Keep Breathing

1 Feb

When I was little all I dreamed about was becoming a ballerina, chased that dream till I was 24 and finally realized after I graduated college, it was never gonna happen.  From the moment you have understanding of words, people fill your head with notions that you can do anything you want to, be anyone you want to.  In a very broad, pure sense it is true.  Why then couldn’t little Bethany grow up and be that ballerina?  I tried my heart out.  I auditioned, trained, did everything I was supposed to, really put myself out there.   Real life limitations happened, my body’s limitations.  I have scoliosis.  That is something I can’t ever change no matter how hard I try.  I couldn’t become a Ballerina because my shoulders are permanently hunched, because my hips aren’t even and when I bend forward you can actually see where my spine curves.  I was a good dancer but I was never going to be “great” because my body just wasn’t made in the image if a ballerina.  God made me perfect though, yes I have limitations, but he has taught me how to use them, and accept them.  He gave me Yoga.

Yoga, pure and simple, is a beautiful art form.  It is slow and focused, stimulating mind, body, and soul.  Technique is key but if yours isn’t perfect, you aren’t moved to stand in the back of the class, you are encouraged, welcomed with open arms.  Even with yoga I am constantly challenged.  My scoliosis doesn’t take it easy on me here either.  I have a harder time rolling my shoulders back, opening up my chest, lengthening my spine, than your average learner.  This doesn’t mean I am bad at Yoga though.  In fact it has taught me to stop beating myself up, have patience, work with my body instead of trying to force it.  I embrace my weakness because it has shown me my strength.  I am graceful, strong, and determined.  I may have rounded shoulders but I have long straight legs that are powerful and amazing.  My feet are built perfectly for balancing, I have long toes and a beautiful arch, my ankles are sturdy and flexible.  My arms are beautifully shaped and graceful.  The fact that I have something to work for just makes it all the more worthwhile.

No matter how much joy filled my heart when I was dancing, I always felt I was on trial, that I had to prove that I belonged.   Maybe I never did.  God gave me the want to be in motion.  I want to move, leap, dance, balance, stretch.  Yet dance was judgmental, it wanted something I could never give, it wanted perfection and I was just….me. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which is why I feel Yoga is such a gift.  It gives me the challenge of mastering a pose or movement yet it doesn’t judge.  I am not less because of my disability.  I am more, I have more to offer.  I understand so much now about how the spine works in our bodies, and how to protect it, care for it.  I have a better grasp on it then probably someone who has a perfect spine and lovely straight shoulders.  Now when I start teaching I will be able to help my students that much more.  I have learned that I am amazing at the balancing poses, or the stretching poses.  While my back may be curved, it is strong and I will master back bends.

Before, when I was a dancer, if there was something I didn’t know how to do, I would berate myself and force myself to do it whether my body was ready and capable or not.  I probably caused some damage that I will definitely experience in my golden years.  Heck, I already get achy joints when it is going to rain.  Through Yoga I have become excited when I see something I don’t know how to do yet, or I don’t have the strength yet.  Because this isn’t a race, I have all the time in the world to master the Inverted Locust pose.  I am not competing against anyone else.  I will be able to do it when my body is ready, and my body is becoming stronger everyday!

I will always have a special spot in my heart for dancing, when ever I hear an awesome song my body starts twitching, just aching to be let loose.  But dancing and being a dancer are two entirely different things and I finally learned that.  Yoga is Yoga.  God gave me Yoga.  God is Good.

Happy Sunday!

29 Jan

Sunday is such a beautiful day, and such a wonderful word if you think about it.  When I think of Sunday, my mind is filled with thoughts of going to church in pretty frocks, mugs full of coffee or tea, home cooked meals, family, and love.

I haven’t been to church in a while sad to say, but I try in my own little way to keep it a special day, a little gift from God at the end of the week.  It has been hard since my Yoga Teacher Training Course is every other Sunday, so two Sundays a week, I am working hard and concentrating my brains out.  Today however I was off!  So while doing a few odds and ends around the house I made this a special day.  Started it off with a bath (not sure why but bathing in the morning with the sun streaming in is my favorite bath time),  then after filling the washing machine and waiting for it to be done, I started a new series which I actually just heard of, “Downton Abbey”.  Such a great show!  Love the grand old houses, the gardens, and the gowns *swoon*.

