presence

What do you want?

What is it that you want?
For today?  This weekend?  This month?  This year?
This lifetime?
What do you desire?  From the bottom of your heart….what do you desire?

Desire ~ (verb) to wish or long for; crave; want.

Think about it for a second (I’ll wait).  Get a clear picture in your head.

Now.  Is what you’re doing today, ~ right now even ~ moving you closer to, or further away from what you want most?

A little reminder, and call to action.
move.  toward what you want.
feel your way forward.

Lighten up already.

This week has been “heavy”.  I have struggled with getting things done.
I’m facing a huge case of resistance.  And procrastination.  And I’m feeling it – big time.
I know that resistance is a sign post and it’s right where I need to be but I don’t want to think about it, or question it.
I simply want to go do something else….
And then this thought popped into my head:  What do you love right now?
huh? how is that helping?

Seriously, What do you love right now?

I’m thinking this is procrastination at it’s finest, and I ‘ll play along.  So I paused my project and wrote this quick list, in no particular order.

What I love right now:
Summer.  Sunshine.  Play time with my babes.  Road-trips.  Making sun tea.  Sailing.  Fresh food.  Eating outside.  T-shirts and shorts.  Freedom.  Writing.  The challenge of the ask.  Pushing others.  Getting pushed in return.  Being still. Outdoor concerts.  Outdoor movies.  Being OUTDOORS.   Swimming.   Running in the early morning light.  Time.  Time to work, time to play.  Communion.  Bing cherries.  Babysitters.  Homemade Popsicles.  Old friends.  Questions of all kinds. Instagram. Reading.  My love.  

ahhh…now I get it.  Mood shifted.  Lightness returned.  Appreciation for a challenge back.
Ready to tackle that resistance once more.

And so I ask you, how can you shift your mood?
What do you love?  What are you grateful for?  It’s worth two minutes of your time.

Sending you love and light.

Create freedom, every day.

Happy Fourth of July!

Today in the United States we celebrate freedom (technically independence, but freedom feels sooooo much better).  Freedom is one of my all time favorite words, and one of my highest held values.

Freedom ~ (noun)  the power to determine action without restraint

As I explore freedom this year, I’m curious about the every day.
We all have ways in which we seek freedom ~ and if freedom isn’t your word try happiness.  Joy.  Love.
We seek these things in big ways, but what about the every day?
It’s relatively easy to find freedom in travel or on a boat where you can’t see land.
Piece of cake to feel love when you’re in a loving relationship.
Joy – easy as pie when you’re with friends that make you laugh.

But what about the days when you’re solo?  When the grind is a little too much.
When you’ve had it up to “here” with traffic/the kids/your co-workers.
How do you find freedom/joy/love/happiness/____ then?

The challenge:  seek freedom in your every day.
You know the big ways – find the small ones.
How do you create it, each and every day?

In pursuit of happiness.

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

~ Toni Morrison

Three easy ways to move with intention.

Do you move with intention?
If you’re thinking, “What in the hell is that?”, you’re not alone.

Intention (noun) ~ the end or object intended; purpose.

Moving with intention is essentially the same as moving with purpose.
Do you move with purpose?
I believe that the answer to that question, more often than not, is no.
Most of us live life from the shoulders up.  Ignoring our bodies and using distraction to get through.
Putting the ear buds in and tuning out, rather than in.

Why not try something new, and move with intention?  Here are three easy ways to begin:

1) Move. Our society makes it incredibly easy to move very little throughout the day – so much so, that we spend hundreds of dollars every year on exercise. While I love mixing up my exercise routine and I’m not against the gym, it’s as simple as moving your body. Park further away. Take the stairs. Return the shopping cart to the store. Walk down the hall, instead of sending that email.  Let it be easy. Intend to move.

2) Unplug. Unplug for two reasons. The first being that when you’re “plugged in” – you lose a sense (or two). Listening to music/chatting on the phone impairs your ability to hear other things. It also can impair your ability to see – or at least be present. You’re not truly engaged with your surroundings. You can’t hear that bike coming up behind you, or see the cross walk sign.  And, you miss some of the joy of movement in your lack of presence.  The second reason is that your body will fall in line to the cadence of whatever you’re listening to. Slow songs = slow cadence (think longer time on each foot) and faster songs = faster cadence (think less time on each foot, thus less chance for injury).
You don’t have to unplug all of the time, but the more aware of your movement and your surroundings, the better.

