Winter Weather

It is a Winter WONDERLAND outside! SO BEAUTIFUL, but a {bit} slippery!

So remember that class will follow the same schedule as the NLS School District – If school is late/closed tomorrow morning, there will be no Sunrise Yoga. If not, come warm up in the studio! If you are not sure, PM me, call, text, or send smoke signal.

Gentle Reminders

With the dawn of the holidays upon us, I am reminded daily that it really is one of the most wonderful times of year.

It is also one of the most stressful. As such, I thought I might share a handful of reminders that I have been given to maintain some modicum of mental and emotional balance during an otherwise potentially stressful time:

Do not lose sight of what truly matters. Your definition of what truly matters is your compass. It will help you remember that petty things do not, in fact, signify the end of the world, and it will redirect you to what is truly important to you.

It is okay to be alone. When you find yourself cocooning, remember that it is okay to pull back from the world, to take rest, to re-evaluate, and to take time. Quite often, this quality time with yourself, this time of hiatus, is also a time of healing, restoration, and growth.

You are not always in control. Recall the Serenity Prayer. Whether we like it or not, we are not always in control. It is during these times that we are best served to “let it go” so that we may instead “let it come”.

What other people think is irrelevant. Of course, we want people to think of well of us. And this is okay, because it means that we care. Yet, the truth of the matter is that we simply cannot please everyone and their opinions are their business, not ours.

Do not give up. And, do not confuse “giving up” with letting go or surrendering to something greater.

You need not know all the answers, all the time. Quite often, not knowing what to do means that it is not time to do anything at all. So, live the questions and learn to embrace uncertainty, as uncertainty is certainly part of life.

You are enough. You are. And so is all that you do.

Be here. Now. Stay present. This is hard, as we have a tendency to relive the past and lean into the future. Yet, doing so changes nothing about what has been, nor does it control what will be.

Your feelings will not kill you. Despite what it feels like, feelings are fleeting. Just as joy does not last forever, neither does heartbreak. Find the strength to ride the wave, and you will find that you can endure anything.

You are human. Therefore, give yourself credit for your triumphs, and forgive yourself for your short comings. You will have many of both, so rather than clinging to them and tearing yourself down, build yourself up, and embrace everything about this moment right here, right now.

{Over}Abundance. Making Enough Enough

 

With the holiday season upon us, many of us will find ourselves caught up on a cycle of overabundance, or the state of having “too much”. More than we need, more than we can use, more than we can process. Overabundance is the cup that floweth over.

While it certainly is a blessing to have enough, it seems that we have become a culture of excess. And strangely, this can be taxing, as it creates stress, drains us of our precious resources, and shifts our focus from gratitude to greed.

As you reflect on your Thanksgiving celebration and look forward to the festivities of Christmas and the New Year, consider the following areas of overabundance and how they affect your life.

Overabundance of food: Eating, drinking, and merry-making is undoubtedly a central and very pleasurable part of celebrating the holidays. As such, it is also one area in which overindulgence is common, nearly expected, and quite often, regretted. So as you partake in the merry-making this year, remember to be mindful of your internal cues, rather than relying only on the external.

Overabundance of gifts: The cycle of giving and receiving can be overwhelming, especially when the act of giving is overshadowed by the quantity of “stuff” being received. To break this online casino cycle, do not hesitate to give on a smaller, yet just as meaningful, scale.

Overabundance of socializing: This time of year is certainly one to be celebrated, however, it is not uncommon that we find ourselves attending social functions because we feel that we “must”. This is often caused by a sense of obligation, the expectations of others, or the fear of missing out. And while there is nothing wrong with joining in on the festivities, it is also okay to graciously decline invitations, to rest, and be still.

Overabundance of relationship stress: Family, dear friends, and loved ones often take center stage this time of year, and this is for good reason. However, because we are so busy during the holiday season, we often do not have time to work on our relationships and thus perpetuate strained interactions with those we love most. During this time, remember to be gentle and forgiving with yourself and others.

Overabundance of tradition: Remember that just because you have “always done it this way” does not mean that you have to keep doing it this way if it no longer fits. In these situations, do not be afraid to break free from the old to embrace something new.

Overabundance of group-thought: To avoid mindless consumption and overabundance, be mindful of the impact that collective thinking can have on your well-being. During this holiday season, take time to reconnect with yourself, your loved ones, and that which gives your life meaning.

As you step away from overabundance during this holiday season, you will likely discover that it is a process. A process that involves both tuning into yourself and tuning out of that which no longer serves you. Of letting go of the old so that you may embrace the new. And most importantly, it involves embracing an attitude of gratitude and feeling satisfied and fulfilled with having enough.

