Category Archives: expanded awareness

How A Nice Southern Woman Does Yoga

“Alan” from this photo, was not in my yoga class, unfortunately. ūüėČ

If you’re an experienced yoga practitioner, you probably don’t want to read this.

If you cannot imagine anyone having weird feelings about doing yoga, you certainly don’t want to read this.

When I was in college, nice girls didn’t do yoga. We did aerobics.

Yoga was for people from California and other atheists. ūüėČ

Over the¬† past year of working with my coach, she would frequently tell me “you need to get more into your own body.”

This has been hard for me to understand. I mean, really, how can I possibly not be in my body? What she means is to stop over-thinking things as I tend to do. One of her practical ways to implement this advice is to try yoga.

So I went to yoga class a few days ago at Bikram Yoga Charleston.

If you don’t know, the word “Bikram” is Hindu for “hot as Hades.” You see, it’s part of this particular kind of yoga to have the temperature at 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

I love the heat. That’s one reason I love Charleston. Winter is cold enough that we get to wear sweaters, but not that cold that our cars freeze over. But this class was H-O-T caliente.

I have never sweat as much in my entire life as I did in that 1.5 hour class yesterday.

Those of you who know me know that I am no weakling. I swim regularly and have this nice strong farmer-like constitution. However, I lack coordination. So, I was sort of able to do the positions. No one laughed at me as far as I know.

The teacher used a lot of words I have no idea what they¬† mean. Sounded like “Var Rash Na” or “Kar Ras Tay.”

The nice lady next to me was experienced so I kept an eye on her to try to understand what kind of position I was supposed to be adopting.

But, the really bizarre thing is the breathing. This lovely young lady was breathing like the grandmother of Darth Vader. No joke.

That, naturally, sent me in paroxysms of laughter. How could someone so attractive breathe like that? If you’ve ever gotten the giggles in church, you know exactly what I mean.

So, am I going back?

These are the reasons I’m going back.

1. The teacher, Lia, was super nice. She corrected me many times but she was nice about it. Also Bikram Yoga Charleston is really luxe. I like that.

2. It felt good to stretch. I usually skip the stretching part when I swim, so I know that’s good for me.

3. Doing the yoga released tension I tend to accumulate in my neck and shoulders. That is a big benefit for me.

4. It’s fun to do something weird, and look as ugly as you possibly can, with other people who are doing the same thing. No one looks nice after this class.

5. This is really important: I’m really stretching out my comfort zone. That is something I expect all my coaching clients to do. I am following my own advice.

So, that’s one new bodacious habit for 2010.

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Intro to Good Self Care 101

At one point, you may have had the idea that self-care was a selfish thing do to.

You might be like a lot of my clients, and like I used to be, wondering what the heck this “extreme self-care” business was all about. Certainly not something¬†for busy folks like yours truly.

And then I burned out….to a nice crisp. That was in 2004-05.

Now I¬†understand it much better. What happens to those of us who-get-things-done, those nothing-is-too-much-for-me types is that we function so well under duress, and we don’t feel anything amiss.

I’m told that’s what leprosy is/was like. You lose your sense of touch in a limb that has leprosy. So your toe can be on fire and you feel nothing.

Not to compare modern stress to leprosy, but there are commonalities. (I hope “commonalities” doesn’t sound too academic.)

You may not feel like anything is wrong, yet from time to time you sense that something is not right with you, but you don’t know what it is. At times, your body tries to tell you something.

Have you had those crazy busy days when at some point you feel this discomfort in your stomach and you don’t know why? Until you remember that you’ve needed to visit the bathroom for at least 2 hours but you haven’t had time to.

What is needed is a shift of awareness.¬†Self-carelessness is¬†thinking what’s the minimum amount of sleep, nutrition, beauty visits, and so forth that you need to get by. You can get by for a long time living like this. And you can convince yourself that it’s necessary because you don’t have the resources to take care of yourself.

Self-care 101 is thinking how can I live so I can be at my best for the longest amount of time.

Which kind person eventually makes the greatest contribution?

One more story to make my case. Some of you know that I’m a big fan of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I’ve read many books about her. Well, she was kinda like you and me at one point.

When she was just beginning her order, what she called the “call within the call,” to serve the poorest of the poor, she was determined that she and the nuns who worked with her would eat exactly what the poor people in the neighborhood ate. That way the nuns would really be able to empathize with the people they were serving.

Then she got sick. Her medical doctor informed her that if she wanted to make any real contribution, she would have to take care of herself.

Self care is not about selfishness.

Paradox and the Holiday Whirlwind

I think you should know that successful blog post titles are straightforward; titles like the one above are supposedly confusing to the gods of Google and we blog writers are well advised to avoid them. But as you know, some of us are slow learners and I like to play with words.

