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Space: Holding It

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One of the main aspects of being a Reiki and Yoga teacher I value, perhaps even treasure, is that people feel comfortable opening up to me. I have heard stories of anger, exhaustion, uncertainty, grief, hope, and joy. I have had folks come in and not say anything, but quietly permit some likely long overdue tears to fall.

There is nothing on my intake forms suggesting clients need to share the personal details of their experiences with me, but more often than not, I do get blessed with the background of these souls. They are trusting me to listen, and I do. I listen, I empathize, I let them share whatever they want or need to.

I hear them.

I hold space for them.

Personally, I have been through ordeals in my life so intense, so weird, and/or so frightening that I absolutely had to release them in some way. I have needed someone to hold space for me.

I learned fairly quickly the person I chose to be my confidant had to have some qualifications: they had to possess the ability to refrain from passing judgment on me (though an occasional eyebrow raise might have been permitted if the story truly warranted it–they’re human), they had to grant me the freedom to express myself with any and all emotions (if they can’t handle me at my snot and tear stained face, they don’t deserve me at my glowing elated face), they had to listen without going rogue and trying to figure out a solution for me, because holding space is about providing support, not trying to “fix” things or find answers (those are my responsibility), and they had to allow me to talk (or not talk) without feeling expected to do anything else. Despite this laundry list of demands, I came to trust a few people with this role.

Why do we need an outlet like this? What is it about exposing our true selves to another that helps us abandon our internal narratives for a while? Maybe we are organically releasing some of the weight of our burdens, and maybe that release creates room for relief, however brief. Maybe sometimes we just want to feel heard.

Our problems or struggles may not vanish, but by sharing with someone willing to listen we are granting ourselves permission to let go a little. Sharing a small part of our genuine selves with confidence is priceless, and having someone willing to accompany you without judgment is a gift. Each time someone in my life graces me with the opportunity to free myself of my challenges for a short while,  I see them as a lighthouse in the middle of a storm. They are a beacon for me when things feel like they’re falling apart.

The act of holding space for someone is one of true kindness and compassion. Allowing a person to become vulnerable in your presence, whether they choose to actually speak their mind or not, is a significant responsibility.

Can you hear their words without injecting your own opinions? Can you sit with them and simply let them feel? Can you bear witness to a small piece of their journey without asking for anything in return?

Try. Someone will be grateful you did.

 

 

 

Quest for the Press

I am someone who enjoys a good challenge, and by “enjoy” I mean practically destroy myself in the process of trying to achieve success. Exhibit A: my brief but unbelievably intense obsession with press handstands.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “press handstand” just means that rather than kicking up to get yourself vertical, you lift your lower body off the ground like magic using mainly core and arm strength. When I first discovered this practice, I quite literally thought I was witnessing some sort of dark sorcery. I could not fathom that it was possible for a human body to just float on up like that. Thus, my obsession began.

Continue reading “Quest for the Press”

Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies

In early 2015 I was a stay at home mom to a beautiful 8 month old child, with a growing desire for some kind of creative outlet. Now that I’ve said that the nice way, let me rephrase that and tell you that I was practically ripping my hair out with wild, dangerous eyes searching for something, ANYTHING, to give me a connection to the outside world. It was a long winter spent mostly indoors; the snow that year was unbelievable and we were one of the lucky folks who had to deal with the aftermath of an ice dam on our roof. I was keeping myself busy with all the never-ending tasks that come with motherhood and homemaking, but I was desperate to do something for myself (it would be another 6 months before the opportunity to purchase The Healing Center came around). So I started a blog. Continue reading “Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies”

Space: Creating It

At the end of last year (is it just me or does it always feel weird to call it “last year” when it was only a few days ago?) I felt the theme of “creating space” arrive in my life. Or, more accurately, I belatedly acknowledged its relentless presence. It had presented itself to me over and over in different ways for months, maybe even years, until I eventually managed to connect the dots (at which point the Universe was probably thinking “ugh, FINALLY.”)

Continue reading “Space: Creating It”

200 Hours Later

Picture a golden glow, with obnoxious yet glorious rays shining in every direction directly out of my face. That is how I felt as I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I spent 10 months immersing myself in all things yoga, and I finally reached the end of that chapter and I felt RADIANT. I still do. I have been struggling to write this post for months, purely because I don’t know where to begin. So much happened in this training and I am still absorbing it all, even now. Continue reading “200 Hours Later”

How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

You get a jar, and YOU get a jar…

EVERYBODY GETS A JAR.

Disclaimer: this post is a bit of a far cry from what I usually write about, though its still rooted in the ideas of cleansing and mindfulness. It’s not about Reiki. It’s not about Yoga.

It’s about putting things in jars.

Okay, correction: it’s about putting EVERYTHING in jars. If you have already rolled your eyes and decided this clearly is not what you are into, then hear me out. I have cherries in a jar in my fridge right now that are perfectly sweet, with just the right amount of bite to them. They taste extremely fresh… and I bought them over three weeks ago.

Three. Weeks.

That is why I wanted to write about this, because I, personally, am someone who buys grapes or those expensive organic cherries for an arm and a leg and then only manage to eat five before they’re destined for the compost. Yet, here I am. Enjoying those ridiculously priced cherries to the very last one. All because I put them in a mason jar.

