Helpful emotion

It’s winter time and for me, this is the slower season in my work. I teach yoga classes on land/indoors, so those still continue, but my On Water Yoga classes and my hiking and Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease classes take a break because of the weather. This gives me some much needed time to reorganize, reflect, dream, and set goals for the new year. It also gives me the time to work on self development more intentionally and today, I’ve been re-doing my La Salud website, which, strangely, is self development.

Today, my mom emailed me some pictures of myself from 2002 and 2003 when I just started and then was ending cancer treatments. I was extremely adamant, at the time, about NOT taking pictures of me because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I would make it through and I didn’t want to be remembered looking like death. On this side of cancer, it would be nice to have those pictures, but what I do have is still very telling. You can view one from this time at www.LaSaludOrganics.com under the Meet Audrey tab.

One of the many great aspects in re-designing my La Salud website is that it brings me face to face with my intentions of why I opened it. I’ve had to look hard inside myself and ask is it just to “make money” or is it to use the pain and difficulty that I experienced to help others? Honestly, at times, what I want to accomplish feels so daunting that I think, IT’S JUST TO MAKE MONEY!, but that’s not sustainable, nor is it the truth, and I know it and can feel it. I HAVE to better myself! I HAVE to push forward and study, learn, grow, and put in the time to learn why it is that I am doing this, how to best communicate that, and thus set goals and time lines for how to accomplish such tasks while really gripping the truth that this stuff doesn’t happen overnight, I will probably continue living in my friend’s pool house for awhile, walking through the cold garage to go to the bathroom and use the kitchen, shopping at Goodwill, and driving a 14 year old car. Strangely, as I continue to learn about myself and other successful people I’m not only settling into these truths nicely, I’m harnessing this temporary discomfort to better myself and, thus, others.

Having had cancer and facing death so intimately was difficult and it’s something I want to use to show people that this doesn’t have to happen. We are not helpless victims to commercial agriculture farms or large pharmaceutical companies. Nutrion-less conventional (typical supermarket) food is not our only option. Regular medical doctors and prescription drugs are not the only answer. We do not have to accept things as they have been dealt us or diagnosed. We do not have to buy into the marketing that we are so overwhelmingly inundated with on a daily basis. There are options that can give us the strength we need, show us the direction to take, and provide comfort when we need it most. It may not always be easy to decipher which direction to take, what option is best, and who is really comforting us, but this is all the more reason to practice these skills now while “the going is good” so that when the “going gets tough” we know how to navigate the path.

May my difficulty be your ceiling on which to reach ever greater heights and truths. May the cancer I experienced end with me and never happen to anyone else again. May life and hope and courage and strength be ignited in you as it is being cultivated and fanned in me. Really, we are all in this together. I’m happy to still be here to share and inspire. Let me know how I’m doing.

Namaste (all of me blesses all of you)!

A Family Vacation

For the past 3 years, my family and I have opted to celebrate Christmas via a vacation to Mexico using my parents time share. I am here now, on day 8 of 13. I highly cherish this time, but it’s not all unicorns and rainbows!

Have you spent 2 weeks on vacation with your closest family members lately? What words would you use to describe this experience? Two weeks with anyone in close quarters can be a lot: we do nearly everything together, our living space is 2 joined hotel rooms, and there isn’t work or household chores to distract one’s self from the interpersonal difficulties that may arise.

Part of why I cherish this time so much is that I don’t see my family for most of the year. They live in Ohio and I live in California. There are a few 1000 miles between us usually, so this time allows us to connect and spend some quality time together. I love quality time. What’s interesting though, is that my definition of quality time is not that same as someone else’s. This is an important fact to understand not only in this situation, but in all of life: there are many versions of the “internal code book” and communication, as well as knowing when not to communicate, (!) is key.

I also cherish this time with my family because it helps me confront my past as the “new” me. For the last several years, I have, and still continue to, work extensively on improving myself, my habits, my views, my mindsets, my behaviors, my faith. In Mexico, I get to apply these new skills and insights in the midst of old ways, old patterns, old familiar situations that used to so-often upset me. I also get to extend grace to myself when I realize that I have yet some more opportunities for growth. It’s very humbling and enlightening.

