"Difficulties come when you don't pay attention to life's whispers. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you'll get a scream." - Oprah Winfrey
Simply going through the motions is not enough. A yoga class will not do the trick if you are constantly judging yourself in the mirror. Handing out great advice to others will not be enough if you are speaking to yourself in an entirely different tone. There are times when you can convince yourself that you are doing all of the right things because on the surface you are, but surface level is just that. It's what is going on in the deep that matters.
This week I have been going through the motions and forgot one of my biggest rules - listen to your body! My back was tender...I went a little slower at yoga. My back tightened up...I thought, "maybe it's more yoga that I need." My back really started hurting...I started modifying my yoga postures again. And then came the scream, after I had ignored every whisper. It took a doctor telling me that I needed to step away from yoga for me to listen.
I felt lost. I depend on yoga and the people in those classes. The idea of stepping away, even for a short time, makes me anxious and, quite frankly, sad. So I sat down this morning to regroup (which is what journaling does for me) and this is what I have decided: my body, and my heart, need me to learn how to do this on my own. This is not to say that I won't go running back to yoga and my friends on that mat as fast as I can, but it is to say that I will take this time to be still, to listen and to learn.
The path to recovery cannot be dependent upon one tool. It requires an entire toolbox full of options. Yoga and my friends there are my go-to tools, but I need to have other options when they are not available.
My auto-pilot mode, which I have mentioned before, wants me to take the time and fill it with to-do lists so at least I feel productive. For me, busyness breeds madness. When coupled with exhaustion, chaos ensues. So today I will rest. I will honor my body as the temple it is. I hope you will listen to your body today and give it exactly what it needs.
"Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." - Eckhart Tolle
"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl
This week I was reminded of what it’s like to really feel magic...to believe completely that dreams can come true...that surprises await you around every corner. I took a family vacation to Disney World and remembered the feeling of being a child with a sense of awe...of wonder. My breath was taken away. My heart skipped a beat. I giggled, really giggled. I had pixie dust sprinkled in my hair as the words of Peter Pan were repeated...”all you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!”
I joked at yoga this morning, warning my friends that I had been sprinkled with pixie dust and might just levitate today. We laughed and class began. It had been over a week since my last class and this one was particularly hard. I was trying so hard to focus on getting out of my mind and into my body, but it was taking more energy than I had to give. And then the music changed.
Music has always affected me on a deep level. It can bring a memory rushing back or change my mood in an instant. To me, music is magic. How else can you describe something that can transform you so completely? That can take you traveling through time? That can send your dreams soaring? This morning, Katy Perry’s Dark Horse suddenly gave me something to focus on and just the burst of energy I needed. I stopped thinking. I was listening to the rhythm and the lyrics and singing along when, all of a sudden, I did it...CROW! I had been trying to do this elusive pose for months and there it was...a surprise awaiting me around the corner. I called out to my teacher and fell out of the pose just as she turned to me. I burst into tears. They were tears of pride and joy and accomplishment. They were proof that even when my mind is telling me one thing, my body can tell me another. My body can speak the truth of my soul...that I am strong and powerful and determined and unstoppable. That I am magic.
I started to wonder why I had been so drawn to this pose and so determined to do it, so I did a little research and was very intrigued by what I found. Sandy Krzyzanowski of Better Day Yoga says this about the possible spiritual aspects of crow pose: “Just as with breathwork where you extend the exhalation and dwell in the space between the breaths, use crow pose to dwell in the space where balance is found. This pulls your concentration inward where there is no past or future, only the present.” She continues to explain that the “crow reminds us to sing our own song with no thought toward needing the approval of others. It is not by our doing that we are deemed ‘acceptable’. We are already acceptable by our very nature. We are all songbirds—each and every one—regardless. Accept that you are magical. Accept that you are here to create.”
I don’t have to wonder anymore. Apparently, crow pose and I were meant to be! The thought of this pose representing the magical songbird in each of us spoke to my heart and made me feel like flying.
Incidentally, the intention I pulled from the jar this morning said, “Let your light shine.” I almost rolled my eyes at this, thinking how it didn’t relate to me at all. Ok, Universe, I get the message loud and clear! My heart sang today because a bit of it was able to shine through. My light is shining bright and if that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
‘Cause I, I’m capable of anything, of anything and everything. - Katy Perry
"The fire ignited within you is stronger than the one in your fireplace." - sweet words this morning after sharing my pics ❤️
There comes a time in every woman's life when she accepts full responsibility for herself. Some are luckier than others and come to this place early in life. I was almost 40. I spent so much of my life waiting - waiting for the next diet, the next workout, the next brilliant mind who would crack the code on how to solve all of my problems. I waited for swimsuit season (because surely that would scare me into getting my act together). I waited for the New Year. There was an awful lot of waiting...
Something about turning 40 made me say enough is enough and I finally found the truth in my favorite quote from Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz: "You had the power all along, my dear." Somewhere deep within me a small flicker of a flame began to burn. With every act of bravery, every act of kindness toward myself, the flame grows a little brighter. There are days the winds blow so hard that I fear it will be extinguished, but the strength that flame has given me could not be blown out with even the mightiest gust. This morning, after being stuck in the house for two days due to winter weather (ironically, high winds!), I caught myself saying "just wait until the weather is better and then get back on your mat." This girl no longer waits. I stopped in my tracks, went upstairs to change, and grabbed my mat. I had my own little hot yoga class in front on the fire and it was wonderful. A simple 25 minutes of gentle yoga shifted my entire outlook. It calmed me - mind, body and soul. The other amazing thing about self-care is how it multiplies! I went from yoga to photography to a hot bath and a healthy lunch. Then I picked up a pen and started writing with the sun streaming in through my kitchen window on a beautiful, cold winter day - a day that I was frowning upon this morning.
So, stop. Take a breath. Listen. Ask yourself what it is that you need right now. The answer will be different for each of us, but whatever it is that your heart of hearts is asking for will surely fan your flame.
I have learned a lot in 2013. I have learned to let go of insecurities and perfectionism and judgement. I have learned that I am stronger than I think. I have learned that the quieter you become, the more you can hear. I have learned to be kind to myself and face my fears. Above all, I have learned to love me - every little part of me!
I will admit that some days are better than others. But today is the first New Year's Eve in almost all of my life that I am not planning which diet I will be starting tomorrow. Instead, I am planning what I will do every day to take care of myself and nourish my mind, body and soul. And I am planning how to spread the word that we should all spend more time loving ourselves than hating ourselves. We should take today to have a grateful heart for all that happened in 2013. We should take a deep breath and count our blessings and realize that we are ENOUGH. There is no need to change ourselves, only to care for ourselves. So as the media goes crazy telling us how we should do anything and everything to look like the photoshopped models in the magazines that don't even recognize themselves after all the touch ups, look in the mirror and smile. Because you are beautiful!
I am so happy today to officially announce oh, how she blooms! My hope is that it will be an avenue for me to share what I have learned so far on my journey toward recovery from binge eating disorder. Welcome!
Today’s yoga class was called “Open Your Heart.” Several months ago, it was a heart opening class that left me in tears. I was scared to go, yet determined to go. I had my eyes on the tissue box and was prepared to weep, but the most amazing thing happened. I didn’t cry. I felt pure joy! As I practiced these heart opening poses, I felt myself become happier and happier and it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t need to cry anymore. Perhaps I really am ready to move forward. The synchronicity of the lessons in my yoga classes and the lessons on my journey through recovery have been nothing less than astonishing. When I say I love yoga, it is a deep, true love kind of love. Opening my heart only served to make me love it even more.