“Pink, Not Blue?”

 

 

 

One of the earliest lessons we learn in life is that in order to move forward, we have to move through the change and the natural process of things. This pace we set for ourselves is set by ourselves. Our internal instincts and faith determine where we land, where we feel safe, but not necessarily where we need to grow. So life offers us the gift of change. A baby learns quickly that it’s frustrating to sit and look at a toy from afar. So the baby adapts and moves through the cumbersome process of crawling, of learning, of getting frustrated when things just don’t seem to be moving forward. And then one day, that baby finds the toy and feels such elation in the accomplishment, but the real celebration in the process was the process itself. The baby then uses those tools learned, the tenacious mind set, the physical pressing-on instinct to then  master walking. So in this way, we learn change early and we learn often, especially when we’re young. We learn that friends change from middle school to high school. We learn that our bodies change, we learn that teachers change, and we learn in the younger years that our likes and dislikes change so often because we are immersed in the process of physical and mental development.

And then we become adults and we block ourselves off to the natural order of change. The changes aren’t as simple looking as they were when we were younger, but instead th

ey are more complicated, but they are certainly there. When I had my second baby, I didn’t find out the sex.  I was convinced that my baby was a boy and that my then three year old would have a  baby brother. I was confidant to the point that I purchased a soft blue blanket at Target. I had the name picked out, I had the previous newborn clothes from my older son place neatly in the drawer. My husband and I did talk about a girl name a few days before the birth, but it was hard, and we weren’t really invested in anything. But we picked one anyway because that’s what responsible expectant parents do.  Our envisioned second child would have been named “Noah John”. And then just like that, a change occurred. Mollygrace Rose was born on November 30th, 2006. Her first name is two parts because we couldn’t decide between Molly and Grace so we smooshed it all together! To this day her name reflects one of the most exciting and unexpected changes of my life. I became a mother to a DAUGHTER and she has the name to prove it. Her birth was the most beautiful and natural experience of all of my children. When the sound of her confident and healthy cry filled the room, the nurse cried out “its a girl!”  I was overcome with joy and panic all in one single breath. A girl? I don’t know how to do girl? I despise the color pink, Disney princesses are simply a problem, and I don’t w

ant to take her to dance classes or deal with shoes. What will happen when she has her first heartbreak? I can’t handle that conversation because I remember the pain of my own and the look in my mother’s eyes when she couldn’t fix it.  How can God entrust me with the more emotionally fragile sex when every other day I felt like I embodied the definition of “emotional” in Webster’s Dictionary.  The blind leading the blind! Over the course of probably 45 second

s, I  spiraled a bit internally. And then the nurse handed her to me. That moment, eyes locked, dark hair poking in all directions which would later match her personality…I ever so quickly embraced that change with every fiber of my being. Boy? What boy? This was a big change, a sudden one, but the absolute most right one in every possible way. My Mollygrace is my firecracker. She has a power in her that runs fierce and strong, and at the same time she’s incredibly loving and beautiful. She teaches me daily how to be a better mom, she steps in when I can’t, s

he accepts change naturally any chance she can get. She’s always up for anything and embraces her role as “oldest girl” with strength, a messy room, and a laugh that I”ll never get tired of hearing. So in all my fear of what I thought I could handle and not handle in raising a girl, the moment of change in those fleeting 45 seconds reinforced the true path for my life. I surrendered, not because I had to, but because this was a change that would enrich and multiply ten fold in the outcrop of my oldest girl’s influence.

So change…it’s surprising, it’s hard, it’s often unexpected, but most importantly it’s  a natural requirement of life. Its only purpose is to keep pressing you onward. When things or people change, you adapt. You rise up, you lock eyes, and though you might not be able to see a glimmer of hope or light 100 feet in front of you, it doesn’t mean that just around the bend are lakes where light bounces and sun shines and you thank yourself for not being okay with change so eventually you could be. Someone once said to me that life is just chaos and we learn how to adapt, how to keep up pace, and how to look for the best in it all. Change is part chaos and chaos can be beautiful. It’s a messy display of flaws turned into

lessons, and lessons turned into one’s story of her true self.

I trust you will take away two truths from this blog post. Number one: accept that every change will lead to bigger and better things, but you must believe and not wallow in the word itself. Number two:if you haven’t yet had your first child, don’t find out the sex. There aren’t many good surprises in life and that’s one of the best there is!

Blessings,

Sarah

“The Times They Are A Changin'”

 

 

I’ve always had a fascination with the way words are spelled as they align with their meaning. It’s rare I come across a word that doesn’t somehow make sense in the flow of lettering, sound, and intonation as related to its basic meaning. So this idea leads to the word “transitions.”  To break it down there are three syllables, several letters, taller ones, shorter ones, and plural. What are transitions? According to Webster, “ A movement, passage, or change from

one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another”. More simply  put, a means to change. Therefore, in this particular case and word, my theory works. The word “transitions”, it’s changing, it’s moving forward, it has more than one place to go. And then to further apply its purpose to our life and mat gets deeper yet.

