Keep it Light

mly319172 copySometimes life gets heavy. The last few months of 2018 were some of the heaviest. They were emotionally, mentally, physically draining, and I was suffocating under the burden of this weight – I snapped under it. As a result, I realized that I don’t want to live like that anymore. That less is more. Less is better. And that’ has been one of my most liberating discoveries of 2019.

I guess you could say this year’s resolution has been to “Keep it light.

It started small. Purging my closet, gifting books I’d read and furniture I wan’t feeling anymore. Buh-bye clutter!

Lightening my workload came next. I started saying, “Nope.” Nope to subbing opportunities and private clients. I cancelled two retreats, all my kids yoga camps, the majority of summer dance. Turns out, downtime is awesome.

I chilled with the long-winded Instagram posts. I keep them (mostly) short and sweet because I don’t have the mental capacity to read through 7 paragraphs of text on a visual platform. I figured you guys might not either.  I’m drawn to a short, witty caption, and I’ll follow along to your blog if you have one. But on IG? It’s too much. I’m there for the pictures. *According to statistics, the majority of your followers are too, so others like me who use IG as a marketing tool – KEEP THIS IN MIND. 

I’ve laid off self-help and work-related books, and have turned to fiction – also more movies. Nothing too dark, but the kind you get lost in and usually has a happy ending.

I stopped over-analyzing my own emotions and behavior patterns. I’m self-aware, but I don’t need to spend my entire life in deep introspection. Always trying to be more this/that is exhausting. I’ve truly enjoyed simply living and being.

More playtime! I invested the extra hours in reconnecting and cultivating new friendships. I bought a bike, took those weekend trips, and have gone on all those coffee/lunch dates I’ve been talking about over the past year.

“Not your healer, not your teacher,” became my dating mantra. It’s evolved into the mantra for all of my relationships. I am a healer and teacher, but at work where I’m getting paid for it. It’s an even energy exchange. As a result, I’m better at creating boundaries. I’m learning to be supportive without getting involved or invested. I’ve learned to walk away from some situations completely. And I RUN at the first sign of co-dependency.

It’s nice to live lightly. I’m still looking for new ways everyday.

Current Status: Chill

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Sometimes you think you’ve slowed down and the Universe backhands you and says: YOU THINK THIS IS CHILL?

My body has shown up in a big way, forcing me to step back.

Translation: STOP.

Doctor orders: No core engagement or stretching unless I want to end up in emergency surgery.

I don’t want to get into the details, but share because my classes are going to look a bit different until surgery and rehab are complete.

Not for you, but for me.

Being still is hard AF. It’s a constant practice of patience and presence I’ve never known before.

It’s time to get creative.

A Message From the Universe

I’m on The Universe Talks‘ mailing list which delivers a “message from the universe” to my inbox each weekday morning. (If you don’t already get these, SIGN UP YESTERDAY. Also, you’re welcome.)

Today I woke up to:

“Resentment, anger, and impatience, Megan, all have their place. Actually, they’re absolutely priceless, revealing to those who feel them that there are still a few pieces of life’s puzzle they’ve overlooked.” 

A few days ago, I caught myself getting irritated and angry with someone over something I’d already forgiven. It was frustrating as hell since it’s done and over, I’m not still worried about it, and grudges are dead weight.

So why are these nasty feelings bubbling up?

My message from the universe asked me to stop, drop, and take a closer look at what’s really going on.

Our anger often acts as shield. Usually against fear. Fear of inadequacy, abandonment, loss of control, blah, blah, blah… all the usual suspects. Anger shifts the blame, and protects us from feelings we don’t want to admit, aren’t ready to come to terms with, or don’t realize, understand, and know how to process. (These aren’t great things, but still a hard truth.)

Anger tells us when our needs aren’t being met. Think about it. Roughly 85-95% of the time I’m feeling like an asshole, I’m either tired, hungry, or lonely.

So for a really long time, I’ve thought that if I had truly forgiven is situation than I’d forget about it. Or at least feel neutral. If I got angry about past events, it probably meant that I was still “holding on.”

But what if residual anger serves a positive purpose too? Similar to the conditioned responses we learn when we touch a hot stove. OUCH! Those little zaps of pissed off-ness can be warning bells when one of our boundaries are about to be crossed. A safety flare when there’s potential danger.

