Meditation

I want to start by saying how nice it is to share what I’m learning with all of you.  Your responses remind me of something I already know, but sometimes forget, that we are all much more alike than we are different.  With that said, here’s another new idea I’m trying out.   I’ve started getting up about 30 minutes earlier than usual to meditate and read/study.  Thirty minutes earlier, for me, is about 4:45 or 5:00 a.m.  Let me just say, I’m a sleeper.  I love to sleep, and I really love to SLEEP IN.  I am not one of those people who rises bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the sun.  No, the sun can be doing its thing and I am still sleeping like a baby.  Any of our friends who stay with us can attest to the fact that I am typically the last person to make it to the kitchen in the morning.  Everyone is usually sitting around on their second cup of coffee when I saunter out.  So, making the commitment to get up even earlier than I already do for work, is really saying something.

But, wait for it, I have to admit it’s pretty magical.  This practice was suggested by our teachers, and I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s important to pick a pleasant quiet spot, a place that feels good to you.  I chose a corner in my living room, close to the windows.  It’s still dark at that time, so I turn the light on over the chair on the lowest setting, grab something warm to drink, and nestle into the chair with my favorite blanket.  Our assignments include meditating, reading, chanting, journaling, so I have plenty to do.  There really is something special about the wee morning hours, it’s so quiet and peaceful.  I enjoyed it so much the first morning I tried it, that I’ve done it every morning since.  It’s quickly becoming a favorite part of my day.

Early morning (sorry, Cassie, I’ll understand if this isn’t your favorite post) is really such a wondrous time, peaceful and serene and full of promise.  I find a marked difference in what I retain when I read early, as opposed to during the day or at the end of the day when I’m tired.  And with that thinking in mind, if we need to problem solve, let’s say, a dilemma at our workplace, or trouble with our children or our mate, parents, friends, whatever, the same principles must apply.  Giving yourself a quiet time where you can concentrate fully on problem solving, the end result can’t help but be different.

I’m smiling to myself as I write this, thinking about how I’ve historically resolved issues I might be having.  If I’m stressed about a situation, I will undoubtedly worry about it during my packed day, with twenty different tasks or interactions going on, at least, (I’m sure you are no different) and my little voice will be interrupting me constantly saying, “Hey, Sue, how are you going to fix this?  Hey Sue, what are you thinking?  Hey Sue, why not try this?  Hey Sue, I don’t think you are listening to me. Hey, Sue, come on, we need to fix this.  Oh, and hey Sue, did I happen to mention you need to fix this?”

Really, is it any wonder that I am able to stay worried or upset about a problem for long periods of time, when I don’t set myself up for success?  Comparing it to the workplace, it’s unlikely a manager would schedule an important meeting with his employees to work on an upcoming project, and then invite a traveling circus to assemble in the conference room as well.  I don’t know about you, but on any given day, my mind can be a little bit like a circus!

Anyway, you get the point.  Just thirty minutes even once a week can’t help but bring about some positive thoughts/realizations/inspirations/solutions, on top of the fact that meditation is healthy for your heart/blood pressure/digestion just to name a few.

Last night I woke up about 3:00 and stayed awake for quite some time, so many thoughts going through my mind (hey, could you keep it down, I’m trying to sleep here) until just about the time the alarm was going to go off.  Of course, that’s when I was just starting to sink back into some nice sleep.  Surprisingly when my alarm did go off, even though I was tired, I decided I would still get up because I knew that the 30-45 minutes I spent with my morning meditation would probably bring me a greater reward than trying to get in that extra sleep.

And my new-found ritual did not disappoint.  I think this one’s a keeper.

Let me know if any of you try it.  I’ll be interested to see if you find it as enjoyable and beneficial as I do.  There are many different ways you might spend your time, whatever feels right for you.  I like to meditate for the first half of my time, and then read and plan the second half, but that’s just me.

Whatever you do, make it pleasant, whatever that means for you.

I am excited for my next post.  It might be a little lengthy, so if I’m able to complete it today I will post it tomorrow.  If not, it will be my first one next week.  Have a great day all.  And as always, thanks for tunin’ in.

Namaste

Enough

One of the major themes throughout our two weeks in class has been self-acceptance.  Our instructors have done a fabulous job of teaching us to look at how we speak to others as well as ourselves.  It’s a bit surprising to realize just how much I apologize, for this, that and the other.  In the first few days, our teachers would stop us in our tracks when the words  “I’m sorry” came out of our mouths.  By the second weekend, the teachers didn’t even need to say a word.  If one of us was speaking in front of the group and began to say “I’m sorry” you’d see the speaker’s face flinch as if they’d been jolted with a small amount of electricity.  We looked like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs.

