Yoga love, my yoga love

Yes, I’m singing “Baby love” by The Supremes while typing this, and YES, I know. Another post about my love for yoga? Yep. Because last night in yoga, well, it was amazing. A-maz-ing.

No one else in class could hear me silently cheering for myself as I did not one, not two, but three things I had never been able to do before. I wanted to stop the class and say “Look what I can do!!”. And I was in Savasana, I was already taking mental notes for this blog post. And thinking about how things in my life have changed so much in the past 2 and a half years since I began this journey that I never ever ever thought I would.

This practice has taken me from overweight to fit, from insecure to confident, from anxiety to (mostly) calm. Oh I still worry about stuff I can’t control, and have moments of complete freak out, but I also don’t stay in that space for long. I’ve learned to control what I can and let go of what I can’t.

I know a lot of non-yoga people get sooooooo sick of hearing yoga people talk about how great it is. But has anyone stopped to realize they’re singing yogas praises for a good reason?? It’s a body, mind and soul transformation. Not a lot of things can claim all three. I have a few runner friends who feel that way about running. I tried running. I know I can run, which is something I never thought I’d say either. But I had too many injuries and not a deep-in-my-soul love for it. So I get runner love. I hope they can appreciate my yoga love.

And in an effort to remain honest about my practice, yes I almost did fall over last night in a pose I’ve done a hundred thousand times. And I also know why. Because in that moment, that second, my mind drifted and I wasn’t focused. Of course I laughed with Julie because, well, hello? I almost fell over! But after I regained my balance and was realizing what I did wrong, it occurred to me that so many things in our lives are just like that pose and potential fall.

How many times have you lost focus in what you are doing? Things are going well, maybe you start to feel like you can coast a little instead of furiously pedaling, and then you start to swerve. Your resolve starts to waiver and you quickly get jolted back to what can happen if you lose that concentration. Hopefully you can correct your thinking and start again toward your goal. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a hard fall to see that you’ve totally lost your previous determination and it takes a scraped knee or elbow to see how far you fell.

This could be with anything: exercise, diet, anger, dating, addiction, career, kids, spouse, anything. Anything you are trying to change about yourself to make you a better you. Change isn’t easy. There is resistance, sometimes from others who don’t want to see you change, but most of the time, the resistance is right between your own ears. We think things of ourselves that we would never say outloud or to another person. We allow our bad thinking to take over and self sabotage our progress. “I’ll never lose that much weight” or “I’ll never get that promotion” or “I’ll never find someone who will treat me better. I deserve what I’m getting” or “I can have just one (or two or five) and no one will know.” We SAY these things to ourselves!! ACK!

What yoga has taught me is that what happens outside of my mat has nothing to do with me and if I focus on myself and what I can do, nothing can stop me. I can look inside and praise my little victories, even if no one else does. It’s MY victory after all. I can look at how far I’ve come and not be bogged down by how much further I have to go. I can control my mind, my actions, my day by how I respond to my own thinking. Basically, I can get out of my own way.

And by getting out of my own way, I’ve empowered myself. Even if I have a swerve. Or I lose concentration for a second. The more I practice, the stronger I am. The more you have people around you, supporting you, understanding what you’re doing and going through, the easier it is to acknowledge the slip and get right back up. And LEARN from it. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

yoga love

High (or low) expectations

As usual, last night my beloved yogi had some words of inspiration for us as we laid in savasana. I love her words as we lay there. Always thought provoking. Sometimes they speak directly into my life, others just make me think. Last night was the latter.

She was discussing expectations and it made me think how often we have an expectation of how a situation will go, a movie will end, a conversation will be started, a day will turn out. We all have such expectations, but what happens when things don’t turn out as we thought they would? The situation went horribly wrong, the movie took an unexpected twist. How do you handle such things? (Ok, the movie isn’t exactly a life altering example, but I think you get my point.)

As I was thinking about all of this, two examples came to mind. Very high expectation and low(er) ones. When I was in high school, my best friend and I made a pact, which in hindsight was very stupid and set us both up for failure. We didn’t know it then though. We thought we were smart. (Don’t all high school kids do stupid things thinking they’re smart?) We said we going to set our expectations low. Very low. That way we would never be disappointed when it didn’t turn out as bad as we thought it would. Like we were cheating the system or something. Oh, we’re soooooooo smart.

The problem with that was, we found things that didn’t even meet up with our low expectations, so we lowered them even farther. Does he have a pulse? Check. Does he have his own car? No. Ok, well, can he at least drive? Yep, check. We both made some pretty bad choices that way. Instead of setting our expectations high and waiting for those to be met, we were impatient. Impulsive. And too damned proud to admit we were making huge mistakes. How many high school girls ADMIT to making a mistake with her choices? Not many I don’t think. I certainly wasn’t.

On the other hand though, raising them too high is almost unattainable. I’ll use my wonderful dad as this example. (Sorry Dad! I love you!!) I compare my dad to Clark Griswold all the time. This is going to be the best birthday/Christmas/picnic/whatever EVER! And it never turns out that way.

