Courage

Today I was looking for my yoga teacher training completion certificate, which I needed in order to update my PrAna Influencer status so I can continue to get an industry discount (this is of utmost importance for yoga mats and props for teaching and all the pretty clothes!!!). In any case, my certificate was not where it should have been (framed on my wall!), and it wasn’t tucked carefully away inside my teacher training binder, I started to get worried–but then I found a letter that my dear teacher, Noah, had written to me upon my finishing training. It reads (in part):

Dear Carly,

My word for you is “Courage.” Your level of caring and commitment to learning is so important. To stand up in front of a large group and share yourself is not easy. Yet you have been able to stand on your own vulnerability from a place of ease and calm. Thank you for staying open to all possibilities for yourself and for your students.

 

Courage. Courage to learn. Courage to be vulnerable. Courage to be open to all possibilities that lay before me.

 

It is no accident that I came across this letter. I needed this loving reminder–it takes courage to teach yoga, and it takes courage to choose not to teach yoga and it takes courage to GET BACK ON MY MAT (and the teacher’s seat) after serious injury.

I am very excited to report that the universe (and my coworkers) are conspiring, and I will be teaching some yoga workshops starting in June! I hope this is just the beginning of more regular teaching.

 

Stay tuned. Stay brave. Stay true to yourself.

 

Love,

CRD

 

PS I found the certificate and am one step closer to more pretty prAna clothes 😉

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Time To Be Me

Well hello long lost friends! It’s been a while since I have made the time to sit down and write. The recovery from my concussion in November has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated, and I still find it detrimental to sit too long in front of a computer screen.
What I did not mention in my last post, was that  I was interviewing for a new job (which was quite the process and included a flight to and from Chicago in one day with the worst headache I have ever had in my life). I got the job (yay!) and I started the first week of January. It has been a step up in leadership and responsibility and I love it!  I manage a team of 9 people who challenge and encourage me to be better, and work for a boss who is supportive and helpful and such a contrast to previous managers I have had recently. The best part of the  new job is that it allows me something that I haven’t had in a quite a few years: work/life balance and time to be ME.
I have never had work/life balance in the way I do now, and it is sad to say that I am having a difficult time getting used to having two set days off in row consistently every week. It has been such a luxury! At first I used these days for the endless number of appointments I had for concussion recovery (PT, OT, massage therapy, chiropractic, cranial sacral, etc). It seemed as though I had some sort of appointment every day for two months. It got to the point that I was so exhausted by all of the appointments that my body didn’t have adequate time to rest and recover. My stress reliever for the past number of years has been yoga, but with my injury, I could barely Savasana–so a physical practice of even 15 minutes was out of the question.  I was so stressed out with recovery (and my fears of not ever being back to normal) and starting my new job, my body and my brain were overwhelmed and emotional. I was at a breaking point–everything pointing to SLOWING DOWN and GIVING MYSELF SPACE and REST. Luckily, my main doctor handling my L&I claim was fantastic, and when I let her know that I needed to stop all the therapies and let my body just rest, she held off closing the case and let me be me for a while.
I trust my body and its innate ability to heal itself with time. Taking this 6 weeks without any appointments was the best decision for me. I believe that resting has done a lot more for me than I can ever express.
During this same time (January) I started life coaching with my dear friend Lindsey Jackson, who had previously been my Pilates instructor in Brisbane (yes, my friends, the world is small and magical and brings the best things together time and again). Working with Lindsey has helped me get back on track with goal setting and motivation and personal growth. I find that having someone holding me accountable makes me much more productive, and therefore gives me a greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Coaching with Lindsey has reminded me of my passions and dreams and her direct and loving approach to coaching has made me be realistic about financial steps i need to take to make everything come together.
Of course, Lindsey is my Pilates trainer, too and we are working on finding balance in my body (one half of my body is exponentially stronger the other and I want to equalize that, which we believe will help prevent my SI joint dysfunction and other back issues).
Pilates has also significantly helped with my neck issues (both pre-existing and post-concussion).
Eventually, my goal is to get back to yoga and find a class or two to teach!
I am proud of myself for not pushing myself to teach right now–because I have learned that teaching takes a lot out of me, and right now I need to put that energy into myself and getting back to a fully strong and energetic Carly (which I am not quite back to yet).
Another goal has been to get back to writing (and the backlog of blog posts I have hidden in the back of my head). Writing takes dedication and practice and deliberately setting aside time to write. I am going to start with writing at least one post a month, and then increase as I see fit. Baby steps. Little by little. Patience.
Until
Next time,
CRD
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NaNoWriMo Update

