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?

 

And So It Is

I’ve debated deleting my Facebook account. It’s too painful.

You think that sounds silly. Roll eyes. Think to yourself, get over it Candice. 

But that’s just the thing, I can’t help it. I feel EVERYTHING.

I feel it when people talk nasty to one another. I feel it when people bash the President (any of them). I feel it when people take jabs at each other over differing views about racism or politics or what color a dress is.

When I am in the presence of others, I feel things, too.

I feel when people are sad. I feel when people are embarrassed. I feel when people are angry.

I recently saw a lady belly dancing at the park in front of hundreds of people, many who were making fun of her. I could feel her joy and passion as she danced, and it made me cry (looking back, it was a bizarre experience because my tears came out of nowhere).

I feel when people are lying to me, and that’s one of the toughest to withstand. Having someone you genuinely care for tell a flat out lie to your face, and you just know that they are lying, because you just know…well, it sucks.

This shift has brought some people on my path closer to my heart, and into my life with deeper meaning. It has also repelled several people in my life away from me. They don’t think I can tell, but I can feel it, too.

Being able to feel  everything isn’t anything new to me. I just didn’t know what it was before. I chalked it up as tingly legs, or a lump in my throat, or a migraine. I’d reach for medicine or take a warm bath or go home from work, because I felt physically ill.

My throat has a lump right this very second, and I’m sure it’s because my ego is trying to tell my brain to tell my hands to stop typing. Stop telling these things about myself, so as to not risk the ridicule from those who lack the ability to understand. Don’t risk putting yourself out there on the internet for the world to see and talk about you behind your back.c288cb1769375e3fa6264d51f15a902b

You see, I don’t write things like this for recognition or for likes. It’s truly none of my business what anyone thinks about my writing. Don’t mishear me, I am eternally grateful for the unexpected following I’ve gained, and for the overwhelming gratitude I’ve received from so many of you who read my story. It’s a deep honor to be a part of the space in your day.

Writing is my calling. I have enjoyed writing since I was a small child, and it has been a part of me all throughout my life.

Even down to the name of this website, every part of this blog has been driven by my inner voice, or intuition, or the Holy Spirit. Each time I’ve sat down to type, it’s been in response to something that’s moved inside of me. Something I’ve prayed about and waited to hear an answer to. Lots of times, something bubbles up and the urge to write is powerful! Urges that I don’t question, because they feel 100% energetically aligned with where I am that day. I have to usually stop whatever I’m doing to get my words out.

I truly believe that there is a worldwide shift taking place right this very minute, and people around the world are learning about themselves what I’ve learned about myself. This month marks a year since I “woke up”. And since then, the rest has happened rapidly. I’m still peeling back layers of self-discovery.

And I have been called to tell my story.

To make sure that if there is even one lonely soul out there who feels that something in life is maybe just a touch off kilter, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is. There are so many of us out there, and I believe we are called to shine our light bright into the world so that we may light up the path for others. For those who cannot yet see.

In all of my life, I have never felt so sure of who I am as an individual. My body has never been so supple and so strong. I am whole, in mind and body and spirit. Because it’s all ONE. And we are all ONE.

Here is an interesting thought to ponder. Look at these two words:

Is it ALONE?

Or ALLONE?

What if we’ve become so programmed and brainwashed and fear-mongered that we’ve lost our sense of ONENESS along the way?

We are all one. We are all energy, and all flow through the universe.

I used to hear “energy” and think only about physical movement. If someone was “high energy” they were just hyper. Couldn’t sit still.

In reality, high energy means high vibrations – GOOD VIBES. Low energy, or low vibrations are typically not good vibes (not for me, at least). Every person and thing on this planet is made of energy and we “vibe” with frequencies that are similar to our own. Hence, the icky feeling you get when certain people come around, and the amazing sense of still waters you get when you certain others come around. Your vibration won’t lie to you.

There are days in which I question the process, but I’m learning that questioning things is part of the process. Gone are they days where we can walk blindly through life with our heads in the sand. We should be questioning everything.

