The News stole Christmas

I keep thinking I am the Grinch this year. I haven’t been in the Christmas spirit at all. When I think about it I realize I am not in the Christmas spirit in the sense of shopping and buying gifts, but when I really reflect I am in the Christmas spirit in the sense of wanting to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.
The true meaning of Christmas is love. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

How can we love when the news is showing nothing but hate, violence, death? It’s making it very hard to love the world and the people in it.

I’ve been really trying to understand the hate and violence towards different races, towards authority, towards family, towards friends. In my own opinion acts of violence come from self insecurities. Thinking you’ll feel better if someone else is hurting. But really I feel best when I’ve helped others be happy. Can’t others do the same?

To celebrate Christmas this year I will be cherishing time with my friends, time with my family, time with my yoga students. Giving love to not just others, but self love. Being positive towards myself and in turn sending positive happy vibes to others so they can do the same. I have had so many amazing experiences this year. Trip of a lifetime to South Africa and Malawi. Meeting so many amazing people who live life so simply, who through poverty keep the biggest brightest smile on their face. I took a huge leap of faith this year by quitting a job I was in for 12 years, and I landed quite nicely at a place that has made me feel very welcome. I have been here for just short of 2 months, but I have built incredible relationships, grown as a person and have been challenged out of my comfort zone. I look forward to what the coming months and years bring with this change.

I don’t want to turn my back to what is going on in this world, but I do for the next few days want to truly reflect on the real reason for the season. I am grateful for so much and so many. Merry Christmas.

africa

I encourage you to write down 5 reasons to be happy and love. Mine are:

1. God and the love he provides even when i’m feeling down.

2. Family and the life I share with them through tough times and happy times.

3. Friends and the support, encouragement and laughs they provide.

4. The jobs I have and love so much, the support of co-workers, clients, students and all they give each day.

5. The past year and how my eyes have opened to a different part of the world.

Intention

Intentions. We all have them. Good ones, bad ones and sometimes we don’t even really acknowledge what our intention is right away. I never really thought about intentions until I was told to in yoga class. “Close your eyes, take a moment to set your intention for your practice.”  I also never knew how powerful this moment was until I really started to set intentions for my practice. I remember the first time I really felt an effect from it. I was in a class where the teacher told us to set our intention, generally the cue is to set it for someone who needs extra energy, even if that person is you. This time the teacher told us to set our intention towards someone that we thought negatively about, or someone we were mad at. In the 2 seconds I had to process that, I thought, “this is interesting.” I did it though. I set my intention for someone who was constantly on my mind, but not in a positive way. Someone who often made me upset. I set my energy towards that person in class, I was surprised by the results. After sixty minutes of sun A’s, sun B’s, standing, balancing, twisting, inverting and stretching I found myself completely light in my final savasana.

What I thought was sweat dripping down my face were tears. I was letting go. I felt so light and not angry at this person anymore. I felt content. It was the most amazing feeling. I kept with this trend my next few practices and each time I felt lighter and lighter, I let go more and more. I repeat, It was the most amazing feeling. I started to focus on my intentions more after this.

Not only did I set my intentions with greater focus, but I started making every movement with intention too. I started actually using my breath to guide my practice. The connection with intention became a big part of my practice. I had already completed sculpt teacher training, and my intention going into that training was to teach. I found after sculpt training I had a deeper connection with my practice, not necessarily ready to teach, but I loved what I was discovering about myself. This is when I had my moment of actually setting an intention in my class. It made me hungry for more self discovery, I finally saw the power of my yoga practice, not just the physical side of it. That is when I stepped into 200 hour power teacher training. This time my intention was different. I went into power training to learn more about the practice itself, more about who I am in this world and just maybe I would come out a teacher, but teaching was not my intent going in this time.

This training was emotional. It stirred up a lot of past feelings that have been burrowed for so long. Training allowed me to connect with other people that had similar pain, it allowed me/us to let go and be free of the past. We were able to make a connection with the present and move forward with intent.

I have now been teaching for just over a year and I am about to dive into another 200 hour teacher training. This time for hot yoga. My intention is much different this time. It is inevitable that I will continue to have self discovery in this training, but I also want to soak up every ounce of information I can on postures and the connection to our body and how the posture influences change or detoxification for our body.  Coming into this training as a teacher and knowing the classroom environment will give me a much different perspective this time. My goal is to fully immerse myself in training and utilize my vinyasa teacher voice to make my hot teacher voice come through earlier than it did in past training.

Power teacher training changed my life. It changed my perspective on many aspects of life and has allowed me to grow spiritually, emotionally and physically. Throwing yourself into something challenging, something that you may even fear is how you allow yourself to grow. Going in with an intention gives you a guide of what your objective is. It may change slightly, but it keeps you on track and gives you purpose. Find your intention. Move forward with intent. Do all with intention.

