In no particular order :)
Yes, it would seem it has been a while since I've posted. A far cry from the at least weeking post I promised myself when I finally felt "yogimommi" was "home". My first reaction of disappointment and feeling of failure quickly vanished. This awareness, this love and compassion I extend towards myself a further reminder of the wonderful gifts 2012 has brought my way.
Following "Tis the Season, It's Great to Create", December was a whirlwind of creativity in preparation for Christmas, mainly centred around the photography I had accumulated during 2012. Of course, once I started going through it all it was beyond overwhelming. On countless occasions I had to stop to remind myself to enjoy the process. To appreciate all the people that had made the year so amazing and how blessed I was to have had so many amazing moments and memories to share. Yet I struggled with the idea that I was not writing and the lack of time I felt I had in general. I found myself waking with a nagging voice in my head and despite my best efforts to "give myself permission" as my most influential mentor of 2012, Leonie Dawson would say, despite assuring myself that it was totally OK to focus on the present and my efforts and abundance of blessings, the holiday funk found me. December was a hard month as far as 2012 went. I'm actually pretty pumped about this fact. Life has shown me again how this next quote on my list of faves that have inspired me in 2012, rings true in every instance, if we let it....
For all the year seems to have blown by since I started, it strangely seems like and eternity since I started yogimommi. I had been blogging for about a year and half prior at my old blog "Inspired". An effort that began to keep family and friends up to date and I made some major changes in my life. Truly when I look back at those posts, I often by times felt as though I was writing a book. It was the first time I realized how telling my own story could actually have a positive impact. I didn't do well promoting it, however I did receive amazing feedback from those who read it. I must thank everyone for their encouragement. I turn to those posts and comments when I feel the shadows of self doubt creeping in. I have come to realize, that at the end of the day, I started this for myself, and truly to find the joy I am meant to in it, I must always return to that place that exists within...
As a new Mom as of September 2011, I had felt it was time to shift gears a bit and perhaps finally follow through with the original vision which was more geared towards "conventional" health and wellness (for lack of a more concise description). My life path had given me a great deal of knowledge to this end I felt compelled to share. Yet I found myself dabbling more on a much more personal mental and spiritual side of things. Fitting it would seem since I had already deduced from my former job as a personal trainer as well as my own self observation, this was the area that really needed work for most, in the quest for the best we can be.
I had also decided that in order to give my best, I needed to take some time and work on myself.
Still, my heart insisted I should be trying to help anyone I could reach, so I moved the location of my blog to a more "socially accessible" platform. Truthfully, I moved it a several times in the last year, as you'll have noticed if you've been following. It might sound odd, but I couldn't seem to find a good fit. My lack of technological prowess left me spending A LOT of time trying to figure it all out. I got in over my head in this respect and finally, just within the last couple of months... took the advice I stumbled upon from Erica Mather and her "Stuff I learned at yoga" Vlog. One of those many instances I've experienced where you just "find what you need when you need it" making this post on the "Beginner Mind" one of my favourite lessons/quotes of 2012.
After fumbling with wordpress, never seeming to be able to get the "creative feel" I wanted for lack of knowledge and lack of time and patience to figure it out... then for whatever crazy reason deciding to try self hosting my blog (yikes... disaster... way way way over my head), I finally decided to let go of the idea that wordpress was more "professional" and checked out blogger. I instantly felt more at home and so here I am. Anyone that blogs probably has heard that blogger is a more "beginner friendly" platform and I would have to say in my opinion this is true. There is nothing wrong with the rest, this is just feels right here and now.
This lesson goes far beyond logistics for me personally... and translated into the importance of humility as well as patience, with myself in particular. Not surprisingly something that automates the same extension to others. Other seasoned teachers and bloggers, while I found their work inspiring and educational of course... totally intimidated me. My ego insisted I would never be as "good" or knowledgable as them, crippling me with the fear of being judged as inadequate and having no business trying to "help". Of course, the only person of this persuasion was my own, or rather that I have come to recognize as my false self. Each one of those people who have helped me on my journey thus far are a blessing. A "god send" if you will... for they all turned up in my life when I needed their guidance and wisdom most. They have shared these gifts with me so that I may share then with others. That's just the way it works. Pay it forward... and never forget. We all begin as beginners and we are all here to help each other. To be a beginner, one need only change their perception... and as we well know, a little change in perception can go a long way.
Yes, It is truly amazing how a simple shift in your thoughts has the power to cause a massive shift in your presence of being and thus the level of happiness in your life. For instance...
...choose to see the good in everyone.
2012 has also further solidified the notion that we have complete control over how we feel. I realize this sounds simplistic and yes, it is easier said than done. Like anything else practice is key. Something that has always stood out in my mind from Moksha Yoga training was Deena Robertson insisting we "fake it till we make it" when it came to conveying confidence in our teaching. Totally worked. Hands down, some of the best teaching and life advice I have ever came across. When applied to life in general, the effect is the same. In addition, slapping a "fake" smile on your mug will eventually have the same effect, and yes, eventually it will become real. A boomerang bonus... smiling at others will cause them to smile back in most cases. Everything about this sends "I'm happy" chemicals to your brain.
Perhaps one of my biggest epiphanies of 2012...
GRATITUDE IS THE (not so) SECRET INGREDIENT to HAPPINESS.
I started a practice about a month ago where every time I caught myself having a negative thought about myself or anyone/thing else, I made a conscious effort to turn it into a positive. The effects of that simple effort on my level of happiness was astounding and I definitely noticed a difference when I got "too busy" and lazy with it after a week or so... hence my holiday funk I suppose.
