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Posts from the ‘Life’ Category

Read: Perfection. The Silent Killer.

I recently discovered that someone had taken a piece of my writing, tweaked it a bit and reposted it, passing it off as their own genius.

At first, I was irked. The more irked I became, the more I began to dive into why it was irking me so much.  The more I dived in, the more I started to untangle my initial reactions.

Perfection is a silent killer.

I began thinking about why someone would plagiarize. Sure, I’ve been there when I’ve struggled to write an essay about something I had absolutely no interest in. I’d tell myself after hours of scouring online for words I could pass off as my own, “Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s use that.”  However, that was back when I was still a college student, trying to make passing grades so I could graduate.

How does it apply to our lives now, in the social media age?  We live in a world where we no longer have anonymity, are craving true connections, but instead, are left stranded with estranged, delusioned online lives where a “like” on someone’s Facebook post or a comment means that they are our “friend”.  Our ego inflates with the number of “likes” we accrue, and we are engaged with this obsession of displaying our lives in a way that makes it, on the outside, look perfect and ideal.

How did we get here?

We now have the ability to present ourselves in a way we’ve always wanted. Not particularly in real-time per se, but real time enough where we can post snippets of our lives as it’s happening, moments that seem exciting, photos of ourselves that always look good, and can delete any and all things that we dislike or decide not to share for whatever reason.  We live in a constant world of editing. We can edit ourselves to be more “attractive” online, we can share parts of our lives that seem the most fun, the most exciting, the most beautiful, and others end up with this really biased view of our selectively publicized life.

We essentially, can create “perfection”.

We want to present ourselves as perfect, pristine, with photos that are touched up, and words that aren’t quite truly our own.  If we aren’t careful, we can blindside ourselves into believing that this alter ego, edited and touched up is who we are.  Sadly, this only moves us further away from our essence, our core, our Spirit.  The work is to live honestly, authentically, and unfortunately, trying to be perfect all the time only reinforces the fact that deep down inside, we believe that WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.

And I’m guessing that this is what this individual felt.  I wrote something that touched her. It quite possibly resonated, and while my first response is feeling irked, my second response is a heck yeah.  You go girl. If I can write something that touches you deeply, and resonates with you deeply, and if I gave you words to express something that you otherwise wouldn’t have expressed, then it makes me happy…that my words have power. And it is transcending, and far-reaching, AND making a difference.   I’ll take it as a form of flattery.  However, this little “irk”, which is so unimportant at the end of the day, led me to really mull around this idea of “perfection” a little bit more and examine our need to make our lives look perfect in this secondary world.

What I see is that this notion of perfection is silently killing our true spirit and authenticity.  Our online world only encourages it.

Wanting, seeking, constant perfection makes us do all sorts of crazy things.  

How about we lose this need for perfection and reconnect with the need to be authentic and the desire to share our truest, most beautiful self?

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Stop. Peel your eyes away from your screen.

Blink once, twice, look around and wake up to life happening around you.

The sunrise happened when you and I were looking at your gadget trying to take a picture of it. Wouldn’t it be better to actually see it in all its glory, as it is rising to shine light on our day, and have the beauty of it be forever etched in your mind rather than than have captured it in half its glory?

My eyes are so tired from switching back and forth from gadget to gadget.

Technology will never replace our human need, desire, for human and nature connections. We may have lost our way temporarily, but with intent, we can be right back to where we were, where we should be, eyes on eyes, not eyes on screen. I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately…how much of life are we missing with the advancement of technology that is serving only to seemingly make our world smaller? We can see via google earth all the way onto the other side of the world, have their latest news right at our fingertips, but at this very moment, we can’t be further apart from the random person next to us, or the loved one in the same room, sharing the same space as us?

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(View of my morning, my sun rising, captured half ass from behind the ipad)

Read: Sharing the intangibles of Yoga

I was asked recently to speak about why yoga is important and what I wish to, as a yoga instructor bring to my fellow practicing yogis…I had to spend a moment and write down some thoughts, some free flowing thoughts coming from the heart.

Why is yoga important to me? What do I wish to share through yoga practice with other practitioners?

I wish to share the intangibles.

The magic of breath.

The magic of staying grounded, focused through our transitions, through life’s challenges while maintaining ease and grace.

The magic of finding ease in our mind, creating space between ourselves and our thoughts, in particular the negative ones.

How serene it feels to drop into our body, to sense our entire being in this exact moment and know that we have landed and come home.

How wonderful it is to slowly observe our mind, and learning time and time again to bring ourselves back to our center, our heart, when the mind wanders off. We do this over and over until we become acutely aware of when our mind shifts and it becomes second nature to pull it back until it becomes easier and easier…

What it feels like to be RIGHT HERE. What it feels like knowing we have arrived, how it feels deep down inside when we have arrived to our life, to fully participating in the present moment.

