When You Know, You Just Know.

As of yesterday, I hadn’t posted a blog post in way over a month, but here I am again! This is two days in a row! All morning, all I could think about was how I feel compelled to write this immediately because, as you may have read from my previous post (s), I tend to talk myself out of things. LOL!

Well, rest assured, I am not talking myself out this. I am just excited to announce an intention because this is a HUUUUGE turning point for me. I feel like something just fell into place at around 6:45 this morning.

Here’s what it was:

After I posted last night, I realized something: It’s has come time to put this blog to rest. It was an immediate, intuitive feeling after I looked at the URL.

It all of a sudden hit me that I am no longer that person. I am also really tired of writing about fear (I mean, did I not read my own title? “How ‘Bout We DON’T Talk About Fear For Once!” I am even telling myself it’s time to move on!).

Currently, I am at a major turning point in my life and I am moving forward with new things. They are really exciting! Early this morning, when writing my intentions for the New Moon today, I made the decision that it’s time to start a new blog. It is going to be about the next leg of my journey as a teacher. Different URL, different story.

With that in mind, this post is more of an announcement that this blog and the chapter of my life that it represents will be closed as of today.  I am grateful for all the experiences I have had and one day I will write about them again from a different perspective but in the mean time, I want to thank you all for sharing this journey with me. I appreciate your support along the way and I look forward to sharing this next chapter with you. I will post the link when everything is up and running.

 

Much love,

Patty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How ‘Bout We DON’T Talk About Fear For Once!

Compared to this time last year, I have been writing so much less. Other stuff is currently getting in the way (maybe me? 🙂 ). I wrote the following post, like, last week but I haven’t posted it ’cause I just don’t have any pictures for it.

Ok, I will call myself out here: Is that the lamest excuse, or WHAT?!? Yes, pictures have been my problem recently, but let’s face it, everything we tell ourselves in order to NOT do something is an excuse. PERIOD.

So, in order to hold myself accountable, I am just going to post this, sans graphics. In doing so, I fear that people will stop reading about 100 words in, cause it’s just too many damn words with no fun and colorful splashes, but in reality, people could stop reading for any number of reasons. I can’t control any of it.

So here it is….

I am sitting here, drinking my (decaf) coffee, totally excited. But then again, I also can’t ignore this flutter of anxiety in my stomach. Things are going pretty awesomely right now, but, as always, I am about to do some scary stuff. These things have been turning over in my mind for a long time, I have shared bits with a few people, but, folks,  it’s time to make some moves.

So why the butterflies, Patty?

Since this has been the story of my life for the past few years, you’d think I’d be used to it by now. I mean I can totally hear you saying (which, incidentally, I have come to learn is actually my OWN voice in my head, not yours): “Patty, why are you STILL writing about this?!? The scary parts of your life should be over by now and you should be all good, and stuff.”

Well, I have to say, people, that is totally not the case here. While it IS getting easier for me and my comfort zone has seriously expanded, the line  STILL exists. When I reach it, I become intently aware of it and it startles me, mainly because I believed it was no longer there.

(Like right now, for example.)

As I mentioned above, I have talked to some people about bits and pieces of what I am needing to do and, par for the course, I get a supportive ear and a “Patty you got this!” response. I appreciate these folks ‘cause they bring me back down to Earth and I realize it’s all not that bad. But still, I pinky swear, readers, some of these things are really super scary. I am totally sure that my confidants got it wrong this time.

You’ll probably agree with me.

A couple of months ago, on the day of the New Moon, I set many intentions for myself. I made my choices, let them go, and allowed the Universe determine the outcome. Soon after, 3 of them manifested. As for the rest, all but 1 are currently in process. A few of these are super uncomfortable for many reasons, but in my mind, I have already decided on them, so there’s nothing to worry about anymore (theoretically).

At the moment, some of these intentions are requiring me to let go of things that I am gripping on to (have we heard this story before, or what?!?). These things are safe and comfortable and make me feel secure, but I need to let them go and jump into the unknown. I have realized that I hold onto things that I no longer need because it allows me to NOT make the choice to do something scary. It keeps something in the way and I don’t have to deal with stepping out of the comfort zone. But, it’s time to let go. For reals.

While we are at this “expanding the comfort zone” thing, people, let’s just throw something else into the mix, why don’t we? I mean, things always happen when everything else is happening, right? So, with this in mind, let’s just say the uncomfortable intentions I mentioned above are not what are scaring me today.

This is it:

About a year ago, I found out about a pretty cool opportunity. I worked really hard and I decided to take a leap and apply for it. Afterwards, I never heard back and totally forgot about it until recently, of course, when the Universe put it right back in my face. A few weeks ago, out of the blue!, surprise!, they contacted me. This, people, is sooooo huge and I am freaking out at the thought of doing it. It would be a whole other level of putting myself out there. Seriously!

So, as usual, I avoided it for a few weeks. This morning, however, I decided that it’s time to dip a toe in the water. As a result, I feel the anxiety fluttering and my mind is totally talking me out of it. Normally, as you know, I start to make up stories in my head because I am afraid of failing at something; messing up and looking like an ass in front of people, and stuff. This time, however, it’s seriously NOT about failing. No, that’s not even on my radar. This is about what this could crack open for me, what possibilities this could mean.

