No Pictures-Sabbath #3 Discoveries

There were so many picture perfect moments yesterday: our cozy breakfast in our little nook by the window, the picnic we had in the park, Brandon and Lincoln playing soccer at the park, Linc’s and my yoga session last night.

And my phone was tucked safely away, turned off, and there were no pictures taken because it’s not about capturing memories for the whole world to see, it’s about creating memories and relationships for the people who are there.

Don’t get me wrong, I love instagram and social media and connecting with people, and in the past, it’s taken me away from actually connecting with the people right in front of me.

I know that my children will remember me for different things and one thing that I don’t want them to remember me for is always having my face in my phone.

This will be work for my and future generations as technology doesn’t seem to be going away or getting less interesting. Whether you have kids or not, or your kids are grown up, it takes a different level of skill to be fully present with other people.

Try it the next time you’re at a coffee or lunch with a friend. Keep your phone in your bag, or pocket, and get present to the number of times you reach for it to look at it. Even if you’re just checking time, do you really need to check the time often when you’re with a friend? When your friend gets up to order or use the bathroom, is your first instinct to pull out your phone to check your messages or instagram? I know mine is. Don’t forget the world will keep spinning without you looking at your phone.

One of my dear friends sometimes asks when he seems particularly sassy, “Why should I want to get present?” It’s a valid question and he knows the answer (because he’s also really smart), and it’s because your life is only happening right in front of you. Your life will not happen through instagram or snapchat or email. Where ever you are, there is your life. When we check out of life, time doesn’t stand still, it keeps going and you and I just miss it.

Teaching on Accident

As parents we are constantly teaching our children something. Sometimes it’s on purpose and deliberate, like teaching letters and numbers, and how to read. The rest of the time we teach through our actions, non-actions, the way we prioritize, and spend our time.

I think sometimes it’s easier to disown the fact that we are constantly teaching, than take responsibility for it.

For example, one thing that we could teach our children is self responsibility. We teach them how to pick up their toys, take baths, and brush their teeth. We teach those things deliberately. The way that we could accidentally negate our own teachings is through not taking responsibility for ourselves in our leadership as parents. If you child hears you in conversation blaming other people for things not going well, how will you reinforce the self responsibility lesson really?

How are we reinforcing or negating the teaching that children are unique and that the world is available to them to create and do anything they set their minds to doing, if the school system we put them into can only educate them in one way? Does that not negate everything that we say, and only prove what it is that we are in action about?

Actions and non-actions will always speak much greater volumes than most of the things that we say. Especially when those actions or non-actions are continued over time. When our actions and words don’t add up, we become less credible to them, and negate ourselves as leaders and teachers in their lives.

Freedom

I’m sitting in the Sacramento Airport, ready to head back home after a really incredibly powerful weekend doing what I love most: connecting with people, sharing my love of yoga, and my passion for creating a different world for children.

One of the most important things that we can do as adults and human beings for ourselves and the state of the world is to fully own the responsibility we each have to full lead our lives. It is an incorrect belief that we carry with us from childhood that others are responsible for our lives and what happens to us. Freedom lies in fully owning that I have the ability to create, to be responsible for my actions, words, and thoughts. Suppression is in giving that all away to another entity, and possibly an entity that hasn’t asked for it.

There are plenty of things that happen in the world, government, community, and relationships that I have that I don’t like or agree with. And in being responsible for my actions and words (whether spoken out loud or not) give me access to being free. If I had to wait for everyone to get themselves together and behave according to what I say is right or best in order to do the things I want to do or create something worthwhile, I could be dead before anything happens.

You and I are both capable of shifting conversations, making requests, and owning up to where we haven’t fulfilled on commitments. When we do this, then the pathway becomes clear to actually LIVE.

*note: this picture was taken this morning at the Folsom Prison in Folsom California, made famous by Johnny Cash.

The antithesis of Luxury

Busyness.

Endlessly filling time and space with plans, tasks, a full calendar, and calling that luxury. Calling that worth. It isn’t. Where is the luxury in being called to fill time with menial tasks or relationships, at being at the beck and call of so many people?

I have found that through my life, I have given my identity in an incorrect belief that busyness was what gave me value and justified my time, my money, and my life. I could even justify a bad mood, poor eating habits, and even anger. My explanation of busyness took up time and therefore I had less time for things. My relationships became hurried, trying to fit as many things and people in a day, to prove my value or whatever it was that I was trying to prove. Then I can take pictures to post on Instagram to prove to the rest of the world who I am, what I’m capable of.

There is no longer luxury for me in living non-stop. There is nothing glamorous about saying yes to everything, because then it means nothing. My busyness and overextension leaves me with nothing left to give to anybody, and my quality of life diminishes, and what is the value in that?

