Wednesday, May 30, 2012

what would you love to be doing right now?

In general I have a lot of discussions with people about what I call doing what you love. I'm a lover of entrepreneurship. In the past I've (half) jokingly said "Everyone should own their own business!"

Yes, I see that as a broad blanket of a statement.
No, I don't really think that everyone should own their own business.
I can see that clearly some people are better suited to support and some are better suited to lead.
Yes, I think you can keep your day job and bring your genius self to that day job.
Yes, I'm a believer in tapping into your strengths and pursing your passions.

At the heart of my "business is so awesome we should all be doing it." is a sincere desire that we all do more of what we love.

And that when we're doing more of what we love....
We're better for our family, friends, society and ourselves....
And when we're showing up in that way with others it's like a ripple in a lake that continues to expand outward....
Ultimately making the world a better place.
I believe this.

In shining a light on our genius way of being you have to start somewhere. Getting clear on the things that you love, the things that make you feel more alive in body, mind, and heart is a beautiful starting place.

Let's take a look at what your living and doing now. Ponder these questions. Take them on a walk in the woods. Meditate on them. Contemplate them. Reflect on them in your journal around them. Draw a picture. Make a collage. Loads of options friends.

What does a general day in your life look like?
What are the things you are doing right now?
How does what you're doing make you feel?
Do you feel awake, alive, and energized by the things you are doing?

Now let's do some investigating around your genius:

What are your current desires? You have to start somewhere and this is a pretty dreamy place to begin.

What are the things you loved to do as a kid?
What did you dream of?
What are things that make you feel most alive and energized?
What are the things you do that don't feel like work, but you feel like you are in the zone, in the flow?

This morning I was upstairs in my yoga room. I looked to my right at the basket. There is a book, a journal, pens and markers. There was an old issue of Oprah in the basket. I picked it up and immediately my eyes landed on this...

"It starts with a desire to chase what moves you most - and after that, it's about figuring out what you're great at, what it takes to keep you moving forward, and exactly what you need to succeed."

It starts with a desire to chase what moves you most. That's huge. That is a starting place.

Well before I ever birthed Barefoot Works, before I fell head over heels in love with yoga, I knew I wanted to own a business. The dreaming started in a small office with no windows with my awesome co-worker and friend.

Some part of me knew that I would be fulfilling something really big and important for my heart and soul. That desire was my starting place.

Your genius can be a compass that leads you to create a life of purpose and meaning (that may or may not be directly tied back to a job).

Your desires.
Your sense of aliveness.
Your joy.
Your ways of being in the flow.
Your genius......

All lead toward a delicious, juicy joyful life filled with purpose and meaning. Plus a whole lot of other really amazing things!


What would you love to be doing right now?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

show the world your magic

Source: via Sharon on Pinterest

This week for my life coach training we're focusing on what is one of my favorite topics.

Not just any genius, but your genius.
Yes, you.  I'm talking to you (and me).

I'm a big fan, huge fan, of purpose and passion.
I'm an advocate of doing things that makes your heart sing.
I'm a proponent of doing more of what makes your soul soar.

This topic, this exploration of genius was a gift to me from Grace, my life coach.  She also recommended the book "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks.  If you're interested in this topic it is a fascinating (and fairly quick read).

What exactly is all this talk about genius?  In The Big Leap, Gay says that in your Zone of Genius, you don't feel like you're working.  Even though  the time you spend there produces great financial abundance, you do not feel that you are expending effort to produce it.  In your Zone of Genius, work doesn't feel like work.  Time feels completely different.  Time doesn't flows."

Genius work is about diving deep into the essence of who you are and discovering something that you've been blessed with.

Yes, you're blessed with something....a quality, a trait that is pure and utter genius.

Genius is like your very own magic.
Genius is like your very own superpower.

I'm planning to write each day this week about this topic. If you want to play then simply begin by making a commitment to simply get curious about what your particular genius is.

To be curious is to be in a state of wonder.
To wonder is to be open,  to invite excitement, to feel  possibility.
To live and breathe in to possibility.....
Is to know that your dreams are conceivable and achievable.

Sound amazing?
I think so!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

just breathe

Last week a student told me after class that one of the biggest benefits she has received from coming to class has been the developing the skill of developing nonjudgmental awareness.

