3:05 pm

The Past is Done

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Are you practicing the Yama of Asteya or are you stealing from yourself? Cathy shares her story of practicing Asteya.

So yesterday I met a guy, a guy I could possibly be interested in seeing again. He isn't the point of the blog, but he is an important fact you need to get you TO the point of the blog. You see this guy is 49....and my mind couldn't comprehend this fact.

WHAT? I am old enough to be interested in a guy that is almost 50?!?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

So now I'm starting to realize that I'm middle aged. Again, how did this happen? It also started a reflection on what I've done with my life -- and I got stuck in regret. Specifically what I've done to my body. You see I haven't taken the best care of my physical temple. Too much junk food, too little exercise, not to mention a few years (let's call them graduate school) of too much alcohol and too little sleep. Caffeine and I are best friends and my treadmill is my favorite clothes hanger.

I had plans, I was going to give up sugar and eat a raw diet by the time I was 30 (and 35 and 40 and.....) I was going to start weight lifting and running regularly instead of only during a couple months in the summer (which doesn't even happen anymore.) Even as recently as last month, I promised myself I would increase my active yoga practice. So now I'm sitting around thinking of all the promises I made to myself and how I have failed at them. I don't think I'm alone in this cycle, just a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who was dealing with the same realization of time passing and missed opportunities.

As I sat dwelling in my regret, I realized I as violating one of the guiding principles of my yoga practice....Asteya or nonstealing. (Honestly you could probably argue I was violating several of the Yamas and Niyamas, but for today, let's just focus on Asteya.)

Initially I thought I had this yama down because I NEVER walk into a store and take something without paying for it! BOOM! I'm golden. But the more I learned about Asteya, the more I realized that it is about more than actually TAKING something. It's about your understanding that you really do have all you need. Maybe it is hoarding or buying more than you need (ouch -- my shoe collection!) Or, just like wallowing in my regret, it is stealing from the present moment by living in the past.

By spending time worrying about what I haven't done, or even making crazy plans for how I will get healthy next week, I'm stealing from my time in the present moment. Instead of feeling guilty about the past, I could have been at a yoga class, cooking a new healthy recipe, or just enjoying the moment I was experiencing.

So maybe realizing I'm old enough to date a guy that is almost 50 wasn't such a horrible thing. It forced me to face my past and then let it go. You see, my past is my past. It's done. I can't change it. It only has the power to steal from my future if I let it. Your past is your past. It is done. I won't judge you on what you did and I hope you won't judge yourself either. THIS is your moment. What will you do to live, love, and find joy in it?

3:06 pm

Strength is My Weakness

Finding Strength in My Weakness:

The past month has been a time of great emotional stress. A time of grief and loss. During this time, I've avoided my yoga mat. I've actually been afraid of my mat. Afraid that a challenging pose would bring up my feelings of fear about this new change. Afraid that pigeon pose would cause a breakdown. Afraid that I would get into child's pose and be unwilling to uncurl myself.

surrender

I've always been strong and stoic -- able to compartmentalize my emotions. It's how people have defined me. And I've let them. Somewhere along the way, I associated being strong with turning off my emotions. So I've been afraid to practice my yoga -- because I know that I won't be able to keep my feelings shoved into that dark recesses that help keep me strong.

Today reality hit. As I was getting out of the bed, my neck was tight, my hips hurt, and I actually hobbled on my bad foot. You see acting strong isn't actually being strong. Avoiding my mat because I was afraid to feel my emotions for fear of being/looking weak was actually MAKING me weak -- doing physical harm.

In the Yoga Sutra 1.13 Patanjali tells us that the practice of "practice" is how we find the inner focus and stillness. By avoiding my mat (and refusing to surrender to my feelings) I'm failing to move closer to the inner stillness yoga brings.

So today I will step on my mat. I will not judge the emotions I feel. They are just emotions -- neither good or bad. I know there is tremendous strength in being vulnerable. Today I will embrace that strength. I will live in the moment, no regrets for the past no fear for the future. Today I will step on my mat.

So I challenge each of you. Step on your mat when you don't want to. Step on your mat when you are afraid. Step on your mat when you don't think you have the strength -- your mat will catch you if you surrender.

Love to you all -- Cathy

3:06 pm

Who is in Your Tribe?

indexWho Is In Your Tribe? Cathy shares her experience of finding her "tribe" and how it impacted her other relationships.

Social media can be such an ugly glimpse into the heart of people. Recently, a plus size model was featured on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit addition. It made news and it brought out the worst in some people on social media. Some of the comments made about the model were cruel -- and unnecessary. We see it time and time again about people's looks, their clothes, and their beliefs. It seems everybody has an opinion and they feel entitled to share it, especially if it tears another down.

I've been taking stock of my own participation in this behavior -- not on social media, my momma raised me smarter than that -- but with my own friendships. I've been quick to judge or gossip about people. Really what was the big deal in a quick gossip session -- who is it hurting? Well, it was hurting me, limiting the person I could be.

The past year, I've spend a lot of time on the mat and in a room with some great people. The self-reflection on my yoga mat helped me to realize that putting that negative energy of gossip and judgement out in the universe was not healthy for me. As they say often in yoga, "energy flows where attention goes" and my attention when gossiping and judging wasn't focused on a positive place.

Fortunately, during my yoga teacher training, I met my tribe. This group of individuals got to meet the real me and the amazing thing was that they liked that girl, flaws and all. This group of individuals supported me and believed in me when I wouldn't believe in myself. I will always remember the excitement in the room the first time I finally held crow pose. I swear these people were more excited than I was -- and I was pretty excited.

See that's the great thing about finding your tribe -- they want to lift you up not tear you down. These individuals showed me how to be a good friend -- a true friend. So now I examine my relationships that I had before I met my tribe. I ask myself who is supporting me and who is trying to tear me down? Maybe they just aren't as supportive as they should be, concerned with only their own issues. Maybe they are judging and gossiping about others all the time. Whatever the issue, if they aren't challenging me to be better, I question the friendship. My relationships have changed. I'm closer now to some people than I was before. I see less of other friends and that's probably not a bad thing. I'm still not a perfect friend, but I'm trying.

It's often said that "your vibe attracts your tribe." I challenge you to take stock of your tribe. Are they people who bring out the best in you? Do you bring out the best in them? If not, maybe it's time to examine your "vibe."