It’s not as easy as you’d think to stop saying you’re sorry.  Tess, our female teacher, is such a little spitfire, I just love her.  And man, she just peers into your face and asks you, “WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR?  WHY ARE YOU SORRY?”  And she means it, she wants an explanation for why you are sorry.  In most cases, I find myself realizing I’m not really sorry at all.

There has been a major focus on the idea of being enough, and accepting that we are always enough at all times, regardless of what we can and can’t do, what we do and don’t have, that we are right where we need to be at that moment in time.  Interesting concept for some of us.  It’s so easy to always have my eye on something I think I want or need, or something I need to change about myself.  And not enough time is spent appreciating what is, right now, just this, just me, nothing more, nothing less, this moment being perfect.

The instructors have definitely gotten their point across in a short time, as  I am finding myself contemplating the concept of acceptance and enough throughout my days.  I think of myself as a pretty confident and happy person, but I have to be honest, I say I’m sorry a lot now that I pay attention.  The hike I talked about in my last post, I spent the whole way up saying I was sorry and thanking my angels.  They kept saying, no need to be sorry.  And they were right.  Why would I need to be sorry to someone else for my fear, and needing to take breaks to catch my breath when I’m not used to a hike like that.   WHY WOULD I BE SORRY FOR THAT?  Yet, there I was … sorry.

Check it out yourself, just pay attention to your thoughts, how many negative thoughts run through your brain in an hour, or a day?  We humans can be damn tough on ourselves.

With this philosophy in mind, I will share a really nice realization I had on Saturday evening when I left yoga.  Part of our homework has been to clean and clear our spaces, both internally and externally.  We were asked to purge our surroundings of unnecessary objects.  Since Rick and I moved in the last few years, I don’t have very many items left that need purging, but I did have a pile of old videos from my mom’s stuff sitting on my dresser.  It seemed the perfect place to start my assignment.

On Thursday night after dinner, I got comfortable and started to play each video.  Some were my kids from their preschool years, but there were two in particular that were films my mother had transferred onto video, and they dated back to when I was a toddler.  It was a collection of images, no sound, myself and my cousins going down a slide at the San Francisco zoo, our parents dressed in their Sunday best laughing among themselves, chasing after us, and others with just my parents and I.

I sat somewhat mesmerized studying the films, yearning to see more, searching their faces and actions for some clue as to how these seemingly happy people became what I would remember them as, two very unhappy and unfulfilled souls.  I finished looking at the tapes and went to sleep that night feeling so sad.

As I drove to yoga on Friday night, I was listening to the Beatles station on Sirius radio.  They were playing a collection all weekend of the Beatles’ top 50 love songs as voted on by the listeners, I’m sure in honor of Valentine’s Day.  For anyone who hasn’t listened to the station, they will put together a collection and then play it over and over all weekend, it just loops around and around.  I came in at the beginning of the songs working down from No. 50.  As I came through the canyon they played Julia, which is a song written for John’s mom, I believe, after her death.

I couldn’t help thinking about my mom, and still feeling melancholy from watching the tapes.  I found myself thinking how sad our life together had been, so much unhappiness and turmoil, and feeling like we had wasted our precious time on this earth together.  The mood hung in most of the night, and when I drove home around 9:30 coming through the canyon, Julia played again.  And then again the next morning, and then again the following evening. Coincidence?  I’m only in my car 20-40 minutes depending on where the class is, Auburn or Roseville.  I’m not sure what the odds are of coming into the rotation at the same place every time I get in the car, but I thought about heading to Reno to do a little gambling since my mom seemed to be in my back pocket.

Saturday morning my mood shifted and I welcomed the song, enjoyed my drive through the canyon and greeted the new day with an open heart.   What would day five of this adventure bring?  It was an eventful day in class, lots of yoga and instruction, but what would be the most important part of the day would come as Julia once again played on my way home (of course it did).

Instead of thinking my mom and I had wasted our time together, I asked myself “what if what we had together was enough? What if it was just what it was supposed to be?”  With that door open, my mind raced remembering what I’ve always believed, that we come here to learn and that sometimes our lessons are hard.  With that thinking in mind, then truly my mom and I kicked some ass in this lifetime.  We’d hiked our own trail straight up a rock hill and parachuted down to the river below.  Just maybe I had this all wrong.  Amazing.

And if all that is true, then it would explain my reaction when my mom did finally pass. Hospice had called early that morning to let me know she was close.  She’s been close for three months, but this day was different and I knew it the moment I walked into her room.  I settled into the big blue chair next to her bed with my book.  I’d pretty much said everything I needed to her in the previous three months, so there was no need for words at this point.  She was already somewhere far away.  I watched her breathing all morning, reading a page or two, and glancing up.  Although her breathing was labored, she was interestingly very quiet.  I could not rely on sound to monitor her.