Thinking for ourselves. Loving FIERCELY. Forgiving quickly.

It’s what’s lies inside each of us that we are looking for. We are the teacher, and the best one at that.

I am thankful for my yoga practice, as it keeps me reminded of the importance of just breathing. I notice my breathing throughout the day in a satisfying way that fills my soul with joy. To know that my practice is seeping into my daily life reminds me that I’m on the right path. I will forever be grateful for the art of yoga and for the amazing instructors I am guided by. Yoga is life for me, because it’s taught me how to meditate and how to be still.

Being still lets me listen. Not only to those around me, but to my body. And my mind. And to the Holy Spirit when it speaks to me.

Let us hear the callings of our soul.

Let us LOVE.

Let us be ALL ONE.

And let us fly high, lifting one another up with grace and courage.

This is my story. May yours be written, too. Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mama Dot

You didn’t like to make a big deal about your birthday. Looking back now, I realize that’s only because you never made things much about yourself in the first place.

I’ve needed to look into your eyes a lot of times lately. Looking there always kept me honest. Your eyes were soft and they cradled me. You wept behind your glasses as you’d take in my words.

We’d sit for hours around that table; you’d fidget with your leftover lunch napkin, rolling and twirling it through your hands. But you’d never take your eyes off me. Sometimes you’d close them, but I know now you were only trying to take my pain away.

There’s a picture of you in our house that I tend to go to when I need you. You were young, holding a guitar, in the middle of a field. And you almost smiled. You didn’t like to smile for pictures, and you didn’t play the guitar as far as I know. That’s what makes this picture so amazing. Someone captured you out of your comfort zone, a place you didn’t go often.

But that picture, it saves me. Something about it allows me to connect with you unlike the others. To have known you at such a young age in your life, at a time when you were so wild and free and innocent. I imagine what you did on the day you took this picture. Who was behind the camera? And what you did after you posed for this one photo?

You were the safest space I ever knew. I’d give anything to be around that table with you again and to share just one more tomato sandwich, one more bowl of vegetable soup, play one more hand of Uno, wrap one more Christmas present, send one more sympathy card, or hold your precious hands just once more.
You saved me. And you still do.

I’m so grateful you got a wild hair that day and decided to pose for this picture, and I’m so glad you were born. I’m sending you the biggest “wowee” kiss in heaven today and appreciate you staying with me over the years. I feel you here, and I like it.

Happy birthday, Mama Dot. I love you a bushel and a peck.

24 Mondays

That’s how many I’ve had to rock you before nap. That’s how many I’ve had to hold you in the heirloom rocking chair in your bedroom, the place we’ve both come to know and love with such intimacy and sacred appreciation.

It’s how many Mondays I’ve had to notice that you like to grab hold of the sides of the rocking chair, one arm at a time, nice long stretches, while your head stays rested on my chest. How you love to hold onto my shoulder with only one arm, like a baby sloth, and you sleep with your mouth open and have a tiny growl of a snore.

It’s how many Mondays I’ve had to feel an inching wonder that you may never stop breastfeeding, and while I appreciate the bond and beauty and all that breastfeeding does for our soul and the souls of mamas and babies all over the world…believe me, I’m so grateful. But I’m ready for it to end.

But then…I can’t help but think that in 24 Mondays from now, you probably won’t want to nurse anymore. You may not even want me to rock you, and who knows if you will even want to be held at all. How many words will you say then? You’ll have a new thing that you do, and a new preference about you. Will you still call it “bbubbbbll” and like to be patted on the butt to be soothed? Will you want to play with your sister, or find solitary adventure without her?

All these things that I think won’t ever stop, they will. That’s just the thing.

And I will miss them.

I’ve come to realize that you’re likely the last one, Everly Jean. The last baby to be birthed and rocked and swaddled and breastfed. The last one. They saved the best for last with you. You’re good, you. Mama loves you, more than you may ever truly know.

