Under The Knife

solo yoga mountain

At first I thought awakening my spiritual energy would help me become more calm and zen. So, I dove in head first, took courses in healing, began focusing on my nutrition and did my first 48-hour cleanse, became a yoga teacher, got certified in Reiki, bought a Reiki table and started writing a blog about my journey.

Ooohhhmmmmm….. not.

I learned a lot, but I wouldn’t say I automatically became an enlightened being. After I took a breath, I realized I may not ever actually teach yoga. I sold the Reiki table. I decided that all of this was great for me personally, but was not going to be my new career path, at least not in the way that I had imagined it.    

We are all born with everything we need to live a happy life. Imagine that. It’s inside you right now. You have every tool necessary. So, what is holding me back?  What is holding you back?

Life. Circumstances. Obligation. Responsibility. Injuries. Pain. Fear. Guilt. All of it is holding me back, but now I acknowledge it. So, now it becomes about how to undo and let go of those things. But, getting to this point of naming and understanding the shackles binding me was an important process. And, the more I learn, the more I understand how much more I have to learn….

What have I done? What did I start? This whole journey has shown me just as much heartbreak as it has healing. This has become a process of unlearning, relearning and learning it all over again.

…over and over and over and SNAP!

I tore my labrum right off the bone and the cycle that I had been living in suddenly changed. I went to Urgent Care, had an X-ray, saw an Orthopedic doctor, had an MRI, took some time off work, found out I had to have surgery, filed for Medical Leave from work, had surgery, went home to heal, got lots of help and here I am. It feels like it all just happened in a fog, one thing after another, and now here I am 5 weeks post-op and in the thick of painful physical therapy, sitting around with ice packs and popping big horse pills to help dull the pain.

But even in times like this we have a choice. We can chose how to heal, and while choosing how to heal I found some things to be grateful for.

Without the last 5 years of intense introspection and this mindful poking at my spiritual energy, I may have crumbled under all of this physical pain and struggling. Without the mind-body-spirit connection I have started, I may have suffered from overwhelming emotional pain along with the physical. But that’s not how I chose to heal. My body knows just what to do if I let it, but it was my pride that was struggling through this healing process, so I gave it some space to try and figure out why. 

Instead of feeling deflated that I had to ask for help (which I certainly did), I realized the validating side of it. I recognized that it takes a lot of effort for people to replace what I was doing to keep my family healthy, safe and clean. Validation often comes in interesting forms. I was able to see that even the little things that I do each day (that may seem monotonous and meaningless) are important to those two sweet little girls that depend on me and my ability to do each one of those menial tasks. Put all of those tasks together and you see my life, my responsibilities, and my joy.

I took a moment.

I took several moments laying there in my bed as a patient with wounds and meds and ice packs. I thought about the human-ness of it all and how this is just part of my journey. I made more of the moments in-between and I let gratitude for all of the love being shown to me absorb into who I am.

I throw a lot of energy into feeling pride of accomplishment and the thrill of independence. I believe the Universe sent me this lesson to slow me down and make me re-evaluate my connection with others. I had to go under the knife to rise above just a little bit higher. And for that I am grateful.

What I am

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What I think…

Happy is better. But, happy can be complicated.

I’m going to find my happy no matter how many bumps I find in the road. I’m learning new ideas and starting to feel them sinking in more and more deeply as the journey goes on. Most importantly, I’m internalizing that happiness is an inside job.

All of the “if I only had …. then I’d be happy” and the “it’s really his/her fault that I’m not happy” are not real. Reexamine those. 

Using excuses and blaming other people or situations is futile. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about accepting your path and your reality. No matter what you believe in this moment, you hold the reigns and you control the outcome. Or maybe you believe in fate, but the framework of what fate means to you still grows from your conscious. It’s all up to you. 

You may frame a less-than-desirable outcome as a disaster to linger and fester over OR you can see it as an opportunity to grow and a chance to take a step toward a better future. The only one who suffers from your anguish and funk is you. The person (or place or thing) that may have contributed to your state of being in this moment is far more focused on themselves and their own funk. Let them exist in it, you have the beautiful opportunity to create your own reality. You have the choice to create your own happy.

What I will become…

Peaceful. I long to create a life that feels peaceful and calm. I want to feel love flowing through my house and my relationships. I want to master the tools that work for me, but never stop learning and growing. I am and always will be a Seeker. I want to die hungry and curious because there is too much to ever learn or know in one lifetime.

What I know…

Life is magnificent. Life is to be enjoyed.

Happy is possible. I deserve to be happy.

