I’ve been dedicated to doing a Kundalini yoga class every Friday morning since the New Year. And I am loving it! While I did Kundalini years ago, I took a very long hiatus once I had kids but am happy it’s back in my life again.
Except last Friday morning, I woke-up and instantly felt some dread around going.
“Why?”, I wondered. “I love this class.”
I immediately went into my default thought pattern trying to justify why I probably didn’t “feel like going”; namely, telling myself the following:
“It’s true, you have a lot of work to do, you should just skip it today”
“Your time would be better spent during those two hours working instead”
“It’s ok not to go every week and besides, you have a lot of stuff to do.”
You get my drift, right? Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Except, here’s the thing, all of them left me with a feeling of guilt. And GUILT sucks, right? I mean, who wants to feel guilty? It is THE key emotion to pointing out where we are”shoulding” ourselves in our lives. Clearly I had the underlying thought “I should go to yoga” and then tried to rationalize it away with my above thoughts about being more productive and working.
But you know what? I tried something new instead of relying on my usual coaching tools to help me let go of the guilty feelings I was having. And it was so effective and, dare I say it, magical! And easy to boot!
I asked myself this, “What do I really want to do?”
The answer came immediately. “I want to go for a walk in the sun! I want to breathe the fresh, cold winter air into my lungs and walk, walk, walk.”
The guilt lifted. The energy came pouring back into me (as we all know, feeling guilty completely drains your energy) and I got myself dressed to go.
And while I was walking that morning, all sorts of incredible inspiration came to me! A new coaching program, an idea for a retreat, website changes I want to make and lots of other cool stuff!
I cannot wait to try this question out again the next time I find myself in a situation of feeling guilty about not doing something I think I “have” to do. Giving myself permission last week to do what I really wanted to do actually resulted in more energy and inspiration which equals more productivity and clarity, in my life and in my work.
That is a win-win in my book. And, as an added bonus, I was able to sit in the sunshine for a few moments while feeling rather proud of myself for my decision to honour what I really wanted.
The next time you wake up feeling that sense of dread or guilt or find yourself “making excuses”, I invite you to ask yourself the magic question, “What do I really want to do?” And then, see if you can give yourself permission to do that thing. I promise good things will come your way if you do.
It’s officially Autumn! YAY! Me so happy!
Up in my neck of the woods, that means boots, sweaters and crisp, clean air. Fresh, delicious apples picked straight from the tree. Warm drinks, blankets and cozy nights cuddling!And as much as I adore me a nice, hot, sweaty and sandy summer, I have to admit I have really come to enjoy Fall. For the beautiful, colourful trees, crisp weather, incredible range of soups and even fall fashion, yes, for all those things!
But also for what it has to teach us about letting go. I find the older I become, the more adept I am at letting go of certain things in my life (my need to please others, my desire to be the mom who cooks fabulous meals every single night, my rules about TV with my kids, having a spotless home…). You get my drift.However, let’s not kid ourselves, I also have a hell of a hard time letting go of other things, like: going to bed late (even though it doesn’t serve anybody well, least of all ME), being hard on myself when I haven’t been active “enough”, being scared to organize a talk to promote my business, feeling guilty for “not doing enough” with my kids, husband, friends, business, for myself, etc. Ya feel me?
While the coach in me has tools to help me with these issues, I can still very much struggle to let go of these behaviours and thoughts, as I suppose many of you do as well.
So what the heck does Fall have to do with teaching about us about letting go? This:
“What if trees refused to let go of their dying leaves?”.
Letting go let’s us grow!
Trees need their leaves to die and fall off, so they can be replenished and come back with new life again in the Spring. If this natural process didn’t occur, the trees would slowly die, whither away in exhaustion from having had to “carry” the burden of dead leaves.i.e., something that no longer nourishes them.
How profound is that? Seriously, take a moment to consider this phenomenon. Trees would not be trees without their leaves. Right?
