OH CANADA PART 1

H and I just got back from a trip to Canada, specifically Sooke, BC.  I won a gift certificate at work last Christmas to stay in any of these Canadian chains of hotels.  I learned very quickly after exciting the ferry that Sooke is not pronounced, “Sookie,” but like the zook in gadzooks.  Sook.  It looks like it should be pronounced Sookie, but you will definitely get a weird vibe from locals if you do not pronounce it correctly.  Sooke (repeat out loud: Soooook, if you are still reading it as Sookie in your head) is about 40 minutes up from Victoria.  It seemed silly to get passports for H and I, and take a ferry to the edge of Canada, but I’m all for taking some small adventures.  Originally the name was actually, “T’sou-ke,” for the first nation there, first nation being what Canadians would term what we would call Native Americans.  Sooke is situated across from a harbour (ocean running in) and northern Sooke, which is a curly cue extension of land running in a kind of c-shape.  Really, look it up on a map, it is a bit hard to describe.  Or check out the view from our room.  We’re on the main Sooke side, the harbour is next, and then you see north Sooke on the other side.  This view changed with the time of day.  It was quite exquisite to watch:

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The ferry sitch was rough.  I was late and not knowing what to expect, I hustled all our stuff and H in the stroller and booked it to the ticket window.  You have to drive on, the attendant said.  I went into mom freak out mode, I knew H would bawl and I did not want to unload everything back in the car.  So I asked if someone could drive my car on for me (yes I did!) and if I could just walk onto the ferry.  This was a bad idea as getting up and above from the car area is only accessible by stairs, the vessel was build in 1959.  They obliged me anyways and it all worked out.  My car was the last car out and as I was chasing after a toddler during the hour and a half ride to Canadian soil, I did not think to go potty, er, to the bathroom.  Soooo, I had to pee very badly when we finally hit the customs drive through.  Then the customs agent proceeded to tell me that I needed either H’s birth certificate with just my name on it (this is vital so all agencies can see that the dad has no rights whatsoever), or a letter of some sort.  Well…I pulled the crazy mom card again, not purposefully, I just was stressed.  I have to pee, I have a toddler in the back, and my mapquest is not working, I said.  What can you do to help me?  This makes me laugh, I don’t know how I turned the situation back on the poor customs dude, but I did!  He let me use their restroom and another agent gave me directions to Sooke (Sooooook!).  I did not have service in Canada, I failed to think of that before traveling.  I had to rely on old fashioned directions.  The Victorians in Canada were very kind, I had to ask three different people how to reach Sooke.  In Sooke I had to ask someone at a petrol station where the hotel was.  It was stressful but kind of empowering to find my way around this way.  I thought about calling my carrier to get service, but then thought, what the hell?  I didn’t want to go back to Victoria, I just wanted to stay in small lil Sooke.  The older I get the more I feel drawn to small towns and N A T U R E, and that is the very definition of Sooke:

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This was French Beach, another 20 minutes up from Sooke.  H loves rocks!  He was in his own little rock heaven, I believe we could have stayed hours longer.

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AH, WHICH ROCK DO I PICK UP FIRST?!

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The hotel was insane.  Very posh for this girl.  I brought my mat and managed to get a few yoga seshes in, although doing yoga with a toddler is intermittent, you get interrupted a lot.  I wasn’t in my normal yoga groove.  I was dealing with some feelings during this trip too, I wanted to just let go and have fun.  Not even fun, I just wanted to let go and B E.  I saw someone holding their hand out of their car on the way to the ferry in WA, and I thought, this is how I was to be.  Just letting go and enjoying the world.

I did have a great trip, I was just battling some old demons.  I am really scared about my future with H.  I am so taken care of right now, but I am on the fence between getting a big girl job or pursuing yoga.  Every fiber in my being wants to pursue yoga.  I also can’t escape the huge sum in student loans I have, not having a substantial pay check, or not having any type of retirement savings for the future.  It all feels so insurmountable right now.  What am I going to do?  Yesterday and today I really dug in on prayer and focus.  I taught yesterday and was scattered (three peeps besides my mom showed, yay!), but still a good teaching experience.  I had a great yoga practice this morning, and am starting a new class for two weeks from yesterday.  I am on a new mantra for the next 40 days:  Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, Ganesh removing all obstacles and opening up the root chakra.  I’m thinking of switching my nights from streaming shows to practicing yoga and reading before bed.  I feel like if I put my spirituality first all else will be okay.  And sobriety.  Back to a meeting tonight, I am so looking forward to it.  A week away from meetings is too long for this drunk!

And lastly I somehow signed up to do this writing challenge, Wilsonville Writes!  You write a chapter and then pass it on to the next person.  I seem to get a fuller and fuller life.  It is all good, I just don’t want to spread myself too thin, and again I still worry about taking care of H and myself for the long term.  Our master teacher in teacher training, Jen used to say that fear is the opposite of love.  How can love crowd out fear in my situation?

