Your Beautiful, Messy, Crazy Life

The blog post you’re reading now, is not the first draft. Not even close. The first draft of what I’m writing now could hardly be recognizable as the same post that I started with. Usually when I write, I start with rambling. I write down anything that comes to mind until something pops up that interests me enough to direct my focus toward it. Then I start with jumbled words and sentences that squish together haphazardly to form an idea or a story, or whatever it decides it wants to be. Then I write and re-write, and hopefully out of the sculpting process, I’ll come up with something that is decent enough to share—but even then, I never know if it’s ‘complete’ because it’s always changing form.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, an idea will pop into my head, and I’ll scramble to write it down as quickly as I can, and when I do, it is complete. It’s five minutes of magic. But like I said, that is very rare, and if it happened like that all the time, then I probably wouldn’t value the beauty and ease of it as much as I do.

Creativity usually takes time. It’s good, then bad, then hopefully good again…it’s messy and crazy and beautiful as it stops and starts and ebbs and flows, and as a conduit for creativity, all you can do is play along and enjoy the ride.

Your life is one big, ever-expanding, expression of beautiful, crazy, messy, creativity. You are creating all.the.time. You create this moment, and the next, and the next. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but usually it’s always good again as it stops and starts, and ebbs and flows. You are a conduit for the ever-expansive expression of the Universe, so essentially, you’re playing with God. Or Buddha. Or Energy. Or Spirit. Or Goddess. Or whatever you want to call ‘IT’.

And it’s not a game of winners and losers. It’s a game of playing make-believe. A game of creating solution and dissolution. Stops and starts. Ups and downs. Twists and turns. There can’t be any winners or loser’s because there is no end to it all.

Think back to the darkest day of your life. The day you thought you couldn’t go on; in fact, perhaps you didn’t even want to go on.

What happened?

You went on.

And things got better.

And then, probably, things got bad again, and then better, then bad, and on and on it goes…

There’s no beginning or end; it’s all just creative flow.

This moment in your life is not the first draft of your masterpiece, and it’s certainly not the last. You’re somewhere in the middle of the creative process, and when it’s good, perhaps you share a little bit of that juicy goodness with others, and when it’s not so good, you keep sculpting. Or maybe you just crash and burn for a while as you catch your breath and get back on your feet.

And sometimes, on rare occasions or maybe not-so-rare occasions, you’ll be hit with a spark of insight or a shift of perspective, and you’ll experience five minutes of magic. And in that moment, you’ll remember who you really are.

And you’ll remember that you are not lost, because you’re right here,
playing a beautiful, messy, crazy game called life.

And it is perfect as is.

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Dear friends: Please join me this Saturday, February 27th from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. for a couple of hours of discussion, yoga, meditation and introspection on building a foundation for creating a life you love. Get all the details here.

The Skin You’re In

The relationship I developed with my body as a young girl was confusing and tumultuous at best; appalling and shameful at worst. It all started out well enough. I didn’t even consider gender or body image or definitions of ‘good or bad’ when it came to my own form until I was about eight years old, and then one day, I looked down at my bare thighs spread wide against the seat of the car and gasped at how…big they looked. I vowed never to allow my thighs to rest against the seat like that again; instead, I would delicately sit with my thighs elevated above the seat just enough so the flesh could hang off my bones, and maintain the slim appearance that I considered acceptable. I have no idea why I considered slim to be more acceptable. Maybe I had fallen victim to the media that surrounded me; maybe I had overheard negative remarks at school; maybe it’s because I didn’t want to take up so much space….who knows how it started. It just did.

This skin I’m living in has been through a lot, and it’s likely that the skin you’re living in has been through a lot, too.

It has likely been stretched, pulled, belittled, reprimanded, ridiculed, covered, shamed, ashamed, disregarded, used, abused…sometimes perhaps by others, sometimes perhaps by you.

And yet…it survives, thrives, rejoices, celebrates, dances, moves, holds, beholds, and most importantly, loves.