There are several fundamental elements brought to a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. My students spend 6 months studying yoga from every angle related to ethic

s, history, asana, adjustments, class sequencing, assisting, and learning how to best transition from one pose to the next. It’s in the portion of the 200 hour program when transitions are taught and then applied that I notice students fumbling with words and at times blanking out. I can see the searching eyes and paused concentration as they ask themselves how to get from Warrior II to either Chair or Downward Dog? What makes more sense? Which foot do I move first? How do I get them there while time is pressing and my class needs to appear to be flowing. A light panic sets in, the giggles exude and a wonderful teaching opportunity presents itself. These transitions that are taught in Teacher Training are remembered and brought with the student to the mat upon their graduation. Over time, he or she learns the clever and productive ways to lead their own students into sequences that resemble the dancelike gracefulness they were grasping for when learning the whole concept. I watch them teach, I’m proud and they get it!  They get it because they’ve practiced and failed. They may have forgotten to do the left side sequence after the right or possibly  they forgot a few poses to replicate along the way and it just didn’t feel right. Ask any yoga teacher…”Do you know when you have led a rich, well-balanced class versus a choppy, not-fully-there connecting kind of class?” The immediate answer is always YES!

And in the same way, I think it’s important to understand the power of

transitions in our own life. Whether it’s a transition to a new job, the letting go of an old job, an adjustment to fitting in another person in your life, a release of a relationship that didn’t serve your overall well-being, a relocation, a shift in how we parent our ever-changing teenager, toddler, or recent out-of-the-nest young adult. You get the point, our life is full of transitions. Ones that are recognizable and wanted and others that hit us like an unexpected wave dragging us under until we can find our bearings. We then come up for air, reacquainting ourselves with new vision and learning that this transition, the hard one, is exactly what we needed to keep pressing forward.

Recently I read a fascinating article that pointed to the understanding that our bodies naturally continue to shift consciously and subconsciously every 7 years of our life. The way we view the world, think critically, and relate to others. The author Tony Crisp states “ One of the great paradoxes of our lives are that we constantly go through such enormous and such massive changes every day. Daily we pass through an extraordinary change that we often take so much for granted we miss the wonder of it.” And in this full realization that we transition naturally and then because have to allows for us to begin to slow down and recognize the sheer beauty of it all. How this change, this shift, this transition that was brought us in a way that maybe at first was unwanted is now going to be redeemed in a way that we will later share with others in order to encourage them and further ourselves.

The next time you come to your mat, take a moment to listen to your teachers’

 

words as he or she leads you from pose to pose. The teacher gives great thought into the sequence of the class and how it resonates with you. Take this same approach to reflect on past and current transitions in your life. Are you allowing the transition to flow or are you blocking its power to clean out deeper corners of your life? Keep moving forward, take each step as it comes and resonate with the words of the poetic Bob Dylan, “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin’.

Blessings,

Sarah

https://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/every-seven-years-you-change/

What’s Next?

When someone new comes to my studio, it’s often the same scripted stories of what led them there. The general themes relate to a doctor’s gentle instruction to do so, moving through or coming out of an emotionally difficult situation, or simply realizing that they need to try this yoga thing they hear their friends raving about.  They come, they sit nervously on their mat, adjusting to the smell of incense and soft lighting. They decide whether or not to close their eyes, they decide what poses to modify and which ones to feel strong in, and then in such a natural and beautiful way, the entire sensory and physical self begins to relax. And the most lovely part for me as a studio owner is welcoming this person back again and again. I’ve said it so many times…yoga finds us, we don’t find it. And when we listen to that voice that brings us nurturing and self-care, we return again and again.

 

One of the most impacting things we learn when we come to the space on our mat is our ability to think critically. And it’s not thinking critically about external things, problems, or relationships. The essence of the thinking part involves evaluating our whole self through the process of energy, feeling, physicality and love towards who we are as a person. Towards who we are still working on in this forward moving process.  Our entire being surrenders naturally to the feeling and healing process that each pose brings us.

Child’s Pose is my space. It’s the one place I go to feel, to quiet, and to tuck away from the clutter, distraction, and ill-tempered winds that life brings my way. I have yet to fully understand the “why” behind my need to visit this pose. I just simply know that I need to. And this pose which I relate to as a friend isn’t only reserved for the yoga mat on polished hardwood floors of a studio. I’ve found this space on my living room floor where toddlers climb over me and matchbox cars roll up and down my back. In that moment specifically I’m likely hiding from the visual distraction of a cluttered living room, but still able to enjoy the dark while listening to the giggles of play around me and on me! I come to child’s pose on my bedroom floor, the door locked, hands in prayer above my head. “Dear God, here I am, use me and work through me.” I find it at the gym, it’s a quick place to re-set and give myself a pep talk before launching into a challenging CrossFit workout where my mental strength will be tested much farther than my physical strength. For all these reasons and more, child’s pose has been a good friend. It’s been a constant and healing, always faithful, and sticks around as-long-as-you-need-kind-of-friend.

As we move precariously through such a chaotic world, we rely on our faith to guide us and we rely on the lights of others to help lead and support our way. We know and hopefully remind ourselves often that everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. So be tender with people. They will hurt you, betray you, use you, and love you all at the same time. Understand that their actions are simply a reflection of their own insecurities and self-work they are moving patiently through. Allow the quiet of a pose, any pose, maybe child’s pose to be your own little island of self-love and care.

