Thursday, June 28, 2012

increasing energy

Sunday evening I left Santa Cruz, CA for the airport. It was the last of my 10 days in CA, the final day of a nine month life coaching immersion. The wave of this immersion had been building and building over the course of five days.

And just like that it was over.

The marinating, the savoring,  the building, the learning had come to a conclusion. With hearts permanently connected, hands strung together, and a certificate signed we completed the process of closing, of letting go, of destroying this experience so that we could move on, and move out in the world to create anew.

On the ride to the airport I wondered what I would create in the upcoming days, during this time of transition. Those of you that have been part of a sweet like minded group engaged in a transformative process know in your bones what I speak of. Those of you immersed in yoga teacher training know what I speak of.

I knew I had a choice. I could come back home feeling exhausted from the intensity of it all. I could come home feeling heavy, feeling sad because it was over. I could have chosen to feel anxious about integrating it all. I could have told myself it would take me days and days to get over the red eye flight from California.

I made a conscious commitment to go the other direction. To continue to build on this energy, this excitement, this creative force when I landed back in Kentucky. I would rest when I needed to rest. I would work when I felt inspired to work. I would savor each bite of food I took. I'd take time to connect to my body. I'd be open to receive and express appreciation. I wouldn't let my head get too far forward of my heart.

And this is what I'm thinking about this week. And this is what I'm teaching this week in my yoga classes, the practice of brahmacharya.

My translation/interpretation of brahmacharya is not celibacy (nope, most definitely not), but regulation, moderation of energy.

And in this context I am referring to energy as the amount of aliveness one feel's within oneself.

In yoga classes I am asking that students assess the energy they feel at the beginning of class.

How does your body feel? What are the foods and drinks you've taken in today? With a curious and nonjudgemental mind ask how those foods and drinks have increased or decreased your aliveness. Be in the place of not knowing, be willing to be surprised.

After a few moments shift to your mind. What is the tone of your mind today? What are the thoughts you've been having? What are the experiences you've taken in today? The books you've read, the images you've seen, the conversations you've had....have they increased or decreased your energy, your aliveness? Again, be in the place of not knowing, be willing to be surprised.

Shift your focus to your breath. Without any particular rules, begin to breathe in any way that brings you into your body. Knowing that breath is energy and energy is the thing you are made of, move the breath in any way that helps you to feel more present in your body. If your body wants to move, allow it to move. If your breath wants to make sound, let it make sound.

From this place, begin to examine different areas of your life.

Your marriage/partnership
Your work
Your home
Your body
Your money
Your hobbies
Your time

Where are you filled with energy, ease, excitement, presence?
Where are you feeling anxious, depleted, confused, and/or stressed?

Where in your life do you feel free and liberated?
Where do you feel constricted, restricted, or obsessive?

Lots of food for thought, eh?

And this is where I am feeling so energized these days.
This integration of yoga lifestyle + life coaching.

Lots more to come Friends.
I've missed you.

PS - I'm a certified life coach, wahoo!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

the good stuff

A few things rocking my yoga boat over the past week:

twice a day naps
more naps
feeling like being in a cocoon
serendipitous moments
sitting with babaji
copal incense
ganesha & hanuman adorned daily with flowers
taking self portraits
the joy that comes from doing nothing
twice a day meditation
waking to the sound of chanting
going to bed to the sounds of nature
witnessing the beautiful yoga teacher a past student has become
delicious silent meals while sitting outside under a tree
reconnecting with students from mexico training over
the feeling of happiness finding me
picking strawberries from a garden and eating them under the umbrella of a weeping willow tree
nooks outside in nature with amazing views
walks down country roads where grapes are growing everywhere I look
and hellos
adventures with public transportation
greeting grace
exquisite bathrooms
feelings of anticipation
yoga with oooh's and ahhh's, smiles, bopping and swaying
longing for Andy and the big blue house
a room with widows galore, rugs, and a bed of pillows
seeing beautiful faces, exchanging hugs
excitement abound
seated on the floor, soaking up being a student
a video that nearly made me a weepy mess
aha's coming fast and furious
realizing there is enough of everything
a cold beer after a long day that whizzed by with whirl
communal cooking and meals and music and delicious conversation
settling in and knowing you're one lucky girl

cause tomorrow you get to do it all over again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

sacred space

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again. ~Joseph Campbell

Thursday, June 14, 2012

yoga for when you're stuck at the airport

Gather up your goodies....books, journal, electronics, snacks and water.

