Monthly Archives: February 2009

We’re all broken

Recently while emailing an old friend I found that he and his wife use the same term that I often use.  I use it for myself, but I often use it in class. We’re all broken. And it struck me as funny because I didn’t think that the statement itself is so ubiquitous, but certainly the sentiment is.

We all have our failures, our struggles and our undoings. Now, perhaps in this age of cyber vomiting it seems more obvious than ever before. We’ve seen Brittany’s meltdownS, we know where Robert Downey Jr. has spent much of his adulthood, we see it publically spewed and, it feels,continuously spewed. And while the media likes to have it’s darlings we know that their lives are probably just as riddled with pain, suffering and insecurities.

But do we really recognize it on a personal level? Do we really have compassion for the bitch that got our promotion. Do we wonder if she’s happy in her marriage? Or what she thinks of herself when she looks in the mirror? Do we remember that we’re all broken then?

In class I often mention that we’re all broken. I don’t think you can hear it enough. It reminds me to cut myself some slack, it reminds me it’s not important what the struggle is, but rather how I deal with it. I endeavor to deal with grace and dignity, more often it’s screams and anger or tears, but I keep the grace and dignity thing in my head as a reminder. 

I also think we can’t be truly kind, loving and accepting until we find compassion for ourselves. So, I keep cutting myself slack, and strive towards grace all the while understanding that I need my own love more than anyone else does.

I think my job is about being broken. I am a yoga therapist. I teach yoga. I teach people to heal. I teach people to open their hearts and be honest and authentic and to embrace grace, dignity, light and love.

I have often been shy about saying what I do because with all the years and years of studying and teaching and practicing I still feel unqualified. Because to be a yoga therapist you must have medical knowledge, you must minister to people’s spirits, you must be part therapist, nurturer, drill sergeant and teacher. And I so often feel I fail. I feel foolishly inadequate to teach what I know without boring my students, to offer gentleness to those who push too much and a challenge to those that need to learn that they are capable. At the end of every class or session I wonder if I’m really worth the money and time and effort I ask of my students.

There is one part of my job where I know I’m terrific. I know that for a short while I can help you sink into yourself. I can make you forget the rest of your day.  While you stretch, lengthen and expand I will help you release, forget and focus. I can help you find that peace and relaxation and gentle, loving-kindness with yourself that we all need.

My job is to help people feel a little more whole, a little less broken. People lack connection and it’s makes being broken harder. Yoga helps people feel connected-to the universe, to each other and it helps one make connections easier because the heart is open.

If I can make people feel a bit more whole they can go out there and take that positive change and pay it forward. I happen, at the moment, to teach a lot of teachers and I think that every time I start a class. I think that perhaps my class will make them have a little more kindness and compassion with their students, a little more patience and ease in their classroom. Maybe the poses that help concentration will help them be more clear and concise. Maybe they will walk through their day a bit taller and stand proudly in their skins.

But even with all those wonderful things on our side, we’re still broken. And it’s okay. It’s better than okay.

I look in the mirror at my almost-40-year-old-face and I think that all the pain and hardship has made that woman wise, bright, kind and loving. And a kind of simple confidence comes from it. I stick my tongue out at her, I scrunch my nose up, and I smile at her.

Because I’m broken.

A work in progress

Okay, I know this isn’t the prettiest thing to look at and I’ve already been yelled at for not promoting my web site and my business, but I really do plead ignorance.

As much as I use the computer to escape from my real life this whole blogging, twittering world is very new to me. So bear with me because I want it to look pretty, and I want to tell you about other blogs I read and maybe even put up a link to my own web site. But, since the 3 people reading this know me really well, I’m thinking you don’t need most of that stuff, yet.

The hardest thing for me is the photo and self promotion. I’m working on it. I am always working on it. I am one of the those annoying I-don’t-have-to-read-the-instructions kind of people. I like to figure out things as I go along. I drive the people who like to be organized and think in a linear fashion crazy. I cook without a recipe, tasting and tweaking as I simmer and saute. I can never repeat the exact same dish twice, but I think that’s natural. The tomatoes are never the same each time you use them. Your taste buds change with time and mood so it’s pretty hard to create the exact same dish every time anyway. I balance my checkbook in my head (which doesn’t always work so well) and I parent from the hip. My yoga practices are often more about what my body is feeling than what it says in any  book or magazine. I teach based on the energy I feel from my students. My life is basically, a work in progress. 

But I’m okay with it. As much as it bugs some of the people around me I think it’s the perfect way to live. Progress, not perfection is one of my favorite sayings. In this way I’ve come into much of my life by accident, but I certainly would not have had the rich, varied life I’ve had if I’d drawn a map in my 20s and followed it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a basic plan, that’s changed about a million times.

Okay, to be fair, it used to bother me. It used to bother me a great deal. I was so different from people in my life. I didn’t know what I wanted and didn’t always know where I was going. I think it probably drove my professional parents the most crazy. But I’ve learned to accept and embrace me.

