[For my Dreamers & Schemers]
A lot of people ask me how I get my meditation and yoga practice “off the mat.” Today provided a really good occasion for me to break down exactly how I do this multiple times throughout my day, and for that I’m truly grateful. This story really begins late last night, when I went to bed already concerned about whether or not I would attend both my morning aerial hammock conditioning and my afternoon flying trapeze class.
But first, some background context is in order: This year I added into my training schedule a semi-private corrective exercise class on Mondays and Wednesdays that is kicking my butt in surprising ways. While I’m in training, it doesn’t seem as torturous as other classes I’ve taken (handstands, aerial silks) where I really feel like I’m working right on my edge. But last week I seemed to have this delayed reaction to the new class that manifested not just as delayed onset muscular soreness, but incredible fatigue the mornings after. This led me to cancel my Tuesday and Thursday aerial conditioning class, which honestly made me a bit sad. I love being in a hammock but I was trying to be responsible and responsive to my body, which was obviously clamoring for rest. I wanted to be especially mindful of my Tuesday fly class, because as much as I adore aerial hammock, flying trapeze is where it’s at for me, and in my mind I was “saving up my energy” for flying by skipping hammock.
The worry I had over this last night led to a dream about feeling inadequate in my circus school, so it wasn’t a surprise to wake up this morning with an anxious and chattering mind. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will I fly better if I don’t go to hammock class? Will I get injured or fly crappily if I do? Is the self-compassionate thing to do not to push myself? Or am I holding myself back out of fear? Honestly, it was hard for me to quiet my mind just enough to get a feel for what was really going on. I made the decision to get dressed based solely on the fact that I just missed being in a hammock and didn’t want to continue missing out on that fun.
As I was focused on preparing breakfast it struck me: My indecision was rooted in the fear that I wouldn’t fly adequately well if I went to conditioning class. With this clarity, I was able to come to a resolution: However I fly today is how I fly, meaning even if I couldn’t fly with full power, as long as I was having fun, it would be all right.
Those were the largely external steps I took to move through my anxiety and indecision. Internally I supported myself by doing the personal sun visualization on the train ride to my yoga studio. Since I noticed that fear and self doubt were at play, I included the affirmation “I am enough,” (which, frankly I’d never used before because I always thought it was super cheesy, but today it felt just right!). Through my meditation, I felt like I was able to collect my energy, amplify it in my body, and then trust that I could get through my classes as well as possible.
There was a part of my mind that got to conditioning class and wondered whether I should “hold back” so I could save my energy for later, but I consciously made the decision to give it my best. (I will always remember a teacher who observed that I practice with such an “open heart,” which always reminds me that attitude is everything!) After conditioning class I checked in with a very quick meditation to recollect my energy, but I was feeling so good that there wasn’t a shred of doubt that I’d be able to fly.
Walking to circus school, something extraordinary happened: Sometimes I like to chat with my dad who passed away a couple of years ago. This is always a one-way conversation, and sometimes I wonder why I even bother doing it. But on my way to fly class I sometimes check in with him because I know he would be so tickled with my aerial career, and I just really wish he could see me in action. Usually it’s just a quick “Hi, Dad! I’m going to trapeze class! Wish you were here.” Today after I did that I suddenly felt the support not just of my dad, but of my ancestors. I usually envision them standing behind me as if they “have my back.” But today it was as if I could viscerally feel someone’s hand on my back, and energetically it felt like I had a steady support system behind me. I don’t think I shared this at the last Dreamers & Schemers gathering, but “to experience the magic of life” is my prayer for myself this year, and I think it’s already being answered!
So there you have it: I’ve shown how a whole slew of meditation and mindfulness tools can be practiced right in the mud of life. The effort to quiet my mind didn’t work at all, but with a bit of mindfulness (i.e., staying present with myself, especially while preparing breakfast), I was able to get it together enough to practice the personal sun meditation with an affirmation, practice self-compassion and self-trust, connect with my ancestors for support (will be teaching that in February’s Dreamers & Schemers!), and notice how my heart’s deepest wish is already being fulfilled! Today showed me that “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” doesn’t have to ruin my day because it’s within my power to face my fears, turn my mindset around, manage my mood and my energy, come to clarity, and move forward in my truth. I felt in flow not just in my training, but in my intuitive ability to reach for just the right tools to help me through my day (and, bonus! end up with blog fodder for Dreamers & Schemers).
I sincerely hope this helps and encourages you to put some of your learning to practice. Being present for yourself is not as daunting as it seems, and I promise it gets easier (and more fun!) with practice. Feel free to share any comments or questions below, or if you prefer a private discussion, head to any of the password-protected worksheets or drop me an email.