Why do I procrastinate?

What is procrastination? Is it truly that you are being lazy, unproductive, slovenly, a waste? Or, is it perhaps a much needed break, a respite, a time to catch your breath, akin to the necessity of sleep? Maybe it’s both: at one point it is laziness, at another, a true and much needed break. And, does it even really matter to know?

I come from a long line of A-type personalities, and here in the U.S., we live in an ego-driven, no-pain no-gain, “productive” society, and after winning my stage 3 battle with ovarian cancer in 2001, the PTSD from the experience perpetuated the drive to go and do and achieve and win (because, among many things, I needed time, lots and lots of time, before I had the strength and ability to face the fears and pain and loss I’d experienced). I’ve come to learn that this drive and constant push to accomplish can kill, literally, and at the least, cause anxiety, depression, physical pain, insomnia, among many other physical ailments.

Some time ago, I came across an article on Liminal Space. It was an enlightening article and something I had NEVER heard of before. Liminal is Latin and it means threshold. Liminal Space is a time of waiting, stopping, pausing, it’s a transition. Like a bend in the road where we have to slow down in order to make it through the turn safely, like the 8-hours of sleep our body’s need each night in order to repair, heal, and clear out the brain connections to make room for more, like the afternoon siesta that for centuries Europe and other countries have taken every day, the a doorway between rooms. The Liminal Space is a powerful place to be, to wait, wait with confident and intuitive expectation. It’s a space where the ego doesn’t exist and the path gradually becomes clearer as we watch, stop, and trust…. and sometimes wait some more. It’s pure potential, the border/threshold between possibilities, the place where anything is possible.

In the tangible/real world, when you are in this Liminal Space, it doesn’t mean that you do nothing, but it may. What’s so hard for our culture to grasp is that doing nothing is just as beneficial and important as doing something. Think if it this way: the earth needs a fall and winter season in order to make way for the spring and summer. Liminal Space is like the night to the day. The exhale to the inhale. We humans are part of the earth, made of the same materials, and we can take a big cue from her to find out best selves and live our best life.

As I see it, there are 2 large problems at play here: 1. we have been conditioned with 12+ years of schooling to think that there is only 1 right answer, that if we get the answer wrong, we are wrong, and that success equals action and being right, and 2. in the U.S., we have become so unaccustomed to being alone, with ourselves, in silence, stopping and pausing, that it’s so foreign, we “feel” bad about it. The good news is that feelings aren’t always true and when we practice slowing down, sitting with the uncomfortable, looking within ourselves, we can begin to flesh out our own and others’ feelings and move past them. Feelings of guilt and shame are big ones that can come into play as we slow down, feelings that we “aren’t doing enough.”

In yoga, there’s a Sanskrit term Aparigraha, it often translates to ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment.’ We can take a cue from this centuries old practice and begin to live with a better relationship with ourselves, and the world around us as we become of aware of how we’ve attached to and become possessive of feelings, belief’s, making them into our identities, our personalities. We humans are so much more than just feelings, much more than a body, we are spirit: a holy ghost walking around in a meat suit. As such, we are mystical, mysterious, and ever changing. As we begin to slow down, release old attachments, we can make room for what the Divine has planned for us, becoming happy, healthy, and whole in the process. We can have faith.

Time is an illusion. The thing at the end of this earthly life is death. As we pause in the Liminal Space and “procrastinate”, we give ourselves time to “smell the roses,” noticing and becoming aware of the things we are holding on to, the stress, the tension, the lack of trust/faith, feelings, and we can let answers come when they are meant to, we can let new possibilities begin to form, dreams take shape and manifest, we can take a breather and heal. Good things take time, think aged cheese, fermented wine/beer, cigars, and when we give ourselves, and others, space and time, good things will follow. Some might call this procrastination, but whatever you want to call it, you’ll find me reveling in it as I pause to remember that I am whole, centered, and living in harmony with all of Creation, happy at all that has been, what is to come, and what is right now.

If this seems really difficult and/or you don’t know where to start when you stop and pause, try reading of of my Meditation blogs here or here and/or listen to my Yoga Nidra CD for some simple guided meditation practice. These are great ways to find that sacred space within.