At some point mid morning, I glanced up and found she had made her way ever so peacefully after such an arduous journey.  I sat watching her for a few moments and once I knew for sure her chest would not rise again, I said, “Mom, I didn’t even hear you leave.” I let the tears come, and after a few minutes, the next words out of my mouth were, “We made it, Mom.  We did it.”

They are interesting words for someone who has just lost her mother.  They were not words prepared or thought about beforehand.  They were the words of my heart, and what I was feeling.  And I don’t know about you readers, but to me, they sound like the words of a gal who made it with her mom to the top of the lookout.

I will close with the words of one of my favorite songs from You’ve Got Mail, hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melody.  For some reason, I do believe,  in this lifetime we choose to forget what we know in order to learn our lessons.  It’s nice when we remember …

“Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes

Remember is a place from long ago

Remember FILLED WITH EVERYTHING YOU KNOW

Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down

REMEMBER TURN AROUND

Remember life is just a memory

Remember close your eyes and you can see

Remember think of all that life can be

Remember-

Dream, love is only in a dream, remember –

Remember life is never as it seems. Dream

Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes”

 

Remember lyrics – Harry Nilsson

http://www.harrynilsson.com/

 

If I walk away from this class with nothing more than this realization, it will be enough. But between you and me, I’m not thinking that I’m done.  Until we meet next week,

Namaste

 
Picture taken on our sunrise hike to the outlook over the American River, Overlook Park, Auburn, Ca.

Angels

I don’t even know where to begin with this weekend.  I think I’ll work backwards and share in two posts.  So let’s start with Sunday, a day I will surely remember for a long time.  Our group began our five-mile hike (one mile down, four miles up … I know, it doesn’t add up, but that’s sure what it felt like) at 5:30 a.m. through the canyon to reach a beautiful outlook where we could watch the sunrise and meditate.

Typically hiking for Rick and I consists of a nice wide carved out path, some hills, but in most cases just a nice Sunday hike by the river.  Let me also say that as I’ve aged, I’ve come to fear some things I did not fear in my youth, such as jumping from rocks into the water below and … wait for it … climbing rocks, especially a rock hill that from my vantage point looks to be about a 90-degree climb.

I was in the group bringing up the rear, so most of the tribe was already half way up the hill, maybe more.  I literally stopped in my tracks when I realized I was being asked to go UP the hill.  I glanced around for the trail that most assuredly must be off to the left for the peeps who don’t mountain climb. No such luck, no trail, and time to climb.  Oh, and by the way, careful cuz there’s moss and water in quite a few areas.

It’s been quite some time since I can even remember reacting like I did yesterday, I just dug my heels in and started crying. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a crier, but not usually because I’m afraid.  I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m grateful, when you cry, when the sky is pretty, you name it, I cry … but not usually because I’m scared.  In my head I was screaming, “No, not happening! I didn’t sign up for this.”  (Yoga … yoga is what I signed up for, not mountain climbing.)

But you see, yoga is about self-discipline, moving beyond what you believe you can do, into what you actually can do.  I feel certain our teachers thought long and hard about the group and its abilities before they chose this hike, and in the end, they were accurate in their assessments.

I had a handful of angels surrounding me, as always, but these were the kind that I could physically touch and lean on, which came in handy.  I told them in no uncertain terms that I was not going up the hill, and that I could sit on the rock right where I was and meditate and watch the sunrise and that I could rejoin them when they came back down the hill.   My classmates, Kyleigh and Molly, reluctantly informed me that the group was not coming back this way, it was up and out from the lookout.  (Seriously?)

I’ve never really liked being left out of something, so thank goodness for that yesterday.  And thank goodness for my angels.  They just went into action like a team, Kyleigh and Molly offering their hands to hold, climbing ahead of me to pull me up, Molly giving me her headlamp to light my way, Kyleigh supplying the Kleenex for my running nose thanks to my tears, Patrick taking my backpack to lighten my load and offering a shove up on the first rock, which was a large rock to climb for these short little legs.  He offered hesitantly, as the only way to shove me was putting his hands on my ass.  My answer, “Shove away, Patrick.  No room for modesty at this point.”  (I later joked with him that it was the highlight of the hike.)

I cried probably the first five minutes of the ascent.  I’m not sure what was worse, my fear, or my bruised ego.  I’ve always been a doer, and not let too much get in my way.  And having grown up an only child of two alcoholics, I learned at an early age to count on myself, so it’s not easy for me to ask for or to accept help.