Do I REALLY want to go there, though? What will people think about it? (The safe parts of me would rather just keep my mouth shut than risk opening an unnecessary can of worms.) While it’s possible that this opportunity may not amount to much, what if it does? What then? While I have already decided my other intentions, THIS (THIS!!!) was not part of the plan Universe. What do I do here?

In exploring all this, I found something interesting: Yes, I am afraid of failing in front of people, but what I really need to acknowledge here is that I am afraid of success too. This ALSO stops me from doing things. I am afraid that things will go too well and I don’t have enough time and space and energy for them and it will all become too much.

Why do I worry about this? Well, it actually happens to me on occasion. I put a lot of intentions out there and then I have many opportunities that come my way at once. I get overwhelmed. I choose lots of safe opportunities because I know I can do them or I choose too many things because I want to leave no stone unturned. At the moment, I still have things I need to do and I know once I put additional intentions out there, more things will come my way. I guess I am trying to figure out what is the right combination of things for me and while I am getting closer to creating balance in my life, the Universe still decided to throw some unplanned opportunity at me. I have come to the conclusion that when “they” say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,  I was probably not included in that equation.

So here I am.

I hesitate, for many hours, and I am trying to determine: “What do I do?”

Instead of adding more things to my plate, I have to make the hard choice to take some things off. Yes, these are the things that I have already decided, those intentions I set all those months ago. The Universe is, once again, not letting me stay where I am. I need to grow.

New Moon is Tomorrow. What intentions are YOU setting?

 

 

 

 

Don’t Compare Your Insides to Someone Else’s Outsides

Ever have a day where you feel like you are completely coming undone? One where things are spinning out of control and you can’t stop them? Regardless of the inner conflict, though, you are forced to put on a calm, cool, and collected persona to the world and stuff it all down inside. (I mean no one wants to let it out and be considered crazy, right? Especially women ’cause we are well aware we’d be called emotional, crazy beyotches and dang it, we are NOT.) In the middle of it all, you open Facebook and see pictures of everyone smiling and happy and doing cool stuff. “I am the only one,” you tell yourself.

 

 

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Every day, I make it a point to read and listen to those who talk about vulnerability, fear, shame, and relationships. I have struggled so much in those areas that 2 years ago, I made a commitment to myself to understand these things. It was mainly so I would not make certain decisions in life, but in order to do that, I needed to lessen the crazy talk in my head. You know, that “I’m the only one ‘cause look! everyone is freakin’ awesome” talk.

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So the other day I was listening to a webinar and I had to stop and write down the above quote. I had never heard it put quite this way before and it really struck me. How many times have I compared my insides with someone else’s outsides? I often see happy smiling pictures and it looks to me as if there is no way in HELL that person is swirling on the insides like I am. (So then, obviously, just I am crazy. Oh and BTW, I certainly can’t tell anyone what is going on inside me because then they’ll know that they have found theee only one who is crazy. I mean, who wants THAT?)

Interestingly enough, last week I was pretty surprised when someone told me (amidst my stealth internal check on my anxiety) that I was always so Zen and never stressed out. I wanted to say “If I could share with you what I am actually dealing with right now, you’d see that is not the case.” So….wow, another case of comparing insides to outsides, but this time it was done to me. That begs the question: why in the HELL would anyone compare themselves to me? I mean, they are envious of crazy??? Really?!

(Just a side note: I do have to say that hearing that was an incredible compliment because it shows me how far I have come. If I can put my shit aside and function like a normal human being, then I know I have arrived. I really have learned to keep myself in check.)

I thought it was all really ironic that this stuff was coming up for me and I decided that I definitely needed to take a closer look at it:

There’s so much change in my life at this moment and it makes me feel unsteady. Change = uncertainty, and who the hell likes uncertainty?!? Although I want to boohoo to everyone about it and cry that my life is so hard you just don’t even know!, I do have a handle on what I let leak out into the larger world due to my commitment to my continuous personal growth. I realize that my shit should not become someone else’s problem and I just need to handle it. Regardless of that, I have moments where the stories I make up in my head cause me to come undone and then I make up stories about even more things and people. In reality, it’s all a bunch of lies, especially at 2:30 in the morning when I can’t sleep.

I know that these false things that my mind creates are based on my own fears that I project on to situations. Sometimes I know absolutely nothing about a situation and I make all kinds of assumptions, most of which are wrong, and I realize that it is probably good that I didn’t boohoo about them to people. I’d surely look like what “they” say : an ass.

With all this in mind, I have come to realize how much we all lie to ourselves. Like all day long. I am getting to the point where I am so tired of it all and I just don’t want to do it anymore. It saps my energy and wastes so much time with which I could clearly be doing something else.

