Author Archives: Denise

How Yoga is Restoring My Sense of Humor

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105 degrees makes you focus on one thing, water, the water emerging from your pores in uncontrollable volumes and the amount you need to drink to restore those said depleting volumes.  As a matter of fact, I thought more about swimming in yoga than making like a tree, but I digress.

I love the whole premise of Yoga, whether you are a beginner or a full fledged Yogi-you begin in gratitude, set your intentions and bless your journey.  Stay compassionate in stance, strengthen your inner core, soften your gaze…..words to live by really.  As I was Chaturanga-ing, very ungracefully it hit me, like the entire body weight that hit my mat, I mean let’s face it, I rocked the shavasana pose, but that chaturanga thing could kill you…or anything beneath you, in my case; the words of the instructor, are you here to soften, to strengthen, to become more flexible, to focus?  Every cell in my being wanted to scream YES, and OUT LOUD.  And thank God, my brain was still in tact and it halted my enthusiastic and wholehearted YES from bellowing out of my mouth.  It really did hit me, that this is, what this hokey pokey is all about; staying strong on the inside, softening your words and your gaze, becoming more flexible and focusing on what is really important.

Now, I will say as I have added a ‘warmth layer’ over the last year to this body of mine, that I think I was on the right track, I just may have taken that soft thing to the extreme.  I like being soft actually, there is something comforting about soft. But I think I will affirm gentle and kind and ok, mushy is sort of sweet too-however, I would like to restore strong and confident and vibrant because that whole combo of soft and strong,  is just plain sexy!  Strengthening from the core muscles to the core beliefs can only result in the best possible outcomes.

Strong in mind, body and spirit; soft in words, actions and gaze.

It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of it all, to not be able to pull your leg out of downward dog into a full lunge and then stand up…I mean, c’mon? Really?  But, I know like Yoga is to Life, that takes practice, conscious thought, a thinner leg, and a solid desire to want to breathe through the challenges that come at us on a daily basis.  To really not take it all too seriously.  I stopped myself in the yoga class and looked in the mirror at myself trying to fold my left arm under my right arm, to form a very awkward pretzel and then to place my left leg across my right leg to form another weird and awkward pretzel and I looked so stupid and unbalanced that I had to just laugh.  Granted, other people looked just lovely in the pretzel pose and they got there very gracefully.  But it made me realize, that wherever you are and however you got there, you got there.  The outcome may be predetermined, however, to consciously choose to embrace it all with laughter, with love, with grace and ease, is a choice.

I am grateful to the chaturanga for making me strong, the downward dog for increasing flexibility, the shavasana for softening my gaze and spirit and… the pretzel pose, for restoring my sense of humor!

Namaste!

The Un-Story

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This is the story of losing the story.

Once upon a time, knights in shining armor, white horses, heroines and villains and happily ever after is bullshit.  What chapter do you fall into?  The one about your childhood?  Your failed relationship?  Your personal crisis of fate?  Or do you live in the here and now with a blank slate, no wrongs and no rights?

It’s big work to let go of the story.  Can you honestly forgive and forget?  Can you live into the lessons, the gifts, the journey that has shaped you into the wonderfully, wildly multi-dimensional person that you are today?  I asked myself this question this morning, “Is the story of hurt bigger than the story of love?”  That is a thought-provoking question and one that begs you to stop and really examine that notion.  Are you always the victim or always the hero?  Or are you living authentically into all the hurts and all the loves that comprise who you BE today, in this moment? Brighter, lighter and more whole from the experience of all of it. Not shattered, bitter and skeptical of what’s next.

Its full tapestry, this thing we call life.  And if you are living full keyboard, then you will be a beautiful woven web of all these emotions; happiness, joy, love, hurt, jealousy and anger and maybe a few more emotions du jour.  But what do you do with them?  How are you integrating all of that into your daily life; Into your relationship with YOU; your one true and pure love; Into your relationships with your partner, your children, your parents, your friends?  There would be something wildly refreshing about waking up every morning with a clean slate, a canvas to paint whatever emotion  that is evoked within,  and then put it all to rest as you close your eyes and drift off to faraway places. And indeed this can happen, every day is a new beginning, the sun sets and rises and allows us to begin again, a new chance to show up in the highest and greatest version of ourselves, to exude pure love, to choose consciously to leave the past behind and live into each day as the truth of goodness, pure joy and exalted love.