My inner voice was screaming at me, but as I negotiated each new rock, she started to quiet down a bit (man, is she ever noisy when she’s upset.)  And by the time we reached the midpoint of the hill, I found myself welcoming the help that was being given.  It’s nice to receive without resistance, but not easy.  Many of you who are also independent might relate to that tendency to want to decline accepting help, in whatever form it might take.  It’s so much easier sometimes to say, ”no thanks, I got this,” than “yes, that would be nice, thanks for the help.”  Right?

Kyleigh’s mantra every few minutes was “Only five more minutes, Sue.  Only five more minutes.”   It had a nice rhythm to it, with a hint of humor, and she made me smile every time she said it.  We ascended and rested, began again until the next break, and slowly but surely, we made it up the hill.  I was greeted with applause and hugs by the tribe when I finally got to the outlook, and of course, Scott, our teacher, with the all-knowing “I told you so” look.    Amazing, my team of angels.

The vista was amazing, and as we sat facing a gorgeous sunrise, each of us in our own silent worlds, I couldn’t really meditate because my inner voice just had too much to talk about, but I was content to listen to her in that moment.  Meditation would be saved for another day.  She was proud of herself, and very happy she had taken the chance, defied her self-imposed limitations and conquered a fear.  That’s a lot of work to have accomplished by 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

As we began our jaunt back to the cars, we again were faced with the same type of rock climb , but this time I just found my girls, grabbed their hands and up we went with no hesitation, taking breaks when needed along the way.  The difference for the balance of the hike A) I wasn’t afraid any more, and B) I continued to hold their hands not so much because I needed it, but because it felt good to stay connected.  As adults we grow out of some lovely behaviors like friends holding hands.  We shouldn’t.

Close to the top, Kyleigh slipped and fell.  And guess who was holding on to keep her from sliding down?  Interesting?  They had listened to me all the way up thanking them for helping me.   In contrast, she said, “gee, if I hadn’t been holding your hand to help you, then you wouldn’t have been able to help me.”   Great food for thought.  I believe in life, we are all teachers and we are all students … it just depends on which lesson you are studying as to who is teaching who.

Our day was to continue with a 90-minute yoga class at 8:30 followed by observing a second 90-minute yoga class at 11:00.  As we gathered at the cars discussion was had within the group about all of us actually participating in both classes instead of just observing one.  Again, I thought … well, I think you guys can figure out what I thought.

But … once I got in my car and relaxed for the 20-minute drive back to the studio, I found that I wasn’t really feeling all that tired, and that if they could do, so could I.  By 12:30 p.m., much to my surprise and delight, I finished my second yoga class after a five-mile hike.  The second class was a restorative yin class, which if you’ve never taken a yin class, is an amazing experience.  Lots of deep stretches for longer periods, so relaxing.  Toward the end of class in what’s called a pigeon pose, I was lying on my stomach face down on my folded arms, soothing music filling the space.  The tears rolled down my face for the entire pose.  My heart was filled with so many emotions, pride, excitement, relief, wonder, but most of all … gratitude … for this day, for my angels, for the sunrise and for my body which has infinitely more strength than I give it credit for.

Saturday was an equally powerful day, but I will save that for my next post.

I will end with this thought … when you think you can’t … think again … and then do it even if you have to work through tears to get it done.  We have the power to create amazing possibilities in our lives.

Namaste

P.S.  Getting closer to that skydive.

Jalopy girl

Good morning, or night or afternoon, wherever or whenever you join me.  Time to fill you in a bit more about my class.  While I knew I’d be learning a lot about yoga and stretching, I had no idea how much of the class would be spent looking beyond my postures and into my heart.  I think we all to some degree spend a fair amount of time considering ourselves, our actions, our thoughts and our feelings.  It’s human nature.  But life is busy for most of us, and distractions are ever present, so we can sail through days, months, and even years in a kind of status quo.

That’s been the case for me the last few years.  I had my plate full taking care of my mom, moving, working and commuting regularly to the bay area for work, and making time to enjoy my loved ones.  This class is clearly going to allow me the opportunity to reconsider old ideas or patterns, decide if they are still working for me, and change them if they aren’t.

Each student is required to spend a fair amount of time speaking in front of the group.  After all, public speaking is a prerequisite for teaching yoga, so it’s important to become comfortable with that. Unfortunately, it’s NOT comfortable for the average person, and especially if you find yourself in front of a room of strangers and you are being asked to tell the group why you are crying.  (Do you guys have some time on your hands?  This may take a while.)  I’m not certain if all yoga instructor classes are like this one, but our teachers encourage each of us to share what we are feeling as we go through this process.  There was no shortage of tears last weekend, and I’m confident that was only the tip of the iceberg for this group of amazing old souls.