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So after listening to this webinar, I must say, I was feeling pretty damn good. You know, all “I have definitely got this one and stuff. For reals this time. I totally got this.” Of course, not very long after, I saw something on Facebook and it really upset me. While I have to say, most things on Facebook do not upset me anymore, every once in a while, Facebook drops a doozy on me. This was like a punch in the gut and for a moment, I compared someone else’s outsides to my insides. Actually, I compared my outsides to this person’s outsides, too. Everything about the person seemed so perfect and wonderful. At least that is the story I made up. Then I wondered how I could let myself go from feeling amazing to feeling like complete shit in an instant, all by looking a a damn Facebook post. I had to shake myself back to reality.

 

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If you have been reading my blog, you know I have written about this topic a number of times and it is interesting how much I keep coming back to it. After doing some reading on the internet, I realize that I am not the only person who blogs about this. Also in reading the comment sections on these posts, I also realize that there are a hell of a lot of people out there who suffer with this same thing.

I was totally fine until I opened Facebook, they all say. 

The pain we put ourselves through by comparing ourselves to people is just so unnecessary. While Facebook has its good qualities, it is really dangerous to the human psyche. And this is not something some crazy person is saying here; experts say this too. Although we want to share our happy moments with the world, in looking at others’, we have to remember that people go through a lot that they don’t put on Facebook too. Hell, I have a lot of things that I struggle with but I don’t post about them. It’s really hard to be mindful of that, though. In reality, what ends up happening is I don’t see your bad moments and you don’t see mine, so by default, we both think the other is something to be envied. This is not real. Even if we tell ourselves this and say it and write blogs about it, we still fall prey to it.

So because something I saw on Facebook triggered me, I spent wasted hours crying and thinking about how much I suck.  WTF? I mean really. WTF? WHY?

And why admit this? It’s obviously embarrassing and people might think I am all sorts of things because of it. But here’s my reason:

Not too long ago I read an article on Yoganonymous written by a Yoga instructor who said she felt insecure about practicing next to her students. She felt she couldn’t live up to these imagined expectations that her students must have about her. It was raw and honest and I completely understood where she was coming from. The first person to comment told her that this article is the complete opposite of yoga and she should not be a yoga instructor if she was that insecure. This commenter missed the whole point, though. The only way we can grow as a people is to be vulnerable and be willing to show our messy insides. And sometimes, you have got to just step out there so others know that underneath, we are all the same.

After all, dear commenter, Yoga means “union.” We grow through connecting with others.

Happy Birthday (AGAIN!) to Me!

I have been talking about launching a website for my jewelry creations for over a year. I knew what it would take to do it, so I dragged my feet for-e-ver! FINALLY, today, Feb 23, I am proud to introduce to you Evolve Precious Elements Jewelry!

Since I am a teacher, yogi, energy healer and Geology nerd wrapped in one, I use my gifts to create jewelry with the stones and materials Mother Earth provides. I do extensive research into each stone and what it is made of, as well as, what it can do to help you evolve on your own personal journey. I am writing a blog for this website, so I decided to just paste it here to spread the love even more. Check out my website (www.evolvejewelry.net) and let me know what you think of my new blog!

 

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My Dear Evolvers,

Welcome to my new blog! I am so excited to be here and am looking forward to writing about the healing properties of gemstones and crystals. What makes this blog unique is that while I have a great appreciation for stones from a metaphysical standpoint, I also understand them from a Geological perspective. This is my cool opportunity to provide chock-full-of-info posts so you can gain a larger appreciation for what Earth has provided for us and what stones can do for you when you wear them as jewelry. Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post as I also tell you about my next fundraiser that is going on right now until Feb 25!

So to launch my new website and blog, I have decided to do something daring: do a fundraiser using a lesser-known stone. While the “big guys” (Quartz, amethyst, etc.) are good to have around, there are so many other stones that have powerful healing properties. They, too, deserve their day in the sun and a place in your heart! And frankly, Evolvers, I just HAD to use this particular stone! Saturday was National Love Your Pet Day. What a great way to celebrate the furry members of our families!

So let’s examine Dalmation Stone a little more closely. While it certainly looks like the coat of a Dalmation, what does the stone actually mean? What precious elements give it its speckled appearance? Does it really have anything to do with pets?

Dalmatian Stone is a combination of various minerals. For those Geologyphiles out there, this classifies it as an igneous rock, a group that also includes granite, pumice, and obsidian. Long ago, as magma cooled deep within the Earth, each mineral type formed at a different temperature, producing these beautiful interlocking crystals. (And oh, while we are being technical here, I must add that this stone is typically called Dalmation Jasper, but it is actually not a Jasper at all! A Jasper is made of only one mineral.)

When you combine individual mineral crystals together (perhaps in a bracelet stack), or have a stone with multiple crystal types, it magnifies the healing properties.

So here are the deets on these minerals:

Feldspar and Quartz make up the majority of the stone. Feldspar, the creamy white mineral, promotes self-awareness and self-love. It helps us to be creative. It also is a good stone for Aquarius. (If you have read my other blog, you know my colors run true blue Water Bearer.) Clear Quartz is known as the “master healer” and will amplify the effect of all other crystals. It creates harmony, clarity, and calmness. It also draws off negative energy and enhances psychic abilities. Clear Quartz harmonizes all the chakras and it is good for all zodiac signs.