I want to love life fully, this means, I am going to get my heartbroken, I am going to break someone’s heart, I am going to be the most joyous version of myself I can conjure up, I am going to laugh loudly and cry a thunderstorm of tears, I am going to show up for the ones I love and accept the love that is given to me-purely, freely and without expectation, I am going to expect the absolute best and I am going to get disappointed, I am going to continue to trip and to run unabashedly through the fields, I am going to make mistakes and I am going to forgive, I am going to say the things that matter the most and I am going to say things that don’t need to be said, I am going to hug tightly and I am going to let go, AND I am going to live this life fully with beautiful amnesia.

The never-ending end.

Namaste.

Stellllllaaaaaa!

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If I stepped into a boxing ring with me right now, it would be a hands down, no contest, knockout of epic proportions.  I don’t even need an opponent-I am the contender in my own battle.

Goes to corner, wipes brow, swigs water and breathes.

I have said this numerous times before, but I am always fascinated with the people that get placed in your path.  AND, it is always the person that you least expect…case in point…you know when you walk into a party and you scan a room and you naturally gravitate to the person the ‘looks’ like they would fit right into your life, into your circle, into your belief system and then 9 times out of 10, you feel like you are talking to yourself, which is really no fun, because you already know YOU all too well, and well, frankly, you are a little sick of you.  So then, while you are standing there, nonchalantly, trying not to look like you are standing there by yourself, the person that you scanned right over, you know the one that provided zero recognition for you, is the one the strikes up the most fascinating conversation that you have had in months? Yeah, that, well that ‘might’ have happened to me too. And once again, I am humbled by the place that I need to expand, that I need to grow, that I need to show up with the confidence in myself to know that everyone has a cool story.  That judgement is limiting in all forms.

In the midst of life’s challenges, the ever-changing landscape of one’s life, I realize that the little nuggets you get from the most random places are sometimes as powerful as someone writing the answers on a billboard.  If you really stop and listen, if you are really, truly open, if you have no expectation and no attachment.  I know for me, it’s when I show up in my highest self.  I was told this weekend from a total stranger, that my mind moves way to fast, that if I’m faced with a decision of too many choices-I will never choose, that I want to keep growing, expanding, meeting people, learning and gathering knowledge.  With one eyebrow up and a smirk on my face, I said, “You’re right”  And how do you know this information?  She also asked me if the number 3  or 11 was significant to me?  Why yes, as a matter of fact, it is.  A myriad of things come to me in the number 3 or the number 11, my address, my birthday, my phone number, my name-do you ever find yourself counting numbers?  I do it all the time and I have no understanding of why.  When someone gives me their address, I automatically add it up in my head.  Same with birthdays or phone numbers.  Well,  being that of a mystic, I find these things fascinating.  I can’t give you a 100% certified answer to what it all means, but the summation of the conversation, was that the number 3 is growth.  It is expansion.  It is a constant hunger for knowledge.  This is my life path, whether I choose it or not.  The number 11 is a master number, attached to light-bearing and spirituality and a connection to being on the exact right path.

All that to say, it isn’t about beating yourself to shit on a daily basis, it is however, showing up with no attachment to the outcome, having no expectation but letting yourself be wonderfully surprized with what presents itself.  Sometimes I want it all planned out, I want to know the answers, I want to “live” the plan, but really I think I just want to find inside myself the security, the trust, the stability of living into the answers, whatever they may be and trusting that the universe has my back, that maybe the least likely of all my imagination, will be the biggest gift I’ve ever received. My mind may never be still, but that’s ok, I can learn to live there, to use that for good, to continue to grow and meet cool people and be open to all the experiences that are presented to me and listen, really listen and live into the answers without knocking myself out in the process. 

It’s 4-02-2012.  That equals 11.

Bloom, dammit!

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Do you ever stop, look in the mirror and say, “hey, how did we get here, where are we going and how long is it going to take?”  Wait, how long?

Sometimes, I think the mirror is where all the answers lie, but when mirror mirror on the wall isn’t spitting out all the answers, where do you turn? Do you go straight into the God within you?  Do you look for teachers, shamans, gurus? Do you nose dive into the top ten best-selling self help books? Or do you just sit in the stillness and wait?

