It’s kind of crazy to watch yourself change and grow. I’ve been in a massive shift, a huge transformation, over the last year. I guess I sort of knew it but didn’t acknowledge it. It’s my life, after all. I’m mostly in the business of living it. Introspection and retrospection are gifts, but we often don’t use them when we’re just trying to make it through.
I was forced into incredible change by two of the most important people in my life, my mom and daughter. It had to happen. God, psyche and the Universe all knew the plan. I didn’t. As I ponder all of the events and the synchronous ways they were weaved together, I try to figure out what it all means. Maybe that’s not the way life works though. Maybe we aren’t supposed to know until we are through it. Like the saying, “life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards,” or “the only way out is through.” Damnit.
So far, I have worked my way through with the help of an amazing coach who mirrored my goodness and wholeness back to me. I didn’t see (or feel) whole when we started working together. I was broken, beat down, defeated. I was in a state of severe depression. I knew I couldn’t climb out of the hole alone. She helped (and continues to help) me see that many answers are inside of me and that I am stronger than I think.
She gives me permission to be easier on myself (that’s often not easy to do). She says words I need to hear and acknowledges me as an amazing human with gifts and talents I often don’t see. As I’m coming out on the other side of grief, I recognize more patterns that need broken. I also recognize how easy it could be to follow in my mom’s footsteps. But I don’t choose that for myself. I choose to be strong, to have a voice. I choose not to be a victim. I choose to claim my power before it feels like it’s too late.
I recognize that there is aliveness here and that aliveness brings joy, triumph, mistakes, wonder, grief … a span of emotions that make up the human experience. I choose to live in it all, knowing that with every hardship, light will return, and that with each ‘a ha’ a new way of being will present itself.
“The moon is on its way to fullness. So are you.”
This quote was way too good not to share!
It’s fascinating to me that I’ve practiced yoga and mindfulness all these years but still haven’t integrated the lessons fully into my being. I’m referring to slowing down … like reeeeeaaaaaaalllly slowing down. Like never reacting. Is that possible?
As I walked into Starbucks today to get some work done, I stopped and talked to the girl at the counter prior to ordering. I know a few of the baristas but had never met her. Sydney. I had a lovely, easy conversation with her.
Now, it’s not like I’ve never done this before. I look each one in the eyes and talk to them. It’s hard to explain but today’s encounter was different. I was more at ease. It was like I completely LANDED in my body and stayed there throughout the conversation. I didn’t DO anything special. It wasn’t an intentional activity. I was just IN my body far more than in my head, and that’s what makes all the difference.
I am in my head so much. It’s how I’m built. I am a great listener, generally actively listening, not thinking about the next thing I will say, but there’s less ease in more situations than I’d like. I’m always conscious of what the other person might be thinking of me. It’s disorienting (and generally un-peaceful) to live this way. I feel like I am seeing myself more clearly, while taking myself less seriously lately. It feels nice.
My new practice in all public settings (or as many as possible) in order to find more ease and groundedness, in order to embody myself:
- Feel my feet on the ground. Feel myself land IN my body.
- Look the person in the eyes. See them.
- Say hello.
- Wait for their response.
- Listen … like really listen … to what they say and how they say.
- Respond in a natural way, making light but meaningful conversation.
Y’all may think I’m crazy. Sometimes I think I am too. Do most people do this? It’s not an easy, natural thing for me. My whole life has been about R E A C T I O N.
It’s about presence and intention. Seems simple enough but I forget to slow down too often. If I’m not doing this practice, what the hell am I doing?
Why should I care? Why should you care? Why should anyone care?
Maybe no one does, but I absolutely know that I feel better when I write. I feel more me. I feel less stressed about life. My mind isn’t nearly as cluttered as it would be otherwise.
I am a writer, not necessarily because I’m good at it but because I WRITE. It’s what I do. I established this habit many years ago and I’m not stopping anytime soon.
Since my mom’s death I’ve been called even more to write consistently. Why? Because I literally have nothing left of her. I gave her a journal for Mother’s Day the year before her death. I wanted to know what was in her heart. She was going through so much during the last few years. As I was going through her things after she passed, I found that journal — empty. My heart sank. I don’t ever want my daughter to wonder what was in my heart. It will all be here, in my journals and the other place I write, in black and white.
“The trouble is, you think you have time,” a statement that rings in my head often. Sometimes it haunts me. My only child turns 18 later this week. How can I be the mother of an almost-adult? I’m only in my thirties; well that’s not entirely truthful but it is how I feel.
Wasting time. I lie in bed scrolling in the morning, not social media as much as I used to, but eliminating phone notifications, updating apps, checking my calendar, bank account. Hello OCD. Sometimes I make good use of the time by texting friends or reading a book. Still, I definitely waste time. And I get mad at myself for it. I should be up. I should be writing.
There are many things I want to achieve in this lifetime. Not being judicious with my time, I slip a little further behind.
The sincere drive of wanting to achieve also causes angst. It causes me to be short or ignore others. I’ve done it to my husband more than once. Working on personal projects this weekend, writing, J does a great job of entertaining himself. We are here, together, but in two separate places. He checks in with me. It’s kind, considerate. As he drove up on the golf cart yesterday, I was on the front deck tapping away at the keyboard. I barely looked up. If he’d behaved that way toward me, I’d be hurt. My strong internal drive to achieve and my relationship to time, namely the lack of it, cause rudeness.
If yoga has taught me to be in the now (and it has, I’m better than I used to be), why do I still fight with my relationship to time? How do I reconcile the two? This is my pondering today.
Deep breaths. Soft shoulders. Turning the corners of my lips upward, I feel thankful for this moment. THIS. This is all I can control right now. Maybe that’s the lesson. One breath. One moment. One day at a time.
