One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Archive for the ‘Reflection’ Category

February Food Foundations

Eating in

Eating in

Good news : February is almost past

Bad news: I am afraid of loosing all that I have gained from this last months resolution.

We chose “No Eating Out” for the second month of the year primarily because we wanted to be healthier and it only had 28 days in it so we wouldn’t to deprive ourselves of restaurant food for very long. It also seemed like such a daunting task since I probably average 1 meal out a day. Our lives are busy ones … along with everyone else … and grabbing a sandwich here and a burrito there just seemed easier then carrying around a bunch of food with me all day long. The benefits of this all, however, have expressed beyond those initial intentions as all of our resolutions do.

First, I noticed a drastic change of energy. I felt more awake and stronger after my first week of preparing all of my meals by my own hands and with fresh ingredients. Many “Well Duh!” ‘s may follow that last comment but it really took doing it myself for an extended period of time to realize the importance of making our own food.

Second, I am saving hundreds of dollars! For some, another “Duh!” moment. For me, I expected to save some money but I truly had no idea it would be this much. I am terrible with money. I never really know how much I have, how much I owe, or where and how it gets spent. I have always been completely hopeless and happily delusional and this has been a surprising wake-up call as well as new-found motivation into being better with where my money goes.

Third, our relationship has improved. Along with the “eating in” resolution we also decided to eat every meal at the kitchen table instead of the usual Netflix 1-2 hour dinner watch-a-thon. Now, I will be honest. On those nights when I got home late from work and wanted desperately to never sit in a chair again, we did end up cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, zoned out and unconsciously shoveling food into our mouths. But the majority of the time we ate at the table and would stay there talking well beyond our plates had been emptied and cleared. My partner even started helping out with meals (Despite our “I cook, you clean” arrangement) which I really appreciated on those nights when I would usually vote for take out sushi.

Now as we munch our way into March this coming week I want to stay connected with the foundations that we have cultivated. New habits of making lunches, brining snacks, and creative cooking are always available and in a city where it is incredibly easy to forget these things I think its important that we keep ourselves reminded on all that we have gained from this months experience. And as always, even though I have always known this was the better way, it took actually doing it to make the difference. Practice makes for more practice. Horay!

Happy Eating In !

Namaste

xo Carly

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Its a Resolutionful Life

After a year of a different resolution every month it seems completely bonkers not to continue doing it. It is also easy to be inspired when I hear that friends and family members are also taking on our challenge along with us. (If you didn’t see our resolutions for 2013 check out “December Giveaway” for a re-cap)

As we roll into the New Year of 2014 my motivations for resolutions are less about “fixing” myself and more about enhancing my experiences. Despite my intention of guilt-free resolutions, there still was a lot of guilt attached to my goals and it took a whole year of trying new things and various challenges to see the resolutions that really made me grow and those that just made me feel bad. There is always going to be a bit of give and take for any new intention and I believe I can enter into any new goal with a bit more understanding an love knowing that more deeply.

So what is January 2014’s Resolution you ask?!

January is “Take a Picture Everyday” month.

My partner and I have a pretty lovely little life together. Lots of trips, lots of laughs, and lots of love. We also live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Surrounded my sky and sea and in the 2 years that I have lived here I don’t have much documentation of the beauty in our day to day as well as the spectacular.

Secret look-out beyond English Bay

Secret look-out beyond English Bay

We are constantly making new memories but so rarely have evidence of those memories afterwards. “Hey remember that time we went to that place? It was May and it was hot out. Where was that?” Even looking back in old journals are lacking in my actual life events and instead I only tend to write when I am feeling bad or lonely.

I am all about living in the moment which is why I am in this position in the first place but hopefully a month of documenting our life a wee bit better can help me get more into the habit of doing it in the future.

 

I always love to hear about other’s experiences and ideas on the topic of resolutions. Please feel free to share yours.

December Giveaway

Here it is. A whole year of resolutions coming to an end. I can’t believe that I have made it this far and have learned so much from offering myself 12 different goals for 2013. Choosing resolutions in this way has removed the guilt, the shame, and the disappointment.  Of course it wasn’t all fun and games and there have challenges and judgements towards myself and others. But through those rough weeks and more difficult resolutions I have found my rhythm of self-improvement and I feel strong and capable and better able to achieve goals on the road to being a better individual for myself, my family, and my community.

