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Stay in the NOW Mommm….

I have this daughter. She’s quite exceptional. From the moment we met, she’s been teaching me life lessons. I knew that she was here for me to learn from.

Around five years ago, before I decided to become a yoga instructor, I had a hard time keeping my worry, overwhelm, fears in check. To put it delicately, I would drop my basket pretty regularly.

Worry was my go to…I’d worry about all of the things. I’d worry myself into a lather about this – that – AND the other. Particularly about things that hadn’t happened yet. “What ifs” really churned me up.

One day as I was foaming at the mouth, my daughter looked at me with her clear, green eyes and said evenly, “Stay in the now Mom.”

Stay in the now.

This has become our family mantra. (She detests that I use it on her now that she is 12 and her amygdala is taking over her brain.)

I have used these words that my seven-year-old spoke to me again and again. It draws me away from senseless worry and back onto my center.

This was one of her many gifts to me.

Stay in the Now.
Namaste,
Sarah

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Powerlessness

When I was 9, my dad took me on a GRAND adventure…we left our South Dakota home to fly to Bombay, India. From Bombay, we rode an open-air bus 50 miles to Ganeshpuri, India.

We arrived at an ashram where people from all over the world came together in a communal living facility to study meditation, chanting, service and study.

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Photo courtesy of Claus Oronoz

I lived there for four months. 

When we arrived, they separated us for dinner – men on one side, women on the other. Imagine that you’re 9, you’re hungry, you’re jet-lagged and you’re surrounded by strangers. You’d kind of want your parent no? I freaked out.

My dad calmly said, “It’s ok Sarah. You’ll be fine. See? Everyone is smiling at you. I’ll see you after we eat by those doors there.”

I was crying and upset, but off I went with the smiling women. My mind was racing, “What is this food? There aren’t any tables! How do you eat with no silverware? Can I drink the water? How do you sit and eat on the floor? What are they saying?”

I felt POWERLESS.

Ahimsa invites us into those moments of powerlessness to take a step away from our panic. Because powerlessness invariably results in violence towards self and others.

When do you feel powerless? What causes you to feel without any choice or control?

  •                 Losing your wallet, phone, keys
  •                 Being late
  •                 Car breaking down
  •                 Someone steals and uses your credit card
  •                 You get lost
  •                 __(fill in the blank)__

How do you react? Your mind is screaming and racing. Your body is hot, tensed and sweaty. You are most definitely off-your-center. There might even be some yelling and crying. A cat in a corner. Fight or flight.

What Ahimsa invites us to remember even under extreme duress, is that there are always options.

In “The Yamas & Niyamas, ” Deborah Adele writes that she uses these tools to reframe Powerlessness:

  • Have faith that the Universe will care for you and provide what you need.
  • Find simple gratitude within the moment of difficulty.
  • Find a way to connect with and/or serve another human being.

Using these practices can give you a bit of space from what you’re feeling and experiencing and provide a longer view, a different perspective. It can be a roadmap back to your center.

You might even find that you learn some tools and become more capable of dealing with stressors.

“Feelings of powerlessness become opportunities to become competent rather than violent,” Adele writes.

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My dad’s attempt at a passport photo. I was channeling my inner Danny Bonaduce.

Back in India, the women in their beautiful white cotton saris smiled warmly and welcomed me with sweet voices that I heard deeply, but didn’t understand at all. Their soft eyes were so tender and loving that I guess I just got out of my own way; my fears fell away.

I trustingly fell into the arms of the Universe.

Because in the end, aren’t we all meant to be the arms of the Universe for each other??

Namaste, Sarah


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Being Fearless…or being fearful but saying f(*&k it and doing it anyway…

What scares you?

I used to be AFRAID OF EVERYTHING. The unfamiliar made me want to just hide away.

As I look back, I realize I’ve spent the 2nd half of my life dancing with fear. Trying to get familiar with it and then tell it to “Piss off.”

Once when I decided to audition for a musical (o.m.g. terrifying) I called a friend virtually hyperventilating and she asked me, “WHY? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS IF IT TERRIFIES YOU?”

Because it makes me feel powerful and alive. It makes me feel like I am the boss of me.

Things that have truly REDLIGHTTURNBACKDON’TDOTHIS terrified me:

  • *Leaving the safety and comfort of my first marriage.
  • *Moving to the Twin Cities on my own.
  • *Saying YES to new love.
  • *Marrying my husband after 5 months of dating (welp.)
  • *Taking on new jobs.
  • *Skydiving (every time scared the s(*&t out of me and I made 600+ jumps.)
  • *Going through IVF and not knowing if it would work.
  • *HAVING CHILDREN.
  • *Sometimes pressing PUBLISH when I post a blog.
  • *Taking tests (really…I am phobic.)

What are yours when you look back? What are those pivotal, terrifying things that made you want to wet your pants and run the other way?

Now…when you look back. Can you see in the rear view that those experiences made you and your life:

STRONGER

BIGGER

MORE INTERESTING

RICHER

MORE COLORFUL

This is living. This is living the shit out of your ONE AMAZING LIFE.

And that, my friends, is Ahimsa. That is having the courage to do the hard stuff having faith in yourself and the Universe that your life will be better for it. It’s not letting your FEAR make your life SMALL. It’s telling fear to “Piss Off.”

So last week I wrote a damn book report on this aspect of Ahimsa…and f&*k all if I didn’t have to write it all over again today…because I didn’t write it with heart. I wrote from a clinical and cold and fear-based place. It’s hard to put your shit out there. It’s scary to inject yourself into your work. It’s hard to remember that we’re ALL JUST TRYING TO FIGURE SHIT OUT. We’re all scared and trying to figure out how to deal with it.

Practice courage. Know that you are created to live. Know that the fear that keeps you from living your best life is a LIAR. And have faith in the stuff you are made of…it’s tough, resilient, and powerful.

Peace, Sarah