Namaste.

xoxo

Cancer doesn’t define me

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This week I was featured in Redding’s local newspaper, the Record Searchlight. I’m 12 years post the ovarian cancer surgeries, chemo, and death sentence and sharing my story on a broader scale has allowed me to talk and connect with others who are either going through cancer or are post experience as well. It has been a real revelatory and profound week.

My hope has always been to use what the devil meant for evil, for Good and I’ve had the privilege to see it happen over and over again. It makes me so glad to see that the sh*t I went through isn’t for not. That the darkest places I experienced can be turned around to shine light and hope. This fuels and inspires me to keep pressing on! And yet, I am so much more than a cancer survivor. I am so much more than someone who is strong. I am so much more than a yoga instructor. I am so much more than a woman. I am so much more than someone who works hard. I am so much more than someone who inspires. I am so much more, and so are you.

There is actually a small-ness and belittling effect when we singley identify ourselves with xyz, whether it’s being a Christian, a yogi, a cancer fighter, a woman, a college grad, etc. Our identity’s are not determined by what we do, by what we say, by who we present to the world. We are so much more. I am so much greater. You are way more important. Let us rise to the calling that is from heaven. Let us explore the depths of this being (self) that we have been created to be. Let’s try and work and explore and adventure into the innermost parts of God and ourselves to turn this world upside down and let Peace and Hope and Love and Beauty prevail! It’s going to be messy and hard and fun and challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who’s with me?

You can see a video of me sharing about the benefits of yoga as a healing process here, from this interview.

Namaste. Shine on!

xoxo

Day 3 Video: Bali Yoga Training

I grabbed this video while there was still light during our break between sessions. Great day today! It started with silence until 9:30am and meditation starting at 6:30am. We had a quiet meditation (really casual, no instructions) for about 15 minutes and then another 15 minutes with Chris (one of the co-founders) speaking about being present. Following this was a 2 hour Vinyasa Flow yoga class with Basil (one of the yoga asana practitioners) where he would stop and as we held a pose, he would correct, speak about breath, alignment, why, and refine our practice. I’ve always loved Vinyasa Flow but today Basil described Vinyasa Flow yoga as jazz music and compared Iyengar to classical music. A great analogy to the free flow style of Vinyasa and makes perfect sense why I like it so much: I love the creativity and rhythm that comes out of Vinyasa, with, of course, the understanding of the basics and foundational tools, like a classical music piece. Vinyasa could not exist without the classics, but I so love to explore, experiemnt, and create from a strong foundation. Hello jazz music!

We next came back and Liz (the other co-founder) opened it up for Q&A for Basil, and then had us draw a line from “Day 1” to “Day 22” on an index card. Everyone’s lines were crooked and some curved with ups and downs. She used this to describe the experience that we would have over the next 22 days: that there would be high points and low points, etc. and that we should enjoy the journey no matter the place we are/were in. SUCH a great picture! We then learned about our group activity for the afternoon and our homework and were dismissed for our lunch break.

I stopped by the ocean, not intending to get in, but OH MY!!! WOW! That water is PERFECT! The temperature was just right and I played around for probably 45 minutes in it! I love the water….

We all met back up and shared in our group activity. It was a very vulnerable, open, and honest look at oneself where we would share answers to 4 questions in front of the class. Tears were shed, hearts were exposed, and everyone left encouraged from the honesty and life experiences so many have had, from rape to abuse to quitting full time careers to marriages and kids, to health and healing journeys. It was a profound moment that brought me closer to my fellow classmates and although we were supposed to end today with an hour restorative yoga class, we ran out of time and didn’t have a set routine tonight. Some of the girls and I played on our yoga mats as we talked more about our experiences and the awesomeness of our group.

SO much more than this happened, but this is a brief overview. I am headed to bed now, I can barely keep my eyes open right now…. Enjoy. See you soon. zzzzz…..

Travel, adventures, Bali, and yoga: Day 1

It’s happening! After all this time, preparation, anticipation, studying, packing, saving, and praying, I’m headed to Bali, Indonesia for a month long yoga training! The hardest part so far has been this blog, actually. It’s the new experience for me; one I’m happy to accept and experiment with though and at this moment, it’s helping me stay awake. I hope my $50 Mac “World Travel Adapter Kit” works or this may be the last of these videos….

Enjoy!