More of Me

 

bitter 30 degrees without a ray of sunshine in sight, I laced my old running shoes on and met an old friend for a stroll this morning. 

An hour passed quickly. We shared our whereabouts and doings. We talked about how some of our mutual friends are and what's new in their world. And we talked about risk taking. 

Both of us were in "career" type positions for the majority of time in our 20's. For her, corporate, for me, teaching. We used to meet one another after work for happy hour and count down the time to Friday. We once grabbed coffee on a Sunday morning and giggled at ourselves for being stuck in that "daily grind." 

Now, two years since our last visit, it's changed. We've changed. The choices we've made have led us in varying directions, but each of us out of the traditional sense of drudgery some people classify as work. 

I didn't select a different path than the rest for any other reason than I couldn't imagine my  life 30 years from now doing what I was doing; feeling what I was feeling. At the time of stepping away from typical was an adventure, an adventure that I wasn't really sure what it would look like in the end, but I knew I needed it to be different than what I was at the time. 

I spoke recently with a mentor about what a risk it was to stop teaching being that, "Retirement is great, benefits are awesome, you get summers " but the reason I taught in the first lace was because "kids are great. Learning is pretty cool." Unfortunately, time wore the shine out of teaching for me. The fallback and foundation shifted to waiting for Friday. 

And I am responsible for owning that as a story. But I think we're all partially responsible for owning THE story of working for the weekends, of work being lackluster. What if instead Monday was a delight? What if your trade, service, product was your gift to the world? And what if there was no stigma in allowing that to evolve? I wonder what Fridays might feel like then. 

I had not previously claimed my career change as courageous. I had put it in the bucket of "expectation" and moved on my way. But I'm ready to claim my bravery. I'm itching to grab it and say,"Yea I challenged my own comfort and made a decision to go after something that let me evolve into more of me." If you're not sure, try it. Especially if it evokes fear. Especially if many people are questioning your notion of leaving comfort. One of my favorite authors and life livers says, "Life is a series of being continually thrown out of the nest." Notice the fear and let go of the grip anyways. 

 

Halle 

My experience with the Mind Body Spirit Detox

My journey to wellness started July 2017 at 3 Sisters Yoga. I let the stress of my job control me and realized yoga was the answer. Through the wonderful community at 3 sisters, I met Lisa. My first experience was at her Saturday morning Hot Power Yoga Class. I had no idea what I was getting myself into that morning! Here's this pint sized lady with a huge presence and, I admit, I was intimidated. She creates a challenging class every week, but with her energy and guidance, I make it thru and do things I never thought I would be able to do. She is inspiring and real.

In the Fall of 2017 I heard some of the yogis talking during and after they did Lisa's MBS Detox. It sounded like a great next step in my journey, so I signed up. I had no idea what to expect and entered it with an open mind and heart. Lisa shares her knowledge, wisdom and guidance in a positive, kind and loving way. I grabbed on to every nugget of information she gave us and followed her instruction to the letter. It's only 22 days, right?

It's amazing how much I changed in such a short time. I'm present, clear minded, confident, calm, and accepting. The classes involve enlightening information, encouragement, support, community and yoga. Eating a clean diet, doing some decluttering in your life, meditating, self love and journaling is what it's about. The bottom line is if you put in the effort, the results are endless. My body thanks me, and even though the 22 days has come and gone, I'm changed forever. Thank you Lisa!

Tina Secondo 

 

 

The capacity for Ambiguity

Our collective society belief about love is that one day, after time spent with a special person, this person surprises you with a big question and an overwhelming feeling of joy and excitement washes over you. You have been eagerly waiting your whole life to meet "the one" and alas, down on one knee. 

I get that in the last twenty years, collectively we have shifted the paradigm of what things are supposed to be like, but in some ways, we really haven't. And so here is MY story of the tug-of-war, beautiful and collectively much more human experience. 