When I was pregnant with my children, I never wanted to find out the sex of my babies. I wanted to fully feel the life within me and know that the small beating heart just below my own would some day end up being one of the most important humans in my life disregarding whether or not that baby would come home from the hospital wearing pink or blue.  That was one of my favorite parts leading up to a birth. Picking out a girl outfit  and then a boy outfit. Carefully folding both, placing them gently in the hospital bag, and smiling as I anticipated which one would find it’s way to my laundry pile over the course of the next month. It was also a way to look forward to a surprise. A great, momentous, and life-impacting surprise. And it’s a good surprise. Too often in life we are handed challenging and unexpected surprises. A unsuspected  bill in the mail, the news that a dear friend is sick, the sudden loss of a job, or a relationship change. But the good surprises are the ones we need to hold onto. We need to because they are the ones that level out the playing field with the bad ones. With that being said, look forward to the discoveries of self you make when coming to poses you love. And just as I feel in my child’s pose and maybe you might feel in a Warrior Pose, be open to self-discoveries through your new-found ability to examine who you are in a critically and loving way. It’s in these moments that we need to smile, we need to embrace the belief that something good is coming. We lean on two words that I share with you as they were recently gifted to me from a good friend. These two words…”what’s next?” What is the next good thing, the next good surprise, the next leap of faith forward that we embrace fully? The shift from defeat moves now to power and expectation. The child’s pose that often holds my heavy feelings of being overwhelmed and tired can now offer me a vision to keep pressing on because there is always a “what’s next?”

Your pose will find you just like yoga found you. And when that pose does find you, ask yourself, “what’s next?”

Blessings,

Sarah

A Letter To Our Members

Dear Shore Point Yoga Members,

SPYoga Opening Day!
Twins turn one!
December 5th, 2015

My blog post to you this month comes in the form of a thank you letter. It’s a letter that I consider long overdue. We’ve been open two years this past December 5th. This date is also the birthday of my three year old twins. At the time I didn’t plan to open a yoga studio with a dear friend, on the day they turned one. This time in life was certainly (and still is) messy, busy, and exhausting.  Instead, the studio seemed to open itself. I was just a facilitator.  All pieces aligned eerily into place just weeks prior to our first class. It’s a decision and call I am so grateful I responded to. I remember feeling deep moments of hesitation with questions of how my life would change. A small business; endless daily responsibilities; the tasks of home and kids, could I do it?  And more importantly, could I do it well? Like so many big decisions in life, I leaned entirely into the still, small voice that becomes louder with time when not heeded. I knew that Jenn and I had something great here. We had to do this.

If you are reading this, you are important to us and I hope you fully embrace that word. I promised myself that our studio would be different than others. It would welcome all who walked through our doors with the ease of love and full acceptance. Throughout my years of yoga studio hopping and studying the internal dynamics of each space, I often left feeling disappointed. I wanted to feel as though I belonged, that I could become a part of something even just as a drop-in attendee. The classes were fine, the poses never disappoint, even the teaching was very good. It was that the atmosphere of some of these spaces that didn’t feel quite right.  My fear in opening just another yoga studio was that others would feel this same way and to me that was scary. Because that feeling of isolation and non-acceptance is the exact opposite of yoga

Here is where the “thank you” part comes into play. As I sit here in my favorite coffee shop and trip over the keyboard with shaky fingers because my hands can’t keep up with my thoughts, a wave of gratitude runs through me so fierce.   I have discovered that it is YOU and all the others who have made our studio so distinctly different. I can lead classes, teacher trainings and workshops, hire the best instructors, make flyers, promote,  teach kids’ classes, write paychecks on time, the list is endless!  But, Shore Point Yoga is not about my efficiencies as a business owner, or about any of our fabulous teachers. We are merely the vessels. The ones placed to guide. Shore Point Yoga is about the people, all of you, who have made my space, our space, so perfectly unique.  My admiration for all of you runs so deep! The way you smile and welcome new faces, your words of gratitude after class, your donations towards our community classes, your shares on FB, the messages you send me about a class you enjoyed, the gifts I find unexpectedly on my desk or flowers in front of my storefront, this list too can go on. The humble hearts each one of you brings to your mat is part of the greater energy that has made our little down-the-shore studio a cocoon of love and personal safety. I cannot tell you how many times a teacher or student has said in an observing tone… “This place is just, well, different.” And to me different is so good. Different means we are part of something greater than ourselves.

So thank you for your encouragement, for your understanding when I need a sub because a child is sick or it’s Back To School Night, or simply because I forgot I needed to be somewhere. I personally thank you for supporting my dream as a studio owner and for supporting my mission to bring mindfulness to schools. You see, there’s only so much energy one can put forth themselves. I am so comfortable running on empty that it’s refreshing to feel what running on full means. Thank you, thank you, thank you for fueling me and my studio in the most fulfilling way I can think of. And that is simply YOU on your mat.

Blessings,

Sarah

Gold

14 years ago Yoga found me, as it usually finds everyone, by accident. It wasn’t on my radar. I had all kinds of irrational assumptions about it, and I plainly didn’t see the point of it. Stretch, breath, meditate – Yikes!  All of this related in no way to my usual miles of marathon training or strength conditioning. Who wants to waste an hour being quiet and contemplative?!

