The eve of Yoga Teacher Training

I will be starting my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT 200-hour) certification program this Friday. I am brimming with excitement and the slight trepidation that always seems to come from beginning a new endeavor. I am curious about the following:

What will this experience be like?

What kinds of students will participate? Will I like them? Maybe I’ll find some kindred spirits among them?

How intense will the personal practices be?

Since we are asked to bring food for our potluck dinner on Friday night, and I am not  much of a cook, I wonder: will people like the salmon salad I intend to bring as my contribution? (How embarrassing that this detail was one factor that almost made me decide not to sign up for the program!)

YogaNorth
Link to Yoga North

I have always loved school and learning experiences, so most of my doubts are not about the nature or challenges of learning the material. I am a little concerned that there are three 9-hour days in a row of time I will be spending with 15 other students and three teachers. From the schedule it appears there are not many breaks or opportunities for “solitude” or escape during that time – all meals appear to be group-wide.

So this introvert is going to need to find respite in other ways, perhaps bringing my journal along so that if we do have breaks, I can withdraw slightly. Not having the need to socialize and interact constantly with people can be part of building a “restorative niche” as Susan Cain recommends.

The other thing I have already done for myself is make sure to have solitude scheduled for a substantial portion of the day before training and the day after it, in order to reset my equilibrium. There, my planning is done. Now I feel prepared for this new journey! Wish me luck!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Prepared to surrender

As I prepare to teach a 4-week learning circle entitled “Nurturing Your Feminine Leadership Journey” I realize that I have done what I can. Now it is time to surrender the results, and become (and remain) present with the participants.

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Photo credit link

I may have just a couple of students, but I am committed to making the course valuable and holding the space for growth. So I will “preach what I practice” and stay present, learn and discover what the students need most, and respond accordingly.

As some point in the process, we have done what we can. We only control how we prepare, how we show up, and our attitude. We do not control the result, so at this point, it is best to surrender it and enjoy the experience.

Have a great week, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Wasting paper and killing trees

I spent some time Tuesday morning listening to podcasts with writers. In the meantime, I dusted off the boxes in my office and decided to put some order to my journals. As some of you know, writing for me is somewhat a compulsion. It is a non-optional part of my daily practice.

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1992-1999

I hand write my journal. I am old-fashioned that way. The ideas that pour forth with a nice smooth pen on paper seem qualitatively different than what I write when I sit down to the keyboard. More raw. Less pre-meditated. Just me.

My intended audience for these journals is just me. I made my college roommate  promise me that if anything happened to me she would have the journals burned without reading them.

I was a little embarrassed when I started sorting the piles of journals into decades. The sheer volume of the once-blank books that span the last 26 years astonished me. Think of all the wasted paper! All those poor trees have been sacrificed for my greedy writing habit…Then I was kind of amazed. I started to wonder about the periods when I had been faithful to journal at least weekly, or other periods when journals were either lost or not kept.

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2000-2011

What happened to 2008-2009? No journals from that time. Mysterious.

Did I start journal-writing prior to 1992, the year I left home to go to Swarthmore College? I have a cute little lock & key style diary from when I was about 7 years old, a  that I probably got from my Mom.

I decided to document via photos the journals I have kept. This is as much to illustrate my insanity as to be able to let go of these books at some point, as per my desire to live a more minimalist life.

My collection from 2018 includes 15 blank books (so far, since I just started #16 today). That is really embarrassing. But I suppose in a way, it is something I can embrace. I write. My days flow better when I write each day. I also seem to have less insomnia when I let it all out rather than letting it simmer.

journals 2018
2018 alone – seriously?!?

When then if I want to work on a big project, a book idea? Do I keep writing? Do I perhaps use my journal as the “reward system” for after I’ve gotten my daily pages and work done?

Clearly it’s a habit that’s not going away. It feels like a lifeline to me, and I am sure I would need to spend a LOT more on therapy if I were NOT writing each day. Come to think of it, the gaps in my “years” of journals actually correspond to episodes of major transitions and/or clinical depression in my life: 1995, 2002, 2009.

Wow. Sh*t. Ages 21, 28 and 35. It seems I was due for an episode in 2016 at age 42, but it never arrived. I am giving credit to my consistent pile of journals and some proactive therapy. When you have tasted that flavor of darkness more than once you sometimes recognize the signs before it arrives again. Self-care is now a religion for me.

I told and AirBnB host back in September: I write because I must. Indeed. Apologies to the trees that sacrificed their lives for my mental health. And everlasting gratitude to you.

cumulative journals 1992-2018.jpg
The complete pile. Those top two huge piles in the left corner are 2017-2018.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

Clean slate, blank canvas

This morning I was contemplating joyfully and with some curiosity the blank canvas that is the next chapter of my work life. It feels like a fresh start, that opportunity to re-invent my daily rituals, hone my purpose, and choose the colors for the palette.

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Photo credit link

Though I am not a visual artist, and only dabble with colors and fun materials now and then, I can appreciate that excitement of a blank canvas. As a writer, it is a little like the blank page, that space of infinite possibility before the words start spilling out. I face it with excitement, and a little unknowing. Where will this go? What am I trying to say?

Since I generally write to understand any new concept, or even myself, there is always an air of mystery about it. As a blogger, I have learned to embrace the empty page as a sacred space where I am invited to create.  It is our greatest privilege as humans, our creative energy, and I think it is where we meet our divinity.

I find that I want to experiment a bit, not to rush into splashing color onto the page, but to spend some time preparing the colors, feeling what wants to emerge. I greatly appreciated my solitude yesterday and the ability to respect the rhythm of my body, working and resting in a ratio that felt right. My coach and I decided on some “homework” for the next week, and I was able to accomplish the items on my list.

If I were an artist, I would run my hands along the blank canvas, noting its texture and honoring this gift. I shall have to resist a trip to the art store to do this, but maybe it is time to get out my colors and sketch pad.

Do you have a ritual for honoring the “blank canvas” times in your life?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Facilitation

facilitation
Photo credit link

Today’s post will be brief, as I am off to facilitate a panel at my work conference this week, featuring geography perspectives on the new process for External Research Projects at our company.

Since I represent Latin America, and I have facilitated before, I am substituting for the individual that was originally scheduled to complete this task. I probably should be more nervous than I am about it. I only reviewed the slides yesterday for the panelists, and I have not devoted much time to prepare.

But I am strangely calm, and I think it is because facilitation is my JAM. It is about being in the moment, staying aware of what the audience and panel need, and helping to make the session more interactive. I have that skill, and this group is familiar to me. So I shall extract confidence from that, and not worry too much about the outcome.

What skills do you have where you are confident in your abilities? Do you have a chance to use those skills every day? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com