Forgiveness and Mercy

I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert when she said something that stopped me in my tracks.

“Anytime I get a chance to talk to people on the subject of mercy, I just want to put in a word for it. Because I believe that we live in a merciless culture, and I believe that we are merciless to ourselves and I believe that we are very often merciless to each other. But most merciless to ourselves because we’ve been taught to be.”

I heard her say the words “…I believe that we live in a merciless culture…”and I stopped in my tracks because she is right. Being in the healing industry, I’m always hearing talk of compassion. In fact, right now I’m taking an online workshop about self-compassion.

But mercy? Mercy seems like a more powerful word, an active word. And I started to wonder, what is the difference between compassion and mercy?

Let’s take a look at the definitions. Continue reading Forgiveness and Mercy

“Departure” – Part 1 of the Hero’s Journey Trilogy: COVID-19 Edition

Everyone is going through a trying time right now. As I’ve been sitting in my home, under a self-imposed lockdown due to the COVID-19 danger posed by my history of asthma, I have pondered how to take advantage of this opportunity. I’ve always said to myself, as many of you probably have, “If I only had the space and time to do the things I want to do.”

Well, my wish has been granted, and it is a bit terrifying.

This wonderful and terrifying opportunity brought to my mind the Hero’s Journey. What is the Hero’s Journey?

Harry Potter, Warner Bros.

The Hero’s Journey is a pattern that many stories old and new seem to follow. The theory of the Hero’s Journey was made popular by Joseph Campbell. In Campbell’s theory, the hero of the story is taken from his ordinary day-to-day life to face challenges and return back to ordinary life victorious and with new wisdom. It is the pattern of departure, initiation, and return. Examples of this story pattern are Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Paul Atreides in Dune, Bilbo in The Hobbit, and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings.

So I have been wondering: How does the idea of the hero’s departure, initiation, and return fit into our current experience? Continue reading “Departure” – Part 1 of the Hero’s Journey Trilogy: COVID-19 Edition

What if I’m the Storm?

Do you have people in your life that annoy you? Maybe they have a personality tick, or a habit, or a way of speaking that annoys you.

Or maybe it isn’t a person. Maybe it’s just a pet peeve that anybody can do and it sets your teeth on edge.

For me, it is humming. I can’t stand it if I’m at, for example, the grocery store and someone is humming while they are shopping. I know it seems ridiculous. What harm is there in people humming? The harm is I want to grab them and say, “Stop it!”

But these people humming aren’t doing it with the purpose to get a rise out of me. Neither is the person that annoys you with their personality tick. These people, the Pet Peeve People, are just going about their lives.

Is it really fair that they become the object of our wrath?   Of course not! Continue reading What if I’m the Storm?

Surrender and Heal

In 2003, I was engaged to a very nice man we will call Allen. I have talked about this engagement before. As a recap, Allen had a six year old daughter. He also had a mother that considered the daughter her daughter. So, in his mother’s eyes, I was taking away her only son and her “daughter” she had a “special relationship” with. Furthermore, the daughter had ADD, and I was trying my best to create a healthy lifestyle for her to help with her ADD.

I was trying to force my will against something that, frankly, wasn’t going to change.

One morning, the mother/grandmother came by to pick up the daughter/granddaughter. I was still in bed. It is funny how you know the sounds and routines in your house. I could tell by the pause from when the front door opened and when it closed that the mother/grandmother had a “little conversation” with Allen. And my intuition knew exactly what the conversation was: she was upset at how I had “treated her” the night before at a family function.

And inside, something broke.

I realized that I was striving for acceptance in a family that didn’t like me. I was trying not to act like a mother while doing all the “mom” work. I was twisted in knots and not being myself. That break was me surrendering. I surrendered to the reality that I was sacrificing who I was in order to be with him…and it wasn’t working.

With reality of the situation hitting me, I realized I had two choices. If I stayed in this situation, I would not be who I was in 5 years. I would be someone completely different. And if I left, I would be breaking off an engagement and hurting someone I truly cared for, but I would be saving myself from destruction. Continue reading Surrender and Heal

Asking for Help – An essential tool on your healing journey.

Many people are stubborn. I had never thought of myself as stubborn until I learned I was an Enneagram 9. Only then was able to see that I’m easy going, but don’t ever tell me what to do. I will turn around and do the opposite thing so fast I don’t even realize I’m being stubborn.

Being stubborn can cause us to not read our situation correctly. It can cause us to be blind. And the more we are blind, the less we are able to see that whatever method we are using to solve a problem just isn’t working.

Hopefully, we eventually realize that we are acting insane. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you understand what I mean.

But what if you are doing the same thing over and over again because you don’t know what else to do?

It is at such times that seeking help is the solution. Continue reading Asking for Help – An essential tool on your healing journey.

Your Healing Journey on a Dime

As a society, we believe money makes the world go round. We believe money is involved with everything. Hence, we believe walking the healing path will be expensive. And if we don’t have the money, we can’t do it.

I’m here to tell you that, from my own experience, this isn’t true.

There have been many, many, many times in my life when I have not had extra money. And, frankly, those have been the times when I have needed the most healing. But, I’ve always found a way to heal, money or no money.

