Saturday, February 10, 2018

Kindness and Yoga

It has been three months since I had back surgery, a microdiscectomy on my L5 - S1. Last April I felt a pain in my back out of nowhere, I can still remember the exact moment, I was walking into my kitchen and I felt a twinge in my lower back. I thought to myself "odd, wonder what that was" and by the next morning I could barely walk out of work. For the next seven months I experienced back pain, numbness in my foot and my sciatica was screaming at me most days. There were days where my leg would give out and I would be in so much pain. I thought I was pretty healthy, I had started working out several months prior, but wasn't so consistent and I jumped into a group workout program and less yoga. 

The seven months of my injury taught me so much about myself and my body, and especially about my mind. I gained a little over ten pounds over the course of seven months and I struggled with staying mentally healthy. Working out for me, specifically running and yoga keep my mind happy and settled. I don't know that I will be able to run again, the impact of running on my back scares the crap out of me to be honest. I was cleared to work out again in late January, then I got sick. Bronchitis and a couple rounds of antibiotics and a cough that has lingered for the better part of a month. This week I started back in yoga, and if I am being honest with you I was terrified to go back. I felt like a kid starting a new school. I was anxious and really didn't want to go. I did it though, I got myself back into the studio, where it is overwhelmingly hot when you first go. I go to a Bikram studio, it is the yoga practice I love the most. The warmth of the room helps me focus and allows me to be more flexible than normal. I still can't get into all the poses, and after being away for more than 6 months, I was brand new again. I talked to the teacher and let her know that I was back and that my goal was to stay in the room and listen to my body, she agreed that was a perfect focus. I allowed myself to listen to my body and to gently get through the class. My fears immediately went away and for the next hour I focused solely on my body, feeling the poses, paying attention to the messages it was giving me and being in the moment. I felt back at home, and for that hour nothing else crossed my mind, which is why I love yoga so much. At the end of class I was drenched in sweat and I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. I slept better than I had in months that night, and I thanked my body for the strength to get through my first class back. Each class will get better and easier while being more challenging as I allow my body to get deeper into each pose, and my mind will once again have a reprieve each day. 

I told myself that this year I would be kinder to myself and all others. Taking care of my physical health is one of the steps to take care of the whole me. I haven't always taken care of myself, and this year I am making it a priority. It feels good. As I meditate a little each day, get myself to yoga and eat a plant based diet I am seeing that my mind, body and spirit are all connected and I am honoring myself each day. It is a remarkable thing to feel and watch in yourself when you make the decision to be kinder to yourself, and when you take care of the body that does so much for you, the mind that is so beautiful when in balance and the spirit that helps guide you to a truly authentic life. Namaste. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Living in Gratitude

The flu season has been a rough one this year and has certainly taken it's toll on me. I have been sick and I am heading into my third week of upper respiratory issues, currently with bronchitis. At work we lost someone, quite young, to this flu season and I have seen and heard of so many being hospitalized and/or dying from it. It was a bit of a wake up call for me. I am not young or old, just kind of floating around somewhere in the middle, so you almost feel invincible at times and yet you start to feel the gravity of where we are all ending up. 

Being sick and struggling to breathe help you look at each day a little differently, and it certainly helps you appreciate each breath you are able to take. Today I was able to take a road trip with some friends and my kids to Sacramento. We walked around Old Town Sacramento, perusing through shops and having lunch. It was a beautiful day spent with people I love, a day that I am very grateful for. I haven't always had a close knit group of friends, as I grew older I made friends through work and these friends have become my family. They are my tribe, the ones I lean on in tough times, the ones I laugh with, the ones that encourage me to follow my dreams, the ones who are there for me always. I never understood the importance of a tribe of people that are friends but I see now how important they are in my life, and I am so grateful for their friendship. 

When I got home, me and the kids starting watching a new TV show on Netflix and we spent three hours together, hanging out laughing and discussing the show and life in between. It is nights like this that fill me up with so much love and gratitude for our time together. As they are getting older and emerging into adulthood I know that I won't get as much of this time sooner than later. I am happy for them and excited for their future but I certainly cherish these nights with them. Where we are together, eating dinner and binge watching a new show. I am a lucky Mom, I don't take that for granted. 

