Archive | April 2016

Footwork and Faith

chinese-676646__180I’ve decided to write a blog about naming my fears another time because I am more excited about footwork and faith. My intention to become a certified yoga teacher this summer and attend a yoga retreat in Bali next summer has lit a fire inside me! The fact that both of these plans are happening with my home yoga studio, Bright Yoga, makes it all the sweeter. And that’s the other thing. My intentions have become plans with footwork to be done and faith to see me through.

There was a time not so long ago when I’d discourage myself from believing I could accomplish something so different and bold like yoga teacher training or travel to the other side of the world to Bali. I did it late last year when my yoga teacher announced details on the retreat to Bali this year. I immediately dismissed the idea that I could afford it. Here’s the thing, I wanted to go but I never gave myself the chance. I shut myself down and that was it. Except, I was really disappointed I couldn’t go and it was difficult at times to listen to all of my beautiful new yoga friends talk about the trip as the date go closer.

Earlier this year I began researching other local yoga studios that offered teacher training programs when I found out my home studio’s program wouldn’t start until summer of this year. There were a few I considered because of  location or scheduling and  pricing. I even contacted one or two, but I once I participated in my studio’s challenge to practice yoga every day for 31 days in January, I realized I may not have been ready for a teacher training program then. I got sick with the flu shortly after that and missed a week or so of yoga classes. I started to doubt myself and my abilities in my yoga practice. Eventually, I slid into a funk of fear, uncertainty and depression as I stayed away from my practice longer and longer. It felt like I would never accomplish anything I wanted to do, a familiar refrain when feeling low and depressed. I worried about cost, especially after having to pay federal taxes this year. I worried I wouldn’t be able to perform my practice since I’d been away so long.

I finally returned to my yoga classes and it was like coming home to myself. The owner of the studio and one of my teachers gave me a big hug and told me she missed me. I’d missed her and the studio too. I confessed my worry to her about the cost of teacher training since I had to pay federal taxes. She assured me I would get trained and they’d work with me on payment arrangements. I’ve renewed my commitment to saving for those arrangements and I never lost my abilities to practice yoga. I continue to advance. I’m walking during the week at work and hiking on the weekends. I’m reading my yoga books and I trust if I continue to follow my teachers, my faith will see me certified as a yoga teacher by summer’s end.accomplish-1136863__180

This time, when my teacher announced her plan for another Bali retreat next year, it seems I’d learned my lesson. All of the beautiful Facebook photos and posts about the trip showed me I still wanted to go. This time instead of shutting myself down, I opened myself up to the hope and possibility of going which became an intention that took on a life of its own. Now I’m following through on footwork and plans to fundraise this trip. So many people, beginning with my teacher, were enthusiastic in their encouragement and support. I’ve raised close to $300.00 and I am following through on more opportunities due to help and suggestions from friends. I still don’t know how much the trip will cost, my teacher says her bookkeeper is working out the cost with the eco-sanctuary in Ubud. But I have faith that whatever the cost, I’ll get there. Footwork and Faith will see me through.

If I Could Let Go Of One Thing Right Now?

meditation-567593__180This was a question posed by Ellie Hodges:: Counsellor & Lived Experience Practitioner on her Facebook page earlier this month. The next question was ” And what is the lesson or learning in it if you do?” She proposed that lessons lived and gained are better teachers than the letting go of dead weight in our lives. Ellie further explained shifting focus on what can be gained or learned from letting go is a bigger reward than getting weighed down with the act of letting go and caught up in what we don’t want.