The tiny speckles are Iron Oxide and Tourmaline. Iron Oxide is magnetic, which is known to enhance your energy flow and healing ability. Black Tourmaline is widely used in the healing community to dissipate negative energy, prevent psychic attacks, and prevent nightmares.

Dalmation Stone known for its protective and healing properties. It has a grounding energy, supportive of family and loyalty, and has a calming influence for children and animals. It is successful for those in the Veterinary, breeding, training, and handling fields and for those who rescue injured or abandoned animals. It also assists in the ability to overcome an irrational fear of dogs. Dalmatian Stone is also a stone of service, which is a perfect reason to use it for a fundraiser!

It opens the Root, Sacral and Foot Chakras, grounding and assisting you in moving forward in life and discovering your true purpose. (Sounds like Evolving!) It also helps you release tendencies to overthink or overanalyze things.

Coupled with Onyx, a grounding Root Chakra stone that strengthens resolve and self confidence, these pieces are a great choice for this Fundraiser!

With all that in mind, I have created three pieces for my National Love Your Pet Day Fundraiser. 25% of the net proceeds from each piece will be donated to the Humane Society.

(FYI The adorable paw print charms are hand hammered by an a-mazing cattle rancheress in WA. Be on the lookout for more pieces with her work.)

dalmationbracelet1Dalmation and Onyx Healing Chakra bracelet, 29

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Dalmation and Onyx Adjustable Healing Shambala bracelet, 40

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Dalmation and Onyx Healing Chakra necklace, 65

Thank you so much for your support! Our furry friends love you too! This fundraiser lasts from now until Feb 25, so get these while you can! Each item for my fundraisers is made to order so please allow some extra time for delivery.

Here’s to your Evolution!

Patty

One Damn Good Reason To Keep Going

Sometimes Facebook is my archnemesis. It turns on my inner roommate, then triggers fear, insecurity, and depression.

“I’m not good enough. I am not where I want to be. I suck compared to everyone else. If only people knew all this, they would TOTALLY agree.”

But, as I have also mentioned before, sometimes someone posts something that is just the kick in the ass that I need to keep going.

Today was that kick in the ass.

As I sit here overwhelmed with all that I am doing, questioning what in the hell I am thinking by doing it, scared with the risks I am taking, and fighting myself that things are not going to work out and I am going to end up on the streets, I watch this:

 

 

(If you’ve scrolled past the video, please spend the 3:25 to watch it.)

 

This video brought me to tears. (I am empathic so I feel people’s emotions.) It brought  home the fact that I am not the only one. Everyone out there is living with so much regret.

But just like me,  you also look at this chalkboard and scratch your head, questioning why these people  didn’t pursue these things. They all seem so simple. As Nike says….Just do it. So what’s the problem?

Watching this video has made me realize how everyone allows their inner roommate to pump them full of fear and stop them from pursuing their dreams. As a result, people beat themselves up, believe they are stupid and these choices made out of fear haunt them for a long, long time.

I can soooo relate. I have my own ghosts. The choices that I have made in my life from a place fear (big and small) are the ones that come back to bite me. These safe choices, these “Plan B” choices never work out. That’s where the regret comes in.

So what’s the deal?

We end up kicking ourselves because we allowed ourselves to tell ourselves safety would work. And it didn’t. The safe choice is not the safe choice we believed it to be.

Consider how much are we actually risking by making the safe choice? What fire are we putting out inside of us? What are we squashing? What possibilities are we stopping? And what will the consequences of THAT be?

Regret. Anger. Depression. Sadness. 

These things are crippling us.

In reality, we never know how anything is going to turn out. Oh, we sure think we do. We plan for it. We assume because we make a “safe” choice that things will turn out ok, and if we make a “risky” choice, we are doomed. I have found that it’s not really about things “working out,” though.  I have made a lot of choices in my life and some of them didn’t work out and I don’t regret them. Why? Because I didn’t make these choices out of fear so I have nothing to regret. I now see these things as stepping stones to other things.

(I have two very expensive pieces of paper on my wall that I haven’t used for many, many years. Somehow things are coming back around and they are now my stepping stones on my clean slate. Although at one point they may have been seen as a colossal waste of money and I am actually still paying for one of them, I am cool with it. They are moving me forward in my life. How much is THAT worth? What if I never did those things? Where would I be had I made THAT choice?)

Living in regret is really a waste. We are continuing to keep ourselves in misery and time is ticking away. We can’t get that lost time back. How about we let this $h-! go and move forward?

 

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Happy Re-Birthday!

A bit less than 2 years ago, I took this picture. Since then, it’s been one of my favorites to use as a yoga pic.

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(If it’s hard tell, this is a family grave plot. Although I am never too sure about cemetery etiquette, I did thank them for the opportunity to immortalize them on the Internet. )

 

At the time, I was in a different place in my life and little did I know, in the not too distant future, this would hold so much meaning for me. When I look at it now, it feels like it was many, many years ago. I have to think hard about who that person was. I can barely connect to or feel her anymore.

 

A few weeks ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks:

I am no longer her.

 

So why is this specific picture so poignant?

