One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Archive for December, 2012

The Anniversary

My earliest memories of my mother are of us driving around in our big camper van, running errands, and listening to her favorites. Artists like Cher, Elton John, and the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack  quietly flowed through the speakers as we went from place to place. The most played, however, were tapes of Rod Stewart. At that age, before I discovered the deeper personalities of my parents, the only things I knew about my mother was that she was kind, she was beautiful, and she loved Rod Stewart.

Life was relatively calm in our household but we did always celebrate special occasions. Christmas, birthdays, and Easter were always honored and the satisfaction of being a good host was instilled early within me.  On one of my parents anniversaries, when I was about 7 years old, I decided to do something special for them. They worked hard to take care of me so on their special day I wanted to create a relaxed and romantic environment for them to celebrate in. So I cleaned up all the various things that found their way onto our dining room table, set out the good china, picked out some candles, and chose some paper to write out place settings for my two favorite people in the world.

I figured it would be nice to write “Happy Anniversary Linda + Robert = Love” on their place settings. I congratulated myself on my romantic originality and put pen to paper, carefully laying down each stroke of the pen with my absolute best script. Robert didn’t fit so I decided to just write Rob for short since my mom called him Rob anyway (Only “Robert” if he was in trouble). When I was done I proudly displayed the cards on their plates and awaited the thanks and praise I was sure I’d get.

When the first reaction echoed its way from the dining room I was shocked and hurt that it wasn’t the “ooo’s” and “awww’s ” I was expecting and instead laughter. What was so funny about the cards I had so carefully written out? When I went to investigate my mother was curled over laughing and my father standing erect holding the card up to his face. “Happy Anniversary Linda and ROD?! Who is Rod?” he demands with a half smirk.

“Rod Stewart”, my mother replies still in between giggles.

Oh no! My heart drops. I wrote lower case B the wrong direction and now its a D. Not many men can say they don’t mind their wife swooning over rock stars, and my father was no exception. Now, on their anniversary, I had reminded him of that. “I’m so sorry, dad. I’m sorry.” I apologized a few times feeling the heat of embarrassment at my childish mistake. But after a few moments the haze clears over myself and I see the smiles on my parents faces not only at me, but also towards each other. Maybe I didn’t ruin their special day, I thought as I left the room.

Now years later, I  learn more about my mother each day, but some things are for sure. She is kind, she is beautiful, she likes Rod Stewart, and she loves my dad.

-Carly Russell

Santa Baby (cover {for the yogi in your life})

yoga-santa

After hearing how materialistic the original Santa Baby is on the radio today I decided to cover it with adding the things I (and maybe some other yogi’s) may like to receive from Santa. Would love to hear other ideas too 🙂

Take a listen

Giving and Receiving Openly

 christmas-present

As Christmas quickly approaches I got to thinking a lot about giving and receiving.

 

My awareness of being able to receive openly became noticed when my wonderful partner had a hard time excepting my compliments. It got me thinking about who else had this same challenge. I spent the next few days complimenting friends and family and out of the 5 people I gave compliments and gratitude towards 4 turned it down. Instead of saying thank you it was returned with a negative about themselves.

 

On the subject of give I thought back. I have always been a “giver”. People that are drawn to health professions usually are. I found I gave so much when I was working in that setting that I often felt drained and unable/unwilling to give in other situations with family and friends. I also got the sense that as the giver I was entitled to a reward for it. At work my reward was praise so in my relationships I expected the same thing for my giving nature. Because of this I generally was left feeling disappointed and angry when I wasn’t rewarded or appreciated for my efforts. Not good for anyone.

When I began to understand gratitude in its purest form the act of giving and receiving became a gift in itself. I stopped expecting to receive and enjoying to give. It also opened me to be more aware of the gifts that I receive each day like a smile from a stranger or a simple thanks from a friend. I realized that it truly goes both ways. The universe and our energetic body craves balance so learn to except, appreciate, and receive these gifts openly and feel the fullness of wanting to give back.