What I am…

I am a Wellness Coach. I’ve studied many of the healing arts such as yoga, meditation, Reiki, smudging, chakra balancing, and so on, but I am not a Healer. I guide and empower people to heal themselves. Healing is an inside job. As much as I would like to help others or take on their pain, each person has to learn how to heal and grow in their own way and in their own time. I have a passion for guiding people to discover what will work for them, but everyone has to do the work for themselves. Roll up your sleeves people, there’s work to be done.

The photo above (by mrmac04 from morguefile.com) of the lotus flower reminds me that even a beautiful flower can emerge from muddy water… everyday. 

Connecting with Butterflies

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Interpreting animal symbolism is a powerful way to connect with nature, and learn lessons from her creatures. Cultural lore honors the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis. Imagine your whole life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly as well as the benefits of yoga.

Learning and living yoga means surrendering to both your body’s potential and limitations at the same time. The butterfly asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does, and in the right time. A butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents the courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. The butterfly is a symbol of new life, letting go of old cycles and finding your true inner expression, much like yoga.

The journey from chrysalis to butterfly is a meaningful passage. The ultimate goal of doing yoga is to have a relaxed mind. With a relaxed mind we can begin to enjoy a relaxed body and a heathy balanced life. Often yoga practitioners use inspiration from our friends in nature to share the benefits of yoga with children and their families, but the idea works just as well for adults feeling ready for transformation. We can adapt the symbolism of a butterfly, and other creatures of nature, to understand these changes within ourselves. There is much to be learned when we slow down and look to nature for inspiration. To begin this metamorphosis through yoga as a child is a gift, to begin the journey as an adult is a gift you give yourself.

New year, New word

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ABUNDANCE!! I proclaim 2015 to be the year of abundance. Abundant energy, love, strength, power, change, and belief! I love a fresh start, it gives you the opportunity to do better, and we can always do better. Each day gives us the chance to begin again, but a new day at the start of a new year gives us the opportunity to completely refresh our agendas and recommit on a new level.

Who’s with me? Let’s create and attract epic abundance! What can you do to begin this new year on an optimistic upswing with a sustainable rising surge of goodness? What are the real, reachable goals you can set for yourself? Name it, make a plan and go for it. Don’t just hope for good change and cross your fingers, map out a strategy to get there, and then get moving!

I have recently committed to getting my certification to be a yoga instructor. Mid-January I will begin an intense 5 month course and by June I will be certified to teach others how to incorporate a practice of yoga into their life. To me, yoga is a progressive and peaceful way to focus on a combined healthy mind and heathy body. As my body begins to change and reform through a committed and dedicated yoga practice, I envision my mind and spirit growing stronger as well.

This commitment for me marks the beginning of more changes in an effort to continue on this path of momentum, strength and growth. I live courageously for myself. I have defined reasons why. Momentum demands action and brings progress. I have goals and I have a plan to achieve those goals, but I also have a mind open to what these new actions will bring. I move forward feeling brave and ready. I crave radical achievement and I am worthy of the goodness I feel it will bring into my life.

I intend on bringing in abundance. I imagine myself bringing in great bounty and satisfaction. I envision copious amounts of progressive triumph.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it”. – Amelia Earhart

“What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” EH

Project the path you are on right now in front of you and imagine where it is leading. If that path is not in alignment with what you want and need then what do you need to do to make change? Shift your focus from trying to find yourself to actively creating yourself. Create abundance, actualize progress, manifest joy.

Happy abundant new year to you all!

above photo courtesy of ManicMorFF on morgue file.com

Self-Care in a Toxic World

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Self-care is often mistaken for self-ish or self-centered, but I didn’t say self-indulgence now did I?  To me, self-care does not mean getting a weekly manicure or massage, but is more about finding the balance between the things that serve you and the things that cause you stress in your life.  Making sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet, getting enough exercise, keeping creative outlets in your life, and finding ways to relax, such as meditation and yoga, are some of the essential parts to building a life of wellness and self-care.  These parts of life are essential to your well-being and not over indulgent.  And, when we begin to care for ourselves and see health and wellness as fundamental, I believe we also begin to deepen our ability to care for others.  Being able to care deeply and in a meaningful way for others makes life better and when life is better, everything is better.

No matter how much better we feel, our world is still filled with toxins.  Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we use and the food we eat.  Toxins are also scattered among our days in the form of negativity, gossip, and the thoughts in our own heads.  Deciding to put more focus on self-care involves being able to shed the toxins that keep us from being happy and healthy.  It’s hard to bring in the good when there is too much room being taken up by the bad.  Taking a hard look at what toxins exist inside your body and your life will help you begin to shed those toxins and avoid bringing them back into your life.

I recently hosted our first Wellness Wednesday which is a new community event created to bring like-minded people together to have conversations about wellness.  These gatherings will each focus on a different topic related to wellness and inspire people to incorporate more wellness into their daily lives.  I will personally speak about different topics that inspire and move me into action and encourage others to share their stories and journeys to wellness as well.

