Living our practice 

I had a teacher a few years back who changed my practice drastically and completely altered the way I live my life (on and off my mat). She was one of those teachers who always taught exactly what I needed. Like she could read my mind (or my body). Her classes always left me wanting more and it was her who convinced me to take the leap and attend teacher training. One thing she taught us that I will always carry with me is that we must “live the practice”. She inspired us to put skin and bones on the intentions we set for our physical practice and to carry that with us as we roll up our mats and go out into the world as we live our lives. 

This is the hard part.

It’s easy to set an intention for a brief time when we are completely focused on one thing. In a yoga class setting we are taught to be mindful and focused and we are constantly drawn back to the breath and our reason for being on our mats (through the guidance and encouragement of an instructor). But what about when we leave the studio? What happens when we are no longer dressed in our cute little lululemon pants, surrounded by like-minded people moving and breathing together as one collective unit with someone telling us what to do? What happens when we are thick in the shit of living our lives? Where we have to deal with stress, deadlines, media stories that impact us on a deep emotional level, conflict, etc.

This is where 99% of our practice actually occurs. You see, the postures, or asanas, we do in a 60, 75, 90-minute yoga class are just a small fraction of our practice. We do the asanas and meditation practices to quiet and calm the mind in order to operate from a space of consciousness and openness. This expands our ability to respond to situations internally and externally rather than react to them. So that when someone does something that we don’t necessarily agree with or perhaps makes us angry, we can look at them as if we were looking in the mirror at a reflection of ourselves. It helps us to extend love and compassion to those who challenge us, question us and those who really push our buttons.
So what does it mean to “live the practice”? What is the practice of yoga all about?

It’s being intentional and doing things with love, compassion and acceptance.

It’s extending kindness towards others and to ourselves.

To stop for a brief moment to really focus on our breath whether it’s while driving our car or in the middle of a long run.

Waking up each morning and committing to being the best version of ourselves we can possibly be.

Making a conscious decision to live our lives from a place of peace and harmony with ourselves and with others.

To commit to not causing harm. To not steal or take more than our share. To release judgements and comparisons.

To find a mind, body and soul connection so that we can significantly increase our quality of life.

 
When we commit to the practice on and off our mats, and truly put in the work, we become motivated by our internal awareness rather than our external distractions.

You don’t ever even have to step foot on a mat to have a yoga practice. In fact, you are more than likely already doing yoga now, you just don’t realize it. You can tap into the practice when you are shopping for groceries, sitting at your desk at work or even when you are having a heated conversation with someone and you stop for two seconds and realize that what you thought you were going to say might actually not be the right to say.

To me, doing yoga (on or off the mat) is really just about being a good person. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be super deep and spiritual. It’s just about extending lovingkindness as much as possible. And nobody is perfect. I would be lying if I said I never spoke badly about someone or engaged in gossip. I have my fair share of issues that I have to work on but I know that at the end of the day I am doing the best I can. I am always striving to better myself. And that’s the point. Just working toward living a live where you can look yourself in the mirror and say “I am enough and so is everybody else”. Choosing love rather than fear or hate. And always being a light for someone else.

Fall vibes

Autumn. Its right around the corner and it is my favorite time of the year. I absolutely love every single thing about it. Scarfs, boots, hoodies, cooler weather and crisp mornings, leaves changing, football games, chili and crock pot soups, whiskey and fire pits. Oh man. I get so excited just thinking about it.

I always find it nice to spend some before a new season to reflect on the past couple of months and look ahead at the intentions/goals that I would like to honor. I recently reevaluated my core desired feelings (CDFs) using the Desire Map process by Danielle Laporte. I discovered that my CDFs were: freedom, bliss, shine, authentic, inspired, and abundant. Its important to me to honor these CDFs and to work towards living a life that puts these feelings at the forefront of everything else. I want to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. In order to find myself closer to achieving my core desired feelings and being my best self, I have set the following intentions:

Go Outside- I’m not a fan of the heat that summertime brings, which means I usually don’t get outside as much from early June through the middle of September. Here in Oklahoma, not only is it a million degrees outside, but the humidity is normally through the roof. Any kind of physical activity outdoors makes me feel like I am suffocating. The air is thick and you break out into a full blown sweat just walking outside to check the mail. Ugh. I am not a fan. The fall is when I really start to get active again. I ride my bike, run, walk, etc. The cooler weather definitely energizes me and I find that physical movement outdoors is much like a moving meditation for me.  I also plan on spending a lot of time sitting on the amazing deck that my husband built for us a couple of years ago. One of my favorite things to do is crawl up in my swing with a book and a cup of tea and get lost in whatever it is I’m reading or make a cocktail and sit around the chiminea wrapped up in a blanket. Its good stuff. Regardless of what it is I am doing, I intend to spend much more quality time outdoors.

