Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vulnerable

So when published the post on my infertility, I linked it to Facebook.  I don't always post my blog posts on Facebook, however there are some I want to mark.  I was at a training all day do by the time we broke for lunch at 2:00.  I didn't have a single like, and had one comment from Adam.  Adam had read most of the post before I published it, I wanted him to be okay with having that information out.

My ego reared up, and I started to feel regret and sad and lots of other negative emotions.  Once I found my center, and reminded myself that I published the post for a reason.  That the people it would touch may never tell me.  The ego didn't stop telling me a story, the negative feelings dissipated and I refocused on my training and friends.

When I started this work with Daoism, I thought my racing mind would stop. The ego would stop spinning stories, and I would no longer feel less than useful emotions.  Well so far I have discovered that my racing mind has slowed down, however when I am stressed or tired or leaving the present moment.  That racing, the negative talk, can still pop up.  Which is why I practice all the time, so that when game day arrives I don't stay lost.

When I woke up the next day, I got a message from a friend and an E-mail from a stranger.  Those two pieces of communication were beautiful, and I was so grateful that people chose to reach out to me.  To share themselves with me, that is what communication is about.  It is about sharing ourselves, letting other people know they are not alone.  We are never alone.

Question to consider: How many times has someone made a difference in your life and you haven't gotten a chance to let them know?   Can you apply that number to yourself and realize how many lives you have touched without even knowing?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Belated Sterling Sunday

Adam and were fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Oregon celebrating the marriage of two of out dear friends.   It was a beautiful wedding!  I truly missed our little puppy though, I was so happy and excited to pick him up first thing in the morning!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Looking back at a Story

Last week was a very busy week for me.  I watched and supported friends as life took them on some dramatic rollarcoaster rides.  When I got tired or worn out, I asked myself a lot.  "Why is so much going on with those that I love?"   I left the present moment because I was tired and started looking for encouragement, support for myself and a chance to rest.

In the moments that I was by myself and looking for encouragement I ended up writing.  Some of the material I wrote is appropriate for the blog and some of it is just for me.  I continued thinking about my journey with this blog and started wondering if I was ready to be honest and open about why I write this blog, why I started it, and how the universe really does give you want you ask for.

So here goes, here is a story.   I started this blog soon after Adam and I got a negative pregnancy test after our first round of IVF.  I was in Dallas visiting Ashley and my Godson who had just been born.  She began talking about how she wanted to take a photo of her children everyday for the next year.  That planted a seed in my head.  That visit was a huge mixture of grief and joy, and I sometimes I was confused about which emotion I was even feeling.  Grief and joy are not so far apart, much like fear and excitement or pain and pleasure.  

That time in my life I was completely lost, I was working at an unfulfilling job, I didn't have a hobby I was passionate about and Adam and I were devoting a lot of our energy to gambling that IVF would work for us.  (Gambling is just one of the words that comes to mind during that time, I would also include bargaining, desperation, confusion, and hope.)  Adam really worked hard to get me to shift my focus, he would inquire all the time "just tell me one thing that made you happy today, that made you smile."   I usually didn't have an answer, however I was sending him photos during the day of my time with Sterling, or a meal I cooked, or something else that brought me to the present moment.  I began to realize that sending Adam those photos was a way for me to show him my happy moments, in a way that I didn't have the language for yet.   So I decided to start a blog, to post a photo a day of whatever made me smile.  (I limited Sterling to Sundays, it was too easy to focus on him.)

I decided a blog would keep me motivated and honest.  I told Adam no matter what happened, I wanted 365 photos from the year that I could look back at and say "look at all those happy moments!" All those little moments began to change my heart, by changing my focus.  I began looking for the things that made me smile, that made me happy.   Even on my heart breaking days, even on the days that I didn't want to get out of bed and face myself, I had a goal: to find something that made me smile.

Adam and I had wanted a child for years, now when I look back at those conversations I notice a theme.   We wanted to grow, to contribute, to nourish new life, and to help someone bloom.    God did answer our prayers, the life we breathed into the world was our own lives.  We were so focused on what it "should" look like we were missing our amazing lives and ignoring all of our blessings.  

I now KNOW, I have experienced how doing something very small consistently can change your life.  Just looking for the moments that made me smile, enabled me to see all the doors that were opening instead of focusing on the one that had closed.  It was not a smooth or easy journey, and I am still practicing every day, every hour, every minute, every breath.  The good news is that as long as I continue to take breaths, I continue to get the opportunity to practice and change my focus.  

When Adam and I were going through fertility treatments, he found this DVD.  He was going to give it to me on a day that I needed a little encouragement.  The funny thing is we recently found it as we were cleaning out his car.  He had forgotten about it, because I was creating my own encouragement. He no longer spent all his time worrying about me and how to distract me. By creating my own encouragement I also gave him the opportunity to use that energy in a different way.  Because Adam is so amazing he was able to shift that energy to growing himself, instead of attaching to his "hero" role in my life.     


Question to consider:  What will you focus on with your next breath?  the next one?  the next one?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sterling Sunday

This morning I woke up and was really overcome with gratitude.  This past week involved a lot of running around and taking care of people.  There were many moments where I didn't know if I had the energy, or the clarity to continue opening myself up.  This morning I realized that in all of those moments the universe provided me with encouragement or something that I needed.  Whether it was a suprise hug from a friend, or remembering that I had a protein bar stashed in my car, or Adam providing me with a meal, or a friend taking care of travel arrangements for an upcoming trip, or getting an extra moment to find my breath and returning to center.   I am so grateful for all those little things I noticed and for all those little moments that I was taken care of.  It really is a pleasure to serve others and to recieve care from others.  

 Question to consider: What were your first thoughts when you woke up this morning?




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy birthday, my love!

Wow!  Sometimes it seems like yesterday we were celebrating our 18th birthdays and sometimes it feels like so long ago that I don't remember what we did to celebrate then.  (Seriously how did we celebrate those early birthdays?)

I am drawing a blank of what to write, how to show my appreciation for even just this last year.  Last year we celebrated your birthday weekend, with lots of yoga, dinners, and we went to see Wicked.  If I remember correctly it was the only weekend that month that we allowed ourselves to slow down.  

This year is completely different...

It is wonderful to see how much you have changed and grown in the past year.  You have almost completed yoga teacher training, that hasn't stopped you from teaching and continuing to look for more oppportunities to practice your craft.  You have traveled around the world for business, giving presentations and helping train others.  You have grown as my husband and I believe our relationship is the strongest, and most honest it has ever been.  You continue to support my wild and crazy ideas, and don't hesitate when I ask if I can go to the other side of the world for extended perions of time to teach Science.  (Basically you get me!)  You killed it during our obstacle mud run, I am excited to hear about your next race.   

I wrote this on a recent plane trip, as I watched you sleep.  Here is the part that I am willing to share with the world. 

When Adam looks at me time can stop, as I watch him sleep I know there is not another connection like this in the entire universe.  So much had to happen to create this moment, this experience.  

I don't know if this is all a dream, that question doesn't matter right now.  I know that I have never loved Adam as much as I do in this moment, when everything is still.  

I love you Adam!

Question to consider: What will you create this year?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fear or love

A number of weeks ago I posted a link to a graduation speech that Jim Carrey gave.  I have listened to this speech many times since I discovered it.  I listen to it a lot while I am driving.   At one point in that speech he reminds me that I only have this moment, I have the opportunity in each and every moment to choose who I want to be.  I have the opportunity to make a decision either motivated by love or by fear.

This is really powerful for me, this is why it is so important to live in the moment, to be present.  When I am truly present, when I am still, when I am clear I see in all directions.  I can decide who I want to be, I can decide how I want to be, and I can choose love.  Seeing in all directions has nothing to do with predicting the future, it has to do with seeing my potential, seeing each action I can take and who is taking that action.

I have people in my life that I do not enjoy spending time with.  I tend to use very negative language to describe them, to describe the environment and to describe myself when I interact with them.   It was recently pointed out to me that the only thing in those situations I have any control over is myself.  The reality is I do not like myself in those situations.  The practice is now to be here and now in those situations and notice who/what I am.   If I am unable to change my feelings about a situation, it is time to change my behavior.  It is only possible to change behavior if I am present, still and able to see in all directions.

Question to consider: What is your approach when spending time with people you may or may not get along with?




Monday, July 14, 2014

Sterling Sunday

Potty Training

So my Daoist teacher really likes to answer questions with another question, a common question I ask is " How do I know?"  His repsonse is usually "How do you know when you have to pee?"  I would hope one day I would learn to stop asking the same question, I am pretty thickheaded sometimes.

I recently took this metaphor to a different level.  Knowing that you have to pee is about body wisdom, I don't remember potty training, learning to walk, learning to crawl.   I have no idea how "difficult" those skills might have been to acquire, I take for granted that I know.  

The interesting thing, is no one every judges the fact that they have to go to the bathroom.  There is no story associated with it, no emotions.  Everyone just handles the situation as it comes up and moves on with their life.  

What would it be like to do that with emotions?  To simply feel the emotion and let it go.  To stop questioning, "why am I sad?"  To stop making up a story about every single emotion that comes up, to stop seeking for a deeper meaning.  To realize it is just an emotion, and it has nothing to do with who or what you are?