Our first Wellness Wednesday was an inspiring beginning to what will be an ongoing, moving gathering for those interested in enhancing their journey down a path toward wellness.  Making time for yourself is essential along this journey and gathering knowledge and meeting like-minded people along the way will help push you forward and gain momentum.  We’ve already seen several positive things come from that first meeting and I look forward with enthusiasm to continuing the journey!

Our next Wellness Wednesday will focus on HABITS: The Good, The Bad, and The Really Great!  Is it possible to be happy and make lasting changes during The Mindful Revolution we are surrounded by these days?  Yes!!  If we keep the conversation going and learn from each other, it is!

photo courtesy of fitwalk on morguefile.com

Developing and Calibrating Your Life Compass

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Finding your due north and setting out on your life’s path can be a daunting task.  It’s important to consider how you want that compass to guide you.  Understand that if your compass is sturdy and calibrated correctly, no matter what obstacles you encounter, the directions cannot be denied.  Your inner compass can guide you through hard times and has the ability to guide you home.

As with anything, things don’t always stay the same and may need to be adjusted and tinkered with from time to time.  A well calibrated and cared for compass may only need a slight re-calibration once in a while, just as a well kept piano only needs a slight tuning every so often.  But leave it ignored and over time that compass can point way off course and confuse even the most skilled navigator.  It’s up to each of us to make sure our due north stays true and strong by whatever means speaks to you.

Our society often attributes success to financial freedom and corporate status.  So, for a moment let’s just use those guidelines as a way to map out the importance of developing strong mental focus and strength.  One of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation, Jim Rohn, said that “if you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune.”  So, even by the standards of the business world, it is important to have a strong sense of self and develop who you are and what you stand for.

For years we have known the importance of caring for our bodies and making sure we are healthy, but recently it seems the world is waking up to the possibility that it is just as imperative to strengthen our minds and develop our identities.  It’s not uncommon or out of the mainstream anymore for people to spend a great deal of time practicing yoga or developing a regular practice of meditation.  Quiet your mind and listen to your inner voice to learn how you view the world and where your own due north lies.  In the quiet is where you find the answers.  In the stillness is where you seek more questions.

“As a solid rock is not shaken by a strong gale, so wise persons remain unaffected by praise or censure.” -Buddha  Spend time developing your life compass.  Take the time and energy to craft it as if it means everything.  It just may steer you right someday.

photo courtesy of dieraecherin from morguefile.com

On Perspective

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Most soul searching is sparked when things go wrong.  It often takes a dark patch to inspire the pathfinder in us.  The ability to find strength and opportunity to grow in the midst of hardship shows fortitude and spirited character.  We can find ourselves feeling lost and confused in any kind of situation.  It’s about perspective.  It doesn’t always takes true dire straights to feel truly out of balance.

Not everyone has the means to fly to Italy and India to eat their way to the pleasure of nourishment and pray their way to inner peace.  Some of us have to find balance within the context of our comfort zones, no time to take a step out and make changes.  We have families and homes that need our attention and time.

The truth is, we hold all the tools we need to change our path right where we stand.  The way I feel at the end of a good yoga class is often the same way I feel at the end of a great vacation.

I’m learning to find balance and add peace to more moments in my current existence.  I’m weaving peace into the chaos of daily life.  Eventually there will be so much peace that the chaos will no longer have as much power.  This is my choice.  I have to make that choice in each moment.

I’m a mom of young daughters and most of my time is taken up serving the needs of others.  There is nothing else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life, but that being said, this is no easy task.  My own needs often go unmet and although I happily give myself to my family, even the most giving mother will struggle with this from time to time.  I’m finding myself being pulled toward wanting to take an inner journey at this stage in my life, but I just don’t have the time to devote to focus on myself.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to focus on myself that I feel this pull, but I feel it nonetheless.  So, it’s my onus to balance this life that needs my full attention with my own need to go inside and do some searching.

Even if the scale tips heavy toward my family responsibilities in this moment, my perspective needs to remain unobstructed.  There is no need for a self indulgent journey around the world for inner peace when I can gently pull at the threads of peace and work them into my life right now as best I can.  I will find them, weave them in and watch them become more and more prevalent.

When the time is right the threads will become thicker and more abundant, but there will be plenty of time for that later and I can wait.  The truth is that what seemed to be a dark patch is actually a shining light of hope and abundance.  Change your perspective, change your life.

Orange Rose

Walking Mindfully…

Mention code word HAPPY for a special deal!

