Reverb 14: Day 17

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “What sort of work did you do in 2014? Was it new to you? Did you take on new responsibilities? Change jobs? Or take on a new task at home?”

This past year, my job at CSU shifted. I became the Communications Coordinator for the English Department. Some of what I do is the same as before, but I am also now in charge of a department blog and other various departmental communications, with two interns to help me. It’s been a nice change, a perfect blending of what I’m good at and what they need.

I also became a yoga instructor. Even though I’ve practiced for eight years now and been a teacher of other things for almost 15 years, teaching yoga was something altogether new. What makes it so fundamentally different is the way it embodies what I’m teaching. Sure I could teach just by leading with my words and walking around the room giving adjustments, but typically I’m practicing right along with my students, a living example of the poses. Considering the body issues I’ve been working with recently, this was a big challenge, a good opportunity, a chance to practice self-compassion.

Reverb14 prompt: “How can you stop being an a**hole, get out of your own way and make room for more of your magic to happen in 2015?”

I can stop pushing myself. It’s ironic to give that answer since in giving it, in this very moment I’m pushing myself. I’ve had a really rough week (my father-in-law almost died and my husband flew to Oregon to be with him and his mom, who after 21 years of marriage are my parents too), and with an unexpected shift to being responsible for everything at home and the stress of not knowing what was going to happen in a week when I already had way too much to do has worn me down. I’m so tired today and have been hungry for lunch for at least an hour, but I keep pushing myself to get just a few more things done. It’s a way of living that just isn’t sustainable and I need to stop before I crash — check myself before I wreck myself. It’s essential that I slow down to get more done, which is a complete paradigm shift from my current “go faster, do more, keep going” model.

Reverb14: Day 16

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “There’s the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact that sums up some significant event of your 2014, or give us 1,000 words about a pivotal moment in 2014.”

Reverb14 prompt: “Like many folks, I picture myself as a modern day Wonder Woman, trying to use my superpowers, to do lists and pure force to get what I want. In 2014, I found that my effort wasn’t often tied to my desired outcomes — except when it was. In 2015, is there something you’d like to try harder at because you believe it would make all the difference? Conversely, what is something you could stop trying so hard at that might actually help you manifest what you’d like?”

I’m going to try harder to be well, to be a better friend to myself. This involves so many things. It means taking care of my physical health. It means eating well. It means moving my body. It means resting and getting enough sleep. It means practicing. It means prioritizing myself in a way I just haven’t. It means trusting myself. It means listening, fully and deeply. it means slowing down and being still. Being well, healthy and strong and sane, will directly impact what I have to offer. What I have to give will be better, more helpful if it has a strong foundation of self-compassion.

What I’m going to stop trying so hard to do is push, perform, please. No more poverty mentality, no more idiot compassion. I just can’t anymore. It’s not sustainable, and it doesn’t feel good. There isn’t anyone who wants me to wreck myself in order to give something away.

Reverb14: Day 15

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “What food did you discover this year? Or maybe you discovered a new way to prepare your favorite food. Or a new cookbook. Or a new restaurant. Tell us about your culinary adventures.”

This year, I discovered two recipes that continue to delight me: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad and Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread. More generally, I rediscovered cooking, and the joy of having something that I like when I’m eating out then later finding a recipe and making it for myself.

Reverb14 prompt: “What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins? And what will you do anyway in 2015?”

I became certified as a yoga instructor, and went on to teach even though my gremlins said I wasn’t thin enough, strong enough, flexible enough, or experienced enough. Even though sometimes I’m so uncomfortable in my body.

I stopped dieting and weighing myself even though the voices of criticism and judgment that were ingrained in me from almost the first moments of my life, starting with “it’s a girl!”, say I should do otherwise.

I kept writing and publishing even though the gremlins said “what are you even talking about? who cares?!”

I got a “born on purpose” dog even though the gremlins said I was a bad person for not rescuing, that I was also a liar because I was doing something I said I’d never do.

What I’d like to do anyway in 2015 is to continue to trust myself, go my own way, figure out what I want and live that.

Something Good

comfortfood1. Wisdom from Rachel Cole: How to Make Peace with Food and Self-Compassion is a Verb.

