Yesterday I got a call from a sweet man who does some work at our place every year.  He’s about 70, nice guy.  The first thing he said to me is “boy, you sure do sound good.”  I’ve only met this man about three times in three years.  His response surprised me.  I answered him honestly, saying, that yes, I was feeling good.  It made me step back and become the observer, of me, and he was right, I sound different.  And it’s not that I wasn’t happy one year ago or two, I was.  But there is another aspect of me that has pulled into my parking space and she is having quite a time of it, in a good way.
So that comment tied into something I read this morning after my meditation, in one of our books, The Yamas & Niyamas, by Deborah Adele.  In her chapter Reviewing the Niyamas, she writes something that resonated with me. I will quote, “Several years ago I made a major change in my life.  Events came together in such a way that I asked myself the question, ‘Just how good can I feel?’  I began to wonder if every year I could feel better and have more vitality and clarity.  At the time, this question felt radical to me as I looked around at the American expectations of aging.  But I decided it was worth the experiment and that I would make choices in diet, activity, and thinking that would support this exploration.”
I think this is, as my British peeps would say, brilliant.  Challenging yourself to see just how happy you can be?  When do we hear that?  We hear people talking about being as successful and rich as they can be, but how many times do we hear them talk about working to become as happy as they can be?  I don’t know about you, but I really love that concept.
And then a page later in her chapter Moving On, she makes an analogy about what I would define as manifesting, making a choice to be different, to go where you might be a little uncomfortable to go, in the pursuit of what will truly fulfill you.  Again, I will quote, her words are so perfect.
“As a child, I loved pretending I was a horse.  Not just any horse, but a beautiful, black, fast horse, freely galloping over open countryside and taking giant leaps over anything in my way.
“Although my relationship with horses has remained in my imagination, I still love them.  They are beautiful animals and I brim with the thrill of watching them race with strength and grace on an open field or take those beautiful leaps in equestrian competition.  The theologian Peter Marty, in speaking about equestrian competition, had some interesting observations.  He stated, ‘Those of us whose only contact with the world of equestrian competition is via the television set find the elegance and ease of those leaping beasts to be almost surreal.  We marvel at the calmness of the riders.  We admire the cool focus as they vault their way over the hurdles (and wonder if those riders have) some extra instinct that the rest of us lack.’
“Marty further went on to talk about equestrian training.  He noted that one of the most common obstacles all riders face is their own perception.  Much time in training is devoted to the skill of the rider’s own perception.  It is known in the equestrian world, that unless a rider can approach these upcoming barriers with a kind of ‘anticipatory confidence,’ they will never be able to make these great leaps with their horses.  Peter noted that one trainer put it this way:  You have to ‘take your heart and throw it over the fence.  Then jump after it.’”
I absolutely love this, and isn’t this what we all should be doing every day?  Throw our hearts over the fence, just a different way to say follow your heart, but these words give me such a visual for the act.
My dear friends at work and I have been sharing with each other the stress of our upcoming changes, one in particular that is fearful of what lies ahead, and knows where she wants to be, but also not at a place where she can quite yet make that happen.  Another friend who knows exactly where his heart would take him if he threw it over the fence, but the risk feels enormous.  We are lucky, we have become like family, so we share our fears and sorrows with each other.
For my coworker who needs to wait a few years, she just needs to keep her eye on her dream, know that it’s waiting for her. Know that keeping that dream alive is an important step toward making it happen.  When we went sailing a few weeks back, Scott, our skipper, gave us important safety instructions as we were leaving dock.  He told us, among other things, that if anyone went overboard, that it was each and every person’s job to keep our eye on the person in the water.  His words exactly were, “DO NOT, under any circumstances, take your eyes off the person in the water.”  At one point during the day, someone’s hat flew off, and we used it as a drill, so to speak.  Scott tried to maneuver the boat all the while shouting, “Keep your eye on the hat.  Under no circumstances lose sight of that hat.” It was done in fun, but it was a sobering and educational exercise, because in the currents and movement of the boat, it is so easy to lose sight.  I think only one person was able to keep the hat in view.
This morning as I’m writing this, I keep thinking of that hat bobbing in the water and what a great analogy it is with respect to keeping your dreams in sight.  Life is like that boat with the currents and wind and sails and waves, and it’s no wonder we can lose sight of our dreams.  It takes a vigilant effort.  Keeping sight of a person in the water can save their life.  The same might be said of keeping your dreams in sight.
Stay vigilant.  Make happiness your priority.  Take a deep yogi breath, and throw your heart over the fence.  Life is short.  Make it count.
Back one more time tomorrow.  So much to share this week.

One Woman's Mission

This is the post I was excited to write, because it’s one of my favorite topics.  I should know better than to hype it too much, as that’s usually a mistake.  But no matter, tally ho, hip hip, here it is for better or worse.
