"Let's be realistic."
Ugh, how I despise this tiny sentence. It gives me the feeling of being stuck with no way out. I suppose it's not 'realistic' to think this way or so I've been told.
Let's unpack it a bit. Well for starters, good ole Websters defines this adjective as: having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected.
Ooooh and the synonyms are even more fun: businesslike, down-to-earth, practical, pragmatic, sensible, sane, unfantastic, (Yes, it's listed) real and unromantic.
Yes, alright- I agree, being sane, sensible and real are important along with some of these levelheaded ways of being. Here comes my big ole but.Don't we need to balance reality a bit? Where would the opposite of "unfantastic" come from?
Um. And have things gone as expected??? Oh dear.
Dear Friends, being realistic is not one of my stronger points. At the same time, I know I must have been a smidge practical, or I would not survived in New York City for over thirty years. Oooooh and yes, there are some stories- but those are for another day.
Somewhere along the way, I was business like enough for my clothing line to make it to the racks of Barneys back in the day and for a dream of a yoga studio to come to life many moons ago.
Tap the brakes please. Er, those two examples would never have happened without a willingness to step out of the realm of reality. In fact, I was told by more than a few that both of my previous ventures were a bit nuts. Why leave a successful styling career in the film biz?
Well. Because I had dreams.
We all do. And when we start connecting the dots to our purpose, life takes some turns off the path we might have known.
Oh and that meaning thing isn't just found like a lost set of keys- it often takes some work to uncover it. It means we probably got to get practical polly to dive into some deeper water to realize what is it that makes the heart sing.
And when the heart sings, it doesn't mean that things are all the sudden blissful and rosy. Nope, in fact, it can often mean we will live have to live through multiple poop cyclones to keep the dream alive.
Reality alert: The struggles are what give life meaning. Challenges + mistakes = wisdom + growth. Everyone one of us would be living our dream if it were easy. No poop tsunamis.
Think about it. Yes, I know, It kinda sucks to hear.
But remember when a true friend really told you the truth? Or you got fired? Or dumped? Or rejected? Yup, it stung and sure, we could become spiteful, pissed and feel sorry for ourselves.
Or. We could learn something about ourselves?
I am in a stage that is revealing my meaning more and more. What I know is that the poop storms have been an integral part in uncovering my dream. I also know it took a whole lot of unrealistic thinking to keep me off others path and on my own.
The heart's path to meaning realistically requires that we manage imposter syndrome, mindset, time management, focus, sleep, stress & anxiety.
Make mistakes. Be fantastic. Laugh in the poop storm whenever possible. Sprinkle reality in lightly. Observe what thoughts are consistently fed. Reminders that if everything is temporary, what do we want to Identify with?
I'll take the dreams and poop. Although, it seems I'm also a little realistic.
What is it that we Identify with?
As I might have mentioned twelve times, I have been in the process of shifting from illuminated jules to Identity Yoga. Aside from being immenselyfrustrated with all the brain draining work of transitioning domains, redesigning websites, videos and many other things I am clueless in doing, I have discovered the powerful connection to this one simple word: Identity.
So many challenging things have/are happening out there and it's all too easy to get bogged down. Believe me, I get that. There are some days when over-netflixing and chocolate are necessary.
But on those other days, how do we deal with this identity thingy? Especially when there's a culture out there that thinks more & as fast as possible is the way of being.
No need to read any further if this is your jam. But if you are like me who's thinking there might be....then carry on.
Last few emails, we took a little step back to ask is my job, relationship, education or lack of it, financial status, social media status, my kids, my not having kids, my you fill in the blank, make up all of my identity?
The key question is still which one of these stays the same and what happens to us when they shift? Or change? Or for that matter, disappear entirely?
What's becoming more clear to me is the practice of Identity is a profoundly powerful one if it moves. Meaning, when one of the above scenarios changes, can we roll with it. ?
Got fired? Dumped? Lost all the money honey? Fill in the blank. When something unfair or crappy happens, what will we identify with?
And what about those potholes of life that we keep falling in? You know, the situations that seem to keep showing up like money, relationship or unhappy at work issues?
Could it be, that if we chose to identify with how we are responding to those holes, things might get a little better? Even transform?
As my own Identity is still blurry in these nutty times, I am recognizing the power of pause- In the pause there's a letting it be. When letting it be, there's a chance to let go. And finally, if we are strong enough to surrender, there's nuthin left but potential and we can decide what to let in.
What to identify with. Indeed a practice that gets the Self aligned. Yes to that.
Published in the Elephant Journal April 28, 2021.
"Ah, but ahimsa. Ahimsa in this world of Breonna Taylor and far too many others to name. As a white woman, I cannot possibly imagine the pain and suffering being felt by the Black community with the horrific injustices they have lived with for far too long. There are gigantic problems out there that stem from oppression, poverty, lack of education, and racism that need our immediate attention and action.
Aside from the deep systemic changes that need to be made in our government, laws, and education, a radical self-inquiry is necessary if we are truly going to address living in a nonviolent way."
It's 55 degrees out today! Woohoo! I'm turning 55 today! Wait. What?
