Tag Archives: blog

Questioning…and Asking For Your Input

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hal elrod value quote

Hi everyone.  I arrived back in Maryland on July 31 after a wonderful trip to Colorado where I was taken care of in every way by a dear friend who knows what I’ve been through this past year.  I felt really good and positive for about a week, but then real life came crashing down on me, and I’ve been dealing with the depression and anxiety again.

As I’ve been paying closer attention to my daily routine—of which this blog has been a part for the last five and a half years—I’ve been asking myself what kind of value my posts here are to others.  If I’m writing my daily poetry and focusing on what is wrong, I believe that I’m contributing to an atmosphere of sadness and anger on planet earth.  This is not what I want for me, you, or for this blog.

So I’ve been really wondering what kind of value I can add to anyone’s life here on Yoga Mom.  Can I focus more on yoga?  Can I share breath work techniques, yoga poses?  Can I talk about mindful parenting?

I’m not sure what shape I want the blog to take at this point, but I’m absolutely open to any ideas that you’d like to send my way.  I started off the blog for myself, as a means to find the self-expression that had felt so hampered in the midst of raising young children and being in what I’ve come to realize was a highly abusive marriage.  I never expected to have people actually following my posts and reading my words, but now with over a thousand followers I feel it is my social obligation to focus on what is good and real and true in life, instead of on what is bringing me down.

If you have any thoughts or ideas about how I can do that here, I’m all ears.

Thanks for reading,

Yoga Mom

In Other News–A Confession and Some Questions

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Friends, I must confess, my son no longer wears diapers–hasn’t worn them in months–so I had to change my blog’s tagline to feel that I was in complete integrity with myself and my readers. Yoga still happens every day,  but now instead of dirty diapers, we have pee pants. Glad to have come clean with all of you about that.  Ah. Now I feel better!

I have been toying with the idea of completely changing the look and feel of this blog, because for some time my writing hasn’t been focused even a tiny bit on the rigors of motherhood and maintaining a yoga practice in the midst of all of it–which was my original vision for the blog and why I chose the name Yoga Mom in the first place.  I do maintain my practice, meditating every morning and trying as best as I can to maintain a yogic mind state throughout the day.  My children continue to challenge me to search for what is real beyond the illusion and push me to my limits every single day, God bless them.  But I haven’t been writing about these experiences, which makes me think that my blog name is misleading.  Have mothers and others come here hoping for humor and encouragement, only to see me spouting off poems about the path toward enlightenment?

Writing the poems does feel like a yoga practice to me though–it is time I consecrate every day to going inwards and searching for the words that will best convey what I think it is most important to share at that moment–and that inward journey is a meditation of sorts, a time of reflection, of concentration, of quiet. The poetry evolved out of the need to write quick, short posts.  After the loss of my meditation room I found myself with no consecrated space for writing and sitting, and have learned to catch as catch can.  Whereas before I could hole myself up in my tiny room for hours and write in agonizing detail about my day to day, now I have no such luxury.  At any given moment I could have many interruptions arise and no door to shut to keep them at bay. This has given me a sense of urgency in my writing, the need to get it done quickly, and I have seen the virtue in more concise wording, posts that require a much smaller time commitment from readers. Therefore, poems.

Is a name change in order? Can I have my poetry and my yoga mom blog too? Is there a way to write about my mothering experiences without it taking hours at a stretch?  If I were to return to posts about motherhood and the yogic path, would I need a separate space for my poetry? What would I call a poetry blog, given that I have been Yoga Mom for some time? Hmmmmmm. I think I have some mulling to do.  I will go and mull now. Namaste, and toodleloo!

(And if you have any thoughts or ideas about all of this, I’d love to hear from you.  I know that some of you are seasoned writers and could probably tell me a thing or two. Any pearls of wisdom or popcorn kernels of wit or even nuggets of nonsense will be much appreciated.) 

Writing Meditation

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Hello there friends.  I’m wondering if any of my fellow bloggers out there also keep a personal journal as a part of their writing practice.  Since starting out on this blog project on January 1 and following through with daily posts, I have watched myself revive my long lost daily journal writing practice, and have been doing both my blog writing and my journaling in tandem for quite a while.  It is such a relief to come back home to myself through my writing, to give myself that sacred space to flush out the brain and tune in to the being in me beyond the neurotic, recurring, frantic, hectic, critical, dissatisfied thoughts that often plague my waking consciousness.