And I don’t know why we, as a society don’t talk about the beautiful parts of ourselves, as if it is shameful to even admit that you’re okay with how you look and okay with who you are, but I hope that the conversation might change—that we might not only talk about being okay with who we are as individuals, but to celebrate acceptance, innate beauty and the unique differences that make you, you.

Even as I write, I find a bit of hesitation to admit it—but I can finally say that I love the skin I’m in.

I love the bumps, lumps, lines and wrinkles.
I love the parts that change and the parts that stay the same.
I love that my hands look like my Grandmother’s and my nose looks like my Dad’s.
I love that there is an old photo of my Mother that could be me.
I love that there is herstory and history in my bones; and that I carry the stardust of my ancestors beneath my skin.

I love that I can finally look in the mirror and smile instead of scowl at what I see.

This love did not come through external influences;
There have been no dramatic changes to the shape of my body;
or outside sources declaring my worth and beauty;
I didn’t suddenly get prettier or thinner or stronger….
No, this love did not come through outside influences;

This love came from within.

It came because I was tired of wasting energy on not liking the skin I’m in.

It came through quiet moments of early meditation; sitting in the dark; squaring off with my demons; and discovering that inner truth and peace were never lost; they’ve been here all along, just waiting to be seen.

It came through hours upon hours of focused movement: updog, downdog, forward bend, repeat….movement that would peel away the layers of armor that held me from myself. This movement—sometimes slow and sweet, and sometimes difficult and strong—shook it off, bit by bit, breath by breath. It made me soft enough to feel and strong enough to grow.

It came through constant introspection; policing my own mind; noticing the cruel words; the loud voice; the demeaning demands; sorting out the truth from lies; questioning their validation, and ultimately finding the discipline to drop the things that kept me small and weak…

It came through looking in the mirror, and instead of focusing on my flaws; I declared my own beauty to myself, even when it felt awkward, strange and uncomfortable. I said it anyway; I spoke kind words until it felt real; until it felt true; until it became real and became true.

It came through miles and miles of running that helped to flush out stuck emotions; to process; to breathe deep enough to pull it from the darkest depths, and free it out to dissolve with the heat of my breath as it mingled with the crisp morning air.

It came through writing—sloppy, incoherent, rambling—a dumping ground of words and ideas that had to be released; cleaning out the wounds so they could heal.

It came through cleansing tears.
It came through clearing the air.
It came through forgiveness.
It came through trust.
It came through faith.
It came through each and every moment of my life that begged me to stop resisting and start loving.

It came.

And just because I’ve made peace with myself, doesn’t mean I can stop working at it; the work for acceptance is ongoing—up and down, in and out, with constant reminders and practice, practice, practice.

But the return for my dedication toward acceptance is that I can love and celebrate my body for the beautiful instrument that it is.

I live free.
I share.
I give.
I create.
I love.

Finally, finally,

I am no longer weighed down.
I am no longer ashamed;
I’m not ashamed of my body, and I’m not ashamed to love it, either.
I am no longer holding my thighs above the seat so that my flesh can hang from my bones to maintain a slim appearance.

Finally, finally,

I am in love with the skin I’m in.

And my hope is that you will be, too. That you’ll start with wherever you are by accepting this moment with all of its flaws and all of its imperfections and unknown mysteries and realize that all of that is perfect, too.

That you are perfect.

And that realizing the truth about yourself isn’t about searching somewhere else. It’s about releasing the barriers that hold you back from recognizing your own beautiful image in the mirror.

I hope you’ll fall in love with the skin you’re in;

as it is, right now.

Because, it’s time.

Finally, finally.

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Practice Peace

I’m never quite sure what to do with the emotion that rises after these violent attacks on innocent people. I don’t know how to help or how to grieve or how to return to normal life without feeling guilty for still having a normal life.

Another senseless act of violence. Another set of emotions. Another set of fear. Another set of grief for those affected.

