Full Circle

Long story short….

Ten years ago I discovered and fell in love with yoga.

At that time, I was inspired by a professor who was infusing yoga into her University philosophy courses, and I wanted to do something similar. I thought the only way to take part in offering yoga studies as a part of higher education was to become an established professor in a related field, and then offer it up in courses that I was already teaching.

So, I saved up my pennies, studied for the GRE, and just before the application deadline, I changed plans and decided to take my time and money to further my education as a yoga teacher. (At the time, I had been teaching yoga because I was asked to teach, had dabbled enough in training and workshops to do so, but had never considered teaching yoga as a ‘career path.’)

The reason for the shift? I attended a workshop for the school of yoga that I would eventually study with, and within minutes of hearing their opening invocation, I knew it by heart. I sang along with it like I’d been singing it for years; tears streaming down my face. The decision wasn’t easy. My mind had all kinds of excuses why yoga teacher training wasn’t the best idea, but in the end, my heart won out, and so I signed up and changed my path.

As I immersed myself into teaching, my dream of bringing yoga studies into higher education faded away, and for a while, I forgot all about it. I stepped into teaching opportunities in nearly every studio and gym in my community, but I was continually drawn back to my job as a yoga course instructor at USU. (which, by the way, is totally unglamorous with it’s cold gyms, lack of props, and Zumba music leaking through the walls…) In spite of it all, I loved it, and still do.

And then one day, something clicked. I felt an almost urgent need to propose a Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program to the University. I had dabbled with the idea of teaching teachers for years, but the hope that I could offer it at the University felt like an impossible dream. Yet, I couldn’t ignore the urgency I felt in proposing the idea to my department.

So I did.

I found out later, that within the same month or so, another woman, who is now my friend and colleague would propose the exact same thing, yet from a different angle and with a slightly different approach. Her contributions and ideas meshed perfectly with mine, and together we received the permission to conceptualize, design and implement the very first Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program at Utah State University, and one of the only programs like it in the United States.

The moral of my story?

The Universe has a crazy way of ensuring that your dreams become a reality, and even if you forget about what you want, the Universe will not only remind you, but if you’re listening closely, and courageous enough to follow through on what you feel inspired to do, it will tell you exactly what to do, and when.

It’s impossible to know how it’s going to happen, because that is left up to the mysterious dance of the Universe and all of her crazy ways, and in hindsight the way we arrive is always such an incredible journey full of twists and turns. But I’ve always been curious about gaining a little more control over my part in the process, and figuring out if there are things I can do to speed things up a bit.  So here are some things I’ve discovered over the last two or three years of actively participating in creating a life I love:

• You’ve got to listen. Get quiet everyday as often as you can, because the only way you’re going to know what to do next is to tune into the present moment as much as possible. It’s like you always have a part of you tuned in, just in case inspiration hits—because you just never know when it’s going to pop up.

• You’ve got to know HOW to listen. Messages from the Universe don’t exactly pop into your head as a thought all the time…it happens, but the mind can be tricky, and easily misunderstood. So rather than trying to decode the clutter of the mind, a more effective way is to feel. Feel your own energy. Do you feel at ease or anxious when you do x,y,z? Does a decision excite you or make you feel nervous? Is it good-for-you fear or get-the-hell-away type of fear? These are things you need to know about yourself, and the only way to know is to feel, feel, feel.

• Trust. This one is HUGE. If something comes up and mentally it sounds like a crazy idea, but you know in your heart it’s the right thing to do, then trust your heart. This one is also really, really HARD. Because other people might think you’re crazy, or you might think you’re crazy, but if you trust what’s coming through you, you will be rewarded, big time. Every time.

• Trust. (Part two). Trust that everything that happens to you is part of the path that will take you where you want to be. So that means that even all of the stuff that seems like it’s taking you in the complete opposite direction? It’s not. It’s teaching you exactly what you need to know, in order to be exactly where you need to be, in order to manifest your dream into reality.

• Break down what you really want. This is about letting go of rigid ideas. Focus more on how you want to feel, rather than what you want your dream to look like. I really wanted to see a yoga studies program start up in a Higher Education setting, but what I really wanted was to introduce yoga to a larger population. So I focused on that aspect, which ultimately led me to what I wanted.

• Do the work. If the Universe comes knocking on your door with an idea or opportunity, you better jump at the chance. Roll up your sleeves, put in the time, and SHOW UP.

