You know those times when you have a plan in mind and then something completely different happens? It happens all the time, right? But in so many ways, it ends up working out exactly as it was meant to.
Well I had a plan today - to write about all the different opportunities that we get to start over. But then, I laid in savasana yesterday morning for a long 10-15 minutes and realized that the opportunities that we get to begin again are truly endless.
Endless, depending on how we choose to look at them.
As someone who loves to try and control outcomes, it takes a lot of trust, courage and patience to understand that things will work out exactly as they're meant to. Perhaps this awareness comes with time and experience of seeing this happen again and again, but I always feel a big release of pressure when I loosen the grip just a little on the outcome.
I am not here to be right. I am here to get it right. - Brené Brown
When things don't feel in alignment, we can always look at it as another opportunity to recalibrate and begin again OR we can find the frustration and dis-ease in it. We get to choose, right?
Perhaps we begin again with a relationship or a job or a yoga practice. Maybe we begin again at the start of a new week, new month or a new moon cycle. Or maybe those moments feel too monumental for what's in front of us, so we can begin again at the start of a new day.
We can recalibrate at the beginning of every day. And then at the beginning of every transition during that day and even at the beginning of this very next breath. See where I'm going? The possibilities can be endless.
So why did this come up in savasana? Because the practice of savasana (corpse pose) is an opportunity to begin again. In the practice, we give our bodies a moment to find total relaxation and allow ourselves to be completely still. It's a reset at the end of an asana practice - a moment to recalibrate our energy, brain, systems and tissues of the body. And at the end of corpse pose we reawaken - from the little death to living - and begin again.
So I'm curious to know - what feels stuck right now and where can you use this as an opportunity to begin again?
Micro Meditation // Begin Again
Allow your eyes to find a point in front of you on the ground to focus on, so your eyelids can be soft.
Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly.
Feel your belly rise with every inhale and your belly fall with every exhale.
Then start to pay attention to just this next breath in.
And just the next breath out.
Notice how at the end of each inhale, the exhale starts over and vice versa.
Follow five more breaths and allow each breath to represent an opportunity to begin again.
I’ll never forget the first time I drove on the highway in Baltimore. Graham and I were moving to Baltimore from Columbus and were in separate cars, that were packed with our belongings. A notable time, as we had been dating for just 8 months and made the decision to move to a new city together. As we got closer to the Baltimore/DC Metro area, I could tell that traffic was getting more congested and cars were moving a lot faster. And then we passed the border of the 695 outer-belt and a switch flipped. Horns were honking, cars were zooming around me, merge lanes were nearly non-existent and I was terrified.
I called Graham in tears - “Why is everyone driving so fast? What's the rush?”
He calmed down my midwest roots, gave me some reassurance that traffic is a little different here on the east coast and we arrived safely to our new home.
During our time in Baltimore I got rather used to the hustle and bustle of the traffic and the pace of the city. I was amongst the commuters - traveling from one state to another or one city to another. There is a hurry in the air that I became accustomed to.
While driving over the last few weeks, this experience kept coming to my mind. This time, however, with a little bit of a different perspective and nearly 12 years of observation. The new year can sometimes create frenetic energy in the air and I have noticed this on the road.
I'm an annoying driver - I drive the speed limit and am cautiously aware of other drivers on the road. With all that to say, I have been honked at and passed more in the last few weeks than I have since that drive into Baltimore. As I observe, there's a rush to get from Point A to Point B. A rush to push the speed limit to get there a little faster and a disconnect from the time taken to get there.
We're all guilty of driving from one place to another and almost forgetting how we got there. Perhaps it's because we were distracted with our thoughts or the conditions, but I'm curious to know... what's the rush? Is it that there are just that many people who are hurrying to their next place? Or is it perhaps that we're exhausted from staying home and want to move quickly again? Or maybe we feel like we missed out things from 2020 and need to "catch up"?
What I know about myself is that I hate being rushed - just ask my husband. I also know that I'm not immune to external pressures and can easily absorb other energies, which makes that dance a little tricky. I love to move at a slower pace, when it's calling and only at a faster pace when I make the choice to - not when I'm told to (stubborn, I know). Because of all of this, I have chosen to listen to my heart even more this year - 2021 - and to not rush back into the busy-ness that we're so accustomed to.
So I ask again - what's the rush?
Maybe there is quick moving energy to get something done or to move through something, but I hope to always be reminded to pause in the in-between and look around. Point B will still be there, just as it's meant to. I promise.
New Year, New Intentions
A morning to reflect on your values, prioritize your growth and create your vision of 2021. Movement, reflection, meditation and vision boarding will help you get there!
