Still, though

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In the yoga classes I teach, I often talk about how stillness is an illusion. Even when you think you’re “holding a pose,” you’re still breathing, and blinking, and engaging in a thousand other tiny micro-movements of which you may not even be aware. Within you, your blood is circulating and your metabolism is transforming energy. You’re always “in progress,” evolving with every single breath you take.

So, if we equate being calm with being still, we’re doomed to fail. Or, to be stressed anyway.

In truth, it’s not about stillness. It’s about cultivating the focus to really see the movement.

The world is not going to stop spinning, and you’re not going to stop spinning with it. The calm you’re seeking isn’t out there, though. It’s in you. Can you see it?


Balancing act

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Balance. ⚖️

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ~ Rumi 🔥

My life is made of a lot of things. I have a full-time job that I love that challenges the hell out of me on the regular. I teach 8 yoga classes per week, sometimes more if I’m subbing. I run a small business, and write a blog. I manage relationships that are really important to me, from right under my roof to very far away. I’m also trying to help a little human become a decent grown human some day. 😬I make space for fun, say yes to new things, and most of all, I make it a priority to feed my wanderlust with adventures near and far.

Tbh though, it’s not easy. I do a lot of juggling and planning and I don’t waste a lot of time. I’m also surrounded by incredible people without whom that list would be a lot shorter. Are you thinking it should be? I’m not.

I love everything I do. I chose all of it, and all of them, to be in my life. I continue to make those choices. If I didn’t, the list would look different.

So, I’m human and I run out of steam now and then. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Everything needs to be unplugged now and then, including you. Like a lot of busy people, I often relegate sleep to the bottom of the list. But most of the time, the things I do energize me. At the very least, they make me feel good.

Being a coach and leading a team has introduced me to some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and some of the most crazy fun ones, too.💃🏻Teaching yoga is a joy, and writing is a muscle my soul needs me to use. My closest relationships nourish me and lift me up and push me to grow (dammit), which is a gift. Travel makes me feel alive like nothing else, and reminds me of the good and the beauty in humanity.

In other words, it’s all good. Also, I’m super privileged. No, I’m not a millionaire or a genius, but I was born into a body and identity and space that provide me with choices. I work like hell to make the most of them.

So yeah, sometimes my plate is too full, sometimes it’s just right, but I’m always happy with what’s on it. It took me a minute (or a few decades) to figure out what those things needed to be – and not be – though. And I’m still learning. Ask me again in a decade and it might all look different. I hope it does, actually. I want to keep surprising myself.

The secrets to doing that are the same things that set this yoga pose on fire. Root down to rise up. Find your center and use it. Feel the support of your foundation underneath you and lean into it. Then, lift up, and fly.

 


Rinse and repeat

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I made a decision just a few years ago from a place of profound darkness. 

My heart was pretty beat up. I was in that place where we all find ourselves occasionally, full of the grief of mourning the failure of my own expectations. Years of being “just fine, thanks” and “deciding” to be happy caught up with me. I felt like hope had sold me out, and and I was bone tired. 

I felt myself closing off as I “learned my lesson,” and I was ready to protect myself from ever feeling that pain again. I wasn’t ever going to expect anything good from anyone. That was the answer. I was sure of it. And wow, did I think it made me strong.

The more hits our hearts take, the more tempting it is to close them off. To break up with hope one last time. To decide vulnerability is for suckers, and you’re tired of being one of them. 

Vulnerability is a portal, though. It takes you to all the things that make life worth living. In fact, it’s the only way to get to the deepest levels of those experiences. A life without the risk of pain is also a life without the light, and joy, and LOVE that only come through a willingness to be vulnerable. 

Frustrating, yes. But, true.

So I made a deal with myself. My heart would stay open. Completely, totally, free and open. No matter what. I decided it was resilient enough to withstand whatever came its way. I had made it that far, right? And I was limping, but that also meant I was still standing. 

And my heart was still beating.

Many times since then, my resolve has been tested. The hits have come, and come again, some knocking me straight back down to my knees. I’ve even declared the deal off once or twice, in moments when I thought I might suffocate from sadness. Just live in the world for a day right now with your eyes fully open, and I dare your heart not to break.

As the old song goes, that’s how the light gets in, though. Let it break. The coming back together again is what it does best. It’s made for that work. Whole again and again, if always in a new way. 

Wake up, and start again. You don’t have to decide to feel ok. Just decide not to give up, or close off. There is so much good work to be done by those who are willing to limp back to standing, and so much love to be shared by those whose well worn-in hearts are open to holding it.

Image credit: Nayyirah Waheed