A year ago from this glorious, blue, trying to shift to spring day, I was zipping around Times Square, The Upper West Side, back to Times Square, out to Brooklyn to teach and then back to the East Village for a fabulous dinner at Momofuku with dear friends only to repeat this the next day starting at the early bird hour of 5:30am, sans Momofuku.
No matter what you were doing a year ago from today, it's probably safe to say it is quite different today. Yes?
I have always been interested in our transformation and what gets in our way. Recently someone shared the brilliance of Martha Beck with me and I was struck by something she said about butterflies and their metamorphosis. She wrote:
"If you were to look inside the cocoon early on, you’d find nothing but a puddle of glop. But in that glop are certain cells, called imago cells, that contain the DNA-coded instructions for turning bug soup into a delicate, winged creature—the angel of the dead caterpillar."
How about us humans? What really resonated with some of the things M.B talks about, is that there are many times in our lives that we go through transformation. Death of a loved one, loss of a job, moving, kids, kids leaving the nest, and, and. It's basically anything that rocks our world or tilts it sideways.
We push our way through, use positive thinking and ride the hell out of the 'blip' thinking we will go back to 'normal,' that we are still the same person.
Er, in a word, no. This is when the releasing, dissolving part is necessary for us to have a growth spurt. Whether a whooper spurt one or tiny one, the challenges are how we are going to expand. To gain wisdom.
If someone would have told us last year that 2020 we might would lose your jobs, lose our house or worse, or that we luckily kept our job, but now we can work 24/7 from home, never leave home and our kids are home- ALL. THE. TIME.
How would that process? I am pretty sure that cute little fuzzy caterpillar was not aware he/she needed to dissolve to glop to grow it's gorgeous wings and fly.
Yes, I know. I have talked often of this process. I guess it's because I am in one. Are you? Oh, and yes, denial works wonders for transformation. Smile emoji.
What I am starting to truly understand- is that there are messy fazes in 'the process.'
Absolutely, hands and feet down, getting on my mat. You knew that already. And you know that kindness, compassion and dear ole patience are required for the ride.
Another biggie? Connecting with my something larger, meaning. The book Burnout shed's a lot of insight on this. That something larger is not a pressure, or an external thing- it's whatever gives ud a sense of inner alignment and has a positive impact. It already exists within us.
Try their suggestion of writing about:
"What am I doing when I feel that I am most powerfully doing what I am meant to do? There is no right or wrong here.
My something larger is to teach the art of yoga and learning to live life fluidly. To share the power when we dig, we can uncover internal clarity. Joy. Joy- different than happiness. It is unaffected by external circumstances. Happiness is based on 'happenings.' It's when life is good.
What happens when it's not? Uh-huh, we often grasp for the tangible, temporary feel goods like chocolate anything, a Netflix marathon of The Queen's Gambit, ohhhhh and shopping at No. 6. Add wine.
Hey, nothing wrong with any of those things, but after the happiness burns off, we strained our bank account and we didn't show up for ourselves to deal with the glop, well, there's still glop.
The other biggie is connection. In times when our connection has been significantly limited or cut off at the knees, it's tough. It's essential to our well being to have a flow of giving and receiving.
Imagine only breathing in, no exhale. Or vice versa. Not gonna work out so well. We need connection like we need food and water.
Suggest: from Burnout: write down everyone in your life who has loved you, brought out the best in you, wants the best for you, believes in you and then reach out to at least one and tell them so.
Exhale. It's a glorious day to practice. My deepest, most humongous thanks to all of you who helped support me doing what I love.
"Brene Brown quotes failure as: “Failure is an imperfect word” because, if you take the time and have the patience to learn from your failures, then they aren’t failures any longer—they’re lessons. Often in yoga classes that I teach, I will hear students comment: “I know I’m doing it wrong,” “Why can’t I get my upward-facing dog right,” “I am too afraid to try a handstand.” “There’s no way I will ever be able to balance on one arm let alone two like that.” Published by Sivana. Read more here.
Learning to Listen To Resistance.
"So, I was in the dukkha. I thank my lucky stars that yoga had discovered me and I will remain forever a student first and teacher second, but I had run from one lifestyle to another thinking this was the answer. What I missed along the way were the lessons in resistance."
Published by Retreat Kula. Read more here.
"Everyone did it. All the time. Everywhere.
People heard things that it might be bad for you, but nothing much changed. Just like many others, my own mother, who was in the field of health care, was not moved enough by the weight of scientific reports and continued to smoke even throughout her pregnancies. " Read more here.
"Four doormat size pieces of plain cheese pizza with extra marinara sauce. Two fudge brownies. And a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. This was my daily go to for comfort only to be vomited up asap. Heaven forbid an ounce might be gained." Read more here.
"We all know these moments. For me, mine came a few years back when it was an all of the above equation. Things did not go as p
It was a slow, painful process. While this wrecked havoc on our finances and our marriage, the worst part was the emotional side. It felt like we were going through a nasty divorce and would never see our kids again. Yes. Dramatic. The soap opera kind that takes us on the emotional roller coaster of life." Read More here.
"Back in the heat of the jungle in Thailand, my first day of teaching in training did not go well. It didn't go at all since I couldn't get a word out past my blubbering. As my peers and teachers observed me have an absolute meltdown, my internal voice was whispering “Who was going to listen to what I had to say? Why would they want to?” I was completely unnerved and unraveled." Read more here.