At face value, it suggests to people to allow themselves to blossom in their lives. You can also interpret it as in spite of this being a place of the non-living, things will find a way to grow and bloom. Lastly, you can interpret it as at some point we all die, return to the ground, and our remnants become the support system for new life.

Either way you look at it, this picture represents birth and rebirth. The very things that are represented through the ink that I have on my body:

The lotus flower.

The phoenix.

The water bearer.

The cherry blossom.

The seed and flower of life.

Although we are only just a few weeks into 2016, I feel like something shifted in me at the turn of the new year. I am on a new life path and I am super excited about it. While I never know what the twists and turns will be, I intuitively know where I am going. I feel it in every cell of my body. The teeny remnants of voices, the wounds that are just on the edge of healed, still speak to me sometimes, though. I think it’s because I used to do things and never considered that they wouldn’t work out. Now I know better. The key is not letting those things stop me from trying again. They key is to use those experiences and build upon them.

Use them to create something new.

At this point, I am giving birth to a new business. I am giving birth to a new career. I am giving birth to new relationships. I am giving birth to new love. Most of all, I am giving birth to a new me. While the process is uncomfortable, it has taken a while, and I still falter sometimes, on this day of my actual birth, I am ready to give birth to my future.

 

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What’s In Store this Year for Inquisitive Yogi Creations?

In the last blog post I talked about a few things I am moving forward with but am kinda scared about. One of them was expanding my jewelry business. After much consideration, I realized that Inquisitive Yogi Creations has been naturally growing, so I figured I’ll just keep going with it  🙂   (When have I EVER made a decision that easily? LOL!)

 

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(Mind you, I have these moments of “What the hell am I doing?” but it’s too late to turn back now. )

In preparation, I have been working really hard over the past month or so and am going to continue until I am ready to “relaunch,” so to speak. I do have my sights set on a target date, but if I have learned anything, you have to let go of expectations and let things unfold at their natural pace.

With that being said, I am planning huge changes this year. I am rebranding and coming out with many new things. I am working on a website and am also expanding into some retail locations. If all that wasn’t “putting myself out there” enough, I am also going to be blogging about all the gemstones I use. This is going to take me out of my comfort zone as I will need to write using a different voice (aka not running my mouth about my personal life.) People have told me that I’ve got this, so I am just going to go a head and do it.

While I am not sure how it is all going to go, I have kinda just made the decision on what I am going to do and I am going to make it happen. One step at a time. I don’t exactly know the “how” yet, but things are progressing and I am having faith that it will reveal itself. I am incredibly grateful for all those who are encouraging me and supporting me in my journey.

As I mentioned last post, I want to use my business as a vehicle to support others. With that in mind, I will be donating 10% of the net proceeds of all regular purchases to YogArTeens.  This organization is making incredible changes in the Charlotte teen yoga landscape and everyone who is involved has a huge heart.

 

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In addition, I am also continuing my Fundraising line of jewelry. I have added a few more Non-Profits to my list and have been coming up with cool, fresh ideas for the ones I already work with.

Since I am working on new ideas, I need to make space for them! Of course that means saying good bye to some other things…. 😦

Although I love my Zodiac line, the charms for my bracelets are no longer being made, so I have decided to let this one go. These are the last ones from this line. I am not able to sell anything through this WordPress site but if you would like to purchase, let me know at pattybenjamin129@gmail.com. They are natural gemstone and sterling silver and are 20% off of the original 29 price.

 

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Aries  “The Ram” : Adventurous, courageous, enthusiastic, energetic, assertive

Indian Bloodstone: increases physical strength, enhances courage

 

Taurus  “The Bull” : Patient, reliable, loving, persistent, sensual

Rose Quartz : heals emotions, anxiety, and fear, and brings love

 

 

Gemini  “The Twins” : Thinking, adaptable, communicative, youthful, witty

Tiger’s Eye: Stimulates attention to detail, calm, focus, clarity and spiritual well-being

 

Cancer  “The Crab” : Emotional, intuitive, cautious, protective, sympathetic

Moonstone: calms emotional overreaction and anxiety, reflects intuitive and clairvoyant qualities

 

Virgo  “The Virgin” : Modest, meticulous, reliable, practical, analytical

Chrysocolla: Creates harmony and good health, helps with anxiety and guilt

(This is one of my favorite stones because it looks like the Earth. )

 

Scorpio  “The Scorpion” : Determined, powerful, passionate, exciting, intuitive

Snowflake obsidian: A black stone with white speckles. It is grounding, absorbs excess and negative energy,

 

So lots of changes in the next couple of months! Check back and  I will definitely keep you posted on the progress!

 

 

 

These Are Definitely NOT Rose-Colored Glasses!

I have been cooped up with illness over the past couple of weeks. One interesting thing about this whole situation is that I ALSO came down with an eye infection. (I haven’t had one of these since high school.) While it is pretty much gone now, I have had to ditch the contacts and break out my old glasses. Since I usually only wear them before bed, I haven’t bothered to get new ones in 11 years. Problem is the lenses look like I have taken a Brillo pad to them. Looking through this haze each day, I have had to really focus to see clearly.

 

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What a Face! 

So what have I seen?

As I look at the past year, I realize how much has changed.

