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Monday, April 15, 2013

I haven't been avoiding you, I promise (another update)

Y'all (I do not know why, but I have been DYING to say Y'all lately)

Ahem.

So, y'all are probably wondering where the heck I have been?

As you know, I have several 'irons in the fire' so-to-speak.



FIRST:

The website: www.marenhasse.com -- it is live but not populated yet.  I am currently writing content for that and looking for TESTIMONIALS.  If you feel called to send me one.  I will love you forever.  No really, I will.

SECOND:

The book, FIERCE Integrity: A Course in Living Your Truth.  IT'S COMING!  I have been working on some reader give-aways: guided meditations, extra audio talks.  I have been looking at cover designs and reviewing the manuscript (again and again) to make sure we get it right.  It looks AWESOME!  You guys are going to love it!

THIRD:

I have been COLLABORATING with the inimitable Sarah Salter Kelly to bring you Snakes and Ladders: An Authentic Woman's Adventure.  Registration is now open, deadline for early bird registration is June 1st!

FOURTH:

I have started a new Facebook community: join the fun HERE

FIFTH:

I have been publishing on Elephant Journal.  Click below to see what I've been up to over there.

Loving My Inner Child, Even When She Misbehaves

How Facebook Turned Me into a Science Experiment


As you know, when the new site is populate this one will be coming down.  I plan on creating an e-book on this "MareBare Necessities" experience.

Finally, join my list of subscribers if you don't want to miss a thing:

http://forms.aweber.com/form/46/1912549446.htm


xoxo
Maren

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's SPRING! No really...It is!

Here is what I have been up to in order to ring in the season:


And yes, I know that I am completely ridiculous.

And I am totally ok with it.

How are you ringing in the Spring?

Did you know that you get to create what you want?

Check out my Newsletter to see what I mean...

Happy Spring everyone!

xo M.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BREAKING NEWS... or you know, an update

How's about just a general update to start of with? (The breaking news is coming, I promise)

I don't do this very often.  Maybe I should?  I don't know.

What I do know is that while I love to write, like LOVE to write, if I am not "in the flow" than I might as well not even bother.  Seriously, I could sit here all day, looking at the screen, clicking in and out of Facebook and random searches on the internet only to have absolutely nothing to show for it.

In contrast, some days the words just come pouring out of me.  When I am in the flow, writing is truly effortless.  For example, I wrote an article on the plane while en route to a family vacation in Arizona.  Now, it needs to be said that this is not exactly an atmosphere conducive to writing.  Chephren was sitting next to me, wiggling, fidgeting, squirming, snacking, drinking, bathroom-ing as most four year olds do when asked to sit still for 3 hours.  And yet, in between all of those distraction, out came the article.

When I got here I decided to submit it to Elephant Journal...something that I have long told myself I would do.

A week later?  Ta-Da!  Published.  (You can read it here).

What a beautiful and fun creative process.

Today?  Not happening.  Sorry.

So, instead, I am going to post some pics on here.  From our vacation.  How very mommy-blog of me.

Those are coming up soon, but for now, I should also tell you that I am going to be taking down this blog.  

You heard me, MareBare Necessities will soon be no more

Don't worry, don't worry.  I am going to still be blogging.  But I am going to be publishing from a new site:  www.marenhasse.com

In the coming weeks, I will be reflecting here on the MareBare Journey, sharing some highlights, and setting the stage for what is to come.

Let's hope that I am gifted with some flow to make it happen!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy these pics from the desert...















xoxo M.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Post 3 of 6: Coaching = the perfect pair of pants

I hope you don't mind, but I am going to take some liberties with the order of the list I am working on.

As such, today's topic is going to be on "being more disciplined with my practice".

Maybe this is clear as day to you, and maybe this is a bit muddy, but either way, I would like to explore what I mean by the word "practice".

When I think of the word practice, I think of an action (or actions) that you repeat, with the intention of honing or finessing the skill(s) involved, of improving or maintaining them in some way.

For me, the action(s) or skills that I am working at, that I am practicing, are those that have served as "tools" in my journey towards personal transformation. These tools being yoga, mindfulness, contemplation, meditation, Gratitude, writing, setting intentions, and ceremony.



