Tag Archives: reflection

The Question That Stumped Me

17 Mar

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition this year, and am almost ten weeks into the program. It’s been incredibly interesting and really fun work to be doing. There’s this workbook that we have that is more focused on the business aspect of the schooling, and we’ve been chugging slowly through that the past couple weeks. The beginning is very much about intention setting and sussing out your goals for the the school year(s) and your application of what you’ve learned (including any business you want to grow out of it). I love this kind of stuff. This might be a surprise to some of my friends… but I’m a huge internal planner. Goals, lists, check-ins… I do this multiple times a year. So the first couple chapters of this workbook have been fun. An extension of some of the things I already do.
Then I hit this one question, after a string of school and work focused questions.

“What is your life purpose?”

And I froze.
Actually, quite literally, paused. Pen suspended above the workbook, staring at the question.
Absolutely empty-headed and awash in a sea of blank space.
Completely stumped!

Let me repeat… I think about this type of stuff A LOT. It’s a constant record in my head… How do I want my days to go, to look, to feel… How do I want/need to be spending my time, where do I want my energy to go, what are my priorities. I can tell you lists of goals, things I want to do, experience, accomplish. In the next couple months, this year, over the next two years, the next five… I have goals that I know will resurface twenty years from now.

But my life purpose?! That’s a question outside of goals and plans. An intention stripped down. A purpose that would be yours whether you were a massage therapist or a social worker or a stay at home mom or a business owner. Whether you were married or not, had three kids or none. Whether you lived in New York or in Modesto. And I think it’s been a really long time since I’ve even thought to consider a question like that.

So I’m here… still letting the question marinate… but hoping that some friends can give some little shout outs, and help me out as I mull this over.

Do you know what your life purpose is? Have you thought about it? Are you willing to share?

Our Best Selves

28 May

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  • Marianne Williamson

I tend to shy away from quotes that are used often. Even when I initially, really connected to it. This one is different. As I read those words above, even as part of me is thinking… oh, that quote again… it’s impossible to not be struck over and over again by the truth in it.

There’s a woman that works at the same spa that I do, and I love when I run into her between massages, or on breaks, because even when it’s a six sentence exchange during the 3 ½ minutes that we share in passing… the words that transpire there tend to stick with me for a while. She reads like a maniac and is attracted to the same kinds of books I am (she’s the only other person I’ve met who also knows who David Whyte is). And she questions a lot of things herself. Always thinking about the way the world works and the dynamics of human interaction. I adore her.

The other thing that I realized just this weekend, that has become absolutely fascinating to me… is that she seems to see the best version of me.

Now we’ve both talked about our various past fuck-ups, and I’m not saying she thinks I have a charmed life. But she’ll sometimes make statements, amidst conversation, like, “You strike me as someone who…” or “I see you as someone who doesn’t…” And they’re finished up with statements that describe the person that I strive to be, or the characteristics that I value, and aim to cultivate. And I always have to stop for a moment and think about it… because I have that same knee jerk reaction that I often do to compliments, where I want to list my faults and lay them out as proof of how far I still have to go.

But somehow when she says these things, I stop first to think. Maybe it’s because of the person I see her as too? Someone who doesn’t just take things, or people, for how they first appear, and label them from a shallow interpretation. She takes things in, chews on them, questions them and holds an ever-evolving conversation with them, readjusting as she gathers new information or insight.

Whatever the reason, when I stop to think on the things she says, the more I try and find examples of my own contradictions… the more I find that the observations she offers up about me are often true.

And it just left me thinking for such a long time…

I think we often measure ourselves up against the worst version we can find. Recollecting how many times we nitpick our spouses, or are impatient with those around us, choose to eat poorly, or how long we let the clutter pile up until we can’t stand it anymore. I think too often we hold that struggle we have with wishing we were better than we are up to the light for dissection, and convince ourselves that that is who we are. That is how we handle things and that is how far we have to go.

But how far we have to go for what? To reach perfection? HAH! Can I hear just one big collective HAH! at the idea that we must somehow measure ourselves against our distance from perfection?! When in the history of humanity was that idea implanted?!

This is not an idea, a habit, that is beneficial to our growth.  Not acknowledging the good in ourselves, the things we can be proud of, is only inhibiting.  To us all.  “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  The truth of it really… hits me time and again.  Because the logical conclusion is that when we do not acknowledge all the staggeringly beautiful and praiseworthy qualities in ourselves, we unconsciously send out the message that it’s not okay to be proud of yourself.  That our faults and mistakes are what define us.   That it’s best to try and make these parts of ourselves as unobtrusive as possible so that these ways in which we fall short aren’t noticed too often. 

And is that really what we want to build a community out of?  Is that the message we want to send out to our friends? Our loved ones?  Our children?

I sure as hell hope not!

Anyways, as I step down from my soapbox… I’ll just say that I appreciated the flicker of recognition I was able to feel when looking at someone else’s description of me. That the highest version of myself, the one I hope to be, does in fact live in my own skin more often than I give myself credit for.

