Archive | January 2016

I Gotta Say It Was A Good Day

day-960049__180I love it when I get to wake up without an alarm, so that was the first good thing about today. I usually still end up waking up early out of habit, but the great thing was I got to laze about in bed for awhile. I had to take my car into my mechanic for an oil change and a desperately needed brake job. Needed as in serious grinding-metal-on-metal-to-the-point-I-refused-to-drive-it-anywhere-outside-of-town-this-weekend. I dropped it off just after 9:00 am and walked to a local restaurant for coffee and breakfast, then walked home. Yes, my awesome town is that small and I love it!

Ah, but let me back it up a bit. Before I left to take Blue Bella to the mechanic, I checked The Manifest-Station website by Jen Pastiloff and found that my essay had been published today! http://themanifeststation.net/2016/01/18/15652/  I was excited, nervous and proud. A lot of my friends had been asking me to repost it on my Facebook page when it came out, so I did. Not only did I re-post it,  but so did Jen Pastiloff in our private Ojai Retreat Facebook page, on her public Facebook page and on her private Facebook page for friends and family. The responses from my friends, a few family members and my Facebook community have been moving and overwhelming. So that happened and continues to happen.

Today, January 18th is my grandson, Lil Man aka Charlie’s 2nd birthday and it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. So in addition to being moving and overwhelming for me, Facebook was also full of uplifting, positive quotes of Dr. King’s and lovely pictures of Lil Man on his birthday.12439537_10208710187774337_4994818637058472957_n

My mechanic, Tony, who is the best, most trustworthy mechanic in town, did the oil change and only had to replace the rear brakes on Blue Bella. So the cost fell well within my budgeted amount! Hallelujah and amen. Nothing feels better than to have a mechanic you can trust along with the ability to pay for your car troubles.

After I left the mechanic’s shop, I was on my way to grab some late lunch when I ran into my close friend, Sarah, whom I had not seen since before New Years!!! We kept missing each other at various functions and outings but today we got to have lunch and catch up with each other one-on-one.

It’s day 18 of my 31 days of yoga in January challenge and I hit up a Yoga Basics class this afternoon. I’m feeling a marked improvement with my balance in tree pose and dancer’s pose! My endurance and strength are getting better and better as well. This is giving me such confidence in my choice to become certified and my ability to teach it! yoga-544970__180

Today was a good day in the life because I decided to be grateful for before I got out of bed. Tonight it’s early to bed because tomorrow is Sunrise Yoga!

 

Finding Direction From Dissatisfaction

arrow-686315__180There has been a major shift in corporate culture, business practices and infrastructure at my work. It’s been happening for the past 2-3 years and the truth of the matter is that the execution and outcome are far from productive or successful. The workload has ballooned and things, important regulated things are falling through the cracks. To the point that there have been legal repercussions and pretty strong and sometimes permanent disciplinary action. Turnover is becoming a problem in a department where it used to take years for a position to become available. Seriously, I was at my company for 5 years before I was able to hire into my current department. Now our department has 2 vacant positions to fill. A dear friend in my unit is retiring at the end of this month and as far as we know, my supervisor has not been given permission to start interviewing to replace her. Then today, another person put in his notice to leave the company. Oh, and last week the Assistant VP of our department announced a major realignment of employees in our department. So we are losing 2 more people in my unit to other supervisors and gaining 2 new co-workers. change-1076219__180They are people I know, one of them pretty well because she’s worked on the other side of my cubicle in the unit next to mine. But this means I am losing my cubicle mate, someone I’ve grown pretty close to in the nearly 4 years that I’ve been in our unit. Grown close in the way that women do when they work in close proximity and have things like motherhood and our jobs in common. Nearly 4 years of birthday lunches, regular lunches, sharing triumphs, irritations, confidences, laughs and tears. I will miss her even though she’s not going far. But you know how that goes. She’ll start to bond with her new unit and lunch with them more and more. She’ll share their birthdays, confidences, laughs and tears. Our other co-worker who’s leaving is a guy friend I talk and text sports with all the time, during work and after work. We referred to him playfully as “The Boy” in our unit because he was the only guy.