I’ve watched you change other people, too. Strangers sometimes. Often times. They connect eyes with you and you give them that toothy smile and your eyes light up like Mama Dot. They see you like I see you.

Life is teaching me that finding gratitude for what shows up in my path, that’s true beauty. That my purpose right now is to be a mother, and to be there for you and your sister when you need me. To teach you to appreciate what you’ve got in life, to be kind to every single person you meet, and to love with all that you’re made of.

Raising and growing you into the lady version of yourself so that you, too can be a mama and a light for your own girls some day.

Knowing that a day will come when you won’t need me at all anymore and I will be lucky if you call me before bedtime each night when you’re all grown up.

All the growth and digging deep in self-discovery over the last year of my life seems to run parallel to your existence. You are wondrous to me, and I may never be able to find the right words to tell you exactly what you are to me. My hope is, that you’ll just see and know like the world sees you.

Perfect wonder, you are, Everly Jean.


I look forward to 24 more Mondays with you, that lead to Fridays and weekends where Sunday seems to drag out forever. Those are our favorite days.

I’ll try to stop rushing you to grow up now. Sleep well, our princess. Mama loves you.

 


 

Dear Sadler

Happy Birthday, my sweet child!

It’s been 5 years.

Five years since you joined your Daddy and I on this Earth. I woke up this morning and instantly started to think back. Back to what life was like before you, and the thing is, I can barely remember. You’ve made life more fun, plain and simple.

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I remember being pregnant with you and wondering what you’d look like. What your voice would sound like. How old you’d be when you learned to read, and what color eyes you’d have. I remember sitting at Herbie’s eating breakfast with your Daddy the morning you were born. It was a Saturday. You weren’t due until 13 days later, but I had an eerie feeling from the second I woke up that day. Not a scary kind of eerie, just a feeling like I hadn’t felt before. After breakfast, I went to get a prenatal massage (which I don’t rule out as what put me into labor), and then it was Chick Fil A and a movie that afternoon.

We watched Savages. I remember thinking how pretty Blake Lively was, and the movie was pretty intense so it kept me on the edge of my seat (and awake! I usually fall asleep in movies, which I’m sure you know by now).

After the movie, we headed home to get Gladston so we could head out to Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sarah’s house for dinner. When we got to their house, I opened the door, stepped out onto the driveway and there it went. Everywhere.  A big, warm gush all over my flip flops, down my legs. I remember crying immediately, I knew it was time.

Your Ga Ga looked at me, deep into my eyes and said, “It’s gonna be ok.”

I don’t think poor Gladston ever even got out of the Jeep. Daddy drove us (safely but quickly) back to the townhouse to get our stuff to get ready to go to the hospital.

I took a shower. I cried more. I prayed, a lot. (Looking back, it wasn’t a time in my life when I was close to God. I rarely prayed, if ever. But in that moment it washed over me as the only thing to do. I cry as I write this, because it reminds me how far I’ve come.)

We got our stuff and headed to the hospital. Since you were breach, and with no success in you re-positioning, a cesarean was planned for 6 days later. But since my water broke and I was now in active labor on my own, things were a little different than my mind had played them out.

We got to the hospital and it was around 5:30 or so. It seemed relatively quiet there, but as luck would have it, the entire hospital was transitioning to a new software THAT DAY and the “go live” date was THAT DAY. So, I sensed panic in the nurses right away.

As we were getting prepped for surgery, something went wrong. I was fortunate enough to have the hottest anesthesiologist in the history of time talking to me and explaining things as the spinal block was going into my back. Your daddy was still in the hallway scrubbing in, and I was gazing into Dr. McDreamy’s eyes, trying not to think about the excruciating pain taking place in my body…when, in walked Dr. Grewal.

In my mind, I to this day think she said Code Red. It could just be that my brain remembers the story that way, I don’t really know. I just remember that that’s when everything changed.

