Back To School: On & Off The Mat

back-to-school-913075__180It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been in school. In fact, my academic career wasn’t exactly stellar. I graduated from high school with average grades, then went on to bounce around California’s junior college system in Northen California and Southern California without earning enough credits for an Associate’s degree or transferring to a four-year college. At some point, I gave up on my education and got busy raising children as a single working parent in recovery from drugs and alcohol. That was about 20 years ago. The truth is I’d never felt I was a good student in school or of life. It’s a good thing feelings are not facts. Or I suppose a more accurate perspective is my life unfolded the way it was meant to unfold based on my choices.

Late last year I made the decision to become a certified yoga teacher as part of my mission for work and life. At the time it felt like a natural extension of where I was headed with my heart-centered living and of the research I’d done on what type of life coaching I wanted to focus on. I’d only been practicing yoga for about five months and I wasn’t entirely confident in my yoga practice or abilities. But I had faith in my teachers and I had faith that this was something I was being called to.business-idea-680787__180 Most of you have been on this journey from the idea/statement of becoming a yoga teacher through the uncertainties about where to train when timelines were changed and then doubts about whether to follow through with the actual training. Once I committed to training with Bright Yoga, you were there to help me deal with the financial reality of fundraising for it. Thanks to my savings and all of your help I was able to pay for over two-thirds of the program as a down payment!

Thursday morning at 8:00 am I started the Bright Yoga 200Hour Teacher Training Program! There is no doubt in my mind or any fiber of my being that I am on the right path. A path I was called and led to by God & the Universe. I am so excited, grateful and confident about this certification training developed and put together by my teachers. There are eight women in the program, which is an awesome student:teacher ratio. It’s taking place inside my home studio, which is already a kind, safe, fostering environment with two master teachers whom I’ve already established relationships based on trust, respect and loveyoga-698114__180

There were many lessons along the way and I know there are much more to come. I couldn’t imagine the journey from the decision to become a yoga teacher to the first day of yoga school so I expect the journey through training to be even more unimaginable. These first two days have already revealed so much about yoga and myself! To give you an inkling, Yoga has eight limbs (branches) and the asanas (poses) is just one of the limbs! What I am learning about myself is I’ve become a much better student. I can still be reserved and reluctant to dig deep and share but I’ve also become better at overcoming myself. Most importantly studying with seven other like-minded and spiritual individuals, guided by knowledgeable, kind, empathetic teachers is the absolute best educational environment I’ve ever encountered!

 

 

This entry was posted on July 16, 2016. 1 Comment

Slippin’ Into Darkness

ladder-1497436__180Last week was rough for our country and me in particular. On the one hand, these are dark and disturbing times. On the other hand, these are times of great awakening and enlightenment. Rather than mutually exclusive, they seem to be an intensely interdependent duality of the world’s collective psyche. It’s frightening to think of where we as a society are headed. I know I was so emotionally and spiritually wrenched that I lost my way for a little bit. I slipped right into the darkness of helpless fear and despair for my beautiful adult African-American children, all three of whom were out in the world somewhere. Somewhere I wasn’t. Places where I can’t protect them and really, would I be able to protect them if I were present when they were in the same situations as Alton Sterling or Philando Castile?

An open heart leaves fewer places for me to hide. In all honesty, I’ve shielded myself from feeling and reacting too strongly to wrongful deaths of African-Americans since George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder. That hit me so hard. I was devastated at the time which was well before this latest renaissance phase of my spiritual growth and awakening. Before my conscious commitment to live a heart-centered life that has led to incredible gifts of discovery like my newfound love of yoga and rediscovery of creative expression through writing. Heart-centered living that has brought me healthy, deeper connections with myself and people in my life. And last week, heart-centered living that cracked my heart wide open with the pain and anguish of identification, the despair of fear and helplessness connected to this dark and disturbing aspect of my country, my home. I was wracked with emotions, alternately crying and trying to calm myself down. At one point in the middle of the night on Wednesday, I thought about drinking. I wanted a drink. Then a friend sent a text, minutes after those thoughts started swimming in my head. She asked if I needed to talk.