Yin/Yang Balance- I would say my personality definitely teeters more on the yang side of things and that is directly reflected in how I live my life. I am constantly going from one thing to the next without giving myself the opportunity to chill out and reset. My intention is to find more of that yin/yang balance in all aspects of my life. Instead of a vigorous vinyasa practice finding more of a yin/restorative practice to offset my running/cycling. If I have had a busy day working, teaching, etc then perhaps spend the rest of the evening on the couch snuggled up with the pups and my man. Stay up late on Saturdays and sleep in on Sundays. Have a smoothie for breakfast if I had a little too much comfort food the night before (or a glass or two of wine too many). Whatever it is, find more balance. Or at least, work towards creating a life with a little more of equal parts yin and yang.

Permission slips Brene’ Brown talks about these in her latest book “Rising Strong”. I think these are pretty much the greatest thing ever and I’ve been practicing writing myself these daily. My biggest permission slip to myself has been: “I give myself permission to say no.” This one is a biggie for me. I am a yes person. A people pleaser. I will say yes to something and then two seconds later immediately regret it and feel stuck because I don’t want to let people down. So, instead of saying yes to things right away,  I give myself permission to say no. To be noncommittal. To think it over and if it doesn’t feel like its truly going to feed my soul then say no without a single ounce of guilt.

Block out time for self-care– I have been doing this more and more and I can’t recommend it enough. Sometimes our schedules can get a little out of control and we miss out on spending time taking much needed care of ourselves. I have made it a point to block out time in my calendar for yoga classes, runs, time to read, date nights, etc. These are extremely important to me and it must be treated just like all the other priorities in my life. If I don’t put it on my calendar, more than likely it won’t get done and I end up burning the match at both ends. I do this at the beginning of each week so I know that it is taken care of and it gives me something to look forward to. 

Pray, meditate, rinse and repeat- I spend a great deal of my time worrying about the outcome of things that may or may not even occur. I stress myself out trying to control situations rather than trusting that every thing truly will be okay. I’ve been relying more and more on prayer and meditation and it has really helped slow down the chatter of my monkey mind. I intend to continue to practice this as I know it will get easier and easier. My meditation practice has always been something that is important to me but not something I make a priority like I should. My intention is to start each day with a short meditation in hopes that it sets the tone for the rest of my day.

Read- Currently on my list of books to read for the next couple of months are:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • One Spirit Medicine by Alberto Villoldo
  • The Alchemist (again) by Paulo Coelho
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer
  • Desire Map and Firestarter Sessions by Danielle Laporte (These stay on constant rotation. Ive read them numerous times and still can’t get enough)

What about you? What are your intentions/goals for the next couple of months? Have you taken the time to ask yourself what you want to accomplish or practice? 

Monkey Mind 

I’ve had this heaviness weighing over me for the past couple of months. If you know me well enough, you know that I spend a lot of time up in my head. A lot of unnecessary, wasted time worrying about things. Things that, as my dad would say, “don’t amount to a hill of beans.”

Translation: Shit that does not matter. At all.

I worry about the past, the present and the future.

I worry about friendships. Especially as more and more of my friends are getting married, having babies, moving, etc and our friendships begin to change shape. 

I worry about my family. 

I worry about my job. My corporate job in Oil and Gas; which if you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you would know that it’s currently in a very volatile environment.

I worry about my ability to be a good wife, daughter, friend, sister, lover, nurturer, yoga instructor, listener, mother, etc etc etc. blah blah freaking blah!!! 

I call this “monkey mind”. I imagine that little annoying monkey holding the cymbals and the more I feed my thoughts, the harder the monkey slams the cymbals together making that god awful noise.

  
Meditation, yoga and exercise all help but I still find myself entertaining my thoughts and continually letting them take control of me. I’ve even had a few sleepless nights because I just couldn’t turn off that little voice in my head. That constant freaking chatter.

Then the other day I came across a quote on instagram. “Most of the things you worry about, are things that won’t even matter a few months from now.”

YATZEE!!! It’s funny how the universe sends us these signs when we need them the most. We just have to be open to receiving them.

I realized all the worrying and stressing I was doing was sending me down this deep, dark rabbit hole. When I came to my senses and got clear on exactly how I wanted to feel, I realized that if all the worrying wasn’t serving me, then it dang sure wasn’t serving anyone around me. It was greatly affecting my ability to be truly present and overwhelmed me with a sense of anxiety and depression. Not to mention, a huge waste of my time. 

