30 Sober Days of Meditation

Week 1 Update:

1/19/18

Day 7, I made it, phew! I’ve been wanting to write a blog post on this particular experiment for a long time. And I don’t want to simply label this as an “experiment” because it’s so much more than that. This is the first time, in a LONG time, that I’ve really challenged myself…to say NO to something that I always say YES to and to commit to sitting still for at least 15 minutes a day. This can only change me for the better, right? And I’m ready to change, I’m ready to grow and expand in a meaningful way.

This blog idea has probably been on my mind for at least year and I kept coming up with excuses not to do it…I had a party coming up or a show or I was bored and wanted some wine. Something interesting that I’ve noticed this week is the panic that I experience around saying no to an ingrained habit. There’s almost a sense of dread when saying no to something that you always, ALWAYS, A L W A Y S say yes to. Exploring that gap, that dreaded gap, I believe, is the space where we have the power to make huge, sweeping changes in our lives. I’ve never had the courage to explore it until now…

Sitting has been easier for me, as I have years of experience with it and have done it for hours at a time. The tricky thing is…I’ve never done it for 30 days straight because I always let myself off the hook. It’s not that I forget, I just choose to get lazy. I watch Netflix instead (usually with wine;) or just say that I don’t want to do it. One of the things that I love about a consistent meditation practice is how sharp my focus and attention becomes and it’s certainly something that I’ve been enjoying the last couple days. This combined with not drinking has definitely cleared up my thinking, I’ve become noticeably more patient and perhaps the biggest place that I notice a difference is, is in my teaching. There are intelligent and philosophical words and thoughts flowing out of my mouth and I’m not really sure where they came from. When I put my hands on my student’s bodies, I feel as if I’m able to mold and hold them with just the right amount of pressure and in just the right way. I feel as if my ability to read my students has helped me to care for an nurture them in a way that feels honest and genuine. Everything feels more…potent.

Next Friday, I leave for Oakland for 10 days to start my 300-hour training with Annie Carpenter. I’m scared, nervous and excited about the rigorous schedule and also what I might learn about myself, what sort of depth I may uncover. I *knew* that I had to be sober for this training, I knew that I had to give this everything I possibly could because it is such a privilege to study with someone that I look up to in a million different ways. I’m also scared, nervous and excited for 7 another days of saying no to my habit and saying yes to unearthing another layer of my sanity.

Until next Friday, I can’t wait to update you…

Unrealistic Expectations

The last year has been full of doubt and uncertainty in my own craft. I’ve been teaching yoga and barre full-time for nine years and I’ve felt far less sure and confident of myself today than I did in the beginning.

In a world where our worth as a yoga/fitness teacher seems dependent on class numbers, high amounts of followers and likes and publicly-available Classpass and Google reviews, I have felt like I can’t compete. I’m not a competitive person and I never have been. I feel the pressure to be something extraordinary, to become a celebrity, to get people’s attention and have them care about me and praise me. I see the efforts that others in my community put into their social media and a sense of failure immediately fills my being. Everyone *seems* to have a professional photographer with them at all times, has unsurmountable inspiration and motivation while sporting the newest gear, the most perfect hair and a perfectly toned body to match.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “are you just jealous?”

Hell yes I’ve experienced jealousy! And doubt. And inadequacy. And envy. I also want to acknowledge the incredible amount of work that my community members put into building their brand. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out how I might do the same, where I can take a visually-appealing yoga picture, how I can get people look at me and pay attention to me so that I might have bigger classes and amazing reviews and more followers because…society says that matters…

I finally realized, after reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, that my standards are way too high. They’re unrealistic and feel disingenuous. The goal of yoga and meditation is about releasing our attachment to the ego, about letting go of our identity, our need to be seen and heard and admired and noticed. THAT makes sense to me. That feels like an honest and attainable goal. No doubt it requires an immense amount of work and focus (like becoming a yoga/fitness celebrity), but *this* goal actually makes my heart light up with excitement. My merits for success have been unattainable and I needed to change my perspective to something that does feel authentic and something that I have control over right now:

I can be present for my students. I can drop the overly-cheery welcomes when they walk through the doors and be calm, and hold eye contact and listen with my whole body when catching up on what’s been going on. I don’t have to put on a show during class and embellish my personality, I can give thoughtful and individualized cues and smile with gratitude for their presence in my life. I can give them adjustments with love and care and also give them space to have their own experience instead of trying to coddle them to ensure that they’re having a good time (and maybe give me a good review).

