Attitude of Gratitude: day 23-30

Where I often spend Thanksgiving is pretty rustic with no internet. The smart phone I got a little over a year ago has changed that for me and I'm no longer quiet as 'disconnected'... but it's still lovely to have an excuse to not check email or post to my website. These things are possible, but slightly annoying on a phone, so I practice my connection in other, more solitary ways. I take my camera with me and record for myself. It also means I can later update you on what I saw and was grateful for:

  1. Waking up on a lazy morning with nowhere to be and nothing to do.


2. Feeling the sun and quiet while meditating without any of the pressure to 'get started with the rest of my day.'

3. A cozy fire in the fireplace and a relaxed study buddy.

4. Abundance in food and family with lots of love and laughter and nourishment and an awareness and gratitude for where this food comes from and everything that went into growing it and preparing it for me to eat.

5. Sun coming out after several days of rain, providing warmth and a different light in which to see things.

6. A walk in the woods and my grandma's stories of elves and gnomes and magic echoing through my head.

7. Messages left for us by nature... if we're listening in.

8. Familiar spaces and all the memories that go with them. A sense of history and connection without obligation or attachment.

9. Cozy shelter, surrounded by plenty of fresh air and wide-open spaces. Home and wild, all rolled into one - just the way I like it. And gratitude for the love of others that keeps it maintained and enjoyable.

10. Trees that teach us to root down, stand tall, grow upwards, bend with the wind, die to be reborn. There is something beautiful in how they stand and yet flow.

Coming out of this holiday and this month of gratitude, I know I have much to be thankful for everyday. I hope you had a wonderful celebration and as the focus now turns to gifts and giving, I hope you find it in you to give to those who challenge you, to love those you're not always sure you're able to (especially yourself), and to receive all that the Universe wants you to be open to. This is a time of unrest in our country. May we all be a listening ear, even when we think we 'know' and may we stand like a tree or a mountain, in the name of Love, when it comes to what is right.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 16

Today I am grateful for:

  1. That there's always something new to be found on my yoga mat. Today it was trying to see how much of my practice I could do with my eyes closed, noticing how my body feels as it moves, and noticing how it affects my balance.
  2. Delicious soup, cooked from scratch, and sooooo nourishing.
  3. The journey of teaching and how it has enlarged me on so many levels and in so many ways.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 5

Today was a day with a lot of yoga in it. First, a personal practice. Then, teaching an hour long group class, followed by a two hour workshop. At the end of it, my body was definitely tired. But I am grateful:

  1. For a body that is strong and flexible enough to be able do what I ask of it. And for the strength, openness, and balance it continually surprises me by growing into.
  2. Community - students and teachers who come together in love, trust, and silliness. Seeking growth and peace and to better their own little corner of the world.
  3. A quiet kitchen to come home to with food projects that leave my hands smelling like herbs, spices, and all kinds of wonderful wild.

Attitude of Gratitude: day 1

It's hard to believe October's already over. It has been a month since I got this new website up and running. And I committed to writing a blog a day in celebration of our wild and sacred journey. And I got 10 done.

There will always be the voices in my head that want to count that as a failure - that want to say I broke my promise and make that mean all kinds of bad things about who I am. But those voices are unnecessarily over-dramatic and I try to not really listen to them. Perfectionism, like many of our thoughts and stories, serves a purpose - it encourages us to step to new heights and to always try our best. But left unchecked, it will keep us from ever trying anything at all.

And now November's here. And instead of throwing in the towel, I'm switching up my blog post challenge. For this month, in honor of Thanksgiving, I will post as least three things per day I am grateful for. Day 1:

  1. The chance to begin again
  2. Creative endeavors and the sparks they bring to my life
  3. The soothing sounds of church bells on the crisp air

I'll end with what I wrote during my creative writing experience in response to the prompt asking me to write a dialogue in which I break up with Perfectionism:

