UPSIDE DOWN

I have been obsessed with inversions and arm balancing poses for the last two weeks thanks to these two.  They are a gravity defying yogi-couple and you can’t help but be inspired by them.  I’ve been hopping into hand stand, forearm standing and hand standing against the wall, and rocking forward to balance on my hands (there are no actual ‘holds’ in these poses just yet!).  A couple days in a row I literally kept walking from the living room to the dining room wall (that wall being the appointed yoga inversion wall of course) every half hour.  H giggled at the sight and there may have been some eye rolling as well.  It’s really hard to catch a baby at eye rolling.

I have fallen sideways and face planted often.  The crazy thing about yoga is that there is a high possibility that I may stick it eventually.  But I know that I have to have all these wonky attempts in order to nail the pose.  I can’t have that perfect one without all of the others.

I went back to work and was kneeling down, looking for a file.  I creaked my head to look down an inch and T W I S T.  Searing pain jolted through the back of my neck and down my shoulder and back, only through the left side.

Possibly too many hand stands.  Possibly too much time spent upside down.  My body just ain’t used to it yet!  The pain healed itself magically on the drive home that day, but I can still feel it.  Pain or no it feels good to be inspired.  Two weeks ago I hated hand stands.  Now they are a new adventure.  I’ve been doing more yoga on my own and in the studio as well.  Holding H feels as light as air.  Thanks yoga.

My early start to the blogging gig for yoga teacher training flipped itself sideways on me as well.  Simply put, one of the teachers who is guiding me through the process wrote me an email about what they are looking for.  It wasn’t mean or critical at all but it freaked me out.  Classically I immediately overcompensated.  I went to Starbucks and powered out three posts and emailed them to her.  I went home and sent her another idea.  Two days later I wrote another and sent it to her.  All the while I was absolutely certain she would hate all of it.  I became depressed.  I sat on the couch, netflixed, and ate too much of something after H slept.  I stopped writing.  I stopped doing yoga.

I’ve been sober for almost 7 years, this isn’t my first run at a short and temporary bout of depression.  It used to totally freak me out at first.  It was all I could do to stay sober.  Then, if it’s possible I became good at taking care of myself when I was depressed.  I developed that inner monologue.  I told myself to just get through today.  Tomorrow will be a new day.  I followed the whole, stay sober no matter what thing.  I told myself, I love you, even though I felt the complete opposite.

And it still gets me.  I am an alcoholic.  I used to use booze to make me feel better.  I can’t do that today, rather I choose to not to do that today.

I have changed.  It used to be all dark.  Now the lights only get shut off once in a while.  I can even be very Pollyanna-ish a lot of the time.  But there remains the spiraling darkness that swirls up and pulls me in.  I don’t believe in anything for a while.  Nothing makes sense.  I don’t like myself.  That is the core of it.  I don’t like myself and I can’t forgive or get over something that I’ve done.  I wish I could be as easy on myself as I am with my friends, H, or my family.  If H cries or gets upset I think that he just doesn’t understand something or he’s tired.  I’m not given this mercy.  I’m not allowed to have an ‘off’ day.

Show me a sign, I prayed to my Higher Power.  Show me a sign to know I’m on the right path with this blogging thing.  Kind of a contingency type of prayer, not one I say very often.

I found this blog right after I gave birth.  I have never really liked or read blogs before, I equated them all with mindless fluff like about fashion or recipes.  I don’t know how I stumbled upon this blog, but I’m so glad I did.  I read it during some hard moments right after H was born, and it was a real comfort to me.  The originator of the blog was having a comment contest.  I commented.  I won!  Was that my sign?  I don’t know but I’ll just say it is.  It definitely gave me a jolt of needed encouragement.  My winnings, the book, Steal Like an Artist:

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My teacher got back to me with a reassuring email and all of my anxieties popped like the frail, unsubstantial fancies that they were.  I feel like the writing thing will be hard and frustrating at times.  I hope it will be rewarding.  I will just have to take it like my sobriety, one day at a time.  Lessons learned (re-learned)?  Facts not feelings.  Acceptance is the answer here even if that means accepting myself as I am right now:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life -unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

-BB page 417

My 7 years approaches.  I am nervous that I signed up to chair at the new meeting I attend.  I remember in the weeks right before I turned one, I rehearsed what I was going to say when I got my coin.  I’m doing the same thing with this meeting.  I want to sound humble and intelligent.  I want them to like me.  I try to remember that it’s all about the newcomer but my ego is super loud.  I want to sound, “cool.”  Cool in an AA meeting!  Pretty funny.  No matter what I say or how my ego gets involved it will keep me sober and on the right path.  Hopefully I can speak from my heart.

My first assignment is due this Thursday!  My first day of yoga school is this Thursday!  It’s beginning!  Evidence of my practice and studying below plus new entries in pink (my calender color) on our calender:

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It’s *ahem* been a while since I’ve used a highlighter other than for work!
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Yoga ready, freshly painted toes.

And other shenanigans, tooling around outside in the sun and rain, enjoying the Easter decorations at home, attempts to pilfer items in the refrigerator:

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H A P P Y  E A S T E R !!!

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I delved into my yoga course work on my three days off last week.  It sparked some action on my part, I actually practiced yoga at home!  My last monthly yoga pass had run out and with H’s birthday I hadn’t made another commitment yet.  I did about an hour each time and while taking H on walks I would go through a sequence in my head on how I would teach and what I would say.  I recently was talking to my yoga teaching friend and she was telling me how she mirrors the movements, so when she says, “right side,” or “place your right foot,” she is really placing her left side or her left foot.  I immediately thought that was stupid and I wouldn’t do it!  How silly of me, it won’t be about what I want, it will be about what’s best for teaching.  Soon I will be taking off the individual yoga hat and putting on the teacher yoga hat.

