Monday, April 3, 2017

Going to India (3/14/17)

Well the travel adventure has started. I am getting ready to depart for a yoga pilgrimage to India with a group from my favorite yoga studio Breathe Together. This trip will be led  by Prajna Viera and Jenn Prugh both are favorites and I am so excited. The trip is based on Bhakti Yoga which is the yoga of devotion. We will be visiting some of the most sacred ancient sites in India. I am fascinated by the history of India and also love the Bhakti tradition in yoga.

One of my favorite parts of the Bhakti yoga tradition is Kirtan and chanting. I thought it was pretty crazy the first time I was involved in chanting Sanskrit with a bunch of other yoga students. But the experience soon grew on me and now it is one of my favorite yoga practices. Chanting is a time honored way to get in touch with your 'self' and feel at peace. In my study of world wide traditions and rituals I have not come across a culture that does not celebrate with sound and often song.

It seems the idea of sound vibrations run deep in the essence of our being. Resonating with the vibrations of the universe is not just a nice idea it is also steeped in scienctific study. It fascinates me. When we chant AUM we are actually aligning our vibration as close as we can to the vibration sound of the universe. I love that.

Anyway, I am heading to the other side of the world to explore the origins of this practice and all the history that place in the world has to offer. I know it will most likely be much more than I can take in during my brief 2 weeks, but I am looking forward to the emersion. My family is a bit sad to see me go, but they have been very supportive. I planned this trip back in August before we knew we were selling the house. I felt back then it was time to start exploring the world and I knew I had to take the first steps in leading my family in that direction.

So, the adventure begins! I will let you know what transpired during my travels when I return.
Until then be well and enjoy the blossoming of Spring.

Sold! (2/3/17)

Didn't get much writing done the past month as we were getting the house ready for sale. The hard work paid off and we sold the house in 7 days. That is the benefit of living where we do. It is extremely hard to get into a home but when you go the other direction it is quite easy to sell one. It was only a matter of one weekend and about 3 weeks of paperwork. We were fortunate to be able to use the same real estate agent who worked with us in buying our home. He is a great guy and had the best of intentions for our family when getting the house ready for sale.

It is a pretty intrusive an humbling experience to have your home 'staged' for sale. The goal is to make it look like a catalogue and appeal to the generic sense of possibility.  All the personality that I poured into our home over the years had to be stripped away as did the children' toys and personal collections. It was surprising how much stuff we had accumulated in such a small space. Our home is only a 2 bedroom and around 950 sq feet.  Never the less we have removed a full PODs worth of our personal belongings and still seem to have more than enough to keep us happy.

It does give me pause to wonder if we really need all this stuff. Would I be sad if the POD got lost?
I imagine I would be sad, but I also imagine I would get accustomed to living without it. In the next months we will be pairing our lives down to a suitcase and backpack each to live out of for the next year. That will be interesting. I think knowing it is temporary makes it easier to do. Funny how we can trick our minds.

When I am in my best place I realize that this is all temporary. And I realize it is ok for me to pack away the baggage that tends to follow me where ever I go and just enjoy the moment.  Those boxes will always be there and I can open them or not as I choose.  I can decide to burn them or place them on the mantle. I get to choose and it feels great.

Are you making choices in your life? Are you dragging your baggage around with you everywhere you go? Do you have a plan to deal with those boxes? I hope so. I hope you find ways to unload the weight you carry and to find some space and freedom in your being and your life.

Taking Action (1/26/17)

The seeds are planted and it is time to take action. We are getting the home of 12 years ready for sale. In this home we crossed the threshold as newlyweds, had our first pet, and started a family. It has been a wonderful place and time in our lives and we are so thankful. This house has sheltered and held us and now this home is going to provide us with the means to make a major shift in our lives. The proceeds from the sale will support us in our year of transition and travel. We will not be coming home to this address, to this place in the world, or the this time in our lives again. It is an ending and a beginning.

We are in the process of sorting and packing our belongings. There is a lot of letting go to get to freedom and letting go isn't always easy. There have been tears and doors slammed. There have been lots of questions and frustration. There have been discussions about why and how and what if.... and slowly we made our way to acceptance. We are working on practicing ahimsa with ourselves and one another. There is pain, and we are acknowledging the pain and moving through it and with it on to the next stage of our journey.

The possibilities lay before us like an open sea and at times I feel panic rising up. I want to make some 'real plans'. I want to feel like I have some control over our destiny, but it is time to let go a bit and make room for grace.  It is time to do the work necessary to become 'free' and to let life happen to us a bit.