In my New Year's post - I talked about how I needed to get bored this year.  A pattern that exists in my life is that I willingly try something new, throw myself fervently into that activity or project.  You saw this with the start of this whole thing; MareBare Necessities.  Actually, the fact that I even completed the one-year challenge is a bit of miracle, because typically, when my "new thing" starts to plateau and lose its lustre, boredom sets in and I am off looking for my next new thing.  My whole life I have been repeating this pattern, leaving a trail of unfinished projects behind me.

There are lots of examples; knitting, sewing, gardening, foraging, photography, scrapbooking, a whole host of outdoor sports, but perhaps the best example is my choice of career.

A few of my hobbies...
In the past I have jokingly said that I have tried different careers on like pants.  Endlessly searching for that "perfect fit".

About a year ago, I found it.  Coaching = the perfect pair of pants.

It is exactly what I have been looking for, and I can honestly say that it is my dream job, but now that the newness of it has started to wear off, I am really being tested.

Can I settle in?  Can I navigate the plateau?  Can I sit with the part of me that is addicted to all that is new and shiny?

I know that I can and that I will, but it will require discipline.  A strong commitment to myself, to this path.

From my heart to yours,

xoxo M.















Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post 2 of 6: Dieting is for Dodo Birds.


Yesterday we talked about the word discipline and how we were going to attempt to turn around its bad reputation.

Today I want to talk about the first item on my list:

Be even more disciplined with my food. 

I would love to know how many people wrote down a similar resolution this past New Year's?  You know what I am talking about..."Lose 15, 20, 50 pounds this year"..."Stick to my Paleo diet"..."No more snacks after dinner"...etc.

And if that was you, don't worry, I can relate.  After high school (while recovering from the binging-purging behaviors that come with bulimia), I put on about 50 pounds.  For most of my 20's I weighed a good 20-40 pounds more than I do now.  And I was so unhappy with my body.  If I loathed myself while I was skinny and bulimic, just imagine how I felt about my body when it was "fat".  So for all of you who hold similar beliefs about your body, I can empathize.  (In case you missed it - you can read more on the body image topic here).

Every New Years during that time (and frankly, every other week), I would desperately try to problem-solve my way out of this dilemma.  I tried the SouthBeach diet, the Bloodtype diet, the GI diet, the Body for Life diet, I gave up wheat, I gave up meat, I gave up dairy, I tried weight watchers...nothing worked.  At least, not over the long term.

Now, I need to clarify something here.  There is nothing wrong with any of those eating plans/diets/lifestyles.  Most of them encourage you to eat better, get more exercise, and generally take better care of yourself, which are all good ideas.  

For me, the missing part of the equation, the thing that was guaranteeing my failure each time, was the voice in my head.

You see, each time I embarked on another diet, I did it with this as my mantra, "I am so fat.  If I could just lose x lbs, I would be so much happier".  Hmmmm....do you see the problem here?

Maybe you do (and if so, great), but if not, consider this: our thoughts create our reality.  Meaning, my thought, "I am so fat", was true because I believed it.  I was telling myself that "fact" all day.  And each time I put food in my mouth, I did it from this point of view.  Food was the enemy, food was making me fat.  Woah...talk about giving all of my power away!

Now, if you have done the FIERCE Integrity e-Course, you know how I turned this around.  Actually, it's in my upcoming book too, but I will give you a hint.

In order for my body to change, I had to change my thoughts about it.

The voice had to become more loving, more accepting, more kind.  My relationship with food had to change too.  I had to stop using food as an opportunity to punish, and instead use it as an opportunity to nourish.

Because of this inner work, my self-discipline resolution around food is radically different today than it was back then.

Today, it involves:

  1. Eating with more awareness, more reverence, more Gratitude.
  2. Being very present when I cook.
  3. Being very intentional in planning our meals -- I have been very successful with this one.  I told you about my vegetable mission a la Jessica Seinfeld.  Every Sunday, I spend 1-2 hours planning our meals -- I have been using a program called Plan to Eat and it is amazing!  I puree the veggies we need, make a week's worth of sweet potatoes/whole grain waffles for the freezer (simply pop them in the toaster to re-heat and my son LOVES them!), and basically figure out my life for the week.  Gone are the days when I get home at 530 (or 700!) and wonder what the heck I'm going to make for supper.  The result?  We have less food waste AND we spend less money.

