S.T.R.E.S.S.

Stress

 

We all feel it at times. Usually it’s brewing before I recognize it. It reminds me of the plaque buildup on teeth. I don’t see it at first, but I know that a check up every now again will reveal that I actually needed a cleaning.

My stress is like that. It quietly hides and builds, and after a little while, I feel it. There are everyday practices I turn to when I’m feeling stress like deep breathing, or getting to the lake for a few minutes of reflection. I can clean parts of the house to declutter and distract, but still, I maintain a level of anxiety that comes from being human and an added level based on my DNA makeup.

About a year and a half ago I was staying with a friend out of town when the crest of the anxious wave hit me. I wanted to be home and not where we were, joy was fleeting and the stress of the world felt like it sat on my shoulders. So, being the good friend that she is, we took coffees and talked and talked some more and she asked me if I ever considered trying medication, even if just for a little while. She explained it to me in a way that made me feel scared. “Think of all of the things you’re doing right to subdue your current stress. You workout, you hit up yoga, you go enjoy nature, you get to sleep on a regular schedule… so medication would be another /one thing/.”  When I got to the Doctors I wept. I knew I needed to be there, and the courage it took to show up and admit life felt too big was a lot. Especially for a person who really works pretty hard to keep life together.

But the reason I knew it’s the right decision is that It didn't make me feel elated. I wasn’t completely removed from an emotional response, but I did feel like I could-- maybe kinda possibly handle it a little differently than before. I was at least able to face some things that before were such a pile up, I avoided. I still get stressed. A lot actually. It is in fact a part of the intensity that drives my passion and excitement for lots of things. And like that build up, sometimes I don’t realize its intensity until it's made its way through the doors I’ve built to block it.  So today was one of those days for me. I have tended, in several ways, to my stress today. I took a coffee to the lake, ate a good breakfast, went to a friend’s birthday brunch, and all seemingly fine. But the undertow of assignments, a house that’s not going to clean itself, a fridge that could use more items for the week, and being alive knocked me right over.

So how do I reset?

  • Well, I float. I just started and I think it’s fantastic. If you’re interested, go. If you’re unsure, go anyways. It deprives your senses from stimuli and you tune into your breath. You are buoyant and still and it's a peace pod.
  • I call a friend. I vent a lot. First I’ll ask “Do you have enough time to hear me out?” If the answer is yes, I say thanks a lot, and I talk  a lot. And I usually let a friend know if I’m seeking advice, an ear, or a “I totally get it.”
  • I make a list. What CAN I do that will trick my mind into thinking I’ve got this life thing figured out? I do those things.
  • I call my therapist. When I exhaust my friends, I know it's time to ask someone who is specialized in it. I use resources that are on this earth to help with the problem!
  • I meet my monsters, like laundry and cooking.( my least fave)
  • Physical Activity. Running. Something hard and fast. Blow off steam. Release.
  • I meet it. I know it’s not going to be solved in a day. My mind wants efficiency. It has deadlines and goals and lots of stuff once all of those items are checked off! I remind myself to live in it. Through it. With it. And resist less.

We are holding a 4 week series on stress at the studio called The Learning Lotus Series  Sign up on mind body (by clicking) to share in the #sistertribe support as we all walk on this earth together.

 

Xo Hal

 

 

 

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today's tank

TrueRest 

Aging

I'm 35 and I'm aging.  I feel like that line could be uttered at an aging anonymous meeting.  Our society sends us messages all day long that looking older is not ok.  That gray hair, wrinkles and cellulite are not the preferred look of today.  Commercials tell us to stay young and look young.  All things considered, I guess I still am young, but I am starting to notice myself age.  If I am lucky, I'm probably just over 1/3 of the way through my life.  Suddenly though, 40 is closer than 30.  People all around me are having babies or their kids are growing older.  I notice people in my life are aging.  We are all aging, but for some reason I'm just beginning to really notice it.  Many people ...older and wiser than me told me "Life moves fast" and suddenly, I agree.  

 

Watching my son change by the day is precious and eye-opening.  Each week he gains a new skill or awareness.  I pray for good things for him.  I try to be patient when he whines & know this time is short.  Time zips by.

 

I was speaking recently to someone recently who survived a terrible illness.  They mentioned how lucky they felt that they get to age.  That it is a privilege.  I am working on adopting the same philosophy.  So when I look in the mirror and notice another foot on my crows feet  on the side of my eyes, I keep smiling.  When a stray gray hair catches my eye, I am working on thanking universe for the privilege of age.  When I see cellulite on my legs or my arms jiggle, thank you Lord for legs and arms that function.  When I notice my teeth aren't as white as they used to be, gratitude that they still chew and are part of my smile!  When my memory fails me, being happy I remember the good times in my life more readily than the bad.  When my wheel pose doesn't feel quite as easy as it used to, wow, how amazing my spine that still bends!  I appreciate this body in all it's forms, all it's days.

 

Thank you for the gift of being able to age.  Thank you for letting me experience another season of life in this body.  I hope I still have wrinkles to gain and blankets to knit in my future.  I hope I get to eat early "blue hair" dinners with my family and tell my grand-childen stories about how life used to be back then.  "Back then" is happening now.  Soak it up.  Ain't life grand?!