I’ve always loved dreaming, wishing, manifesting … anything along those lines.  My favorite necklace which I wear most days says “dream” in Chinese.  I love any form of wishing, first star of the night, wishbone, or a penny on the ground.  If I am fortunate enough to find a penny on the ground, I need to pick it up.  And if for some reason I feel silly picking it up, middle of a crowded grocery store as one example, it just kills me to walk past it relinquishing that chance at a new wish.
In recent years I have gravitated toward the grown-up version of wishing, also known as manifesting.  I just find the whole concept so interesting, and at this stage of my life, I am one hundred percent sure that it is effective and certainly does influence my life.  It’s easier to see in hindsight.  If I look back over my life, I can see the intricate webbing that wrapped around my desires that in time became my realities.
There are many teachings that support my thinking, The Secret probably one of the most well-known books on the subject.  What I find interesting is that I remember my power, and then forget it, and remember it, and forget it.  I live mostly in the forgetful stage.  I haven’t really figured out why that is.  But no matter the reason, I am always delighted to remember that I do have power over my destiny both in terms of what I think and what I do.
What I have come to believe is that the universe is always working with us to accomplish our dreams and goals, as long as … and this is an important part … we have pure intentions void of ill will, and that we are also willing to pitch in and work toward our goal.  I also am convinced that at times, the universe will tweak our wishes a bit to fit what is available, but that usually I’m more than happy with the tweaks, and more times than not, it’s even better than what I tried to accomplish.  I’ve come to count on that, and now offer that up when I am manifesting.
One last component is that we humans do not need to figure out how the universe will offer what we are manifesting, that’s up to the universe.  And this is important to me, because otherwise I will start telling myself all the reasons why I don’t see it happening, in effect, sabotaging my dream before I even get started.  I just project, and if I find myself doubting, I just say to myself, “well, that’s for the universe to figure out.”
We have learned about and studied more topics than I can even count at this point in our class, and we have spoken a great deal about intentions which go hand in hand with manifesting.  One of my teammates posted a great blog about manifesting with the moon’s cycles http://ashleyneese.com/set-intentions-new-moon/.  And being a landscaper, this appeals to me, since I’ve believed for years that we humans mimick nature in all ways.  When Rick’s grandfather planted his garden, he planted by the phases of the moon.  Why should our seeds be any different?
Tying this subject together with my yoga teacher training, I came across a card I had sitting on my desk at Virgin America for the last few years.  I love this card designer www.curlygirldesign.com, the cards make me smile.  I brought the card back home recently as we have begun clearing our desks for the end of our employment which is nearing quickly, and I put it aside without even thinking about it.  You know how when you look at something day in and day out, you begin to look right through it after time  (one of the reasons I like to change out my artwork around my house, so that I have a new eye toward its beauty when I rehang it again.)
Last week I saw the card going through some paperwork, and began to really look at it again.  Now mind you, I placed this card on my desk at Virgin America when I had absolutely no intention of taking a yoga teacher training class.  I liked yoga, no doubt, but hadn’t been practicing it for a few years by the time I chose to make this card something I would look at every day.  The message simply resonated with me and I thought it would be nice to look at while I was working.
Reacquainting myself with the card last week, paying close attention to the small details, I had to laugh, a woman with a mission, an open heart, a voice and yoga.  (Hmmmm, sounds vaguely like a woman taking a yoga teacher training class and sharing her experience in a blog.)  I believe manifesting can be a conscious act, and I also believe it can be done by the part of ourselves that knows before we do what we need and want.   I spent many hours at that desk doing something that did not bring joy to my heart.  I enjoyed my coworkers, but listening to vast numbers of complaints can be a bit disheartening.  I dreamed about the day I would get back to my passion of writing and returning to the pastimes I had enjoyed in the past, one of them being yoga.
And here I am, writing a blog and studying yoga.  That realization lights me up like that first star out every night I love to wish on. Manifesting is magical stuff.  If you do it, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t, try it.  Be open and hopeful, and toss out the doubt.  And above all, be patient.  It’s a journey, and it takes time to realize our heart’s desires.
There’s a line at the end of another of my favorite movies, “Under the Tuscan Sun” that I’ve always loved.  I think of it often and it warms me from the inside out, as does the movie.
“They say they built the train tracks over the Alps between Vienna and Venice before there was a train that could make the trip.  They built it anyway.  They knew one day the train would come.
“Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere.  I would be different.  What are four walls anyway? They are what they contain.  A house protects the dreamer.  Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game.  It’s such a surprise.”
Here’s to good things, wishes, surprises and believing …
Cover photo is from curly girl design, www.curlygirldesign.com