Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day

I've not left my kingdom, I'm still around... I'm just busy with life's ups and downs which, quite frankly, are far more pronounced when one is a single mom of three trying to make her way through the world, than they were in my more carefree married days.

Back then, I used to wonder how single moms did it. I always had a great deal of respect for them. I relied heavily on Prince Charming for a variety of things related to us, our future and to the kids, and simply couldn't imagine my life without him in it.

Silly princess.

What I believed then were the challenges, stresses, fears of single mothers did not even come close to the reality of that which exists. That is not to say that I feel regretful or unhappy; quite the contrary, actually. I know the decision was the right one for all involved, and even though I often wake with more questions than answers, finding the means and methods to forge ahead on my own has provided me with a greater sense of self and purpose than I might ever have had otherwise. I find myself more fiercely protective than ever not only of my children but of my heart, hopes, dreams and it makes me commit even more to the mantra with which I have lived my life since I was 8 years old: I will find a way or make one.

And so I say Happy Mother's Day to all of the mommies out there. It's the hardest job we'll ever love. I'll add a special thought for single mothers: I hope you are lifted up and celebrated not only by your loved ones this weekend, but also by you. For you know, better than most, that you have lifted yourself up time and time again, but perhaps, in the process, forgot to celebrate the amazing woman that you are. You are.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Help Me Create Sangha!

I will be back to blogging on Hissy Fits soon... but in the meantime, I'm trying to help build sangha (community) on this blog. Please join me by following Metta Yoga, too!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cultivating Metta

Metta means loving kindness towards all beings. How different the world might be if cultivating metta was a priority for us all.

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

And may you stay tuned to Hissy Fits, and, perhaps, this blog, too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Integrity

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."
~ Albert Einstein

Who are you when no one is watching?

If you will lie about the small things, you will lie about the big ones. If you will take credit for something small that you did not do, you will credit yourself on a larger scale, knowing, deep down, it wasn't your original work or that those were stolen words or that you did not, in fact, complete the task.

How you do anything is how you do everything. If your integrity is lacking in small matters, how do you navigate through critical moments that require you to call upon your inner strength and know, clearly, who you are at your core?

What is the reason you build yourself up to others when you know it isn't authentic, when you know you are spinning a web of deceit, painting a pretty picture that, while you present it as realism is, in fact, just abstract pop art?

How often must you consult your inner-truth barometer... and how often does it scream at you to be set free from the prison you have created for yourself, locking yourself into the person you claim to be yet never have been nor will be.

What makes it so hard to love yourself enough to feel comfortable and confident just being you? What might life be like if you were wide open, honest, present, accountable, grateful and humble?

Imagine how good it might be to live a simple life of integrity.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Heart Sang on St. Valentine's Day

What Made My Heart Sing this Valentine's Day?

CJ was a regular participant in one of my yoga classes from the very first time I taught it.  She has remained steady through two format changes, rarely missing a week in more than a year.  Her practice is beyond beautiful and she has a light about her that is contagious and uplifting.

About this time last year, CJ showed up to class alone for the first time.  Previously, she and her boyfriend came to class together.  She seemed a bit distracted on that day, but once the practice began, she slipped into her present-mindedness.  The theme of the class was love through the eyes of children.  I noticed, several times throughout class, that she was tearing up.  It is not uncommon for people to cry in my yoga classes; my goal is for the participants to experience a range of motion and emotion in every class. However, this theme was innocent and sweet and funny, at times, and I was surprised that it could bring a student to tears, though I do, indeed, fully understand that we never know what someone else is living and how things will affect them.

At the end of savasana, CJ's quiet tears turned to sobs.  I leaned over and hugged her.  For a long time, she said nothing. We sat in silence, holding one another.  Finally, and without letting go of me, she explained to me that her husband and young son had died in a horrific accident. My theme reminded her of her son's innocence and the love they all shared as a family.  Further, she and the boyfriend had parted ways, and she was feeling incredibly alone during a time when love is in the air and celebrated.

CJ and I began to communicate more regularly after that.  We talked about the need for us all to find our own way through the toughest of times, and the strength we possess to move ever onward. Her story is a good reminder that the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.  Ultimately, CJ asked for my advice on yoga teacher training and I encouraged her to seek out a 200-hour program, which she did, and, not surprisingly, she has been forever altered by the experience.  Though she likes to credit and thank me for inspiring her to go through teacher training, this was truly a gift she gave to herself, because when we are ready, the teacher appears.

CJ came to class as usual this last week and, in keeping with tradition, I pulled out my Kids' Views of Love theme.  Before starting, I had background music on... it just happened to be a playlist I put together after the Newtown tragedy... a theme of compassion and healing.  I glanced at CJ and noticed the tears welling up in her eyes.  I leaned down to hug her and she whispered that the song that was currently playing had been played at "their" funeral.  I knew to whom she was referring.  I confess that I got moist-eyed as well, remembering that it was this class last year that brought her to tears for the first time in that studio.  I whispered to her that the waterworks might get worse throughout class.  With her signature, radiant smile, she responded with a resounding "Oh GREAT!".

And so we sun saluted, we heart opened and we flowed.  We found more strength than we knew we had and we let go into poses that remind us that yoga is a union of opposites and that surrendering is an act, not something that happens to us.  I closed the class, as I always do, with a reminder about taking our yoga off the mat.  My final thoughts had to do with a child's quote about telling people you love them frequently so they don't forget... my statement to my students was "Don't let them forget."  