Scour the airport for the coziest, quietest nook you can find. I prefer corners.

Pop a squat...on the floor that is. You are a yogi right? Insert sarcasm. Pull out a book and dive in.

When you're feeling ready, scootch up next to the wall, lay back and swing your legs up the wall, viparita karani style.

Lay. Read. Breathe. Listen to the people walking by. Know that there are jealous and secretly wish to throw their legs up the wall next to you.

Eventually sit up. Your feeling extra cozy so you take your shoes off. You're a yogi, right? Geez.

Give your hips some love. You've got a few more hours of sitting ahead. Bust out agnistambasana. Fire log pose. Double pigeon. Whatever, you know the drill.

When the nice lady comes on the speaker and tells you you're under a severe thunderstorm warning.....

Breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

Then put your shoes on, gather up your goodies, and make your way to the sea salt caramel gelato you spotted earlier.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

words of wisdom from Barbara Kingsolver

Last week I went to a two day book conference, titled Books In Progress at The Carnegie Center. It's was fantastic!

After two one I left feeling both excited and overwhelmed. I thought "This must what it feels like my students after the first day of yoga teacher training!" I was humbled by the whole experience.

The biggest highlight for me was hearing Barbara Kingsolver speak Saturday morning for an hour and a half. Yes!  Here are some notes I took that I hope you can find some value in.  Simply substitute the task of writing with what ever you've got going on. ;)

*I love maps. I love to know where I'm headed, even in my writing. (I knew she was a gal after my heart when you spoke of a good ol fashion process/system/map)

*Revision is like hoeing a row of corn. You just get in there and do it. (Is that not great?! Something to said about work, focus, and routines. And I loved the visual)

*You've got to dig down to get the nuggets. You will have a pile of dirt at the end. It's not wasted. It's part of the process. (She speaks of practice and more processes and how nothing is wasted. Sigh)

*Writing is  privilege, it's an honor. Virginia Woolf wrote these (of novels). Who do I think I am? I was not raised to be audacious. I am terrified anew each time. (Even Miss Kingsolver has doubts)

*When asked about any rituals she has she responded that she doesn't do anything in particular. I give myself permission not to be perfect. Then I go to town.  It's important. Then don't be attached. You may not get an agent. (It was these words that led to my writing aha. And of course the yogi in me loves that she spoke to practice and non-attachment, which just so happen to be the ways to attain the state of yoga. More sighs).

*When asked what keeps her writing her response was "addiction!" She said she wasn't driven solely by publishing. I love to do this. I have to tell these stories. I'd do it even if no one ever read them. (Wow. Just wow)

*If you're breaking the rules, know that you are, know the risks, and the potential payoffs.

*Often the answer to what's stopping you is "Go ahead and do it." Write.

*Brevity is the soul of everything.

And with that....I'll leave you to be dear Friend.


Monday, June 11, 2012

what is a balanced life?

I've been thinking about this for the last week.
Balance that is. 

In the past I've viewed balance as a neat and pretty thing. It was always something I was working to get to. If I arrived to that elusive destination of balance I could feel myself teeter tottering....

To the left
To the right
(And is it even possible to read that and not think of Beyonce?)

Ahhh, there am I am. Center. Let me see how long I can maintain this.

Today I've been thinking that it all seems a little.....
What's the word?

Balance is defined as harmonious equality of distribution.  There is symmetry, proportion among all the parts.