I got what she was offering and recommending, but couldn’t specifically figure how to apply it to myself. But I did comment that I liked the concept of shifting focus to what it is we gain or hope to gain. She replied back and asked me to let her know I go about it in practice. I told her it was swimming around in my head and I was looking for ways to implement this concept. She invited me to send her an email if I wanted to explore a bit more. This is what I love about this woman. She is another Gracebook angel who reaches back when I reach out. Here is what I emailed  her:

I would let go of my fear of the next level…

It’s been creeping up on me for a couple of months now and seeping into the four “rooms” or aspects of my life: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. I could go on and on about what the next level for me is, but that is not the point. The point is we are nearly here and I am self-sabotaging, turning away from spiritual practices that feed and sustain me. There is research to be done, decisions made, financial aspects to be figured out. BLAH!!!! It feels like I’m back in a place of procrastination, self-sabotage and not being capable of accomplishing goals. Like I am all talk and nothing will come of my plans.

So when I read your Facebook post about shifting the focus from letting go, I felt a tiniest bit of peace(?)/hope(?) where I lived and breathed. Like I need to sit with this and figure out a way to do this with what feels like a quiet, insidious all-consuming fear. (It’s not, but it feels that way much of the time).

What shall I focus on? Could it be looking forward to continuing to grow, expand into the larger heart centered life my Higher Power is calling me to live? Could I start to hope or anticipate feeling more alive, focused and present as I continue to journey home to my true self? Can I look forward with curiosity to how it will feel to put energy and passion into a life of my choosing finally and not one I kind of fell into?

These are the thoughts swimming around in my head.

Her response was full of encouragement. She encouraged me to name my fear and not let it stop me. She encouraged me to honour the fear and  the message it is sending me. To know what truth remains authentic no matter what, even if my fear became a reality. To remember my values, my hopes, my dreams and my why. She showed me I already had the answers in the email I posted to her. And she asked questions. Questions that forced me to go deeper into myself to shift focus on what I have to gain by letting go. Ultimately she told me I deserve this life I am persistently Called to. Actually, she said I freaking deserve it.signs-108062__180

“Honour the fear but see the possibilities of that, not the limits. Fear is a message for what we want most.” — Ellie Hodges:: Counsellor & Lived Experience Practitioner

You guys should definitely check out this woman’s page and website. This exchange with her went a long way towards moving me out of my fear and into solutions. In my next blog, I will follow her advice to name my fears and look for the reward or lesson to gain from letting them go.

When Intention Takes On A Life of It’s Own

road-368718__180Over the past year, my life has been one amazing example after another of this. The latest intention? My yoga teacher is planning another yoga retreat in Bali. She’d just returned from one this year and loved it so much she announced in last Saturday’s class she wanted to do it again. This is in addition to a Yoga/Nutrition Retreat planned for the South of France in September of 2017. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t afford to go to the Bali Retreat this year. The next day she posted on Facebook the dates for the next Bali Retreat would be June 10-17, 2017 and my heart seized on the fact that my 50th birthday is June 9, 2017. I was the first to comment on her status. During the next yoga class, last Tuesday, when the discussion of the dates for the next Bali trip came up, I spoke out loud for the first time my intention to go for my 50th birthday. She made a suggestion about starting a GoFundMe page and I stated my intention to do personal fundraising through my cooking and baking, but I’d keep her idea in mind if that didn’t raise enough money. The next day at work I was talking to co-workers in the next cubicle about the trip and selling crockpot chili dinners with cornbread to fundraise for it. I had 2 orders on the spot for Friday, two days later! Both of the ladies were going camping with their families for the weekend and didn’t feel like cooking at the camp site. One of them wrote me a check the same day and the other paid cash the next morning. I had them bring their crockpots into work Thursday and I delivered their chili dinners with a tray of cornbread on Friday morning.

Another friend, Kristen, made some really good fundraising suggestions for work such as a 50/50 raffle and hosting a coffee bar or a bake sale on a Friday morning. I was so touched and excited by all of the support and suggestions. Another good friend, Sandi, came to my desk to say she’d overheard me talk about fundraising for my trip and donated a pair of San Diego Padres season tickets for an upcoming baseball game and suggested I sell raffle tickets for $5. She went back to her desk, printed out the tickets and brought them to me! I’ve sold $85 in raffle tickets as of today and hopefully will sell a few more before the drawing next Tuesday, May 3rd!

