Love and light sweet friends,
It’s the dog days of summer and while the heat is slowly starting to bring me down, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the things that bring me joy.
These are the things I’m currently digging:
Matcha tea. I picked up some amazingly yummy matcha while in Crested Butte and its rocking my world. I drink it every morning and it starts my day off right. We also have a really great place in OKC, T An Urban Teahouse, and their iced matcha is like hitting the jackpot. It’s like nectar straight from the gods. Oh and don’t even get me started on matcha lattes. It’s goodness like you wouldn’t believe.
My pink moleskine and my Desire Map planner. These are with me at all times. Seriously, I never leave home without them. Every morning as I’m drinking my matcha, I spend some time planning my day and journaling. This helps me to stay focused on things that need to get done while keeping myself inspired and connected to what matters most to me.
Time alone. Since our time in Colorado, when I had hours to myself every single day to do anything and everything I wanted, I have realized how important it is for me to spend time alone. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to find peace and joy while recharging my batteries. The older I get the more sacred I find this time and the more it becomes a priority. I’ve even started blocking out time on my calendar that’s just for me.
Podcasts. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. I listen to podcasts a good chunk of the day. My current favorites are Being Boss, Wellness Wonderland and Over the Moon. These are not only entertaining, but they are inspiring as well. I keep my moleskine nearby and will occasionally take notes, especially when I hear anything from Gabrielle Bernstein or Danielle Laporte. These have been known to get me through some pretty rough days at my full time gig.
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I read this book on my kindle and I loved it so much that I bought a paperback copy so I could read it again and write notes in it. I’m a sucker for a physical book and you better believe I highlight, stick post-its, and scribble notes up and down that thing. This book has lit me on fire. At times I feel like she wrote this book specifically for me. Every word jumps out of the pages directly into the depths of my soul. When I find a book I love that inspires and moves me, it stays on rotation and gets reread at least once a year. This is definitely one of those. In case you were wondering what the others were: The Untethered Soul, Desire Map, A Return to Love, FireStarter Sessions and The Alchemist. I’m a big reader. Books are my jam.
What’s currently bringing you joy?
I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago and like I typically do when I go away for an extended time, I used the time away as an opportunity to reflect. My husband spent most of the day riding his mountain bike which left a lot of time for me to be alone. Spending some time soaking up the sweet mountain air in Crested Butte with little to no phone/internet service (which proved to be a blessing) was the perfect opportunity for me to disconnect, recharge, reflect and come to some pretty important realizations.
1. I hate social media. Not having much internet service allowed for a much needed digital detox. I was able to post things but not able to go through my news feed and I must say, damn it was nice. Any time I get on Facebook it typically sucks me in for an extended amount of time and more often than not leaves me feeling worse than I did before I opened it up. Whether it brings up feelings of comparison, judgement, self doubt, jealousy, fomo (fear of missing out), or whatever, I never feel positive feelings or accomplished. I usually just feel mind sucked and like I wasted my time. What I realized was no social media means more time to connect with myself and others and gives me time to find other ways to feel inspired through books, journaling, going for long walks, spending time with friends etc. I’ve eliminated social media from my phone and iPad and only check it once every couple of days. This makes for a much happier, more present Lindsey.
2. My journal is a necessity. I’ve typically got a shit storm going on in my head from the time I wake up until I pass out at night. Without my journal and having that space to release all the junk my brain has the death grip on, I would go crazy. Like, Girl, Interrupted crazy. I am obsessed with my journals and although the words written in them don’t mean much to others, they are incredibly valuable to me. I love looking back and reading old journals and watching how much I’ve grown and evolved over the years. Sometimes, I tear pages out and rip them up and one day I plan to destroy them all, but for now they are super important. I wrote in my journal A LOT while we were on vacation and it helped me work through some stuff that was weighing heavy on my heart. My journal=my free psychiatrist.
3. Friends come and go. And that’s ok. As we get older our paths start to go in different directions. We get married, have babies, work steady jobs (some of us), spend more time as a family, etc. Our time becomes more and more precious and it’s harder to stay in touch with those that we aren’t as emotionally connected to. As our priorities change, so do our friendships. We hold on to the ones we love the most as life draws us away from the relationships that require more work. And that’s ok. I believe that people come in and out of our lives at different times for very specific reasons.
4. There’s no such thing as balance. This one is huge! I’ve struggled for a quite a long time trying to find “balance” in my life. After reading FireStarter sessions by my badass girl crush Danielle Laporte, I’ve come to understand that balance doesn’t exist. We are constantly striving for more and more and the more we chase that elusive thing called balance, the more we derail our plans for success. If we are able somehow to find balance in our lives, just like anything else, it’s only temporary. Once I was able to let go of the idea that things had to be a certain way in my life, things were able to run much more smoothly. Again, this makes for a much happier Lindsey.
