Scrub It All Away? Kinda.

To say that starting your own business is a lot of work is a gross understatement. To say that starting your own business while also momming for 4 and adjuncting for almost 40 and inadvertently scheduling ALL the social things possible in a 3-week time period is not easy? Yes, also gross. I mean – a gross understatement. Because there’s nothing gross about the work I am doing, on any of these levels, but wow, did everything slam into me this week.

Pick any of those four categories from above and there’s a lot to do. A lot going on. And the problem is, the four categories seem to be pulling at each other a bit, much like siblings who should just sit nicely together on the couch, but instead can’t help digging an elbow or quick pinch or giving some other disturbance to another.

Take today. Today is Thursday. It is meant to be one of my two blissfully quiet-for-almost-two-hours-while-the-baby-naps-in-the-morning mornings that I get each week. This is a time for the adjuncting and the business and for the just being a person to shine. But today, LT woke up with a head too stuffy to send to school (for fear of infecting those around him, more than anything), so there went my hopes of accomplishing much, because even if I give him screen time during nap time, he’s still right there next to me making it hard to work on my marketing plan or website.

But as you all know, our categories aren’t children on a couch and they aren’t created equal. They might be loved equally like children, but there’s no way you can look at your kids and say, would you PLEASE just give me two (nope, I want ten) hours alone so I can THINK and WRITE and DO all the things that need to be done? Parenting just doesn’t work that way.

So instead, I closed the computer, got the baby up from nap, and let the two littlest Littles roam around the kitchen and main floor while I did the dishes and then moved on to a project I have been meaning to do for weeks – thank yous for our friends who helped us during Norovirus Hell 2017.

Because I quit coffee, I had to find something to do with all the left over coffee supplies, so I combined the leftovers with Pinterest and thank yous, coming up with the idea to make coffee scrubs for all those who helped. I finally (finally!) got around to picking up some cute jars yesterday, so this morning – when my hands and brain couldn’t quite work on what they wanted to – I did something else productive and full of love. Incredibly, it was all very, very simple, too! img_5121

I purchased a twelve-pack of jars and had a few extra thank yous to make for various folks, so I actually made three different scrubs (because not everyone may want the coffee scrub) and landed on these three Pins:

Coffee and Sugar Scrub

Sea Salt Coffee Scrub
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Brown Sugar Coconut Scrub

Can you believe that, all while tending to and snack/feeding the wandering children hovering around my legs, all three recipes start-to-in-the-jar took less than an hour and a half? I don’t often trust recipe times online, but I promise you – these were all so simple to do, even in the midst of heavy distraction!

img_5125There are still a great number of To Dos on my list and in my brain, but I am glad that this lovely little chore is done. It was easy peasy lemon squeezy, and I hope that those who receive them really know just how much we appreciate their care, concern, love, and support.

As for all that other stuff? Well, I’ll keep plugging along and it all will be done. And not just eventually, but SOON. Because good things are coming! And Water Bringers, your good stuff is coming your way soon also – I hope you enjoy!

Self-Preservation Strategy

To be honest, I’m not sure which statement to insert here. Wowzers? Holy Moly Cow? FFS? Perhaps just take your pick, OK? Whatever you choose, the sentiment is the same – it’s been a big week in our world during the last seven days and I, for one, am worn out. Physically, yes, but emotionally and mentally, too. And not all of that is to blame on our current political climate (although some – most? – of it most definitely is). Some of the ups and downs of the last week are just normal run of the mill Whoas. Maybe you feel the same?

To keep this from turning into a laundry list post, I’ll stick with what happens from here. Meaning, I’m doing my darndest to figure out how to Do All The Things that really need doing right now and letting the others go. It feels like more information than ever is flying my face right now and I want to stay involved and engaged. I really do. But for crying out loud, my heart and my brain can’t keep up with the slog of social media right now and I’ve got to give myself some space so I can navigate my current teaching commitments, hammer out my future business plans, and secure my own sanity.

