Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: yoga

Summer Nights, School Days

Evening roller-blade

Walking at 5am

Math I don’t understand

My view most nights this week

Besides it being post-vacation-blues week, it’s also back to school.

H started his 7th year of teaching. Each year I hope he’ll hit the easy groove that experienced teachers do, and then some huge opportunity/challenge presents itself. Two years ago it was a masters program. Last year it was being department chair, a masters program and 4 different classes. This year, masters program completed, it’s department chair and multivariable calculus, which happens to be the hardest class they teach.

Which he is reviewing every night, all night, after working a 12 hour day.

Which means that it’s just me and the Carter-man for long stretches of time.

I’ve learned that the shift from summer break, having H home all of the time, helping around the house and generally being there for me, to the first week of school, arguably one of the most stressful times of the year, can suck. I love my alone time, but having him around all day, everyday and then not at all puts a strain on our relationship.

Or, should I say, a strain on how I feel about our relationship.

Because in reality, we’re the same as we were last week (well, not entirely the same since last week was still Alaska). I’m just going about my day assuming it’ll be one way and it’s another, totally different yet OK, way…

Luckily, I’ve noticed this pattern, and I let things slide to compensate. So, dishes won’t get put away quickly or he won’t remember to do something (because he hasn’t had a moment to himself) or I have to take the dog on all 3 walks for the day. It’s not easy, but it’s not awful either.

It’s just life.

—–

Yesterday I was up at 5am to be on a 6hr video conference call. Apsht. Somehow I survived, and the early start time meant an early leave time.

Feeling completely burnt from the meeting, I settled on yoga, made green juice, and took the dog to the park to run around a very dry, very hot baseball field. I straightened up and vacuumed. I ate turkey chili cold from the Tupperware. I perused Instagram, cleaned up DropBox and worked on a small project taking photos of our possessions in case we ever have an insurance issue. I cooked zucchini and heated up left-over pizza. I went out with Carter again, this time on roller-blades.

I wrote this sitting across from H as he went through calc problems and muttered things like “oh shit, I found the area instead of the arc length” which may as well be German to me.

We kept the front door propped open so a breeze came through the apartment while it went from twilight to pitch dark outside in what seemed like an instant.

I couldn’t fall asleep the other night and stayed up past 1am.

Carter mopes around looking for H, patiently waiting for him to finish his work so they can play.

It’s a transient time of summer nights, school days, 5am alarms, evenings solo even though H is home, and hot weather. The last of it seems to throw me off the most. Autumn feels like the natural signal for us all to hunker down, do our work, spend more time indoors. We don’t get that here in Southern California, the season or the natural transition.

I miss it.

 

Remnants

It’s been a busy busy busy two weeks.

Tonight is the last night of work for both H and I for a while. Of course, I fly to Boston Saturday, but at least after tonight we get to settled back into a somewhat normal schedule for the week.

Noticing that rock climbing gives purpose to things like drinking juice (above), getting enough water, making healthy food choices and strength training. It even makes ab workouts worthwhile. Climbing for smaller ladies like myself requires mucho core strength. I’m getting stronger and that’s awesome.

I spent last week at the CaseSMC and yesterday at the YouTube Space LA. I am bursting with ideas. With all of the events I’m running and attending, there doesn’t seem enough time to think though. Hoping to get some time soon to jot down everything and sketch out plans.

I love feeling like this. Energized, excited, with objectives to focus on. It seems like a waste to go spend the evening hosting an event, but that’s what’s on my schedule.

Hope your weekend is feeling lovely. Feel free to share what you’re up to in the comments. xo

 

Seven Day Exercise Challenge

Last weekend, I decided I needed a full week of exercise. Can’t remember when I did this last. Exercise and I have had a love/hate relationship for a while now. Such a pain.

I ordered new shoes, dug up a workout DVD and got to it.

