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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Embrace Lost

I'm lost.  Lost in business.  A little lost in life.  I don't really know what to do next.

In one week, I had to postpone my retreat and cancel a yoga class due to low registration.  My other yoga classes are not full yet.  And I have received only ONE call in two months regarding a workplace workshop - and that has not been confirmed.

My typical approach is to work at it. Find solutions.  Determine what is not working and fix it.  And if it still does not work, find something else to do.  Offer another program.  Design a different workshop or retreat.  In fact, I did design another retreat and decided not to go ahead with it.  And I did design another workshop and decided to not offer it.

Because I feel lost.

Now, don't get me wrong, I filled my meditation and yoga courses in September and then filled another meditation course in October.  The retreats have been filled in the past, with incredible feedback.  I have had students in some of my classes cry tears of joy because it is the first time they've been able to release since a serious injury.  Someone told me last week I do important work and to keep going.  I received an email from a stranger the other day to tell me what I do adds value. I am grateful I can contribute.  I am filled with joy when I see that what I do has a positive effect.  I do receive gifts from students and they do tell me how wonderful their classes or courses are.  My workplace programs have gone well in the past, and I have had repeat clients. People have told me the work they've done with me has changed how they work and impacted culture.  Yes, things are working out.

I really do find and see the good and focus on it as much as I can.

Yet, I'm at a crossroads.

I really don't know what is next.

I fill my time with busy-ness to make me feel like I have a lot to do.  I don't know what else to do. Ok, Ok... there are things I could be doing.  But there is this unknown space enveloping me.

I'm lost.

Here's the thing.  When I'm lost, I tend to grasp at solutions and strategies and new ideas.  My mind is filled with ideas.  The result is a busy-ness that has no direction.  I get caught up in frivolous, meaningless tasks.  Yes, some days are filled with classes and meetings and I feel productive and good about what I'm doing.  But I have these days that are full... of nothingness... but busy-ness.

This time.... I have decided to embrace feeling lost rather than trying to fill the time.

Because maybe it's not lost.  Maybe it's just an opportunity to use the space to create.  Maybe if I allow free time, I will see the opportunities line up in front of me.

That's what I teach in classes sometimes.

Last week, I read something about being faced with difficulties and saying we are lost, when really we are just in the chaos or unknown that is normal, and it will pass and we will make it through.. so take it on.  Dive in.  Dive in to the unknown.  Allow the unknown.

So, I'm diving into that feeling of lost.  I'm embracing it.  I'm not longer avoiding it.  I took the time to commit to a Manifest Your Awesomeness Challenge by Jennifer Trask.  It is helping me embrace this feeling.  I took time to meditate.  I got organized.  I journaled.  I ate my breakfast and my lunch... on time.  And I listened to a few yoga podcasts.

Funny how we can feel so free when we just allow whatever is there to be there.

Feeling lost is like feeling out of control.  Embracing it means making conscious choices that make you feel good versus grasping at things to do.  Then you feel in control.  Free.  And eventually, you will feel back on track.

I'm lost and I'm embracing it.  I don't really know what is next.  The unknown, though, is part of the fun.

And how lucky am I that I have this opportunity... I have abundance of time (for now, anyway)... how many people can say that?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Dance of Freedom

Last weekend, I attended a 5Rhythms dance workshop.  I have danced since I was four years old.  I love to dance. However, as an adult with adult responsibilities, dance slowly distanced itself from me.

Then, with injuries and other health issues, came a pretty sedentary life over the past few years.  I stopped running, snowboarding, hula hopping... I hiked a bit but not like I used to.  I dabbled in things, but was not able to keep up activity.

I was lethargic.  I was sore.

Think of stagnant water.  It becomes an incubator for bacteria and disease.  It does not flow.  It is motionless.  It becomes full of waste, foul smells, and unhealthy to drink.

Well, we are made of 60-90% water (depends on the research you're reading).  When we are sedentary, we become stagnant.  Like a motionless pool of water.

As did I.

Last year, I began moving again.  It's been a slow process full of ups and downs, but last weekend, I attended 2 1/2 days of dancing.  This was not ordinary, shuffle your feet back and forth and snap your fingers kind of dancing.  This was flat out, move, shake, rattle, and roll dancing.  And I did it for hours.  And hours.  In fact, days.

