Balance.

Day four of Kindergarten is in the books. Sadler couldn’t be happier right now in these moments of her life.

 I’ve had all the feels this week about this whole starting school thing.

Filling out the form, using only 5 words to describe my only 5-year-old…my baby. I had never truly thought of words to describe her before. Just last week as we rode in the car, Reid and I gave our input on who we saw our daughter to be; I was filling in her name, and her strengths and weaknesses, and her “hot buttons”. It was heartwarming to come up with the best five words that we thought described our girl, together: STRONG-WILLED, KIND, TENDERHEARTED, LEADER, INTELLIGENT.

As I wrote the words in the paper, I began to cry. Who were we talking about here? Sadler, or me?

It’s so hard as a parent (at least for me at this place in my journey) when you see things in your children, qualities about them, similarities in their behavior, predictability in how they’ll answer questions…and you feel like you’re looking in the mirror.

I’ve coming to learn and accept that I am my own best teacher, but this little girl runs a real tight second. She teaches me things about myself, and I try to teach her things about herself because I just know how she sees life. Sometimes it’s as if we share the same eyes.

She speaks my language. She gets me and I get her. I feel so incredibly lucky that she is mine. 

But I want her to find her way in her way. I don’t ever want to be a tug of influence, but rather a beam of guidance that just leads her there, on her own.

She’s a 1. I’m a 1, too. 

So I know for her, it can seem like we are the only ones with the only way. Our hearts are protected yet open, and our ideas are bigger than us it seems. Yet we know we can always push harder. 

It’s been a struggle this week. Finding balance between being a good stay-at-home-mom and a servant leader/CEO to my newly-blossoming essential oil business. Can’t I do both?

Time-blocking. When I have (let’s be real, when I make) the time to actually block the time. It happens sometimes. We’ll call it 50 percent.

Meditating (actually just discovered Light Sourcing by Rebecca Campbell in her INCREDIBLE BOOK, “Light is the New Black”). My mornings have become my favorite time of the day for more reasons than this one. 

Hot yoga when I have someone to watch the girls (aka – when Reid gets home from work or really early on Saturday mornings). I’d go every single day if it were possible. It’s my sanctuary. 

  Lots of oils. I love and find comfort in knowing than whenever things get heavy, I can count on my oils for safety and solace. They usually change the game for me so profoundly that I’m moved to tell someone or make a Facebook live video about my experience. 

Affirmations. Written on a whiteboard, to be repeated each morning. Out loud. Because I know the power of the spoken word. 

Lots of deep personal development through books. Mindset transformations about money and budgeting.  Journaling.

I’m doing so many of the things. I’ve created so many positive habits. Yet, I still find myself feeling out of balance. 

Unsteady. Ungrounded. 

Flailing. 

I’m learning to soften into who I am. We all need to. 

I’m so worried about getting it all done that I can’t lose sight of what I’m doing it all for. 

I’ve prayed for answers for quite some time now. Shortly after (and sometimes during), I look up to see a squirrel balancing along the power line right in front of me. It’s like he comes out of thin air. I see that as God telling me to keep my footing, just one in front of the other. Slow and steady. 

Because as the old Chinese proverb goes, “Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.”

Why Yoga is Life

Today was hard. This week has been hard. This month has been hard.

Life has seemed hard.

I will be the first to admit, unabashedly so, that being a stay-at-home mom is HARD.

It is everything more than I ever imagined it could be, and nothing like I imagined it would be.

I’m waking up earlier today than I ever have before — intentionally. And it feels like Christmas  morning, every day. I cherish my time, my space, my quiet, my stillness. I need that time.

I’ve been going to Revolution Hot Yoga since the last day of my maternity leave with Everly. I’ve never stayed so consistently loyal to a place like this, and have felt comfortable in my own skin inside those walls since my very first visit.

Anytime life gets really hard, I want to practice hot yoga. I crave it.

I’ve become addicted to the heat and the sweat and the release. It’s an hour of space amidst the chaos of life where I truly let go, something I don’t do in real life much at all it seems.

My body has become supple. It has become strong. I feel beautiful.

Tonight’s class was the best, most intimate and sacred class I have ever had. Hands down, in all of the yoga practice I’ve had in all of my years, tonight was bigger.

Rebecca felt us. Not just me, she felt us.

She felt all the junk we were carrying, and the loads we beared, as we all walked through the doors with smiles on our faces and all pretended to be okay.

She brought an awareness to the room of all the color, and talked us through releasing energy and letting go. She talked real talk, but in the most beautifully woven song of words that forced us not to force, but to really let go.

For the first time ever in my practice, sweat came out of my eyeballs. It felt peaceful, and literally washed away some of the weight I brought in with me.

“Find your tribe, lightly. Follow your heart, lightly. Let your voice be heard, lightly.”

Eyes closed. Music soft. The room was still as she guided us.

Deep breaths in…deep breaths out.

Yoga is breathing.

Breathing is life.

Yoga is life.

photo credit: scullyfit.com
I’m so thankful that yoga has led me to meditation. (I read somewhere recently that meditation may truly be more effective than medication. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.)