So here I am. With anger that occasionally bubbles up over something that I’ve pardoned. I’m pretty sure it’s to remind me that forgiveness isn’t the same as reconciliation. Like the time my best friend punched me in the face. I’ve forgiven her. I wish her well. But I don’t want to be friends or stay connected in any way. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m holding onto the past, I’m holding onto healthy boundaries.

Screen Time

My friend, Charlie, has been doing this thing where he deletes Facebook and Instagram first thing Monday morning, and then reinstalls it after work on Friday. He has been more productive at work and home, and makes an effort to connect with friends individually instead of through social media. After two weeks,  his iPhone usage was down 10 hours per week. Ten hours. Can you imagine all the things you could do with an extra ten hours added to your week?

It made me realize that I spend too much time on my phone. At least, I spend more time than I’d like on my phone.

I got to a point last year where I loathed the phone. It drives me nuts to be reachable at all times, because I’m one of those people who feels obligated to respond as soon as I receive a message (I generally move on and forget otherwise). Social media felt like work. Because it is work for a lot of us. But it got to the point where it wasn’t fun work anymore.

Over the years I’ve experimented with month-long social media detoxes. Like Charlie, I found that I was way more productive and more present in my daily life, but when social media is a huge way of how you connect with students and clients, taking long periods away isn’t always an option.

I’ve never had notifications set on my phone. The only banners I get are for texts and phone calls. In January, I began using my sunrise simulating alarm clock and leaving my phone on a charger in the other room at bedtime.

I still spend too much time on my phone.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of things I love about technology and the way it brings us together. It’s amazing to be able to connect with friends and loved ones with a tap on a screen. I love being able to connect with other dancers, yogis, artists, writers, teachers, and inspiring humans across the globe. Funny memes, puppies, babies, smiling selfies, recipes, and thoughtful words keep me going on so many rainy days.

So I guess it’s a matter of setting boundaries. Which I suck at. But I know that I want to spend more of my time away from the screen, and more of it undistracted and actively participating in my environment.

Since I use my phone for music to teach, it gets a bit tricky. I can’t airplane mode to block out texts or use “screen time” since Spotify is considered entertainment. So I’m having to explore more creative solutions. One is turning on “read receipts” in hopes that I won’t open messages until I have the time to respond (the “unread” will let people know I’m not ignoring them). Another is exploring social media blocking apps that will allow me to pick and choose which apps (including Spoitify) are allowed during the times I’d like to limit phone usage.

Have any tips or tricks that have helped you minimize your phone time? I’d love to hear about it!

Freedom

I recently asked myself what I value most in a relationship.⁣⁣
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FREEDOM. ⁣⁣
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Freedom in a relationship means a lot of things. For me, it’s room + support to grow individually. Solo time – both with myself and with friends. It’s not feeling the constant weight of responsibility to protect, heal, or teach my partner. Not being guilted or shamed for stepping away from conflict (or on hard days) to rest, reboot, and return in a clearer headspace. Freedom is open communication + safety to show the unedited versions of myself. The space to share nitty gritty details about my day, week, and past – along with time + patience when I’m not there yet. ⁣⁣
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I have only loved truly extraordinary men. Extraordinary, but unhealed. I realized that the common denominator is me. I choose my partners. ⁣⁣
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I have confused connection with compatibility. Common interests, values, and goals do not equate to a healthy relationship. Otherwise, I would have felt freedom in love.⁣⁣
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I am both proud and grateful that I have chosen to be alone to explore and work on my own unhealed spaces. I’ve endured icky feelings ranging from anger and resentment to loneliness – all without distracting myself with new relationships. work projects, or an overactive social calendar. ⁣⁣
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I’m evolving. Progressing and healing instead of repeating the same behaviors. ⁣⁣
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It’s difficult. It isn’t always fun. But it’s been a liberating experience to do the work on my own instead of carrying it into another relationship.⁣⁣
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Freedom is worth it. ⁣

DFW | Jenny Lewis

After going through a brief bout of “WTF?!?” after my break-up in late December, I quickly found myself itching to surround myself with the things that bring me joy – yoga classes, hiking, friends, group dinners – oh, and the arts! Theatre, live music, visual art – you name it. Basically all the things I hold nearest and dearest to my heart that had been but on the back-burner during my relationship.