5. Nothing anyone else does is my business. Everyone is marching to the beat of their own drum and living life based on their journey. Not mine. Sometimes putting myself in others shoes is necessary in order to understand why they do certain things, but in the end it’s not my place to pass any judgements. We all have our own ideas about how to live life and while we may not all agree, we have to find compassion and kindness and remember that we are all doing the best we can. It’s far easier to extend love towards one another than to allow resentment or judgement to take over. Choose Love. Its pretty amazing stuff.
My two most absolute favorite books in the entire world are The Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte. If you’ve never heard of Danielle, your world is about to change. Drastically. Or at least mine did the minute I picked up my copy of The Desire Map.
Let’s rewind to about a year and a half ago. I had just become a lululemon athletica ambassador and was fairly new to teaching yoga. (Why on earth lululemon wanted me, I have no clue!). I sat down with some of their employees as well as the other ambassadors and we did a visions and goals exercise. I had never really taken a step back to look at what my future goals were. In fact, I didn’t even have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At first I was stressed out about being vulnerable enough to write my goals on paper for others to see.
I thought to myself, “Crap! I’m going to be held accountable here. What if I don’t succeed?”
Long story short, I started to do a lot of fun daydreaming about what my future could look like. I eventually wrote out my 1, 5 and 10 year goals for lululemon to display in their store with all the others employees. I kept all my goals pretty low key. It was almost as if I was scared to dream too big. I stayed conservative. Cookie cutter. Boring.
At that time, a good friend introduced me to Danielle and her books and since I was already pretty giddy about the vision and goals stuff I had just done, I decided to dive right into the books. The Desire Map is all about setting goals based on how you want to feel. You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing the feeling that you hope achieving that goal will give you. Danielle’s words are incredible powerful and motivating and she really gives you that swift kick in the butt that everyone needs to push them past where they want to be. That kind of uncomfortable, holy crap, this could actually happen place that we don’t allow ourselves to step into very often.
The book leads you through a pretty indepth exercise of determining how you want to feel in multiple areas of your life:
You come to learn what your core desired feelings (CDFs) are and then you can use those to determine what actions you need to take (i.e. goals/intentions) in order to feel exactly the way you want to feel.
I learned my CDFs are:
And once I got clear on exactly how I wanted to feel I could set intentions for the future in order to ensure that 1,5,10,20,50 years from now, I will feel exactly the way I want to feel. This was a HUGE game changer for me. It completely shifted my thinking. Pre Desire Map, I was just writing down things that sounded good. Some were things I felt I needed to do in order to make others happy or some of the goals just sounded like they might be fun. But a chunk of them were not aligned with my core desired feelings, at all.
I have since read the Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions three times and am constantly inspired by the words in each book. I have crossed off multiple goals in the past 18 months and each time I do, the fire just burns deeper and deeper. There is something incredibly rewarding to look back at goals or intentions you have set for yourself and be able to say “done!”. Cross it off the list, move on to the next big thing and keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop pursuing what it is that lights you up. That thing that gives you butterflies in your belly. The ideas that keep you up at night because you are so damn excited to share them with the world. Do it! What is stopping you? I can tell you that the only thing getting in your way, is you. You can do anything that you set out to do. Guaranteed.
Set some time for yourself to think about how you truly want to feel. Light a candle, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some groovy music and get to know yourself and your CDFs. Once you determine what these are (I would suggest to just pick a few) marinate on them for a while. Days. Weeks. Months. Meditate on them. Write in your journal about them. Put them on post it notes around your computer or on your bathroom mirror. Look at them every day. Multiple times a day. Once you’ve determined that these feelings are completely aligned with how you want to feel with all your heart, you can start to determine what you need to accomplish (aka your goals) in order to meet your CDFs head on. So dream. Dream as big as possible. Make a plan and live each day getting one step closer to being completely aligned with your core desired feelings. Ride that incredible wave of bliss. This is your story. You get to decide how it’s written.
Whenever you start guiding yourself by caring about how you feel, you
start guiding yourself back into your Stream of Source Energy, and that’s
where your clarity is; that’s where your joy is; that’s where your flexibility
is; that’s where your balance is; that’s where your good ideas come from.
That’s where all the good stuff is accessed from.
I’ve made meditation a part of my daily routine for quite a few years now. It’s something that is very important to me and one thing that I try not to sacrifice. Of course, I’m only human and I’ve gone through times in the past where I fell short of my daily meditation goal. At times it’s been days and even months between each one.