A celebration of Independence

I re-claimed a little bit of myself this week.  In preparation for a pending life-shift, I find bits of myself slowing shifting, almost coming back around from a place they’ve been quieted.  These little nuggets range from small to large – speaking up, re-piercing my nose, investing in my house, connecting with inspirational friends.  It got me thinking about the luxuries – again big & small - we all experience, opportunity & choice.  I am afforded the right to buy a house for myself because women before me fought for that right.  I can go back to school at 33 because it’s been demonstrated for me that it’s always a good time – old or oldish – to learn more and re-direct.  I can hop on a plane to Costa Rica for research and fun, alone or not, because I am confident I’ll either figure it out, or my family will help (thanks Dad).

All of this wondrous activity got me thinking, appreciating truly, about all of those that have paved this path of opportunity.  The fighters and resistance, the traditionalists and stories that have been passed on, the brilliant minds; the curious and brave global citizens, Americans included, whose decisions wove together in such a way that we get to choose the life we want to live. 

The people I am most grateful for, in this regard, are my parents, John & Cam. 

Both of my parents live a life unapologetically their own, but at either end of the spectrum.  Dad is such a wonderful example of family, tradition, and a dose of unpredictability.  Dad’s run the Boston marathon, climbed the hardest path of Kilimanjaro, and pretty regularly entertains the idea of hopping on a plane to somewhere for an unprecedented amount of time.  He can tell you the name of nearly every person that walks through the 3sisters doors, and makes a point to know them.  Dad cares in a committed, obvious, and need-nothing-back way.  In this way, he is fearless.  Cam went back to school at 40, achieving both her Master’s and Doctorate.  Cam drops truth-bombs and can host spiritual and cerebral conversations while bouncing in and out of hilarious quips.  She does so without apology or explanation.  Mom walks a fine line of promoting consistent self-growth and supporting integration.  In these obvious and not-so-obvious ways, they have always encouraged my sisters and me – both verbally & by example – to make decisions for ourselves and live a life as unique as our thumbprints.

So on this holiday of Independence, I wanted to recognize those that fought for our Independence; the veterans and family members that support them. But I also want to celebrate the people that have embraced this fiery spirit of independence.   Because of my parents, I never think twice about getting on a plane alone, internationally or domestically.  I never hesitated to dream up what my unique life might look like, and actually pursue it, even if it didn’t look like everyone else’s. 

Mom & Dad, in the moments that you’ve partied until you fell asleep on a parking meter or allowed a man to live in the backyard, even in these ways you allowed my sisters and I to color outside the lines.  So thank you, for being you, for living a true-to-you-life by example.  I can’t think of a better way to honor the American Spirit than to embrace the opportunities won by those before us. Mom & Dad, you are a true example of fearless, dynamic humans.  Thank you for loving Laur, Hal, & I through our wacky decision making and supporting our American dream.  You’re in a league of your own.  lots of love - Court

How Teacher Training Impacted my Life by Kelly Brown

Carrie is one of the best people I have ever met. I am truly grateful for her. Her knowledge of yoga is beyond what I could have imagined to receive from anyone else. Her belief in being unique and finding your own voice by being authentic is what led me to chose her to be my teacher. I had not met her before starting my teacher training. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I went into yoga teacher training without thoughts of wanting to teach yoga right away but instead, with the idea to learn more about both yoga and myself. It was challenging, time consuming, stressful, wonderful, enlightening, and (best of all) fun. I enjoyed every weekend I found myself making that hour journey to the studio to spend time with one of the best groups of people I have ever found myself surrounded by. We grew as a family together, spending 20 hour weekends together which were intense and some of the best I’ve known. We shared personal and profound stories about ourselves, our lives, and our loved ones. The workshops were great. I loved that some were open to the public. It allowed us to share with the community a little bit of what we were learning, what we were experiencing. It also gave us opportunity to open up to others outside of our group.  We did these wonderful exercises that really allowed us to open up to learn not only about the other person, but also ourselves as well. To me this was the best part. I learned things about myself. Yoga teacher training opened my eyes to many possibilities and wisdom beyond what I could have learned solo, and to a happiness I am glad to have found.

 

Read more about Kelly and follow her over at her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/yogibabe7/

 

 

 

Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown

Anger inward

I absofuckinloutely deserve it. Anger. Liberation. Grinding my teeth. Breathing shallow. As I work to change my old belief that the expectations I set for myself were so high that I really couldn't reach them to acceptance of who I am right here, right now and trust in my own pure intention, anger has surfaced. How did it take me so long to love my crooked unique path? Why did I buy in to the notion that who I was wasn't enough? Why does it feel so hard to change? 

 

I haven't felt anger in a long time. I suppressed it. I dismissed it. I didn't let myself feel it. But for the last 6 years I have been trying to love myself. 

 

And the longer I walk in life the more tools I've collected to get there. I write love notes on my mirror. Leave Affirmations in my car. I breathe deep and meditate. I run. Incorporate a lot of movement. Journal. I pause and feel my heart expand when I think about the idea of loving myself. I engulf myself in nature. And question.

 

When I grew up, high expectations were a thing. Whether self induced of parent or environment, one wouldn't be able to break that down. But good grades, involvement, selectivity, moderation, it was there and it was real. And it worked. I remained not only in tact, I thrived. Fear of fucking up left me with one option, head down, run towards the goal. Get to it. Expect it. And while I accomplished a lot, I'm not sure I really believed that they were accomplishments. They felt like expectations. 

