A New Story

A New Story

Let us create a new story. There is great uncertainty in the future. We cannot expand infinitely and exponentially on a finite planet. In “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari, he says that what distinguishes the human species from all other species on this planet, is our belief in our stories. Stories define our entire existence, and we take them very seriously. One only has to look at the major religions of the world to see that this is true. The economy, capitalism, is an agreed upon story that can be changed. The earth, water, air, and dependent species, are not stories. They are the reality we depend on for our very existence. They suffer because of our agreed upon story of “progress” and “economics”. It is a false story and one that will fail us, my friends. That story has an ending. We can go on pretending that it is ok to purchase and throw away, day after day, to look the other way  To strip the land of its blood and infest our water with our greed, but it will catch up with us. Now we have a leader who fully exemplifies this story of capitalism, debt, and wanton greed. He has shown us greed, racism, misogyny, and other disgraceful traits. Is it any surprise that our choices have led us here? How have we participated in this story of the economy being more important than caring for others? Can we own our part, and begin a new story?

I try every day to live a true life, a life to my ideals in every action. I have much work to do to live better. But I often feel it does not matter  what I do if others don’t try to change, especially our leaders. No, I cannot be at the protests this weekend. I have my work that is the yoga training that I run. I set the dates for this work over a year ago. I hold myself to the commitment I made to these students. In my work, I am training people to not just teach Asana, though that is a part of it. I am teaching people to think and to question their actions and their choices. We spend much time pondering over our mind and it’s thought processes. We learn to grow and be thoughtful humans. They are being trained and certified to be teachers on their own, to bring these life changing practices to others all around the community. I feel this is the most important work I have to offer the world. There is a lot of work to be done, to be undone really. Let’s hope it is not too late. My heart is with all those taking a stand this weekend.

If like me, you can not be there to protest on that one singular day, can you do the bigger work of taking on a new story? Can you envision a new way to participate in the world and make each day, each choice, count towards the creation of a new story? Can you slowly disengage in the story that is not only no longer working, but is destroying the water, earth, air, and countless other species?

This is the work that needs to be done. As story creatures, let us begin a new tale.

Five Inspiring Moments From My Week

Five Inspiring Moments From My Week

*Photo credit: Tammy Strobel, Rowdy Kittens

This past week was full, with both leisure time, work, and planning. We celebrated a birthday for Josh, I dealt with preparations for my 2 teacher training program weekends coming up,  and worked on organizing sharing our big events hosting Swami Gurusharanananda in just a few weeks. I like to stay inspired by my rural world and the world at large so I keep note of inspiring moments. Here are five inspiring moments from my week:
1. The Standing Rock Protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you haven’t heard about it, read this article by Bill McKibben.

And if you feel moved to help this cause, if water, air, and land are important to you, Donate $5 to the Standing Rock Reservation.

2. Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. She lived in a tiny house for a while, and now blogs about living big with a small impact. In part, this post is inspired by her emails. I hope to continue to include regular inspiring moment lists.

3. Because of a post by Tammy, I was inspired to create a “What I’m Doing Now” list. It is a post on my blog. I encourage you to make your own list, read more about why it’s a good idea.

4. Project 333. I’ve talked about it before, and now one year after learning about it I am finally, actually, following through. Thirty three articles of clothing, for 3 months. Think about it…

More reasons why we should simplify

5. “Eating You Alive” looks like an interesting movie. Check out the trailer.

There was a lot more that caught my eye this week. But one can only take in so much information at a time. If you feel moved, share one thing that inspired you in the comments below.

Much Love,

Angie

What I’m Doing Now

What I’m Doing Now

Hi, I’m Angie. We are selling our house and home based studio. All studio classes will end, and Angie will be on a partial sabbatical, cutting back on her weekly teaching and offerings. She will continue to run her teacher training program.

  • Teaching 1 weekly yoga class
  • Organizing and leading a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Programs
  • Monthly Kirtan and Studio Events- no more than 2 per month, ideally 1
  • Maintaining two websites and blogs: The one you are reading now, and my art site.
  • Enrolled in a Graphic Design Certificate Program, weekly homework and projects (working on expanding my personal and job skill set)
  • Writing projects: YTT manual, daily writing, monthly newsletters, guest posts, etc…
  • Art Making: Creating and making in my art studio each week: Finding show exhibition opportunities
  • Driving my two teen daughters to and from school, and tending to their various activities
  • Tending to the needs of my home, husband, and family
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Making time to hike and walk outdoors

Inspired by a post by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens, I decided to make a list of my current projects. This originated with Derek Silvers who encourages everyone to make a “NOW” page. This list will help me to stay focused, and it will be a reminder of my need to say “no” to things that are not in support of this list in an effort to simplify my life.

I will update this list as events change, and I refine my projects and goals.

Thanks! Share your own NOW page with me below!