Can you see how planning, cooking and eating would look very different if done in this way?

Can you use food as a means to love yourself more deeply instead of punish yourself more fervently?









Monday, February 11, 2013

Post 1 of 6: Self-Discipline - And It's NOT What You Think!

At the start of our new calendar year, 2013, I blogged about New Year's traditions/resolutions. I talked about how I love new beginnings, starting fresh, etc.

Yesterday marked another New Beginning, Chinese New Year, this year marking the Year of the Snake.



Last year, the year of the Dragon, was all about Transformation.  Think of it like a caterpillar going into its chrysalis.  If we embrace(d) the energy that was available, this is what is/was possible.  A COMPLETE CHANGE OF FORM!!!  Kind of cool to think about, don't you think?

This year, courtesy of that powerful serpent energy, is all about shedding.  It is about emerging from the chrysalis.  It is about letting go of what needs to be left behind: your old stories, your old habits, and emerging as your 'new self'.  I like to think of this as being more YOU than you had ever dared to be before.  It isn't about being someone who you think you should be, it is about being brave enough to show the world the REAL YOU.

Are you with me?

Ok, so being the very intentional being that I am (or am aspiring to be), I made a 'plan' for this emergence, this re-birth if you will.  How was I going to show up this year?  How could I get in touch with and then stand forward in an even deeper, truer version of myself?  

In that first post of 2013, I told you about how one of my intentions was to try to 'get bored'.  To do less.  To simple 'be' more often.

How am I doing on that?  Well, to be honest, it has been a struggle.  I am learning though, and this intention stays with me, on most days anyways.  Learning to simply allow myself to be is really challenging for me.  It is learning to embrace that 'contraction' part of the cycle of co-creation.

Something that I neglected to tell you about my New Year's list and traditions is that I also like to pick a word each year.  A word, much like an intention or a mantra, can be used to ground my experience.  To help shape me.  To help me receive.  To help me Serve.

My word this year was discipline.

Now, before you quickly jump to conclusions and perhaps even exit this post, let me clarify something.

The word discipline has a really bad rap.  Typically, when people think of this word, especially when used in conjunction with New Year's resolutions, they are thinking about it in terms of its harshness.  It is often associated with holding oneself to strict standards, and followed up with punishment if there is perceived failure.

This is not the kind of discipline that I am talking about.  I am using this word with the intention of loving myself more deeply, not punish myself.

When I wrote the word discipline down in my journal, around it are 5 principles or ideas:

1. Be even more disciplined with my food.

2. Be more disciplined with my belongings.

3. Be more disciplined with my practice.

4. Be more disciplined with the voice in my head.

5. Be more disciplined with my consumption.

I started off writing this post with the intention of expanding on all of them and going into more detail, but holy, that would make for a long post.  Instead, I thought it would be more fun to expand on each one of them - making a series of blog posts instead.

If you are interested, stick around, and check back often - 5 more posts will follow to round out the series.  Also, feel free to throw your ideas/two cents in.  Let's get this conversation started!

PS - a lot of these are FIERCE Integrity topics!

Much love,

Maren

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Contraction

I have an addiction.

I am addicted to feeling good.  To having lots of energy.  To laughter.  To play.  To the feeling of a light and open heart.

When I feel like this, I feel as if I could do anything.  I feel like I am home.  I feel like I AM all that I can be, or at least well on my way there.

When I don't feel this way, I feel like something is wrong.  I feel like I am broken in some way.  And I resist it.  I fight it.  I struggle against it.

I once heard Marianne Williamson compare the experience of "waking up" to giving birth.

This comparison allowed for powerful imagery within me, allowing me to readily identify with it.  In my journey, I have often found myself heading forward, accelerating towards the light and all of the possibilities that might live there.  This is the part of the journey that I live for, it is what feels good to me.  This forward movement, this expansion, it is what feeds my addiction.



