Tag Archives: men

Go Slow. Breathe.

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I enjoyed teaching yoga. It was only for a brief time, yet what it gave me I possess to this day; the ability to better read people and understand the body’s role in our spiritual journey.

Reading people isn’t easy. We aren’t like comic strips that can be scanned at a glance. It takes a good deal of knowledge to truly understand another; especially considering we don’t easily show our pages. Standing before a class teaching yoga pose after yoga pose and breath work on top of breath work allowed me to view people from a unique angle. Not all instructors do this. I have to imagine the greater part of me knew I needed this particular schooling, so although I was the instructor, I was also was brought there to learn.

What I learned, in part, was that we never can set aside our body. It travels with us wherever we go. Yet, it’s so often mistreated and overlooked. We take it for granted. However, not only is the body one of the primary filters by which energy moves through us it’s also part of the foundation upon which we stand. If you don’t understand what I mean, consider the times when you’ve tried to work or pray or carry on with friends while ill. Your foundation won’t hardly allow it.

Also, the workings of the human body provides us a beautiful metaphor that mirrors the workings of the soul: softening allows expansion. Rigidity hardens and constricts.

Time and time again I watched as a student dropped their mat quickly and pushed hard and fast into the stretch. My eyes would fall on them and I’d smile while telling the class that the muscle won’t respond well to force or quick movements; one must go slow and breathe into the stretch to get where you’re wanting to go; give it time and dedicated practice. And thus is true with the soul.

It’s my belief we are here, on this planet, for the purpose of expanding our soul, its wisdom, its level of compassion and its grace;  none of which comes quickly, but all of which, when allowed, provides us a better foundation upon which to stand and a more open filter through which the energy of life can move through us.

Open. Soften. Breathe. This is the way of a healthy muscle. This is the way of a knowledgable mind, and this is the way of an expanded, wise soul.

You will feel when something causes you to instinctually harden. You know when your body goes tight. Sometimes through fear, sometimes through anger. If this is happening to your body, please know that your soul can not expand if the vessel its using to experience this life is hardened and constricted. This does not mean one has to be a yogi master. But one must have reverence for their body, and treat it well. Although the soul does not live within the confines of the body – it uses the body to move through this life experience. The two must be in alignment. Keep the body open, soft and flexible. The soul moves and expands more easily.

Those things for which we have reverence and treat with kindness tells a good deal about who we are, internally and externally. The ways in which we move through life are like sentences on a page: readable, and almost always revealing who we are on the inside, your personal story line. What we fear and what we hold with value. Where we’ve grown and where we’re currently being schooled.

So take care of your body. Stop ignoring it. It won’t go away. Life won’t go away. How you treat these things often reflects how you treat your inner being.

Sane

Beautiful To Me

There are times when I look at others and wish I could be more like them. Sometimes their cut and dried approach to life seems so easy. A life with hard lines; a right side and a wrong. But my life has few hard lines. If anything, its more like an abstract painting. I have many shades, and many emotions. It took years for me to accept this about myself. It is from this place that I love and write and view the world. And although it may seem like madness to others, it is beautiful to me.

There is a reason we all view and process and absorb the world as we do. Our soul is using our specific psyche, with our singular life experiences by which to carry out its journey. If we were to think like someone other than ourselves, then we would cease to be our – self. But we are unique. Never forfeit that part of yourself, even when it seems as if you are a jumbled mess.

Right now I am going through something that has me turning on end. And that’s okay. I sit and wonder why it is I’m seeing all that I do within the situation. I see life as possessing layers. I always have. I see our immediate emotion, and then the emotion that prompted it. It is the soul and cerebral lens through which I view the world around me. At times it feels like a gift from above. At other times it feels like a curse. Generally, I glide in between. But no longer do I ignore the extremes, either. When on high I see things I wouldn’t see otherwise, and the same is true when down upon my knees, or in this case, turned on end. There are times when only during those quiet moments I am able to fully see within myself and understand my motivations. Today, I noticed something within me I did not like so much. Not hideous. But not great. And even if by doing so it doesn’t save the situation, I took ownership of this part of myself. And, will work to un-wedge this brick of my being and replace it with a healthier one; one not cracked with fear.