Now to remember this day in and day out… here’s the real key to it all.

Lessons in Marriage

25 Apr

I’m reminded, last night, as I have been many many times over the past year, of the importance of owning up to your own shit.

I remember reading a line in a book sometime, years ago.  It said that sometimes we don’t even realize we’re in a bad mood until we’re around other people.  It’s like, our moodiness is hard to recognize until it can bump or crash up against another person.

Never have I found that to be more true than in marriage.  And I give myself a huge, internal pat on the back whenever I can pause in the middle of some misplaced crankiness that I’m splattering all over my bewildered, and most often innocent husband… take a breath… and explain what’s really going on in my head.  Resisting the urge to imply that he is somehow to blame.

Most of the time I can get there… even if it takes me a while.

Sometimes I can’t.

But I sure do try.  Because we’re allies in this life we’ve created, not scape goats for our own individual tantrums.  And I like it better that way.

30 Day Mind and Body Challenge Finale

22 Mar

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

So it wasn’t really yoga, officially, but I did go to a stretch class a couple nights ago that was very yoga-like.  And although the 30 day challenge officially ended 8 days ago, that was my little nod to the loveliness that it brought back into my life.

It was actually my first yoga class of the whole challenge.  Because of my mommy status and my discomfort with leaving my little one at the gym kid’s corner, it has been easier to do yoga at home this past 30(8) days.

This challenge went through so many phases for me, and I really found myself shifting focus three times throughout the whole month.  I petered out in my yoga practice after the first 10 days or so… and although I continued to stretch far more regularly than I had done before, it wasn’t true yoga, you know?

But then again, I guess I shouldn’t say that.  Because one of the things I’ve learned through this, is that yoga isn’t just a practice you do on the mat.  It’s a state of mind, and a way of being present that you practice in your life.

Either way… around the ten day mark, my family went on a trip to Half Moon Bay.  That trip triggered my shift into the self-love aspect of the challenge, which I had all but forgotten about in my focus on the yoga.  It was there that I remembered how to pause in my day.  To breathe, and consider… what I really wanted out of that moment.  What my body needed (food? rest? movement?), what my mind needed (a stimulating book? a tv show entertainment? the emptiness of just being, in front of a fire, with a cup of tea?), and what my baby needed… because it was just the two of us for long stretches of time.

I realized how much my days at home are filled with activity, without very much consideration for what I really want or need at the time.  I’m playing with Mason, or making sure he’s entertained while I’m doing something else… and then when he naps, I go to the internet out of reflex.  Do nothing terribly important most of the time, while I half-heartedly try and figure out what I wanted to do during that nap.  And by the time I figure out what it is, and rush to do it, Mason is starting to wake up again.  And over again we cycle.

Half Moon Bay was a great weekend, for all of us.  And upon returning home, although old habits die hard, I’ve been able to bring more awareness… more Attention to our days.  Which makes me a happier lady, and a more fully present mama and wife.  And when I fall back into habitual mindless activity… I’ve been able to identify it much quicker.

My last shift was another mind, body centered focus… but a surprise one.  A groupon deal prompted a friend and I to sign up for 30 days unlimited classes at The Bar Method.  It feels like an amazing cross between pilates and dance techniques.  And although it kicks my ass every time I go, I feel stronger and more capable in my body after every class.  And the mental lift, energy and sense of discipline it’s giving me are an amazing handful of side effects.

So clearly… i think this challenge was rad.  And although I was enjoying my life as it was unfolding prior to these 30(8) days… i’m so smitten with it now!

Soooo a huge thank you to Laura, who’s amazing blog led me to this challenge, to Betsy who dreamed it up, and to all the fantastically brave women who participated.

I know I posted this video in the last post on this challenge… but it’s just so gorgeous that I have to do it again.

This is me.

28 Dec

This is me.

This is me.Right now.

Right here.

Not  separate from who I was.

Not just a floating island  composed of the circumstances that make up who I am today.

But a culmination of everything I have danced with and walked with until this point.

Every thing.  Every thought.  Everyone.  Every event.  Every friend.  Every fight.  Every smile.

Every pause.  Every leap.  Every breakfast and every cup of tea.  Every cocktail and every cigarette.  Every kiss and every shock.  Every heartfilled emotion-exploding moment.

I am my ten year old self.

I am my single wandering self.

I am my married and in love self.

I am the self that is a mother.

a new mother.

long skirt and laceI am someone who feels pretty and enlivened, wrapped in a long soft skirt and lace.

I am someone who relishes the time alone with black tea, cream, agave, some music, and someplace to write.

I am someone who will never stop singing.

I will always feel magical around strings of lights.

I will always feel more at home in my life when I am creating.

my familyI am someone who needs to be around people I love.

I love that I am with a man who loves everything that I am.  Who says he’s proud of me almost on a daily basis.

I love that this same man who loves me for who I am helps me to hold myself to the standard of all that I have the potential to be.