So unfortunately, the universe does not want me to complete NaNoWriMo this year, and has instead:

  1. Allowed Donald Trump to be elected president of the USA. I am still in shock and denial about this. (more on this later in a blog post/letter I wrote to President Barack Obama)
  2. Allowed me to witness 5 people get shot in front of me as I waited for a bus last Wednesday.
  3. Allowed me to get hit in the head by a falling mannequin at work, which has caused a pretty gnarly concussion (as in I shouldn’t be posting anything here because I shouldn’t even be looking at a screen).
  4. Allowed a few other sad things to happen to me that my closest friends know about and which I will refrain from sharing with a broader audience.

Needless to say, I have not written 1600+ words a day for the last week and a half.

What I have done is rested and meditated and tried to make sense of everything.

I came to the conclusion that the Universe wants me to stay inside and away from all of the craziness (the Universe has better plans for me than to get shot at a bus stop or rammed by a crazy driver on the freeway who for no apparent reason decided to hit every car in her path in an insane hit and run).

I will, however, be doing my own “NaNoWriMo” in the month of December, so I can get this novel to a much more completed draft. I am excited by what I have written thus far, and want to continue when my head and heart are in a better state.

In the mean time, please put as much love out into the world as you can. Hug each other, hug and smile at strangers, and tell everyone you love that they matter. You all matter to me.

 

Love and light,

CRD

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NaNoWriMo

Seeing as I haven’t been prioritizing my writing for approximately 2 years, I have decided to undertake the seemingly impossible task of writing a novel in a month. There are multiple reasons for this, the main one being that I am a writer and I need to write in order to maintain any semblance of sanity. I need a jump start, I need motivation and deadlines.

So thanks to my wonderful co-worker, PJ, and our many discussions about writing,  I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. PJ and I are holding each other accountable for getting the words out. I believe we are both going to WIN this challenge.

I have already written over 1500 word (which is the daily goal for each day in November).

I am inspired. I am excited. I am ready to get these words and worlds and characters out of my head and onto the page.

I am so excited about writing again, that I am also going to prioritize writing a blog post a week for the month of November (hoping, of course, that this will continue and become a part of my routine and I won’t have such lengthy lapses in my posts).

Stay tuned, and thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Go hug someone,

CRD

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My Lost Year

Hello friends,

 

It has been over a year since I posted my last blog on bullying, and it is quite an appropriate transition from that post to the one I am about to write. Because over the past 15 months I have had many new experiences with bullies and manipulators, and think it is important for me to get it all out in the open. Because for a lot of you, it is quite a surprise that I am back in Seattle, not really teaching yoga, and keeping things on the down low.

 

I can’t and won’t go over everything that happened to me since last March, but will say that it has been a rollercoaster of mostly negative emotions, depression, poverty to the point of near-homelessness, confusion, disappointment, digging deep, soul searching and taking a number of large steps backwards in order to attempt to heal.

 

It has been a time of trusting the process, of learning and growing, and of setting important boundaries for myself.

 

2015 was rough for me. I was bullied, manipulated, put down and nearly crushed by the weight of it all.

 

2015 was a year of hustling, insomnia, of trying to get by and make ends meet and live up to my full potential.

 

2015 was a year of over doing it, of putting other people’s needs before mine, of not taking care of myself (body, mind, nor spirit).

 

2015 was a year of deep love and heartbreak, and transformation, and oftentimes, painful growth.

 

2015 was a reminder of the importance of friends and community who uplift instead of put down.

 

***

 

Today I live in suburban Seattle, in the house I grew up in. I sleep in a single bed, in the childhood bedroom I shared with my sister. It is quiet here, it is safe, I am surrounded by love and there are constant reminders of good times, of my formative years, of the love and support of my family.

 

I am 33 years old and live with my mom and dad. And this is 100% where I am supposed to be. My parents are two of my favorite people on the planet, and I am forever grateful that they are mine and that they support me through everything.

 

I am not teaching yoga right now. This is totally ok. I am not even really practicing yoga asana right now, and that is ok, too. It is ok to take a physical break to focus on meditation and more internal aspects of my yoga practice.

 

I am working in retail. I have been promoted twice since March, and am the visual merchandising manager for two retail stores in Seattle. I work with some incredible people, who inspire me to be my best, and who I get out in nature with. We laugh a lot, cheer each other on, and support each other through struggles. It is a good place to spend a lot of time. People appreciate me there, and I am happy. Yes, you read that right: I am happy working in retail.

 

I love the fact I have one job that I go to every day, where I work for 8 hours and leave the duties at the door when I clock out. I love the fact I get a decent paycheck every 2 weeks, that I have great benefits, and that I get paid days off to actually take vacations!

 

On the side I am working with my dad and one of my very oldest and dearest friends on a project that we hope will not only be creatively fulfilling but also financially fruitful.

 

I try to relax, I try to make things pretty, in hopes that I will eventually get back to a happy, healthy, financially stable and productive version of me.

 

This is a very different picture than where I was last year.

 

***

 

February 2015 I moved into a house with an acquaintance in Long Beach. At first it was fun. We decorated the house, painted, hung new curtains, made things pretty. I made friends with her cats.

 

But making a space pretty does not make a space healthy. There were bad vibes in that house long before I ever moved in. There were small things that bothered me from day one that I never mentioned because I am not a fan of confrontation and would rather let myself deal with it than make things more uncomfortable. (I know, I know, and I am working on standing up for myself).

 

Without getting into specific details, I was basically not at all comfortable or at peace in my own space. I was made to feel as if I was not good enough to be there, that I was not worthy, that I was taking advantage and using my roommate and not living up to my part of the bargain.

 

By June last year (4 months after moving in) I was so miserable that I never wanted to be at home, I especially never wanted to be at home when my roommate was there, which became increasingly difficult when we both had jobs where we worked from home a lot of the time. I noticed I had started complaining instead of being grateful and thankful. I noticed I was getting depressed and had lost my joy and appreciation for everything I had in my life that was good. So I decided to try and find a new place to live.

 

And then my roommate’s ex-boyfriend started to harass me and threaten me.

 

By September I lost my job that provided the biggest portion of my income.

 

And then two of the yoga studios where I worked went out of business.

 

And then my roommate decided to arbitrarily raise my portion of the rent.

 

In November I found a retail job, and a potential temporary new roommate and apartment. (Things were looking up!)

 

And then the new place fell through 2 days before I had to be out of my house.

 

On December 31st 2015, I took tons of stuff to Goodwill, I packed everything up and put it in a storage unit in a public storage location where I am pretty sure people lived, and then stayed with friends for the entirety of January.

 

And then I realized that I just couldn’t keep going the way things were. Because I was at rock bottom. And there was no way to get out without removing myself from the situation entirely.

 

And so I moved home.

 

***

 

 

 

2015 was a year in which I lost a lot.

 

But 2015 was a year in which I gained more than I ever imagined. One of the biggest things I gained was the knowledge of what real friendship is:

 

Real friends will spend part of their long weekend home from Cleveland to help you sort through your belongings, take loads of donations to Goodwill, and will give you good wine and lots of hugs.

Real friends will drive from Santa Barbara to Long Beach to help you move your stuff into a creepy, storage facility. And they will do this without question or judgment, and all the while providing lots of hugs. They make you laugh on your worst days, when you have no idea where anything of importance (including your brain) even is.

 

Real friends drive from Torrance, multiple times to be there for you, to help you move stuff into storage, without even batting an eyelid or asking anything in return. They also give you love and support and beautiful paintings and their most treasured books on Thailand (for inspiration).