Life is made up of these moments and days like the one I had. Spending money on little things in shops, talking with friends, enjoying a stroll through a little town, talking, laughing and singing on a two hour drive with my friends and kids. These are the moments that make up a well lived, happy life. These are the moments we create that we look back on with so much joy and love. Today reminded me that each day we have is such a privilege, and to be alive and breathing is the greatest gift of all. I am reminded to let go of the small things, the worries and the never ending list of things I need to get done, money I need to save, a house that needs cleaning, clothes that need washing, and the list goes on. Create your moments and memories, cherish this oh so short life we get to live. Every day is a gift, every moment a chance to create the life you love <3 Namaste :) 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Take a Walk

I have been sick for the last two weeks, and my cough has been insane! I am on steroids, antibiotics, an inhaler and lots of cough syrup, I am exhausted, but I made a commitment to getting outside and walking more. I love being outside and walking amongst the trees and feeling the warm sun on me, it is so healing and so meditative for me. So even though I feel like crap and it is hard to breathe my daughter and I met my friend in Truckee and we took a walk near Donner Lake. It was so beautiful, chilly at 32 degrees, but the sun was out and the trees were covered in snow, it was breathtaking. And I think it did my lungs some good. This year, the year of goals for me, I am trying to spend less and spend more time outside. Even on days that I can't walk too far or for too long just getting out feels so good. Little by little this cough will go away, and little by little I will walk farther and longer. Taking baby steps every day to be the best version of me. Get outside, be with nature, feel the earth beneath your feet, feel the cool air on your skin, the warmth of the sun - so healing! What are you doing to get back to you? Namaste :)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Starting with 5 minutes a day

I told myself I would start a daily meditation practice again this year. And I committed to 5 minutes a day this week. Meditation is a practice, the more you do it the better it gets, its exercise for the mind. The more you exercise with meditation, the easier it is to sit in stillness. I went to a week long silent meditation retreat a few years back, with no meditation practice I sat in meditation for at least three hours a day. I can tell you I went crazy, my mind was a chaotic mess and my body had every ache, pain and twitch that was possible. I reached a breaking point mentally and I wanted to run as far and as fast away from the retreat as possible, but alas, I was stuck in the middle of nowhere in Colorado. I had no other option but to finally let go of the resistance and surrender. It was an absolutely pure peace I had never felt before in my life. The three hours a day seemed easy and fulfilling. I sat in stillness and experienced things I had never experienced prior. I told myself I would continue my practice when I left....anyway....I am starting again to get to that place once more. Be kind to yourself, we all lose our practice sometimes, the important part is getting back to it. Discipline, mental discipline is my friend to get back to sitting for an hour at a time. Can you commit to it? Do it, for your own sanity, for your own peace and joy. Namaste :)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Back to writing, and my dreams

I have taken quite the hiatus in writing in this space, the space I enjoyed so much for a long time. I remembered that this all started to keep an online journal of my thoughts on life for my kids. And for the last couple years I have not put any focus on it. Perhaps it is time to get back to some things in life. I've had two years of putting my dreams aside, not because I had to, but because I got a bit side tracked working a new job for the County. I started seeing that the allure of a pension made sense, and I kept telling myself "Your 60 year old self with thank your 40 year old self for a pension", which has a lot of truth to it I am sure. You can still chase your dreams while making good financial decisions - I will say that again for myself - you can still chase your dreams while making good financial decisions. Phew, that is a hard one for me to grasp sometimes. I also took on a high stress job, dispatching! You work so much overtime, often you get one day off a week, working 12 hours shifts or more each day. The adrenaline rushes come every few minutes sometimes, I can't even fathom what that does to ones health....oh wait....yes I can!

This year I decided to set some goals, ones that I can look at long term, like five year goals, and ones that I can look at weekly. This has helped shift my focus to actually guiding my life instead of just responding to it. I have felt like that the last two years, like I have just responded to whatever comes up the best way I can. That has worked, until it just doesn't work. I switched jobs to one that gives me more 'me' time and one that has less adrenaline ups and downs. For the last six months it felt like I was detoxing and finally coming back to me. And my dreams of life are re-emerging with a gentle nudge, saying 'we are still here and you are still capable' - a beautiful and comforting feeling.

It is time to love and nourish myself again, and time to chase my dreams, but this time with setting goals. And as I reach those goals, celebrate them! I am trying to nourish my body back to health as well, it is a whole experience for me - mind, body and spirit. Each one depends on the other, and it is time to honor that once again. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed but I am also excited. I am starting with reading about plant based eating to help my body, bringing back meditation - a little each day to start, and then get back into a yoga practice. Kindness toward myself and all others - Namaste :)

Image from

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Flow of Dreams and Goals

For the past year I have been working at a job that I started to help me get through my Masters. Somewhere along the way I got sidetracked on my goals. It is a job that is able to take everything from you emotionally and it certainly took me on a scenic road this past year. Becoming an emergency services dispatcher was a step to get me to my next place in life/career. It has been a huge learning opportunity for me on so many levels. What I am most grateful for is that it has shown me some contrast in life of what I want and don't want. It has taught me patience and to persevere in ways I didn't think of before. It has certainly made me truly understand team work, without it you can have disaster on your hands within a moment.