Feeling Lonely? You’re Not Alone

 

For the years that I have been writing this column, I have typically written a holiday submission that has focused on finding gratitude, grounding, and balance amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday stress.  And while this subject still has great merit for many of us, life circumstances have helped me realize that this topic has inadvertently overlooked those of us that do not experience the holidays in the same way.

So, this year, rather than focusing on the “overabundance” of the holidays that many of us relate to, I would like to make a shift and highlight another perspective.

…Traditionally, the holiday season views holiday happiness as time spent with family and loved ones.  And while this may be true for many, it is not true for us all.  For, in truth, holiday happiness depends much more upon our personal perspectives and experiences, much more than who we spend our time with.

Yet, when we spend the holidays alone, this is much easier said than done,  for if we find ourselves alone on the holidays, it is ever difficult, yet ever so important to remember that being alone does not have to equate being lonely.

So, with this in mind, consider the following the suggestions to avoid feeling lonely this holiday season:

First and foremost, redefine your expectations of the holidays:  Liberate yourself and know that there is no reason whatsoever that you cannot enjoy yourself and find meaning in this holiday season, no matter what your circumstances.  Make this time, whoever you spend it with, count.

Extend invitations:  Be proactive, and do not assume that everyone has plans, and know that many people look forward to a change of holiday-pace even if they do. If there is something that you would like to do, and you would like to share that time with others invite them to join you.

Accept invitations:  Again, be proactive.  Assume that the invitations you receive are sincere, and accept them if they sound appealing.  If they do not, graciously decline, and accept ownership for your decision to do so.

Redefine company:  Regardless if it is your own company, that of a beloved animal, or something else that is not human, do something special and out-of-the-ordinary with the company that you have.

Reflect:  Use this time to reconnect with yourself in a different way.  Reflect on your resolutions, your intentions, and your direction.  Absorb the silence and use it to your advantage during this time of solitude.

Indulge:  Indulge in yourself, and indulge in others.  If you have the desire, give yourself a treat of some kind.  And also, consider how you may give of yourself to connect with and benefit others in a way that is unique to you.

Be creative or productive:  What have you been  meaning to do with your free time?  Whether that is creative or productive, invest your resources into that project, and it is likely that you will find a sense of fulfillment.

Get away:  Explore a change of scenery, whether that is near or far.  Travel, no matter how you define it, takes on a whole new meaning and introduces you to a whole new word when you are flying solo.

 

No Need to Explain

Several weeks ago, I posted an article that I had happened across addressing our “need” to explain or apologize for who we are and what we do, despite the fact that these explanations and apologies are not at all necessary.

And even while this is an unnecessary expenditure of energy, it seems that most of us have fallen into this trap a time or two throughout our lives in an attempt to help people understand where we are coming from.

Yet, in reality, we owe these explanations and apologies to no one. Especially when we feel self-assured in our life choices. So, the next time you feel compelled to “explain” or “apologize” for yourself in such a way, remember that you do not owe this to anyone for anything.

And, in particular, you do not owe anyone an explanation or an apology for…

….YOUR LIVING SITUATION.

Whether you are cohabiting, crashing on a friends’ couch, renting a transition home, or paying entirely too much for the roof over your head, you do owe anyone an explanation for where you lie your head down at night or why. If you are fully aware of your living situation and why you are making that choice, know that it is yours to make.

… YOUR LIFE PRIORITIES.

Because we are all unique individuals, we all have differing beliefs, priorities, and values. And more often than not, some of these things will not agree with the people that matter most to you. Yet even so, you have come to hold these things close to your heart for a reason. And for those reasons alone, you need not explain yourself.

…NOT BEING SORRY.

Simply stated, we do not have to apologize for the things that we do not feel sorry for.

… REQUIRING ALONE TIME.

Each one of us has a different need for solitude and a different need for socialization. Neither is right nor wrong, and both are natural and necessary.

…YOUR THOUGHTS ON OTHERS’ PERSONAL POLITICAL, AND SPIRITUAL VAUES AND BELIEFS.

We need not agree with everything everyone believes. Likewise, we need not share these opinions if and when we do not feel compelled to do so. Do not compromise or water down your own personal convictions for the sake of conformity and pacifism. Rather, learn to disagree or remain silent with acceptance and grace.

…NOT AGREEING WITH EVERYTHING THEY SAY.

Learn to find a way to politely disagree, decline, or opt out of something when you feel the need to, and you will find peace. Remember that asserting and advocating on your own behalf is no more and no less than an act of self-care.

…YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE.

You physical appearance is a combination of nature and nurture, genetics and lifestyle, and it should not be made a determination of your self-worth.

…YOUR FOOD PREFERENCES.

Unless you are requiring others to eat just as you do, you do not need to explain or apologize for your diet and food choices any more than you need to explain or apologize for any other preference you have or the other functions of your body. Let it simply be a matter of feeling good.

…YOUR SEX LIFE.

If you are your partner are both consenting adults, let the discussion of your sex life end here.

… YOUR CAREER OR PERSONAL LIFE CHOICES.

I have found that many of our personal and professional choices are a reflection of “where we are right now”, and these are choices that we make for various reasons at various times throughout our life. If you know why you are doing what you are doing, let that suffice.

…YOUR RELATIONSHIP CHOICES.

Single, married, divorced, or otherwise. This is your choice, as determined by you and your truest self, regardless of your relationship status, and because of that, you need not explain this status to anyone else that is not involved.

Gaining Ground

Let us suffice it to say that life is good, even when it is hard, and some of life’s greatest gifts often come to us as blessings in disguise. So, even when we find ourselves amidst confusion and discomfort, we must find a way to move along in one way or another. Which brings me to the topic of this week’s column: the concept of momentum.

…If you were to consult your dictionary, you would find that Webster defines momentum as “the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes”. And it seems to me that this definition is rather correct. Because when we think of building momentum, we think of something that is gaining and growing and building upon its own progress, much like the proverbial Snowball Effect.

And according to this mindset, this definition of momentum would be correct. At least in the world of physics.

But because I am not a physicist, and I am instead first a human, and then a counselor, I do not conceptualize momentum in the same way. Rather, when I think of the momentum that we gain as human beings, I cannot help but to think that momentum might appear to be quite the opposite at times. For there may be times, that despite out best efforts to move onward and upward and gain forward momentum, we may find ourselves doing quite the contrary. We may feel that we are not gaining ground, but instead moving backward, or at a complete standstill. We may feel that our progress has slowed and we have lost our momentum.

And really this is okay. Because as humans, progress and growth is rarely linear, and it involves both pleasure and pain.

 

So if you have found that you have lost your momentum, do not lose heart. Find the power of the pause, and use this time to your advantage. Follow your own gaze as you look inward to contemplate this inner standstill. Ask questions and reflect upon the answers that come up. Get reacquainted with who and where you are now to reach a deeper understanding. visit it Shift your focus from getting somewhere via momentum to experiencing where you are at this moment on your journey. As you do so, you may likely find that you are better able to move forward with intention, rather than simply succumbing to momentum.

Human Is As Human Does

 

As a therapist, I work in the field of self-improvement. My job, in essence, is to help the individuals I work with increase their satisfaction in life by obtaining goals, working through difficult problems, and attaining personal growth. And through my work, and my own life experiences, I am reminded each and every day that we as humans, are in fact, human. http://www.teststarter.com …And while I realize that statement does not exactly sound all that profound, it is true. We humans are, well, human. We are imperfect. Idiosynchratic. Flawed, even. We make mistakes. We have regrets. We learn things the hard way. We think silly thoughts, experience confusing emotions, and behave in ways that does not always make sense. As humans, we live our lives as best we can, yet even so, our lives can get incredibly messy. And when this happens, when we fall short of the rather high expectations

we have set for ourselves, we become disappointed and seem to unforgivingly forget the fact that we are human. It is during these times that we would be best served to forgive ourselves for our own humanness and instead practice radical acceptance. In doing so, we might begin by acknowledging and embracing the following hard, yet liberating, truths:

1. You are talented at some things. But not all things. Acknowledge that you are skilled and talented in many ways. Honor and celebrate your strengths, use them to your advantage at all times, and be proud of yourself. Yet also remind yourself that it is okay that you are not good at everything. That would be impossible.

2. You will make mistakes. You may fail. Sometimes even more than you succeed. But this does not mean that your failures outweigh your successes and triumphs, nor is it an excuse for you to give up. Remember that doing your best is what is most important in these instances. It is the process that matters. Even failures have value, honor, and beauty.

3. You are special. Not always in the way you would like to think you are, but also in ways that you do not realize. It is important to know that you are important, loved, and unique. And it is even more important to remember that every human life is important, loved, and unique in equal ways. None more so than any other. Ever.

4. Much of what happens in life is beyond our control. Try as we might to plan out our lives, life often has its own plans for us. So rather than resisting the flow of life and attempting to control that which we cannot, practice acceptance and surrender, and find the value of what life has in store for you.

