Category Archives: Yoga

Sea Change

I watched a pine tree branch swaying in the wind. It was pointing upward and looked like it was trying very hard to stretch toward the sun (spring in Maine can make one very poetic).

It was only when the wind blew the branch that it sunk down, into the shade, and then whipped up higher toward the sun; much higher than it did when it looked like it was working so hard. It blew around wildly with the gusts; bouncing, a little out of control at times—but it remained connected to the trunk, the roots, the ground.

[Insert 372 metaphors HERE] :)

Life is a lot of reaching/stretching for the light and this effort takes hard work. It IS possible to live AND serve others within this monumental work/effort WITHOUT feeling rushed or hurried or stressed or exhausted: EVEN to predominantly feel a lot of joy. It really is; even if you have 3 jobs, 3 kids, yadda, yadda. One trick to feeling that true joy is being willing to open your heart; which means being willing to feel hurt, sad, lonely…

If you can really just let an uncomfortable feeling BE; let it wash over you; NOT try and relieve or escape of “fix” it or talk through it; you may be surprised to find that the pain, the hurt, the sadness…changes. It can shift and grow into hope and love. Feelings come and go like waves and no feeling lasts forever. There’s no such thing as a “happy” person. Happy is a feeling. A loving, vibrant person who is OFTEN joyful can only be so if they TRULY feel the deep despair and sadness that is a part of this broken world.

Yoga, or really just deep focused breathing (which is essentially what yoga is), is pretty good for facilitating this process. Like REALLY good. You stay still, you pause a lot… even if you’re moving a little, you’re in one spot, and YOU’RE QUIET! You don’t walk away or start talking or distract yourself with some other chore/task/snack/etc. You breathe THROUGH the challenge; the challenging feeling, and also THROUGH the challenging physical sensations that can come with simply sitting still and quiet (or holding a pose/stretch).

I’ve known this…I’ve shared this lesson for years with patients…I even did my doctoral research project on exercise and depression! But when you REALLY practice this process; the more surprising, inspiring and energizing it becomes! I give a LOT of lip service to the mind-body connection, but it is so good to be personally reminded that breathing and simple movement can literally cue our hearts and minds to open. Emotional and physical exhaustion CAN become emotional and physical REFRESHMENT!

I recently participated in a Yogathon to support Sea Change Yoga Maine, an organization that seeks to bring yoga to marginalized individuals. When I heard of this organization I immediately felt SUCH a strong connection to their mission. Of course there are about a million+ wonderful causes/non-profits/organizations well worth supporting but it is pretty special and exciting to find one that really just speaks to your professional and personal experience. The Yogathon included four classes taught by some unbelievably inspired teachers. I was open to being a student (so important to remind yourself to do when you serve as a teacher/leader/healer/caregiver). The last class was a “full body prayer” taught by Jacqui Bonwell. While I’ve heard of (and try to practice!) praying with your actions (e.g. cleaning & cooking with love!) I was so inspired by the idea of using your whole body to pray! Have you ever tried this?

I’m making efforts to meet people/get out of my comfort zone (especially socially) and start really connecting with others. Attending the Yogathon was part of this effort and also part of my effort to market my new biz, Atlantic Family Health. But it was also about a lot of personal connections to the cause. Before the event I was inspired to write a sonnet about health, art and movement. The night before the Yogathon I thought, WHAT THE HECK! I’m printing up this sonnet to give out to people tomorrow (with contact info/blurb on the back)!

Sonnets are a good form of marketing for our modern era, right?!

Right?

Immersed in the Yogathon; sweating, crying; I felt this awful deep pain and sadness and I breathed.

And like the tide coming in, I was filled with the most hopeful hope and love.

And in between all of this, I approached the teachers and said, “I wrote a poem inspired by this event/organization” and gave it to them.

And I thought,

“This might be the weirdest form of marketing ever to occur.”

But I LOVE myself for writing sonnets and being awkward!! This is the sweet spot, that authenticity that people (including me!!!) advocate! Finding this sweet spot is not always as simple/easy as it sounds when you are getting outside of your comfort zone and trying something new, or approaching something familiar in a new way! So what do you think? An hour (or four? haha!) of deep breathing and stretching may be all you need to learn about yourself/love yourself a little more and find your sweet spot! Highly recommended!