I took the class. I was a disaster. Anxiously watching everyone else, hiding out in the bathroom when the dreaded head-stand was offered. Only to find that upon my return the teacher suggested she assist me with the pose. After several failed attempts, she quietly yet not-so-quietly informed me in front of the entire class that my body is riddled with fear, I’m emotionally not there yet to successfully achieve the pose. I left and didn’t go back. Yoga was exactly what I thought it was. A pretentious group of people, propped up on their muted colored yoga mats like little statues wanting desperately to be admired, but pretending like they were humble and loving. It wasn’t until four years after that first class, did I have the courage to attempt a second. The second was not me taking a class, but teaching it! A local Gold’s gym needed a yoga instructor…no qualifications! Yup, that’s right! Thanks to YouTube for the 20 min. tutorial, I landed myself a job and taught three classes per week over the course of four years. During that time, I fell in love with yoga because it fell in love with me first. Week after week, 15-20 people filled the mirror-laden fitness room to escape from to-do lists, the spin class music that still thumped through the wall next door, and the screaming toddler in the child-care room. In that hour I was the one to hold this space, or more accurately to be the facilitator of holding this space. That job, as inept as I was at teaching at the time, brought me into full awareness that people needed yoga. They came week after week, placed their mat in the same spot, took the same deep breath upon entering the room, and presented the same tired eyes and half smiles. That space, with my high school yoga degree and those rubber islands, were all we needed for our yoga.  And it was beautiful because it was simple, present, and everything I wished it was when I took my first class years before at the upstairs Jersey Shore Fitness Shop in Belmar, NJ.

Let me entertain you as I compare yoga to Italian cooking. Here’s the truth: as humans, we complicate things. We make the natural, regular recipes of life with far too many ingredients. My grandmother’s marinara has six ingredients, that’s it, just six. I’ve never thought to add more or take away less. It’s a balance of nostalgia and comfort all in the process and in the pot. Its taste brings warm feelings, love, and the savory remembrances of family dinners and the anticipation of dinner to be had. Yoga, just like the sauce, does not need to be complicated. It’s as good and as constant as the way it was created thousands of years ago. And those six ingredients can actually be boiled down to one. That ingredient: Love. To practice yoga is to love yourself and to teach it is to humble oneself to love others. It’s a calling, a place of serving, a place where as the teacher you become a vessel of emotion and faith-inspired themes that mystically present themselves during the energetic fluidity of the practice.

But here we are heading into 2018, more concerned with LuLu Lemon attire, drinking a beer WHILE nailing our warrior one, quieting our minds in our heavy metal yoga class, and practicing with goats and ON horses. Basic Marinara yoga has turned into a full on Italian antipasto comprised of every kind of olive and spiced meat beyond prosciutto. And to add as a disclaimer, I’m not judging as  much as I am questioning why we have had to take things to this measure? Let’s instead sift through the sand and stones (as useful as they are in other circumstances)  in order to reveal the hidden pearls.  Challenge yourself to become consciously aware of the why in  your practice. Notice where the ego presents itself and where the higher consciousness and self-love reveal their quiet agendas. And don’t be afraid to feel. To feel all of the raw, crazy, unbounded emotion that is revealed in every 60 minute story you allow yourself to unfold.

Yoga is yoga. It’s basic, it’s pure, and it’s seen in every first breath a newborn takes upon entering the world. These tiny, taintless humans exhibit some of the most beautiful yoga in the world. Their bodies naturally move through poses; child’s pose, down dog, attempted inversions, cat/cow, and happy baby among countless others. They weren’t formally taught these poses in a Baby Yoga class. Instead they are intuitively aware of both the physical connection (more importantly) the energetic core of their unique being. The further we grown-ups move from this place of natural awareness, the more we allow the daily disruptions of life to define who we think we should be. We wear to-do lists, challenges, and burdens like badges of honor. We share our war stories and show the scars to prove them. And what’s worse is that we bring this ALL to the mat. How do I know this? I know because it’s a ball of yarn I’m still unraveling every time I arrive to my mat. I’ve learned that the ball of entwined gold string has created me and every thread comprises my full and complete being. Am I ashamed that I do not better reflect who I was during my first few years of life? No.  Besides, that’s impossible! The stuff between then and now has made me who I am and it’s allowed yoga to wrap it’s arms around me every single time I find myself on my own private island.

The message: allow yoga to be just what it is. A mysterious blend of healing guided through fragile vessels just like you and me. Be quiet and don’t be afraid. And just like gold, one of the most precious metals on earth, allow yourself  to shine and be valued, because there is NOTHING or ANYONE as beautiful as the love you give to yourself.

Blessings,

Sarah

Gold

 

14 years ago Yoga found me, as it usually finds everyone, by accident. It wasn’t on my radar. I had all kinds of irrational assumptions about it, and I plainly didn’t see the point of it. Stretch, breath, meditate – Yikes!  All of this related in no way to my usual miles of marathon training or strength conditioning. Who wants to waste an hour being quiet and contemplative?!