I truly believe, that our mind and body and spirit, they are all ONE. They are all connected, and they are affected by each other, and they move through one other.

We impose limitations on ourselves in life based on our past experiences, fears, self-doubt and judgments of others. These limitations keep us from being our best. They keep us in boxes, under the bed. They dim our lights, and feed our ego.

Yoga is my way of releasing those limitations, even if for just sixty minutes; but for those sixty minutes, I feel myself being gentle with myself. And I trust my body. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about how I look in my pose or how deep my stretch is.

I go inward. 

As the within, so the without, right? What lies inside is what lives outside. The answers aren’t out in the material world; for the best teacher we have is our self. Look in the mirror, you’ll see.

I’m no master, but self-discovery is tasty. Life’s color is brighter when you take a little time to be still. I know I have so many more layers to peel.

I turn 36 in January and have decided that I want to go on a yoga retreat for my birthday. A long weekend of peace, tranquility, stillness and lots of yoga is just what I want most as I enter a new year of life.

I am open to suggestions of places to visit, do you have a favorite?

 

Did I Really Just Cry Over Netflix?

If the television is on in our house, you can almost bet its never for anything I voted to watch. There are plenty of reasons I say this, but it’s true.

Since we cancelled cable, we rely on Netflix and Amazon Prime and have really gotten some good use out of our Apple TV and Fire Stick. Normally if the TV is on, it’s Moana or Pee Wee Herman as of late; soon it will be football (foreshadowing to a great post, I’m sure <insert eye roll emoji> ), and lots of times it’s golf or Wheel of Fortune (always gets my vote). And I can’t fail to mention that we are big Big Brother fans, so Reid and I do make an effort to watch that together when we can. Thanks to our nifty wireless antenna, we can pick up a couple dozen local channels and haven’t missed cable a bit.

I could say what most would say – “I don’t have time to watch TV…” but the reality is I choose not to watch TV. I’ve enjoyed getting lost in books and writing posts like this, planning out the finishing touches on projects I’ve been meaning to finish for weeks/months/years, spending time outside or working on my business.

The way I see it, we have little chunks of space in our day, and we get the privilege of choosing what we do inside those spaces. The choices we make will create our life, over time. We control our time, our time shouldn’t control us, and watching TV always seems to take the reins of control when I give in to it. Much like scrolling through social media, I’ve learned to appreciate and actually crave the disconnect from screen time. It’s too easy to get sucked into a vortex of comparison and judgement when we compare our lives to someone’s best when we are potentially at our worst. But, I digress…

It came as somewhat of a surprise last Monday night when Reid suggested that we start a new show on Netflix together. He delivered a beautifully pitched invitation for us to “spend some time together after the kids go to bed”, which I saw appealing and agreed to, truthfully without even knowing what show I had just committed myself to watch.

Ozarks. Jason Bateman. Fair enough, I thought. And about 10 minutes in, I was hooked to the story line, or I suppose I should say, what I assumed the story line would develop to be.

We snuggled up on our over-sized couch with a warm blanket and watched quietly as the first episode of this Netflix original series played in front of us. I was into it.

And then, when the episode ended and I got up to use the bathroom, I noticed Sadler sleeping on the steps. Again (roll eyes, again). So, I carried her back to her bed and proceeded with somewhat of a bedtime routine to get her back to sleep.

Meanwhile, downstairs…guess who starts to watch episode number 2? Without me????!

I walked into the bedroom, and when I noticed what was happening, I saw red. I was so mad. Here I had been, duped into a TV show I didn’t really even want to watch in the first place, and was sold on the fact that “we can do it together”. And he is watching it without me.

I shared my frustration aloud with him, which seemed stupid to him. And then I realized how stupid it really was…I’m crying, over Netflix???

I woke up the next morning to think about what had happened, and it hit me.  A blog post I had recently read said something like this:

Our Expectations, minus our Observations, equal FRUSTRATION.

Having expectations is a tricky one. We can and should have expectations in life, right? I have expectations of myself. Typically, too harsh ones. When I managed a team of people, I had expectations of them, too. And when they actually did or didn’t do a task that seemed to correlate with my expectation, that’s what I was left to observe. And then I was frustrated.

I have expectations of my children, and how they should behave and what they should eat and how often they should try to pee throughout the day.

Clearly, I expected the Netflix thing to turn out differently. Never did I think I’d come back downstairs and see him watching without me. But, it was even more clear that I was so bent out of shape about it.

Will it matter in ten years?…doubtful. But the fact that I expected the situation to turn out a certain way, and then it just didn’t go down that way, I was left feeling…frustrated. Which led to sadness, which led to saying things I regretted the next morning.

This incident compelled me to decide that it was time for Reid and I to declare a few expectations, ones that we could hold each other accountable for. We decided to declare the pillars of our family, and what would be important foundations to raise our girls upon. You may be thinking: shouldn’t you have done that BEFORE you had kids? Maybe. And maybe we thought about it. But this time, we’re doing it.

Letting go of my expectations in order to make room for a clear plan is exciting to me.  A plan that will hopefully craft a life of purpose, with healthy sprinklings of Netflix time here and there…except, next time there will only be tears shed if we are watching Beaches.