Some people think I’m vague, I think I’m open. My mother-in-law thinks I’m disorganized, I think I’m creative. People think I’m loud, I think I’m fun. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. But however I am, the greatest accomplishment in my life so far (outside of my kids), is that I’m okay with it. It’s taken me almost 40 years to get used to the fact that it’s okay that I look, sound and think differently than everyone else. It’s better than okay, it’s wonderful.

And I want to say that I owe this acceptance mostly to the women I’ve known for a very long time. Some of them I know well, some I’m reconnecting with mostly through that crazy thing called Facebook. It’s the women that I’ve known 20 years or more that are showing me how wonderful it is to embrace the wackiness, the craziness, and the funny little quirks as well as how amazing it is to step into our power and be only fabulously ourselves. Because they do it so well, I am learning so much. Perhaps it has something to do with coming into our 40th year.

I know and am acquainted with an amazing assortment of wonderful women who can be open and honest, who are broken and tired sometimes, but who are fabulous every day and whom I learn from daily.  

So bear with me a little bit longer and I will have a kick-ass site with photos, entertaining posts and lots of fun widgets. Okay, the widgets I figured out over the weekend.

For a bit more of me go to www.breatheholisticlife.com. It too, is a work in progress. But you get to see what I do and thanks to Sarah who suggested podcasts of yoga practices you can buy from my web site. Ah, technology. Once I figure out podcasts there will a free download or two and hopefully some I can make some money off. 

And for just a good read go over to www.uppoppedafox.com, where Vikki is up for a Lezzy award for her blogging and reminds us that is it Freedom to Marry week.

Keep checking back to see the progress. Since I work the way I do I will probably try out lots of different things for a day or two and see how they sit with me. Feel free to comment or vote or which you like best. And try not to get to frustrated with my non-linear thinking working way. It could change suddenly or stay stagnant for long periods. It will always be a work in progress.

Crud Season

If you haven’t caught the crud that’s going around consider yourself lucky. Schools around here are on the brink of closing because they don’t have enough staff to appease state guidelines. The kids are sick too. One class of combined fourth and fifth graders, which is really two classes smushed together had nine kids, total, show up.

I’ve officially been sick for five weeks now. Nothing I do seems to make it better, so I’ve decided to just down over-the-counter drugs and pretend I’m fine. For the record, the sickness has morphed a bit over the five weeks, but there hasn’t been one good day in the bunch. It started with a mild cold that moved into an ear infection, which has been the major component so far. That was when I saw the doctor. There were a couple of days of vomiting, blessedly split by a few days and at least one day of the other-end miseries. Then there was the weekend I thought I had strep and through it all my ears have stayed clogged. Since I can’t hear myself talk and everything is in my head and to me I sound loud. To the rest of the world, I’m strangely quiet and my family is in awe. They never thought it possible.

I’m a yoga therapist- a healer AND the daughter of a doctor and a nurse so I consider myself a little more health savvy than the average Joe. Nothing helps. I’ve tried sleep and rest, hot toddies, hot baths to simulate a fever, Emergen-C, Nettles, Marshmallow Root and the Neti Pot. They all me feel better, but nothing helps me heal.

On top of all that, I’ve been on a round of antibiotics. My husband has been out of town for almost two of those weeks and one of the kids got sick last weekend. Luckily the kids seem to be managing the crud season better than their parents. 

I know I’m a bit of a worrier, but I’m seriously starting to get worried that this is more than a little infection. Remember those made-for-tv movies of the week? They put the fear of illness in my heart. Well, my parents didn’t help by telling me exactly what every bacteria can do to a small body.

I think John Ritter was in one of those movies where he’s a doctor and has this sore throat that won’t go away. Sometimes it’s just this little tickle and sometimes it’s like laryngitis. Finally, it gets bad enough that his family persuades him to see someone and it’s esophageal cancer. We know where that ends, right? Before he dies he spend half the movie with a little chalkboard on a string around his neck. 

Or there’s the real life story involving a family we knew in our last town. My husband worked with Kyle whose wife, Laura, had this weird hip pain. Her hips ache so much she can’t sleep. She goes into the doctor and it’s cervical cancer. Let’s not even talk about the fact that Laura is 33, but maybe I should mention that while she’s had three kids she never goes in for her yearly pap smear. So you’ve guessed it, it’s stage 4 or something really terrible and they go to operate and close her back up because the cancer is everywhere and she’s sent home to die. She’s 33 with 3 kids. Holy crap!

So maybe I have an active imagination and sense of doom. I still check my kids at night to make sure they’re breathing. Or maybe I need a CBC and a full body MRI.

The great plus of over the counter drugs is that at night I have the craziest dreams. Oh, it’s not enough to dream of plays that you don’t know your lines for, but you guessed it again, I’m dreaming of horrible diseases and crud. It’s not enough to have crud and feel like crud, i have to dream about it too.

So I’m doing what I should have done in the beginning. I’m making an appointment with an holistic healer, specifically an acupuncturist/chiropractor who is supposed to be a whiz at diagnosis, especially that under the surface kind of stuff that I wish I were better at.

I’ll let you know how it goes.. Oh and if you havn’t caught the crud yet, Deepak  has advice about boosting your immunity.