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We have a sweet soul of a feline named Thunder. Thunder is very stylish. He has a favorite restaurant/bar in the museum district of Houston, and lives to hang out with the older cat 2 doors down that barely gives him a second glance. Thunder is romantically interested in most people (and some inanimate objects) he comes in contact with and is a master at dealing with the rejection that creates on the daily. Although he has several of his own sassy catch phrases he does not put up with being called out by our family at all and will promptly let us know when he thinks we are being "a bit rude."
These may be strange things to say about a cat that splits his time between our living room and his condo in the garage, but our whole family would agree this describes him because this personality has been presented to us over and over and it FEELS true. My middle school daughter has a knack for giving our animals personalities and using them as "puppets" to have conversations with herself and the rest of us. It's adorable, but what makes it so darn believable is her commitment to the act. She doesn't change her mind, she doesn't try out new personas, she doesn't get tired mid conversation and break character, and she uses every natural move or sound he makes to prove her point by quickly incorporating it into the story of his complex personality. We all get swept into it and have conversations with Thunder everyday just like we would another member of the house.
Thunder is lucky that his middle school voice is a kind and loving girl that adores him and brings out his sweetest moments and qualities and actually makes us love him more. Many of us adult humans are not that lucky with the middle school voices we have in our heads.
Have you ever thought about what voice you picked up in middle school? What have you heard played in your head so many times that it FEELS true even if it's not? What beliefs about yourself do you tell yourself everyday that don't serve you (or anyone else)? "I'm too shy, too loud, lazy, slow, not good at following through, not good at relationships, selfish, big, little, ugly, unable to change, unlovable, unworthy, or not enough?" I would take a guess when I look at old pictures from this age that I said all of these at some point. But, we outgrow the awkwardness we feel at that time of life when we are leaving behind our early childhood and figuring out who we will be as adolescents and then adults. The voices in our minds and hearts sometimes don't mature as quickly as our physical bodies do. For this reason, it's a good practice to notice what we are saying to ourselves. Write them down, often, and take a look at them. Do you like these thoughts? Are they serving you? Are they wise and mature and stemming from love or do they feel self conscious, immature, and stemming from the uncertainty we all felt to some degree when we were changing and figuring out who we wanted to be?
Thunder doesn't have the luxury of letting us know his real identity- and as much as I love him with his assigned personality, I have to remind myself it isn't real. It's just consistent. Our own old familiar thoughts may have been consistent now too for a very long time, that still doesn't make them true. Let's not forget the power we hold to choose, on purpose, what we do and do not want to practice believing about ourselves. Changing what you think changes what you do. Changing what you do changes your life.
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Before I ever heard of Sukhasana, I used it, often. As a teacher I called it criss cross apple sauce. As a college student I called it living room seating on a rug, and as a high school student I called it eating lunch in the hallway by the lockers. No matter what you call it, it's more than a pose. It is a signal to ourselves that something is changing. One thing is coming to an end, something else is just beginning.
My first grade students knew that when we gathered on the floor in this seat there was a purpose to it. Our legs were folded under neatly, our hands had a proper place to rest, our spines were straight and we were ready to listen because there was about to be a lesson. In high school and college if we were seated this way it usually meant something was starting too. We were transitioning from formal desks to informal lunch and visiting time, often we would sit this way to be able to gather around and hear someone's story that needed more attention than being spread around the room on furniture could muster.
In a Yoga class the act of bringing ourselves into Sukhasana lets us know that the greeting and visiting we were doing before class is ending and that we are now to bring our attention to the practice before us. It's a sign of transition that readies us amazingly versatile humans to change our hats, change our focus, and create an ending so that a new beginning can emerge.
A couple years ago I started quieting my mind on purpose in the morning. While I would love to say "every" morning, that would be a lie....but most mornings. Sometimes it's meditating, sometimes it's praying, sometimes even after my best efforts it's sitting in Sukhasana and breathing while my mind races and jumps everywhere from grocery lists to how my jeans fit to questions of if I'm a good enough parent, and back to "what will I cook tonight?" . It's far from perfect, but it's my transition. Yesterday is gone- today is here now. It gives me a moment to prepare my body, pull myself into one spot and just BE before I have to start doing, before I get to start learning, before I start taking in everyone else's ideas and expectations that are always one click away, I get to prepare and listen to my own heart. Sukhasana gives me that space and structure to be alert yet comfortable. It reminds me of how I want to start my day and how I strive to live my life : aware of my present moment and at ease. It's a big goal I know....huge! Thankfully I have a morning reminder because I certainly need it. Take a look at your own routine. Do you have a certain posture or place where you go to remind yourself of how precious life is each day? Maybe you walk, hit your knees, or drink your coffee on a porch swing? If not, how could five minutes of appreciating the morning before you get going change the course of your whole day?
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I started a website today. :) This is a small sentence that is a BIG deal to me. I spent way too many hours searching and researching and finding the exact right place to do this and ended up with a short list of 7 companies that could make this a reality for me. That was way too many since all 7 seemed almost exactly the same. I fretted a bit, watched more Youtube videos, and finally got tough with myself. I poured a cup of coffee and promised myself I would NOT get up until I made a decision, any decision, I let myself off the hook for having to make the right decision. As I was detailing the websites,,,,again....a tutorial from Weebly caught my eye. The title read:
This resonated with me because it is the same way I feel about healthy lifestyle choices. What if healthy was NOT a wagon you were on or off of? What if you could design and redesign what wellness means to you? What if every new day was just another day to try an experiment and see how it fit you? What if you knew your first attempt would be "not that good", but you also knew that doing it anyway was the next step to getting you where you wanted to be with your well-being?
Weebly made me feel free. I was free to try, I was free to create, I was free to make a site that was "not that good" but that in the end still existed where before it did not. It took the pressure off of the result and gave me space to breath through the process.
I invite you through this site to take a look at your own wellness and ask yourself:
What do I WANT to create?
How am I letting perfection hold me back from making the changes I WANT to make.
What if I try the first time and it's "not that good?"
What am I making that mean about me?
I'll keep making those imperfect tweaks to my own life (and this site!) and hope that you will keep making those imperfect tweaks to your own choices, thoughts, and habits until you feel the peace that comes with heading in the right direction, which is only defined as the direction you have chosen and not your default.