Posts In: change

Yoga and racism

June 9, 2020

Your yoga practice doesn’t happen in a vacuum. How you “be” on the mat moves into the world. Whatever you’re experiencing off the mat impacts your practice on the mat. And the bulk of your practice actually happens off the mat. Yoga is more than asana and breath. 

Like many of you I have been saddened as I learn more about the racism that is such an ingrained part of our country. Of course I knew that racism existed. I grew up in rural Indiana with only two black students in my class of 365. As an adult I thought I was a good ally. Now I’m seeing that I have more to learn and to do. 

Attending Salem’s local march with 2000 people in attendance was uplifting and encouraging. But I also know this is only a start for the real change that needs to happen to bring equality to our country.

While I’m turning to trusted sources for information like this https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR29xdWzzYUpcDUx3ShKh-ntnb12qKsZrQA7HZAgyo_K6tfSuRBO63pax2w

and this 

https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

I’m also turning to yoga for guidance. 

Yama Help

Yoga has eight limbs and In class we focus on limb three, asana or postures, and limb four, breathe work or pranayama. I bet you’re wondering what limb one and two are, right?

Yama, limb one, is about staying away from unhealthy behaviors, words, and thoughts. It’s about returning to our true nature. That true nature is wholeness and love. We live in a broken world which often negates our wholeness rather than connecting us with it. In order to see that true nature in others we have to find it in ourselves. Limb two is Niyama which helps us in our aim toward harmony. 

There are five Yamas and all can help guide us during rough times. I wanted to focus on the first Yama, ahimsa, often translated as non-harming. Think reverence, love, and compassion for all. 

My way to approach ahimsa is to first look inward. How am I being loving to myself? How can I show myself more compassion? 

These are tough times. You may be triggered by the racism that is being filmed, discussed, and shared. You may be triggered by what you find inside as you look at how you may have been unknowingly contributed or been an unhelpful bystander. I am personally taking a hard look at myself, what I value and how those values show up. 

A friend shared this tool with me 

https://medium.com/@alishiamccullough/the-7-circles-of-whiteness-cb60e53d14e0 

I’ve found it to be helpful to look at where I live around the issue of racism. I aspire to circle 7 and I have work to do. When checking out the article be sure and check out her questions in the beginning. Great coaching questions and a way to bring in self-compassion during the discovery process. We can’t share what we don’t have. As you deepen your self-love and reverence, you can find more for others. And right now our world needs that. 

How that shows up for you will be your unique blend. I encourage you to step into a more active role for equality. Refer to the list of above if you’re not sure where to begin. Be sure to season this work with love for yourself as you imperfectly move forward as well as love for those you encounter on this journey. 

I’d love to hear your rescues in the comments.

Don’t “Just Do It”

January 18, 2020

I’m guessing you’ve heard of the “Just do it” slogan. Who hasn’t? Sure seems to work well for Nike. After all they’ve been using it since 1988.

But I don’t think it works well as an approach to change. In fact, I think it’s one of the common mistakes we make when facing a transition.

I’m not saying you don’t need to take action to live your purpose. You do. But we’re told as we plan and dream for the future that moving into action is key. I hear people say things like “massive action,” “fast action,” or we need to “jump into action.” More and quicker activity seems to be the focus.

To everything there is a season

But there’s a time for rest, for a pause. To regroup.

Look at nature. I don’t stand on my deck in the rain yelling at the deciduous trees in my woods to get their leaves on.  Those oaks and maples are in resting phase right now.

Sometimes you need a resting phase too.

Sometimes “just doing it” is inappropriate for where you are in your process.  Jumping into action, especially random action, often causes more harm than good.

If you’ve been putting off working on your dreams because you’re afraid or you don’t know where to start you may think I just gave you permission to rest, to do nothing. Not so.

Discernment

Can you see how useful it would be to know when you should move into action and when you should pause? Is that a skill you’ve honed?

Can you also feel how important it is to know how to spend that precious pause? You might think it’s solely for Netflix binging, but it’s not.

Your thoughts?

Call Me Bigfoot

January 15, 2020

You don’t get to choose if you’ll have change in your life. Yes, you can be intentional about inviting it in or holding it back.

But at some point, in some way, your life will shift.

More than once.

And when those transitions come you get to decide how to dance with that change. Sometimes it can feel graceful, a thing of beauty. And other times it’s painful, even embarrassing.

Would you swipe right?

So what’s your relationship with change? Would you select something new if your life choices appeared on a dating app? If you’re like me, it probably depends upon what is transforming, what those choices are.

Right now I’m looking forward to different weather when I head to Mexico for my annual retreat in a week and half. It’s in the 30s-40s here with some snow. But in a week I’m headed to 70s-90s and sunshine.

