Monday, September 29, 2014

Look what found me!

So the other day, I went to grab something out of the back seat and look what I found!   This little guy climbed into my car from outside while I was unloading groceries and stuff.  He had a collar, so Sterling had some company for the afternoon, before this little guy's parents could pick him up.  (Adam got a cute photo of them sleeping next to each other on the couch.)

It is funny how a very normal, and ordinary task can get quickly change into something different.  When I found him, I didn't know what to do, he didn't want to leave the back seat.  Add to that equation, that I was extremely tired and hungry and I handed this little guy the remote and started to feel and act anxious.

I ended up calling Adam a little paniced and confused Adam.  I was not communicating how the dog wound up in the car, only that there was a dog in my car that didn't want to move.  Since I was tense I decided the dog was tense, and thought it might bite me.   Adam came home from running errands, climbed in the back seat and easily picked up and started cuddling the little pup. 

This was a lesson for me about how important it is to control one's state.  It is fine to feel anxious and stressed, I can chose to act another way.  The feelings are going to come and go, I do not need to hand the remote to my feelings in my life.  We remember the actions people take, we have no idea what they were thinking and feeling, actions are what matter.

Question to consider: How do you push the "reset" button when you start to feel stressed out?  How do your actions change after you press the reset button?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Preparation

I am leaving again, in some ways it feels like I just got back from China.  In other ways it feels like it has been so long because I have been doing so much to get ready for the next trip.  I am going to Nepal again, for a month this time.  I will be teaching at the same monastery as last time and also teaching yoga, qigong and meditation workshops in a nearby town.

After I got a rough outline of my workshop, I felt overwhelmed with everything I get to do.  I immedately began thinking about what I can control, what would give me some certainty and stability.  So I started cooking Adam some freezer meals.   I decided that I will have plenty of travel time to read extra material and brainstorm some more.  So I can use that time to refine my workshop, but I won't be able to use that time to get the house in order in an effort to make Adam's life a little smoother while I am gone.

Adam is magnificent.  He is willing to juggle everything while I leave to go adventuring.   He is happy to help me in any way that he can.  It is significant to me that he will support me in these adventures, he is my biggest cheerleader.  I love him!   

I feel all this nervous energy and so I simply am using that to cook, clean the house and handle as much as I can think of.  I feel nervous about teaching these workshops, about traveling and simply being away.  I also feel excited to see what happens, to learn from my students and to return to a place that has a piece of my heart.  Emotions are so complicated.

Question to consider:  What do you do when you have nervous/excitement energy?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sun dog

I LOVE mornings, like OMG I love watching the sunrise, the color changes as dawn approaches and all the pinks and purples in the sky.   I was running around the house one morning, getting ready to leave and I noticed this beautiful pink color reflecting off our beige blinds.  So I peeked outside and noticed the sky and the fragment of the rainbow.  (My dad told me these were called "sun dogs" growing up, it doesn't seem to be a universal term.)

I started asking people if they knew what a sun dog was and most people told me to google it.  Which I did, and sun dog is actually a little different, if you want to know type the phrase into google.   I started thinking about language.  How imprecise it is, and now when I talk I find myself wondering even if we are speaking English are we speaking the same language?

I ask Adam all the time, what words mean.  He has a much better vocabulary than I do, and some of the time my idea is completely wrong.  Lately I have been wondering if Adam knows either.  When I look up a word in the dictionary, there is a number of words that define it. Even then all those words have a different meaning for me than they do for you.  It is a wonder that we do figure out how to communicate with all these personal meanings for words running around.

Question to consider:  What do you call little fragments of rainbows?

Enough

I have recently been exploring the idea of what it means to be enough.  Specifically what that means to me, what it looks like, how it feels and accepting that I am enough.  I have been preparing myself to teach workshops in Nepal, and I find myself lost in a lot of stories from time to time.  Stories about how I am still new to this path, how I don't have enough experience to teach anyone else......blah blah, the monkey continues.

