be mad, sad and all the things in between, as long as I bring it back to gratitude for all the things that are right in the world. Gratitude is my anchor. I see beauty on the other side of this. I’ll keep looking for the beauty in every day. I have everything I need plus all the extras for my comfort. I have my family and community for support and love and I have all the free time I could ever ask for. When I feel overwhelmed, I bring it back to this. Again and again.
Category: Let go
Too Much, Not Enough & Shame
I started a 7 week “Embodied Writing” course on Monday called Too Much, Not Enough & Shame. What I mean by “started Monday,” is that on Monday I received my first email with my instructions, looked at it, and then didn’t do any of the exercises. Yesterday, the second email came with new directives. I have yet to open it. This is who I am as a person. When I lead writing workshops, there are always people who don’t do their assignments. It’s never my favorite, but I understand it. Resistance. In the circles I lead, a common theme for us is “letting go.” Over and over we let go of that which no longer serves our highest good. Outdated beliefs we hold about ourselves. Shame, being “not enough” and being “too much” are always right at the top. Not just for me. For ALL of the women. It’s a common theme. Doubt is another biggie, but isn’t that just us telling ourselves that we aren’t enough? Or too much? I was having lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, and we were discussing this very thing. Later that day, I opened Instagram and saw a post advertising the course. We all know social media spies on us, but in all fairness, this was a page that I actually follow. And this course was everything she and I had just discussed. Obviously, it’s not just prevalent in my circle. This is a real thing. I emailed her the info and before I had a chance to sign up, she texted me to say she was in. Signed up, and paid for IN. I followed her lead. This week, I have been the girl who signed up for, paid for and was excited for a new journey only to avoid the shit out of it when it was time to actually do the work. I think this will sound familiar to some of the women who are in the writing group I am currently leading. I see you. I feel you. I am you. Resistance to doing the work. Because it’s not fun unpacking these narratives that we have been telling ourselves for so long. This morning I finally did the first exercise. We were asked to spend time with our hands holding our heads…..embodiment. Followed by connecting to our breath. I typically like to come out of my head for these practices, but this asked me to do the opposite. We were to make two columns on a page (or 7 pages if you’re me) and list the times we felt we were too much or not enough in one column and in where we heard that story or whose voice is telling it in the second column. I get the method to her madness head holding embodiment practice now. This is what I discovered. I carried a sexual abuse secret with me as a very young child. I went to Kindergarten knowing I was broken and different than the other children. I didn’t need any other voices telling me I was not enough, or too much, because my own little voice was powerful enough. Of course, there was plenty more on that list. That was just the first thing that I wrote down. My first memory of feeling broken. My list was long and full of stories and voices other than my own, but really, my own voice is the loudest. And as I grew, the secrets and the shame grew. That “not enough” story got louder. In the rooms of recovery the phrase “we are only as sick as our secrets” gets thrown around a lot. And it’s true. I don’t hold onto secrets anymore. I have a full conceptual understanding that for me, secrets are incredibly harmful. I have a team of support people in my life that I am comfortable sharing with. Women who won’t judge me and will hold my secrets. Women who will love me unconditionally. That is exactly the thing I aspire to give back in the circles I facilitate. The first exercise of this course has cracked me open and brought up a ton of shit that I have already worked through. And it’s brought up things I haven’t thought about in years, or rather, conveniently misplaced in my brain. Because that’s what our brains do. Rearrange things to help us survive. But I am no longer about that surviving life. I am all about thriving in life. And I absolutely AM enough. I know this in my soul…..my mind questions it occasionally, but my soul knows that’s bullshit. That leads to how knowing I AM enough can feel a lot like being “too much.” Whew. How’s that for some serious bullshit stories I tell myself? Embracing ALL the parts of me and sharing with the world can feel like I am being too much. Too silly, too smart, too spiritual, too sexual, too loud, too public, too much. I’m gonna do it anyway, because that’s who I am. Unpacking the story of too much is going to be interesting. But I’ll be right here. Embracing ALL of my too muchness and showing it to the world.
