DAY 100: 100 DAYS OF GRATITUDE…,

4:17:16

I would never have gotten this far without all of you (definitely not definitive or complete, in no particular order of preference, intuitive leaps):

  1. Beth
  2. Sasha
  3. G
  4. Seb
  5. Dyl
  6. Bevie
  7. Nicole
  8. Robyn
  9. Karen
  10. Danielle
  11. Renee
  12. Georgie
  13. Mimi
  14. George
  15. Dave
  16. Danny
  17. Blake
  18. Michelene
  19. Heather
  20. Linda
  21. Jennifer
  22. Annie
  23. Shelley
  24. Nancy
  25. Susan
  26. Judy
  27. John
  28. Jerry
  29. James
  30. Mary
  31. Laurie
  32. Dixie
  33. Patty
  34. Ken
  35. Chris
  36. Kelly
  37. Sam
  38. Will
  39. Colleen
  40. Cindy
  41. Doris
  42. Marilyn
  43. Sue
  44. Ginny
  45. Carol
  46. Marlene
  47. Norma
  48. Jill
  49. Janice
  50. Patty
  51. Betty
  52. Mary Ann
  53. Shirley
  54. Carol
  55. Dale
  56. Judy
  57. Maxine
  58. Laura
  59. Barb 1
  60. Barb 2
  61. Tommy
  62. Deann
  63. Kristyn
  64. Peg
  65. Wayne
  66. Sara
  67. Lisa
  68. Heather
  69. Dawn
  70. Theresa
  71. Annie
  72. Bob Bob
  73. Aunt Barb
  74. Jamie
  75. Deb
  76. Jan
  77. Tiffany
  78. Gerree
  79. Cathy
  80. Jackie
  81. Darlene
  82. Margo
  83. Dana
  84. Joe
  85. Leah
  86. Elizabeth 1
  87. Elizabeth 2
  88. Elizabeth 3
  89. Helen
  90. Maria
  91. Joseph
  92. Sally
  93. Lillian
  94. Paula
  95. Kate
  96. Lisa
  97. Yasmeen
  98. Mary 2
  99. Noreen
  100. Mary Kay
  101. Elaine
  102. Julie
  103. Everyone Else….
  104. And ME!
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DAY 99: GRATITUDE LIGHTENING…

gratitude 4:16:16

(Photo courtesy of my beautiful friend and yoga colleague, Noelle Farmer)

It’s Samskara Saturday and we have arrived at anahata, the heart. I have been awake since 5:40 am for a 10:30 am start time playing over scenarios for upholding and uplifting that will best radiate the ferocity of connecting and belonging so integral to this session. Around 7:00 am I arrive at the starting line of an idea that I hope will work, sear the intention into the heart, inspire expansion.

At 8:00 am I surrender and shower.

I am reminded of so many times I have been here before, poised on the edge of control and trust, not knowing, wanting to believe in uncertainty, but over-thinking and trying not to listen to the chatter in my head. I have a tendency to lean into self-diminishment when I feel under pressure. I decide to eat last night’s leftovers as breakfast instead.

Life is never as austere as I imagine it. I am beginning, thank God, to take myself less seriously.

The truth is, I know what I am doing. And these whiffs of inspiration that arrive with the sunrise are gifts from the universe that lighten my journey and enhance my offerings to others. I’m grateful for them, as I am for the light, within and without, my beautiful students, so eager to experience, so willing to go there, bravely inclining toward a truth and a connection they have yet to know.

It’s 1:00 pm, I’m putting the crystallized ginger back into the plastic bag, reflecting, wondering, inviting nuance where none is necessary. Who knew partner yoga with instructed assists, modified with a chair, as needed, could be such a compelling invitation to a sweet experience of the energy of the heart. We are all whole-heartedly broken open.

I swallow  the large chunk of ginger I have let swirl in my mouth, noting its sugariness, delighting instinctively in a gentle connection to all that I am within. Renee, my partner in crime puts her arm around me. We exhale together….

 

 

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DAY 98: GRATITUDE UNEXPECTED…*

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I’m at the outer edge of a boundary that I erected for myself. It’s no line in the sand, but the real thing; enforced, communicated calmly, held deep in my heart. In theory, I feel really good about it. The kind of good that makes my heart swell, invites me to pay for someone else’s lunch, such a spectacular boundary that I am beyond shocked when it is crossed. And even more gobsmacked when I realize I am the perpetrator; all in the name of self-discovery, expansion, awesome growth.