When I found out that Jenny Lewis (one of my all time favorites/spirit animal) was dropping a new album and stopping in Dallas on tour, I immediately bought tickets and asked a girlfriend if she’d be interested in joining.

It turned into one of the best weekends I’ve had in forever. Music, laughter, friends, art, tacos x3, yoga… perfection. I could try to write how much fun we had, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is our weekend in images.

Jenny Lewis at Canton Hall. 

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An afternoon at The Modern in Ft. Worth.

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Before dinner at El Bolero.

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Love Machine

Thank you for reminding me that the heart’s purpose is to deliver oxygen to the sacred waters that flow through me, and put my focus on the stewardship of my body and spirit. -Pixie Lighthorse

I was happy. Immensely happy. I woke up each morning thanking the sun, moon, stars, and my lover for choosing me. I was the luckiest girl on the planet.

Having the privilege of experiencing bliss makes the bitterness of loss felt more deeply. After shedding many, many tears and allowing myself to sit with the pain; feeling each sharp, jagged edge of my broken heart – I realize it’s knowing the promise that love exists that fans the flame of hope in my soul.

Every time your heart breaks, finding that kind of happiness again seems unimaginable. But each new love burns bigger and brighter than the last.

It’s out there. Waiting for me. And that makes it easier to get up and dust myself off to walk through another day.

I’ve moved forward with more ease than anticipated. With each new intimate connection, I find myself with a partner more in alignment with my values and in a healthier, more nurturing, more loving relationship.

It literally keeps getting better and better. Which means I’m on the right path. And I want to remain open for what comes next.

Hiding out and mourning the past will not make my heart available for new experiences. Setting out each day with faith, courage, compassion, love, and the willingness to share my heart with others does.

And this girl is made to love.

So get ready for it.

Pieces of Me

At the beginning of my last relationship, I decided to write a blog about finding balance while in a romantic relationship.

But I never did.

Because I never found balance.

Almost two weeks ago when the relationship ended, I decided to write about it again.

But I haven’t.

Because it takes me ages to write, rewrite, tweak and then start all over again. Twice. Three times. Because my writing never seems to be as witty or eloquent as all the other people who put their words out into the world. And comparison is a bitch. Also, a killjoy. I’m finally understanding it isn’t perfection that’s important. Getting these feelings outside of my body is important. Writing is the only way I’ve ever been able to clearly articulate what I’m feeling. (I’m going to be working on that with my new therapist this year.)

In the meantime, maybe you’ll enjoy my musings. Maybe you’ll hate them. Maybe you’ll read each word nodding in agreement, and sign up for my newsletter to follow along closely. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe immediately.

It doesn’t matter. (Not to be confused with “I don’t care,” because deep down we all know validation from others feels f*cking awesome.) But it doesn’t matter because for the first time in my life, I’m not doing this for anyone else. And I’m not going to try so damn hard to be perfect. To be everything to everyone. (Note: I’m crying actual as I type this sentence.)

Writing helps me to process my emotions. Thus far, sharing some of these icky feelings on Instagram has been therapeutic. And from your feedback, it seems to be relatable + even therapeutic for some of you too.

So here I am. Offering these unedited pieces of myself in all my wounded-but-healing glory.

I hope they help you. But mostly, I hope they help me.

xx

Ayurveda: The Science of You

Known as yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old practice of medicine – making it the oldest recorded! Long before Western medicine realized the mind-body connection, sages in India developed this sophisticated system designed to not only treat illness and ailments, but to prevent them through knowledge and care of self. That means we have to know and understand ourselves before we can begin to heal.

Ayurveda believes all living things are comprised of the pancha mahabhutas, or 5 great elements. They are:

– Akash (space/ether)
– Vayu (air)
– Agni (fire)
– Jala (water)
– Prithvi (earth)

In the same way each human has their own unique DNA code, elemental expression differs from person to person. They are arranged in doshas.

The three doshas are:
– Vata (ether/space + air)
– Pitta (fire + water)
– Kapha (water + earth)

We are ALL comprised of the tridoshas. The proportion is what differs from person to person.  Ayurveda is the science of you, and your human experience.