Complaining

We seemed to have inherited the tradition of complaining and it seems to be a unifier among people. We bond over complaining about the weather, the traffic, the government, our families, and any number of things besides. It is a mistaken belief that complaining connects us because in reality, it actually creates dissonance in our brains. (dissonance is the lack of harmony or the combination of unsuitable elements).

Anytime you complain about something or someone, you are creating separation from that thing. The ability to create change and cause something new to happen will come through connection to that thing.

Take for example a marriage or parent relationship. If you complain about your partner or your child regularly, you create small fragments of separation. While complaining once might not do that, the continuous tradition of complaining to other people about your (fill in the blank with your favorite topic) will in fact solve, shift, or change that thing. Complaining causes erosion to the union of people.

If you want to make a shift in a relationship, or in a life situation, I can guarantee the complaining will get you no where. What will start to get you somewhere is either: 1) to stop-seriously stop complaining especially if it’s not something you actually care about, like whether or not your husband folds his laundry in a timely way-do you really care about that? Do you really want your life to be for that? -or- 2) Get clear on what it is that has you complain. Is it a commitment to something else? Or is it possibly something you need to clean up in that relationship or take responsibility for?

I’ve noticed that sometimes my complaints actually come from me having something incomplete in my relationship with another person, like that I didn’t do something or take responsibility for something, and therefore I blame them as a way to avoid that responsibility.

Where do you see in your life that you could either stop complaining or grow up, be an adult and do something about your situation at hand?

You can’t pop bubbles if you’re playing on your phone (Sabbath #2 Learnings)

Yesterday was our second sabbath day. We spent the day together-just the three of us, without the distraction of TV’s or phones (Brandon did pull out his phone to look at boy names as we are expecting the arrival of our second!) It feels like living in a dream, in the sense that dreams are so privately your own, even when you recount the details to another person, they’re still yours.

There is something dreamy about spending the day with my boys without distraction and without agenda.

Yesterday we went to the park, and one of Lincoln’s favorite things to do it to chase bubbles and pop them, so we always take bubbles so he can get in a good run. Popping bubbles takes quite a bit of focus and concentration. It’s one of the ways that I like to teach toddlers how to have focus (or drishti) in their yoga class.

While we were playing with bubbles yesterday, I was struck with the realization of the limited span of focus we have as humans. I can’t pop bubbles with Lincoln if I’m playing on my phone. Simple, no?

How many times in my life I have tried to pretend that I can do so many things all at the same time, and all of them turn out great. If I play on my phone while trying to pop bubbles, I’ll really only be able to pop a few of them, maybe even by accident if the bubbles blow into my outstretched finger.

Time spent on one activity, whether full attention is there or not, is time not spent on another activity. 5 minutes spent on something that isn’t valuable is 5 minutes that I can’t spend on something that is.

What will your time be used for? What is most important to you, and what will you have to do away with to keep your commitment focused?

Self Care Myth

We have a pretty big responsibility to take care of ourselves once we are independently able to. It’s been an observation of mine (through social media and conversations) that we have been incorrectly using the phrase “self care” to justify maintaining bad habits until our bodies or energy levels give out and we are forced to do something differently.

Self care is not doing a juice cleanse after binging on food or alcohol for a week. Self care is not overworking, not getting sleep, and then ordering chicken soup in when a cold hits and I can’t manage to get out of the house. This is more like self restoration.

Self care is actually the long term actions that you take or don’t take that contribute to your life long health, longevity, and vitality. Self care is taking daily actions to take care of yourself, not getting your nails done (this would be more like pampering, also important and not the same).

Taking care of yourself has to be a balanced process if it’s going to be sustainable. Let yourself eat a donut or cookie if you want it, and know that there is a difference in eating one and eating the whole box. Take actions daily to create a sustainable self care regime, like you do with your teeth or your bathing habits (provided you’re doing both of things daily).

Check in and see, are you justifying bad habits through occasional acts of “self care”?

10 Self care actions I’m working on taking:
1. Saving money
2. Sabbath Day rest
3. Reading more books to feed my spirit and vocabulary
4. Turning off my phone at night
5. having more sex with my husband (you’re welcome)
6. making meals at home
7. seeking out time with friends
8. exercise and breathing
9. Meditation
10. Seeing a chiropractor to keep my pelvis aligned for pregnancy and birth

What actions are you committed to creating? Where in your life do you need to add in more self care, and remove self sabotage?