Sunday: Ran 3 miles. Felt good though I could tell my sneakers were shot.
Monday: Level 1, 30-day shred (love love love JM)
Tuesday: Ran 3 miles in my new shoes. Felt much better and ran faster.
Wednesday: So tired, but went with an easy 50min of yoga. Better than nothing.
Thursday: Ran a quick 2 miles, in the afternoon heat, after eating lunch out. Barf.
Friday: Level 1, 30-day shred again, before my flight. Already felt stronger.
Saturday: Ran 3.5 miles with my friend around her neighborhood in MA. She was dehydrated and needed to walk a bunch. B/c of either my previous workouts or her walking breaks, I felt awesome, like I could’ve done 5 miles.

Overall it was a fun challenge. Definitely worth doing and also tracking on Instagram. Grateful H was home all week, and took care of Carter, giving me time to run alone. Also, this ties to the Hello Story class I’m taking with Ali Edwards – these pics will go into my Project Life for the week. And I feel much more motivated to keep going. Hoping to run the Charles River during my Boston stay.

Woo!

Just Breathe

I find all of the om-mimicking “just breathe” quotes plastered on the web incredibly annoying. Telling one’s self to “just breathe” when one doesn’t have a practice or space between the frustrations and the thinking of this phrase feels like such a slap in the face. Like, it’s another thing my mind uses to boss me around…

If you would just breathe through it, honey, this wouldn’t be so bad… aka if you were just stronger, more organized, in better shape, had more money, thought ahead more, etc we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Sheesh.

Telling myself to “just breathe” used to make me feel much much worse. And now when I see friends put it in status updates, I just want to hug them and say, “No. Don’t just breathe. Feel it. Feel every crappy thing you’re feeling. And take a break. And cry. And go for a walk. And give yourself some space. Call a friend. Take a nap. Do something for yourself that is nurturing, not abusive”.

Bit dramatic, I know, but this is about allowing ourselves what we need. And ending the knuckle-down options. This has a lot to do with my yoga practice, so stay with me.

Two weeks ago, I gave myself a small challenge – yoga for 5 days in a row.

I made it 4 days, and they weren’t easy, but they weren’t hard. My favorite part of classes is when the teacher says things like “Honor where you’re at” and “It’s not supposed to be easy, but stay with your breathing”. In this space, I feel like they’re giving me permission to do what I need, to choose the beginner or more challenging modification. To lay in child’s pose for the entire class if I so choose.

Because I don’t give myself this type of permission in my usual day. Even the act of doing yoga feels like a luxury.

We all have an inner dialogue, some people’s friendlier than others. Mine can be like living with an insane person. Insane. There is an incessant mix of self-deprecation, Nazi-like commands and random music playing all.the.time.

Yoga brings me back to myself. It’s like someone takes the volume of the voice in my head and turns it way down. And I’m given space to honor me.

I practiced at home 6 times over the past two weeks. And I attended one amazing class with a friend. And I’m looking forward to practicing again today.

Let me tell you, all of that deep breathing really helps.

– – –

Do you have a yoga practice? Do you practice at home or at a studio? If you have a favorite website or studio in LA – please share in the comments. I love resources. Currently, I use yogatoday.com and took a class at InYoga Center.

A Little Challenge

My energy and sleep are all over the place recently. And my head is full of the crap that tells you you’re not good enough. Meaning, I’m not good enough. No bueno.

Last night, on a whim, I decided to do 5 days of yoga this week.

This morning I did my first class via Yoga Today.

Maybe yoga’s not the right thing for you… but I bet there’s something that helps you relax, feeds your soul, quiets down those mean voices that you avoid. That you place at the bottom of your to-do list as the “reward” for getting everything else done. Maybe a bath, a swim, a nap, some writing, some walking, some meditating. Whatever it is, you dangle that nurturing action in front of you like a carrot… and then never get to enjoy it.

I read this post by Michelle – We have the time – and I agree. No one is going to paint your canvas for you, as she says. No one is going to run my miles, do my yoga, kiss my husband for me (let’s hope not, but you get the point hah). I am the one living this life, and I’m the one who gets to choose how I spend that time.

One day I will be gone. And the time I spent on yoga or hugging my husband or writing to you here will be much more valuable to everyone than the laundry done or not done.