As it alludes to in the title, more Sooke/Washington stuff next post!

Peace and love.  May Ganesh remove any obstacles you are struggling with!

FOR THE LOVE OF A CITY

***Please note:  I’m not trying to hate on any of the cities below.  I know that any negativity I write about came from a place in time where I was personally.  Anyone else living there could have a completely different perspective on it, as I even did for a big chunk of time.  And as the title hints, these are cities I loved too.***

When I was about 8 months pregnant I was stalling in a line of cars at a Taco Bell by my old house in San Pedro.  Off Gaffey.  I hated Gaffey.  It was almost always busy, the businesses were hard to get in and out of.  It was run down.  I felt so alone there moving through doorways.  All my friends were in Long Beach.  I went to the WIC to pick up my WIC vouchers once a month off of Gaffey.

While dreaming of tacos and add ons (my former vegan self could not get enough of TB while pregnant) I heard what can only be described as a gut wrenching crash of metal and ensuing shrieking.  I was instantly disturbed, I knew something bad had happened.  The lady in line ahead in a mini van started backing up, which I immediately understood.  I backed up too, the car behind me let me out, and I let her out.  I followed her out to Gaffey.  A dog was down, blocking the right lane.  A crowd grew around the dog, the lady in the van joined, as did I.  It was a white poodly looking dog, his/her back leg had been rolled over.  The dog was snapping at everyone who tried to get close to it.  The lane behind us was backed up, the other lanes rushing by.  They talked me away from the dog.  You’re pregnant, they said, and I let them.  I felt bad then for being afraid that the dog would bite me, and I feel bad about it now.  We somehow got the dog in the lady’s van, she would take it to animal control.  We had called them, they told us they had no idea when they could arrive.

The lady called me the next day.  Animal control didn’t even blink.  A damaged dog is a dead dog.  They had put the dog down even though the lady had said that she could take him if he healed.  She or I didn’t have the money to take him to a vet.

I saw dead animals all the time there.  Blood, fur, and guts all over the road.  This dog was a metaphor for how I felt towards the end, how I felt about living there.  I felt like I might be the next to get pinned down, that something would crash into me, and that I might die.  I despised my drive through the port of Los Angeles, a drive I made sometimes four times a day to work and meetings in Long Beach.  I despised the cranes, the containers, the pyramid shaped piles of god only who knows what.

There were my friends and my meetings to find comfort in and only.  This was magnificent and good.  Even so, I felt that if I stayed that my life would stop.  I had gotten sober, so many good things had happened to me, I had discovered Y O G A, I had this great and amazing circle of friends, but it was if Long Beach had given me all that it was supposed to.

It was time to move on.

I slept in the heat of a house with no air in the summer and I froze in the cold of a house that had no heater in the winter.  My body ached every night as I slept on my side.  I cried myself to sleep as I though about how I had to find homes for my cats, my first babies.  I hoped Oregon would be different.  I was grateful for my life.  I was grateful for sobriety, yoga, my friends.  I just was tired of scraping by.  I wanted something different.

So I came here, had Holden, and am having a reprieve.  I’ve gotten to do something I dreamed about in Long Beach: yoga teacher training.  I’ve lived for about a year and a half not having to worry every second about how to pay bills.  Living like that.  You don’t know until you’ve gone through it.

I sat there last Thursday at Free Yoga on the Green at 3pm sharp.  My friend from work said she was coming.  I suddenly felt silly and impotent sitting there in the heat.  What was I trying to do?  Who was I trying to be?  As I thought this a golden labradoodle bounded across the green space over to me.  He sat right on my mat calmly like he knew me for forever.  It was like god, the universe, the divine was saying to me, hey girl.  I got ya.  Keep going.  Keep doing this thing.

My friend showed up and we practiced.  I heard that a couple more will come this week.  A soon to be mama at Mama Bear said she heard some of her neighbors talking about it.  That right there made me amazingly happy.  I feel so invested in it, along with the mom group.  I want them to thrive.  I think I have to refocus and let go, to know that they will be what they are meant to be.

Pictures of my step-dad’s baby, our back yard.  Seriously he does so much with the small space.  And of a 1 year old birthday party.  This mama ate two cupcakes, yum.  Yes I did share some with H.  Of course.

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There are so many crazy water features in Wilsonville.  This is a long wading structure, H loved it.

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I still miss Long Beach as much as I needed something different.  It’s in my bones.  It’s a part of me.  4th street, Redondo, people crossing the street without looking, the garbage, the oil islands, the way the trees looked during Free Yoga on the Bluff, the way the ocean sparkled, the Queen Mary, Marina Pacifica, Inner city, veggie burritos from Hole Mole, The Maya, Toledo, Mira Mar, all of it.

I needed to leave to love it again.

