Aside

Who is your “teacher”?

I regularly attend a Vinyasa yoga class on Wednesday nights. Each week, there is a point at the beginning of class where we set an intention to focus on throughout the practice. This intention can be anything that we choose, whether it be patience, love, strength, happiness, etc.

Last night, we were asked to think about a “teacher” that is highly influential in our life. This teacher could be human, animal, nature, spiritual, literally anything in the world that somehow shapes the person that we are.

The point of picking this teacher, was to imagine that they were there, with us through the duration of our practice. They were there to give us confidence, feed us strength and encourage us to try our best. WearetheSame

I really enjoyed this exercise. There are so many times throughout the day (and I am sure others can relate) that I am hard on myself…too hard. I easily overlook the hard work that I do, and unintentionally focus on the things that bother me. I let these “bothers” outweigh everything else, and that easily sets the tone for how I am feeling. Having my “teacher” of choice there with me throughout the practice to remind me of the ways that I am trying my best and working hard, brought an unexpected feeling of gratitude towards myself.

Although this “teacher” brought me a sense of comfort while on the mat, it also made me think about how we live in a world where we are always seeking approval and acceptance from other people. I have come to realize that we should not need to always seek validation from others, in order to know that we are trying our personal best. YOU are the best person to validate YOUR own actions.   

If I can live each day, giving 110% at everything I do, I cannot be disappointed with any outcome that I may face. Everyone has their struggles, everyone has good days and bad days… the thing that I am working on, is realizing that regardless what each day may bring, I am blessed to be able to experience it.

Namaste ❤ 

WearetheSame


This post was written as a few months ago, and I just found it sitting in my “draft” folder (oops!!). I made a few changes/updates to be more relevant for today!
 Can you tell I have been learning a lot on my mat, which can be applied to the world outside of the yoga studio?!

Living in the Present Moment

I LOVE yoga. I love the beauty of the practice, I love the serenity in the meditation, I just love everything about it! Anyone who practices, knows that there are a couple of things that are highly emphasized…

1. The Breath
2. Being present in the moment

There is something to be said about the feeling of “being truly present in the moment”. In today’s world, people always seem to be preoccupied with “WHAT’S NEXT?!” in their lives. Whether it be projects at work, things going on at home, never ending to-do lists, etc. people easily lose sight of what is happening at the current moment in order to be more focused on what’s to come… I am [VERY] guilty of this too.

I often find myself thinking about the future (future meaning any time beyond right now, haha). If I am getting ready for work, I am thinking about my evening plans. If I am relaxing at home at night, I am thinking about the weekend. I think about the summer during the winter months, I think about my life in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now… you get the point.

What I am beginning to wonder is WHY? What is the rush to get to “WHAT’S NEXT” in life?
Call it goofy, corny, cliché, whatever… but I am starting to realize that being more focused, and present in the moment may really change my outlook on things. Life is so short, and all of this time spent thinking about what is going to happen in the future is time wasted on what is happening right NOW.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I hate to admit it, but I think these everyday blessings are often overlooked because I am too focused on what is going to happen next. Although my daily tasks might not be all that exciting, I need to start looking at the simple pleasures that come along with my routine and enjoying each and every day for what it is.

I am thankful for…

  • Finding my true faith and having a wholesome relationship with God
  • Being blessed to have Joe in my life to love
  • Rescuing two healthy, happy puppies and knowing that we are giving them a great life
  • My wonderful, loving family and great friends
  • My career with PTI
  • My healthy body, that allows me to enjoy life and can help me accomplish any goals/dreams
  • Owning my own house
  • Etc….

Taking a moment to sit back and realize how much I have to be thankful for, makes me realize that there is no rush to get into the “next best thing”.  Whether it be enjoying a walk with my puppies, my commute to work, my “homemade” dinners with Joe, visiting with my loved ones, etc. I am going to make a conscious effort to take each day and look at the beauty in whatever it is that I am doing.
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(Please note, I understand that it is important to plan and think about the future. I am simply suggesting that it is equally important to look at the life you are currently living, and enjoying it to its full potential. You don’t want to miss the great things going on around you right now!)

Lent – Commitment & Changes

This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) kicked off the 2014 Lenten Season. Since (most) Christians know what this spiritual season represents, I am not going to go into exactly what it all entails.

When a lot of people think of Lent, they think of having to “give up” something they love until Easter Sunday. I have to be honest, each year I try to give something up… each year I usually end up forgetting about it 😦 I know, I know, that sounds bad… and I actually feel guilty writing that!)

Over the past two years, I have grown immensely in my faith… So this Lenten season, I am going to fully commit myself to not only giving something up, but also making a few personal changes to better my life.

ITEM TO GIVE UP
Gum… Yes that sounds goofy, but believe it or not, giving up gum is going to be difficult for me. Chewing gum is a weird “go-to” habit I have… whether it be after a meal, wanting fresh breath, if I am feeling anxious or bored, if I want to avoid over-eating/drinking, etc. I find myself resorting to it.

I have noticed how much gum I chew, and I realized it’s time to ditch it from my daily routine! So, I am going to give it up for Lent. I’m hoping that after Lent I am going to realize that chewing gum isn’t really anything exciting and just nix the habit all together.

*Disclaimer… I am allowing myself to have mints/mouthwash lol. No one likes coffee breath*

THINGS TO CHANGE
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a lot of changes in my life over the course of the past several months. Despite the excitement, joy and fun that have come along with these changes, there has been a lot of stress involved as well. I have been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about some personal adjustments that need to be made in my life, to make me the happiest, healthiest person that I can be. These changes are not something that can be done once, and everything will be perfect… I am talking about LIFESTYLE CHANGES!