My evening meditations have been less than amazing, to put it gently.    First of all, I have been so tired when I sit at night that I often manage just a few minutes before I start nodding off.  Then I end up heading to bed, wondering when I’ll have the energy for a full thirty-five minute sit.  And then finally I watch myself feeling guilty for not being able to commit to sitting upright for a longer period of time…yikes! When meditation turns into another opportunity for a guilt trip dealt by my emotional system, something needs to change, wouldn’t you say?

It seems as though I have been lacking the discipline to really follow through on my evening meditation practice, but I have shown up for it.  I have put my butt on my cushion, even if it is for only a few minutes.  And this has been my way of compromising…instead of chastising myself for not showing up for my evening practice–which I established in January of 2013 to supplement my morning practice–I still show up for it, just not for the entire duration. Ah life, and the little dances we do to navigate the challenges of it all.

Tonight I thought, “Well, if my sitting meditation isn’t working out so great, maybe it’s time to try something else.  What not a writing meditation?” I set my timer for thirty-five minutes, and committed to just letting the thoughts, my breath, and the ink from my pen flow, non-stop, for the whole time.  “This is a meditation,” I figured, “as good a meditation as anything else.  I am bringing my mind to a still point, I am paying attention to my inner world, I am sitting more or less in stillness.” Yes, a writing meditation.

And you know what? It was pretty great.  Ten pages of allowing myself to think and feel and express seem to me to be progress.  I stayed awake, I was engaged, and I even uncovered an emotional loophole, which I’ll write about in my poem tonight.

So just curious.  Do any of you keep a journal?  Do you write in it regularly?  Have you approached your writing as a meditation before?

Spammy Followers

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Dear Spammy Followers,

I think you may account for close to half of the readers who purportedly “follow” my blog, so I figure addressing the elephant in the room is in order.  I’m just wondering if you actually read my posts or if you’re hoping to draw more people into your get rich quick schemes via my readership.  These days, every time I get an email saying I have another follower, I’m assuming it’s another person trying to entice me into watching their video or signing up for their newsletter, letting me know that I’m just a few steps away from making six figures a month and living the lifestyle I’ve always dreamed about.  I have read so many times that the blogging platform is a great place to build a lucrative internet business, and all it takes is a computer, wifi access, and the will to succeed.

I’ve scrolled through pictures of young adults smiling vibrantly on yachts in some amazing looking tropical places surrounded by gorgeous blue water, and I’ve thought to myself, “Really?”  You’re really expecting me to believe that if I watch your videos/subscribe to your newsletter/click on your link that somehow I’ll gain the information necessary to become an internet entrepreneur like you supposedly are–and with as little as four hours per week spent working, I’ll be generating enough income from home to support my entire family, living and traveling wherever the heck I want in the world?

I mean, really?  Call me old school, but I was taught that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  I was taught that people who talk about getting rich quick are usually trying to sell me something, and getting rich quickly really doesn’t ever happen unless you win the lottery.  I was also taught that hard work builds character, and have experienced this firsthand.

In the end, I don’t want you to follow me, spammy followers.  I’d rather have just two people who actually read my posts every once in a while than a thousand people who pretend to follow me but are really just trolling around looking for more people to rope into believing their impossible claims about internet marketing.  I don’t mean to sound bitter, but sheesh…we all only have so many hours in a day.  I find it hard to believe that you can make room in your day for reading about all the things I choose to write about in my normal little hardworking human life.  I’m feeling suspicious about your subscribing to my blog.  And I won’t be one of the ones clicking on the link to your about page and writing, “Great site!  Inspirational content.  Thanks for the follow!”  I’m not feeling grateful for the follow, and I won’t be thanking you for it, because I don’t think you’re really following me.

Therefore, spammy followers, you can unfollow me.  Potential spammy followers:  Please don’t bother following me!  No hard feelings, I just don’t want to have more spam to sift through in my email’s inbox, thank you very much.

And to my flesh and blood, real live human being followers–even if you just casually catch a post every now and again–thank you for reading, from the bottom of my heart.

If anyone actually reads my posts every day, WOW, hats off to you!  I hope some of my words are inspiring, or funny, or something.  At times my writing seems so drab to me that I’m amazed I have any followers at all.  So thank you truly for taking the time to read about this human’s life and thoughts and feelings and experiences.  Thank you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Me

Snow Day, Meditation, and My Other Blog

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1:00 pm

We had yet another wintry storm pass through town, and as a result my family and I have enjoyed a cozy day inside together. I was up extra early  at 4:30 am, and was amazed at the quality of my morning meditation practice. I barely noticed the passage of time at all and was surprised when the bell rang,  signaling the end of the session.