👉 register with a friend and receive $10 off two tickets with code “FRIENDS” at checkout
Saturday, January 30 @ 10a-12p ET
virtual - zoom
➰ recording will be available for two weeks after the event, as well!
Winter is coming.
Whether we're ready or not, seasons change. We just had our first snowfall in Ohio this week and it was a sweet reminder that winter is right around the corner. It also was a reminder that these seasons are natural and change is constant. While sometimes the weather gives us extreme highs and lows (and climate change is real), transformation is always happening beneath the surface.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" - Yao Tzu
Fall is my favorite season. The vibrant colors that last for months at a time. The cool air and scent of fallen leaves. There is this slow progression toward the cold and gray wintry season. Winter doesn't just happen overnight, even if it feels like it - nature has been preparing this entire time.
The trees have been preparing themselves, as the leaves have slowly been changing from green to yellow to orange and red. And once they're ready, they release and fall to the earth to begin again. There is no force.
This gets me thinking... what else is transforming right now? Outside of the weather, where in life are we preparing for our next "season"? As we take a look at this past year, what have we learned? What can we celebrate? What change has risen that is pushing us toward what's next?
My favorite part of 2020 has been the force to slow down and so I am looking at all areas of life where I am forcing things and where I can let go, to begin again - just as nature reminds us.
Sunday Set is this Sunday, December 6 @ 10a ET / 8a MT
Make sure you're signed up to receive details.
The Flow: I will email you details to join prior to each Sunday Set. I will ask that you respond with a "I'll be there!", so I know who to count on! 🖤
NEW MOON YIN + INTENTION
Over the last few months, I've had so much fun hosting New Moon Intention Workshops with the sweet BOHINDI. This month, I'll be offering a version of this experience virtually, until we can meet again in person.
Great news is this opens it up to those outside of Columbus!
Sunday, December 13 @ 9a ET / 7a MT
Take just a moment... Pause. Breath. Take an assessment. On a scale of 1-5, how are you feeling right now?
Self-awareness. A topic that came up this week for me in therapy, as I was getting really curious about why recently I only call certain people when things are going well and fail to call anyone when I feel horrible. My therapist recommended identifying what the 1-5 scale means for me (for example: when I'm feeling like a 3 - I'm irritated about something and need to get it out). Seems simple, right? I thought so too.
He then recommended that I identify who I will reach out to when I'm feeling each of those numbers - from 1 all the way to 5. I love this because it provides a bit of a game plan. Trust for me, like many, runs deeps and this lets me identify how I can lean on my support system. Brené Brown refers to some of these friends as your "stretch mark friends". The ones you turn to without question and without thought, because your connection to one another has been stretched and pulled so much that it's a part of who you are.
It's important to remember that at any given moment, we each can be feeling a lot right now, so it's a good practice to ask your support system if they have the capacity to listen or help before dumping all your worries and troubles on them - boundaries are just as important, energetically and emotionally.
My point around all this is centered in curiosity. Do you already have a self-awareness practice? If so, what does it look like for you? When's the last time you checked in with yourself and identified what you need or who you need to call from 1 all the way to 5? I'm certainly no therapist, but I'm an advocate for self-awareness and deep listening.
I write to you from an airbnb in Columbus, where I'm spending 48 hours because... well I needed to lean on my support system to make sure I was taking care of myself and filling my depleted cup (thanks a million, G!).
I have made a few adjustments to the Sunday Set, after some great feedback and consideration!
The Time: Sunday Set will now be Sundays @ 10a ET / 8a MT
The Frequency: To provide more potency, these are moving to the first Sunday of every month! We're beginning again - Sunday, November 1. Make sure you're signed up to receive details.
The Flow: I will continue to email you details to join prior to each Sunday Set. I will ask that you respond with a "I'll be there!", so I know who to count on! 🖤
I'm curious... what have your commitments looked like, lately?
This is an interesting time to think about how we choose to spend our time these days.
This last month has required a lot of flexibility, agility and decision making in the Smith household. We don't make many in-person commitments these days, outside of casual hangouts outside - maybe you can relate?
This past week we found out that a leader, from the outdoor camp Camden's been going to, tested positive for COVID-19. The camp did the right thing and I appreciate their transparency, as I know we all do right now.
Queue the email chains and phone calls.I quickly emailed and called our school, the camp, soccer coaches, doctor offices... all conversations ending in, "I think we're safe, we don't have any symptoms in our family, What do you recommend we do from here?" - This is a first. These are all firsts. Decisions on top of decisions on top of decisions.
So... we're back to quarantining for 14-days. No school, no soccer, no camp, no contact. These decisions aren't taken lightly, as my 3 and 5 year olds don't yet have the cognitive ability to understand the rationality behind it all. There are a lot of tears and emotional highs and lows. Hell, many of us adults don't have the ability to process these constant changes, right?