Being authentic and present in my classes would be a massive success, in fact I feel silly now thinking that I ever needed to be more. And sure, there are teachers who can be authentic and present and also be a yoga/fitness celebrity and that’s great for them. But if I can just show up and create a safe and comfortable space for people to have a present moment experience, then I would feel as though I’ve contributed positively to my community.

I wish I had realized this all sooner. In this day and age, in this society, it’s not as easy as it seems to just “be yourself”. Simple, yes. Easy, no. It’s obvious that part of our job as yoga/fitness teachers is to be likeable, if you’re not, students don’t come. Being myself unfortunately does not mean that I will build my class numbers, it won’t get me more Instagram followers (in fact, my numbers seem to drop the most when I think I’m posting something “epic”) and it might not get me better ratings online. BUT…but…it’s the only thing that I know I can actually live up to.

Right now, just simply being myself is the only standard of success that I can honestly strive towards.  I don’t have a grandiose personality, I probably don’t teach the most amazingly creative flows, I don’t have any pretty pictures to post on social media and I won’t tell you that everything is “love and light”. I can give it to you straight, I want to be able to talk about the imperfections of my humanity without being ashamed. I can only live up to being ordinary. I don’t work out every day. I sleep a lot. I overindulge. I fall off the wagon. I get back on the wagon and feel like I have things figured out and then fall off again. I set goals. I fail. Sometimes I am myself and people respond well. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I clean my house. Lots of times I don’t. I experience insecurity about my personality, my body, my hair. my food, my mind, my choices. Sometimes I experience so much anxiety about teaching, about showing up perfectly and making people like me that I can’t even show up for my class. I’ve made myself sick trying to live up to these unrealistic standards.

So here I am, an ordinary woman, with ordinary goals. And I happen to teach yoga. I won’t try to drop esoteric spiritual knowledge on you, I’m not special and I don’t know things that you don’t know. I’m just an average person. All I can commit to is being present with my classes. I can’t think of anything more rewarding or satisfying.

Staying A Step Ahead

Last month I completed my Yoga Nidra training with Jeremy Wolf. Yoga Nidra, or yoga sleep/conscious sleeping, takes practitioners into deeper levels of relaxation where we can release the seeds of tension that keep us hooked in our neurotic thought patterns, habits and behaviors. In these deeper states of relaxation, we can also shed the layers of identification that keep us separate from each other and the from source of our creation: awareness, consciousness, God, Divine Grace, Source or whatever you want to call it. So much of the practice is about observing our current experience without investing in it, without projecting our judgement, preferences, opinions, stories or drama onto it. Essentially, without creating a problem out of what is coming up.

During the training, we did three Nidra sessions a day and since then, I’ve been doing them almost nightly before bed (although you can do it first thing in the morning or in the middle of the day as a reboot). More than any other time in my life, I’ve been practicing observing my immediate experience without creating a story or a drama around it. Certainly, this has not been a perfect practice (hence the word “practice”), but it’s drawn so much attention and awareness toward how often I twist and contort the stories in my mind about a situation or another person into senseless mental loops that get me into trouble, creating mental tension either with myself or with someone else .