The studying kept opening up new pathways in my brain.  At one point I was searching the internet, how old is the earth?  Don’t ask me why.  4 and a half billion, in case you were wondering.  Here are my books:

  • Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda
  • The Bhagavad Gita: Krisha’s Counsel in Time of War translation by Barbara Stoler Miller
  • Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, 2nd Edition

Specifically I’ve been focusing on Yoga Sutras, my teacher instructed to read each one (about a sentence long) first, and then go back and read the translations.  Me being me and not getting that instruction at first just started reading it like I would any other book.  So far it’s mostly about meditation, or that’s what I’ve gleaned the most from it.

I also started flash cards for the poses and their names found in Yoga Anatomy, truly an amazing book full of beautiful illustrations.  There are even sound-it-out examples of the poses which helps to pronounce them.  It’s exciting to think that I have the opportunity to study the proper alignments of poses, and not just guess about them anymore.

So, meditation.  I learned a lot, I was drawn to the 32rd Sutra:

  The practice of concentration on a single subject is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniment.

Obstacles and their accompaniment being mental distractions that cause distress and despair.  Whatever your ‘subject’ or ‘thing’ is, the interpreter, Sri Swami Satchidananda says to stay with it.  Also, to not judge other people’s ‘things.’  I worked this sutra into my sequence while I walked.  I practiced it while I did yoga at home.  This is what I learned:

I worry a lot!  90% of my ‘obstacles’ were worry, worry, worry.  Worry about the past, that I did and said the wrong thing.  Worry about relationships, that they aren’t what I want them to be.  Worry about the future.  Lots of worry.  This practice of refocusing upon my ‘thing,’ my ‘place,’ really helped me to gain a peace with all of this worry.  Instead of becoming attached to it I thought, perhaps this relationship is how it should be.  What or how can I act to help the better good in this or that situation?  How can I find a peace with my past?  I was able to step outside of the middle of the thought, and to watch and study it before it gave root.

I had a great three days in that my mind was in a very peaceful place.  I meditated while I drove around and while I did other stuff.  If you would have said to me this time last year that I would be back to meditating and doing yoga on my own, I would have given you a very hearty high five.  Yoga has proven again to be such a positive and good force in my life.

Work is in a good place too.  I had some anxiety built up about coming back after those good three days, and it completely dissipated within the first hour I was there.  Just show up, my good friend from LB would say.  My boss and I are communicating well and the office has a pleasant glow.  Truly a miracle.  I had been getting stressed about thinking of working all day on Thursdays and Fridays and then going straight to Portland at night for training.  Leaving H, mostly made me sad.  Now I believe it is manageable.  It’s only for about 5 weeks.

The new Wednesday meeting was great again this past week!  I am very happy about that.  I realized that piece of my sobriety was what I had been searching for since I arrived here.  A decent mixed meeting.  I found you!  I made a friend there, too.  Another woman invited me to ice cream after.  “I can’t.”  I immediately said.  I listed off a couple of reasons.  I didn’t even blink on that response.  One, it shows me that I’ve grown, I don’t just say okay or yes to everyone.  Two, it shows me how antisocial and scared I can be.  If there were just women going I may have gone but the idea that there may be both sexes there?  I don’t want to deal with having male AA friends just yet.  More work still needs to be done!  It takes what it takes?

I signed up to chair on my AA birthday in April, I’m already getting nervous about it, but I know it will be good for me.  My friend from LB is flying up after that, she’ll be able to hang out with my family and H, and to come to my women’s meeting.

Here are the pictures from H’s birthday, the lighter, more professional looking ones were taken by my step-sister, I was so grateful she took a bunch of pictures while I did other stuff:

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My step-dad found these pieces of wood on the side of the rode and brought them home one day a couple weeks before the party.
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You can see by the blurry chalk marks we decided to flip the last two activities to prevent a melt down! But H was great the whole time.
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Photo booth.
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This was a kind of carry over from an idea from my baby shower where I strung up pictures of my various stages of pregnancy. Here, 0-11 months of babyhood. I also posted pictures of some of his ‘firsts’ around the house.
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My other step-sister made these for my step-dad’s 60th. They are both so uber-creative!
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Woodland creatures, mustachios, a beard, hats, and flannels for photo booth.
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The finished product. H is for…?

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This cake stole the show. I asked a local baker if she could recreate on a text one night. She got it absolutely perfect. It tasted amazing too!

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Last minute idea from my mom who decided to add bacon to these donuts. We cooked the bacon right before the party started so that the house would smell like bacon. Me being a vegetarian and not liking so much to eat pigs, just stood by and let it roll in true Lumberjack spirit.

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My mom glue-gunned this guy together one night so we wouldn’t have to worry about assembling or it toppling over.
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Sadly more pigs fell by the wayside. I happily munched on veggie corn dogs.

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Just to prove it really was a cake!

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* S I G H *  Such a fun party to spend months obsessing about and then do my best to create.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, Etsy, & Amazon!

*The tablecloth, photo booth props, fried gummi eggs, straws, plates, cupcake liners, H’s suspenders, lantern, & ect. as I’m sure I left something out were all ordered on Amazon.

*I ordered the happy birthday banner, bear print, name banner & table tents, felted s’more set all from Etsy.  The s’mores set was so incredibly detailed and arrived quickly, I was very impressed.  H can keep playing with it as he gets bigger.  His cousins like playing with it too!

*My step-sister loaned all of the stands, wooden bowl, and plate, my parents have a ‘tree house’ bedroom upstairs so woodland creatures abounded, and I ordered the buffalo print fabric from fabric.com.

Wishing you a worry free life today!

~Namaste

A PARTY, SOME FRIENDS, AND TOO MUCH SUGAR

We are such complicated creatures.  We have so many layers and long buried memories and old pangs of hurt.  When I came to AA I was scared to enter a public place like a coffee shop.  I was scared everyone was looking at me, that they knew about that tangle of darkness inside of me.  I was so deluded.  I didn’t get that they were too wrapped up in their own lives.  They didn’t care about me!

