"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Self Love

I am a beautiful, vibrant woman. Recently I read a wonderful article about authenticity. I LOVE that word. Be who you really are. Amazing concept. This article encouraged me to write a list of things I love about myself. It was great. It made me happy to do it. You see, I have learned to really love myself. My list was long and nowhere complete. I love everything from my impish, naughty nature to the way I move and dance everywhere I walk. I love my heart for others and my willingness to establish and maintain boundaries. I love how I am utterly and completely head over heels in love with my husband and babies. I love my strength, physical, mental, and emotional. I love so much about me. It was really a delight to write about it.

Then I started thinking about all these other amazing, fascinating, and gorgeous women I know. So many of thing would be hard pressed to write this list. If they did they would probably apologize for it. We have been taught subtley and pervasively that self love is wrong, bad, unattractive, and will probably make your hair fall out in your middle years. None of that is remotely true.

So I wrote the one I might just like the best:

"I love I am willing to reject the notion that if I have a good opinion about myself I am wrong and bad. I refuse to confuse humility with debasement and self hatred. I refuse to teach this disgusting and harmful untruth to my daughter. I refuse to live that lie"

I do believe I am humble because I don't think I am any better or any more worthy, or conversely worse or unworthy, than anyone else. I think each person is just as much as I am. I find beauty in every woman I take the time and opportunity to study. I find them to be interesting, mysterious, and just fabulous.

My question to you today is, can you write a list of all the things you love about yourself? If not or if it would be really hard, why? What can you do to see the amazing creature that is you?

It is really worth considering, I promise.

The Month of March Changed Me

So I was implying some big changes happened for me in the past month. Now that it is the last day of March I feel I can talk about it. It has been amazing and I truly feel like a new person. Exciting times, I tell ya.

There were three things I undertook. Two have flourished in my life and the third had to be tossed onto the back burner until the kids are older/sleeping better. I want to share my failures and successes with you because I feel they are probably equally important and we can learn amazing lessons from either.

The first thing I did was to undertake a daily yoga practice. This was not a month's challenge. Nope, I entered into this committment with the mindset it could be for life. I cannot predict the future but I have a strong feeling this was could just stick. It is honestly hard to write about the changes, hard to find the words. I am just so different. I feel me calm, balanced, spiritually less cluttered. The other day at the park I received one of the coolest compliments evah. This lady told me my movement was just effortless. Totally the daily yoga.

It isn't always easy. Remeber I have a 2 and 4 year old in this house. Some morning Logan will join me and you know it is beyond adorable. Somedays they ignore more. Then there are others way more interactive as the play ring around the rosie around me or chase each other under my down dog. It has added a new level of complexity and can be ...interesting at times.

But it has really taught me to just live my life where I am. I cannot wait for the perfect moment to do something. Nope, I grab the momement, savor it, and decided it is good enough for now. It has really brought me a new appreciation for mindful and intentional living. Besides, my kids see me doing yoga all the time. Heck, I pracitice yoga at home before my morning yoga class. I want them to see this.

The next change was my eating. I have really went off the deep end with this healthy eating thing. And let me tell you, the water is just fine. I returned to my vegetarian roots. I am starting to veer more and more vegan but I am not sure if I will ever give up greek yogurt and kefir completely. I have also become even more of a whole food junkie. Seriously people, as I sit here typing this I am munching on some of the sweetest canteloupe and some crackers I made myself with nothing be seeds. You can go ahead and call me a granola girl as long as the granola is made with honey and not processed sugar.

Again the side affects are nothing short of miraculous. I thought I felt good before these changes. I cannot believe how flippin' amazing I feel now. Oh and my skin and hair are gorgeous. I swear I look 10 years younger. I happily go without makeup half the time because my skin just glows with good health.

Now the last thing, yep it was a failure but that is okay. It is all good. Recently I went to a couple of meditation seminars. They were wonderful and the practice is nothing short of transformative. But.....I have littles in my house. The act of trying to create a regular meditation time was causing me a great deal of stress and consternation. So I let it go.

Yep, I just let it go. There will be time for it later.

That is probably the best lesson of the whole month. Sometimes a very good thing is not good for us at the moment. Doesn't mean it will always be that way. Our lives change some often and rapidly. In six months Logan's sleeping could change and enable me to rise early and put a meditation practice in place. When it happens I will rejoice, love it, and savor the changes. But until then I am perfectly content to just let it go.

I am content. I am content in my space, my body, my place in life, in well, everything.

That is a beautiful and wondrous thing.

Peace my sweet friends.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Today, We Dropped Out For a Bit

I am an introvert. It is rather funny but true. Yes, I am boisterous and exhuberant. Yes, I am chatty and rarely meet a stranger. But the reality is, I am a fairly large introvert. All of that living life out loud exacts a price. It often exhauts me and leave me emotionally raw. Learning the proper balance in my life has been crucial. I used to think I was almost 50/50 extrovert/introvert. I have begun to realize it is more like 40/60 or even 30/70.

Then there is another mitigating factor. Sometimes people just get on my last nerve....seriously.

That is where I found myself today, sort of emotionally raw and not feeling oh so friendly and loving to others (my kids and husband are thankfully exempt). So we had a ditch day from life.

Cannot begin to tell you how much of a right choice this was.