But these pieces, those that are cracked and those that are made of gold are still what makes me – me. I stand upon the broken parts of myself as well as the solid, and from on top both I view this world. And by knowing these aspects of myself, by having gotten down and examined them, and continuing to exam them, I expand. I hope that expansion helps to heal others. I hope by sharing even my worst of moments, I have prompted you, dear reader, to look confidently within yourself. Don’t be afraid of what you see. You may not like it. But you can not fix what you do not take the time to notice. Look upon others, learn from others; let those things you admire add to your expansion. But I caution you against looking negatively upon yourself in the process. If you are like me, you are not perfect. That’s okay. I decided long ago that perfection is overrated and the attainment of such is just another form of hell on earth. Be the best you can be. And that is beautiful to me.

Sane

Subtle Shades of Color

I’ve given a good deal of thought as of late to relationships. Too much. But necessary as my mind has its own rhythm. Whenever I try to force a new rhythm, I falter.  I always need to go deep within my thoughts. But emerge with the clarity needed.

We all have a certain rhythm. To deny it would be much like trying to play the drums on a piano. It doesn’t honor either instrument to expect a different sound than the one inherent to its making. Such is true with the human mind. Of course, when allowed to spiral wildly out of control, then the rhythm no longer has purpose.

So in my own precarious way, over the course of the last week I had to allow my mind to move along, verse after verse, until all my thoughts finally culminated into a cohesive song that felt and sounded right to my ear. People, each and every one of them, contribute to the masterpiece that is our life. Each has their place. Some dot lightly onto the canvas. Others we allow a thicker brushstrokes of their presence. Looking at my own life, I’ve given delicate, yet deliberate thought as to what colors are best within my life. I’ve concluded that I do not want the same colors as that of my own, as I have no need for duplication. Instead, I want balance.

I’m not a haphazard person. Never have been. I tend to sit back and think about things, people and circumstances. I relish doing so. It brings me joy to dive deeply into the thoughts of not only myself, but others. There is room for all thoughts. And it is within these colors that I want to paint my life.

I have to believe if all I bring to the world are hues of a certain color, azure, cerulean and rose, I would benefit from the enhancement of a touch of burnt umber and a broad stroke of virescent. Alternate ways of thinking, different perspectives on life – intrigues me. So for me, there is great value in contrast. God knew this. It is seen in an orange sun setting amidst a lavender sky. It is seen when the blue heavens sit atop snow-covered mountains. Harmony within the contrast. A delicate understanding and allowing of one another. Nature does this skillfully. I am quite certain, we can too.

As I look down at the palette that is mine, and the many people coloring my life, I am happy to see a vast array of shades. I intend to paint them vibrantly within my world. I want to see them displayed in their full splendor. Some of those closest to me have hues so similar to mine we can hardly tell where one ends and the other begins. And yet, I also have those in my life that always turn my eye in a different direction; their colors being so different. And when it comes to love, I like the thought of having access to a set of colors that I’ve never quite had before. If given the chance, I intend to play with these colors. I want to see what they do when mixed with that of my own. More often than not, the most breathtaking masterpieces are the ones appearing upon first glance to be subtle with their scope of color. But upon closer look, we see the full spectrum used to create one flower, the iris of one eye and the leaves of one tree. It’s all in there – blended perfectly.

Sane

Long and Winding Road

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Sitting in the doctor’s office the other day with my brother, I watched as an elderly couple emerged from the examination area and headed toward the door. They moved along slowly, but with a certain rhythm that indicated many years spent together. I smiled.

I then sighed and wondered what it would feel like to have a life long companion. As they reached the door to leave, the woman said something to the man about getting the door for her. It was obvious her sight was impaired and she was a little unsteady on her feet. To her comment, her husband replied with a rather abrupt growl, “I know to get the door! I was going to get the door!” In that moment, my smile faded and I felt all the romantic air leave my heart.

