If you do what you have always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. - Tony Robbins
These words so simple, but so very powerful. How many times in my life have I committed to something and so quickly given up. Given up too soon because the situation was uncomfortable,, to painful, or the anxiety was too much to handle! If only during those times I had understood that those feelings were just vibrations in my body, that as uncomfortable as they are, I would survive. Not only would I survive but from the experience I would thrive. That whether I was successful in my actions, ultimately did not matter, but what did, was that I could learn and grow from the experience.
The human experience is 50% good and 50% not good. I fully believe this. This knowledge gave me freedom to experience all of life, knowing that this is how it should be. That everything in my life I will not love or enjoy, but by allowing myself to feel the uncomfortable, the awkward, the messiness, I also am given the opportunity to feel joy, happiness, and bliss. If all feelings in our lives are just vibrations, we must ask ourselves why are so many of us so afraid to feel. Knowing that vibrations always pass, and we always survive. If we will survive, and it will pass, why not welcome all of these feelings, knowing that in the end we will always learn something, we will grow in some way.
To commit to growth for me means to be willing to do hard work. Especially around myself and my own beliefs. To dive deep into understanding the inner workings of my mind. In yoga we call this Svadhyaya (self-study). Svadhyaya is the fourth niyama in the Pantajali's Yoga Sutras. The Niyamas are the second limb in the eight limbs of yoga. The Niyamas are the doorway to deeper states of mediation they are internal practices to help bring one closer to the state of bliss. The practice of these internal observances is essential in the growth of a yogi, and in my opinion the growth of any human who is seeking to live a big life. In mindset coaching this is called self-inquiry; the deep investigation of the mind. As a yogi and a practitioner of mindset coaching I am committed to a daily practice of self-inquiry(self-study). My biggest goal in life is to live big, to experience all of life fully, to have no regrets.
As I continue to explore the inner workings of my mind, I am amazed and astonished with how incredible the mind is. I chose to study the inner workings of my mind so I can understand my thoughts, and how they affect my feelings, and how together these affect the actions I take in my life. It is from this understanding that I am able to take back my power, and be the director in the story of my life. For me to commit to growth means to commit to having a deeper understanding of myself so I can show up big in my life full self expression. I can set goals that excite me, fire me up inside, make me feel alive inside. I can see from my own thinking I can chose to limit myself, I can take myself out, or I can be willing to take risks, to grow, to fail knowing that even if I am not successful, I gave it my all, and from that I will grow. To commit to growth is be willing to feel everything. Failure, embarrassment, fear, love, joy, and bliss.
How often do you hold yourself back from doing something that excites you? What is possible if you give up your own limiting beliefs? Would you take more chances in your life? Would you take more risks? What if you gave up the belief that in order to be successful you had to get everything right, that you could fail?
When I gave up this belief I opened up space for pain and suffering, for failure, but I have also created space for joy, excitement, and growth.
What do you chose?
This week's intention has centered around the third law in the 12 laws of transformation.
Step out of your comfort zone. This is one of my favorites. I challenge myself daily to step out of my comfort zone, because I know it can be difficult but will make me stronger, more resilient, andI will grow.
This is not my first blog on this subject. So I thought I would look at it from a new space. All of my previous blogs reference yoga. How yoga has taught me how to do this, which is still very true. But, it’s not just yoga that has taught me about this concept, it is also the work I have done in coaching. I have spent many hours coaching myself through the process of self-inquiry and through doing the “Work”. If you are familiar with the “Work”. You are familiar with Byron Katie. Byron Katie is a renowned author and public speaker on self-healing and personal transformation. She defines inquiry as “a way to end confusion and to experience internal inner peace, even in a world of apparent chaos. Above all else, inquiry is about realizing that all answers we ever need are always available inside us.”