I took the class. I was a disaster. Anxiously watching everyone else, hiding out in the bathroom when the dreaded head-stand was offered. Only to find that upon my return the teacher suggested she assist me with the pose. After several failed attempts, she quietly yet not-so-quietly informed me in front of the entire class that my body is riddled with fear, I’m emotionally not there yet to successfully achieve the pose. I left and didn’t go back. Yoga was exactly what I thought it was. A pretentious group of people, propped up on their muted colored yoga mats like little statues wanting desperately to be admired, but pretending like they were humble and loving. It wasn’t until four years after that first class, did I have the courage to attempt a second. The second was not me taking a class, but teaching it! A local Gold’s gym needed a yoga instructor…no qualifications! Yup, that’s right! Thanks to YouTube for the 20 min. tutorial, I landed myself a job and taught three classes per week over the course of four years. During that time, I fell in love with yoga because it fell in love with me first. Week after week, 15-20 people filled the mirror-laden fitness room to escape from to-do lists, the spin class music that still thumped through the wall next door, and the screaming toddler in the child-care room. In that hour I was the one to hold this space, or more accurately to be the facilitator of holding this space. That job, as inept as I was at teaching at the time, brought me into full awareness that people needed yoga. They came week after week, placed their mat in the same spot, took the same deep breath upon entering the room, and presented the same tired eyes and half smiles. That space, with my high school yoga degree and those rubber islands, were all we needed for our yoga.  And it was beautiful because it was simple, present, and everything I wished it was when I took my first class years before at the upstairs Jersey Shore Fitness Shop in Belmar, NJ.

Let me entertain you as I compare yoga to Italian cooking. Here’s the truth: as humans, we complicate things. We make the natural, regular recipes of life with far too many ingredients. My grandmother’s marinara has six ingredients, that’s it, just six. I’ve never thought to add more or take away less. It’s a balance of nostalgia and comfort all in the process and in the pot. Its taste brings warm feelings, love, and the savory remembrances of family dinners and the anticipation of dinner to be had. Yoga, just like the sauce, does not need to be complicated. It’s as good and as constant as the way it was created thousands of years ago. And those six ingredients can actually be boiled down to one. That ingredient: Love. To practice yoga is to love yourself and to teach it is to humble oneself to love others. It’s a calling, a place of serving, a place where as the teacher you become a vessel of emotion and faith-inspired themes that mystically present themselves during the energetic fluidity of the practice.

But here we are heading into 2018, more concerned with LuLu Lemon attire, drinking a beer WHILE nailing our warrior one, quieting our minds in our heavy metal yoga class, and practicing with goats and ON horses. Basic Marinara yoga has turned into a full on Italian antipasto comprised of every kind of olive and spiced meat beyond prosciutto. And to add as a disclaimer, I’m not judging as  much as I am questioning why we have had to take things to this measure? Let’s instead sift through the sand and stones (as useful as they are in other circumstances)  in order to reveal the hidden pearls.  Challenge yourself to become consciously aware of the why in  your practice. Notice where the ego presents itself and where the higher consciousness and self-love reveal their quiet agendas. And don’t be afraid to feel. To feel all of the raw, crazy, unbounded emotion that is revealed in every 60 minute story you allow yourself to unfold.

Yoga is yoga. It’s basic, it’s pure, and it’s seen in every first breath a newborn takes upon entering the world. These tiny, taintless humans exhibit some of the most beautiful yoga in the world. Their bodies naturally move through poses; child’s pose, down dog, attempted inversions, cat/cow, and happy baby among countless others. They weren’t formally taught these poses in a Baby Yoga class. Instead they are intuitively aware of both the physical connection (more importantly) the energetic core of their unique being. The further we grown-ups move from this place of natural awareness, the more we allow the daily disruptions of life to define who we think we should be. We wear to-do lists, challenges, and burdens like badges of honor. We share our war stories and show the scars to prove them. And what’s worse is that we bring this ALL to the mat. How do I know this? I know because it’s a ball of yarn I’m still unraveling every time I arrive to my mat. I’ve learned that the ball of entwined gold string has created me and every thread comprises my full and complete being. Am I ashamed that I do not better reflect who I was during my first few years of life? No.  Besides, that’s impossible! The stuff between then and now has made me who I am and it’s allowed yoga to wrap it’s arms around me every single time I find myself on my own private island.

The message: allow yoga to be just what it is. A mysterious blend of healing guided through fragile vessels just like you and me. Be quiet and don’t be afraid. And just like gold, one of the most precious metals on earth, allow yourself  to shine and be valued, because there is NOTHING or ANYONE as beautiful as the love you give to yourself.

Christmas
Blessings and Love,

Sarah

Be A Way-Shower

One of the most fascinating things about living this human experience is the other humans who intercept our paths. We will come across thousands of people in our life, but a handful will have the power to re-direct, shape, and inform your steps along the way. Interception, most notably linked to an NFL game (Go Giants!) can also be easily applied to the unexpected twists and turns that this life has perfected so well. Many of these interceptions come at the most inopportune times; others at the perfect time! The daily routine of life tends to affirm our inner voice that we have things under control. At least for the moment.