You see, each student came to this class with different desires and needs.  And after listening to each of my classmates over the weekend, I would have to say that even though we package our needs in different wrapping, bottom line is that we are all there to heal in some way.  I was so touched by each story, and so happy to be connecting with these souls for the next five weeks in their individual journeys.

You might ask, what are some of the reasons my teammates have chosen this class.  And I thought it would be nice to share a few of the backgrounds throughout my posts (of course, with their permission) but to serve as an inspiration for anyone who might be reading this blog and have similar feelings or know someone who does. Yoga is just one approach to healing or change, but the bottom line is, there is always help if we put our need out to the universe.  It’s up to us to be brave enough to, at least internally, acknowledge our true feelings.  But once we take that step, it is amazing how quickly life answers us.  Kenny always rings true … endless second chances to take it one chance at a time.  It is never too late to reinvent yourself when makin’ it don’t make it any more.

I wrote in an earlier blog what my reasons for joining the group were …  generally a desire to return to taking care of my body.  This old girl (referring to my physical body) has been taking good care of me without proper maintenance or nurturing these past few years.  She’s overdue for some attention and a good old-fashioned overhaul (I’m sounding a bit like a jalopy, right?)

But one weekend into this experience, I’m a little suspicious that my needs go a little deeper than that, and that I’ve manifested this experience to also help me heal and mourn my mom’s passing.  And most likely, there’s more I’m still unaware of.  But at this juncture, this is the view I see on my horizon.

I was so moved by each person’s story, but the one I will start with is a woman in her forties who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.  Outwardly she is the picture of health … strong, fit, with an outgoing and friendly personality.  But when she began to speak, I doubt there was a dry eye in the house as she described the fear she lives with on a daily basis … afraid she is going to die of cancer.  She expressed how tired she is of living in fear and that she chose this path to find a peacefulness and heal not only her body, but maybe more importantly at this point, her soul.

I doubt there’s many readers that can’t relate to this in some form or another, whether it’s cancer or some other life-threatening disease, and whether it’s fear for yourself or a loved one … we’ve all been there.  It’s a lonely and frightening place.  I look forward to watching her crusade against the fear, and have no doubt I will learn much from her journey.

On a lighter note, there was no shortage of down dogs, up dogs, and my body was doggone tired by Sunday afternoon (by about 2:30 all I could think was enough with the dogs!!)  We practiced both instructing and being instructed.  And you’d be surprised how hard it is to guide a pose when just learning, “inhale plank pose exhale …  uhhh …. uhhh …. inhale again … no, exhale again …. long pause … people’s faces turning red … need to think … what’s next … mind is a blank …”  It really was hilarious.  We all were novices and everyone held poses for prolonged periods of time while the “practicing teacher” was working through the mixed up jumble of words clogging their brains. It was a pretty good workout.  Lots of laughter and camaraderie as we each struggled with what might seem to be such an easy task.

But isn’t that life?  All beginnings can be challenging as we slowly learn  to master the baby steps, until one day we sail through that which at first seemed so difficult.

Tonight we begin weekend 2.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.  And this week when I pass Carmelita’s Restaurant next door, I may still eye the good-looking meals, but I will not be yearning to duck inside and call Rick to come rescue me.  I will be content to try their cuisine at some date in the future when this adventure is complete.  I have no doubt I will most likely be sitting there in tears as I wax nostalgic about my experience in this amazing class.

Moving forward … baby steps.  Life is good.