(K, an adult in their 30s, stands on the edge of a chasm, pausing for a moment but without fear, flexing new wings and looking thoughtful. P, a child of about 10, can be seen sneaking into sight behind her. Eventually P moves fully into sight, looking terrified)
P: I don’t want to scare you… but I wouldn’t do that, if I were you!
K: (turning to face P) And why not, P?
P: I don’t know! I just know that something bad might happen! What if your wings don’t work? You’ve never done this before! You could fall and die… or worse. You could survive and get laughed at! Or… what if they do work? What happens if you could then roam the whole earth. I might never see you again here! We’ve never been apart… Everything you feel, I feel. You’re my whole world! And I would miss you…
K: (going to P and taking P in their arms) Oh, dear P. Listen to you. Always worrying, always afraid. Remember that time I wanted to play soccer with those kids and couldn’t let myself do it - couldn’t relax because I knew how afraid you were of being laughed at? Remember what that felt like to be split in two - part of me doing and part of me working so hard to hold up shields of toughness. It ended up turning play into work, P. We didn’t get laughed at, but we didn’t have fun either.
P: Yes, but… no one laughed at us! I mean that’s always how this has been… you want to do and me, I just want us to make sure we don’t get hurt. To make sure we’re liked. Being alone and unlike and hurt would be the worst thing in the world. So we’ve got to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen! I’m not saying we shouldn’t do things… just that we should know how to do them first. We have to be the best. Otherwise we’re weak and not good enough.
K: I know, P, I know. And I used to agree with you. But remember that time that every part of me wanted to lean in for a kiss… and I froze… and those walls came back up and I listened to your fear and didn’t do it? Remember just how cold and alone we felt then? I regret that, P. What would our lives be like today if I had just thrown caution to the winds and gone for it?
P: It wouldn’t have worked out anyway! Can’t you see that now? Looking back we can both see that it wouldn’t have worked, so I was actually right to hold you back and keep us from getting hurt. I think we should just wait for the right person to come along so we can skip all the messiness. You’ve heard all the others talking about love. It’s all messiness. Why can’t we just skip that and go straight to the happily ever after?
K: (sighing) P. You’re getting a little old to believe so much in fairy tales.
P: (muttering) …says the person with wings who’s about to try and fly off a cliff.
K: That’s different! Magic exists. It’s fairy tales where everything is black and white and people are either good or bad, in love or not, happy or sad… that’s what seems increasingly unrealistic. I don’t think happily ever after exists in the form that you think it does. I think even there it’s still messy at times. There’s a whole world of gray out there and that’s where what makes life interesting happens. Don’t you want to experience that some day for yourself, little P?
P: No. I don’t think I could handle that. I like to know where I stand…. and that? That sounds complicated and confusing.
K: It does right now. I understand. I used to feel that way, too. But someday, little P, you’ll grow up, too. And then you’ll realize that you’re stronger than you thought and you’ll realize that all the things you were afraid of won’t hurt you as much as you think they will. And you’ll realize that to hide behind walls is really only half a life. By the time you get your own wings, P, you’ll realize that the exhilaration of flying outweighs the risks….(pause) That’s why I have to go. I have to try. I am afraid, and I will always have your little voice in my head warning me to proceed with caution into the unknown and that’s a good thing! I’m grateful for all the things you’ve taught me and all the ways that listening to you has brought me to a higher level of achievement and focus. Acting for the both of us has taught me many lessons… but I think the time has come for us to stand on our own feet. I am in a different place now and while I will always take a little part of you with me, I need to grow bigger, not stay small with you, little P. And if I grow bigger, maybe you will be able to, too.
(P stand looking very sad and K moves to give P a hug. Then K stands back and turns back to the cliff. This time without pausing, K takes a running leap and disappears down, away from view. P screams and rushes to the edge, when all of a sudden, K soars back into view, a little wobbly but aloft. K is laughing)
K: (calling back to the cliff where P stands) Definitely not perfect, little P! But so worth it! And I’m getting better already! (throwing a wink/wave/blowing a kiss, K flies off and P, realizing it’s possible and their fears have not come to pass, stands a little taller)


Wild Sacred Journey: day 10

This time of year is challenging for me. Our society has adapted itself well to electricity and climate control and assumes that we humans can maintain the same levels of productivity year-round. Maybe you can. When I first started working on farms, and eating and living closer to nature and more in tune with the rhythms of the seasons, I learned that I cannot.

We exist in the natural world. We are of it. And yet we distance ourselves and shut ourselves off and live life disconnected. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for shelter that protects me and lets me live comfortably. I am grateful for the convenience of electricity. And I am also aware of how the difference between my internal environment and external environment affect me. As the days get shorter and the weather colder, my body switches which foods it wants to eat and the quantity. I have less energy to work as many hours and crave a little bit more sleep. I want to move slower and spend more time in quiet. Why not? Perennial plants hibernate. Many animals hibernate or at least slow down their activity in winter. Even water flows more slowly as temperatures drop and it comes closer to freezing. All around us, nature gives us signs that it's OK to pause, reflect, take rest, restore. 

And even though I know this, every year I find myself fighting it and judging myself as wrong or lazy for something that comes as naturally to my body as breathing - responding to its environment. Yoga is the practice of harmonizing our inner and outer experiences so that we live life an authentic and aligned life. That means honoring ourselves where we are. So today I accept - I accept my 'failure' to accomplish the same amount now as I do in the summer. I accept that I may not make all my self-set deadlines. I accept that I need nourishing and restoration. I am, after all, both wild and sacred. And I am always unfolding at the right time... it just may not be my time. And I accept that, too.