Needless to say, morale is at an all-time low where I work and in most of the other departments. It’s really not such a great place to be anymore. The bitch of it is that it used to be a great company to work for that really valued their employees. It’s painfully evident that this is no longer the case. It’s sad, draining and disheartening. Yet, we maintain our sense of humor and sense of ridiculousness. We have to in the face of all the changes. We try to stick together and not allow ourselves or each other to get too down.

I’ve felt a little guilty of late because many of my co-worker friends have actually told me I am lucky because at least I have an exit plan from what’s going on. I mean I do have an exit plan and I am doing things daily, weekly and monthly to make it come true. Some have been by design and some have been on purpose. This journey of mine was actually sparked by what’s been happening at my work. I realized I couldn’t stay there until I retired as originally planned 9 years ago when I was hired on there. Then came an, even more, reality altering realization that I didn’t have to stay at my company and more importantly, I could finally figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up! So far it’s been a hell of a journey and I have faith that it will lead me, not just away from my current job but to someplace great. My current direction developed from an unhappiness and dissatisfaction so deep that it could only come from the divine. Today I am grateful for direction found as a result of Divine Dissatisfaction.stock-photo-the-word-divine-written-in-rusty-metal-letterpress-type-isolated-on-a-white-background-313155803

Winter Revisited

snow-981720__180 “See the pine trees and learn their lesson,” a friend once said. “Pine trees are nature’s reminder that growth continues even in the winter”

A month ago I wrote what I wanted to accomplish for 2016 in http://buildyourownbrave.com/2015/12/12/attention-and-intention/. I was excited. I had a plan and I was making goals to get them accomplished. Sure some doubt and insecurity crept in, but I didn’t let that deter me for long. Ah, but then at the end of December my yoga studio, the one I plan to go through 200Hour Yoga Teacher Training with, announced on their website that their 200Hour YTT would not start until May of this year. I was under the impression the certification program would start shortly after the first of the year. I was deeply upset and disappointed about this because I had a timeline in mind for my goals this year. I had hoped to be certified by the summer so I could begin gaining experience teaching classes. This would also hopefully help me earn money to add to my savings for Bali 300Hour YTT advanced certification at the end of the year. It’s also well established how unhappy and stressed out my current job makes me, so again, I was looking forward to immersing myself in 200Hour YTT at the beginning of the year to help deal with that. My friends and family wouldn’t let me wallow too much about this change to my plans. Plus I had Jen Pastiloff’s New Year’s Retreat in Ojai to focus on getting to and through!

Most of you who follow my blog know the Ojai Yoga Manifestation Retreat was the real deal and pure magic. I came home feeling amazing about myself and my future. I not only discovered what I am manifesting for 2016, I uncovered what I need to let go of to be open and allowing. I need to release old stories/tapes about myself, the old “I am’s or I’m not’s”, limitation, self-doubt, self-sabotage, stinking thinking, isolation, old reactions to fear and to doubt. The great thing about this is I’d already been working on releasing many of them.

However, the final writing prompt on the last day of the retreat has resonated the most with me. Jen told us to think of one or two words to name what was blocking us from manifesting the life we envision. Then the prompt was “And here’s what the fuck I’m going to do about it”. After she gave us time write out our list, she called on several people. They had to stand up and say, “The thing blocking me is my insecurity and here’s what the fuck I’m going to do about it”:

  • yoga, yoga, yoga
  • surrounding myself with positive energy friends
  • write it out
  • regular prayer and meditation
  • be a human thank you
  • be of service
  • do a mini inventory
  • ask “is this an old story?”
  • get connected to nature regularly: hiking, walking
  • read new genres, inspiring books and materials
  • feel the insecurity and DO IT ANYWAY!