I woke up planning to work on my manuscript again but I simply cannot. It’s been the hardest, most grueling process and I sat in a chair all day yesterday.
Where I started is not where I’ve ended up and now, after talking to an editor, I’m questioning everything. Yoga Prayers started as an ‘academic’ piece, or at least a more objective one. The goal was to provide the background of yoga and then take readers through the eight limbs. I started writing it for my students at OU. But a writing course last fall, followed by the study of memoir, changed the angle to include my story. The trouble is, I’m not sure I fully understand that story yet.
The original outline mirrors the type of writing I’ve always — educational and to the point. It also bores me a bit these days.
I’m drawn to memoir, reading and writing it. We learn through personal stories and see ourselves in them. What’s the angle of mine though? I’m a yoga teacher who doesn’t want to teach in a regular setting anymore. I spent a decade of my life teaching what I needed to learn. Those are two of the themes but where do I go from here?
I sent what I had to my editor, Maren. She works for a local publishing company and we were introduced by a mutual friend. It feels scary to let another person read my work, especially when I know it’s not complete but that’s the only way I’ll know how to move forward. I’m super excited for the feedback. Bring it on, Maren. I truly want to improve.
Meanwhile, I announced on social media that my manuscript was complete. Uh, yeahhhh, I’m gonna need you to hold the presses. Hello mouth, insert foot. Why do I do that?
On a lighter note, tonight’s sunset was gorgeous.
It occurs to me that as soon as I make my mind up about something, I change it. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE. I remember laughing with a co-worker a long time ago when she said, “if you ignore an email in your inbox long enough, it becomes obsolete.” While I don’t think that’s the best way to go about business, there is truth to it.
I self-edited Yoga Prayers this week and am talking to an editor today. It’s surreal that this thing might actually happen. I’ve been working on this book off and on for about four years now, maybe longer. It’s taken shape, changed a few times, then taken a different shape. It’s something else entirely today and TBH (to be honest), it kinda scares the crap out of me. While the framework is still the 8 Limbs of Yoga, there’s memoir built in. I do have a story to tell. I hope my editor can help me hone the story better than I have so far.
My newest obsession is visual note taking, after seeing the creations at Content Marketing World last week. As an avid bullet journaler, creating visual notes feels more authentic and like something I’ll revisit more regularly than regular notes. I’m practicing the ‘art’ in my bullet journal.
QUICK FACT: I can read 200 books in a year if I commit to 8 hours of reading each week. Totally doable. I can’t remember where I read it, but here is the breakdown:
- Books average 50,000 words
- 200 books therefore = 10 million words
- 10 million words / 400 words per minute = 25,000 minutes per year
- 25,000 minutes / 60 = 417 hours per year
- 417 / 12 = 34.75 hours per month
- 34.75 / 4.3 (average weeks in a month) = 8.08
Sunday * TWO
- I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to go anywhere!
- Morning writing. I Can Do Hard Things. A lot came up for me on that one.
- Leisure reading.
- An Instagram post after almost a month hiatus. What is the appropriate time and rate of sharing? Why do I care?
- He spent the earlier part of the day down at the garage after running Sunday errands. I had the house to myself with the dogs in the quiet.
- Completing necessary work. Booked hotel. Excited for this work week after all of the learning last week.
- I think our level of maturity is measured by the things people do to us against our reaction to those things and the continued treatment we give them, especially people who are supposed to love us most.
- A new book is percolating but I’ve got to finish the first one first. Why am I procrastinating so much?
- Browns vs. Steelers: tied at 21. I’m a fan of neither but it was a great game.
- He made dinner for me both nights this weekend.
Saturday * ONE
- I finally slept well. At hOMe.
- Thankful. We cleaned together: countertops, toilets, floors, baseboards.
- Wanted to stay home but errands needed completed — Office Max, Hobby Lobby, Kroger, and I stopped to get egg bites and an iced green tea from Starbucks. Home well before the game started.
- Rejuvenated in my writing life.
- Conscious Journaling.
- OSU v Rutgers
- Taco salad.
- Again I ponder why ‘recording life’ is so important to me. It very much is. This blog is for me, as I watch my ever changing journey unfold.
- She called midday. Blessed.
- Football, HGTV, reading and note taking.
Friday * NINE
- Just do it. Sleeping in is easy. Getting up is hard. Just do it.
- Life is as we choose it, our failures, success. So much is up to us.
- For an introvert, ‘showing up’ is everything.
- The last two sessions of CMWorld were great.
- Starbucks and a walk around Cleveland.
- Facetiming with my girl.
- A stop in Pickerington to finish up work and pick up dinner.
- Talking to my synchronicity coach always helps me see things in a new light.
- Winding down.
- Batman v. Superman and sketchnotes.
Thursday * EIGHT
- Trust myself. Trust the process. Believe in self.
- Ann Handley yesterday. I read her book. Tina Fey today. I’ve watched her comedy for years. We are all just people.
- A three book purchase. I am committed to this ride.
- Slowing down. Thinking critically.
- Everyone is online. If you know me personally or professionally and are reading this, please say ‘hi.’
- Anonymity and transparency. Vacillation.
- There ARE enough hours in the day.
- Doing what’s important.
- Sketch notes.
. . . a writer, blogger and yoga teacher (who rarely teaches in the traditional sense anymore). Also a softball mom, happy wife and flawed human doing the best I can. I love books, flowers, stationary, hot tea, wine, essential oils, quiet mornings, playing outside and many other simple things in life.
Life changes all the time. It’s the only constant. Beautiful, mundane, joyful, awful, insightful, random, the way things move through; my practice here is of ‘recording life’ in words and images. The name of this blog, on the 19, is where we live. Find more meaningful writing on soul fabric.