Tag Archives: karma

Gettin’ Sweaty & Breathin’ Heavy 2013 (3)

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UnknownOne of the reasons for starting this running habit, as listed in the first GSBH2013 post, was to change my commitment karma.    Without going into the gory details, lately there has been much analyzing of past relationships — which at some point always leans towards finger being pointed away from myself, aaaaaand then right back towards myself again.    At some point it seemed like this process of finger-pointing was a reason to feel like a bad person, a selfish person – but now am beginning to consider that perhaps this is human nature.  It’s hard to look at yourself and own your actions!

It seems trite to say that ‘running is a metaphor for life’, but it works for this runner.   The first 10K race is coming up (yipes…) and what I am certain of is that if I get my butt out the door for a run every other day the 10K will be doable.   Will it still be a physical challenge?  Yes.  But  the tools to be able to push through and do my personal best will be there at the ready.    Doing the exact same run every time will result in more of a physical and mental challenge on race day.   Striving for a longer distance every week will, with any luck, better prepare me mentally — and  my 45yr old body will have a better chance at stepping up to the challenge (keeping my fingers crossed that my body does not implode on race day….LOL).

In other words, the amount of commitment and energy put into training will be reflected likewise in the end result – both mentally and physically.   Apply that to relationships – the amount of commitment and energy put into relationships (of all kinds) will be reflected likewise in the other persons commitment and willingness to step up.

It must also be said that as we age we realize that our bodies are not always able to step up to our level of commitment.   Teaching dance and learning about sport has taught me that sometimes our physical ability doesn’t always match our level of commitment.  When that happens we need to take a step back and evaluate, is there another way to accomplish this goal with this body?   Or do I need to let it go and move  new direction?

Sometimes you can put energy and commitment into a relationship – and no matter what you do it isn’t reflected back likewise.   Those are the moments when you need to take a step back and reevaluate – not just your actions and/or the other persons actions, but consider if it is realistic to pursue this particular relationship.  Letting go is the hardest part – but sometimes its necessary for one’s own well-being and survival in this crazy world.

Actions truly do speak louder than words – and letting go is an action that speaks volumes about one’s commitment to self-worth.

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Quotes from John Stanton’s Facebook page (founder of The Running Room):

“Commitment… being loyal to your goal and accountable to yourself.”

“To define who you are and what you mean to yourself …go for a run.”

Am running to a huge playlist that surprises me at every step and interval.  LOVE when this song kicks in.

Gettin’ Sweaty & Breathin’ Heavy 2013

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When this blog began I had signed up for my first one month hot yoga challenge. The experience of yoga on a regular basis in addition to the experience of the hot room proved to be a physical challenge and provided some inspiration for this blog as well.  In the end it also fostered some unnecessary injuries and issues with heat stroke — so I do continue to do yoga but in a slightly different setting.

What I feel like after I've completed a run.

What I feel like post-run.

MY 2013 CHALLENGE IS…..drumroll please….  

Running 2 (yes 2) 10k races (September and October).

Holy.

Crap.

Some have asked, “What/who are you running from?”

That answer is more complex than I initially thought.

I am running from heart disease and diabetes (both were my mom’s arch nemeses).

I am committing to run to change my commitment karma, if you will.  Out with the one-sided relationships with people who cannot commit to the basic concepts of a relationship: Communication, Friendship and Honesty.   Bring on the healthy commitment karma!

I am running to get through the grief.  Running in the hope of somehow recreating my mother’s strength and perseverance, and honouring her spirit.

And  I am running to flush out the disappointment and frustrations of past relationships for good, and forever.  Maybe I can somehow cultivate compassion through running.

Finally, and equally as important as the rest, I am running because the post-run high is pretty freakin’ fabulous.

Mom lived with Diabetes for 20+ years and persevered through those last 2 years of life with a multitude of issues  and challenges (as a result of long-term diabetes), so therefore there is no reason why I couldn’t  move my butt 3-4 times a week. And by all means I can get out there on race day and give it my best.  And for what its worth – mom had diabetes, heart disease and cancer (x2) and my dad has had cancer (x1)- the odds are stacked against me and I need to keep movin’!

There are no illusions of grandeur, as there is virtually no chance of my placing in the top ten of any age group – I just want to get out there and do my best.  With any luck I will not be the last person to straggle across the finish line.

Have I ever run anything in my life? Not since about grade 5. Though I was a decent runner at that time — it was more than a few decades ago.

