An Invisible Fence

IF  dog

OpenField

Today I came across an invisible dog fence.

Small electric shocks teach a dog to stay within a perimeter.  However, after a few weeks the signal is turned off and the invisible fence no longer exists.  The dog is free to go, yet remains based on its memory of the pain.

Many boundaries exist to keep us safe and happy.  In this situation the boundary may prevent the dog from getting hit by a car.  Parents create boundaries so children can learn to function and thrive in the world.

However, there are many boundaries that no longer serve a purpose.  The fence has been turned off, and you’re free to roam.

Yet we stay behind the fence, in fear of pain.

Somewhere along the line I learned that authority knew better and I couldn’t trust myself.  I learned that if I did make a mistake or do things differently, I would suffer a consequence.

When I was in 8th grade I snuck out with my friend and her older sister. We walked to the local high-school in the middle of the night and met up with some other high school boys.  We climbed a fence and went swimming in the school pool.  The cops showed up and my parents were called to pick me up.  I suffered a month of what felt like debilitating consequences in addition to the sternest lectures soaked with disappointment.  Following this I endured years of mockery from my family anytime I climbed another fence.  Of course my parents were looking out for my safety, especially as I approached my high school years. I totally understand their decision and appreciate all they’ve done for me.

Whether or not this moment had a huge influence or not, somewhere along the way I developed a fear of failure, of making mistakes, of being corrected, of looking stupid, of appearing ill-equipped.  I have therefore restrained myself with tension and worry and retreated to less-challenging environments or when in a new situation, relied on the thoughts and opinions of others. I lost my trust for my own instinct, intellect, and ability.

However, the longing to love life persists and has called me forth. Through my engagement with yoga and coaching, and my quest for knowledge and understanding, I have gained the tools and courage to again approach the invisible fence.

The new paid position I hold has challenged me in many ways. I’m new and don’t know all the rules yet, so I am forced to either make decisions on the spot, or constantly put things off and wait for a supervisor or veteran staff’s approval.

But this time has been different. I’ve noticed the flexing of fear and given it space. I’ve relaxed, and continually regrouped. I decided to start running through those invisible fences left and right. I’ve decided to make decisions on my own.

What have I noticed as a result? First of all, most of the time there are no shocks whatsoever. And if there are shocks, they fade quickly and are overshadowed by my growing sense of confidence and understanding of my role and abilities.

Seeing the fence sign tonight has affirmed my current path and encouraged me to keep going, to keep showing myself that the shocks no longer exist.

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Trading Pints of Beer for Pints of Ben&Jerry’s

What is it about my life that has kept me on that path?  How come I am able to Begin Again and maintain healthy routines?  I know what it’s like to feel under the spell of food, sweets, and coffee, and why am I able to pull myself away?

My theory right now is that I am able to come back to the path because I have been here before.  And the more time I spend feeling the positive effects of living my life a certain way, the more likely I am to come back to it.  Having the experience of feeling alive in my mind, body, soul is most important.

Therefore, putting myself in a structured experiment of living a certain way is very important and does serve.  ‘Forcing’ myself to eat a certain way for a month, and therefore reap the benefits is what is going to help me come back to this lifestyle if I stray.

Again I am reminded of the importance of PRACTICE.  Living a healthy lifestyle takes practice.  Begin again, begin again, begin again.

What beliefs am I stepping into today?

I love taking care of my body.
I love eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
I am passionate about sticking to my goals thus I only eat sweets once in a while.
I love moving my body, I am passionate about moving my body, I move my body as much as I can via yoga, running, stretching, acro, gymnastics, dance, hooping, walking, conditioning, anything!

Feeling energized, focused, awake, happy, relaxed, able, strong is so important to me and so attainable that I easily and happily eat vibrant fresh food, move my body often, meditate, and maintain routines.

This video pumps me up!! Focus on a goal!

Sober Evolution

Big realization about my relationship with alcohol!

