The Warrior Inside All of Us
"Sometimes I get so caught up in my head I forget to live." Unknown
Breathe. Take a big, full, rich, complete breath from your belly to your collarbones and sigh it out through your mouth.
There. That's better. For now at least, right?
Our bodies have this amazing response to stress, fear, anxiety and worry - it's called our sympathetic nervous system. This system boots up our adrenals to supply us with hormones, our muscles fire up, and our "hind" brain jumps in and starts making executive decisions that will keep us alive.
But, this system has a few responses to fear - fight, flight or freeze.
Fight is when we realize we need to act quickly and jump into the fray to save ourselves, our loved ones, our community. Flight is when we decide (sometimes mistakenly) we are no match for the cause of our fear and we must run away to save ourselves. And freeze is when we are immobilized by fear and cannot act/move/decide.
"The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships." T.K.V. Desikachar
During the past few weeks, many have experienced immobilizing fear. We feel frozen, unable to act, move, get up in the morning. We want to hide, run away.
Stop. Breathe again. Remember who you are.
YOU - you are a warrior. You are a divine being with the skills, knowledge, abilities and more to overcome this fear. You have been working all of this time on the yoga mat, on the meditation cushion - becoming mindful, connected, prepared. This is what you have been training for. There is fear still, but you are able to use it to skillfully move forward.
You are ready. You have everything you need inside of yourself to protect, preserve and uplift yourself, your loved ones, your community. But, you need to remember who you are and you need to take command of your energy.
Take a breath. Feel that breath move through your body. Listen to the beat of your heart. Connect to your inner strength. YOU ARE A WARRIOR. Be in this moment, tell yourself you are ready, feel the clearing energy of mindfulness freeing you. Allow your inner warrior to guide you in reacting appropriately to the threats in your present life. If it is time to stand down, then it is time to stand down. If it is time to act, then act. The warrior in you knows. You know.
Remember WHO YOU ARE.
All my love to you my friends...
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo - far more flexible than you'd ever believe at first glance.” Jodi Picoult
One of my favorite Doctor Who quotes (yes, I am a fan) is when the Doctor smiles this HUGE smile and says "I love humans. You lot are the most amazing and resilient creatures." This week, this and many other things came to mind as the world wrangles with quarantine and what this means in each of our lives.
First there is shock and for many, anger. We react to our freedom of movement being limited. We want to do what we want to do, when and how we want to do it. We feel fettered by this quarantine.
And then there is frustration followed by anxiety and worry. What does this mean? How long will this last? Will we be okay? How will we get through this?
Grief comes next - for what we have lost, what we will lose, how different the world will look when we come out on the other side.
"We are unstoppable, not because we don't have doubt or fear, but because we continue despite them." Unknown
But, quickly following all of these feelings and reactions is STRENGTH and RESILIENCE. Human nature kicking in and saying how can I help others? What can I do? How can I make this work?
This week I have seen hundreds of small businesses who have NEVER done anything such as an online streaming video - reach out, figure it out and offer online options for everyone. Many have done this for free - offering SO many things to help us get through this time with more ease. These people and businesses jumped in and in just days figured out how to help us at home while under quarantine - how to offer more that is accessible for everyone, everywhere.
It is beautiful, glorious, amazing and my heart is so filled with admiration for the human soul.
We are faced with a global pandemic that has essentially shut most of our lives down and we are now social distancing on a grand scale; yet, we are coming together to reach out, cross the divide, and offer each other whatever we can. People are setting up virtual coffee shops to get others together to drink coffee from home while chatting and sharing. Others are offering their services for free or deeply discounted so everyone can be cared for and supported. People are supporting local restaurants by ordering to go or buying from small businesses through an online offering. Many people are donating to their favorite businesses and people to support their continued survival. We are banding together to do whatever we can to help us ALL get through this.
"I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it." Maya Angelou
This is our choice. This is what makes us human and AMAZING. WE ARE RESILIENT. Whatever happens, no matter what it is, we process then jump right in to help in any way we can. WE ARE STRONG. No matter how people feel about circumstances right now, I see story after story on social media of people making the very best of it - enjoying nature, being creative, exploring their lives in new and beautiful ways and how they can offer more to this world.
Yes, we all may be changed by this but we will not be reduced by it...
See you on the mat my friends!
“Never stop believing in HOPE because miracles happen everyday.” Unknown
This week, during a routine health appointment, I met Kathy. We introduced ourselves and somehow, immediately hit it off and started chatting. In the space of less than 30 minutes, Kathy shared that her son had hit a car on Friday, another son is in a cast for what seems forever, she has 6 show pigs (her step kids 4H project) with varying issues she has to take care of daily, and her husband - whom she loves with all her heart and soul is dying of cancer. She shared some of their of their battle with cancer and her face was wet with tears.
I shared some personal news of my own and by the end of our routine visit, Kathy said, "Please come back and visit me and let me know how you are getting on." I grabbed her, hugged her tight and said I am here for you too and thank you for being such a wonderful person. We both said our goodbyes and told each other we would be sending our best energy to each other.
We met as strangers and left as friends.
