This weekend I woke up early enough to enjoy my practice out on the back deck.  I pulled up a YogaGlo video and went about breathing, and moving, and sweating a bit.  Somewhere in the flow, Elena Brower said, “always assume the most abundant possible outcome.”  And, I had to stop right there in that moment.  I grabbed a pen and wrote in huge letters in my planner (yep, I totally use a real paper calendar) “always assume the most abundant possible outcome.”

Isn’t that spectacular?  As I heard her speak those words it hit me so clearly that I rarely do this.  Don’t we almost always consider decisions and changes with fear in our hearts?  Fear of change, fear of the “what if it doesn’t work out”, fear that failure is around the corner.

In this last week, I had so many conversations with friends and clients about this very topic.  This idea of fear limiting our ability to choose what we really want – in a career, in a partner, in our lives…  It is huge stuff.  But, as I let this idea of abundant outcomes saturate my thoughts I could see that this isn’t necessarily just some yogic sunshine that we share.  I can see that when I have moved in truth with who I am and what I want, I HAVE received abundant outcomes.  Time and time again, I have felt that fear of change and the unknown and yet, time and time again, it has worked out ok.  Actually, it has usually worked out great.  Not to say that everything has been successful, but even the failures have steered me towards a new success, a new growth.  And, I wonder how long it takes to learn this lesson?  To learn that abundant outcomes should be expected rather than failed outcomes.  How many times must we succeed, must we realize we are still OKAY before we stop fearing?

Go get a Sharpie (everything is more real when written with a Sharpie) and put this down somewhere you will see it:

abundant outcome

Assume the Most Abundant Possible Outcome.

Every month at Sacred Thread Yoga, we have a theme of the month that we as teachers are supposed to weave into our yoga classes.  This month, we are talking about Santosha or contentment.  “Easy!” I thought.  I’ve led classes themed around Santosha before; I think I am a generally content person; etc, etc.  One of my favorite things to look at when it comes to contentment is this idea that we can’t just be content when things are good.  Our work is to find contentment at all times – a general base level of existence that accepts all that comes our way with equanimity and contentment.  No need to change how things are.  Isn’t that lovely and yogic?

So, flash back a few weeks…  My husband and I were in Spain and while doing some hiking we lamented that we don’t hike or camp nearly as much as we would like.  Right then and there we agree that we will go camping the weekend of June 8.  Keep in mind this is only two weeks after we return from our trip abroad.  We get back and of course things are hectic as work, emails, and life have continued despite our vacation.  Suddenly, I realize that June 8 is THIS weekend and I really truly need those two days to get some work done.  But, I don’t want to be the one to call off our camping trip so I hint, I mention the forecast for rain…  No such luck.  Matt is all in and thinks we should go.  Ok.  So I smash as much as I can into the Monday – Thursday work week.  Sneak in a half day on Friday and somehow manage to get food in the cooler and hiking boots in the car.

Up 575 we go and smack into the POURING rain.  I’m not talking about a May Shower; I’m talking hurricane quality rain so heavy  the only thing we can see out of the windshield is the hazard lights of the car in front of us.  You can imagine this is only fueling my “we should turn around and stay home” thoughts.  We keep going.

We arrive at our campsite.  Now this site is truly “our” site – we found a place close enough that we can park the car and only have to hike maybe 100 yards.  We have a little clearing just big enough for our tent, 2 chairs and a fire right next to a river.  Very secluded, very, very awesome.  Now normally, our little 100 yard hike is a non-issue.  Through the woods, cross a little stream and we are there.  But this time, I swear a FIELD of poison ivy grew up in this 100 yards.  Now, I usually pride myself in not being allergic to poison ivy.  In all the hiking we’ve done over the years, I have never ever had poison ivy.  Not even as a kid.  But for some reason, this time I was all upset.  “I don’t want to hike through this,” I complained.  And my thoughts continued on the “I want to turn around and go home” path.

Somehow, through magic I’m sure, the rain stops just long enough for us to hop, skip and jump through poison ivy, to get a tent pitched and enjoy about an hour of campfire time.  We sleep through another rain storm, safe and dry in our tent, and awake to a gorgeous blue day.  And, as I woke up, I realized I spent the entire day yesterday being unhappy.  Living in a space of discontent.  Was it the ideal situation for a camping weekend?  No probably not.  Was it the same camping and hiking that I love and look forward to?  Yes absolutely.  So why was I having such trouble with resting in my source of contentment?  I vow to lighten up and settle back into my space of contentment.