Dialogue started a long time ago between my fiancé and I. And in the last 6 months, ramped up quite a bit. "I know I want to spend my life with you, and I also know that we have a lot going in our worlds right now with jobs, school, and transition." { insert endless thought; what is the best time? do things ever really fall into place? am i crazy for wanting to just run somewhere and do the damn thing? does talking about heading to the courthouse today and saving money on insurance make me looney?}

The holiday hustle began, kids home from school, and I finished my masters program. With Sean in job transition, I was eager to celebrate my school accomplishment and came home after my last graduate class on a Wednesday evening; "I'm booking a trip to somewhere for a few days. I need sunlight and I deserve time away. I might drain my savings." 

"Woah, Hal. I'd like to come. Just pause for a sec." Sean replied.

{insert endless thought; annoyed that you haven't booked anything. anxiety is building. why am i acting like a child? what part of me feels unseen? swallow, gulp, I don't want to think about that right now. I deserve this trip.} 

Booked. One of our previously visited spots in Mexico where we could unwind. { okay, maybe he will ask me in Mexico. Hopefully it's on the first day so I can relax. -- I can't believe I even think that way. Shame on me. Halle, be gentle with yourself; you're just anxious. anyone would be.} 

Arrival at airport; deplaned due to weather issues. 

Arrive in Mexico; no bag. 

{ I'm so easy. I can totally handle "roughing" it without underwear and comfortable clothes for a day.} 

Irritability. Annoyance. Even rage creep up. 

And I felt ashamed for having these feelings. Why do I feel so uncomfortable in a beautiful back drop? Who cares if I don't have the outfit I wanted to wear on night one. The push and pull continued. I internally judged myself for wanting to go buy items and I judged myself for sitting still. I allowed negative thoughts to permeate each time I decided to wait. to go. to stay. to  move. to buy. 

It's really a pain to be your own worst critic. I couldn't get anything right.  But it wasn't about not having the stuff. It was about avoiding my stuff. It was about having absolutely no control and wanting to run from it. or stay so still it wouldn't notice me. It was about wanting to disown that I was so freaking uncomfortable in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and I didn't know how to make anything different. 

So the night we received our bag. We went to dinner. I put on an elegant top and hit the streets.

"Perhaps we could grab a blanket and go sit by the water with some champagne...." Sean mentioned. 

"Great!" was my reply. 

"Tomorrow..." he added. 

"Sean. I am so uncomfortable. I thought this vacation was going to be easy and relaxing. But I feel like I want to wiggle out of my own skin. We finally have our stuff, I have been waiting for you to ask me to marry you, and I just can't really handle it all. I am so uncomfortable." 

"It hasn't exactly been a prime time to pop the question Hal. We have been wearing the same thing for three days and you were pretty upset." 

We went back to the room and I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and had a deep urge to write. to him or to me I don't know. 

" I am so sorry if I caused you pain or humiliation. I felt like a lion and wanted to deliver like a deer. When I close my eyes and quiet my logical mind, I would wait endlessly in the cavity of my heart center. Limitless time; non-linear; beyond this lifetime and into another. I think time has really tangled up how I feel. I feel like I can wait. I have led with fear and this is the result. I am so deeply sorry." 

I cried. and then I fell back asleep. 

The day Sean proposed I cried. His words were kind. and genuine. and graceful. and loving. I felt understood and accepted. 

We ate fishy oysters after and sipped champagne. And we kept it to ourselves. 

Society wants dates, and times. It wants a timeline and excitement. It craves my mind's logic. 

I am asked and practice listening to my heart. This deep goodness deserves affirmation and attention. And it deserves honesty and messiness and my discomfort. 

I think I'm even a little bit scared to give my mind the power back. In those days, I felt so unlike myself. I felt disconnected from my pulse. 

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison

I will get to a date and circle in red marker and send it to those that I love. I promise. In the meantime, I appreciate your kind words. your support. your excitement. 

My experience, turns out, was affirmed by many friends whom recalled "oh yea. no surprise here. I even lit the candles for the dinner; hell, I made the meal before my engagement." 