I have been putting dried goods in jars for years (please enjoy the photo below of my prized pantry from 2015 as proof) but it never occurred to me that the same principle could be applied to produce. I happened upon the Instagram page of @brownkids and learned of TheJarMethod that they created. After reading about how long they made their food last, and how much money it saved them, I was immediately on board.

 

How Jarring Produce Created Less Stress in My Life

 

I am always in search of new ways to make my life feel less cluttered and less stressful (both physically and mentally). I definitely cannot label my home as truly “minimalist”, but that’s the ideology that I tend to lean toward. I value order and organization, and the more complicated a space appears, the more stress and lack of control I feel. I learned early on that it’s not enough for me to just do massive cleaning/rearranging sprees every month or so to feel centered and chaos-free; I have to implement systems and consistently maintain them.

Some of what I do these days stemmed from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2015. If you haven’t heard of this book, in a nutshell consider it an interesting approach to clearing out all that does not serve you in your life (at least in terms of physical possessions). Some ideas that have stuck with me are seemingly simple ones, but they have had a lasting impact. For example, I remove all of the little sticky labels from all of my produce as soon as I get home. Oddly enough, that small act creates a little bit of calm. Seeing bananas in the basket just looking like bananas, without the visual clutter of barcodes or brand names, somehow elicits a peaceful feeling within me. Following that same vein, I remove strawberries and blueberries from their plastic containers, and scallions and spinach from their bags. After they’ve all been washed and patted dry, I put them all in their own jars and then they find their home in the fridge. I chop up the scallions first, but other than that it’s a pretty straightforward process. This is my course of action for ALL produce now. Lettuce: jar. Medjool dates: jar. Tomatoes: jar. Everything gets a jar (I wasn’t kidding).

How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

Aside from the fact that I am saving my family money and creating less food waste by keeping our food fresh longer, I also just like that I can see all of our food so clearly. Less distractions = less ugly in the fridge. Less ugly in the fridge = more room for happiness. How much more cleansing can something get?

Marie Kondo tells us in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that we should remove things from our lives that do not bring us joy. It’s easy to apply that idea to things like a wardrobe or old knick-knacks, but who knew it would have just as strong as an effect on food packaging?!

Taking part in this new routine has really reignited my belief that small acts of mindfulness can restore us in ways we didn’t even realize we needed. Am I a stress-free, radiant, homemaker goddess as a result of this? Perhaps not (yet), but the difference it has made in my life is undeniable.

What small acts are you willing to do to create less chaos in your own life?

 

How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

Recharge (with Style)

Let’s try an experiment.

I want you to look at the word I’m about to write, and take note of what first comes to mind when you see it. Ready? 

This magical word is: self-care

What did you see? Did you envision yourself getting a pedicure, reading a book in the bath with lit candles around it, or maybe getting a luxurious massage? In this day and age, the term “self-care” is often synonymous only with activities such as those…but why?! Those are all fantastic examples of self-care (I would practically kill for some alone time to read a book without constant interruption), but let’s not forget that tending to the needs of your body and mind can also just mean closing the bathroom door on your kid so you can pee in peace for once, or choosing not to answer any of those 57 emails until tomorrow when you’re ready to, or even as simple as taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day, the act of taking care of ourselves comes in many shapes and forms. It’s about creating a sacred space for you to cultivate healing of your mind, body and soul, whatever that may look like.
Continue reading “Recharge (with Style)”

5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice

Once upon a time, I had a bright pink yoga mat that I got for free while working at a rehab hospital. It had some prescription drug’s name emblazoned on it, it was flimsy, and it was pretty horrendous as far as grip goes.

That was my first mat, ever.

The hospital I was working as a rehab aide at offered a free yoga class on Thursdays for the staff and, every week that I could, I put that crappy mat to good use. That was many years ago, and since then I’ve added a few things to my practice (and gotten a more quality mat). I thought I’d share what I use, and how I use them. Just FYI, I’m not getting any sort of perks whatsoever for posting any of this. That would be nice, though. Continue reading “5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice”

The Countdown

I am a note taker. I am constantly, CONSTANTLY, writing myself notes or creating “to-do” lists (of important tasks for a particular day, or goals I hope to reach but with no set due date). The first weekend of May was the second to last one of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and a couple of my classmates were unable to attend. One of them reached out to me and asked if I’d share my notes with her afterward, so at the end of the day on both Saturday and Sunday I happily wrote out a lengthy email full of information I had managed to hurriedly jot down in between poses. Seeing all of it typed out like that, with any gaps being filled in by my own perspective or understanding on the topics, made me realize that this is actually happening. I am VERY close to being certified to teach people yoga, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Continue reading “The Countdown”

Santosha

How do you view your life right now?

What words would you use to sum up an average day?


 

When speaking to a dear friend of mine recently, I marveled at his life with his husband and used the term “exciting” to describe it. He was so quick to refute that! He, instead, offered the word “boring”.  I argued back, stating that no, in fact, it was MY life that lacked intrigue. Is this what it’s like, being an adult these days? Competing to see whose life is the most dull?!

Continue reading “Santosha”