Never Satisfied

A few weeks ago my guy and I were paddling around the harbor in Ventura, California and I saw this boat. Isn’t it great?

The name put a little catch in my heart because It immediately reminded me of my Ex Husband. He told me during our divorce that he felt I would never be satisfied. He pointed out that I was always changing the furniture, repainting the walls, replanting the flower beds and even wanted to build an addition onto our house. He said he felt like he would never be able to make me happy because no matter what he did I always wanted more. Maybe he was right.

What looked like “Never Satisfied” to him was my attempt to make everything look perfect on the outside when everything was falling apart on the inside. I didn’t want people to see how unhappy I was in my marriage.  I didn’t want anyone to know how much I struggled as a mom. And there was no way I could admit that I was lonely. From the outside I had it all – a husband who worked to support me, two kids, a dog, a white picket fence – the whole nine yards. So I put on a mask and pretended to be happy.

And then everything started to fall apart. I put on a ton of weight. I fell into a howlingly bad depression, cried every day and said often that I didn’t want to breathe anymore. My kids suffered and my friends didn’t know how to help. My EX (bless his heart) did everything he could to help me make it through the worst days including working from home while I lay on the floor by his feet crying. It was bad folks. I didn’t know how I was going to make it up off that floor – EVER.

I had stuff to figure out – BIG STUFF. And that stuff was deep. Why do I feel so alone? Why can’t I fix my marriage? Why can’t I be happy? Do I still want to be married? How do I do unmarried – because I’ve never done that before? What about the kids? My whole identity was at stake. It was quite literally a rebirthing. And it was painful!

But I needed those days of fierce pain and loneliness so that I could find myself and so that I could figure out who I was going to be. I had to slog through all the hurt and frustration to figure out that I had the power and strength  to change my life. I could be my own unique self and I could survive and find happiness on my own! But BOY was it scary!

That was four years ago and some days are still scary. I’m still figuring things out, learning and growing. And you know what, he was right. I am Never Satisfied. I can’t be satisfied with less than. I will only accept the love I deserve.  I will never be Satisfied  leaving things half done or half said. I will keep pushing the limits until I am who I want to be, until my children know exactly how much I love them and hopefully the world becomes a little bit better. I am a warrior for love. I am a truth teller, sword wielding hero of my own life. A woman in a constant state of learning who still has a lot to accomplish!

Funny how two little words on the side of a boat can get you thinking….huh?

How about you? Are you Never Satisfied?

 

 

Good Grief

If you knew that you’d be dead tomorrow what would you want everyone to remember about you? What would you wish you had done with your life? Is there anything you’d regret or do differently?

A few days ago I woke up thinking about my own death. It was not the old-lady-slow-progression-into-disease kind of death. This was “What if I die tomorrow? Would people be sad? Would my kids miss me? Will anyone remember the good things I’ve done? Have I made any difference at all?”

The very next day a woman I know died and it totally knocked the wind out of me. I didn’t believe it at first.  She wasn’t sick – she was just gone – like that! And she was MY age! I knew Michelle through friends, I saw her in town, I knew who her kids were, etc. And when I moved out of town she and I stayed friends on Facebook.

This woman was genuinely lovely. She was the most friendly, encouraging, real and humorous woman I knew. She had 12 kids. No you are not reading that wrong… 12!!!!  She was in the process of finding balance between taking care of her family and taking care of herself. She was trying to find time to exercise. She was trying to make healthy choices and be an example to her friends as well!

Some days she posted sweaty post-work-out pics. Some days she posted that she fit into a new size of jeans that week and was so excited! Some days she posted that she didn’t make it to the gym but she was going to forgive herself anyway.

I REALLY liked her. I liked how honest and transparent she was. I loved that she shared her struggles and joys and frustrations. I could relate to her and I admired her! And now she’s gone. POOF, like that!

I spent a couple of days in a fog, wandering around trying to make sense of what had happened. Of course, you can’t really make sense of it but you CAN learn from it. Death is final. There is no second act. We don’t get a second chance – that we know of. So we have to get it right the first time. We can’t screw around with our time here on earth! We have to make it count! THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL PEOPLE!!!