People started coming up to me after two years.  “Wow, I remember you.  You look up now!  Before you kept your head down all the time and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye!” Yep.  That was me.  And AA changed me.  I went to meetings.  I went to the social outings kicking & screaming.  For me those social outings were like torture.  It was all I could do to keep myself there and not bolt away at any moment.  But they changed me.  I began to laugh.  I got the courage to interject something in the conversation (I still have trouble with this!).  I made friends.  Good friends, friends that didn’t leave me alone at bars.

I worked my steps and made amends.  Step 9 scared me more than any other step, it took me years to compute that they were even possible.  I hate letting people down.  I hate confrontation.  I hate apologizing.  Step 9 changed me too.  I stopped holding grudges.  I began to apologize quickly after I did something.  Stuff stopped festering and some long buried hurts were rooted out. When I pass people at work or on the street I do my best to look them in the eyes, smile, and say, ‘hey.’  AA gave me that.  I don’t always want to but I try my best to do it.

More work still needs to be done.  Or, I should say, ongoing maintenance still needs to be done.  I’ve kept this contrary action thing up, I went to a meeting last Wednesday that I’ve never been too AND LOVED IT.  It’s 10 minutes away from my house!  I’ve heard many of the women at my Monday meeting talk of this meeting and I never took the time to figure out where it was and how to go.  It’s appropriate that it’s lovingly referred to not by it’s name but after a nearby housing community.  Two of my old beloved home groups back in Long Beach were referenced by the street names they were on, instead of the group’s actual name.  One moved like 5-7 times to all different streets but it was still called after that original street name. I felt alright in my own skin at that meeting.  I texted my sponsor after about how much I loved it.  I signed up to chair on my 7 years in April.  I realized the people pleaser inside would make me go so people there wouldn’t think I just came on my birthday.  It takes what it takes I guess.

Having my friends and H’s Grandma here over his birthday weekend was great.  It was a lot too and I called my sponsor the other night to hash it all out.  That was my other contrary action, instead of spinning about everything (I’m a professional mental spinner!), I talked to her instead. What it all came down to was my character defect of perfectionism.  This is why I love party planning so much.  I can manipulate and plan.  I have control.  I can perfect it.  Relationships, people, and myself, those are things that are perfectly imperfect.  I still have such a hard time with things not being ‘perfect.’  Of things not going the way I envision.

The time spent with friends and family was great!  I hate that I dwell on this or that, replay scenes or stuff I’ve said over and over, dissecting it.  Judging myself about it.  It was good that I talked to my sponsor.  She helped me gain a new perspective.

And….I’m way over sugar.  I decompressed last week after everyone left by hanging out with H, not going to yoga, and eating all of the leftover s’more pops, pancake cake, maple syrup cupcakes, ect.  I didn’t really eat all of it, I brought some to my AA meetings!  At one point my stomach felt like I was 5 months pregnant!  I don’t overly judge myself when I do this, usually it’s because I’m spinning about something and it distracts me.  I never want to have an eating disorder again so I try to be gentle with myself & food.  But tons of sugar makes me feel sick too, so some walking away from it & prayer needs to be done too!

One of my friends stayed an extra day and we went to Multnomah Falls and downtown Portland: ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

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My friend really loves what she calls, ‘weeping walls’ like this.

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We drove to Portland from the falls.  We were to be gone for about 6-7 hours so I brought my pump.  I’ve never given a thought to how there aren’t outlets available in a lot of public restrooms, or perhaps the first two I tried just didn’t have any?  It takes me just 10 minutes to pump, but I need an outlet!  Powell’s Books tried, they directed my to a somewhat private nook of the store.  Wasn’t happening though!  I put the pump back in my friend’s car, I gave up.  We wandered on to some very Portlandian stores and came across this one: DSC02267 DSC02268 They helped out!  The sweet shop girl asked us how we were when we entered and my friend being the friend she is started telling her about my pump situation.  She said, ‘You can pump in our bitchen!”  A ‘bitchen’ evidently is a kitchen/bathroom. So I pumped!  Very cool bitchen, I was entertained while pumping by all of the interesting stuff on the walls:

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Real good thing I don’t do drugs anymore…
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THIS made me really happy.

The store carries some very hip and modern clothes and accessories.  It was #internationalwomensday as well!  Go women!  Thank you to the store for helping a mama out!  Class act. We headed to the food carts: DSC02269 DSC02270 DSC02271 Turned one corner and saw this guy, really scared the bleep out of me.  It reminded me of the way my son reacts to our exercise ball.  I literally grabbed my friends arm and nestled into her side!

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To round out the evening we bypassed the line at Voodoos and grabbed some mini donuts (more sugar!) from the Donut Byte Labs food cart:

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Dude left a corporate job to start this food cart, very cool.
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Highly recommend the “Burnside Cream,” a twist on the classic Boston Cream Cake.

Lastly, here are some pics from my drive to the yoga studio I’ve been going to.  I managed to leave early one day and grab my camera:

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Lovely, eh?  The love affair with Oregon continues.  I will post lumberjack party pictures once I get them!

A NEW SEASON

The days are getting longer, it’s been sunny here the last couple days, and trees are in bloom!  Early Spring or global warming?  I guess it depends on which way you’re looking at it…I don’t remember all of the crazy gorgeous blooming trees, that look like flower bombs have gone off on the side of the road last year, but I was occupied with a newborn.