When I went to Florida for my Yoga Medicine training, Tiffany Cruikshank reignited that spark and inspired me to reconnect with my practice. In our training we would have daily meditations that would last 20-30 minutes. The first couple of times we did this I had a really hard time turning it all off and being in the moment. But once I allowed myself to surrender and to just be in the moment, I was able to relax and find stillness and peace.
I forgot just how much I loved my practice and how incredibly important it is for me to just sit down and shut up for a bit. Other than when I’m sleeping, meditation is the only other time when I can turn off that little voice inside my head. The one with the constant dialogue. The one that never wants to shut up and at times can drive me close to insanity. As I’ve continued with this practice I’ve noticed some amazing side effects:
The ability to observe without feeling inclined to react
Greater awareness of my thoughts, actions, responses
The ability to make decisions based on how it will truly make me feel.
Increased attention span.
Better sleep at night.
Deeper connection to myself.
More love and acceptance of myself and others.
I can’t say enough about just how incredible a regular meditation practice is for your mind, body and soul.
Here are some steps to establish a practice of your own. Remember, this should be tailored to what works for you. Play around with it and see what you think.
1. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. This really can be anywhere. Anywhere in the world. I have a room in my house that I’ve dedicated as my space to chill out. I prefer to light candles and sometimes diffuse oils or burn an incense but it really is your preference.
2. Come into a comfortable posture that you can be still in. This can be seated, lying down or you might even use some yoga props or blankets to prop yourself up. I prefer seated with my legs crossed and my hands resting in my lap. Some people advise against lying down as you might end up falling asleep, but my thoughts are if you are relaxed enough to fall asleep, great. The point of this is to chill out and quiet the mind. If you fall asleep, clearly you needed it. But again, all of this is personal preference.
3. Set a timer. I advise this especially as you are first getting into the routine of meditating. There are many different smartphone apps you can use. I really like Insight Timer. It’s free and very user friendly. Plus, if you’re a type A personality, you can track your practice. If you’re not interested in an app, simply use the timer function on your phone or just a kitchen timer works great too. If you are using your phone, be sure to switch it over to airplane mode so you don’t get distracted. I would recommend starting at 5 mins and increasing your time from there. Trust me, starting out, 5 mins feels like a long time to be still and quiet!
4. Relax and Breathe. Once you are set up and you are comfortable, close your eyes. Draw your awareness inward. Start to notice the breath. Observe as it moves through the body. There are many different ways you can meditate. I encourage you to find what resonates with you. I really like to either count my breath or I repeat a mantra. One that is special and that I can connect with. This doesn’t have to be anything super complex.
Some examples are:
I breathe in love, I breathe out fear
I am love, I am light
I am strong, I am open
I am enough, I am enough
Make this your own. That’s the only way you will stick with it. And if you notice that your mind starts to wander (and it will, trust me) draw the focus back to the breath. Every single time. Don’t get frustrated. Just observe the thoughts and allow them to go just as quickly as they come. And start small. This practice takes a lot of dedication and love. If you allow yourself to get upset or frustrated then you’ve lost the point of this. It’s about relaxing the body and stilling the mind. Finding just a nugget of peace in our very busy lives. Recognize how truly fortunate you are to have the opportunity to spend just a few moments in silence for self reflection and self love and appreciation. You might even get a journal and keep track of your practice and the things that come up mentally and emotionally for you. Have fun with this! Explore!
Just enjoy the journey. Don’t focus so much on the destination.
The core of
your true self.
let go of all
and the becoming
you’ve done just
to belong. Curl up
with your rawness
and come home.
you don’t have to
you just have to
let yourself in.
-d antionette foy
Yesterday I competed on a team at the March in Okarche duathlon put on by our local triathlon club, TRIOKC. It consisted of a 5k run, 16-mile bike ride and finished off with another 5k run. I did the runs and my friend, Vanessa, did the cycling. I’ve done this particular race many times before; although it’s been a few years since the last time I competed in it. I’ve done the race enough times that I know the run course by heart. I could practically run it with my eyes closed. Every turn, every mile marker, every tiny little hill (although the course is pretty much flat). I really had no expectations going into the race, I was just looking to have a good time and see how much I could push myself.
Once the race started I began running and immediately my brain decided to run as well. Normally anytime I run I like to listen to hip hop music. Very loud hip-hop music. Its what motivates me to move my body. In a duathlon, you are not allowed to wear headphones; therefore, you have to create your own soundtrack. So, as we begin to run (without Jay Z blaring in my ear) my brain is going full throttle. Like it’s trying to out sprint me. It keeps trying to convince me to quit running. It continues to remind me how painful it is to go hard and that if I would just stop and quit the pain would go away. The harder I push my body, the louder that voice in my head gets telling me to quit.
