"Never ignore your dissatisfaction. It’s not always a sign of ‘ungratefulness.’ More often, it’s your Higher Self… your Divine Self nudging you to evolve and grow!
~ Marie Forleo
Taking Up Space
No Longer Living Small
I admire, and am astounded by, Abdoulaye’s vision and courage. He’s been in this country less than a year . . . working hard while adding English to the list of languages he already speaks,
Simultaneously, he had the bravery to envision himself entering Art Prize. The trust that he could find a premium location and the funds necessary to buy all the necessary supplies. The confidence to get on that lift, day after day, and create.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put myself out there like that?! And when I examine why, it’s not very becoming. My penchant for perfectionism. My fear of “failure.” My propensity to diminish myself and live small. 😓
These are just a few of the things that swirl around when I look within.
I also wonder if I’ve had some limiting beliefs when it comes to gratitude.
Believe me, I’m a fan. In fact, I have both written about, and given speeches on, the topic of gratitude. I AM a believer in its power, and the science backs up these beliefs.
But, can’t I be grateful for the privilege and abundance I enjoy AND be honest about what is no longer working for me? Shouldn’t I be willing to examine the parts of my life (my routines, my habits, my work, my relationships, my lifestyle) that I have outgrown?
This seems like healthy internal investigation that will spur on growth.
When I saw this image in a newsletter from Marie Forleo, it definitely made me sit up and take notice. 👇🏽
So, as I delight in watching Abdoulaye’s daily reels documenting his progress, I’m also going to check in on my own internal progress. With soft eyes and an open heart.
Are there areas of your life where you desire change?
Where you want more?
Here’s to us all taking a small, courageous step (or a huge, giant leap) towards the life we truly desire.
With deep gratitude and growing internal awareness,
"When change comes, you gotta slow down and take note of it.
In the midst of that change is all the possibility in the world.”
~ Bertice Berry
Moments of Transition
Please. Be patient with me today. 😉
I have some thoughts around what I want to write, but these thoughts are more like feelings. And these feelings have not yet found their way into fully developed thoughts. So, thank you for being here with me and helping me sort through. 🥰
I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and liminal spaces.
Our household experienced a major transition this week: Mike returned to school Monday morning. This shifts everything about his daily routine, but it also has sizable impact for both me and Javi.
And, we’ve had the privilege of hosting our friends from Park City as they launch their youngest son into his Freshman year at Hope College. Alongside becoming empty nesters, they have also sold their home and are contemplating all sorts of options for this next chapter. It’s exciting to witness their journey as they dream, debate, plan, and problem solve. I am not-so-secretly rooting for west Michigan to become a larger part of their plan. 😍
I also know that these periods of big transition, these liminal spaces in between phases of life, can be . . . frightening! Uncomfortable. And stressful.
In my classes, I’ve been paying particular attention to the transition moments that happen on the mat. In a practice with a lot of flow, some of these transitions ADD challenge. Because let’s be honest, busting out a bunch of chaturanga dandasana? Not exactly easy.
Nor, necessary. 😉
The other day on the deck at Lakeshore, after doing some work in seat, I simply asked people to take their time standing up. That’s it. A transition without any stress, or challenge, or time pressure. People giggled. Relaxed. Enjoyed the view as they came up. And then, we allowed ourselves to arrive in Tadasana. Often characterized as a “basic” yoga pose, Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is anything but basic. It embodies beautiful alignment as we reach the summit and arrive at our peak. We have clarity and expansiveness out in front of us for our pathway forward. And, guess what? We didn’t have to struggle to get there.
How lovely. 😍
During this time of transition, I am going to try and remember . . . not every transition has to be strength building. I don’t always have to power through in order to reach the next stage. Sometimes, maybe I could simply pause. And giggle. And take my time reaching the new phase, enjoying the journey all along the way?
I love learning on the mat and transferring that knowing into my daily life. That’s what yoga is. Being in union with our breath, our body, and our moment-by-moment journey through life.
Thanks for being patient with me and gifting yourself a moment of pause, 🏽
"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
~ Helen Keller
The Thread of Yoga
The Fabric of my Life
The days are whizzing by and are packed with teaching, friends from near and far, a giant painting project (more on that in future letters, but please. If you are considering the privilege of owning a really old boat AND a super old house at the same time? Talk to me, first! 🤣) and oh-so-much more.
Amidst the swirl, someone I did not know walked right up to me and said (with more than a little attitude), “I just don’t understand yoga.”
I’ll admit. My chin probably dropped. I’m sure I initially looked a bit flummoxed.
But, I paused and gathered myself and softened into listening.
I asked him what he was curious about? Or, what he would like to know?
He said that yoga seemed like stretching, but he heard me talking about things other than muscles and flexibility. 😳
He told me my answer could be as long as it took his wife, who was about 20 yards away, to get back to the deck where we were standing. 🥺
This moment was challenging, and a little uncomfortable for me, but I assumed he was also uncomfortable, I figured since he had the courage to ask, I should try and reach him. Right where he was. Hopefully I could plant a positive seed about what yoga is, and can be, for everyone.
Honestly? I don’t remember precisely what I said. I know, in my slightly flustered state, I did my best to alleviate any fears and encourage an open mind in the short time I had.
