Themes for 2015

Happy January Y’all. Tis the season, of Inventory, resolutions, and motivation.  Last year I listed off several goals/resolutions/projects… and like most people they kinda fizzled out a few months in, though I did use my juicer SO many times, and I did succeed in taking January off from beer drinking. Alas, I still haven’t seen a nutria in real life (and I’ve been told by a few people that if this was my goal, I need to dream bigger.. but whatever… I did some pretty amazing things in 2014, I don’t think having the goal of seeing a giant gross water rodent should deter from all the awesomeness that transpired last year. And lets be honest, a Nutria is pretty much the closest thing to a Rodent Of Unusual Size I’m ever going to see, so I still maintain, it was a legitimate goal… clearly I need to get up earlier and hang out by more water… anyway I digress.)

Last year I also decided that I wanted to draw inspiration and focus on a few key words and ideas in my daily life, and for me this was a much better approach to the whole New Years thing. Because, setting an intention and seeing how that unfolds in your life is just as rewarding as setting a tangible “I’m going to do this specific thing.”  To some, I’m sure it doesn’t feel as satisfying as saying “I’m going to run a half marathon” or “Be a vegetarian” or “Floss my teeth twice a day” and typically I am a giant fan of tangible lists, but when it comes to setting goals and intentions for the year, I’m more of a right-brained individual.

This year, I have 3 major Themes that I’m trying to focus on and I’m excited to explore where they will take me.

Themes for 2015

Themes for 2015

1) Self-Care
The same people who are skeptical about Nutrias have also commented “What are you talking about, you are great at self care! You go to yoga, you eat healthy.”  And these things are true, but a few weeks before Christmas I was sitting in a restorative yoga class (literally strapped in and propped up in a supported boat pose) and I just couldn’t shake the idea that I needed to start taking better care of myself. Not just in the physical sense, but also mentally and emotionally.  Yes, I DO teach yoga and barre, and I DO try to eat healthy, and I am oh so very good at letting myself put my feet up and relaxing with a glass of wine when things get stressful, but I think there is more to it than that.  For all the aspects of self care that I’m really good at, there are others that I’m pretty terrible at. I don’t get enough sleep, I sleep with my cell phone and laptop next to me, I don’t push myself to exercise daily, I drink too much coffee… the list goes on… and overall I don’t think these things are terrible, but I know there are times when I could be making a better effort to take care of myself… I’ll probably still eat boxed mac and cheese from time to time, and let’s be honest, the coffee isn’t going anywhere, but I’m excited to explore Self-Care as an overall theme for the year. (afterall, I’m turning 30 in 2015!) And I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know exactly what this is going to look like, but I imagine it will involve drinking a lot more water, and a little less booze. Being outside more, making meaningful connections, and taking more yoga classes. Spending more time in meditation, drinking a little more green tea, and a little less coffee. Incorporating essential oils into my daily life,  reading more books, taking more introverted re-charge moments, and also pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. It’s giving myself permission to say no, and inspiring myself to say yes. It’s going to bed a little earlier, and turning off technology at 10pm (ish). Its taking  occasional Spa days, and grown up vacations.   And what I love most about this idea of Self-Care, is that I know it’s going to look different every day. It’s not an all or nothing thing that says “You have to do ABC to achieve XYZ”  It’s more about tuning in to how I’m feeling in each moment, and giving myself the support that I need physically and mentally.

 

2) Authenticity 
This year I’m going to try and focus on being the most authentic version of myself. I’m not saying that I have a tendency to be fake or in-genuine, this blog is pretty real!  but Authenticity is another word that keeps coming to mind when I think about 2015. It’s interesting, because I feel like there is so much encouragement out there to celebrate what makes you unique (and I fully agree with this!) but sometimes I think maybe We (I’m using the general WE here, and) are a little guilty of pushing our uniqueness on people. Maybe pushing isn’t the right word… Let’s say we tend to lead with what makes us different, as a way to stand out to make an impression. And overall, I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that. I think people need to own their quirks and what makes them different and celebrate their unique view of the world, but I think sometimes in doing that it is easy to lose other parts of yourself. I know that I sometimes play to my audience, I highlight areas of my personality that I think other people will be interested in, I post photos on social media that I think other people might like etc… And its ridiculously easy when we are building our own personal brand to put a spotlight on a few key things we want people to remember, while we squirrel other things away. Again, I’m not saying that I have this secret life, and that I’ve been creating a false persona… But I am saying that in 2015 I’m not going to worry about playing to my audience or pushing things into the foreground. I’m going to focus on having authentic interactions, I’m going to own my opinions, (even if that means jumping on some bandwagons) and I’m going to let my authenticity be the thing that attracts people.

