Thoughts During A Yoga Class

Thoughts during yoga class

Last week I started a pre-natal yoga class. I was a little intimidated, being a first time preggo and not an expert yogi. A recount of my thoughts:

Wow this place reeks of incense.

Where should I go? Ooops! There’s a class there sitting in complete silence in the dark. 

Guess I’ll just quietly sit over here in the corner.

Woops, dropped my water bottle.

Am I in the right spot? This is what I get for always being super early to things like this. 

Ah here come two other pregnant women! I’m in the right place! I’m going to make new friends!

Shoot they know each other already.

“Hi! I’m new here!”

“Hi…”

Where should I sit? Is it brazen of me as the new girl to take the center room spot? Hell, I’m doing it!

I’m the only new girl here. Wow, everyone else is really further along in their pregnancy’s.

Ok, I’ll guess I’ll just sit here and stretch and act like I know what I’m doing.

Everyone is sitting cross legged. I still call it Indian style.

Sitting like this hurts my legs, I’m going to suck at yoga.

Ok we’re starting! Yay!

Ok we’re just sitting here breathing.

Very heavily.

Amazing! I’ve been breathing wrong my entire life.

The woman next to me sounds like she’s in the beginning stages of labor, she’s breathing so hard. How do I make myself breathe like that?

Wow, I hold my breathe a lot.

Damn these women are flexible. How is the woman in her 38th week of pregnancy more flexible than me?

Ok, so we’re still holding this position.

Please don’t fart.

What do I need to pick up from the grocery store?

Shoot I forgot to breathe again.

Yes child’s pose. I know this one!

Why is she coming over to me? How could I be doing child’s pose wrong?

Oh she’s just making it feel better. Yes stay here with me. No, don’t go!

So now we’re using those foam blocks to balance on.

Don’t fall. Don’t fall Don’t fall.

Damn’t I’m holding my breath again!

How does she make her wrists bend like that?

Ouch! No, this is not a natural position.

My wrists have never felt so weak. How do you strengthen your wrists?

She said this position makes the baby very happy. Hi baby!

Omg I forgot to send that one email at work today.

Focus! Damn’t, forgot to breathe again.

Now she’s telling us to set an intention for our birth and focus on that through the pain of holding a move.

Intention for birth? Stay calm? How in the hell am I going to stay calm?

Ok that’s that. I’m going to keep coming and turn into a crunchy pregnant woman and be so flexible and amazing and be able to stay calm and….

OMG how does she bend like that? Ouch!

Breathe, Katie! Breathe!

Oops, I just realized everyone else is barefoot and I’m the only one wearing socks. 

Oh I like this stretch. This feel goooood.

Wait, we’re done already? That was a quick hour!

Ah yeah quiet meditation time! I could fall asleep. 

But wait, what do I have to get done tonight?

How long am I supposed to lie here in the dark?

Is it weird if I’m the first one to get up?

Ok good she got up.

Yes, I’m coming back next week!

Um interesting! (but no, I don’t think I want to capsulize my placenta!)

See ya!

 

 

Hello 2015! Time to Relax!

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Happy New Year, friends! We’re already a week into 2015 and it’s already zooming by. 

Our New Year’s celebration was pretty low key but very nice. As my Christmas gift, my boss treated us to a very nice and fancy dinner out on New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed delicious wine and seafood and had fun dressing up. At midnight we said cheers to the Near Year and made some resolutions. 

As I shared on Monday one of my New Years resolutions is to relax more. That may sound funny to you. How hard is it to relax? Do you really need to make a resolution to lounge around and sleep more? If you know anything about me, you know I’m a big worrier and suffer from anxiety. My constant state of worry often makes me lose out on moments of joy. Instead of basking in the moment and taking it all in, my mind is thinking about everything that could go wrong or trying to create a perfect plan so that everything falls into place how we want it.

No matter how many times I learn that I’m not in control of how the world turns, I can’t stop trying to take control or worry about the outcome.

That’s why I decided that my word of 2015 is going to be RELAX. 

2015 is a year of growth and change for Ryan and I. Ryan will be finishing up law school and will be graduating in May. He will be leaving his current job while studying for the bar. We will be moving to a new house in a new area. And then he will be starting his career at his new job in September. This is the time we’ve been waiting for and I want to experience it with joy, not anxiety. 

