26 January 2016

Living in the moment

I suppose that one of the most difficult aspects of living out my New Year's word of "contentment" is remembering to be in the moment.  It's human nature to look ahead and wonder what is going to happen rather than just be present and watch things unfold.  But like the quotation says, we have to actually be aware of the moment that we are in so that we can fully experience life. On our mats the other day, Sarah provided us with the quote of "in this moment, there is more than enough time."  Which I find very true - we are always looking ahead.  There is Christmas out for sale amidst Back to School.  How do we savour each moment if we are rushing our lives away?

My intention in Yin the other  night was to be present.  Simple.  Challenging.   
It is easy to get swept up in romantic thoughts when you connect with someone. But sometimes it does take reflection to stay in the present moment and realize that though we want something to progress, we may indeed actually need to let it go.  

It's equally important to remember that though it is our intention to live in the present moment, others around us and in our life may not live the same way. Laying on my mat, replaying the events of the past few weeks I come to realize that I am getting ahead of myself and needed that moment to pull things back in.  I think of my conversation with Ness over the weekend. Where as I'm trying to live in the moment and not get swept up in what could happen or what this could be, her personality is to address all of these questions. My instinct however is to not question other than what do I feel right now? I think the hardest part of remembering to be content in the moment is to stop living in the future, to stop imagining and just allow life to unfold. Some (ok most) days it's my biggest struggle on my mat as well.  To be present in the room and focused on each pose, leaving the outside world and worries outside 

I think I'm coming to the realization that I need reciprocation in relationships.  It cannot be just me that reaches out their hand.  I need you to ask about my day and check in to say goodnight.  I want you to want to lay next to me and hold me or tell me a story when I can't fall asleep.  I want you to ask me about my nightmare because you truly care about what is worrying me.  I want you to want to hold my hand in the car and let me curl up next to you on the couch.  I want you to ask how I am doing and make me feel like I can actually tell you.  That I don't have to be afraid to cry because I fear looking weak.  I don't want the same relationships I had before.  I want a partner.  I want someone to say "Yes come with me on an adventure!" I want to be with someone where spending time with me would make them happy.   

So if I am living in the present moment, I need to focus my heart towards the one who wants to call and hear my voice.  The one who says "let's go" when I mention a vacation or a restaurant that I want to try.  Enjoy each conversation for what it is and not where it is going.  Relax and take a step back and exhale.  Let life be.  Let each moment come.  Enjoy.  Focus.  Live in the moment. xo 

06 January 2016

Allie Sunshine

In my 38 years there have been a few souls that I have been lucky enough to love and unfortunately have lost.  It is however, only through losing them though that I was able to learn so much about life and about myself.

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the world losing an amazing young woman. Today as much as I want to celebrate her life and her impression on us all, my heart feels as heavy as it does full.  An example to us all left behind of bravery, of compassion, of wonder and of love.  She was a teacher - not just by profession but in life.  We are all left better for the lessons she taught us.  One of her dearest "soul sisters" put it this way: "What do you want to be remembered for teaching?" and then listed all of the ways this dear girl taught and guided her.  

Though my philosophy of putting love out into the universe has always been a part of me, Allison reinforced the feeling to do so without hope of reciprocation or even validation.  When I rode the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year, I rode proudly with a flower on my helmet as a tribute to her.  This flower will remain there for each subsequent ride - reminding me to find the pleasure in something so simple and sweet.  To feel the pain in my legs or the rain on my shoulders and rejoice in the fact that what challenges me is what also propels me further.  To make me grateful that I am alive to celebrate, to make a difference, to help others to grow and if I am so lucky, to make some sort of a difference. 

I have never in my lifetime left a memorial service so full of hope and love and inspiration as I did hers. I sat there holding hands with another dear friend as we fought to simultaneously hold on and let go of this sweet soul.  As we sat and listened to Jillian speak I was inspired to be a better friend - to not be afraid to share the love and light I find within me.  To know that we are all unique and our lives are short.  Never had I been witness to such love as when Jeremy spoke of his departed wife and there I knew that this was the kind of love I desired to find in life.   At the close of her funeral, I stood there attempting to sing You Are My Sunshine with a quivering voice and I knew at that moment I was forever changed. 

If anyone says that one person does not make a difference in the world, they never met Allison. The amount of sunshine photos that filled our news feeds on Facebook today, the number of lives simply touched by her being in them, pays tribute to the amazing woman that she was and truly how she left the world a better place.

What do we hope our legacy to be? I recounted this in the eulogy to my father and I think of it when I think of Allison.  Her days on earth may have been short but her spirit will truly live on in so many.  It is through losing her that we have all gained so much perspective. I know that there is a reason that our lives connected. I am honoured to have shared in her light.  To have practiced next to her mat.  To have felt her energy in my heart - guiding me, inspiring me, teaching me.     

Allie shared my love of words with inspirations and quotes posted daily through her Allie Sunshine 365 Facebook page.  Many times these words resonated with me, taught me something or reminded me of hope that was already within me.  Her manifesto has for the past year, sat prominently on my fridge so that I've come to read it almost daily.  What I have learned about myself in this past 365 days of putting those words into practice is astonishing.  Through practicing daily gratitude I recognize more of what Allison was sent to teach us. This year as I strive for contentment, I remember to appreciate what surrounds me.  What we put out into the universe directly affects us and those around us.  I'm sure her impact touched those that she never even imagined reaching simply because those of us that were inspired by her shared that inspiration and extended that reach. 

Today I look at what she has taught me this past year.  I have been more mindful, more reflective.  I have tried every day to find the meaning.  To find something to be grateful for or a lesson to have learned. 

As a good friend said earlier today - the world isn't darker now without her but conversely the sun shines even brighter now as her spirit lives on through us all.  She is there in the sunshine, in the song blaring on the car radio, in everything that glitters and in all those who believe in magic.  

I feel grateful for her guidance and her strength.  What sometimes comes from overpowering grief, is the gift of gratefulness. How blessed were we with her presence - to have been touched by an angel who has left this world a better place simply by living in it. 

Shine on dear friend.  Shine on in all of our hearts.  Shine on in our example to others.  Shine on. Shine on. Shine on. xo xo  

04 January 2016



contentment a state of happiness and satisfaction

This is the word I choose for 2016.  

My word for 2015 was "Love" and looking back at the people I allowed into my life these past 365, I do feel like I achieved it.  Perhaps I didn't fall in love as I hoped but I was open to love and coming back from a broken heart, sometimes that is the biggest feat of all.  I think I did fall in love with myself a little bit more.  I certainly renewed my love for yoga.  
So for this new year I choose "Contentment" as my word.  Physically, emotionally, financially - I want to be satisfied with what I have and try to live in the moment, not wishing for more.  I feel like by striving for contentment, I am more apt to be present in the process and be grateful along the way.  

I want to be aware of who and what impacts me on a daily basis.  I want to be aware of how I impact others as well.  As it nears the anniversary of Allie's passing, I am again reminded that I want to live my life in such a way that I bring happiness or peace to those around me. 

Having dinner with someone new last night reminds me that we have to do our best to remain open and grateful.  That for every door that closes another is set to open. It may not be right away, but every ending is another beginning and it just depends on how to look at the situation.  A conversation with an old friend reminded me that even though I am the type of person to choose to find happiness, that people in my life may just not have that capacity to do so.  I stand by my philosophy to tell people how they have impacted me and to do so without any hope of reciprocation or validation. 

As this new year begins and I strive to find that contentment, both on and off my mat, I wake each day with an open heart ready to enjoy this journey one day at a time.  xo