Monthly Archives: June 2012

Opening up.

I love yoga. Not much more than a year ago, I really didn’t know much about it. I had not cared much about it for most of my adult life, and then I got a bit curious. I was drawn to it by the manner in which yogis seemed to conduct themselves: peaceful, caring, connected. I wanted to look cool, going into a class with the mat slung over my shoulder. I wanted to feel part of this community that many I knew were interested in.

Then, when I went for the first time, to a class at a studio near my home, it really changed me, and how I viewed yoga. It wasn’t just about sitting on the mat, clearing my head of the chatter from the day, and trying to focus on my breath. I got the message that it was bigger than that.

It was the candlelight at the Sunday night class that is still my favorite to go to. It was stretching my body, to its edge, and feeling the tension between joy and physical strain. It is feeling that my head is cleared of all that is not part of my practice. It is the intentional breath, both in and out.

And, more than anything else, it is the opening up.

Yoga, like nothing that I had found before, or since, opens me up. The first night that I went to a class at that studio, I cried. I mean, SOBBED. I felt like I had wrung myself out, like a dishcloth, of much of what I had kept bottled up inside of me. All that needed to be cleared, and let go. It was truly amazing. It still is.

I have a promise, to do yoga twice a week, at home or at my local studio, and to go to a class there at least once a month. It really helps. It helps me to pause, breathe and stay present. It helps me to set an intention that I wish for myself, and for the world. And, it opens me up so beautifully, and willingly. My body, my mind, my heart and my soul, all open and tend to stay open even after I am off my mat.

Like a lotus flower, I feel myself opening more and more, willing to trust, take risks, and see the beauty in myself and the world around me. Opening up, I am discovering, is the best way for me to live this brilliant life.

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The AIDS quilt.

My older brother, Jeff David White, died twenty years ago this past March. His death was a result of complications from full blown AIDS, although he had been dying an emotional and spiritual death I believe for much of his life. About five years after he died, my siblings and I got together, and we created a panel for the AIDS quilt, or the NAMES project as it is also known. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life, to be with the rest of my siblings, to create a testament to the life of our brother.

My brother was no saint; he had his sins, and I he paid dearly for them. Yet, he was funny, super smart, and caring. He knew so much about music, and he was the first person that introduced me to U2 in the 70’s. I looked up to him in so many ways, and I miss him often.

In July, the AIDS quilt will be shown, 25 years after its inception, in most of its entirety in Washington, DC, where my family and I saw it the last time that it was there in 1996. There is a reverence about seeing the panel of a loved one there, that is hard to describe. It is humbling at how massive the whole quilt is, and the power is in that, and that someone you love is part of that patchwork.

If you are near DC, or have the desire or opportunity, especially if you have never seen in in person, I highly recommend it. I believe it changes lives, minds, and hearts.

Changing my mind.

This is an interesting topic for me, because I have often been a person in life who hasn’t changed her mind easily, at least, not been honest about it. What I mean is, I have acted like I was going along with something even when I had changed my mind about it, and just not told anyone. And then, when I would come out with it, it would be abrupt and chaotic, because no one would have seen it coming. I have done this in relationships, jobs, careers, my life in general. Because I don’t want to be uncomfortable with changing my mind at the time it happens, I keep it to myself, get resentful, and then, make a dramatic exit.

I am thinking differently about this process, this changing my mind business. It is true; I still don’t like to have difficult conversations, or to be uncomfortable when I have to tell someone in my life that I have changed my mind about something. However, what I am more present to than I have been in the past, is the impact that my lack of communication has on the other person. Me hiding, and lying, about going along, when I want out, is deceptive, mean and shows no concern for the other. It is selfish and if I want to truly be the change, I have to speak up, at the time.

The other new revelation I have about changing my mind, is that I can always, CHANGE MY MIND. I can think about things differently, ask more of myself, stop making excuses, and envision my dreams and go toward them. Instead of complaining about how my life is, I can change my thinking to create something different, and more in line with what it is that I want. That is changing my mind in the sense that, I can always change the game if I am not happy with how it’s going. Always.

Thanks to the Handel Group, to life coaching and integrity, I am getting my mind on track, I am being more open and communicative with others, and I am living a happier life. It is so worth it.

Time: My baby growing up.

So, my daughter, who is technically fourteen and a half years old now, is officially a high school Freshman. This fall, she will be walking the halls of our local high school as a student, not a visitor. It really has hit me that she is growing up, the time is passing quickly, and it has been an amazing ride.

Now, I have appreciated all phases of her life, and some have been more delicious than others. This picture is my favorite of her and I, because the total love that I have for her shows in my eyes. I am absolutely smitten. Still am. I am purely amazed and a bit scared, about how she has gone from this dependent little being, to the young woman that has to know how to be in the world.

Time. So funny, right? We have the same amount of time, each of us, in a day. Some of my days seem to go by slowly, others, speed away. The more engaged I am, the less I am aware of the fast of slow pace of the passing. I just enjoy it all more.

However, the passing of time, and the speed of it, that I DO notice more and more lately, is that of our daughter growing up, and becoming more her own person. Lovely, and scary at the same time.

No longer can I hold her and think that protects her enough from all there is in the world that can harm her. Now, I have to keep teaching her how to take care of herself. No more of taking care of her needs for her; it is the time of her taking things on for herself, and not needing me as much.

GULP.

A part of me is relieved; relieved to know that our kid is a young woman who knows how to BE in this world. However, there is a nagging part of me that also wants her to always need me, to always depend on my taking care of her. I will miss that as the years go by.

For now, I will revel in the moments when she snuggles up to me after dinner, or wants to watch a movie together, or shows me how she has decorated her room for tenth time.

Time. I need to honor my time with her, because the growing up stops for no one.

Honoring Time.

As I have gotten deeper into my coaching training through the Handel Group,I have become much more aware of my time, and how I am spending it. I have bought new calendars, kept to do lists, and organized in several different ways to really make sure that my time was being spent in the most efficient, productive way possible. I have learned how to manage my time.

And, not been so great at it much of the time. Then, last week, I had a revelation of sorts.

The more that I kept at working on managing my time, the more annoyed that I would become with it, and with myself. I would figure out how long it took to do things, and sometimes I was accurate, but most of the time, I wasn’t. And, then I would get aggravated, want to give it up all together, and then waste time wishing I could be doing something else. I felt distracted at times and not very motivated.

Last week, I tried a new approach. I decided that I needed to figure out why I had such a bad attitude about time, and find a new attitude about it. So, my new mantra is that I am HONORING my time. Not managing it. Not mastering it. But honoring it.

Time is the currency of my life, without a doubt. And, if I squander it, it’s gone. I can’t get it back. So, I wanted to get smart not only about how I am spending it, but also, how I am viewing it. If I am viewing it only as a vehicle through which to get my to do list accomplished, it doesn’t feel all that connected or spiritual to me. However, if I approach it as honor, as how do I want to really cherish the time that I am devoting to something, it takes on a new meaning.

So, I started that last weekend. Every night before I go to bed, I spend 30 minutes making my schedule for the next day. And, every night and morning, I read my time dream, about honoring and loving my time, and how I have time for everything that I want, and need to do.

The result? Well, I still have 24 hours in a day, but I sure feel more grateful for what I have in those hours, and how I am spending them.

Truly lovely.