I keep sitting down to write and then deciding that I don’t want to share my feelings with the world. I have been in protection mode lately. Protecting my heart. I am ready today. These past couple of weeks have been so full of growth for me. I spent a weekend at a women’s retreat. I had been looking forward to this retreat for months. I was the first person to register when tickets went on sale. I was so excited about the whole experience. It began on Friday evening with a cacao ceremony and Qoya. How could that not be fabulous? And it was. One of my favorite friends was there with me for the weekend and she experienced these two things for the first time. I loved being there to share that with her. A Qoya class has 13 pillars. One of them is dancing with your shadow aspect. Embracing rather than repressing our humanness. I found myself triggered in this piece and had a difficult time integrating my light back in. We left the studio at 9:15 that night and went to the Airbnb we rented for the weekend. I was up until almost 11. One would think that’s no big deal, but one would be wrong. I woke up Saturday morning already tired before we started our day with a 7:30 am yoga class. I don’t function well when I’m tired. I’m like a 5 year when it comes to sleep (and food). I was irritated and I began to close off and shut down. My intention for the weekend had been to remain open and be a part of. I was so looking forward to being a part of rather than leading. I was there, I was in it, but I was resisting every thing about the weekend. Partly because I wasn’t in control. Maybe fully because I wasn’t in control. I found myself being judgemental toward myself and toward the whole experience. The things I normally love, I had an aversion to. So. Fucking. Weird. But at the same time, the experience was beautiful and just what I needed. How much sense does that make? The entire weekend I was acutely aware of my shadow aspect. The fear, the judgement, the insecurity, the anger the need to control and my lack of trust. All of it showed up and stayed with me. I showed up and stayed with all of it. I lived and I learned and I met a bunch of amazing women. I processed the experience for a week. It’s a sacred act to sit in circle with women you don’t know and be open and real and vulnerable. I see women do this in my circles all the time and they are my heroes. I thought I was ready and I would be WIDE open, but that’s not how my weekend went. I was disappointed in myself. It’s still difficult for me allow myself to be seen and heard. I was in my comfort zone of a circle of women, but out of my comfort zone by not being in charge. It’s a control and trust thing that I obviously need to work on. And I will. Possibly forever. That was two weeks ago. This week the growth is still coming. I went to therapy (for the last time?) on Wednesday. My therapist let me know that if I was going to keep coming into her office, she needed to feel as though she was being of service to me. And she no longer does. What this means is that I am making good choices, I’m processing my own shit, I have no super secret life on the side and I am SO FUCKING GROWN. I got kicked out of the nest. It happened so fast. I think we both knew it was time, but she is better at assertive and saying what needs to be said than I am. So she said it. And I rolled with it because I trust her. But, I was super sad when I left her office and scared that now something horrible is going to pop up that I can’t handle and there I’ll be, alone in the world. We ALL know this isn’t true, and I’m not alone, but it’s how I felt. Now that I have had a few days to sit with that, I’m OK. I’m learning more about my need to cling and how it doesn’t serve me. More space has been created in my life and the good things will flow in and fill that gap. I do not doubt that at all. Now I wait. Patiently. Without clinging. Remember that time I choose the word ALLOW for my “One Word?” I’m putting that into practice on so many levels.