 

Real friends drive from Redondo Beach in rush hour to meet you at Wholefoods in Long Beach so you can actually get a decent meal in you. They then drive you to work so you won’t be late. They constantly send you text messages and emails just to let you know they are thinking about you.

 

Real friends let you stay at their homes even though they have never had overnight guests before and are rather uncomfortable with the idea of it. They fix up their guest bathroom with deliciously smelling soaps and body washes, and loofas and nice crisp clean towels. They feed you. They let you sleep. They leave you little love notes. They don’t ask questions.

 

Real friends include sisters who do so much without even having to be asked. Who support you every single day. Who make you laugh so hard as you walk out of that negative cesspool of a house for the very last time, by seeing a roommate’s name on a letter, and nearly toppling over with laughter. Because the last name of the former roommate is German for disturb, bother, derange, distract, harass, intrude, interrupt, and interfere.

 

Oh the irony and little joys of life.

 

Real friends wait to get their New Year’s party started until you arrive dirty and stinky from moving, and have snuck into the guest room, to put on a smile, some sparkles and some lipstick so you feel like your old beautiful, carefree self. They don’t ask questions. They don’t need to, because they just innately know. And what they know is that it is all going to be ok.

 

***

 

So 2015 is lost and gone and with it a lot of hopes and dreams. But the loss and emptiness opened my eyes to what was really important. And I am finding my way back home and can’t wait to see what the rest of 2016 brings to the table.

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On Bullying

I have a confession to make: when I was in middle school, I was bullied.

I am not sure why this is a difficult thing for me to admit to, and it was only a few months ago that I came to the realization that what I had experienced so many years ago falls under the vast umbrella that bullying encompasses. After years of not really thinking about that timeframe and the emotional bulling I endured day after day, it is all bubbling back in pretty poignant ways.

When I was in middle school, a classmate of mine (who will, of course, remain nameless) decided to make my life even more miserable than middle school already was. We were in a program for highly capable students, and it made absolutely no sense to anyone as to why this girl would target me (and some underserving project partners of mine), and sabotage my grades, harass me, and be plain old mean. At the worst point of the bullying, the girl stole the teacher’s grade book, presumably to tamper with the grades (a felony by the way). Luckily, she was later expelled from the school and the harassment ended.

Also during my middle school years, I had a strange experience with a science teacher. Multiple times during the trimester, this teacher brought up my weight in front of the entire class. I have always been tall and thin, and at this point in time was not only growing taller, but also in a rigorous ballet training program. So yes, I was thin. But I have never had issues with eating (everyone who knows me knows I love to chow down), and it made me feel incredibly awkward that this lady would mention “her concern” in front of class. On multiple occasions she even brought articles about anorexia and bulimia to me, presenting them in front of the class! Teachers of middle schoolers should know better than this–teachers should be supportive. But I digress.

Sixteen years later I still feel awkward about these experiences. They are things from my past that I just don’t understand. I cannot, for the life of me, get why people feel the need to put other people down, to single them out, and purposefully harm each other. I just don’t get it. And honestly, I don’t want to know what goes through the minds of these people-it would be dark and terrifying I am sure!

I am 32-years-old now, and thought that these sorts of antics, these “mean girls” were out of my life for good. I am a grown up. I speak my mind. I like conversations.I try not to shy away from difficult topics–especially when necessary.  I understand that not everyone likes me (because believe me, there are people I don’t really like either), but I have chosen a career path that is filled with some amazing, inspiring, and genuinely great human beings. People who care, who lift me up and encourage me.  So I was surprised and caught off guard when I received a text message from one of the studio owners that included a photo of a letter from an anonymous yoga student. The letter was 99% about me, pulling me apart, saying things that are not only gravely untrue and distorted, but purposefully cruel. Nothing in the letter was meant to provide constructive criticism, in no way was it feedback I could use to improve as a teacher (which I would gladly take!)—the full intention of this student’s letter was to put me down, and degrade me in the hopes of getting me fired.

It hit me HARD.

What kind of person writes this kind of letter and leaves it anonymously? What kind of YOGI does this? Apparently this person, whoever it is, has never studied the Yamas and Niyamas and obviously doesn’t know anything of Ahimsa. This person knows nothing of being tactful, kind, and knows nothing of discretion. This person is a coward.