I begin to realize that this is the part where yoga really starts to happen. Yoga isn’t just getting on a mat and moving our body into different postures. In fact, most of yoga happens off our mats. For me, yoga is about finding a connection to my breath. To focus on that connection while tuning everything else out and finding some peace and freedom from my own mind. To shut off that voice inside my head telling me to quit when I know I am stronger than that. In my classes I always tell my students that they are so much stronger than they will ever give themselves credit for and I realized that I needed to take some of my own advice. I truly believe that our mind will make us quit long before our body ever will. So, I dug deep. I shut that voice up and I pushed. As I came around to the transition area to hand the timing chip off to my teammate I looked down at my Garmin and discovered that I pushed myself hard enough to set a PR (personal record). I couldn’t believe it. But I wasn’t just stoked for my time, I was stoked that I was able to find that place within myself to tune out all the negativity that my mind was throwing at me. To be able to still my mind long enough to push myself as hard as I could without giving up.
Once I was able to find that connection, my second run went a lot smoother. I didn’t have that voice anymore telling me to quit. I just continued to push. Step by step. Breath by breath. It turned out being one of the best races I’ve done and I had an absolute blast. We ended up taking 2nd in the female relay division and 4th overall. It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to doing many more of these in the future. I realize that I have control over my thoughts. They don’t control me. And it’s a pretty amazing feeling knowing that I can push myself father than my thoughts allow me to go.
I recently read somewhere that only 8% of people who set New Years Resolutions actually have success. Which means that everyone else is a failure.
Failure. Such an ugly word, right? I used to think so but now I am kind of in love with it.
I remember when I was growing up, failure was something that we were taught to never let happen. We were to always be the best at everything we did. Our parents and teachers always led us to believe that our mission is life was to make good grades, go to college, meet our soul mate, get a great job, have kids, etc. etc. etc. In that order, just like that, with everything being perfect. There is no room for failure anywhere in that plan.
But, life happens. And so does failure. Sometimes more often that not. Life is not always sunshine and roses. That’s the reality of the human condition. And trust me, I have had my fair share of failures in my short 31 years here. I’ll admit, there are few that I am not proud of but, there are some that have truly taught me so much and I have used those experiences to evolve into the person I am today.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~ JK Rowling
Failure can be driven by many different circumstances. Far too often we are the ones setting ourselves up for our own failures. We place an extraordinary amount of pressure on ourselves to reach our goals or live a lifestyle that is not in alignment with who we really are.
Once we can be real about the ideas and plans we have for ourselves and how we truly, realistically, want to our lives we can avoid so many of these inevitable failures.
Back to my original point. I am kind of in love with failing. Why? Well, how are we ever to learn anything about ourselves if we never experience it? How are we to know the truth about who we really are if we never allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to allow failure to happen? Failure can be harsh. It can hurt not just on the surface but that hurt that goes deep into your bones and settles in for an extended stay. It can feel like your heart has been ripped out. It can be gut wrenching, soul sucking, pain. But when we are open to what we can learn from our failures and commit to stay connected to our truth, our failures will begin to minimize in size and occurrence.
So, you’ve failed. What now?
Ask yourself why you failed. Evaluate the situation. Get clear on what happened. Who were you in the situation? Were you fully present giving it your all or were you only half committed? What changes need to be made to prevent you from failing again? Is this something that you are truly ready to commit to? If so, make a new plan, a realistic one, and recommit. Brush the dirt off your knees and make this goal your bitch. Just because we fall doesn’t mean we cant get back up and finish the race. Take what you have learned from your experience and apply it toward your goals.
Make a commit to remain open. You might fail again. And again. And again. That’s the beautiful thing about life. We are not defined by our failures but by the person we become because of them. Never let any experience occur, good or bad, without taking something from it.
Continue to Grow. Expand. Evolve.
I am a control freak. There, I said it.
I like things to go my way. When they don’t, I tend to get upset, frustrated, annoyed and angry. I might even shed some tears.
That is why I have deemed 2015 the year I allow myself to work towards letting go and trusting the process.
That’s it. That is my mantra. “Trust the process”. Because everything is a process and without trust in allowing things to be as they should, we tend to exert unnecessary energy in worrying about the outcome and potentially trying to make something be what its not supposed to be.