If you were going to die tomorrow what do you think your eulogy would say? Would your friends and family say that you were kind and loving? Would your kids be devastated? Would there be people in your community who remembered you as friendly, giving and trustworthy?….OR would it be the other way around? I hope not.

Life is very short my friends. We can all be gone in an instant. So please do me a favor, Tell your friends and family that you love them often! Give them lots of hugs and try to be kind and forgiving. Apologize when you need to. Help each other out and spread hope around liberally! Live as though this is your last day….because you never know. Michelle didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Being Still and Quiet

Today I tried something totally different. I did my yoga practice in the quiet. Usually I play music – anything that fits my mood. Sometimes I listen to mellow stuff like Norah Jones and some days I rock out with Pink and Christina. But today, for some reason as I entered my yoga room the idea came to me to just be quiet.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know that being quiet and still is a real challenge for me! I have an opinion on just about everything and I’m not shy about sharing. And stillness is challenging for me.  Yin is not my favorite class because I want to MOVE, sweat, get my heart beating and burn calories.

So as I began to move I was surprised by how lovely the quiet was. My window was open a bit so I could hear the birds waking up and chirping hello to each other. I could hear cars making their way into the beehive. An owl hooted low and mellow…and I could hear my breath.

When is the last time you heard your breath during practice? And I don’t mean….”pant, pant, huff and puff Yeah of course I hear my breath!” I mean a slow measured inhale and exhale with each move….keeping the focus internal. REALLY taking time to hold each pose for 5 slow breaths.. holding the pose in stillness for longer than usual..tuning in to the muscles being used and making any small adjustments that are needed.

Of course, I wasn’t able to stay focussed the whole time. My mind did wander a bit…mostly to YOU. Whenever I practice I’m always thinking about what I will share with you. What is it that I learned today that I can tell you about? What message does the Spirit have for us? So YOU were right there with me this morning!

We are so busy in our every day lives. We spend a lot of time distracting ourselves. TV, cell phones, music, books, magazines…conversations….None of these things are bad in and of themselves but when was the last time you were just quiet and still? When is the last time you connected to the voice within? When is the last time you listened to your heart and heard your breath?

Krishnamacharya said, “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.

Worry, Stress & Housework!

I have THE best reaction to stress! I’m not kidding! When something is bothering me and my brain is going around in circles trying to solve the problem – my body begins to clean! I vacuum, and dust and move furniture around. I cook and clean out the fridge. I get all the laundry done and organize my closet. My “problem” doesn’t usually get solved but my house looks great!

Today I was worried about my son. I tried to call him in the morning and he didn’t answer his phone so of course, I went into worry mode. I started to think of all the terrible things that could be wrong. Does that ever end? Will I still be worrying about my kids when they are 50? Because that seems horrible and impossible and exhausting.

Instead of thinking, “He’s sleeping in, or maybe his phone is turned off.” I go right to the worst conclusions. Do we all realize that we are literally making up stories in our minds and then making ourselves sick over them? My son has been having a rough time with life lately and he has some struggles. So some level or worry is warranted. But when do I let go of that and HOW? When do I stop making myself sick with worry? How do I “let go” of him enough so that I can live my life without worrying constantly about his?

Do we as parents ever totally let go of worrying about our kids? I would love to believe that there will come a time when I can sit back, relax and know that they’ve got it under control.  I wonder……Maybe it’s a balancing act? Maybe we have to find a healthy level of letting go and balance it with warranted worry? I don’t know, that’s for sure. At least not today.

For today, I know he’s ok. I can breathe deeply now and move away from the cleaning products. I’m sure there’s an appropriate metaphor here…something like “I can’t control his choices but I CAN control how clean my house is?” It’s something to think about and something to work on….but in the meantime…..my house looks and smells MARVELOUS!

