Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's my one-word for 2013 going to be?

"Courage is the power to let go of the familiar."
~Raymond Lindquist

I've been mulling it around for a week or so now, or perhaps really for all the years until this moment in time, to figure out what my one-word theme will be for 2013. A few years back, a friend of mine suggested coming up with these themes rather than resolutions. The theme we each chose would become a focal point for the next 365 days, which seemed much more promising and hopeful than creating resolutions that often set ourselves up for disappointment, failure, or remorse. In the past, m,y words have been "Celebration," "Love," and "Compassion." 

This year? This year's word will be made of two and it'll be, "Power Pose."

I am powerful. We're all powerful beyond measure, but how many of us fulfill our potential? How many of us dare to dream big and be bold? The more that I write for MindBodyGreen, Cozy Orange, updates on my Facebook page, and even my memoir writing blog, the more I realize that we are all truly connected. Each of us, even if we haven't had the exact same experience as one another, share the same underlying human emotions and that is what brings us close. As long as we're able to be vulnerable, to be honest first with ourselves and then with others, to hold space despite how uncomfortable it is not to know what'll happen next, that is powerful.

I like "Power Pose," because it represents what I can do with my body — building up to greater inversions and arm balances. 

"Power Pose" relates to what I will do with my career — publish my manuscript, go on a book tour around the world, create well-attended workshops that genuinely help others. 

"Power Pose" is relevant to how I'll be with myself — love all of who I am, not just the parts that are easy to enjoy, but the aspects of myself that are shadowed, darker, imperfect. 

"Power Pose" speaks to the relationships I'll have — being strong enough to be vulnerable, to find a good man who'll genuinely honor and care for me, to let my friends love me as much as I do them, to be present in my family as it is today and not based on the shared past we all endured.

"Power Pose" is about being of service — how I can be the person who inspires others to ignite their own inner spark.

"Power Pose" is about living fully — by truly letting go of control and surrendering to all that life has to offer, not just what I want from it or in it, because it always comes back to the understanding that the Universe knows better. This or something better. Everything is better when you can stand back and see the bigger picture rather than getting lost in the momentum and minutiae. To be in the wonder of every day.

This year, I don't just want to build upon everything that I've worked for to arrive at this moment in my life, but I want to soar into a new way of being that brings forth all of my gifts, all of my talents, all of my heart in a way that makes life the most fulfilling it has ever been. 

May all of us find our own unique Power Pose and freely show the world what we're made of. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This reflects more about you than about me.

"When one's has one's hand full of truth
it is not always wise to open it."
~French Proverb

I share a house with three other beautiful women, each of us different ages and more clearly, at different life stages. All of this would be okay, if we could respect where one another currently stands. Yet, the other day, my housemates called a meeting, which I thought would be to talk about bills and responsibilities. It started off as such, but soon turned into the three of them sharing how they feel about how I've changed since I moved in three months ago.

"You're not the same person as you used to be," one of them stated.
"We feel like you're annoyed that we're home," another chimed in.
"We're not trying to gang up on you," the third added.

I listened. I heard their feelings, watched their body language, interpreted what they actually meant. Quietly, calmly, without defense. Everyone has a right to think what they think, to feel what they feel. I explained to them the things that are going on in my life (health issues, a mind-body therapy program, work objectives, interpersonal relationships, and so on) and that nothing I'm doing is designed to offend them or to have them take personally.

"Yes, I was more social when I first moved in, but I was also going through a break up and I was at a different place in my life. Now, my focus has shifted. It doesn't mean that I've become a different person, or that when I am quiet, that I'm upset with you. I'm just in my own world, working on my own stuff."

A couple of months ago, I prefaced to them that my life would be undergoing transitions. They said they supported me. I feel what has morphed the most has been my withdrawing into myself, which I felt was more respectful than burdening them with a relentless retelling of my inner concerns, something I did do, but with a select close few friends.

One of the greatest gifts my ex gave me in the time we were together was to test my will, my resolve, and my conviction. By constantly challenging me with his inability to understand where I was coming from and where I was moving towards, often with a lack of respect or honor for my thoughts and needs, it helped me to stand firmer in my space, as well as learn how not to let someone else's reaction affect me any more than it needed to. Being with him showed how I would not like to treat another human being. These lessons came into play during the interplay amongst the four of us that night, where I could see that what I have to say may not come across.

I mentioned to them that there had been a couple of times where they partied until the wee hours of the morning, knowing I had to work early the next day. Immediately, their response was, "It only happened two times! And we apologized for it!!"

I took note of how quick they were to defend themselves. I was using the example as a way to explain why I have pulled back a bit from our interactions, giving them space to be who they are and in turn, asking for the same respect. I'm not sure if they saw the irony in what they were doing, that though they said they didn't want me to feel like they were "ganging up" on me, that's essentially what they did. Any one of them could have talked to me individually about how they felt versus speaking to one another without my knowledge and bringing this all up as part of their agenda for the night, something I was not privy to. Or, how I told them that I now feel I must be happy all the time in order that they're comfortable around me, to which they said, "No no, that's not how we want you to feel." But actually, it is, otherwise this meeting wouldn't have taken the direction it did and they would've remembered when I had told them months before that I would be looking at things more deeply in my life and it might cause me to be less forthcoming.