 

 

Navigating Rough Emotions

Navigating Rough Emotions

Over the past few weeks, many people have shared with me that life seems very tough right now. I have been told these difficult feelings are not pinpointed to any specific events; rather, the feelings seem to be a general overall sense of “malaise” and even sadness. While I feel I can not offer a tangible “solution,” for navigating rough emotions, I try to  listen and empathize. If you are sharing in these feelings right now, know that you are not alone. Tumultuous politics, serious environmental issues, and concern for the future can all feed a sense of dread. I too have had recent questions: Why does there seem to be so much suffering, both in the world and personally? Isn’t all this yoga practice suppose to help with that?
This morning while pondering such thoughts I opened this little green booklet written by Swami Gurusharanananda, one of my spiritual teachers. The words I read told me that in order to advance towards Self Realization (the goal of yoga), the seeker must continually remember the divine. Never lose sight of the sublime, no matter the hardship. While performing all duties, keep your mind aware of that greater purpose. Choose your associations carefully, as all that we experience leaves an imprint on the mind. And most importantly, practice your yoga and meditation, over and over again.The power of discrimination (viveka) and correct thinking comes with greater ease the more you dedicate to your personal practice. When such thoughts of despair find their way into your mind, notice them not as a sign of a failing practice, not that you are failing, but that you should practice with more dedication. In this way, you will see that there is a oneness that pervades each and every form and person you meet, there is a oneness behind every sect, every creed, and every religion.

We are one.

The Introvert and The Cave

The Introvert and The Cave

Once upon a time, there was an Introverted Yogi who stayed in her cave…

*note: This post was originally a newsletter email. It was very well received and I thought it would make a good blog post.
Did you notice that your email inbox was completely flooded with emails over the holiday season? Between the gift giving frenzy of December, and the Resolution & Healthy Living Frenzy of New Years, I spent a lot of time trashing promotional emails. I vowed NOT to contribute to all that inbox “noise”. I told myself I would be quiet, and when the distractions slowed down, I would send out a message of Love to my fellow Yogi’s (that’s YOU).

But I cheated. I wanted to be in my home-cave, feeling a fondness for ancient Himalayan Yogi’s meditating all day in quiet caves. I am completely happy and satisfied being all by myself, keeping busy with my study and creativity, and being quiet. As a school student everyone use to think I was “shy”. This assumption confused me. I didn’t feel shy, I just didn’t always feel like talking. If I wanted to talk I had NO problem doing so.

According to the 1998 National Representative Sample, about 50% of the population is introverted (http://introvertzone.com/ratio-of-introverts). This is a surprise to most people. We often think someone is extroverted if they are friendly and talkative, but introverts CAN and DO have healthy social skills. The primary difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert expends energy in social situations and they need time alone to recover that energy. An extrovert NEEDS to be in social situations to feed their energy. I see this example in my two daughters. Isabella is clearly and introvert. She can spend all day in her room, drawing comics, writing stories, and listening to music. She might pop out for a moment, eat some food, give me a hug, and then she disappears into her “cave” again, completely content to be alone.

Now, my daughter Ellessia is a total extrovert. Not only is she incredibly talkative, (I like to joke and say she talks to simply to hear herself have a conversation), but she NEEDS me to be there with her. She NEEDS her sister to play with her.  She has a very hard time playing on her own. When she has friends over she is in her element. I feel sorry for her because she lives in a house full of introverts who actually prefer a quiet environment.

We finally took an online personality test based on the classic Meyers-Briggs test, and YES, Ellessia is an extrovert. The rest of us in the house are the most rare types of introverts around, and yes, we need LOTS of down time to feel well and balanced. I think its a good ideal to take one of these tests to gain clear insight into your true nature. We can look at our strengths, weaknesses, and areas of struggle, and work to make adjustments when needed. If you are struggling in a job that doesn’t seem right for you, it REALLY might not be right for your personality. If you are over committing yourself to causes that feel worthy, but somehow make you feel tired because they ask you to be out all the time, you may not be listening to your needs as an introvert. If you are trying to work from home, or to be a stay at home mom, but somehow feel too lonely and crave company, it may be your extroverted tendencies needing attention.  With the insight gained from this kind of personality test we can stop comparing our lifestyle to someone else and instead focus on how to make our own living conditions ideal for the person we were born to be.

So my challenge to you is to take the personality test and let me know your type! Does it sound accurate? Did you learn anything you can use?

Maybe you too will see that it means you need lots of time to be quiet in your own little cave.

Namaste,

Angie

Ten Things I don’t own.

Ten Things I don’t own.

An interesting conversation after yoga class today brought up the idea that we are defined by what we do NOT do perhaps more so than the converse.  What is not in our lives creates as much a sense of self as what IS in our lives.  In this spirit, I offer a list of ten things I don’t own.  Part of this is in effort to pair down and live more simply, part of it has been a conscious choice since leaving the nest of my parents home.

Ten Things I don’t own:

  1. A Microwave – Our convection oven and regular oven work well
  2. Cable TV– We do watch Movies and use the internet
  3. A Crock Pot– Gave it up recently, life still seems ok
  4. Paper Towels– We use cloth rags
  5. News– TV, Radio, Newpapers, or Magazines- News filters in as needed
  6. A Coffee Table– We like an open living room
  7. A Coffee Pot– We drink tea, I do have a french press for guests
  8. A Gym Membership or Treadmill– Yoga, walking, and my bike on a support works well
  9. Paper Plates, Napkins, and Plastic Utensils,- We make a conscious effort to only use washables
  10. Dishwasher– We have NEVER had one, and we are those weird people who think dishwashers are evil

…And my daughter reminded me of a few more, so I have to add these on:

*Jacuzzi– I don’t enjoy sitting in hot water (I’m a Pitta type)

*Wine Cabinet– We don’t drink alcohol, stopped drinking about 5 years ago

*Pool– They use too much water and take too much effort and time.  We use family pools or the beach

In another post I will list some items we DO have that folks might deem strange or unnecessary.  I had hoped to keep this post under 150 words, but every now and then rules must be broken.

What do you NOT own?