I feel differently about the changes that arrived along with having broken my ankle several days ago. I was helping my mom move from her longtime home in the Midwest to an independent living facility. On my last trip out of the house I missed the edge of a little plastic step into the garage that had been moved and fell.

Making friends with change

I’m not fighting the changes brought by my injury. I’ve done that plenty of times and it’s not very productive. In fact, it’s delayed healing and created more suffering for me.

So instead, I’m embracing the change that my temporary disability brings. I’m feeling my feelings. Of course I’m disappointed I can’t drive a car, walk on the beach in Mexico, or in my woods right for some weeks. But I’m mostly feeling grateful. Here are a few of the things for which I’m feeling appreciative.

  • Minor break and that will heal completely in weeks.
  • Little discomfort
  • Support of strangers who helped me in the airport as I flew home with crutches and an aircast.
  • My spouse, Theresa, and friend, Paula, who picked my car and me up in Portland since I was planning on driving home.
  • My healer friends who’ve sent energy my way.
  • My clients who have all been understanding of me cancelling their upcoming appointments.

I can’t say that moving into appreciation right away has been my go to when it comes to change. One of the advantages of struggling with it is that I’ve gotten good at recognizing some of the common mistakes we make whether hurtling or shuffling toward something new and different. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to embrace change rather than struggle with it. Over the next few days I’ll be sending you some articles about change and some of those common mistakes.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Where do you struggle with transition in your life? Do you relate to any of these mistakes?

Got Feelings?

November 28, 2019

I’m spending a few days in Yachats, my favorite spot on the Oregon coast. Last week while trying to arrange a time to get together with my friend, Jen, we discovered that she was headed to the same section of beach at the same time. Yesterday she and her two kids joined me for lunch at the Drift Inn on their way south. 

While we were dining, Jen was telling me about her new office space. Her son mentioned that it was her seventh space. I could only remember three so I asked. Turns out there have only been three spaces, but he likes stability. He’s a wise old soul in an 11-year-old body. During his 11 years he has moved a lot. His comment, “I wish we’d just stay somewhere for a decade” contrasted with Jen’s comment about needing adventure. 

Because I’m upgrading the Embrace Change course I offered this summer my antennae are set to pick comments about change. In the course we start with ‘Be Here Now.’ Where you are is where you are. That means it’s okay whether you’re resisting change or seeking an adventure at every opportunity. If you try to push past your very real and important feelings, you either stay stuck or sabotage yourself. I hear women beat themselves up because of that self-sabotage. They feel weak, lazy, or undisciplined. My experience with many women over the years says that is a lie. 

Twenty years ago a friend told me that she liked the rut she was in. You won’t be surprised she lives in the same house she lived in twenty years ago. Another friend has lived in seven states during that same time. Because your brain wants to keep you safe you’ll seek out an amount of change that fits your personality and history. If a change doesn’t feel safe you’ll do what you can to block that change. I used to work with a woman who lost 100 pounds. She confided in me that being a size six never felt safe to her. She felt more secure after she regained the weight.  

Yes, your brain wants you to be safe, but it also wants stimulation. In the midst of change it’s important to honor all of you–your emotions, your energy level, your history, your comfort zone, your values, etc.  If the change you’re facing (or the change you’re hoping for) impacts others you may feel a tug between your emotions and the emotions of others. If you’re a people pleaser then you are at particular risk for not honoring your feelings. 

It might seem like I’m saying you can stay right where you are because of your feelings. Not at all. I have a possible change in my life right now that scares me. (I’ll let you know if it happens.) I know I need to make room for my feelings regarding the change. Am I up to it? What ripple changes will result and will I like them? Will I be rejected because of my choices? The fear and anxiety I feel around those questions and the possible change deserve my attention. But I won’t stay stuck. 

In Embrace Change we don’t move from ‘Be Here Now’ to ‘Stay Right Here.’ In fact once we tend to our feelings we start to move into action. Some people will tell you to get right into action. Sometimes that does the trick. But I’ve worked with enough smart, driven people to tell you that it usually doesn’t. 

I remember a woman I worked with about eight years ago. She knew she would benefit from going to bed earlier to increase the hours of quality sleep she was getting. She knew that getting better sleep would support her health, her relationships, and business goals. Plenty of motivation. But setting that intention and taking action wasn’t enough. She’d stick to it for a day or two, then find herself working late or surfing Facebook well past her intended bedtime. She felt motivated and she knew how to move into action. But she hadn’t addressed some underlying emotions and needs. 

