March 2007


I’ve been going through a period of uncertainty with some other folks and have to say – wow, we’re all really bad at dealing with uncertainty!

Now, maybe you can relate to this because you’re a Lovable Control Freak (LCF) like me.  LCF’s are all about knowing what’s going on and making it all happen to the best of our abilities.  Uncertainty causes a lot of fear and anxiety for anybody.  And when times are uncertain, and god forbid, outside your control – for a LCF it’s a double whammy.  We’re freaked.

The best way to deal with uncertainty, and the feelings that come with it, is to let go.  And the key to letting go is to let go of the outcomes.  You focus on the work that points you in the direction you want to go and then let go of how it’s all going to turn out. 

Trust that Grace, the Universe, or the Big Guy in the Sky will make it all work out.  Or if you don’t believe any of that let it go anyway.  Trust that the outcomes might be different or better that what you had in mind.  Trust that maybe you don’t know the whole story or the Big Picture.   Whatever it takes, let it go.

The other key to letting go is knowing when to do the work. 

For example, have you ever wanted to make your point of view known to someone you’re in a relationship with?  You say your thing, pontificating eloquently, and notice they’re scraping spinach out of their teeth.  You have no idea if they heard or cared, but you do know that you’re not going to do any good if you harp on it.

And maybe the topic comes up again and you have the opportunity to make your views known.  Or maybe it doesn’t.  Or maybe the topic comes up again and they repeat word-for-word what you told them like they came up with it themselves.  Don’t we LCFs love it when that happens!  But the key is that you did the work and then you let it go.

Psycho Mamma quotes a stat that says 69% of issues in marriages are simply unsolvable.  Wow – hopefully you chose ‘socks balled up in corners’ over ‘crippling alcoholism’. 

But if that’s the case, getting better at letting go of stuff will not only save a lot of fear and anxiety – it’ll save your marriage too.

 

 

 

I saw 300 last night on Imax.  Watching the Spartans do their thing made me think about training to be a Warrior in yoga.

In one scene a paltry army of 300 Spartans are being pelted with about a million arrows.  The sky is dark there are so many arrows.  These guys are each huddled under their shield.  One dude says, “We fight in the shade!” and they all have a good chuckle as they wait for the shower of arrows to end. 

It made me think – wow, it sure takes a Warrior to keep your sense of humour and focus in that situation.

In another scene a dude’s eye has met with a spear and the King comments about his eye and he says, “It’s only an eye. God has graced with me a spare.”

It made me think – wow, it sure takes a Warrior to lose your eye and keep your perspective.

Now thank god I’m not on an actual battlefiend in my day-to-day life, but there are days when I feel like I’m being showered with arrows.  And how often am I able to stay clear and focused enough to maintain a sense of humour?  How often can I keep my ground enough to say, “thanks for the shade guys” while I wait for the arrows to land so I can continue on.

And when it feels like I’m being poked in the eye, can I say, “whew, thank god I’ve got a spare.” Without getting wrapped up in “woe is me” and other useless roads I may travel as I react to my circumstances.

I met an amazing Warrior recently, she came to my Level 1 class.  She just fought cancer.  Her doctors told her she’d die and she didn’t.  She’s dealing with physical issues and trying to get back in shape. She managed about 1/3 of the class.  I could sense her frustration and told her she was doing great.  She said, “well, I fought for my life and won, now I guess I’ll have to fight for my body too.” 

What a Warrior huh?  I have a hard time accepting where I’m at on the yoga mat if it’s not up to my exacting standards.  I’m sure not at her level of acceptance and toughness. I hope to learn some Warrior skills from her.

I watched The Secret with my Honeybunny and he said he’d run across the same stuff a few years ago.  You won’t believe where – Dilbert Future.  In the final chapter, Scott Adams gets into the science of The Law of Attraction and says that this is how he achieved his meteoric success in becoming a syndicated columnist among other things.  Crazy huh?  

I was on the Lululemon site the other day browsing their spring clothes and I notice they attribute the principles of The Secret to their crazy success too.

Anyways, back to Dilbert.  One aspect Adams differs on is writing affirmations.  He also says it doesn’t matter whether you believe them or not.  He says you don’t have to buy into the process or believe anything you’re affirming will materialize.  Simply write it down, like it’s happening, like you’ve got it, 15 times a day.