 

3) Gratitude
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Gratitude is a game changer, and this year I’m going to try to focus more on the things that I’m grateful for. Big stuff, little stuff, totally random off the wall stuff. Whenever those little nuggets of negativity start creeping in, I’m going to try to focus on the good and have a sense of gratitude.
What are some of the themes you are wanting to focus on in 2015?

Words and Intentions for 2014

Three weeks into January and my resolutions are still going strong (I know, I know, anyone can do anything for three weeks) I will admit, I have yet to see a nutria, and I’m taking some creative licensing with what defines a salad…

While I was sitting down typing out my resolutions it seems like everyone else was out there picking a few key words and intentions they wanted to focus on in 2014. Resolutions are out, intentions are in, and though I try not to be a jump-on-the-bandwagon type of person,  I do kind of like this idea.

As a writer, words are a pretty big part of my life, and I like the idea of choosing a few words help to define my intentions for this year. This also got me thinking about words I might use to describe myself, and words that people I know might use to describe me… its funny how you can have what you think is a 100% clear view of yourself, and then you ask others to describe you and they see something completely different.

Sometimes it is fun to try on other people’s view of you, to try and see what they see, and it can be really empowering and uplifting… other times it just makes you feel  totally mis-understood, and like you have failed at building  your own brand (or at least failed at  communicating it…) but a lot of that depends on how well people know you, and the context of relationships.  I know that I am an introvert, and at times I can be quiet and reserved… but I also know that my inner dialog is pretty quick witted, very sarcastic, and sometimes snarky… Therefore, I perceive myself as vibrant, confident, and secure person… but I’m pretty sure a lot of people view me as this quiet, demure, ball of awkwardness….  In reality, I’m probably somewhere in-between.  (and I’m pretty ok with that.)

As I began to make a short list of words I wanted to focus on this year, I started to think a little bit about my own personal brand.  What are some key words that I want people to use to describe me? What are some of my assets that go un-noticed? How can I adjust my focus this year to  help myself stand out for the right reasons? How can I start to  “re-brand “myself so that what I see, and what other people see are the same thing?  I’m not trying to be self-involved here… I’m a little nervous is it going to come off that way… I’m 100% confident with who I am, and I am not the type of person who goes around fretting about what other people think of me… truly.  This is not me saying that I’m trying to change for other people, or that I want to change who I am… more so just that I’m figuring out some characteristics that I already have that I’m ready to take off the back burner.  I think a little energy, and a little intention can go a long way, and when you are taking the time and investing in yourself, its only a matter of time before other people notice that shift in energy.  I like to call it the “je ne sais quoi” factor… and I’m excited to head into the next 11 months with an open mind and a whole lot of intention.

 

Words for 2014

Words for 2014

 

My words for 2014

 

Life lessons from my garden

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Blogging from my phone is one of my least favorite things, but after spending a few moments out wandering through the garden I was inspired to write… Phone post it is.

I moved into this house almost exactly a year ago, and this time last year I was painting trim & frantically trying to get some seeds in the ground before it was too late to grow anything good for the season. One thing I didn’t have to worry about though was the bed of raspberries hanging out in the back corner of the yard. Hello painting snacks! Friends would come over to see the place, and I would quickly file them into the back yard to ooohhhh and ahhhh over the garden potential, and we’d pick handfuls of raspberries and meander through the yard.

Flash forward to this year, all the painting is done, the garden is 100% planted, things are settled ( just don’t look in the garage) and it is once more raspberry season. I’m amazed, I picked a bunch of fruit this morning, and I was just out there and did the second harvest of the day. A few extra hours of sun and voila, more ripe, red, goodness.

Not to get all cheeseball on you, BUT… Being out in the raspberry bed I’m constantly reminded that sometimes all you need is a little change in perspective to see what you are missing right in front of you. ( I haven’t exactly applied this to my real life yet…) I go out, and pick everything I can see, an then round a corner or bend over and suddenly it’s like a whole new world of berries pops up. Really they were there the whole time, just waiting… I just didn’t see them until I changed my vantage point.

A lot of things have changed in my life over this past year. Roommates have moved in and out, relationships have come and gone, jobs have ended, new ones have started… And like the raspberries I feel like just a little change in my point of view has really helped bring things into focus, things that were there all along, I just didn’t have the right vantage point.