Ambiguity and transition are not really optional. The pile up of uncertainty and questions led me to wanting nothing more but to grasp tightly to something certain and as time ticked, as I waited for movement, the bigger the gap of no control-time felt. 

Carl Jung put it nicely, " Psychological or Spiritual Development always requires a greater capacity for anxiety and ambiguity." My "leaning in practice" looked more like a running away, sinking in, screaming at, and less like the graceful word of leaning. 

Here I am on the other side; one less thing uncertain; and knowing damn well that another wave of transition is on its way. Delicious Ambiguity. 

Love, Hal 

 

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3 Questions to wrap up 2017

Check out this little 3 question YEAR review to wrap up 2017, clear out the old and make room for the NEW!  I was lucky enough to catch this episode from  Marie Forleo, Marie TV. I  wanted to share this practice with you!

1. What are some of the big or little things that you created, did experienced, or accomplished that you are proud of?  This is important because we are super critical of ourselves and tend to think we didn't do enough. This quick question reminds us to be proud of ourselves!  Write it down and be PROUD!

2.  What mistakes did I make that taught me something?  What lessons did I learn that I can leverage?   

3.  What am I willing to let go of?  Give yourself a commitment colonic!  What are the projects, goals, that have been hanging around that you never get around to or no longer excited you?  What can you drop like a HOT pocket?! Get rid of any goal that is not aligned with who you are or where you want to go!  What guilt, shame, embarrassment are you hanging onto?  Let it go!  What stories are you telling yourself that aren't working for you?  i.e. "I'm too old to start a new career."  I'm not successful enough." etc.  Examine what's not working and LET it GO!

Take the time to review your year and prepare for 2018!

 

With Love & Best Wishes in the New Year, Lauren

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Making the Holidays Work for You

As I write, I am sitting in a small room at Kripalu, one of the worlds largest yoga retreat center's in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.   I had initially booked a trip with Courtney to Costa Rica, but when that fell through, I ended up here, alone.  I haven't traveled totally solo in 5 years.  I had a wonderful experience traveling solo in anticipation of my 30th trip around the sun, but that's for another blog.  

 

 So, back to Kripalu, I attended a class last night where the teacher, Jurian Hughes (google her if this resonates with you) opened by sharing something along these lines, "This time of year, this season, can sometimes bring up feelings for me about the holiday spirit.. like if I am not in the holiday spirit that something is somehow wrong with me or my life or I find myself measuring how far from the holiday spirit that I feel.".... WHOA, I felt myself exhale a BIG sigh of relief.  I had been conscious of these feelings inside myself, but for someone else to share it, I am so grateful that she voiced these feelings. 

 

Ever since my parent's divorce twenty years ago, we have had little to no family traditions.  Each year, we go to family members house.  It is often organized at the last minute.  There isn't a ton of pomp and splendor, just a gathering of our family & some good food.  It's not a sad story, it just is what it is.  We have a wonderful family and we are also a family without holiday traditions, those two things can mutually exist believe it or not.  As far as the gift-giving goes, I tend to be kind of an anti-shopper anyways, so the idea of everyone running out to stores to buy more stuff kind of gets under my skin.  The idea of someone buying me my 15th sweater or another pair of shoes or whatever, it doesn't light me up at all.  The sweetest words I can hear during the holidays are "let's not do gifts this year!'  For me, the overly sweet food, the overly scheduled weeks, the too much stuff, the constant socializing, the influx of catalogs in my mailbox, the focus on buying in every story I enter, it all just feels in the too much category.  Then, when I am not feeling festive, I wonder if I am a bit of a grinch?  

 

So, what I realized last night, is that it's ok to not feel festive.  There might even be other people out there who feel the same.  It's ok to question tradition.  It's ok to do nothing for the holidays.  It's ok to do LESS, it's ok to buy LESS, it's all OK!

 

Thank you, Jurian Hughes for this important reminder that choosing to celebrate differently, by getting quiet, by meditating, my doing yoga, by eating healthy, is also a celebration!  I am here, the week before Christmas, celebrating my body, mind, spirit connection and I can think of nothing more holy than that.