The Secret says you need to believe it and feel it. 

I’m thrilled that Scott Adams says you don’t need to believe it, because sometimes I have a hard time *not* having doubts.  But I think the believing and feeling has gotta help.  I love the Lisa Nichols bit in The Secret when she says, “I know that I know that I know that I know – it’s already on it’s way!” 

Now Adams on the other hands also says something I love.  Because he doesn’t think you need to believe it, you should attract something totally nutty.  Otherwise how will you know you did the work achieving it?  If it’s a $5 raise, you’ll get it and say, “ah it woulda happened anyways”.

I love that.  It takes the heat off you – you’ve got nothing to lose. 

The Secret talks about feeling good as the state you want to maintain while you receive the great things you’re attracting.  I wrote about that here and here.

The Secret also talks about feeling good as a guildance system to knowing what you want.  It says you need to do what feels good for you.  “Follow your Bliss” and all that.  That’s pretty general.  I think there are two kinds of feel-good – there’s a short-term self-gratifying kind of feel-good that’s momentary.  And it’s often not all that good for me in the long term.  You know like crack.

Looking at material stuff, the short-term feel-good would make me want to get stuff so I can look good to my neighbours, or to prove something or make up for some feeling of lack in myself.  The feel-good I get from that stuff is going to feel hollow after the initial feel-good, pretty fast.  You know like crack.

I don’t think that’s the kind of feel-good we’re going for here.  The feel-good here is grander.  What brings you more in line with who you really are?  What urge do you feel deep in your belly? Your head may say “yeah right like that’s ever gonna happen”.  But your gut says “bring it on!  That’s me, that’s totally me!”. 

The guidance system you want to hear is the one that brings you in line with your Higher Self, the *best* part of you.  And it’s OK if it’s money or stuff.  

Not having to worry about money.  Being able to do something fun for your child.  Or feel the joy of owning something you absolutely love and enjoy and use.  If those feelings are coming from a place of who you really are and from the love you have for those around you  - you’ve found your Bliss.

 

 

I have never had so many people ask me if I’d seen a movie, until The Secret came along.  I finally saw it.  I’ve run across this material before and The Secret packages it in a very mainstream way for a TV audience. (Aside -  it was produced for Australian television).

I thought a lot of it was very materially focused.  Where were the people trying to get their cholestrol counts down so they don’t succumb to heart disease like the rest of their family?  Or people wanting to heal relationships.  It was very focused on getting things like the new red bike. 

But I know – it’s TV.  Stuff is easier to show visually.  And probably easier to relate to.  And I’m sure their goal was to just help people *get it* and then they can darn well decide what they want themselves.

So I’m a pretty cynical or shall we say *questioning* person.  But there’s two things that came to mind after watching The Secret:

1. What do you want?  So often, we trip through life hoping things don’t suck and wishing they would suck less when they do. But really, figuring out what you want, where you’re headed and what it would look like is a really important step to moving ahead on anything.  And it’s one we forget about when we’re slogging through the trenches of life.  Anytime is a good time to look up and peer at the big picture.

What’s that quote?  “If you don’t know where you’re going any path will take you there”.  If you *do* know where you’re going – identifying it, seeing it, believing you just might get there can only help you stay on course.  It’s just gotta help.

2. What’s the downside?  I just don’t see any.  I don’t see any downside to being positive and believing you’re going to get what you really want.  At the very least it’ll make you nicer to be around, so there, it’s already made you a better person. 

Maybe one with a new red bike.

 

I’m going to blame this post on the Cupcakes and Yoga gal – have you seen the photos on her site?  What a drool-fest. I wasn’t planning to blog about this, and none of this relates to yoga, but here we are.

I love to bake.  I started baking with my Mom as soon as I could stand on my pink wooden chair and peer into the mixing bowl.  This past winter I’ve been baking alot  – let’s just say I and have the muffins and the muffin-top to show for it.

But last weekend was cupcake time! 

We were invited to a two-year old’s birthday so my son and I made cupcakes.  Angus is almost 3 and has been baking with me since he could stand on his yellow wooden stool and peer into the mixing bowl.