And yet we know that this is not how birthing happens.  No baby just slides its way out into the world in one effortless burst forward--and if it does happen this way, it is a rare occurrence!

Instead, what follows every forward burst, every expansion, is a period of contraction, where the baby actually moves back into the womb, retreating into the dark.

This contraction phase is everything that the expansion phase is not.  It is subtle.  It is quiet.  It is slow.   It represents the "yinside" of life, of the human experience.

According to the Tao, every single thing must fall into balance.  Every.  Single.  Thing.

This means that with every "expansion" that I experience, there MUST be a period of contraction.  Of low energy.  Of tranquility.  Of solitude.



And I am in this phase of contraction, with no where else to be but in it.

I want to stop craving the light, but I haven't.  Not yet anyway.  Wondering if I ever will.

For now, I am learning to be even gentler with myself.  Even softer.  I am looking for ways to honour this phase.  A quiet walk outside in the dark after dinner.  Allowing myself a deep stretch with a yin yoga practice.  Allowing my husband to step in and help out.

Grateful that this too, shall pass.

xoxo M.








Wednesday, February 6, 2013

50 Things I Love About Me

Ok.

I am uncomfortable with my last post.  Not uncomfortable enough to remove it, because as I have talked about here and here, discomfort is likely a good thing.

But then my own "inner coach" stepped in and started to explore/self-analyze this situation.  Oh great.

And what did my inner coach suggest?  She suggested that I actually follow through with the "50 things that I love about me" list.  Oh brother.

When I started to think about this exercise, I thought, "No problem.  I love me, this'll be easy."  But driving home from preschool this morning, I started to think that it might be harder than I thought.  So, here it is.  Bear with me, I might be grasping at a few straws along the way.

Photo Credit: Jody Goodwin


50 Things I Love About Me:

  1. I already shared with you the "quick at getting ready thing", so it is first.  (Oh man, am I grasping already?)
  2. My taste in clothes.  I love wearing colourful, if not a bit zany, clothing.  
  3. My willingness to look inwards (most days, I am more than willing to do this, other than today, which is what brought me to making this list in the first place).
  4. My ankles/feet.  They look great in beautiful shoes.
  5. I am a great cook (most days).  
  6. I have a pretty good sense of humour.
  7. I love to talk (and mostly, I love that about me)
  8. My ability to be honest, with myself and others (although as you know by now, this is an ever-unfolding and deepening journey)
  9. My resolve.  When I really want to do something, I generally don't quit until I have sorted it out.
  10. My smile.  Crooked teeth and all.
  11. My eyes.  They are windows right into my soul, and they are usually shining with mischief and delight.
  12. My relationship with words: both written and spoken.  I like that I can access a variety of ways to express myself.
  13. My readiness to get excited about stuff.
  14. My sensitivity to energy.
  15. My ability to reflect.
  16. My ability to be be Grateful.
  17. My ability to Manifest.
  18. My commitment to myself and my family.
  19. My desire to be of Service.
  20. My yoga practice and everything that it entails.
  21. My ability to focus on something and get it done efficiently.
  22. My punctuality.
  23. My belief in myself and others.
  24. My ability to listen to my intuition and my willingness to act on it.
  25. My ability to see other people's gifts and unlimited potential.
  26. My ability to reframe ideas.
  27. My creativity.
  28. My willingness to forgive.
  29. My willingness to indulge in self-care.
  30. My willingness to honor where I am at in all of this.
  31. My cute little tummy.
  32. My ability to fall asleep easily and peacefully.
  33. My ability to ground myself and self-soothe.
  34. My (usually!) positive outlook on life.
  35. My willingness to be uncomfortable and stretch myself.
  36. My willingness to try new things.
  37. My inherent curiosity about people, places, things.
  38. My respect for sentient beings.
  39. My playful, inner child.
  40. My ability to learn new ideas/concepts quite easily.
  41. My ability to write multiple choice exams.
  42. My willingness to be silly.
  43. My sense of accountability.
  44. My willingness to be vulnerable.
  45. My physical health.
  46. My tattoo.
  47. My independence.
  48. My typing speed (Ok, starting to grasp!)
  49. My voice: ability to speak.
  50. ALL of the skills that allow me to do what I love (coaching, yoga, writing).
That wasn't so difficult after all.