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Personal Weekend Rules, and how I always manage to break them.

Firstly, let me apologize for my falling off the blogging earth. My computer died, like completely is without power with no hope of turning it back on sort of dead, and so my internet access is limited to my cell phone, and brief moments at work when I’m sending official e-mails and updating the company facebook page. I contemplated blogging from my phone for a good 2.5 seconds, and then decided typing a blog post on that tiny key board just wasn’t worth it. I still don’t have a computer (I had to pay a hefty sum to the US & State government…. how does that work exactly?) so it will still be a few paychecks until I get fully back into the tec world, but in the meantime I finally borrowed my Dad’s teeny tiny laptop… and by teeny tiny, I mean, this is just a step up from typing on a cell phone keyboard… please excuse the multiple typos that I’m sure will follow.)
I’m just finishing up two glorious days off of work…days wich, of course, were not nearly as productive as I would have liked them to be, but what can you do? I really only have four set “rules” for my days away from work, and they are as follows: Excercise, put on real person clothes, cook myself something, and socialize with other humans. These rules are so basid they probably don’t really need to be stated out loud…These are kind of common sense things, that arguably most people do… then again, have you read the warning labels on a hair dryer lately?  Most people probably wouldn’t get in the a tub while operating a hair dryer, and yet they put the warning lable on there anyway for the poor saps who can’t quite figure it out. It’s for their own protection. I am not a poor sap… and mostly I do not struggle with these four things, but sometimes it is nice to state them outloud, to put them out into the universe, and to know that the rules are put into place for my own protection. That being said, rules are often meant to br broken.
I usually do really good with these rules on my first day off and this week was no exception. I ran 7.1 miles (and let me tell you, the last time I ran 7.1 miles was in Septemer of 2010… this is kind of a big deal for me!) I curled my hair, put on a dress,made a healthy breakfast, met up with some old friends… Tuesday I was all about my day off rules, and I even upped the anty by doing a few loads of laundry, gardening, and taking myeslf out to lunch. Go me.
Wednesday, was of course a horse of a different color… (who even came up with that metaphore, and what really does it mean? Just now I flashed back to this weird Howie Mendel educational computer game  I had growning up that was all about life on the farm, and of course there were rainbow horses that popped up and said “I’m a horse of a different color!” needless to say, this did not help clarify anything.) Wednesday, my alarm went off, and already I’m starting to make bargains with myself. I still really want to get up and excercise, but my tendonitis is flairing up, and so already I’m thinking to myself ” well I am teaching two yoga classes today… that mostly counts as excercise.” FALSE. Teaching yoga, and taking yoga are two very different things,but at 7AM, its pretty easy to justify it as you push the snooze button. The same logic applies to getting dressed. “Well I have to teach two classes today, I should probably just stay in my yoga pants all day.” and the practical side of me cannot argue with this… who wants to make 3+ wardrobe changes in a day? Not this girl… already, two of my grown up life rules out the window minutes after getting out of bed. Rules were made to be broken!
In my defense, I did actually attempt to go for a run… I made it 1 mile before the tendonitis took over my life…looks like I pushed a little too hard with the 7.1… but lately my mantra has been “you’ll only get out as much as you put in.” Full disclosure… I came up with this mantra because i was finding it ridiculously difficult to wash my face before going to bed. I realize this post makes me sound increddibly lazy/ unmotivated about life as I’m having to use little gimics to get me to put on real clothes etc… but sometimes I really feel that as a women, getting ready for bed takes a lot of work. The makeup has to come off the face washed, moisturizer applied, teeth flossed and brushed, contacts removed… and often pores are examined, eye brows tweezed… and sometimes putting in the effort to get through all of that is hard… Shit, maybe I am just really lazy… anyway, since I started working in a restaurant my skin has been flairing up a little more… and I would stare down my giant zits and remind myself that if I wanted normal adult skin, I had to act like an adult and wash my face every night, or stop caring… a mindblowing breakthrough to have at age 27… And really the same goes for just about everything in life. excercise, diets, relationships, work… if you want to see the results you have to put in the effort. (except on the occasional Wednesday when you really just want to wear yoga pants to the grocery store… and even then, I think its actually safer not to put on normal clothes to go to the grocery… have you seen the types of things that people are buying? today the guy in front of my was purchasing 30+ fitness waters, about 6 boxes of snackwells, 10 frozen dinners, 3 boxes of waffles… yes indeed, you get out of it what you put into it… and at this rate I think it is probably safe to say, I’m not going to meet my soul mate at the bargain grocery store…)
This is getting awfuly rambly, especially since I’m basically blogging about being lazy/ unmotivated to be a real person…this could perhaps be a clue as to why I am single… or maybe its just a little dash of realism that makes me relatable?

Take what you need, and leave the rest. My morning spent fighting my yoga practice

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This morning I decided I was going to get up early and head to a yoga class. Since I’ve been unemployed I’ve been trying to take a lot more classes. It helps clear my head, it helps me get inspiration for the classes I’m teaching… it’s a win win… There are days when I have to sometimes psyche myself up for a class, but once I get to the studio I’m always so glad that I went. I have never, not once, regretted going to a yoga class.

But today I was fighting my practice, I mean hard core fighting my practice… I decided last night before I went to bed that I was going to get up early no matter what and get to the studio. No matter that I’m not a morning person, no matter that I haven’t gotten out of bed before 8:30 in the last three weeks… I have been bound and determined to move my person everyday, and right now its frigidly cold in Oregon, so running isn’t as appealing as it could be. Not to mention the fact that yoga lets me be a little social, and the teacher, whom I adore, will be moving soon, so I really wanted to get a class in.

My alarm went off, I only pushed snooze twice, got up, got ready, walked the dog, and made it to class. Victory! At least victory for about 45 minutes… and then something clicked in my brain and I was just done… with 30 minutes left in class, I mentally checked out, every movement stopped feeling “right” and I got totally in my head.  I even caught myself at one point doing a not so subtle eye roll… what is wrong with me? Here I am, a yoga teacher, and its not like anyone forced me to be in this class, and my mind and my body are both rejecting the movement…

As a student, and especially as a teacher I know that yoga is about leaving your Ego at the door. Its not about what the person on the next mat is doing, its about you and your practice, and meeting your practice where you are. I KNOW this… and I was repeating this to myself, as I was struggling… and why? I’m secure enough with my own person and my own body, to do my own thing in class… but there was this part of me that just kept going through the motions… (all the meanwhile eye rolling… I’m a terrible student) The practice was fighting me, and I was fighting it back rather than just surrendering and doing actually what I needed… And its not like the teacher would have cared had I just laid down on the mat and spent 30 minutes getting my mind where it needed to be… still hours later I’m sitting here thinking “why didn’t I just do that?”

I think part of it is actually that I know too much… and I often struggle with finding that perfect balance between pushing the right amount/ pushing too much. Sometimes when things are challenging, it is exactly what we need to be doing, we need to push through the fight or flight reflex and come out the other side… at least that is what I was telling myself in class today. “just keep pushing, just keep moving, its only 15 more minutes.”  But why did I think it was better to keep pushing than just listening to what I needed?  Again it’s the teacher in me… No, I didn’t really want to be doing Ardha Chandrasana… I didn’t want to do it at all… but rather than just taking a breath & watching the other students enjoy this beautiful pose, my inner dialog was running saying “This is maybe exactly what you need because this pose combats depression, is a mood elevator, relieves anxiety, helps you feel more balanced , and reduces stress! This pose will help you feel supported and joyful, and that is exactly what you need in your life right now…” and yet I was fighting the pose, I was scowling the whole time, I was mentally and physically ready to be done… so why didn’t I just listen to that?

I know there is a distinct difference between giving into what you need, and giving up… but I think we don’t often listen to that… At least I don’t. I don’t often say “its ok to not push today.”

Especially when it comes to yoga… Since I haven’t been “working” I’ve been trying to be more active, and working on myself… and in the past I haven’t really been called to restorative types of yoga. I have taught several restorative and gentle classes, but usually when I take a class I want it to be more active. I want to move my person…But maybe what I really need is to find a slower practice… to really settle into the relaxation and the meditation… it makes sense. Even though my days are slow… my life as I know it is kind of in chaos. I lost my job of 5 years, I lost my relationship, I’m losing my roommate, I’m stressed mentally, and financially, and it would make totally sense that really what my brain is needing is to actually slow down…

And part of me is mad that I didn’t listen to that this morning when my alarm went off… No, I don’t regret going to yoga this morning… the first 45 minutes of class were exactly what I needed… but then why didn’t I just trust my body and my mind and let the rest go? (And why am I still worked up about it hours later?) Sigh…  I really need to start living “take what you need, and leave the rest”… my new mantra for at least the rest of the weekend, and hopefully beyond.