Painful Hope: Belief

I have been experiencing excruciating pain in my left leg for some time now but 2 weeks ago it got unbearable. I have had a little bit of an occasional limp these past several months but now, it’s constant. Pain sucks. Pain hurts. Pain is real. Yet, is it?!

This week was monumental for many reasons: I turned 38, I had some big personal revelations, I finally found out the root cause of the leg pain and am working on it, and more. I’m making huge progress on and in my health and life and over and over again I’m reminded that things take time and patience. I said to a yoga class of mine this week that “if we think we have ever arrived: we’ve got all the patience and all the hope and all the health we possibly ever could, we are already deceived.” There is always more. Always. Heaven isn’t fully realized on earth, yet. Trials and tribulations are still here. We are working out our salvation and yet, and yet, we have it all. Right now. Right here, we have all the fullness of Life available to us and it’s real.

Here is where our mind’s get to be constantly renewed: as we live each day and moment we are confronted with choice: will I succumb to the pain and give up? Will I believe people who tell me that “this is just what aging looks like?” Will I give up even one small dream for the sake of convenience and to avoid difficulty? I say no! Yes I cry. Yes I lay on my back with my leg propped up, fully aware of the pain to the point where it feels like I’m in a swirling ball of confusion. Yes I don’t always know how to respond with kindness when I get asked for the 12th time that day why I’m limping. But, and a big but, I keep moving forward. I keep looking to the God who says anything is possible. Anything is possible. Anything. The question is, do I believe? In the easy times it’s so simple to believe. It’s when the s*it hits the fan that our belief comes to the surface. Over and over again I have to say yes: “I believe.” I hope. I have to cut through the surface-hope that is just wishful thinking and get to the hope with a soul. Hope with a substance. Hope that pierces through whatever lie I may be believing so God and I can polish the diamond of hope and I believe again.

Hope

I believe, I truly believe that we can live a life free if pain. My beliefs are being put to the test. All. The. Time. I take a step forward, see how my beliefs are coming along, fix where they got faulty, hope again, and take another step forward. Sometimes it’s a run. Sometimes it’s a galloping skip. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it’s with a limp. But I truly believe that everyday, in every way, I am getting better and better! That is a good feeling. That is belief in action. That is hope.

The reality of these beliefs may not always be pretty, they may actually be downright ugly for a time. There may be pain. It will probably be hard. But belief is real. You and I are real. That’s the only way I want to live: for real. I pray we never give up, we never lose hope. We keep pressing forward to the prize of heaven on earth. I think there is no better prize. The beauty comes; it always does, and it’s so much sweeter when we know that we didn’t give up. This is reality.

What are your beliefs?

xoxo

Bali Yoga Video Day 10: Puri Bagus Candidasa Resort

It’s the end of Monday, December 2, and I’ve just come from a really great, fresh, coconut drink, sunset, and conversation with the 2 birthday girls, Betsy and Claire, and several amazing others. Among the highlights of the day, were a nice break from Vinyasa Yoga class for a time of observation (which was AMAZING! I have learned so much from Basil and his skill as an instructor. My students back home are going to love it. ☺), I just had a great conversation with Nicole and Claire about blogs. Shout out to all you lovelies, btw! One of the things that stuck out to me about our conversation are concerns over who will read our blogs? What I shared with Nicole is that that really isn’t my concern. What I know can happen is that we get stuck with this thought and wonderment of “Oh, but what I write about is ‘trivial,’ who would want to read it?’ and this can actually paralyze us with inaction! I have no idea who will read this, if anyone actually cares, but this really isn’t the concern or the point. There are several reasons I am writing this blog: 1. I know deep within, that I should be doing this and I feel overwhelmingly compelled to be doing so. Of course I could not do this, but I make the choice to every day. 2. I want to improve myself and writing things down and recording them is a way to do that. 3. Blogging is forcing me to be very vulnerable and open it is helping me to rid shame. Shame that has tried to hold me (and us all) down, and keep me from being free. 4. I want to better the world and even if my blog is for no other purpose than tonight’s conversation about getting rid of shame, I am bettering the world through it!

So, enjoy this blog. Enjoy the video tour around some of the buildings here at the Puri Bagus Candidasa Resort and I will chat with you tomorrow, hopefully having encouraged you too to live a courageous life, following your dreams, living out loud, and encouraging others as you do.

Namaste!

Blogging like a child and experiencing heaven

This blogging experience, like so much of my life, feels like a new adventure to explore. I love looking at life and activities this way! Whether it be moving in with new housemates, teaching a yoga class, budgeting, vision casting, having brave communication with people, etc. if I look at it as an adventure to explore, it’s WAY more fun!

Recently I have heard from a few close friends that I receive things well: that I’m like a little kid and that it’s easy and fun for them to give me things because I react so innocently and whole heartedly. I have been thinking about that these past few days and wondering why I do that and how important it is that I do! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Matthew 18:3 “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” You will NEVER enter heaven if you don’t become like a child! WOW!

My life changed when I got cancer at 24. Because I fought so hard to stay alive, I know the frailty of this life that we have here on earth. It can be gone in an instant and I know this not as most people do, in my mind, as an idea, I know this through experience. We have been given the awesome privilege to be alive right now, at this very moment, breathing this air, sitting in this chair surrounded by these things. Look at them! Aren’t they incredible! Isn’t it a miracle that you are alive at this very second?! Isn’t it profound that you were even born! The miracle of birth and all that had to come together to make that happen! I live with this reality in my very being. I act and respond to things from this mindset so that blogging, receiving gifts, choosing to work where I do, to make the choices I make about food, travel, purchases, etc. all come back to the reality of knowing that I am a miracle.

I know I get to inspire people in my work. I can see it on their faces. They tell me in conversations. They show me through support. What I want to do now is inspire through blogging. May this blog not be another feel good, wow that is so great, she is so lucky, dead end, but may this blog be a life giving, movement producing, peace infusing, powerful tool to create change one life at a time, starting with you. I have been blessed to be a blessing. The good news is that you have too.

I’d love to hear how you’ve been blessed and because of it, what kind of blessing you are bringing to your community.

May the Kingdom of Heaven invade through your childlike curiosity and joyous exploration on land or on water. 😉Image

Namaste!

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!