In case you haven’t been along for the whole ride her is a list of 2013’s Year of Resolutions:

January No Complaining- pretty simple.. no complaining

February Unplugging from electronics – no cellphone or ipods in social situations

March Compliments – Giving 5 compliments a day

April Writing – Journaling everyday

May Goddess Appreciation – Loving and honoring all women and letting go of jealousy and judgement

June Truths – Only speaking the truth to myself and others

July Sugar-free – No refined sugar of any kind

August Strangers – To speak to more stranger.. cultivate more friendships

September Reflection – To spend the month in reflection about my Burning Man experience and goals for the future

October No Alcohol – No drinking alcohol of any kind

November Clean up – Picking up one or more pieces of garbage on the ground each day

giving december

Its not totally over yet though…. in honor of the Christmas Spirit as well as the all powerful Burning Man principles we decided that December is to be the month of giving. Today is the 12th and we have already spent these past 11 days giving as best we can. Here are some of the ways we have offered gifts:

Making sandwiches for the hungry souls that we pass on the way to work

Giving change to familiar faces holding up a cup

Buying a friend a drink

Giving compliments to co-workers

Gifting myself a day of rest and recovery

Bringing the whole office chocolate bars

Giving students an extra long savasana with neck massage

Sending our sponsor-child a Christmas present

It doesn’t always have to be a monetary offering nor does it have to be big and lavish. It is just about taking the time to give to someone as well as cultivating the awareness that giving to each other can happen all year round. It is fun to be creative and wake up in the morning thinking… “What can be my gift today” till eventually I don’t think that at all and giving becomes a natural side-effect of moving through the world. We don’t need to have an ‘excuse’ or an event. We can just give.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
― St. Francis of Assisi

Thank you to all the people who helped me in this year long journey. Those who gave me ideas, inspiration, and encouragement. It has been an amazing challenge.  2014 is coming. Time moves swiftly and it is beautiful.

November Pick-Up

It is hard to believe that the year of resolutions is coming to the end. It has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride of emotions, failures, successes, and allowing myself the opportunity to be an honest human. Honest about my habits (good & bad), my expectations, my judgements, and my willpower. I am proud of how far I have come and the variety of resolutions that my partner and I have taken on. It has inspired some extreme self-awareness and acceptance of others. As November makes its way around the bend I am feeling almost sad about the end of this year. But it is not over yet and I still have 2 months to take what I have learned and share it out into the world.

November clean-up

Inspired by a foggy evening by the ocean, Burning Man, and a community clean-up program I decided that I wanted to help keep the earth cleaner more than just once a month. So for November I have made the choice of picking up some form of garbage off of the ground outside everyday. Save your “ew’s” and “yucks” for someone else as well. It doesn’t have to be a lot and just once a day. I try to pick-up things like pieces of plastic, coffee cups, etc. I have yet to pick up anything extremely dirty and most of the stuff on the ground is just needless trash (accidental or otherwise).

litter

My intention for this exercise is not to judge the reason for the trash but instead try to do my part in my community and to show that if we work together we can help keep our home a little cleaner.

The first couple days I did not pick up anything. I was talking about it but somehow had never “gotten around to it” which is barely an excuse. It was clear to me then that it needed to become a part of my routine and after 4 days in a row it has become a valued part of my day as well.

So if you see me on the side of the road picking up garbage its not because I am trying to cheat my own jail sentence but instead hoping to the reduce the death sentence we are creating on our  planet.

Swimming in Soda

soda water

This change of season is bringing many changes along with it. Changes in my work, diet, habits, temperature. My resolution for the month of October has also been a surprising change. No alcohol. “Sober October” is what people keep saying to me. We had actually decided to do No alcohol for one of our resolutions at the beginning of the year but then kept putting it off. “Oh, we have that party to go to” or “July is in the middle of summer, we can’t do it then” and “Well, we need to be able to drink at Burning Man”. So when October rolled around I decided to take action. This is the  month! People said, “What about Halloween? What about Octoberfest? What about those concerts that you are going to?” It was shocking to me to see people’s reactions of “what about….” rather than support or encouragement.

I have not drank alcohol for a couple weeks at a time in the past. Granted, it was when I was living alone and didn’t have a lot of friends. But I did it without thought or concern. Yet, when it comes to planning out a period when I am not going to include alcohol in my life it is suddenly challenging. I was taught that drinking was a natural part of everyday life. A beer with friends, a glass of wine at dinner. If your going to a show its always better with a beer or two. I also love to try different things and attend tastings. Its fun to discuss varieties with other people and learn more about the process and care that goes into making every bottle of wine. I don’t consider my intake a problem and now that I am older and wiser binge drinking doesn’t really occur. None-the-less, its still a habit.

To break the habit we replaced our wine with tea and soda water. On a weekend when we might go and have an afternoon beer and snack we drank water and went hiking. I have also been eating a few pieces of dark chocolate after dinner. While out with friends for drinks I will still partake in something fancy but the virgin version or stick with a water. My partner said over the thanksgiving weekend “It feels like something is missing in my life”. Almost to the end of  this resolution and I am beginning to see what he means by that. Its the routine of it all.

I like to take my time when choosing a wine. Whether it is at the store or a restaurant, I slowly pursue the choices thinking about what I am in the mood for and what would go best with my meal. I like chatting with staff about what is available and learning about a region and year so I can share it with others. When it is eventually in a glass I enjoy the smell, examining the color and how it rolls around the glass. Finally, the tasting.  Although exciting, not necessarily my favorite part.

Move forward 22 days and my routine has changed. I like the way it has changed as well. Still going out and being social. Able to sit and have dinner and conversation while my friends partake in the stronger stuff. And since I am not staying up late and waking up refreshed I am more motivated to spend my mornings joining community clean up and cultivating that sense of routine in my yoga practice. It is freeing to remind myself that I don’t “need” alcohol to enjoy dinner out, to have fun at a concert, or to celebrate accomplishments and holidays.

 

Now, the end of the month quickly approaching and I am considering taking this particular resolution with me just as I do with the rest. Keeping present that awareness that I am enough…. without all that extra stuff.

Sharing the Fire

IMG_4375

We may not know it at the time but deep awakening is possible around every corner and on every new road that is traveled. When it came to my first Burn I knew about the journey and the benefits of positive surroundings. I was aware of the other possobilities as well. Those being fun, acceptance, and happiness. I was very much prepared for the beauty that was the desert and to share the experience that I already had as well as what I was about to learn. One thing that I was not prepared for, however, was the complete cleansing that took place in my soul. I was not prepared for the unstoppable tears that fell for hours on the night the man burned. I most definitely was not prepared for the sudden awareness of the pain that I was holding on to.

The day of the burn was a lovely day. Hot, dusty, and terribly fun; as most days at Burning Man are. Our fantastic camp (The Space Gnomes) gathered, we put on our matching space hats, grabbed our space ray guns, and hit the playa as one. The walk over was full of excitement and anticipation. I had no idea what to expect and was ready to cheer and dance and run around the desert in celebration of our new freedom. I was in awe of the fire performers and reveled in the fire works. But as soon as the first explosion of true flames erupted the tears began. Without warning they fell with such force that I could barely cheer when the man finally fell from his Spaceship throne.

I am incredibly content in my life, but I still cry. Most often in happy moments, at the end of yoga class, during a good song, or watching a commercial about how awesome the world is ( http://youtu.be/at_f98qOGY0 ). So it was disconcerning to be crying out of discomfort, pain, hate, and fear. I experienced all those emotions as they left my body. It was like the Playa dust filled every single nook and cranny. It was in every inch of my being, inbetween my breaths and my thoughts, surrounding my hopes and my dreams, and there was no room left for pain. No space for expectation. And when the last bit of microscopic volume in my cells was filled with dust there was no capasity remaining for fear.

The next day when I awoke… I was completely cleared of any of those emotions and was whole again with love, acceptance, peace, contentment, and dust… of course. I took a deep breath as I sat out on the deep Playa Sunday watching the sunrise and remembering the night before. It was amazing to feel that whole of a human for the first time in my life. Weightless, yet steady. Excited and calm. Loving myself and the man next to me who supported me the whole way to our home the night before. I realized then what a powerful and nessesary experience it was that I had and how lucky I was to have that experience along with 67 000 other souls. That everyone, not just my partner, supported me through that challenge of release. And I know that my energy helped sustain someone else’s journey as well.

I am incredibly grateful for this this moment in time. An unexpected release and the chance to return to the world with a new perspective and the inspiration to share and encourage others to take the 10 Principles of Burning Man http://www.burningman.com/whatisburningman/about_burningman/principles.html#.UjaKNxzkMjU into their hearts.

Life is full of spectacular moments, but we cannot plan for them. All we can do is wake up. Go outside and smile.

Dropping the Ball, Picking up the Goggles

August is quickly coming to an end and my resolution for the month is also quickly fading away. What started out as good intentions to speak to more strangers and ready myself for the openness of Burning Man ended with my complete consuption with new resonsibilities at work and getting physically ready for the iconic gathering. I have even attempted writing this post more than once and more than once I have been pulled away by other things that appeared more important.

At first, I gave up on my resolution blogging for this month. Other things were happening and I had felt such success with July that I offered myself a break. Wes and I had decided to talk to more strangers for August and I figured I would still do it, but not have to write about it right away. Very quickly my resolution was forgotten in Wes and my minds and the space made for bridging the gap and creating connected began to fill with negativity, judgment, and stress.

This was foolish I have come to realize, and that the physical preparations (food, water, money,etc) are only a small part of nessessary readiness. As much as costumes and Emergen-C play a significant role, cultivating the right intention is going to make the all the difference in my experience. Not to mention the experience of my amazing partner in all of this. Clearly, this realization is not only about Burning Man but life.

Life is a glorious adventure and instead of getting caught up in the things I “Should” be doing I intent to put passion, purity, and dedication into the things I am doing in the moment. This means writing more about my human experience and not giving into uninspired apathy. I have discovered more about myself and life within the letters on paper or screen than I ever have trying to get ahead at work or being mad at someone for saying “I can fold them” in the wrong way. The enjoyment of writing is a gift as is the ability for everyone to have the chance to share.

 

So what is the August Resolution at the end of all this reflection? Continue to speak to new people and surrender to the shared experience that we are cultivating.

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