Expectations

When you wake up in the morning you begin your day with an expectation. It may be positive, it may be negative. I tend to start with an optimistic approach. I wake up expecting my day to be good. I expect to get to work on time (wasn’t the case today), I expect to make it through the day with minimal negativity. I expect to make it through the day.

We expect to excel in our jobs and to make enough money to pay our bills. So many expectations and they are constantly changing.  It is rare to focus specifically on your expectations, it tends to be just habit based on how you were raised or what you were taught in school. Your expectations could derive from how someone treated you, good or bad.

I am constantly thinking about my expectations. I have been single for almost two years and I recently began thinking that maybe my expectations are too high. Is that possible? Do we sometimes expect more than we deserve, or is it good that we do this so we don’t just settle? In the past I have just settled. I let myself become the other person and I didn’t listen to my own thoughts and feelings. We are expected to compromise in a relationship, but how much is too much before you completely step away from your self?

I have reflected on what I have been through in the past and I have decided it is better to have your own high expectations and to not settle outside of that. Relationships are best when you keep true to yourself. It allows you to be yourself within the relationship and it will allow for continued happiness. One of my favorite quotes I came across says “You know a relationship is right for you, it will enhance your life, not complicate it.” The truth is by having expectations you allow your self to live your happy.  Many of our emotions derive from our expectations. It is what makes us human each and everyday.  Without expectations life would be dull, people would be less happy and we would all settle for less than what we want.  Sometimes expectations can be negative. We can expect to always lose, always be last, or always be alone. But that is a complete mindset that certain people put on themselves. Changing your expectations towards positive ones can change your life. Expect to be happy. Expect the best.

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?

 

Content through Him

For years I have been in the search to become whole. I will admit that I look strong on the outside, I may even come off strong when you speak with me about my past, but when it comes down to it I am still in pain with things of the past. I have always been in search of finding the pieces to fill the voids I feel, but always come up feeling empty. I have been afraid to admit it and quite frankly I have been afraid to give in to God as so many have suggested.

Finally a little less than a year ago, I gave in. It has been hard to fully allow God into my life, as a matter of fact I can say He still isn’t fully a part of me. But what is important is that I am letting him become the number one in my life. For years I have been afraid to go to church. I feared people would judge or criticize, and ya know some have. When it comes down to it I have had to do what is best for me. My approach on things has changed because I think of God first, plus I look to him for answers to decisions I can’t quite make on my own.  He is starting to fill the void in my life and I am ever so gracious for it.

The hardest part for me has been walking into Church alone. It’s kind of like going to a movie alone, I feel like people will look at me funny. But actually it has made me feel like a stronger person. I made the leap this year to live on my own, completely, no roommates. I am finding such an immense amount of independence from it as well as a feeling of being content with myself, a feeling I have never fully felt before.  I thought I would feel alone, but really the alone time has been so good for me. I am embracing every moment and finding joy in my quiet time. I even find that I try to spend some of this time with God. I read about him, and how he works in my life. I found taking time to read no matter what it is that I am reading has been much more fulfilling to me than the time in the past I spent watching TV. I am on my my way to feeling less empty. I still find times that I hurt inside from my past, but I am using God’s power and my own yoga practice as a way to steer quickly away from those feelings. Each day is a continued blessing, I am happy I am on this journey. I’m living in the present time, embracing every moment and taking life one step at a time.

Self

In teacher training I learned a lot about Self discovery, that’s right Self, not self. Capital S means a connection with your true being, really understanding and knowing your true Self. I have had many Self moments lately. Last weekend I taught a free class at the St. Paul Union Depot to an amazing amount of new and seasoned yogis. It was an incredible experience to say the least (an experience I was honored to have, and experience where I was able to connect with my Self).

I had a woman come up to me after class and she told me the last time she was at the depot she was a little girl and she was with her mother who had since passed away. She remembered being there shopping with her mom. She began to tear up a little and said that during class she felt her mothers presence with her. It was a feeling of comfort and being in the moment that she had never felt on her mat until that exact moment. As an instructor it was a great story to hear and I was more than honored she shared it with me.

I have had many of my own moments over the last couple months. They have allowed me to let go and find my Self. With that I am starting to make many changes, one being my blog. I will still be writing, but my focus will be changing slightly. My goal is to bring the everyday things that create happiness in my life to my blog, in hopes it will send a new idea, challenge or happiness into your life. The big addition will be food! Yes, I love food. I think this is a hidden talent of mine that I don’t share nearly enough. So stay tuned for fun recipes that I usually just randomly throw together, and yes they randomly taste amazing!

xoxo

C

Be Still

Stop…… Just for a moment.

How difficult was that for you? How often are you just still? It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it can be the most powerful feeling.