So, I gave myself an attitude adjustment (aka I lost my shit). I decided to finally surrender. I prayed to the universe to take it all from me and promised to trust that things do work out for a reason and what is supposed to happen will. I also had a mini meltdown that involved wine and a few (okay, a lot) of tears. I instantly felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I began to understand that I don’t have to hold on to these things and everything truly will be alright. I finally realized that I cannot control what happens regarding my job, relationships, marriage, etc.

The only thing that I can control-and this is huge-is how I choose to live my life.

I can choose to spend my days allowing that monkey to run rampant in my head or I can allow myself to let it all go and surrender to what the universe has in store for me. To fully live my life completely present soaking up every single second of it.

Inhale the good shit. Exhale the bull shit. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m human. We can’t completely get rid of our worries. It’s a part of the human condition. But we can make a conscious choice to not allow our worries or fears to take over and negatively affect our quality of life.

It’s up to you. You can choose to let go of the things that weigh you down or you can let the monkey be the ruler of your mind. Trust me, it’s not easy to surrender, but once you do, damn it feels good.

Feeling the love

I was recently listening to a podcast with Brene Brown and she made a comment that stopped me in my tracks. “We cannot give anything to others that we don’t already have.” It literally gave me goosebumps and has been on repeat in my mind since then.

We cannot give anything to others that we don’t already have.

I’m talking love, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, and the list goes on and on……

We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

I’ve been marinating on this and how it applies to my life. Am I giving myself the amount of love that I give to others?

The more I thought about it and when I decided to be completely honest with myself, I realized the answer to that question was no.  I don’t give myself near enough love. I spend so much time up in my head always striving to be my best that I don’t give myself permission to just chill out and be myself. To fully accept myself as I am. I have my good days and its a work in progress but I realized that if I’m not loving myself as much as I am capable, then I must be holding back on the amount of love I give to others.

I have to crack my heart open and be completely willing to put myself first. To be selfish and to shower myself with massive amounts of love. To really feel what that love feels like deep within my soul so that I can give that same amount of love to every single person I meet. Full hearted. Without holding anything back. Because I deserve the same amount of love that I would give someone else.

What I’m Digging: July 

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?

lessons learned from the mountains

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.

The core of

your true self.

let go of all

the pretending

and the becoming

you’ve done just

to belong. Curl up

with your rawness

and come home.

you don’t have to

find yourself;

you just have to

let yourself in.

-d antionette foy

Being enough 

As long as I can remember I have struggled with feelings of being an outsider and never feeling like I am good enough. I was 12 when my parents divorced and I remember feeling very alone and inadequate among my group of friends. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up so I never got to wear name brand clothing (unless they were hand-me-downs), go on extravagant vacations or had the luxuries that my other friends had. We moved around a lot and I often times felt very embarrassed about where I was living and didn’t want my friends coming over. High school and junior high are rough times for most teenagers and looking back I realize that this is when I became incredibly shy. I think it has to do with all the negative emotions around feeling like an outsider and being worried about what others might think or say about me.

I struggled with this for many years. It was always about not being enough. In my eyes I was never enough no matter what I did.

I beat myself up a lot about this and found myself starting to settle in certain areas of my life instead of fighting what I truly wanted.

When I started practicing yoga, I began to realize that I don’t have to fit anyone’s definition of what is enough. Being enough of anything is something that comes from deep within me. I noticed that these feelings of inadequacy started to disappear as I found myself starting to appreciate and accept who I am. I began to connect to my truth and to the reality that all I can do is be the best version of me that I can be. To get up every morning, be kind to myself and others and to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. To recognize that I don’t have to fit anyone’s ideals of whom I should be. To just be myself. And that truly is enough.

Nothing else matters beyond that.

When I start to stray from this belief and those feelings start to creep back in, I close my eyes, connect to my breath and repeat the mantra “I am enough” until I am able to allow those negative emotions to release their grip from me.

At the end of the day we are all just fighting to survive in this big, bad world and as long as we can extend love and kindness to ourselves and others, we are doing enough and we can find peace in knowing that we are enough.  

 

 

to reach satisfaction in all
desire it’s possession in nothing,
to come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge in nothing,
to come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing,
to arrive at all,
desire to be nothing.
-St. John of the Cross

translation: want it with all your heart. but don’t get attached to it.

excerpt from The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte

Trust the Process

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.

Patience has never been my strong suit.

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!

Good things