Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hanging by my Hair, Part 2. This Time, it’s Metaphoric.

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As most of us do, we expect our big life moments to turn out a certain way, through a specific series  of events, and without a hitch. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple.

Lately, I’ve felt like I did on that zip line in Nicaragua, like I am hanging on by my hair.

It is now 20 days until the day I leave for Costa Rica. In the past 60 days, I made the decision to change my entire way of life, sold two yoga studios, found a home for my cats, sold almost all of my furniture, found a few jobs in different parts of the world, and my new roommate found us a place to live. In the next 3 weeks I have to prepare my taxes, move into my grandparents so I can clean up my apartment, spend a weekend in Canada, take my cats to their new home, continue to teach and see private clients, have a few more going away parties, have a few more business meetings, and pack for the next 3 months of my life in Costa Rica. 

Yes, some days it feels like I’m hanging on by my hair in all ways good and stressful. 

In addition, there’s been interesting reactions from others I’ve shared my news with.Those who I had expected a negative reaction from were some of the most supportive, and someone I had thought was one of my best friends ended our supposed friendship for good.

Then there’s the strangers’ reactions.  Most get very excited and want to know how to follow along in any way they can, and a very rare few have said something negative.

The other day I phoned my car insurance representative and told him what I was doing, wanting to know what the best way was to handle my insurance. He replied with a somber sounding, “Ya, well the world’s a scary place. I appreciate the United States.”
Hey Mr. Downer, I do too, but I’m not going to let your experience influence mine. I called about insurance, not a dose of negativity!

Last week, after meeting a nice girl in a parking lot to sell some of my belongings, I received a message from her.
“The second I met you I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to pray with you. Weird. I will have you know that my children and I prayed for your safe travels and my entire church will be praying for you tomorrow. I don’t usually tell strangers that, but for some reason I think you will get it. Lord, please lay your protecting hands around this vibrant soul. Let your light shine through her in her new journey. May her belly and heart always be full. God bless you in your new life.”
That was a beautiful surprise and gift.

Overall, I’ve been surprised at some of the reactions I’ve received, good and fear based, but of those reactions, mine were the most surprising to me. When my furniture sold I felt lonely. I’ve since equated that lonely feeling with the emotions that come along with leaving one life behind to start an unfamiliar new life. There’s been so much heartache and sadness about the friend who I thought for sure would’ve been supportive but wasn’t, and so much joy about the ones I didn’t expect to hear from but did. 

I’m very blessed to have so many loving and supportive people in my life that I can’t find the time to see each one individually before I leave, and to have so many wonderful clients that I am starting to book them for my visits home.  I know that I am blessed and I am always in gratitude for whatever is happening, because I know from my past that each experience is another chance to learn.  Yes, I know all of these things, however, I am human.  I will be completely honest in admitting that I am exhausted! I battle between fitting in another “date” or getting much needed sleep.  They idea of adding one more thing to my schedule, and it could be as simple as paying a bill online, can both invigorate me and bring me to tears simultaneously.

I realized recently I can continue to “hang”, or I can do something about it. So to cope with the anxiety, excitement, joy and sadness, I’ve turned to what saved my life in the recent past.  Yoga, Reiki, a healthy diet, good friends and family, and every chance I can, I call on God and my angels to help out.

I wake up at 5:00 am to take a yoga class before the sun comes up, because I know it will set me on the right track mentally for the rest of my day.  I box to burn off the anxiety, I write to keep my heart open and to heal it, and I take it one day at a time.

I have a feeling that I won’t feel like I’ve released my hair from the rope completely until I am sitting on the balcony of my condo in Costa Rica, taking a breath, and laughing with my new roommate about all of this. That said, I am at peace with knowing that sometimes we have to hang by our hair in order to shake off the old with appreciation for the lessons learned, and make room for the new. 

Everything is unfolding just as it should.

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Hanging by my Hair. Literally. Part 1

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zipline

That’s me, zip lining in the jungles of Nicaragua, near San Juan del Sur.  Below me there were howler monkeys, blue Morpho butterflies, and tree tops.  Ironically, the tree tops below cushioned my fear of heights.  The view was so incredible, it didn’t seem real or feel like we were as high as we were.

There were 8 chances to fly from tree to tree, If I remember correctly.  The first 3 were scary, but the rest became easier and more fun as we went along.

At the end of the adventure, we had a straight repel down to the ground from God knows how high up.  I’ve been guessing we were about 30-40 feet in the air when we were dropped to the ground.  We were able to let the guide know how fast or slow we wanted to drop.  I thought I had made it very clear that I wanted to drop slowly, but my Spanish may have been rusty.

As the guide was lowering me, he’d drop me quickly and make me scream, then slowly.  I remember hearing people laughing like they thought I was actually enjoying it.  He was alternating as I was screaming for him to knock it off, and then it happened.  I looked down at the ground and just my luck, my hair came out of my headband, out of my helmet, and got caught up in the rope.  Every inch he dropped me wrapped another inch of hair into the rope and gear.  I was screaming, imagining my scalp being torn from my skull.  It was the most horrifying few seconds of my life, (until the volcano boarding topped it a few days later!).