Currently the plan is to sell the house and move into my dad's basement while we finalize the details of our round the world adventure. I cringe a bit thinking of living in my dad's basement, but a dose of that should be great motivation to move on to the next stop! I am grateful for a relationship with my dad and his wife that allows us this opportunity and look forward to being closer to them.

So it is the beginning of a new era in our lives. We are carving a new path and giving ourselves the freedom to search for our authentic selves. It is exciting and terrifying. What are you doing with your life that terrifies and excites you? I hope you find ways to give yourself the opportunity to dream and to put those dreams to action, even if it terrifies you to do so.

New Beginnings (back post from 1/1/2017)

New Year's Eve I spent 2 hours in a room meditating to the sound of singing bowls and chimes. I was bathed in vibration and as the different sounds clashed and meshed together. It took some time to settle into a good space. In fact for the first 45 minutes I was pretty uncomfortable, but the next 75 minutes passed in what seemed like 10.  It was a ending and beginning that truly resonated with me.

The next day I was back at the studio for the annual New Year celebration at the Breathe Together Yoga Studio in Los Gatos, Ca.  Jenn Prugh is one of my favorite teachers and the owner/manager of Breathe Together. She offers a free New Years Day class. Jenn is one of those teachers who has the ability to push you right to the edge of your comfort zone and often way beyond it. It was a shock for me at first. I was angry, embarrassed, ashamed, and really raw about the experience she first provided me. It has taken years of yoga to finally enter her space and find the joy of yoga, but I have and I am so grateful to her for the journey.

The challenges of yoga on first entry are physical, but the essence of the practice lies in the mind and the spirit. Jenn has the ability to push you to the point you must deal with your mind and spirit or you will just live through the pain and continue to think that is the point. The practiced is steeped in opportunity for practicing Ahimsa or non-harming. This is one of the first rules of yoga and should be applied inward and outward. Jenn's class is an opportunity to find kindness for your suffering. It is an opportunity to be present with your pain and uncomfort and find the joy. But honestly for a a long time it just felt like torture.

During this New Year's Day torture session Jenn instructed us to choose a word for the practice. We should use this word with our breath to help us stay present and joyful not just during our two hour session but throughout the year. My word for 2017 is Freedom.   Later in the class we partnered up and were offered the opportunity to join our neighbors word with our own. My neighbors word was Letting Go. Perfect.

The seeds are planted now to tend the soil and nurture the growth.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


That change that I felt in the air last month has settled into my body in the form of, what if?  I have started exploring all sorts of options for our lives and how we can shift our perspective to get more of the lifestyle we desire. I am applying for a MBA program that is seemingly way out of my league. I am exploring moving to an island in the south pacific. I am exploring business ideas like opening a burger, fries, and ice cream shop in middle America. I am letting my mind go wild with the possibilities and it is so much fun!

I am guessing this has something to do with the 'mid-life crisis' syndrome that appears to happen to all 40 somethings across the globe. I read an interesting article that had done a study of 40 somethings across the globe and all sorts of social and economic lines. Apparently the mid 40's is one of the hardest times of your life. (read it here Atlantic mid-life crisis article )You feel the most pressure and fear around your choices and the direction of your life. You tend to feel trapped and often stressed about the future. Well, I can say that the past two years had some of that feeling. Then we started talking about what that feeling was telling us. What I heard was, what if?
What if this is it?

It was a wake up call. Is this it? Is this the life you have been dreaming of? Is this how you would love to continue. Are you living everyday with the joy and passion that is possible in this one opportunity you have to live this life?  Wow, time to do some digging and possibly some realigning of goals, perceived ideas of 'success', and the fears of our future.  What is it I really want? What is my  bucket list for this life and is it a list we should be differing until we are financially ready? Should we wait until it is a 'good time' to make a leap to a new way of living?

My answer was, it depends.  I want to just jump into a new life and manifest all my wonderful dreams and tick off my list of bucket list items. The reality is it will take some thought and planning. It will take many discussions and lots of research and more 'what if' questions.  But, the discussion is started. We have opened the box of possibilities and I am looking forward to the future.

I know even if my future self is still living in this old house I will at least have an updated kitchen and some new plants in the front yard and a list of dreams waiting for me to find a way to fulfill.
Because it is dreams that make life so fun to live...
  Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things 
which escape those who only dream at night.
                                                                                                 -Edgar Allen Poe

What are your dreams??

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October RV Trip

This past week I did something I had always wanted to do, but felt so guilty about wanting to do it. I rented a 30ft RV and drove it down the California coast with my dad and two kids. It was a guilty pleasure and I enjoyed it very much.