And this man… this gorgeous, kind, silly, patient, dedicated, endlessly loving man also helps me to be gentle with myself whenever I fall short of that potential.

I think that it’s my turn to be on top of the world.

I am trying to be very conscious about enveloping myself in every moment of this new life I’m creating.

The moments that are happening right now are the quickest to slip away.  And I want to be sure that I am living up to it all.

In my own way.

Who I was, and who I am… while so very different in some ways, are the same person.  Traveling among hints and wisps of who I am becoming.

And I love that.

watching my babe sleep

I love the layers and complexities, and how much love can bubble up inside one human being’s heart.

I love feeding my baby, and watching him sleep.  I love every facial expression he makes and every crinkle of his brow as he tries to understand all he can about the world around him.

We’re similar in this way.

Maybe we are all similar in this way.

A Feeling

12 Sep

Like empowerment.  Like incredible courage and conviction and determination all rising up inside me.  The kind that makes you draw your chin in, your neck back, and narrow your eyes with the smallest and hardly detectable smile that says, “Soy la diosa de esta jodida galaxia.” I am the goddess of this fucking galaxy.

It’s a feeling that I want to grab and run with. To stoke the fire under it and fan it till it roars and shines and lifts me into a long awaited tango.  Dancing in between the release and control that are so hard to balance when you try.

But I don’t know where it came from.  Where it’s meant to lead me.  What step it is that I should take.  It felt like a nudge… or a shove.  But before I can ride the momentum… I try to understand it. And it fades.  Not from memory.  It’s still in my body, my breath and lingering behind my eyes.

But that moment that I assumed wanted action… Maybe that feeling just wanted to make itself known.

Confessions of an Over-Caffeinated Brain

28 Sep

SkyI’ve been wanting to write, and the problem has been that there are so many things I’ve been wanting to write about that I fear they will exit the flood gates in a woefully unorganized fashion. I’ve spent most of the morning writing through various thoughts to be placed elsewhere, and caffeinating myself from an espresso machine that dispenses perfectly formed cups of coffee in the push of a button. I can never own one of these. I have enough energy to race around the building after two cups.

That aside, I have an hour before I have to leave for work, and in that hour I really want to write about the unknown.  Fear of the unknown, conversation with the unknown, and contentedness with the unknown.  And I’m giving myself permission to write about these things, despite how little I have actually engaged in dialogue with them, because how else do you familiarize yourself with something besides entering into conversation about it.  For me, for now, that means writing.

I think so many people have heard of that quote by Rilke,

I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer…

I bought that quote on a magnet earlier this year when I was going through an incredibly difficult and foreign experience.  I bought it because I knew that I had no answers or explanations for what had just happened in my life, and that it was so new that it would take me a while to wade through the unknown, and I wanted to remember to sit with those things.

Now I’ve not always remembered to sit with those things.  I’ve gotten frustrated to the point of tears over the lack of answers I’ve been able to provide for myself.  I’ve been so disgusted with my inability to neatly categorize my experiences that I’ve tried to detach from them, only to have them erupt in very misplaced areas.  Of course I’ve had those times where I’ve slowed down, let feelings ebb and flow, let the unknown simply be the unknown… but those times have taken work.  Constant reminders and monitoring.  It’s been part of my challenge to myself over the past week… to take those necessary first steps but at the same time to ease off on myself.  To stop demanding that so much of my time and efforts and evolution be constantly producing efficient results.  To stop insisting that I always be able to chart my progress, and instead, to let my life shape itself through those first courageous steps.

I’ve been ever so slowly discovering that the reason I’ve had such a hard time taking those first steps into the unknown is because so far, I’ve refused to acknowledge that somewhere along the way I became a bit terrified of the unknown.  A thing I’ve always appreciated about myself is my comfort with change.  The excitement I find in changing living arrangements, going to new places, exploring new vocations, learning new things and resting in the comfort that things will work themselves out.  If something doesn’t go as I’d planned, an opportunity will always present itself.  This is how my life has always gone.  So it’s been really hard for me to recognize that this relationship that I had with the unknown had changed from happy-go-lucky acceptance, to tight-fisted refusal to move forward without some kind of predictable outcome.

But my attachment to that fact that I held dear about myself has not prepared me for this truth… that I have become intimidated by those unknowns.  That recently I’m tending more towards seeing the possible failures and heartbreaks and humiliations in them rather than anticipating a world of potentialities.  And holding on desperately to my former disposition of jumping into the thrill of the new is keeping me from offering up to myself those small bits of support and comfort that might give me the courage to walk more slowly towards those potentials.  And maybe that means taking small steps through the unmapped landscape that results from loss.  Making slow-paced venture, and allowing myself some excitement over growing possibilities for the future.  And most especially, acknowledging that maybe all those things I’ve been afraid of and worrying over and have kept me immobile are of my own making.  And that I really am strong enough and deep enough to pull out all the necessary love and forgiveness and curiosity that I need in order to keep taking steps forward.

Phew. Now there’s a lovely thought.