3) Use pain as an indicator. Most people feel pain and they do one of two things: stop or push it away/ignore it. Pain is simply an indication: you’re doing something wrong. Adjust. Now, obviously, if it’s acute and severe pain, stop. But if your knee starts to hurt, or your foot is cramping – adjust. Shorten your stride. Wiggle your toes. If you back hurts, get up and walk around.  See if you can make the pain go away. Pain ignored becomes some sort of “~itis” (plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, etc.) or if it’s pushed away for long enough, some sort of surgery. Don’t go that far. Use pain as an indication to adjust.

You’ve moved mindlessly for long enough – it’s time to tune in.  How do you move, or sit still?
Move with intention.

Questions?

Right now I’m obsessed with questions. Asking questions of anyone that crosses my path.
Asking questions of myself.
I’m like that annoying child that continually asks “why?”.

I recently read an article though, that pointed out that quest is the first part of question.

Quest ~ (noun) a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something.
ex) The quest for knowledge.

I love that.
With every question, we go on a quest…some longer than others.
What sort of quest are you on?
My three favorite questions right now are:
Who am I becoming?/Who do I most want to be?
How can I improve?
What can I let go?

Each question calls forth a different response. And sometimes I don’t even respond…I simply ponder. I try to avoid questions with one word answers or ones that don’t allow for opening or a shift of some sort (why is this happening to me? why is this so hard? who are these kids anyway?)

When I meet with something that doesn’t go my way, I ask a question.
How can this be easier? How can I improve the situation?

The quality of our lives is dependent upon the questions we ask.
What are you asking?

Live your way into the answer.

Pause.

Take a moment.  Press pause, and reflect.

Pause ~ (noun) a temporary stop or rest, especially in speech or action
Reflect ~ (verb) to think, ponder or meditate.

Pause, to honor how far you’ve come.
We’re almost five months in to 2014.  How is this year shaping up for you?
Reflect on the past 4-ish months (or more) and take stock.
What have you accomplished?  What have you learned?
Stop, and appreciate what’s fun, unexpected and oh so amazing.
Along with that, appreciate what’s challenging and demands more of you.
How can you be grateful?

Take a moment, and savor that.  Take a walk.  Sit in silence.  Do a dance.  Breathe deep.  Get outside.  Do whatever works for you to give yourself some space.

Fully reflected?  Good.
Now, looking forward.  We’ve got seven (or so) more months this year.
What do you want to say by year’s end?
Any routines you can shake up?  New people to connect with?
Course corrections to be made?  New habits to cultivate?

For myself, I notice that I’m getting a bit bored with the status quo.
Time to shake things up a bit.
I’m going to try out a new running group.
Perhaps I’ll take a class.  Experiment with teaching in different venues.
One thing’s for sure – it’s time to take a risk.
Get outside my comfort zone and stretch.
What will you do?

moving forward.
one step at a time.

What are you willing to let go of?

What are you willing to let go of, to make space for something new?

It could be something small (relatively)….like the tension in your body.  The clutter on your desk.  The books that you’ve accumulated in your home.  The shoes that no longer fit. That exercise program that you hate.

Or something larger (again, perspective)….like the need to be in control.  To have the right answer.  The job that you dread going to.  That habit that doesn’t serve you any longer. That boyfriend (or girlfriend), that’s really not so nice.  The belief (you know the one), that’s holding you back.

Not everything in our past belongs in the present.  Not everything in the present, belongs in the future.  Not everything serves who you most want to be. 

So my friend what is it for you?  What are willing to let go of, to make space for something new?

Me?  I’m cleaning out my closets.  Metaphorically, and literally.  Letting go of clothes I don’t wear, and fears that keep me safe…it’s not easy, and it’s uncomfortable.  Right where I most (and sometimes least) want to be.

Feeling lighter already.

What’s Your Style?

In our fast paced society, it’s all about speed. Getting it done. Having it now. Making it happen. Pushing to the extreme. Pulling. Going big or going home.

Counter to that…or sometimes, alongside of it, is allowing it to happen. Letting it be easy. Relaxing. Expanding. Breathing into it. On the surface, this may seem easier – I assure you, it’s not.

Which one is your predominant style? When you work? When you eat? When you breathe? When you exercise?