What do you choose? Will you join me in picking one awesome thing for you to do each day? Would love to hear about it in the comments 🙂

Yoga Makes It Better

Coming back from a trip is hard – there’s going back to work, getting back into a routine, catching up on sleep, eating better again and tiredness. It’s as if you’re running running running and bam you hit a wall. Even if it’s a relaxing trip. You’re thrown out of the vacation mindset and back to the real world.

It’s quite jarring.

That was the experience of my day. Happy to be alone, I made my way into work and started with email. I knew the moon was void of course but today it was more dream-land wasted time than tying up loose ends. My meeting was enjoyable but my conference call, smack in the middle of the day, was a slog. I won’t even go into my opinions about meetings in general suffice to say this one supported all of my reasons. It sucked up any energy I had left.

Even driving home felt confusing and tiring. Walking the dog and talking to my mom didn’t help either. I decided the only available course was yoga. It was a perfect time to test out my theory of showing up for the experience. That the act of doing yoga, the practice, is what will nourish and support me.

It worked. I did a 30min Anusara class via my YogaToday membership. Neesha is my favorite instructor and her information about energy (prana) getting stuck up in our bodies while we travel, not flowing down and out and creating that racing mind were all spot on. She even mentioned slowed bowel issues when traveling which was a negative point of my weekend trip. Amazingly helpful, the class was relaxing – like someone ironed out my kinks.

I’m not 100% back yet, but I’m getting there. Taking it as slow as I need.

Sundays Are For (Week 10)

 

 

Being back home is wonderful, but it also brings back the sludge from 2 weeks ago. Traveling, running from work meeting to meeting, and seeing friends kept my mind engaged and my anxiety to a minimum. Friday I was too jet-lagged to comprehend emotional frustrations, but they came barreling back Saturday morning.

Yesterday I cleaned the bathroom in a rage, hair stuck out from steam,looking like a crazy lunatic. Our apartment feels more and more filthy, disorganized and overheated the longer we stay here. I desperately want new carpet and to repaint the living room just to freshen things up, but H never pulled the trigger on any of it in August when we had the time.

Writing morning pages is such a help. I tried to at least acknowledge these issues and then work through them. What matras do I need? What self-care am I aching for? What will truly make me feel better?

It’s a line of broken promises to myself again. I see that. So today I did yoga, restocked the fridge and finally put contact paper down in our kitchen cabinets. I know this seems like the silliest thing, but I’m the one in control of myself & these projects I think I want to do – so I’m the one who actually can do them.

I still have to clean the kitchen – maybe that won’t happen until tomorrow night, but each layer of contact paper that went down made me feel better and better. I’m still struggling with these moods and learning to let them pass through me as opposed to stooping and analyzing them for too long. Can’t say I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow (especially with a forecast of 102* at my office) but I feel I made a small bit of progress today. That’s all I can ask for, I guess.

What did your Sunday teach you…? xo

Yoga In The Hotel

This was my first work day in Boston. I decided to write my morning pages and then do yoga. Thought this would be a great transition into the work day. I was right.

It’s amazing how the start of yoga can be full of anxiety or boredom, my brain finding some reason to not do the class. How tight my muscles are and my mind racing. But man, after even 20min, I start feeling looser and more flexible and just, happy.

Now I’m feeling dehydrated. Ate an amazing dinner at Franklin Cafe in the South End. Apparently their turkey meatloaf is to die for but it wasn’t on the menu yet. I went with the smoked shrimp and the appetizer special of beef short-ribs, topped off with a St-Germain cocktail. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of this deliciousness.

Today was the easiest day I have planned so tomorrow things may be hectic. Up later than I’d like working on my presentation. Hoping for a run along the Charles if I can get to sleep soon.

Friendship Serendipity

I have some pretty awesome friends. One in particular is moving to the foreground. Enthusiastic, joyful, smart, communicative and thoughtful, she’s set a new bar for me as a person. Each time she goes through a challenging situation, I am awed by her logical and warm take on it – how she acknowledges her part without ever seeming to give up her power.