Another reminder to love.

To love the people that are easy to love and also those who aren’t.

And most importantly, a reminder to love the person who’s the hardest to love.

You.

There is very little I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening in the world, but what about the violent attacks that are happening close to home—the violent attacks that are happening in your own body, expressed through your own thoughts and your own behaviors? I’d like to think that I’m not violent toward myself, but when I look closely at the dialogue I choose or the way I react to behaviors that don’t suit me, sometimes it can look like a war-zone. I’m not sure that I can go around wishing for world peace, when there isn’t peace right here, within myself.

There isn’t much I can do to prevent violent attacks on innocent people, but there is a lot I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening within myself.

To allow diversity. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different moods. Different behaviors. And to accept each one as unique and special and exquisitely beautiful as it builds a colorful array of variation and rich culture within myself.

To accept. The light, the dark, the deep, the shallow. To accept these varying aspects of myself, and recognize that even the things that seem imperfect lend themselves to cast perfect shadows in order to allow the light parts to shine even brighter.

To release. Release anger, release fear, release hurt, release resentment. And not just to release it, but to transform it into something that will enrich my life. To learn from these things; to alchemize my emotions into something beautiful: from sorrow to compassion; anger to activism; envy to inspiration; and fear to love.

To love. Not just to love the parts that are easy, but to love the parts that aren’t easy. The parts that scare me, trouble me, annoy, or irritate me. There is something there, beneath them, and the only way to find the gift is to love through the shadow that engulfs it.

To learn. And if, despite my best efforts, an attack still occurs, I’ll learn from it. How did it happen? What led to it? Where was I not paying attention? When did I stop listening? How can I get in front of the assault; in front of the build up; in front of the mindless cruelty toward myself?

Practice peace. Peace isn’t a onetime deal. Self-love isn’t graduation. Acceptance doesn’t show up and then stay without being entertained. It’s ongoing. It’s practice. It’s patience. It’s trying again and again and again.

World peace starts with inner peace.

Will you try?

Maggie-Lochtenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Maggie Lochtenberg

That’s Okay, Too

I must have been a bear in a past life, because the moment the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the cool autumn breeze drops just a tad below comfortable, hibernation sounds pretty good to me…all I want to do is retreat, go inside, and drink hot tea until the snow melts…

I write a lot about creating on this blog—putting yourself out there, overcoming obstacles, believing in yourself—you know, manifesting.

But what if you can’t bring yourself to change out of your sweatpants, let alone change the world?

Well, that’s okay, too.

Because sometimes the very best thing you can do for yourself (and for the rest of the world, for that matter) is to retreat, go inside, and maybe just stay in bed.

Stay inside, literally and figuratively, if you can.

If you’re tired, let yourself rest.
If you’re quiet, invite silence.
If you’re feeling like you’d like to dismiss yourself from life for a little while…then do that, even if all you can spare is a few minutes to yourself.

Because when you honor yourself and the way you feel, you align yourself with the big picture—the one that’s so big, you can’t see it all with one glance.

…Maybe you need this time because something big is just around the corner, and somewhere deep inside yourself, you know you need this time to rest up for what’s to come…
…Maybe you need this time because you’re still healing from something from the past, or something beneath the surface and it takes a lot of energy to heal an old wound…
…Maybe you need this time because you’re run down, worn out, or just plain exhausted…
…Maybe you need this time for some unknown reason, and you’ll never know why you feel the way you feel…

Honor it anyway.

When you learn to listen, and then follow through, you’re developing a trusting relationship with yourself. And with that, you’ll begin to feel safe within yourself; and you’ll know that you’re being cared for and nurtured by the person who knows you the best—you. And the other thing that’s great about developing a trusting relationship with yourself is that you’ll have an easier time trusting others, and trusting life in general.