When we are grateful for our blessings, we feel peace and calm because we do not feel the need to change things. We feel contentment with how things are in the moment allowing us to be fully present. We may also work backwards in a sense here. When we are struggling with gratitude, practicing stillness and silence will allow us to be more present. The resulting awareness may help us recognize what we have to be grateful for.
When we use our bodies the way they are meant to be (as in MOVE THEM), we are generally more grateful for what they do for us on a daily basis. Thus we tend to adapt more healthy habits in this department in general. By the way, what you put into your body inevitably becomes you. There is also a huge connection between your gut and mood/mental health...
Just a little FOOD for THOUGHT.
(a shout out to Cherie Roe Dirksen here for this image. I am a faithful reader of her blog which has been a guiding light and true inspiration for me this year.)
When we are grateful for the people in our lives, friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances and strangers alike, we tend to be less annoyed by their "shortcomings" and more aware of the positives they bring to our lives.
When we are gracious, we tend to be more kind and compassionate.....
Challenges are meant to be regarded as a gift.
An opportunity for growth and positive change.
Chronic stress is no longer if we are able to culitvate our inherent ability to see the lesson in the challenges we face instead of resisting what is. We can in fact be grateful for difficult people and situations and ask ourselves, what is the lesson to be learned? We should take advantage of and be grateful for, every opportunity for personal growth. We simply must come to understand and accept that these opportunities will almost always present in the form of a challenge.
It's up to us...
A side note to this end... those things we tend to dislike or have little patience for in others are usually a reflection of what we are not happy with in ourselves.
Yup, that one's a toughie...
Look, it's no secret we've all got our "stuff", our hangups, those experiences that have reinforced the negative voices in our heads. For instance... being the oldest in my family and living in a relatively rural area, before I went to school, I had been minimally socialized. School began with kindergarten where my shy and quiet nature along with the fact I may have looked younger than the other kids due to being a shorty pants made me popular with the girls who for whatever reason, wanted to take me under their wing. Grade 1 and 2 saw a whole different group of kids who were not such fans. My quiet demeanour now translated as snobby perhaps... I was a bit of an outsider not having roots in the town, being the wrong religion for the school and having a father in a relatively prestigious profession I guess you could say... blah blah blah... whatever. I was bullied and it sucked. Those years I have now come to realize were probably pretty impressionable ones and this quite possibly has been part of the reason I found my insecurities so deeply rooted. While things did get better as time went on, I have always identified with that shy scared little girl who was never sure people really liked her.
Eventually I realized that identifying this connection, while being a major part of the barrier busting process, was but the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on here but I won't. I will say that the most prominent lesson I did not expect to come across here was how essential it is to forgive, to let go... and how often our inability to forgive ourselves rests in our inability to forgive others.
and vice versa of as the case may be of course:)
While I do my best to let go of the past, and surrender to what the future may bring, I realize my responsibility in the moment which is to simply be. Be what you might ask... why exactly what I am meant to of course!
Gotta love Dr. Seuss :)
We have all been blessed with gifts we are meant to share with the world. The more we share those gifts, the closer we find ourselves aligned with our source. That said, when we do that which we are "born to do", we will automatically feel happier and more peaceful, simply because we are working in alignment with our "maker"... aka "our source" aka whatever we choose to believe as that which is greater than ourselves which sustains us. I personally spent a great deal of my life unsure of what this was or if it even existed. Perhaps I still remain unsure about exactly what this is per se. What I am sure of is that it exists in all of us. I am sure that it is what compels me to write this semi ramble. I am sure that it is what we can thank for all the wonder there is to behold. I am sure it is in each and every one of us and that it is what connects us all...
I am also sure that one of the most effective way to recognize and tap into this, is through the observation of the uniting life force in each of us. Connection to the BREATH. Meditation. Meditation can be as simple as taking a few moments to pay attention to the breath and in doing so, removing ourselves from the chaos, quieting the mind and finding the peace within.
The increased awareness I can attest to finding with regular mediation as well as yoga practice or any mindful physical activity has been long proven. As we enter this "new age" of a "new consciousness", it seems pretty obvious that this shift towards a higher awareness for humanity is natural. 2012 showed me a light. This year has truly gifted me with the confidence that despite all that is "wrong with the world", if we make the choice to see the good while living as lovingly and compassionately as possible... well this, quite possibly, will save the day don't you think :)
And so as I begin to let go of 2012, the good and bad, happy and sad, I feel a lightness. I abandon any need for boring perfection. A stumble upon Leonie Dawson's Creative Ecourse was truly transforming. Through mediation and creation a shocking reveal... *gasp* my perfectionist tendencies! Something I never would have called myself out on in a million years.
Among other things...
Within that journey I discovered the greatest gift I could ever give myself.
Permission to be and do anything and everything that allows me to share the blessings bestowed upon me with whomever I choose.
And permission to end this post without a million proofreads and rearrangements because things aren't in perfect order or I might have missed something :)
Wishing you all the amazingness you will inevitably find...
should you choose to look.
Bring on 2013:)
much love, light and eternal gratitude.
p.s. - while some of these images are my own, most were pinned to my "inspiring words" board on pinterest which you can feel free to follow here :) I have linked those images to the source I found via pinterest. Should you see something improperly linked, please feel free to let me know so I can give proper credit accordingly!