Change is inevitable ~ this is a life of constant evolution, and this is my personal message to you .
OK everyone, as we approach the big time holiday rush, I know the reality you'll be facing...later nights, busier days, more alcohol, tons of food, foods you don't normally consume, and lots of sweet, salty and tasty flavors to choose from.
ENJOY IT!!! Just try to enjoy it in moderation. It takes 30 days for food you ingest to become a part of your tissues. Yes, literally what you eat and digest, you become. So from now until 30 days from now, you will slowly be becoming what you consume...
Enjoying in moderation means still enjoying. It's a special time of year when we get to treat ourselves to the special baking etc that we don't get any other time of year. So, have a bit, savor it, eat it mindfully, not mindlessly. Really enjoy the flavours, textures, scents, as well as the feeling of satisfaction you get from this indulgence. Maybe help your digestion out a little bit with sipping on ginger tea or hot water with a slice of fresh organic lemon throughout the day. Take a brisk walk for 20 min after meals, and if you're going to be up late, take a little nap in the day to rejuvenate yourself so you don't end up exhausted and unable to make wise decisions. Remember, crimes against wisdom will come back to haunt you.
When you get up in the morning, do your joint rotation movements, and if you can carve out the time, follow that up with the winter snow day yoga practice I have included here below. If that feels overwhelming, and you need to ground yourself more, try a simple pose for 10-15 minutes; Legs up the wall. Lie down on your back with your seat fairly close to a wall. Extend your legs up the wall and drape a blanket over your feet. Also drape a blanket across your belly, and place a small folded towel under the back of your neck so it fills the curve of your neck comfortably. Make sure you are dressed warmly, and if needed add another blanket for warmth and comfort. Simply stay here and relax, focusing on the sensation of inhalation and exhalation, and nothing else. Allow this to clear your energy and your mind, so when you have more hectic events coming along, you've settled yourself into a good calm space before approaching all that there is to enjoy. Family and food and fun are wonderful, but they can also be overwhelming. Set yourself up so you're prepared, and take it all on with a little more ease and grace.
Happy holidays everyone
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OFor me, the fall season represents a sort of new year...this time of transition into the shifting season, the establishment of new routines, and re-setting myself for the long winter to come. While the season still feels more like summer, there is a crispness to the morning, a freshness and a lull of change hanging in the air like the fog suspended over the river as I drive across each morning.
This year in particular feels like a new year, a new start, and yes, a new opportunity. Yesterday I met with my assigned neurosurgeon for a discussion about the condition of my health and what may possibly be done. If anything I was eagerly awaiting a diagnosis of some sort. Why do we do that? What is a diagnosis but another label? I don't need someone to label me officially as "broken", I've done that to myself already. For the past three years I have been struggling along through phases of chronic pain. These phases come and go, sometimes aggressively, sometimes subtly, much like changing of the tides. Three years ago I had a pretty minor car accident whereby someone struck me on my front side. Since then, nothing has been quite the same. That accident symbolized more than a banged up car, it was knocking me off kilter and sending me for a tailspin. For over a decade I worked with clients on the massage table, or in my classes, who had been through similar circumstances, and significantly worse. I carried on as if nothing happened. Ignoring the obvious, I missed the signs that big change was coming. I had minor pain, more of a nuisance than anything. But just like ignoring a screaming child in front of you, eventually you have to listen or you'll just plain go crazy. Answer the noise people!!
So there I sat....in the doctor's office...waiting to be told that my disc has almost completely healed itself, and the bone spur is also improved. It's pretty rare, he said, but it happened to you. You are not a candidate for surgery, there is absolutely nothing I can do. Unfortunatly I don't know why you still have so much pain. I can't explain it, he said.
Now the screaming starts in my own head...are you fu@&$ng kidding me? I just have to live with this every day? Yes, I started to cry, and my desperation for an answer immediately started pounding in my skull, my jaw clenching, and I began the long drive home on the highway, wiping away tears repeatedly until my pity party was over...for now.
What happened since the car accident, leading me up to this point was a series of events that lead to the culmination of all of my symptoms presenting themselves right in front of my face, impossible to ignore. STRESS. They say it's the silent killer. It is. It slowly eats away at you, robbing you sometimes of your sanity, sneaking in and changing your personality, depleting your life force to the point that piece by piece you break down. I broke down. Physically feeling like my whole body was falling apart, emotionally feeling like I was trying to balance on my big toe on top of a tennis ball at the top of Everest. Mentally I was drained, exhausted, and spent. My tank empty.
I had been separated from my husband, moved my business to a new location, started a new relationship with an amazing person who continues to challenge and love me, gained two pseudo step-children in the process, moved in with said man and gained an instant family, been ordered off of work by my doctor, was asked if I was feeling suicidal multiple times, offered mind numbing medication which I refused, had to give up exercise, had to give up my business entirely, broke many hearts, broke the bank, ran out of options, and had to leave my yoga practice.
I had to stop, and there I sat...
No physical outlet, feeling like a caged animal, the rage built inside me. It continues to build and I continue to do my very best to settle it. And so I woke up every single day. I walked my dogs every single day. I rested every single day. I still worked my monkey mind every single day, but I took care and slowed down every...single...day...
Now here I sit...
I have taken a chance at life again, getting help for my mind, offering the practices I love to those who wish to join me in a new space, a new haven of sorts, marking the new year, and the new me. The me that is bewildered by the wonderment of the human form. The human body holds an intelligence we may never understand. Amidst all of the stress, all of the difficulty, all of the pain physically, mentally and emotionally, the body knows how to heal. It healed itself. It may not be perfect, as if that exists, but my disc is healed. My nerves are free from imminent threat and doom. I can still walk my dogs, some days more than others. Each day is new, each moment is new. Being back to yoga practice also has amazed me. Despite resting and stiffening for five months, my body still has a resiliency, my range of motion is still there, my strength is slowly starting to come back, and with it, my confidence. And the greatest moments that remind me that I am still healthy, that I am still strong and still vibrant, and worthy of so much more, come to me when I sit. When I get very still, when I quiet the screaming and turn my attention inward. When that space becomes quiet, I know I will be ok. I know all of us will be ok. I know the universe intends for us to be ok, and so we will, and so we are.
Whatever your challenges are, acute, chronic, complex, simple, new, old, they are just challenges. How do we face the challenge? Do we ignore it? Do we resist it?
Resistance to change creates suffering. I don't want to suffer anymore.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. I won't suffer anymore.
Yoga uses the Warrior as a symbol of strength, grace, and power. I am the warrior. Do you hear me? I AM A WARRIOR!
Fight on everyone, fight for yourself, and know that sometimes the fight requires us to retreat. Go inside. Get quiet, get still, get clear, and get powerful.
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