My husband and I are in the process of finding a new home. We have outgrown our current house and are ready to upgrade and settle down and eventually start our family. Buying a house is downright stressful. There is no hiding that. You think you find the one you want, you put an offer down and out of the clear blue sky something comes up. When buying a house, something ALWAYS comes up. The bank wants more paperwork, the seller is being a pain in the ass, there are issues with the inspection, etc., etc., etc. My personality is such that I want to find a house, close on the house, and move in. Now. I want to find my dream home and get it done. But that’s not how life works. It’s a process and one that takes time.
Which is why my focus, intention, goal, resolution, whatever you want to call it, is to Trust. Trust the Process. Trust that things will work out exactly as they should and understanding that no matter how much I want to or try to control the situation, that wont change the outcome.
This has been huge in my yoga practice as well. You see all of these incredibly flexible yogis all over Facebook and Instagram who make full splits or some crazy arm balance look like a piece of cake. Seriously, how do they do that?!?!?! I get on my mat and the instant I get into my first warrior 3 I feel like someone has a vice grip on my glutes because my muscles are so tight. Or I get into standing splits and I can barely lift my back foot off the mat. This is where I really have to release control and to find patience in my body. I constantly repeat to myself “You are enough. Your body is beautiful, strong and exactly how it should be.”
The postures are a part of the process of working towards opening the body and embracing where we are at in our bodies. What comes up emotionally is the process of opening our hearts and minds to our truth and finding peace in that. Every day holds a completely different story for me on my mat. But, when I allow myself to show up, be present and trust the process I leave my mat connected to who I really am. I leave everything behind and allow myself to be open and accepting of myself and others.
Yoga is a process.
Life is a process.
Finding our truth is a process.
Everything is a process.
I will remain open.
I will trust the process.
Bring it on 2015!
When I tell people that I teach yoga, the most common thing I hear is “I wish I could do yoga, but I’m just not flexible enough. I can’t even touch my toes.”
NEWSFLASH!! Being flexible is not a prerequisite for yoga. In fact, that is why we do yoga: to find more flexibility. That flexibility is not just within our bodies as we lengthen and strengthen our muscles, it’s within our minds as well.
Yoga is for every single person. The flexible and inflexible. The tall and the short. The skinny and the overweight. Man and woman. White and black. Strong and weak. As you start to practice you might actually discover that although you have tight hips, you have a flexible back. Or maybe you have really loose hips but extremely tight shoulders. Often times what we lack in some areas, we make up for in others.
Flexibility, or the capacity of muscles and connective tissue to stretch around joints and bones, is based on each individual persons genetic makeup. Our bodies are all uniquely made and there may be areas in your body that will never achieve full flexibility. Sure, I might be able to touch my toes but my left outer hip miscles are extremely tight and after years of yoga practice they aren’t getting any looser. But, between running and cycling I think about how tight they would be if I didn’t stretch them at all. So, I continue to work towards one day finding more freedom in my hip. With anything else that is worth having, it takes time to get it.
The great thing about the human body is how much it can vary from person to person. Women have a larger pelvis than men and the size of it varies at different rates among various people, some people have a sixth lumbar vertebrae (about 10% of the population), the way our femurs set in the acetabulum of the pelvis is not the same for everyone and a whole host of other issues including the size of our muscles and bones which could cause bone on bone, muscle on bone or muscle on muscle compression issues that are not easily corrected. We must also take into account what we do with our bodies on a daily basis. Some people sit at a desk all day while others stand on their feet. Some are very active and live athletic lifestyles while others spend most of their free time on the couch in front of the tv. Some people don’t get a whole lot of movement in their job while others have physically demanding jobs that require them to moving all day long.
We must learn to understand that we are all uniquely created and accept our bodies as they are.
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life-yoga is not to be performed, yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, it’s essence must be embodied.” Aadil Palkhivala
I often tell people that the first couple of yoga classes are a little awkward. It’s all about the experience and soaking it all in. My first few classes were definitely not pretty. I was so consumed with worring that others were judging me that I couldn’t relax. It didn’t help that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I wasn’t sure what the heck the instructor was saying and it took me a few classes before I started to learn the cues to get into the postures. I always recommend setting your mat up towards the back of class so you can observe what others are doing. It takes a while to realize that nobody in the room is paying attention to what you are doing and the sooner you can come to terms with that, the more you will be able to completely be yourself and truly reap the benefits of your practice.
When you step on your mat, do so with an open mind. No expectations. Allow yourself to fully embrace your practice. Connect to your breath. Stay present and aware of what’s going on with your body. Observe but don’t pass judgement. Let every breath you take bring you closer to letting go of what needs to be gone and taking in everything you need from your practice. Remember, we are all unique and you’re practice is yours alone. It’s all about your experience with your body and mind.