I walk through life with a smile on my face, per the Gallop Poll Strengthfinder 2.0 book, I am extremely positive-it’s one of my top 5 traits, I’m socialable, loving, generous, and generally a pretty bright light.  I think I walk the path of normalcy with trying to improve myself daily, trying to keep evolving, to keep looking inward for the status check.  I have a slight perfectionist streak-wait, maybe I don’t, maybe I just have high expectations, for myself and for how I want it all to be. I’ve balked at being called image conscious-but it is also affirmed that my “southern-ness” shows up from time to time.  I have the vision for how I want it all to look, I’ve drawn the picture, I’ve written the story a dozen times, I’ve dreamed it, I’ve photographed it in my mind. I’ve set my idea of what is positive and what is negative and what falls into the abyss.  So in thinking of all that, maybe I have it all wrong.  Maybe what is deemed in my mind as negative, is actually exactly what I need in this moment to keep growing and learning and evolving.  And maybe what I’ve dreampt of being ‘perfect’ is actually not what I need at all and will totally impede my growth.  Aha, perception-it’s a wicked little monster.  It twists and turns, it strokes you and spits you out all in the same breath.  It  can elevate to a place of euphoria and dwell in a place of self-doubt.

It’s been said about me, that no matter how long I stand over a flower and scream bloom, its still going to bloom in its’ own sweet time.  You can water it, you can fertilize it, you can talk to it sweetly and gently, but that flower is still going to only bloom when its damn good and ready.  And then just when you have let go of that flower ever blooming, you wake up, and to your amazement, there it is, the most beautiful, brilliantly colored, perfectly shaped blossom.  The sun shines, it glistens, it almost sings. But you begin to realize, it didn’t get there by being forced, it got there because it was ready. The bloom may stay there for awhile and look brilliant, but then inevitably, the petals start to fall off, and all that is left is the seeds and the base of leaves. It doesn’t catch your eye the way it does in full bloom, but perhaps, you see a different view, a sight just as brilliant in the phase of  preparing for the next cycle, the next bloom, the next spectacular rebirth. And again, you wait.

In our dormant state and in our full bloom, we are equally as beautiful, in the exact right place at the exact right time.  We feed ourselves, water ourselves, talk to ourselves kindly and gently-and however that may look, whether it is in the mirror or through resources, we will continue to bloom over and over again-whole, perfect and complete.

Balanced? I don’t know, I’m going with harmonious!

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Have you ever stopped to really evaluate what comes to your doorstep as the mirror to your soul? It is interesting to see-when you’re awake and eyes wide open. I have been so surprised at what and whom have entered into my journey.  When you can slow down the spin cycle and really sit-mouth shut-eyes open you can see what is really in alignment, what is working for your highest and greatest good and what is making you blossom into the person that you were intended to be.  I find it fascinating that I have spent so many years being ‘busy’ which led to feeling frenetic and unfulfilled. I bought into “more is better” and I’ve come to realize that less is loving!

As I sit here today, I realize I have finally crossed the threshold of embodying this notion of less is loving.  I intend to move methodically, not routinely, not stagnant, and not perfectly, but methodically-maybe even rhythmically.  As my mind, body and soul align, I can see that I can still shine my light as brightly as possible, I can still be my bubbly, energetic self that taps into my Clown Chakra daily AND I can find time to be still, to focus on what matters, to embody my desires, to look inward for true love.  To learn to manage all that comes bubbling up, sometimes like a gentle fountain and sometimes erupting like a geyser-but to remember to forgive myself first and always and to recognize that joy begets joy, but also that negativity begets negativity.

I move into the world today with love in my heart, a knowing that I’m divinely protected-and a smile that is contagious!

Namaste.

2011-Easy, like a summer day…

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2010-what an extraordinary year of change, spiritual awakenings, hearts ripped wide open, lessons learned and gifts-so many beautiful gifts.

As I sit here this evening, fire lit, wine poured, Daisy curled up on my legs, feeling cozy, happy to be in the stillness, watching the snow lightly fall and cling to all of Mother Nature; I am reflective, introspective, grateful and most of all, incredibly peaceful.

I was taught so many incredible lessons this year.  I saw a whole new me emerge into a brilliant butterfly that fluttered around in pure delight, that was as brightly colored as a rainbow and that landed on the shoulders of a new beautiful landscape. I opened my heart and let the most incredible love flow through me. I learned to love and honor myself, and become my own best friend.  I also drew some lines in the sand, made a bucket load of mistakes, said “I’m sorry” a lot, but in the process, learned so many valuable lessons from it all.