So the next time you catch yourself resisting the way you feel, practice compassion. Don’t reach for reasons or excuses, or stumble over apologies…just let yourself be the way you are. Because the way you are, is better than okay. The way you are right now, is right on time, every time, no matter what.

Now, before you give yourself permission to hunker down with Netflix for the next 3-4 months, there is one caveat to spending quality time with your solitude: Don’t let it become who you are. Don’t let it last so long that it becomes your new identity. Never forget that the shadow days are fleeting; they come and they go; so don’t forget to let them go.

You’ll know it’s time to let your shadow days go when the feeling becomes too heavy or suffocating. You’ll know it’s too much when it feels like your quiet mood has a hold on you, rather than the other way around. Remember, that ultimately, you own the way you feel, and sometimes you might need to take action to usher those feeling through. So honor the way you feel, but if the feeling isn’t serving you anymore, you need to take charge of the situation—shake it off, get outside, force yourself to do something, anything...because winter isn’t supposed to last forever, and neither are those shadow days.

But if you’re listening, feeling, honoring what’s there, but also taking action when necessary, then by all means, get quiet, brew up some tea, and stay inside…and if your winter wardrobe consists of a steady rotation of sweatpants…

Well, that’s okay, too.

okaytoo

Maybe You Were Meant To Fall

“Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall….”

These are the words that go through my mind whenever I go rock climbing. Yes, I’m secured to a rope. Yes, I have a trustworthy belay partner who would catch me in his arms if he had to. Yes, I’ve done this. Yes, I can do this….Yet, when I’m clinging to the side of a cliff; muscles shaking, fingers aching, and tiny footholds holding the weight of my body, all I can think is…

“Dear God, Please. Don’t let me fall.’

Time after time, climb after climb, this mantra played in my head, until one day, I fell.

And guess what?

It was the very best thing that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because then I could stop worrying (so much) about falling and focus on the climb.

Now here’s the lesson in this story:

You’re going to fall.
You’re going to fail.
You’re going to have to start all over…

Probably again and again and again.

And I think it’s important for you to know that falling, failing, and starting over is okay.

It’s better than okay.
It’s necessary.
It’s part of growth and expansion and witnessing the miracle of you expanding into YOU.
It’s about glorious evolution: Rise. Fall. Rise again. Bigger, Better, Stronger, Faster….

And here’s another scenario that’s happened to me, too many times to count:

I tune in. I do the work. I trust my heart. I trust my gut. I listen to my intuition like it’s my job. I meditate like a monk, pray like a priest, and do updogs and downdogs like my life depends on it. I step up; show up; and take action….I’m brave, goddamnit….

And you know what happens?

Sometimes, in spite of all my honest efforts, I still fall.

Do I like it?

Nope.

Do I recover?

Eventually.

Do I try again?

Usually.

Do I learn something?

Every.Single.Time.

I learn about listening. I learn about trying. I learn about falling gracefully. I learn about desire vs. want vs. need….but mostly, what I learn is that what I think I want is not always in line with what this life wants for me.

Because no matter how in touch you are; how in tune you are; or how anchored you are to the truth of who you are…sometimes you just don’t know what life has planned for you.

And sometimes you’re not meant to know.

Maybe you were meant to fall.
Maybe you were meant to fail.
Maybe you were meant start all over again and again and again…

You know why?

Because it makes you stronger.
It makes you wiser.
It carves out your courage like a motherf*cker.
It makes you more compassionate; understanding, and honest with yourself and others.
It helps you recognize what you are capable of; really capable of.

And it helps you remember that you don’t have to run the show, because you are being held and supported in the most loving way….

Every time you fall; you will be caught.
Every time you fail; you’ll be redeemed.
Every time you start over, the new beginning will be sweeter than anything you could have ever imagined at the onset.

So the next time you’re out climbing on the proverbial path of life; remember:

Sometimes you are meant to fall.

If only, to remind you,
you’ve been held all along.