Namaste

Opening Doors

 
It’s a bit hard to even know where to start on this blog.  One weekend in, three days, nineteen hours, I write from a humbled and grateful perspective.  I marveled all weekend at how intuitive our inner voice can be, and thankful that the universe is always, even though we might not recognize it, offering up what we need.  Sometimes I think we just need to slow a bit to receive the message, as even if the sign is huge with red arrows and large letters saying “SUE TURN HERE,” traveling at a hundred miles an hour, I have been known to miss it.
I can only thank a higher power that when I found myself drawn to the little old-fashioned store front window of Eastwind Yoga in Auburn, that I paid attention to that small flash of recognition that some might call coincidence, but I call a knowing.  At this point in my life, I no longer need an earthly explanation for some things, as there have been far too many coincidences to write off.  I simply don’t believe any longer in random coincidence.
The beginning of this training definitely lived up to its hype.  Amazing weekend … transforming already in three days … what will six weeks bring?  So many self-realizations in such a short time.  I think the best way to describe the class is that it was like having a huge mirror placed in front of you, a mirror not so much of your outward physical appearance (although that too) but one showing your soft sweet underbelly.  And my phrasing might sound pleasant here, today, Monday (as I write this), but that warm feeling came after two days of enormous upheaval in my soul.  And I think I can speak for the group when I say, I don’t think anyone was exempt from giving themselves a hard time this weekend.
Friday was surprising for me, as I had been anticipating this class for months, and the day had finally come.  But instead of being excited, I found such resistance in my heart while I gathered my belongings for class.  As I drove from home, I actually felt like crying.  I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go to this class.  I want to be home with Rick this weekend working in our yard.  What did I get myself into?”  I thought the feeling would pass as I drove through our beautiful canyon, but it did not pass.  As a matter of fact, it just kept building.  I fought back tears the whole way to Roseville.
It was my first time visiting the Eastwind Roseville location, so I found my way, and also found that there’s a really popular little Mexican restaurant right next door.  As I walked past seeing all the jovial-appearing people inside with their delicious looking meals and sparkling margaritas, I again thought, man, let’s scrap these plans and have Rick meet me here for dinner.  I did not enter my class with an open heart.  I arrived blocked and scared and very resistant.
As I walked through the doors, I realized perhaps my biggest resistance was that it’s been a long time since I’ve truly been vulnerable.  And the teachers made it clear in no time that this class would be nothing but being open and raw and vulnerable.  I’m quite sure I wasn’t the only one who left a bit shook up.
On my way out, I passed by the same quaint little Mexican restaurant as the crowd was thinning, still wishing to call Rick and have him meet me here and take me out of this fine mess I’d gotten myself into.
The drive home was filled with thoughts like, “how will I tell my bloggers that I quit one day in?”  (Holy cow … no, holy shit, not good. Check out my p.s. for a cute story about my mom and shit.  I think of my mom now whenever I say that word.”
Saturday began much the same, up at 4:30 to arrive by 6:00 to begin another day, a drive through the canyon seriously out of sorts, which is so not like me.  I usually love my drive through God’s country, how can you feel badly? (Oh, but I did.)
But when I arrived, I felt my kindred spirits around me all suffering from the same affliction of a serious case of self-doubt.  And within an hour, we were all sharing our feelings (sitting in our circle, all eyes on you, just sayin’).  It was in that moment that I let down my walls and explained truthfully how I was feeling (not the rosy picture I so like to share) and found I had plenty of expressive understanding eyes staring back at me (we speak so much more honestly with our eyes than we ever will with our mouths). 
The weekend unfolded from there and by Sunday, as I left, I drove through the canyon with gratitude in my heart, an excitement for the next five weeks, and an understanding that I’ve entered a chapter in my life that will stand out from the rest.  I believe in anyone’s Book of Life, there will be probably three to five chapters that will be pivotal in the story.  They will be filled with the moments that change your life, that point you in a new direction … and fill your gas tank for the journey.  My guess is I’ve just started one of those chapters.
I will digress just to say, on Friday, what I felt I was crying about as I drove to Roseville (which I think was only a small part of it) was my mom.  I just felt so sad thinking of her, and the realization that I would not be in this class had my mom not passed.  It all felt so connected and I felt so melancholy.
When I drove through the canyon just two days later, Sunday morning, on my way to the last class for the weekend, I passed through a thin wisp of fog before I began the descent into the canyon.  I love the pockets of fog on the road down to the river and all along the riverbank … they always transport me to such a peaceful place.  My thought as I drove through this mist was, wow, such a beautifully sheer fog pocket.
As the fog cleared, I felt that same flutter in my soul that I spoke about in the beginning of this post; it can only be described as recognition … a memory, past, present or future … a knowing.  And I could swear I heard my mother’s voice …  “Good luck, honey.  It’s your time.”  I actually found myself looking in my rear-view mirror, not really realizing what I was looking for until I got a mile or so down the road, and then understanding that my mom felt so close that I expected to see her with a smile on her face waving goodbye.
I entered class Sunday morning emotional, but a good emotional.  Happy to be there, and knowing I was right where I was supposed to be.
More to say next post about the class … so friggin’ amazing.  I just couldn’t bear to skip ahead, as the story is all in the moments, always.
As I close this post, I thank God that many months ago I was moving slow enough on my way down the little main street in our small town in the foothills to hear that tiny voice telling me … look at that storefront,  922 Lincoln Street, Suite 100, Auburn, California … it’s a place you will need to remember some time soon.
 