I went to my new Saturday meeting yesterday on my lunch break even though I really wanted to micro manage H’s birthday instead.  I’m keeping up with this new contrary action thing for now.  I don’t feel like doing something, but I go do it anyways.  I didn’t feel like going to yoga last week, but I did anyways.  I feel like those actions have given me a little more of an edge.  I’ve managed over the last week to say the third step prayer on my knees after awakening AND read some spiritual books before getting H up.  Wow, just wow is all I can think.  It feels like there is even more space to mentally relax.  That negative voice in my head is quieter.  I hope I can not only keep this up but do more in the future.  One of the women in my Monday meeting pulled me aside some months ago and told me, you know you won’t be able to be a good mom or anything else unless you take care of yourself first don’t you?  I nodded at her, but the truth was I wasn’t getting that at that time.  I was just going, going, going.  Her comment has stayed with me, thank god for the power of AA, and well timed advice.  How did I forget that if I don’t put my sobriety/spirituality first, everything else suffers?

It’s been almost a year since H was born, which is a backwards way of saying that my son is almost one!  I still can’t believe it and can believe it at the same time.  Like I have felt this past year to the max.  I have cried, I have been sleep deprived, I have been sick more times than I have over the past five years.  I even developed some kind of crazy lip allergy right after he was born.  I was diagnosed after itching at tiny red blisters all day and all night as having a toothpaste and dental floss allergy!

And I have cried with wonder, have had my heart leap in my chest at his birth, have discovered the joy of putting someone’s needs before my own, and have basically felt close to combustible when I think about how much I love my son.  I twirl him around in a circle and he smiles.  He also likes to be held upside down, his stuffed animals doing impressions, snapping (yes, he snaps at stuff he wants), music, baths, hummus, and patty cake.  That stuff is just a glimpse.  He already has a multifaceted little personality, he is already complicated in ways I don’t understand.

I dug up an email I wrote to my friends last year on 3/11/14:

     Around 11am I began to get a feeling like he had to come out now. I called the nurses and told them this and I began to push. Twice they asked me if I wanted to feel H’s head and incredulously I reached down to feel his head beginning to come out! My pushes were off though and the nurse came up with a bar that I could push my legs again while pulling on towels wrapped around the bar. That really helped, my arms are still sore! I close my eyes while I pushed, always when a contraction came. They kept saying, “Good job, you’re almost there!” But he still wasn’t out. It felt like forever, but the pushing part only lasted for 40 minutes. It seemed like the mid-wife came in 5 minutes before he came out, they said, “Push! Breathe! Push! He’s coming out! He’s coming out!” And H came out, they laid him on my chest, and he was crying loudly. I started crying too and my Mom was right there with us both. It was definitely the best moment of my life. All of the morning sickness, gaining weight, lethargy, discomfort, and actual labor was worth it. I had my little baby boy! He was so cute (I’m sure it’s because I’m his Mom) and had ten fingers and ten toes. I was very surprised that someone so perfect came out of me!

TMI, on some fronts I know.  It was good to read that email, good to remember it.  I had forgotten the nurse’s name, Lea who stayed with me that night.  She respected my wish to not have drugs and was very encouraging.  I wrote in the email that I don’t remember if I said goodbye.  I didn’t because it was during one of the brief times I managed to fall asleep.  I sent her a card with a picture of H later.  There are nurses, and then there are good nurses, and I’m glad she was with me that painful night.

I just couldn’t believe that he came out so beautiful, like an actual human baby.  I felt and feel overwhelmingly grateful that I have had the chance to be his mother.  It’s something I have always wanted whether I chose to identify with it or not in the past, and I really hope that as he grows and changes, that I can grow and change too.

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The two times I took pictures happened to be in the evening before complete dark (above) and the early morning (below).  The light looks almost the same.

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I’m supposed to talk with my new boss/teacher about the yoga blogging this week.  I’m anxious to get started, writing, editing, and hopefully have some posts that will be what they are looking for.  I’m glad to have this blog where I can write about anything.  I’ve been doing poses when I’m home with H, but am anxious as well to have a real solid practice back in the near future.  My body feels better and stronger, and I want more of that feeling.

It will be a crazy week with his birthday, grandma, and friends flying in, but I am looking forward to having everyone over.  I have planned as much as I think I can plan, I pick up the rest of the food this week along with his pancake cake (yes, a pancake cake!), and I have to make some maple syrup cupcakes.  I can’t wait to see all of the decorations and food together, that part of the party planning is my favorite!  I always feel a little deflated when an event is over.

He will only be one once.  I hope I can ride out the wave of this new season smoothly and be ready for the next one.

A BEER AND A MESS

The Astoria trip started rough.  The drive over was peaceful enough, my parents headed over earlier with H.  I drove separate because I had to work.

We checked in and walked over to a local pub/restaurant to eat, we were all hungry.  H included, I sat down in a chair next to a plastic skeleton (seemed it was not a waiting area as I had thought at first, but a beer display of sorts) to feed him and managed to knock over a large beer, what I would call a 40.  It crashed and sizzled majestically, every eye in the place peeled over to me.  My, what I’m just trying to feed my baby impression didn’t go over smoothly.  Only the bar maid sent to wipe up had a kind word, “It happens all the time.”  Much irony over the embarrassment of the alcoholic spilling beer.

An hour later we were seated.  We had to remind the server of the soups we ordered in between his rude jokes and long chats with the table next to us.  We had no salt and he tried to argue with us about it while clawing through the condiment holder before grudgingly handing us one.  More stuff happened, but hey it was the end of President’s day weekend, the place was a zoo, of course the service would be harried and spotty.  The whole ordeal just made me feel so itchy in my own skin in a way I haven’t for so long.  Those stares.  The idea in my head that the server was just being shitty because I was the one that caused that beer to drop.  The humiliation in front of my parents, two people’s opinions of me that sometimes weighs heavier than a sack of gold on my shoulders.   My step-dad asked to pay for the beer multiple times.  Each time my ears burned.

I’ve done a lot of work around not saying sorry for everything, and especially not sorry for things I’m not responsible for.  If I don’t know the line I will stay silent until I do.  I was afraid after it happened that me not making a big deal about it or over apologizing would be interpreted as snobbishness or entitlement.  Or, worse than that:  I wasn’t sorry that I had created a mess in the middle of a busy restaurant that would cause someone to clean up after me.