Ahhhhhhhh! I am out of the weird ass moon energy and back on top. Where I like to be. One might think that after two years of living in sync with the moon cycles, tuning into them and paying attention, I wouldn’t be so surprised or knocked on my ass by a big super moon eclipse. One would be wrong about that. Because whoa. I know I wasn’t alone in that. I heard it at my moon circle from other women. I saw people freaking out on social media. I felt it in my soul. Lost. Lonely. Off. How fortunate that I have so many practices to keep me “sane,” and so many friends to keep me grounded. When I remember to lean on those supports. I’m out of my bathtub now and living in the big world again. It feels great. When I wrote my Sunday blog, I said that my week had been uneventful. That wasn’t entirely true. Last week a 7 year relationship with a very dear friend switched gears. I would say we are finished being friends, but that is a bit extreme. Our roles in each other’s lives have changed dramatically and I’ll be way less involved with this person and vice versa. It sucked and made me sad during an already (overly) emotional time. After years of knowing this needed to happen, my heart and my head were finally in alignment at the same time. The moon??? After a long conversation with my friend, the letting go happened. Just like that. It needed to happen so my soul can grow in other directions. This doesn’t make it hurt less. I know that “when we let go of the things that no longer serve us, we create space in our lives for that which inspires us.” We create space for growth and joy and life. I know this. I teach this. Somehow, I’ve been forgetting to live this. For years…..That letting go left me feeling more lonely and more lost….but I sat with it. I sat with not feeling centered and not feeling OK. I sat with lonely and lost. I set an intention for the feelings of Calm Abiding to wash over me and hold me. Taking it back to basics and knowing that this is the soil I need to be rooted in so I can grow. I’m growing. On Monday afternoon I connected with a friend in Wilmington. We hadn’t seen each other in a year or more. She and I did yoga teacher training together. Anyone who knows that life knows it’s a true bonding experience. We had lunch and talked about our teacher training experience, among other things. Life things. I mentioned that I might want to write my own Yoga Alliance program and become “a school” to lead teacher trainings. As it happens, my friend has done that and IS able to lead teacher trainings. She said she wasn’t feeling quite ready to do it on her own. We briefly discussed the possibility of doing it together but made no plan. We finished lunch and headed out. On my hour long drive home, I let the thought roll around in my head. I pictured what it would look like and how it would feel to lead a teacher training with her. By the time I got home I KNEW. I knew it would be intense. I knew it would be a learning experience. I knew it would be fun. Guess who loves intense? Guess who loves to learn? Guess who loves fun? This girl does! All the details will be available soon as we are just starting to put our heads together. I can tell you that it’s coming in April. A 3 1/2 week immersion. Yoga for Inner Peace. It is in complete alignment with who I am and what I teach. Our special focus will be “Nurturing the Inner Self.” A beautiful co-creation. I am so excited! Once again, I am amazed at how quickly the Universe responds when I get out of my own way. I AM connected and divinely guided.
The Work is Never Done
When you are on a “journey to wholeness” the work is never done. (Here. Listen.) That doesn’t mean that I always want to do the work. Because, honestly, some days and weeks or months, I don’t want to. So I don’t. I am rolling into the third week of mentioning repressed memories that just came back to me and I still haven’t done anything about them. My therapist really wants me to write about them to help me process them and move on, but who wants to do that? Not me. Not lately. Plus, I’m a busy person with a life to live, a business to run and a family to take care of. She suggested to me that I am scared to sit down and do it. It would be great if I just used my time with her to do it, but I can’t. I freeze and nothing comes out. That leaves little to work with. And if I don’t do the work on my own, it doesn’t get done. But I’m busy, remember? Also, I really don’t want to. Yesterday, I received a text from a friend. Or, as I like to call it, a loud and clear message from the Universe.