 

What are you doing this holiday season to make it sacred for YOU?

Love, Lauren 

#alternativeholiday #holiday 

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Doing the best I can

Several years ago, Lauren and I were talking, and she said " You know I try to operate from the idea that everyone is doing the best they can in that moment." I didn't really jump on it as something I believed right away, but it was an idea that tucked itself away in my brain, certainly, and surfaced ongoing in the next few years. 

I am imperfect. I am a human who has flaws and zits and make decisions that looking back I wonder what the hell I was thinking. But, you know, in the last few days, and again, just last night, those words surfaced in conversation with Sean. " I am doing the best I can," he said.

Ah. It helped me see him. So this morning, of course, from the sky of Universe, some words that Liz Ferro gave her Girls With Sole Program a few weeks back when I was with her, these words, and this piece of paper that I decorated with stickers to personalize it, it was lying on the ground just outside of the laundry room. 

"Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to? Be thankful when you don't know something for it gives you the opportunity to learn..  [be thankful for]; difficult times; because you grow; for limitations because they give you places to improve; for new challenge to build strength and character.; for mistakes, to teach you;

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for setbacks." 

To choose over and over and over to recommit to taking a look and admitting when I'm wrong or was operating out what I knew at the time; geeze, that can be so hard. When I want so badly for things to just fall into place and work and the energy it takes to choose differently is exhausting, the words, "I'm doing the best I can" look like failure to another. But I am. I promise I am. 

There are stages of change that have been researched and captured to better understand just how much goes into "choosing differently." They are pre-contemplation: the NOT knowing that anything should/could/might be different. Then comes contemplation: the recognition that maybe something might benefit from being different but change does not occur. After that is preparation: the recognition that change is a good idea and planning starts to take place. 4th, is action: the doing part and finally maintenance: keeping up with the change. 

That's a lot, right? So imagine taking a microscope to a singular change. For example: I am going to get a dose of nature everyday. There's 1. not even knowing that's something that could be different. Then 2, realizing that's something that should be different. 3. Thinking about how I could go about being in nature everyday. 4. Actually getting into nature everyday and 5. Continuing to do that. 

It makes me tired thinking about it; and in the same sentence, I know small changes are part of the steps to changing my "I'm doing the best I can, and feeling like I'm failing," to "I'm doing the best I can and I know it's not perfect ( because I'm not perfect) but I'm going to keep trying to do this anyways and see what happens." 

It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to show up and look at my own places and spaces of life that challenge me. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to live in pre-contemplation; not knowing anything could be different. I wasn't promised waking up and making choices that cultivate a better version of myself was going to be a walk in the park. And sometimes I'd like to run really far away and see how that goes. ( I mean, Mexico is so beautiful). And the beautiful reality of having a heart beat, and getting a chance to breathe in and breathe out, means that I don't have it all figured out. That challenges and mistakes, and limitations, ultimately, do require attention + love. 

This morning, after an evening of challenging conversation that got me thinking I really don't have any of this figured out, I decided to pull out some vision and goals questions to peruse. (which is pretty hilarious that when I feel like I  have nothing together, I decide it's a perfect time for lofty goals). Court called and realized quickly that if she didn't show up in the next ten minutes I might be purchasing something bizarre, book a flight to the Northern Lights, or snot up my entire sweatshirt; so TGFC; her rogue arrived at my drive to talk. 

I am in ( and we all are) every stage of change in some part of my life. There are several things I don't know I need/could change that hang out around the edges and will show up in time. Lots of thought currently resides in contemplation; how can I be a better partner? What could I do differently to make the studio feel more _______? What do I want my life to look like in 10 years? 

Some parts of my life are in the prep phase: taking steps to create change. Like my new vitamin game, and decorating the house so it feels festive (yup, no Martha Stew over here). Action and Maintenance phase: grad school certainly, opening and operating a business, being in a relationship, friendships that I actively pour love into. 