With a world filled with so much chaos how do we even begin to listen to what are inner voice is communicating. It starts with getting quiet. For me taking 5-10 minutes to do a thought purge each day. Write down any and all thoughts for five minutes straight, without any constraints, whatever comes to mind write. From this list I am able to identify where my thoughts are in that moment. I am able to see if they are or are not serving me. I then have the awareness which gives me the power to choose whether or not to keep them or let them go.
It is the process of inquiry around my thoughts that is the catalyst to create and manifest change for my life. Inquiry creates a space to examine one’s own thoughts. The first two questions we ask ourselves, Is it ture? Are you certain it’s true? It is often in this first stage that I have come to learn that my thoughts are not even 100% true, they are my version. I encourage you right now, identify what you are thinking, ask yourself is it True? If your answer is yes, ask yourself again are you 100% certain this thought is true? I have found out for myself and working with clients that it is almost never 100% true. It is from this space where inquiry begins, and stepping out of the comfort zone starts. This work is not comfortable, but it is transformational. Through a series of questions, and turnarounds I have gained great awareness into my own thinking. It has been scary and upsetting at times. However, it has given me my power back! It has shown me how I have the power to change my thinking. Just the other day I had a thought, “that is so unfair why not me?” It knew right way this thought was not serving me, as I wrote it out I recognized how child like it sounded. Right away I did my inquiry around the thought. The inquiry exposed a wound that many of us struggle with, “I am not good enough”. However, instead of allowing this thought to linger and fester into feelings of pity, anger, or sadness, I was able to do a turn around, and change my thoughts to I am good enough, with these thoughts I was able to see the the truth, that not being chosen for this specific job, had nothing to do with my abilities. When we change our thoughts we are able to change how we feel, which changes how we act or react in our lives. It is a daily practice of stepping out of my comfort zone. To live in default will only keep my life status quo. I’m not saying that this is bad, but if you want to be more than status quo, if you want to live life big, then it takes a willingness to look at your thoughts from a place of compassion, and then inquire about them. This is hard work, but I believe worth it.
Life is 50% good and 50% bad. So with this being the case, why not step out of your comfort zone. Knowing that at least 50% of the time, it will be good, and the other 50% will be a chance to learn, and to grow.
If you are curious and would like to learn more about my transformational coaching program.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be willing to come apart. For years the thought of this sounded terrifying! To give up the image that I have my shit together. To allow others to see me as I really am, to drop the masks I wear each day, and to be completely vulnerable, seemed overwhelming, terrifying, and at the same time I also remember this idea seemed exciting. If I were to allow myself to just be me, would others still like me? Would I have any friends, or would I end up alone and isolated.
Yes, these are some of the thoughts that went through my mind.
Then I decided, if this scared me, then I had to take a deeper look into these thoughts. Where were they coming from? And why when I speak them out loud do they sound ridiculous. Why wouldn’t people like me for being me. So, I got quiet and began to ponder where these thoughts were originating from. I was able to pinpoint a memory from my childhood where I felt unaccepted, different, left out, and completely humiliated. On the school bus home in kindergarten another child began making fun of me for being Jewish, screaming out that I had horns, that there was something wrong with me for being who I was.
My mentor and teacher has taught me to pause, and to give myself permission to experience feelings that rise up when you bring yourself back to a painful period in your life. He says when you allow yourself to feel, is when we began to heal. Feeling is so hard for me, I push it away, avoid it at any cost. But, I have learned this technique does not work, it has only created numbness and apathy. So this time I decided to sit and stay with these feelings as I knew this would be the only way to truly grow as a person and understand this fear of being vulnerable. Staying with the feelings created an opening for empathy and compassion to my younger self, and I acknowledged to continue to react from this place would be child like, and it was time let this story go. This story that being different was unacceptable. The question I propose in class to my clients. what’s possible if you could let this thought or belief go? Often my gut reaction is I don’t know. But, I have learned I do know, I just have to seek deep inside myself for the answers. The answer for me was self-acceptance and to have the confidence to be vulnerable, even if it meant I might not be accepted by everyone.