P.s.  My mom was certainly a character, probably always, but I understood that more in her last years.  She had an amazing group of caretakers … you all know who you are if you are reading this blog … but they came to me with the funniest of stories on a weekly basis.
One in particular, my mom needed to go to the bathroom, so she told her buddy/caretaker/Tyler that she needed to take a shit.  He laughed and suggested to her that maybe it would be more appropriate to say she needed to take a crap.
She answered him in no uncertain terms, NO, she needed to take a SHIT.  98 years old.  Clear.  True.  No uncertainty finally for my mom.  And since I wish she could have always owned that clarity in her life, I will always love the word SHIT from here on out.
My British peeps will have to understand if they don’t favor the word.  It’s here to stay.
A final P.S.S.  With class underway and an understanding of what’s on my plate workwise/blog wise/class wise, I am hoping to post twice a week going forward, with maybe a small side note for fun here and there.  This will be the only week that might be hard to get two in, but I’m still going to try.
Thanks, as always, for tuning in.  If I was Carole Burnett (look it up youngins’) I’d be pulling my ear sending love off to my family as well as all of you reading this blog.
Namaste
 
 
 
 
 

That Devil in your Ear

A few preliminary comments before I delve into yoga topics.  First, this morning,  just wanted to wish my dearest Lorene a happy birthday.  Make it a good one, sissy.
Second topic on my list, my mate, Paul S (Pfiefferfilmsandmegmovies.com) stepped up to represent and welcomed me to the UK a few days ago, which was wonderful.  And I’m not complaining (just sayin’) it’s still just me and Paul.  Where are the rest of my peeps?  And, I mean, I love Paul S, don’t get me wrong, nothing against Paul, he’s a fabulous bloke, really.  But I’m feeling a bit gutted as I was just thinking it would be a larger turnout for my homecoming.
But you know the saying, when God closes one door, somewhere he opens a window (or in this case, when he only opens a door by a smidgen and you can’t seem to fit in because you weigh too much … okay, digressing again) well, my new yoga buddy and fellow blogger in Asia, yogafivefifty.com, on the other hand has brought me a few new friends, so thank you, and Namaste.
It’s all good, and I am so enjoying writing this blog.  I probably will say this a lot throughout my posts, but your comments and likes mean more than I can say.  I can’t respond during my work hours, but do try to follow up later in my day.  I tuck your responses away until I can spend some time, and they feel like tiny presents waiting for me at the end of my work day.  It feels almost tangible.  Amazing.
My hope is that amidst the joking, that we can connect on some of the serious topics I touch on, weight, health, stress, etc.  Your responses bring us all closer to realizing that none of us are alone, and that at the end of the day, we are all human, with strengths and weaknesses.  When we begin to let go of our fear of discussing a problem, we find that there are so many people with exactly the same issues feeling exactly the same way as we do.  For me, at least, that helps me take that deep breath and really look at the problem and begin finally to address it.  So, please continue to share your thoughts.
On to yoga. I attended class Wednesday night, one final class before our training starts.  Feeling a little like when I’m going to the dentist and I get so much better about flossing the two weeks before my appointment.  (Yeah, the dentist doesn’t notice, right?)
During class my anxiety about the training was definitely starting to kick in (or maybe that was just the yogi’s foot next to me, was a pretty crowded class.)  That voice in my head can be so negative.  (hey lady, you in the last row, can you put a cork in it!  We heard you the first five times you said it.)
I mean, really, I’m sure I’m not alone on this … when I start to obsess or stress about something, my inner voice just keeps repeating the same thing like in minute intervals, and it’s such a negative dialogue.  In class Wednesday night I got really tired, and I needed to rest.  Instead of being nurturing and kind like I would be to anyone else, that devilish dialogue starts in, “I don’t think you’re ready for this training.  Oh, yeah, the teacher must be looking at you thinking, sweetheart, you are NOT ready for the training class.   What were you thinking when you signed up for this class?  And aside from that, you really should floss more.”
I got to laughing at myself the other day because I was thinking, man, if I talked to my loved ones or friends (hopefully they are one and the same) like I talk to myself, repeating the same negative things over and over again A) they’d be having thoughts about my short-term memory problem, and B) they probably wouldn’t be my loved ones for long.
Ever since I had that comical visual, I’ve been more cognizant of that inner dialogue, and turning it off a bit sooner.  Bottom line, it’s usually just fear getting the better of me.  And if I can consciously bring a positive thought in disrupting the negative flow, it’s pretty effective.
So, on that note, I’ve prepared myself with some positive thoughts that I will keep handy beginning tonight.
Bloody good job, Sue.  You are blinding (not too sure about that one, bringing up a bad image)  but supposedly blinding is a good thing. Brilliant job!  What an Ace.  Cheers, you should be chuffed managing to do that pose.  Hunky-dory, little mate.
It’s just important that I show my peeps that I’m serious about being British.  And in the not too distant future I will be a lot smaller and I’m planning to slide through that crack in the door.  I just hope Paul S is not the only Brit welcoming me.
As always, thanks for sharing.  Send a positive thought my way the next few days.  Will be back next week to share my experience.  You all have a wonderful weekend.  I know I will.
Namaste

