In Dreams Awake

Here is a little thoughts-on-life, thoughts-on-God-and-yoga gem I wrote a few years ago. I stumbled upon it today and thought you might enjoy a peak in my brain and how very random my thoughts can be!

Schedule updates soon…I promise. 🙂

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“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” – Henry David Thoreau

flowerMy unconscious dreams

I mostly dream about normal things.  You know: hiding from Zombies in underground layers; trying to outrun tornados to save my family; and dunking Oreos in milk. Typical, right?

Well, a recent dream turned out to be not so typical.  And I didn’t like it.

I’m at Chang’s Mongolian Grill with a friend, Brittany.  Before ending up at Chang’s I tried to get Brittany to go to the Black Bear Dinner with me so we could eat ungodly amounts of fried American food and dip it all in blue cheese dressing (together – because we’d both kill to do that right now).  However, after a few unfortunate events such as our baby-blue, antique convertible breaking down, and getting stuck in a room with a bunch of old youth group members, we were unable to go.  The universe was clearly working against us.

So anyway we’re at Chang’s.  We’re sitting at a long narrow table with two random guys we’ve never seen before.  I got up to replenish my plate with more vegetables.  The guys gave me this look.  I know the look well.  It’s the you’re-too-fat-for-more-food look.  I begged, “But I’m fat because I have Hashimoto’s disease and I’m hypo-thyroid, plus it’s just vegetables.”

And that was it.  Psychologically speaking I’d say this is my unconscious telling me I feel like I can’t eat anything good, I eat everything I should, and I am still weighty.  Oh and I feel like I am being judged.  My unconscious is mean to bring up these feelings.

My conscious dreams

I used to dream about things like being thin, making a million dollars off of my top selling thriller and traveling to far-off ancient ruins to explore lost civilizations.

Ok, so I won’t lie.  I still do dream about those things.  Sometimes.

But these days I tend to keep my dreams and goals a little more realistic: weeding my back yard, getting my health under control, paying off school loans and starting a family (not that Maddie is not my baby, because she totally is.  I just want one a little less hairy).

Thoughts about dreams/goals

I think it was Sri Swami Satchidananda who translated one of the Yoga Sutra’s to say something along the lines of: We suffer because we are not content with our current situation.  In other words we’re not present.  We’re always dreaming/thinking up the next bigger and better thing for our lives.

I came across this passage during one of my quiet times this week: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

In this case, the Apostle Paul is talking about having one goal, Jesus Christ and reigning with Him in Heaven.

Tying it all together

Is there a balance between the Sutra’s “being present at all times” and Paul’s “ultimate goal of Christ”?  I think there is.

This past week, when I found myself being frustrated and impatient with one of my realistic goals (hello…weight loss…thanks for reminding me unconscious brain), I stopped, grounded myself and meditated on my ultimate goal: Christ.

It’s like yoga keeps me grounded so I can remain present and keep my eyes on Christ.

Good yoga poses to contemplate dreams/goals: Siramba Srisasana (supported headstand) or Parsvritta Paddotonasana (wide-legged standing forward bend), to get your head closer to the ground — to help you center and feel grounded; and Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Savasana) to open your chest and look to heaven. Oh and Savasana, yeah…Savasana.

 

Do you have weird unconscious dreams?  Are you feeling frustrated about some dreams/goals that are taking too long to come into fruition?  How do you deal?

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Gentle, Reflective Resolutions

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Inward, gentle, self-reflection. In yoga philosophy it referred to as Svadhyaya or self-study. Of all the Yamas and Niyamas (the yoga dos and don’ts) it’s probably the one I most easily follow.

I’m a natural at Svadhyaya, but not at gentle. My self-study, pre yoga, has mostly been critical and harsh. Self-bashing to the point of loathing. But, somehow (by the grace of Jesus? Yoga? Maturation?) my self-reflection has shifted toward gentle, soft, nurturing. It’s such a relief too, because I can be really hard on myself.

This time of year, being close to the hubbub of resolutions and all, I am turning inward again. I find myself reflecting on where I am in life, my goals, my shortcomings and my blessings.  I guess, in a way, I’ve been making some early New Years’ resolutions.

