Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Many Faces of Me

I recently came across this quote that I laughed out loud at:

Image result for i'm that chick that listens to gangsta rap

I laughed out loud because it sums me up pretty well.

I'll never forget the day I cursed during Bootcamp and the class gasped, as one of them commented that they'd never heard me swear before.
I was confused.
And wondered what kind of front I had been putting up until then.
A pretty good one apparently.

There is the side of me that is polite, quiet, shy, a rule follower and all about healthy habits, fitness, meditation, yoga and kindness. She's around 80% 90% of the time.

There is a side of me that is extremely competitive, impatient and impossibly hard on myself. I crank the music as loud as I can handle, the more "fucks" in the lyrics, the better. I can workout with fierce anger and focus that would scare small children away.


Part of me desires security and stability. The other part craves freedom.
Part of me wants to surround myself with uplifting people. Part of me wants to punch many people in the throat. Like the people who cut me off on the highway, or let the door close in my face without spending an extra 3 seconds to hold it open for me.
I mostly eat the healthiest foods I can get my hands on. There are other days I will binge eat chocolate and kid's granola bars.

And what I am learning lately is that freedom comes from being ME...the patient me and the impatient me. The straight laced Mama and the rebellious woman. The quiet girl and the girl who thrives on being in front of groups of people.

I've carried guilt with me for my "other side" showing up on a regular basis. The girl who desires to use the word "fuck" every third word because of the powerful feel the word carries. The girl who wants to eat shitty food and drink alcohol, for no other reason than she just gets tired of being good all the time. She wants to do something she knows doesn't fit within her moral compass, just to stick it to the rules, which often leaves her feeling boxed into life. The girl who feels like a caged rat and feels the stirring of rebellion that she recognizes from her teenaged years when she had less people to answer to.

Maybe I could be all of these people? Maybe being ME is about embracing whoever shows up at any given moment without questioning or judging? Could I just be a multi-passionate, multi-faceted human whose mood, thoughts, ideas, wants and desires are ever-changing?

What a concept. You mean I could be a whole bunch of different versions of me?

I recently created a presentation for a friend of mine who wanted me to explore the source of my peace and joy and what those terms mean to me (see the quality of people I surround myself with???). One of the realizations I had was that I have core values and beliefs that provide the foundation of my being. There are also things I know for sure fill my soul, that I need to spend as much of my time as possible engaging in.

Would you mind if I shared with you?

In working through Danielle Laporte's Desire Map earlier this year, I whittled down my 4 core values - specifically the FEELINGS I want to be encompassed by on a daily basis:

FREEDOM
PEACE
ABUNDANCE
JOY

Those are the ways I want to feel every second of my life. I don't want to be caged in, I want to feel free in my skin and in my life. I want to find peace and calm in my home and in my relationships. I want to experience abundance in every way - opportunities, friendships, finances, health. And I simply want to feel joyful, regardless of external happenings, and surround myself with those who can find joy in simplicity.

There are also specific things that bring me these feelings in a deep-rooted way:

serving others through classes and workshops
writing
reading
fitness
yoga
meditation
simple moments with my kids
time in nature
traveling
trying new things
learning new things

So what I know for sure is that the above are vital to my well-being and I will fiercely protect the things in my life that align with my highest values. I will embrace all the things that help create and ignite those feelings and shut the door on anything else.

But in between? In between all of the goal setting, personal development, morning routines and scheduled days...I want to just be me. Not the person I think other people expect me to be.

I have this perception of how this person should look. She should be kind and sweet. And quiet, always aware of other's needs. She should always do the right thing and aim to be better every day. She should tiptoe around others to make sure she doesn't upset their peace.

Interesting right? The control freak perfectionist also has a death grip on her behaviour. How surprising.

But lately I've been pondering this cute little box I've put myself into. Do I HAVE to sort through the cognitive dissonance that comes along if the version of ME that pops up isn't the typical me that I'm used to presenting?

So...here's to giving up what I think others expect of me.
And here's to embracing me.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Relaxing into (using LSD)

I love the life metaphors I stumble across during movement. I have already shared with you some of the bigger ones I've discovered while hill running. I have also discovered many through yoga, both in teaching and in my own practice. A few weeks ago my students were using a strap to make a particular pose more accessible.

I cued them to connect with their breath, and to use their exhales to allow space in their body to deepen the pose.
See, exhaling helps relax the body. When it comes to yoga, the body panics a bit when you're trying to stretch a muscle outside it's normal, everyday length. The muscle doesn't want to be ripped or pulled so you're prevented from lengthening it any more than feels comfortable. And as long as you are tense or stressed, forget it.

However....if you keep the breath slow and deep, activating the relaxation response, you will be able to deepen the pose. A long, slow, deep exhale sends a signal to the brain that everything is okay (because your body is in a relaxed state) and the accessibility of a stretch will be more available to you.

Feeling safe = relaxed = ability to move more effectively beyond your comfort zone


And this is so true for life too isn't it? The more you fight your comfort zone, the more you cling to it, fear it and panic when you become aware if it's nearing edges, the less likely you are to move beyond. But the more you relax into it, allow it to come and calmly push the walls of it out to expand it, the more likely you are to see the lessons, feel the freedom and evolve into a higher vibe version of you.

So how can you relax as you go through the discomforts of evolution in everyday life?
Just like in yoga, find your LSD breath - long, slow and deep. Breathing in as slowly as possible, noticing the filling of your belly. Pause when you can no longer draw in any more breath, then let it out as slowly as you can, noticing your belly collapsing. Pause once you've let go of all the breath you possibly can and begin the cycle again. Breathing this way sends your body the message that it is okay. It's the quickest way of reducing anxiety and reducing tension, providing you the space necessary to find gratitude, calm and peace. And it's the only way you will be able to expand that zone of comfort that's keeping you where you are.

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or fearful, try this breath for a good 5 minutes and observe what changes take place. A bonus of this tool is that nobody knows you're doing it, you can do it anywhere, anytime and costs absolutely nothing. But the benefits are huge.

Let me know how this goes for you.

xo
Rachel