Interestingly, while I love these things about me, I know that they aren't who I am.  My true essence, who I AM, is what remains when all of these characteristics fall away.

It is an interesting thing to be human.  To know that you are spiritual being having a human experience.  To walk in both worlds, both human and Divine.

My last post was very human, and in no way does it mean that I have forgotten who I AM.  I haven't.  I am simply honouring my humanness, my imperfection, my present truth.

What do you love about you?  About your human manifestation?  Can you come up with 50 things?  Think it's easy?  Great, then I CHALLENGE YOU!!!

 xoxo M.

What is true today.

Sometimes I am so sick of myself.

Ironic, because I woke up with a desire to write down "Things that I Love about Me"...only to find that Louise Hay posted a similar idea on Facebook this morning.  Now, I am a supreme lover of all things involving synchronicity, but the truth is, today I am not feeling it.

This morning, as I started to make my list, the one thing that came forward was "I love how quickly I can get ready in the morning".  Seriously.  I have mad skills.  I can shower, dress, blow dry and style my hair, moisturize and do my makeup in 15 minutes.  I think that is even faster than Trent.  So yeah, I like that about me.

I can celebrate this small win today, but as for the rest of that list?  It will have to wait until another day.

This journey that I am on, this path that I have chosen, has involved a ton of self-reflection.  I have referred to it as a "journey inwards" and "the path to self-awareness".  Don't get me wrong, it has been an amazing ride, and a wonderful experience, but today?  Today I am so over it.

Today I find that I am tired of analyzing, reflecting, and observing.  I am tired of aspiring, thinking, and growing.

Frankly, I just want to stick my head in the sand for a while.  I simply want to BE.



And maybe I am not supposed to say these things...in fact, I have consciously avoided ever putting anything negative on this blog.  I have been avoiding the truth.  The truth is, sometimes I don't feel like doing "my work".  Sometimes I want to pretend that there isn't any "work" to be done.

And maybe that's ok.  I have had days (haha, ok, weeks) like this before.  Where I wanted to simply step off the road momentarily and take a break.  For some reason, I always seem to get back on, and I am sure that this "break" is no exception.

Now, after re-reading what I just wrote, I have to laugh, because it is actually "work-related".  What I wrote here is truth-based.  And today, I guess that I am willing to go there; to speak a truth that isn't all gushy and rose-colored.

So yeah.  That is what is happening today.

M.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stretched!

Have you ever stretched yourself?

No, I am not talking about yoga (for once), or warming up your muscles before a workout... I am talking about the kind of stretching that is required for personal growth.

To be stretched means to do something outside of your comfort zone...something that you have maybe done before.  Really, if you think about it, the first time you do anything (as an adult), it is going to be uncomfortable, especially if it involves other people witnessing your first attempt.  This would be a great topic for a later blog post, but for now I am going to argue that this stretching, this discomfort, is important.  It is essential.  Because it is through this willingness to stretch ourselves, to test our limits, that we discover more of our true selves.  What we are actually capable of when we don't allow fear to stand in the way.

You see, in order to grow, change, transform, we need to stretch (or be stretched).

I only ask because this past weekend was a bit of a stretch for me.

A while back, in November I think, I was asked to speak at a fundraising event that was to be held in February at the local theatre - Horizon Stage.  Horizon Stage is a beautiful venue... I know this because I have been involved in many a production there as a drama student in both junior and senior high.

Poster for the event

To be honest, when I was asked, I didn't give it much thought.  Could I speak?  Sure.  Lord knows I love to talk (ummm...okay so maybe that is the understatement of the year).  And speaking is something that fits well with 'the plan'...you know, that list of (not-so-far-off) dreams.

I should tell you that I am so the person who agrees to stuff readily without considering it that much.  In other words, I love to say yes, leaving myself to figure out the details later.  I probably don't have to tell you that this has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion...