Namaste & Peace to you all.

SOCIAL MEDIA & ME

I’ve recently been having a complicated relationship with social media.  Me, who quit Facebook back in 2012.  Me, who keeps a private Instagram, my only social media account.  I am now the proud facilitator of three Instagram accounts, two Pinterests, one Twitter, and four Facebook accounts.  These include work accounts that I regularly (except Twitter which gets ignored quite often!) post on.

What..is..going..on…  That’s what I would like to know.  How did I get to the place of checking each page, logging out under one password to log back in with another, and obsessing over ways to plug, plug, plug.  I am not some type of marketer.  Most of the social media I’ve begun, I am not getting paid for.  So why am I doing it?

Because it makes me feel good.

And not in the watching Netflix all night while eating ice cream kind of way (although that is a well spent night in my opinion).  It makes me feel good to be doing stuff for others.  I haven’t had a sponsee since I moved here, so the moms group I started and the free yoga I’m about to start is giving me a deep feeling of usefulness in this world.  I am not advancing my career or able to buy a house, but I do feel pretty darn good about where I fit into the world right now.

Social media can be weird, it’s a lot of stimulation.  I hope it evens out over time.  I keep racking my brain about who else I can ask to plug my free yoga.  I keep emailing people.  My thoughts run in threes most of the time.  Thinking three things at once is too much.  I’ve also been teetering between ignoring the fact that I will be teaching yoga on a weekly basis, to being overwhelming scared of it.  This Thursday.  What if no one shows up?  This is my fear.  I have to remember I’ve done the footwork.  It’s up to the universe what happens next.  I’m glad I began the Mama Bear Group first.  No one showed up on my first try.  Last week and the week before, four besides me showed.  That was enough.  If that many show up for yoga, I will be fine.  In two weeks it moves from Thursdays to Saturdays as well.  This will help.  I am obsessing about it.  Thank goodness for meditation and yoga.  This has been calming my anxiety about teaching.

Something crazy happened at work.  I was hungry and trying to be patient for the lunch our office was going to at a local restaurant.  Somewhere between sitting down and ordering I had that ancient feeling of being high, I realized that my blood sugar must have just plummeted.  I zipped my lip, I know when I get loopy like that it’s best not to talk.  I did my best to act as if, I nodded a bunch and inserted half words here and there.  As it usually happens the topic of conversation got turned towards alcohol, like what they were going to drink, how much, and how they didn’t like it when they drank too much.  Suddenly one of my co-workers turned to me and said, you don’t really drink do you Liz?  And what did I say?  What could I have said?  I can tell you now.  I could have just said, no!  I fully blame the low blood sugar, there was zilch of pausing and praying, I blurted, actually I’m in AA, I’ve been sober for about 7 years.  Luckily no food had been served yet to them, their mouths plummeted open.  I immediately thought, what did you just say!  You’ve worked with them for a year and not a peep!  Why now?  I certainly didn’t feel like it was necessary.  Necessary is if someone needs help.  I will share anything in that case.

It may come back to bite me later, but the strangest thing happened.  I felt a softness from them.  And then they got vulnerable and started telling me their stories as relates to alcohol.  The food came, we ate, my brain was restored.  They asked for more details, it’s never hard for me to convince someone I should not drink.  All I have to do is tell them one story of what it was like.  It was not pretty.  Again, I don’t know if this will be a good thing in the long run, but it just happened.  It’s like letting my son eat on his own or paint.  Jam and colors everywhere, life gets messy sometimes.  I’m not perfect, and I gotta roll with it.  It was actually funny to me that it happened.

Here is the yoga flier I made:

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I went to the Wilsonville Art Festival last Sunday.  The student art blew me away, very impressive.  H and I had fun, looking at art, playing on the play structure, and eating ice cream.  Being a mom is the coolest thing ever sometimes.  Other pics are from the area surrounding the meeting I love on Wednesdays.  Two weeks ago I drove around after the meeting so I could just pray.  I was taken aback by how serene it was.  I love that I live in a place where I can just drive and find so much beauty only 5 minutes away.

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The inexpensive area.

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Indeed.

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There is a person there picking something. I could not figure out what they were doing and did not want to spook them.

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Life is all a lot right now and very beautiful if that in any way makes sense.  It is full and good.  I am so grateful to be in a position to give to others.  I really hope that I can help.  My teacher Jen would say, do your best and don’t get attached to the fruits of your labor.

If you think of it please send me good vibes these next months to the tune of teaching yoga well.  I’m at the cliff, I’m stepping off!