I see myself as an excited kid on a seesaw.  You too?  Wasn't that fun?!
It was always so much fun to find that perfect place of balance where you and your friend where perfectly level,
perfectly balanced.

I don't know about you, but I could only stay there for so long.  Why?
It got boring!

I loved the thrill of being hoisted fast and quick into the air. Feeling the seat of my pants momentarily lifted into the air.  The scenery up here was different. I felt light and excited.

I loved the ride back down to the ground where I could plant my feet and legs. The scenery and the feeling down here was different.

These days I'm getting curious about what balance means to me.

If I look at balance in terms of my work life, home life, and inner/self life, then by definition I'd be dedicating 33.3% of my (waking) time to each of those three areas.

My life doesn't work like that.  There are times when work gets way more than 33.3%.  April for example, when I was getting ready to lead yoga teacher training in the Outer Banks, then actually being there for two plus weeks.  My home life got very little piece of the pie.  My inner/self life got very little of the pie.

May, however was totally different.  I've dedicated way more than 33.3% of my time to my home life. Andy and I have been savoring this time. We've been going golfing, mid-week hiking, re-doing our living room, organizing, cleaning (ok, he's doing more here, but who is counting).

My inner life also goes in spurts. Sometimes we are hot and heavy, totally on. There are times you can't drag me away from my yoga room. You can't pry my journal out of my hands. And there are days and times when I just want to go to a movie and drink cherry coke and eat chocolate covered almonds.

You know what? I kinda like this.
It makes it a little easier on me when I need to hammer down and get loads of work done. I don't feel bad for neglecting my home life because I know it's only a matter of time before the pendulum will swing back the other way and I'll be reveling in spacious home time.

One definition of balance is to move toward and then away from. It makes the idea of balance seem less static and more like a dance.

And when it feels more like a dance.....
Well, you know I'm convinced.

What does it mean to you to live a balanced life? 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

words of wisdom

Love, the new moon, grows slowly, stage by stage;
We should progress like that, deliberately, with patience.
I hear the new moon whispering, "Impatient fool!"
It is only step by step you climb to the roof.
Be a seasoned cook, let the pot boil little by little;
A stew cooked in mad haste tastes terrible.

Remember these words when you feel
wondering if it will happen.

Remember these words when you feel
wondering if it's worth it.

Remember these words when you feel
wondering what to do next.

Remember these words when you feel
wondering if you've lost your way.

Today I'm thinking of all the people I know that might benefit by Rumi wisdom.

Love, the new moon, grows slowly, stage by stage.


Monday, June 04, 2012

more on the zone of genius

This weekend we had a gathering of yogini minds..... or a teacher meeting.  I opened up our gathering with a guided meditation that connected us to all the teachers, mentors, guides, and role models we've had throughout our life.  Beginning as early as we could recall and working up to present time.

I also reminded my fellow teacher that not all teachers and the experiences we had with them would be positive.  Some teachers may simply have taught us how we didn't want to be.

I also encouraged them to make note of books, songs, words, lyrics, and movies they can recall as having resonated with them.  We used this as inspiration to draw forth qualities and traits that were wanting to emerge in us as yoga teachers.

I have a few teachers that stand out in my mind.  When I do this exercise the one that continually comes up in my mind as creating the biggest impact on my life is Mr. Brashear.  I had Mr. Brashear for three years in high school.  That's him in the photo above on a trip to Canada.

He was my first teacher in anything business related. He cared about all of his students. He was down to earth, funny and easy to talk to.  He believed in me. He saw something in me I didn't see in myself.  He saw potential and year after year, he kept drawing that potential out in me.  He believed in my worth well before I did. 

Mr. Brashear taught me that dreams come true. He showed me the power of travel.  I took my first flight, saw the ocean for the first time, as well as Niagara Falls under his leadership.  It is because of him, his teachings, and his belief in me that my world expanded and I could see bigger and farther than the ways I'd always known. 