It was my second week of steady and intentional teaching on the body.

The first week was really plain and simple.

Stay in the body.
Your body.
These feet, legs, hips, belly, back, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, head, face.
Stay in your body.

Thoughts wandered to the past, to the future, to dinner, to the drive home, to work.
Ground yourself in your body.
Sounds easy, right?
Not so much.

The very first word in the yoga sutras says so much to the yoga practice.  It's simple and profound.  It's easy to grasp.  It's hard to practice.

That one word is "atha".
It translates to "now".


Yoga happens in this moment. It's happening right now. 

Asana, the yoga poses we love to bend, twist, and shape ourselves in to are fabulous to help us be in the now.

Last week we layered this practice with feeling the body and it's yes's and no's.  For example, coming into a standing forward bend.  We're folding, we're breathing, the back of the body is stretching, the hamstrings are lengthening.....

Yes!, says the body.  This is good.  I needed this.  Yes! I can go a little deeper.  It's good.  I've got a calm breath, steady mind.  No problem.  I look over to the person next to me....ooohhh they are folding deeper.  That looks impressive.  I bet I can do that.  I start to push.

My body starts to contract.  My breath becomes restricted.  My mind is pulsing with the thought of just a lil more, just a lil more.  My (small) mind is signaling "yes".  My body is signaling "no".

I pause mid-pose.
Take a conscious breath.
I hear the "no" coming from my body.
It is quieter than the "yes" coming from my (small) mind.

I back off. I breathe.
I'm present. 
Nonjudgmental awareness. 
I begin again.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I love a weekend birthday!

I love love love a weekend birthday!
Even more so when you are gifted with THE best weather ever.
Or at least this year. ;)

Much happiness was happening over here.  I would give you a rundown of the photos, but the Blogger App on my IPhone just randomly does as it wishes.


Andy woke me at 6:00 on my birthday singing the traditional Tessandori birthday song, sharing gifts, and bringing my hot tea to bed.  It's good to be treated like a yoga queen. ;)

I spent time in my yoga room Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
There was yoga, reading, journaling, and of course dancing.  See the first photo of my first dance
par-tee of my 35th year. 

We adopted a new puppy!  On my birthday.  Happpyyyy.  She will arrive at the big blue house on Wednesday.  Remy got to meet her and he seems to approve.

We went to Cincinnati and enjoyed Findlay Market (our first time there).  and went couch shopping.  We bought the one Andy is sitting on and it should arrive at the big blue house in early July.  We also went to the bookstore.  As always, I'm a happy camper at any bookstore.  Birthday bookstore browsing is pretty sweet. 

I got  three new books for my birthday.  Vegan Cooking for Carnivores (Andy is happy about this one), The Fire Started Sessions (love Danielle LaPorte), and Writing Down Your Soul (yay for yogish writing books).

I ate all sorts of delicious food.  Took lots of walks.  Talked to people I love. And reveled in getting to spend another glorrrious year living this thing called life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

a mind backed by will

Good Morning Friends,

Who needs an alarm when you have a bat in your bedroom at 4:30 in the morning?
That's the question Andy just posed on Facebook.

That's the experience we had early this morning.  Oh, Big Blue House I love you so much but realllly?

Andy and I awoke to some weird mrrrppp noise (Lauren, I used one of your sounds!)....
He says what is that?  I sleepily respond, "It's the ceiling fan blowing paper around."  Andy responds back, "No, it's like an animal or something."

At that time I opened my eyes and saw a bat whizzing above my head.  So I was wrong. Andy was right.  Andy and I have some unwritten rules in our relationship.  I hate getting gas for my car. I dislike doing laundry (ok, dishes too).  I don't enjoy taking the garbage out.  Therefore Andy does most of those. 

Andy doesn't like to plan meals, grocery shop or cook. He doesn't do flowers and flower beds.  He doesn't like to pack his lunch. He doesn't like things that go "mrrrppp" in the middle of the night. 

Therefore I was up at 4:45, walking, covered with a heavy blanket through our bedroom out into the house, closing all the doors to other rooms, and opening all the doors outside.   

We're really awake by this time.  I make some yogi hot tea. The tag says...

"When the mind is backed by will, miracles happen."