Working to stay ahead of the drama is applicable in any situation, whether you’re just sitting around hypothesizing about something awful that might happen or if you’re on your yoga mat fully identifying with mental/physical angst and declaring it as Truth. I have found this theme to be extremely potent while teaching any Hatha style of yoga because for most people, including myself, we when we feel INTENSE sensation in our body, alarm bells go off in our mind and the mind begins to spin a manic story around the experience that the temporary body is having. What if we could take a step back and experience sensation of the temporary body, as the eternal witness; that piece of us that is in the background taking in information neutrally and intelligently. That piece of us that, if you subscribe to reincarnation ideology, sticks around after the physical body dies.

As mentioned, I am nowhere near mastering the role of the eternal witness. I still create stories in my mind, react to them, and then later see the insanity of my words/actions and regret them. Thankfully, I’ve come to the point in my spiritual practice where I can forgive myself on the spot (mostly). I understand that my sacred goals are going to be lifelong practices, that I am having a human experience for the next however many years and all I can do is lovingly try my best to evolve and wake up.

If you’re experiencing drama in your life, in a relationship, at work, with a behavior or a habit, I invite you to try. Join me and many others on this road of the witness. Perhaps we will find that we have far more in common that we knew.

 

The Stories That I Tell Myself

I’ve been reading a book lately about the stories that we tell ourselves. The stories we lead our lives off of and make important decisions from. The stories that, for the most part have no truth to them. The stories that I tell myself are crushing and have broken me completely. The stories that I tell myself have led to self-destructive behavior with the intention of sabotaging anything good. I decided to finally write a list of the stories that I listen to way too often and share them.  Not to have anyone say, “oh no, that’s not true!” or to have anyone pity me. We all live under the weight of and suffer from our stories, I thought that if I put mine out there that someone, even just one person would see that they are not alone. Our stories, as fucked up and twisted as they are, are not the truth. I know deep down that they can be dropped…I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m on an active journey…

The stories that I tell myself:

I am burden to everyone in my life

I work in a career field that is way too saturated to ever make anything of myself

I am a poor loser who can’t afford to participate in the world

My family judges me, doesn’t take me seriously or listen to me

My body is disgusting

I have no energy and I will always feel like shit

There is something wrong with me and everybody knows it

No matter how hard I try, I will always just be average

No one understands me

I’m incapable of feeling balanced

I don’t deserve to be loved

 

I’m not really concerned with shocking anyone with this post because I know that everyone in the world operates on contorted and inaccurate fantasies about themselves. My stories interfere with my job, my relationships, my drive and motivation. Like I said, I haven’t figured out how to drop them completely yet, but it’s on my radar, right in front of me. It’s hard to let go of these intangible grips that I’m so used to surrendering to and bowing down to, but I know it’s necessary for my own sanity. It’s necessary for all of our sanity.

grieve_alone_myth

It’s Been a Year…

Today marks a year since I’ve been back in Colorado. A year ago, I was completely broken. I was reeling from the betrayal of someone that I thought that I knew. I had no money, no car and I was living with my parents. I felt the lowest that I had ever felt and I didn’t know how to pick up the pieces.

It’s been a year since I was paralyzed with sadness and grief over the loss of my life in California, I was hopeless. Fast-forward a year, I am thriving and feeling abundant. I feel a sense of being whole and having purpose and I see the deep thread of connection between my past and my present. It was all necessary.

My recovery began almost immediately, but I got lost in the throes of despair many times along the way. Over the past year I’ve experienced tons of anger towards this certain someone. During these times, I went through deep bouts of depression that I thought would go on for forever. I pushed people away, I didn’t go out, I lost hope, I got it back, I lost it again…it seemed like a never-ending cycle of up and down. Throughout the last year, I’ve felt more unstable and stable than ever.

Back to my recovery, my parents really showed up for me. They helped me buy a new car, made sure that I had everything I needed to maintain my then vegan, gluten-free diet and let me come and go as I pleased. I felt free and supported and for that I am eternally grateful.

