Journal Entry #5-Hope In Uncertainty

There is Hope in Uncertainty

            There is hope in uncertainty.  I heard that line in a movie last night and it provoked some thoughts.  Is it true?  Is there hope in uncertainty?  Or is it a disguise for just not making plans or for allowing uncertainty?

What is being uncertain?  Not knowing the next action to take or is it just not knowing?  With the thought of there being hope in uncertainty, we allow ourselves to recreate the feelings surrounded by uncertainty.  Generally when I feel uncertain, I equate that with discomfort.  There is great power in uncertainty as well.  Imagine the power we can take back in our lives if we change the fear in uncertainty to hope.

When I am uncertain of my future, I fret and I dwell.  I stress and I constantly think.  I make myself crazy with thoughts going round and round in circles with no real destination or end result.  I lose sleep.  I literally lose hair. This is the epitome of discomfort from uncertainty.

If I take the power back from the situation and look at all the hope that I can have from this uncertainty, it reminds me that I am in power of my future.  It puts the power back into my hands and removes the unknown.  Looking at all the hope that can be found in the unknown, I realize the infinite possibility that is life.

Life is truly limitless.  We all have the power to make the change we want to in our lives, yet uncertainty can hold so many of us back from moving forward.  The fear of the unknown literally paralyzes people from moving forward.  The fear of the unknown holds us back from our dreams.  Looking for the hope in the unknown can help catapult us forward again.

I didn’t realize that I was allowing the unknown to hold me back, but I had been.  I had wanted to go back to school for years and I knew I wanted to do something that was truly mine that I can share with others.  I decided to go back to school for passion rather than for the promise of a career and more money.   I realize now that I was finding the hope in the uncertainty of going back to school.  Once I decided to do something that was purely for me, I have been able to see more and more to hope for within the uncertainty.  I’m meeting different people that have connections in the world I want to live in.

For me, I didn’t have to have the conscious thought of finding hope in the uncertainty.  But, if we can find a way to help people to see the hope in uncertainty, we can take back the power from fear and put the power back into our individual hands so we can really make the progress we need to change.

Journal Entry #4-Viewpoint

Viewpoint

            Viewpoint and perception have become a big realization in my life lately.  One of my dear friends always told me that perception affects everything and I agreed with that for the most part, but I didn’t always really believe it.  For a long time after my divorce I as depressed and I was comfortable there.  I wanted to stay depressed and I didn’t want to admit that, so I stayed in my victim mentality by keeping my perception and viewpoint in the victim viewpoint.

I didn’t realize how strong my mind is and how capable I am of changing my life by changing my perception.  Once I realized this and decided to be grateful, my life has been changing.  My viewpoint is now from a place of gratitude for what I do what and my ability to change my life.  I now know that my mind can be strong and that my circumstances don’t make me happy; it’s my attitude that dictates my feelings.

I am finding that since I’ve tried to come from a different viewpoint than I had before I have less patience for some people.  I have a good friend that always seems to be miserable and that if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen to him.  I have realized that it’s not that crappy stuff happens to him, or that it happens more to him than others, it’s that he finds the bad in everything and he dwells on it.  I’m realizing that is’ not that bad stuff happens to him and not other people, it’s that he makes a bigger deal out of everything, so it seems that more negative comes his way.

For people that have a different viewpoint, they can have a bad situation happen, but it resulted in a learning experience instead of a negative one.  The other option is that they don’t dwell on the situation and don’t even bring it up to those around them. It appears that they don’t have the same issues that others have, but it’s just that they have a different perspective on it.

I keep finding myself come to the same conclusion on everything since I’ve started my teacher training.  My mind is stronger than any emotion and I can fight through my depression by changing my perception.  I am strong and I deserve to be happy.  I will continue to stress about money, my children, my relationships.  That is what life is.  It’s a series of stresses that can either make or break you depending on your viewpoint.  I will not let life get me down and win this battle.  I will be stronger than my circumstances because I know that I am powerful.  I know that my life holds a greater purpose than what I see in front of my face.  Choosing to change my viewpoint has been the greatest gift that I could ever be given.  It’s the greatest gift that my family could be given.  My husband no longer has to worry about me and what my next action will be because of my depression.  When I get sad or depressed, I honor the feeling and explore it, but I don’t allow myself to wallow and I look for the good in what is happening.  If I find that it’s truly an unnecessary feeling, I change my viewpoint.  It’s not always easy, and it’s taken a lot of practice, but I believe now that perception is reality.

Journal Entry #3-Risk

Risk

            Without risk you cannot grow.  That statement provokes so many thoughts in my mind.  Many people tend to act in the least risky way possible, but are they just taking a variation of a risk?  Other people believe that there is no reward without risk, but is this mindset just a justification for making risky decisions?