Whether the change in your life is one you’ve been wishing for or has snuck into your life I invite you to find a space to honor what you’re feeling. In the Embrace Change course (stay tuned for details) I give tools, guidance, and coaching around how to do this. In the meantime you may want to explore your feelings. When you think about the change you are facing (or are inviting in) what do you feel? Notice if you feel stirred up or find it hard to move past thinking. Do you feel a cocktail of emotions? I’d love to hear what came up for you. 

Leaving Stuck

July 12, 2019

A friend asked how happy I was in my marriage. “80-90%” I replied.

“Wow, that’s pretty high,” said my friend who felt unhappy in his marriage.

I don’t know how most people would rate their relationship to happiness, but I was pretty happy. My husband treated me in a kind and supportive manner. In fact, he encouraged all my life choices, even those that impacted his life.

Me: “I want to move to Oregon.”
Him: “Let me go there and check it out.” Then later, “Okay, let’s move.”

Me: “I think I’m going to massage school.”
Him: “That sounds great.”

Me: “I think I’m going to quit my job (with benefits and a salary) and start doing massage full time (as a self-employed person.”)
Him: “Okay.”

No push back. No shaming. No questioning my choices. That was healing for me. His support helped me make scary choices that moved me forward on my life path.

My family loved him and I loved his family. Still do. We both appreciated nature, a simple lifestyle, and adored our pets. We enjoyed travel and socializing with our friends.

And Then I Left Him.

To be clear I didn’t leave him because he was kind and supportive. Those reasons, along with common values, kept me in the relationship. That and fear. And maybe some hope.

Leaving took me two and half years. Even though I was mostly happy in the relationship I knew something was missing. When I would talk with my husband about my feelings he assured me everything was fine. It was from his perspective.

I value connection. In fact, it’s one of my top values (and even one of my super powers. I love connecting clients and friends with the perfect resource, service, tool or themselves.) I’m not interested in superficial relationships. Not with my family, my friends, or my clients. Especially not with my primary partner. I wanted a partner. I want soulful partnerships with all the important people in my life. My ex and I were good companions, but we weren’t partners. 

The Cost of Staying

I could have stayed. Staying, in some ways, would have been easier. I tried to stay. I explored what was missing in my relationship and looked at how we could heal that.One of my wise friends asked what would be different if I left. I pictured a neater house, flowers in the front flowerbed, a new couch. Superficial stuff really. I guess that’s why buying a new couch didn’t work.

While I was trying to fix or fill the lack I felt, I was also considering my attraction to women. You might assume that the issue in my relationship was that my husband had the wrong equipment.That being a lesbian was my reason for leaving. But it wasn’t. I wasn’t seeking a certain gender. I craved connection. Partnership.

Over the years while I sifted and sorted my relationship I stayed stuck. I felt afraid to leave. Could I make it on my own? Would I be alone the rest of my life? Staying felt like I was agreeing to a life that was less than what I wanted. But leaving scared me. So I stayed.

Wisdom from My Body

Then my body said, “no.”

My mother had ovarian cancer. So did my paternal grandmother. And my maternal grandfather’s sister. I listen to my ovaries. When I started to have pain I took my one precious body to my OBGYN. When she palpated my belly she could feel something that didn’t feel normal to her. And I felt even more pain.

An ultrasound revealed nothing. The verdict: an ovarian cyst had ruptured during the exam. While I was waiting for the results (and trying not to freak out) I drew my ovaries. I can’t tell you what the drawing looked like, but the message was clear. My body was letting me know that I needed to choose me. I needed to make a move. 

I moved into a little rental on a creek and started dating a lovely woman who I now call my wife. Actually she’s weddingtechnically my wife, but I call her my partner because that is what she is. While I’ve never regretted my brave move to get unstuck, I do wish I’d been brave sooner.It took listening. It took courage. I lost a few friends in the process. But I came out (no pun intended) happier and healthier. 

If you’re in a stuck place, know that I get you.I’ve been there more than once. I’ve been there more than twice. I’m here to tell you that finding a way to move from stuckness, to embrace change in a way that feels honoring and manageable, is life giving. You came here to live a full life. The life of your dreams. A 100% life, not an 80% life.

 ps. I’m offering a free four week class starting on Monday July 15 called Embrace Change:

You’re a woman ready to embrace change, even if it scares you. You want to live your dream life. But fear, self-sabotage, doubt and stress block you from making the progress you’d love. You’re tired of feeling unsuccessful. Learn how to be present with where you are rather than feeling embarrassed or overwhelmed. You’ll learn to take manageable baby steps toward your goals, steps that allow you to maintain your wellness and inner balance. You’ll move past feeling stuck and fatigued to a place of confidence and energy for your next steps.

You can apply here

Ready to Get Aligned & Thrive?

Be in the know. Articles, videos, upcoming events...