If you are interested in learning more about Sea Change Yoga Maine, click here to check out their website.

I am fundraising for this cause through the end of this month (April), so if you’re inspired, please…

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Thank you so much for reading/visiting!!

Evelyn

Spy Sister Ties the Knot

At the Chase Park Plaza...

At the Chase Park Plaza…

At Aunt Spy's wedding!!!

At Aunt Spy’s wedding!!!

A delicious, fancy dinner

A delicious, fancy dinner

Flower Girl

Flower Girl

Bouquet

The flowers were gorgeous

And obviously my sister is the most gorgeous bride

And obviously my sister is the most gorgeous bride

Sisters

Sisters

Bouquets

Bouquets

View of the Arch

View of the Arch

It was very fun to stay at a hotel.

It was very fun to stay at a hotel.

Even though we were 30 minutes from home it was like a destination wedding!

Even though we were 30 minutes from home it was like a destination wedding!

St. Louis views

St. Louis views

Getting ready

Getting ready

Sunset

Sunset

Checking out the decorations

Checking out the decorations

A REAL gingerbread house (rivaling my Empire State Building from last year! Or my Eiffel Tower!)

A REAL gingerbread house (rivaling my Empire State Building from last year! Or my Eiffel Tower from 2014!)

We had the greatest time!

We had the greatest time!

Back home; some winter gardening progress…

Dug up all the Dahlia tubers (now hibernating in the basement) and 3 rosemary plants

Dug up all the Dahlia tubers (now hibernating in the basement) and 3 rosemary plants

We potted up the rosemary; they're like little Christmas trees!

We potted up the rosemary; they’re like little Christmas trees!

Gardening by lantern haha!

Gardening by lantern haha!

Christmas Rosemary

Christmas Rosemary

The ottoman is red and the couches are green; so the man cave is VERY Christmas-y!!

The ottoman is red and the couches are green; so the man cave is VERY Christmas-y!!

Snuggle Bunny

Snuggle Bunny

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Practicing for Christmas Eve

Practicing for Christmas Eve at church

Bringing the bunnies to school (again!)

Bringing the bunnies to school (again!)

Winter light

Winter light

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

Forest School Besties

Forest School Besties

Bunny Yoga

Bunny Yoga

Bun Bun loves yoga!

Bun Bun loves yoga!

Bun Bun is my favorite.

Puff Puff; check out his one black and white whisker!

Puff Puff; check out his one black and white whisker!

After school snacks

After school snacks

Bunny food

Bunny food

Mmm carrots!

Mmm carrots!

Hair Selfie

Hair Selfie

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Chandelier

Chandelier

Durer detail

Durer detail

Outdoor lights

Outdoor lights

Hope you all are having a nice December; only 10 days ’till Christmas!!!

Thanksgiving 2015

In the woods

In the woods

Dexie

Dexie

Red leaf

Red leaf

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Fall arrangement; lion's tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Fall arrangement; lion’s tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she's holding the flashlight)

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she’s holding the flashlight)

Squash skin detail

Squash skin detail

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards

Playing cards

Side table

Side table

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Little mushrooms

Little mushrooms

Knockout rose

Knockout rose

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Considered an edible and medicinal mushroom. A closely related species is cultivated in Asia and can be found in the United States in Asian markets. In Chinese, its name is “Hei mu-er.” You may have eaten it in Chinese hot and sour soup. The wood ear has been reported to positively affect blood coagulation and decrease blood cholesterol levels. Since it is a popular edible mushroom in China, it may contribute to the low incidence of heart disease there. (source: Missouri Department of Conservation)

Different lighting

Different lighting

 

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening)

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening) Click here for more detailed instructions.

Backyard

Backyard

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

Turkey tails

Turkey tails

After we celebrated thanksgiving we spent the weekend decorating…

Garden lights!

Garden lights!

Smoochie pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Festive buck! haha

Festive buck! haha

And on to Christmas it is!

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha