My story will be a Comedy

I heard something in the last few weeks that made me think.

It was along the lines of this: “Your life story can be a comedy or a tragedy. It depends on how much you choose to laugh.” 

So many things strike me about this story idea. It is how you tell your story. How you share that story and become a character in someone else’s story. I want to be a positive story 

I have lived a lot of my life, my story, as a tragic story. I try to take every positive spin, but if I had to pick one or the other, I know I’ve been “woe is me” more than I care to admit.  Sometimes the bad things just keep hitting and you feel like you never can get out of it. I’ve been there. Too many times. Plans going horribly wrong. 

I’m not talking about spraining my ankle the day before a triathlon (happened) or my third bout of chicken pox (yep, that too) or a Christmas Root Canal… I could go on but this is plenty. I’m talking loosing my mom, having a gene, years later I come to terms with removing my breasts and bang, I get misdiagnosed with cancer a week before I leave for the surgery. 

This is the times. It’s probably me, some how my fault. Or at least I rarely handle these stresses in the best manor. 

But thinking of my story this way. You almost have to laugh. And I will more because I haven’t enough. I just want to spend the rest of my days laughing at the bad. “Could only happen to me,” I’ll say. But my story is a comedy. It’s going to be fun to be a part of because I’ll always be the first to jump in* and come up laughing. 

*side story, in Mexico I was with a group, mostly couples, in a jungle. Side note: where they filmed predator.  Anyways, there was a rope swing-I headed right over. Knee surgeries be damned. You are only in this moment once. I jumped. Then all the males where up removing shirts. Ready now. 😆 my second jump left a huge bruise. But I came up laughing. Smiling from ear to ear. My story will be a comedy. Seeing the video, it was much less intimidating than it looked! And it is definitely comedic. 

Pain will always be part of life. We can try to avoid it, ignore it, or numb it. Maybe, maybe, we laugh at the absurdity of it and enjoy every moment. 

  

 

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Pain

We usually do what it takes to avoid pain.  Emotionally, Physically, Psychologically.  We all do it.  What if we try to embrace the pain.

What would happen?  I tried it out last night at yoga.  In Savasana, the posture which gives you an opportunity for rest or it can be the place your mind can run wild.  It’s the last place you want to be in pain.

But I couldn’t help but notice that in my pain this thought came to me – embrace it.  Be in it.  Instead of trying to ignore it or move my leg around until it was in some sort of unpainful position, I embraced it.  I focused on it, and it stopped feeling so much like pain.  I thought loving thoughts towards it and a warmth came over the area.

In a hot yoga class, there is a lot of pain.  All types.  It is about learning to work through it.  Feel the pain and be in it.  There isn’t a choice to avoid it.  Once you are there, you are in it.  The heat, the sweat, the pain of the postures.  You have to stay in it the postures longer than you wanted to.  But you are in that moment.  The moment of pain being over is a sweet feeling and sometimes that sweet release is what happiness is all about.

Just think for a moment.  Are you trying to avoid the pain? Distracting, ignoring, numbing?  Pain can be good – here is just a few ways:

  1. Pain can teach you where you are weak.  It can make you stronger and smarter by just paying attention to it and trying to rehabilitate the area.
  2. Pain can teach you a lesson.  If you have had an injury because of something dumb (when have I haven’t had a dumbness related injury?) You will learn what not to do.  Live and learn.  Isn’t that all about experiencing pain in some way?
  3.  Pain or mourning can be a lovely reminder of how precious life is.  How delicate and fragile.
  4. Fear of pain or avoidance of pain is sometimes causing us more emotional strife than just going through the pain.
  5. Notice how when you are sick you just remember how wonderful it was to not be sick and how you definitely didn’t appreciate the not sick times enough?  Pain makes you appreciate the peace, the painlessness.
  6. Pain brings you into the moment.  If you focus on the pain and experiencing it you are there, in the moment of pain or pleasure – whichever you are in, you are experiencing life.