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You Are Everything

One of the most unexpected benefits of being a yoga teacher is that, over the past ten years of observing my students—observing their movement as they expand, contract, close, open, stretch and strengthen—I have fallen completely in love with the human body. And not just the physical form, but everything it contains—the beauty within—the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as they are reflected in physical form.

It doesn’t matter how it moves or how it doesn’t move; it doesn’t matter if it is young or old; graceful or awkward; strong or weak; tight or open. It doesn’t matter what it can or cannot do, or how it compares to societal standards.

It is all perfection to me.

Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to backpack into a secluded high mountain lake and have nothing else to do for an entire afternoon, except stare at that lake.

It was absolutely mesmerizing.

As I watched, the reflection danced between perfect clarity and distorted images; the water rippled and stilled; ebbed and flowed; and the colors in the sky mingled with shadows and light that displayed an exquisite array of colors—light and dark; dull and vibrant—every color you can imagine. It was like watching a light show on the water. It never stayed the same for more than a breath.

It reminded me of the human body.

Your body, and everything within it, is mesmerizing. Sometimes it reflects back perfect clarity and understanding; sometimes it distorts the reflection. It is movement and stillness, and sometimes both at the same time. Your body passes through moments of light and dark; dull or vibrant—every color you can imagine.

You are absolutely mesmerizing.

Have you ever stared in awe at a newborn baby? The delicate features; the light on their skin; the clarity in their eyes? Would you dare to look at yourself the same way, even if only for a moment?

Could you allow yourself to slip away from the barriers of your mind and the rigid ideas contained there so you can have a love affair with yourself?

To feel your skin, young or old, smooth or rough, and adore it either way?

To appreciate the features of your face—the way they’ve been passed on to you like sacred treasure, holding the history of your family and the generations before you?

To look into your own eyes and see what’s there—the love, the hurt, the pain, the strength, and the deep, deep knowing that you are so much more than what you see?

Could you slip away with yourself, if only for one solitary afternoon, or one deep breath?

Would you give yourself the gift of you?

I hope you’ll see what I see when I look at you.
I hope you’ll see that you are magic; that your body is perfect, in spite of perceived imperfections.
I hope you’ll see that your ‘flaws’ are not flaws at all; that they are what make you unique and special.
I hope you’ll see that you are always and forever changing; that this moment now is already gone.

One brief moment of love for yourself will heal you in ways you could never imagine.
One brief moment of love for yourself will show you the truth;
…that you are more than what you see.

That you are beauty.
Grace.
Light.
Courage.
Strength.
Hope.
Faith.
and
Love.
You are so. much. more. than what you see.

You are everything.

MountainLake

You’re Right Where You Need To Be

There will be moments in your life when you feel stuck.
Moments when you feel left out; lost; alone; forgotten.
Moments when there are no ideas, no direction, and no pathways.

There will be moments when you can’t stand the skin you’re in.
Your life may spread before you like a giant, starless sky…vast, dark and empty.
You will want to expand; explode, or implode…anything other than this.

These moments may frighten you.

They might make you question everything you know.
Burn it up. Tear it down. Start all over. Run away.
Maybe you should. Maybe you shouldn’t.
My challenge for you, when you encounters these moments, is to stay.

Just stay.

Sit in the dark for a while.
Maybe even accept it.
Maybe even find relief in the unknowing.
Breathe it in; breathe it out.

Because even though you might not see it yet, something is happening.
Birth is happening. Life is happening. Death is happening.
You’re like a whole galaxy of stars that glimmer and fade and glimmer again.

We sink into the dark so we can experience the exquisite return of light.
Your job is to allow the experience of it; whatever it may be.

And listen.

Listen carefully to the quiet unknown.
Listen to the dark.
Listen to the silence.
Listen to the feeling of being lost.

If you’re listening, you won’t miss a thing.
You’ll catch the next spark just as its being born.
The light will burst out from within.
And you’ll be graced with a new path; a brilliant idea; a fresh perspective.