I hope you have a bigger-than-life dream that you’ve cast somewhere out into the Universe, and I hope that you’re anchored to the moment as that dream unfolds within each and every breath. And I also hope that you will NOT give up on it; that even if you have to set it aside for a while, you’ll hold it in your heart, and all along the way, listen for its call to you, because it searches for you just as much as you search for it.

Now go find it.
It can’t wait to meet you.

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Photo: Mystic Mamma

P.S. The Yoga Studies and Teacher Training program begins Fall Semester 2016 at Utah State University. Enrollment opens April 11, 2016. More information will be available soon…in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at eparkperry@gmail.com

The In’s and Out’s of Setting Goals

It’s the start of a new year, and I really wanted to write a post about goal setting, because I love goal setting…and goal getting…and goal planning and…pretty much all of it. But I couldn’t write the post.

Believe me, I tried. I started. I stopped. I wrote and rewrote…but I could.not.write.the.damn.post.

And I think it’s because it’s not really resonating with me this year, because as much as I love goal setting, and as I already mentioned, I especially love goal-getting, it’s not what I’m going for this year. I’ve got so much on my plate, and so much to care for and nurture already, that all I really want to do is focus on what I’ve got going on right now. In this moment.

Because I really believe that it’s about going in; not out.

Goals are always so far out there for me. And it’s fun to go after them; to chase after the dream and maybe even catch up to one once in a while. But I wonder what’s happening right here while I’ve got my sights set on something out there? I think sometimes I might be missing out on all the good stuff happening right under my nose.

So that’s what it’s all about for me this year. It’s about sinking into the stuff I’ve got going on right in this moment. These words. And next, it might be about savoring the glass of wine that’s sitting next to me. And then it might be about bath time with my sweet baby boy. And then next, then next, then next….who knows? But I can tell you one thing: I want to be there. All the way there. Not just half-assed with my head in the clouds thinking about tomorrow’s plans or yesterday’s conversation, or all the big goals I’m lining up for the future.

My goal this year is to see how far I can sink into NOW.

I guess I could say it’s about depth not breadth; dropping in, not out; experiencing the big things and the little things and the every thing’s in between. It’s about living in the only space that’s real.

Of course, I’ll keep a little bit of the dream cast out around me, and as I hold my awareness steady right here in this moment, maybe, just maybe, that dream will rise up from inside of it. Because there’s one thing I’m sure of: the only way any goal is achieved or any dream realized, is right through the middle of NOW; so that’s where I’ll be waiting.

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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

Make Stuff.

I am in awe of children. Not just because they’re amazing, funny, adorable and (mostly) sweet and kind and wonderful…

But because they are creative geniuses.

They create with reckless abandon: Free. Unattached. No rules. No expectations.

They aren’t worried about whether or not it looks ‘right’ or if anyone will ‘get it,’ appreciate it, love it or hate it.

They just do it because it’s fun. That’s all. It’s just fun.

I want to create like that.

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I have a wonderful idea and it looks beautiful and sparkly and perfect as it sits safely inside my head, and then when I try to bring it out, it looks…well…different. Sometimes it loses all of its luster and charm. Sometimes it’s been slaughtered to oblivion by my own lofty expectations. Sometimes it comes out okay, but looks nothing like it did in my imagination. And sometimes it surprises me and comes out even better.

It can be frustrating, but it can also be enchanting, mysterious, and the closest thing to magic that I’ve ever seen.

I wouldn’t consider myself a naturally creative person. I know creative people. I was raised with naturally creative people, and no, I am not one of them. However, that does not mean that I don’t also possess the possibility of creativity…I just have to work a little harder at coaxing it out. So my point is, everybody has the possibility of creativity. Everyone. Including you. The key is to nurture it, honor it, and practice pulling it out of your head and into the world.

What do you like to do? What do you admire that someone else is doing? What do you wish you could do if you had an unlimited source of time and money?

The fact that the desire is there—whether it speaks to you softly or yells out loud—the fact that it is there at all means that it lives in you; breathes in you; loves in you, and has chosen to be expressed through you.

You’ve just got to open yourself up to receive it, and then release it out into the world.

And yes, there will be fear. You may be too terrified to even approach the possibility of bringing your ideas into the world. But let me tell you something:

It doesn’t matter if you can’t do it well.
It doesn’t matter if it’s been done before.
It doesn’t matter if you’re too old, too young, too big, too small, too busy or too scared…

Do it anyway.
You know why?
Because the joy is in doing it.
The joy is in the process of creating.