In time, tuning into the magic of knowing we are not these postures we practice, but how these postures serve as vehicles to explore our entire being – How we breathe when we are challenged, what our inner dialogue is in that particular challenging moment, how we respond to postures we may be good at or perceived not to be good at…how we dance with balance and embrace alignment not simply physically, but what it truly means to be aligned with our core beliefs, values, our strengths, our heart.

At the golden core of it all, when we are able to let go of the layers that shield our light from each other, we return back to love, our truest nature. We learn through our yoga practice what it means to love ourselves, truly and fiercely, what it means to be in harmony with our inner and outer worlds and how we can align our soul’s work, with making our world a better place.

Yoga and meditation teaches us about fear, fear of the unknown that keeps us locked down, a nasty little virus that keeps our creativity stifled. We begin to see how fear taints every part of our lives when we slow down enough and learn to see with clarity. Yoga teaches us to nip fear in the butt and inspires us to live a full, creative, courageous life.

I wish to share what yoga has been for me and my life and hope that we can continue this journey together…on a path of self acceptance, self love, and sharing in true community.

I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have any…some days are good, some days are not so good, but I do know that what I feel is the normal ebb and flow of life. Feeling good and loved is our birthright, but we have to excavate, dig deep, study, learn, and most importantly, we must DO THE WORK.

My vow to you is, I’ll keep doing the work so that I may hold space for you to do yours.

With love,
Grace

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Read: 17 Healthy Lifestyle Recommendations

Heard from my acupuncturist’s office…

1.  Do not drink alcohol on a daily basis, smoke, or use recreational drugs.

My thoughts:  If you are doing anything (aside from yoga and even every day yoga may be too much) you’re indulging in excess.  It’s all about balance, remember?

2. Limit caffeine intake. (I usually have no more than 2 green teas a day.  I’ll use the same bag through the span of the day, just to enjoy the flavor of the tea itself.)

My thoughts:  Ditch the coffee and go for Green tea green tea green tea!  Need I say more?  Green tea’s antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis. Grapes and berries, red wine, and dark chocolate also have potent antioxidants.  See # 1.  Anything in excess is still cause for imbalance.  If you need the extra pick me up, consider adding maca to your morning beverage.

3. Avoid processed, man-made foods and choose natural foods in their place:  i.e., oatmeal over cereal, potatoes and rice over pasta or bread, fruit over fruit juice, home-cooked meats over cold cuts from the deli, etc.  This includes manufactured soy foods.

My thoughts:  Once you move away from processed foods, you’ll never go back.  I cringe when I look at all the processed foods that line our grocery store isles.  Truth be told, bad food is cheaper on the wallet, but if you were to ask me, your health, your body, your vitality is the most important investment you’ll make in your lifetime.  

4.  Choose organic, hormone free foods whenever possible, especially when buying chicken, eggs, and meats.

My thoughts:  Organic all the way. Here is a list of items to buy organic.   Shop local, buy local, support the local CSA’s.  Although, what I’ve heard recently from speaking to farmer’s market vendors is that many can’t afford the expensive and LONG process it takes to acquire the coveted “organic” status, so they aren’t even bothering. This presents a challenge for consumers. Whatever the status of the farm is, make sure your produce is pesticide free.  We’ll have to wait and see how this scenario turns out in the next few years as this sets up premise for a whole other onslaught of regulation challenges which I will not get into on this post.  

5.  Avoid farm raised fish.  Choose wild-caught from cold, clean waters whenever possible.

My thoughts: Amen.  Read more about wild-caught v. farm-raised and make your own decision between the two.

6.  Avoid dairy products.

My thoughts:  If you are a die-hard dairy fan, go raw.  Yes, I mean raw milk. Organic Pastures produces some GREAT raw dairy products if you are looking to explore this further, or are already on the raw train.   Rainbow Acres carries a few selections of raw dairy items.  Going raw with regards to dairy is a personal decision.  I personally do not consume dairy anymore simply because it makes my body feel better.  The only dairy item I will use is in my cooking, and I LOVE the raw butter made by OP.  My husband does indulge in dairy usually through his coffee creamers and I’m currently seeking alternatives to it that actually taste good so he’ll switch.  Any suggestions welcome!

7. Eat 5-7 small meals per day.  This boosts your basal metabolic rate, increases energy, and reduces stress.

My thoughts:  This tip has pretty much been used by all the good diets and fad diets alike, probably because there is some truth behind it.  I love smaller portions because 1, my stomach isn’t taxed with the responsibility of trying to digest a huge meal and I feel lighter, happier and healthier overall.  