And you’ll realize that you were never lost.
You are always right where you need to be…
Right here.
Right now.

RightWhereYouNeedToBe

A Celebration of the End

A few days after my uncle chose to end his life, he visited me in a dream.

The two of us sat together on a hillside. The surroundings were colored in a drab blend of tan, brown and grey. He wore the thick knit beanie that always adorned his head in the cooler months of the year. My memory of the dream picks up in the middle of a conversation, and as my focus sharpens to remember, he looks at me with the familiar mischievous sparkle in his eyes and says, “…but look what I can do now…”

With that, he shot up into the air; arms at his sides like a cartoon figure, and erupted into a million bright and beautiful colors that blanketed the entire landscape of my dream. I was now standing in the middle of one of his vibrant oil on canvas paintings—one of the magical pieces that he created during the very best part of his manic-depressive cycle.

When I awoke, the joyful feelings of the dream began to intertwine and mix with the reality of my loss; the still-raw, empty sadness that would rise and fall, like the ebb and flow of an angry ocean. The sadness attempted to crush the joy I had felt in the dream….yet joy is stronger than sorrow.

Fear began to mingle with hope;
Sadness danced with joy;
And confusion turned to clarity.

Over time, I started to recognize that the tragic end had opened into a new and beautiful beginning. He had been set free; free from the mood swings; the suffering, and the crazed, manic episodes that plagued his entire adult life.

And now the choice was mine to be set free, also. Free from the sorrow; free from the confusion, and free from wondering why.

And so this is how I choose to remember the end of his life—a celebration of creative expression; joy; abundance; and a reminder of the freedom that he has finally discovered now that he is outside the confines of a physical body that was never strong enough to contain or express the magic he was meant to share.

A celebration of the end, which leads to a celebration of another beginning.

Celebrate the ebb and celebrate the flow;

The dark and the light.
The joy and the sorrow.
The fear and the love.
The mystery and its answer.

Because there is joy in the end, just as there is joy in the beginning.

Truly, it is cause for celebration.

Da

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil painting by Da

You Always Have You

I vividly remember the day my husband and I were sent home from the hospital with our brand new, first born, tiny baby boy. The hospital staff required that I be wheeled to the hospital doors while holding our baby, because—gasp—what if I tripped and fell? So, they carefully wheeled me and our precious package to the doors and dropped us off where we were then left alone—alone!—to care for our son. As we carefully placed him in the back seat of the car, all buckled and bundled, we suddenly felt the weight of the reality we were facing—we would be caring for this little person—we would provide all of the loving, caring, teaching, protecting….and we felt completely unprepared. Neither of us had done this before, and for the most part, nobody was coming to show us how.

It’s these big moments in life that teach us that we may not know what the hell we’re doing, but we’re willing to show up and figure it out.

And of course, we did. By trial and error, we learned, we messed up, we learned again, and then just when we thought we had it all figured out, we had another baby—a completely different little person—and started all over again…and then one more time, because we must really love a challenge.

And so it goes…

Stepping into the unknown, finding the light, and then stepping back into the dark again. In and out. Ebb and flow. Start and end. Again and again and again.

The amazing thing is…we survive. We figure it out, we find a way, we get through it. Because we are meant not only to survive, but thrive and flourish and then perhaps, help each other along the way. What’s interesting is that the way it’s done usually happens intuitively. Think about the biggest moments of your life–falling in love, having a child, choosing a life path, choosing to leave a situation that is no longer right for you—for the most part, these moments can’t be learned and prepared for beforehand. It unfolds as you trust your heart and take it step by step.

The one thing you do have is you. Your instincts, your intuition, your inner knowing and your connection to a Divine source, (should you choose to have one). So if you’re ever feeling stuck about what to do or how to proceed, look in, not out. You’ve made it this far, and you’ll continue carving out a beautiful and magical path for yourself based on your own inner truth and wisdom.

All you need to do is be willing to show up and figure it out as you go.