MAHALO & ALOHA

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I went to South Portland this week to visit one of my teacher training peeps.  The plan was to do some yoga in the park and then go eat lunch.  Her kids caught wind of our adventure and flew through her house and into her garage.  They were so excited my friend could barely get pants and shoes on them.  Off they went, down the street, they knew the way.  We stopped on the way at their local community garden.  A Hawaiian neighbor oversees the most of it.  Mahalo, I said to her.  That’s thank you, said my friend.  We all laughed at my (big surprise!) awkwardness.  There was a mishap at the park, her daughter will be grateful I don’t go into detail when she reads this when she’s twenty, if this little blog is still around.  The look on my friend’s face was priceless.  It was:  I just want to do yoga!  A solution was reached, the kid’s dad came to get them.  A neighbor came out to join us.  We did yoga.  I taught and then my friend taught.  We are both nailing down our sequences.  I seem to have left the land of being overly self conscious about my teaching, I just teach.  I mess up, I keep going.  Who knew tucking toes, and sole of the foot was so hard to recall?  I keep repeating, sole of the foot, and tuck your toes, over and over in my mind.  Ah, the mind of a yoga teacher.  Yup, that’s me.  Anyways, we were at the park too long and didn’t make lunch.  Next time.

I turned in the last of my homework.  Necessary to get my certificate, but sad.  This is my work station, littered with books from my book reports:

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I received word back from parks and rec in Wilsonville that I can offer free classes in the park, for free.  I don’t have to pay any type of fee.  I contacted the local farmers market, my idea is to offer the class right before the market to increase awareness.  Maybe after it catches on, I can switch to a Saturday morning (11am) class so more people can attend.  All of this is contingent on when I receive my certification as well.  I even created a little logo, see below.  I know if this actually happens I will be S O  N E R V O U S.  But I am willing to face my fear.  I would like to just do this through the summer.  Obviously since I’m in Oregon, I can’t offer free outdoor yoga year round.  I’ve done all of the footwork I can do.  Now I’m just waiting, which I’m not good at.  Waiting is my only option.  The first farmers market is June 11th.

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I had a friend last night say to me, don’t wait to teach.  Teach now.  I told her how I may be teaching by 6/11 and she said that’s too far away!  She sent me a gym contact she has and offered to talk to the owner of the studio she works at.  Teaching in an actual yoga studio scares me so much.  She said the word, audition.  Man that word freaks me out.  I imagine myself throwing up right before my audition.  Eek.  So we’ll see where all of this goes.

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Yup, that’s me. Really getting into crane right now. I’ve been told by the Dr. no more headstands so I will be focusing on arm balances, forearm stand, and hand stand.

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So what remains to be seen:  will I get a different job, job?  Will I teach yoga?  Where and how will I teach yoga?  What is in the future for H, my family, and I?  I’ve been meditating/practicing pretty regularly.  I use my mala beads I received from training.  Namaha Lakshmi, abundance.  Not just monetary abundance, but abundance of courage.  Abundance of that Higher Power.  That’s my mantra right now, that the higher power is bigger than me.  That it can fill in all of my weaknesses.

Namaha Lakshmi,

Aloha, Mahalo,

& Namaste.

AN END TO A BEGINNING

Buckle seat belts kids, this is gonna be a long post…

Yesterday was my last day at teacher training with Three Sisters Yoga.  It was hard to meditate (we start out our weekend mornings meditating for 30 minutes) both days.  On Saturday I was teaching my co-students for 15 minutes.  On Sunday, most of us were presenting our karma yoga projects.  Both mornings my mind was abuzz about what I was going to do and say.  I tried to meditate but the planner in me would not shut up!  The 15 minute class went well.  I have to backup to define well.  Last weekend I received some constructive criticism that I wrote about in my last post.  I wasn’t loud or confident enough.  I took it to heart, it weighed me down.  I brought it up to our master teacher, Jen Whinnen (whom by the way is AWESOME) and she set my heart at rest.  I was telling my mom that night, you know how you hear what you didn’t even know you needed to hear from someone?  In a nutshell she basically said that I am enough, if I’m not confident, so what?  Teach until I am.  Keep going, keep trying.  She told me to stand up right there and teach everyone tree pose.  This was the last thing I wanted to do.  She said to stand up taller.  She said, tell them how to do the pose as if you are doing the pose.  C L I C K.  I immediately forgot all of my weakness in teaching and became excited about telling them how I do the pose.  Bravo.  You got this girl past a hump.  I related the class on Saturday to how I would move through the class.  I also spoke the mantra of: C A N.  And I read a quote about fear at the end.  I might as well speak to the fear of teaching while I’m teaching right???  While I read the quote I felt myself tearing up.  It was:

“I will not die an unlived life.  I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.  I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

~Dawna Markova

I bumbled a couple of times, still wasn’t loud enough, and forgot/was afraid to walk around the room.  At one point I paused and everyone waited expectantly and I had a anxious moment thinking, they’re all relying on ME!  But I did many things well, and I have new faith and hope that I will get better and better.  Something was planted deep inside me somehow.  I want to help people do yoga.  It’s that simple, no bells.  I have a desire to be a yoga teacher.  These declarations make my soul feel light.  I just have to finish the rest of my coursework and blogging commitment, and then folks, I can get my official certification.  We went over the business of yoga the last weekend too, aka $$$.  I ascertained that I will definitely need to maintain a secondary income + yoga.  Why?  Because financial insecurity freaks me out.  And that’s okay too.

