As the equinox approaches

—does it seem there is extra craziness in the air? 

Here in North America in the central time zone, the autumnal equinox occurs at 4:50 a.m. on Monday the 23rd. I have also noticed there is a weird “craziness” that seems to occur as the seasons change.

We had our last official YTT-200 call on Thursday night. A number of things made it difficult for me to get there on time: there was an unknown game at the University of Minnesota. It was not on the schedule I had printed out, in order to advise myself of times not to get “caught” in my parking lot. So there’s that.

View from Cramer Road looking up
Schroeder, MN. Copyright meximinnesotana.com. Use with attribution only. Taken September 14, 2019. 

I saw the marching band walk by, and the frat houses were tailgating around 6pm when I was leaving the office. It occurred to me as I watched the line of dozens of cars trying to exit the parking lot where I typically park, that I would not make it home by 7pm for the call.

So I locked my bag in my car, thinking I would grab something to eat for dinner in the meantime, and then call in via voice, perhaps not video call. I opted to go back to my office so I could grab my headset and perhaps listen in on the call on the way home. I had my badge with me, so I was able to get into the office. But because I brought my purse and not my bag, I didn’t have the keys to my desk. 😦

So I took the call from my cube, in an empty office. Oh the joys of “variable attention”… my gift is my curse sometimes.

Other yoga sisters had some similar stories. One was fighting a migraine, and others were able to log on a little late. Our teacher mentioned that it is autumn, which is a season of change. Indeed.

Be gentle with yourself in this season of change. It will all get done. Technically all you have to do today to survive is breathe. So keep breathing! Big, diaphragmatic breaths…

Happy weekend,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you are in the Saint Paul, MN area, consider helping me finish my certification by signing up for “yoga for over-thinkers” starting October 3rd at Tula. Only a few seats left!

 

Wellness Wednesday – deep listening

Have you ever spent time gazing deeply into someone’s eyes while they were talking with you? Really paying attention to every word, doing your best to understand?

Rather than interrupt with question or let your mind wander off into its stories (the way minds do), you truly tried to feel the emotion behind their words?

If you have, then you might know what I mean about the power of deep listening to heal many ills of the world. As humans, we deeply yearn to be seen and understood by other sentient beings. It is deeply wired into our survival DNA as a species.

When we feel seen and deeply appreciated by another human being, we start to mirror back that feeling toward the world. We connect more deeply with others around us, and we start to heal the wounds we all carry, personally and collectively.

old lady listening
Photo credit link

I have to admit that listening deeply is something I have not practiced as consistently as I would like with loved ones. Listening without judgment and with true curiosity is an art and a practice. It requires awareness of your own mind, and the ability to stay present and return even when you feel distracted.

All I know is that when I listen deeply to people, whether my family or my coworkers or colleagues, I am transformed as well. When I have made that connection with intention to deeply understand not just the words but the emotion behind them, all of my relationships improve.

In an era where it is too easy to be distracted, try deeply listening to someone today. Ignore the pings and dings from your phone. Set aside the opinions and judgments. Just watch how this practice brings greater joy and ease to your life and your work.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Commit vs. drop-in

I have a confession to make:

I did not want to offer a 5-week yoga series. I had hoped to offer several one-time standalone workshops to get my certification hours done. Maybe 2 hours apiece, with lots of class interaction and an hour of yoga practice in the “juicy” middle.

It seems harder to get a group to commit to a class for 5 weeks in a row. Indeed, when it comes to yoga, it has been a long time since I committed to a series of classes. I paid for an 8-week series for several seasons at my workplace years ago. Nurturing yoga was the name of that series. It was lovely. Not the yoga-aerobics that so many fitness centers offer these days.

I still remember Marcy Lundquist very fondly. She is retired now. But her class was a taste of what I felt was “real” yoga. I’ve since found people like Ruth Silva, who is moving this month to the east coast. Grant Foster has been a teacher I have appreciated at Tula Yoga as well.