 

And I hadn't stopped to ask myself, "what do I believe?" Which leaves me in self conflicted question. 

 

I trust that the last 30 years of my life have been absolutely breath taking and hard and beautiful.  And I operated in what I did know. Which worked. But the feeling of fear that motivated me as opposed to love, I'm letting go. 

 

I want to love myself as I am. With legs that grow dark hair in two days, a heart that is as big as my whole middle section, a curious mind that seeks knowing, and a self that doesn't know a lot. And be more than okay with that, be proud of that. I don't know. I'm not sure. Im so willing to ask and find out, but my expectation is that life is so much more graceful than what I've been living. So much softer. Less judgement. Less need to control. Because I love the idea of life as it is. And I love the idea of embracing my own sweet life day in and day out. 

 

So I Question. Question my knowingness with ease and love And I break away from a really old belief in order to see differently. In order to love more. I drop the expectation that I have to know in order to be worthy. I drop the control that I thought existed in order to feel worthy. I deserve it. I absolutely deserve it. 

 

 

Ps. After rereading my blog and a discussion on a beautiful sunny breezy shoreline, I wanted to share more. 

 

I write this blog for people who do feel anger inward. I had a professor who said depression is anger inward. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. But he was right. I had bottled up anger towards myself for not having seen things sooner. For dismissing gut checking moments. And so you too, you're allowed to be angry. And it's even okay if you're angry at yourself for all of the things you could have said or done and time that feels wasted. How frustrating. And. Release it. Release that you have to be it all. With human condition, you will absolutely choose wrong. Love yourself then, too. 

 

Sending love from my self love bank to yours,

Xo halle 

"Difficult Roads often lead to beautiful destinations" -author unknown

This quote perfectly sums up my 4 trimesters.  Yes, you read that correctly, the 4th and least talked about trimester is the first few months of motherhood....and it's THAT one that really knocked me on my you know what!  

 

I didn't exactly enjoy pregnancy.  I was nauseous for the first 4 months and then the last month gets pretty uncomfortable due to size and sleeplessness.  So, as you might expect, I couldn't wait to pop that baby out and start the journey back to what I thought would be a blissful life of pushing a stroller with my super cute babe while wearing my fancy Lululemon pants in the same size that I wore pre-baby with a huge smile plastered across my face from all the joy I was finding in my newfound role as mother.  I delivered Paxton on 12/12 and within a week or so, I realized how OH.SO.SO. wrong I was about ALL the pre-conceived notions I had about how I'd look and how I'd feel about motherhood.  As you've probably gathered, this blog is not about yoga in the asana sense although motherhood feels very yogic to me.  It is about me finding balance again and it also relates to a topic that is far too UNDER discussed... post partum anxiety and depression.  On a somewhat side note, kudos to Chrissy Tiegen for making is a talked about topic.  I appreciated her candor on her experience.   Google it.  If you haven't read it and are interested, it's worth the read.

Ok back to me, because the only place I can write from is a place I've experienced, one that was dark and had me second guessing my decision to become a mother at all.  I hate writing that statement.  I still find that shame surrounds some of the feelings that I experienced during the worst days of my post partum depression.   But, I was brought up to be an open book, have no secrets and share my life with others in a way that feels true to me.  So I'm just gonna let it all hang out.  Post partum anxiety & depression sucked.  I felt completely paralyzed for about a month.  I did not leave the house alone with baby.  I cried .. a LOT!  My body felt life-less even though I had just delivered LIFE...what an oxy-moron.  I was emotional.  The anxiety is something that I had never experienced and gives me so much compassion for those with on-going anxiety.  I was not able to sleep more than one hour at a time for the first few weeks of Paxton's life due to extreme anxiety and panic attacks that sent shivers through my entire nervous system.  This led to me feeling that psychosis was setting in some moments.  I felt anxious about every little thing including leaving the house with Paxton, changing diapers, feeding, cutting his nails, bathing him, sleeping next to him, etc... pretty much everything baby related drove me into a tail spin.  My 3 dogs put me absolutely over the edge.  Thankfully my mother in law came to the rescue and watched them for over a month while I put myself back together so that they didn't have to suffer the brunt of my PPD.  For about 4-6 weeks, I felt unable to care for myself and Paxton in the way I wanted to and I definitely could not do the things for Kleyton that he had become accustomed to me doing.  There were a few different occasions where I passed the baby to Kleyton during a fit of tears and desperation and told him I just could not deal with it at that moment.  I remember clearly an evening where I doubled over in my kitchen, told Kleyton I had just had a panic attack and assured him that I was 100% incapable of being a mother. 4-6 weeks sounds like a blink of the eye and can feel like an eternity when you are living it.

About a month after my son was born, I knew things needed to shift.  With the encouragement of some new friends at a mom's group and my own mother, I began taking Zoloft.  I had so many pre-conceived notions about medicine and people who take Rx drugs.  Life has a funny way of showing me things that I judge.. that was one of them.  Well, judgment no more.. these meds have helped me immensely to feel like myself again.  In addition to medication, the support of an awesome baby sitter who allows me to do things like take a yoga class, work on the behind the scenes stuff at 3 SISTERS that I love so much and go the dentist, etc.  That helps a ton.  So does my supportive husband and other awesome people in my life including family, friends and other moms and even some strangers who have helped me along the way.  Everyone needs support in this life.  I'm convinced more than ever that no one can or should do this motherhood thing alone.  

