In the eye
Don’t turn away
I will see
In the eye
Don’t turn away
I will see
You wouldn’t think my garage door would have much to do with yoga…but it does.
Used to be I’d leave my house and not think or be present in the moment. From time to time I’d come home and my garage door would be left open. It got me worrying. So then I’d leave the house and get a couple of blocks from home and I’d have to turn around and drive back down the alley and see if I indeed remembered to close the door.
I can come up with some more examples:
After I started practicing and studying yoga I realized what a tremendous opportunity this all was to offer myself the gift of presence. Because if I was truly present in this one, precious moment I would KNOW if I closed the garage door. Right?
But it gets better!
About six weeks ago, I sprained my ankle horribly. The orthopedist was super dramatic and said that if I reinjured my ankle, the consequences would be “catastrophic.” Zoinks.
So when I got off the crutches and out of the boot – I was like a baby deer taking my first steps. Plus it’s winter, so add ice to each footfall.
Each step I took I would measure the ground, the velocity, the feeling of each step. Was it ok to put all of my weight on my injured ankle?
Oh hello yoga. It slowed me down to start noticing each step. To stay present in each step instead of just walking through life not noticing!
When I was going through yoga teacher training, we did a practice. It about drove me damn near nuts, but it has come back to me again and again and again.
We had to take a half hour to eat an orange.
All I had in my refrigerator was a clementine.
DO YOU KNOW HOW SMALL A CLEMENTINE IS?
I set my timer, closed my eyes and began by smelling. The smell of the clementine lit up my nose. Then I looked at each pore of the peel and the sweet little eye where the stem was. Then I set out to slowly peel and eat the clementine. For thirty minutes. It was wondrous.
My hope is that you don’t have to injure yourself, drive around the block 3 times or eat a clementine for thirty minutes (though I highly recommend trying it.)
My hope is that you receive this gift and start looking around for your own opportunities to see, to sense, to feel, to smell, to receive the gifts of each moment.
Because each moment is a wondrous gift filled with it all.
Every January I make a new Vision Board for myself. They’re magical.
Hope this helps you when creating. Another thing I would say is not to put any rules around your creating. Let it just kind of flow.
It’s New Year’s Eve. A time for reflecting. As I was looking at the lines on my face and the marks of age in this light up mirror…I thought, “I get two choices here.”
I could condemn, hate, be disgusted with this process of aging. Raging against the fates that steal away my youth. I could stick needles in my forehead and pull the skin up surgically. I could…pretend for awhile that it’s not happening.
To what end I wonder?
As I look at my face, I could be tender…smiling at the lines that life has given me. The beautiful imperfections that amplify with each year. I could chuckle at gravity and be grateful for the grounding it offers. I could look lovingly at my familiar face, look deep into my own eyes and say, “Hey. You’re alright. You’re perfect as you are. I love you.”
On this day, December 31, 2017…I’m going with the latter.
Part of improving chronic stress is to start to sense and feel it.
Close your eyes and start to sense and feel.
You’ll start to notice often there is a pattern of where you feel your stress.
This is a beautiful practice because as soon as you can get in touch with FEELING your stress, you can start to catch it earlier and earlier. And once you start catching it earlier, you can start attending to it sooner.
Where do you feel stress in your body? Every body is different.
I’ll never forget the day. It is completely bright in my mind like it happened a minute ago.
I woke up. It was spring. A perfect, melty March day. You could hear the snow dripping off of the building. The sun was shining in through the windows of my small apartment. There were little dusty floaties in the air of the sunbeams.
I took a deep breath and felt something I hadn’t felt in months and months and months…I felt good. I felt a sense that all was right with my world. I felt hope. I felt optimism.
I felt my SELF.
In that moment, I realized that I had been depressed. I didn’t know because I’d never been depressed before.
I got dressed and took myself to a local art store. After purchasing a pad of drawing paper and some charcoals, I drew and wrote poems and CREATED in my kitchen with a cup of tea.
And I knew that it was over. That I had come out from under. That I’d thrown the blanket off of my life and could breathe again.
Please don’t get me wrong – my life wasn’t perfect. I still had a crappy boyfriend, a stressful job and no real friends yet in my new city. But I WAS HOME in myself. From that moment on, I was solid in the footings of myself.
And also, from that day on – the memory of my depression lived on in the back of my brain. I knew without a doubt that I didn’t want to go back there ever again. It’s not that I lived in fear per se, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there ever again if I could help it.
Since then I have had postpartum depression twice.
I had no idea because it didn’t FEEL the same. It was ragey. The first time I coped with my usual – cigarettes and alcohol. The second time – I went on medication.
And every fall, when I experience the natural slowing and dip of my energy…I get scared. I start counting days. After a couple of weeks, I ask my partner, “How long have I felt like this? How long has this been going on?” Nervous that it’s gone on too long and that I need to get help again.
And invariably, just when I ask that question….I turn back up.
But I’m always watching.
If you or someone you love is living with depression, please reach out. There is help. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text ‘NAMI’ to 741741 or e-mail email@example.com.