I'm deeply, deeply grateful for Mr. Brashear.  Now I can look back. See the links. Connect the dots and see that he was drawing forth my own natural genius.

Last week I wrote on the zones of incompetence and competence.  I shared lots of my flaws. Today I'm writing on the zone of excellence and the zone of genius.

The zone of excellence are the activities you do really well, the ones you excel at.  It's likely you make a living from doing the things that fall under this category.  In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks says,

"For successful people this zone is seductive and even dangerous trap. To remain in this zone is to hobble yourself from taking the leap into your Zone of Genius. The temptation is strong to remain in the Zone of Excellence; it's where your own addition to comfort wants to stay. It's also where your family, friends, and organization what you to stay.  You're reliable there, and you provide a steady supply of all things that family, friends, and organizations thrive on.  The problem is that a deep, sacred part of you will wither and die if you stay inside your Zone of Excellence."

This is an area you rock.  But are you playing it safe?  What are the activities that fall under this category for you?

I'm excellent at teaching group yoga classes.  My groundedness, my ability to stay in the moment, and my mind all work in ways that support me in teaching group yoga classes.  In my early days when I was studying to become a yoga teacher, I could look at a sequence, process it for a few moments, then teach it with steadiness and ease.

I was able to excel at this even though I didn't like public speaking.
I was able to excel at this without having all the muscles and bones memorized.
I was able to excel at this even though I was shy and introverted.
I was able to excel at this without having ten years of yoga experience. 
In fact, I took my first yoga teacher training within a year of practicing yoga.

Even in those early years, something else would kick in and take over when I was leading yoga.  It felt natural and easy.  Seventy five minutes later I felt I would finish teaching class and feel so filled with peace, contentment, and joy.  Eight years later and I feel the same. 

Yesterday I was walking alone in the cemetery and I realized that I've taught yoga nearly double the amount of time that I stayed in my full time job in Texas after graduate school.  I've done so with great joy, with great passion and great purpose.  This feels significant.

I love being a yoga teacher.  Since the beginning I've challenged myself to do the things I wasn't quiet sure I could do.  I've continually challenged myself.  I've summoned the courage to continually grow, to risk my own significance.

Over the past 16 months I've asked myself, where am I playing it safe in my life?  How can I hone in on my greatest strengths and abilities? As Grace asks me, what produces the highest ratio of abundance per time spent?

The zone of genius are the skills and strengths that are unique to you.  This is full fledged working and living in the zone, feeling in the flow when you are doing these activities.  Work doesn't really seem like work.  You feel deeply satisfied and nourished by these pursuits.

What are your top strengths?

What are your greatest passions?

What are you praised for?

What are the things that make you different, unique?

What are your unique abilities?

What work do you do that doesn't feel like work?

In her book The Fire Starter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte says that gratitude is a feedback loop that will show you where you are thriving.  That the "gratitude you receive from others is a reflection of your genius."

When you receive gratitude for the things you do within your natural genius it will resonate on a deep level.  Even if you can't explain it.  Your body will vibrate with a certain energy, an aliveness that feels affirming, full, juicy, and yes.....delicious.

I'm living into, honoring my own inner genius when I'm combining yoga, work around passion and purpose in beautiful and natural settings.  Part of my genius is in creating new material and information for the retreats and yoga teacher trainings that I lead. 

Part of my genius is found in inspiring people to believe in themselves, to be devoted to the process from dreaming to doing, to live into their highest purpose.  Yoga and yogic wisdom are the tools I use for doing so.  That's what I love love love about teaching.

What are your very own genius ways of working and being?

Thank you again Mr. Brashear. You rock.

Friday, June 01, 2012

what is your zone of genius?

Source: via Sharon on Pinterest

In exploring genius-ness we can also look at the ways we're currently using our energy, time, and resources.  We explored this in February at my life coach training and I just ate it up!  It's about looking at the ways in which you currently use your energy, doing some investigative around different zones, and committing  to living more in the zone of genius.