I met an amazing man soon after my return. I didn’t think that I was ready to open up and I didn’t think that I would be for a longggg, long time. He was ready to deal with my emotional baggage. He gave me space to grieve and only interacted with me from a place to love and patience. He never judged me, he never held my sometimes poor behavior against me and offered me support and space whenever I needed it. It took months for me to let him really love me the way that I always wanted, I’m so glad he waited. He is my yoga partner, my music partner, hiking partner, cooking partner, my co-creator of brilliant ideas—he makes me feel alive and because of him I am so much kinder and more thoughtful. On August 11th, we will be co-teaching and co-DJing a yoga class on a rooftop in downtown Denver during the sunset. More details to come:)

Almost immediately, I was offered a full-time teaching opportunity at my old studio. I have been supported in ways that I could have never have dreamed of by my bosses and have been able to dive back into teaching students who I’ve known for years, students who were present during my conception as a yoga and fitness instructor. I feel so deeply rooted in and connected to my community of students and teachers and I couldn’t imagine more amazing people to spend my days with. I am also in the planning stages of leading my first solo yoga retreat in Feb 2017 in Roatan, Honduras. More details to come:)

The thing that really helped me come to a place of feeling like I could fully move on was going to therapy. I’ve found someone that I’ve been able to unload on, someone who is unbiased and can help me see my patterns and other perspectives. Having the space to speak freely, to emote and to ask for help has been so healing. Going to therapy has allowed me to want to communicate more with my parents, my partner and my friends and articulate my thoughts and feelings more honestly and clearly. I have seen and felt a huge shift in my relationships and it feels really good to be more connected to people.

Hitting rock bottom is fucking hard. But I know that it was completely necessary to find myself where I am. Now when I experience lows in my life, I know that they are temporary, I know that I am supported. I mean I knew this stuff before, but I didn’t really know it in a way where I could intelligently apply it to my life. I am stronger now and I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can support others wholeheartedly. I am a survivor and I’m ready to pay it forward.

survivor

My First Festival

Last week I went to my first music/yoga festival, Sonic Bloom. It was important not only because it was a first, but I taught a yoga class there. Teaching at a festival was always something that I wanted to do, but it seemed so out of reach. Fear and doubt told me that I wasn’t “good enough” to ever pull something like that off, I just assumed it was for those “other” teachers that had something that I didn’t.

I applied to teach, with my partner as my DJ and we were accepted. We had put together an amazing set, the music was supposed to really set the tone for our class that centered on connecting to Svadhisthana, the Sacral Chakra.

The four days that led up to us teaching, were some of the most transformative. We were surrounded by motivated, creative, intelligent people who were on a journey to consciousness, just like us. Everyone was ready and willing to lend a hand, they acknowledged our presence with a wave, a smile or a simple, “hello.” There wasn’t any drama. As someone whose been slowly making their way out of a year-long hermitage, this was initially uncomfortable for me. It was uncomfortable to be seen, to have people look at me with such open hearts and curiosity. People that I didn’t even know were giving me hugs and telling me their life stories, it was out-of-the-ordinary to say the least.

Another thing that I noticed was, being around 6,000 people, I came up against a lot of judgment, doubt and comparison. It was interesting to watch all of this go on in my mind and making conscious decisions to let it go, it felt good. I couldn’t believe how easy it became, I couldn’t believe how much was shifting in me and how many walls and boundaries in my heart and mind that I was able to let go of. It was so inspiring to be around people that appeared far more comfortable being their authentic selves than I’ve ever been and to watch other yoga instructors connect to their students and really move them physically and emotionally. People weren’t there just to party, they were there to grow; there were classes on permaculture, politics, painting, energy dynamics, sexual consciousness, belly dancing, etc. I was surrounded by people who had discovered their strengths through personal and social connections and were using that knowledge to help change the world for the better. I felt like I was buzzing, I was feeding off of them and saw that I hadn’t been showing up in my life as my best for a while. I became very clear about where I want to go with my career, and also how I want to show up for my friends and my family. I left realizing that I truly want to do every moment well and I am fully capable of doing that. How I let so much fear and doubt creep into my life I’m not sure, but I felt and still feel done with it and am ready to take charge of my life.