Thank God for her and so many other friends. Friends who came and found me in the dark. Friends who sat in the dark, listened to me, empathized when they couldn’t relate, and commiserated when we found common ground. Friends who just sent me love, hugs, and support. Friends who pulled me back into the light of hope. Thank you for helping me through the night. The rest of the week got better, despite the horrific tragedy of the slain Dallas Police officers Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael J. Smith, and Michael Krol. Even with the media and people I know, somehow insinuating that heinous act was the work of the Black Lives Matter Movement.bridge-19513__180

In addition to pulling me from the darkness, my friends helped me move on to the business of living my life. I had my second garage sale this past weekend in another part of the county. I spent the night before the yard sale at a girlfriend’s house, who has a jacuzzi and loves old school Hip Hop music. That was very relaxing and fun. The next morning I had friends show up for the yard sale, including my amazing spiritual advisor and my best friend, Dawny. I have to tell you that when Doris, my advisor hugged me that morning, it was a long, loving hug. She whispered that she wanted to say something to me, her voice was thick with emotion. You see, she has thirty years of phenomenal sobriety, she also happens to be White. I knew what she wanted to say, but I wouldn’t let her. As I held her tightly, my own voice overcomes with emotion I told her, “You do not owe me an apology. You don’t.” I whispered this fiercely and with love. It was not her job to apologize and I meant it. This is the love that pulls me into the light of hope.

Before I wrap up this blog I want to go back to my earlier statement about being frightened of where we are headed as a society. It’s not the first time I’ve expressed this sentiment in one form or another, but these are dark and disturbing times. These are also times of great awakening and enlightenment. I don’t know where we are headed, but I know my path and where I am headed. That’s all I really can control and focus on. I can also have faith that I don’t have to know the answer to that sentiment. I just know I have hope and faith for us all.quotes-1449691__180

P.S. For those who were curious, I raised $235.00 at the 2nd-yard sale! A total of $859.00 from both yard sales in two weeks! I also received an additional check in the mail from a childhood friend back East and an anonymous donation sent directly to my home studio, Bright Yoga! I’ve raised $2035.00 so thank you from the bottom of my big open heart!!!

This entry was posted on July 11, 2016. 3 Comments

The Last Weekend: Slowing Down to Gear Up

evening-sun-694425__180This feels like my last truly free weekend for a few months with my second garage sale scheduled for next weekend and my 200Hour Yoga Teacher Training start the following week. Thank God it’s a 3-day Holiday weekend as well. In typical “Tammi” fashion, I started to make all manner of plans to fill up the weekend which involved traveling all over San Diego county and quite a bit of cooking in the kitchen. San Diego is a large county and while I’m slowly but determinedly getting back into the habit of cooking regularly, I’m not there yet. Then a funny thing happened this week, actually a couple of things, maybe not so funny happened to slow me down and give me pause.

The first thing to happen was my job starting getting to me again, in an energy-draining, exasperating way. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way and I’d forgotten how upsetting it can be. I couldn’t tell if it was due to their continued implementation of new procedures and practices that feel inefficient and ineffective in some cases or if it’s because I’m finally getting close to beginning my yoga teacher training, an important part of my plan for expanding my heart-centered life. Some of the issues at work feel stupid and bush league, but they truly impede our ability to accomplish what we are expected to do. On a double-edged sword note, my boss went on vacation July 1-10th but since she is such a passive-aggressive, micro-managing, over-thinking, and controlling, but pathologically nice person- she made work a living hell before she left Thursday afternoon. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