But what DO we have?A LOT. And that's what I keep trying to turn back to again and again, because I am human and as a colleague recently reminded me - "the motto of 2020 is one day at a time". Our health, our family, a roof over our head and so much more is what we have.
It sucks. Yes. 2020 has thrown so many curve balls. And it's also forced us all to be a little more intentional with our time. We get to choose our commitments more consciously, because I think there is a greater awareness to the preciousness of our life and our time. This is one thing I hope that stays.
Today, September 16, 2020 - it's yours for the taking - it's yours for the living. How are you going to take lead and spend your time? It's precious, as are you.
MAMAS, THESE ARE FOR YOU
Need a little reassurance or space to connect to yourself in the morning? I just recently recorded a new Insight Timer meditation - Reassurance for Mamas. Please take care of yourself today, tomorrow and always. 🖤
It has been so fun seeing some of you and moving with you on Sundays for the Sunday Set! If you haven't yet signed up for this free offering, I'd love to see you there! We move, breathe, set intention and dance a little. Details are sent out every Sunday morning!
JOIN THE SUNDAY SET
Alright body... I'm listening.
Mind... I'm listening.
Heart... I've got you, I'm listening.
I just spent the last month away from social media and I feel an incredible sense of presence, creativity, connection and energy. I know some of you came along the exploration with me! I'd love to hear from you on your experience:
In truth though, I'm excited to be back! I love the connection that happens through social media and I'm grateful for this time to recognize that.
MIND: I've been listening to Buffy Barfoot's podcast and cannot recommend it enough! I could listen to her sweet, soulful, southern storytelling all day long.
BODY: I am a huge advocate for clean, simple recipes and since we're all re-learning the importance of clean hands, this foaming soap recipe feels relevant. I add doTERRA On Guard essential oil to mine - so simple, easy and effective. Wash your hands.
HEART: Heart clearing and moving this week to We'll Be Alright, by Grace Potter. Give it a listen, move your body and feel the words. We'll be alright.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who took the time to complete last month's Pandemic Heart Check - I hear you, I see you and I'm with you.
I'm also listening to your requests and have just launched a new Patreon page, so I can more easily make the practice of yoga and meditation - the H E A R T work - accessible and affordable to this community.
This month's offering includes a Balancing Brain Meditation and Deep Stretch/Yin Practice. Stay tuned for more details, as they evolve.
When that thing just keeps showing up. You know the feeling when you try to ignore the signs and that thing just keeps showing up - over and over again? Or you think you're meant to do one thing, but it's very evident that's not what's meant to be?
Buddhist teacher, Pema Chödrön, reminds us that "nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know". The Universe knows, right?
This has been me + a break from social media.
I find every reason in the book to not take a break and I convince myself that the time isn't right. Some of the things that run through my head are:
I'm not here to preach to you about social media, I actually love a lot about social media. But maybe you can relate to some of these feelings? Or maybe this could be an opportunity to reflect on your relationship to social media.
I found this article about social media and mental health to be incredibly validating. It also was the thing that helped solidify my decision to take a break, after this has come up again and again over the last few months.
Social-Free July - I'm coming for you! I'm stepping away for at least the month and plan to use my time focusing on the things that truly fill my cup - creating, dreaming, hiking, self care, intentional conversations and reading are a few things that come to mind.
What are some of your favorite ways to connect, outside of social media?
I've been in creation-mode as of late and also know that there is a lot of change going on right now, for everyone! During these times, there is so much that has our attention. I'd love to learn a little more about how you're spending your time, what interests you right now and how I can take this into account for future content development.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to complete this quick 3-5 min survey! I truly appreciate your time and opinion.
We need to do better. We need to try harder. We need to speak up.
As many of you know, Kindness Yoga just announced their plan to close. This comes on the heals of BIPOC and POC teachers speaking up about their mis-treatment from Kindness' management and leadership. This is heartbreaking. In no way is this treatment an example of practicing what we preach - as yoga teachers, as a yoga community and as a studio called kindness.
Let this message not be about me, but let it be an extension of the many voices who courageously spoke up this week, in regard to their mis-treatment. It's not right. My heart hurts to hear about your experiences - I trust you and I hear you.
As a straight, white female from the suburbs of Central Ohio, I know I have a lot of privilege. I don't know what it's like to be treated differently, based on skin color. I take complete ownership in not standing up and speaking out about the things that felt uncomfortable to address with Kindness leadership, during my 8 years teaching in the community.