"Don't look for miracles. You yourself are a miracle." Henry Miller
As I drove home I thought to myself - this woman has so much on her plate, so much not going her way but she was upbeat, positive and told me she would pray for me. She is a miracle. She is magical. She is illumination. I soared knowing that I had been gifted the beautiful opportunity to meet and be uplifted (and I hope uplift) this amazing human being.
We often spend a lot of time looking around for signs, miracles, answers to our questions - but rarely do we look at the person right in front of us. The woman in the grocery line who looks tired and overwhelmed with several kids and limited funds - she is a miracle as she smiles and laughs and kisses her baby. The man in the coffee shop who looks alone, disconnected, shy but manages to hold the door for you or pays for your coffee without you knowing - he's a miracle. These people are proof of the human soul rising above the fray of our circumstances and SHINING like a beacon of hope.
Not once in my conversation with Kathy did she express hopelessness even though many might have felt that way. She was filled with the light of life and love and hope.
"Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you'll see them all around you." Jon Bon Jovi
I will never forget Kathy and you bet I will be reaching out to her again and checking in on her. She lit up my world, reminded me of how incredibly beautiful we are - all of us - no matter what is going on.
Shine your light. Be the one who uplifts, connects, supports others. Be someone's miracle and keep your eyes open for the tiny little miracles all around you and CONNECT!
See you on the mat my friends!
For more on what is happening at the Studio: linktr.ee/theyogaranger
Loving the Earth a Little...
“When you realize Heart and Earth are spelled with the same letters, it all starts to make sense.” Unknown
As we close out our month focused on love, I would be remiss if I forgot Mother Earth. It's the one thing each and every one of us has in common and share every single day, every single moment.
Last year my family committed to reduce our plastics and ultimately our waste. We worked on bringing all of our own supplies when out - bags, cups, straws, packaging - and buying bulk and without plastic wrapping. We committed to reducing our purchasing of things made out of plastic that were not biodegradable - choosing alternative products such as bamboo and cotton. Although we worked hard at it - we had some serious struggles. It appears that almost everything out there is wrapped, sold, transferred or shipped in plastic. Local vendors we worked with delivered everything in plastic (from prescription bottles to packaging to containers).
It took a concerted effort and some detailed conversations with people and businesses to educate them on using less plastic, offering alternatives, suggesting they carry options, asking them to make some changes to accommodate our desire to reduce our plastic footprint. I have to admit that every time I come into a place with my own cotton bags, glass jars, and paper bags - people are SUPER excited but even while they LIKE what we are doing, they don't seem to want to commit to it.
That's the issue.
"The earth is what we all have in common." Wendell Berry
It's just one bag, one wrap, one little prescription bottle. But it's not. It's millions of bags, millions of bottles, millions of plastic wrapped items. We need to stop this and WE can if we make the demand for alternatives heard.
Each time you take your own bag, or buy unpackaged items or insist on no wrapping, you send a message. We don't need this plastic and we don't want it. So, here are a few little tips to take to start this change and I ask that you join me in reducing over consumption and waste and show how much you love our earth.
1. Take your own bags everywhere you go. Cotton bags are easy to make, washable, easy to use and easy to store in your car, purse, home. If you don't have a bag, tell the store you can carry it without or ask for paper bags or a portion of a cardboard box they are recycling. Or better yet, if you don't have a bag, you don't buy (my new rule!).
2. Buy bulk. Whenever, wherever you can - buy in bulk. Lots of stores offer bulk supplies - Sprouts, Whole Foods, local health food stores. Use mason jars, cotton bags, glass containers to buy, fill and store (just weigh your jar and mark on it the weight in pen when you enter the store so they can remove the jar weight before purchase).
3. If you don't have a cup or straw on you - you don't get a drink. Fill your car and purse with metal straws and reusable metal/glass cups for anytime you want a drink. EXTRA - you can reduce waste AND you often get a discount on your drink!
4. Choose reusable items over disposable. Straws, cups, cotton face wipes, towels, storage containers. Buy it washable and reusable every time you can.
5. Rethink - Reuse. Before you throw something away, stop, think and see if there is something else it can be used for. What else could this item do, be, serve as? Yard planter, magazine holder, planter - think outside it's original use OR ask your friends and neighbors if they could use it. SO many times I have found new happy homes for items I no longer need or want!
6. Explain to local vendors what you are trying to do. I informed all my extra mail vendors that I was trying to reduce my eco footprint and they stopped sending me junk mail! I notified my veterinarian of what I was doing so they package my prescriptions in small paper envelopes or reuse the glass jars (from jams) I bring in. Invite them to be a part of your adventure and maybe, just maybe they will try some of these things themselves.
"Keep close to nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." John Muir
Last but not least, step outside - climb a mountain, swim the lake, hike the hills - BREATHE. When you spend time outside - you remember why it is you are working hard to show Mother Earth some love - YOU WANT TO PRESERVE THIS! Show the Earth some love and she will love you in return.
See you on the mat my friends!
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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All rights reserved by Aprille Walker and The Yoga Ranger Studio 2014-2019 (copyrighted material)