This is how I end my classes. I tell my yoga students “be still just for a moment, give your body and your mind one minute of quiet, of silence, of stillness.” This can be really hard to do. I can tell which students are truly there in stillness and others that fight the quiet. To be still is completely rewarding for your body. It helps you recover, giving every muscle a little break. It also helps to give you that restart we often need in our chaotic lives.

I have noticed many teachers say this to their students. I am sure I picked it up from my training or my peers at some point because really it’s the most refreshing feeling that you have when you come out of that stillness.

I encourage you to find stillness with in your own body. Give yourself at least one minute, whether it is at the end of a workout or just sitting at your desk. Encourage yourself to be still. Let it help you to let go, to be refreshed.

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/

Santosha

We all go through changes or transitions in life. Sometimes by choice, other times because life moves us towards those changes. In the next two weeks I am beginning a new phase in my life, “living on my own”. No roommates, no significant others, no family, just me.  This is a HUGE step for me. I have always lived with someone, whether it was my parents, my college roommate, my ex boyfriend or a friend, I have always had someone around. I’ve always had company. I used to hate being alone. If I was alone I wanted interaction whether it was a phone call, texting or having the TV on; I needed interaction. It is (or was) certainly one of my weaknesses. Although my ability to be social may be a strength, my ability to not be content while alone was by far one of my greatest weaknesses.

I am finding either with age or with the practice of yoga I am now in greater need of alone time. I am finding myself to be very content on my own. Which is why I am very excited for the next chapter.

Yes, it is unbelievably scary! There are no more bills to split. There is no one to sit and chat with or to randomly decide to have a night out with on a whim, just because you are both home and have nothing else to do. But on a bigger token, it is so exciting. I never thought I’d see the day that I would live all alone. I never thought the idea would excite me, but it certainly does. I am in an amazing part of my life where I honestly feel content. Yes there are still things missing, like that special someone I hope to meet one day and begin an amazing family with. With time that will come. For now I am blessed with finding an amazing new path in life. Each day I find that I am more and more thankful for coming across such an amazing yoga community. The people alone, fellow yogis, teachers and students alike are AMAZING! Every being has their own story. They are all at a different place in their journey, and that is what is so great about where I feel I am at in my life right now.

I am on this journey of Santosha. One of Pantajali’s Niyama’s. Santosha means contentment or satisfaction. I often find myself feeling so content lately. With this I have found that I am letting go of more. I watch less TV, I shop less, I want less in my closet and in my home (yes I keep letting go of the clothes and things I should have gotten rid of YEARS ago!).  It is funny that I even eat less, because I don’t feel like I need to “feed” myself extra to feel okay.  I also find myself feeling okay when I am home on a friday night, alone (eeek).  The idea of this used to scare me, and yes I still have my moments where I wish I had something to do, but after I get through all those emotions and let go of the  feeling of being alone I begin to feel content and let go of the need to be in a social environment. I embrace the time to watch a movie, go to bed early, actually get good sleep. The things we so often stray from in our twenties, I am finally embracing.

Feeling content takes time. It comes and goes and some days are easier than others. I try not to attach to the emotion I feel when I can’t find Santosha, because I know that there are times that we can’t control.  Life is a journey that changes daily. My life six years ago was drastically different than it is now. I have gone through more changes than I could even begin to track within the last six years. I am proud of where I am going, and I am excited for what is yet to come. I am living in the moment, staying present. Looking forward to the next step! 🙂

Choices

Everyday we have a choice in what we do, how we think, how we behave. Sometimes those choices we make are good, sometimes they are bad. At times we get caught up in the pity party and we start making bad decisions that can end up with negative results. What does it take to recover from that? I always hear how times are tough, but I believe it is what you make of it.

I have never been happier. I have been making a lot of choices lately with in my life. Cutting out the negative, keeping the positive and hopefully pushing the optimism on others. So many people choose to reflect on the negative. Turn on the news any given night. This world is in a bad place right now. We can make the choice to change that. We can make better choices to better ourselves, to better those around us and to better the life we lead and the world we live in.

There are so many traps to fall into. Drugs, Alcohol, Crime, Retail Therapy (oh yea, that used to be my number one).  We let these things control us, and they can lead to us making bad choices. So the question is how to make the choice to change? Does something have to happen first, or can we do it on our own?

You might look at my life and think it is all happy and perfect. But it’s not. There is a lot in my life that I would love to change. Each day I continue to make choices for the betterment of myself and those around me. Lately I may be viewed as selfish because I do make more time for me, but I think it’s just self development, time with myself that I rarely have taken in the past. I am finding the person that I am supposed to be, and I am making changes to move towards the person I was on this earth to be.

Don’t let anyone makes choices for you. Make choices to better your own life. If you don’t like your life the way it is, be your own voice of change. Set out to create the life you want.