Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Today I choose...

With all the negativity and complaining in the news these days, and throughout the year, I am constantly reminded to stop listening to the news.

Yesterday I chose Brene Brown's book, Rising Strong. It is the part of the story where she recounts her realization that she was trying to transfer her feelings of shame to another person. That she was a person who wanted to willfully shame someone else to try to move away from her own discomfort.

That is what I see in the news cycle and through my social media feeds everyday. People trying to shame other people.

Each year I go back to Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning. I reread this book because it reminds me that in a world where so much hurt and suffering occurs, we each have the power to shape our own experience. 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." ~ Viktor Frankl.

Happiness doesn't happen when all the right circumstances show up in our lives. Happiness happens when we accept the way things are, even as we work to change them and change ourselves in the process.

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." ~ Viktor Frankl

An attitude of acceptance is the only way to heal conflict. Acceptance is the process of making peace with what we dislike, want to forget or the pain we feel. Making peace means we allow whatever is happening or has happened to exist. We do not try to change the past. We do not try to fill the pain with some other thing that we believe will enable us to not feel the pain anymore.

Peace is when we surrender. We allow the pain to be there. Yes, peace and pain can co-exist. Peace is the grace you feel when you watch someone you love suffering with cancer finally succumb to death. 

Peace is the stillness you feel as you accept the rain soaking through your clothes when you are caught in an unexpected shower.

Peace is the sadness, the grief you experience, accompanied by compassion as you watch someone you love in pain.

Peace is the quiet joy that opens your heart as you see into the eyes of a newborn.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Simplicity in Action

We long for the simplicity of our youth.
No bills, endless days of play.
But all of our lives happen in relationship...
relationship to others, to things.
My car, my wife or husband, my child.
Our relationships bring us pleasure and pain.
It is not the other that cause pleasure or pain.
Really it is our desires we long to fulfill with that person or thing that brings about the pain or joy.
We are the creator of our experience.
We each have the potential to choose our desires and let them go.
The seed of desire is even deeper still.
Have you considered the seeds lately? Why do I long for my beloved?
Why am I seeking a better job? A bigger home? Another trip?
Is it then a wise desire? One that leads me to greater expression or one that fulfills a longing for safety, for painless living?
Always choose growth, connection and your truth.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Breathe

Breath.... the link to this moment. And there is only ever this moment.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Camouflaging Pain With Productivity

This morning I awoke and remembered today is the day. Today I start a cleanse. 

Dread washed over me.

A number of years ago I attempted to do a cleanse. I lasted one full day and the next morning I awoke feeling like a truck had hit me. Oh God, this is going to suck!

Never-the-less, that was then this was now. I progressed through the morning routine. I swallowed my tablespoon of ghee, I had my lemon and water, I did my practice. I made my oatmeal, sitting and watching the fire on this chilly April morning and prepped the dal for kitchari. Checked that I had the necessary ingredients, making a list of what is missing. 


Yes, this cleanse involves food, however it involves a mono-diet. Meaning I will eat the same food for seven days. I will eat three times a day and I will not be overzealous in activity. Good thing I completed the painting and building last weekend. 

And this is why I am doing a cleanse. You may want explore whether you too have these tendencies.

1) I have a tendency to binge on productivity. Last weekend I binged on home projects. It started innocently enough with the idea of painting the green walls in my sons room and ended up with painting three of the walls in his room, building a loft that is 5 feet wide, by twelve feet long. Yes, by myself. And of course, the job isn't complete until the bed was moved up there along with the TV and game consoles. It did take four tries to get the mattress up there... but this fiery girl doesn't give up.... and that is why I need to cleanse. 

2) Fire is out of control, meaning, I easily move to road rage or anger towards my dogs for, well for being dogs and getting muddy or demanding about food. I feel the heat of anger when things are not going my way. In Ayurveda, this heat in the body is called Pitta. I naturally have more fire, or Pitta and now I have been adding heating foods to my diet and my lifestyle - like not stopping myself when I want to get a project finished.

3) I am always in a hurry. I race from one thing to the next with proud determination to do it all. And to do it perfectly, or at least better than others might.

4) I have been getting sores in my mouth for well over a year. They dissipate after a few days, but the sores or ulcers or hot flashes are actually a sign of too much heat in the body.

5) The big one for me was being told I have a hyperactive thyroid. Definitely a sign of too much heat in the body.

Two weeks ago I was chatting with a friend who knows a thing or two about eating disorders and she informed me that it is now believed this is linked to a gene. Predisposition to have an eating disorder and it never goes away. A light bulb moment. Now, in University, I was treated for having an eating disorder. I eventually saw the error of my ways and completed my therapy a healthy weight. I avoided diets and actually avoided thinking about food at all if I could help it. 

My lightbulb moment in our conversation was the realization that I just substituted food with other things. I thought of all my years of climbing full time and how the "food" at that time was my exercise, recording diligently all the attempts on all the routes, running on rest days. I scanned the pages of my old journals and there were recordings weekly of my skinfolds and percentage body fat.  

Eventually, running from the feelings and not choosing food, drugs, alcohol or climbing, I started training to be a Yoga teacher... yup, Yoga became my food. 

Yoga eventually led me to all those people who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, must be organic and people who understood Ayurveda and how to eat properly. Oh, God how I hated these people and their perfect diets. You see, for me, not paying attention to food AT ALL became my mode of operating. Yes, I ate, but I did not put effort or love into it. I only did that when cooking for company and I did not often have company. I had a child who loves Greek salad and some meat with it. Perfect for me. 

Yesterday, after months of being too uncomfortable with having a hyperactive thyroid, I sat in a room chatting with a lovely Ayurvedic doctor who confirmed that yes, I am pretty much all fire, and yes, my fire is running too hot. As she delved into all the changes in my life over the past two years, she finally concluded with, "Your heart has been broken, you have to love yourself. You have to feed yourself. You have to see food as the nurturance and love you give yourself. " 

As a fiery person with a proclivity to productivity and avoiding difficult emotions, I answer this with being overly productive, successful. I have been trying for the past 2 years to get stuff done. Her words yesterday were, "just surrender." 

Not the mantra of any Pitta I know. This week of cleansing and surrendering is really going to suck. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Finding Joy

In this amazing place, I found joy that is innate in my heart.
I found my soul.
I found love.
If you have the opportunity to find a place like this go there and be at peace.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More than Breathing

Yesterday I shared someone's article that indicated addiction is the result of a lack of connection. This article struck me profoundly. Last fall, my son left home to embark on a new adventure at boarding school. I was suddenly living alone. I had not lived alone since 198? A long time.
It was a long hard winter; in fact the worst in over 50 years.
I had reprieves... the Wednesday evenings I spent hours with the beautiful souls in teacher training and the long weekends we practiced and learned together. The colder the days, the more snow, the more I felt buried in self-pity. My eating habits digressed, I drank more wine and watched TV than I usually do and I stopped walking my dogs further than a fifteen minute jaunt. I became depressed and less and less connected to others and myself.
It was a negative cycle that was swirling toward addiction.
I am fortunate. I have a spiritual practice. Although my practice suffered, it never stopped. And I knew I needed to do something.
I reached out. I made a plan to see my teacher. I sat in the light of all those fabulous souls that believe in something beyond what we see and feel. I connected to great hearts and I my heart began to come alive again. I became re-inspired. I stopped TV. I stopped the eating. I started walking the dogs. I went climbing.
Although the fears and doubts remain, I feel more joy and possibility because of the love of those around me.
As you go out today, remember to love those around you. Remember they may be struggling with a darkness you cannot see. And if you are struggling, look for the bright souls that invite you to connect.