By all rights, sitting here right now, I should have no belief in true love. I don’t mean companionship. No, that’s not the type of union for which I speak. Companionship is inherent to true love. However, true love is not inherent to companionship. Many couples sign on to be together and move through their days knowing that they have someone to call if ever they get a flat on the freeway or someone to fill their house with activity. My parents had that. I don’t want that. I want the kind of union where kindness sits at the core of words shared, respect is mutual, and both would rather harm themselves than the other.

I’ve never viewed myself as a romantic. I am, without a doubt however, passionate. I’m passionate about my children, my friends and my writing. I’m passionate about this thing we call life. This does not mean that I’m a Cuckoo bird or a nut job. Or that I run through fields naked. Not that I’m ruling that out, I just haven’t ever felt possessed, as of yet, to do so. Being passionate just means that I absorb life more than most. My lows are felt harder and deeper. Yet my highs reach unheard of levels. Middle of the road just isn’t how I roll. Instead of floating slowly down the center of the river, I tend to pinball around a bit, cascade down unexpected rapids and also rest at the serene spot where the water is like glass and the reflection of the trees can be seen like a painting upon the bend where the water isn’t captive to movement.

I think that is why I so often listen to music. Song writers and musicians are by nature, passionate people. They write words that cut through the heart, much like how I write. They write with brutal honesty; their pain and their joy are expressed equally and without concern for appearances. I find harmony with them; a certain resonance. In fact, music feels spiritual to me. The energy of music is the stuff of the heavens, the stuff of God and love.

Do I believe in star-crossed love and Kismet souls uniting – yes. But just as two middle of the river lovers are sure to have a certain subdued love. You can bet when two passionate lovers come together, its one hell of a ride. There are ups and there are downs. But there is always respect and an undeniable need to be with one another. If I’m blessed to finally have this most precious of unions firmly in my grasp, I will cherish it, nurture it and I will write about it. I won’t look for it, of course – it will have to find me. But once it does, I will give it my best, expecting the same in return. When I need the door opened, I hope to find my husband already standing there with the door lovingly pulled wide. God knows, I won’t travel down the river otherwise.

Love Island

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There is a land, a secret, remote place that is only discussed amongst closest friends during long stretches of boredom. That place is known as: Love Island.

After quiet, dead air had well permeated and hardened within the rental car I was driving, I cracked the silence and blurted out unexpectedly to my friend, “Okay…so there’s this place, Love Island. You get to take five men..but only five.” And thus the conversation begins.

The rules are simple: One can take five men of their choosing; someone they know, don’t know or hope to know; someone from their past or someone who has passed. They can be famous or the bag boy at the local market. Doesn’t matter. No judgement.

This simple, adolescent, yet amusing game has the magical ability to pass the hours. There are moments of quiet introspection – after all, one does have to choose carefully. Then days later, out of the blue, without any appropriate segue one will bark out a name. This outburst is usually accompanied by a head nod that signifies the certainty of the one being named. During the recent Book Expo, I watched my friend gaze at various men, to which I would simply ask, “Love Island?” Prompting her to nod. No men from the Book Expo made it onto my island. Which, by the way, looks wildly similar to that of Fantasy Island.

My friend had men from her past on her island and men she has only seen in a movie. No one from my past made it onto my island; a sad discovery when I took the time to think on it. There is a love from my past, but even he didn’t make it onto the pristine beaches that encircle my island. We had a falling out just weeks before his death, and his behavior during those moments hurt beyond measure and ultimately made me question the validity of his love. And my island is a place for glorious happiness, maybe even a bit of debauchery. Either way, I don’t want drama, sadness or turmoil. While my friend was saying more to herself than to me, “What is that guy’s name from that one band…” I was noticing all the free space still left on my island. Then I got practical and thought perhaps it might be in my best interest to include a chef…

There are no buff, highly sculpted bodies walking out of the water and onto the white sands of my island. I’m not a fan of pretty boys. I want one that will douse me heavily in love, humor and intelligence. I won’t go into detail about whom, if anyone, made it onto my island, or if the number is only that of one or if I managed to fill the allotted five slots. I will say however, Einstein was in the running…

Sane