This meditation is not about being able to touch your toes or do the splits. It is about being flexible in other areas of your life. If you ever find that you get upset when your day doesn’t go as planned or … Continue reading
In honor of National Mental Health Awareness month, I offer a challenge to do one thing for yourself once a day during the month of May. Share your moments on your favorite social media with the hashtags #amomentforyourself. There are no rules. … Continue reading
I have a challenge to myself and anyone else willing to accept. How many times do you check out of your surroundings by looking at your phone? Take a moment to notice when you jump on your phone while walking/driving. … Continue reading
I first felt drawn to yoga because I wanted to increase my flexibility and reach my hands below my shins. Never truly believing that even I, the least flexible person on the planet, could touch my toes, I tried anyway. … Continue reading
I close my eyes, quiet my thoughts and breathe. Beneath things churn and swirl. Cauldron of fire. The buzz, worry, the spark of change and risk The whispered what ifs – if what happens is this. I’ve loved and labored … Continue reading
I’ve been pondering the concept of which characteristics we view as innate versus learned. How we view ourselves and what we feel are characteristics we have no control over versus nurtured and learned characteristics with which we continue to incorporate. … Continue reading
I really should make some time for myself. I have been telling myself for weeks, for months. And yes, I do believe that using words such as “should” or “shouldn’t” is quite destructive to your goals… but, well, I’m just not … Continue reading
It’s the moment when your legs are shaking, your core is screaming, sweat is stinging your eyes and you just can’t hang on any longer. I don’t have a name for this, but it is the moment right before you give in. The moment of pure focus and endurance when you have completely devoted yourself to this one task. This is the moment right before you stop, whether you reach your goal or can take it no longer. It is the moment when the thought of quitting just barely trickles into your mind and you push it away and give everything.
Sometimes it is merely the physical limitation of lactic acid building up to an unbearable point, or your grip slipping from a handhold. Sometimes it is the complete lack of strength needed to pull yourself up or finish the task. But more often, it is a mental roadblock or lack of desire to push yourself any further. Whatever you name it, I keep finding myself coming into focus on and within this moment.
I have recently returned to the yoga studio from a home practice. I had reached some sort of wall or ceiling where I felt I was trying hard, but not getting further into my poses. This had been going on for a long enough time to start wondering, “Am I really not doing these poses correctly? Maybe I need some feedback.”
Back in the studio it was so amazing to feel the presence of others and the energy that we all create with our breath and movement. And although I like to believe I’m not THAT competitive, I definitely seem to try harder when in front of others. I try harder in a big way. I started noticing that I keep going further and further into this moment. In fact, maybe I wasn’t even really noticing this moment before. Perhaps, I wasn’t even giving myself a chance to get into the moment and push it past the point I thought was my limit, even if for half a second.
So I challenge myself and you to find this moment and expand it. Live within it and breathe and give up every other thing, even for just a few seconds. When doing yoga or climbing or hiking or even just your daily chores or tasks, try to notice this moment and to sharpen your focus to give all.
I think you’ll find, as I have, that not only do you push yourself better towards your goal, but you also find clarity of thought and freedom from other parts of your life. This is really when you let go and heal and better yourself to give more to those around you.
This is bliss: Sitting in my chair listening to the waves. People are lounging on the sand, surfers are attempting to catch waves and little kids are squealing and laughing with pleasure. The sun is warm and there is a gentle warm breeze.
We recently relocated to the beach from the city. If you had to categorize us, I would say that we are mountain people vs ocean people, or vs city people, for that matter. In fact, I personally know very little and am somewhat frightened of the ocean. It is unfamiliar and I find the ocean’s vastness intimidating, to say the least.
But here we are, living a block from this ever moving giant bowl of salt water. So I had to challenge myself to get to know this beast. What are the patterns of the tide and how does that effect our beach? What is the undertow and is it really as dangerous as it seems? And, definitely, how in the world do you surf?
Today is an example of how I’m getting to know the ocean.
On this day the water is chilly but not frigid and does not require a wet suit. At first I playfully walked into the waves, little by little, turning as the chilly water splashes me. I can’t help but giggle every time I get hit by a wave. I walked out past the break with my toes still touching the sand. The waves then became more intense and I dove straight into them as the water rolled over me. This keeps them from knocking me over. I was feeling pretty brave at this point, and although this was my first time in the ocean without the accompaniment of a friend, I decided to attempt a little body surfing.
Body surfing hosts the same theory as any type of surfing, in that you swim with the wave and let the wave push you forward. I turned towards the shore as a large wave approached and swam as fast as possible. The wave lifted me up and pushed me forward for a brief wonderful moment. Then it overpowered me, forcing me down towards the bottom of the ocean. My face and hands grazed the sandy bottom, and then suddenly the wave let go and the tide sucked back towards the ocean, pulling at my legs and the sand beneath my feet…
This is my way of introducing myself into the ocean. It’s probably not what one would define as ‘graceful’, but it is somewhere on the axis of improvement. I am slowly, day-by-day, week-by-week, getting used to the ocean.
While I am still overwhelmed by its’ sheer force and vastness and mystery, I am switching that from fear to respect and learning to interact and experience its wonder. I am learning to understand the tidal patterns and the pull of the water. I recognize more of the creatures and flora living within and around this great force. I want to be part of this community which has made its home on it’s sandy shores. On that note, I am even learning to deal with sand on everything, everywhere, always.
It feels good to look at this overwhelming giant and to get to know the truth behind some of its mysteries. It makes me realize that this is a truth in all of life. When something seems too big and overwhelming, break it down into tiny little steps. It makes these great big things doable.
It is the same with college and medical school and residency and rock climbing and hiking up a mountain or learning a new yoga pose or a new song. If I had tucked tail and ran the first time I was intimidated by anything in my life, I would have missed out on so many awesome experiences.
This now, today, with the ocean is just yet another challenge. I hope I continue to embrace it gracefully and keep working towards the adventure of surfing and swimming that awaits me.