It would be silly to think this journey would be best traveled alone, even though it is me who must be present to take each step.  This past week, I attended my first of a 5 workshop series called Walking Mindfully Toward the Promised Land.  A group of amazing woman sat together discussing ways to guide each other, and ultimately ourselves, into a happier and more fulfilled life.  Each time I attend a workshop or class or anything such as this, I move myself closer to where I want to be.  I encourage you to go out and find something similar or come join us if you can!

Walking Mindfully Toward the Promised Land

During the time between Passover and Shavuot, Judaism teaches us to take these weeks and prepare ourselves to receive the lessons of the Torah. Please join us for a unique women’s workshop series where holistic life coach Allison Harris and Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler will help to guide you out of your own personal “Egypt” and into the “promised land” of increased happiness and fulfillment in your life (and, by extension, the world). This transformational series will focus on the practice of mindful living and meditation as well as incorporate journaling for personal reflection, visualization, aromatherapy, and open discussions based on issues that women face today.
Each workshop can be attended individually; however, we strongly recommend joining us for the entire series. All women are welcome.
Individual Workshop Cost $25 Dates: Wednesday April 11, Wednesday April 25, Wednesday May 2, Wednesday May 9th, Wednesday May 23
Please RSVP to Allison at aharris@karmahealingsolutions.com
For more information about: Allison Harris, please visit www.karmahealingsolutions.com
And to summarize The Beginners Mind, I found this wonderful post from a fellow blogger.  Worth the read… What is the Beginner’s Mind?.

What classes or workshops have you taken lately that helped to guide you more clearly on your path?

I’m a Gypsy

I am not a creature of habit.  Instead of a daily routine, I’d say I follow more of an outline.  I seem to approach exercise the same way.  I like to jump from activity to activity with the goal of burning some calories and easing some stress.  During my very scarce free time these days, I can be found ice skating, hiking, doing yoga, kickboxing or riding my bike aimlessly around my neighborhood.  So, as much as I’d like to have more “yoga” moments in my life, I also need some time to rock it out and sweat my day away. This week I decided to try doing it on a spinning bike.  I went to a class last night after dragging myself away from my family all nestled in my house and getting ready for bed leaving daddy to enjoy the bedtime routine.  As much as I love bedtime with my kids, Momma needs a night off once in a while if I’m gonna find this mythical happy place.

When I walked into the spinning class, the lights were bright and people seemed pretty relaxed doing their pre-class preparations.  As people wiped down their bikes and found a home for their water bottles and towels, I found my own bike and started to spin my wheels.  Out of nowhere, the teacher roared in like a bullet from a gun, turned the lights way down, the music way up and the room exploded with energy!  We all spun our butts off in the dark keeping form and wiping our brows for the entire hour until the mood came to a screeching halt and the hour was over.  It’s almost disturbing how quickly those kinds of situations start and stop so unnaturally fast.  All the riders scattered quickly, like gypsies, when the class was over, all seeming to have no problem punching their off buttons.  I reached my goal of burning those calories, but was left feeling almost lonely walking back to my car.  It was such an intense experience.  My ears were still ringing when I got home, like I’d been to a concert.  It took me a while to come down from that.  I may not get to my happy place riding a stationary bike.  I think tomorrow I’ll go back to yoga.

I’m not sure I can make a habit out of that spinning class, that just wouldn’t be me.

Yoga is life

If only I could approach my life the way I approach a yoga class, maybe that would make me happy….

I approach my yoga classes with strong intention: To take a full hour to quiet my mind and strengthen my body and soul.  I walk in, turn off my phone and step onto the mat knowing I will focus only on my own well being for the duration of the class.  I always leave a class feeling refreshed and calm which is the state I wish I could enjoy more often than I do these days.  Much like life in general, I have a deep respect for yoga even though I am still a beginning student even after over a decade of attending classes.  Even though I have a strong desire to dive deeper and study the roots of yoga, I seem to stay at the surface of the practice and enjoy the shallow benefits that I can feel within a one hour class.

I love the idea of a group of people gathering with positive intentions in a peaceful way to achieve wellness.  I like the idea of yoga for the same reasons I like the idea of observing the Sabbath.  When you remove the religion and culture from both, the basic goal of each are pure in nature and focus on gathering with like minded people to pay resect to yourself and those around you.  Both practices can be easily translated to our current life situation and both allow practitioners to slow down, unplug and get back to basics.  All of this is what I need more of in my life, but the challenge is being able to contain the feeling I have during a yoga class and translate it to my life in general.

I can fall pretty deep into my mind during a class, and I’m always trying to be mindful of what my body is telling me.  Also much like life, the minute I take my attention off of myself and try to catch a glimpse of what others are accomplishing I loose my balance and then my focus…or is it the other way around?  Learning to keep my focus and keep my intentions clear and pure will serve me well in my yoga practice and in turn in my life in general.  So, having yoga in my life may get me closer to living a more yoga life.

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