I posted pictures of the chili simmering and the two baked trays of cornbread cooling on Facebook Thursday night and got 2 more orders! I have an order from my bestie, Dawny for a 7-up cake too. My teacher allowed me to announce some of my fundraising ideas after our Saturday class and there were other really good suggestions made about how I could raise money! A friend and her husband handed me money as a donation towards my “Bali Fund” Saturday afternoon during an event I was helping to host for a community club.

Do you see how this has taken on a life of its own? All because I wrote an intention, then spoke it aloud a couple of times. I don’t know how much the trip costs yet, she is working on finalizing the details and that will be announced in about a week or so. Somehow, I’m not worried about it. I believe if I continue with the footwork as suggestions are made and opportunities present themselves then this intention will manifest into a reality for me.bali-287244__180

One of the things I wanted and intended most last year was to attend a Jen Pastiloff workshop or retreat. I didn’t know how that would happen because the retreats were more than I could afford and her more affordable workshops weren’t local enough to attend. Then she announced an Essay Scholarship contest on Facebook in August. I submitted an essay and it was one of a few chosen to earn a scholarship to her New Year’s Manifestation Retreat in Ojai, CA.

Last October, I felt I had focused so much energy on researching Life Coach and Yoga Teacher Training that I neglected my development as a writer. I write three blogs a week, but I want to do more with my writing. Lo and behold, a woman who hosts writers workshops in Hawaii and here on the Mainland in Los Angeles and Carmel, CA announced in November that she would be hosting workshops for Los Angeles in January of 2016. Her name was Beth Bornstein Dunnington and she sent a private message through Facebook encouraging me to come to her workshop. I attended her workshop in January and one in March. I’m scheduled to attend another one this coming weekend.

The best part about intentions is how God and Universe make a way, open a path or a door with little to no effort from you. The effort and footwork come when the way, path or door presents itself, like its doing now. I am beyond blessed, grateful and willing.gratitude-1251137__180

This entry was posted on April 26, 2016. 1 Comment

Growing Into A Heart Centered Life

flowers-692510__180My kick-ass therapist said something in our last session that my heart recognized or maybe I remembered reading somewhere not too long ago.  It takes a while for the outer life to catch up to inner growth. The life I’m living now, today, is a manifestation of my thoughts, intentions, and choices five years ago. I need to develop patience and trust the Universe/God is in the process of shifting my life. She told me to imagine my life five years from now based on my thoughts, intentions, and choices towards the heart centered life I’ve committed myself to. As soon as I took in her words there was a sense of relief in my recognition of the truth of her words.

I recalled a short while ago, feeling frustrated, discouraged and stuck because I had experienced tremendous inner growth, but I was still living the same old life, working at an overwhelming job. It felt like nothing was really happening with my life despite my commitment to eventually work and live from my heart. I was twisted in knots about my plans and timeline for yoga teacher training, life coach training and writing. All so I could leave my overwhelming, stressful job and start to live and work from my Mission statement! But the reality is I’ve been living a heart centered life for some time now. My years of Divine discontent and discomfort had been moving there all along.

motivational-1314523__180The quality of my relationships with my children, my adult children are a good indication. Baby Bub has been more open and talkative about her life with me lately. She asks my advice and direction (in a limited capacity of course) on things she is “adulting” her way through such as finding a new job, putting in a two-week notice at her current job, and figuring out how to get a new social security card because hers has been lost over the years. She borrowed my car this morning, dropping me off at work so she could go to the Social Security Administration building. I took her into work to show her off and it was a hoot. A lot of my co-workers know her and there were some who had not met her yet. She kept telling everybody she was “dropping off her 48-year-old child at work”. I had lunch with my oldest son, Charles earlier in the week. A feat that was long in the making, as it kept getting rescheduled. It was a nice lunch, which he insisted on paying for since I am always leaving him food at his desk. Towards the end of the lunch, he opened up to me and really shared some things from his heart. I was quite surprised as he is extremely private, but I was grateful he felt he could tell me what was on his mind and some of his plans. I was overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment and for most of the day afterward. Thank God it was a day for my therapy appointment. She was the one who pointed out that my children are turning to me because of the changes I am making in myself and my life. I called my middle child, Ahbuh today to catch up with him. He’s so funny, I love him to Life! He said he wasn’t doing too bad, just life stuff, which made me chuckle because I know that feeling and I told him so. I congratulated him for successfully “adulting”. I’m profoundly grateful for the growing connections with my children which I believe is a result of my choices to be more open-hearted.