I begin to think about all the awesome miracles swirling around in the Universe.

The miracle of joining on the beach with the most perfect women.  One month later I am hearing about the good they are doing, the dreams they are pursuing, the change they are creating.  Really, these gals are superyogis.  No doubt about it.  Their mind is backed by will.

The miracle of Mama Alice.  Within a span of nine months she has gone from a stage four cancer diagnosis to being cancer free.  If anybody exemplifies what it's like to have a mind backed by will, it is Mama Alice.  Shew. You have no idea Friends.  I'm forever thankful that I've learned this from her.

The miracle of relationships.  I had the good fortune to spend the day yesterday with one of my favorite people, Miss Shelli Carpenter.  "Where do you see yourself in five years?"  That was our juicy topic of discussion over coffee.  We realized that it was just over five years ago when we were so new owning our yoga studios.  And that five years ago at this time we were undoubtedly talking about the upcoming retreat we were leading in Mexico (yes, Maya Tulum).  It was a huge risk for us.  Yet, we had not only one mind, but two minds, backed by will.  I'm preparing to lead my sixth annual yoga retreat at Maya Tulum in July.

This morning as a bat whizzed around me head, I had a mind backed by will. ;)

I can think of so many other stories where this has showed up in my life.   

How about you, what are the times in your life that you moved mountains with a mind backed by will?

Friday, May 11, 2012

this body is perfect... aches, pleasures, pain and all

"It's also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that's sitting right here right now...with its aches and its exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive."
~ Pema Chodron

Have you ever held a yoga pose to the point of near exhaustion, where you felt totally alive in your muscles, bones, and body as a whole?

Have you ever pushed your body beyond what your mind thought was capable?

Have you ever laid in the grass on a hot summer day and felt the warmth of the sun on your bare skin?

Have you ever felt the pain, shock, awe, aches and pleasure of birthing a child?

Have you ever suffered an injury, encountered sickness or dis-ease that placed you squarely in your body?

Have you felt the warm embrace of a loved one you've desperately missed?

Have you felt your body take the next step you thought was impossible?

Have you surrendered it all and gave in to physical exhaustion?

Have you ran into water, dove head first, engulfing your body in the liquid flow of the ocean?

Have you felt the pain of your heart literally breaking?

And the questions I'm asking myself and asking you:

What did you learn?

Do you view pleasure as good, pain as bad?  How does it feel to have that belief?

How can you be in and with your body as it is and use it as a tool for growth and transformation?

What are the times you learned the most from your body, it's yes's and no's?

How can you be fully awake, fully human, and fully alive in your yoga practice?

This passage by Pema Chodron served as my inspiration for my yoga classes and practices this week.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

contemplate purpose

Do not weigh pain and misery, contemplate love, contemplate friendship;
Do not mull over tyranny and neglect; think of all those who have their eyes fixed on you.
Surname all grief "grace"; transmute pain and anguish into joy,
And ask from joy all happiness, all security, all peace.
Demand that security, that peace, demand them,
Choose the company of those withdrawn in love.
Listen to those who open a path to you: listen, and don't say a word.

Good Monday Morning Friends.  Please enjoy a lil dose of inspiration from Rumi.

This passage reminds of the yoga sutra (I'm blanking on the actual number) that encourages us not to dwell on the negative, but to cultivate the opposite quality.

I would add that it's important to look at this with some more perspective.  I'm not certain that it's healthy to immediately and automatically shift from the negative to the positive.  I am a believer that those negative, dark spaces offer us valuable opportunity for insight, change, and growth.

When we think the
same stories
same fears
same beliefs
over and over and over....
this doesn't facilitate positive patterns.

For me the work is briefly (five minutes max) making friends with my fears. 
Then giving them a swift kick in the ass and sending them on their way.

Choosing to cultivate happiness and peace in the ways that work for me.
That always comes back to my values, how I want to show up in the world, and the vision I have for my life.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

random ramblings

Been spending lots of time with this guy this week. Walks, talks, cuddles, and extra treats for him. 
Sunshine, strawberries, and blooming iris.  I like it.
Students in the 4:00 Community Yoga class.  Two yogi mamas brought their daughters and they were just delightful....smiles, giggles, and all.  At the end of class they asked if they could use "the tools"....the singing bowl and bells.  Too cute.
Friday I spent time cooking, enjoying wine, writing, and staring out my dining room window.
Thursday morning yogis rockin' out the 9:15 class.
Loving all the bright colors outside the studio at Sunshine Grow Shop.