To come apart for me is to take a deeper look at the self, and own my self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. To recognize the effect they are having on my life and how these thoughts are impacting my feelings and my actions. It is said, that the way we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat ourselves. Therefore, if we are unable to accept the self, then it would explain why there is so much hate in our world.
Ahimsa is the first of the yamas. Ahimsa means respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others. To be a yogi, to practice yoga is not just doing a set of physical postures, but to also follow the other seven limbs of yoga. To practice Ahimsa is to be kind and accepting of others, I believe this starts with each of us. As we develop more self-acceptance it is reason to believe based on modern psychology that we would become more accepting of others. So why not dig deeper, look at yourself, be willing to come apart, and let go of the thoughts that are not serving you, replace them with a new way of being. Together we can make our world a kinder place.
The first of the 12 laws of transformation is “Seek the Truth”. This weeks classes have been focused around this first law. What does it mean in reference to transformation? It is my understanding the process of seeking the truth involves the process of self acceptance and self-love. So the question often asked, how do we do this? How do we transform to this place?
For me this was a very slow process, that has taken place over many years.
I believe the process begins with mindfulness. In yoga asana we develop mindfulness around the physical body and the breath. In meditation we are invited to develop awareness around our thoughts. To begin to observe our thoughts without engaging in them, without judgement. For many of us this is a difficult challenge. To witness without engagement or judgement. This takes lots of practice and patience.
If you take 10 minutes each day to sit, breath, and observe your thoughts, I believe you are providing yourself with the opportunity for self-inquiry to begin to dive deeper into the process of seeking the truth.
What does your inner voice say? Have you sat down to listen? I have. For a long time, mine was harsh, and non-forgiving. She was at times down right mean! She would tell me for many years I was fat, ugly, not smart, the overall theme was “not good enough’. Everything I did was incorrect, wrong, “not good enough”. This way of thinking became my default. A default that left me feeling less than. A thinking that created a lack of self-confidence, and high level of anxiety. Then a teacher of mine said, would you talk to your best friend the way you speak to yourself?
At first I was stumped. Talk to myself. I don’t talk to myself. But then he went on to speak more about getting quiet and listening to the voices in your head. Curious, so I did. I began to sit, in silence and listen. This was the start of an awakening for me. Oh my gosh, she is awful. How could I be so unaware. I began to become more and more aware of the voices in my head, and did not like what they had to say. So now what do I do? I seeked out self-help books, meditation books, anything that would have the answer. Almost everything I came across said all you need is the awareness, and from that you will change. I couldn’t believe this. But over time I have learned to a degree it is true. From this awareness I was able to begin to change my way of thinking. When my inner voice was and still is being unkind, instead of believing her, I am able to acknowledge her and then reframe my thinking.
Through the process of self-inquiry I have learned to rewrite my story about myself. Develop a new truth. From this new truth, I have created a confident self-loving person. A person that is proud of who she is and not afraid to be challenged or face her fears. I believe this process begins with getting still. Listen to what your inner voice is saying. And then question it. If you are unsure if it is true, seek help to get clear, Discover if your story is serving you. If it’s not, it’s never too late to create a new one. I believe we are each on this earth for a reason, and it is not be small. It is to be big, to shine our light, and in order to to do this we must first accept and love ourselves for who we are and who we are not. Perfectly imperfect.
As I sit here and ponder 2018 I filled with many emotions. It was a year of so many shifts and changes. I sold my half of my business, moved into a new home, and married my best friend just to name a few. This year has been filled with many ups and downs. It has very much felt like I have been a roller coaster ride. At times feeling almost high and other times feeling so down that I feel like I can’t even move. I know each of these experiences have forced me to grow in ways I wasn’t even aware of and for that I am grateful.