As class ended, I glanced over at CJ.  The tears were back and I was there immediately with my hug.  She shared with me that "I love you" was the last thing she said to both her husband and her son.  I simply said "good".  I also reminded her that they knew she loved them, and that she, too, knows how much they loved her, every second of every day.

Later in the day I received a note from CJ thanking me for the class and explaining how she connected with various aspects of it.  However, what truly made my heart sing was that at the end of her note she told me that she had already told two important people today that she loves them... and then added, "make that three... I love you, Cranky Princess."

This is why I do what I do.  This is worth far more than the corporate salary from which I walked away and the immeasurable satisfaction I get from sharing these moments with these beautiful souls, being inspired in ways I never knew were possible is, indeed priceless.  My heart is full. And singing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Trust

We all know that trust is the foundation of any relationship. Without it, that foundation cracks, and whatever's been built upon it is at risk of crumbling. Trust can take years and years to build, yet can be destroyed in a matter of seconds, with the utterance of just a few words, or the painful moment when one discovers an egregious act has been committed.

The breaking of trust is the squashing of spirits and the killing of dreams. It is cruel in that it is not only situationally hurtful, but also in its ripple effect, seeping into the psyche of those who have been hurt, creating obstacles for them as they try to trust again. It causes constant questioning and results in an unsettledness that is difficult to explain to anyone who has not experienced it.

My life's lessons have taught me that people who are ego-driven are not trustworthy. They are so caught up in their "ME!"-ness that they refuse to consider how their actions affect the people around them. They are condescending and controlling in their communication, with an uncanny ability to make even the brainiest of braniacs feel foolish. They say whatever they think people want to hear, regardless of its veracity; they do what needs doing in order to stroke their own egos, even when doing so costs them everything and everyone about whom they care. They are incapable of true love because true love is selfless and unconditional, neither of which the ego understands.

I believe that these people struggle to find joy and contentment. They are looking to fill the voids in their hearts with things that truly don't matter. They can't possibly trust other people fully because they recognize that they, themselves, can't be trusted. Our natural inclination is to project who we are at our cores onto others, to look at life through the unique lens we each have created, a lens that mirrors ourselves, based on our thoughts, feelings and experiences. If we are pure and positive and treat others with the utmost love and respect, we assume others operate in much the same way. If we are dark and self-serving, it is hard to imagine that others do not follow suit.

Can trust ever be rebuilt? The logical side of me would like to believe that it can... yet I am not sure how one goes about healing deep wounds, inflicted by people in whom we believed, who we thought were least likely to ever cause us crippling pain. Can people so driven by ego that they forget there are living, breathing, feeling human beings on the other ends of their selfish actions change? The logical side of me would like to believe that they can... yet I am not sure that these types of people actually have the courage and strength to do so. It is my belief that it is the coward who hides behind his/her ego, and to truly evolve, we must face our fears, as well as our inner-demons, and find ways to fill with gratitude the voids in our hearts, and to recognize and appreciate that what we have within us is, indeed, enough.

I am a believer in value added relationships, and I am well aware that we only continue to stay in relationships that somehow serve us. Even under the most challenging of circumstances, when trust is gone and all that remains is a shred of hope, if we stay, it is because the relationship somehow serves us. Otherwise, we would recognize and act upon the need to simply walk away.

The strength it takes to wake up each morning with a resolve to trust again is unimaginable, on some levels. And yet, the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it, and so we continue to do what needs doing in order to move forward, and sooner or later, we learn to trust again.




Saturday, January 26, 2013

Really Random Thoughts...

1.  I just saw that rose gold and one piece bathing suits are in style.  Hmmmm... I am glad I am not particularly concerned about being a fashionista because there's way too much with which to keep up. I prefer my sparkly things, you know, like tiaras, set in platinum, thankyouverymuch. Additionally, I am contractually obligated to wear a bikini while doing a very important job on the bows of a variety of boats, so these developments could prove problematic.

2.  I look for signs of strength in so many areas of my life, and part of being strong includes a willingness to take care of me.  One of the ways I like to show others that I care about them is through cooking.  Yet, when I find myself alone, I subsist, primarily, on oatmeal, nut thins and water.  I need to do a better job of taking care of me in this regard.

3.  I miss skating.  A lot.  I still have my last pair of competitive skates; they sit, collecting dust, in my basement, a well worn pair of Riedell Gold Stars, purchased 30 years ago or so.  They no longer fit me the way they once did...where once they felt heavenly, they now feel tight and foreign on my feet, and the Ace blades have been sharpened so often that they are practically non-existent.  I can't even imagine how different the top of the line skates today feel, though I am sure I would be amazed.

The rink is my happy place.  It is the place to which I long to return when I have big thoughts through which to work, and yet the ice has been sorely lacking in my life for the last several years, years that provided, the arguably biggest thoughts to think.  

4.  AJ, the five month old lab-mix pound puppy, is terrified of Bailey The Wonder Cat. Bailey The Wonder Cat is acutely aware of the power he holds over AJ, and was just seen chasing the whimpering, tail tucked pup (who, incidentally, is clearly much bigger than the cat) down the hall. It's kind of how I envision people running away from me when I am in the midst of a particularly passionate hissy fit. Bailey is a badass.

5. Someone recently asked me who the caretaker of my emotions is... it was a question of love stemming from an observation that I spend a great deal of time in the care and keeping of the important people around me. I immediately responded that I am responsible for my own emotions, I take care of me. Upon further reflection, however, I have decided that it would be nice, in a perfect world, to have a prince charming who viewed this task as a shared responsibility.