I have been through enough life situations to know not to take this action personally, but when someone attacks me, I tend to want a fair fight. I want the chance to have a CONVERSATION, to be an adult. Instead I am stuck with this person’s words (false as they may be) blazoned across my brain, repeating over and over again like a bad dream—and I can’t help but feel a bit sad, a bit uncertain and pretty confused.

The hard part about the bullying I have experienced in my life is that none of it will ever have a nice tidy ending. I won’t get that conversation to figure out why, or even solve whatever the issues are that these people have with me. I have to stand here and put up with it–to, in some cases, carry the baggage with me unit lit boils over.

Luckily I do have a wonderful network of people who do like to converse–great sounding boards of compassion and integrity. Beautiful souls who see me on my path and know just the right things to say to help me make sense of this trauma (because bullying is traumatic in whatever form it takes).

One good friend and mentor of mine mentioned that this is coming up because it is something I need to let go of, parts of my past that are not serving me that I need to work through and move on from. So that is what I am trying to do. Figure out what I can learn from these traumas, things that can make me stronger and allow me to grow, and then allow these experiences to pass away. I am working through it. Trying to be as kind to others as I can be (without being taken advantage of myself). It is challenging, but will be worth it.

Be kind to each other.

CRD

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Thoughts on my Body

Hi friends. Sorry it has been a while. Life got in the way, I moved, I quit one job, and gained two more in the process. I am finally settling in and getting into a routine. It is wonderful, things are going well, and opportunities keep falling in my lap. So here I am, back and ready to start including writing in my weekly (if not daily) regime. It feels great!

What does not feel great right now is my body. For the past week and a half, I have been suffering from back spasms and S.I. Joint Dysfunction. Neither of these things are fun, and I have been in a lot of pain (varying from such intensity that I collapsed on the sidewalk outside of the post office, to a dull throb when I bend the wrong way or sit in one position for too long).

As a yoga teacher it has been indescribably challenging. Students ask, with great trepidation, if I hurt myself DOING YOGA. GASP! No, I didn’t hurt myself doing yoga, I was fine one minute and then POP the SI joint went out and I was in pain. It stems from an old injury, and sometimes, for various reasons, gets aggravated and flares up. There are things I can do to try and prevent it form happening, but sometimes I think it is just my body telling me to slow down.

Bodies are amazing things. They want to heal themselves, want to be in good alignment and healthy. They give us signs (pain, for instance) that tell us when things are not optimal, when we should make changes, when we must STOP. I am very in tune with my body and the things it tells me. I tend to listen to it, but being a recovering Type A personality, sometimes I push through and ignore my body.

This time it has been different though, I am REALLY trying to listen to my body, trying to rest and not push it to its limits, trying (REALLY HARD) to relax and not worry. It has been quite the balancing act, and quite meditative.

During the past few weeks I have noticed things about my body—the main one being how grateful I am to have it—to have it function—to have it be healthy. I think I take this for granted more than I would like to admit. Things that are usually quite easy for me have been challenging—even going to the bathroom! Oh my!

All of the struggles I have had remind me that my body—this beautiful instrument of mine—could be crippled or taken away at any moment! A glimpse at what it will be like to be an old woman. A sweet reminder that I am aging, and that I will continue to age, and that some day this body of mine will be gone, and all that will be left is my soul, my spirit.

Having these thoughts did not scare me, nor did they disturb me—funny enough, they made me happy, made my heart fill with a deep pulsing love. But they also made me think differently about my body—and about the way our society puts so much importance on this external, disposable, bag of salty water and bones—when the important things lie inside—as our hearts and souls.

As nice as it is to have someone tell me I am beautiful, that I have nice legs, that they adore my body—these words are actually kind of offensive to me—leave much to be desired, and leave me wondering what the heck is wrong with people? I don’t want to be told I am beautiful, unless it is in a context with what is going on inside of me—that my actions and intentions are beautiful, that my heart is good, that I am making a difference with the things my body allows me to do.

I am oh-so-tired of being objectified.

CRD

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