Light My Fire

Once again I’m reminded of the importance of self care. I’ve been feeling off all week since I ingested some lemon essential oil. I know that this is a great detoxifier and added a couple drops to my water because I felt like I needed a good detox. The next day I woke up with an upset stomach which didn’t really go away all week. I didn’t have any other symptoms, flu or otherwise so I did feel like I was just removing a lot of toxins from my liver but they weren’t actually leaving my body no matter how much lemon water or green smoothies I drank.

All week I’d been aware that I was avoiding meditating and journaling and doing any of the other things that helps bring my mind, body and soul into balance. I was feeling lethargic and starting to notice a little bit of depression creeping in. This morning I woke up, still not feeling 100% though I finally felt ready to write in my journal, meditate and face whatever this was. 10 pages later, my stomach is no longer bugging me. What my body was trying to release was not just physical toxins, but past traumas and anger. After journaling I cleared away all that I was holding onto with a smudging ceremony and was inspired to draw a flame with my oil pastels. I felt it was important to create a visual image I could use to remind me that I am powerful.

ImageAs I was drawing and colouring, I realized the flame is such an important representation of my power. My flame is always burning, but sometimes I choose to let other people dampen it. I will now choose to remember that I control how bright my flame burns because when I give my power away, I become lethargic and unmotivated.

As I coloured, I allowed my inner flame to grow inside of me and to burn brightly. The more I did this, the more motivated I became to spend the day creating. I spent some time hooping and working on the Yin Yang Hoop Dance workshop I’ll be offering at Spin Milk 4. I spent some time rearranging “my room” as I like to call it. It’s a spare room that I have set up for meditation, journaling, yoga, hooping and whatever tickles my fancy. It’s my self care oasis. I reorganized my bulletin board so I could hang my flame on it and see it on a regular basis. I was inspired and motivated to blog about my experience and after this I’m still feeling inspired to go to the grocery store and pick up some ingredients to create tasty dehydrated snacks!

I know how important self care is yet sometimes choose not to make it a priority. Today is just another reminder that taking care of myself is a practice and I’m not perfect at it, but when I choose to take care of myself first instead of distracting myself with mindless activities or doing responsibility type stuff, I’m much better off for it. Self care makes me come alive and invites me to step into my power as a creator. The flame reminds me to keep stoking my inner fire so I can shine my light out to the world.

2014 – I’m ready for you!

I can’t believe it’s been 365 days since I set the intention to make 2013 my best year yet. Although 2013 has had its ups and downs, I’d say overall it was pretty awesome because I learned a lot and tried my best to enjoy the ride. I do feel like I set out to accomplish a lot this past year and ended up getting majorly derailed by forces beyond my control which sent me into one of the most difficult periods of my adult life. Because of that I didn’t do all the things on my list. I’ve been having a hard time feeling like I accomplished anything this year as I complete the “Closing 2013” section of my Amazing Life Workbook because I didn’t complete all the tangible goals I had set out for myself. The good news is, that when I look back on my Dec 31, 2012 blog about my intentions, I actually really did well at integrating them into my life. They weren’t just things I could do once and cross them off, they were about making long term changes in my life. I think that this means I’ve become more of the person I want to be and that is an accomplishment. A few accomplishments do stick out for me in 2013; a friend told me I inspired him to start playing the harmonica, I taught an 86 year old lady how to hoop and I feel like I created stronger relationships with friends and family. Way to go, me!

In 2013, I have actively practiced loving more and judging less as I realize what I judge in others, I’m judging in myself, what I accept in others, I accept in myself. I continue to nourish myself with healthy food, yoga, meditation and hooping. All acts of self love that fill me up so I can be ready for the next intention I set for myself in 2013.

I have shared and given back in different ways but most significant to me was by teaching hooping to teens with addiction abuse issues. They are attending a program I completed when I was a teen. It was an emotional experience going back and revisiting my youth, but it felt so good knowing that I could have an influence on their lives like the people who worked there had on my life.