By the time my meditation was complete it was only 5:15 am, the house was still quiet.  I calculated that I had about two more hours before anyone else woke up. With all of this time ahead of me, I decided to sit my butt down and compose a post for my other blog; the last time I posted was in November and I figured it was about time.

My other blog is a place to explore the eight-limbed path of yoga; it’s the focus of the website devoted to my yoga teaching, and I refer lots of students there to check out my teaching schedule and delve into yogic philosophy. There I put great pressure on myself to maintain my reputation as a professional, honor the teachings of the great masters as best I can, and write solid content that is informative, engaging, and worthy of being read. And this is why I don’t post there very often.  It’s hard to bear up under such pressure. With the inner critic gabbing at me constantly about how my writing isn’t polished enough, how it isn’t worthy of being published, it’s difficult to motivate myself to write anything at all.

I’m so glad I finally got around to creating and maintaining this personal blog! There is still some pressure to write well here, but it’s not nearly as great as the pressure I put upon myself over at lorienyoga.com, where I’m attempting to convey to my students how our yoga practice can assist us on the path to self-realization.

Writing my thoughts out here without fear of what others will think of me has been therapeutic.  Just being able to articulate the feelings that seem so overwhelming on the inside can be a great relief, and this relief is felt more deeply when I see those feelings written out in black and white.  They don’t seem to hold so much power over me.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

9:48 PM

I just completed my evening meditation and it felt like such a struggle to stay awake and focus.  I really wanted to find stillness, to remember the infinite presence in me, but I was very fidgety and all I kept thinking about was how much I wanted to lie down. But I showed up for practice, I sat for the full thirty minutes, and I’m glad it’s done now.

Time to surrender to sleep.  I’m so grateful to have a warm home and a comfortable bed to sleep in. May all beings have comfort and ease of well-being.

Sweet dreams.

 

Why Am I Writing?

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Last night was rough. I was awakened multiple times by my husband, who is slowly recovering from the mother of all colds. The tossing, the turning, the need to get up and dig in the medicine cabinet for a Sucrets…poor guy. As I was awakened the third time that night, I was certainly feeling sorry for him, but now I was also feeling sorry for myself. There I was, awake at 2:41 am with no immediate hope of getting back to sleep, so I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and started catching up on emails. A dear friend had sent me a message with this post about starting a blog and becoming a writer.  The post came from  this website established in 2006,  called “Live Your Legend.” It offers tools to help people make positive changes in the world by discovering and doing meaningful work that they love. Sounds great, yes?

At 2:41 am, I was reading about how a blog can be a steppingstone to discovering what is really important and meaningful in one’s life, finding true clarity about one’s passions, and taking concrete steps to harness those passions and create something great. Blogs can help writers develop thinking and communication skills, and writing regularly, these writers can become adept at getting the point across clearly, concisely, efficiently.  When one gets one’s point across clearly, concisely, and efficiently, things change. Big things happen. So I was kind of becoming fired up, thinking, “Wow, my little yoga mom blog might actually be helping me discover what it is I want to do with the life energy I have, beyond what I’ve already been doing? I might uncover a passion I didn’t know existed?”

The author of the post, Scott Dinsmore, referred those readers who already have a blog to yet another post–all about creating a blog that matters, a blog that achieves some purpose. Read it here. So yes, there I was, now at 2:50am, asking myself if my blog matters, if it is achieving a purpose, if it is helping anyone.

Gosh. Gee. Ummm.

I originally began this blog as a project for myself, because I had been hiding from my writing for far too long. For some years now, I have been fervently wanting to write in a more serious (dare I say professional?) capacity, yet I never have been wholly successful at pushing through the resistance that inevitably arises whenever I sit down with a few thoughts. I wanted this blog to be a pressure free space to practice and explore and–even if other people might read it–I didn’t want to think too much about my potential audience, because I knew that this kind of thinking would send me into a spiral of too afraid to write/don’t bother/they won’t like what you write/what you think isn’t important.  A shut down, drab, bleak, claustrophobic place, a no room for creativity place. Yuck. No thanks.