With the help of my friends, I’m guessing they were about 10 feet below on the ground, it stopped.  I was hanging by a chunk of hair on the left side of my head, in the front.  What I remember is every thought I had about how they would never be able to get me out without ripping my scalp off my head.  “Maybe they’d be able to get a knife in there to cut my hair, but that’s only if they can get a ladder to get to me,  and we were in the jungle. Who has a ladder in the jungle?  What if my scalp tore and I had a bald spot in the front of my head?  How long do you think it would take to grow that hair back? I wonder what I’d look like with a bald spot.  Do they sell extensions for girls who have been scalped on a zip line? What is everyone doing?  Why is it so quiet?  OH! There they are… I don’t understand what they are saying… I’m going to have to do this myself.”

I began to swing back and forth by my hair, thinking that if I could get my feet to the tree, I could lift myself up enough to pull my hair out of the tooling.  I tried it.  It didn’t work.  I heard someone say they were getting a ladder and coming for me.

The next few moments were so peaceful. I had no pain anymore, I just relaxed and hung there, by my hair.  I quickly went through all possibilities in my head, and none of them seemed so bad.  I just knew they would get me down and if the worst case scenario was a bald spot, it would grow back, and damn I’d have the best story to tell!

My poor, poor guide.  He climbed down the tree’s vines and somehow got me out of the rope.  He pointed up for me to look at my shredded hair pieces still waving in the wind and rope above.  I felt my new kinky, frayed hairstyle with my hands and immediately checked for blood.  There was none, just a funny new “do”, and then I looked at him.  He was staring off into space, panting, and wide eyed.

I said, “Are you ok? I’m ok! If I’m ok then you’re ok! Are you ok???? Hey… I’m ok!” and I rubbed his arm and kissed his cheek, thinking that would lighten him up.  It didn’t help that much, but he did smile for a second!  I finally had to tell him to get us out of the tree already.  The poor guy was way more traumatized than I was, and apparently I’m a sucker for a Spanish speaking boy with a conscience.  I talked to him until he lightened up, then I called him my hero along with my friend Chris who helped me to the ground.  Our picture is below.

My friends were below me waiting to catch me and comfort me but I was just fine.  I remember them all seeming and looking horrified.  I remember laughing so hard and telling them that if I am ok then they should be too! I really didn’t know why they were so upset, but someone said I was the one in shock.

About 15 minutes after I was released and hiked to our resting space, I broke down in the bathroom, sobbing, and my head and neck really started to hurt! The crying only lasted about one minute, then  I was fine.  I believe my next few thoughts were about how awesome that was and what a cool story I have to tell, plus I got to keep some hair on my head AND had this funny looking chunk of hair sticking out to prove it.

For the next two weeks or so, my hair had to be styled to tame that little souvenir I received on our zip line tour.  It made me laugh every time I noticed and tamed it.  As far as I was concerned, I had just overcome my fear of heights,  and couldn’t wait to do it again!

It took literally hanging by my hair, to appreciate the difference between real urgency and self induced urgency.  Part 2 of this story will explain… stay tuned.

zipline heros

 

The Power of Pigeon

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pigeon

Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in Sanskrit for my yogis, used to be my absolute favorite pose to get into.  I could lay on the floor with my head turned to one side and  completely let go of life’s troubles.

For the last two years or so I’ve struggled with my once favorite asana.  I thought I was injured, so I saw doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, I tried resting it and I tried pushing. I even tried reiki.  Nothing helped.  I surrendered to the idea that Pigeon and I were through. It was sad, but we would find new loves.

Over the past several months I’ve found myself a couple of new yoga teachers in Cleveland.  These two were patient, supportive, and new how to massage my muscles in just the right way, for just the right amount of time to get me to the floor once again.  In my Sunday classes, my mini vacation from life, I’d have a big emotional release of breath and tears on the way down.   One day it hit me, I’m not injured.  If I was injured I’d not be able to get there and stay there.  I was full of stress and anxiety.  My hips stayed tight because I was doing everything I could to hang on.  With a loving touch and patience, and that calming, reassuring male voice behind me, I LET GO.

I thought that since I knew what the problem was I’d be able to get in the pose without the help of an assist.  I was wrong.

A few weeks later I went to an intensive training with the very special, Seane Corn.  Seane brings God into her practice and classroom, and I felt a wave of relief and heavenly support when she’d open class with a prayer and end it with one too.  She’d take us through a 2-3 hour hot, slow flow vinyasa, always working us into a pigeon by the end .  On the last day of that training, broken down, wide open, ready to receive and let go of everything and anything, I collapsed into Pigeon, sobbing.  The reasons for my anxiety exploded from my hips and heart and into head. I realized that I had to change my life.  I did not work this hard, thus far, to be back in the same place I started in.  In that same moment Seane spoke to the me.  She was teaching a class of about 100 people, but she spoke to ME, and later confirmed that message from spirit in a private conversation.   I wish to God I could remember her exact words, but I received what I was meant to and something in me shifted that day.