The second thing was my brakes started emitting a disturbingly tense metal on metal grinding sound Wednesday morning on the way to work. Now y’all know I’m saving and fundraising for YTT so of course, something like this would come up. I’d previously planned to put my car in the shop for an oil change and brake check on the 14th or 15th, which is when my yoga training begins. My mechanic is across the street from my yoga studio. I love that about living in my small town! Thursday I managed to shift my work hours around and get my car in for Tony, my mechanic to check them out to see if they are safe to drive on until his next available appointment, which is not until July 11th. It turns out my back brakes are the issue and they are still under warranty (YAAY, happy dance!!!). He says my car is safe to drive but got me an earlier appointment next Thursday to fix it at no charge!alphabet-word-images-1298865__180

My home studio’s 30-day yoga challenge for June wrapped up and I didn’t end as well as I started. I just sort of petered out with work & my car stressing me out. When I got home I just chilled on the couch in front of the tv instead of rolling out my mat. To top it off, I was so focused and stressed Thursday about getting to work early to leave early to get my car checked, then relieved it wouldn’t cost me anything that I completely spaced and forgot my therapy appointment with my kick-ass therapist! Let me repeat that, I forgot my appointment with my therapist! She texted me at 6:11pm asking if she messed up our appointments. Our standing appointment is every other Thursday 6pm to 7pm! FUCK… We ended up having a telephone session for slightly less time than a face to face one.

I don’t know about you guys, but I felt like God and the U(niverse) were giving me a message to slow down. It’s too stressful to drive a car down to the beach this weekend because it sounds like metal on metal every time I touch my brakes. And it gets worse the more I drive it. I don’t care if Tony says it sounds horrible but it’s safe. When I am so stressed that I “check out” and opt NOT to practice yoga AND forget a standing appointment with my kick-ass therapist, it’s time to pause. It’s time to rest, restore and reflect.  Facebook, my favorite time-suck, showed me memories from last year. One year ago today was my first full day in my new place. There were photos of the public rooms with furniture and boxes. I was reminded of how far I’ve come since last year. I hadn’t started publishing my blog yet. I hadn’t been to my first yoga class yet either. Both the blogging and the yoga have expanded my heart and my world, inward and outward. There is no telling what the coming year will bring. But this weekend, what feels like my last free weekend for a while, I’m going to slow down. I’m going to stick close to home. I’m going to “putz” around locally. I wish everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July weekend!fireworks-804838__180

This entry was posted on July 2, 2016. 1 Comment

The Grace Of Love Abounds, Overwhelms

Love is less a feeling than a thousand tiny acts of kindness.heart-1436442__180

This is a thank you to all who have come along with me on my journey thus far and my path to becoming a certified yoga teacher in particular. I was having problems paying for the 200Hour Yoga Teacher training with the payment plan offered initially. I was given some suggestions on how to help pay for the training and I took them. A good friend from work suggested I throw a garage sale as an idea to raise money to pay for my 200Hour YTT. My yoga teacher encouraged all of us to ask the Universe for what we need, giving us examples of how that principle has worked specifically for her in her life. Thus began the “thousand tiny acts of kindness”.kindness-710209__180

My best friend volunteered her home in the town where we both live to have what became the first of two garage sales. She also came up with the brilliant idea to sell baked goods alongside the yard sale! My good friend from work that suggested the original garage sale idea volunteered her sister’s house as well. Thank God, her sister is also a very good friend, who is used to getting “voluntold” (their family term!) to help! After checking with her, I was committed to throwing two garage sales two weeks apart. I put the word out to all of my friends at work and my 12 step meetings I would need donations of “stuff from their closets and garages”. What transpired was an inundation of clothes, small appliances, tchotchkes, kitchen wares, lamps, pictures, shoes, sporting equipment, games, a couch and a treadmill for the first local garage that took place yesterday! Plus donations of delicious baked goods! Help came from friends, family, my fellow yogis, teachers, and spiritual advisors.

