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“Peace. It doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~~ Author Unknown

As we move into the last week of May, we will be completing our focus on being grounded. If you’ve been reading my blogs or have been able to attend one of my classes, I hope you have noticed in your life some of the same things I have been noticing in my own life lately.

This past week, I shared in my classes how calm I feel in my life right now, even though there is chaos swirling all around me in a variety of areas. I didn’t even realize it until I was teaching class on Friday night…we were at the end of class, and as I was wrapping up class, it just hit me. All of a sudden, I realized that all this hard work I’ve been doing to ground and root myself amidst the chaos going on in my world right now is paying off.

The old Melanie would be having panic attacks, crazy insomnia, mood swings, impatience. But none of those things have happened and it feels amazing! I feel at peace. Calm. I am waiting to find out about a few things going on, but I am able to do so patiently and it feels really nice…unusual but nice! I sure hope you’ve been able to find a little more peace and calm in your own lives this month, and if so, don’t stop! Keep it going…it can only get better, as the journey is just beginning.

As we start to make our way into summer, I am trying to decide where to go from here with this blog. I desperately want to reach as many people as I can, as yoga has done so much in my own life. So help me out, dear readers. What do you want to know more about? Alignment, particular poses, yoga philosophy? Or do the musings of my own practice and life resonate with you more? Also, I’ve been posting weekly, but is that too much? Would monthly make more sense?

Any feedback you can provide would be most helpful. I write this blog not for me, but in the hopes that somehow I am able to write something with substance, something that can help a person or two in a positive way on their journey.

Many thanks in advance for your words of wisdom.

Namaste,

Melanie

Bonus post for this week to my readers…I’ve been following this blog for awhile and always love her postings. But this particular post is one I felt really ties in nicely with my May theme of being grounded and balanced. Check it out!

Cast Light

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T. S. Eliot

When we are still . . . our senses awaken to the beauty that remains even when we can’t see, hear, feel, taste and breath through the noise and distractions that can overcome and distort the truth.

We hear the birds singing in harmony;
We feel the soft breeze of a Spring morn;
We see the hues in the sky;
We breath in and absorb the fragrance of flowers bloom;
We empathize instead of judge others because we realize we are in this life together and merely want to be seen, accepted and loved;
Time stands still because we live and appreciate the depth and brevity of each moment.

Be still.

“I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.” – Georg Trakl “I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.” – Georg Trakl

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“Mom, I’m a hot mess.” These are the words my 11-year old said to me on Thursday evening, as she was trying to plan out what she was going to wear for her musical performance at her school on Friday morning (a tribute to the 70s), and then what she was going to wear for the father-daughter dance Friday evening.

The very first thing I thought to myself was, “OMG! That’s too funny! How does she even know what that phrase MEANS???” Thank Goodness I didn’t laugh or giggle because as I looked into her eyes, I could see that she was truly stressed about all this. She was worried not just about what clothes to wear, but how she should style her hair, what jewelry she should wear, what my husband should wear to the dance, what her friends would think…

My very next thought was that she was too young to be stressing out about this kind of stuff. She’s only in 5th Grade, for God’s sake! It made me wonder if I stressed out like that at her age. I’m sure I probably did but I have no recollection of it. (Mom, if you’re reading this, you’ll have to let me know. I’m blissfully ignorant at this moment of whether or not I freaked out as a kid over things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.).

Part of being grounded and balanced, my theme for the month of May, is being comfortable with who you are. Knowing that you only need to worry about doing the things that make YOU happy, not everyone else. Since my blog entry from last week talked about these very things, it was easy to give my daughter some sound advice because it was still fresh in my mind. I told her to wear whatever clothes made her feel good about herself, and to wear her hair any way she wanted, as long as she didn’t violate dress code (not that I had anything to worry about on THAT front, but I always like to enforce the rules). In terms of what her dad would wear, I told her not to worry about that. The important thing was that they were doing something together, and it shouldn’t matter what you look like while doing it, as long as you’re having fun. The cool thing about it all is that I could tell she was actually LISTENING to me, because I could see relief flood over her as I told her not to worry so much.

Well, the two events ended up being a big success. Casey looked smashing at the musical performance in her overalls, neon-striped leggings and neon headband over crimped hair. She was dancin’ and groovin’ away to the awesome 70s songs they performed! As a matter of fact, I had a couple of parents come up to me afterwards to compliment her dancing skills during “We Are Family”.

And then for the dance that night, she looked absolutely beautiful in a black dress and little silver heels. Here’s a “selfie” she and Travis took of themselves at the dance:

Travis_Casey

 

Don’t they look so happy in this picture? AND they had a blast, which is the most important thing of all…they told me they danced the ENTIRE TWO HOURS! Both of them were completely exhausted when they got home, but had smiles from ear to ear.

So my plea to all you readers in Blog Land is to use this story as a reminder to enjoy life and stop worrying so much. We adults who end up getting caught up in the chaos of life, stressed out beyond belief…well, we don’t just magically end up that way, now do we? At some point in life, we stop being carefree and end up letting other people’s opinions matter more than they should. We end up trying to please everyone and end up not being true to ourselves many times.

On your mat this week, keep practicing in ways that foster being grounded and balanced. Move slowly, savoring the stability and the firm foundation in each pose you enter. If you wobble or fall in a pose, know that it’s OK. Just dust yourself off and try again. Eventually it will stick, and you’ll feel those roots really taking hold. And then…well, you just might be amazed by the things you’ll achieve!