8.  Eat your first meal when you wake and every 3 hours after.

My thoughts: Eat your first meal within 1.5-2 hours max after you wake.  If you are like me and often dislike having a huge morning meal with eggs and shenanigans sitting in your belly because you’re running off to your yoga class, then have a green juice.  Or a liquid veggie based protein shake.  I personally make my green juice every day, if not every other day & sip on it constantly.  Cucumber, celery, ginger, half a green apple, optional turmeric, big bunch kale, big bunch spinach and big bunch parsley.  Juice and drink.  Here’s to your health!!!

9.  Each meal should consist of lo-fat protein, fresh vegetables or fruit, and a small amount of complex carbs (whole grains or potatoes).

My thoughts: Wow, this part is the interesting part.  I am about 75% vegan.  Nuts, veggies and berries. The other 25% is the protein I ingest from seafood and or eggs. Grains? No thank you.  Potatoes? Rare occasion.  However, with this said, I need to be more vigilant about including more protein in my diet.  Consult a holistic, nutrition guide, or feel free to ask your questions here. This will vary depending on individual to individual.

10.  Try to sit down when you eat and chew your food sufficiently.

My thoughts: I’m working on it.

11.  Drink a minimum of 8 8-oz glasses of purified water per day.

My thoughts: I’m working on it.  Make sure your water is filtered, or purchased in glass bottles.

12.  Exercise 5 days per week for 30-60 minutes including two to four resistance training sessions and three to five cardio exercise sessions.  This may include yoga, Qi gong, or Tai Chi as well as conventional exercise.

My thoughts:  5 days a week sounds like quite a bit of exercise.  The trick is to get creative if time is on the shorter side for you (or laziness)…Take the stairs rather than the elevator/escalator.  Park farther.  Bike to the grocery store instead of drive. Walk your dogs. Anything to get moving, rather than sitting and driving.  Hiking is a great option to get out, pant, sweat, and get in tune with nature and your Self. If you want to come to yoga? Message me to come as my guest in any of my public yoga classes.

13.  Sleep at least 7-8 hours every night.  Napping is healthy and not unusual or abnormal.

My thoughts: YES!  Shut that darn iphone, ipad, tellie off and turn on a meditation track or white noise if you need and lay back, settle in and drift off already!

14.  Follow a good basic vitamin and mineral protocol.

My thoughts: I have a few good suggestions. I never endorse any brand except the ones I’ve tried and love.  Nope, they have no idea I’m endorsing them. 

15.  Avoid excessive stress or stressful situations.

My thoughts: Relax!  Do Yoga!  Meditate!  My classes are listed here.

16.  It has been scientifically proven that pets reduce stress.

My thoughts: My dogs bring me so much joy.  Rescue a pet and change your life.  

17.  Learn to sit quietly and stop thinking from time to time.

My thoughts:  Meditating should be a daily requirement.  A daily task, evolving soon into a daily love.  Learning to master the mind is powerful.  Change your mind, change your life.  But first you have to get comfortable with going deep deep down inside and learn how to get quiet.   Sally Kempton is an amazing meditation teacher and so is Jack Kornfield.  Both of them have amazing works available for purchase.  Message me if you want recs.

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Here’s to YOU.  A healthier, happier, more fulfilled YOU.

Much Love,

Grace

Inspiration: My Husband

I woke up this morning, feeling terribly sheepish of the way I behaved during our “fight” yesterday. It took me a long time to finally even accept that “fights” were normal in a relationship and a necessary evil to wake up, to push the reset button, to grow, evolve, learn, love, breakthrough and keep moving. I used to think that these “fights” were preludes, signs if you will, of inevitable relationship disintegration, but I stand corrected. Fight dirty, and it may well be. Fight fair and you may have the golden ticket to your one true love story.

Truth be told, I don’t always fight fair. It is however, in the moments where my ego takes over that I’m grateful to this wonderful man who I proudly call my husband. If it weren’t for him, I’d be regressing and becoming a less-than version of me. That wouldn’t be fun.

I am grateful every single day that he IS the person in my life who keeps me in check and who weathers my blows without condemning me and instead sheds light on what I need to work on. He shines a mirror to my face every single day and while my ego cringes when he does, my soul appreciates it from the depths of my heart. It’s what people who care about each other should be doing for each other and I wouldn’t be where I am today without that damn mirror and the goodness of the man holding it.

My husband inspires me to be more, and he holds me accountable for when I fall short. He leads by example both in his personal and professional life and is quite frankly, the best man I know. You can imagine how grateful I feel to have this anchor, this solid, awesome hunk of a human being standing by my side each and every day.

So today, give a little thanks. Or a lot of thanks to those in your life doing the dirty deed of shining brightness to your “areas of opportunity”. It certainly isn’t an easy task for anyone especially if you have a roaring ego like mine that gets blinded sometimes by its own grandiose sense of self. The good thing is, I’m getting better and better at pushing my ego into the backseat and shushing it with sincere humility.

A swift little reminder for when you find yourself in your own tiff…

“We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way WE are.” ~ Talmud

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