Tag Archives: let go

Lessons to Learn

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I’ve now officially been away from home for two weeks, and I am still alive. It seems like half of my thoughts are about missing home, while the other half are about feeling at home where I am now. This is good, I think. I haven’t cried about missing my Ohio home yet, and if you know me at all, you know that this is a good sign.

It feels like longer, though, that I have been away. I have teaching jobs lined up, have met new people and some new friends, have crossed the border to and from Nicaragua on foot, and have even acquired part time use of a golf cart in exchange for private yoga sessions.

Like the rest of my life, doors are opening, only this time I’m walking through faster and not wasting as much time using my thinking brain, as opposed to my feeling gut. I’ve learned throughout my life that my feelings are much more reliable than my thoughts that were based on what I was taught to believe. Isn’t that what Yoga teaches us? That we learn to trust ourselves and our basic instincts again, undoing all that was taught to us as the way things “should” be.

I initially took this journey with the idea that I would not “work”. I had hoped to come here to rest, to explore the country and other countries, and to read, write and exercise daily. When I was asked to teach, my initial reaction went something like this, “Noooooooooooooo! I just want to sit! I’m tired! I want someone to teach me and to rest. I don’t want to think!” Then my gut kicked in. “Yes!” is how I felt and how I immediately responded without hesitation.

I love teaching yoga. I love the way my students’ breathe different at the end of their class compared to when they walk in. I love hearing the big sighs of relief as they settle into a relaxing pose, or the way they look proud of themselves as they find balance in a standing pose. I live for the stories of how yoga has changed their lives, and I learn from each class I teach on how to be a better teacher, and a better person.

In Nicaragua last week, I had the incredible opportunity to teach the children of the Barrio Planta Project in San Juan del Sur, again.  I had wondered beforehand if it would be as exciting, fun, and rewarding as it was the first time.  It was.  I can’t explain what it felt like to stand in front of so many children of all ages and my peers and friends of the LiveLife Light retreat, and watch them all gleaming from ear to ear as they followed me in a ridiculous mix of yoga asana and animal noises.  The language barrier forced me to use my imagination to convey the name of the poses I lead.  I “moo-ed” for cow, “meow-ed” for cat, and even howled in downward facing dog.  I learned Spanish for inhale, exhale, and a few others, by asking the children, “como se dice…?” (how do you say…?)  That few hours we spent there had me feeling like a kid myself, laughing and playing and being completely present.  I want more of that feeling!

I have no idea what I am doing here in Costa Rica, but that is what keeps me in the moment.  During our retreat I learned that I have more dreams to live out.  I have more goals, more plans, and also that maybe I could focus on the way I want to feel more than what I want to do. I learned a lot this time around, and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I feel open and willing to listen, to learn and to explore without expectation.

It seems like everyone around me has their own opinion of why I am here, what I’m supposed to be doing with my time, and how I should be feeling. As long as I can’t explain it to them, how could I convince them, or myself for that matter, otherwise? Maybe they are right. Maybe they are all right in some way and I just don’t know it yet. Maybe they are all projecting their own needs and fears and beliefs on me without realizing it. Maybe. Maybe It doesn’t matter, and maybe I am finally strong enough in myself to not let their opinions get to me.

I’ve become more of an observer the past two weeks than I’ve ever been in my life. Without the teachings of yoga I’ve learned, I’d most likely be the Lisa who liked to control everything. I would not be able to survive this if I tried to control the outcome of it. There are bugs, giant bugs, people from other cultures I don’t yet understand, foods I’ve never heard of, heat that is unbearable at times, dirt everywhere, lack of transportation and cell phone service, and newness in every direction.

There is also beauty, kindness, sharing, food, sunshine  and water like I’ve never experienced anywhere else on earth. This place is magical in all sense of the word, and I am so grateful to be in a place in my life and my heart to appreciate it.

I am excited to take on more teaching opportunities, and trusting that I won’t overload myself as I did back home. There will always be more lessons to learn, but I am resigning myself to take them one at a time.

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It’s Only Stuff Mommmmmmm!

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I remember back to one of the first few conversations I had with my mom about how I was planning to execute this transition. I had big ideas of how I was going to sell or donate everything I owned, and how easy that was going to be to do.
My mom kept insisting that I let her and my dad keep some things for me for when I decided to settle somewhere. “That’s not the point!” I told her. “It’s only STUFF mom, I can get more stuff anywhere at anytime, and I don’t want the “stuff” to hold me back, or weigh me down.” It’s so important to me to go all the way, or not at all. She tried again, but she knows me well enough to know that I need to figure out what’s right on my own. However, I don’t have a problem with admitting I was wrong from time to time, which I was.

So far, I haven’t felt remorse about getting rid of my furniture, selling my yoga studios, ending the lease on my less than 1 year old apartment, or leaving the only county I’ve ever lived in. In fact, I’ve been so bothered by the amount of “stuff” I have, that it’s felt good to unhand it. How many drawer organizers, paper clips, pens, spatulas, measuring cups, binders and nail files does one person need? How is it possible for me to forget I have 7 rolls of scotch tape at home in my closet? How many measuring cups can I use at one time? I’m pretty sure that I can only file my nails with one file at a time, so I’m not sure why I have 26.