Namaste,

Melanie

keytoSuccess
(Photo Courtesy of http://excellentquotations.com/quotes-by-authors?at=Bill-Cosby)

Let me just start off by saying I am SO GLAD that I chose to focus on staying grounded for the month of May. I think the Universe subconsciously planted the thought into my brain because it knew how much I was going to need to remember and practice this myself this month.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now – my kids have lots of things happening, I’ve got a lot going on with my full-time job, I’m still trying to get my health in order, and several other things. Blah blah blah! All things you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, so I will spare the regurgitation of all the details.

But how do you stay grounded when something REALLY GOOD happens? I’m talking about something that is going to require you to step out of your comfort zone, but you know you need to do it if you’re going to reach your goals. After all, if you keep doing the same old thing, you eventually stop growing, right?

And what if, by doing this thing that could be so great for you, you end up upsetting some people or disappointing them? What then?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had two amazing things come my way. Things I wasn’t expecting, but could be amazing opportunities for me to grow, both as a yoga teacher and in my full-time career.

One thing is that I was asked to lead two yoga classes at a big conference my company hosts in June each year. This conference is attended not just by some of our employees, but by executives and employees of our hospitals, as well as the vendors we contract with for hospital supplies. I believe when all is said and done, there will be over 3,000 people in attendance at this conference. Now, of course not ALL of these people will be coming to my yoga classes. But a good number of them could. This is my chance to showcase who I am to some very important people in the world of healthcare! My biggest dream in terms of my yoga teaching is to be able to help people understand the difference yoga can make in terms of helping people feel better. So of course, I feel pressure to do the most amazing job EVER, right?

The second thing is that I may have an opportunity to take my career at my company in a slightly different direction. A direction I have been wanting to explore for some time, but there wasn’t an opportunity to take advantage of it until now. If it all works out, this would be the first time since 1997 that I haven’t worked in Information Technology in some capacity. It would allow me to immerse myself in the business side of things, which is something I have been saying I want to do for at least a couple of years now. But what if I totally suck at it? What if it’s not as secure as the IT field?

If these things had hit me a few weeks ago, I would have been a basket case. Worrying day and night about how I should handle things, what could go wrong, whether or not I am good enough. You know, the negative self-talk we all say to ourselves when big changes are about to happen. That self-talk that, if we listen to it, will keep us right where we are, comfortable and “safe”, leaving ourselves with the continually nagging thought of “What if…”.

Thankfully, I’ve been working very diligently on staying grounded no matter what comes my way. My yoga practices have been more focused on mindfulness, and trying not to let every little distraction get in the way of where I want to go. As I move into my poses, I’m focusing on moving more slowly so that I can more effectively maintain my steadiness and my breath.

I guess it must be working, because I feel pretty great, to be honest. This past weekend, I was so happy and relaxed. My family didn’t know WHAT to make of that – I think my husband and daughters thought I’d been kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a clone!

All I know is that for me, by becoming a bit more grounded, my seeds are starting to erupt from the ground. I’ve worked really hard this past year to figure out the direction I want to go. I’ve been diligently working on planting the seeds to make my dreams a reality, and now I am finally starting to see the fruits of this hard work. It hasn’t been easy, but by working to ground myself and sticking to what matters to ME, things are finally starting to grow in a way that makes me happy. Bill Cosby said it best in the quote above…for so long, I was trying to make everyone around me happy, and that’s what probably ended up making me feel so stressed and grumpy and miserable. Who wants to be around someone like that? NO ONE!

So, I will continue working on staying grounded. Not just for the rest of this month, but hopefully for a lifetime. As things continue to grow for me, I need to make sure I don’t let the uncertainty of new ventures get to me. I need to make sure that I continue to do things that make ME happy…if others end up benefitting from the things I do as well, then great! But I now know that my success depends on taking on things that allow me to stay true to myself, things that allow me to establish my roots and see what grows as a result.

Namaste,

Melanie

“Let loose of what you can’t control. Serenity will be yours.” ~~ Author Unknown

004

(This pic of me was taken at an event hosted by the yoga studio I teach at, by my wonderful friends Ela and Nick, who own Light Ideas Photography)

In last week’s post, I mentioned that I would be spending the month of May focusing on staying grounded, since this time of year can be so busy and chaotic for many of us. Last week, our focus was more external…we spent lots of time on the feet, ensuring they are aligned properly in order to give our foundation lots of support.

This week, my plan is to focus a bit more internally, on the concept of inner calm. In my mind, inner calm is the strength to stay mentally, emotionally and physically steady…even when in the midst of difficult times. If you are anything like me, this is not an easy thing to achieve!

Things are definitely a bit on the chaotic side for me right now, for a variety of reasons. If you were to ask me to describe myself and my emotional state at this moment in one word, “steady” would definitely NOT be the word I would use. What about you? How do you feel, physically and emotionally, when things get stressful or out of control?

In yoga, we can start to work on this by incorporating more mindfulness, breath work, and poses that focus on physical stability. In classes I teach this week, we will begin with a mindfulness exercise, working to find our center and balanced breathing. Being mindful of these two things will help us to connect to inner calm more easily.

If you’re not able to make it to one of my classes this week, you can easily work on these things at home. After centering yourself with a mindfulness exercise like the one I mention above, focus first on simple poses that develop the physical action of staying grounded. Poses like Mountain, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Triangle and Chair are all great for this. Move more slowly, perhaps, so that you can really focus on staying strong and grounded. Next, move on to more challenging balance poses, moving slowly and methodically so that you still feel grounded and at ease with your breathing. Finish up with some seated or supine poses like Bridge, Supta Baddha Konasana, any supine twists…all with the mindset of settling in and feeling steady and grounded. Of course, don’t forget Savasana…once you’ve settled in to Savasana, you should feel serene, peaceful and totally relaxed. Enjoy!

Namaste,

Melanie

 

 

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