In the past year, she’s dealt with many changes and trials. Call it part of the Saturn cycle, but it’s as if her entire life has been taken apart piece-by-piece and she was called to go in and reassemble it. Amazingly, we’ve grown in friendship during this time, which for me, feels like an honor.

I haven’t had a friend like this since college, and certainly no one I feel I can look up to in this way since high school. In fact, this friendship is feeling very close to that nostalgic “best friend” you have in grade school – the one where you just show up for each other, hanging out and talking, and it forms a safety net of a relationship underneath your entire life. It’s awesome.

Wednesday we planned a walk at the beach and then dinner at my place. It was a perfect summer night for it. We talked, we walked, we cooked, we ate. Super relaxing and engaging. She packed up and left, I cleaned the kitchen, H and I put in a movie.

It wasn’t until an hour or more later that I went upstairs to find the bathroom light on, which was odd because we’re a family that general keeps houselights off. And there, on the counter, was a red envelope with my name on it. She had left me the sweetest note and a thank you gift. For what? Apparently being an awesome friend, which is pretty fucking cool considering I thought things were mutual / I was benefitting as much, if not more, from our hang-outs.

But, get this… she gifted me a free year of streaming on YogaToday.com which is exactly the most perfect gift anyone could give me. I had no idea how she knew. H said it’s b/c we’re friends, so I must’ve mentioned it. Looking back through emails, he’s right, but I never told her I was unsure about the cost… The whole thing, note + gift, just blew me away. 100% love.

And there it is… exactly what I wanted this week just magically showed up. And if that isn’t a sign from the Universe that to add yoga to my life, I don’t know what is.

Yay serendipity and awesome friends.

Experiencing It

Today, after writing my trusty morning pages, I rolled out my mat and did this week’s free class at YogaToday. This is not typical. My relationship with yoga is one of mostly avoidance on my part. I mean, why would I make time for something that makes me happy?

Last week, a thought hit me – how much my days are truly full of normal yet “perfect day” activities – writing, conversations, exercise, walks with the dog, podcasts, husband, cooking, photo snapping and reading. I don’t force myself to read, I just pick up a book and spend some time. Whenever I remember to snap a few photos, I feel lighter. Once I get going, exercise and cooking are both awesome, relaxing pursuits. And every morning I write 3-pages of long hand no matter what my mood, my sleep cycle, the weather or my issues. No questions.

So today while I’m smack in the middle of this yoga class, sweat beading on my forehead, my legs and arms stretched in side-angle pose, I feel this tense thought, “When is this class going to start?”

What?” another part of my mind demanded. “START?!” As if the sweat and shaky muscles weren’t enough of an indication, the sun had moved up past the window and time had obviously lapsed.

But what did this mean? How could I be half-way through a yoga class, connecting to my breathe and moving my body, and be that disconnected? Or more so, that outside of this string of present moments that my brain wasn’t on-board with the experience my body was having.

It was so odd. It was like I was expecting something, a more utopian version of what “doing yoga” should be / feel like. And it brought me back to last week’s thought about my beautifully full days and how all of these things are practices that I’ve slowly incorporated into my life. I didn’t used to write, take photos, blog, walk the dog, read and cook every day (sometimes I still don’t, but I make sure to get a few in before work). And that yoga was another practice I could add in, something I do no matter my mood, because it’s good for me and I’m always better for it after it’s done.

And how, by building in these practices of showing up, these daily rituals, I’m less inclined to be swayed by Resistance to avoid these good-for-my-soul actions. That’s where I think my thought came from today during yoga – my brain (ego) was still trying to talk me out of doing yoga by complaining that the class was so boring or low-level that it felt like it hadn’t even started yet. How silly. It comes up when I think about writing instead of moving my hand across the page or when I fantasize about baking instead of pulling the bags of flour and sugar out of the cabinet.

It’s really a matter of doing, of acknowledging the thoughts that try to deter us, thanking them for their care, and then continuing on with our practices anyways. Because the love I have for my life is not made up of the thoughts I had about doing or not doing something, but about the memories I have of actually experiencing it.