On Saturday, straight out of the studio I got into a car accident.  I’ve only been in one other one in my life, and that was in like 2005.  It was strange to feel that metal on metal connection.  I had a hard time driving around today, I felt on guard the whole time.  Yes, I said driving, so obviously my car is drivable which is a good thing.  To go back to the beginning, I was in the most left handed lane on a four laned, one wayer.  The car in the lane to the right of me decided to make a left hand turn.  YUP.  Right in front of little ole me.  I tried to slam on my brakes but he was just too close.  The kicker?  Out pops this tall older man wearing a clerical collar.  He was a charismatic episcopalian priest.  Wha…?  We had an interesting conversation about a higher power (his much different than mine, of course), addiction, and faith.  He was nice enough to stay with me till the tow came.  It was strange.  I was initially shocked by the accident, but rolled with first things first after that.  AA has just taught me to do the next right thing.  I was bushwhacked by the time I got home two hours later.  I really missed H.   It will be so nice to spend more time with him.

I presented my karma project on Sunday, it has been an effort over the past month, I found a space to hold a mama’s support group at the local library.  I wanted to do some service work that was close to my heart.  First meeting this Friday, I hope some mamas that need a break and some companionship will show up!  After I presented, my head was in the clouds.  I kept trying to pull myself back to earth, I wanted to be very present since it was our last day together at the studio.  It was the last time we would all be just what we had been these past 6 weeks.  That right there will never be reproduced!  I wanted to soak in it.  We went to Pho to all eat together.  I seriously couldn’t believe how well we all got along.  I had not felt that easy with other women since my peeps in Long Beach.  It was such a rich feeling, I felt very grateful.

My head kept floating.  I just kept thinking about seeing my parents and H, about them seeing where I had spent so much time.  All the family members arrived.  It was great to see everyone with their loved ones.  There were a bunch of kids!  H wanted to be in the middle of the action, he doesn’t have much fear in that department.  He’s still small though, so we had to watch him.

Our teacher had us introduce one another to our loved ones which was cool.  We all had nice and loving things to say about each other.  She christened us with our own set of mala beads.  I used mine already.  Namaha Lakshmi.  Abundance.  I will seriously miss the camaraderie we’ve all built together, but I will also seriously love having more time back.  A couple of the women are moving out of OR soon.  I’ll miss our teacher.  I’ll really miss her knowledge.  We had a walking, breathing yoga manual next to us!  Google has nothing on her.  And I’ll miss her giant wing of compassion she spread over us these past weeks.  Hold the space, she said.  She definitely held the space we were in.

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This was the light in the bathroom, I just had to include it. Too cool.

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Peace, love, and namaste.

JUST SHOW UP (AND THE UNIVERSE)

I feel like so much has happened in the past two weeks, it’s difficult to pick what to write about!  I’ll start with a journal entry I wrote after meditating in training:

I am grateful.  I am grateful for life.  I am grateful for new friends.  I am grateful for yoga.  I am grateful for my son.  I am grateful for my parents.  I am grateful for new opportunities.  I am grateful that I might learn how to surf.  I imagine myself, clumsy and paddling in the ocean becoming one with the rise of the wave.  Doing it again and again until my body memorizes it.  Waking up at 5am, eating burritos afterward, teaching my son later.  It may not happen.  It’s a dream, but I’m thinking it.  I’m putting it out there into the universe.

The thing is about surfing, one of our classmates is a surfer.  She kept talking about it and we all (or possibly just me) became mesmerized by her love for it.  Somehow it ended up that we made a surf date, today actually!  I lived in Southern California for about 15 years and only surfed once!  It’s raining today!  How in the world is my life like this?  Learning how to surf in Oregon in the rain?

It’s not about the outcome, although a good outcome would be preferable.  It’s about the fact that I am walking into new things.  That’s the victory for me.  I’m 38 and I’m trying to learn how to surf today.  How cool is that?  Let’s just forget the fact that I had a warm, giant bath full of kiddie waves I could have practiced in back in CA.  I am trying to do it N O W.  We’re going to do some yoga on the beach first, we will truly look like drowned rats but who cares?  I’ve got the baby weight on still, I’m wearing a sports bra for a top since the rest of my swim suit tops don’t fit, but who will know the difference?  I am bummed that I won’t be able to take very many pictures, or none at all because of all of the water.  Some things just cannot be physically documented.  Some things will only be held in my memory.  That is okay and kinda cool as well.