2014 was a black hole. I actually have to think really hard about that year because it’s like it didn’t even happen. What I do remember, though, is the end of the year. At that point, I opened my heart, set an intention, and that was the beginning of many things. I didn’t know what would come of it, but SO MUCH has come of it, indeed. So much has changed since Dec 2014.

 

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Looks like a beautiful mess of stuff. 

 

In contrast, 2015 was a huge year for me. I have really put myself out there and faced so many moments of fear, big and small. I have come to be more vulnerable in my life and although it is still challenging, it gets easier each time.

With all that in mind, let me take a moment to acknowledge myself because damn it, I have had enough years of self-inflicted meanness.

 

2015

 

1) I have been working with an ontological coach. To say that this woman has changed my life would be an understatement. Even though she has had to scrape me off the floor on occasion, she has helped me help myself to climb out of the black hole of 2014. I ultimately had a choice: continue being sucked back or overcome it. As a scientist, I know light doesn’t escape those things, so the fact that I made it out of the swirling vortex says an incredible amount about my strength.

Although I want to run from my shit, I face it. I deal with it, one step at a time. When you become “aware,” as they say in yoga, you begin to realize how much the black hole tries to pull you back in pretty much every thing you do. I have to say that I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not worked with her. I have come to realize that I spend so much time considering what I have not done or what I judge myself as having done wrong but I told her that I need to see my life through a different lens. As a result, we made an acknowledgement list. Since she wasn’t included on that list, I decided to make her #1 here.

 

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Jenn Shull The Bold Thing.

 

2) I am working towards a new career. It is a scary prospect for a number of reasons, but in the past few days I have been told, repeatedly, how much of an asset I am. That’s given me more courage. I wish I didn’t need to start over from scratch, I boohoo about it all the time, but that’s where I am. Although I don’t know the exact “how” yet, I am letting go and allowing the Universe to take care of it.

3) My jewelry business (started on a wing and a prayer after an intuitive medium, in the middle of a yoga class, insisted that spirit was telling me to make bracelets) is growing. I am making plans for expansion next year. It’s another scary prospect, and as a result, I repeatedly change my mind about it. I overanalyze it and at this point, I need to either take another step, or leave it behind. I don’t want to leave it behind, though, because I want it to be my unique way to give back.

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They always say that Aquariuses are Humanitarians. I never really considered this about myself until something told me to do fundraising. I realize that if I can’t get my shit together and get over my stupid fears of failure, I won’t be helping those whom I truly want to help. In the past few weeks I have been refining my plans and I am going to be getting to work over the next two months. I am also giving this to the Universe because what I need to do is waaaaaayyyy out of my comfort zone. But again, if I pulled myself out of a black hole, I totally got this.

 

4) About a year ago I went on a date. On this date, I mentioned that I write a blog about my life (Surprise! 🙂 ). My date asked if I would write about him. I said no. While I have written about other people before (with their permission, especially if they are identifiable) I try to keep this blog about myself and not involve others as best as I can. It’s hard, but I try. Considering that, I thought about leaving this off my list, but it is an important part of my year:

There’s a man who continually inspires me to be a better woman and human being. He grounds me and encourages me to be my best me. He doesn’t actually have to do anything though; he does it by just being who he is.

 

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So I finished my above post and I was all ready to go for 2016. Then I had a meltdown of epic proportions. Boohooing for hours. These things that I have accomplished, these things that I am continuing to pursue, scare me. It’s all a huge jump into the unknown and I can’t see where I am going. I just want to turn around and run away because it is Just Too Scary.

I guess when your life gets sucked into a black hole, it is hard to not be afraid that it is going to happen again. Even as time passes and it becomes a distant memory, you proceed with caution and trepidation. The fear is still triggered by things. Every time I reach a place where I need to take a step, I get scared. The further I go, the more I invest myself, the more I stand to lose. But you can’t continue to move forward if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable. You stay stagnant. Then, of course, the black hole slowly pulls you back.

So, with all this in mind, I return to my weird eye infection. It has called attention to my ability to see things clearly. I have realized that I have fears about my future because I am looking through my old lenses, the lenses of my past. What is now currently in front of me is extremely distorted by the haze. After 11 years, I have come to realize that it is time to invest in some new lenses.

Change of perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady, If We End Up On The Streets, You’re On Your Own.

How many times do you say you’re going to do something before you actually do it?

Take a moment to think about it.

 

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Now I’m not talking about going to the grocery store or folding that enormous pile of laundry. I’m talking about the hard stuff that you are afraid to do. The stuff you can get away with not doing but it eats away at you because you know you should just freakin’ do it already.

That stuff.

Since I have an incredible (incessant) awareness of myself, I file everything away in my Rolodex of a brain (OMG do those still exist?). So in reviewing the data,  I admit that it takes me about a year of saying I am going to do something before I actually do it.

Why? Well, being an Aquarius, I have a constant internal dialog going on in my head about stuff. I explore all sides of an issue, talk to a bazillion people, and then (hopefully) make a decision. People (fortunately) patiently listen to me waiver back and forth, racking my brain in utter conflict. I mean, there’s always more data to be collected, right?