Create like a kid;
Make it messy.
Make it bold.
Make it unusual.

Make something that makes everyone who thought they knew you; think twice about how well they really know you.

Who knows what will manifest once you begin? Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will suck. Or maybe it will be better than anything you had ever imagined.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you create because you love to create—you were born to create. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Follow your passion and honor what pleases you, because when you do, you’ll unleash your potential and ideas will flow like an open faucet.

Paint.
Dance.
Sing.
Compose.
Bake.
Write.
Sew.
Garden.
Draw.
Cook.
Play.
Imagine.

Make up.
Make out.
Make love.
Make a baby.
Make something.

Anything.

Do it badly or do it beautifully.
For only you or everyone else.
Make it big or make it small.

Most importantly, make it fun.

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The Magic In You

Within the act of waking this morning, you have started something big. You have set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread like magic throughout the entire Universe. Everyone and everything that crosses your path will be affected.

Yes, you are THAT important.

As you grace the world with your presence, you become a force; your energy spreads, your desires search for their counterpart, and life unfolds to embrace you.

At the center of it all is you.

Every day you have a choice—a million choices—on how to move forward, how to respond, when to stay quiet, and how to act. With every choice, you can either be guided by habitual thoughts, old ideas, fear-based patterns or you can be guided by your heart, clarity and truth.

You have a choice to be guided by a force in you that is so big, so powerful, and so full of magic, yet so simple. It’s the simplicity of it that makes it easy to overlook, and sometimes difficult to recognize. It’s like the keys that go missing, and you search and search only to find that you’ve been holding them all along.

Those keys are your intuition.

And it is with you all the time.

And just like anything, your awareness, practice and dedication to it makes it stronger.

Here are a few ways to fine tune your intuitive pathways and clear out space so you can recognize its presence in your life.

• Care for yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. These basic components help keep you at an optimal level of functioning. Of course, life shakes things up and you won’t always be able to adhere to a strict and perfect balance; but always, always work toward it. If your body is tired, hungry or overworked/underworked physically, then it will overshadow the delicate and subtle energy of your intuition and make it difficult to feel and hear the truth that lives beneath your skin.

• Clear your mind. Monitor your thoughts. Be selective about what hangs out in there. Is it positive? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it the same damn thought repeating over and over again? Get it out. Bring your awareness to it, so that you can clean house. When your mind gets clear, intuition speaks the loudest, and it’s the only voice you need.

• Understand your emotions. Most of the time, intuition isn’t a thought at all, but a feeling. Get to know the way you feel. Emotions are usually attached to an outside event or physical response. Emotions don’t necessarily warrant action, they can come and go as you allow. A feeling that arises, unattached to any outside force is usually associated with your intuition. A feeling is a call to action; it needs you to listen and respond. Pay attention to the way you feel. Is it an emotional response or is it a feeling that comes from something inside; something deeper?

• Practice listening and act on it. Make a call to the friend who’s been on your mind. Take a rest day when you’re feeling run down. Try that new class that keeps popping into your head. When you practice, intuition appreciates the response and then gives you more and more to practice on. Start wherever you are—what do you feel like doing right now? How does your desire make you feel? If you feel open, spacious, or joyful, then it’s probably your intuition guiding you. Do you have the courage to act on it?

• Trust. Sometimes you may never know why you feel prompted to do what you do. We’re all connected, so sometimes your intuition is in service to someone else. Trust that the messages that come through you are a gift to you, but also a gift to the Universe, and sometimes you will see the purpose clearly, and sometimes you won’t. Trust that no matter what happens you’re right where you need to be, serving on the path you’re meant to travel.

This life that you’re creating with every breath, every thought and every action is your own beautiful creative offering. It is an offering to yourself and an offering to everyone and everything on your path.

Take care of it.
Be selective.
Listen.
Practice.
Honor it.
And be brave.

And if you’re still not exactly sure what intuition is or how to tune into it?

Try.

Your willingness to try is a force so powerful, it’s the only force you need.

Now go and set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread throughout the entire Universe.

Because you are THAT important.

And the world can’t wait to receive the magic in you.

xo,

e.

This post is also the topic of a KSL Studio 5 segment that aired on Friday, October 9th at 11:00. If you missed it, you can catch the replay right here. (If it’s not showing up just yet, check back a bit later…it will be up soon!) xo.

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