Now I am starting to rethink career, joy and abundance. I am really struggling within to see the connection of all three while honoring my authentic self. Through much discussion and personal discovery I have learned that I have some blocks when it comes to believing those three things can all come together. So my work now is to remove those blocks and to find a path that makes sense for me. A path that brings me to a career with really good pay while still honoring the joy that I want. I have learned I love and thrive when I am tapping in to my creativity, I have also learned I love being part of a team. My husband is currently pursuing a career that he dreamed of but figured at some point that maybe it was too late in life. He decided to go after it anyway and he is removing his own blocks of belief and I couldn't be more proud. I think what makes sense is - it is never too late to reinvent your dreams and career. The flow of dreams and goals is constantly ebbing and flowing, often changing and sometimes steady. I was only side tracked but I see now all the valuable lessons I was learning about myself through this past year even though I thought I was becoming stagnant. The surprise is to look back and see how much it has helped me to push forward and reinvent myself. I am excited for what comes next, and I am excited to continue this self discovery journey, even when it is frustrating. Don't give up.....keep on flowing, dreaming, planning and creating. Namaste.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Commit to Focusing on Joy

As I sit here flying first class to CT for a funeral, I am overwhelmed by gratitude and appreciation for living in joy. I decided at one point in my life to live in joy. No matter what circumstances, no matter what life brought me - joy was the energy that I would give all my time to. I'm reading "The Universe has your back" by Gabrielle Bernstein. A great book so far, and I'm on chapter 4. A few sentences in the book explains exactly how I'm feeling. It's synchronicity at its best. She talks about living with joy and expressing it. In it she says "when the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, you'll recognize this feeling as separation from the love of the Universe" - man this so resonates with me right now.

I am drinking a glass of ok white wine as I was reading this. I stopped reading because dinner was brought to me. If you haven't flown first class, let me tell you, it's an experience. Some people may say it's over rated. And maybe for them and their life it is. But for me and my husband - who is over 6ft tall and a wide shouldered man, it's a wonderful way of traveling. It gives him some shoulder and leg room, which to some may not be so important. But for him and the burly stature that he is, it's pretty damn important. When we fly coach his legs are bent up to his chest in an incredibly uncomfortable way of sitting for any length of time. He also is unable to move at all, given his shoulders are wider than most. But traveling like this is something deeper for him and me. It's lots of work with affirmations and belief that we can experience all that is good, in what WE personally define as good. We get to travel comfortably and we get some extra amenities that make our life and our experience enjoyable. It's something I didn't know I could experience prior to this work of living in joy. Joy is something that defines many things for me. It's not just the finer things in life like flying in first class. It's being able to go to the grocery store without worrying if I can afford it. It's taking a moment with my family and being able to laugh. It's seeing Christmas lights on my house for Christmas. It's having the ability to order not 1 but 10 sleeping bags for my cousin who does a Christmas drive for the homeless each and every year. It's being able to have a beautiful moment appreciating a full moon, or a moment where I'm overwhelmed with gratitude because there is a dragonfly near me. I'm grateful for so many things, so many moments and so many people.

And all of this brings me back to - living in joy no matter what. That doesn't mean I never experience sadness, loneliness, anger, or anything like that. It means that I let myself experience any emotion that comes up and then I start looking at where my joy is. What can I appreciate in this moment? Because no matter what we go through we can always search for the joy. And when we focus on that, there are so many examples and so much affirmation that there is indeed joy no matter what happens in life. Some days we don't find it, but it doesn't mean it's not there. It means we are honoring the part of ourselves that is experiencing our emotions in the moment and not denying what we truly feel. But what I've learned is to always refocus on where the joy is. Because I can tell you that living a life where you are committed to finding joy, my God how you will find it expansively and without any work on your part other than the commitment to focus on it. I'm living proof, my life is a living, breathing example of focusing your energy on joy. It's always there, no matter what. And what I'm learning is to love and revel in these moments where we feel complete and utter joy. Like sitting in first class feeling comfortable and roomy and drinking wine and eating lovely food next to my best friend in the whole world, my hubby. It's possible, it's real, and dear god it's not hard. Just choose to find the joy. Honor your emotions but don't hold tight to the ones that aren't joy. Come back around. Make a commitment to always finding joy. You not only heal yourself but you help others heal by simply showing that joy is attainable and real, no matter what. Namaste :)