How funny is that? I am surrounded by so many amazing people and I just need to remember that I am never alone in my struggle. None of us are. It sure feels like we are when we are going through some shit, but I have learned that if I open my mouth and speak up, I will find someone who says “Me too.” Always. I live in this world where it’s usually easy for people to open up and share their struggles with me because I am so open about mine. On the internet. If you know me in real life, “I’m fine.” I am always OK. It was only last night while I was journaling that I realized this. I always throw up the I’m fine wall. It’s probably not a secret to those who know me and my therapist will probably laugh that I am just figuring this out. I’m OK when I know I’m not but I don’t take the time to identify what I am feeling. I wrote myself a little “Notice That” with an asterisk in my journal. I guess that comes from a lifetime of numbing myself out. Whew. Always learning. The work is never done. But, now that I have this new information, I can work with it. One would think with ALL the meditation and yoga and “noticing that” I do in my life ALL DAY, EVERY DAY that I would be an expert by now. But, it seems, “notice that” is as far as I have ever gone. Not “identify that.” Identify that could be a game changer for me. I tell my therapist all the time that I may be slow, but I am oh so thorough! And really, what’s the hurry? As far as I can tell, this is a lifetime path. I can be healed and still healing. Someone once left a comment on my blog that I am a “Soul Detective” and that was my favorite thing ever. If it was you, you should tell me so I can hug you. 😊 I am still my favorite project but you should know that if you are on this path, and lean on me for guidance and support, chances are you are my other favorite “project.” I root for you and want to see you win. Complete strangers root for me and it’s the coolest thing ever. Sometimes those strangers become my friends. Have you ever talked to or hung out with someone you know nothing about but knows everything about you? I have and I do often and it’s weird as fuck. At the same time it’s completely liberating to have nothing to hide. Boom. This is me. And you’re still here. It’s our humanness that connects us all. Our “not having it all figured out.” Our “still learning and still growing.” Our struggle really is our strength and when we share that we open the door for powerful connections. And suddenly I am no longer afraid to sit with my deep dark shit and sort it out on paper. I know someone will come hold my hand or just sit with me if I need that. I also know that I know how to take care of ME and that I will feel so much better once it’s done. I’m not saying it will get done today, because I’m busy. Remember? 😂 But I’ll do it. And then I’ll burn that shit.
All the Feels
Everything is a Practice.
I have landed on a consistent, weekly writing practice. I say practice, because that’s exactly what it is. The more I show up and do it, the better I get at it. Like everything else. Everything is a practice. That phrase used to piss me off like no other when my therapist would say it to me. Because I couldn’t understand what she meant. I would come to her freaking out about one thing or another and her words to me would be “Remember, everything is a practice.” I am sure my practice at the time was to yell “What the fuck does that even mean?!” at her. She was very patient. Or she wasn’t and she just had really good boundaries and a strong sense of self. I am guessing it’s the latter. My consistent writing practice has been taking place on Sunday mornings as of late, and even though I didn’t write this morning, here I am, showing up for myself. I didn’t write this morning because I went to yoga church instead. Yoga Church is the practice that grounds and centers me for my week ahead like nothing else. It connects me to my past and roots me in my present. The same therapist who taught me that “everything is a practice” is my Yoga Church teacher. If you are familiar with my story, you already know I had a love/hate relationship with this woman. I could always count on her to call me on my bullshit like no one ever had. And I hated her for it. But I paid her good money to (in my mind) be mean to me every week. The reality is that she was honest with me in a way nobody else would be. She didn’t sugar coat the truth and wrap it in a pretty package either. I would have certainly preferred that. I have a head full of her “classic one liners” that were both absurd and hilarious. But spot on too. Nothing is hilarious unless there’s a bit of truth to it. When I first started going to the Buddhist Temple to look for peace and clarity, I mentioned this to her. She looked at me without batting an eye and said “Please don’t fuck the monks.” In my mind that was absurd, but in reality, I understood why she would say that to me. The me I was on that day anyway. I am sure I wasn’t even truly offended until I got in my car to leave and I am equally sure I called her and let her know how awful I thought she was. That was the standard procedure. I would spend an hour on her couch. She would piss me off. I would think about it on my drive home and upon my arrival I would call her and complain to her. About her. Or I would call her in the middle of the night, on the office emergency line if need be, because I needed something. Her.
I needed her.
During the time she was my therapist, I landed in a psychiatric hospital. I was allowed to make phone calls and I called her.
Because I needed her.
She reminded me to “practice my skills.” She was referring to the communication, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness skills that I had been learning in my DBT Group. It seemed a little late for me to practice those skills since I was already in the hospital, but I went with it. I practiced my skills and did what I needed to do to get out of the hospital. But I stopped practicing when I got out. I was an emotional wreck, fueled by alcohol. Within a few months, I landed back in the psychiatric hospital. And I called her.
Because I needed her.