I hear one of my teachers voices a lot "a teacher is simply one day ahead of his students."   I think about that statement a lot, I think about the fact that I have no idea of who my students will be.  I realize that it is time to practice trust.  To trust that the students who walk into that space are there for a reason.  They are there to create the class, the workshops will not exist without them.  I will be there to serve them, and the space.

This morning when I woke up, I thought about this story I heard years ago about "enough."  So I consulted google, and was able to find it.  I want to share it, because right now it encompasses how I feel.

"I wish you enough!"© 2001
Originally included in "Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul"
and now featured in a collection of Bob's stories
based on the eight wishes.
"I Wish You Enough: Embracing Life's Most Valuable Moments...One Wish at a Time" (Hardcover)
Thomas Nelson Publishers
By Bob Perks

I never really thought that I'd spend as much time in airports as I do. I don't know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I'm not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports.
I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to "hello" and "goodbye." I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you.
I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye.
Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day.
On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, "How are you today?" I replied, "I am missing my wife already and I haven't even said goodbye."
She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, "How long will you...Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!" We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye.
But I learn from goodbye moments, too.
Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."
They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.
So I knew what this man experiencing.
"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked.
"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said.
"When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"
He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more."When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he
were reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

He then began to sob and walked away.
My friends, I wish you enough!
by
Bob Perks



Question to consider: What does "enough" mean to you?  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kitten in Chaps

This is story melted my heart today.  One of my friends who works at a ranch posted this story about a kitten some of hte cowboys found in a stable.  Its back legs no longer work, so they made the kitten a pair of leather chaps to ensure it won't rub off its skin.   They are going to build it a little cart, until then the kitten is playing and moving.

It is amazing what people can put their creative energy into.  I feel happy that these cowboys embraced the kitten and focused on how to serve the kitten instead of taking it somewhere.

Question to consider: What did you hear that melted your heart today?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ham sandwiches

My mom sent me this photo this morning, of these two stools that were in my Grandparent's house until it was sold after they passed away.  I spent many afternoons, mornings and evenings sitting on these stools.  I remember when I was finally "big" enough to climb up on them and allowed to sit at the counter.  Listening to the radio with my Grandma and watching her move around the kitchen.

My Grandmother was an amazing cook, she also made the best ham sandwiches in the world.  I remember working to replicate them over and over as a kid.  Same bread, same ham, same everything and it never tasted the same.  I was focused on recreating something that was special and unique.  Every moment, every person is special and unique, it cannot be recreated.  

The secret to the best ham sandwiches in the world is the state I was in when I consumed them.  I was grateful, loved, safe and calm.  Those are a few words that I associate with being in my grandparents' house, surrounded by family and usually eating (I am part Italian).   

Today after class after getting the photo from my mom I began thinking about my parents.  I thought about how my mom makes the best chocolate cake, salads and the best tuna fish sandwiches.  My Dad makes the best breakfast burritos and salmon.  Do they taste the same every time?  Of course not, when someone makes a meal they are creating something not recreating something from the past.  However those particular meals do provide an environment in which I create state of enjoyment, of being present.  

So I could focus on the loss I feel never being able to have those ham sandwiches again.  I want to practice that calm and still state, so I focus on the gift my grandmother gave me.  I use those memories as fuel, to change my physiology, language and focus.  

Do I miss my grandparents?  Of course, but why focus on that.  Why focus on the loss?  There are so many great memories and experiences that I could focus on instead.  I can use those memories and emotions as vehicles to put me in a useful state so that I am better able to help people, write, take care of Sterling anything I want to do.    

It is actually pretty simple, shift focus to what you want!  

Question to consider: What do you want?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's get the party started

So this past weekend, Adam and I went with a large group of friends to sing karaoke.  (For the people that know us, this may be very humorous.)   This is one of the photos of the night as Adam seeks some known ground and gets to work organizing and ordering people's songs.   This photo, like so many photos was taken in the middle of the story.

There is not a photo of Adam and I encouraging everyone to sing, and simply picking a song to sing together.   There is not a photo of everyone's shocked faced as Adam and I sang the Kingston Trio's MTA.   (No one was familiar with the song, and did know what to make of it.)   There is not a photo of Adam picking out a surprise song for us to sing from our high school days.  (I am sure my face was priceless, and only for Adam in that moment.)