What a great week?!  I'm so appreciating all things hOMe, studio, yoga, Andy & Remy since Sunday.  I kept my schedule light and open.  I taught four classes.  Have stayed connected to the outer banks yoga gals via our private facebook page.  Signed up for a book conference through The Carnegie Center.  Ordered training photos (so much fun).  Reorganized the pantry.  Cooked!  I cooked twice this week.  Missed this while I was gone.  Perusing plane tickets for a trip to California next month and Mexico in July.  Skyped with Babaji.  Enjoyed drinks with Andy at the wine bar.  Took a yoga class (thanks Kate, you are awesome) Spent time at Panera with yogini buds.

Had a moment yesterday of feeling totally and utterly content.  Was certainly feeling sweet santosha (contentment).

Wishing all of you a great weekend.  We've got The Kentucky Derby (I bet on Rousing Sermon and Creative Cause), Cinco De Mayo, and a can it not be?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

faith, hope and love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the
gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing....

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. 
Now I know in part.
Then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians

Passages like these leave me feeling spellbound.
I could sit and ponder....
Ponder and sit some more.

This was the reading I shared at the end of today's class.
We had spent time focusing on the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
The areas of my body I find needing so much attention after the intensely delicious process
known as yoga teacher training.

We also focused on connecting physically and emotionally to the heart space.
Using the breath to let go of tension held in and around this space.

Today I'm reflecting of the ways that yoga helps one to see themselves more clearly, more accurately.

I'm thinking about how the practice is designed to reveal and reflect back our shiny, sparkly, bright, and beautifully radiant light.

I'm thinking about how it has the capacity to instill faith, trust, and a letting go that can be felt when we do indeed have faith.

I'm thinking about my word for the year, wholehearted.

How it inspires me to love bigger than I've ever loved before.

And reminds me that maybe the Beatles were on to something when they said......

All you need is

Love is all you need.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

rainbow connection

It's been 48 hours since I returned from yoga teacher training in the Outer Banks. I've slept 20 hours the past two nights. The first night back in my bed in the big blue house I woke in the middle of the night not knowing where I was. This happens after each return from training.

For two straight weeks I set my alarm to go off at 5:00 a.m. I would find my way out the sliding door and carefully make my way down the steps to our hot tub. I would slide into the hot tub, tilt my head to the sky, and gaze at a sky full of stars. It was magical.

There are few things that would lure me out of a deep slumber daily at this hour. Yoga teacher training is one of the few.

I had my first visit back to the treehouse, the studio today. A smile naturally spreads across my face as I open the giant door. The sun pours onto the floors and I feel the natural warmth this place exudes. It too is magical.

I greet students. They enthusiastically ask how the training went. I try to briefly explain the goodness of yoga teacher training. I know my words will never do it justice. They never have. It goes so far beyond what I imagine.

Each time this happens.
Each time I wonder if I can make more room in my heart for this process, for new people.
Each time I feel silly for even wondering such a thing.

The perfect women presented themselves for this training. The rainbow above magically appeared just before our closing graduation ceremony began. A student throws open the door as I was blow drying my hair for the first time in over two weeks. "I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but you HAVE to come see this!" Her eyes lit up the same way a child's eyes sparkle on Christmas morning.   

I wondered how it could even be possible. Yet, it was.
At our closing one Harley Davidson ridin' yogini with two grown children said that yoga teacher training was the best, most transformative experience she ever had. And her motorcycle's name is Samadhi. Cool? Yea, I know.

Another yogini who recently retired from teaching beautifully stated that she wished something so important, so crucial to the growth and development of children could be integrated into school. Amazing? Yea, I know.

On Sunday as I jammed down Interstate 64, The Rainbow Connection came on. I thought back to the past two weeks and tears spilled down my face.

They were tears of joy.
Tears of gratitude.
Tears of pure yogic bliss.

"Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see. Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.
All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.
Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors. The voice might be one and the same. I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

We found it.
The rainbow connection.

The lovers.
The dreamers.
The yogis.
And me.