She reminded me to “practice my skills.” “Everything is a practice” she said. I was so pissed because nothing about anything seemed like a practice to me. This was my LIFE and I was losing. I screamed into the phone “what the fuck does that even mean?!” She simply repeated that it’s all a practice. Life is a practice. I hung up on her. I practiced my skills, did what I needed to do and got out of that hospital. But when I got home, I stopped practicing. Again, I was an emotional wreck, fueled by alcohol. A month or two later, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Again. This time I was committed on an involuntary basis. This was a different hospital. This was a hospital where the steel doors were kept locked and I couldn’t leave if I wanted to. I was “a danger to myself and others.” I saw what real mental illness looks like in this hospital. I was terrified. I called my therapist.
Because I needed her.
She did not tell me to practice my skills. She did not remind me that everything is a practice. She said “Oh. You’re in the Ha Ha Hospital. Why are you calling me?” This was not the response I was expecting and I honestly didn’t know why I was calling her.
I just knew I needed her.
She told me there wasn’t a thing she could do for me. I told her bye and we hung up. She was right. There wasn’t a thing she could do for me. There wasn’t a thing anyone could do for me. I did what I needed to do to survive that hospital. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Locked up. Terrified. I practiced my skills. I was there for 10 days. I was released from that hospital and eventually I started to “practice my skills” on a more consistent basis. I wish I could say this is the moment I got sober, but it’s not. It took more terrifying experiences to make me understand that alcohol was not helping me and was, in fact, destroying my life and killing me. It was destroying all the things I loved as well. I went back to therapy, and eventually I did get sober. When I rooted myself firmly in AA, that therapist let me go. She had given me all the tools I needed. She had pointed me in the direction of a skillful path. It was my turn to do the work. I was terrified.
And I needed her.
But I knew, it was time. I began the long, difficult process of becoming a sober person. And it sucked. So bad. I kept in occassional contact with that therapist just to let her know my progress and make sure she was still there.
Because I needed her.
Eventually, I needed her less and less, but she was always there when I emailed her, and that helped me let her go. I got sober. I grew. My life changed. Our relationship changed. I don’t need her today, but I am grateful for her presence in my life. She has been a wonderful teacher to me in so many ways. She gave me what I needed at the time even though it was never what I wanted. Today in “yoga church” as she was giving a dharma talk, she made a reference to a scientist who was so ahead of his time, that he was thought to be crazy. Isn’t that always the way it is with scientists? She told the class how this particular man “ended up in the ha ha hospital.” I laughed out loud and flashed straight back to the day she said that to me. I remembered exactly the way it felt and the person I was back then. But then I came right back to the present moment. I sat up a little straighter and beamed a little brighter because I am NOT that person today. That one little phrase made my practice that much sweeter. That one little phrase reminded me why I was there. I was there to practice. Everything we do is a practice.
Born to Fly
“If you want to fly you have to give up what’s weighing you down.” I love inspirational quotes because without them I might not have survived 2012. Seriously. I would scroll through my FB newsfeed and feel those quotes in my soul and sob because I just couldn’t pull it together. Letting go of what weighs us down is never as easy as it sounds. Especially when you don’t even know what you are holding onto. Alcohol was a hard one for me to let go of, but oh my, when I did, I began to soar. I’ve basically had two lives. The drunk life or BS-Before Sobriety and my current, sober life. Sober life is the shit. It’s all the feels all the time. Unless I am throwing up an emotional wall to not feel things, which I still do, but that’s another post for another time. I am always in the process of letting go of something. It’s a practice. I’m not a one and done type of person, but I am oh so thorough. This week’s practice is all about letting go of self limiting beliefs. I am worthy of all the good things in my life. I have done the work to be where I am. I am letting go of doubts. I have a little voice that will talk me right out of doing the things I want and need to do if I listen to it. I am letting go of judging myself harshly. I’m letting go of all the ways I get in my own way. And then there’s the list of things that I’m just not ready to let go of yet. And that’s OK. I have a beautiful (to me) reminder in the form of a tattoo on my rib that I can “Let it Be.” When I let go of the things that weigh me down, I create space in my life for the things that inspire me. I create space for the things that bring me joy and lead to my ultimate happiness. When I let go, I create space for spirit to enter me and flow through me, working its magic and helping me shine my light into the world. ❤️