As promised, I will ostrich no more. I’m committed to that – so much so that me, the person who HATES (and does not use that word) making phone calls, has started weekly phone calls to my senators’ offices to voice my concerns. But I can’t read every article or status or argument out there right now because it’s too, too much. That means I need to disengage for a bit, but not completely and not for long.

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My current work view. 

I’m thinking two weeks. Maybe one. During that time period, I need to quit the obsessive scrolling and reading online. That means no more Facebook. Well, not no more at ALL, but no more scrolling. I’ll still check messages and notifications (so write me or tag me if you want me to see something, m’kay?), and I’ll still be post pics, I’m sure, but the scroll bar stops there. It must. I’ve got some important goals to meet for Grounded Sky in the next two weeks (eek! Cannot WAIT to share more on that with you soon!), too, so it feels like a perfect storm for stepping back a bit.

Do I anticipate that being easy? Nope. But it’s a baby step I’m taking temporarily starting tomorrow because I need some way to give myself some time and space to process.

The work (in many ways, on many levels) continues. I hope yours does, too!

Dream Job

For months (and months), big things have been a’brewin’ over here. There has been a whole lot of talking and dreaming and brainstorming and planning and yes, best of all -DOING going on, about which I am so excited to finally begin sharing with you.

As you know, if you’ve been reading along the last several months, I have continued to teach yoga as a solo instructor, both on my sun porch and eventually in a friend’s space once we outgrew the porch. Those classes have brought so much joy and I am profoundly grateful to those who have practiced with me in that time.

What I am excited to share with you all now is that this little solo side-gig thing is going full blown, legit small business. Yes, that’s correct! I am now the proud co-owner (along with my amazing hubs) of my (our) very own L.L.C. – Grounded Sky – a little yoga biz with big heart and big dreams.

There is much to tell and much to share, but in due time. Official filings and openings (think legal paperwork and bank account) are now in place. The classes and other special offerings are also very much in the works, along with collaborations with some amazing souls (who have already given such great support, not to mention brain power!), but it’s too much for one little post to carry, so for now – I’ll leave you with a big dose of excited to be adulting and learning in whole new ways. Cheers to 2017!

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Caught Up

What I am about to say is totally self-aggrandizing.

[I’m sorry – isn’t everything on a personal blog a wee bit self-aggrandizing? Which, for the record, I am obviously totally OK with, because this is the place where I get to celebrate and record and memorialize our moments, big, small, and everywhere in the middle, so I’m not going to knock it, I’m just going to take it and I’m going to keep doing it.]

What is the “big” deal, exactly? I am killing it with this self-imposed, self-created yoga and meditation challenge. And that, right now, feels worth sharing. Worth documenting.

Several of you have checked in to update me on your own goal/challenges/progress which I love and I hope you will continue (or start) to do that. We can gather great accountability from one another, not to mention inspiration and motivation.

When I began this in December on the Solstice, I had no idea that I was going to do a 31-Days yoga bit in January, but once it started, I knew I was down, dog (oh my). Of course, as you may remember, after just three days of the new year, the flu swept through our entire household, and while I did manage to keep my goal for that week overall, I missed four days of my yoga challenge.

What I didn’t share in the last blog post about this, however, was how dang disappointed I was about that. Like oddly, really bummed out by being “behind” the rest of the YWA group. I was happy to be back at it, but I wanted to be at the forefront again. Pride in having started on Jan. 1, perhaps? I don’t know. And then I decided, it didn’t really matter that I had to take four days off; what mattered was how I proceeded from there, and if ever there was a teacher or group who would appreciate the Go Your Own Way approach, it was the #yogarevolution bunch. Adriene’s mantra is Find What Feels Good; I mean, c’mon!