We learned our friends are amazing singers, and a lot of us have a great love for very similar songs.  We were in a small private room and very often everyone was just singing along.   

So how does this apply to healing?   

Part of healing, part of having vitality in one's life is to play, is to laugh, to do new things even if they are awkward and uncomfortable.   

Question to consider:  Do you find time to play everyday?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Creation versus recreation

I was having a dinner with a friend this past weekend and she said something that I haven't been able to stop think about.  When something comes up that I am unable to stop thinking about, it usually ends up as a blog post or draft.  (I have a lot of drafts, that haven't quite matured yet.)

She said "I miss something that doesn't exist anymore."  The context of the comment doesn't matter, because it is that statement that got me thinking about my desire to recreate emotions, places and people in my life that don't exist anymore.

It is impossible for me to recreate the feeling I had in Calgary when Adam and I made it to the top of the trail in December.  It is impossible for me to recreate the feeling I had when Adam and I exchanged our vows.  It is impossible for me to recreate the amazing moments in my life, and it is impossible to recreate the difficult moment in my life.   However it is possible for me to create a sense of triumph, a sense of vulnerability and love.   It is possible to create those feelings again and again.  It is possible to live right now and search for those feelings in the moment.  

I have focused on recreating feelings or places that no longer exist, instead of allowing things to be as they are.   This doesn't diminish the past, in fact for me I almost value those clear moments even more.  To know that I will never feel exactly the same way again, is marvelous and exciting.  Places and people change, sometimes they change a lot.   In those moments when I notice that change, when I feel the loss, it is possible for me to chose and acknowledge the abundance of the experiences before me instead of focusing on something that doesn't exist anymore.   It is possible to create a new experience!

Each and every moment of my life is a unique gift, that I can only unwrap if I am actually creating the moment, instead of recreating something that no longer exists.

Question to consider:  Do you tend to focus more on creating new experiences or recreating old ones?





Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sterling Sunday

This little guy has been keeping me company on the couch all day while I work.   I love hearing his dream barks!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Two whole weeks

Adam and I spent two weeks in China without any electronics except our camera.  We didn't take our phones, the ipad, ipod or even the kindle.  Basically we spent the entire two weeks focused on our experience, without knowing what was happening at home.  The first couple of days I felt a little isloated and missed being able to chat with my parents and friends.  After that a sense of relief set in, there were not E-mails constantly coming in, I got to practice trust that everyone I loved was happy and safe, I wasn't going to be much use if something happened back home anyway.  

The night our plane landed in Houston, both Adam and I talked about how much we were dreading turning our phones back on.  The silence was very nice.   So we quickly called our parents, and messaged a few friends and turned the phones back off.   (The hundreds of E-mails would wait a little bit longer.)

We live in a world where we expect instant communication all the time, there are so many distractions. I know that when I send a message to a friend, I start to worry if I don't hear from them in a relatively short amount of time.   I have to say it is nice to turn off the phone when I go to sleep, and sometimes it is a relief to be on a plane and know for a short amount of time there are no distractions.   

I am not ready to give up my electronics, because I do love connecting with the people I love.  I am working to be mindful of how I communicate and who I communicate with though.  As I get ready to return to Nepal, I find myself wondering if I will tolerate the isolation better.  If the times when I don't have wifi, the times that conversations with Adam get randomly cut off, in those times if I will be able to breathe, smile and go play.  

Question to consider: Have you taken an extended break from your electronics?  What was your experience?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grace

I was reading a Facebook about a "power question" that Tony Robbins posted this morning.  "What am I grateful for in my life right now? What about that makes me feel grateful? How does that make me feel?"

Those couple of questions really got me thinking this morning.  I often find myself thinking about what I am grateful for, I don't often continue to explore what it is that makes me feel grateful.  

The day before one of my friend's on Facebook asked,  "what are you grateful for?"  My response was that I was grateful for him and Sterling's smiling face.  The response was automatic, however Tony Robbins' questions lead me to really explore why I am grateful for people in my life. 