As someone who has struggled a lot with anxiety and sadness.  I know how fast emotions can start spinning out of control, how fast the thoughts start spinning, how quickly it is to lose control all because I focus on an emotion and start making up a story about it, start judging the emotion, myself and my life.   

Maybe emotions just bring the flavor or the color to our lives.  Biologically speaking an emotion will pass in 90 seconds, unless something causes the brain to continue releasing that particular cocktail of neuro transmitters.  Humans hit the reset button on those emotions, we use them for all kinds of purposes.  However sometimes the emotion is not useful.  I know when an emotion is not useful when I am stuck, emotion creates motion.  It can be the energy that drives us.  

Just as a side note, why all the judgement and advice about how someone should be feeling?  Give them some space, if that is what they need and allow them to let it go.   No one wants or needs judgement when they are hurting or struggling.  

Question to consider:  How do you know you have to pee?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Capabilities

I have been observing how interesting this week is.  I have gotten several requests for "help" from people.  As I begin to understand healing and theraputics I also have to learn about my capabilities.  

The first request, was a subtle one.  A friend of mine was having some pain associated with inflamation.  I have experience with this type of inflammation and pain, I used Qigong to help the issue and heal my body.  So I offered to teach it to her.  This was stepping outside of my comfort zone, and I had some fears.  (What if it didn't help her?)  So while I prepare to teach someone this qigong and look at those fears about me not being enough.  I felt like I needed just one more tool, one more thing to show her.  The universe provides!  Last night in yoga we had a guest teacher that shared a new qigong, that I know can help as well.   I am excited to show my friend what I know and also to explore a new qigong together if that is what speaks to her.  

The second request was from one of my teachers.  He wanted me to substitute a class for him.  It was very difficult for me to say no.  I am not capable of teaching yoga to a large group yet, my home practice is not strong enough.  I still was feeling regret that I wasn't able to help him.  Adam's grandfather has pearls of wisdom and the one that kept coming into my mind was "sometimes you are the only one equipped to help someone, be honored that you were ask and help them."  The more I thought about that idea, the more I realized I was missing a crucial point.  In order to help someone I have to be properly equipped.  If the skills or knowledge or comptence are not there, I am not able to truly help someone.  It is important to be aware of where I am before I run myself ragged helping people.  

The third request was out of the blue from an acquaintance, he asked if I did acupunture.  I responded that I am currently learning about energy work.  So he asked if I could help him with an issue clearing up some congestion issues he has been having.  I responded that I would do some research and see what I may be able to help him with.  Again out of my comfort zone, to talk about energetic healing and also to respond that maybe I can help.  

I am told that the magic happens when you step outside of your comfort zone.  I am told that these are the tiny moments that lead to growth and big breakthroughs.  I do know that when I put out an intention and let it go, the universe (the Dao) provides.  I have asked to become competent as a healer and part of that is going to get bumps and bruises, part of that will be turning down opportunities, and part is going to be to continue going.  I am excited to continue this roller coaster ride and see the highs, the lows, the twists and turns.  

Question to consider: Do you see the opportunities for growth that are around you each and every day?  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Date night

Monday night I decided to take a break from everything!  I had a date night with myself, I got exactly what I wanted to eat, had a glass or two of wine, cuddled with Sterling, watched Mad Men, took a bath and wrote for a while.  I have been asking Adam for a date night for a while, we tend to be so busy with yoga, meditation and Daoist studies that we don't get an official date night.  So I took myself out for a date.  It was marvelous.

(I still would like a date night with Adam though, hint hint!)

It is important to really take some time for yourself once in a while, to unplug from all responsiblities and to take care of yourself.  I have been been feeling very overwhelmed with a lot lately, so it was nice to unplug and just take care of myself.  

Question to consider: When is the last time you took yourself out on a "date"?

Number 31

My birthday was very unique.  A friend and I had made some great plans to have a girls' night with her sister who was flying in from New York.  However there were a bunch of storms and flights were delayed and finally cancelled.  So birthday plans were changed.  

My friend really wanted to go create something, and so we decided to paint some ceramics and I got one last thing crossed off my list.  

It was just one of those days were nothing went right and at the same time everything went right.  I got to wake up with the man I adore, I got to see and hear from people that are dear to my heart, I had the pleasure of staying with my friend while she hurt for her sister, and finally I got to drive home and crawl back into bed with the man of my dreams.  

I am so grateful for the friends and family that reached out to me to make my birthday extra special!  I am honored to have you all in my life to watch both my triumphs and my falls!

Question to consider: What would be your ideal way to spend your birthday?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Birthday!

"Sometimes we set out to do something, like write a novel, and we fail at writing that particular novel. But in the process of failing at that novel, we can actually succeed at writing another."  - Wil Wheaton


I really want to discuss is how epic this year was.