It staggers me to witness other human beings creating messes or making mistakes without feeling overly bad about it.  Why? These individuals are no doubt far healthier than I.   Why did I have it so ingrained within me to be sorry for my very existence?  I have gotten better at it, detachment.  It seems that I have much more work on this to do.

The trip was a dream after that.  The pier next to our hotel housed my favorite spot, a coffee nook called, Coffee Girl.  Since H still loves to wake up at 5am he and I were the lone customers at Coffee Girl when they opened at 7.  Me being too bleary did not take my camera either morning.  It was magical, the sun was out both days and made the water in the Columbia a pinky-blue.  Coffee Girl is on the end of the pier so you have the feeling that you are in a boat when you look out their windows.  The coffee and snacks were amazing.

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We hiked up The Column which was a, er, well column.  The views at the top were gorg, it was very windy so we stayed for only about 5 minutes before heading back down.  You can buy wooden planes in their gift shop and watch them float down.

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The Column. Creative name, eh?

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The views from up top:

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See The Column’s shadow?

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The weather was truly amazing.  The whole place has such mystical connection with so much water, whether it be the Pacific or the Columbia.  Everywhere you look and everything you see seems to just be an accessory to the great blue.  We passed by one sign that read, Cape Disappointment.  My parents said the area was known for bulk shipwrecks.  My step-dad said Lewis and Clark wrote about being depressed here because it was so gray and cold all of the time (paraphrasing with much liberty there!).  We crossed over the bridge into Washington.  The Long Beach Peninsula is a theoretical death trap, if the big tsunami hit everything would be destroyed.

It was uncanny to tour around such a supposed perilous area in such bright dreamy weather.  Besides a chilling bite in the morning and at night it might as well be San Diego.  Okay so that’s a little stretch…

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A shipwreck’s remains.

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I was glad my parents stayed a long time the first day (they just stayed one night, H and I two).  We went back to Astoria to walk around, visit the Clatsop County Jail that now houses the Oregon Film Museum which was in the beginning of the movie, Goonies, and for a late lunch.  Goonies!  Best movie ever.  It is our time.  Our time down here…

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We ate (much better experience this time) at the Silver Salmon Grille.  What beats good food, crayons and white paper tablecloths?  Very fun.  They have an annual coloring contest and professional looking pictures of past winners line their walls.

So Astoria was a beautiful mess of life on life’s terms.  On our way back we stopped by my step-sisters house to pick up more party decorations.  I can’t believe H’s birthday is in less than two weeks!

I have decided too that I need to step up my contrary action game.  The whole mind spiral after spilling the beer was not cool, I have to make AA more of a priority.  I’m meeting with my sponsor on Tuesday and I went to a meeting yesterday.  I felt such a peace when I was there, the dude next to me showed me the page they were on in, As Bill Sees It.  He didn’t have to, he doesn’t know me, but that’s what AA is.  I just have to do the opposite of what I want sometimes as far as my sobriety is concerned.  It’s not about feeling or looking good.  It’s about not drinking.  I made a pie chart at a home group I go to and showed it to my friend.  It was not cool.  Most of the pie was family, H, and work.  A tiny slice was yoga and an even tinier slice AA.

I managed one yoga class last week since we were on the trip.  I had a magic moment while lowering down from plank when I felt super human.  I remember that yoga super human feeling!  I look forward to more.  I signed my work trade agreement and submitted for full payment for teacher training.  Work has surprisingly gotten much better, they asked me to stay two days a week while I go through the training and then we would evaluate what to do when I complete.  The Higher Power works all things out, the best of both worlds for now.  I almost walked out on the job a couple of weeks ago and I let my sponsor talk me down from that ledge.  I’m grateful today that I listened to her.

I am grateful for my sobriety, H, my family, and life.  I have an overwhelming feeling nowadays that I want to grab opportunity and shake it to see what pops out.  Before AA I never had even the shadow of a feeling like that.  I know that if I just continue doing the deal that everything will be okay.  Maybe messy, but okay.

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SINCE HE CAME

This time last year I was pregnant.  This time last year I think I lived a very luxurious lifestyle, sleeping in until 8 or 9, venturing into Portland for prenatal yoga classes, stopping by various french or vegan bakeries after yoga.  My biggest decision was whether I wanted the vanilla cupcake or the chocolate chip cookie, or both?  The month before he was born we watched the Olympics every night.  I crocheted a chevron blanket in aqua and gray.  I’ve hardly touched that blanket since.

There was no I have to get back to, or I need to pump, or oh no I’ve been gone an hour already, or what can I fit into my day that’s fun in the tiny window between H’s two naps.

A friend had her baby the other night and it brought it all back seeing that tiny squinched-in face, the slitted eyes, the not quite ready to face a world outside of the uterus face.  The hospital hat and blanket (why are they all the same, is there some universal hospital baby garb emporium somewhere?), the adoration on the mothers face.  I remember tripping out on all of the pictures of H and I after he was born, I couldn’t tear my eyes off of him.

I went in on 3/3, my due date, for a check.  They said I had no fluid left and I would have to be induced.  I had no idea that the night before would be the last time (ever?) I would sleep a full 8 hour stretch.  I had a birth plan, no inducement, no drugs, no epidural.  In the end I had them all.  I went all night without pain relieving drugs while they pumped me full of pitocin.  My contractions got stronger and stronger.  I took a shower.  It didn’t help.  I was admitted on 3/3 and they began pitocin at noon.  I last until 6:30am the next morning before I asked for pain relief.

After it happened, after he came out, after I went home, I remember thinking I would never heal.  I couldn’t sit, not even on the couch.  Going to the bathroom was an agony.  Something had happened to my lower back.  Those tears and fissures took months to heal.  I could feel the echo of the birth when I walked.  It reminded me as it stung, you gave birth Just not that long ago you gave birth.