My poor hubby received no such luxuries today, he had to go into work, like he does every Sunday.  I am so proud of my hard-working man who I like to have something tasty waiting for him when he gets home (food, to clarify to those pondering that sentence).  So today I am making homemade granola, which I am excited to say turned out amazing!  So I am happy to share:

The Hippie Housewife’s

  “Sunday Granola”

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Dry Ingredients:

10 cups rolled oats  (  I just bought the container that simply said oatmeal instead of instant oatmeal)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups grated coconut

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup dry milk  (should be in the baking isle)

2 Tbsp flax seeds

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup honey

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup all natural maple syrup

1/2 cup warm water
Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Combine the two ( wash your hands, fingers work great for this!).  After it is fully stirred place in two cookie sheets with sides.  Heat for 20-40 mins, stirring twice during baking.  Stir again when removed from oven to cool.  Now is the time to add raisins if you want some.  Store in airtight container.

Hope your Sunday was a good one and I hope you make the granola! 

Full of It

11 Jan

So I want to apologize, I am not writing about what I actually practice.  I have every good intention of leading this simple natural life, having my ducks in order, and all that jazz.  I don’t.  God has granted me this wonderful knowledge and understanding about life, but I have to be honest, I have squandered it.  I don’t practice what I preach.  I want to though, with all my heart, not sure why I prevent myself from doing so.  Maybe I am more afraid than I realized, afraid of success because then I have something to uphold rather than just work for, which is way less pressure.  Maybe I am afraid to be happy on my own without help from anyone.  Or I hold myself back for others to catch up.  I might be afraid of being a person others look up to because I don’t feel confident in myself.  I thought I was done with fear but now I know that fear has a deeper hold on me then I ever realized.  Maybe I am just so used to making others happy that I have no clue how to do it for myself.

There are some days when I truly do love my life, I see God’s beauty everywhere and it fills my heart with such happiness it hurts.  Then there are the days where nothing is beautiful and I feel all alone and not sure where I took a wrong turn to land me here.

Those are the days when I need to reach past the darkness and grab a hold of something good, something strong, but I don’t.  I let myself be filled with sadness and do nothing productive.  Which is not good.  I have to start taking my advice.  I need to start doing something for myself and let go of this fear that wraps itself around my heart.  It was foolish of me to think fear was something easy to be rid of, that I could analyze myself in the span of a couple of days and voilà, its gone.  I underestimated my enemy and it took the advantage.

Now reader don’t worry, I am not a crazy depressed loon, I just had a rude awakening to my mistakes and now I have a heck of a lot of catch up to play.  Not to mention my yoga teacher training practicum midterms are this week so there is no time to waste.  It’s a now or never kind of thing.  I am going to ace this midterm because I want this, and it is at the same time, something I fear.  I am gonna kick it in the ASS.

So please be patient with me, don’t give up on my humble blog, because I was full of you-know-what when I wrote my last couple entries.  Good advice is worth nothing if you don’t follow it yourself.  From now on I am gonna back up what I say, I am gonna walk the walk.

A Clean Slate

8 Jan

Last year I was exhausted.  Exhausted by all the activities I tried to commit to, the projects I picked up, old projects I had worked on for ages it seemed.  Busy, busy, busy, but I never seemed to ever catch up, I couldn’t get anything done.  I would sit down to work on one project and my mind would be racing in so many directions, all the ideas I had and wanted to bring to life, that I usually ended up getting nothing done at all.

I am happy that I am an ambitious person, full of creative ideas, crafty, and filled with excitement, but what good is all that if I am overwhelmed and hunkered down on the couch because I can’t handle how full my plate has become?  This new year is about embracing everything I love about myself, and learning to manage it.   Simplify, relax,  realize everything has a time and a place, and keep in mind that multitasking is completely over-rated.

I came across this article in “Yoga Journal”, a really amazing magazine.  It was written by a published author Helena Echlin.  It just made sense to me.  The article was all about how our true happiness is so hard to find because we are constantly filling our lives with things that only bring instant gratification, and not putting in the time to figure out what we truly need, versus worldly wants and desires, that leave us wanting more, rather than satisfying us.

In the article, Helena, states that simplicity means focusing on whats vital in your life and deciding what truly matters to you as a person.  Steer away from a more commercial lifestyle filled with mindless acquiring of possessions that usually have no true connection to you as a person.  To figure out what you truly value and what you can live without, Helena writes:

  • Identify what gives you energy
  • Talk about it
  • Slow down
  • Confront the numbers
  • Visualize the simple life

Focusing our time on something or someone who gives us energy, instead of taking away from our precious store, is key to happiness.  When we are energetic, we are optimistic, cheerful, ambitious, excited about life.