It finally came time to teach my class: Sonic Flow. Again, the music was supposed to drive the feel and flow of the class. When we arrived to teach, we found out that the generator for the tent we were teaching in had just broken. No music. And no mic to talk over the bass music stage right next to us with blaring music. I experienced such an intense moment of resistance, anger, bewilderment, shock, denial—I mean you name it, the whole works. All I wanted to do was run away. It took me a minute to come to grips with the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, I had to drop the attachment to my emotions and put on a happy face. I had to teach and give the people ready to take my class my best effort.

Through my nervousness, I ended up teaching a class that I was really proud of, given the circumstances. I felt genuinely connected to the people in class and they were so graciously receptive. I was buzzing again, but in a different way. I was buzzing because I discovered that I was capable of dropping really difficult emotions that seemed to be taking over my entire being. I had felt so intensely upset and I felt so empowered by the fact that I was able to drop it completely, on the spot. It was a moment of realizing that I am more capable and more powerful than I ever knew. I will never forget that.

I also want to give a shout-out to Artisan Jones, he handled himself so well when finding out that he wouldn’t be able to play the set that he had put so much time and energy into. I was so inspired by his ability to accept the bad news with grace and support me in teaching the class.

Since being back, I’ve felt almost like a hyper-engagement with my life. I’ve been practicing doing each moment well, the best that I can and it’s brought a sense of purpose to everything that I do. I feel different, I feel lighter and I’ve been letting shit go like a motherfucker. I didn’t realize it could be so easy. All I want to do, is share this shift with my friends and with my students. I want to help people in their journey of letting go and freeing up more energy to be in the moment. I am eternally grateful for my time at Sonic Bloom. I danced for 4 days without a shower, I left hairy and dirty and feeling so alive and open. I grew in my relationship with myself and also with my partner. We became closer than ever during our time together and I can’t wait to change the world with him as we discover our fullest potential. See you on the mat!

Namaste.

13524524_10101471963859842_8056311947077768068_nI was shaking with nervousness when I started class with meditation.

13569833_10101480921872912_748717090_oArtisan Jones practicing our set in the midst of the festival in the back of his truck. We will be unveiling our class at the end of July with both of us co-teaching/co-DJing! Stay tuned…

 

Heart Chakra Melt Down

I’ve been doing a series of classes over the last few weeks on the chakras. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve taught these classes and I’m not the same person anymore. Teaching these classes has held up a mirror to the many ways that I need to work on myself. It’s brought both clarity and anxiety. This series is not only a journey for my students, but also for myself.

In week one, we broke down the root chakra, Muladhara, our connection to the Earth. As I guided my students through a series of postures to ground them in an effort to feel safe and secure in the world, my own insecurities about money and my ability to take care of myself were highlighted. I’ve felt ungrounded for the last couple years, since I moved to the Bay Area and its high prices constantly loomed over my head. Since I’ve moved back, I’ve had a hard time escaping fight or flight mode, I’ve had a hard time trusting the world I live in.

In week two, we discussed Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra.  This chakra is about enjoying the pleasures of life, the “demon” for this chakra is guilt. I became hyper-aware of the immense amount of guilt I feel, it seems to pop up everywhere. I feel guilt with food, I feel guilt every time I spend money, I feel guilt when I miss yoga or meditation, I feel guilt when I don’t teach the best class I know I can. All fucking day, it never ends. This was a huge eye-opener for me. I know that big brother isn’t looking over my shoulder making sure that I’m picture perfect. I have to constantly remind myself that my guilt is made up in my mind, it’s only real if I make it real.

Last week we moved through a naval chakra flow to stoke the inner fire, our place of confidence, power and discipline. This class brought up a lot of questions such as, “Am I disciplined enough?” Is teaching 18 classes a week enough? Is it okay to nap and enjoy downtime? Am I slacker because I don’t have the energy or desire to take pictures of myself and post them on social media with some sort of inspirational quote? Between being in survival mode and feeling guilty all the time, I find it so incredibly hard to discipline myself and do more. Is it enough or not?