2. Go for a Walk from Seth Godin.

3. we just don’t know (and that’s okay) on Your Courageous Life.

4. A new video poem from Shane Koyczan “Heaven, or Whatever.”

5. Breaking Up With Friends on Medium.

6. Unleashing Your Creativity: 17 Tips For Tapping Into The Power Of Your Brain.

7. The Body is Not an Apology website.

8. Blog Trends: Slow Blogging on decor8.

9. Listen, It’s Okay to Be Alone on Christmas from Brittany Herself.

10. i love what i do // 04 an interview with Mara Glatzel.

11. Wisdom from Kris Carr,

When we accept ourselves exactly as we are, in exactly this moment, we shift from living for tomorrow to appreciating today. Being at peace with what is creates a vast and holy space for healing.

Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up, it means that we love and honor ourselves regardless of our circumstances. From that relaxed and receptive space, we rest, renew and gain the clarity and strength needed to create a blueprint for a happy, healthy, abundant life.

12. 22 Pictures That Prove That 2014 Is The Damn Future on BuzzFeed.

13. Lovely ~ UPDATED from The Bloggess.

14. Narrating People’s Lives with Thomas Sanders compilation. Made me laugh.

15. Why I Hated My Word of the Year from Laura Simms.

16. How to Be a Ladyperson at the Holidays: 10 Important Tips. Funny.

17. How To Respond Compassionately To Someone’s Suffering from MindBodyGreen.

18. Fat Loss Tips for the Holidays from Yogi Sadie. Don’t let the title fool you.

19. Taking the Fear Out of Failure from Courtney Putnam.

20. Life in 700 square-feet from Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens.

21. 7 Regular Things All Healthy Couples Do.

22. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection, you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path. After a while it seems like almost every moment of your life you’re there, where you realize you have a choice. You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out. That choice is presented to you again and again and again.

23. #decembermoments: an advent calendar. sort of. on Chookooloonks.

24. Artist Transforms Old Paintbrushes Into Delicate Ladies on Bored Panda.

25. Wisdom from Jeff Foster,

Stop trying to change the world.
Love the world.
That changes everything.

26. Swiftamine – Saturday Night Live.

27. Police Deliver Groceries To Struggling Grandma Caught Shoplifting To Feed Family Of 6 on Huffington Post.

28. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: Fudgy Paleo Beetroot Brownies recipe, and We Never Met.

29. What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year? on The New York Times, (shared by Tammy on her Happy Links list).

30. Making Merry on SouleMama. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want them to adopt me.

31. “Feeling your Feelings” is not the full story… from Isabel Foxen Duke.

Reverb14: Day 14

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “What one word could describe your 2014?”

My word for 2014: Home. This is the word I picked to guide my year, the intention I set. I explained my choice at the beginning of the year this way,

This next year, I long for a return home, to feel at home — in my body, my house, my work, my job, my relationships, my life. I long for the sense of comfort, safety, authority, belonging and ease that comes with “home.” I want to nest right where I am, to clear out room, make space, settle in. The process of clearing is related to what Rumi says, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And it’s not just about me, solitary and alone, but as Ram Dass says, “we are all just walking each other home.”

In my mid-year review of my choice, I described my intention in more detail and reflected on the surprises it brought me in the first six months of 2014. I said,

Choosing “home” to guide me, as a reminder of how I want to experience my life, has been of great benefit to me. It has also surprised me. I knew it meant literally being home, a return to a simpler way of being, bringing all my resources to focus on this place, it’s physical form and the space inside of me, shelter and shape. What I forgot was that it would also mean confronting the monsters under my bed, the skeletons in my closet, the dirty dishes in the sink.

All of this, the obstacles and unexpected difficulty, force me to be honest — about who I am, what I want, what I’m doing, what I value. It means saying “no” more often. It means lowering the bar. Letting go, surrender. Staying with the discomfort rather than freaking out and running away, staying awake rather than numbing out. Keeping my heart open.

As the end of 2014 nears, I feel settled in, comfortable with my choice and my intention, content with how things unfolded — I feel like I’m home. There’s still work to be done, but I’m no longer homesick for myself and I live where I live.

