Toast

So yea, today is my birthday. Yea! I’m just older and any day now I’m going to start getting AARP crap in the mail and notifications about my Social Security monthly payout if I was to die right now. Thanks a lot SSA for letting me know that.

But this is not a blog post about that. It’s about toast. And my wonderful, oh-so-wise Yogi and her meditation thought from yoga Monday night. Yep. Toast. Pretty deep, right?

Let me start by explaining that it was probably one of the worst Savasana poses in a long time. Except that one time I broke out in tears and cried through the whole thing. No this was a close second. But at least this time there were no tears. It was mostly laughter.

First, there was talking from other people who were there to train. Unless we issue a gag order during Savasana, I think I need to learn to block it out better. Julie is doing a great job. Tammy and I and the other girls, not so much. Second, it was cold because, well, after sweating for an hour and then lying still tends to get a little chilly. So between Tammy and I, we were fumbling around trying to get our sweaters around us without disturbing others. It didn’t work so well. (Note to self: Be prepared for the cold ahead of time!) Then, I sneezed. Not a huge problem, except then I started laughing. Then Tammy started laughing cuz I was laughing.

So much for lying still and only listening to our breath, right?

But then Yolanda started her meditation focus for us. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since. And that too strikes me as funny, simply because it was about toast. Specifically, burnt toast.

She asked what we did when we had a piece of burnt toast. Do we throw it away and start over? Do we try to scrape off the burnt part with a knife? Do we try to cover it up with something else to mask the burnt part? Do we eat it anyway and get through it and promise ourselves we’re going to be more careful next time? Do we convince ourselves we LIKE burnt toast and this is what I wanted in the first place?

And then, while you’re pondering what you do with burnt toast, replace toast with your life. Hmmmmmm. Can you make a fresh start? Can you get rid of that part of you that is holding you back and move forward? Or do you cover what is wrong with other things? Food? Alcohol? Drugs? Gambling? Shopping? Can you get to the root cause of what happened and fix it?

Of course, fixing burnt toast is as easy as changing the setting on the side of the toaster. But fixing what is holding you down is as easy as taking the steps needed to move forward. To stay motivated. To stay focused. Put down the weight that is causing the problems and lighten up. Just like the toast.

And pretty soon, instead of dealing with burnt toast slathered with peanut butter (ya know, the crunchy kind and it’s on so thick you can’t taste the toast anyway?) you can have it lightly toasted with a schtickle of coconut oil. And realize how good it is without all that other stuff.

Namaste.

burnt toast

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

Things I’ve learned in yoga

I was laying in our final Savasana this morning, thinking about what my Yogi was saying. She was talking about fear, because our theme this year is fearlessness. But not just being fearless, but embracing the fear and finding out what is on the other side it. She often encourages us to let go, sink further, breathe deeper, really listening to your body and what it is allowing you to do.

I spend at least half the time in our class with my eyes closed. I probably look like an idiot, but I don’t care. I like blocking out what I’m seeing and focusing on what she is guiding me to do. I feel like I can stretch into a pose stronger when I’m not seeing my reflection across from me. Closing my eyes I can be the strong yoga student, the graceful arms, the proper technique.

As we were laying in Savasana I was also overwhelmed with emotions. I was happy that I was able to do a few more poses, go that much farther, take it one more step beyond what I had done before. (There were actually a couple of things I did today that I have been unable to do til now. Woo Hoo!!) I was trying to let go of the stressors in my life in my attempt to get that mojo back. Tears welled in my eyes as we lay there, focusing on my heart rate, my breathing, thankful for everything I was able to do today.

It truly can be overwhelming laying there. Most people would think that just laying on the floor after yoga class would just be, well, lying there. But I think that unless you truly release yourself during that simple act of lying there, you can’t understand the power. The connection of your mind and body and spirit. And my wonderful Yogi once told me that when tears flow in that position, to let them flow. Your body is purging toxins. Letting go. There is something very freeing in that. When you’re surrounded by people who support you (which I am in my class because the girls there not only rock, but have also become such good friends!)

So as she came around and laid her hands on each of us, straightening my head, pushing my shoulders down, lengthening my legs, the tears overcame me. It was a very surreal feeling but one I embraced.

I’ve learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned that I can and should embrace where I am right now. I’ve learned that we don’t always see the baby steps we take, but when we look back, we see the journey has taken us further than we ever thought we could go. And I’ve learned that letting go is sometimes the best thing to do, because sometimes you’re holding on to tightly.

yoga pigeon