Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a time of year that everyone begins to reflect on that which they are grateful. I think that I try as best I can to keep a grateful attitude all of the time, mainly because there are a few times in my life where it was hopeless and even when things get tough now, they are still a million times better than they were then. But we're not perfect and it's easy to get short sighted everyone once in a while. I can forget just how bad it really can be, and even in my wildest imagination of how bad it could be, I think it could, in reality, still get worse. But I digress - the purpose of my post today is to discuss something for which I am grateful.

Yesterday, I posted a photo about Tao Porchon-Lunch, a 93 year old yoga teacher who is just so cute!!! The caption read...

"True Inspiration: 
Tao Porchon-Lynch is 93 years old, a yoga teacher, and dances Tango and Samba whenever she gets the chance! She says "I don't believe in age. I believe in the power of energy." We couldn't agree more....
Photo: Vladimir Yakovlev"

thanks Yoga Trail

One of the yoga teachers here in Greenville posted a blog post she wrote of which this post reminded her -

Greenville Yoga blog

I thought it was an interesting post and was congruent with everything I'm hoping my blog is, a reminder that maybe our standards of what we should be, physically, mentally and spiritually, are a bit unrealistic, especially when compared to a snip-it of another's life. It reminded me of where I was a couple of years ago and helped me remember what exactly I'm thankful for today:

1) I am no longer bound to a scale or a diet 

I've spent years worrying about my weight and I kept telling myself, if I could only lose 5 lbs, then I'd be okay. Inevitably, I'd lose the 5 lbs and think, oh, I was wrong, I meant 10 lbs and so on. I've been as heavy as 175 lbs and as thin as 145 lbs in the last 12 years and in that wide range of weight, I've never been satisfied with where I was. All I was doing was forcing myself into a diet that left me miserable and gave me one other way to feel guilty. Although I am closer to the larger number than the smaller number, I have given up all efforts in trying to control my diet. I eat what I want, when I want. And I've never felt free-er

2) I no longer speak to myself in a negative way

When I started yoga teacher training, our assignment was to wear a snappy band. Anytime we said anything badly about ourselves, we had to snap that band. I found myself snapping the band all of the time! I was constantly telling myself I was fat, or that was stupid, or I am crazy, etc etc. If I spoke to anyone else the way I spoke to myself, they would've punched me! Why does it seem to be acceptable and even highly regarded by society to degrade ourselves? Now instead of saying negative things about myself, I say positive things in the morning to myself. It's similar to this - 

3) I'm not bound to society's idea of beauty

I realize that people I see on magazines and on tv are held to a different standard. They have time & money and it's part of their job to look good. I also realize that there is a lot of airbrushing in magazines. I cannot hold myself to that standard. And really, what's more important is if I'm nice and loving to others. 

I feel free. And I am very grateful that I am not a slave to that cycle. I've got others to work on, don't we all,  but that ship has sailed and it is amazing :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Deeper Level of Intimacy

Some of the people closest to me know that I am in the process of converting to Catholicism. I went into this process a little skeptical as there are certain things that I wholeheartedly disagree with in formal settings, but I have been drawn to Catholicism for a while, and specifically within the St Anthony's community. It's not something that I'm going to go deeply into because I don't want to hear others' opinions on it and I know that by writing about it, I'm putting myself out there to hear the opinions. I'm simply using this as an introduction for the reader to understand where I'm getting some of my information and how I'm processing it.

So with that being said, back to my original point, I'm converting to Catholicism and what we do is break away from Mass at a certain time to "break open the word". I've gone into this process skeptical but am constantly surprised at the difference between the Catholic church and my bouts with other Protestant religions, surprised in a good way. I have gotten so much out of all of our meetings and it's continued to support a long, 12 year battle, of my own spiritual search. I will probably be writing about a lot of these things as they fall right in line with how my blog has continued to progress into spreading the word of happiness, positivity, and all other things good. (I hope that's what I'm doing anyway).

Father Pat, who is a WONDERFUL priest and I really can't say enough about, but I digress - Father Pat was talking about the readings set for this Sunday. I don't even really know how this particular example related to the readings, but what he said struck me so much that I almost cried (I'm so glad I didn't because I would've looked like the crazy lady in the row). He said that our spouses, our parents, our children have thoughts and feelings. They are waiting for us to ask the question. I wish I could remember the exact statement, but of course, my memory is terrible. When we broke away and spoke in our group, one of the guys said, "I believe Father Pat was saying that God wants us to have a deeper level of intimacy with one another". I thought that was such an interesting statement. In a world of surface level relationships through social media, texting, work, etc., how many relationships do we actually value and cherish? My husband and I talk about all kinds of things, but sometimes, I forget that he has thoughts just like me. How many times have I really asked my mom how she's feeling and really listened to the answer.

As one who wasn't the most popular in school, I have spent the better time of my twenties trying to make up for that. I think I was doing two things, 1) trying to get as many friends as possible to make myself feel good and 2) keeping relationships at a surface level in order to protect myself from "getting hurt". As I've grown and gotten older and frankly, just run out of time, I've decided that having lots of surface level relationships is no longer working for me. I've been searching for this specific thing, a deeper level of intimacy. I want to invest my limited time in people that I cherish and I want to get to know them on a level that is much deeper than making comments on each other's facebook wall. Obviously, I'm on the right path, because it's what God wants us to do too. I think the other thing is trying to become a better listener. I think God wants us to do that too. How can I be there for my husband in a better way? How can I validate his needs in a better way? All I want sometimes is for someone to just agree with me and say, damn, I know that sucks. It's not like we're reaching any sort of solution, but I feel like I have a partner and I have support.

I'm not sure if I've made any since at all, or if I've conveyed how much this topic hit me, but I love that I'm learning how to be a better person because I feel like that's what spirituality is supposed to be. If you're not walking out of your source of spiritual life/religion with a plan on how to be a better person, you may want to re-evaluate your goal. I know that's what I've had to do and it is working for me.