It usually takes me a few days to process experiences anyway, and in the days after, I drafted up a couple of emails I did not send. I tend to teeter in the balance between saying something, which could provide growth opportunities for both myself and the other person or let things evaporate on their own. How do you know when to act versus when to put up your hands and say, "Please think what you'd like to think, believe what you'd like to believe, and I will do the same."

I spoke to a few friends and of course friends are likely going to take our sides, but I tend to form relationships with individuals who honestly also point out areas of improvement when I need to make them. In this case, my friends affirmed that by living my life, I am likely reflecting back to them areas of discomfort with themselves, which rather than deal with on their own, they've deflected back towards me.

We are all, every one of us, mirrors to everyone else we encounter. In yoga, I learned that first and foremost to take the finger and point it back to ourselves before we start pointing them at anyone else. My feelings were very hurt, but I've moved through them. I've gained clarity on the situation and seen where I could behave differently that would benefit the greater good.

Now, I'm practicing the art of letting go and continuing to be in my truth with as much respect for everyone else around me. In the end, there may not be a right answer, just an intention to live the best we know how to do. For today, I believe that's enough.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Soul Mate...

"You know you have found love
when you can't find your way back."
~Robert Brault

Maybe I never have been in love. I mean, I have. I know that my first love was the first time I experienced all those sensations that songs, poems, and heartbreak are written about. The second time, I thought that I found my true love. The third time, I falsely believed I found the love for the rest of my life. From that point forward, it seemed a downward spiral of giving myself over to men who didn't deserve it.

Of course, I learned lessons along the way. In yoga, we learn that there is never anything wasted. Everything is a perfect opportunity to learn and grow into the next step we are meant to take. Yet. the process of unfolding can be extremely unpleasant at times. 

Now, here I am, excited to meet my soul mate...

I've seen love in other couples. While I know not to base what's happening on the inside by what's being revealed on the outside, I've seen relationships that work, and work very, very well. I know it exists.

A long time ago, I was encouraged to write a list of the attributes that I would like my partner to have. It ended up being quite a long while. Lots of my friends have done the same thing, and when they met their mate for life, they were surprised at how their partner embodied all of the qualities they had asked for. My list has changed over time, but it never seemed like I was able to find that dream guy.

I didn't find the person who is extremely chivalrous, who always opens my car doors, and who treats like I am the most important woman in the world.

I didn't find the person who is very generous with his time, attention, affection and more, offering it to me when I need it most and in all the moments in between. 

I didn't find the person who is spiritually open to greater ideas and exploring different elements of life together. 

I didn't find that person who is creative and intelligent, funny and wise, active and athletic, spontaneous and responsible all blended together.

I didn't find that person who is so extremely thoughtful that he plans romantic dates and trips, leaves me little love notes, make me lunches for the day and breakfast in bed, or goes out and picks up coffee before I wake up, because he knows how happy all of these big and little gestures make me. 

I didn't find the person who balances my alpha, who's a true provider and protector.

I didn't find the person who is irresistibly attractive in all ways to me, and a phenomenal lover to boot.

None of that. Maybe a hint here and there, but none of it in a complete package that makes my heart delight. 

I know he's out there, wondering where I am, just like I'm doing. And, I'm not in a rush, I'd just like to have a greater sense that he exists, so that I won't ever have to compromise all I've ever wanted the way that I have in the past. I get that relationships take work — but not that much work when you meet the right person. And I get that relationships require compromise now and again, but not on core beliefs, principles, respect, honor, and integrity.

I've let myself yield in so many ways, because of old beliefs I've held onto about what I'm worth or what a relationship should be like that I'm now working through all of that, so that I can both receive the best of the best and offer it as well.

My two criteria are fairly simple and it goes both ways: 

1) My partner for life is my very best friend, who I feel absolutely comfortable with and unconditionally loved.
2) My partner for life is truly the best person I know in every regard. 

The thing is, I've been able to manifest my dreams come true in virtually every aspect of my life. For some reason, when it comes to relationships, there seems to be a bit of doubt that I'll be able to manifest the same sort of amazingness. 

This just shows me that there's work I still need to do on my end to ensure that I'm on the right path, that everything within me and around me is in alignment, and to practice faith that the right person will come along at the precise moment it's meant to happen. 

I don't doubt that it'll all come to fruition and this part of my life will be as incredible as everything else. Just because I've been through so many situations where it hasn't turned out well, I sometimes question how it'll all come to pass. Perhaps, all of those previous experiences were so I could learn what I don't want in order to figure out what I do, which is equally valuable information. It'll also help me appreciate my soul mate to the moon and back when we finally come into one another's lives.

Above all else, I'm excited to meet him. I cannot wait to connect with the person I get to spend the rest of my life with and create our dreams come true... together.