My secret wish was that my husband might join us if we had an RV with a bed, stove, and bathroom included. He has some PSTD surrounding camping due to his time in the army. It is not the relaxing joyous experience it is for myself and  the kids. For him it is a stark and intense reminder of a time in his life that he would rather forget. Or it is a very believable and untouchable excuse for him to get out of camping with his family.

Whatever the reason I have come to the conclusion it is not an activity I can force upon him. He will have to decide it is worth the mental effort to overcome his past and make new and happy memories with us surrounding camping. I want him to do it now. I want him to come with us to the mountains and the coast and enjoy being away from home. But considering the stress of his job and how happy he is to be home feeling safe and secure I don't see it happening anytime soon. In the meantime I have figured out how to do camping on my own with my kiddos. It isn't the same without him, but it isn't so bad.

As I drove that bad boy out of the parking lot and started down the highway my heart was pounding and I was on the verge of tears. What in the world was I thinking! I am driving a 30ft vehicle in mid-morning traffic in the middle of Silicon Valley! I started singing to myself and worked on breathing. I stayed in one lane and went a reasonable speed. As I pulled onto our street and in front of our house I felt like I was going to be ok. I had taken on something I wanted to do even though it scared the crap out of me and I did it!

I got much better at driving over the next few days. My husband drove down to meet us one morning and we did a beautiful hike all together. He drove home and slept in the security of his own bed. My dad enjoyed the time with the kids and they had a blast exploring the outdoors and enjoying the comforts of driving down the road sitting at a table putting together a puzzle. It was a good week.

I realized after the trip that my dad had to overcome a level of stress regarding RV's and their menace to the general public and earth. He was able to put aside his bias against such vehicles and enjoy being with his daughter and grandchildren despite his negative emotions surrounding RVs'. I realized that my husband had made a great effort to support my wish even though it was not something he wanted or could even imagine enjoying.  I had overcome my fear of driving a ridiculous sized vehicle on my own. And my kids had managed to just have fun.

This past week was a reminder of how many blessings I have in my life. Often I forget how lucky I am to have people who support me.  I sometimes get caught up in my version of 'how things should be' and forget to appreciate 'how things are' and that often they are much better than I realize. Yesterday was my first day back to 'reality' after a week of vacation. I was very much caught up in 'how things should be' and wanted to forget all about 'how things are'. This morning after some mediation I realized things are just as they should be. I am moving forward, slowly staying in my lane, and working on my breath. I am carving a path of my own and I am so blessed to have the support and love of my family for every step. It isn't always easy, but it sure is fun.

I hope you are having as much fun on your own RV trip!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The season of change

Over the years my relationship to 'change' has evolved. As a young woman I was blessed with two parents and a relatively stable life. As a college student I found a home and stayed in the same school for both undergraduate and graduate work. During my time in graduate school my mother passed away. The ground fell out from beneath me and change became the theme of my life.

Quitting grad school, taking a job, quitting a job, moving to the mountains, traveling overseas, coming home for another job, quitting another job, moving back to the mountains and finally moving to California. One job, another job, a possible career change, deep uncertainty in my direction and feeling adrift in the world. I had become a master of change. I could pick up and set myself down and be comfortable just about anywhere. But comfortable and grounded are two very different things. I was comfortable, but I was not grounded.

One evening reading in a coffee shop in Palo Alto a handsome man sat in the seat next to me. We started to talk and have been talking for the past 14 years. During our courtship there was more change to come as he was shipped overseas in the midst of our love affair. Upon his return we were engaged and after some initial moving and shifting we settled into our current home and have raised our two children here these past 11 years. 

During the past decade we have endured the normal and sometimes intense emotional changes that come with getting married, having children, and coming to terms with your child's educational options. There were rough patches, but we managed them without too much 'change' being required. We have had a stable existence. My family would tell you that I am constantly changing things around on them without permission. I guess old habits die hard. I find change necessary. Maybe it is a therapy in itself. A constant reminder that things change, life changes. Sometimes you get to be in control of the change. And sometimes you don't.

We are comfortable here. We are safe and secure. We are grounded in our relationships with one another. But, I do not think we are grounded in this place. I am not grounded in this place. I feel the need to change. I feel the need to shake off the security blanket we have created and stretch ourselves in new and slightly uncomfortable positions. Change is in the air...

Going to India (3/14/17)

Well the travel adventure has started. I am getting ready to depart for a yoga pilgrimage to India with a group from my favorite yoga studio...