I want to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.   To show everyone (and myself) who is afraid of being 45, divorced, with no children, that it is going to be ok.  In fact, its pretty damn liberating at the best of times!  That at 45 yrs of age one doesn’t need to give in to what society deems as  OLD, and that to feel young one doesn’t need to pretend they are in their 20’s either. Doing new things challenges us to do and think differently, we interact with different groups of people, and in this case, we do a bit of good as well.

There.

It’s official.

I’ve made this commitment ‘public’.

Oi. Vay.

In the Quiet Stillness..

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It.  Is.  Almost.  Here.

CHRISTMAS!!!!

This is my most favourite time of the year, EVER!  The snow, the lights, the music, the smells, friends and family gathering, the cooking (it’s the only time of the year I really enjoy doing this part), the decorations…

In our  family Christmas Eve meant attending a midnight church service, it was magical.  Families dressed up in their  Christmas best, and came together to the church.  The children attending were very excited about being able to stay up late and greetings of ‘Merry Christmas!’ resounded in the hallways of the church.  Traditional carols were sung from the words that were projected on the wall at the front of our church (yes, before we had Powerpoint), and the pastor spoke  from a spotlight in the pulpit about the birth of  christ.

And then, at the very end of the service and the church was engulfed in darkness, the choir processed from the balcony, each holding a candle and singing ‘Silent Night’.  Each congregant also had a candle and  the light was passed along from one to the next.  In the glow of the candlelight and the choir encircling the congregation and we sang together, in english and in german (it is Minnesota after all).  The last verse was always hummed (still is today).

In the moment following the final note there was a silence, a stillness, among the congregation.  As I reminisce I realize that in that silence, if we paid close attention, we found the greater meaning of Christmas… it truly is not about us or about finding that perfect gift, is it?

All in a moment of…

Quiet Stillness.

There is still a Christmas Eve service like this at the church, though its much earlier in the evening now and the congregation is about a quarter of the size it was then. It still brings me to tears, leaving me in awe of the gifts given to us.

In the midst of the rush to complete our Christmas shopping, the throngs stampeding the malls to find the gifts that are just right (and the most popular) for our loved ones, let’s take a moment to remember why we celebrate Christmas.  Find that moment of quiet stillness.

We hear this often around the holidays, remember those who do not have family to be with, or do not have homes in which to celebrate the holiday season within.  Let’s consider this not only  at the holidays, but year round.

(you knew a video was coming, didn’t you?)

Though this is not a recording of ‘Silent Night’, it is absolutely beautiful and elicits stillness.  I suggest lighting the tree and the holiday candles, turning off the iPod, computer games and cell phone, and having a mug of hot chocolate (or mulled wine) while watching this one.

Merry Christmas!

Gettin’ sweaty and breathin’ heavy… [part three]

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Continuing on from parts one and two……(click on the highlighted text to check out previous posts).

It has been awhile since the last entry – much has happened.   My yoga practice continues,  the first term of school year is coming to an end, and, yes, it is officially winter.

Lately I have been noticing an important lesson that yoga has taught me.   To my surprise not only do I still find that yoga is an excellent workout, it is changing the way I move through life (off the mat). Moving through my volunteer time at the yoga studio and my yoga practice I have become aware of my pace.  My tendency is to rush through things in a heightened state — sort of an unending panic mode.  Somehow I am moving away from that state and moving into a more grounded, steady, state of being, in life.

Hello, can you say liberating?  [say it with me now… l i b e r a t i n g]

Life is busy.  Many of us seem to revel in the busy-ness of our everyday lives.

You know the conversation, “How have you been?”, ” Oh!? Ohmigosh I’ve been so busy!  Doing this, that, this, that, thisthatthisthatthisthatthisthat…”.  We become lulled into a state of acceptance along with some form of acknowledgement.  Accepting that life is, well, just busy.  And if my life isn’t busy, than what does that say about me? What will others think?  It is as if we feel being busy means that what we are doing is important and that it makes us more important (or maybe more accepted) in this world.   Granted, we all have those times in life when we seem to have a never ending list of little, tedious tasks that we need to get done in order to be able to do the things we want to do.  What I am referring to is beyond the occasional busy day, its the busy – every – day situations.

One of my favorite moments in yoga class is Tadasana (see photo).  When we move through the various poses and into tadasana I feel an energy moving through the pose that comes from within, it feels as if  energy radiates from my centre throughout my body and out my extremities.  The active breath reflects this as I feel as if oxygen is drawn in through my fingers, toes, and head, through my limbs and into my chest.  Exhaling through each pore of my skin.  The tension in my neck melts away and my shoulders ease from the weight of the day.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

In the end, Tadasana does not allow one to be busy with anything else but standing aligned, breathing.  So simple, yet so important to take that moment of time to just stand, in stillness.