Talking to someone who you trust is important, ( I definitely don’t always know how I think or feel truly until I sit down and hash things out, with my husband, or family, or my dearest friends).  Talking is a way of thinking out loud, we hear our own thoughts, receive honest feedback and are face to face with things we don’t always notice by ourselves.

Slowing down is an amazing thing that can do wonders, ( I don’t really absorb anything when I am rushing around like a mad woman), just like when you eat too fast you aren’t really tasting all the flavors of your food.  Life is full of flavors and experiences, just waiting to be noticed.

Confronting the numbers, something everyone is scared to do, me especially.  Think about it though, how many of us are weighed down by money issues, trying to spread out every dollar, working extra hours so that we can have more of it.   Maybe the issue is not that you need more money but that your money is going towards things that don’t actually give to a lifestyle that is conducive for happiness.  Go over your bank statement and divide everything into groups such as groceries, activities, bills, entertainment, clothing, etc.  Then do the math, how much do you spend in each group?  Ask yourself the hard questions, is it worth it, is it contributing to my true happiness,  is this a necessity or something I  can do without?  Who knows, maybe you actually do have the money to take up that sewing class, or start a garden fund, or a vacation fund.

The last, visualizing the simple life, might be the hardest of all.  You need to be truly honest with yourself.  Make two lists, one filled with everything you don’t like or want to change about your life.  Things that you waste hard-earned time, money, and energy on.  Things that might not make you unhappy but don’t really give in a positive way.  The second list should be filled with everything you really want to do, or have, or be, that hasn’t happened, simply because of lack of time, energy, or funds.  Now compare the two lists, see how they can be merged together to create the life that is truly you.  Sometimes we can’t do everything we would like too, but by cutting out some unnecessary things, we are making room for something that wasn’t fitting before.

When I read that article, it was a total “light bulb” moment.  For me, life is finally becoming life again instead of just being something to get through.  It’s nice when these little bread crumbs show up, beckoning the way we should go.  Now I just have to man up and put in the work.

Something We should ask Ourselves

5 Jan

This Little Light of Mine

3 Jan

“I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.”

Pretty sure I used that quote last year at this time, but it is from such an amazing movie, I think it deserves re-use.  Besides it is exactly how I am feeling now, with a new year spread out before me, like a buffet table, amazing and difficult choices laid out for me to mull over.  Like the quote says, I know what I want, and most importantly, I KNOW WHO I AM!  So exciting to say that, so fulfilling and rewarding.  After how many years of struggle and tears, insecurities and heartache, I have made it to the top of that jumbled heap that was my adolescence and am victorious!  I definitely don’t have life down to a science, and I know I am still gonna make a few bad choices, but I am strong in who I am, who God wants me to be, and  I am not going to change for anybody or anything.

I am still dealing with fear, but I know now that it can’t stop me.   I am stronger in the Lord then I have ever been and He has shown me who I can trust, and with all His grace and wisdom, has shown me not to fear the people I can’t trust.  It is an amazing thing to have fear lifted from your shoulders.  Pain is an awful, horrible thing, but a part of life that I can face, standing tall and confident.  I am not weak, I am so strong, stronger than I ever realized.  My values and morals have been constant friends,  a light given by my Savior to guide my path.  Much like that  song sung in every Sunday School class for ages, “This Little Light of Mine”.  My light has wavered in the wind, dwindled to near nothingness, almost swallowed by the dark, but it has never gone out, nor will it ever, and for that I am so very thankful.

Trust me, I know I am not perfect, in fact I can see my road of growth stretching out in front of me, it’s dark with uncertainty as is reality.  The thing that is exciting me so much is that I no longer have to be afraid of it.  My life is something for me to delight in, enjoy, learn from, grow from.

Fall is theLove of my Life

10 Nov

Everything about Fall, from it’s name, all the way down to it’s scent appeals to me.  Talk about true love.  Cardigans, pomegranates, boots, soup, trees, red leaves, rosy cheeks, Gingerbread Lattes, Irish Breakfast Tea with cream, cuddles on a cold night, crushed leaves, and pumpkins.  Those are just to name a few of the gems that sparkle and shine come September.

You see landscapes  like this:

and wear comfy, fun things like this:

and cook delicious, hearty foods like this:

The Stew is a new recipe I just tried recently, found in one of those cooking magazines, that I never pay much attention to.  This recipe is so easy and tasty though that I think those magazines I used to ignore will now be something I regularly check!