And all of that was a strong second to having him here.  It was a equal mixture of wonderment and what the f*&% am I doing.  Is the diaper on right?  How often do I change it?  Has he eaten enough?  Why is his poop green?  Has he slept enough?  What kind of pump do I get?  Why isn’t the pump working?  The daycare needs more milk.  How can I get more milk?  I’m so tired.  Can I just go to sleep?

There are so many things they tell you and so many things you just have to learn on your own.  Did you know that newborn finger nails grow at light speed?  You can’t cut them right away, you have to cover their hands with mittens.  When you can cut them expect to do so twice a week.  Did you know newborns get acne?  I didn’t!  The plastibell ring from H’s circumcision was supposed to fall off in 3-6 days.  It took 15 days.  The first time he had a fever I called the nurse in a panic.  At one point I had a Google breakdown, I had to stop looking everything baby up because I couldn’t take all of the different opinions anymore.

And then, a rhythm.  Those question marks lost their bite.  I stopped freaking out if I didn’t know the answer to something right away.  I would find it eventually.  The latest has been milk.  As in my milk, or lack of it.  He has been sleeping more and my milk has lessened (from day one until now he’s at least wakened twice every night).  I’ve fed H religiously by the breast since day one, it was really important to me not to supplement or stop breast feeding.  Until the other day.  I just couldn’t anymore.  I went and bought some organic formula.  I ordered organic powdered goat’s milk online (supposed to be more easily digestible).  I’ve almost made it to the one year mark that was my goal, and I still want to breast feed.  I just can’t do it exclusively anymore.  I feel a lot less sadness over this decision than I thought I would, and a whole lot more relief.

Being a parent is hard, and for me it’s only just beginning.  But every tear, every anxiety, every moment of frustration is eclipsed by just one smile.  Just one crooked smile and it’s all wiped away in an instant.

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In yoga news, there has been scant news, this sickness has held on longer than I thought and seeped into other members of my family.  No bueno.  I did manage to do some asanas while packing last night.  It felt good, those poses, just not long enough.  I can’t wait to start again next week.  I signed up for another month at Escape to Yoga in Sherwood.

And packing, yes!  We are going to Astoria!  I’m very excited, the parents are staying tonight, and H & I for two nights.  I’m glad to spend time with them (and have their help with H!).  H does not sleep too well when he stays in the same room as me.  I’ll get the port-a-crib again this time and see how it goes.

I think there is lots more to write about spending this last year with H and the revelation it is to be a mother.  It will be interesting to see how much more nostalgic I get as his first birthday approaches.

Last week marked my one year mark in Oregon.  It came full circle, I went to my home group (my only AA meeting per week, I am praying that changes soon!) and my sponsor was leading the meeting just like she was doing when I walked in a year ago, pregnant, scared, and not knowing a soul.  I do finally feel comfortable in that meeting, it takes what it takes, one of my favorite (and hard to understand at first) AA sayings.  Like I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to see what my Higher Power will do as far as finding other meetings that I can be accountable to.

YARDS AND YARDS OF BUFFALO PLAID

I made a thing!  It’s H’s first birthday in a month and I decided to do a lumberjack theme.  It was easy to find most of the components, even his outfit, but hard to find something his mama would want to wear and feel comfortable in.  I’ve been wanting to make a shift/dress/shirt ever since I gave birth, and finally decided to try it out.  Did I find a pattern at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics?  Did I search for a tunic DIY on Pinterest?  Oh, definitely no.  I patterned it over an over sized tee I had cut the sleeves off of.  I honestly have no idea how it came out so well, I forgot to allow for seam length and had to cut out two extra panels for both sides.  I tried it on pre-panel and it was too tight so out came the seam ripper (he and I are bff’s).  Then it was too boxy up top (due to the panels) so I had to sew some makeshift darts.  Thank Gods the darts are under my arms because they are make shift.  I was confused about what to do with the sleeves and neck line and found some gray ruffle.  I hand sewed those on, I wasn’t about to try to machine sew them.  So far I do best with straight lines with the machine!

Here it is:

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Still need to sew the neck line.
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Please. Lets be good friends someday.

It looks way more flattering on.  I’ll probably wear it with a long sleeved black tee underneath, jeans or leggings, and boots.  C O M F Y, which I will be happy to be the day of the party.

I really hope to get into sewing more and more.  My mom sewed, she was taught by her grandma.  It is so easy to buy a shirt for 10 dollars, but so much more satisfying to create something yourself, that can’t be bought in any store.  My biggest challenge with the sewing machine is threading it.  I can’t stand threading it!  And why does the thread keep getting stuck in the bobbin area?  I have YouTubed videos over and over.  I hope I will get better at it someday.  I think I just don’t want to follow the rules (see tunic pattern example above) and want to muscle everything out myself.  You cannot always get away with that in sewing.  It’s like cooking, sometimes you have to follow a recipe to get the best results!

The neck line above still isn’t sewn because H got sick on my second day off.  It kills me when he gets sick, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.  He was attached to me at all times.  He likes to go play by himself a lot normally.  He likes to cuddle and just lay on me when he’s sick.  We watched Lilo & Stitch, laid in bed, and I nursed him a lot.

My first day back to work I felt my throat getting scratchy and I came down with it too.  I gave my notice.  A lot happened.  I feel like I want some time to go before I write about it.

I got the yoga blogging scholarship!  I submitted my application!  I’m so excited about this new upcoming season of CHANGE.  I cannot believe I will be immersed in a yoga teaching program very soon.  I haven’t been able to go to yoga in the past week due to being sick and I feel like I will get behind.  I know it’s silly, I just look forward to doing it on such a regular basis that my arms don’t burn.