The other big reason I enjoy this time with my family, besides the obvious that I am on a tropical beach in the middle of winter, is that this is the time I set goals for the year. This is the time I get away to evaluate where I have been and where I am going. One of the many books I am reading here is “The Millionaire Next Door.” It clearly outlines this very reasoning: millionaires are “less price sensitive when buying services that help them control their consumptive behavior” and “when it comes to allocation of time, (millionaires) place the management of their assets before other activities.” I want to have millions of dollars and so I study the people that do. Yes, I do this at home, but this time in Mexico removes all the distractions of work and other commitments and allows me to honestly evaluate this goal, and others. I liken this study of successful business owners and millionaires, their mindsets, their habits, their life, to a school or a “service that helps me control my consumptive behavior” and this is something I need and want to improve. The immediate loss of work and income doesn’t dictate my actions. I am gaining much more by coming here. I make this choice. It’s not an easy one, but I have my eye on a bigger future, a big goal and this helps me make decisions.

So, yes, it is AMAZING that I get 2 weeks in sunny (mostly), warm (mostly), Mexico, with family, and I do so with seemingly paradoxical sacrifice. It is hard work here. I’m living out the Proverb (27:17) of “iron sharpening iron.” What’s incredible is that we all are better off because of it.

I bless you in your endeavors! Be the change you want to see! We CAN change the world. One, interpersonal interaction, communicative, and goal setting behavior at a time.

Namaste!

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The importance of goals

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Summer has ended and rain and cooler temperatures have come to Redding sooner than expected. Although I absolutely love the sunshine, the heat, and the busy-ness of summer, the slower pace that fall and winter provide help me to reflect, reevaluate, and take a step back to see how things have gone and how I want to move forward.

I haven’t always been so focused. I haven’t always set goals. In fact, I used to purposely not set them because I wanted to live “free” and take things as they came, but really, it’s only through setting goals that have I gained freedom! So counter-intuitive.

With the plethora of injuries and health problems I’ve had, because of financial hardships, because I am passionate about helping others, and because of my faith, I have begun to set goals, cast vision, and take time to stop and reflect. I used to be scared of slowing down because I didn’t like who I was, although I didn’t realize that. Hind-sight is 20-20 and I’m now using it to move forward, and get bigger, better, stronger. Like with a yoga practice or any other exercise, muscles only get stronger from momentary “pain” or discomfort and the level of sacrifice that a vision requires determines the size of the person or people who follow. I want to be great and inspire greatness in others, so goals need to be cast, revised, and celebrated!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV). Perish means to die; to pass away or disappear; to suffer destruction or ruin; to suffer spiritual death. This signifies the importance of vision: stated aims and objectives; the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be; a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation (Dictionary.com). Speaking for myself and comparing where I am now with where I was even just 2 years ago, I am so much more alive because I practice en-vision-ing, goal setting, vision casting, and because I stop to reevaluate, and celebrate how far I have come.

If we have no vision or goals for our life then what shapes or defines how we makes choices? Looking at my own life, I can see that a lot of decisions have been made based on what was easiest, what was least likely to cause pain or discomfort, I have flittered about like the wind, directionless, and I have been searching.

I know a lot of others are searching too, maybe even you. I want to encourage you to start right where you are. Set a goal. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to be debt free? Do you want to get married? How might you get there? Set some goals for the month, 6 months, the year, etc. and then set some tactics, or smaller more manageable steps to take in order to accomplish the bigger goals. The good news is that if you don’t accomplish something, you can try again. To be successful, one must fail. I pray that you know the 1John 4:18 love that casts out fear (of failure, etc.) and step forward, get back up if you fall down, and try again.

I have some large goals with yoga and I took some time today to practice and watch my “Yoga Journal Advance Your Practice” DVD. What was really cool is that I haven’t been practicing these exact poses but maybe once in the past year and I was shocked at the amount of flexibility and strength I had to get as far as I did. An amazing fact about goal setting is that sometimes, the goals get accomplished without even trying! It’s because we took the time to put them to thought, or en-vision them, that they manifest. I haven’t found all goals to be this way, but it sure is encouraging when some are! I think it’s God way of giving us fuel for the harder or more challenging ones.

May you dream big, cast your nets wide, and see your children’s children prosper because of what you did today and do tomorrow. It’s not really not even about us and when we stop and take time to set goals and make steps towards them, the world is better for it.

Namaste!