This week is Anahata, the heart charka. After the trauma of returning from California under the circumstances that I did, my heart is not the same. Yesterday as I led the first classes on connecting to the heart, I felt like a fraud. I could barely look my students in the eye and discuss self-love and the importance of being open and vulnerable. I felt like a fake, a phony. I don’t know how I made it through. I went home and broke down.

After a night of engaging in self-pity and doubt, I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed. I realized that I need to make my friendship with myself my number one priority. I rolled out my mat and did my own heart chakra class with kriyas, chanting, pranayama, asana. As I lay in savasana, I felt connected to my essence. I was able to see myself again, I saw that it was possible to reconnect to my heart. I’m not saying that 90 minutes on my yoga mat solved all my problems, but it filled me with hope and possibility. I connected with that unstuck part of myself that can’t be touched by rejection, betrayal or doubt. I felt that warm, gooey center where unadulterated awareness resides.

While I may not be able to teach the most moving heart chakra class ever this week, I do understand what it means to be in pain, to feel deceived and abandoned and to choose to heal by falling in love with myself and in turn being kind to others. Love is a currency, you get what you give. I can at least teach this much. Alas, I’ve found some footing to be authentic with this week.

heart

I See You.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. In fact, I was feeling a little blue yesterday too. It has nothing to do with anyone, but myself and how I’ve been showing up in the world lately. It’s a reality that I created and I know exactly what I need to do to change things.

Tonight was the first night of a meditation group that I put together called, Food for Thought. It took me months to get the guts to put things together. I was and still am afraid of putting my idea out there in such a vulnerably exposed way, but I eventually held myself accountable and got it going. The group is donation-based (suggested $10) with all of the money going to charity. This month I decided to support the Denver Rescue Mission in an effort to help feed the homeless. As the facilitator of the group, I began with a talk about the importance of of helping others. We are helping others by training our minds to become more present and conscious of opportunities to reach out and lend a hand when needed. Being compassionate towards our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering in this world is how we can make effective and long-lasting change.

We sat for 20 minutes and spent another 30 minutes talking about our experience and different things that we struggle with in life. We raised $114 that will feed 218 people a meal. Afterwards, people were talking about other ways to help the community and exchanging numbers. The night went far better than expected. While I was feeling extremely full of gratitude, I still felt a sense of sadness. As I drove home and recapped the night in my head, I began to think about all of the people in this world that are suffering. The truth is, all of us are suffering. In Buddhism, the word Samsara is used to describe this never-ending cycle of suffering. We are all at the mercy of our thoughts and it causes us so much grief. I began to realize that there are tons of other people out there that feel just like me. When I think of them also hurting, it melts my heart into puddle of sympathetic sadness. I ache for them, I ache for you.

This post is for anyone who experienced a shred or a landslide of self-doubt today. This is for anyone who forgot that they were inherently good, that their natural and raw state of their being is love. This post is for anyone who felt guilty about their words or actions, for anyone who’s been letting things slip lately and are seeing the ramifications of that. I experienced all of this today.

For anyone who felt alone, misunderstood, or even hopeless: I see you and I get you. I’ve been there, I am there and I’ll be there again, as will you. Next week, I hope that when we look into each other’s eyes, there’s a transmission of understanding that we see each other in our suffering and we are the same in that way. We are connected in all the ways that we feel different and separate. Don’t forget, this is all temporary. Stay present for this experience, the more inquisitive we get about it, we begin to see its fluid and illusory nature. The impermanence of this moment is the one thing that we can count on. You’re not alone, we’re in this together. This too will pass.

 

food for thought

Why I Meditate.

I was listening to a podcast the other night and the woman speaking said that meditation makes life a little “LSD-y.” I burst out laughing and nodded my head with understanding. Every day I feel like my senses are becoming sharper as I choose to show up more presently in life. Maintaining a meditation practice has been a priority of mine and I seem to be getting a lot of feedback that I should continue doing it. I’ve come to believe that life will give us feedback if we’re being present or not. We know when we’re taking care of our minds, our bodies, our relationships, our responsibilities… We know because life begins to flow more smoothly, we feel more confident and connected to what’s going on. Things feel lighter. Life also gives us feedback if we’re not taking care of those things, things begin to feel sloppy and awkward. Life feels a little heavy.

Meditation trickles into every area of my life. Since I spend so much time teaching, that’s where I get the most information about the state of my mind. If I’m off my game, I know that it’s time to start re-prioritizing things so that I can get back on. I love teaching more than ever right now and I’m totally certain that I’m on the right path. The more present I become, the more I know what’s going on. It feels good to know what’s going on because that’s when we can begin to shape our reality and our life. Things become almost magical, or “LSD-y.”  I really believe that all of our power lies only in this moment. It’s in the present when we are at our very best. Meditation improves our ability to be present and honest, to call ourselves on our own BS and to hold ourselves accountable.

My memory has improved, my focus is sharper, everything seems to have been kicked up to the next level and I’m working hard to process it all by staying present. We can all be vehicles for great change. I think that when we start to wake up in this world and show up in a more present way, we become wonderful mirrors for one another. By being present we are taking the most effective/non-aggressive approach to creating change and leading by example with our wakefulness.

meditation

While I’m really trying to turn my life around, I still mess up. I still say and do things that I’m ashamed of when I check out and forget to live in the present. I get feedback. Learning to forgive myself on the spot when this happens has been invaluable. In doing so I can check back in and smooth the situation out as I drop into awareness. Since my memory has improved, I find myself consciously choosing not to make the same mindless mistakes again. Being able to pause and catch myself in a space of raw awareness before I speak or act has been one of the most powerful and inspiring manifestations of my consistent meditation practice.

I have a lot more ideas that I want to write about in regards to meditation. It’s really helped me connect to my creative side and I’ve got a lot of projects in the works. I’ve never had “projects in the works” before, especially since I never really had any follow through. Now I can honestly say that I do and the more that I follow through with things, the less claustrophobic my mind feels. It feels really good to finish what I start and to finish things well. It feels really good to try and do life well. It feels good to become tolerable and appreciative of change and the constant ups and downs of life. I feel good and I think that it rubs off on my friends. Being present seems to be the gift that keeps on giving…

More to come, I can’t wait to tell you!

Namaste.

Let’s Trust Ourselves

I have written a few blogs since I’ve been back and haven’t posted them. I actually published one yesterday for the world to see and deleted it two hours later. I am having a serious problem blogging without letting my sadness and disappointment get in the way. The person that I love with all my heart exited my life last month in a very sudden, confusing and dramatic way. People keep asking me what happened and I don’t know how to answer. My recent posts, while I write them for my students, friends and coworkers to motivate and inspire them, have had hints of criticism and insult towards this person. The thing is, I work to write honestly and transparently. This person exiting my life was one the most devastating and important things that has ever happened to me. It has shaped who I am today and it will sting like a knife through my heart for a long time. I’m stuck because I feel it’s inappropriate for me to dish the details to the world. On the other hand, dishing my shit is what I do. So I’ve been conflicted.

There is so much that I don’t know or understand, but I will say this: the man that l loved and moved across the country for left my life one day. He left without explanation and never spoke to me again. I don’t know if he snapped, I don’t know where he went. His friends and family won’t give me any details. I have ideas, stories that I’ve made up as a way to reason some sanity into me, but I am unable to confirm them. My head and heart are f-u-c-k-e-d up. So that’s it, that’s all I know. For real.

This situation, this fucking mess of a situation forced me to rely on myself. I had to rely on myself to figure out what to do next. I had to figure out how to get back home and rebuild my life. I had to learn how to trust myself. Rather than learning how to, I actually fell into it fairly quickly, I was forced to. This notion that I can trust myself to figure things out has now become ingrained in me on a cellular level, I see how essential it is for cultivating success in this world. This is actually so much more than a notion or a belief, it’s something that is an absolute truth. All of us, we can trust ourselves and we have the power take care of ourselves; from there we can support others. Helping others is ultimately what it’s all about, it’s our dharma.