Now, those light fluffy just-like-a-cake-mix cupcakes are nice.  But I prefer a bit more heft to my cupcake to balance the light fluffy, and of course, colorful icing.

I recalled a Yellow Layer Cake recipe that my Mom used to make.  It was always a good standby.  So I pulled out the recipe and made it with butter.  Yum.  A good balance of fluffy and dense, with excellent flavour.  Give it a try:

Mom’s Yellow Layer Cake

2 1/2 c flour

3 t BP

1 t salt

1 2/3 c sugar

2/3 c butter

3 eggs

1 t vanila

1 1/2 c milk

Measure the dry ingredients together.  Cream sugar and butter in another bowl.  Add eggs, vanilla and milk and combine.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry.  Made 15 big cupcakes and a dozen small for the kiddies.  If you’re going with the cake configuration it’ll fill two layer pans or a 9×13.

The house smelled amazing when the cupcakes were baking.  Talk about drool-fest.

I made pastel pink and green icing for them and knifed a schmear on each.  They looked great. You’ll have to imagine them because  I don’t have photos – what does this look like, a food blog??  Hee hee - Happy yoga cupcake Easter :-)

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials”. Lin YutangI love this quote.  I’m sometimes so lousy at purging time-wasters from my life.  Is it just me?     I complain about being busy but spend a couple hours in front of the TV at night.  I feel scattered and then notice that I have music or TV and other sources of noise around me all day. I procrastinate some task because it feels too big – when if I just shut up and took the first step, at least the first step would be done.   So here’s to clearing out the time wasters, the noise and the busy-ness.  Here’s to doing the important stuff.  Here’s to making more space.    

  

  

 

YogaMum over at Yoga Gumbo went a week without criticizing anyone.  Pretty amazing huh?  I mean, not for her in particular, but that would be amazing for most warm blooded folks who live anywhere other but a cave in the woods.

It reminds me of my own personal challenge -  if I’m talking about someone, I try to say it as if they were there.  So maybe I’m at work and need to talk about a problem involving someone else - my challenge is – can I say it non-critically, as if they were standing there. 

This came up when I learned the hard way you can’t assume someone will not forward your email to the person you’ve been talking about.  When this happened, I hadn’t said anything *nasty*,  I just hadn’t put it in such a way that I was OK with them seeing.  I told it ”straight” so in other words, it wasn’t oozing with gentleness or understanding let alone compassion.  It just wasn’t meant for their eyes.  Boy, what a toe-curling experience.

So I’ve expanded that to conversations in person.  It’s a great practice.  It’s hard to remember and tough to do.  But it makes me feel like a better person.  It makes me feel like someone I’d like to work with.

We did a lunge flow in Power Yoga class this week that really heated up the body and loosened up the ol’ hips.  We didn’t hold each lunge long – just a breath or two.

To transition we did Downward Facing Dog to go from one side to the next, and then we did a Plank/Cobra/Downward Facing Dog transition to go to the next Lunge.  If you get out of breath, just stay in Downdog for a bit before moving to the next pose. Here’s the list:

High Lunge with Arms Overhead – arms like Warrior 1

High Lunge with Twist – with right leg forward, put your right elbow on your knee and slide the back of your left hand along your lower back to lift your left shoulder away from the floor, opening your chest.

High Lunge with Yoga Mudra – clasp hands behind hips, roll shoulders back, squeeze shoulder blades together as you straighten your arms and lift your hands away from your hips.

High Lunge with Chest Opener – place hands on lower back, fingers pointing down.  Squeeze elbows together as you open your chest and lift your gaze.

High Lunge with Horizontal Twist – with right leg forward, place left hand on thigh and stretch right arm out horizontally.  Sweep your arm to the right to open you up into a twist.

Low Lunge – here’s where you really see the benefit of all your lunge work.  Drop your back knee to the floor this time, lower the top of your foot to the mat.  Place hands on your front thigh.  To deepen the stretch, bring your torso upright so your weight assists in the stretch.  If that’s too intense lean your over your front thigh a little more.  Hold this for 3-5 breaths.

We did Pigeon Pose after this, it was great after all the lunging.