Luxury of Friendship

Growing up there were built in friends almost everywhere I went. I had friends in my neighborhood, friends at church, and friends at school. Because we were all roughly the same age, we played together and we practiced in the skill of having friends. Some of the happiest memories I can remember in my youth was spending time with my friends.

As I got older and moved off to college and into adulthood, I realized that having friends wasn’t as obvious as it had been before. People have different obligations, relationships, and needs than before. People get busy doing things and it suddenly takes something new to maintain and cultivate a relationship with another adult. It’s one thing to do it in a romantic way,and it takes something different to grow and thrive a friendship.

What I have realized over time is that it also takes different things to cultivate different relationships with different people. There is no formula for how to operate with every single human being in the world, we are not robots after all.

What I have discovered in cultivating my relationships with adults is that it takes:
1) Time: Yes! Just like everything else it takes time. It takes scheduling, planning, and significant amounts of time to create long lasting relationships. This is also true of the time that you spend. If you are looking to create a deeper friendship with a work friend, you will actually need to spend time cultivating that friendship outside of your work place. Otherwise the friendship will hit a plateau  and dissolve if either of you ever leaves the job.
2) Effort: Yes! Even friendship takes work!On both parties accounts. I’ve had friendships in the past that expected me to do all the work to plan to create the time to spend together. When this is the case, it sends the signal to me that the person isn’t generally interested in maintaining the relationship and the friendship will generally fizzle out.
3) Communication: Talk! Outside of the times you spend together. This doesn’t mean texting all the time, or talking every night on the phone, and it will require some effort to do. (see item 1.) Fill them in on your life. Talk about the things that you love, are interested in, even the things you struggle with. This last one is important as in order to build depth in a relationship you must connect on things other than your love for clothing, or complaining about your boss. If either of you holds back on sharing some of the less pleasant things about yourself while the other shares, again the friendship will fizzle. It’s challenging to connect with and stay connected to a person who gives the illusion of perfection. (plus it’s really boring and a lie).

This is why true friendship is a luxury. It doesn’t happen to everyone you encounter and it takes effort to maintain and cultivate. And this is why it is so precious and worthwhile.

Replacing Faith with Worry

This post could also be called replacing action with worry.

It seems like there is an inherited legacy that has been passed down through generations that we should worry about our children, as if somehow our worry is correlated with the amount that we love our children (or anyone).

Worrying is a process that only creates nothing. As one of the influential leaders in my life, Susanne Conrad says, “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want”.

When you worry about your children, what is behind it that is causing you to worry? Is it a belief that either you or they are not enough of something? Is it that if you believe if you worry enough bad things won’t happen?

Your love is not justified through the amount that you worry.

Instead of dwelling on a future that is full of bad things, could you instead place your attention and energy on being in action and loving your child? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”(Matthew 6:27) What actions are required for your child to be set up for success in his life? Or where do you need to have faith that you are doing a good job teaching your child to be self sufficient, kind, and know how to practice self control?

Have you also given yourself a false role as a parent? It is not your responsibility to make sure your child never gets hurt, never experiences loss or losing, or has every single thing they could possibly want in the world. It is your responsibility (and mine) to love, to nurture a spirit, and teach and lead through words and actions. Worry will not prevent anything from happening to your child. Love, faith, and action will ensure that when things do happen, that they will know what to do, and be strong through the trials that befall them.

All of this applies to parents whose children are grown and living in the world independently. 

Getting Present through Disconnection (Sabbath #1 Learnings)

Yesterday was our very first day to observe our newly created Sabbath day.

It was simple and luxurious, and nothing ground breaking happened. By that I mean that, the oceans didn’t dry up because I turned my phone off, there were no emergencies that I wasn’t able to respond to, and all of social media kept functioning without me liking anything.

Our day was simple in activity: Church, family brunch at home, puzzles, short naps, books, park, friends house for the super bowl. What I noticed in the intention to get disconnected was that I was able to get more connected to the people I was with. I enjoyed my time with my family even more because there wasn’t a pull to look at my phone or check my email or social media accounts. I was able to enjoy wherever I was, doing whatever I was doing. It was simple. There was also an interesting energetic shift that happened. When I turned my phone off, I automatically felt disconnected from the world. It was brilliant.

Social media is a superficial way to connect with people. I have discovered that it isn’t as vital for me to use my phone the way I’ve been using it: carrying it everywhere, relying and depending on it like it’s a second set of lungs. I would speculate that there are other out there like me.

Taking a day off and away was incredibly restorative. It was like being in an alternative destination that doesn’t have cell service, except that I didn’t have to go anywhere and I can do it whenever I need to, and at least once a week.

How do you feel about the idea of turning your phone off or taking a day to rest and disconnect? Does it interest you? Are you repulsed by it?