And then arrives  a Way-Shower…a person or a relationship that teaches you, helping to guide you in that particular season of your life that feels lonely or lacking.  I had a friend on my X-Country team in college who was an encourager. Krista left notes in my mailbox, uplifting words of encouragement in order to support me in the weekend race ahead. She knew I needed it. I was the #5 runner for the team, a pressure spot and I hated racing with a passion!  In my first year of parenting my friend Dee was steps ahead of me and thought that no question I asked concerning baby-rearing was ridiculous, including, “what are the steps in giving a newborn a bath?” Katie, who taught me 10 years ago that I could co-lead a woman’s conference with confidence! Eric, who who I miss dearly and left more nuggets of wisdom than I can count. My favorite of these: “ Time with your children is the most important gift you can give them.”  Thus, solo birthday dates with mom and solo dad or mom dates weekly, if only to Target.

Those are just a few of my personal  and positive way-showers. People who arrived and stayed for a bit in order to move me forward in my journey.  Their purpose at the time was unknown to me. I engaged and responded to them as I would with any of my friends today. It is only  upon reflection that I can admire their way-showing abilities.

Naturally, if there is a positive way-shower, there is also the negative way-shower. This is the more difficult speed-bump to navigate. The one we would rather drive around and ignore than slow down and roll over with the least amount of bump in the process. The catch with speed bumps is that you are forced to slow down, forced to protect your car, and also not to irritate the passengers inside if going too fast. You can see where I’m going with this. Moving through that ease in life I talked about early on and then comes the speed bump. You must slow down, you must reflect, you must absolutely recognize the curve ball thrown your way. The choice to ignore it gets you nowhere, because you won’t successfully navigate that speed bump until you decide to face it and embrace it.  In this case, I consider way-showers to also come in the form of life circumstances. The loss of a job, a miscarriage, a diagnosis, the list is endless. But it’s through these strategically placed situations that Life re-shapes for the better. It’s that moment when you are willing to surrender in the pain, disappointment or grief that this too will serve a purpose. Maybe not now; possibly years from now. The fruits of your compliance to walk across the gritty sand to smoothness again are discovered in the pearls that surprise you later on. My deepest heartache, the delivery of my 20 week old baby boy in 2013 has gifted me the chance to hold space for others in this darkness. But it has also brought a double blessing in my twins!  It has caused me to hold fast and tight to these tumultuous parenting years, and most importantly it has taught me of God’s grace and redeeming power. A hard way-showing circumstance indeed, but I can say with full confidence that it didn’t take long to see the rainbow following the storm.

It’s my hope that upon reading this blog post you will consider two questions. Who might I possibly be influencing (that answer might surprise you if you think long enough)? Who or what has been a way-shower to me in the past? When you choose to live in your own awareness, you allow the practice on your mat to lead you to new lands. Bring these questions to your mat the next time. Slow down and reflect on the gift of intuition and influence that you are born with. I am 100% convinced that every conversation, relationship and conflict we face brings us (if we allow it) further down the path of self-realization.

So, be encouraged. You are a way-shower and you have been chosen at particular times to directly affect, at that perfect moment, the life of another human being. And they will undoubtedly reflect on you years later and internally thank you. Keep living; keep being open; keep being willing.

blessings,

Sarah

Failure Wins.

 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of failure, the word itself has such a deep emotional attachment to anyone who comes across it. Perhaps it sparks a childhood memory of disappointment, or maybe a current situation that you are certain will end with the word “failure” somehow being the main player. Or it’s someone on the outside who doesn’t share your values and can’t seem to fully envision the passion that you pursue daily.  In all aspects of the word “failure” we identify ourselves as not worthy, unable to make the mark, someone whose attempt will be overshadowed by another whose success will be celebrated in the face of what you couldn’t do. The harsh reality of this world is that failure is a part of life, and it’s unfortunate really that failing at something is such a “bad” thing. We’ve learned to fear failure, and for many it limits our ability to make strides and march forward for fear of what could happen. Instead of risking the loss of something we stay in place in order to keep feeding our fragile, undernourished egos while dismissing what could be accomplished if we were brave enough to risk failure.

History shows us that some of the most successful people—past and present—used failure to drive their life mission forward. Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. Sir Isaac Newton’s mother pulled him out of school as a boy so that he could run the family farm. He failed farming miserably. But went on to become one of the most celebrated scientists of all time, revolutionizing physics and mathemati

cs. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything” and Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting, “The Red Vineyard,” just months before his death.  And as popular as JK Rowling’s books are, her pauper to fame story is just as amazing. She was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing her first “Harry Potter” novel.

These people were just people living their lives like you and me. They barely made ends meet and they lived their lives with routine and struggle, but underneath the banalities of living they were empowered with a self-defined passion. Whether it was painting or writing, science or film, these passions colored who they were. They took hold of their loves and allowed that which inspired them to live through them. You see, when you have a tiny spark of a passion burning quietly, it’s still a fire—not yet a big one, but it’s still a fire. They fanned those flames and marched forward, at times through a drenching rain that tried to wither a very personal dream. Yes, I’m sure they felt terribly alone at times. Who else would really care whether or not they succeeded? When you fan a passion flame alone, you’re climbing upstream, against the nay-sayer current and the irony is it’s the nay-sayers that make you swim harder. Whether or not you realize it, the obstacles and roadblocks put in your way serve as a guide. Don’t go this way; do go that way.