How to Start a Home Practice

Have you every noticed that yoga instructors have a certain set of things that they usually talk about in class? One teacher might talk a lot about “letting go.” Another teacher might mention meditating or eating healthy. What I have learned (because I AM a yoga teacher) is that we all preach to you about what it is that we are working on ourselves! It’s not that we think you’re the same as us…it’s just that this item is forefront in our minds. It’s our topic for the week so we share what we’re learning!

The thing that is forefront in my mind this week is my home yoga practice. Having been a yoga instructor for several years you’d think that I would have a long, burgeoning home yoga practice right? Nope. Although I’ve tried over and over to commit to a practice at home but it never happened. I just couldn’t seem to find the time or be dedicated to get on my mat consistently. Until recently. I now have a daily home practice that I LOVE. So here is what I have learned.

Find a place. You must have a space dedicated to your practice. I suggest a separate room with a door that you can close. If that’s not possible then it needs to be a place where you won’t be disturbed. Decorate this space with things you love. When you come into the space it should make you feel happy and glad to be there. Your body should literally go, “Ahhhhhhhh!” Put up inspirational quotes or photos that you love. Choose lighting that makes you feel groovy – nothing too harsh, something soft and natural. Light a candle if you like or have some incense. Your mat should be spread out in invitation always so you can just walk onto it…..none of this “rolled up in the corner” crap.

Find a time. I have found that it’s really important to have my practice at the same time every day. For me, this is the first thing in the morning right after my coffee. If mornings don’t work for you that’s fine. Just pick a time – the same time every day – and commit to it. It will be easier for you to be consistent and it will also be easier for your family to remember that this is your time. Guard this time with your superhero abilities. Don’t double book yourself! Say NO if someone asks you to do something during your yoga time! Be strong! Don’t cave. Also – you do not have to take an hour. You might want to just start with 10 or 15 minutes and work up to longer if you like.

Find a Teacher. I know this is your home practice but you will need someone to guide you and inspire you and answer your questions. Unfortunately this will be like dating. You will have to kiss a few toads before you find the right one for you. It’s good to get into a studio to be with like-minded people, check in with your mentor, ask any questions you may have. In fact, you may even want to do a private yoga session to have them check your alignment and suggest poses for specific things you want to work on. If you’re just not a studio person there are lots of great teachers online. Watch a few videos and find one whose language and personality are attractive to you. You will tend to stick with your practice if you admire your teacher.

Find a Style. You may be the type of person who just needs time to meditate every day. Or maybe you need a hot power flow to get your blood pumping. You may love inversions….or not. Try different types of yoga, see what makes your body feel good (and it SHOULD feel good), helps your mind to focus and leaves your heart feeling happy. Not every practice is for every person. Shop around, try them all and cherry pick what works for your body.

Find the Love. To commit to a daily yoga practice is to show love to yourself and that is a GOOD thing! Some of us really struggle with this. We have busy lives and it seems like everyone else comes first. It can be easy to push our practice out-of-the-way until it’s been years since we stretched, meditated or balanced. But to be able to give and give and give…we first have to fill our own cup. We have to take time to care for ourselves so that we can then care for others. It is NOT selfish. It is self – care You are worth it and it will make you a better person.

I hope these tips are helpful. I know it’s working for me. I hope you can find the Place, the Time, the Teacher and the Style that works for you…..and most importantly the Love to care for yourself!

Namaste yogis

My Birth – DAY on the Sea.

Okay, I know, I know!!! My birthday was last month! No, I’m not trying to drag out my birthday into another month but I do have something really important I want to talk to you about. It’s Balloons.

Most of us purchase balloons for our children’s birthday or maybe even to “let go” at our wedding shower. I see them in the grocery stores, the flower shops and even at restaurants sometimes. They are everywhere – Unfortunately.

After our last sail from Catalina Island to Ventura, California I will NEVER purchase another balloon. We saw at least 15 balloons floating randomly on the surface of the ocean and were able to save only six. I will say, it kind of felt like The Universe was saying “Happy Birthday DAWN!” because I have never seen so many balloons in the water.

But balloons don’t belong in the water. Fish try to eat them, birds get the strings wrapped around their necks and choke to death. Turtles get stuck in them. This is not a happy event for them!!!!