Finding the best diet, supplements, exercise regimes (yeah, it extends beyond yoga), and lifestyle choices depends on understanding your own personal doshic blueprint. We call this our Prakriti. Once you understand your Prakriti, you’ll begin to identify your imbalances, or vikrities, so that you can adjust your lifestyle choices to regain balance. Following an Ayurvedic lifestyle specifically tailored to meet your needs not only helps to heal, but to prevent symptoms and illness through maintaining optimal health.

Pretty cool stuff, huh?

It gets way more intricate and intense, because there are so many different experiences and circumstances that can upset the balance in our mind and body – ranging from certain foods, to seasons, and even the time of day! I’m beginning to understand that like yoga, it is a practice designed to find balance, but once you’re there it requires a constant practice to maintain it. That often means remaining closely in tune with your body because what works for you one day won’t necessarily benefit you the next.

That’s a lot to process.

Have I sparked your interest yet? I suggest you start by taking this quiz. The first section asks questions about you overall make-up (Prakriti), and the second focus on your recent state to identify your imbalances (Vikrities).

There’s a lot of learning on the horizon as I begin my adventure towards becoming a Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor. It’s super overwhelming, a ton of information, and I can’t learn to heal others through Ayurveda until I have to learned to heal myself. That means there will be a lot of self-experimentation. Wish me luck! I’ll share more as the journey unfolds.

xx

The Struggle Is Real

I’m reminded today that mourning can be incredibly lonely. Maybe it’s because no two people grieve in the same way. You can be in a room surrounded by others experiencing the same loss, but still feel alone.

We all know that life is a cycle with ups, downs, a beginning, middle, and end. Even when you have time to prepare for it, the loss of a vibrant life is still sharply felt. More so when the cycle ends early. But when the end is met by one’s own hands, I think the dagger in the hearts of those left behind twists a bit deeper.

Addiction is real, you guys. It’s scary, and it’s a growing problem. It does not discriminate, and it viciously takes lives.  I think it’s important to be clear: People struggling with addiction are not bad people. They are sick people.

As the daughter of an alcoholic, I’ve learned firsthand that you cannot save people. You can only love them. Over many moons and many years I’ve watched a growing number of family members, friends, peers, and acquaintances move into and throughout various stages of recovery. There are good days, weeks, and months. There are bad days, really bad days, many mistakes, false starts, and fresh ones. Second chances, third changes, thirtieth chances. Today is a harsh reminder that sometimes the people win; sometimes the sickness wins.

As I sit here mourning the loss of someone I once knew, I can’t help but think how little support our society lends to those seeking sobriety. Our culture glamorizes drinking. Even our spaces designed for wellness, health, fitness, and spiritual development proudly proclaim, “Detox to retox!” as gyms sell alcohol and yoga studios host Vino & Vinyasa nights.

I’m not here to judge or point fingers. I’m not asking you to quit partaking in your recreational things, or stop going to social events where there’s alcohol. Hell, I love a good cab sauv myself.  I’m just wondering… posing the question: As a society, are we inadvertently alienating those struggling with sobriety, or worst case even contributing to the problem?

We’ve seen the stats. We know that addiction is on the rise – especially in young people. We’ve acknowledged the increase in suicide (both intentional and accidental). So this a dialogue worth having.

What can we do?

I don’t have that answer.

I’m piecing together that for me supporting others working to achieve/maintain sobriety means treating addiction like a disease. I don’t blame people for being sick, I ask how I can help, shower them with love and well wishes, and tell them that I’m thinking about them while they go through this difficult time.

For me, it’s showing up with Thai food, hugs, a shoulder to cry on when they’ve been diagnosed. Listening and asking questions, with compassion, when they need to share. Checking in to ask how they’re feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Cheering them onwards and celebrating the milestones! Understanding without judgment when there are setbacks. It might mean tagging along for a few check-ups in the form of meetings – not only to provide support, but to learn more so that I can be a better friend. I’m sure the list will expand and evolve over time, but it’s all I’ve got for now.

Life is sacred. We only get one, and we touch so many others by our mere existence. If changing the approach to my role can be even the tiniest piece in the puzzle leading to someone else’s success story, it’s worth it.

We lost a fun, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, bright light in the world this week. Sending all my love and support to those left behind, to those of you struggling with addiction, or working on/kicking ass in recovery, and to those loving and cheering for a win from the sidelines. The struggle is real, and at the end of the day we’re all doing the best we can.