So, I said yes.  And I didn't give it much thought until January rolled around.  Oh January.  My soul thanks you.  Thank you for the lessons that you invariably seem to bring forward.  Thank you for the opportunity to see yet an even deeper level of what I am 'working on'.  I know that you are a gift.

But the voice in my head?  It is so very, very Grateful that you have gone away for another 11 months. And this part of me celebrated your passing.  February 1 was a day of celebration in my life.  Nope.  That is an understatement.  I actually frolicked.  Seriously.

Erm.  Anyway.  As I was saying, I spent part of January trying to figure out 'the details' of my speech.  What was my intention?  What did I really want people to know/take away?  Was I sure that I could even do this?  Was I going to freak out?  Was I going to screw up?  What if I completely sucked?  And on and on and on...anxiety building as the date crept ever closer.

Saturday, February 2nd.  The big night was here.

And it was perfect.  Not that I was perfect (haha, hardly!) but the experience was perfect.  My dry mouth, my heart pounding in my chest, my shallow breathing.  Even my note to myself: Breathe.  Go slow.  Remember who you are (FLOW!)  Smile.  Have fun.  All of these feelings of discomfort, of uncertainty, paved the way to the actual experience.  Spotlight on, staring into a black hole, speaking to a silent room filled with 150 people.

And you know what?  It was fun.  And now I know that I can do this.  And I know that I like to do this.  And I want to do it again.

So the stretch?  Uncomfortable?  You bet.

But it was so very, very worth it.

Thank you for the opportunity Jillian Rutledge and the Mishah Ocean Foundation.

M. xoxo

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Intentional Lying... this is what is has come down to!

I didn't realize that I had been holding my breath...

Holy SH$T!  He went for it!!!  My son, actually ate it.  And liked it.  It felt like a dream come true.  Like I had won the lottery.

*Disclaimer*
You very well might judge me for what you are about to read...

When Chephren was little he would eat everything.  And I mean everything.  He had an insatiable appetite.

Cute little dude, wasn't he?
And then he turned two.  And he discovered that his locus of control didn't lie entirely outside of himself...  And man did he take that realization to heart... and he continues to until this day!

Now there are some wonderful things about raising a child who is so strong-willed... I think.  There must be.  Hmmm... I guess that I will have to get back to you on this one.

The point being, if Chephren sees some way/shape/form that he can exert some control over his environment, he takes it.  Since the age of two, food has become one of his primary targets.

To say that his dietary preferences are extremely limited is an understatement.  Does he eat fruits/veggies?  Sure.  About 4 different varieties of them.  Seriously.

Remember this?  Hiding veggies under the couch.

As you may/may not recall... I am a vegetarian.  I prepare/consume around 10-15 different varieties of fruits/vegetables myself... daily.  To say that this behaviour of my son's pushes my buttons is also a very large understatement.

Playing with the contents of my Organic Box :)
Until now, I would have said that I had tried EVERYTHING to sort this thing out...  I have tried to take him shopping with me and choose which fruits/veggies he will eat.  I have found and read him children's books about the importance of healthy eating.  I have downloaded apps on the iPad that relate to healthy eating.  I have modelled (and continued to model) the behaviour that I desire to see instead.  In times of desperation, I have even tried to bribe and/or punish him to get him to eat his vegetables.

I know, I know.  This is an age-old (and first world) problem.

Quite a while back, I had heard about Jessica Seinfeld's approach (hiding pureed fruits/veggies in your child's favourite dishes, including treats) from a friend of mine.  I had considered it then but decided that I didn't want to deceive Chephren.  I wanted him to develop a taste for healthy food that would set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.

On the one hand, I tell myself that maybe I should let it go and not worry so much.  After all, at his last yearly check-up, it was confirmed for me that he continues to do very well in terms of his development.  He is (and always has been) in the 95th percentile for height and weight, and is reaching or exceeding all of his developmental milestones.  On the other hand, he is currently battling his FOURTH illness of this nasty cold/flu season.  I have him on multi-vitamins and yet, I have to question if he would be more resilient to illness if he ate better.