So in addition to lessening stress and finding the calm in those big moments of change I am also going to start incorporating peaceful and positive changes in my daily life. Like, practicing meditation, yoga, and sleeping more. As well as making priorities and sticking to them while also making sure I have time for myself and my needs. I want to feel centered and relaxed yet intent.  If that means blogging only once or twice a week, so be it! 

Through these changes I am committed to staying relaxing and adopting a “come what will” or “whatever will be” attitude. We are going to be fine, no matter what. Let’s make the ride an adventure, and an enjoyable one, while we are still on it!

What are you hoping to achieve in the New Year?

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Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

Do You Know Your Neighbors? (Losing the Neighborhood)

Rooftops.
When we were young, a smiling Mr. Rogers asked us to be his neighbor. He taught me more than to put popcorn in my peanut butter and jelly. He taught me to believe in community, to smile and make friends. To be kind to strangers.

Does anyone in real life have neighbors like our friends on TV do?

Lucy and Ricky had Ethel and Fred. Fred and Wilma had Betty and Barney. Wilson was always available for a strange metaphorical lesson for the Taylor family on Home Improvement. George Feeney was always willing to lend an ear on Boy Meets World, Joey and Chandler were right across the hall whenever Monica and Rachel needed some friendly banter, and Winnie Cooper will always be the epitome of the girl next door. 

Although many of these TV friendships were created for easy plot conventions, I can’t help but think about how people treated their neighbors 40-50 years ago. When you could easily skip across the street to borrow a cup of milk or trust your kids to go knock on the neighbor’s door to ask their kids to play. When you could ask your neighbor to help you with some handy work or when bbqs and Friday night happy hours were shared events. 

I’ve never interacted with a neighbor that way and that makes me sad. 

A 2013 study by State Farm shows that only 25% of American know the names of their next door neighbors. 

What happened to our sense of community? And how is it hurting us?

We’re all too busy inside with our “social” media and Netflix binges. Our focus is on individualism and in turn our needs are more selfish and our sense of responsibility to community have gone way down. We are more alienated now then we have ever been. Also, we are all full of mistrust and weariness. We live in a world where we have every right to be scared of our neighbors.

Is our focus on individualism and our  mistrust of others linked? I certainly believe so.

Ryan and I live in a condo/townhome community, surrounded by hundreds of neighbors. We walk the walking trails and pass the same neighbors again and again, greeting with a slight nod of the head or a half-smile. Despite all of this, I know the names of only one couple that lives across the street. And it’s all because they made the effort.

They came over and greeted us when we moved in two years ago. They smiled big smiles and insisted that if we ever needed anything, they were there. It was comforting. Six months later they saw us moving in some new used furniture we bought off Craigslist and they very kindly gifted us a beautiful dresser and mirror they were trying to sell. Every morning they greet me with a bellowing “Hello, Katie!” Since then I’ve introduced myself to a few other neighbors and have been met with a little apprehension on their end. 

Sometimes when I take Maggie out at night, barefoot in my pajamas, I become overcome with anxiety that I’ve locked myself out of the house. My keys and cellphone safely locked inside while I’m abandoned out in the cold in my ugliest pajamas. Who’s door would I knock on to let me use their phone? Who should I trust? Who would trust me?

I try to hold the belief that most people are good at heart. But it’s hard for that hope to withstand when you read the news.

Our alienation and individualism is cutting down our civic duty. In this highly connected world we are very disconnected from those closest to us. Our neighbors. When shootings happen in schools and neighborhoods are threatened with homicides and robberies and community riots get out of hand are reaction is to hide and blockade ourselves rather than work together for a common good.

Isn’t putting aside our differences and working together for a common good what our nation was founded on? I can’t help but see that if we started to rebuild that connection with our community, if we started to bond together and help one another, our mistrust will also lessen. 

How do we put the “neighbor” back into the “hood”? So tell me, do you know your neighbors? Are you involved in your community? 

Think Positive Monday: Choosing the Good Over the Bad

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears.” Richard Wilkins

So often I’m quick to jump to the negative. One bad thing can make my entire day the worst. We all know misery loves company, that’s why it is so easy to metastasize and grow into something it is not. Pretty soon all the good little things in our day are forgotten and we are left with this big black cloud of ugliness. 

To help train my brain to focus on the good and not just the bad I practice this simple exercise.

