Saturday, November 26, 2011

Moon Shine

Yesterday morning I logged into this livemag site at "Yoga Journal",, and was blown away by the beauty of the practice called "Moon Shine". It's the sister to Sun Salutation, but it is meant to be done in the evening or when your energy is low, and you just can't muster up the strength and courage to do the heat-building Sun Salutation.

Shiva Rea demonstrates this sensual practice and it flows just like the name says--can't think of a name better than Moon Shine.

What I liked most about this practice is that it is accessible to EVERYONE, not just the athletic yogi types. I began this practice yesterday morning and felt my endorphins soar. Wow! This was so beautifully gentle. I can only imagine what it will feel like to do this everyday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Healing Story

It's funny how immersed I can become in my emotions that I can't see the forest for the trees. I have been mourning (hard!) the fact that I have not achieved my National Boards, yet again, and told myself that it means nothing. I and guess in some ways that is true. I had to allow myself time to grieve (BTW, I'm a fast griever!) before I could move forward.

Well, last night I was at my youngest son's karate class and an email from one of my mentors came back to me. She said I'm as close to achieving as one assessment center test. So after I got home, I check the assessment calculator to see what I'd need to get on the one subtest, and it turns out that I only need .2 to achieve. So immediately, I got out my credit card and signed up! I had such a rush of joy. Weird, I know, but my ego really dominates me sometimes.

So, I'm going to study my ass off, take the test, and next November I'm going to find out that I achieved my National Boards! Oh, yes I will!!! I feel it in my bones!

I need to thank my friends and colleagues for allowing me to grieve and not pushing me into taking the test. I needed to find the courage on my own. (Thanks Jen and Lauren!)

All of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Eat lots and be merry!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Day of Miracles

Yesterday started out with the disappointing results of my National Boards. But Spirit had a day of miracles planned. Of course, the first was my beautiful banner created by my two wonderful sons to ease my disappointment of my boards. The second just about blew me away!

My sons had a karate tournament yesterday in the afternoon. I could tell they were both excited and nervous, but my youngest son seemed upset. When I asked him what was bothering him, he said he didn't want to go to the tournament because he would not be in a kumate (sparring) match. I explained that his brother was doing kumate because he has more experience in that area. I let him know that soon he would be ready, and then we would sign him up. He then told me that his brother will get two trophies and he just one. Ahhhhh, the root of the problem: Proof that we are good enough (sounds eerily familiar...sigh...).

His brother came in the room and said, "Come here. I have something to show you." He showed him all the trophies he had received. The first one was a trophy from his grandma because he didn't place in his first tournament. The next two trophies he received were both third place trophies. The last one was a first place trophy.  He then said, "Now come let's look at your trophies." He showed him the two trophies he received. Both first place trophies. He then said to him, "That's because you are better than me." My youngest son held onto that all day, and I just embraced my oldest with all the love in my heart. Wow.

The third miracle happened after the kata competition. My youngest was sitting with me when his sensei came up and asked if he'd like to compete in kumate--one student did not show up, which left another without a kumate partner. He did tell him that he would not receive a trophy because this was just giving the other boy a partner. My son seemed great with that. Well, the senior sensei came over and said to the other sensei, "We have enough trophies that he can earn one, too." My son could have lit up New York City with the excitement.

Spirit was sure with us yesterday. I know that Spirit is always with me (and you), and to witness it first hand is a miracle. Namaste.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A New Direction

OK, this morning I got news that wasn't fulfilling. I did not pass my National Boards for Professional Teacher Standards. This was my retake. I was two points away. This has been a difficult two years for me, and I believe that I will not retake one last time. I know that I have improved greatly as a teacher as a result of this process, but to pay more money for just the NBCT after my name seems self consumed.

Right now, my emotions are raw and I need distance from this process. But here's what I know is true: I have the best family in the world, my kids and husband are so supportive emotionally and spiritually, I am a damn good teacher, and I have a wonderful yoga practice that will guide me through any life changes or decisions I have to make.