I’m thinking you¬†probably had a pretty hectic Thanksgiving holiday. It is such a blessing to share with family, and such a delight to sleep in your own bed again. Or if you played hostess, you’re probably enjoying some peace in your house today.

On our drive to Atlanta, my teenage son played some CDs he made for the occasion. On one of them he had recorded a song, The Rhythm of Life, by Sammy Davis, Jr. It’s a catchy tune, and the lyrics remind me of how our lives hang on the rhythms of holidays, school beginnings, birthdays, and music recitals.

 

A life well lived certainly has a rhythm to it, and it’s full of paradoxes. Think about these:

Time for family and time for yourself.

Money to save and money to have fun with.

Playing with children and hanging out with adults.

Exercise and rest.

Thinking and not thinking. (And like Einstein, getting your best ideas in the shower.)

Being fashionable and wearing whatever’s clean.

Getting things done and leaving space in your life for getting nothing done.

Making plans and allowing serendipity.

Eating healthy foods and eating chocolate candy.

Connecting with others, connecting with yourself.

Speaking and listening.

I read this by T.S. Eliot, the incredibly cool English poet, Teach us to care, and not to care; teach us to sit still.

In the holiday madness that is both fun and exhausting, I wish for you time to enjoy it all.

 

People Who Are Not Categorizable

You may not be that familiar with the word, categorizable. My spell checker denies its existence but I refuse to conform.¬†It’s a necessary¬†word¬†for people like you and me who really don’t fit into the categories. I was explaining the demographic/psychographic of my customer base, and the best description I could come up with was “women who are not categorizable.”

Let me give you some background information.

This week, my family and I are eating turkey for Thanksgiving.

So?

Well, I have had turkey for Thanksgiving exactly three times in my life: the three times I was a guest at someone else’s house, and usually it was out of the country.¬†Also there was one time that¬†a Venezuelan friend cooked a delicious turkey, the only time I have hosted Thanksgiving in my home. (Yes, I am a specialist at getting out of doing¬†work.)

So, my family is normally categorized as “a family who doesn’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving.” And, no, it’s not because we are vegetarian, that would be too avante¬†garde for us. My mom was a bit of a¬†rebel and fixed stuff like lamb or pork loin or salmon at Thanksgiving.¬†We never darnk sweetened tea, either.¬†¬†My mom is¬†uncategorizable.

This year, we even fall out of that category thanks to the second newest member of our family, my sister’s husband. He has this weird thing about having turkey for Thanksgiving. Since it’s at his house, we’re joining him. Happily, I add.

Categories are used by marketers to develop plans to get us to buy stuff, or vote a certain way, or contribute money to a cause. A lot of times it works, even if¬†we don’t fit into the categories.

Here’s the thing. If you’re reading this blog, and especially if you’re a regular reader, I strongly suspect you’re not categorizable. So now you have something else for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving. Celebrate being uncategorizable. Or maybe you prefer the way Miranda puts it, “people who don’t fit in the boxes.”

Expand Your Awareness

Yesterday, my daughters’ flight arrived from Houston almost 5 hours late. And an airport security official called to let me know that because security closed at 9, I would have to make sure I got there in time to go through security before they closed, even though the flight was not to arrive until close to midnight. The good thing is that this opportunity gave me extra time to think.

I recently learned that the Federal Express logo has an arrow in it. I had never seen it before. Now I do. And last night, on the way home, we got to see the most beautiful, exquisite moon — it was less than a half moon, and a lovely luminous pinky orange color. Christina commented, “You know, Mom, some people can’t see the man in the moon. I don’t know how that can be when he’s sooooo obvious.” I didn’t tell her, but it took me many years to see the man in the moon, and yet she’s right, he is rather obvious, once you see him.

This blog is about enlightenment and I think enlightenment is almost synonymous with expanding awareness. An enlightened person can see the man in the moon.

A prosperity mentor, Peggy McColl, has taught me that increasing the level of abundance in one’s life begins with an awareness of the prosperity that is already there, like the millions of books available for free at the public library, and the unlimited source of great ideas right here in this very house.

In her book, The 21 Distinctions of Wealth, she writes, “Most of us focus on what we lack and overlook our special gifts, qualities, and resources — whether it’s our creativity, our abundant love, our willingness to work hard, our excellent communication skills, our boundless enthusiasm, or some other quality or skill that has great value” (3).

Seeing opportunities for increasing your prosperity are right in front of you — but you’ve got to be able to see them.

If you can’t see the moon, ask yourself what could be blocking your vision. If you want other changes in your life, ask yourself why you aren’t seeing opportunities — to invest, to save, to learn, to experience. Or, you could ask the man in the moon.