Yet, once a year, they release their leaves, like all of them, (and I imagine, thank them for their job well done!) so as to create the right environment to replenish themselves through the winter where they are nourished right down into their roots; and then, and only then, are these beautiful trees able to grow new leaves again.
(By the way, for a really wonderful explanation of how leaves actually “push” off their leaves as opposed to “fall”, click here: NPR leaves)
Now I am not suggesting you release absolutely everything in your life that currently sustains you or gives you life. That would be stupid. We are not trees, I get that.
But I am suggesting that there is a wonderful lesson here for us humans.
What can you let go of that would create the right environment for you to replenish yourself? For some, it may be letting go of a habit that no longer serves you (like me, it’s changing my bedtime!!).
For others, it may be letting go of a relationship, a job, or a difficult friend. Perhaps it’s the “rules” you keep for yourself or your children that feel more like a prison than joy?
“We believe that it is difficult to let go, but in truth, it is much more difficult and painful to hold and protect. Reflect upon anything in your life that you grasp hold of–an opinion, a historical resentment, an ambition, or an unfulfilled fantasy. Sense the tightness, fear, and defensiveness that surrounds the grasping. It is a painful, anxious experience of unhappiness. We do not let go in order to make ourselves impoverished or bereft. We let go in order to discover happiness and peace.”
What are you carrying around with you, trying to control, not wanting to release because you’re scared of what may happen? What change do you secretly wish for? What do you wish you could let go of?
Name one thing you want to let go of.
What a gift you could give to yourself by honouring this desire to just let go.
Have you ever been so stuck in your head while walking somewhere, or eating, or “listening” to someone…doing anything for that matter… that you don’t even know how you managed to get to your destination, finish your plate, or hear what your friend was saying??
If you are anything like me, you have.
Ok, it just came to me! It’s kind of like having a blackout, except without the hangover. (There I said it! That’s for another post though!).
Sometimes I am A-MAZED at how in my freaking head I can be. Thoughts swirling around a million miles a minute. My face is all contorted. I’m nibbling on my lip or biting my nails or releasing these HUGE sighs that end up surprising anyone around me. My husband will ask with genuine concern, “Are you OK?”. People on the street may stop me to ask, “Are you OK?”.
P I N this to pinterestI don’t have a fancy name for this “state of being”. But I know it by how it feels…I’m distracted yet concentrated. I’m searching yet hungry. I’m unsettled yet comfortable.
I’m thinking. THINKING, THINKING, THINKING!
But what I really am is STUCK…in a state of being that keeps me so far removed from the awareness of what is happening around me that I miss out on whole moments of my life because I am stuck inside, interacting with no one but my thoughts.
And, let’s be honest here. When I am stuck in my thoughts, my thoughts are not the pretty thoughts that make me feel like a freakin’ rock star! No no no. They are the thoughts that fester, pick, nag, scold, insult and berate me. Hence, the contorted face and biting of nails and lips. My icky thoughts actually do become a physical manifestation and you can see it. Eew!
Where am I going with this, you may be wondering?
One day not that long ago, I found myself at my daughter’s daycare which takes about 15 minutes to walk to from our home. It’s a lovely walk, one I have done hundreds of times over the last 8 years or so (my oldest also went there). Except on this particular day, I arrived without having ANY idea which way I chose to walk. Had I chosen to walk past our favorite pizza restaurant and then cross at the fruit store where we can stop and buy fresh dates on the way home? Or was it past the farmer’s market stands by the metro and the outdoor piano?
I was so in my head that I missed it. I was so in my head that I missed the chance to “be” in my walk, my world and enjoy my time.
And so it hit me. It hit me that when we are caught up in our crazy minds (during those icky thoughts times) and living on auto-pilot, we are not aware of what is happening around us. How could we be? We retreat into a different space, a space removed and alone. A space that can be hostile and cold.
We lose all sense of our environment and the beauty, love, and warmth that surrounds us.
Since that “wake-up” moment, I have come to understand at a much deeper level how much our intention can help us to live a beautiful life.
We are faced with choices every day, all day long. When you go into auto-pilot, you are humming along with no awareness. You are unconsciously “doing”. And that’s fine for certain things in life. We don’t have to think about how to drive a car. We just do it. Right?
But when we operate in auto-pilot mode most of the time, we become cut-off from LIFE. We are the opposite of awareness. We are the opposite of connected.
And that, my friends, is not the life I wish for you. Or me. Or my kids. Or any of us. By bringing your intention into what you do, how you choose, who you are, you are setting yourself up with a life that feels aware, connected, joyful, and empowered.
So how can you get out of your head and into your heart? How can you get out of the sticky thoughts and drop the contorted face so you can walk with peace and a smile?
By choosing to be aware. Aware of the thoughts (even if they are icky ones). Aware of the fact that you just scarfed down all that food and have no memory of enjoying it. Just start with being aware. Choose to be aware. Ask to be aware and slowly, you will be. Because all intentional and meaningful living starts with awareness.
Summer is SO here and I am SO ready for a vacation! And I am guessing you all are as well! YAY!
I am thrilled to share some little bits of awesomeness with you this month!!
So I found out about this little gem of a book called The Miracle Morningby Hal Elrod about a month or so ago (note: I think his websitekinda sucks but the book rocks).
And it is slowly changing my life in wonderful ways! I have always dreamt of being an early riser. Waking up to meditate in a quiet home, before everyone is awake. Having some kind of wonderful ritual to start my day. But, anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE sleeping in. I mean, I LOVE it. If it weren’t for my kids, I could easily stay in bed until late in the morning.
But this yearning to be an early riser who meditates and shit has been gnawing at me for the last few months and this wonderful book finally ignited the fire in me to give it an earnest try.
And, folks, I am happy to report that I now set my alarm at 6am every weekday morning (while weekends do see me sleeping in a bit, I am starting to get the urge to wake up early then too!! Stay tuned!) and pop out of bed for my Spiritual Hour, as I call it. Some mornings are tougher than others because I am still shifting my bed time to earlier, but this remains a challenge for me! Anyway…
Here is what I do (not necessarily in this order):
meditate with this simple to use app from Deepak Chopra
Read my affirmations (a big part of what Hal discusses in his book)
Make my coffee and sip it in peace (not while running around make breakfast and lunches!)
Connect with Spirit
stretch, think, fart, relax and sometimes browse Pinterest.
And THIS lovely ritual is infusing me with SO MUCH ENERGY!! Seriously, I go to bed excited to wake again. Hal talks about this in his book…going to bed with the same excitement you did as a kid on Christmas Eve. Okay, okay…my excitement isn’t quite like that but it is buzzing in my body! I can literally feel it circulating!
And as a result, my days are more productive, I don’t have my afternoon slump and I am ready to rock it in my business and personal life. I have more focus, clarity and purpose! I am starting my day with intention, rather than waking up and going straight into “reaction’ mode with everything that needs to get done to get my family up and out the door!
If you have ever considered adding something like a morning ritual into yourlife, I highly recommend this book to kickstart your desire.
And then report back and let me know how it’s going!! And if you already have a morning ritual, SHARE it with me. I would love to hear about it!
I am sharing this incredibly moving video about the relationship between a man and his dog. It’s about commitment and love and support and kindness and friendship and adventure and all the things that make life worth living.
I cried my face off. Like a baby. Even though it also has funny bits.
It is SO worth watching. It’s less than 8 minutes. You will be so thankful you did. i promise. Here it is: Denali
Today’s LONG OVERDUE blog is about pee. And our thoughts. But let’s get to peeing first.
If you’re like me at all, you have probably held in your pee for at least one of the following reasons:
It’s not convenient for me to stop what I am doing and pee in this moment (In the middle of cooking? Watching a movie? Sex? ha, just kidding!)
I can hold it until I get to somewhere ‘nicer” and “cleaner” (think nasty gas station bathroom. or porta potty or a porta potty at a nasty gas station! YUCK!)