Last week and weekend were emotional.  Work was especially challenging for me.  I’m ready to step into something new.  It seems like it’s getting better, and then it takes a sharp nose dive all over again.  Over it.  Thank god for sponsors, I talked it all out with her again last night.  For now I will stay and just apply for other stuff.  I look at yoga as something I will try to teach for free for a good while to gain experience and to give back.  It’s not a viable job that can support us, unless the universe decides different, which, duh of course I’m totally open to!  From what I’ve heard, it’s not at all rational to expect for a while.

The critiques I get from my demo yoga teaching are:  SPEAK UP, and be more C O N F I D E N T.  Ouch.  Man I love yoga so much and I want to give that to people I teach.  My words get all tangled up.  I over apologize.  I get hung up on my failings.  I’ve been trying a lot of mirroring (doing left but saying right), and I’ve been overly obsessing about it.  I told my mom about my critiques (she is a teacher) and she said, Oh don’t worry about it!  All teachers are really bad their first year, which made me feel better.  I guess my lack of confidence is such a trait of mine (it runs deep) and a character defect.  How can I just, POOF, be confident?  Fake it till you make it, my teacher said.  This seems like the only thing I can do.

And like my good friend, T back in Long Beach would say, just show up.  This, I can do.  I may not be a yoga teacher (gasp!).  But I will walk the path and see what (the universe!) lies in store for me.  It will be a while till I get my certification since my teacher has to sort through all of the course work.  I’ve been emailing parks and rec to see if I can offer free yoga outdoors before the farmers market here.  There is a giant swath of green next door to the market.  I’m putting it out there…

I had a birthday, I turned 38.  The older I get the more comfortable with life I get so I don’t get bummed out about getting older.  H is doing well, we think he’s still teething, but only waking up once per night (WOOHOO!!!).

Pics, mostly from a walk to the park from two weekends ago, from Three Sisters Yoga:

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Pre-walk.

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We came across this rad wishing tree. I wish I could fly too.

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Every year? Strawberries and shortcake.

Peace, namaste, and hang ten y’all.

LINING UP

The last week was a humdinger, I wrote in my journaling email, one of our assignments in teacher training.  It was.  H was teething his molars, he woke up every two hours and was inconsolable most nights.  If I learned anything from the newborn era, it’s that I do not function well without sleep!  I cry, I cannot think, everything is hard!  I arrived to training on Thursday in a daze to discover we were going over anatomy.  Not only did I not have my book, I had failed to do the reading.  I searched for it furiously the next day.  It was gone.

And my lip allergy came back with a vengeance.  I definitely believe lack of sleep and stress activates it.  My lips burned and itched without relief.  I had to dig out the steroid ointment I had been prescribed almost a year ago.  H  slept till 1pm on Saturday night.  I woke up feeling like I could start my day right then, that’s how rested I felt after just 5 hours of sleep.

Before this sleep we meditated for a half hour that morning.  My thoughts weren’t all of the to-do lists type  of thoughts like I usually struggle with.  It was all about beating myself up.  I went into childs pose after it was over and our teacher announced we had 40 minutes until we started back up.  The fact that I had not accounted for this free time, as in I didn’t know what to-do task to finish felt maddening.  I was tired and wound up way to tight. The tears were right there, but I held them back.

This dude in rehab years ago used to say, don’t be a vic.  His little slang word for victim.  I was struggling, I knew I would come out of it eventually, I knew in the long run my brain would work and I would sleep eventually.  But in the meantime..?  Was it okay to say and admit that I was struggling?  Someone shared last night about the same thing with completely different circumstances.  If I had not just gone through it, I wonder if I would have felt that she shared too long, or without  any solution?  Being a mom in sobriety has given me a whole new perspective on judging others.  You don’t know until you know.

Oh Sunday, day after sleep, how much I loved you (until around 4, let’s be honest, I was ready to go home).  We worked on inversions, alignment, and verbal cues.  I did manage to remember one thing from anatomy, look at what’s going on beneath the skin.  I brought up some knee pain, our teacher had me stand in tadasana and reworked my posture from the ground up.   Later we were practicing cues and I was in a seated pose.  I had always thought my bad posture was in my upper back.  Again my teacher cued me to straighten at my waist.  Posture solved.  In practice I am constantly trying to line everything up  according to what I just learned about my body, my bones.  The first thing to look at when teaching someone how to do a pose?  Alignment.  I could easily benefit from more training after this one.  We are just scraping the surface here.

On Monday during meditation at home, I did allow myself to cry and release all the angst from the former week.  We did a lot of hip work in class, too.  I’ve yet to really explore the correlation between emotions and hips, but I know I’ve heard for years that they are connected.

Pictures from the last weekend during training at Three Sisters Yoga, on my to-do list and crossed off:

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Getting lined up.
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Inversions.

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Meditation.

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Oh, anatomy book. Will I ever see you again?

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The lost anatomy book!
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Make sense?