Fast forward to now, Paxton is 4 months old and (almost) every single moment I love him a little more ;).  Our bond is stronger than ever.  I am finding confidence as a mother and finding my way partially back to the old Lauren too.  The Lauren who loves Sauvignon Blanc and travel.. she's still in there, she just doesn't show her face as often and that's ok for now... in fact, I'm very blissful staying home snuggling Paxton in my pajamas.  

This post feels important for a few reasons.  One is that I felt like my instagram account of cute baby pictures was not showing the whole picture, it felt a little bit like I was hiding something.  But much more importantly, I want any mom out there who is experiencing PPD&A to know that it is 100% temporary and that while it feels long and arduous right now, it will pass.  You are strong and will be even stronger because of this.  You can do it.  You are a good mom.  Don't forget to be good to yourself too.

 

XOXO

Student Feature: Hope

When I think about what commitment looks like, Hope is a person that pops into my head. Intermittently, I go on the computer and check to see the frequency of people's visits for our #squad250 club {visit 3 sisters 250 times!} And, recently, I checked in with our software, and I couldn't believe it. Hope was nearing 250 classes. Now, we have several members who have been on our #squad250 mat, so what makes Hope one that shines? Well, Hope didn't find 3 sisters that long ago. Her first visit and her 250th visit were only 419 days apart. 

 

So you've visited 3 sisters over 250 times in a little over a year! That is incredible! 
Would you be willing to share how it has felt incorporating yoga and fitness into your daily routine? 

3 Sisters is unique in the way that the studio offers both yoga and fitness under one roof.  I can enjoy a morning of an energetic cardio and challenging muscle building fitness class and follow with a yoga class to unwind and find peace in my body and mind.  With each class, I  can look forward to learning new poses, new techniques, new perspectives and new people.  The friendly studio family definitely helps to keep me motivated, to show up and be present. No excuses!

What would you want to share with someone who was just starting?

3 Sisters is so welcoming to new clients!

The more you practice, the better you feel and the more you’ll want to practice.  Celebrate the strength of your own body. Never compare yourself to others or feel intimidated. 3 Sisters helps encourage, inspire, spread positivity, and ensure the success of participants of all yoga/fitness skill levels.  


What makes 3 sisters the place that felt like the right fit for you?

There are a lot of fitness and yoga studio choices in the area.  I chose 3 Sisters specifically for the range of class offerings and the wonderful instructors and friendly staff.  Each instructor has their own unique way to make working out and practicing yoga fun…joyful! They genuinely care and take the time to get to know each and every person.  

3 Sisters also has a wonderful community presence and I’ve enjoyed many classes held at local businesses (Glowga, Lunchtime Yoga on a lawn in Crocker Park, running with a group in Avon and planted sunflower seeds!)  The studio has a variety of workshop offerings and I’ve enjoyed learning about Chakras and making Malas and tried yoga poses on a paddleboard! My daughter loves Kids Yoga and the Kids Camps and my husband tried the Intro to Yoga class…we’re becoming a 3 Sisters family!

And! Walt!  He greets us all every morning with a smile and helps brighten each of our days!


How have you celebrated your tremendousness!?

My health and fitness journey has it’s ups and downs but I try to celebrate the positives of each day, one day at a time.

So far, I’ve had 250+ days of joy!

A quote and words of wisdom you live by? 

Hmmm…

Eat Cake for Breakfast! 🥞

Always have kindness in your heart. ️ 

If you see Hope in the studio, give her a high five, or a hug, or a way to go! Thanks Hope for sharing and being a part of the tribe. the community. and the love. 

pictured: Hope and her daughter Alexa

pictured: Hope and her daughter Alexa

A Bali Beginner

My trip to Bali is coming to a close and as I reflected with Courtney over Balinese instant coffee in bed, I decided to write. 

Traveling is always a teacher and this trip was my first time acting as a co-facilitator in this type of setting. I had so many questions and question marks. What was my role? How did it look? Who was my tribe? When could I ask? What should I know about the country to share with the group to enrich the experience? With a group that trusted our lead, I quietly wasn’t sure how I was supposed to do…. well just that. 

In my own skin, my “lead” felt like a floppy fish. I couldn’t quite grab hold, it fought back,  and even tried to jump back to safety several times. I craved a better sense of knowing what I was supposed to "do." In a common setting,  I naturally like to take reigns, but I’d never been to this country, nor stood as a co-facilitator in a yoga retreat; I didn’t feel yet equipped. I was, very simply, a beginner at this. 

I learned by leaning and stumbling and falling and getting back up. I learned by watching and listening. I gathered information through experimenting and being silly. I  learned because even though it’s deeply uncomfortable to be in a foreign country with little idea of my role, I stayed. 

There were parts of the trip where I clung to an identity because it felt safe. Little sister, cousin, young, serious, counselor, break-down mode, let my hair down, Ohioan… because even if it was awkward, I knew the in’s and out’s.

I’d like to take a moment and thank my sister, Courtney, and my cousins, Annie and Tyler for their wisdom, expertise, and humor.  Your guidance and quiet modeling provided me with so much wisdom. I am grateful. forever! 

 And the group, I have tremendous big breaths full of gladness for being a “lifer” group for me; one  that welcomed me to learning the balance of an identity when I could use some extra care. 