And what was my own way? I decided to double up videos (each is roughly half an hour, so doing two in a day meant no different than a regular hour-long class), and slowly, over the course of the last week (which also happened to be my first week of back to teaching – CCC and yoga AND COFFEE-FREE), I did just that, and got caught up yesterday (on Day 15) right where I should have been (and clearly wanted to be) pre-Norovirus. And dang it, doing so doesn’t feel good – it feels GREAT.

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Because when you yoga countdown, you <3, not X out the days. 

I mention all of this because with any goal we set ourselves, please remember that the journey and the unfolding are where the growth happens. It is never, ever going to look like you think it will at the beginning. And that is OK. You can adjust. You can start again. You can catch up or re-vision or even undo. You really can make it your own. And from there, you show yourself what your true powers are.

And trust me when I say that taking time for you – for meditation or yoga or running or writing or whatever it is that you do that makes you more you or a better you – is not easy. I think with time and practice, it can get easier, but you have to stay committed. And when you do, by all means, celebrate, document, and self-aggrandize away!

 

 

Three Weeks In

Well, just about three weeks in, that is. And of course, last week set me back a bit, but I’m happy to report that while my January yoga challenge fell totally off the map (I sort of did that – I bumped the yoga from 3 to 7 days a week for this month because one of my favorite online teachers is doing a month-long series – for free!), I only missed one day of meditation last week but still totally met my overall goal. Heck to the yeah!

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But here’s the kicker and here’s why I’m writing. Tomorrow, everything changes.

Tomorrow, both Ben and HD return to school (they should have gone back last Wed/Thurs respectively, but, you know – norovirus). Tomorrow, RL starts up again with PreK (LT goes Tuesday and gets to celebrate his Half Birthday!).

And tomorrow, this mama begins – again – teaching two nights a week at CCC in addition to an online course (and yoga!).

But actually, there’s some good news in there – I could have been teaching two online courses in addition to the lecture, but not enough folks signed up for the one, so I am back to offering “just” seven hours this semester (exact same as last fall) instead of ten. Did you hear my sigh of relief in that sentence? We’ve got some big things coming this year and I think seven instead of ten sounds just fine to me!

However, I am again wondering away from the point, and the point of this post is important, so let me redirect myself -again – back to it! The actual start of the semester is when I most desperately need my 3 & 5 goal to be happening, but it is also going to be the most challenging time to keep it going.

Look at what the flu did. It knocked me on my butt. Thankfully that’s where you are supposed to be for meditation (yoga teacher jokes – they are unique), but for physical asana, you have to have time and energy to practice. Of course I know I’ll have more energy if I just make the time, so that’s where you come in, my friends. You get to hold me accountable , even just by reading this, so I keep my efforts going and all my plates a’spinning.

Because here’s the thing. ALL the things can be done. At least, all the ones I really desire to do can happen, and you best believe that taking care of myself so I can take care of all the others is going to stay near the top of the priority list.

The stickers totally help. 😉

25 Things, 2016 Edition

‘Tis the season for reflection and introspection, and, in keeping with tradition from the last few years, my list of 25 Things in 2016.

I swear, this task never gets any easier to complete, but I love looking back over my year to round up the big and not-so-big moments that made it what it was.