It was my sponsor’s lucky #13 sobriety birthday yesterday.  I went to eat Chinese food with a group and then a meeting after.

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Note crumpled kleenex at lower left.

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It felt good to go, like I used to back in Long Beach.  Not hardly a weekend went by without being texted or invited to this birthday or that meeting in CA.  Some of the people at the restaurant started talking about some meetings, why they were named so and so, or how a meeting died because it moved locations.  I immediately felt sorrow.  It’s all new to me here and it’s scary.  I participate in one small slice of the AA culture, I can’t wait until I find some more meetings I feel more comfortable at.  6 or so months ago I called central office here in a panic.  I just can’t find a meeting like my old home group in Long Beach, I said.  Whoever I was talking to said something powerful, you won’t find that here.  There is no other meeting in the world like that one.  But I pray that I find one kind of like it and I know that’s the jumping off point.

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More lumberjack swag. And a donut.

WHEN THE RUBBER MEETS THE OUCH

I went to my first hard yoga class in the new year.  Like it was, hard.  It’s been so long since I’ve gone to a really challenging yoga class, it was like getting doused with cold water.  But it was good.  My mind achieved quiet because it was too busy focusing on not collapsing into the millionth (slight exaggeration here) chaturanga.  And it felt good to M O V E.  My body is slow and sluggish.  It remembers the movements and the poses, it just needs time to achieve less effort.  Days later, my body is still on fire.  But it feels good and I can’t wait to go back.

Work paralleled these physical challenges.  I came in from my days off to be told that they were doing away with my position and they were not sure when that would be.  One of my supervisors had taken another job, they encouraged me to apply for it, and if I did not get it they would find another position for me to do.  Ouch.  There aren’t very many departments there, so it’s a mystery to me what other position that would be.

There are many pros and cons behind this decision.  If I was offered the job I would also absorb my current duties which would make for a very stressful work load.  It would greatly advance my career.  It was a great opportunity.  On the flip side I had just take H out of childcare, this would mean putting him back in 3 days a week.  I would spend WAY less time with him.  And I would have to put my yogic longings on an indefinite hold.   My mind buzzed for a couple of days.  Staff came in and out of our office, gossiping and plotting. Normal work was hard to focus on.

Circumstances and life spin me out of control, based on how firm a grip I have on that control.  As the dust settled I realized that I was silly for getting riled up.  Wasn’t I planning on giving my notice as soon as teacher training was set in stone?  I have the finances to sustain us job or no job.  This spin may have just been meant to be.  Perhaps it is the final kick in my behind out the door.  One past yoga teacher used to say to never get too attached to one pose and to try not to hate any poses.  I see the wisdom in this on and off the mat.

I meant to make a pros and cons list about applying for the job.  Then I thought of the biggest con, not spending enough time with my son.  For me this was the only factor, the con that would outweigh any pro.  I’m not sure how or when I will tell my supervisors, but I’m sure it will work itself out.

I love Escape to Yoga in Sherwood so much.  I asked the lovely owner, Annette if I could take some pictures of the space, and she graciously agreed.  Interspersed below are some outdoor images that reminded me of that awesome tree mural.  My favorite spot in the room to practice yoga is right next to the tree so I can look at it when we do twists.

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Ballet rail!

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The space is 1,700 square feet which is nice, many people can fit into a class.  It was formerly a ballet studio and was built in 1916.  Read more about it here.  There are many different levels of classes to choose from and there are great specials.

Lastly, on an unrelated note, the coolest thing happened to me during work in the midst of all of the hoopla.  Our support is outsourced to India.  They are a nice, succinct, orderly bunch.  They don’t make small talk though, why would they?  At the end of this lady helping me to re-install my printer to my computer, she asked me what my hobbies were.  “Yoga”, I replied.  She said, “I like to dance.  Hip-hop and some Indian pop music.  Would you like to know some names of some artists?”

It was such a pleasant, human interaction in the midst of such drama, I was taken aback.  With all of the strife in the world right now, the bombings, the shootings, the injustices, it was so refreshing to have a human reach out to me across so much space and such vast cultural differences.  We are really one, I guess if we could just realize that.

WITH GRACE

I typed up a whole post about angst at work and then deleted it.  It was so viable when I was working on it, I felt so justified, so right.  Perhaps that was all that was needed to purge it, to write it out, I don’t know.

I’m reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and one of the main character’s describes herself in one moment as taking a vacation from her harpy brain.  Me too sister, me too.  It’s too typical of me, to get my feelings hurt at work and then bullet point all of the excuses/reasons why everyone else is out to get me.  I grinned as I wrote that last sentence because I don’t cringe as much as I used to when I out my defects to myself.  But they’re still there…those defects.  And everyone else’s too.  3D and right in my face.

In yoga last week as I twisted (teacher likes a lot of twists right now), and turned, and breathed that inner voice whispered some stuff to me.  One was, “It’s not your fight.”  The other, “Let it go.”  Easy enough, simple enough, except for me it’s just not.  I want to fix stuff.  I want to prove how I may have been wrong 10% but surely everyone else is 90% to blame.  At what point do I drop the rock, all of my rocks?  At what point do I change tactics.  No more Liz, way more higher power?  At the breaking point?  At the last second?  At rock bottom?  Yeah, I guess.

I talked smack about another girl.  She brought me some food.  Grace.  I do everything wrong.  I go to bed and the next day I wake up and realize I have the chance to do everything right.  Grace.  I see things differently.  Grace.  I get annoyed.  I realize how silly I’m being.  Grace.  Grace, grace, grace, grace.  More grace.  Heaps of grace.  So much grace that I don’t need to do anything.  Just receive it.  If I can.  If I’m willing.