I teach what I am meant to learn. So it is a surprise to me on 3M Tuesday when I am confronted with the answers to the question that I ask: “What is the biggest lie you have always told yourself?”, that I resonate with every single one. “Shit,” I say under my breath. And then try to hang onto the wispy life raft of self-confidence that offers itself whenever I am hit hard by a need to be vulnerable and an equal lack of desire to do so.

I’m in Eagan Minnesota facilitating a Yoga Psychotherapeutics workshop. It’s beautiful stuff, really, normally, sometimes painfully. But tonight the room practically shimmers with a sense of soil tilled over hard to reveal the sharp earthiness of a life grounded in everlasting expansion. We all sit together, nodding our heads, passing tissues, offering wavering smiles as we parse through the not good enough’s and the shame of our bodies and the glaring void of loss.

We are a Kula, a community of the heart; broken wide-open to reveal the tender, sweet, soft nectar within. Such is enough; when the tight grip of the unknown cedes into uncertainty and what once seemed unsurpassable is now made possible through the generous ferocious deep Spirits of others.  We are all interconnected, intertwined, co-inhering, filling up one another’s empty spaces, breathing the same air. We exhale toward spontaneous stillness, quietly, longingly, lovingly, together.

 

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DAY 97: KEEP IT SIMPLE GRATITUDE….

gratitude 4:10:16

Oftentimes peace is it…. View outside my bedroom window at 8:45 pm. I think there might be prayer possible in this kind of quiet, still, spacious experience. Much gracious, grand and glimmery gratitude to all of you.

 

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DAY 96: EASY GRATITUDE!

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How gratitude can be easy (not a definitive top 10):

  1. Trust uncertainty and go for it.
  2. Sleep in at least once a week.
  3. Don’t over-think it, ever.
  4. Look everyone in the eye.
  5. Make your to do list no more than 2 items a day.
  6. Have a tribe and reach out, often.
  7. Take time to connect to stillness daily.
  8. Happiness is awesome, santosha (contentment) lasts longer and encompasses more.
  9. Cry when you need to….
  10. Believe….

Thanks to the fabulous Aylin Collier for the Pablo Neruda quote.

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DAY 95: AAH GRATITUDE!

grarirude 4:8:16

I  am juicy, beautiful, unleashed, unafraid, curious. All day the invitations are replete with the usual rabbit holes and yet I dodge them with a clear-eyed honesty, a gulp, a quiver; intrepidly my own well-earned expansion expresses herself. It’s great to suddenly see myself whole, unadorned, embracing my life just as it is in the moment.

I never do it alone. Here’s a list of honorable partners who helped to make today happen:

  1. Steve, my accountant, riding me hard, forcing me to justify every G&D-Damn expense. Congratulating me on the return.
  2. My daughter Sasha, bringing it home in the honesty department, unflinching in her straightforward, fearless love.
  3. Friday afternoon small group, letting me riff on wisdom and wonder and the inherent fabulousness of the spaciousness found within.
  4. My awesome business partner Danielle who laughs as I wander into the deep end, rescues me with a gentle reminder of how far we have come and nudges me back onto the path we have chosen; assuring that we can craft all that we have yet to know.
  5. Me, suddenly I find that I am much, much more than enough. Something glimmers. I think, for tonight, I’ll simply rejoice in it.

 

 

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DAY 94: GORGEOUS, GRACIOUS, GIVING GRATITUDE

gratitude 4:6:16I’m hanging out, lingering on the edge of happiness and it’s weird. Mari, tall and beautiful: “My 94 year old mother was admitted to hospital. She won’t wake up. I think this is it….I’m strangely o.k. with it.” We cry, we hug, its shamelessly easy and cathartic and energizing. I can’t believe the audacity of a yoga practice that would invite such  tenderness in the face of such a profound loss. But here we are, Mari and I, Cathy and Steve on the periphery, rejoicing over the life of a woman that entered our awareness less than 10 minutes ago,  and celebrating her, mostly because our intention is to love, uphold and support Mari.