Finally though (never saw it coming), the other day I was told, in a stern but loving way, that I need to STOP saying that I am going do something if I am not actually going to do it.

 

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Yikes.

(Sometimes we just need to be “told,” don’t we? We can’t get out of our own way.)

 

So what’s this all about, anyways?

Probably a year ago (maybe more, but who’s counting?) I was talking to people about doing something. Now, here I am, STILL talking about doing that very same thing. Am I closer to getting it done? Yes I think so. As I was reminded the other day: everything is a process and it takes time to do things and I can’t expect to get them done overnight. So yes, I am closer.

Buuuuuut….My fear is what’s stopping me, though.

Every time I go an inch closer, I stop. Things suddenly become real.

But what if I can’t do it? What if I end up overdoing it (because that is my tendency with everything)? What if I end up destitute? Thrown out on the street with my dog? (This is where my “what ifs” always end up. Being thrown out on the streets with my dog. I am laughing because it is really ridiculous, but I am also crying because it is the truth. This is my worst fear. At least I’ll be safe though. People are scared of my dog.)

So….WHAT IF?

It’s always the “what ifs” that stop us. They get worse and worse, we end up imagining the absolute worse case scenario, and then no more progress happens.

AKA I am not doing what I said I am going to do.

Again.

I obviously needed more data though, so I decided to read my horoscope for 2016.  (Stars of the Universe, what should I do?) I ended up reading on a number of sites that somewhere in the middle of the year I am going to have a lot of expenses and it’s going to take me some time to recover. That is thee WORST thing I could possibly read right now. Thanks Astrology! Please give me another reason not to do this!

(So there you have it folks, proof that I am going to be on the streets with my dog. I told you so.)

Anyways, if I dig long enough, I can always find reasons to NOT do something scary. In fact, I have thought of a list of 20. I was going to include the list here but I deleted it. You know, vulnerability and all that. (The fear that you might agree with my list and let me know it. I don’t need any more reasons, right?!?)

But now a gamechanger that has entered the picture. There’s something I want to do next year and I can’t do this other “thing” until the first “thing” is done. My fear of doing something I know I should just freakin’ do already is preventing me from doing this larger, cool thing.

 

 

How long must the madness go on? How long will I be my own worst enemy? I tend to do the same thing over and over but expect different results. Somehow, this time it will be different! (WOW! Is it really THAT easy to be insane? I thought you had to be put in a padded cell or tell people to place lotion in a basket. I guess times have changed?)

Anyways…

At 1:50 am, I am wide awake, telling my dog that I can’t do this nonsense anymore. I think he’s heard it more than anyone else. While I am not sure what language he speaks, German or English, he’s probably switched to German by now. That way he can pretend he doesn’t understand me. So I start to speak slowly and loudly and he just looks at me like I am crazy.

 

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Lady, if we end up on the streets and I don’t have coconut oil in my food anymore, you’re on your own.

(Yes. My dog has first world problems.)

 

So what’s the lesson in all this?

What I keep telling people is not really that difficult or scary or risky. I am soooo close, I just need to take a teeny tiny step, and I’m there. In fact, it’s so easy peasy lemon squeezy that I can’t even deal with how hard I am making it. I don’t want to do it, though, because then it’s real.

Once you jump off the cliff, you can’t un-jump.

I spend a great deal of time spouting yoga stuff out of my mouth and although I am human, I really try to practice what I preach, so I can’t say that things are good for other people but not me, like I am special and I am allowed a pass.

(Man the conflicts of an over analytical mind! But it will keep going in order to stop me from actually having to take a step. Have I mentioned that being an Aquarius is a curse? This post is from 1.5 yrs ago. Notice I am still talking about the SAME crap! Time for a new story 🙂  )

So they have a saying in yoga….Where the mind goes, the body will follow.  As my one of my sweet little yogis said to me the other day….if you are in Tree Pose, don’t focus on one spot, and tell yourself you are falling, you will fall.

 

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So where is my mind going here?

Is it going to continue to tell me that I am going to fall?

Or is it going to tell me that I got this?

Stay Tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Crap! I’m Getting on a Soapbox That I Am Not Too Sure About Here. Don’t Read This.

My BFF is one the most amazing people on this planet. She continually inspires me to be a better woman. We have been on a journey together for a while now and the little things she does for me are life changing. This time was no different.

Recently, she had the opportunity to go to the Emerging Women conference in San Francisco. In telling me about the amazing experience, including seeing theeee Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown speak, she also mentioned this other woman, Dr. Neha. Dr. Neha, she told me, was the reason she needed to be at the conference. (After sharing an elevator with Liz and having her ask you about your tattoos, that really says something!)

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So a few days after the conference, videos were made available online. After many hours, I finally came upon this Dr. Neha. Although I had to stop to get ready for work, I became choked up with emotion. All the pieces of my life that I had been trying to understand finally came together. I couldn’t believe it. All the choices I made, all the things I have done to get me here, to this very place, they all made sense.

(This is why spending time and energy obsessing over past regrets is just not worth it.)