Embrace the pain.  Trust me, it isn’t so bad once you realize how much work it is to avoid it.

 

Teacher Training Day 3

I had a great day!  For one, the floor is getting easier to sit on.  I can sit for hours without even thinking about if it hurts.  Yes, I have a rather large pillow (which is starting to smell – sorry honey, it’s from a chair in our living room)  Either way, I am usually sitting on the floor without it and then laying as needed.  I know to most people it probably sounds silly, but for me, it’s progress.  I’ll take any progress that I can get.

But today was a breakthrough day for me in a few ways.  I realized I keep saying I can’t do things.  I know I have done that forever, but it is so obvious to everyone else when I say I can’t do something, then try it and I do it!  I’ve said I couldn’t swim and bike and I did triathlons.  Now here I am, doing something that heals me.  That gives me flexibility, strength and most importantly my knees back! (and maybe even Ragnar back – RAGNAR NATION!)

My biggest breakthroughs came this afternoon.  I did a headstand today.  I also attempted my first drop back with assistance – it’s basically standing strait up then leaning backwards until you catch yourself on the floor with your hands, belly button to the sky.  It’s very scary but the feeling of having that accomplishment is amazing.  You get a hug after you come back up and I have never been so proud to get a hug in my life.  (It actually brought tears to my eyes just thinking about that small hug from Stephanie – life changing)

I want to do headstands over and over.  I want to keep practicing until I can kick up without someone’s help.  I think that is why I like yoga, well, one of many reasons.  But having breakthrough after breakthrough and realizing all the things that seem so scary aren’t all that scary.  I believe everyone can do more than they think they can.  But for some reason, I keep limiting myself.

Fear.  It’s all fear.  You see something and think, oh I could never do that.  You have this and this excuse, just like I do.  “I’m not flexible.”  “I can’t stand the heat.”  “My chest (arms, legs, back-whatever) can’t do that.”

Then you try it, do it and it’s magic.  It’s all in the attempt.  If you try and fail, at least you have the accomplishment of trying when most people go day to day and never get off the couch.

Tonight I felt like I failed a class again.  I had to go down again, my face went numb, fingers soon to follow and a couple little cramps in my hands and jaw.  But I breathed through it and was just so proud of myself to stay in the room long into the last pose.  It’s funny when I say that because I really just laid down for the last 15 minutes or so of class and tried to keep breathing deeply.  I just stuck with it, calmed myself down and hung in there.

When I left class, it was like I did a headstand the entire class! My classmates were so proud of me, some were near me watching.  I also used the wall for a pose without worry of what other people thought.  I can’t believe how different I feel in just a couple days.  I am doing less in class, but doing it right.  My ego is out the door – I can appreciate the progress more than perfection.

I am excited for tomorrow too.  We have a special guest teacher who will give specific instructions to fix some posture problems that I am struggling with.

This whole process has made me realize something.  It’s not about yoga.  It’s about figuring yourself out.  What you need, what you can do, what is limiting you.  I am finding myself here.  A confidence in what I can do, a respect for my body and an appreciation for each and every breath I take.

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Yoga Teacher Training – Day 1

Let’s just say I am overwhelmed with day one.  On one side, I am learning SO much.  Going that deep into a pose is bound to change your practice.  But the end of the day got emotional for me.  I miss my family, I miss my home, I am missing that comfortable predictability.  I know them, they know me.  I know they will put up with me even when I am tired.

So a short recap of the first day….. Intense, sweaty, dehydrated beyond dehydrated.  But really informative.  If you want to go farther in your practice, it is definitely the way to go.