When it comes to learning how to live a healthy life style: mind, body and spirit – there are many free resources. And when it comes to living that healthy life style: eating healthy, moving your body, removing psychological blocks, loving who you are – there, too, we have many economical resources. You just need the time and patience to do a little research.

Continue reading Your Healing Journey on a Dime

Vacation!

“Vacation, all I ever wanted! Vacation, have to get away!” ~ The Go-Go’s

Hello from Grand Lake!

Every year, my husband and I take a week vacation in Grand Lake.

Canoeing on Grand Lake

In the calm of Grand Lake, I use the week to do nothing and decompress. It is only then that I feel like I have the space to recharge, reflect, and find a reset. I feel like the fog can lift and I can get in touch with who I am again and what is truly important to me. I can remember what it is that makes me happy and begin to see a way forward toward the life I want.  I feel like I have the space to energize and get motivated again to move forward toward my goals. I feel like I can refocus my healing path.

I did a little searching around ye ole internet and discovered that the healing benefits of vacation are not just in my head. Vacations are extremely beneficial to health. Continue reading Vacation!

Sighing is Healing

“Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.” ~ George Santayana

During a yoga class, a teacher said, “The body loves a good sigh.”

I did a big sigh and realized she was absolutely, 100% correct. I felt pretty good after that sigh.

When a yogi sighs in class, I can almost see the stress drain away from their body. They look a little lighter. And when I sigh in class, I, too, feel lighter.

When I’m teaching, I can always tell the pro yogis because they sigh. And those pro yogis aren’t always the ones getting into advanced poses.  To me, pro yoga  means that person gets the whole enchilada when it comes to yoga. They aren’t just there for exercise, or because they’ve been told it is a good thing to do for the body. Pro yogis understand they are there to release and heal.

And here’s the other important part. When these pro yogi’s sigh in class, it isn’t a quiet, dainty sigh. It is a sigh that starts as a huge inhale from the lungs and then asks the gut, “Hey, you want in on this action?” The sigh then releases as a full-throat, loud primal sound.

All of this led me to ask, Why do we sigh? Continue reading Sighing is Healing

All About Food

I’ve been thinking a lot about food this week. Which has brought up some revelations and questions.

On Monday night, I taught a workshop on Mindful Eating. (For more information on Mindful Eating, click here.) The whole workshop revolved around the idea of being present while eating. As a society, we like to be distracted while eating. Most of the time it is in the form of a digital screen watching a show or reading social media. Which led me to wonder, “Is food really that boring? So boring that we need to be entertained in some way while eating?”

During the workshop, we practiced mindful eating. Everyone filled their plates with various bits of food to observe. We all took a minute to get centered and grounded, then started to eat. I guided them to first look at the food observing its color, its texture, its smell. They were then guided to take a bite and observe the flavor as well as the texture and sound. From there, everyone proceeded to eat mindfully for another 10 minutes. My conclusion from all of this was:

  • Crunchy food is really noisy.
  • Food isn’t boring.
  • Instead, it was a bit lonely to be eating in silence. Especially in a room full of people.

 

Also on Monday, I started a two week online cleanse called “The Conscious Cleanse.” Click here for more info on The Conscious Cleanse. I participated in this cleanse a couple of years ago. I think it is a brilliant program for many reasons.

First, any diet type can participate. Even if you are vegan or paleo, you can participate. The basis of the program is eating clean – no sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, etc. So, if you are a meat eater, you can eat all the meat you want and if you are vegan you can eat all the beans you want.

Second, the cleanse focuses on being kind to your body. You eat foods in a combination that is easiest to digest. Vegetables easily digest through our bodies, so you may eat vegetables with anything. Meat, grains, nuts and seeds should be eaten separate from each other. The body uses a significant amount of our energy for digestion when eating the traditional American diet. So, the idea is to lighten up the digestion load so the body puts more energy to other functions like releasing toxins and healing.

Finally, you can eat as much as you want. The cleanse is meant to help you become more aware of your cravings and eating habits. They don’t want you to starve yourself.

After a week of being on the cleanse, I have come to a very significant conclusion. Continue reading All About Food

Dristi – Our Point of Focus

There is a saying in mountain biking – at least I’ve heard there is one because I’ve never been on a mountain bike in my life. The saying is, “Where you look, that’s where you’ll go.” The idea is that if you look at the big boulder in front of you that is what you will run into.

I try to use this expression in yoga as well. It is all too easy to look at the floor when you are doing balancing poses in class. Students don’t want to look up because it is harder. But looking up, looking straight ahead is where you need to challenge yourself. It is where you need to look in order to work your mind/body connection. And it is true, that if you are doing dancer and you are looking at the floor, the floor is where you will end up. Furthermore, looking down means collapsing your spine a bit. By looking forward, you are keeping a long, neutral spine. At least in poses like tree.

It is so easy to take short cuts in yoga. Looking at the floor in balancing poses is one of them. But if you look at the floor, you will never fly off the ground. Where you look is so important, there is even a name for it: Drishti. Drishti is the yogic term for where your point of focus is for your eyes. Sometimes it is straight ahead. Sometimes it is up at your hands.

But Drishti is also a metaphor for life. Continue reading Dristi – Our Point of Focus