Honestly, this is yoga at its best; the yoking of mind, body and spirit. And I am hanging in there, once again, overwhelmed in the moment,  loving it. “Is there anything   else, Mari?” “No. I think I’m ok.” And so we begin, together, Steve and Mari and Cathy and  I, upholding, loving, supporting; breathing, relaxing, feeling, watching and allowing. Believing in our own  respective essential nature’s: Gorgeous, gracious, giving, loving and wonderful: Yoga……

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DAY 93: GRATITUDE HAPPENING….

gratitude 3:3.16

Such a gift 50 degrees was today, and so, so bright. Outside on the back porch after I’d done a ball, blanket and strap inventory out of the barn yard doors of the Mini Cooper, I looked up and spied a ton of branches birthing leaves. The sky sparkled and even as the trees clicked and clacked with the gentle breeze, it was the Robins chattering away that truly caught my attention.

Bevie was setting up the new elevated bed for our garden. We talked about watermelon and I remembered a story about Laura Ingalls and a fever and eating the pink fleshed fruit, that made us both laugh. “You know when Pa said he was going into town it was Mankato, right?” We both kind of laughed again, realizing that our lives, in spite of these incongruous twists and turns, were actually manifesting way better than we had imagined.

Gratitude reveals itself in these impossibly irregular, infinitesimal ways, in complete opposite, oftentimes, to the magic mystery tour that loops inside my mind. Reality used to frustrate the hell out of me. “Whose life is this?” I would ask myself, wondering when the local news channel would be calling so I could be featured as the first person in the world who could actually prove she was living someone else’s existence. I’m pulled back by Bevie, showing me where she thinks the best place will be to plant the garlic.

Danielle, my gifted business partner texts with yet another awesome design for our Summer Promotion. I sip on a late afternoon glass of Chardonnay, the sun sweeping low on the western horizon. “Should we have the Panang Shrimp Curry with the Pad Thai?”, Bevie asks. I nod, seduced by the gentle warmth, the tartness of Spring all around me, incandescent, sharp, alive.

 

 

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DAY 92: GRATITUDE/SURRENDER

gratitude 4:2:16

I spent the morning riffing on manipura chakra (3rd) and personal power. Oh my God, the challenge to love anyway; self, others, those who really, really don’t deserve to be loved, (from our perspective). Honestly, it’s scary, confusing, enervating stuff, and should, in my experience, always be discussed, explored and dissected with a firm hand to hold close by.

Here’s what we unpacked: Living a fully purposeful, connected and whole-hearted life encompasses this giant, tender, sweet, sweet love. It means cracking our hearts open to experience the nectar of our soft heart, feeling it all, and believing that within that witnessing lies the opportunity to more expansively live, beyond the resistance offered by the negative emotion. That’s honestly, really, really tough; smack your head on the table painful, sometimes, but so worth the surrender as it opens us up to a life that fully inhabits the spiritual journey that we were created to live. Inspired to manifest, born to blossom, uncontrollably unfurling into oblivion.

So, I love anyway. In spite of the obstacles, the pre-conditioned patterns of belief, the genetic predispositions, the desire to desire what I desire when I desire it. Because I know that my power to love exists energetically within me. I don’t need to be loved to love. I don’t need to see the love of others to love. I don’t need to experience love to know a deep, deep love deep within myself. And my journey, in this short life, invites me to energetically and powerfully and authentically express it outwards, so it reflects inwards; symbiotically vibrating in love. Over and over and over again, I surrender to it, in love.

 

 

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DAY 91: DISCOMBOBULATED GRATITUDE!

gratitude 3:31:16

I used to be addicted to accomplishment, literally. I could never achieve enough, There was always an opportunity to create more, and I took it, mostly because I thought it would make me happy. I wasn’t, it didn’t; but my exhaustion grew exponentially and I became irritable and unreasonable and disconnected without really knowing it.

Here’s what I did, and still do, to connect to my heart and open myself up to my own sense of happiness:

  1.   Build in rest periods into every single day.
  2. Lie on my back and breathe in guided meditation for at least 10 minutes a day.
  3. Reach out to my tribe and do an expression assessment. In honesty, daily.
  4. Let go of at least one bubbling resentment daily.
  5. Practice gratitude daily.
  6. Wear life loosely.
  7. Cultivate balance.
  8. Look myself in the eye and say I love you.
  9. Do the same to someone else.
  10. Honor the glass as neither half full nor empty, but just as a beautiful glass.  Again and again and again, daily.
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