Too often we allow our passion to take us, but only so far. Maybe a knock or two and we’re out. Why do we do this? Because as humans we are conditioned to want success right now. We’re a bit lazy. Ideas flow freely in our head and we ask ourselves questions like, “what if I did this?”, “what if I took a leap and changed jobs?”, “I could write that book!”.  Failure, that ugly word, holds us back. Like a blinking red boardwalk sign blocking your path to the beautiful, fathomless ocean on an otherwise perfect summer night.

The solution: face the failure and find it. If you don’t bring yourself to just the edge of the failure cliff or beyond, you won’t know what it feels like to dust off and keep moving forward with new-found knowledge and insight. Failure makes us strong and disappointments make us stronger. Anything which holds your heart deeply also requires skinned knees to finish the next 25 miles of the marathon. I have a sign in my home that reads, “Great things take time to grow.” Th

at’s all it is. Time. It’s a daily re-commitment to what you set your eyes on. You don’t need to know the full outcome of what you are trying to accomplish. Rather, keep working on it and notice when things come to you! Those things will come to you! Instead of seeking out, be open to receiving. And someday you will wake up with the finished painting and realize you still have many more days of living a fully enriched life where you can produce more because, well, you allowed yourself to be a failure.

Blessings,

Sarah

Dear Teacher…

“A Teacher’s major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-students grandchild. A teacher, finally, has nothing to go on but faith, a student nothing to offer in return but testimony.”
– Wendell Barry

 

Dear Teachers,
Here it is. Another school year. A fresh start. New students; a re-commitment to why you chose this profession or rather why this profession chose you. You are who you are because of how you are made. You are the human symbol of compassion and (mostly) patience. You give more than you receive on so many different levels. And you care deeply—at times more that you would like—for the children you call your own over the course of 185 days. The world outside of your uniquely constructed classroom sees just the outside of you, the teacher appearance of what you represent. Parents at back to school night admire your organization, presentation, bulletin board, and careful way you write their child’s name on their desk. Most parents appreciate all you do, but they don’t know all you do and really you can’t expect them to. The truth is, as parents, we take you for granted and sometimes I think you feel this. You’re okay with that though, it’s all part of the selfless act of love that you factor into the profession that chose you. Often times, you wonder how you get it all done. And many times you ask yourself if this was the right choice. Between changes in curriculum, a possible grade switch next year, another student with an IEP, observations, and oh yes, the content that somehow you hope sinks into the 18 pairs of eyes who are supposed to be engaged while you are teaching.
You are teaching in a age right now that undermines the origins and roots of what education was founded upon. Your task is great, but your heart is greater so it all works out. I write you this letter on behalf of so many parents who DO understand what you are up against. 2500 years ago, the ancient Greeks saw the true value in teaching from the inside-out. This approach, referred to as the Socratic method or the dialectic approach, was guided by the inquisitiveness of the learner. The teacher as the facilitator; the student as the guide. The inner workings of that student expressed himself freely because he was encouraged and permitted. This is the entity of mindfulness! The script of curriculum, the same 3 questions asked per lesson, and standardized tests were far off in the distant future. Enough was presented through the eyes of the learner that could fill a teacher’s planner for an entire lifetime. And the teacher was allowed to be attended (mindful and present) to what that child craved and needed most.
The kids aren’t ignorant of what they’re missing out on in the classroom. They know and feel that this process of learning is unnatural because simply, it feels that way to them. As an educational culture, we have shifted the process of learning to that of an “outside-in” approach. You, the teacher learn the curriculum at a workshop over a few days. You then do a wonderful job engaging the learner through a variety of techniques and the use of manipulatives that you see fit. But the end goal is still the delivering of content, the pouring in, the “making sure they get it approach as it is scripted”. This goes against the grain of just about every learner and frankly probably also most teachers. Am I being too critical? Maybe, but do teachers deserve to be validated and recognized for what they are up against? Absolutely.
One thing I learned early on in my years of parenting is that even though my children may have come from me and we share the same DNA, it’s really of no importance when it comes to the inner-workings of who they really are! I grew up riding horses and competing, and I loved it. I identified with all things equestrian. I couldn’t wait to get out of school so I could walk a quarter mile to the stable where I took lessons and boarded my horse. I loved the smells, I loved the brushing, the riding, the dust-filled air, the sounds, and the quiet. It was everything a classic introvert craved. I was me when I was at Stepping Stone Farm. So many years later, I thought it would be fun to introduce my 6 year old to the world of horses. It didn’t take much to convince her it would be a good time. Little girls plus horses go together like peas and carrots. The first few lessons were fine, but in time, I realized that I was the one wanting this for her. She really had no interest and I finally learned to pull the plug when she rode by trotting while she rolled her eyes at me. A piece of me was sad, but another piece of me celebrated her authenticity and ability to own the fact that she did not like this at all. Today, at age 10, she’s a knock-out surfer, a fierce soccer player, and her social calendar is busier than mine. True extrovert, nothing like me and I wouldn’t change a thing! I share this story because it reminds me that we must begin to honor the child in a way that respects how they were made. Too often I hear parents say, “He’s just like me because…” Is he really or is it you wanting your child to have that same trait. Kids believe what they receive and so many of them are receiving the same content in the classrooms in the same way.
How is this affecting them? To put it plainly and to call a spade a spade, I think we are disservicing them for years to come. It’s our job as parents and educators to be mindful of the child placed in our rooms and our lives. YOU were chosen for that child by an act of faith. YOU are entrusted to decide to be an honoring part to their life or a dismissive run-of-the-mill teacher in their life. You can all remember the handful of students who had an impact on you. What about the students out there who will recall a certain teacher recognizing them for them.
I remember my third grade teacher—Mrs. J.—fondly. What do I remember most about her? I remember her eyes. They were blue and wide and her eyes listened to me. I remember her walk, she almost floated around the room, like she knew intuitively which child needed her at the exact right moment. Upon reflection, she represented mindfulness without even realizing it. She was living it and it had a profound impact on me as a learner. I struggled with math, the times tables were frustrating, I was quiet and constantly afraid she would call on me to read aloud. She spent alone time with me often to go over those darn 7 facts and she rarely called on me to read in order to save me the embarrassment of flushed cheeks and a racing heart. She felt me, she felt all of us on a resonant level. She was living and teaching behind the pouring in of content. Most importantly, she was present.
Teachers, you are up against a lot and even though I am a former teacher, I’m not sure I could go back with the awareness of the current state of the education system. I simply want to encourage all of you that you are where you need to be at such a time as this. Our world needs teachers who are mindful and present more than ever. Continue to do the best you can with the limit of creativity that you are allowed. Instead, I challenge you to connect with your students personally each day. Ask a question, put your hand on their shoulder, commend them even when you have to search for a praise. You will be remembered so much more beyond the standardized testing preparations. You will be cemented into their mind as foundational to the development of their character. And someday down the road, they will refer to you as their Mrs. J!