One of the greatest lessons I can take from each of these experiences is to remember, nothing lasts forever, change is inevitable. Kindness always wins, and that true friendships are revealed during the rough patches. Value these people they will keep you going. To appreciate the good times, to not take them for granted, and that rough patches are only temporary. I personally find this very difficult. When I am in the upswing to remember to slow down and savor it, and when life is throwing me a curve, to not get to down and caught up in the drama. I find this is all so easy to write about, to talk about, but when it comes down to acting on it, I struggle just like anyone else.
Some of the things I know that help, Breathe. Meditate. And Move. It seems so simple. However, I know as well as most, it is isn’t. When I am in a low spot all I want to do is sleep, lye around watch tv, and eat sugary foods. None of which in excess are helpful. I think to avoid these pitfalls making breathing and meditation a daily habit is essential. I wouldn’t walk out of my house without brushing my teeth, so why should I walk out of my house without getting my head in the right space?
I started to think. What if everyone got themselves centered before they started their day. What would be possible? I think many people would find themselves less reactive, kinder, more thoughtful, and more productive. As these are the results that have been proven over and over again through research on the effects of breathing and meditation. For me I want to live from this space. I want to show up in the world from a place of kindness and thoughtfulness. One thing I am not proud of in 2018 is that I did not do this every day. I talk often about it, and some days I am good about starting my day off with breath-work and meditation but many days I did not. I’m not criticizing myself, just being honest, but I know for 2019 I want to be more committed to it. I want to be committed to meditation and breath-work daily, even if it might only be for 5 minutes. I want to listen more, react less, and love big!
Are the holidays stressing you out?
Here is my favorite holiday recipe:
20 minutes of morning meditation
1 cup of coffee
60 minutes of moving your body
1 large helping of doing your best
1 huge dose of giving up assumptions
1 large splash of integrity
1 heaping of not taking things personally
1 large scoop of gratitude
1 handful of dark chocolate
Mix all these ingredients together. There is no right or wrong order.
Set your timer for 20 minutes. Sit down. Be still as you can be, when sensations and distractions arise, just sit with them. When thoughts come up, just acknowledge them, don’t try to label them or make them right or wrong, just be aware of them. When you want to move just stay still.
Enjoy a warm beverage coffee, tea, or warm water and lemon. Savor it. Sit down with it. Taste it, enjoy how it feels moving through your body. Don’t guzzle it down!
Move your body. Asana, take a walk, go for a hike, hit the gym but move your body.
Allow yourself to release some endorphins.
Do your best, at whatever you do. Don’t worry if it's not as good as yesterday or better, just make it your best for that moment and be content with it. Your best is constantly evolving as are you! Each moment brings a new opportunity.
Give up the assumptions. Start communicating. Ask questions. Get clear. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need.
Be of integrity. Be honest. Be truthful. Accept responsibility for your actions.
Don’t take things personally. Notice that when you give this up what happens?
Mix in as much gratitude as you can. Gratitude brings so much sweetness into life.
Don’t forget to top off your pie with dark chocolate. A powerful antioxidant that provides just the perfect amount of sweetness to complete your pie.
Enjoy and reap up the benefits!
In yoga class I often state “less is more”. This philosophy is outlined throughout the 8 limbs of yoga. Especially in the yamas and niyamas. These are the first two steps in Patanjali's 8 limb system. These first two limbs outline ways of ethical living and thinking in order to achieve happiness and peace in one’s life. The yama Aparigraha talks about non-possessiveness. For me this can be interpreted as not hoarding or taking what you don’t need. This can relate to things, food, time, or energy.
When we first arrived at the Extreme Hotel/Yoga Loft in Puerto Plato we were introduced to the facility by a very friendly young women Victoria. She handed everyone the key to their room and showed us toward the stairs where we were to locate our rooms. No elevator, no bellman, just two flights of stairs to carry are bags up to. The facility was simple. Clean without any frills. The initial reaction by some when they first arrived was uncertainty and maybe a little confusion. The rustic appeal was not what I believe most were accustomed to. The rooms were simple. Two beds and bathroom. No A/C, just a fan, and a window. The bathrooms were outdated, but clean, very basic.