I realize that even the version who I was those years ago, talking with Lauren, the one who was doing the best she could, I'm different than her. I have learned so much in that time. I committed to changes that absolutely have changed the trajectory of my life. I moved through these stages of change,sometimes with grace, other times with grit, and some moments dragging my feet and swearing. The years ago version of me would not see that I have more humility. The years ago me may not have known I would be softer, loving, and more rooted. I think I might even look back at her and let her know that I knew she was doing the best she could in those moments, and what's ahead is not easier, and it's not perfect, and it's still worth the journey to be thankful for the things that ask us to look deeply at imperfect selves, knowing what we've chosen has been what we knew to be best in that moment, that change can feel like a real doozy, and to try it anyway. 

 

xxoo Halle

 

 

 

 

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You're doing a pretty good job

I was born a do-er. From a really young age, I was a ball of moving energy. I moved until I couldn’t move anymore. I was exhausted from a hard day’s work ( or play). 

And each time I completed something, onward! And so naturally, I accomplished quite a bit without really noticing.

I have so rarely in my life looked back to reflect on all that I have … well… done. As soon as an ending approaches, the next door is being knocked on, maybe pushed open, and run through. The goal is the golden nugget at the end only to open yet another door and continue on. 

Walking with a friend this week, I felt so uncomfortable. I have completed a large portion of my Master’s program and the last few months are here. Wow. Two years ago I was just beginning. I was just opening books and wondering what counseling was all about. I spent my evenings cramming, questioning, and soaking up. And now I am spending my hours practicing, seeing, and listening.

I usually catch the “messages” of life when I hear them in more than one place or from more than one person at a time. Sitting down with my supervisor this week, she asked how I felt after completing my national exam. I responded, “I think, okay!” She peered over her glasses, tilted her chin down, and repeated, “ I think, okay. hm.” She and I discussed that sometimes in life it’s okay to celebrate that well, I’m doing a pretty good job. That I have found a space in connecting with others that allows me to serve what my heart has to offer. She ordered me to make a note on my desk “ I think I am doing a pretty good job.” The note sits in a special place to read, and re-read over and over. 

I don’t know if I hear it quite yet. I am in this in-between space of hoping that what I am doing is enough and good and helpful and making the world better, in some way. And yet, still a voice inside asks me, “Now what?” 

I have contemplated on why I have this urge nudging me forward without hesitation to look back, reflect, and enjoy. Part of conceptualizing has led me to upbringing. My parents are strivers. I mean, both are Dr’s in respective practices and in each arena of life, boundaries continue to be stretched. My Dad didn’t just run, he ran marathons. He ran a 200 mile relay, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with a $30 backpack. My Mom didn’t just go back to school, she studied for eight years and completed a Doctorate program. She opened her own practice. 

Another reason perhaps is that I was born busy. I think my insides sometimes are like busy bees working all the time. (they don’t sting!) The settled bee hive has its moments, but more often than not it’s work in there! 

I also think I have high expectations because I know I have work to do while I’m on this planet. I want to give as much as I can for as long as I can because that’s what it’s about. We leave with nothing, so what can I give? 

Regardless of its roots, I grapple with the two sides: Holding the belief that I am doing a good job and knowing that there is more. 

I think of it as a teetor-totter; and the goal is balance. When I am having a hard time believing that I am purposeful and accomplished I :

  • list goals I have crushed
  •  look in the mirror and smile at myself
  • put on my running shoes and hit the pavement
  • listen to hilarious college music to take me back
  •  write down things I feel proud of  

And when I am eager for what’s next I :

  • get quiet and ask myself simple questions like what do I need? how can I get there?
  •  make lists
  • breathe deep
  • try to take it one step at a time
  • peruse the internet for ideas
  • connect with others
  •  talk it out. 

Although balance is beautiful, it is rare. More often we are at 60/40 or 30/70. A small nudge may be all I need to remind myself that I am already part of something beautiful and so long as I’m here, there’s more to do.

 

xo Hal 

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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