When I think of risk, I automatically think of something that is scary, that I have something to lose and that it’s generally best to stay away from it.  However, I wonder what has been lost because of this thinking?  Also, is there anything truly to lose from risk because regardless of what decisions are made, you’re inevitably going to learn something from it, right?  At least that’s what most of us would hope.

Whenever we are faced with making an important decision, the risks of that decision should be weighed out by asking certain questions like what is gained by taking the risk.  What is gained by not taking the risk?  What are the consequences by making each side of the decision?  What is the end goal and does the risk really accomplish this goal?  Will the risk result in a growth experience?

Weighing out the pros and cons of taking a certain risk can also become troublesome because it is often difficult to really know what the consequences of the risk will be.  For example, if a couple is making the decision on whether or not to have children, the pros and cons are difficult to weigh because there are so many unknown factors.  It would be hard to really say how having children will affect your life until you’ve had children.  It would be even harder to know how not having children will affect your life because the repercussions can be so vast.  The couple could choose to have children and end up having a multiple birth, which was more than they could handle.   The couple that chooses to not have children could feel a great loss because of it.  Or they won’t and there in lies the risk.

I’m learning more and more to take risks as I’ve gotten older, which seems contradicting to society.  I took risks when I was young that resulted in me being a young mother.  Because of that experience I took fewer risks in the years that followed.  The main risks I’ve avoided taking where those involving school or my career.  I didn’t have a set plan on what I wanted to study in school or what career I wanted to have; I’ve felt that I have too many interests to pin down just one direction to go in.

Because of my fear of making a bad choice for my family, I didn’t make any choices.  I continued working in a job that I didn’t love, but making a decent living for my family.  I did that for years until I was shaken to my core by my husband leaving me.  As many people do, the divorce propelled me into taking a risk I was avoiding because I no longer had a choice in the matter.  I decided to go back to school and try for a better career.

That didn’t exactly work and I have been stuck in the same type of jobs that I had before, not making any more money.  Because that risk didn’t result in exactly what I thought it should, I’ve decided to risk in another way.  I’ve chosen to take the risk of doing what I’ve always wanted to do, which is become a yoga instructor.  I have been so scared to take this path because I knew it would unravel feelings that I haven’t had in awhile or may not be ready to have yet.  But, I haven’t been happy by not taking the risk, so now the risk becomes not following my dream.

The result of taking this risk so far has been positive.  Even if I stopped at this point, which I won’t, I have already gained so much.  I’ve found a better way to think and a better way to look at myself.  I handle stress more easily, although I still have a long way to go.

I have come to the realization during this semester that it is true that without risks there is no growth.  I have grown so much in the last four months and I am so grateful for this growth.  I am going to continue taking risks because I want to continue to grow.  I want my children to take risks so they grow.  I want to continue to take risks so that I will continue to learn about myself.

Journal Entry #2-Karma

Karma

 

            What is Karma?  Many people would quickly define it as what goes around comes around.  That is the most simplistic way of looking at it.  I see panhandlers on the side of the road with signs that say “Need Cash for Good Karma” or at coffee shops, tip jars that say “Tip for Good Karma”.  I have to admit that I have a negative reaction to signs like these and I find that it is a direct misrepresentation or what Karma truly is. 

            I don’t necessarily believe that using a sign like that would “undo” the good of what Karma is, but at the same time, begging is not good Karma in my opinion.  Based on the teachings I’ve had during my training to this point, Karma is the result of any action, good or not.  So, based on these teachings, choosing to give or not give in ways of tips of cash to the panhandler, I can either have good or bad results of that action.  I don’t disagree with that theory, because I believe that every decision we have is going to result in something different down the road.  But, how do we really know what is the right decision and what is not.  Perhaps Karma can be the direct result of how you as the person feels?  Perhaps Karma is what you can live with rather than what someone will dictate will be your punishment down the road? 

            To play these theories out further, I will go back to the panhandler example.  I live off of a very busy freeway exit and entrance and there are several regular panhandlers in the area.  Because of their regularity at the area, I wonder if these people have chosen to make their career out of panhandling instead of choosing a more forthright way of earning income.  I don’t make it a habit of giving money to panhandlers because of the unknown aspect of what is truly driving their decision to beg on the street.  I also don’t want to judge their decision to beg either.  I don’t want to contribute to laziness or addiction, but I also don’t want to stand in the way of someone getting back on their feet.

            Will I experience bad Karma because I don’t give to these beggars?  Will I experience good Karma because I don’t give to them?  As I said above, I don’t want to contribute to addiction or laziness, but I don’t also want to contribute to them not getting back on their feet.  Where does Karma come into play in this situation?