I begin teaching full-time next week. I will be commuting 100 miles round-trip from northern Colorado every day down to Denver, with a two-month plan to save up enough to get an apartment and furniture. Initially, this seemed incredibly daunting. I became overwhelmed with concerns about weather, gas costs and pretty much every obstacle I could think of. Reestablishing a self-sustained life in Denver will be one of the hardest, if not THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. After lots of time spent on the meditation cushion, I’ve realized that I am an incredibly strong and intelligent person when I am disciplined and choose to make good decisions.The only way that I will fail is if I stand in my own way and I am beyond tired of indulging in those habitual kinds of thoughts and behaviors.

As I continue to cultivate a deeper sense of trust in myself, I am noticing how I relate differently to work, relationships and money. I see how second guessing myself all the time gets in the way of clear thinking and seeing. As I gain greater focus and attention through meditation, I’m able to ignore habitual thoughts of self-doubt on the spot. It’s incredible really! It’s beyond empowering to live our lives while choosing to trust every decision we’ve made. And if it ends up being the wrong one, we can trust ourselves to work with that if it arises. We don’t live in a world that promotes self-trust, in fact, it is quite the opposite. It’s gross really, how corporations are turning us into zombie-like creatures who don’t have to think for themselves anymore. But you should think for yourself because only YOU know what’s best for YOU. When you synchronize mind and body in the same place through yoga, meditation, etc– you know EXACTLY what you’re doing and you can trust yourself. You’re on your A-game when mind and body are synchronized.

Creating more discipline in my life has been crucial in continuing to build this sturdy foundation of trust and confidence. I am working to renounce old behaviors that are my “go-to” when I don’t want to deal with reality. These are the behaviors that lead me to “stand in my own way”.  Do you know what I mean by “stand in my own way”? These are the behaviors that I overindulge in that stop me from being my best self and ultimately manifesting success. For me, these are: drinking, lounging on the couch watching stupid TV, stress-eating, sleeping late to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been a walk in the park working with being disciplined. My ego does not like being challenged in this way, it throws a fit every time I decide to do something else like: read, meditate, run, home practice, etc. But, BUT– when I end up being successful in choosing one of these ego-destructing activities, there is a lightness in knowing that I’m doing something that will benefit my future self. I sleep better at night when I know I’ve been productive in taking care of my future self; it happens from being present  Deep down, we know what’s best for us. It just takes a hell of a lot of willpower and internal work to make it happen.

Discipline is hard, but it’s the only way that we can set ourselves up for success, IT WON’T BE HANDED TO US. I struggle internally EVERY DAY with making good choices. Discipline can bring more purpose and meaning into our lives and will immeasurably strengthen our sense of self-trust. It feels really good to get my ducks in a row. Mentally and emotionally I feel so strong because I trust that I’m not going to let myself down and for once I’m proving it to myself. If things don’t go according to plan, I trust in my ability to work with whatever situation comes up.

I got a new car today. My grandmother passed a few months ago and an inheritance allowed for this to come to fruition. I am extremely lucky to have had a mode of transportation fall into my lap and it represents a fresh start for me. It’s a bit of an overwhelming responsbility, but I trust myself to take care of it. I trust myself to take care of my mind and my body in a way that will allow me to get up early every day and drive to Denver and show up at my best. I trust myself to be diligent with my money and save up to get an apartment and furniture. For the first time in my life, I trust myself to work hard in shaping the successful life that I know I’m capable of earning. Through my success, I will help to support others in their journey, and they can in turn help others and so on…

We can all be vehicles for change in this world by learning to trust in our inherent goodness and wisdom. Self-doubt and the behaviors that come along with it are too easy. Trust in yourself to create good karma for you and everyone that you come into contact with. I believe in us!

Namaste.

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