  1. Boldest move of the year – branching out to teach yoga on my own!
  2. Biggest trip, and most amazing yogini’s long weekend ever happened thanks to Wanderlust @ Aspen/Snowmass. Incredible.
  3. Biggest semester of #adjunctlife came this fall with seven hours offered (and I’m slotted to do 10 in the spring – yikes!).
  4. First trip* to Houston to visit my brother and see him get married! ❤ This one also gets an asterisk accomplishment for flying with four kiddos (and thankfully three other grownups!).
  5. Made the cut at HVFH and had several articles accepted for publication after the site moved away from their monthly publication rotation. Still hoping to one day earn coffee. 😉
  6. Tried and didn’t freak out and even kind of loved aerial yoga. Holy arm workout!
  7. Trimmed my own bangs for most of the year. Let that explain their occasional awesomeness and total randomness and haphazardness!
  8. Wrote 92 blog posts! Well, I think. That requires counting and I don’t math, so….
  9. Read 50 books! That one I know, thanks to keeping tabs!
  10. Started cupping with Ben (our backs and shoulders) and just before the Olympics made it cool.
  11. Pumped every blessed night from July to November so we could know how much Trumy was getting in his last feeding of the day. EVERY. NIGHT. Bless the mamas out there who pump exclusively or at work or at all – it is a pro-cess.
  12. I hugged Glennon!
  13. Took on my first private yoga client. Very fun!
  14. Discovered what it is like to really breathe clearly and smell ALL the things. No joke – my nose is so legit post-surgery, I spent most of the year thinking I might be pregnant, but nope – just uber smeller!
  15. All but stopped buying drive-thru coffee. Yay, me. Yay, FPU! 😉
  16. Which brings me to….participated in my first official Financial Peace University class. We’re still working on our debt snowball, but making great progress (see above about #adjunct life).
  17. Designed my very own (and accidentally patriotic) mala. I adore it.
  18. Got a couple’s tattoo (queen’s crown for me, king’s for him) to celebrate our 10th anniversary in August.
  19. Voted for the first female POTUS candidate.
  20. Took live, in-person, holy fan girl moments! yoga classes from Kathryn Budig, Seane Corne, Rod Stryker, and MC Yogi.
  21. Played taxi service for the middles to preK all the live-long days of the fall semester.
  22. Watched, for the first time, all seven seasons plus new episodes of Gilmore Girls. In five weeks. I am not exactly proud of that.
  23. Thanks to Lincoln, I listened to “Hold On” by Walk Off the Earth approximately 10,000 times on Spotify.
  24. Started going to streamline swim classes, and while I did freak out and I don’t exactly love it yet, I am going to keep at it.
  25. Began a daily meditation practice that has at times fallen off the map, but is back in full force and with a grand goal to start off 2017.

And that’s it! That’s the year! I could go on and on img_4427about this, the Year of the Appliance and Car Maintenance, but really this list is full of love and growth, so maybe 2016 wasn’t such a kick in the pants after all. Or, if it was, it was a kick in the right direction with so much excitement for things to come in 2017.

Bring it, New Year!

And a happy one to all of you, too!

Merry Walking Meditation 

Seeing as it started at 3:30 A.freakingM., my Christmas Eve was a little less than merry for some of its parts. Why so early? One of my roommates (i.e. The Three Bigs), decided he was uncomfortable sleeping on the floor and had to let me know (& then crawled into my bed with me). 

An hour and a half later, we were still awake and so was one of his siblings who was awoken by a 4:30ish bathroom break. 

At 4:50, I lost it. There was definitely yelling involved and grumbling from me about having a very sarcastic merry Christmas. And it was definitely not a shining moment or a happy holiday memory in the making.

From there I managed to fall back asleep long enough to have a bad dream, only to be woken up by another bodily function call at 5:50. From there, my oh so well rested self was up for the the rest of the day. And so were the two Little culprits. 

As you can imagine, we had some touch and go cranky pants moments throughout the day – on the behalf of myself and my (former – we are so doing different arrangements for tonight) roommates. And with a house full of family for much of the day, there were sadly no naps for anyone but the baby (who shared a room with Ben and slept like a champ last night). 

By 4:00 this afternoon, my brain was starting to feel fried. But the sun was out and the temp wasn’t bad, so we bundled everyone up to go out and play for a bit in Grandma’s yard. It would have been lovely to just curl up on the couch and let B handle that, but I thought the fresh air might do me some good, and it turns out that was very much the right call. 

When the kids and Ben decided to go help his dad with chores, I again resisted the call of the couch and instead decided to get my meditation in for the day with a walk through the farm. I am just a few days in to my 3 & 5 day plan, and just because we are away from home doesn’t mean I can let the goal slide.