I have had periods of living in flow this past year, I experienced serendipity and have learned many lessons about surrendering and releasing control. I have learned over and over again that when you surrender and let go, life just works itself out. I spent a lot of time worrying about how things will play out and realized when I just stopped worrying, life is much more enjoyable. I blogged about one of these flow experiences recently because it was such an incredible learning experience for me.

This year I gained a much deeper understanding of human being vs. human doing. I thought I just did too much and didn’t allow myself to chill. At the Sacred Circularities retreat I attended in Sedona, I discovered an imbalance of masculine and feminine within me and I think me doing all the time is the physical manifestation of that imbalance. I have gained much deeper awareness of what this means to me, but am still struggling with it. I’m still learning to be and to accept what has unfolded, knowing that I’m not going to get everything done and that is OK. I’m realizing that this life is not a race to the finish line and my success wont be measured by how many things I cross off my list. I think the lessons I learn are more important that the things I do and I intend to integrate this lesson more in 2014.

For 2014 I set the intention to come into balance. I see duality or polarity in my life, with my go-go-go attitude and then burn out as the opposite. I’d like to have balance so I can focus on my dreams but also want to be able to give myself space to just be. When I think of this I see a pendulum swinging really wide. In 2014, I envision it slowing down and coming closer to stillness. I feel that focusing on this intention will bring everything into my life that is supposed to be there. It will lead me to where I’m supposed to go and give me the lessons that I most need to learn to continue growing. I believe this intention will help me to know myself even more and to love myself even more which I see as the key to creating the best experience I possibly can for myself.

Oh, one more thing. In 2013 I didn’t end up doing a cartwheel. Not for lack of trying, I had numerous people trying to show me how to do it but for some reason I won’t just let myself go through with it. I get all caught up in the mechanics of what my body should be doing, the fear of falling and hurting myself and I just freeze. Kind of like a metaphor for my life I guess. I’m OK that I’m not quite ready for it yet and will lovingly keep working on it in 2014.

Much love and best wishes for the new year,
Nicole

This is what flow feels like

I am grateful for the snowy, rush hour traffic, that made me late for yoga. When I called to let the studio know I’d be late, they told me they don’t allow late arrivals but perhaps I could do some errands and catch the next class and hour and a half later. I told them that I couldn’t do that but realized that my other option was turning around to go home and fight traffic going the other way.

I am grateful that I decided to to wait it out and go to the later class because I was able to get a little more Christmas shopping done.

I am grateful that when I arrived to the yoga studio, the person checking me in suggested that I ended up in this restorative class for a reason, even though I thought I needed a yang, intense class.

I’m grateful for the anger that arose in class, because I was still upset about missing the class I originally wanted to go to, and that my schedule was all messed up and that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I wanted to do later on in the evening.

I am grateful for the yoga instructor who said just what I needed to hear when I inquired if restorative classes can bring up anger. She reminded me that we often distract ourselves by doing to avoid pain and discomfort and that when we’re forced to be still, uncomfortable feelings come up. I’m grateful that she reminded me that this was an opportunity to explore the anger and learn what was beneath it by being with it.

I am grateful for being offered the last cup of balancing auyervedic tea on my way out of the yoga studio, for the time I had after class to enjoy the tea and journal about my experience and for the Cowabunga Life Vision Quest I’m currently doing because just yesterday I learned some tips on how to sit with uncomfortable feelings.

I’m also grateful that the Cowabunga Life Vision Quest has reminded me to breathe. As I was journaling, and filing my body with deep breaths, I smiled to myself because I realized I was breathing in gratitude both figuratively and literally. In addition to grateful thoughts, I  was actually breathing in Saje‘s “Gratitude” diffuser blend because that happened to be the only blend in my car when I plugged the diffuser in a few days earlier. I find it even more interesting because I hadn’t used the diffuser in months!

This whole experience reminded me how important it is to go with the flow and to trust that things work out as they should. My intention leading up to the solstice is to give myself the time and space to go deep within so I can restore myself and get clear on what I want to create in 2014. This past week, I was very busy and slipped back into my pattern of doing and tonight, I was reminded to take it easy and the importance of being with what is.