Here’s a story:  Early into my sobriety I just hung out with this woman once.  For some reason she gave/loaned me this really cool little vintage book from 1946 called, Stools and Bottles.  I never saw that girl again and had no way of contacting her.  The book is full of wise little nuggets, today I read:

‘Our Father, save us from intellectual folly.  Elevate us above the hair splitting of words.  Show us the logic of surrendering our alcoholism to You.’

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It’s just like so not about me, the surrendering and all of this grace.  Thank god.  I struggle, we all struggle, and then we have this giant cushiony word called GRACE to fall back into, if we so choose to do so.  My old friend from LB, T used to say, “Just show up.”  Yeah.  It’s that simple sometimes.

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I have my letters of recommendation for the yoga teacher training job trade scholarship.  I have the application fee saved.  All I have to do is write up a bio and fill out the application.  There are so many different things I want to say in the bio, how do you sum up your yoga journey and who you are as a person in a couple of paragraphs?  I’ve never been good at that, I want to tell you the whole story, not just the blurb on the inside of a book cover.  I’m excited though.  I got into a conversation about what I do now and then about yoga teacher training.  Guess at which point in my monologue that I smiled the most?

My friends are at a gratitude weekend that I used to go to in CA.  They actually called me and left me a really sweet message.  It still amazes me that I have friends like that.  I’ve been gone for almost a year and then they call me and say a whole bunch of funny and awesome things.  Grace, I guess.  And lots of it.

HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE

Since I had four days off last week, I decided to take a mini-road trip with my son.  I set my sights upon Lincoln City.  Most of the Oregon Coast is brand new territory for me, having just recently moved from C A L I F O R N I A.  We set out to just make a day of it, but left too late, and by the time we arrived it was already getting dark.  My son is great in the car so far, he just sleeps and sleeps.  We parked at a parking lot with beach access and took a walk.

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Mama rock & baby rock?

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It was nice to see the ocean.  It was always there in CA, I lived in San Pedro right on the edge of the ports, I could see the ocean from my bathroom window in my shower if I craned my body the right way.  I worked off the bay (the L.A. river feeding into the Pacific) and I was constantly shooting up and down Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach which paralleled the ocean.  I practiced yoga on the bluff at sunset, and watched the sun dip into the ocean many nights a week.

Not wanting to drive home, I pulled out my phone and booked a room at Sailor Jacks.  I think we were supposed to stay there.  I had been undecided back at home, had pulled up some places and that was one of them.  Then, when we were driving around trying to find beach access, we ended up there at the end of a dead end street.  The place has lots of character, the check-in dude was very kind (he saw my son drop his toy under my car when we were coming in and ran outside to retrieve it), the price was amazing ($60-70 during this slow season), and T H E  V I E W!  I felt like we were I N the ocean.

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H had a hard time sleeping as he typically does when we travel.  I don’t even bother with a crib, he knows I’m there and he will be only happy in the bed with me.  He was basically attached to me the whole night.  Mama’s out there will know what I mean!  He woke at 7AM and was in his happy-go-lucky babbling/yelling stage.  I heard coughing through the wall so we hightailed it out of there so that our coughy neighbor could hopefully get some more sleep.  Up with the moon!  Man the early rising is so hard sometimes, but then I would never get to see so many beautiful beginnings.

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A Tsunami waved over the area in 1700.  It made me think a lot about how finite we are, we build up so much whether it be physical castles or castles in the air, and then smush!  It all gets knocked down.  Where do we go after this lifetime?  I think on it on a whole other level as a Mama.

We said bye to Lincoln City and tripped up the 101 to Tillamook.  H slept.  I wish I could have taken pictures because it was a beautiful drive.  There were giant misty fields with various livestock being statuesque, framed by blue mountains.  If I had $1 for every time I saw a barn…  And trees, trees, and more trees.  I’m still not used to all of the trees.  We did stop at one pull out so I could go to the bathroom.  The roads were empty, due to it being a Tuesday maybe.  I didn’t see hardly any cars at all.

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In Tillamook we visited the Pioneer Museum.  I just kind of wanted a place to walk around while H was awake, otherwise he would be a crankster.  Tillamook is very pretty, I wished I could have stayed to explore the surrounding area.

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After Tillamook we headed down Hwy 6, another windy and scenic drive.  I was starving by that point and many of the middle of nowhere diners were closed.  We ended up stopping in Banks, and I grabbed a grilled cheese from the Banks Diner, which turned out to be very good, best french fries I have ever had.

H’s grandparents W and M were very happy to see us (mostly H) when we got back.  We had a good trip and I felt so thankful for the beauty of Oregon and the time I was able to spend with my son.

I signed up for a $30 for 30 day pass at Escape to Yoga in Sherwood.  It’s a bit hard to find any studios out where we live, but had a friend who teaches there recommend this place.  It was my first yoga class in 2015, the teacher summed up my fears nicely as she opened the class, she said, “some of you coming back to yoga after a long break will be feeling nervous.”  Hell to the yeah I was feeling nervous, it didn’t matter how long I had practiced in the past, the time spent away during my pregnancy and raising little H was a LONG GAP.  I am so ready to get back into it.

And it was good.  Of course it was good, it’s yoga, yoga is the center of rich goodness.  As I moved through the poses, my mind breathed to me just one word: “Space.”  Space is what I have been lacking in all my going, going, going.  There has been no space.  No hands.  No down time.  Doing only four things at once.  God it felt so good, this first yoga class in the new year.  I was sore as I knew I would be.  I modified, and was proud that I allowed myself to, instead of trying to do each pose to the max and perfectly.  I went the next day as well.  I felt so strong the day after that.  I love how yoga makes you feel so strong.  I remembered huffing and puffing going up the stairs, 9 and 1/2 months pregnant as I seemed to jump up them in a single bound.

I’m excited for this month of yoga and what comes after.  The yoga teacher training I’ve been interested in has been moved back a month (April & May) which gives me an extra month to plot.  I keep praying that the doors open.  The strong voice inside of me keeps encouraging to trust and believe.

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