I am grateful for so many people, so I just chose four to discuss for this post. 

I am grateful for Blue, who is the friend that first posed the question "what are you grateful for?"  Even though I only took about a month of Chen style Tai Chi with Blue I find myself applying what I learned a lot in my daily life.  Even if it is a simple moment in my daily Qigong practice where I move my feet, I practice the awareness of grounding one foot first, before lifting the other.  It helps keep me more present and aware of what my feet and legs are doing.  (I tend to focus on my arms so much, that I can easily forget that I have legs too.)   I am grateful that he took the time to teach me and I hope I honor that by continuing to practice the lessons that have stuck with me.  Now to answer Tony's question "how does that make me feel?"  I feel a responsibility to practice what I learned from him, I feel blessed to have someone in my life that is such a patient and passionate teacher.  

I am grateful for my Daoist teacher, he truly spent every moment in China taking care of us.  He gladly took every opportunity to teach me something, not saying I got every lesson.  We discuss a lot in class about loving and serving your world, and I see that in him everyday.  He practices what he teaches us.  I am grateful to learn from him, and to observe how he interacts in the world.  He inspires me, even in the moments when I feel like I am at the bottom of a hole.  He simply shines a light and allows me to climb out when I am ready. 

I am grateful for Kim, I took a yoga class from her on Saturday.  It was the first time I had done yoga for an extended period of time in a number of weeks.  Her class was the perfect mix of restorative and challenging.  I love taking Kim's classes, she is always focused on what her students need.  She asks at the beginning of class what anyone wants to work on and finds a way to hit everything that someone mentions.  I am grateful that she takes the time to truly listen to her students, she doesn't have a plan when she walks into the room to teach.  Honestly being listened to makes me feel special, I love to be heard.  I am blessed to have someone so generous in my life. 

I am grateful for Adam.  Adam is one of my greatest teachers.  I am grateful for his support on this spiritual journey and started, and I am even more grateful that he continues to walk his own spiritual journey.  This weekend, Adam spent so much time making sure I was resting and recovering from our trip.   He never complained about me falling asleep out of the blue, and he was willing to help me handle laundry and all the little chores that build up when you leave the country.  So "what about that makes me feel grateful?"  The idea that I can trust makes me feel grateful.  I can trust that he will take care of me, he will take care of Sterling and he will push me to take care of him.   Adam makes me feel safe.


Questions to consider: What am I grateful for in my life right now? What about that makes me feel grateful? How does that make me feel?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ta Da

It looks like Adam is dancing or doing a little curtsy.  The funny thing about this photograph is that our friend Susan has perfect timing, I was soon flat on my back, with the wind knocked out of me.    I love this photo though, the sky, the clouds, the river, the trees and Adam and changing our physiology and playing.   I am so lucky that Adam is willing to spot me in handstand and also he is willing to let me test my strength and see if I topple over.   (Note we are on grass, no Lenores were hurt taking this photograph.)

We will fully embrace our playful travel spirits while we are in China, and  take every opportunity to do yoga, qigong and who knows what else.  (I hope we get a chance to visit a Panda Sanctuary.)  Maybe we will take photos, maybe those moments will just be for us.  Anytime that I travel my world expands, I learn so much.  I know that the Lenore that comes back will not be quite the same, I look forward to introducing her to the readers.

Question to consider: What part of your spirit does traveling really bring out in you?   Who are you when you travel to new places?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Other side of the world

About a year ago, Adam and I found out about a trip to China that one of our teachers was organizing.  We started to look forward to it, and have watched in the last year as the plans have evolved and some how everything became more and more amazing.

I am typing up this post the night before we leave on an amazing journey for just long enough.  I have no idea what to expect.  I am excited to see another country, I am excited to learn from the Masters we will be meeting with, and I am excited to leave all electronics behind, except the camera.  17 of us are going on this trip to the mountain.


Question to consider: What is the latest trip you have been wanting to take?  Where do you dream of exploring?