Winter has officially arrived, blanketing our city with a layer of sparkling, fluffy, white snow – the beauty of snow is that it dampens the sounds of the city and creates a calm, a silence.  Today, instead of giving in to the negativity that arrives with the limitations that winter can often bring, I suggest that we take our cue from nature.   Stop, listen beyond the dulled sounds of the city, and hear the blanket of snow. Breathe deeply, feel the coolness of the air washing through your body, calming and soothing the racing business of your day.

Fuel Your Karma…

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We have all been there, at those  meetings where the chair/president of a committee asks for volunteers and the room falls completely silent.  Eventually the usual people begrudgingly raise their hands to volunteer for tasks, the rest always seem to sit there looking around as if there are gremlins hiding behind the furniture waiting to jump out and volunteer!    One of those moments when ‘those’ people usually make the decision that they aren’t coming to anymore meetings, hence they be made to feel guilty for not stepping up.  [Dare I admit that I have been one of those people???]

Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing as many yoga classes with as many different yoga instructors as I possibly can.  Each one has had a unique gift and have brought out different qualities in my yoga practice. There was one class in particular that struck me as interesting and encouraging.

“Take a breath of community” the instructor said between poses.   What was that?  Breath of Community.  Each time he said it the room [it was a full house] took a deep inhalation and exhalation together, in perfect unison.   In fact, it felt like the[my] breath became larger and broader with every breath.

Breath = breathing = living.  Breath of Community.   Living in tandem with others who share your interests.

How often do we make an effort to breathe with our communities outside of the yoga studio and the yoga practice? [I wonder aloud.]

How often do we make an effort to lend support [live in tandem] to those within our communities? [ Again, I wonder aloud…]  How often have we lent our negativity to those in our communities?

How many of us make an effort to work with our communities and develop relationships within our communities?  That sounds like an awful lot of work! That is what I thought, and I looked around me and realized that I am a part of several communities… as a student, a [ballet] teacher, a yoga student.  Do I breathe with my communities?  [I hesitantly wonder to myself.]  This summer has actually been more of a community summer for me – taking part in the yoga challenge and the events that go along with it, planning a seminar, volunteering at a conference, writing letters, and even my blogging is a community action.  I feel that I have breathed with my community and it feels great!  Now the question becomes, can I keep it up?

Unfortunately the air these days is very ‘me’ oriented,  we live our lives singly, communicate via ‘social networking’, and breathe simply for our own survival.  It’s survival of the fittest [good old Darwin]!   Our communities have become online communities rather than face to face interactions.  Our communities have suffered.   Economically it is not much of a leap to say that community minded activities are generally voluntary (hence, no paycheque in return), and as such we tend to our fiscal responsibilities first (put food on the table, pay bills, etc.).   On the other side, we are so busy in our lives that we forget the importance of our participation, interaction with living, breathing people.  We have become so ‘me’ oriented,  so competitive with each other,  so afraid to admit that we sometimes need support,  that we forget to support each other.

To quote MC Yogi “what you give is what you get”. When you give of yourself and your time, you receive much in return that has no cash value, no ‘Bling factor’, just the simple the satisfaction of helping your community (someone in your community) to achieve a goal.

  • Community – How do we build it? By getting involved. Offer your skills to your community, whether it is letter writing, making phone calls, organizing, canvasing, etc.  We forget that it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, every little bit is appreciated.
  • Community – Why should I? Because no one can be truly successful in this life functioning solely on their own. We all need help sometimes. The help you give your community today will be returned to you ten fold in the future.  And honestly, doing what you can for your community feels really good. The key is doing ‘what you can’.
  • Community = Karma. What goes around comes around – when you feel good, in turn you are good to others, they are then good to others, and so on (the pay it forward concept, you know?).  We need to move away from the attitude of  “if I do this for you, what will you do for me?”.  I have been there, in that attitude, and it is not a good place to live.
  • Community has been built – now how do we keep it? Be aware of your communities and take the time to reach out and offer a helping hand.  And when people do step up and help you out,  be sure to say thank you.

This week, take a moment to consider your communities.  How do you participate in your communities?  What can you do to participate in your community?  Do you support others within your community in a positive manner?

All together now ‘take a breath of community’.  I N H A L E   aaaannnnnnd  E X H A L E.

Have a beautiful day.