5. Everything is temporary. The only constant is change. Nothing stays the same forever. Find comfort in this, and know that this is what makes life precious.

Practice, Practice, Practice

“Practice and all is coming.” –K. Pattabhi Jois

In the yogic world, we refer to the act of “doing yoga” as a practice. And it is called a practice for good reason.

For in practice, we recognize that we will never reach perfection. We may become masterful at what we will do, but because we are continuously deepening our practice, we will never master it entirely. Likewise, there will always be something about our practice that is a challenge. For example, while we may have great physical strength, we may struggle with flexibility. Or we may be strong in our poses, but struggle to quiet our minds.

We also call it a practice because in practice, we are not in competition with anyone, including ourselves. There is no final score or an outcome to strive for or attach to. There are no winners, no losers, none that are “better” or “worse” at yoga than others. . Sure, there may be some that more advanced practitioners than others, but this is only because they have been doing the practice longer than those that have just begun. So in practice, we do not focus on being best. Rather, we focus on doing our best, every time we come to our mat.

When practicing yoga, we must also bear in mind that each and every practice will be different for every single person. Some days we will feel strong and execute the poses with strength and grace, while other days we may feel weak, or out of balance. There will be times that our minds are in synch with our movements and the practice is meditative and mentally quiet. And, on the contrary, casino spiele there will be times that the mental practice of the yoga we are doing is a chaotic struggle. Some days, when we practice, we will fall into the poses with fluid flexibility, while others we are stiff, and sore, and in pain. No practice, mentally or physically, will ever be the same.

And perhaps this is the most important reason we refer to “doing” yoga as a practice. We called it a practice because it is about the process that we are engaged in while we are on our mats. It is about what we are doing in that very moment, how we are doing it, and the intention we have brought into our practice. It is about being mindful, doing our best, and letting certain things come and other things go.

And so it is with life, is it not? Life, more than anything, is a practice. For much like yoga, we never exactly master life. We will excel in some areas of life, but we will never reach perfection. Likewise, for any given reason and in any give way, there will be days that feel good, and days that feel bad. There will be times when our best comes naturally to us, and times that we really struggle. Like yoga, life is not a competition and there is no end goal to attach to. Rather, in life, just as in yoga, it is about the life that we are living from moment to moment, how we are living, and the intention and purpose we manifest in the process of living this beautiful thing called life.

Letting Go. What does that even mean?

 

 

In yoga and in therapy, I often find myself using the phrase “let go”. I gently remind and encourage my clients and my students to “let go” of whatever it is that is not serving them in their lives or their practice, in that moment or at that time in their lives.

…And when I use this phrase, and say this to them, I do so with sensitivity, empathy, compassion, and encouragement. I mean it when I say it, and I say it because I know that it can be done. Yet, despite my sincerity and positive intentions, I have to admit that sometimes this phrase rolls off my tongue with such ease that I forget to say more about “letting go”. I forget that “letting go” is often easier said than done.

That is, I forget this until one of my clients or yoga students asks me to elaborate on what it is that I mean. “What do you mean by, ‘letting go’?” they ask. Or “How exactly do I let go? What does that even mean? And, how do I know when I have let go of something?” It is then that I am reminded that, no matter how significant, profound, or life-changing “letting go” might be, it is no simple thing. Rather, it is quite the contrary. For, when we hang on to something, we do so for a reason. And that reason is because whatever it is that we are hanging on to is important to us. So quite naturally, letting go of these things can be difficult. It can be scary. And it is most definitely not easy.

So, then, what is “letting go”?

To define this term, consider the following adaption of a popular anonymous description:

“To let go is not to forget or ignore. To let go does not leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go is not about winning or losing, nor is it about pride, appearances, or dwelling on the past. Letting go is not suppressing memories, nor hanging on to negative thoughts.Parajumpers Light Long Bear

Letting go does not leave behind emptiness nor sadness, and it is not giving up or giving in. To let go is not about loss, nor does it mean to be defeated. Rather, to let go is to cherish memories. To overcome and to move long and have confidence in the future. It is an opening of the mind and an acceptance of what is. Letting go is learning. It is experiencing. It is growth. It is to have gratitude for all that we have enjoyed, experienced, and endured. To let go is to embrace all that we have. All that we have had. And all that we will gain. It is to know that letting things go also means letting them come. It is having the courage to accept change, to acknowledge the temporary, and the faith and strength to keep moving. Finally, to let go is to look forward, to open a door, to clear a path, and set yourself free from that which does not serve you.