The night before the garage/bake sale Dawny and I asked a friend to help collect and deliver some tables. He stayed that night to help set up the easy-up canopy, the tables and organize all of the stuff. He also showed up the next day without being asked, stayed until the end to help clean up and haul the unsold items to our local thrift store in the back of his pickup truck. There was another sister-friend who came by Friday night to drop off some last minute items, stayed to help us organize stuff and was my first “pre-sale” customer! She spent $23 on baked goods, clothes and bought me a set of wrought iron lanterns I coveted for my outdoor patio.

The day of, I got to Dawny’s at 5:30am and she’d already hauled a lot of the items out into her driveway. A friend dropped off her two cakes at 6:30am and our first early customer showed up. The day was a steady parade of strangers shopping & snacking. My BFF and her hubby came Friday night for moral support, then again on Saturday to give a straight cash donation. Angel-friends, fellow yogis, and spiritual kin dropped by to buy a few items with a wad of cash, telling me to keep the change. Another spiritual kin sister, who I KNEW was struggling financially, showed up and bought a few things to show her love & support. After the sale was over and I went on to a meeting at the library there were others who insisted on paying me for the leftover baked goods I donated to the meeting. And another sister-friend who came to find me at the meeting with a wad of cash to “donate” because she wasn’t able to make it to the garage sale in person. The final tally was $624.00!

Two weeks ago I had one-third of the amount I needed to be saved on my own. Now, with the garage/bake sale and my continued saving I have two-thirds with one more garage sale in my future! The grace of your loving kindness overwhelms and humbles me.

 

This entry was posted on June 26, 2016. 2 Comments

Say No and Be Grateful What You Ask For

no-1426591__180It’s been a while I know. I took a much-needed break from my self-assigned goal of posting blogs three times a week since last August. It was about time I started saying no to some things, including myself- for myself if that made any sense. My life had gotten really full and active, even overactive too much of the time. Somehow I managed to work full-time at an extremely stressful, multi-tasking job, write and post a blog three times a week, attend 12-step meetings and yoga classes twice a week, secretary a weekly Sunday meeting, attend monthly board meetings for a community organization I serve, coordinate & facilitate monthly community events for the aforementioned organization, talk weekly with my spiritual advisor, and attend counseling sessions every other week with my kick-ass therapist. I feel like I left out things and I probably did, but you get the point. That doesn’t even take into account the social activities I got invited to.

Do you want to hear something funny? Even as I told myself I needed to start saying no and let go of some responsibilities, I signed up to do an online book club with a yoga & hiking coach who had been trained by Martha Beck. Martha Beck’s Life Coaching program is one of my top choices and I thought this would be a good opportunity to interact with someone trained in her coaching method. The book club was to occur Wednesday evenings for six weeks starting last week. I paid for the book club and ordered the book from Amazon! Because you know, that’s how I say “no” I guess. Ha, ha… Under the category of God doing for me what I cannot do for myself, the book club got canceled and my money refunded! I finally got the message and I am taking steps to simplify my life.

I can’t begin to express or convey how overwhelmed I have been with the outpouring of support and love from you all since I asked for help in my blog two weeks ago! Tomorrow morning, or actually later this morning because it’s after midnight, is the first of my garage sales. It’s actually a combination garage sale/bake sale and I’ve had so many great items donated to sell. My best friend volunteered to have it at her place and had been using her house as a staging/drop off area. Friends lent their easy-up canopy or stopped by to assist with organizing or to give moral support. This has truly taken on a life of its own since I’ve asked for help. Seriously, the baked goods that were donated are outstanding and will bring in a pretty penny. We’re talking salted caramel or lemon topped individual cheesecakes! I received a generous birthday “gift” in the mail from an angel-friend contributing to my Yoga Teacher Training fund. I’ve got close to half of my training costs saved and even though life situations continue to come at me, I know I am on the right path. I’m so grateful and I’m so ready.qualities-954789__180

 

This entry was posted on June 25, 2016. 1 Comment