            In this situation, I choose to act with what I can live with.  Since I see the same beggars on the same streets daily, I believe it’s not because they can’t get back on their feet.  It seems very apparent to me that it’s a choice they’ve made and I’m choosing to not contribute to that.

            On to the other question of what Karma is.  Is it true that neither God nor anyone else creates your suffering, only you?  I believe that many of us, most of us, don’t want to admit that they are the ones to blame for their own suffering.  It’s so much easier to blame someone else for being miserable.  I’m miserable because my boss sucks.  I’m unhappy because my parents made the wrong decisions when I was a child.  I’m sad because I don’t live in a fulfilling relationship.

            What is wrong with those statements?  What I see wrong in them is that they are all from a victims mindset.  What would happen if the first thing that followed a victim statement was an affirmation of how we will change it?  Could it be instant Karma?  I’m miserable because my boss sucks, so I’m going to find a position with much more fulfillment and a boss that better aligns with me as a person.  I’m unhappy because made the wrong decisions when I was a child, so I am going to proactively work on working through those issues so I don’t recreate them for my children.  I’m sad because I don’t live in a fulfilling relationship, so I’m going to be honest and communicate and look for a more fulfilling relationship with myself and someone else.

            There is so much power in changing the language of those statements.  Of course making those changes can be easier said that done, but I truly believe that changing the language and verbalizing it can change the energy surrounding it, and it can karmicly change the direction of your situation. 

            Karma is a term that many define differently, but I ultimately believe that what it means can bring out the best in us all.  Even if the action is selfishly based, it still brings out good in us.  Giving to the beggar may be contributing to addiction, but if the person giving feels that they are doing good, more power to them. 

Journal Entry #1-Communication

Communication

 

            Communication is the biggest thing that can make or break any relationship, romantic or otherwise.  If a person fails to communicate their feelings correctly, the other person in the relationship are unaware of the others true feelings and can act opposite of how they should for the other.  Often times one person in the relationship chooses to not communicate their feelings for fear of being rejected or misunderstood, so resentment then builds for the other parties in the relationship.  This is unfair to the other people in the relationship because they are acting only according to what information has been made available to them.  I truly believe that communication is the biggest responsibility we have in entering into any kind of relationship with someone.

            I have lived the experience of not communicating first hand and it played a huge part of how my life is today.  My ex-husband was apparently unhappy in our relationship for several years.  If he would have communicated with me earlier in the relationship when he first began having those feelings, perhaps we could have saved our relationship.  If he would have communicated with me sooner, I think our divorce could have been filled with more love rather than with so much anger and hate.

            My current husband also dealt with similar circumstances.  He acted from a place of religious devotion and felt the urgency of marriage and failed to communicate his fears with his girlfriend at the time.  Because of the education he had from his religion, he felt the urgency to marry, found a girl “worthy”, and married her without ever confronting his true feelings of not being ready to marry.  His now ex-wife felt similar fears and also failed to communicate them, and so the marriage happened as well as their subsequent divorce.  Because of their lack of communication at the beginning of their relationship, they didn’t communicate during their marriage and infidelity came into the picture. 

            I see so many examples of heartbreak happening at the hands of lack of communication.  It is so scary to be open to communicate, however.  Open and honest communication means vulnerability, which does not come easily in this society.  We are supposed to be strong and fierce and know what we want and go out and get it.  But what happens when those things don’t match up with what is really going on in our heart?  If we ignore what is truly happening inside, we choose not to communicate truthfully.  We choose to live in a place of without authenticity.   

In retrospect, I can see how my ex-husband chose to not communicate his truth because of fear.  He chose to fight the truth until his lack of authenticity took over his fear.  In a way I commend that.  I honestly don’t think I could live in a situation that long, not living authentically.  I also can see the beauty in what he did because he didn’t want to hurt us.  His fear may have held him back, but it saved his children from heartbreak before they were ready to take it.  His fear allowed us to bring our third baby into the world.  His fear gave me more time to become strong enough to handle the repercussions of his lack of communication.

Communication is the biggest and most important aspect of life because we live among others.  I have realized in my acting more mindfully that as important as communication is, our reaction to communication or lack thereof is just as important.  I believe that with practice it will be more possible for me to begin looking at situations from a more logical perspective and I can understand where people come from in their communication or lack of.

Empowerment Sequence

Katie Willden

YTT I

Final Presentation Sequence

Empowerment sequence

Warm-up:  3-5 rounds Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A)

 

Tadasana

Uttanasana-Forward Fold

Ardha Uttanasana-Half Back

Forward Fold

Plank-Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana

Adho Muka Svanasana-Down Dog

From Down Dog, come to all fours and then Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) and hold hands at heart center, ujaii breathing and brief meditation (3-5 minutes).