The walk was excellent. I had to watch my feet a fair bit to avoid where the cows have been grazing, but I turned on the meditation timer on my phone and walked for twelve minutes until it sounded, and there I took these photos: 

I know there are those who love the mountains or the beach, but for me there is nothing more grounding and gorgeous than the prairie sky. And tonight’s view of it included the West Blue Church which is just up the hill from B’s folk’s place and has family connections to its first pastor. 

From there, my muddy and in dire need of a polish boots and I started the 12 minute walk back. 

Like any meditation sit, my mind was a bit all over the place, but the crisp air was good for my overtired brain and the walk exactly right for my still 108 sore legs. But best of all, the fog from the early morning mess lifted while I trudged through the field and back, and I can’t think of any better early Christmas present than a lighter heart and less cranky disposition. 

Well, sleep tonight would be lovely, too, so we’ll see what Santa brings. 

Merry early Christmas, all! May your celebrations be happy, safe, and walk-ready if need be! 

The 3 & 5 Plan

To say that my self care has fallen off the map this semester is an understatement.

To say that I’ve said this before is also an understatement.

Such is life. Such is practice. Such is return. Renewal. Revision.

What I wish to re-see as I close out 2016 and move into a potentially more-filled semester than ever before (big things happening with all of my teaching, off the mat and on) is a steadfast commitment to myself.

It is beyond easy to say I don’t have time. To decide to watch crap online instead, or lose myself in social media after the kids go to bed. But considering how hollowed out I have felt the last couple weeks at the close of this semester, I just can’t. I can’t let distraction and excuses win. But I’ve got to have something tangible to keep me on track, so Mama Life to the rescue (ironic, I know).

In a classic “keep you on track” mom move, I am going to use a reward chart starting now and leading all the way up to my birthday in March, 2017. Not even kidding.

Here’s the back story:

Last week I had a super swirly night where I was not sleeping and super irritated about it, even though I know I haven’t been taking care of myself well as of late. So in my non-sleeping angst, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what I could do to get back to my practices – physical and meditation – that would be not just helpful but also feasible. And just like that, the numbers 3 & 5 popped into my mind.

I want to do a physical asana practice three times a week. I want to mediate five days a week. I don’t feel like those are out of reach (and it doesn’t have to be an hour every time, either), but when I think of the benefits, holy wow. Good stuff.

From there, I put together that I am turning 35 in March, so 3 & 5 really, really makes sense, and if I start now, I have close to 3.5 months to dedicate to this. When I go theme, I go big.

But just like when my kids potty train, I am going to make a sign to hang somewhere in our house – probably the kitchen instead of the bathroom – that I can see every day, so I can track how much progress I am making with these weekly goals. And since my kids will be able to see it, I fully expect them to help me stay on track, too.

To start everything off with an alignment of the stars and auspiciousness, I chose today as my jump start. It’s the Winter Solstice, and even though my regular mat practice has been pretty lame lately, I set up everything last night so I could get up at 5 this morning (skipped swimming yesterday, so I was ready for the early rising today) and get after it.

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Truth? It hurt. A lot. My left wrist started barking at me about halfway through and don’t even get me started on my hamstrings. I am going to need an epsom soak later, for sure. But I did it. 108 sun salutations, dedicated at the mantra I’ve been using for months and will carry through this 3 & 5 Plan – May I be Peace.

Progress updates to come, I’m sure, but for now – happy shortest day of the year and may the return of light bring whatever else you wish to welcome back into your own life!

Update: here’s how the plan went over the holiday weekend. 🙂

Ostrich Approach No More

To be perfectly honest, B and I did not talk much about the election with our kiddos prior to this week. We talked plenty between the two of us (my husband is a 538.com addict) but I did not want to drag my young babies into the noise, and certainly did not want to expose them to the awful, hateful spew coming from Trump and his campaign. I honestly didn’t think it mattered.

Wait. Let me rephrase that.