Annnd RoadTrippin, lovin life 🙂

 

(Filmed this last week)

 

 

Transformation at Festivals

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 Bonnaroo 2007 was my first music/arts festival as an adult.  My mind was blown. I was filled with inspiration.  People smiled and looked me in the eye.  People wore whatever they wanted.  People danced and moved in a variety of ways.  Strangers became quick friends.  People brought whatever gift they had and shared it.  People were doing things differently, and it all looked and felt so beautiful.

For the past 7 years I have attended several music/art festivals around the country.  My perception of what’s possible as a human being has expanded.  The greatest gift I have received from the festivals is permission to experiment with other ways of being.  By exploring different ways of showing up in the world- I have come closer to a way of being that is fulfilling for me.  THANK YOU festivals for this most potent gift.

By 2013 I found myself at smaller ‘transformational’ festivals.  These co-creative events have equal emphasis on music, art, skill sharing, healing, and workshops. It was in these environments, that I felt most alive.  I also started to wonder… what’s my gift? What workshops can I teach? Or piece of art can I share? What is it that I have to offer?

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Meanwhile, my experiences with Coby Kozlowski, and living yoga, has mirrored what I’ve learned from the festivals.  What am I being called to? How do I want to show up in this world? What IS the life I want?

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I’ve taken a good look at my life and have decided it’s time to take a break from the festivals. It’s time to integrate what I’ve learned. I now have a clearer picture of what I love and how I want to spend my time on this planet.  Now I go deeper into my interests (hooping, yoga, food, coaching), and get more grounded . And perhaps return to festivals with even more to share…

When I graduated college I had no idea what I wanted.  Job, hobbies, friends, location…. it was all pretty fuzzy.  I didn’t know how and where to focus my energy.  So I jumped into the party of life.  I started with one thing I knew I wanted (move to Amherst!) and just started putting myself out there.  I met lots of different people, took different classes and workshops, traveled to different places…. As a result- I’ve come to realize things I love. All that wandering, all those experiences, all that time getting by with little income… it’s brought me where I wanted. I am so excited to be alive 🙂

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Below are some festivals to check out.  Festivals change and evolve each year.  Last year Rootwire, Gratifly, and Electric Forest were most potent for me.  Go where you are called.  Pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for you.  Have fun and find what feeds your soul.

Unifier*June 5-8*Connecticut

Imaginarium*June 13-15*Michigan

Rootwire*July 17-20*West Virginia

Gratifly*July 24-27 *South Carolina

Envision*February 26-March 1*Costa Rica

Burning Man*August 25- September 1*Nevada

 

MORE INFO

The Bloom Series on YouTube

Transformational Festivals on Facebook

Silence Serves

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I got sick, and lost my voice-COMPLETELY.  A whole day of no talking, and about 5 days now with a hoarse voice.

The universe has spoken and it has said: Shut Up.

I’VE BEEN SILENCED! What the heck. Soooo interesting.  A whole new experience of life. I spent an afternoon with my mother, who I don’t see often.  I was completely silent.  I listened.  I paid very close attention.  We drank tea on the porch.  I smiled and nodded.  I followed her in the garden.  I used signs/gestures when needed. (I have a whole new appreciation for Charades! Why wait for game night?) IMG_6863 I then went to a gathering of friends-some of whom I rarely see, most of whom I went to high school with.  And I was the quiet one. AND the sober one. This is an entirely new way to experience a group of friends.  I listened and watched closely.  I noticed that in the beginning, there wasn’t much I wanted to say anyway- which is a pattern I’ve realized about myself- and had been ‘struggling’ with.  Losing voice gave me an ‘okay’ to be that person. I found a new peace with being the quiet person.  I also noticed tension when I wasn’t able to validate what someone was saying (Ya, totally, MmHmm,).  Apparently this is very important to me.