So many blessings, hard to list them all, but particularly, I am so incredibly grateful for old friends and new, beautiful hearts and souls and GIANTS.   I have always been blessed to have a wonderful circle of friends-supportive, loving, embracing, easy and fun.  I served up a new story to them this year and everyone of them held my heart, took the time to listen, offered a warm embrace and opened their arms and hearts.  For that, I will always be eternally grateful.  I am reminding myself daily to keep shining as brightly as I can, to not dim my light in the presence of naysayers, but to remember that, at that precise moment, is the time to illuminate the souls of others. I firmly believe that we are blessed by the gifts that every person brings into our stream and that we can further ourselves by standing on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.  Lady Gaga has her ‘Little Monsters’, I have my Giants!

I walked many miles this year; at times, it felt like lifetimes, sometimes alone, sometimes hand in hand,  but with every step, something new and beautiful emerged.  There is so much beauty, so much wonder and so much awe, that I need to remind myself to stop-look, hear, smell and feel it all-let it all soak in.  For the one that held my hand much of last year, thank you for touching my heart, thank you for opening me to a whole new world, thank you for laying the foundation of wellness, thank you for holding my heart, for the adventures, the sunrises and the sunsets, the long walks, catching the tears, evoking the smiles, opening up a beautiful new frontier and making that a warm, loving and very safe place for me.  For all of those things and so much more, my heart will always smile and be so grateful.

Every person that steps into our hearts, lives and paths weaves the tapestry of our journey.  I trust in the divine order of it all, the way one door closes and another one opens, the way we circle around and emerge a whole new being-better for all the experiences, the encounters-no matter how significant or insignificant.  They all weave the tapestry of who we are, and we are all in the right place at the exact right time.

Moving into 2011-I will take so much of what I have learned.  I will never again be who I was at 20 or at 30, although, I am grateful for all that has shaped me.  I invite abundance, prosperity, peace, love-BIG love, friendship, vulnerability, courage and strength into my stream for the year ahead.  I will continue to breathe in and breathe out and know that this is a new day coming…. easy, like a summer day!

May the peace the passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds.

Happy New Year!

I have a question?

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What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? I watched this movie last night that pondered that notion for a quick second.  The answer?  It never happens.  The two cannot co-exist, if there is a thing that can not be stopped, it is not possible for there to be something which cannot move.

There is something about that statement that is compelling to me.  We are all destined to be unstoppable.  Whether that is in work, life, love or anything you set your mind to.  There is that moment that you realize you can reach the stars and tuck the moon under your arm, and away you will go.  No hesitation, no hemming and hawing.  Just, get up, set your intention, reach up and grab what you want.  It’s yours.  Ok, so then you say, what if it’s not yours for the taking?  Then what?  Then, you keep stating what it is that you want, you keep striving for the same result, you keep envisioning what it is you want it all to look like and before you know it, there it is, right in front of you, maybe even bigger, brighter, shinier that you could have ever imagined.  But you, YOU, were unstoppable.  Patient, but unstoppable.  That’s a cool thought.

Are you listening?  Are you paying attention? Really?  You know the moment when you have the Aha moment of what it is all suppose to look like? Or feel like? Like meeting the love of your life, whatever that situation was, you might have caught eyes, you might have brushed up against one another, you might have been introduced, but in that split second, of eye contact, you just knew?  You might not have known you’d fall madly in love, but you just knew, the energy was unstoppable, the attraction undeniable, the touch electric and the dance, the dance was fluid.  I think all of life is like that, you may already be in your rhythm, moving effortlessly or sludging through mud, but in your rhythm nonetheless and something comes barreling at you and you are forced to move.  To decide, now, what it all looks like, it may be as stark a contrast as moving from Fargo, North Dakota to Hawaii, it may be leaving your job in Corporate America to making snow cones, or it may be allowing all the energy to come together and blend and show you what it is supposed to look like.  If we paint ourselves into a box, then in the box we will remain, if we open the lid, smash down the sides and stay open to it all, flexible, easy, allowing… that place, although, vulnerable, might just lead us to the place that we couldn’t have even dreamed possible.

Be unstoppable, be open to being moved.  Be the force of your own life, your own power, your own heart.  Dare to love you.