Extremely frustrated with this last bout of illness (and currently sleep deprived, so maybe not thinking clearly), I have decided to try the Jessica Seinfeld plan.

The first recipe I tried was one for carrot-cake cupcakes.  In the batch of 12 there was a full 1.5 cups of pureed veggies (I used carrots and sweet potato).  The rest of the recipe was pretty healthy as well, not a lot of fat or sugar.



And you already know what happened.  He ate it... and loved it.

Maybe you are saying, "So what's the problem?"

Well, in my upcoming book FIERCE Integrity: A Course in Living Your Truth, there is a section on the subject of intentional lying.  And that is exactly what this is.

In the book I suggest that people do a self-check in before consciously telling a lie.  I tell them to ask themselves, honestly and with Integrity:

"What is my intention?  Is it to do no harm?"

Obviously my intention here is to do what I feel is in the best interest of my son.

I will let you know how some of the rest of the "experiments" turn out.  (I have already screwed up the sweet potato pancake recipe - they all came out raw in the middle).

Despite the failed pancake attempt, I am celebrating the cupcakes.  For now, I am calling this one a win.

If you have any insights/ideas on this topic, I would love to hear them!

M.

Ok, one more photo... saw this on Facebook and it was too cute not to share:








Truth. A light in the darkness.


I feel like starting this post with "reporting to you from the depths..."  Although it wouldn't be completely accurate.  It would be more accurate to say "reporting to you from the surface..." where I have been waiting... not-so-patiently treading water.  

And, I am getting tired.  

If you haven't figured it out, I am referring to my depression.  Actually, if you are wondering where I have been for the past month, I have been kind of waiting to be on the 'other side' so that I could have started this post with "reporting to you from the other side..."

I am not on the other side.

I am reticent to report to you from this place, and yet, I know that it is what needs doing.  As a yoga teacher, a friend, a daughter, a wife, and even more so; a coach, I have always felt like I needed to deny these dips.  To lay low until they passed.  I have felt like I wasn't "allowed" to feel this way.  

This post is an attempt to undo part (if not all) of that story.  

The truth is, they still happen.  Some last longer than others, and looking back, this one has been around since the beginning of December.  

Sure, I know my triggers.  The darkness of the winter months (I suppose that is called seasonal affective disorder), the bitter cold of the climate in which I live, lack of sleep (last night I had about 4 hours because my son is literally on ROUND 4 of this cold/flu season).  

I have come to know the signs/symptoms of these 'dips'... low energy, extreme irritability (esp. on mornings like this), fits of crying - largely spent on the floor of my closet.  

All of this is/has been true on this go around, and yet one thing is for certain, something has changed.  

Looking back on my life, I can see that I have been suffering with depression for most, if not all, of my adult life.  I would estimate that it actually started in junior high school, although I am not sure exactly.  I have been doing a bit of 'light reading' on the topic lately (even though I have a degree in psychology, I had largely forgotten all that I had learned more than a decade ago).  My actual diagnosis is that of 'Post-partum depression' although I know now that it is more likely to be 'Clinical depression' -- meaning a depression that is due to a biochemical imbalance in the brain and one that continually cycles, year after year.  There is no real 'cure' other than medication and I have been there, done that... hopefully never to return.

And so here I am, riding out yet another 'storm'.  

The funny part is, I now know that these periods, these lows, these dips, aren't even real.  They feel real in a very physical and emotional sense, but they aren't.  Somehow I have managed to separate the truth of my essence (the real me) from this experience.  

What does this mean? (This is the part where I can hear my perceived skepticism bouncing back at me)...

Well, let me describe it to you this way... I used to become these dips, this darkness.  I used to allow it to permeate every single thought, every moment, every cell of my being.  I think that on some level that I was addicted to it.  Addicted to its familiarity, taking some kind of deranged comfort as it enveloped me in its grasp, virtually smothering me.  

I can honestly say it isn't like that any more.  My experience has completely changed.  I am no longer debilitated nearly to the same degree by these dips as I used to be.  In the past two months, I have managed to go to work, feed my family, visit with friends, even LAUGH.  You know, live.  