Getting back to what my therapist said, I thought back to exactly where I was in my life five years ago. I was feeling bored with my current position at my company. One I’d held for five years so I was ready for a change. I applied for a supervisory position, which I didn’t get and devastated me at the time. I was a finalist for that supervisory position and it raised my profile at the company with management. Less than a year later I promoted into my current position, which was a lot more money and responsibility. Today I am living the life I intended and chose back then, it just no longer serves the direction I am headed.heart-1213481__180

This is a deeper aspect and understanding of trusting the process. I trust I am growing into my heart centered life and more importantly, I trust God and the Universe are shifting my life to meet each stage of my growth. I find peace and patience in that. How cool is that?

This entry was posted on April 23, 2016. 1 Comment

Re-Turning To God, Therefore Myself

light-734435__180I’ve learned to trust the process. What process you ask? The process of recovery over the past 19 years of sobriety. Most importantly, through all of my learning, the process has earned that trust. This may sound like I’m restating the same thing or oversimplifying, but I’m not. The 12 step program is a design for living that brought me home to God and myself. It shows me how to live life, love life and thrive if I am willing. I can think of a lot of institutions, philosophies, and organizations whose processes are predicated on fear, control, obedience and dominance.

I bring this up is because I forget to trust the process, a lot. I have a disease that is mental, physical and spiritual. A disease that wants me dead, no matter if it’s a mental, spiritual or physical death. There is a sentence in the AA Big Book that says, “Remember, we deal with alcohol, cunning, baffling and powerful.” An old-timer, a dear, dear friend who has over 25 years of sobriety is fond of pointing out that the most important word in that sentence is Remember. This is because we forget so easily who and what is essential and paramount in keeping us alive. That is God and recovery. This means I am either in God’s Will or Self-Will, no in betweens.

melancholy-689453__180When I am in self-will, I am all about trying to plan, control, manipulate while worrying, doubting and giving in to fear. The more I can’t figure out a plan, a course of action or a solution, the more afraid I become. I feel worse and worse about not figuring things out, I get tired of talking to my friends, my spiritual advisor, and my therapist about it, or I become afraid that they are tired of hearing about it from me. I isolate, I become more discouraged and depressed. These days, I don’t usually allow myself to slide too far down the dark, demoralizing version of the rabbit hole. That is also a bonus of trusting the process over the years, I catch myself and recover from the slide much quicker. And Of course, it’s not me that does it.

I start to reach out to my friends, my spiritual advisor, and my therapist. They are the ones who help me backtrack to discover where I went off course. It’s always the same. I stopped praying and meditating in the morning. I stopped talking and listening to God. Which is something so basic, how could I forget? Always when I re-turn to God is when I am able to return to myself. The self that is God-centered, who asks for God’s Will in all things and the power to carry that out. The difference then, when I am in God’s Will is that solutions come to me. Or they’ve been there all along and I’ve been looking everywhere else. The thing I’ve worried over, planned over and stressed over is hashed out and processed with my kick-ass therapist. The answer when it comes feels warm and right. A solution that’s been in place from the beginning, but my head and my fear got in the way.om-41993__180

Re-turning to God is a path which leads straight through the heart to me. I’m going to become a certified yoga teacher this summer and maybe, just maybe if it’s God’s will, I will be in Bali for my 50th birthday next year on a yoga retreat.