I remember saying, “What’s wrong?!” She grabbed me by the hand and explained to me that your umbilical cord had prolapsed and that the surgery needed to begin immediately. “Incision!” I felt it, left to right. Your daddy still wasn’t there.

“My husband, I need my husband!” Dr. McDreamy held my hand and kept me calm until Reid got in the room.

It felt like hours. They were working hard to get you out of there, and it became clear then to me why you never turned – you couldn’t move! You’d gotten yourself all cozy in there in a position that you couldn’t get out of!

When the nurses and doctor finally got you out, we waited to hear your cry. I couldn’t wait to look at you. To hold you. To nurse you. To kiss you. To smell you.

I got to do all of those things, but they were too fast. Too fast for firsts.

They wheeled me off to recovery, and Daddy took you to the nursery for your bath.

That seemed like the longest 2 hours of my life. I wanted you in my arms. I couldn’t stop shaking. The nurses seemed to ignore me as they stumbled through their new software. I felt so alone, and I couldn’t wait to see your face again.

When I finally did, nothing else mattered anymore. There was no pain. I became overwhelmed with joy. And a sense of love like I’d never known before.599445_10100778192273359_24538829_n

Once we got home, it sort of just became me and you. There were visitors, but we also had lots of time together, alone. I watched you sleep a lot. I slept beside you, and I loved listening to the coo under your breath as you slept.

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You were like magic to me. I wanted you near me, all of the time. And you didn’t seem to mind. You were perfect in so many ways. Even strangers would say it. The shape of your face seemed perfectly symmetrical. You were beauty in every form.

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I fell in love with baby-wearing. And you were always such a good sport about it. Looking back at this photo, I know that this type of carrier isn’t really ideal for hip support and we only used it this one time, but I remember how proud I was at this very moment to be a mama. To walk around the neighborhood as you slept on my chest, and to feel full. And proud. And that I had done something right in life. Calling you mine was easy, and I felt worthy. You filled me up with love, you see.

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Gladston loved you immensely, too. I sure hope you remember him. He sat by your side a lot of the time, and watched you sleep much like I did. We’d pick “Gladston boogers” off your clothes constantly. But we didn’t mind. In fact, I think that’s how he got the name “Booger Bear”.

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Watching you grow up into the young lady you are today, well the magic hasn’t stopped. It only continues. Your spirit is stubborn yet true, your soul is genuine and whole, your heart is open and honest, and your imagination inspires me. I love every single thing about you, and couldn’t be more proud to be your mama, Sadler Mae.

I hope today is the best birthday yet and that your Daddy was able to find that unicorn you’ve been asking for.

Love,

Mama 

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In Case You’ve Wondered What It’s Like

Guilt. There’s been a lot of that.

Because I underestimated what it would be like to be at home. There have been fewer showers, less projects and more chores. There have been days when I feel like I’m on top of the world, and days when I cry for hours and wonder when I will get a break and feel sane again.

I sometimes eat dinner in the bathroom while watching my kids play in the bath tub, and my house isn’t nearly as clean as I thought it would be.

I completely took for granted the 40-hour break I got from being a mom each week. Not that my  mom-worries and responsibilities stopped when I went to work, but shifting my responsibility to something else for eight hours a day was a break. And I didn’t ever think so at the time.

I underestimated the value of a lot of the relationships I had with my co-workers, and I’ve realized that I wasn’t a very good boss or friend at work. I couldn’t have been. I was trying to do it all by myself, and had lost faith in God and I too often let my stress get to me. I always seemed annoyed and no one ever seemed to need me at a time that was convenient for me. I was so buried in tasks and the desire to perform. I cared deeply about always doing the right thing and being good for everyone, but I wasn’t good for myself. I am thankful for this awareness now and look forward to continuing to nurture the relationships I had through work that I know were real.

I miss interacting with adults all day and I miss taking a lunch break. I miss holding team meetings and watching my maintenance guys roll their eyes because I asked them to hang a sign.