Addiction

ad·dic·tion

 

: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)

: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

 

We all have one. Whether we can admit it or not. I have many. Fortunately for me they don’t involve drugs of any sort. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t bad addictions. I have for a long time struggled with a spending addiction. I like to shop, and my closet and dresser proves it. This is an addiction that got worse through heartbreak. I did not turn to drugs or alcohol (in a sense that I could control whether I drank or not), but I did turn to malls. New clothes made me feel better about myself. (Can you relate?)  Over time I did develop other addictions too. Social media has been a huge addiction for me. Facebook for some reason can keep me so captivated to the point I lose interest in other things. Sometimes I find I can’t even concentrate on a TV show or movie because I might miss a status or update. Too many conversations include “oh yea, I saw that on facebook”. We as a society are starting to lose personal connection with our friends and family over this. How often do you call an old friend to see what is new in their life or how they are doing, you see it on facebook so you already know right?  Wrong!

I always laugh when people comment how great my life is, and how well I look like I am doing. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a great life and I love what I am creating, and I love who surrounds me. But on the other end, I do get sad, I do feel like I’ve failed and I do feel lonely, I just don’t share it on facebook. I hate putting forth negativity, so I just don’t. Truth be told I have deleted a few friends because of their continuous negative updates.

So yes, I know, I post a ton. I post pictures everyday. I love to speak through picture. We only have one life so we might as well capture it and remember it. But I have decided to keep this a little more private, or should I say a little less on facebook. I have decided that facebook has become my latest addiction and I just want to cut it, cold turkey. I cut it for a while weekend once, and it was easier than I thought so now I am challenging myself to give it up for a longer period of time. Starting today, October 1st, I am going to focus on more important things in my life and less on social media. I have decided I will stay active on my twitter and instagram account and I would like to focus on my blog much more, but I am cutting facebook. This will be a tough challenge for me. I can’t tell you how many times I pick up my phone and go through my facebook newsfeed. Such a time waster.

My decision couldn’t come at a better time. I am starting hot yoga teacher training soon which means my mind is going to be filling with so much new information that I am ecstatic to learn about, so I want my attention to be 100% focused on training. I also want to take my time away from facebook to continue to focus on who I am, who I want to be and I want to get back to my real relationships with my friends. Actual voice time, actual face time. I want to take the “I saw that on facebook” out of my sentences. (I might need to cut pinterest cold turkey too)

I am looking to gain a positive experience from this. I am looking to cut the addiction. Facebook rehab I’ll call it. So please continue to check out my blog and if you are on twitter or Instagram I always love new followers 🙂  twitter – @iamcailee  or Instagram – caileelee.

 

 

 

 

 

When life gives you a {__________}, how will you use it?

11 years ago I was given a yoga mat. It came from my mother. I decided to take one of her yoga classes she taught. Yoga was just starting to become a fitness go to, and I was a mere 17 years old, just trying something my mom was doing.  My mom has been in the fitness world for over 30 years, so as much as she thinks I don’t, I look at her for guidance with health and nutrition.  I remember my first class, I remember my first downward dog, I remember feeling so weak. My mind raced, it was not still, it was not calm. It had plans, events, thoughts, worries, pain, happiness, all rolling through at once. I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t breathing, I was judging. How was that lady next to me (twice my age) holding this dang downward dog. I wanted to collapse, I wanted to run out. I didn’t like yoga.

But, I kept going. It got better. I could hold longer. I realized I wasn’t breathing. I noticed I was holding on too much in my upper body. I wasn’t using my bodies strength equally. I wasn’t using my core. I remember the first time I had a quiet mind in yoga. It was the first time I really felt the benefit of the practice, it was the first time I let go of the judgement that surrounded me.

I took a long break from yoga once I went to college. My mom continued to teach. I would make it to classes every so often, but it wasn’t part of my routine. I was too busy and didn’t think it was important enough to keep in my life. I kept lifting, playing hockey and I added running to my workout routine.  Running started to become a bigger part of my routine. It started with friend asking me to do a 5k, then a 10k, before I knew it I was running several half marathons and 10 miles races. My body was starting to feel it, and it needed something more, something different from all the running. My friend suggested yoga, so I decided to join her. This was just over two years ago, and I sit here today with just under a year of teaching experience. Walking into the yoga studio 2 years ago, once again grabbing my mat has made a world of a difference in my life. I have transformed personally in so many ways. I have grown into my own skin. I have decided to use my mat as my “getaway” and also as a tool to evolve into a teacher of the practice.

Life hands us many things. We all use what we are given differently. I chose to take my practice deeper and it has given me a new perspective in life. I have spoken with many people that want to try yoga, but there is a tiny bit of fear keeping them from the studio. I encourage you to eliminate that fear, step into a studio, challenge your fear. Maybe it’s not yoga for you. Maybe it is school or a new job, or maybe just a life goal you have set. When life hands you {_______},  how you will use it?