Both styles work. They both have their finer points, and situations in which to use them. But do you ever mix it up? Or find that you stick with one way in pretty much everything?

I have to admit, I’ve more of a go hard or go home gal. My motto for exercise has always been “if I’m not swearing in my head, I’m not working hard enough.” If I’m in a class, and I’m not mentally cussing the teacher out, I figure I’m wasting my time. Harsh, I know. But I only have so much time to exercise and I want to leave it all in there. I want to walk out of the class, off of the field, away from the track knowing that I left everything there. Breathing heavy. Sweaty. Done. This has been my approach for as long as I can remember.

Right now, I’m mixing it up. Toying with a more expansive, softer(?) style.
I have been attempting to develop a yoga practice and am now in week three.
Every now and then, I think that I’m not working hard enough. I don’t leave class sweaty or out of breath or even needing a shower. And this morning, as I was on the mat opening my hips in some god-forsaken pose (I’m pretty sure she was trying to kill me), I noticed that I wasn’t swearing. AT ALL. There was no need to. The only thing that would ease the tension in my hips was breathing into it. Gritting it out or tightening up wasn’t going to help. Expanding into it was. Finding a way, within my body to relax a little more, and perhaps find a little more ease.

 Two different styles. Two different purposes. Perhaps, two different outcomes.
Each a challenge in it’s own way. There’s a time and a place for leaving everything on the field. In the classroom. On the project. However, there’s also room to expand. Deepen into it. Allow it to be a little easier (even if that’s not so easy).

Which will you do? Is there room to practice both?

 Move with intention.

What are you circulating?

When we talk about circulation most often we think of blood.
The transfer of nutrients throughout the body.
If your blood flow gets cut off, you’re in deep, deep trouble.
Or perhaps, we think about money.  Circulating money out into the world.

Yet by definition, circulation can be anything.

Circulation: (noun) 4. the transmission or passage of anything from place to place or person to person (dictionary.com)

You can circulate, or hoard, anything.
Energy, food, love, money, generosity, kindness, laughter, etc.

What are you circulating?  Or hoarding?
Sometimes we withhold our love in fear that someone won’t love us back.  Love anyway.

We withhold money in fear of being taken advantage of, in saving for a disaster in the future, or in wanting to purchase the next big thing.  Share your money anyway, even if you have little to give.

We withhold our trust, because someone hasn’t earned it yet.  Trust anyway.

Me?  I have been to know to hoard my presence.  In fear that I won’t be good enough.  Or that I won’t be liked.  Show up anyway.

The more that you circulate, the more you have to give.
What can you pass around today?

move into it. 

What do you see?

Are you just looking, or can you tell me ~ what do you see?
Too often, we look.  We go on auto-pilot, glancing around, not really taking anything in.  The more familiar we are with our surroundings, the less we truly see them.  What’s worse, without noticing, we often look at what’s in front of us and immediately jump to our own story – to our thoughts and beliefs, to what’s going on in our own lives – and completely disregard truly seeing.

Pay attention.  Instead of just looking, can you tell me, what do you see?

Sometimes I look at whiny, defiant children (and I want to scream).  And then I remember.  It’s a privilege to spend my days with my children, and I see balled up energy waiting for some love, attention and play (and sometimes quiet reading).

At times I look at aggression. On the news, at the grocery store, on the road.  It’s easy to respond in that same vein. And then I remember – I don’t want to feel like that, and I’ve got no idea what that person has been through. Then, do my best to see love.

Sometimes I look at people passing me, running faster, easier.  And I get frustrated (and go slower).  But then I look up, and see the sky and the water and I remember how much I love to be outside, moving.

Sometimes I look at drivers cutting me off, not using turn signals, not moving.  Anger moves in, and then I remember ( and take a deep breath).  I see my surroundings, and remind myself, there’s more than enough time.

Take a moment.  Don’t just look around.
Tell me, what do you see?

An office full of clutter?  Or a temple in which to create.

A co-worker whining to you?  Or someone in need of a hug.

A boring salad?  Or earth, water and sunshine.  Health.

The road and that three mile walk in the rain?  Or the open air, rocks and benches and random strangers.  Freedom and peace.

Tell me, what do you see?

There’s more than meets the eye.  But you might have to do more than look.
Be moved by what you see.