Weighing in with the Wayward Yogini

This post ought to have a lot of viewers (she isn’t really going to tell us her weight?  Bloody hell!)  Well, before I begin my class tomorrow, I do think it’s important to adjust … I mean document the numbers.  Throughout this class I will have numerous goals, and while losing weight is not my primary goal, it is an important one, if I want to lower my cholesterol levels and avoid taking medication.
As my stepson, Matt, puts it so well in his recent blog entitled Math at mferrera.com “You cannot bullshit math.  And you should not bullshit anything else.  Especially yourself.”  He’s right.
With that said, when I first went to the doctor a few months back, my weight was 148 (backspace backspace 3 8 backspace backspace L I A R backspace backspace backspace backspace breathe … deeper 4 8.)  148, there, I said it.  And truthfully, my tiny British frame should not be carrying around that many pounds.  It’s a reality.  And for some of you, 148 may not sound bad, but I’m exaggerating if I say I’m 5’1″, so this is not a healthy weight.
But here’s the good news, I began working to get ready for this class, going to yoga, hiking/walking and adjusted my diet somewhat.  Mainly just cut back on amounts, and tried to eat a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.  And as I begin this class, I have dropped down to 141, so that’s a nice start.
We worked hard in our yard this last weekend, moving limbs and brush from a recent tree pruning, and also spent time collecting rocks to build a rock wall.  We had help from our amazing friends/houseguests, Janet and Lalo (not sure how we got lucky enough to have friends who actually love to work in our yard with us… must have done something right in a past life).
But what I have to tell you is that I was shocked at how much easier it was for me hiking up our hills, bending and stooping, than the last time I did this a few weeks back.  And that’s just 7 pounds, so how much better will I feel if it’s 17 pounds?  I was amazed at the difference in my energy level.  It made me think about the analogy of walking around with a weight in your hands while you are working, and the extra strain that’s putting on your heart, lungs, everything really.
The doctor I have been kidding about was just filling in for my doctor when I went to get my test results.  I had a conversation with my actual doctor on the visit before that one, and he was discussing taking medicine for high blood pressure which at the time we thought I might be suffering from.  Turns out it’s just white coat syndrome.  But at that time, it wasn’t clear.
But nonetheless, it was an interesting discussion because I said to him, ”I don’t want to start the medicine, because this is something I can correct. I haven’t worked hard enough to see if I really need this or not.”
His answer to me was, “well, probably about 85% of the medicine I prescribe is unnecessary … or would be unnecessary if people did what they needed to do to correct their issues.”
My answer was, “exactly my point.  I want longer to work on this before I accept that I need medicine.”
Obviously, there are many hereditary conditions that require meds, and no amount of working out or diet can change those.  But short of that, don’t we owe it to ourselves to try our best to do our part, before we put chemicals in our bodies, many of which solve one problem but create a new one?
I think Matt’s right, we shouldn’t be bullshitting ourselves into thinking we have no control in the instances where we actually do have the power to change and heal ourselves.
The body is a temple … my body … your body … a gift we are given to travel through this lifetime.   And given that my mom lived until 99, there’s a good possibility I might need this body to take me the for the long haul.
I have a few last things I am going to try to post about tomorrow, before our first class.
Namaste
 
 

Navigating the Learning Curv(Y) Trail

One day into blogging, I must confess when I pressed send for the first post, I felt sheer terror followed almost immediately by exhilaration.
While I’m still afraid of parachuting with my son ( his 21st birthday wish was for us to go parachuting, he’s 26 now, he’s still waiting) a few more exercises like pushing send agreeing to offer up my underbelly both literally as well as figuratively, I might just find myself one of these days sailing down from the heavens right behind my son.
Posting my first blog did present a few technical issues.  I’m not saying user error, but it seems I sent a few invites to friends with my username as the sender, a female name no one would connect with me, Rickiesue.  (It’s cute, right?  Good luck name Rick and my name combinedWell, anyway)  When you receive an email saying “check my stuff out,” from someone named Rickiesue, it can be misconstrued.   Depending who you send it to, there are some who might avoid opening the email.  (understood)
And then there might have been a few who did open it, and ended up quite disappointed with a sunset and blogging about yoga.  It’s all in the details.
Apparently I also titled it “Y”, and ended it with an “I” followed by nothing.  (Why Y? strange title, must be some deep meaning) 
The good news is I’ve found navigating the site that there’s an extremely convenient edit button that lets me change my blog even after it’s been published.  Brilliant … (Oh and I recently found out by DNA testing that I’m 66 percent British, so I’m liking the idea of using the word brilliant more as well as Namaste.)
I concede this will be a bit of a learning curve, but hey, we’re on an amazing path, hiking boots on, water bottle in hand.
It’s time to hike.
 
Blog photo is on a hike from our house down to the American River.