We go to our beach house every summer for vacation. It’s combining three families under one roof for an extended amount of time. There are kids running around, alcohol flowing (with an alcoholic thrown into the mix….not good), and with everyone’s best intentions, something (almost daily) doesn’t turn out the way everyone thought it would. And I don’t mean it is something huge or anything of the sort. Just a change. A storm blows in while we’re in the middle of a bocce tournament. Dinner reservations can’t be made on the night we planned to go out. The rum is gone. But the expectation of what we were going to do is altered. It can really bum my dad out who has this Clark Griswold vacation from beginning to end planned out in his head.

We had our own expectation this year of going deep sea fishing. We had talked about it for years, it’s expensive, but this year we were like YES! We’re going to do it no matter what. We called the Captain (no, not Captain Morgan!) and booked our date. We were very excited. Then my aunt got sick and my mom had to leave suddenly to go to her side. My dad was finishing his last round of treatment for his cancer. My brother and sister in law were in Florida looking at houses and 2 of their 3 kids were home with us. Do we cancel our trip? Do we still go? Dad insisted we go and he would be back from treatment before we had to leave. So we went. We cast off, and went flying out past some of the other smaller barrier islands. We were having a blast. After fishing in one spot for about 30 minutes, the Captain (Yes, I called him Captain Ron. I don’t think he appreciated it), he went to pull anchor so we could move to a different spot, and the damnest thing happened. The anchor chain broke and fell into the ocean. I’m not even kidding. Plop. Down it went. Captain Ron just stood there staring in disbelief. He says that has never ever happened before. And just like that, our trip was over. He wasn’t allowed to have us out there without an anchor. Plop. Over. Done.

So is it better to have low expectations or high ones? And what do you do when they aren’t met? Can you roll with it? Do you crumble to the ground? Do you brood and pout? I can say for me, I do all of those mentioned at one time or another. But I am honestly trying to roll with it more. I might not have control over the situation, but I have control over how I react to it. I can choose to let it devastate me or I can choose to take a moment, breathe, and move on. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. I just have to listen more.

Beach savasana

Trying to Date Again……..

I was talking with a friend yesterday who I hadn’t been able to catch up with for awhile. We’ve both been busy and it seemed like when I had time to spare, he didn’t and when he did I was in the middle of something. And this is important to understand because when we talk, it is serious marathon talking sessions. Like hours. We have both actually killed our cell phone batteries talking on the phone for hours before. It seems to be very difficult for us to have a 5 minute quick catch up call. So carving out time is essential.

He is recently divorced and thinking about getting back out there. It’s a little scary to put yourself out there after years of married life. Whether we like it or not, times are different. We’re not in our 20s and the bar scene just isn’t cool anymore. Actually, I don’t like the bar scene at all. I mean, it just seems like a trap to me now. I’m sure I’m quite alone in this, but you go to a place where you spend way more money for a beer or wine or whatever, plus you have to tip, plus you have to then get in your car and drive! Skanky guys and girls are trying to pick each other up with their alcohol fueled hormones raging. The music is so loud you have to shout so the person right next to you can hear you, and after saying “What??!!!????” two times, you just nod and agree even though you still have no idea what was just said. You know I’m right. 

Anyway, that’s just not a good scene for anyone in their 40s. It looks sad, desperate, pathetic. I think that’s why so many dating websites have popped up. People our age should not be going to a bar for a one night stand. Didn’t growing up in the 80s teach you anything??? There is way too much ICK, and you’re never going to find a nice guy or girl in a dark skanky bar. A nightclub is fun on those rare occasions when a friend is getting married (or remarried) and the girls want to go get their dance on. There are several local bars that also have complete outside areas with their own bars, maybe a live band, but plenty of seating away from the noise if you want to actually hold a conversation. So I give them a thumbs up too. No bar in a shopping strip. No bar that is just a bar with a jukebox, old cracked bar stools and the bartender calls out your name cuz you’re there at least once a week. (Tuesday night girls night out anyone???)

He is really struggling with the “where can I meet a nice girl who might actually want a relationship?” while juggling a job, the visitation schedule with the kids and taking care of his house. It’s a lot harder than it used to be. It’s not all about those cute dating site commercials where they’re holding hands on a roller coaster (even though they probably shouldn’t be ON a roller coaster unless he took his blood pressure medication that morning) or running your shopping cart into some hot chick in the produce department and then you end up married 6 months later. That doesn’t happen.

My advice to him was it will happen when it happens. Not very helpful right? But it always seems that someone pops into your life when you least expect it, or at least aren’t looking for it. So I told him this will change when he starts focusing on himself and not looking for someone all the time. When you’re happy with yourself, and comfortable in your own shoes, it seriously puts off that “attraction vibe” and people are drawn to you. So focusing on your own happiness solves 2 problems!

Just don’t find your happiness in a bar. It never ends well………