Ustrasana-Camel Pose

Place hands on hips to start and begin bend back.  Lower hands to heels if desired.

Balasana

-Childs Pose, a couple of breaths

Come into Down Dog

 

Raise Right leg, reach and stretch up and bring forward through hands to

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)-

open heart with scapula rooted firmly into the back

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)

Namaskar Parsvakonasana-

Standing prayer twist in lunge

 

Modification:  place back knee to ground

Down Dog

Release with hands on each side of the foot

Anahatasana-Heart Chakra Pose

Come to all fours with hips over knees and walk hands out in front till arms are straight and lower heart and forehead to the ground.

Bhugangasana-Cobra Pose

Slide forward on belly.

Down Dog

Repeat on other side of body

Cool Down:

Balasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana-Half Lord of Fishes

Inhale to lengthen the spine, twist on exhale, switch to other side

Ananda Balasana- Happy Baby

Matsyasana-Fish Pose

Press forearms and elbows down as you lift chest away from floor and release head back onto the floor.

Savasana

 

What yoga means to me

I have always had an attraction to yoga.  I started running when I was in eight grade and that began my interest in health and fitness.  I don’t remember exactly where I first heard about yoga, but shortly after starting to run I bought my first yoga video with Rodney Yee.  I really enjoyed it and did it at least weekly for several years.

When I graduated high school, I started questioning a lot of things and I started to find an interest in Eastern philosophy and religion.  When I discovered that yoga was a major component of the philosophy, my interest grew even more.  I started to realize that yoga was not just a physical practice, but was also spiritual and healthy in every way possible.  I began to love yoga and natural living even more after these realizations.

Shortly after discovering these things and feeling that I really wanted this to be my permanent lifestyle, I met my now ex-husband.  He had similar beliefs and interests, so we continued to study and live the lifestyle together.  Our mutual interests made it even more difficult to accept the dissolution of our marriage.  I had created an attachment between my ex-husband and the way of life that I had hoped to live.

I completely stopped living the yoga lifestyle for several years because of this untrue attachment I created between Josh and Yoga.  Not only did the divorce make me abandon my love for yoga, it brought out some dark things in me that I didn’t realize existed.  I became severely depressed, even suicidal.  For several years I lived in this depressed state, allowing substances to become what I looked forward to, more than the time I spent with my children, more than anything.  Life was just tolerated, not lived or even enjoyed.  I was on antidepressants on and off, but they only made things somewhat better, but the suicidal thoughts persisted and so did the depression.

I became apathetic and I continued to live in my victim mentality until the end of 2011, when I finally got sick of it and started to really search for a way to fight my depression once and for all.  In the back of my mind I knew that if I returned to yoga, I’d find my way, but the attachment between Josh and Yoga was still in the back of my mind.  Bringing back yoga meant bringing Josh back for some reason.

I had been fighting the truth about yoga and the universe and what it could do to change my life.  I realize now that I had been afraid of getting out of the comfortable place I found in my depression.  Even though I knew I wanted to not be depressed anymore, it was familiar and it allowed me to take the easy way out.  It took a couple of job changes and finally accepting that the universe is real and abundant and if I pay attention to it, I can create real opportunities for myself.  I can finally beat this depression and find a comfort greater than my victim mentality.

I returned to a previous position with a mortgage company that I worked for in the past a little over a year ago and met a wonderful little thing named Megan.  Megan was in the yoga teacher training program at Salt Lake Community College and my interest in yoga was again peaked.  I had always wanted to be a yoga instructor, but I never thought I had what it took to be an instructor, so I never pursued it.  Megan encouraged me and told me that I would benefit from the training even if I never ended up teaching.  I finally paid attention to what was happening and I realized that the universe was showing me the way to get through my depression.

I had wanted to go back to school for awhile, so I decided that I would just do it for the pure purpose of expanding my personal knowledge and to see where it took me.  In the three months since starting the program, I can attest to how right Megan was about the training being a huge benefit to me.  I am practicing yoga more regularly again and I am living more in the present moment.  I am living more from a place of love and devotion and it is transcending into other areas of my life.

Yoga means more to me than just an exercise in stretching or a power flow class at the gym.  To me, yoga is all knowing.  I can now recognize my ailments and emotional blockages by how I practice on the mat.  I am now learning to recognize my true feelings in the present moment and therefore my depression is much more manageable.  I am learning that these feelings will ebb and flow and I flow with those feelings with more ease.  Just as a pose on the mat can be difficult on some days and easier on others, so is the way of life.  Learning to not dwell so much on my current feelings or circumstances and knowing that they will subside and there will be light again, I am learning to live the authentic life I’ve always envisioned for myself.  I truly believe and have faith that yoga heals all.