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“To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” ~~ Howard Zinn

Happy February, everyone! I sure hope the start to your 2017 has been filled with positivity and happiness. Unfortunately, if you’re one of my readers here in the United States, I fear that many of you may be having a bit of trouble with positivity and happiness right now. I’m not going to go into politics…Goodness knows we’re getting bombarded by that everywhere right now. But what I will be talking about here in this post…well, I just hope that it does at least a little bit to lift your spirits if you’re feeling a bit out of sorts.

Throughout the month of January, I found myself getting all out of sorts with a variety of things. I had a lot of different things going on with my full-time job, with Toastmasters, with my family, with my yoga classes. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when I say that it was one of those phases where I’d committed to WAY too many things. I think we’ve all found ourselves in this situation at some point in our lives, am I right?

Well, there I was, completely stressed out over trying to do too many things, and feeling like I was being pulled in all sorts of directions at once. I noticed that I was more short-tempered. My sleep was impacted. I was cursing over every little thing. My Lyme symptoms started to flare up. I felt like a HUGE failure! Try as I might, I just wasn’t able to provide the self-care I needed to keep things in check.

If this had only gone on for a day or two, things would have been just fine. But here I am, five weeks in, and things are still feeling out of control. I do see an end in sight, but some damage has been done, emotional and physical, that needs to be addressed.

Thankfully, this last weekend, I had the opportunity to get away for a weekend workshop on Restorative Yoga. It was held at a beautiful yoga studio in Mount Airy, NC called Sacred Space. It was just what I needed!

I was fortunate that my friend, Lidia, was able to join me. She lives in my area, so we drove there together and rented a nice room at a super cute B&B called Heart & Soul. When we checked in, we were in awe of how gorgeous this place was! We were within walking distance to the yoga studio, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and walk over.

For those of you who don’t know, Mount Airy is the town that Andy Griffith’s town of Mayberry was modeled after. We enjoyed looking at all the stores, and we were even treated to an old-timey police car driving by us. Already, I was smiling, which I sorely needed at that moment.

The workshop was small, with only seven of us in attendance. When I took my first Restorative Training, there were over 30 people. Don’t get me wrong…that was a great training. But I’ve always preferred the smaller trainings, where you can really get to know each other and walk away feeling you’ve made at least one true friend for life.

me_lidia_sacredspace
(Me and Lidia, after training on Sunday)

By spending so much time on the mat in a gentle and restorative practice, I was able to sit with my thoughts, really dig in to what’s going on with me, and show myself a little compassion. By spending some quality time making an effort to begin and grow friendships, I feel I was able to walk away being able to show compassion for others a little more effectively. It’s amazing how, when you really stop to think about it, we are all part of a web of people who love US, and who WE love. This web is growing all the time, as long as you take that time to allow compassion in.

So to my friends who read this blog, and to my readers who I may never have met in person: If all the things going on in the world right now seem to be too much to bear, show yourself some compassion. Find the time to make time for YOU, incorporating any self-care rituals that rejuvenate and empower you. Find a way to reconnect with old friends, do something that will allow you to make some new friends, tell your best friends and family how life wouldn’t be the same without them. Be there for them, showing them compassion as they may be working through tough times, too.

Tap in to this compassion, rooting yourself to the present. You might find it’s just what you need to reset and recharge.

Namaste,

Melanie

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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

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