My first gut reaction was oh no! Are people going to be disappointed, will they be upset?
To my surprise no one complained!
Slowly we made are way to the yoga loft (the hut where we would practice our daily yoga). The view was spectacular, the space was perfect!
The week was filled with amazing farm to table food, great people, fun adventures, yoga and meditation with an amazing view. Most importantly simple living.
As the week came to an end, I came to realize that everyone in the group appreciated the simplicity of the facility. The lack of extras were not missed, and the ability to completely unwind from life was much appreciated.
It made me start to contemplate how I can practice Aparigraha more here at home. How can I cultivate more Island like living everyday? What could I let go of to create more space for more simplicity in my life.
Is there one thing you can let go of today? Commit to it for 40 days, and if you don’t miss it, don’t invite it back into your life. I am committing to turning off from all electronics each day by 9 pm. To spend this time either connecting with loved ones or enjoying some quiet time with myself. What are you committing to? Share with me and we can hold each other accountable for creating a space for peace in each others lives.
For me I have decided disconnecting from technology and connecting more to nature and people, making the effort to turn off the phone and spend more time being with myself and others. Taking more time to appreciate good food, great conversations, and my surroundings.
My first memory of experiencing anti semitism was in Kindergarten. I was riding the school bus and another child started shouting to the kids on the bus that I had horns, because I was Jewish. I was scared and confused. I didn’t understand what he was saying. He said Jews have horns because they are “bad and ugly”. From that point forward I believed I was different, and not in a good way. His words were hurtful and unkind and impacted me in more ways than he will ever know. I struggled through elementary and middle school feeling like I didn’t fit in or belonged. Even in High School when I had a good group of friends I still felt as if I was different. As I look back now, I realize this separateness I created in my mind was from one stupid comment by another child who probably was just repeating something he had heard from another child or worse, a parent. Separateness comes from within, when we feel not good enough or incomplete. When this feeling overcomes us, I believe is where hatred and anger is brewed.
When i heard the news of the Pittsburg shooting I was so angry. It seems like in 2018 that antisemitism should no longer be a problem. Unfortunately there are still so many people in our world who live from a place of fear and separateness. I believe it is from fear and lack of self belonging that this deep form of hate is born. Fear of what is different, what feels threatening. From this fear, separateness is created.
Yoga means union to yoke together body, mind, soul, and spirit. I believe that when we feel unified from within we begin to feel more connected and less separate from others. As angry as I am I also feel sorry for the shooter. I don't’ believe we are born with intense hate, that events in our lives mold who we become. Our upbringing and environment plays a large part in how we view the world and most importantly ourselves. When we are left feeling less than, unlovable, not good enough disconnection occurs.
Yoga asana teaches us to connect to our bodies, to feel the feet on the floor, the muscles contract to the bones, the expansion of the breath through our chest. Through this powerful connection I was able to start to connect first to my body, then to my thoughts, from this I have been able build more awareness of those thoughts that are not serving me, and a deeper connection to my emotions, and the ability to stop before I react. The power of connection is magic. As I was able to develop an internal sense of self-connection I was able to let go of the lie that I was separate or different. Giving up this false belief has given me the power to speak and lead large groups, be vulnerable, and form beautiful friendships and to find true love.
I began to think if yoga was part of our schools curriculum from early on, kids that may not be exposed to concepts of connection, unity, or union at home could now be exposed to a new way of thinking, different then the way they are being brought up in. If all individuals can feel personally connected, then it seems to me that it is possible to reduce the amount of hate and separateness in our communities. So we can eradicate anti-hate crimes
For the past week I have been talking in classes about “Shifting your Vision”. A term my teacher Baron Baptiste uses in the 12 laws of transformation. I have found the yoga mat to be a wonderful way to demonstrate how we can shift our vision and our perspective in the asanas. The asanas provide such wonderful symbolism as so many postures are practiced with different variations, while they look quite different in the body, the results are the same. One way of demonstrating this idea of “shifting the vision” is through turning the room around to face different directions, this providing the eyes with a new drishti (focal point). Another way which I have found to be quite profound for me has been through the use of the postures.
