Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Riding a bicycle

I did not learn how to ride a bike when I was younger.  My senior year in high school one of my teachers found out I could not ride a bike, and was determined to teach me.  It did not go so well.  It was a pretty scary experience for me, and I never managed to feel comfortable enough, for my friends to let go of the handle bars.  (I still feel bad for holding on to Scott's hand super tight, and yelling at him.)  

Since I never learned how to ride a bike, I can only imagine what that experience might be like for both the child and their caregiver based on observations.  I imagine there are a ton of different scenarios.   Here are a few that have been running around in my head.

For example the caregivers can clearly see that the child can balance and they bring up the issue to take off the training wheels.  The caregivers encourage the child that they are ready, and the child can then react a number of different ways.  They can agree with the caregivers, and the training wheels come off the bike. The child can disagree with the caregivers and friction might build until the training wheels come off the bike.   The child can disagree and the caregivers accept that, and wait.  

There is also the situation where the child is ready, and the caregivers for whatever reason disagree.  Eventually the training wheels come off in this case.  

Then comes the interesting part, what happens after the training wheels are off?   What does the child do with all that encouragement either from his parents or from himself?  I would love to believe that it is just like the movies and the child easily coasts down the street.  There are no bumps, no bruises and certainly no cactus bushes on the path.  At no point does the child wobble, or hesitate, or even question their ability.

In reality there are infinite outcomes to what happens after the training wheels come off the bike.  Maybe you even have your own experience that you remember.

When my first yoga teacher sent me a message asking me to cover some classes, I completely freaked out.  I needed to check with my work about the schedule, and that allowed me some time to breathe and freak out even more.  After I accepted the classes I continued to freak out, to focus on my practice, to freak out and feel the growing pains that come with teaching. 

There were so many thoughts racing through my mind about teaching and I came to this idea about riding a bicycle.   I decided I would be the kid that argued with their parents about taking off the training wheels, and then would sneak into the garage in the middle of the night,  remove the training wheels and see what happened without anyone watching me.  (Honestly, the first classes I ever taught were on the other side of the world.) 

I had a choice, I could listen to and believe the voice in my head telling me I was going to fall down or I could listen and trust my teachers belief in me and the training.  Knowing that if I fall down, I will pick myself up, and keep going.  That it is not about being perfect, or even smooth, it is about sharing something I love and continually discovering how to translate that to others.  I felt this huge amount of gratitude that Aaron saw something in me that I was not looking at.

Question to consider: What was your experience with learning to ride a bike?  What has been your most memorable bike ride?  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Appreciating Generosity

Life tends to have ups and downs.  Contrast is what helps us to understand and know what we like and dislike, what is good and what is bad.  I generally feel like the different jobs that I do allow me to either see or hear about both the best and worst in people.  Tuesday I was very unsettled about a couple of the cases that were happening at the advocacy center and I left there with a broken heart.

Today I went to visit with one of my Hospice patients, and got to watch the care he gets from all the people around him.  I got to see how his wife decorated the room, so that the things he saw would be familiar to him.  I got to see how the caregivers came to check on him mulitple time during the visit to see if he needed anything to drink or munch on.   The little things that added up to help him be more comfortable. It served as a good reminder of people's hearts.  

As I was driving to a friend's house, I got a very well timed lesson about how the good can be found in our daily lives.  How perfect strangers will come together to help another stranger, even if it might be inconvienced.  I was driving down the street, and I saw a woman on a bicycle fall.   I didn't see her moving and was worried that she might have hit her head, so I pulled the car over.  She appeared to have broken her ankle, but her head was fine. During the time that I was with her, I was amazed at the people who pulled over to help, or rolled down the windows to see if she needed anything.  One lady offered her newly purchased, unopened bottle of water.  One gentleman offered to carry her to the shade.  A family offered to take her bicycle back to their house so that she could pick it up later.  Two gentleman picked her up and placed her in my car.   I ended up driving her to a doctor, because her daughter had a bit of a drive to meet us.  I was touched by how many people offered what they had, and stopped to offer themselves to a stranger.  

I have to say that experience was something I needed this week.  To be reminded about how many caring, generous people there are in the world.   As I was driving home by myself, and interesting thought occurred to me.  I wonder if I would have noticed as much of the generosity if I hadn't been touched by what happened earlier in the week at the advocacy center.  I wondered if I only saw the brightness because earlier in the week I had seen darkness, so to speak.  

Question to consider:  What were the ups and downs of your week?   Did the downs help you appreciate and notice the ups a bit more?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What can it look like?