Now, maybe you are thinking, this girl is delusional... she doesn't look/seem/act depressed AT ALL!  And if you think that, that makes me glad.  Not that I am trying to fool you, or myself.  I am simply trying to allow these dips to flow right through me.  I am trying to be present to them as they pass through my life.  I am trying to view them as 'flowers' being thrown at me rather than 'arrows' being fired (see this Buddhist reference here).  I am trying to receive the gifts that are inherent with any trying times.  

And, its working.

You see, I have a few things going for me now that I didn't have before:

1. I know when I am 'in it' and I no longer deny that I am (to myself anyway, and now apparently to you).
2. When I am in it, I access my resources... and I have many.  
  • My husband: God BLESS this man
  • My mom and dad: unbelievable in their unconditional love and support of me
  • My friends: I am truly Grateful and Grace-filled in their loving presence
  • My coach: remarkable, talented and steadfast
  • And the odd indulgence... one of which is below.
One of my 'coping strategies' is to envision myself running away.  I think that it is truly representative of my searching outside of myself for what I know lies within (LIGHT), but on the truly dark days, I completely indulge this fantasy.  Yesterday was one of them and here is a light-hearted depiction of one of these fantasies:




And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Dealing with what is...

"It is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us, and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely or inadequate, there's been some kind of mistake or we've lost it.  In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path.  This is when real transformation can take place."
~Pema Chodron

If you're still reading, thanks for listening.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

xoxo





Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From Busy to Bored

Happy New Year!

The holidays are officially over in my house - hubby went back to work today and Chephren went back to his dayhome.  I have been in a bit of a 'coasting' mode with just about everything for the past month -- my work, my housecleaning, my cooking, my yoga, my spiritual practice, my writing, EVERYTHING.

Boy am I glad that it is January.

I am fired up to be back into a routine and to 'begin again' on my process of co-creating and manifesting my heart's true desires.

I love to start a New Year.  As I alluded to in my last post on Solstice, I love anything that spells a new beginning: a new year, a new moon, a new season.  One of my favourite times of year when I was growing up was going back to school in the fall.  Sure, my excitement faded quickly as the 'boring' routine set in, but even then, I loved the feeling of possibility that often comes with starting something new.

For me, ringing in a New Year comes with many traditions and rituals.  One of these is to write in my Gratitude Journal for all of the experiences in the previous year that I am grateful for.  I also usually pull some oracle cards and write these ideas/messages down in my journal.  I connect with my family and ask them about their goals/wishes/intentions for our family in the New Year, and I make a list of said intentions/goals/wishes for both myself and my business.

Everything seemed to be 'business as usual' this year in terms of my ritual except for one thing...

One of the items on my 'to-do' list of intentions/manifestations was actually to do less.

You heard me.  I want to do more of 'nothing'.  I want to, essentially, cultivate some boredom in my life.

I realize that this might sound very strange as an intention, especially if you know me at all.  I am someone who thrives on busy (ok, that is an understatement).  I actually thrive on something that probably looks more busy hovering on the edge insanity.  For me, multitasking is something that comes as naturally as breathing.  Actually, often, if I am not doing at least two things at once, I feel like I am wasting time or lacking efficiency in some way.

What I am trying to convey is that I am soooo sucky at being bored.  And I am not talking about the kind of boredom where you get to sit and watch a movie, or play on your phone, or even read a book.  I am about just sitting there... being.

As a society, I think that we completely undervalue boredom.  Even that word sounds negative... I even hesitated to use this word because of its negative undertone, but talking about simply 'being' didn't seem to quite capture what I am keen on creating in my life.

I want to take some time, every day, even for 5 minutes and simply be.  No phone, no lists, no computer, no books, no movies, no laundry.  Nada.

I want to sink into the feeling of simply being.  I want to see what arises.  I am curious to see if and how this will affect other areas of my life.



So, that's it then.  17 intentions about improving, creating and manifesting ... 1 about simply being.

Oddly enough, I don't have to imagine which one will be the toughest for me to commit to...

What are you resolving to create in your life this year?

Much love to you all in 2013!

Maren