Since change is a constant

I started out today writing about some hints for people who are managing people remotely during the COVID-19 situation. In my role as an operations manager for remote clinical research team, I learned a lot about managing distributed teams. My direct reports were in 5 different countries, so we were seldom all together EXCEPT via teleconferences.

And then: I got news that my friend’s mother is dying. She’s getting on a plane soon in hopes she can say goodbye in person if her Mom is released to hospice care. Family members cannot visit people in hospitals right now. Oh dear. Complicated.

So the earlier idea has been shelved for later. For now, I will readjust my plans for the week, so I can cat-sit for her.

That is okay. Haven’t we shown how capable we are this week of re-adjusting? That we are not in control of so many events in our lives? 

Change is a Constant

Change in our lives has always been constant. And yet we, as humans, cling to our ways of doing things, our comfortable routines. As a neurodiverse person I struggle to maintain routines, though I know that they help me stay sane on the average day.

Meditation has been a daily practice for over 3 years now.  Wow, am I ever glad I made that commitment. Journaling is also a daily practice for me, removing the “static” from my head and getting some distance from it by writing it out. Anything we can to do help manage our emotions right now is important.

I practice yoga 10-15 minutes most days to calm my nervous system. Some days I take whole hour class online through Tula Yoga & Wellness! I’m grateful they are making classes available via Zoom for those of us who want to stay connected and practicing. I’m also delighted that my NIA teacher Beth Giles is offering her NIA classes via Zoom so I can vary things up! Moving to music is a balm for the soul.

We need to take care of ourselves. This is not something I will sacrifice during this time. Self-care helps me show up for others. I have been able to support friends and family who are struggling via phone calls, walks, emails, etc. Connection is essential for health. What if we tried “virtual presencing” while we do our social distancing? No, it’s not the same. And yes, we need it.

We humans are inherently resilient. It is how our brains evolved thus far. We will get through this together. And our community may grow even stronger as a result.

Stay well, friends.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

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!

 

Throwback Thursday – Walking the labyrinth

This is an edited piece posted originally August of 2018. Now that I’ve arrived at a new position at the University, I realize that the assessment phase feels like a bit of a labyrinth. 

***

After a morning appointment in St. Paul I decided to make a stop at the College of St. Catherine in order to walk the labyrinth.

labyrinth walk
Photo credit link – Meditate in a Labyrinth

Have you ever walked a labyrinth?  I considered taking a photo while there but I was without electronic devices on my walk, so I did not. However, I found a great article on how to meditate in a labyrinth, so I am cribbing a photo from that, and the link as well.

I used the walk as a meditative experience, starting from the outside and following the path toward the inside. Then I spent some time on the inside, taking a few deep breaths, and slowly walked back out again. I walked barefoot, and did not worry about the acorns that occasionally stabbed my feet. I did nudge away a few small branches that had fallen along the path to make it easier for the next person’s journey.

My intention was to reflect and consider the big changes happening in my life, the opportunities that are ahead, and any possible fears I was holding. It was a walking meditation, a slow and intentional trip back and forth through the “folds” of the labyrinth. It occurred to me how little I knew about meditation last time I had walked it a decade ago. Yet repeating it gave me sacred feeling both times.

labyrinth visual.JPG
Photo credit link – Fractal Enlightenment

As we traverse through life, our paths are rarely linear. Some of them meander and fold back on themselves. Some of them seem to go in spirals, and we wonder: Are we in the same place AGAIN? But really we are never in the same place twice. Even if an event seems similar, or we seem to repeat a mistake we have made before, we are not exactly the same people this time.

Our lived experiences give us a different context. This is why I love the work of Marion Woodman so much. She understands that many of us learn in a non-linear way. We forget things we have learned, or sometimes we must re-apply lesson we have learned, but in a different way, or in a different relationship.

Our learning and wisdom are never lost, even though it may seem like we did not absorb a lesson the first time. Maybe we are ready to learn in a new way. Maybe there was resistance the first time, and we were not ready to complete lesson. We receive multiple opportunities and invitations for our souls to expand and grow.

The journey inward allows us to check our soul’s intentions. The journey back outward allows us to live our ultimate purpose. This is the essence of a life well-lived.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Change and our inner voices

Hello Friends,

I have been reading a wonderful little book for my Yoga Teacher Training and I wanted to reflect a bit on it. Making a Change for Good by Cheri Huber is getting me to rethink my coaching practice and also the self-coaching and mentoring we can do as we meditate and become more self-aware.