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My days off have been great.  I’ve been resting and focusing upon H and homework.  The last week has taught me to let go more.  To judge others and myself a little less.  To be more balanced.  To be lined up.

BEING STILL

Don’t let the title of this post fool you.  I’ve been very physically un-still lately.

My step-dad, H, and I went to the OR Zoo last week.  H is getting to a new place, the stroller and ergo have become somewhat of a prison to him after a while, he wants to R U N   A R O U N D like a madman.  Everything must be explored!  Little dude is already getting quick, my new hyper-vigilance-mom-action is to watch him like a mama-hawk.  He is so teeny still too, many of the paths at the zoo were uneven and framed by rocky mini-walls and planters.  I do not want him to take a spill!  My future weakness concerning him may be protectiveness, I know, but for now it fits the scene.

The zoo was fun, OR really knows how to do it’s parks, playgrounds, libraries and zoos right:

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After my days off, plunging back into yoga teacher training.  I really am pleased with this training and how it’s flowing in my life.  I picked it for it’s accelerated program and it seemed to focus on the meditative side of yoga.  It’s that and way more.  I’ve basically had to correct about 80% of my own posture and alignment.  I’ve learned so much about yoga’s roots.  I’ve been amazed by the fact that my co-students and I have already been put through the paces of teaching each other sequences.  I’m learning about teaching yoga to all kinds of shapes and stages.  H is teething like crazy right now, I wake up every other hour with him, but I am still energized within the day (the middle of the night is another story..).

And then my friend J visited.  It was such a low maintenance visit, I love this girl so much.  She was just happy to be there and with H.  He was stand-offish with her just on the first day and then he warmed up and would reach out to her.  We hiked and visited PDX a couple of times.  We sat around and ate healthy food.  We just were.  I found myself many times during her visit, just soaking up the present.  That’s hard for me to do.  I am always either in the past: replaying, or in the future: planning.  We drove around so many times around Long Beach, on our way to a meeting, talking about whatever we were going through in our lives.  It was surreal after a year to be driving around in the same car, talking about what was going on in our lives.  Your car still smells like cat food! 

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Giant hair follicle?  It moved too!
Giant hair follicle? It moved too!
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Pixie Retreat in PDX.

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We’ve been doing a ton of meditation in yoga teacher training too.  I am resistant to it, more than I thought I would be.  Last Sunday we meditated for a half hour after we arrived.  We did three ten minute sessions at the end of the day (8am~6pm are our hours on the weekend).  That’s like an hour!  Meditating is definitely a practice.

I know it’s why I’ve felt so still in the midst of so much action, though.  The whole yoga teacher training experience is making me more mellow, in the moment, and grateful.  It’s settling my soul.  I had a short conversation with the HP after one of H’s wake ups in the middle of the night.  A voice asked me, would you want to do the yoga/writing gig full time if you could?  Yes, I answered.  I felt a deep peace.  Dreams and wishes.

Her visit was a good ending to my seven year mark.  She got to go with me to my women’s meeting, also very surreal.  I said during my share, I am so grateful to be sitting here in this seat seven years later.  I felt it.  My friend heard during her visit about a overdose back in LB.  I definitely want to stay afraid of alcoholism and I mourn for that individual’s friends and family.

Back into teacher training today.  The ride does not stop.  I am grateful for the stillness.

LOST IN PORTLAND

Wow, my last post was frenetic!  I was freaked out!  I am grateful now to be on the other side of that fear that gripped me.  I survived the first week of yoga teacher training.  It was not horrible!  It was scary, fun, and challenging.

I got lost into Portland.  I arrived in a cold sweat, clutching my yoga mat, pump, and bag.  I was balancing everything (including my psyche) just so, I could have dropped all of some at any moment.  Bathroom?  I gasped at our teacher.  She was handing out the coursework at the yoga studio’s front desk.  She smiled and pointed.  I managed to get myself into the room where we would be spending most of our time.

I can’t remember what happened from when I entered and when our teacher entered.  My mind was mush.  She told us to set up for a yoga class, we would be just practicing for the first hour or so.  Thank God, I thought.

The yoga calmed me down, it worked all of the bugs out of my panicky system.  We sat in a circle afterwards and introduced ourselves.

I’m Liz, I have a one year old.  I’ve been doing yoga since 2007.  I stopped doing yoga when I got pregnant in the summer of 2013 and just began again this past January.  I organize stuff at work, I’m kind of a nerd about organizing, and I like highlighters.

Yep.  I said that.  As I held up my highlighters.  But they laughed and it was okay.  What I get from the group is that they are all nerds of sort, interested in peeling back the veil of this new world to see what it will mean.

The practice portion is rigorous.  My shoulders and arms ached each day (I learned how much weight I push in that direction!).  The instructor is glib and intelligent.  She doesn’t take herself too seriously.  She cracks dry jokes.