There are days when my mind surges with ideas for my new business and all I want is eight hours to sit at a desk and my laptop and colorful pens and planners and a good playlist. I’d even take four hours. I just miss the grind of getting stuff done. Having a perpetual to-do list that carries over from one day to the next makes you feel like you’re digging holes on the beach. The wave comes, and fills up your hole and you have to dig again. And then more waves.

So, I savor nap time and all that I’m able to accomplish (like this blog post), but I feel guilty for telling Sadler she can watch TV while I work.

I’ve moved on to living life in my favorite robe and yoga pants, spending most of my day in the kitchen and building a rock star essential  oil business. I’ve gotten to spend more time with my Granny over the last three months than I’ve spent with her in the last 10 years. I’ve cancelled cable, sold my dream car, paid off debt, started this blog, read at least a dozen books and made lasting new friendships.

I’m grateful for all the naps I’ve been able to rock Everly before, and all the times I’ve been able to say Hi to the mailman.

I know that being needed all of the time may seem heavy and hard, because it is. But I’m thankful for the time I’ve learned to make for myself and appreciate each minute more than ever before. I’m learning to let the guilt of it all go, because I feel in my bones that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And doing it with dirty hair and yoga pants makes it just that much more fun.

I know how the lotus flower grows…

 

 

 

Reflections: A Season Ends

I had a really close friend in college tell me out of the blue that we couldn’t be friends anymore. She just stopped hanging out with me. I remember feeling super-confused and I asked another friend if he knew what happened to make her stop wanting to hang out. He said, “You were just too much for her to handle”…

My journey as an at-home mama began at the end of winter. Spring came in, a fresh breeze of light and momentum. Now it’s nearing an end, and summer starts next week. A new season, a new set of goals and a new wave of life and adventure.

I’m learning to accept that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. They may float in and it feels as if they’ve been in the room all along. Like a feather. (I saw a feather on the beach just last weekend. It reminded me of the down pillows on Mama Dot’s bed and it made me smile/cry a tiny tear.)

Some people leave suddenly like my college friend, and we can’t help but wonder what we did to suddenly shift things so unexpectedly.

But then sometimes, we are blessed with people who land on our path at just at the right time. We instantly feel warm and we know we will love them forever.

I see life differently now.

Do you remember those books we used to color in as a kid? The ones where the pages were black and white drawings with tiny boxes within the drawing, like a big puzzle… and there was a number in the box and you filled in the boxes according to the little legend at the bottom of the page? Well, now when I look at those pages, all of my tiny boxes are filled in with color. All of the drawings are colored in in beautiful colors. It’s the same book, but I see all the colors. I now get the joy of adding glitter to the pages.

I’ve learned that being misunderstood is one of the most painful experiences as a human. Or, at least for me as a human. I can be seen by many as a punch in the face, packed into a pill form, immediately followed by a smile and a hug. But what I’m learning is that we all see differently, through different lenses. And I’m just not seen by everyone. And I can’t change that. I have a big heart and a strong passion to help others find the light within them. I’ve been called to help others see what I now see.

I’ve felt my friendships shift over the recent weeks, as the season has shifted into summer. I feel the energy moving around my circles and feel the different bonds forming as weekends and fireside nights turn to beach memories and family time at the park. I feel some drifting away as some are drawing closer. I welcome and appreciate the joy I feel in my life every day and am thankful for the people who have allowed me into their space. If you’ve been in mine, I can assure you it was a pure joy for me. I savor every bit of time I have to give love to others and am humbled by what this season has done for me as a person, a mother, a wife, a friend, a business leader.

The light within me sees and honors the light within you.

I look forward to summer. More time in the sun, more time in the sand, more time in the hammock, more burgers on the grill, more deep talks on the back patio. I look forward to pool days and spending time with some of my sweet mama friends around the baby pool.

I am thankful for what spring cultivated in my life. It’s incredibly beautiful to watch growth through nurturing and a little love and attention. Grace gets us far, I’m learning. God is so big and great and good.