I don’t feel like doing it “here” (daycare and school are two places that come to mind…the grossest bathrooms with all the yucky kiddos’ pee drops and who knows what else!)
What if I fart at the same time? The walls are pretty thin and I would be mortified if anyone heard me! (’nuff said on this one! But I am thinking of moments when the bathroom is a little too close to everyone else outside the bathroom door. I actually have a bathroom like this in my own house!)
Anyway, about a month ago I was walking to pick up my daughter at daycare and I had to pee. And then I immediately thought, “Nah, I can hold it until I get home”. Which, to put things in perspective, would have been 30 minutes from then. Not too bad, but not too soon either. I’m sure you can relate.
And then I thought some more. And some more. And, yes, you guessed it, some more!! And then, I had an epiphany, of sorts. Here is how it went down:
Why would I deprive myself the pleasure of peeing when I really need to go? Why would I do this to myself?
Yes, yes…the reasons above are all valid and we all know we could add even more…yet, I still can’t really accept this type of sadomasochistic behaviour from myself. I mean, peeing is a primal urge and it would take all of 30 seconds to satisfy this urge and then go along my merry way. Do I really prefer to “suffer” through the discomfort of a full bladder, navigating what then would be “an excruciatingly slow walk home” with my beautiful daughter whose only goal on her way home is to walk up every ramp, not step on the cracks in the sidewalk, step on the cracks in the sidewalk, notice the blooming flowers, beg me for an ice cream, stop at the park to play in the sand…enjoy her life!! ??
But nope…cranky-ass pee monster would surely rear her ugly head so I could do my business in my not-so-perfect-but-perfect enough toilet AT HOME and usher her on her way as quickly as possible missing out o
n a pleasant walk together.
And let me clarify, I am NOT afraid of public toilets and have absolutely nothing against them. I love doing my business anywherewhen I really, really need to and I am sure as heck grateful for them when I find them. But I am also just as happy to whip out my ass and go where I need to. (Hell, I even wrote a descriptive paper for a university English class titled “How to shit in the woods”…I am SO not kidding. The professor wrote on the front page, “This smells like an A” ). Anyway, I digress…
But, I admit it, there are times when I don’t take care of my business right away, as I had considered doing on the fine day in question. I hold it in. I suffer through because of these weird ideas or feelings I have about how I want the pressing pee-experience to be in that moment. (I know, weird.)
However, I realized that there is rarely, if ever, a perfect time or place or circumstance or situation to handle something like peeing. You can’t control when you have to go…it just comes up and you feel the need. And this, my friends, is A LOT like our thoughts. Especially our painful thoughts.
Our painful thoughts, or the thoughts that make us not feel so good about ourselves or others or our life situation…those thoughts come and go as they please. But here’s the thing, we CAN decide how to handle them when they come. And, just like peeing, you can take care of your business right away. You have the choice to do it before you start suffering for no reason other than your own stubbornness.
Instead of making excuses like:I’m too busy to think about that/deal with that
I don’t have the energy to put into that
It doesn’t really bother me THAT much…I can tough it out
What if I cry?
And on and on and on the list can go.
So, my take-away from my walk home that day with my daughter’s hand in mine as we strolled leisurely home was NO MORE DENYING THE PEE! I will honour when my body tells me to pee, even when it means I will be doing my peeing in less-than-ideal circumstances. EVERY. TIME.
And so it is with my thoughts too…I will honour those sticky, painful thoughts when they come up. Not when the “right time”, “right place” or “right situation” presents itself. Because just as a full bladder make us uncomfortable and in a state of potential pain and impatience and crankiness BECAUSE I HAVE TO PEE DAMMIT!!….well, so it is with our thoughts.They linger, put pressure, cause discomfort and crankiness and impatience and all the unpleasantness that comes along with not honouring the primal urges we have to take care of our bodies. And we all know that our bodies and minds are so beautifully connected.
So, don’t back away from the thoughts that cause you the discomfort. Notice them, look at them, find a quiet spot somewhere and honour them. And if you need help wiggling them loose, I am here. You know where to find me.