Uncertainty and the not knowing is a place of growth for me. I may live my life in a way that looks seemingly relaxed and playful, but there is also a nagging ego often asking me to do it better and “get it right." And there is a part of me that just likes to know. It runs in my bloodstream as the little sister, the curious questioner, and the student. 

I remind myself that there is possibility in the not knowing. (Even typing that is hard). I remind myself to be gentle and that falling is a way of learning too. Floundering and awkwardness provides me with whole lot of information from which I can take a look at curiously, too. And of course, there is always room for laughter.

Treading gently and embracing a sense of unknowing is a lesson I'm ready to embrace. And Colleen Alber, your words were like a a huge Bali air embrace as we sat in an Indonesian coffee spot on a cloudy hot afternoon, “ We’re all doing the best we can.” 

Ultimately, this trip asked me to be a beginner and in a raw way, I tried my very best.

 

Thank you to all of it and all of you. 

xo

Halle 

Window Shopping

I strolled through my neighborhood suburb this morning in an effort to enjoy the particularly warm weather and grab my favorite ritual of my mornings: coffee. I passed big houses and small ones, bright homes and dark brick, a whole spectrum of styles and many in the middle. 

And although the neighborhood is a beautiful one, most every home has just something that's not quite buttoned up. Whether it be a driveway with a large hole in it, a gutter that has seen better days, a winter's wear on the siding of the home, each one showed its life.

Just last week I visited my sister and brother in law, and I met some of their friends. Taking a stroll with Lauren I shared with her that when I meet people I so deeply want to know what makes them human. She suggested I don't start with that statement as an opener.  :)

But it's something that for me to connect, I really crave knowing. Because how often does someone put on their mask to open their door and step out into the world? And isn't there grace in what makes you so human. The humility in recognizing that just like those beautiful and unique homes, each of us has something that's just not quite buttoned up. It's kinda what makes us ... well so great. 

What makes me human? I am intense and sensitive. I love me some gummi bears on the reg. I am currently paying medicaid for dental insurance. I quit my job to pursue a dream. I have a big ole' crease between my brows from all the thinking i've done. What makes me human? I wonder if the outfit is right for the occasion. In times of doubt, I compare myself to others. I love really deeply. My love for life cracks me open early on in friendships. and in life. I have a killer sense of intuition and sometimes it leads to me not doing the research. I thrive on recognition. I drive too fast. I grind my teeth at night. What makes me human? I'm alive. 

And so this morning on my walk, I imagined all of the people inside these homes. Each of them so human. And I wonder what that means for them. I found a sense of peace in the unique expression of their four walls. And I was impressed with the houses reflection of being alive. And so, I ask you, friend. What is it about you that may bring a sense of vulnerability and simultaneously creates a really beautiful version of what life is?

What makes you human? 

XO 

Hal

super human moment. dancing is also my jam. and i prefer to dance alone. 

super human moment. dancing is also my jam. and i prefer to dance alone. 

A decision to heal.

Recently at breakfast with Halle, our conversation turned a bit deep (as we often bounce between laughing at farts and/or falling and unpacking our psychology behaviors).  The topic of life decisions came about.  It got my mind moving through the on-paper big milestones: my parents divorce, moving to Spain, relationships, heartbreak, Cincinnati.  So it surprised me when prompted about the biggest one, and out popped “when I decided to heal”.    Halle thought for a minute, and said “i noticed when that shifted.”

It started with the yoga room; 75 minutes a day, 30 days in a row; discipline, boundaries.  Then it wandered off my mat, out of the studio doors.  I made little decisions to put my own life first, which wasn’t a habit or practice of mine.  This showed up in small ways, like telling a friend i couldn’t meet until 7 instead of 430.  I said no to some things, yes to others. Then it showed up in big ways, like ending something because it wasn’t healthy. 

Over the next six months, the mirrors in the studio where i practiced changed.  My body, my weight, started to look different. Although the scale didn’t necessarily change dramatically, i started to see myself differently.  The little voice of constant comparison got quieter.  Leaving the house didn’t require 5 outfit changes; body dysmorphia faded. I stayed in on a Friday to practice Saturday morning.  If work was stressful, i made sure i got to class.  I noticed I wasn’t so angry anymore.  I was learning, I was healing.  

And my life changed.  

In truth, the real work was about to start.  This work - self-work - shows up.  It’s been eye-opening and raw, and embarrassing, powerful, and barf-city.  It’s led me to fantastic therapists, deep connections with friends - old and new, workshops, teacher trainings.  I’ve healed and re-built old and new relationships with family and friends. Temptation has shown up during this practice and this process.  I’ve failed.  I’ve fallen back into habits of obsessing about my weight.  I’ve ended up continuing old relationships that not only don’t serve me, but hurt me.  Because I am human, and 32.  But time and time again, my mat doesn’t judge.  It just hits re-set.  We begin again.  

This work is endless.  Life will continue to challenge, amaze, betray, and love us.  I have a deep, deep gratitude for it all.  I feel humbled to teach this practice that impacted me so greatly.  i feel lucky to share this path with friends, students, family, my sisters.  There is so much left to learn.

"there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do--determined to save the only life you could save." - Mary Oliver

-xo

Court

To where I am now

Some days are easier than others. I mean that kinda goes without saying. You have days where you jump out of bed ready to dance and do and live big. And others where the comforter’s embrace and your heavy eyelids would just rather stay shut.