I did not think I had to talk to my children about Trump because I thought there was no way he would ever be elected to the highest office in this fair land, so I was just biding my time, keeping quiet with my head in the sand, hoping and thinking instead that we would get to celebrate this book becoming obsolete: img_4592

And then Tuesday came and went, and my jaw hit the floor, along with my heart, and I spent yesterday fighting a 12 hour headache and a heaviness in my chest that such fear and division now has to become part of our family discussions. With Trump in office, who knows what messages will be put on a national stage. If they are anything like what we’ve seen throughout his campaign, I cringe and tear up at the thought of what my kids might hear because there is no way I can keep them from this any longer.

While this part of their growing up does not excite me, I realize today that there is a blessing in the moving forward. Because we can no longer afford to take the ostrich approach, I get to have powerful and meaningful conversations with my family about how we love and why we love ALL people. Even when doing so is hard. We will stick to our beliefs that there is good in the world and we will continue to BE the good by loving fiercely – on each other, on our neighbors, friends and family and everyone else, because frankly – that is the only way. I refuse to let hate and fear keep me from speaking out and teaching my children about acceptance, even if the president-elect demonstrates otherwise. I will be any ally and I will offer my time, talents, and treasure, when and where I can.

I begin, this week, with two special yoga classes. While that may sound silly or simple to some, I want to create space for people. I want to help them catch their literal breath and their emotional one, too, because when we take time to heal ourselves, we can help heal others, and so the work continues. Family YogaFamily Yoga (which has been on the books for over a month) is Saturday afternoon at 3:30 at the First Preys Annex; this is a donation class that will go to serve the Give Back Yoga Foundation ($5 suggested donation per family – all proceeds go to GBYF).

The second class, which is both free and already full, is something I plan to do every month from now until forever, because money should not be a limitation to the catching of breath, resting of body, and healing of heart. The fact that it filled so quickly tells me that people need care and connection, and that in the future, I may need to find a bigger venue than my porch to hold this, and that’s OK by me. Any small thing I can do to love on and support the people around me is all good in my books.

So. However you are feeling about the election results, I encourage you to love on and support those around you, too. If you can extend that loving kindness to those who are different from you, all the better. Do what you can, in whatever ways you can, to avoid the temptation to stick your head in the sand. These times are too important to ignore, and even in small, simple ways, we can show and share love.

And so – the conversations will come. And the work continues. No longer an ostrich will I be.

Doing It

When it comes to my two teaching hats, English and Yoga, they don’t so much overlap. I mean, they could actually coexist and come together quite nicely, but what I mean is that my schedules of teaching both have been intentional and mindful. I can only do so much, and my body tends to tell me in loud and clear ways when I try to do more than it wants.

For that reason, when I agreed last spring to take on more adjunct hours than ever before for this fall semester, I knew my yoga teaching would have to take a step back for a bit. And really, I was fine with that because I have learned a great deal about balance this year and no, I do not mean physical balance and funky asana. I mean ebb and flow, hard and soft, action and stillness. There has to be balance between the doing and the being. To me, that is living yoga.

When I made the decision this summer to leave the studio at the start of September, I did not know exactly where my yoga would land. I was – and still am – teaching at the Y, of course, and had – and still have – my hands quite full with CCC. I hadn’t originally planned to teach any more anything beyond that this fall, but then I started doing more of my own practice here at home and realized I still had space, energy, and love to share, so I did.

And just like that, I began teaching yoga, on my own, on my sun porch.

Granted, the space is limited, and the times I can actually offer are, too, but what has come out of this little experiment of can I go it alone? has been incredible. The primary class has been Neighborhood Yoga – offered to friends and neighbors in town (literally, some weeks have been comprised of folks who can walk here in less than two minutes) and what lights me up about it is the laughter and joy of building connection and community through these classes. Seeing people come together through their own practice/time on the mat IS union. Is yoga. Is amazing. I am so honored that these folks have brought so much great energy to this space; it is because of this that the balance remains for me even though my schedule is more full than ever before. My heart is just as full. ❤️