Stephanie is the instructor from the Hot Spot Yoga School….http://www.hotspotyogaschool.com/  and she is amazing.  We are the same “type” which is super fun for me because I notice things in her that I do all the time.  Where did I put my keys?  Yep, that’s me.  She sounds so intimidating, I actually was super scared of her.  But one of the things I love about yoga is the acceptance and love for others.  Somehow they show you the right way to do it without pressuring you to get all the way there. Stephanie never once made me feel like I wasn’t ready or doing the poses good enough to be in this training even though I am sure I am the farthest from the “full expression” (because I don’t use the P word in yoga- Perfect)   In yoga, it’s about pushing your body to it’s limit, not matching the 25 year old in the class.

Yeah, there’s a lot of 20 somethings – I’m easily the oldest by a good 8 years.  Maybe that made it harder today, I’m not sure.  But it was extremely hard!  By that I mostly mean the floor.  And it isn’t hard at all, they have the great floors in both Leavenworth and Spokane, but I have an almost 40 year old hips and lower back – they are screaming.  But I have 80 year old knees and they are beyond sore.  Just all you 20 somethings, when you are 40, go sit on a floor for 12 hours. Everything hurts and it is only day 1.  Ugh.

Mimi and Wes are there too, owners of BeYOUtiful Hot Yoga studios in Spokane, Leavenworth and of course my home in East Wenatchee.  Both just such cool people – amazing instructors and even better people.  It was fun to see Mimi show off her amazing skills because we so rarely get to see it after all the benefit their studios have given us.  But it feels nice to have them both there.  Something familiar.

I actually noticed after the two classes I took that I missed the people that I know.  Not seeing them in class really affected me more than I thought it would.  My yoga friends make a big difference in pushing me to my limit.  Maybe I will feel more comfortable in a few days but for now I am struggling with home sickness more than anything else.

The hardest time during the day came towards the end.  I am not hydrating enough or probably eating enough.  At the end of the last class, I felt emotional and tired.  I just wanted to lay down and watch tv.  Something mind numbing.  But maybe that is the last thing I need.  Maybe I shouldn’t numb my mind and instead be present in each breath.

That’s why I am here, here for the experience, here for the knowledge, here for a better life.  Healing myself one day at a time.  All that damage I have done will someday be a memory as I stretch and strengthen all of those little joints that are killing me now.  Now SLEEP!  Hooray~ I’ve earned it!

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We

Sun, Wind & The Hunter’s Wife

I hadn’t done yoga outside besides a couple of poses in various fun places.  But today I got to do an amazing class at The Hunter’s Wife health bar.  It was so nice!  Not as hot but I certainly didn’t mind that.

There is something very focusing about feeling the wind cool your skin and the sun shine on your face.  I mostly closed my eyes and felt the sensations.  It was relaxing and at the same time energizing.  Even hearing the traffic didn’t bother me.  I have really been working on my focus during class.

After class, I got a berry Kombucha on tap.  It was refreshing and I will definitely get back for that again!  I still am waiting to try a Acai Bowl.  It is supposed to be really good and it looks amazing, things like berries and chocolate, banana’s and honey.

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Tandi (owner) taught our flow today and talked about eating whole foods and knowing where your food comes from.  If you are in the neighborhood of Valley Mall Parkway, behind 7-11, for sure check it out!  Besides the food, she was an amazing teacher.  If she just taught a class at a time that I am conscience….5am isn’t really a time I do.

As for my practice, I am doing two summer months of other than Hatha classes.  My goal is to expand and try new things but in reality, I am struggling with knee pain from surgery to repair what I call a pot hole in my femur.  It just seems like every little thing hurts it.  And I’m in pain most of the day.  My limp continues to worsen.  But I love yoga so much so I press on.  I live to balance another day.

I have found my flexibility, I impress myself every time I go how far I can push my body.  However, balance is still an issue – both knees giving me intense pain.  (which today, without meaning to, put me on the only flat section which turned out to be the FRONT ROW.  Luckily, I was off to the side so I think I dodged the photos.  Focus is one thing that I have seen improvement.  If I could connect the focus to the balancing poses, I would sure progress.  Next time, focus and balance, focus and balance.