After Friday night, I felt free.  I was so happy I could burst.  Saturday, although amazing, was a little different.  When we dance, when we truly connect to our soul and dance, we move something else inside us beyond our physical body.  We move emotions.  We move energy.  We move whatever is stuck.  And all that began to move in me.  I felt the stuckness.  I felt the stagnant energy.

Release comes in many forms... for me, on Saturday, I shed tears, I felt temperature changes, I got the chills, I tingled, and I released with sounds... yes, breath... heavy, purposeful, forceful, and, well, growling and howling works, too.  (Try it... it is liberating.)

Saturday night I got a call from my Mom... my Dad was sick and we were bringing him to emergency.  He was really, really sick for hours, and we had a late night.  He is OK now.  My Dad and Mom have both been sick over the past two years, and I feel like a regular in the emergency room and hospitals.  But they are both fine.  Health is improving for both of them, and we're all pretty grateful for that.

Ok... so back to dance... Sunday morning, I was exhausted and could barely move.  My body was so stiff.  My neck and back were paining.  My heart felt heavy.  I sent a message to the organizer - I was not coming.  There was no way I could dance in this state.

Well, that was simply not going to do.  The organizer and facilitator of 5Rhythms encouraged me to come, participate or not, stay or don't stay, but come.

So I did.  I had intentions of sitting in a chair and meditating all day.

But that also was not going to do.

I was stiff when I started.  I participated and moved slowly and cautiously.  I connected with people. And because I could not move so much... I got still in my body.  My body WANTED to move.  But, it just couldn't.  Not in the way I wanted it to.  A whole lot of acceptance was happening.

That afternoon, we had a shamanic dance.  Visudha (the facilitator) told me to be soft in my body.... to keep softening it as the music played.  So unlike everyone else who was dancing and moving and giving it their all... I lay down and softened.  I had a lot of trouble relaxing.  It probably took me 30 minutes, and it usually takes me about 2 minutes:)

Something truly amazing happened once I found softness.  Stillness.  Connection.  I was fully aware of all the beautiful souls dancing around me, but I was lying there.  Still.  And I began twitching.  I began shaking.  I began pulsating.  I could feel energy being moved through me.  Tears squeezed out of my eyes.  My body would tense and then relax.  I knew I had full control, but I allowed whatever release to happen.  And release it did.

I had had that kind of experience before.  I knew it was a release.  It doesn't even matter what it was a release of... it was releasing all that is stored in our bodies so that I could find freedom.  And it worked.

The next exercise was more dancing, but one person at a time... flat out... release everything in you with movement and sound kind of dancing.  I figured I'd saunter up the room slowly and cautiously in what you call 'flow' movement.  You know... because my neck was so stiff and my body could barely move.  And I was feeling pretty calm.

Well... when release happens, your body softens.  When it was my turn, I began to move a little... do a little flow... and then it happened.  My entire body shook.  My head softened and swirled.  My body was more like an elastic band than a piece of wood.  I had NO idea how this was even possible given my current physical state.

At the end of the dance, I was out of breath.  It was a minute... maybe two... but I was panting like I just ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.  It was cathartic.  It was stimulating.  It was kind of astonishing.

Of course, like all retreats, I felt connected and grounded and joyful at the end.  I had new friends.  I had new skills.  I am in love.  In love with life.  I feel alive.  I have two feet in.

I knew I'd be in pain the next day, and I didn't care.  It was worth it.  It was more than worth it.

But I wasn't.  I wasn't in pain!  The next day, I had some stiff muscles in my calves... normal for dancing all weekend. But my neck and back had their normal level of pain.  Nothing more.  The stiffness and pain that had been there on Sunday morning had disappeared.  Yet, I was thrashing around and shaking my booty... and my head!

How was this possible?

The dance is an energetic release.  The dance, when truly connected to the soul, allows all that is stagnant to move.  The disease drains away.  The body moves more freely.  The body flows.  Just like the body of stagnant water once you allow it to flow.

We are not meant to be stagnant.  We are meant to find stillness in our minds... but our bodies are meant to move.

Do not be afraid to move.  Do not be afraid to allow energy to be released.  We are here once.  Do not give anything that keeps you stuck permission to hang around.

Of course, there are times we need to rest... to take care of illness.  Even in those times, we have choice in how we respond.

It takes courage to dance.  To move your body.  To be engaged in life.  To jump in with two feet.  It is your choice though.  You can choose to be stagnant and allow disease to fester.  Or you can choose to move... to dance... to jump in with feet... and be free.