For example, Mountain pose (Tadasana) standing on your feet, is also mountain pose when you lie on the floor on your back (savasana), as well as when you are in plank (dandasana) on your hands and feet. When we move and shift our bodies into new variations of the same shape, we shift the sensations, and where the ease and effort are affected. That with the simpleness of shifting one’s hands or feet, one can feel the shape in a totally different way and have a completely new experience. As I began to think about the different asanas and how each one has many different variations, I began to contemplate how this applies to life.
My self-inquiry brought up thoughts of perspective, and be willing to explore alternative approaches to situations. Especially those that challenge me. For me, my default is to get frustrated and angry when things don’t go as I want them to. I think this is pretty normal. Then I started to think how much easier life would be if I could pause and breathe like I do on my yoga mat, and just turn directions, or shift my way of thinking just like I shift the postures around to feel them in different ways. So as I deal with challenging situations in my life, I am choosing these days to stop, pause, and consider that my original way of looking at the situation may not be the best and only way, and that maybe a different approach will open up my life and my thinking in ways that I wasn’t even aware was possible. This new way of being has already in just the matter of one week created so much less tension and more ease in my life.
So next time you feel stuck. Pause. Breathe. Turn around a few times. Then shift your focus. Realize that there are many ways to look at or experience a situation, that there doesn’t have to be a right or wrong way. Just maybe a new way!
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. This is what comes to mind for me as I step out of my comfort zone into the unknown.
For the last seven years minus a month or two I have owned and operated a yoga studio. In essence it has become my comfort zone, as strange as that might sound. To go out on my own, with one focus to teach without the other responsibilities of studio management and ownership scares me. It scares me because what if I fail? What if teaching alone is not enough for me, what if I succeed and this is all I need to keep my cup filled. These are the questions that constantly run through my mind over the last month in deciding whether or not to sell my part of the empower studio. A huge scary decision. A decision I have pondered and obsessed over for weeks, has increased my anxiety, caused me many sleepless nights, and lots of tears.
I spend my days and evenings teaching about integrity and authenticity, and being in alignment with one's own needs and desires, and for months I have been living in a fog, swelled up by stress of studio ownership. As I hope know one but my significant other has truly noticed the effects of all this stress, I have felt its heavy weight and it has left me feeling less then present with my students and my family. Then just a little over a month ago a fellow teacher approached me about studio ownership, and if at any point I was interested in relinquishing it, that she would be interested in purchasing it. At first the ideas sounded ridiculous how could I possibly give up what I created, what I had put so many hours and sleepless nights into. So much hard work! Then I recalled my teacher saying to me, to surrender is to be powerful, it is not a weakness or a sign of failure. So I began to ponder this idea, of giving up the stressful parts but keeping the parts I love and have grown to cherish, teaching students and helping others grow into their own authentic selves. I began to think what is possible if I step away from ownership and just focus on teaching? I began to ponder about all the things I could manifest with the new space I would have, I could tap into my creativity, create more workshops, trainings, and retreats and have the ability to connect with so many more beautiful yogi’s.
So I have decided to practice what I preach. To surrender, to let go of ownership right now and focus on what lights me up, and to be true to myself. Surrendering is scary, but I also believe it is powerful, and I committed to myself years ago when I first embarked on my yoga journey that I would always be powerful, and stay true to myself, to practice what I preach. So I am making a choice, taking a chance, and ready to embark on this change and I am excited for what is next.
Not that long ago this pose (crow - Bakasana) terrified me. Now I love the lightness the pose brings to body, and the feeling of strength and confidence it brings to my spirit. Each time I have stepped outside the lines of my comfort zone I have grown. I am looking forward to the journey that lies ahead, and the ability to continue to soar!