Reverb14 prompt: “The idea of rooting down into your own personal beliefs and center of truth is an ongoing process, and many things can serve as anchors or roots as you move through life. What rooted or anchored you in 2014? And where do you want to put down roots in 2015?”

What rooted or anchored you in 2014: practice (yoga, meditation, writing, and dog), study, long walks with the dogs, my marriage, family and friends, faith in basic goodness, clarity about who I truly am, knowing what I wanted my life to be like, what I wanted to experience and feel, stillness and quiet, rest and ease, love, love, love.

Where I want to put down roots in 2015: nourishment in both meanings of the word, (to feed and to cherish), being embodied boundlessness (Space Dancer), my tiny family, practice, teaching, my own truth, my fundamental nature, simplicity, and love, love, love.

Reverb14: Day 13

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing. Or at least want to like writing. Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. What do you do every day to hone your craft? Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?”

I write every day. I have a morning writing practice where I write for up to an hour. Later in the day, I might publish a blog post or work on a book or write something for my work at CSU. Something else I do every day to “hone my craft” is read.

What I’d like to do more of is reading and publishing. I’d also like to spend more time working on the two books I’m writing and teach some writing classes.

Reverb14 prompt: For this, Marianne Elliott shares an exercise with a series of steps. What I’m sharing here is the list in response to “When and how was I brave in 2014?”

I got another dog, opened my heart to another one knowing full well he will break my heart into a million pieces just like the others.

I trained to become a certified yoga instructor, even though I’m uncomfortable in my own skin, still confused about how to care for my body, not as strong as I was, and scared to be a beginner again.

I had difficult conversations with Eric, even though it would have been easier to just leave things as they were. I started a dialogue with no guarantee where it would lead. I risked being misunderstood and hurt.

I let myself feel what I felt. I honored my hungers most of the time. I allowed myself to want what I wanted.

I stopped weighing myself. I stopped starving myself and overexercising. I let my body be, stopped being at war with it, knowing I’d be judged for it.

I kept showing up with an open heart. I kept writing, posted or published a lot of it. I told the truth. I asked for help.

I said “no” more often. People didn’t like it, but it made space for what I really wanted to say “yes” to.

Reverb14: Day 12

reverb14withtextI always do more than one Reverb at a time, so there are sometimes prompts that repeat. It’s to be expected. However, this is the first time I’ve ever had a situation where the multiple prompts were the same on the same day.

Project Reverb prompt: “Write a letter to your future self, telling the future you about what you hope for you.”

Reverb14 prompt: “It all starts with kindness. Everything I have learnt, everyone I have interviewed, every word I have studied has guided me to this simple but profound conclusion: true happiness begins and ends with self-kindness. No more guilt. No more shoulds. No more comparison. And the very best way to give your weary soul some kindness at the end of this year? A love note. Write a letter from you to you… filled with forgiveness, love, and a big bear hug.”

Dear Sugar,

What I have to tell you is any one who knows you very well sees how hard you work, how determined you are to do good things, how depleted and exhausted you feel from pushing yourself so hard. What they might not know is the aggression that you direct inward to force yourself past your limits, the criticism that happens when you don’t meet your own expectations.

It’s time to forgive yourself — for waiting so long, for thinking you needed permission, for losing your sense of yourself, for not trusting your own intuition, for keeping quiet, for having to rediscover your voice, for saying yes or okay or that’s fine when you should have said hell no, for making yourself small, for not letting yourself feel what you feel, for abandoning yourself.

That is the past. You know better now. You had to live that, experience it, suffer it to fully understand it and find a way out so you could help others like you. You know from conversations with other women that your experience is actually quiet common, and there is a real need for guides, people who have made maps and can offer support.

The part you are just now recognizing is how important it is to care for your self, the ways in which you are embodied. Focusing on this is the next step — getting well so that what you offer is centered in sanity and health. And yet, don’t allow this to hold you back. You don’t have to wait. Offer who you are, including what you struggle with, what’s messy and uncomfortable, be an example.

Your future is so bright. It’s just as you’ve imagined and so much better. Don’t give up, but at the same time let go and allow yourself to surrender to it. Lower the bar, rest, take care of yourself, simplify, slow down, allow ease and you will find contentment but also your power. Don’t be afraid of yourself.

Love you.