Within a day or so of starting the blog, I actually had a follower. And then another. Gee, really? I’m surprised anybody is following this thing, it’s so full of my personal observations and details about my daily life. My aim was to link what I’ve learned from my yoga practice to these real life, moment to moment experiences so that I could use them as a means for personal growth and evolution. If this act of sharing my experiences helps just one person know that they are not alone in their challenges, not alone in their quest to find meaning in the little details of daily life, I’ll be thrilled; but beyond that I just want to validate my own experiences, let them take on the importance that I assign to them, and perhaps even lessen their importance as I practice some detachment from them. Because sometimes I’m a drama queen. Sometimes I blow things out of proportion. It has been known to happen.

The medium of the written word has always been a safe place (the only place?) for me to explore my thinking; I’ve kept a journal since I was in second grade, and became a serious journal writer in high school, following a dear English teacher’s six week assignment to write daily.  Decades later, I have amassed volumes upon volumes of my writing, which live ingloriously packed in boxes in the basement. These volumes rarely see the light of day. Poor little lonely forgotten journals. I think of them like abandoned children, and fear that they might morph into Golem-like creatures at some point. Precious.

I’ve been writing forever, taking solace in the freedom of the blank page, but have never had the courage to really share my writing, because, jeez–it’s just so personal! My journals have been a place to write out my ugliest of thoughts, to be depressed as hell, to be angry, petty, and resentful, to dream big, to celebrate, to fantasize and hope and remember, to be silly–and to be completely, utterly human. Completely utterly my self. No wonder I’ve hidden those journals in boxes. It’s frightening to show someone who you really are! It’s much more safe to hide. And now I’m asking myself–for whatever reason–to be daring, be courageous, be brave–and just share this writing, whatever it is, whatever it looks like, with whomever might want to read it? Yikes!

Writing in this public blog space has been a bit scary for me, for all the reasons I’ve been mentioning in my other posts about this project and my relationship to the creative process. Inner Critic. Perfectionist. Procrastinator. The fearful, vulnerable, lonely one. Note: The sceptic wishes to remind me that no one will read this anyway, and I’m fooling myself if I think otherwise. Thanks guys, real nice.

Scott Dinsmore, the fellow I mentioned above, the one whose website provides the tools for exploring and living out one’s unique purpose–he mentioned that deep down, many of us are afraid of success, and so we unconsciously do things to sabotage ourselves. His words jolted in me an awareness that coming to terms with this tendency for self-sabotage, and embracing a new definition of ourselves as visionaries who can make positive changes on this spaceship earth–this can unlock tremendous power and potential–so that ultimately we can move forward and realize our deepest dreams for ourselves and all beings.

Wow. Ok. Visionary? Deep dreams? Life’s purpose? Passion? Yes.

Why am I writing? Because, yes.

A New Practice

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Today is day 867 of maintaining a consecutive daily meditation practice, but who’s counting? I guess I am. I’ve been running from my writing for far too long, and have been bugged this past week  by the inevitable start of the new year–the blank book before me, the pages on which I so want desperately to write. I have this itch to do some regular writing, and a great fear that somehow I’ll never make the time. I doubt my ability to follow through on a long-term daily writing project. I’m afraid that if I begin, I won’t be able to finish, and this blog will be added to a long list of projects begun and then trapped in a limbo of procrastination–wavering, foundering, incomplete–joining a mountain of books half-read, letters unanswered, dreams unexplored. Every doubting bone in my body is telling me, “Just forget about it.”

But still, I didn’t want this year to get away from me. This year (as in past years) I wanted to begin a new project, a new practice–and then really do it. So I needed something simple, without the feeling of being burdened by the desire to prove that I have any kind of wisdom, or that I make sense. I didn’t want to think about who might be reading this, or how it might be interpreted.

So I decided to start this blog as a project for myself. Can I begin a writing practice in addition to  my meditation practice? Even if it seems like futile work? Even if my writing is meaningless and crappy?

No goal, except to watch myself write something every day.

Take the pressure off and write a few words. Just like that. And let them be what they are. I hope this practice will free my creative mind to play a bit more. I’m tired of trying to be good for everyone. I want to let myself be not so great, and perhaps by releasing the need to be great, I can allow myself to appreciate who I already am.

Yes. This blog will hopefully open me to appreciating myself and my life a bit more. A mirror of what is good and kind and true. I hope it will do what any compassionate mother or teacher would do–reveal the unquestionable goodness of the self that is trying to grow, and provide encouragement as baby steps are taken.

Well, here goes…