It was less than one month later that I went to Nicaragua to teach yoga on a life coaching retreat.

When I came home, I told my family and friends that I had decided to stop fighting my desire to be free, to travel, and to meet, teach, and learn from more people around the world.  It felt goooooooood.  

I felt good.  I felt ready, relieved, happy, excited, healthier, stronger and at peace, like never before.  It felt like my whole being said, “Finally! what took you so long, Lisa?!”, as if this is what I was meant to do, here for, and deserved for all my hard work.

It was a month before I took my next yoga class with one of my favorite teachers back home. She put us into pigeon without warming us up first and i thought, “NO WAY. Not gonna happen.”

I not only was able to find pigeon, but i melted right into my mat without a pain, grimmace, or fear.  I sat up immediately with a huge smile on my face! “That was it!”, I thought.  I was so excited I wanted to tell the whole classroom! I heard the message right away.  I had to drop the baggage, the stress and anxiety caused by the unnecessary pressures I had accumulated over the past few years.  I had made a CHOICE, took back my life, and let go of the excess.

Since that day, I’ve only had pain in pigeon when I’m not breathing, or staying in the present.  My fellow yogis understand the emotional affects of yoga asana (poses). For those of you who don’t practice yoga, trust us, try it, and see what you can let go of in order to find your peace and truth.  It’s so worth it.

Growing Pains

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“Really?”

It’s New Year’s Eve 2014, and I get to spend it with good friends and in yoga clothes, a perfect ending to a long hard year. This past week, however, I’ve been experiencing what I call “growing pains”. Let me explain.

With each one of you I’ve met with or read a card or message from, I have so much joy and heartache both. I realize how much I love every single one of you and as I’m happily answering your questions about my new plans, I’m realizing I’m going to have to leave you for awhile to live them out.

That doesn’t deter me, or make me question my decision, instead it feels beautiful and sad and incredible and, well very difficult to describe.

I’ve been crying a lot lately, this kind of cry where’s there’s actual pain in my heart and the tears are big, fat, crocodile tears. The thoughts I’m having are memories of my past, all the hard work I’ve done to be where I am, how much I’m going to miss everyone and how what is happening to me right now is a huge shift in my entire being.

Tonight I went from dancing and singing to sobbing within minutes. The painful crying was accompanied by thoughts of the beautiful cards, letters, messages, texts, phone calls and gifts from so many of you. It was for accomplishing my goals with healing my body and spirit, growing my two businesses, having the courage to leave unhealthy situations, and pride in, and love of myself.

As I sell off my belongings, I find myself feeling more lonely.  I find this to be very interesting as well. Why would the absence of furniture cause me to feel a feeling that is usually associated with other human beings, such as loneliness? A dear friend answered that question for me today.  She said that it’s not the furniture I see leaving, it’s the life I know, the familiar, and it’s ok to grieve that.  The moment she said it, it felt true.  I took a big breath and let it all go.  That’s all I really needed to hear in that moment.

Talking to another friend today, I told her that some people close to me were throwing alot of “what ifs” at me, and it really brought me down.  “What if you meet someone?”, “What if you get sick?”, “What if you run out of money?”, “What if a volcano erupts while you’re there?!”

Really? 

So my friend made a good point.  People don’t ask those kinds of questions on a daily basis, think about it.  What if I meet someone tomorrow while sick during a volcanic eruption?  What if?!

This friend reminded me to have patience with the questions, and although I can’t comprehend NOT doing what I’m doing for possible “what if” scenarios, I can understand that their questions come from a place of love and care.  I know that some of my closest family members won’t feel settled until they see me doing well, and I am so lucky to have that kind of love in my life.

The loneliness also comes from the simple fact that I am doing this alone. That’s ok.  I want and need this experience, for me and my own personal and spiritual growth.

Some would feel the pain of change and consider it a sign that it’s not the right thing to do. What I wish everyone could see is that big change cannot be possible without some sort of pain, unless you have no heart.  It’s imperative that you work through it, not avoid it, and stay aware of the feelings and thoughts that occur during the process.

I’ve received several messages from people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and they’re telling me what they are suffering with right now and how they wish they could make changes too. There are so many people who feel stuck and afraid.

The best advice I can give is this:
1.  Write down what it is you want
2.  Write the fears that stop you from moving forward
3.  Solve the “problem” of the fear by writing ways to work around the “what ifs”
4.  Acknowledge that you don’t want to have regrets
5.  and that you don’t know how much time you actually have
6.  Make one small move a day towards your goals
7.  Become your best Self
You might have growing pains, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what could have been.