Blessings,

Sarah

August 12, 2017: The Opposite of Yoga

So maybe this blog post won’t relate entirely to all things yoga, but it will relate to the current climate of our country and the need for us to take a deeper introspective to self.  In response to the awful happenings in Charlottesville, ask yourself

these questions:  Presently, what do I feel? Presently, what do I read and resonate with? Presently, what

do I dismiss, hold onto, or agree with, or do I choose not to care?  Asking ourselves questions like these after the self-inflicted wound our country is scrambling to bandage is essential in not only our personal growth, but the collective heart health of the greatest country in the world.

To look at the world as a whole, it’s easy to feel as though you are a small working part. In fact you are, but you are still a part. Your very being is here to impact not only the ones closest to you, but every human being you cross paths with. You leave a mark, whether you realize it or not; people listen to your words (mostly) and digest them later. Your impact, compassion, and passion crafts their opinions and reactions to the world. We are a bundle of moving parts, complicated, messy and beautiful. We have intentions to do good, but we are despairingly bad at working together toward that goal!

Think about this. What are some of the first things we teach our toddlers when in a group with others? We teach them to be kind, to offer help, to share when their turn is done, to acknowledge others and respect the emotions of those around them.  We teach them that life, to their dismay, is not solely about their needs. Not a concept the average 3-year-old finds it easy to come to terms with. How do they learn? They learn through modeling, through practice, through guidance, and eventually (thank goodness!) maturity. The white supremacist hatred and exclusion that took place on the streets of Charlottesville is comparable to a group of grown adult toddlers unwilling to adhere to basic human rules. These rules: to respect, to share space, to acknowledge the differences among others, to essentially understand that life is not about your opinion only. These are the same rules that we promise to teach the tiny 7lb. human we hold in our arms. Something happens with these people between age two and beyond. There’s a breakdown in the human foundation, one cinderblock at a time being dislodged, causing an undermined foundation. A foundation that no strong, steady, architecturally sound home could stand upon. When our foundations are compromised, we think we are smart humans—we already know how to fill those crevices that have been created. We justify our disgusting actions and convince ourselves that what we believe is the only true and right way. You might even think that I’m acting a bit self-righteously as I write this blog post. Here’s where the rubber meets the road: If we can’t simply agree that the actions of hate groups are wrong on every level and every extension of that level, we are choosing support forces in our country  intent on moving backwards rather than forwards. We cannot go backwards, that’s not the nature of America.

So what can you do to make your moving part an aid in the healing? Sure, you can go to rallies, write letters to government officials, run for a political seat, the list goes on.  Or, you can choose to practice a present moment awareness mindset. You can pause and breathe in the sadness and choose to react in love and forgiveness. You can be a model of acceptance and you can voice to your children that humans have the ability to do terrible unjust things, but that they also have the ability to do amazing, life-empowering things. When you choose present moment awareness, you choose to model one of the most powerful truths you can live: the truth of yourself. And that truth is the uniqueness in you that the world needs a part of. How many people stroll through life never tapping into their positive power and abilities to better the lives of others?  We were not placed on t

his earth to exclude and segregate. We were placed here to exchange ideas, to inspire and admire the ones among us and the ones who have gone before us.  And please, don’t dismiss the millions of those who fought for this country because they felt deep in their hearts the value of its worth. Choose to live out integrity, wear it proudly, not shamefully,  and speak that truth to the little eyes watching. Because those little eyes see beyond the hateful words and loud jagged voices; they see and feel the energy of darkness being reinforced. Choose to be present, choose to ask your self the tough questions, choose to teach the right truths, choose to embrace and share the gifts you have been given, and most importantly choose to love.

Blessings,

Sarah