  1. To be more active and spend more time in nature. <–This is the gentle version of what I would have resolved in the past. I currently don’t feel well in my body. Part of that is lack of physical activity. But instead of resolving to unrealistically change my body, or adhere to some ridiculous amount of calories burned each day, I’m going to leave it at this. Move my body, preferably outside!
  2. Refine my morning routine. <–After doing a lot of nurturing, self-study, I’ve come to the conclusion that, for my sanity, my morning routine could be a little more disciplined. Now that I work a day job, my mornings are sacred. There is A LOT I want and need to accomplish in a morning. I’m blessed to work just part time so this can happen, but even still, I’ve been a bit of a lazy worker ant in this department. (While being gentle, I still need to be honest) My goal is to wake up earlier (which also means going to bed earlier, yikes!), do my yoga first thing, move my body a little more (outside), stick with my daily chores/upkeep and make sure to carve out one on one time with my daughter.
  3. Live, love, laugh, be thankful, be bold and be kind. I want to embrace Christ’s heart. I know it beats inside me, but I know I don’t always show it.

If you’re not a natural at self-study, like me, resolutions can be a great place to start. Take some time to reflect on your life. Your day to day activities, how you interact with others, larger goals, etc. Base your resolutions on these observations. Be realistic, fair, gentle and nurturing.

If you struggle with negative thoughts toward yourself, being no expert, the only tip I can pass on is to be mindful of your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, pay attention to what you’re thinking and then actively attempt to change it to something more positive. Or maybe you really do need some self-constructive criticism. How can you talk to yourself more softly? How would you treat yourself if you were a small child? Be nice.

Make yoga and reflection a part of your New Years Eve celebration! Join me on New Year’s Eve, December 31 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. for a Reflective Restorative Practice.

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Set goals, not intoxicated resolutions

If you have some resolutions/goals (I prefer to call them goals) in mind for 2016, and you’d like to, you know, actually stick with them, may I make a suggestion?

 

Don’t make a last minute, semi-intoxicated toast committing to your resolutions. Cause guess what? You won’t keep them (there is also the possibility that you won’t even remember them come January 1).

 

1476a7ee-15aa-4cf9-baba-d52e0829fce1Instead, take some time to make a realistic plan for keeping your resolutions. Sit in a quiet place, with no distractions, with a pen and paper and jot down your goals.

 

Then, put them where you can see them every day. Make it pretty and put it in a frame if you have to (that’s what I’m going to do!). Yay for pretty things! Consider also making bite-sized steps for your goals. Break it down into bullet points or mind mapping, if you prefer.

 

Once you’ve had your brainstorming session and have your resolutions written down, commit to them daily.

 

Here is a tip I picked up recently: Every day write a to do list. Prioritize three things you MUST do that day. At least two of those things should contribute to your yearly resolutions. Next, you can prioritize your list by things you probably should do, and then things you’d like to do if there is time.

 

I’ve been practicing this method this week and I have found it very helpful. Honestly, I don’t even get to the “things to do if there is time.” I keep my list short, no more than 5 things. This doesn’t include day job tasks, this only includes tasks for at home or for my yoga business.

 

My three things typically look like this:

 

Morning Routine, which includes daily chores, exercise, and de-cluttering. (One of my goals for 2016 is to put more effort into being more efficient in my morning routine, which has always included exercise and de-cluttering.  I’ve just always seen these things as “I’ll do it if there is time.” Well, this past week and this next year, it’s going to be #1 on my list! My other goals are to move my body more and to de-clutter my home.)

 

Yoga Business related task, such as plan lesson, post a blog, boost Facebook post, etc.

 

Errand/Other necessity, so far it’s been doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping/meal planning.

 

By listing out my three must do’s for the day, I feel so much less overwhelmed. When I make to-do lists, I  make TO-DO lists. Often times my list will include 20 things I feel I should do in a day. But, I get so overwhelmed, I freeze.

 

Perhaps I’m resolving to have a shorter to-do list too! 🙂

 

Ok, to sum it up make resolutions/goals, but DON’T “wing” it. Brainstorm and write them down. Put them in a place where you can see them every day. Commit to doing something (even just one thing) toward your goals daily!

 

Now…718c4457-2721-4812-ace3-485685ec179d
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