Here’s the thing about that list and my life since I wrote it. The first one on it? Yoga has been front and center since. At the retreat, I was introduced to vinyasa flow yoga (I felt a little rudely, but hey… I managed). It is quite different and an adjustment from the yin style I’d been doing since the summer. When I returned home the day after the retreat I found out my home yoga studio, Bright Yoga was doing  31 days of yoga in January challenge. I decided to participate and while I managed to practice yoga every day so far, it became evident to me that I just may not have been prepared to begin a 200Hour YTT as I’d originally planned. I came to a better understanding and acceptance about preparing myself for this certification.becoming-774573__180

Tonight I finally got to talk to my spiritual advisor, whom I had not contacted since before I went on the Ojai Retreat. I got to tell her all about the experience and what I learned about myself. She asked some probing questions which helped us discuss things in more depth. I came to a new understanding of what Jen’s Manifestation Retreat has done for me. It’s helped to strip away barriers and limiting beliefs. A case in point, I’ve now attended TWO sunrise yoga classes during this 31-day yoga challenge, not giving into my old story of “I’m not” a morning person. I’ve reached out to someone close to me since the retreat to express how much their love and friendship means to me, releasing the fear that giving voice to that would somehow doom it from growing stronger. Have I mentioned how amazing my yoga teachers and fellow yoginis at Bright Studio are so positive, kind and encouraging? I also seemed to have overlooked that besides becoming certified to teach yoga, another main goal was to start writing professionally, beyond this blog. And so, I am open to allowing, this time, this Winter, to continue developing my writing. I’m scheduled to attend a writer’s workshop on the 22nd of this month!

Once again, it feels that my Higher Power, whom I choose to acknowledge is God, and the Universe are calling me to slow down on my plans. I am being called to revisit the things I’ve learned about myself, to strip myself bare of what’s no longer necessary, to expand and grow with what comes available. I am being called to prepare for what’s coming in the Spring and Summer. As most of you know, I’ve committed to answering His call. There is trust and peace that comes with that. god-594709__180

The Blessings of Busyness and Balance

stock-photo-male-hand-with-the-word-blessings-floating-above-surrounded-by-words-relevant-to-count-your-236380858I was approached last spring by some members of my spiritual kin about attending the first start up meeting of a club to serve and support our community. I went to the meeting along with several other like-minded fellows but declined to be voted onto the board for a variety of reasons, some personal and some practical. But I did promise to become a ‘member-in-good-standing’ who was willing to help out when they needed it. True to my word, I assisted with the club’s first official event, an Open House Ice Cream Social for the community. It was a ton of fun and I managed to get roped into being on the Events Committee, which I was perfectly willing to do. Let’s flash forward to year end after I’d been a part of most of the monthly events that were planned. It seems we lost a couple of board members. I was approached by the president and vice president about being on the board, again. I told them I would think about it and show up at the next monthly meeting, which was in two weeks, the first Sunday in January. Can anyone guess where this is headed?

That’s right, I am now a board member, Associate Treasurer and head of the Events Committee. Well, that actual board position I filled was for Associate Treasurer. It seems I’ll be taking over the treasurer’s position when her term is up in another year and a half. Oh yeah, the terms are two years. Eventually, I will need to be trained on being Treasurer as well as have the bookkeeping software downloaded to my computer. My name is going on the club’s bank account as a signer on their checking account. At the time I agreed to that board position instead of the simple Member-In-Good-Standing, I didn’t think much would be required as the Associate Treasurer. Except I have to be present at all Ad Hoc meetings concerning the yearly budget, which was this past Sunday. I’m not even going to get into my duties as the Events Coordinator, but we have a Chili Cook Off January 30th, a Family Game Night February 20th and an as yet unscheduled Spring Fling Dance in March or April.

Oh, have I mentioned on here yet that I’ve accepted 31 days of yoga in January challenge from my awesome yoga studio, Bright Yoga? Today is day 11 and I’ve managed to practice yoga every day this month. Some have been at the studio, like tomorrow’s Tuesday Sunrise Yoga class @ 5:45 am while the rest has been at home, a lot of the time by firelight. 10628142_10208618079871697_2725839754053316999_n (1)And yes, it is as peaceful and heavenly as it sounds. Not to mention working full-time with a nearly one hour commute each way, my twelve-step meetings, writing and posting my blog three times a week, it’s NFL playoff season and the NBA season is kicking off in earnest, I still need to start hiking/walking and you get the picture. Lots and lots of busyness, not so much balance.