And I mean it when I say there are days I just have to convince myself that it’s going to be a good day. If that means I have to dress up for an occasion with nowhere to go or stay in my favorite too big to stay up pants for the day, well it’s a compromise I’m willing to make.

Yet, I have never felt more like the steps I’m taking are directed at SOMETHING. It may not be immediate. It may look like a mess to some, but my life,to me, has never been so honest.

I took a pretty big leap last year. I started graduate school part-time while teaching middle school full-time and contributing to 3 sisters. It was a lot. It felt like a lot. And there came a time where I knew one thing had to move. I knew it was time. But it didn’t make it any less terrifying. And I weighed options. A lot. Before bed. In my dreaming and journaling. I imagined living the life of each hat with dignity and grace. But I knew. I knew I was not in alignment long-term and being honest is the greatest gift there is.

So, I took a step back from my full-time title and job of being a teacher. It was an identity I had learned to live and it had become, almost, habit. In some instances, I could predict the outcome of a story we read or when the laughter of the class would rise because the familiarity of my days. I take partial responsibility for this, too. I would like to add, I love kids and being a teacher is an honor. To stand and shape students day in and day out and have them shape you, it’s a really powerful and beautiful thing. The district was supportive and proactive. But there are sides of teaching that didn’t work for me. Teaching the same thing 5 times… 5 hours. Each hour the same lesson with a sprinkle of change more or less. Over 120 papers to grade and endless standards to reach.

While there’s liberation in letting go, there’s certainly grief, too. The faces of beaming kiddos, your favorite teachers to catch up with, the daily greatness of that which is middle school… it was sad. But I knew. And once you know, you must.

I began my classes studying Counseling full-time. I took the reigns more at 3 sisters. I uprooted my life’s everyday’s and re-sculpted them to better guide me towards my purpose.

I have never felt so invested in the shaping of my own life. I go to class eager to know more. I meet internship with curiosity. I am diving into the path that asks me to show up and be honest with me. I am reading books about trauma to genuinely better understand.

And are there days where it still is hard to get out and exercise? Absolutely. Are there moments where I wonder how the hell I’m going to manage student loan debt? You betcha.

But the steps of a new way?. They actually feel familiar, like I’m walking up my best grade school friend’s driveway. The dark pavement and uprooted pieces of cement are predictable because conversations with colleagues are deeply inquisitive, deepening, and enriching, self-reflection is a tool I’m honored to use daily, and self-care made the cut. All of these items I dreamed of incorporating and feel like home, they have arrived.

 Don’t get me wrong, my path, some days looks more like a tricky circle with no beginning and no end. But, those days, where I feel just plain tired and lost, I still, am reminded in a way that I wasn’t before, that my choosing, my risks, my having to let go and grieve, brought me a little closer to the life I have been dreaming.

Xo

Halle

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"You should be proud."

I sometimes forget where I started. Three years ago I had a few months left in a lease. Three years ago I was asking Lauren and Court if I could move into the basement of their home for a temporary time. Three years ago,  Lauren, Courtney, and I sat on the couch and began talking about the idea of running a business together.

We had independently fallen in love with yoga and enjoyed eachothers company enough to consider tackling running a business together. Each of us connected with various friends and other business owners to hear really what it was all about. So this pow-wow, what I think to be one of our first business meetings,consisted of us sharing our strengths and weaknesses. We promised to be honest and loving and we were. 


Shortly thereafter, we started looking at space. One of our mentors told us that really we needed a home base even if the traveling yoga sisters was going to be a thing (like a circus for the Plagens clan). And we did find a home. We walked into our now space, and it contained every gizmo and gadget you’d want. A bike? Check. Mon-ami? You got it. Lumber? The list went on. But beyond the “stuff” sat potential. And so the adventure started.

Three years ago, I was a full time Language Arts teacher. My heart was bursting at the seams for kids in my class who needed more than I could provide. Kids who had been impacted by sudden tragic moments and I wanted to be a bigger support.

Less that 1100 days ago, this was my life.

I think sometimes I forget that I have worked through a lot of muck to be here. It’s a pattern of mine (and of many) to only look ahead, eye on the prize. Bigger. Better. More. I am so human in that regard.

So the other day I received a message from a friend who took a yoga class at our now 2.5 year old toddler business, and it read, “ You should be proud.”

 

And it sang in my heart like a baptist chorus on Christmas eve. She was so right. I have my head down, alot. But looking back, I have tended to what my heart called me to do.

I am in a master’s program working towards helping those who need with just a year left. 
I am, with the beauty of my family and friends, running a business that gives people inspiration from within.
I am failing pretty much daily at time management and deep breaths, and I’m working through it anyway.
I am asking for help when it’s something that I can’t do. And then I’m not feeling bad about it.
I am learning. 

 

I am setting boundaries where I need space.

I looked at Courtney the other day and I said, “ I’m doing it. I’m like actually doing this whole life thing." She gave me one of her, "yea, you are!"s
Some days I’m really jazzed and lit up. Other days I’m struggling. And I think the we can remind ourselves more of where we’ve been, of how each decision has brought us to a clearer place. And ultimately, We should be proud of that.

 

xo

Hal

 

 

Compassion or Commiseration?