I know balloons look pretty and I know it’s a “thing” we human do to celebrate….but I KNOW we can find something else. I know we’re smarter than this! In fact,  If you are reading this,  I’m going to ask you to be bigger than balloons. I’m going to ask you to find another way – buy a cookie or a big cardboard sign or ANYTHING.

These oceans are OURS and we have to do what we can to try to keep them clean, to keep the fish healthy and to stop polluting our fricking home!

Because this:

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Is NOT worth this:

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P.S. We found a Mylar balloon in Joshua Tree as well 😦 Below is some more info for you. Please do your part to help. Namaste.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

Sunrise in the Desert – Joshua Tree, CA

I woke up to the sound of my boyfriend saying, “Oh my God!” As he sat up quickly and I labored awake I wondered what the problem was. Had some animal gotten into our packs? Was a person entering our camp site? Then I realized he was looking at the sunrise. As I sat up to join him I saw that the sun had not yet peeked over the rim of the earth but it was casting a brilliant orange glow on the clouds that hung just over the horizon. The rest of the sky was a crystal clear blue! Good Morning Joshua Tree!!!!

We had been up late the night before watching the stars. It’s one of the main reasons we came here. When you are out in the Mohave Desert there is very little light to interfere with the amazing display that is put on every night by the Milky Way and all of her compatriots. We spent several hours lying on our backs oohing and ahhhing in amazement, naming the constellations we knew and making up names for any we didn’t. We even saw a few shooting stars!

I have always wanted to hike out to camp, carrying all that I needed on my back. Truth be told, it made me a little nervous to camp in the wild but I knew with my boyfriend I’d be in good hands. Little did I know that my first trip would be to the Twin Tanks area of Joshua Tree National Park.  We each carried a sleeping bag, pad, water, a few clothes, our tent and just enough food for an overnight trip. As we headed out from our truck I started to think, “What have I gotten myself into now? It’s HOT and I have to hike? I can do that right?” Don’t I look excited?  LOL

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The hiking was gentle and my guide was patient as we made our way out. Our camp site was a shallow depression on the east side of a large cluster of rocks. We quickly set up our tent and began to explore our home for the night. We climbed around the granite boulders, made our way through the sandy areas and up over some of the stones to make a circumnavigation of the area near our tent.

To the southwest we notice a huge white stone capping a nearby ridge and wandered over to check it out. It turned out to be a huge seam of Milky Quartz rising up from the earth! It looked like a man-made monument from afar but it’s placement is totally natural! Several large pieces had fallen down from the pinnacle looking like huge white ice cubes that would never melt. We left our own cairn of rocks to celebrate the natural beauty of this place!

We saw very few animals over the weekend and I’m sure that’s due to the lack of any water in the area.  I was mostly worried about snakes or scorpions climbing into our tent at night but luckily that didn’t happen! We did see one brilliant blue bird and a  hawk screaming as he flew overhead looking for lunch. A few rabbits scurried away as we explored and a small grey wren hopped around our camp site looking for food .

The real stars of the landscape are the resident cactus and their cousins! There was no need to remind me to steer clear of their sharp spines and needles! But when you get the chance to look closely at these beauties you can’t help but be mesmerized by their color and shape and form! These lovelies have thorns to protect themselves from being eaten! There is so little water here that they protect their juicy flesh by growing long spikes to make themselves unpalatable!

After we spent a few moments enjoying the sunrise and holding hands, we began to strike our camp site. Barry made coffee and I took a few minutes to stretch, breathe, feel the wind against my skin and listen to the silence that is this place. It was a quick trip but I left feeling grateful for my life. I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to visit these places, explore new parts of the country and enjoy the beauty that this world offers.

Life is such a gift. I hope that you can take a moment today to be grateful for your time here.  Go see the places you want to see. Put your toes in the sand or climb a hill and see the view. Drive out into the desert if that’s your thing. Beauty is all around if you’ll just take a moment to see it! – Namaste.

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Utthita Hasta Padangustasana – Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose