Reconnecting with Myself

Originally posted May 21, 2018

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It's so very easy to get caught in the under current that is comparison and let it take you deep into the ocean of self-doubt.

"I'm not doing enough." 

"I'm not doing it right" 

"Why can they do that and I can't?" 

The ego gets really caught up in this wave and fights so hard to swim against it. Flash to a scene from a scary ocean movie - a person fighting against the waves, coming up for the big inhale, only to be pulled under again. Up and back down, up and down again. Arms flailing, trying to find control in what is greater than the human body - nature.

Oh, the poor ego. Always trying to protect us. Working against the wave with fear and worry. "What will happen if I go out there? I can't do this. I won't survive."

Back to the movie - the current pulls the body into the ocean and suddenly there's a calm. The person is faced with nothing but themself, floating in the vast ocean, no one around to compare to, nothing to do but breathe.

When the ego, the comparison, the self-doubt, the worry and the fear is stripped away - what's left? What will you find when you come back to you?

***

In February, when I was feeling the deep solitude of winter lay heavily on my heart, I begin planning trips for the summer to pull me out of my winter funk. I knew that trips would give me something exciting to look forward to when the snow had melted and the sun traveled closer to our hemisphere once again.

Surprisingly, my first trip planned was one of solitude, with a little bit of visiting friends mixed in. I planned to travel through the Great Lakes Region, camping with my dog at National Forests along the way. We would eventually land in the sweet city of Minneapolis to visit a good friend for a few days and then head back out to camp until we reached warmer beds in NY.

There was no telling what my state of mind would be when planning this trip so far in advance. Now that it's a day away, I know that it is perfect timing. My ego and I have been hanging out in comparison land for a bit together and it's time to let that fall away and come back to my Self.

My ego has been nervous, worried, fearful and yet deeper in, I am so ready and needing this trip. My ego wants to swim, my Self wants to ride the wave.

Into the vast ocean I go to reconnect with myself and the inner voice that's trying to speak but is too quiet to be heard above the ego's loud speeches. My laptop will stay home, my phone time will be limited, my email will remain unopened. I'm ready and excited for this break and as it sneaks closer, my ego/fear is starting to submit, knowing that this is happening no matter what.

I'm sure that it will try to sneak a few words in during the trip but it won't be driving or touching the radio. (Thanks for the tip, Liz Gilbert.)  Come along for the ride, ego. Let's see where we end up in this ocean.

Big Love ~ Mackenzie

 

Reflections, Intentions and Mantras for 2017

Originally posted January 18, 2017

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Here I find myself in a new year with new intentions and lots of reflection.

2016 was the year that I gave myself permission to live. I began 2016 with the statement: The Year of Doing. It meant so much more than just "doing".

I had been "doing" my whole life, but what was I doing? The majority of my life before 2016, I felt like I was living in the made-up rules that I had created for myself. Rules that didn't make sense for who I AM but rules that I had learned through others. They weren't MY rules and they were (I was) holding me back. At the beginning of the year, I said, "No more" and threw the rule book out the window as I cruised off into a new chapter.

What I allowed myself in 2016 was more yes-ing and less no-ing (unless I felt like no-ing), more friend time, more intuition, more learning, more exploring, more discovering, more traveling, more holy-crap-what-am-I-doing-but-this-is-amazing(ing), more loving and more openness.

Because of the permission that I gave myself, 2016 was FREAKING AWESOME. I did more things that felt truly like ME than ever before. I felt fulfilled. I felt loved. I felt open. I felt heard. I felt free. I felt true to myself and my desires. Hot damn.

I don't intend to stop "doing" now that 2016 has ended. It was merely a springboard for my future of doing; a challenge to push myself into new and exciting things that I had always wanted to do, but never gave myself permission to do for  ______  reason.

This life lesson isn't halting because a number changed, it's transforming, expanding, changing, evolving, like we all do.

In December 2016, I began chatting with my friend about what my new statement would be since I liked this model so much. Instead of the one specific goal (that I would only do until January 16th) I had created a statement that stuck and was general enough to expand over many areas of my life. So, how was I going to expand this? Create a new statement that would have equal affect but build upon the work done this past year.

Then, my dear friend presented a new model.

There would be a statement or goal, just like previously. In addition to the statement, there would be a mantra - something to be said to remind oneself of the action that would continue. And from that mantra, there would be smaller goals that would layout over the 12 months.

For example:

Statement: The Year of Doing

Mantra: "I, and only I, choose my own actions and have the choice to do as I please freely."

Smaller Goals: Do go out of your comfort zone, Do from the heart, Do trust yourself, Do listen, Do love, Do be open to fail, Do jump

There's a lot of planning that's already in the works for this next year, so this month-to-month model is really working for my brain space right now. Laying it out in a tangible format so as not to get too jumbled in my head feels excellent. That being said, I've begun a list of smaller goals and don't plan to pick which month they go into until I get to the beginning of that month. I trust that I will understand what I need at that time.

So, what's my New Year's Statement and Mantra?

This is the Year of Leaping and my mantra is "Dare Greatly".

I've been feeling great about the Year of Doing but it's time to take that one step further. I feel like I've got the foundation under me to do some serious leaping this year, this blog being one thing as well as a list of many other things. I'm ready to toss my papers into the air and say, "LET'S DO THIS."

In true New Year fashion, this first month for me is about cleansing and I've set a smaller goal of Greatly Letting Go - emotionally, physically, mentally, old ideals that don't work, judgements, behaviors, plants that I tried to nurse back but have been long dead, pressure from myself or others, perfection, anything that is holding me back. Whenever something pops up, I say to myself:

"Let that shit go. It served it's purpose, let it be free. Let yourself be free of it."

So far, I feel a little lighter in my personal life than I did in December. There's still work to do here, but it's moving and keeping this small goal in the front of my mind is helping me cope with anything that isn't working.

And when talking to myself isn't working at all, I go back to the breathe because breathe and fear cannot live in the same place. They are TERRIBLE roommates.

Big Love,

Mackenzie

Auspicious Beginnings

Originally posted October 20, 2016

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“To dance is to live, to live is to dance.” – Snoopy

I’ve known that I am a dancer my whole life. It oozes out of me like molasses when a great song comes on and I can’t stop myself from moving. I’ve been caught dancing in my car by other drivers way too many times to not know this about myself. I usually invite them to dance with me. They always join in.

Despite this eagerness for movement, I never thought that I would be TEACHING a dance class, yet here I am, staring at my Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher Training Certification in wonder and absolute amazement. I am a Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher. How amazing it feels to say those words.

My story began five months ago when I agreed to a new journey based on my intuition whispering, “Yes. Do it.”, softly and quietly. I took the time to listen and quit my job, moved out of my apartment in San Francisco, traveled across the country to Massachusetts and started my one month Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

During the first day of class, I was terribly worried and feeling resistance. What am I doing here? Do I really want to be a yoga teacher? I don’t even know what they are talking about. This is stupid. Let me introduce Sylvia, my inner critic. She’s way too proper dismissing my childlike energy and curiosity, a constant worrier and really just wants to protect me but she’s also kind of annoying sometimes. I replied to her concern with surrender.

“Listen Sylvia, we’re here. There’s nothing we can do about it now. We’re in this. Let’s just see where it takes us.”

“Ugh… well don’t say that I didn’t tell you so when this all crashes and burns.”

“Alright Sylvia.”

She was SO wrong. But not in the way that I expected.

After those first few days she began to quiet down. She began to find value and surrender to the gifts that we were receiving. I found the philosophy fascinating and the community essential to my survival. I’d never felt this loving connection with so many people before. Despite these gifts, teaching asana* yoga still felt “not quite IT” for me.

Enter yoga dance.

Our teachers encouraged us to go to “Noon Dance”, which originally sounded really awesome, but combined with 12 hour days, it also sounded exhausting. But after some time settling into the schedule, I wanted to check it out.

This was it. This lit up my soul. This overjoyed me. I couldn’t get enough and went day after day after day, even if only for 15 minutes. And it’s dance AND yoga!? What!? Insane.

I immediately raved to my teachers about it and they continued to encourage my feelings towards this practice. “Bring it to the mat!” “Keep trying other teachers!” “Have you looked at the teacher trainings?”

I went to all the classes that I could afford energetically. I was on a new mission – find which teacher and class I connected with the most and plan to take their teacher training. I went to this one – Oooo this is fun but something’s off. I went to that one – Mmm okay but not my favorite. I talked more with my teachers more – “Go check out Megha’s class!” Okay, I need to find this Megha person’s class and see what she’s about.

Walking into the room, I already knew the deal. Dance around and free the soul. But we were talking about the chakras now too, which I didn’t know much about but I went with it anyway. There were live drummers, there were happy, dancing bodies and this teacher was the most smiley, genuine person that I had ever met. I talked to her after the class just to solidify my intuition and was hooked – I was going to be a Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher.

Coming back to Kripalu for the LYYD Teacher Training was like coming home. I knew that these people’s hearts were wanting to be filled with joy and love through dancing just like mine and boy, was I right. We danced our way through the first week with so much laughter, love and tears that cleansed our souls. My love for this practice felt more real than ever. I was meant to be with these people, in this place, right now. Sylvia was pretty quiet that week because she knew it too.

Heading back home from Kripalu always feels difficult for me. Eye contact, open hearts, love, vulnerability, transformation right before your eyes is all hard to come by in the “other” world. There it happens daily. But this time, I was ready to bring this gift back to the other world. I knew it’s impact and that I could make some souls really happy.

My practice teach classes confirmed everything that I already knew. This was my practice. This was where my joy and love and energy and excitement collided into my sacred and deep practice. Everything felt right.

I returned to Kripalu for my final week of training which FILLED. ME. UP. The amount of love and encouragement that I felt is indescribable. I feel my heart overflowing from me in ways that I’ve never experienced and am so grateful to be able to give. 

And so I begin my journey with The Zeal.

“Zeal” is defined as fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.

The Zeal is about passion, love, about enthusiastic diligence towards your desires while spreading kindness and joy to others. How do we find our passion? How do we find what lights us up? And when we do, what the hell do we do with it? Let’s explore it together.

When we fill ourselves up with our passion, we can give out love and spread our enthusiasm for life with reckless abandon.

Here’s a toast to us, the multi-dimensional beings who wish to find what lights our souls on fire so that we can blaze through the night, howling at the moon and singing our soul’s greatest song.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Big love,

Mackenzie

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*Asana – posture. Asana yoga is the posture practice of yoga. Ex: downward dog, mountain pose, tree pose