I loaded the kids and a picnic lunch up in the car and off we went. We travelled to a park not remotely local. No one knew us there and that was a beautiful thing. The really beautiful thing was the day and the setting. First this weather had been unbelieveable. It was in the mid 80's. That is just phenomenal weather in St Louis in March. But the park was just incredible. There were rolling hills, horses, a playground, and walking trails that twisted and turned through ponds and creeks. The kids had a ball and I relished the silence and peace.

Don't get me wrong, I love people. I really do. But sometimes I just need a break from it all. I don't see this as a bad thing. It is just a me thing. I embrace it and nurture it. Fighting it wouldn't do anything but cause more pain, stress, and suffereing. And what is the point of that???

I am going to start adding pictures to my blog. I think it adds a little something, a little interest. My cord to download has been living in Dallas until recently. We expect it home soon.

I am really excited to share with you some rather huge changes I have made in March. I am just waiting for the month to finish out. It is the whole, I have done this for a month thing. It is good stuff.

I guess this post is about knowing who you are and what you need. This knowledge helps us become better at being ourselves. That is also a good thing. I encourage all of you to play hooky some days and think about what you really need and what your priorities really are. It might just surprised you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Assisted Yoga

No, this is not a blog post on anything technical about yoga asanas, partner yoga (well sort of), or props (again, maybe sort of). What it is, is a post about living my life where I am and starting a daily yoga practice.

I am determined to do yoga daily at home, preferably each morning, regardless of scheduled classes or what have you. I am embracing the idea of no longer expending effort and energy on trying to make life fit whatever mold I feel it should. Instead I choose to meet life each day where we are, intentionally and with an open heart, curious to see what it has in store for me in that moment. I believe this will give a better flow to my life and family.

In celebration of my decision I set up my yoga mat this morning with Logan running around being two. He was not engaged with anything else so you know with what he would soon be fascinated and engaged! It was one of the sweetest yoga practices I have ever had. He quickly joined me. A few times he tried the pose himself but during Downward Facing Dog he declared, "Mommy that too hard." So instead he happily scattered kisses upon my body coupled with gentle hugs around my waist. Love, just love.

This morning as I moved through my warrior poses a happy, bubbly toddler twisted himself through my legs and played peek a boo while I was in triangle. He laid his warm little body upon my back during extended child pose. Um, bliss! It really helped me gently go deeper into the pose. Finally I finished in savasana with a beautiful baby boy quietly laying in my arms breathing with my breath.

Will this be every experience? Heck no! I am sure many will be difficult, even frustrating. I am sure I will have to stop and try to come back later. It will just not always work out to my expectations. (Ack! See there they are again!) But it is a wonderful lesson and allowing the day to unfold with ease and allowing myself to flow freely with how the rhythm chooses to present itself in that moment.

Love it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rhythm and Routines

Spring is coming. It feels even closer to me because I just returned from a lovely trip south. There it was full-fledged spring. The dogwoods and bradford pear trees were in bloom, the flowers were in full color, and the grass was green and that amazing smell of new earth was everywhere. I loved it. I didn't want to leave. Here in the Midwest, we are not quite there but we are in the brink.

Both the impending arrival of spring and my return home from an extended trip has spurred on my nesting instincts and desires. I have been cleaning, cooking yummy, healthy whole food meals and treats, and refining our routines and rhythms. It is just that time of year and I love it.

Routine and rhythm go hand in hand for me. Routine keeps my sanity. I cannot abide chaos and that is what living without routine brings for me. Things are forgotten, appointments missed, and opportunities slip by without being taken. It upsets my sense of order. I am not into regimentation but I need routines to propel us through the day. Each morning flow the same, we wake up, snuggle, I do yoga, make the beds and tidy, feed the kids, etc. Throughout the day you can find a similar plan ending with our bedtime routine. My kids know what is going to happen and nothing is missed. It creates peace for us.

Rhythm is different but every bit as important. Rhythm keeps me from going into perfectionist mode and keeps us from dawdling until we are running late. This morning I had a yoga class at a specific time. I also needed to do a load of laundry and do the dishes as part of our routine. But the thing is if I accomplished the whole routine, and I could have, it would have made us harried and rushed. That is a sure recipe for crabby mornings around here. So I let it go. I keep us rather lightly scheduled so we can have time to be impromptu and spontaneous AND fit in things that would otherwise throw us into a tizzy. It works for us.

Lately I am discovering a new purpose for rhythm and it is teaching me wonderful lessons. The rhythm of your season in life is what it is and if you fight it and insist it comform to what you think you want, you will make you and probably your family a crazy, stressed mess. Not very peaceful, huh? My youngest child is a high needs toddler. It is who he is especially at this time. He needs alot of my attention, energy, patience, creativity, well alot of ME. Now I have a habit of trying to picture how things should go. I really don't think this is a productive habit because if you narrow things down to how you think it should go, you miss out on allowing them to develop naturally and organically. And letting that happen is usually the better way of doing it. Go with that flow, you know? Logan is teaching me I cannot have things the way I want them, when I want them. He is teaching me ever more each day to go with the flow.

I will admit it has been frustrating. But I am learning to live my life where I am not where I think I should be. Whether it is yoga, meditation, blogging, trips, whatever it is, I have had to learn to make adjustments and deal with the reality of my situation.

Strangely, I find it usually works out for the better.