There is a Starbizzle and a local spot, Tiny’s Coffee within a five minute walk away.  It helps my mind to be at ease, knowing there’s food close by!  On the weekends we are there from 8am till 6pm.

The room where we huddle in our spots, similar to homeless people, albeit much cleaner:

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I got lost on the second day as well.  PDX seemingly has no rhyme or reason street-wise.  This one curves this way without warning, it seems to be an act of God to find the freeway on ramp.  And the bridges!  So many bridges.  Twists and turns, my friends.  The studio is located on a tiny street framed by two four laned, one way streets!  I rode that carousel for a while, be sure.  The third day I nailed it both going and coming.  The fourth day was a repeat of the third.  It will take me years to master the art of getting around this new city, I think.  For now I will hover around the studio.

I’ve been doing yoga homework the last two days.  I taught my mom yesterday for a half hour.  I have a long way to go.  I told her at one point, wrap your legs around your leg.  Not humanly possible.  Teaching yoga is not as easy as the teachers make it look.  It’s very hard to do the poses and speak at the same time, let alone know what you are saying.  She was a good sport.  It’s nice to be able to teach forgiving people for now!

Walks with H & Easter pics:

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And I’m seven tomorrow.  I don’t feel it, seven just seems like a long time.  I feel the insanity of alcoholism, alive and fresh within me.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and beyond the moon for this seven years.  I’ve done tons of work to stay sober and have a peaceful, happy, and productive life.  I just know how deceptive and powerful alcohol is today.  Last night someone was sharing about their “aha” moment, their moment of awakening.  When they were speaking I felt it clearly, I remember my own, almost seven years ago.  It was a Tuesday, April 15th, 2008.  I was late to the meeting on Mira Mar and 3rd street.  I felt hung over and tired.  My whole life spun on its head during that meeting and as I drove home I called my mom (unsafe I know, but I believe it was before the cell phone law if that justifies it.  It was the least of my troubles at that time).  I burst into tears.  I told her, I went to AA and I think I’m going to stop drinking!  I remember feeling it right then, like it’s done.  It’s enough, no more.  I believed it in my soul.  It was my higher power.  It was a magnificently gut wrenching moment.

Does that mean I won’t drink again?  NO.  It doesn’t!  This is what I never want to forget, that mastery alcohol waits to have over me again.  I am humbled and awed by what it did to me and what it will definitely do again.  I keep that fear.  I don’t let go of that today.

What do they say at the meetings here, we all have today, at the end of the chip giving?  That’s all I have.

I’m chairing the meeting tomorrow and very N E R V O U S.  My sponsor said, the anticipation is always the worst part.  I guess I’ll see?  Like going to the teacher training, I will show up.  My H.P. will meet me there I hope.

Xo

PUSH PAUSE FOR A FREAK OUT

So mostly since I started this blog (all of three months ago) I’ve thought methodically about what to write.  I’ve taken my time, I haven’t written anything, “on the fly.”  I’ve wanted my writing and where I’m coming from to have perspective and solution.

Well, seems as though that changes today.  I am going a bit nuts about today being my first day of yoga teacher training.  At a mid-day meeting some years ago one of my friends looked tired.  I asked her when she woke up.  She responded, “My head woke me up.”  My head woke me up today and has been super loud.  We went to a luncheon at work and I almost introduced myself as an alcoholic (!).  After people shared I almost said, “Thank you, so and so.”  Thank goodness I did not though.

Geez.  Scattered.  Scared.  In fear.  What am I scared about?  That this is the wrong decision for me, I think I should get a government job so I can get that loan forgiveness thing (security, fear and financial insecurity) for my looming student loans.  I’m afraid I won’t be good enough (self-esteem and fear).  I’m afraid of meeting new people (personal relationships, self-esteem, and fear).  I’m afraid no one will like me (ditto to the last one).  I don’t feel like I’m in good enough shape (self-esteem, fear).  I belong in the industry I’m in already, why do I want to leave it (security, fear).

I do not feel good enough to do this.  What in the hell was I thinking, of trying to be a yoga teacher?  I am unworthy.

Wow.  I do not know where this is all coming from.  I do know that seeing it on the screen makes it feel a bit smaller.  I kept thinking today, I’ve done so much work on all of this.  Why am I still like this?

But I am, I’m am right in the ever loving thick of it.  This tension, this U N C O M F O R T A B I L I T Y.  It’s real.  It’s now.  My first class starts today at 5:30 and one thing that I know for sure is that I’m going to be there.  I want to run.  I want to jump in my car and drive until I run out of gas (I just got a full tank yesterday, it will last for a while!).  But I won’t because my actions will show me the truth, that:

I’m good enough.  I’m on the right path.  I’m worthy.  The universe knows what it’s doing.

Hey yoga here I come.  I’m not sure about it, but I’m coming for you.  If anyone reads this before 5:30pm, whisper a prayer for me.

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