This conversation got me thinking about some of the funny things that have happened for me as a yoga teacher. The strange settings for class, the unexpected conversations, the unusual questions, the ongoing list of assumptions. I have some pretty funny stories. Maybe I’ll write some newsletters that read more like a blooper reel? 😆
Overall though? Leading yoga classes has never felt better. I love it more this summer than ever before. This week’s class at our welcoming local studio, Satya, had some magic built in. Half the class were regulars, the other half visitors . . . everyone dropped in with full commitment to the shifts and the openings. The community energy lifted us all.
The nearly record-breaking class sizes recently on the deck at Lakeshore Resort? Always memorable.
I have yet to mention the deck of honey locust trees where a few dear friends gather and practice. None of us wanted to move, or leave, after our most recent session.
And then there’s the gorgeous lawn where I meet my friends twice a week. I have been practicing with these women every Wednesday and Friday since . . . 2016? Amazing! There’s so much love built into every class simply because of the consistency of the group. What a gift.
Unfortunately, I did not have the time, nor the composure to tell the gentleman, yoga is the beautiful thread that weaves the fabric of my life:
Connection to others and to my highest, best self.
Thank you, my yogi friends, for being part of my foundation. For lifting me up. For helping me soar.
"A glimmer is the exact opposite of a trigger—it is some kind of cue, either internal or external that brings one back to a sense of joy or safety.”
~ Theodora Blanchfield, verywellmind.com
Micro Moments of Joy
I’m a huge believer in the breath by breath, moment by moment. opportunity to evolve and grow. ✨
And, I am frequently humbled by the challenges of every day life.
Recently, I read something that talked about how our bodies and our beings are like velcro for negative experiences. You know, when the one negative interaction of the day is what dominates your thinking, your mental looping, maybe even your conversations and/or your sleep? Negativity seems to stick to us and stay put.
Conversely, this article mentioned that our bodies and our beings act like teflon to positivity. Maybe we dismiss, or brush off, the compliment. Barely recognize the small moment of kindness. Or, we bustle about in busyness, ignoring the beauty all around.
So, as we wind down, we feel as if the down side, the difficulties, the discomfort are what dominated our day.
Cycling around in negativity deepens the grooves of this patterning, triggering our nervous system to be in a place of chronic stress. 🥺
One way to help us reset, change gears, move the needle towards rest and digest is to observe, and absorb, micro-moments of joy . . . aka, glimmers.
This is not about forced positivity or feigned happiness. This is about moving through our stress cycles so that we can climb up the ladder to feel safe, nurtured, and ready to thrive!
When we gather up the glimmers around us, we shift gears into a place that’s more calm, more inspired, and definitely full of more ease.
While this all makes sense and sounds great, I still wasn’t sure how to move about in the world gathering glimmers. This got me wondering, what are some examples of micro-moments of joy throughout my day?
When I am present enough to truly explore and experience these glimmers, I know I am in a more relaxed, more joyful, place.
I’m going to try and talk more about my glimmers than my triggers and see what happens! And, I’m going to make a conscious effort to see all that glimmers around me.
Sparkle on ✨
2023 | The 60 / 80 🎉
Honoring some important milestones happening in my family. 🥰
My parents celebrated their 60th anniversary this summer, and my Mom’s 80th birthday was yesterday!
Longevity + a love that lasts.
Doesn’t get much better than that. 💗
"My humanity is bound up in yours,
for we can only be human together“
~ desmond tutu
Inspiration All Around
Let LOVE Lead The Way
Last week I wrote about doubling down on our active self-care routines and how to ensure we have a stable system of support for ourselves. Why? Because we’re worth it!
And, I asked what YOU do that really supports your well-being.
I LOVE the feedback that came pouring in; I am excited to share so we can all continue inspiring one another:
YES! These are just a few of the responses that have me motivated.
Some of you also shared WHY these self-care routines are so vital:
“This has resulted in me being so much more centered and peaceful;
the value of these various practices is undeniable,
and becomes a motivation to continue them.”
Thanks so much to ALL who reached out; I appreciate our connectivity.
In the spirit of connectivity, I have another family shout-out today.
This time for my niece and her husband. 💕
Some of you know that my husband went to University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree, and then he served in the Peace Corps. He said he would go anywhere in the world, and he served 2.5 years in Guinea Bissau, West Africa.
Fast forward. Our niece, Anisa, graduated from the University of Michigan and signed up for the Peace Corps. She, too, said she would travel anywhere in the world. She served her term in neighboring Guinea Conakry, West Africa.
After her service, she remained in Conakry, worked, and fell in love.
Now, she and her husband, Abdoulaye, live in Chicago. Abdoulaye is engaging, curious, courageous, and talented. He is a musician and an artist. In fact, he is preparing a giant mural, right across from Rosa Parks Circle, in Grand Rapids for Art Prize!
I can’t wait to see his mural come to life, and I wanted to let you in on a special project of his. 🎉
Abdoulaye has created a beautiful series of pilates-inspired tote bags to will help support his Mom in Conakry. I have the Balance Tote already, and I love it! It’s stylish and roomy, and the print quality is great. Better yet, it supports a wonderful human being! The Stability Tote is next on my list! 😍
Sending you love and light,
~ m ♥️