Some of the quotes which have impacted me the most since doing the reading, discussing with my colleagues and then re-reading:

“In meditation we find the center of conscious, compassionate awareness, and from that place mentor the young parts of ourselves who never had anyone help them understand their wants and needs.”

Making a Change for Good.jpgThe idea is that we all have sub-personalities that evolved when we were young to help us behave in certain ways to get the care and attention we needed from adults at the time. This leads to the illusion of a separate self from the rest of life, a principle Cheri Huber calls “Egocentric Karmic Conditioning.” She explains that self-hate is the process that EKC uses to remain in power.

It is really fascinating. I previously called this voice the “inner critic” but I definitely can sense it arising when I am about to do something courageous or bold. My voice often says “who do you think YOU are?” and it sometimes gets me to scurry back to safety before I risk anything too vulnerable. But we all have these voices. Acknowledging that they are a product of conditioning, and dis-identifying with them compassionately is how we decrease our suffering and create permanent changes in our lives.

“So much of what passes for education is nothing more than adults inflicting their unexamined beliefs and assumptions onto children and projecting their own unexamined reasons and motivations onto children’s reactions.”

This is profound stuff. Since I am fascinated by theories of behavior change, and how we can adopt more healthy and sustaining practices to live well, this is my jam! It dovetails nicely with what I am learning on coaching for transformation. I am so eager to put this work into practice!

What do the inner voices say to you each day? How often do you listen? 

cristy@minnesotana.com

 

Wolfpack

Abby Wambach’s new book, Wolfpack, is short but full of actionable advice. She illustrates with stories from her own experience, and she unapologetically makes the case for a sisterhood of women supporting each other.

wolfpack.jpg

I have two favorite chapters. From Chapter Three: Lead from the Bench:

Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.

New Rule: Lead now – from wherever you are

This is a woman after my own heart. I’m fairly sure she did not read my manifesto, and yet her words really speak to my philosophy as well.

In Chapter Seven: Bring it All, she tells us:

Old Rule: Lead with dominance. Create Followers.

New Rule: Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders. 

Yes. Leaders all around us. People who are awake, aware, conscious and engaged in what is meaningful to them.

I look forward to new models of leadership in the world, more inclusive and supportive than the models of the past. We are ready for a fresh approach. The old way we have followed results in stress, burnout, environmental distress and war.

We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created those problems. Instead, we must rally the Pack toward our shared destiny. Amen, Abby!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

On the freedom of breaking streaks

Much of the literature on happiness and habits refers to building routines that work for us and support us every day toward achieving our goals. I like to have a daily routine, especially in the morning.

The grounding and centering I achieve through regular routines of meditation and journal writing in the morning seems to have a lasting effect on my mood and overall happiness. My weekly “writing days” when I will post to WordPress have built up trust in my ability to create pieces on a consistent basis.

Every Sunday since October 2017 I have posted a haiku. This past weekend, I was at a 3-day yoga teacher training weekend Friday through Sunday. For 9-10 hours a day, we did yoga practices, learned new things, and explored many facets of yoga. It was amazing, and it was also physically and emotionally taxing.

Yogi tea IG photo
Another favorite routine is my late morning or post-lunch tea break.

On Saturday evening, I was pretty wiped out. The longest of the 3 days, it began at 8 and ended at 6. With 20 other students, a lot of dyad work, and a couple of teachers working with us, it was a LOT of people interaction. It pushed my capacity to the limit, and rather than writing haiku when I came home, I was wrung out to the point of exhaustion.

After I got home for the day, a tiny part of me said: “You still have not written your Sunday haiku yet; you can’t go to bed yet.” But the wiser higher mind said: “Turning on the computer and risking your quality of sleep is not a good idea. Get some rest.”

And thus, a streak which had continued for ~75 weeks was broken. While I felt a little sad about it, I also felt freed by it at the same time. It was a habit I had built up that gave me joy and practice at the art of haiku. It served me well for that time period. And now I am moving to a new phase of my life that requires a focus on different things, at least through my certification in September.

While I actually did think of a haiku on Sunday morning, during my savasana meditation at the end of yoga practice, I had no access to a computer. So it lived only in my mind. I was grateful to generate it for myself, even if it was not shared that time around.

Long live your streaks! And when they no longer serve you, let them go gracefully and with compassion for any inner compulsion you may have. This is freedom.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com