Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Afternoon of Restorative Yoga, Quiet Meditation, And Football Food.

I haven't been to a led yoga class in... a long time. I think the last class I went to was back about the time the kids went back to school in August/ September. Too long.

I'm definitely a vinyasa girl. I like to flow from one pose to another, not staying in any one pose too long. Slower classes don't feel like a work out to me. Yes, I'm aware that yoga is so much more than a "work out". But I'm a bit type A so while I'm finding some inner peace I need to be burning some calories too.

This week I got an email from a local studio offering a 2 1/2 hour restorative & yoga nidra workshop. Two and a half hours of holding supported poses, a very very slow practice and long meditation. I'll be bored out of my mind. And staying in supported restorative poses gives me way too much time to think. Which leads to confronting issues I have so far successfully avoided dealing with.

No, restorative yoga and long meditation is not what I need right now. There is too much in my life causing me stress and pain. I need to move and sweat and push it away. This restorative class has potential to be emotional and I'm sooooo tired of being emotional.

But I didn't delete the email. When Kid 2 invited friends over to watch football Sunday afternoon I figured it was my perfect excuse not to go to yoga. Why spend 2 1/2 hours on my yoga mat when I could be home eating junk food with my teenager and his friends?

Still I didn't delete the email. And Saturday night at 11:50pm I finally logged on and registered for the workshop.

I walked into the yoga studio and thought 'I'm home'. As I got situated on my mat I knew this was going to be exactly what I was afraid of. Exactly what I expected. Exactly what I needed.

With the help of bolsters and blankets my body sank into the poses and relaxed. As my body opened up my mind started chattering. Every issue, every worry came rushing at me at once. What do I do about work? Where will I find a job that pays me what I need yet lets me still be a mom? Is it time to move on? To try something new? How do I let go of the old? How do I walk away from what I've loved?

This is too much. I can't process it all and I don't know what to do about any of it.

But I fought the urge to get up and leave and instead rearranged myself into the next long held restorative pose.

Eventually my body released and I began to feel lighter. I was able to follow the instructors cues and tune in to my breath. The more I breathed the more clear the chatter in my head became. And eventually, it too, slowed down.

I think I might have dozed off  a little during the yoga nidra portion. I don't remember all of it. I know I became aware again when I heard the phrase 'I am always safe in the center of my being'.  How true that is. When I feel scared and unsure, I can feel safe again by getting low, getting quiet and tuning inward.

I left the studio emotionally drained yet lighter. And more calm than I have felt in a long time.

And I got home in time to eat too much junk food and watch football with friends and family.

Tonight, as I was browsing through Facebook, I saw this notification:

Today, Jennifer, we believe God wants you to know that ...
if you relax, it comes.
Don't seek, don't search, don't ask, don't knock, don't demand - relax. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, God shows you the way.

How appropriate for my day. Instead of muscling my way through a yoga practice and trying to sweat out the voices in my head, I got quiet. I got still. And my path became a bit more clear.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

#TBT: 44 For My Next 44 - a look back at 2014

Two years ago on my birthday I wrote a list of 44 things I'd like to do in my next 44 years.  Last year when I looked back I surprised myself by how much I had accomplished in just one year.

Looking back through my list this year I realize I've made some pretty good progress again!

  1. Travel more - My new state this year was Portland, Oregon. It's beautiful! And I was excited like a kid when I saw Christmas trees growing on the beach! The kids and I also took our first post-divorce family vacation to Pinnacle Mountain Arkansas. And kid 2 and I rode bikes all over New York City while we were up visiting potential colleges for him. 
  2. Dance more - It turns out I enjoy country line dancing! Who knew? 
  3. Ride in a hot air balloon
  4. Finally find a sun dress that doesn't make my butt look huge - Last year was sundresses, this summer was skirts.
  5. Skydive
  6. See the Grand Canyon
  7. Not wait for special occasions to dress up 
  8. Swim with dolphins
  9. Go on a cruise
  10. Whale watching - When I first wrote go whale watching I imagined I'd be on a boat. But no boat needed! As we were standing on the beach in Oregon my friend kept saying "I'm not sure we will see whales. It's really not the right time of year." Well, then what are those two huge gray things humping out of the water and blowing their spouts?! I was even more excited to see the whales than I was to see Christmas trees growing on the beach!
  11. Take an aerobics class in Los Angeles with Richard Simmons at his Slimmons Gym
  12. Ride a cable car in San Francisco
  13. Visit all 50 states - I added one more to my list - Oregon state! (see #1)
  14. Have more fresh flowers in my house 
  15. Take a surfing lesson
  16. Take ballroom dance lessons 
  17. Be more spontaneous 
  18. Publish my book -  It's been edited and is being read by a few trusted friends right now for their review. 
  19. Attend Summer Solstice in Times Square - I don't know why I didn't write about this at the time! I guess it was just a super busy time. But it was freaking amazing! We literally lay out our mats in the middle of Times Square and did an hour of yoga. It was kind of funny when the tour buses would pass by and wave at us. 
  20. Finish my 500 hour RYT
  21. Get back to a regular yoga practice again- sporadic at best this year but always there for me when I can be there for it. 
  22. Get back to a semi-regular meditation practice again 
  23. Stress less about finances
  24. Make time to read more - Now that I've cancelled DirectTv I'm finding not only, don't I miss it, but I am reading so much more. 
  25. Redecorate my kitchen - I totally forgot this was on my list until I looked at it! I've repainted the walls, refurbished the cabinets and - what I'm most proud of - framed my mom's handwritten recipes and hung them on my kitchen walls. The only thing left to complete the project now is the counter tops and that only needs time set aside to do it.
  26. Take more pictures - thanks to the iPhone and my Instagram account taking more pictures is easier than ever.
  27. Walk more
  28. Get a Labradoodle dog
  29. Be able to afford a house cleaner
  30. Watch my kids grow up to be healthy, productive adults - 2014 was the year I saw Kids 1 & 2 really grow up, and not just age chronologically. Kid 1 had some major life choices to make this year and I'm so proud of how far he's come. Kid 2 is looking ahead to his future and mapping out a plan to achieve what he wants. 
  31. Stay healthy into my old age
  32. Walk the beach more - the water was freezing but the beaches in Oregon are absolutely beautiful. 
  33. Take more chances
  34. Attend more live theater - this year I saw Wicked ( fabulous) and 50 Shades of Gray The Musical (almost as dumb as the books.)
  35. Find a way to combine what I love to do with a way to support myself financially
  36. Laugh more - Laughing will always make my gratitude list 
  37. See my book for sale on Amazon (see #18)
  38. Be debt free
  39. Care a little less what people think
  40. Paint a baseball field onto my backyard
  41. Take the kids to Disney World
  42. Find balance 
  43. Be happy- I've become much more aware this year of what / who makes me happy, what I'm willing to do to be happy and what / who I will not allow to rob me of my happiness.