I realized I have been sending off a little “whoa is me” vibe lately.  I could sit here and blame being 39 weeks pregnant or I could take ownership of my little mood, examine my pattern, and choose to shift.   Today, I choose the latter.
 
In recent weeks, I have been seeking people to commiserate with me about how I am feeling physically.  My daily choices and behaviors have included texting friends who have kids and asking “ugh, how did you do this pregnant thing?”, “why am I so tired?”, “when will it end?”, “how soon after will I feel less swollen?”,”when will I sleep?”etc. The definition of commiserate is to express pity for someone or to lament them. I have been a pity seeker!  
 
In addition to seeking pity, I have also been giving in to others invitations to commiserate. When a loved one of mine calls to complain about anything—finances, health, relationships, busy schedules, etc, I have a choice. I could commiserate with them.  Or I could choose compassion.  This is a subtle difference but it makes all the difference in how it is felt. The definition of commiserate is to pity or to lament. The definition of compassion is defined as a deep awareness of someone else’s suffering.  Kindness is listed as a synonym.  Doesn’t compassion sound like something you’d want to receive rather than commiseration?
 
So today, I am “working on it” as we love to say in my family.  I choose compassion rather than commiseration. “Working on it” means I haven’t yet perfected being compassionate all the time in my roles as friend, sister, wife, business partner, yogi, BUT my intention has been set and my ship has set sail from the Land of Pity headed for the Island paradise of Compassion.  Maybe I’ll see you there.
 
Love, Lauren

Love is Disarming

When the Earth hurts, I can feel it. A dead animal on the side of the road once breathed the same air and molecules that I also have. In this way, we are all a very interwoven part of each other. So when things happen that seem incomprehensible, disturbing, tragic, and full of hate, I hurt on deep levels, and wonder how we can share the same breath of life, and yet be so vastly different all in one. 

I sit remotely in my room and try to think of reasons why someone does something that feels so full of hate. I also observe the reaction of such turbulence, confusion, and deep despair. So to find some understanding, I head to my books. One tells me, ” If you allow negativity to come up, face it head on with love, you will disarm it. The ego will lose power.” I think to myself, we must only react with love. Much easier to type, than to say, and much easier to say, than to do. We are angry ourselves. We are shocked. We are saddened. And we will FIGHT BACK we say—but instead, can we bring love to the battleground? Enough of the justice will be served with an underlying tone revenge… the revenge to hate is love. The revenge to madness is love. to jealousy? love. to all conflict? love.

And as my book finishes so eloquently, ” There is no political solution, religion, world diet, or business plan that is going to pacify conflicts in one fell swoop. The world’s problems are your problems. What can you do toward world peace? Find out who you really are. Be the change you want to see. ” Lets all be love. (quotes from Happy Yoga)
 

The Path to Me

Binary// something having two parts//
I had a professor recently who told me I was a simple thinker. In class, I questioned items and found loopholes (as a teacher I’m aware this can be incredibly frustrating) but nonetheless, I deeply wanted to be seen as a student who was quite the opposite. (critical, invested, curious). His hurtful words stuck with me, and  I questioned my own thoughts. It felt immobilizing at times and doubt crept in more often. He told me I thought too binary. According to this professor and the words he left us with were, “Question everything, and believe in something.” Hm. Crystal clear, I thought. {wait, what?}. And so in the following months, I grappled with it. 
Insert: R E P E T I T I O N
Repetition// the act of something happening over and over again.

I began to focus on all of the thoughts that seemed binary. If i’m not this, I’’m this. Thoughts like: I’m not eating healthy every meal, so I should feel bad about it. If I didnt meet my half marathon training goal, I didn’t really accomplish it. And then these expanded. My goal of running was to finish in under two hours. That same doubt crept in during my training. What if I don’t reach my goal? Is it still an accomplishment? Should I be ashamed that I set out to do something and didn’t? I finished with 45 seconds to spare and reached my goal.  Almost immediately, I began to think about ways I could have trained differently or things I could have done that would have improved my time. What if I wasn’t goal crushing but instead I was just squeaking by?

Insert: H I G H E X P E C T A T I O N S
High expectations// a belief that one should reach far beyond typical

Having high self-expectations is a struggle and a super power (Thank you to Stephanie Sheldon for that wonderful line). I wanted so desperately to be a critical thinking student and I was mis-read. Self-doubt followed.  I set the bar appropriately high for my race, achieved it, and still wanted more. Result: never fully satisfied. But.. 

Do high expectations have a value? Short answer; yes.  Those expectations have made me in  many ways efficient and also successful. By seeing room for improvement, I have remained motivated to achieve more and to be better. But in other ways, it has brought a different feeling. 