Last night I moved on to sorting through my closets of clothes, beauty products, and shoes. I narrowed down my nail polish bottles to 16, and my lipsticks to somewhere around 50. YES. 50. You don’t want to know what the original was count before I narrowed it down.

“It’s only STUFF Mom!”, played on repeat as I stared at the ridiculous amounts of colorful tubes and bottles laying on my hallway floor. I tried to choose which colors should stay and which should come with me. I tried so hard! How could I possibly be ok with selling and donating all of my beautiful furniture and so many of my books and clothes, but when it comes down to nail polish and lipstick I am stuck?
My mom and I were on the phone while this madness was going on, laughing, with me admitting I was wrong about the ease of non attachment.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that keeping a few things back home isn’t such a bad idea. My Ninja for example. That was an expensive piece of magic that I got for half off! It can’t hurt to have that waiting for me one day, can it?
Someone suggested to me awhile back, that keeping some things here while I’m gone isn’t a way to hold me back, it’s a way to allow me to proceed with comfort. I know that I will either have my Ninja, for example, when I settle down some day, or I will have a very nice item to donate to someone who needs it. Changing my perspective changed my plans.

The most beautiful part of this whole adventure has been spending quality time with so many people, and hearing their stories, suggestions, and experiences. I didn’t come up with this brilliant plan, people I’ve met and taken the time to listen to and connect with have. I’m not the first person to do what I am doing. I just heard a great idea and liked it. That is why my plans change everyday. I can’t assume I know what the future will hold, I have to be flexible and willing to go along for the ride. Like my stuff that I am letting go of, I need to let go of what I think I know, or want, when it holds me back from experiencing a beautiful life.

As far as the nail polish and lipsticks, I’ve decided to deal with that later. The idea of not having just the right shade of gloss or sparkle is just too much stress for me right now.

Let Go and Let God

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“If I’m losing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me.  It works every time, and not just in yoga.” ~Terri Guillemets

I find myself losing balance in and out of yoga lately.  Not shocking.  In the past 25 days I have made a decision to move out of the country, sold one of my businesses and some of my furniture and am working on selling the other, found my cats a new loving home, taught my last class at one of my studios, started this blog, met with over 30 different friends and family members to share my news in person, made plans to teach at another retreat in Nicaragua, and those are just the things I can remember.

I suppose that’s a lot to do in 25 days, but I have so much more!  I am overwhelmed.  I find myself just frozen in my apartment, staring, wondering how I will sell all of my things in the next 5 weeks, and wondering what it is I’m forgetting to ask or do. As excited as I am to go, I am equally as nervous and emotional.  Please don’t misunderstand me; I have zero doubt about this path I have chosen to take.  What’s about to happen has been a vision in my mind for so long, I couldn’t tell you when it began.  In fact, I’m still in shock that this is actually happening. What I do want to share is that I am human, and I’m willing to admit that I am all kinds of nervous.

Like the quote above, I do reach to God and my angels to calm me, to steady me, and to keep me moving forward.  I have felt this kind of force before in my life.  It feels like I am being moved by something more powerful than myself.  Things are moving so quickly that it can’t be anything but “meant to be.” In the past, those circumstances, although painful at the time, all brought me to something more beautiful.  Now, when I’m feeling the “push”, I stop fighting it and I remember to let God lead me.  “Let go and let God”, my mother has always told me.  It sounded so “cheesy” to me 20 years ago.

I finally understand.

I also understand that it’s ok to be nervous even when you’re happy. I understand that I will have the time of my life, while missing my family and friends back home in a way I’ve never experienced.  I understand that it will be so hot I won’t want to move some days, but I won’t have a car or air conditioning.  I understand it’s a third world country, and I will be without the safety of the American Justice System.  I understand there are giant insects that hide in shoes, and dirt everywhere.  I am ok with all of these things because I “let go, and let God”, and I let go of fear.  I also understand that not everyone feels the same.

Some have asked me what the point of this is. or why I want to leave home to live in another country, especially a third world country.  I answer that it has always been a dream of mine to travel, or because I want to LIVE and experience as many beautiful places as I can, and write and teach yoga and meet people.  What I don’t tell them is that I really don’t know.  I feel driven, pushed, guided and led to make this journey.  My past has proven that this drive I have is coming from something much bigger than my little human ego.  I believe I am led by my angels and God, and once I made the decision to go all the doors were opened.

My emotions are running high, I have a knot in my stomach about the work left to do, tears over the people I will miss, and I’m exhausted in every sense of the word, but I move forward.  To those who’ve expressed fear or worry for me and my travels please let that go.  For those who have warned me or even tried to stop me, please let that go.  Don’t even own your fear, Let. It. Go.  There are some who have shared all of the possible horrors that could happen to me on my trip, and I answer them that I refuse to live in fear.  There is no way a possible “what if” situation would keep me from experiencing the world and living my life.

We all have our own paths to take. 

When you don’t know which one is yours, “let go and let God.”  Stop thinking, start feeling, and have faith that you will live the life you love.  See what happens when you reach higher and let God steady you.  Maybe I’ll get to see you in Costa Rica!