Simple Change #1: Break the routine (again)
Some of the challenges I have dealt with over the past several years (I believe) have made me prone to become a creature of habit. I easily get comfortable, and just settle with what I am used to…whether it be good or bad for my well-being.

It is so easy to get stuck in your day-to-day routine. Every day I can pretty much pinpoint what I am going to do at different times during the day. From waking up, projects at work, meals, after work activities, going to bed…It gets old after awhile. Starting now, I am going to challenge myself to work on being open to new ideas, trying new things, going to new places, broadening my horizons. This is a lifestyle change that I am going to carry on beyond Lent. Obviously I understand that my life is not going to be filled with adventures every day… but even little things like trying a new recipe, taking the puppies on a new route for our walks, is a good place to start.

Think about: what minor changes can you make in your life that will make you a happier, healthier person? Is there something you would like to give up…a habit, an attitude, a certain “comfort zone”? Or is there something you would like to add back in to your life to make it more fulfilling?

Finding My Faith

faith

Faith and religion have always been a part of my life.  I believe in God, the words in the Bible and the values of Christianity; I pray, I sin, I go  to church. However, for a long time I felt like I was just going through the motions.

Sure, I believed… but did I truly understand what it meant to have faith?

It wasn’t until recently that I began to grow in my faith and develop a real relationship with God.

“Never underestimate the power of prayer.”

People often resort to prayer in times of grievance, confusion and uncertainty. Personal struggles that I was faced with opened my eyes and my heart to the serenity that talking to God can bring.

I relied a lot on prayer to help me throughout my recovery and other hardships I was facing. I did not pray for my problems to go away… because praying and wishing for situations to just “disappear” would be impractical. Instead, I prayed for personal strength and courage to help overcome my struggles. I prayed for continued support and encouragement from my family and loved ones, who believed in me.

I figured that by praying for these things, I was in God’s hands. Ultimately, I would be a stronger person because of it.

I noticed that the more I prayed, the closer I felt to God. I felt a sense of security through times of uncertainty. Praying gave me hope for the future, and confidence that I was going to be ok. My strong relationship with God has not only helped me help myself, but has inspired me to be a better person to the world and others around me.

I pray several times a day. I pray for myself, for my loved ones, and anyone/everyone who needs faith and hope in their life…

to be continued…

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone!

I see every day as a new opportunity to challenge myself. I am going to keep pushing myself a little further and continue to step out of my comfort zone. That is a promise. – MB

That was/is a commitment I made to myself a couple of months into recovery. At the time, I was still coping with a broken heart and dramatic changes on my journey to a healthy life. There were so many times when I thought that it would just be easier to give up, and to go back to my old ways. I was uncomfortable and nervous, but I was doing everything in my power to tell myself that this uneasy feeling would all be worth it. [it was]

You have to take a leap of faith when you are moving away from your past (destructive) behaviors into a new lifestyle. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary.

Someone once used the analogy of spontaneously being forced to write with the opposite hand. For example: I am right-handed… I use my right hand dominantly when I write, play sports, do my makeup, open drinks, etc. Imagine that one day, all of a sudden you have to use your left hand for EVERYTHING. It’s difficult, it feels awkward and uncomfortable, but it is not impossible. You CAN do it if you put your mind to it. The more time you spend working towards using your left hand, the more comfortable you will get, and the more natural it will begin to feel.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult, it won’t always fun, you will be nervous. As you continue to trust yourself and the people on your support team, the feeling slowly starts to go away. Your new behaviors will not only begin to feel normal, but your mindset will (more than likely) be more clear about experiencing these new norms.

Regardless of your situation, live each day with the realization that it is a NEW day. It can be your fresh start, your continuation of progress or anything you wish it to be.

CHALLENGE: Think about a time when you had to step out of your comfort zone (It can be related to recovery, friendships, relationships, work, etc.).

  • How did you feel?
  • What did you do to help ease your discomfort?
  • Once you were able to get over the initial feeling of uneasiness, what happened?

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Change

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

I live by these words. I pray these words every day.

I often find myself reflecting on the past several year of my life. If I had to pick one word to describe this time it would be “CHANGE”.

So much has changed for me over the past year…

The change from:

  • student to college graduate
  • studying for tests to working full time
  • being in love to having my heartbroken (twice)
  • distorted viewpoints to mental clarity
  • an illness to recovery
  • being afraid of being hurt to being able to trust again
  • limiting myself to having a passion for life
  • being close minded to being open to new opportunities
  • trusting someone new to falling in love with them

I could go on and on, the point I am trying to make, is that I am a changed person….a new person and I have never been happier in my life.

This was not an easy journey. These changes have tested my strength in so many ways. It has tested (and proved) the devotion of myself and my support team.

Like I have mentioned before, I am on Gods timeline. I was (for lack of better word) challenged by Him because He knew I was strong enough to overcome these challenges and make these changes. I believe He placed people into my life, to open my eyes and face reality- and He faded them out of my life because He knew I would stay true to myself and be stronger without them.

I have always been a woman on a mission. When I put my mind to something, I make it happen. I was, and still am committed, dedicated and passionate about the things that I love.

Change is a good thing.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What has changed in your life over the past months, years?
  • Where these changes good, bad, uncomfortable?
  • Regardless of how these changes made you feel, how did you confront them?
  • How are you feeling with these changes now?