Hmmm, is there really such an imbalance though? It feels like I just need to get a little more organized and manage my time. Things that have not been my strong suit in the past. But I already bought a binder, notebook and mini file folder for my Events Committee business. I Googled Chili Cook Off tips and rules. Plus I have lots of good people to help me with events. I started back walking a mile on my afternoon break with some friends from work. We do it in 17 minutes or less. I’ve been going to 12-step meetings 2-3 times a week for the past 10 years and that will always be priority one. The writing of this blog has been a gift of such magnitude that it would take more time and effort than I have right now to tell you about it. The yoga practice is turning out to be everything I wanted and needed it to be. I had been wanting to start a home practice of yoga and attending more yoga classes. Now I am. And as much as I may grumble about my board positions for the club, I am blessed and grateful to be of service. I do have some anxiety about living up to the commitment, but I’m willing to meet the challenge, I hope. More than anything I don’t want to let these amazing people in my community down. I love and look up to them so because So much of who I am blossoming into is because of them. ranunculus-720342__180

This entry was posted on January 12, 2016. 1 Comment

Hiding In Plain Sight

fear-299679__180I think my generation was the last to grow up with the “children should be seen but not heard” style of childrearing. That meant we could be in the room with adults but we mustn’t call attention to ourselves. We especially weren’t supposed to interject ourselves into any of their conversations. If we did we were told to “stay out of grown folks business”. In some ways, it allowed a great deal of freedom to get away with all manner of childhood shenanigans because adults weren’t paying attention if you followed the rule of not being disruptive.

I carried this tendency into my teenage and adult years. I was good at “disappearing” at a social function by simply attaching myself to the edge of a group or even better, attaching myself to someone who didn’t have a problem calling attention to themselves. Thereby allowing me to fade into the background. I did this during in-patient treatment groups in my early recovery. I was a “functioning” addict/alcohol, which mean I hadn’t gone to jail, lost my children to social services, lived on the streets or hadn’t had the visible physical “rock bottom” like the other patients. I was also well spoken, well read and had been to therapy, so I was able to sound good in groups when we were learning about our disease. The counselors and facilitators didn’t need to focus so much on me because of the issues the other patients had and I was able to grasp and parrot back what they were teaching us about our disease and dysfunction. I actually learned a great deal about my disease, but I didn’t always get the help I needed to deal with it.

The funny thing about 12 step meetings and groups outside of treatment is there is no place to hide. Old timers will allow you to think you’re hiding, but you only fooling yourself, not the group. I just didn’t want to be seen or noticed, which is actually pretty funny because I have a huge laugh and I’m pretty outgoing with people I know. All the same, my 12-step family pretty much forced me into situations where I had to be front and center, being of service week after week for a year. Let me tell you, it was quite uncomfortable for a while. Then it got better and people still tell me how much joy it gives them to see me continue to blossom.

While I still struggle with this tendency of mine, I am blossoming despite it. Do you know that I used to hate taking pictures? I hated how I looked and felt about myself. I don’t have that problem anymore. I do things like accept a video challenge for the first time ever and post it to someone’s page. All the while not believing mine will be chosen since the page had over 70,000 followers. It got chosen and uploaded for all the world to see. I also submitted an essay with a lot of intense personal content from my childhood, in hopes of winning a scholarship and publication. Again, it got chosen, I won the scholarship to a yoga manifestation retreat and my intense personal essay will be published in exactly 9 days on January 18th.5

The truth is the intentions I have for my mission and careers in yoga, coaching and writing pretty much guarantee that I’ll be seen. It’s already started. I’m making videos, I’m  posting selfies, I’m accepting challenges and I’m writing so my voice will be heard. I’m finally willing… “To be seen you must first be willing to give up the places where you hide.”

This entry was posted on January 9, 2016. 1 Comment