I finished reading Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires, and found the meditations and self discovery activities to be beyond profound. I actually think I will reward myself for not passing by embarking on new and exciting events. For instance, Rod Stryker is supposed to be coming to the Chicago area in March. I may want to invest my money there and attend his weekend-long workshop. I also have an opportunity to take a few ESL courses for free. I do have to be selected for this, and I have my fingers crossed. I will focus my attention on a new endeavor.

So after all this, finding out this morning that I didn't pass, I surprised myself at my ease and grace when dealing with my kids this morning. I didn't want to ruin their day. When I woke up my husband to tell him the news this morning, his compassion opened a flood gate of tears that I couldn't seem to control. My oldest son then came up to see what was wrong and I told him I didn't pass my test. He left without a word, and I told my husband that I must have frightened him with my deep sadness.

Well, about 20 minutes later, my two sons came up with a banner that they made that said, "You passed in our minds!" Now this is what life is about. It's amazing how just a little gesture can mean the world. I will hold onto this and go on with my life in a new direction. I need that right now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Revised Sankulpa

I’m still in the process of reading The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom, by Rod Stryker. Last night when I was doing the revising of my Sankulpa (thought, intention, or will directed toward a specific outcome), I decided, quite effortlessly in fact, that every time my kids don’t respond to my first request to do something, I will not snap at them. Instead I will repeat my Sankulpa “I will witness, with gratitude, my current situation.” This will hopefully open space in my mind to allow me to relax rather than to snap at them; and to give them the time needed to process my request and move forward.

I cannot recommend enough reading his book AND going through the exercises. They do take time and commitment, but they are certainly worth it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Glass Half Empty?

I saw an orthopedist yesterday and he treated me for sub-scapular bursitis. I was really surprised since I assumed it was all a muscle or joint issue. Who knew? He said to me something that really took me back and certainly hit me the wrong way. He told me I need to stop viewing my medical issues with a glass half empty. He said this was probably not the first time I heard this. Well, actually it was. I was shocked. I have always felt that I have a positive attitude toward many things in life. In fact my friends have often told me that they like my positive outlook on life.

But I have decided to look honestly at myself and take every criticism as an opportunity to grow. So I asked my husband if he felt I was a glass-half-empty kind of a person regarding my medical issues. His slow response told me that yes, he too felt that way. I felt betrayed. Hadn’t I always “sucked it up”, “put my best foot forward”, and all that jazz? Then he asked me if I thought anyone could help me with my chronic pain, and truthfully I answered, no. Had anyone been able to get rid of it?

So in essence, I guess I have been a glass-half-empty kind of gal—at least when it involves my pain. So what I plan to do, is to do my best to trust this orthopedist and KNOW he will help me. I guess I’m afraid of being disappointed, yet again…My only option at this moment, is to continue to see my orthopedist and trust that I will be pain free. What do I have to lose? My pain? I hope so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acceptance is Just a Shift in Perspective!

Acceptance can be a very difficult thing for me to practice. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and if I can not control my environment, it makes me uneasy. My body? Forgetaboutit! What I can control is what I put into my body, the yoga practice I do everyday, my thoughtful responses to stress, etc…What I have difficulty with is my body’s response to my chronic pain. Believe me, I have tried everything: prayer, meds, bargaining with God, meditation, and on and on.

But last night I had an epiphany! I may not be able to control my pain, but I can control my perspective of pain. I was reading Rod Stryker's book The Four Desires, when this realization came to me. Now I'm not sure what that new perspective is, but I have prayed that God will guide me to the new perspective.

On my way to work this morning, I felt so relaxed and happy. As I'm typing this, my back hurts, but it is not alarming me or causing me to take ibuprofen. I really don't care at this point what the new perspective is, but I trust I will be guided toward it in good time. I will be patient.