In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks writes of four different zones:

1.  The Zone of Incompetence
2.  The Zone of Competence
3.  The Zone of Excellence
4.  The Zone of Genius

The zone of incompetence is made up of activities that you're simply not good at.  I agree with Miss Danielle LaPorte that being "well rounded" is just a little over rated.  I know that I don't excel at certain things.  I'm ok with it.  Call it incompetent, call it what you want. 

For example, I'm a hot mess when it comes to "setting things up."  I can barely work the TV remote.  I despise setting up computer and printers.  I can pretty much bank on a boatload of frustration when I  have wires in hand that rely on me plugging them into the right hole in order to work.

Another example is keeping the studio clean.  Terrible.  Horrible keeper cleaner of the treehouse I am.  For a while I insisted on doing it (because I struggled "justifying" paying someone else to do something I could do).  It didn't get done often enough.  I didn't do a good job.  I didn't enjoy it. 

Finally I got it.  Someone else is a genius at cleaning.  That is the thing they totally rock.  Just so happens that one day at the treehouse I saw a car with a sign on the door that read "OCD Cleaning".  I met Debbie in the parking lot and she's been cleaning the studio since then.

Tuesday she was cleaning the studio.  I was happily writing.  Before she left she walked all around the studio floor.  Seeking out any last lil dust bunnies.  Looking for any spots that were not shiny and sparkly.  She does this every time.  I see where the OCD part of her cleaning comes from.

I deeply deeply appreciate her.  She is a genius at something I'm incompetent.  I just love that.

One more example (cause I'm clearly incompetent in more than one area) is moving furniture.  Last week Andy and I helped BFF and her husband move furniture in the nursery (they have a baby girl Ruby coming!).  Andy and I have both come to realize we're pretty incompetent when it comes to moving furniture.  It's a good thing we're both relatively strong, cause our minds most definitely don't work in the way of angling, turning, and maneuvering furniture. Not. At. All. Thank god we barely owned any furniture when we bought our first house in Texas.  With no outside help, we probably would have ripped half the walls down.  Plus we get frustrated in the process and have a tendency to use all sorts of colorful four letter words.  It's not pretty.  If we ever leave the big blue house we'll need movers.

Your turn......

What are the things you're simply no good at?

What are the thing you don't enjoy?

What do you insist on doing that others can do better?

Next we have the zone of competence.  These are the things you can do, but others can do them just as well.  It's taken me a good amount of time, yet slowly but surely, I've been delegating the things that I'm just competent at (mostly in my work life).  Two things come to mind for me in this area.  One is paperwork that accumulates at the studio.  Thank god our paperwork is mostly just a one page waiver.  It would likely me an utter mess otherwise.  Sure, I could enter the data into our software.  Not a problem.  But I procrastinated.  It didn't get entered in a timely fashion.  I didn't enjoy it. I didn't enjoy it.  Did I mention....

I didn't enjoy it.

This is something I've delegated.  Again, so deeply thankful for this.

Quickbooks and general accounting I also put in the category.  I can do it.  I'm competent.  But it's the same as data entry to me.  I'm amazed by some people in this area.  Again, BFF is a genius at this.  She has a business.  Her book-keeping, Quick-booking wizardy skills are ahhhmazing.  Pure genius.  Not a surprise, her checkbook stays balanced to the penny. If she's off by five cents she can't rest until she knows where the error is. 

Really?  I'm amazed that people like this even exist because it's so far out of my range. 

What are the things you insist on doing just because you can? 

It might be as painful as having a tooth pulled, but can do it.  Mama didn't raise me not to do something I'm fully capable of doing.  God gave me hands to use them, right?

Yep, all conversations I've had with myself.  I'm over it.

What are the things you are doing in which you are on auto-pilot, just going through the motions?

Lastly, how much time and energy are you spending in the zones of incompetence and competence?

{Seeing that this post is getting rather long, I'll save the next two zones and write on them this weekend}

Have a delicious weekend Friends.  Cheers to you and your genius-ness.