This girl loves…summer break.

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A different point of view.

What I did on my summer vacation, a clichéd topic for back to school.  This summer was a summer of moments leading up to a change in my point of view.

The summer began gazing into the deep canyon formed by the mighty Colorado, aka The Grand Canyon.  Gazing out into the vast unknown provided the platform that would be my summer.  Emptiness filled my soul for months after suffering the loss of my beloved Bagel.  My heart felt much like that vast Canyon, empty and unexplored.

As the weeks passed, it soon began to fill.

Yoga breaths sent peace to the parts of my body aching.  Each breath taken showed my body that it was possible to heal.  With yoga and traveling I was able to restore a sense of my former self.

The waves of the churning Pacific acted as arms, reaching out and removing stresses deeply rooted in my bones.  The carefree dipping of my toes in the cold, salty sea cleansed my muscles, relieving the tension mounting for months.  The flavors of the California cuisine filled my taste buds, increasing this hunger for life I had forgotten existed.

In Utah, Shakespeare’s words floated through my mind, finally filling it with something other than pain.  The sounds of actors reciting poetry of Sondheim and Austen filled my eyes with tears of happiness instead of tears of sadness.   The sound and smell of rain washed away the old, making way for the new.   Laughter filled my lungs, purifying my spirit.

Honking horns and the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip took to me to another place and time, where I did not exist but for that one moment.  The lights of the city blinded my eyes to the cold, hard reality of life.  Crisp sheets and soft pillows greeted my tired body, restoring peace and serenity once again.

Friends and family, with listening ears and open hearts, made the final adjustments to this new point of view.

Life is a guest house as Rumi says and one must be open to all (even that which scares us most) in order to make room for the goodness life has in store for us.  I am ready to greet that which comes into my life with a warm smile and a hot cup of tea.

 

 

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This girl loves…healing.

Yoga--good for the soul

Yoga–good for the soul

My brother asked me how I was feeling today and I answered honestly, healed.  I feel like I am finally healing.

Each week for the past four weeks I have been practicing yoga.  This idea of breathing has really resonated with me.  To most, breathing is something we do without thinking.  It’s done with automaticity.  That’s a good thing, for otherwise, we would die.  For that automaticity, I am truly grateful.  But I’m also grateful for this newfound ability of “learning to breathe”.

With each movement in yoga we are encouraged to inhale and exhale.  Breathing in and out when I am supposed to has been a struggle.  That is, until today.

When I started yoga four weeks ago, I paired it with a nighttime meditation class.  My body did not care for this, or rather, my mind did not.  For it was in this meditation that I experienced so much anxiety and fear.  I found my breath and tried to breathe into this anxiety, calming myself from the inside out.  It seemed to work but from that point on I was filled with fear that it would happen again.  Each time that fear crept up I breathed into it.  Slowly, I learned to quiet my mind and listen to my body.  I decided that meditation, at this point, was too much for my body and I decided to just stick with yoga.  Yoga, I decided, just made me feel good from the tips of my toes to the ends of my ears.

So each week I have practiced at the same studio with the same instructors.  Each week I’ve learned something new about my body and, by extension, myself.  Last week I learned half pigeon pose, a pose that gave me more trouble than I thought it was worth.  Though, once conquered I knew and felt its importance.   The week before that I learned about my own flexibility.  I reminded my muscles that they could, at one time, stretch to their fullest.  I knew that if I could do it before, I could do it again.  I literally watched myself become increasingly more flexible as the class went on.  By the time the hour was up, I was able to grasp my feet firmly, while letting my hips go loose, in happy baby pose.  It was a fiercely emotional experience, one I smiled through.

This week was the ultimate breakthrough though because his week, I learned how to breathe.

In today’s session, my instructor told us to listen to our bodies, find our breath, and move our bodies in sync.  She said to pay close attention to what our body was telling us.  She told us to listen to our body and to move with that knowledge in mind.  For the first time, downward dog didn’t feel like a strain.  It felt natural.

As I was leaving yoga I thanked my instructor for such a meaningful class.  She said, “It’s all you.”  I loved how it was all brought back to me because if I can learn about myself then I can heal myself.  I can learn to breathe through the pain of losses and I can learn to breathe through the joy of gains.  It reminds me of the quote that “this too shall pass”.  What makes us happiest will eventually pass and what makes us sad will also pass.  We only need but to breathe.

 

This girl loves…lightness of life.

Life

Life lightening.

Life has been trying lately.  The passing of my dog still sits at the forefront of my mind most of the time, sometimes hitting me so hard that I gasp for air.  I miss him wholly and completely.  His loss is palpable.

But, there’s hope.  There’s happiness.  There is a lightening of life.

Lightness has taken many different forms.

Some lightness I’ve found in children’s books like A Snicker of Magic.  Some in light-hearted fiction like From Notting Hill to New York…Actually.  And some in seriously beautiful literature like The Hundred-Foot Journey.   In each of these stories I’ve found lightness.  In Snicker, it was Felicity’s hopefulness.  In Notting Hill, it was Scarlett’s kindness.  And in Journey, it was Hassan’s passion.  With each book read I’ve noticed little pieces of my heart being returned to me.

And it’s not just the stories illuminating the darkness.  Oh no, it’s so much more.

It’s the lightness I’ve found in tending to my plants, watching their slow growth.  It’s in the air I breathe each day as I gaze out at my grassy lawn.  It’s in the drops of dew I lift from a newly ripened strawberry.

It’s the lightness I’ve found in cooking.  With each slice and garnish I’ve lighted my way.  And with each bite, I’ve savored the flavors as they’ve filled my mouth.

It’s the lightness I’ve found in yoga.  I’ve found my center, my breath, and my soul.  I’m learning to breathe into myself.  I’m learning to listen to my body more and my mind less.

It is interesting how light, once illuminated, spreads. I know that “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

I’m learning to turn on the light.  For, it is this lightness that fulfills me.