Insert L I M I T A T I O N
limitation// a restricting condition

Even the word “restricting” gets stuck in my mouth like peanut butter. What I have found through self-analysis is that if I can’t do something successfully ( or I fear there’s a chance I’d totally suck)  I’d like to run from it. If I can’t cook a good meal, I don’t want to cook. If I can’t absolutely diet like a maniac, I’m not interested in trying it. 
Insert: L E A R N I N G
Learning// the act of obtaining information

So here’s what I’ve learned: compiled from wise souls, books, life, and my last little while:
It is hard and I’m choosing to do it anyways. (this makes my skin crawl) // goals can be scary. Self-growth is not the path of least resistance. Sometimes I’m going to totally suck at something. And when that happens I will determine if its intuitively not a part of who I am or it’s a moment to lean in and learn. 
Change and growth both take time.
There’s no easy mac or spaghetti’os, or Martin’s Deli Mac n Beef when it comes to change. It doesn’t mean I’m not not doing something right, maybe it just needs a minute to simmer.
It can be a choice or a limitation. {what word will you choose}
There are things I have to do to be happy. It is scientifically proven that exercise reduces anxiety and increases good vibes. I will not HAVE to move my body everyday. I choose to move it. Because it makes my life better. Even on the cloudy days when nothing is going right// in all seriousness, i need it more those days. It’s a choice.
I may wish I was more Y, but I’m not.  
Maybe cooking is not part of this lifetime and I am dynamic. 
Maybe I will never be a smaller size and I am beautiful. 
Maybe people don’t get me and I am lovable. 
Maybe my life looks messy to others and I am the one on the path. 
Maybe prep makes me feel limited and I am working on it. 

I am me and that, is irreplaceable. 

You are you, and that is irreplaceable.

Interdependence and its tie to Courage

Scare your Soul (www.scareyoursoul.com) is a project for which I am lucky enough to be an ambassador.
 
The global courage challenge is something I participated in last year and I truly believe in the concept.
 
When asked to be an ambassador this year, I said YES without hesitating.  Why wouldn’t I align myself with a cause and personal growth work that I SO believe in.  Then, I looked at my schedule and realized that hosting an in-person meet-up with Scott, the co-founder to support me was not going to happen easily.  In fact, it didn’t’ happen at all.  Enter… FEAR!  Could I still champion this cause remotely?  Could I do itin my own way, on the internet?
 
After talking to Scott, I committed to taking one of three actions.  Scott giving me permission to participate in my own way allowed me a deep exhale.  Ahh, I could still contribute and still be part of the FUN without disappointing anyone.
 
As I sat with it more and tapped into Scott for ideas/brainstorm about how to participate, I decided I’d use the wide world of social media to participate.  I would use the Facebook group feature to participate in the Challenge with any of my connections who wanted to join me.
 
Then, I noticed more resistance come up.  What the heck was I so afraid of?  Today it dawned on me.  This has been coming up for me a lot in my life lately.  It is the difference between INDEPENDENCE, CO-DEPENDENCE, and INTERDEPENDENCE.  I have been one to hang my hat on my Independence.  I often proclaimed that I was an independent woman, I don’t NEED anyone else and I WILL be fine on my own.  This showed up in my interactions with co-workers, my husband, my friends, etc.  I feared that if I was NOT independent, then that meant I was CO-DEPENDENT, a word and idea that I LOATHED!  Well, recently I realized that I have been missing the boat and the gift of another option….there is a middle path called INTERDEPENDENCE.  Interdependence, the idea that we all need each other in this life, that we are here to support each other, that we are all part of the human family for a reason and that we are better together.   Interdependence is defined in the dictionary as a “mutual reliance between two or more groups”.   In my recent experience, I have learned that interdependence actually feels REALLY good!  It’s like a great yoga class where the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts.  It’s the reason why practicing in a group feels good, we are all breathing and moving together, creating a shared experience.   Interdependence shows up in my marriage when I allow my husband to help me set up the babies nursery, because guess what, its more fun together and he WANTS to be part of it.  Interdependence is when you give someone a gift and they willingly accept it and appreciate it, there is a mutual exchange.  It shows up in life when you go to someone’s wake or funeral, not for the person who passed but for those who are in grief and they are grateful for your support.  It is the reason why we drop off meals at a new mother’s home or offer to bring someone who is sick chicken soup.  Interdependence shows up in a million ways in this life and guess what, it’s a beautiful thing.  Interdependence makes the world go ‘round.  Interdependence shows up in nature, the sun feeds the plants and the plants feed us and then we feed the plants, the cycle continues.  It shows up in humanity.  It is EVERYWHERE if you look around.  It was a big aha for me and yet, it’s been here all along.  I was just blind to it in my own life.  SO, my BIG smack in the face about interdependence shows up in this Challenge.   In my life, I have been hesitant to ask others for help or to do anything for me because I don’t want to burden people since people are already so busy… and because I don’t really NEED help.    That was my old belief.  I rarely asked others for help because, by doing so, I thought I was a burden.  Instead, I am learning though, that’s not my new TRUTH.  My truth is that I DO need others, I need connection.  I need you and maybe you need me.  By asking for help and allowing others to be a bigger part of my life, I encourage connection and CONNECTION is really the gift of life.  Remember that Will Smith movie where he’s left here all alone?  It just looks so AWFUL when you think about a world without connection & interdependence!
 
 
SO, my courageous action here is having the courage to ask you to JOIN me on the SYS challenge in the spirit of interdependence.  It’s hard to me to ask, because again, I used to believe that I was independent and don’t need anyone.  My new truth is, I would love to connect with you and in order to do so, I have to make myself a little vulnerable and ask you to be part of this fun little project with me.
 
Are you willing to take a look at those areas that might be holding you back in life?  Maybe, you are like me and a quest for independence is holding you back from experiencing true connection with others or allowing others to help you move past limitations and blocks in your life.
 
I encourage you to join me.  Sign up at www.scareyoursoul.com/join or message me on Facebook to join the Group that I created.
 
 
Love, Lauren