My last post was from my perspective about what was going on with me.  When I feel all mixed up and greyed out, I start to explore symbols, and quotes come into my mind.  I started to go into the metaphors dealing with inner light, flame and fire.  

I learned in my fire prevention days that three things are required to start and maintain a fire: Oxygen, Fuel and Heat.  If any of those three are removed from the chemical reaction the fire goes out.   Also the intensity of the flame is dependent on the quality and balance of those reactants.  It is a really simple way to look at something that seems complex.  It enables someone to take the emotion out of a situation and work to influence the fire in which ever way is useful.  For firefighters it enables them to figure out what can be removed to put the fire out, for campers it helps them figure out how to build a fire that is the right size to cook a meal or keep themselves warm.  Fire is both destructive and constructive, that is the paradox and the struggle.  Constructive or destructive depends on the focus, on the perspective.  

I can only imagine what watching me struggle is like from Adam's point of view.  I imagine it is something like watching a brilliant fire slowly recede on itself.  Eventually he looks at the coals with only a vague reminder of what the fire was like.  I imagine Adam watches the color drain from my face, my smile become more and more forced (as I struggle with my mind), and eventually he sees me let go and withdraw.  Much like the coals, it is a delicate situation to add elements slowly back into the fire, to carefully pay attention to what the situation needs.

I tend to go until something collapses.  I guess I don't tend to my fire well all the time.  When I am at the coals, it takes a while to find the balance of my triangle, to identify what exactly is Oxygen, Fuel and Heat for me now.  The fire will rekindle and burn brightly once again.  

Question to consider: What are you using for Oxygen, Fuel and Heat in your life right now?

Monday, July 13, 2015


I have been out of balance lately, and mostly feeling like I don't know if the steps I am taking are helping me restore balance or throwing off my balance more.  I also need more time for myself, and sometimes that isn't what is appropriate.  As much as I would love to spend a week in bed blocking out the outside world, it isn't my standard to run and hide in a closet.  

However yesterday I had a very interesting experience that finally solidified a lesson that I have been hearing for years.  A phrase that I never really understood.  "If you want love, give it."  That paradoxical idea that to recieve you also need to give.  My nature is to be a very giving person, and so when I didn't feel "loved" I was pretty confused by that statement. 

Yesterday I was in an excruciating amount of pain, and really wanted nothing more than for Adam to hold me and tell me it was going to be okay.   However I observed myself literally walking away from him when he tried to give me a hug.   It was like I was on automatic pilot, completely closed, not receptive and definately not giving any affection or even explanation, for why I was cowering from a hug, when I really wanted a hug. Thankfully I have an extraordinarily patient husband that understood the situation was not about him and he was able to give me some space.  

 I realized watching myself in that moment, that I was unable to recieve his hug or kind words, because I wasn't giving love to him, or even to myself.  My mind has a pattern of sending me into a downward spiral, and though I have gotten better at breaking this pattern and observing the pattern, there are still moments when I am at the bottom of a well.  Something that is not real has convinced me that I am not enough, that I can never be enough, and leaves me to sit with those thoughts on repeat.  So even though my mind is not real, it still throws ripples into the pond.   

So sometimes when I want a hug the most I won't accept it.   Sometimes I just need a little time to remember to love myself, to give that love that is always present.  Today was a day for me to accept that sometimes I will be at the bottom of the well, and that is okay.  It doesn't mean I am bad, or a failure it is just a pattern, and the more I notice it the better I will get at breaking it.  Harmony will return, because it is always present in the here and now.   

Question of the day: What brillant thing did you accomplish today?  Take a moment to shine your light on those of us that are looking for light.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trimming down the closet

I was at work yesterday, when one of the other volunteers told me; "I am so glad you are here today, I need to share with you a book that changed my life."   She began talking to me about how free she felt getting rid of stuff, and she agrees with the idea of this book that if you need to organize, you probably have too much stuff.

How did she know?   The past weekend, I set to work cleaning out my closet again, and getting rid of stuff.  Two trashbags and a box later, I decided to take a break.   

I have not read this book, and I was not familiar with the author.  However it has been added to my reading list.  

Someone once gave me the great advice to never buy more hangers, so you are unable to keep too many clothes.  I learn every time I travel how much of my wardobe I like, how much of it I actually need for a certain amount of time.  Which probably explains why usually when I come home from a long trip, I start cleaning everything out and getting rid of things.  

I also thought about my relationship with books.  I used to read all the time, and recently I have found ti hard to read quickly, and to devour books the way I used to.   I still don't know if there is a book I would say changed my life.  I have books that I would recommend to people, but honestly those recommendations depend on their interests.  

Question of the day: What book changed your life?   What is a book you would buy for other people?