So I was thinking that I’m a commitment-phobe, and I had a little story I was telling myself about that. Then I started talking with my husband about commitments, and I realized that’s not true.

I committed to 6 months of yoga teacher training back in January, which involved a 3-day weekend (27-30 hours) per month for 7 training weekends. I’ve lived with my hubby for 5 years after dating for 4 before that, and we’ve been married nearly 2 years. I stayed at Medtronic for over 11 years. From 1999-2006 I stuck with completing a master’s degree program even though I was working full-time for most of that time. I have meditated every day for 930+ consecutive days!

How fascinating. I am actually quite good with commitments! So why is this old belief still a story I am telling myself?

Time to let it go. How awesome.

Happy Labor Day weekend, for those living in the U.S. And happy weekend to everyone else!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. One of these days I will figure out a link/registration system for the class series I’m offering (flyer below). But this a “save the date” notice. 😉

Yoga for over-thinkers (3)

 

Force no pain away

This is an edited post I wrote in July of 2018. As I have decided to take an August sabbatical from writing new content while finishing my YTT certification, I am reading and editing some pieces from my 2018 archive. Hope you enjoy! 

One of my favorite guided meditations is spoken by Sarah Blondin on Insight Timer called “I would like to give you permission.” It is about the ways in which we tend to hide our true selves from the world, and I think it was originally recorded for the Live Awake podcast.

Sometimes we have a good reason we hide our true selves (Martha Beck would call this the essential self vs the social self). Most of the time it is because we have been taught to act “appropriately” or to hide our feelings. These are often well-intentioned pieces of advice, but they may not serve our highest good.

live awake
Link to the live awake podcast

There is a line in this particular meditation that moves me: “Force no pain away, for it is all conspiring to bring you home.” What I like about this is the fact that we must embrace our feelings, admit them to ourselves, in order to be fully human. To push them away, or not to acknowledge our sadness, pain or discomfort, is to run away from our experience. We often do this in an attempt to be more positive, or because we think we should not experience negative emotions.

But emotions are just vibrations in the body, and we are likely to experience about half and half, positive and negative. It is the contrast between these emotions that makes joy so sweet. There is nothing wrong with us when we experience sadness or grief. These are normal and appropriate parts of being human. Getting angry at injustice can help us realize when we need to take action, for example.

When I consider how my emotions bring me home to myself, and I understand what thoughts drive these emotions, I fully claim my experience. There is no need for denial or resistance of these feelings. Indeed they provide the compass for a live well lived.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Manual transmission

On Tuesday night I had to move my husband’s truck from the driveway to a side street. The townhome complex will be seal-coating our driveway, and they told us they would tow away vehicles still there at 6:30a.m.

5336FDF8-C344-4939-8BDE-B7C14B3234E6
A photo from our camping trip in 2018. 

Hubby is heading home from Wyoming via his fixed motorcycle today, and hopefully will be home by Thursday. So it was good that I persuaded him to leave his keys at home in case the vehicles needed to be moved.

After a 6-meeting day, an exhausted brain rebelled against writing. I pulled up some You-Tube videos to remind myself how to drive manual transmission. It has been a couple of years since I got some lessons from hubby in his old truck. He reassured on the phone on Sunday when I expressed my concern that I wasn’t sure I would remember how to drive stick.

Of course I put off the chore until dusk because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the neighbors in broad daylight. But I did it! I backed it up and slowly drove it around to the side street, stalling only twice. 😉

It made me realize that what is different about automatic versus manual is that you must pay attention at a more subtle level to the clutch pedal. So it is about mindfully moving through the gears while paying attention to the sounds of the car, and the “catch” of the pedal beneath your foot.

The metaphor struck me: we live so much of our lives on auto-pilot. Without thinking. Without noticing subtlety. When we have to pay attention, it takes a little effort, especially if driving manual is not habitual for us. So the truck was my teacher tonight: it will go just fine if you take it slowly and pay attention.

Victory.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com