I take ownership in staying with the business, when things weren't moving in the right direction. I stayed for the community and the students. I stayed because I didn't want to believe what was happening behind the curtain. So I showed up, gave my all to my students and tried to stay away from everything else. Now I know that my silence, though, gave consent. For that, I am so sorry.
As a yoga teacher, my commitment has been in holding space for others - to heal, to witness their truth, to connect to themselves. I commit to holding a safe space, always. I know this practice heals. I know this practice is life-long. This practice is about sitting with the uncomfortable. To find patience and breath in the moments in front of us. To let it all move through us - mind, body and heart. But never should this practice discriminate or cause harm onto others.
So where did this go wrong?
My opinion: the bones of Kindness Yoga started breaking five years ago, when the business was left in the hands of a theatre major and title-boasting marketer. Is this exposure the straw that broke the camel's back? Yes. And rightfully so. It was bound to happen.
As a collective community, we need to do better. We need to recognize the systemic oppression that lies within this culture and consciously make a change. The hope? From death, comes rebirth.
Are you familiar with the Line of Choice? It's a concept in relation to our beliefs and behaviors. If you're below the line, you're likely in a place of excuse, doing nothing, denying or feeling stuck. When above the line, you're likely in a place of hope, accountability, finding better ways and taking action.
The line of choice. You choose whether you exist in this situation below the line or above the line. I'm going to hop above the line... want to join me?
There's a book that we read to both our boys called Duck and Goose, Goose Needs a Hug. Essentially, Goose looks sad and his friends ask him what he needs - to stand on his head, to sing a song, to play hide and seek, etc. But what Goose really needs is just a H U G. You don't get to this until the end of the book when Goose gets so frustrated that no one knows what he needs and he yells "A HUG!", his friends pause and then they say "well, why didn't you just say so?" and give him a big group hug.
Case in point? Take a moment and ask yourself... what do I need right now?
The reality is we are all going through all the feelings right now: from grief to gratitude. It's up to us to pay attention to our needs. It's also up to us to check in with ourselves and then to communicate what we need to the people around us - partners, co-workers, family members, friends.
Please check in on someone today (and maybe every day this week). You never know what they are going through or what they need. You may just brighten their day - what's the BEST thing that could happen?
The reality is also that I miss you! I miss hugs, I miss human connection, I miss physical community and I miss each of you. Please take care of yourself, please let me know how I can support you and please communicate with the people around you.
We're all in this together. We're all trying our best. We WILL persevere.
WHAT I'M EXCITED TO SHARE:
We have LANDED in Ohio! It has been 14 weeks since we moved across the country, 12 weeks since I started a new job and my boys started their new school, 11 weeks since we moved into our new home, 10 weeks since we began quarantine and the rest is history...
Since familiarizing myself with this new normal and *some* sense of routine, as I know we all are, there are a few things that I’ve been leaning on to keep me moving, inspired and connected:
THE CLASS (the most fun movement practice)
GLO (many of my favorite yoga teachers)
MEDITATION (w Gabby Bernstein)
MORNING AND/OR EVENING WALKS
But in all seriousness, thank you for all the well wishes, the messages, the letters - I appreciate each of you. I am still working with yoga students privately and if you feel pulled to continuing your practice 1:1, please let me know!
Otherwise, stay tuned for future offerings!
WHAT I'M READING:
I've been alternating between Normal People and Creative Visualization lately. I could share with you all of the inspirational things I've been learning in Creative Visualization, but instead I really just recommend reading Normal People. It's an easy, quick read - and when you're done, it's on Hulu - WIN!
NORMAL PEOPLE - Sally Rooney
What books do you recommend, right now? Please share!
G and I were babies when we met you: 20-something fiancés, ready to take on this new adventure.
You have been a place we loved to call home.
You healed the past and gave freedom through forgiveness.
You welcomed us home, with open arms, when our time with you wasn’t yet complete.
You were present in some of the most challenging times, as I stepped into the world as a wife and a mother.
You helped me find my voice in teaching and my stance for being in service.
You have inspired me and intimidated me all at the same time.
You called me to the mountains when it had been too long and I needed the force of nature to slow down.
You encouraged me to do the things that were uncomfortable, so I could have the space to step into growth.
You connected me to some incredible, honest, beautiful and true friends.
You helped me find appreciation for the simple things.
You created a home for our family.
You reminded me of my connection (and all of our connection) to nature.
You lit the love within my veins for hiking and exploration.
You opened my eyes to a more healthy body, mind and spirit.
You taught me what it meant to be humble, grateful and human.
You held me up and gave me permission to discover a deeper version of Self.
These past eight years, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I love you Colorado. You are beautiful. Your impact is as grand as your Rockies. Goodbye for now.