We go for our hike on a trail we’ve done before only to find it has been completely destroyed by what I’m guessing was a combination of a very icy winter and wet spring.  There were so many downed trees that we literally couldn’t move forward without bushwhacking for hours.  Nope, turned around.  And, try as I might, again I am unhappy.  Didn’t get to do the frickin’ hike we planned this entire trip around….  Argh.  So now, I am both discontent with the situation I’m in and I am even more discontent that I am unable to be content.  I’m a YOGA TEACHER for gosh sake, and I can’t even manage to be content for one silly weekend.  How am I supposed to teach anyone anything about contentment when a little rain will set me off?!  I silently vow to give up teaching and live in the woods with bourbon and my discontent to sustain me.

Sunday, we pack up, pick up biscuits from our favorite mountain grocer and decide to take a new, long way home so we can enjoy the mountains just a bit longer.  And somewhere along this drive I realize how much I’m enjoying myself.  How much I like being able to drive with the windows down and the air smelling fresh.  How much I like spending time in areas where my cell phone doesn’t work.  And as I watched, I saw the exact same things that happened all weekend – the rain, the frustrating ping of an unanswered email would occasionally come through, yet another hike that we didn’t do – continued to happen, but I also saw things that had been happening all weekend that I totally missed on Friday and Saturday – I was able to read half of a fabulous novel I’ve been wanting to read, I slept more than 7 hours both nights, my awesome husband put up with my grumpy ass and continued to be cheerful despite me, I didn’t get poison ivy….

And, so the lesson: was I able to be content in a situation I found to be less than ideal?  No.  This time I wasn’t able to find that contentment as easily as I would have liked.  But, in the end, I did see that contentment was present throughout the weekend.  I just wasn’t able to see it.  And, knowing this makes me hopeful that next time I find myself overcome with discontent, I will remember and maybe even find a minute in that place of contentment.  If this idea of Santosha was easy, we would all just walk around content as could be, wouldn’t we?  My work is clear.  Is yours?

 

The Power of Now

June 5, 2013

This month for Yoga Book Club we are reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  This book was highly recommended to me by a dear friend and I am excited to dive in!  Join me on Tuesday, June 25; we will meet at the Sacred Thread Ashram from 8 – 9 p.m. to discuss our thoughts on the book.  All are welcome (even if you didn’t read the book!).

 

About the book: “It’s no wonder that The Power of Now has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 30 foreign languages. Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light. 

In the first chapter, Tolle introduces readers to enlightenment and its natural enemy, the mind. He awakens readers to their role as a creator of pain and shows them how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. The journey is thrilling, and along the way, the author shows how to connect to the indestructible essence of our Being, “the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”

“Creativity is a means of connecting with the infinite source of inspiration that arises from within.”

~Betty Roi

As we approach Mother’s Day this year, I thought we might spend a bit of time reflecting on Shakti.  Shakti, when capitalized, refers to the Goddess, the Divine Mother.  She is sacred force, empowerment, creativity and creation.  The agent of change.  When lowercase, shakti is energy.  Pure and simple energy.

One of the many, many things I love about our yoga practice is that when we get into a space where shakti is allowed to flow unrestricted  it is often there that inspiration strikes.  It is there that that creative idea finally shapes itself into fruition.  Often when I’m feeling stuck or blocked – whether it is writing one of these blog posts or creating a class playlist – I’ll step onto my mat for 10 – 15 minutes and flow through a few rounds of sun salutations.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or difficult; in fact, I find that it is more about steady breath and repetitive flow that opens us up to the creative process. And, it doesn’t have to creativity in the artistic sense.  I am most definitely not an artist (much to my chagrin). There is creativity in how we tackle our daily to dos, in how we drink our coffee and respond to a difficult email.  There is creativity in picking out the day’s outfit or putting a pen to paper.

So, even if you don’t consider yourself a creative type, as we move in class this week, I invite you to get out of your own way and allow your most imaginative self to emerge.  The one that isn’t afraid to dance – with shakti or Shakti, the one that embraces the everyday creativity of life, and the one who orders her coffee exactly how she wants it every time.

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This month’s Yoga Book Club selection is The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi by Andrew Harvey.  Since Passion has been on my mind lately, this seemed like an appropriate choice!

On Tuesday, May 28, we will meet at the Sacred Thread Ashram from 8 – 9 p.m. to discuss our thoughts on the book.  All are welcome (even if you didn’t read the book!).  Join me!

About the book:

A powerful interpretation of Rumi and his message of divine love and union. The Way of Passion, a penetrating antidote to today’s spiritual crises, presents Rumi’s magnificent visions of spiritual surrender and mystical union.

Heads up folks, I am sharing one of my FAVORITE food blogs with you today.  It isn’t exactly classy but I laugh every single time I visit and I always print out a recipe or two.  This week I am super excited to try Thug Kitchen‘s Sweet Potato and Pinto Bean Tacos.  Sounds amazing, right?!

Thug Kitchen

Get the Recipe Here.

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