I sat there, starting at my computer, sobbing. While this video had nothing to do with education, an intense anger about my inability to help my students all those years ago was brought to the surface. Being an Aquarius, I tend to keep my emotions in check, but I felt the venom wanting to explode out of my mouth. I don’t know how to say this…

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If you spoke from the heart, what would you say? Dr. Neha

For many lifetimes, I have been a teacher. It is my heart and soul. I can’t deny it or escape it. Even knowing that, there was a time when I had to leave.

Working for the public school system for 9 years broke me. It ate me from the inside out. I couldn’t do anything right, no matter how hard I tried. (The last blog post mentioned only two of many awful things that I encountered) I am very fortunate that I left, but it took me a while to realize just how destroyed I was. It has also taken a long time to get to this place where I am ready to move on from it all.

I have never really spoken about this stuff publicly, mainly because I am afraid it will make me look like a nasty bitch. I think mostly, though, it’s because the whole system is such a façade and every day, for 9 years, I believed I was responsible for holding the entire house of cards together. Doing this was a huge “act” for me and I still feel that I have to pretend everything is ok. Although I felt very guilty, I had to step away and leave that precarious construct behind. I had to do it for my own well-being.

house of cards

Even after all these years of being out, it still breaks my heart into pieces to think about what kids deal with in school. Someone needs to stand up for them and what they truly need.

What frustrated me the most is that my students had such gaps in their learning, but I still had to, somehow, teach them my curriculum. Their struggles started when they were very young, they were never addressed and as a result, they ended up falling through the cracks and being pushed along. We all know it happens and I am not saying anything new, but honestly, nothing is really ever done about it. People point fingers at each other, a lot of useless meetings occur, and then bandaids get put on the gaping wounds. I did my best within this, but nothing was ever good enough. Since my task was an impossible one, and I was led to believe that I should be able to TOTALLY do it, ultimately I came to believe that I was a failure of a person.

Yes, seriously.

(And THAT, people, is how a Harvard graduate comes to believe she can’t do anything. And I bring up Harvard not because I think I am special or a genius or anything; school was not easy for me. I say that because if I worked my ass off and accomplished THAT, theoretically, I should be able to work my ass off and accomplish anything, right? Epic fail here.)

When it comes down to it, the whole thing is just really really sad. Most teachers quit within 5 years; teachers from Harvard quit after 2. Like, go to school for all those years, come out really passionate and ready to change the world, and then quit and leave the profession forever.

The issue:

When you first enter the classroom, you are just thrown to the wolves. I had no idea what I was doing and hardly anyone looked my way and offered a helping hand. No one had the time to do that because of all the ancillary things that are required of the job; things that are not outlined to you ANYWHERE, yet take up so much energy and ultimately make you burn out. So the bitter, jaded people that I worked with just criticized me for:

  • not doing my hall duty between every single class
  • not participating in meetings enough,
  • not changing my bulletin boards on the correct day,
  • not teaching to the test enough (I was threatened with this my 3rd year),
  • not walking my kids silently in a perfect single file line,
  • leaving school when I was “allowed” to leave for the day and not spending endless hours afterschool doing god knows what (unpaid, of course),
  • not participating in enough committees,
  • not enforcing the dress code,
  • enforcing the dress code too much,
  • all sorts of other bullshit that didn’t matter.
  • endless things that distract from the real issue.

Because these things were never disclosed to me and I was unprepared for them, I used to be really angry with Harvard. I felt like I was lied to and I wasted a lot of money. I was right, though. It didn’t prepare me for THAT environment. And there’s a reason for that. Harvard’s mission is to teach people to go out there and be the changemakers for kids. Understand how kids truly learn, step out of the box, and go against the grain to make it happen. As a matter of fact, in one of the Emerging Women videos, the speaker cited that Harvard has stated that we do education all wrong. (One thing that surprised me is that people are real activists there. It’s not just preppy white boys wearing blazers, sipping brandy) I guess the question then becomes: Who has the guts to actually do it?

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Interestingly enough, this went around on Facebook the other day.

Through all my experiences, I have come to realize that I was trying to fit myself in a box all those years (even though I did my own thing within it, of course 🙂 ) and Aquariuses and boxes just don’t work well together. This is something I struggle with so much because it forces me to accept that I am different and, like I was saying to my preschool yogis the other day, just be ok with that. Not look around at everyone else, but just go on and do my own thing.

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While that is so easy to say, in reality, it is so hard to do. I am so thankful that I have people in my life that encourage me to be me. I am also so thankful that I have let go of people that encourage me to be someone else.

(This is perhaps my longest post ever. I can spend hours trying to cut some out, but I need to say every word here. Thank you if you are still reading,)

So as I was getting ready for work, I was kind of shellshocked by the download of info that came from watching that one video. My BFF knows what I need to do, though, and of course, knows that it takes me a zillion years to come to my own conclusion. Thanks for the nudge again. I’m a step closer.

In conclusion: Young children need my help. I don’t know what that is ultimately going to look like so it makes me not even want to say it, but I need to work with children BEFORE they fall in the cracks. Teach them what they need as opposed to what I am “supposed” to teach them. And be ok with the fact that I need to stand up, put my big girl panties on, and make it happen.

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