Practice:

The Heart Chakra अनाहत, Anāhata Oh the heart. Since I could write endlessly about the importance of the heart chakra I will keep it simple. A lotus flower with 12 petals is the visual for this chakra. The element is air and the sense is touch. Balancing the ethereal with the physical as well as linking the lower 3 chakra points with the higher 3. This is the center for our compassion and trust as well as giving and receiving (ah, there it is). When our heart is closed or dense feelings of distrust arise as well as unable to receive. You May feel resentful or attached to things in the past. Other the other side when our heart is too open you pour out all of that energy in the desire to help others leaving nothing for yourself. So how do we balance?

 

1. Asana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn6fr2FYW_Q  or  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boVUNSPlDko&feature=related

 

2. Meditation: I found this lovely posting on a meditation on giving and receiving. http://quantumtouch.groupee.net/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9951095891/m/5491049162 One day soon I will record my own.

 

3. Practice the act of giving and receiving during the holidays. Notice how your thoughts and emotions towards the acts change or develop.

Good luck. We are all deserving.

Namaste xo

Carly

Don’t Stress… Feel Blessed.

relaxing christmas

Holiday season, to a lot of people, is a stressful time. Family visiting, big meals to prepare, and credit cards filling up with gift purchases. I have been fortunate enough to be in the age bracket where I am young enough to have the majority of my recent Christmas memories as lazy around in a cozy house and eating good food. There were most definitely stresses like Christmas brunch and dinner where my more conservative relatives questioned my piercings, life, and tattoo choices and praised my brother for everything down to having a good sneeze.

“Wow John, that was the most amazing sneeze I have ever witnessed. You are such a good grandson. Carly, do you ever plan on sneezing like that or are you just going to sniffle?”

Okay, so that’s an extreme exaggeration but needless to say I always left that dinner table feeling full of food and stressed about my lot in life. I know my mom and dad stressed in their own way as well about getting everything together. Making sure they bought enough food, making sure everyone had presents, and a bed to sleep in. And as my grandmother ages I can see her getting more and more worked up over the holidays and  every little thing that needs to happen for it to come together.

It has become quite clear with the way people talk its like everyone decides ahead of time to get stressed about the holidays. As I got older even I started to take on stresses … like it was an honor to wear my stresses to show to the world how adult I was.

After hearing countless people gearing themselves up for holiday stress and reading numerous articles on the subject I decided that I wasn’t going to put myself into traction over Christmas or anything else for that matter (As best as I could of course). I have made the conscious choice to not be stressed out about those types of situations that we have per-determined as “stressful”. A difficult situation at work, being late for an important appointment, someone being satisfied with the gift you got them.

But how do we transition from reacting to planning, how do we change a pattern that was learned, and how can we learn to let go of control and surrender to the rhythm of the universe?

I don’t know for sure but I know steps I can begin to take now that will take a positive effect.

PRACTICE

1. Put a positive intention forward and get organized.

This holiday season sit down with a pen and paper and write out the things you would like to accomplish. Whether its a big dinner, getting everyone a good gift, getting along with your family, or all of the above.  Make a list and begin to cultivate change. When I plan and put my true intentions forth I will achieve the desired goal without getting all worked up about everything.

2. Let go of the outcome.

This is most definitely an important factor in reducing any kind of  stress. Lots of our chosen stress triggers are out of our control. In my own life, when I am able to let go of the responsibility of the outcome that is out of my control stress tends to melt away.

3. Slow Down.

In stress mode we tend to move at a faster pace. Sometimes even racing from one task to another. When possible, make the choice to move a little slower. Pay more attention to each movement and eliminate time from the equation. I used to be obsessed with time which induced a fair amount of stress in my life and especially during a season of events. I would constantly be looking at the time and rushing to get to my destination. Arriving in time but also in a ball of tension. When someone suggested that I look at the clock just once before leaving the house and then not again until I arrived at my destination that that might help. They were right. I still arrived on time but enjoyed the journey a lot more without the unnecessary distraction of the clock.

4. Give Gratitude

Christmas or any other holiday is not about the gifts received. Its about the gifts given. I truly believe each day that I am here is a gift and the more I give thanks and give to others, the more love and joy I receive.

gratitude words

This holiday season don’t get caught up in the old patterns of tension and stress, appreciate and enjoy the time spent with friends and family and thank your SELF for everything you do and others will give gratitude in return… even if its in a different way.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

Namaste xo

Carly

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