Training Ground

I had big plans for today's post. It was all prettied up and scheduled in and ready to go, and I was all sorts of excited about it. But sometimes projects that we care about take longer than we anticipate, whether that's because the words we are looking for are struggling to come forward, or because the logistics are more complicated than we realized.

I'm a one-woman show over here and that means that I wear a whole bunch of sometimes rather odd hats. This week, one of those hats has been "web coder" which, as it turns out, I have no idea how to do! So there is learning involved, and frustration, and things take time...and more time...and maybe a bit more time after that.

And that is okay.

Really.

I want to serve you in my work and with what I share here. I want to connect in real ways to all the things we have in common, the things we all struggle with daily. I never wanted any of my online spaces to look like a "highlight reel" that hides the work and the discomfort and- dare I say it- the failures. Because failure and frustration are inevitable bedfellows of risk and reward. They just are. 

And, as it turns out, they also tend to be our most powerful teachers. It's easy to scribble into my journal all the ways that I vow to pause and find the spaces and the small beauties in my mundane daily life, the ways I will pause long enough to ask myself if what I'm getting worked up about is really worth the energy and anger. It's a whole OTHER thing to be staring down a deadline, jacked up on my ninth cup of coffee, trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL I just entered that made all the text shift from vertical to horizontal and I haven't even started on the actual writing yet...ahhhhh!!! 

These are the moments that teach us how to notice, how to find the tiny spaces to take a breath and find perspective. This is the training ground where we learn to put into actual, meaningful practice the noticing that comes easier when life feels peaceful. This is where what we learn in our yoga practices or on our meditation cushions or in our journaling comes to matter in our "real" lives. This is "noticing" at work on the ground.

So here I am, unable to deliver what I'd intended for you today. But I will get it to you, and the work done will be properly (if not perfectly) done. Look for an extra post from me later this week...it will be short and sweet, but will contain the details of my very first giveaway here! (How have I never had a fun giveaway before?!?!?)

Thank you all for being here, not just for the highlights and the "wins" but also for the imperfections and the "fails."  You guys are such a source of daily inspiration to me.

  

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Effort and Ease

If you’ve ever had a regular yoga class with experienced teachers, it’s likely that you’ve been instructed at some point to find some "ease within the effort,” to find places where you can soften or release while still doing the work of the posture, still maintaining focus and awareness. For example, if you are in virabhadrasana (warrior 1 pose), the posture may require effort to stay strong through the legs and shoulders, effort to remain in the correct alignment for your body, but there is no reason to clench the jaw or furrow the brows or press the tongue against the roof of the mouth and these are areas that can be released without interfering with the work of the pose.

I’ve been coming back to this idea a lot lately. If there was ever a yoga concept that felt applicable to day-to-day life, this is it, don’t you think? We all have our work, whether that be the work that pays our bills, the work of dealing with our emotional baggage so that we can move toward the best version of ourselves, the work of life minutia (the folding of laundry and the cooking of meals), the work of mending and sustaining relationships. How often do we make that work harder by the equivalent of clenching our jaws? How often do we bring unnecessary difficulty to this work? What small things can we release that would allow this work to have a bit more ease?

We head out of New England in a mere 9 days and I am writing this morning from Texas, where I’m spending a bit of time with my family before we head back out on the road. When I return home from this visit, I’ll have only four days to close out what I can of life there and pack up for the coming weeks of travel. I meant to get more done before I left. I meant to tie up some loose ends that I won’t have time to get to after all. There is a great deal to sort and organize before we drive away and it’s possible that I will need to put in a few late nights to pull it off. This is just fact, the work of living this way. But there can be greater ease within that work than I often allow. There is nothing gained by my getting snappish at Justin or getting caught up in some idea of perfection (I can be very guilty of needing things to be “just so” before moving on). There is nothing gained by frantically rushing about or needless stress. Yes, things must get done. But I don’t need to be a crazy person in order to do them, as it turns out. As a matter of fact, it could be strongly argued that they could be done with far more efficiency if I’m NOT a crazy person, actually.

As we go about daily life, it is fascinating to observe the ways that we bring unnecessary effort to our work. Preconceptions about someone’s response before we’ve even given them the opportunity to behave differently, the clinging to old ideas or identities that may or may not be true any longer, the stories we tell about relationships or tasks. Maybe folding laundry isn’t your favorite task ever, but is it made easier by repeating the phrase “I hate laundry” or is that something you can release? How about the way we brace ourselves for certain interactions? What happens when we soften those tensed shoulders and save our defensiveness for actual affront rather than anticipated, imaginary ones.

Where can we bring a bit more ease to our efforts? What can we release? Physically, emotionally, spiritually? As you make your way through this mid-week hump, give it a try…let’s see if we can bring a little less unnecessary work to our lives together and perhaps in doing so, make space for a little more focus, a little more joy.   

Happy Wednesday, friends!

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The Art of Noticing: A Weekend Retreat!

My lovely and extremely knowledgable friend, Terry Cockburn, and I will be hosting a retreat this fall in the gorgeous Maine forests of the Nurture Through Nature retreat center. I hope you can join us for a weekend of mindfulness practice and learning to see and notice through yoga, meditation, journaling, and photography! 

For more info and to register