And most of all, during all this watching, paying attention, holding back…. I noticed a flood of good sensation deep in my chest.  Pure love pouring in and out.  Love and appreciation for my mother, for my friends.  I saw them as the most precious beings on the planet.  Doing their part.  Playing their roles.  Expressing all their little unique quirks and ways of being.  Perfect the way they are.  Filled with gratitude to know them and spend time with them.   IMG_6920 With my friends I also gained insight into the way I show up in a group.  I noticed where I still held tension and anxiety. I noticed the patterns of self-talk going on in my head.  I identified patterns that no longer serve me, that I can let go of.  And I identified aspects of myself I really love, and want to nourish more!IMG_6926 This is the spiritual practice.  To notice, and then to keep flowing, and to flow from love and with love.  I allow the little blips (oops, that was awkward/unneeded, Oh well, keep going) and to keep flowing, accepting each moment, allowing it to come and go, so I can be completely open and ready for the next moment.  And when I can, I feel so much love, and experience more creativity in the way I show up, and more appreciation for others and how they show up.
Silence helped me see this.
Unfortunately I got sick and lost my voice.
Fortunately this silence brought me closer to myself and the world.

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Life only needs a crack to thrive.

Aside

Mindfulness Matters Most!

sutra chocheat

 

NOT eating treats is one very interesting experiment.  Strengthening willpower.  Having a different experience in my body.,  ANOTHER interesting experiment is eating treats and then staying grounded, staying present and mindful, watching myself objectively.  Can I find my positivity despite the uncomfortable physical sensations often associated with coffee/sugar??? Can I be more powerful than the sugar and how it makes me feel? This is an interesting perspective to try on.

Treats are here as a beautiful part of the human experience! I love finding ways to integrate them into my life in a positive way…

 

Video

Cleaning Windows

washing

Hello friends!

A friend of mine wrote the following piece.  I am inspired by the way she looks at life. I am inspired by her perseverance.  I love how her process with the windows is a perfect metaphor for the times in life when effort is needed for change.  Staying committed to a goal requires us to be patient, and dig deeper for the strength that is already there, available for us to access and use.  Thank you friend for sharing your experience. ❤ 

Clean Windows

I wanted clean windows. When I tried to look through them, all I could focus on was the cloudy, smudgy, dirt. I could have cleaned just one for a slightly better view, but why stop there? Why not have a clear view no matter what window I look out of? So it was decided, I will have clean windows. I went and bought the supplies, got my ladder, put on my cleaning clothes, and set the music. I was ready. “This won’t be so bad”, I thought, “People clean windows all the time.” Twenty minutes in I was sweaty, dirty, and all I could smell was the chemicals. The squeegee wasn’t working like I had expected it to and I kept feeling like I was loosing my balance while on the ladder. Then when I thought I was in the groove of it all…crash. A pane of glass, that wasn’t in its track correctly, fell and shattered. I took a break and cried a little, but I couldn’t give up. I wanted to see clearly though my windows. I wanted the sun to shine in unfiltered. I cleaned up the glass, found a replacement in the basement, and got back to work. When I thought I was done, I audited my work and realized there were still quite a few streaks. I had to go back and clear them because I knew I wouldn’t be able to look past them. Three hours of balancing, getting dirty, using unused muscles, breathing in chemicals and I finally could see clear through my windows as if there was no panes of glass there at all.

I was reflecting on this later when I realized this is a great metaphor for life. To be able to see clearly, you have to do work. You could do a little work and see through one “window” but that won’t give you the full view and you might still focus on the windows that are still dirty. Cleaning all the windows might be more challenging than you anticipate. You may feel like you got it, like you are on the right path, then “boom…crash”…a set back, a window breaks. You may get frustrated, shed some tears, and may need to step back for a moment. You may even think you have reached the end but then realize there is more to do. When you do finally reach that goal of being clear, you will realize there is so much to look at. So many small details will be present that you weren’t able to see with all the cloudiness in the way. But remember, you have to keep up with the cleaning or else your windows will become dirty once again. Smudges will happen, people will leave fingerprints, messiness will find its way, and its up to you to remove what accumulates, to keep cleaning the windows. 🙂  

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