It’s our first springtime in Hawaii. This spring has been relatively chilly for Oahu, it is windy and we haven’t seen the sun in a few days. Check out the palm trees blowing in the wind and Buddy is crab hunting. There is a bird’s nest outside our living room window and at least one chick has hatched. I love to listen to the chick call as the parents approach with food.
The parsley I planted when we moved is now quite tall and yesterday I harvested a few sprigs for shakes. Kale has been newly planted and has already started growing. Being in the garden, small as it is, is a wonderful pleasure. It is right outside our bedroom window. This is my favorite time of year and a time if I need it, I can receive a gentle, or not so gentle, nudge.
We humans are part of all this beauty and deserve the same nurturing care as a garden. Our pure core can sometimes be obscured by judgments about personality traits and life’s experiences. I've been observing that many people, including myself at times, seem to struggle with isolating these days. And I started thinking about the art of creating permission for quality time both in solitude and community. This is especially important after moving like we did 3 months ago.
Besides getting up early as my Mom also did, yoga is one of my go to tools to check in. I had let go of my yoga practice almost entirely before getting breast cancer and think things might have been different if I hadn’t. What I love about yoga is that I can face whatever comes up during my practice within the boundaries of the mat. The feelings and realizations come and flow through and out leaving me clearer than when I arrived at the mat.
Dealing with difficult emotions on my own can leave them lingering or lead to emotional procrastination - letting emotions build around me that need to be acknowledged and released. Letting it flow in yoga is a practice I trust implicitly and builds self trust. It can be unpleasant to acknowledge things I haven’t wanted to see.
Yoga and working out are a way I show up for myself and build trust. Anytime I say one thing and do another it erodes my self trust. Don’t I deserve to know that I’m on my side and can trust myself to take care of myself the best I can? This can include when to skip a workout, or switch it out for a more gentle workout, or the same activity with a more gentle and loving approach or when to have fun and let loose. Another way I stay on track is asking myself what is most important to do today?
Oprah magazine once had an article that spoke about the difference between illness and wellness is “i” and “we”. And the more communities we are involved in, the healthier we are likely to be. A yoga class is definitely one of my chosen communities.
So this brings the idea of controlled burn, intentional and regular releases of life’s debris to avoid a build up and prevent subsequent large🔥. Moments of looking within and creating a relationship and friendship with ourselves. A sense of trust that I will care for myself and do the things that really matter and not let others derail me. That I can let go of trying to control things and trust life. And find joy and happiness in life’s simple moments and let go of taking myself too seriously. I won’t do it perfectly and there will be times I’m out of balance and I can do my best and forgive myself when needed.
Selling our home was a major test. And I became so good at learning it’s lessons that when we received an offer on the house I had to rebalance since the trusting was leading me to exploring new skills. Taking care of two homes financially really helped me become aware of what I value in life and the awareness and alignment of my financial life with my values. It helped me create a more simple financial path that I hope to share with others.
Expressing Our 🎁 and Living Out Dreams
Being happy is a skill and letting happiness and dreams guide me to my best life and moments of negative thoughts become less frequent. One of my Peloton coaches Robin Arzon says “Dreams must be greater than excuses”. Never have I been more aware that if I make excuses today, the minutes, days, months, and years will go by without having realized more of my dreams. I’d rather be at the end of my life having fallen on my face a few times than having regrets. Especially when valuable lessons are applied to future endeavors.
It is often the very thing we hide that is our greatest gift. Why? Maybe we hide because we are afraid of exposure, feel protective of our gifts, because someone made a comment about what stood out about us, or perhaps we just want to blend in with the herd. Imagine the entire crowd standing out with each person comfortable in their uniqueness with value in ourselves and each other. Living our best life is the best way to triumph over any negative people or messages.
The activities that I become so engrossed in that I’m no longer aware of myself are my gifts. For me, the worst mindset is being self absorbed. Allowing procrastination to take over when I know what I need to do is very uncomfortable and a nudge to take action to realize dreams.
Aspects of Self Care
Reading and learning
Grrrrr-attitude (that’s gratitude with an attitude 😜)
Fun with friends
Knowing, accepting, and loving self
Being a member of communities that support life’s purpose
Loving and appreciating the vessel
It’s so easy to pick at parts of our bodies and dislike them. I do not have a “perfect” physique to be a model, but I’m so grateful for my body. I do my best to avoid criticizing the way it looks and appreciate its strength. I am so lucky as I have no real aches and pains. I have spoken of my smart body. Recently I took a rest day from exercise and had pain in my hip. The very next day when I got back to the mat, it passed. I realized that right now my body needs to be active everyday. In the past I was not listening and taking action in response to the messages my body was sending, but I have become much better at listening.
Our bodies are miracles - little cities of activity that all live within us and perform amazing functions without any knowledge or effort. In Savasana (corpse pose) and meditation, I become aware that as I’m breathing, the heart pumps blood full of oxygen, nutrition, and immunity to my cells, and picks up CO2 and cellular waste products. It’s an amazing miracle to think about.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought what will it take to make it? Yoga 🧘♂️ and martial arts 🥋 were part of my solution. I started yoga teacher training two months after the double mastectomy surgery. Scars still healing and itchy, tissue expanders with magnets and edges under the pectoral muscles, sweat drenched most days attempting chatarangas (looks similar to a push up), stomach out of balance trying to meditate without having to get up and go to the bathroom. Super awkward but what a great decision that was! The oncologist had never seen another patient clasp hands behind their back in a bind like this.
The most important yoga pose to me is learning to fall, and to roll and relax when falling. I’ll call it fallinonyo asana. I recently did just that in a yoga class, somersaulted right into the wall. At 52, that might seem scary but it was funny and I was not hurt. The regular practice of yoga and martial arts helps create this skill of falling. Yoga practice is a metaphor for life. Writing this blog I felt stuck for a couple of days but it didn’t take too long to get back on track. I have a friend and teacher Ondre who has a weekly internet radio show on Wednesday evenings on the Open Mind Entertainment Network. The show and the community who listens help me stay on track (link in recommendations).
Since we moved I’ve never been more aware there is no “I” in team. Although I love to joke with Joe about how I try to spell it with one. I’ve come to appreciate so much that we have different strengths. In conclusion, the more practice I have getting back on track faster and rolling with life the better. And that skill will probably serve me better than any other yoga pose, no matter how beautifully executed.
Aloha! 🌈🦄 and always 👻🐝