The Note

After last week’s post, I feel inspired to share a story with you.  A story that I didn’t make up, and a story that really propelled me forward into trusting that all good things were coming.

It was a typical evening last fall – I came home from work, practiced yoga, and planned to have a simple dinner at home.  As I was cleaning up my yoga room, I looked down and noticed a small piece of folded paper.  I picked it up, unfolded it, and read it.  I did not recognize the handwriting: wasn’t mine, wasn’t my husband’s, or my sister’s, or best friend’s.  It was totally unfamiliar, and yet, the message took my breath away.

You are whole.

You are seen.

You are loved.

The note had no name on it, yet I knew this message was just for me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear at that time.  You see, over the months previous to this event, I felt incomplete.  Like there must be something wrong with me because I was having such a hard time.  Truly feeling like I wasn’t enough.

I also felt like the universe wasn’t taking notice of me.  I was trying so hard to make things happen in my life, and I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Like my heart’s desires were invisible to the planet.  Like my prayers weren’t being heard.

And while I knew that my family and friends loved me, I often felt alone and isolated.

Not exactly what you would expect from a yoga teacher, right?  Honestly, that’s how I felt.  And at the time, I couldn’t see how to break free from those thoughts and feelings.  I was stuck.

And then this message came, as if someone knew exactly what my heart needed to know.

You are whole.

You are seen.

You are loved.

I took this note seriously.  The message was too precious.  It came at the right time.  It landed.  It became my mantra.  Whenever I was stressed, nervous, or simply having a bad day, I came back to this message and reminded myself that I am something more.

I share this with you because everyone on on the planet needs this message:

You are whole.

You are seen.

You are loved.

How many of us carry around burdens — stories or beliefs that we are not enough, we are incomplete or damaged, we don’t matter, and that we are unlovable?

As my mom says, “All God’s children got somethin’!”  Meaning, each one of us struggles.  Each one of us has scars.  Each one of us has pain.  Each one of us has suffered.

But sometimes, out of the blue, we receive a reassuring message of love.  That we are perfect as we are.  That we are named.  That we are so, so loved.

I invite you to get quiet, and to think about what if someone like your best friend or a guardian angel left a note just for you?  A note that just you needed to hear?  Something your heart has been yearning for?  Something you have longed to hear for quite some time?  What would that note say?  How would you feel when you read it?  Most importantly, how would you feel when you shared it?

Pay attention to these messages.  They are out there.  They do come when you need them.  Share them when you know someone needs to hear them.  Because we all need to hear these same messages.  Each one of us.  We all have bad days.  We all have fears.  And we all deserve to feel loved.

Share your message.  Set it free.  Watch what happens when you speak the truth.

You are whole.

You are seen.

You are loved.



Flow, flow your boat …

One of my favorite places on the planet is Strathcona Park Lodge and Education Centre in British Columbia, Canada.  When I was 15, I went on a five day field trip with other students at my high school.  We went hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and listened to our math teacher play the accordion.  It was here that I really began to love being surrounded by nature.  The evergreen trees, the crystal clear lake, and the tall mountains.  Just gorgeous.  I returned the following summer for another wilderness adventure: we canoed for two days, backpacked for three days, and then canoed back to the lodge for another two days.

On our final canoe trip, the wind was at our backs.  Our guides showed us how to take the tarps we used for the base of our tents and create sails for our canoes.  We set our oars aside and relaxed.  We allowed the wind and water to carry us to our destination.  We told jokes, sang songs, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery all around us.  By ditching our oars and relaxing a bit, we actually got back to the lodge earlier than expected.

I often look back to that memory.  How powerful it was to allow our canoes to be gently guided by the wind and the water.  How easy and effortless it felt.  How much fun it was to relax and enjoy the ride.

So often I find myself paddling upstream.  Working long hours.  Pushing myself to get somewhere.  Putting in a tremendous amount of effort, yet feeling like I’m getting nowhere.  It’s hard work.  And it’s not fun.  Paddling upstream, against the current.  Against the flow.  Absolutely stuck.  Feeling anxious to move forward, but not sure how.  Sound familiar?

Somewhere along the way I think most of us have learned this message: if you want to get anywhere, you gotta work hard, sweat, and to some extent … suffer.  Keep pushing.  Keep trying.  No matter what.

My yoga practice – and my mom – remind me over and over again that to get where I want to go, I need to ditch the oars and go with the flow.  Flow downstream.  Relax.  Trust the process.  Let go.  Enjoy the journey.

When I call my mom in a fit of frustration, she often asks me, “Is this an upstream thought or downstream thought?”  Right.  Usually I am paddling so damn hard upstream that I forget what it is like to simply turn around, take in my oars, and go with the flow.

The year 2011 was an upstream year for me.  It seemed like every time I tried to create change and opportunities for myself, doors kept slamming shut.  I felt so incredibly stuck.  The overwhelming heat of the Oklahoma summer was my breaking point.  I had enough.  I was hot, exhausted, and so not happy.  I noticed how hard I was paddling upstream, and I was ready to try something different.

So I focused my energy on new things.  I created a vision board of what I really did want in my life.  I wrote a description for the life I wanted to live and taped it to my mirror.  Although sometimes painful to see how different this was compared to my current lifestyle, I trusted that all good things were coming.  Step by step.

Although reluctant, I loosened my grip on my oars.  I stopped trying so damned hard to force things to change.  I started to flow downstream.  I trusted that changes were on the horizon, maybe not according to the time frame I was hoping for, but change was coming.  I could feel it.

Once my husband and I set the intention to start our family, I became pregnant within two months.  Once we set a serious intention that we would like to move, my husband literally got a call out of the blue from a stranger, offering him a job he couldn’t refuse.

And now here we are in Portland.  It seems that everything is falling into place, just like the vision boards and vision statement I created for myself months ago.  We couldn’t have planned this better if we tried.  It just happened, step by step, in a very simple no-drama, no-fuss sort of way.  And I know that this all came together because I simply stopped to notice how hard I was pushing, forcing, and struggling to make things work.  And how exhausting it felt.  How it felt like suffering.  And friends, we didn’t come here to suffer.

Let me say that again, we didn’t come here to suffer.  We came here to play, to create, and to enjoy life.

So, I stopped.  I got quiet.  I got really present with what I truly wanted in my life.  And I asked for it.  I meditated on it.  I envisioned it.  And most importantly, I trusted that it would happen.  And now I know it’s possible.

What’s possible for you?