Every night before bed I schedule in 10 minutes to mentally list three good things that happened to me that day. After I’ve thought about 3 positive experiences I then expand upon them and list why those good things happened. 

For example, on Friday one of the good things that happened that day was:

  1.  Knowing I was having a rough time my boss gifted me a pretty poinsettia and a Christmas ornament. (And this happened because my boss is kind and understanding)
  2. My mom was doing better after some bad health earlier in the week (And this happened because of good doctors and knowing how to take care of herself)
  3. After weeks of research and anxiety over it I had finally selected my new health insurance plan for 2015 and it’s better than what I had this year (and this happened because of patience, research, and the second patient eyes from Ryan, my Mom, and my boss)

A little awkward at first, but your brain should soon get into the habit of seeing the cause and effect of the good things in life too. 

It’s Christmas time, so don’t just be a little kind to those all around you, be a little kinder to yourself too. Love really is all around, you just have to look for it. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Live The Life You Imagine

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” Alice Walker

We all have hopes for what our future will look like. I’m a big day dreamer and one of my husband and I’s favorite things to do on Sunday evenings is to reflect on the weekend and talk about our hopes for the future. I like to think of it as our own unique type of church. It allows us to feel connected, fills us with hope and motivation, and ready to conquer a new week. 

But what about right now.

When you think about it, it’s truly tragic that most of us waste so much of our time hoping and pining for the near and distant future while we are ignoring the life we are currently living. 

Yes, hope is an important part of life. It’s spectacular to have goals and things to look forward to.

But let’s try not to pin all of our thoughts on the future. I’m guilty of saying things like, “When Ryan graduates”, “When we have a family”, “When we buy a house”, “When we live here” or even tinier things like “When the holidays are over”, “When it is warm out again”, “When I’m not so tired”. 

In order to reach those dreams I need to start the foundation of them now. It will take time and action. It will take more than sentimental thoughts and simple hopes and dreams shared over the sunset and a glass of wine. 

Yes we are all busy and yes we are all stressed. But happiness does not lie in future endeavours and plans, it lies in your present thoughts.

Don’t put off happiness. Only you can take charge of your hopes. Turn them into more than just dreams. Or else you will be continuously striving for something that is just out of reach. That happiness will elude you time and time again.

I’m going to start taking positive actions every day. I have to be happy now in order to be happy in the future. I want to paint my present life to look like the beautiful piece of artwork that is the star of my hopes. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: When All You Feel Is Negative

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Two weeks ago was a rough week for me. No matter what I did I couldn’t get myself out of a negative mood. I lost myself in a fit of ugly crying almost every day. It seemed like whenever I tried to lift myself up I would end up feeling worse. Nothing seemed to be going my way. And then we turned back the clocks and the sun setting at 4:30 p.m. only made everything worse. I just couldn’t get myself out of the dumps.

During that week I was catching up with a friend. I was venting and ranting about everything in my life. It wasn’t until I paused and stepped outside of the conversation to realize how everything I had said was 100% negative.

I said to my friend, “I’m sorry all I’ve talked about is negative stuff.”

And she replied, “Don’t be sorry! That’s what is going on right now!”

And it’s true. Sometimes life is simply negative.

I think sometimes we’re afraid to admit that life is hard or that we are failing. Especially us women. We are afraid that we will sound weak or like we are not happy with our life. When that’s not usually the case. Sometimes we just hit bumps in the road or we are just having a bad day. But things will always get better. You simply have to push forward and find the good. No matter how annoying, silly, and impractical that sounds in the moment.

I’m so grateful for this weekly series because if forces me to continue to be positive, even when I just want to have a pity party and complain about every little thing. Last week I couldn’t help but feel a bit hypocritical, writing my sunshiny post when meanwhile I could barely pull myself out of bed. But it helped. It’s a reminder that you have to try.

It’s like working out. You don’t really love going but you do it to improve your health. You have to practice the positivity exercises even when you don’t feel like it. Give yourself an hour or day to be upset and then try to move forward with practicing positivity. 

We all know the saying, “misery loves company” don’t let your thoughts duplicate to the point that they are the only thoughts habitating your mind.

Step out of the situation and give yourself a minute or to and practice a positivity exercise. Things aren’t going to get magically better, but I bet over time you will begin to learn to deal with the negative occurences in your life in a much healthier way.