And you will.

youhaveyou

How to Balance Work and Life and Everything In Between

A few years ago, I found myself without a sitter for my two sons, who were about five and seven at the time. I was scheduled to teach my Yoga class at Utah State University, and I figured I could set them up with a movie in the back of the gym while I taught.

About 35 minutes into a 50 minute class, they began to get a little restless and started to wander around a bit. They didn’t leave the room and they remained silent, so I figured all was well.

A few minutes later, the fire alarm went off.

I immediately scanned the periphery of the space and found my two kiddos, standing stone cold and beet red next to the little red box on the wall. One of my students rushed to the main office to inform them of the false alarm, but it was too late; if there is an alarm, the fire department is required to respond. The building we occupied was huge. Numerous gyms, two swimming pools, locker rooms, offices, classrooms…everyone had to be evacuated, fully dressed or not.

In the end, everything was fine and my boys learned what that little red box was all about.

I learned that sometimes the work-life balance can be….messy.

Messy, but do-able.

It doesn’t matter if you work from home, away from home, or if your primary work is being a stay-home parent. It takes balance to make it all work, and balance is never at a still point. Balance is about shifting, moving and compromising; it’s about the give and take; the picking up and letting go. It’s about knowing how to care for your work and care for others; but also care for yourself.

Here are a few ideas that might help make it easier to juggle it all:

Trust. This is a big one. You’ve got to cultivate the trust that, as a family, you’ll be there for each other. You’ll hold each other up and fill in where there’s a need. Trust that life will support you and things will work out every.single.time. …even if it’s not exactly the way you had imagined or hoped it would. Trust that the work will get done, the house will get clean, your children will be loved, and at the end of the day, you will rest and be ready for another one.

Be Present. In order to maintain some small amount of order in the chaos, practice being present. Whoever or whatever is in front of you deserves your undivided attention; and your attention might bounce from one thing to the next as rapid as a ping pong ball, but each moment deserves your unbroken focus and awareness. If your mind is scattered between twenty things at once, you might end up feeling fragmented and broken, and whatever or whoever is on the receiving end of sparsely scattered attention will only be partially fulfilled. Give all of you to whatever is in front of you, even if it’s only for three seconds, and both you and the receiver will be felt, heard, seen and appreciated.

Fill up. Another key element to juggling the work-life balance is to fill your own cup. That means you must do whatever you need to do for yourself to feel replenished. The moment you feel drained or depleted, that’s your sign that it’s time to refill. For some, that might mean taking the entire weekend away from it all; for others it might mean taking a few minutes to be alone or going out for an evening with friends. Figure out what it is for you, and do that thing. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

Forgive. Do I practice all of these tips, all the time? No. That’s why one of the most important things to remember as you juggle work and life and everything in between is forgiveness. Forgive yourself daily, because you won’t always get it right, and you can’t expect anyone else too, either. Forgive yourself and forgive others, because ultimately, we’re all in this together, and you’re doing the very best you can.

Add joy and pleasure. Add joy and pleasure to your life like it’s your job. Seriously, it is as important (if not more) than anything else you do. This one is hard, because there’s this idea floating around that pleasure and joy only come after the work gets done. If that rings true for you, untangle yourself from that belief system. You don’t have to go crazy or do anything elaborate; just do one tiny little thing each day that brings you pleasure—don’t wait until you feel like you’ve ‘deserved’ it, because guess what? You’re alive, and you got up this morning, so you already deserve it. Go do something wonderful for yourself. Right now is  a perfect time for that.

At the end of the day, balancing life can be messy, but it’s also a fun and crazy ride full of twists and turns, ups and downs, growth, surprises, and moments of pure magic. The never-ending mystery of it all is worth every second. Enjoy the ride.

…and for a quick glimpse of my magical, messy life as I prepare to teach my yoga classes, take a look at my latest Instagram post. You can check it out right here.

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Photo: Unbrelievable