I traveled to six different countries!  Some of these trips were not even on my radar when I wrote my list, I am still heading to China soon and going back to Nepal before 2014 is over.

I started yoga teacher training in an effort to learn about yoga therapeutics and how to help heal others.  I started my Reiki training, and have done some healing sessions for friends.  I taught Qigong, and am looking forward to teaching more forms when I return to Nepal.

I cultivated some amazing new friendships and I am continued to be amazed and impressed with all of my friends talents.

I started creative writing again, I found a new voice, or maybe it is the voice I always had.

I started working at the advocacy center and with a local hospice.  

I ran two mud runs, complete with 22 obstacles. 

Last year on my birthday, I was very excited to see what the next year would hold. It was the first birthday in a long time that I was grateful for.  It is true, once you CHANGE YOUR FOCUS to gratitude you begin to be grateful for everything that happens.  In this last year I have really experienced how life happens for me, and it doesn't happen to me. 


19. Make a watermelon cake
20. Crayon art project with Adam

Bonus tasks or ideas for substitutions (Life happens)
Harry Potter Marathon  
Reread all the Harry potter books
Upgrade seats on a plane 

Question to consider:  How often do you feel like you are enough, no matter how many things are crossed of your to do list?  The reality is that everyone in every moment is enough, otherwise they wouldn't be here. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Number 9


Number 9 was to sell a piece of art that I made.  There were several times this year were it looked like a possibility that someone might pay me for my work.  Things change. 

However one of my friends, saw one of the pieces of art I made recently and asked me to make her a piece.  I made her this piece, it is my favorite piece that I have made so far.

Sometimes after a piece is finished and I take a couple steps back, I notice all the things  I learned making the piece, sometimes I do a giddy little dance and sometimes I see how perfect it is.   When I took the last letter off of this painting and revealed the entire word, I felt a shift in energy, a completeness that I have not felt with a painting before.  

I am so excited to gift her this piece as a thank you for everything she has taught me and continues to teach me.

Question to consider:  What is a single word that speaks to you?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Numbers 16, 17, 26, 27, 29, 30, 33

Yeah, birthday month!  As I look at a couple of items on my list I realize that I have completed the items in a different way that I originally intended and some of them are not terribly photo worthy.  So here is my discussion of those items.

16. Do a yoga photo shoot
Adam pointed out to me that I accomplished this during the weekend, as I shot photos of a friend's back bending  workshop.   When I originally wrote this list, I had envisioned Adam and I doing a yoga shoot with a friend to promote Adam's teaching and possibly to build his private clients.  Adam did do a promotional shoot for his yoga studio, and it looks like he is starting to get some private clients.  It is funny how you put an intention out into the universe and doesn't look the way you expected, the parts are all still there!

17. Have a family picture taken
Again, I had thought about having a professional session with a photographer with Adam, Sterling and I.  We had done this a couple of years ago and it was so fun, I just never found a groupon or photographer I really liked.  It you look at my blog this past year there are many photos of the three of us.  Adam and I have also taken the most sincere photographs in this past year than we have in a long time.  I think our photos now, capture our spirits.  So much better than a posed, stiff, family portrait.   


26. Meet new saving goals 
Not really worth a photo, Adam and I hit our savings and investment goals for the year, even with all of the travel.  I intend to reevaluate our budget again and see what we want to invest in (ourselves) and what we are investing in that does not serve us.

27. Fill up my sketchbook
I didn't exactly fill up my sketchbook, it is about 3/4 of the way filled.  I have filled up and completed two journals this year.  My intention was to build my creativity, and writing for me is just as creative as sketching, drawing, painting ect.  

29. Watch a firework show
We did make an honest effort to see the fireworks show when we were in Portland, last year.  Daniel and I did see a couple.  We are celebrating the 4th in Dallas this year, and we may be able to see the fireworks from Ashley's backyard.  I did watch a fireworks show put on by Mother Nature.  One night in Nepal, we ran up to the roof, because the sky was so clear that mountains were lit up in the dark.  As we took in the view, this clear, still night was exclaimed with a single shooting star.  It was a perfect moment.  I have a photo on my phone of that black, dark night just to remember how still and clear everything was in that moment.

30. Take a tea tasting class
When Adam's parents were in town we finally made it to Path of Tea.  We didn't have time for a formal "class."  We still got an education, about different teas.  It is funny I remember taking a photo, and even drafting a post.  Maybe it got lost or maybe I didn't ever write it.
33.  Lord of the Rings extended version marathon
Fellowship is one of my favorite movies to watch while I am sick, or feeling in need of some calm.  So honestly that is the one of the trilogy that speaks to my soul. It is the important one.

Question to consider: Do you notice when your intention is fulfilled even when the end result doesn't look the way you originally envisioned?