 

Tattoo

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.


Why this tattoo? This is what it means to me: 

I will begin by crediting Miss Lindsey Wells. Over a year ago I received a text message from her that simply said “2 Corinthians 12:9, I just read it and you came to my mind.”  I read her text and quickly went to the internet to find out what 2 Corinthians 12:9 could be. I read it several times trying to make sense of it. 

I was just re-opening my relationship again with God and as usual I needed more explanation to help me understand what the bible was telling me. So I googled “What does 2 Corinthians 12:9 mean” This is what I found: It means that the grace of God is all that is needed by any person. It alone saves a person from the consequences of their sins. It alone provides the abundant life for each believer. The person does not ever need to do anything except accept the gift of God’s grace.

This definition sunk in right away. It spoke to the emptiness I was feeling and the need for something in my life that I wasn’t able to find. It made me realize that finding my relationship with God was the right step to make. That He could fill that empty space, the feeling of loneliness, temptation, sin, He could fill that hole in my heart. Powerful feeling. 

What I had been missing was Him. Not a relationship with friends, family or a significant other. My emptiness was the lack of accepting God in my life. By opening up and letting Him in I can allow myself to be saved from the loneliness, I can be given power through my weakness by letting Him guide me.

Shortly after I started looking at this verse I stepped back into church. My friend Laura invited me to Eagle Brook Church. I had heard so much about EBC, but I had never attended. My first service I was hooked! I continued to go back with Laura and finally I began going on my own if she couldn’t make it. The series in January “Losing our Buts” was so powerful. Every week they talked about topics that 100% spoke right to me. They even followed suit with 2 Corinthians 12:9 and the feeling this gave me. Wow. I was just amazed at the power I felt after leaving services. I actually left many services and I would get in my car and cry because I was so overcome by happiness and grace. 

February 16th, shortly after the “Losing our Buts” series I was off to Hawaii for 2 weeks. Life was going so well I was feeling so blessed with my new relationship with God and my opportunity to spend so much time on vacation. On the way to the airport my mom handed me a devotional book and told me to read today’s passage: 

Feb 16

Fitting Right…….”Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.” I was about to spend 9 hours on a plane (not including airport/layover time).  But what hit me most about the passage of the day was the bible verse they refer to, 2 Corinthians 12:9. Yes right there, on the day I leave to Hawaii I see this same bible verse that has made such a presence in my life recently.  Little did I know how much I would need God during my trip.   

Halfway through my trip I found out a friend back home died. I was 4,000 miles from home grieving his loss and finding myself to be very weak. I needed the strength of God to help me answer the questions of “why?” and to help me figure out how to get through the pain and heartbreak I was feeling. It was His power that helped me through. It is his power today that is still helping me take each step and realize the power that is behind His words that can help me live this life I have been given. 

This is why I got the tattoo. This verse reminds me that when I am feeling weak I can turn to God and I can let him help me through it. His grace is enough. 

I know I got pretty deep (and long winded) on what this tattoo means to me. But for those of you who were curious, here it is! 

The link below is one of my favorite messages from EBC during their “Losing our buts” series.  Check it out! 
http://eaglebrookchurch.com/media-resources/weekend-messages/i-just-cant-stop/

Yoga is Love

What I love about yoga….Every time you come to your mat it’s different. Some days your body can move into every posture with ease and grace, and others it feels like you are working extra hard to get there. Yesterday in the vinyasa power yoga class I took there was a lot of hip opening and boy did I need it! I also got into headstand for the first time that it actually felt completely right in my body. It’s amazing that one tiny adjustment like moving my elbows closer together can make a world of difference in finding your strength for the posture. I was pretty excited I got into the posture even though I did have some assistance from the instructor (she didn’t let me fall forward!), but I went home and tried it again and what do you know I popped right into it! This pose has been challenging me for quite some time. Getting into it finally just means, I’m on to the next inversion! Handstand maybe??

That’s the beauty of yoga. There is always somewhere new to go. Even the poses that you may have “perfected” can be challenging from time to time. Each day should just be taken for what it is. Each day will be different. But each day will bring a new calm to your mind, a new energy to your soul.  It gives you that feel good and happiness you crave in life. That is why so many people keep coming back to their mat.

Allow the challenge to consume you, allow your body to be stretched further. Come to your mat with santosha or contentment. Be satisfied with your practice each time, whether it’s your first time on the mat, or your 1,000th. Yoga is called a practice for a reason. You continue to come to your mat with non-judgement and a new result each day. I love yoga because I love the changes I see within myself daily because of my own practice. Every journey is different. Find your love for yoga 🙂