To protect my husband and the thousands of men and women deployed, I can't say exactly how long it is until he returns but let's just say it's a few days after my birthday ;) ...and that's about a month away! I'm getting so excited to reunite with my truest soulmate. Prior to Kevin leaving, I think I struggled with my sense of independence. Thinking back to before we even began dating, I was the most independent person I knew. I depended on NO one, not even my family. And while our society glorifies the idea of an "independent woman," I definitely believe that there is a balance to achieve. So I set an intention for our time apart- to dig deep within and clean up some mental cobwebs :P I allowed things to surface and most importantly, I dealt with them. By no means would I say I addressed every "issue," because I AM human, but I do believe I have made progress. So here's what I've learned in almost 7 months' alone time...
IT'S OKAY TO RECEIVE
Specifically, the issue I believe I suffered with pre-deployment is that I felt it was "wrong" for me to spend so much time with Kevin. Don't get me wrong, I still was very much my own person, in and out of our relationship. However, even after 3 years of dating, I felt as if it was a bad thing for me to find so much joy from a relationship, for me to be able to receive so much from another person. (HINT: It's not) It brings me so much joy to give to others that I never realized how uncomfortable it was for me to do things that felt good for ME. Whether that be time, space, or a gift. I booked myself numerous healing sessions, took naps when I felt sluggish, paid to get my nails done, and even bought myself a much deserved Mac Book. hehe
REALITY IS A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
Another huge lesson is me understanding that the only person that has ever been in the way to my truest path, my destiny, my purest joy is... ME. And that truly, the sky is the limit. I can have ANYthing I want, but I must truly believe this. The same goes for you! You can repeat mantras and manifestations 'til you're blue in the face, but if you don't believe them, it's pointless! Take this for example, you're on the beach and you see a beautiful home with this million dollar ocean view. Are your thoughts more in line with, "I could never afford that!" or "One day..."? Because either one is true. Even me associating negativity toward receiving abundant love and joy from my marriage is a direct interference on joy and and abundance, themselves! Our thoughts are so powerful that we don't even realize how much we unnecessarily limit ourselves daily.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, TRULY
I am not home without my husband. And while I used to believe that to be a "weakness," I now know it is not. It's in fact, the opposite. It's the largest blessing...to be able to have a partner in LIFE. Kevin is my best friend. In his absence, I was able to re-experience the emotions I felt before him. I've been able to re-immerse myself in feelings of loneliness. We tend to forget or glamorize those "dark" feelings once we find the light. But I like to think that I've been able to dance with both the dark and light. There is SO much power in both spectrums. Some of our most beautiful and life-changing experiences are a result of being in a dark place. For 23 years, I yearned for that feeling and the second I met him, I experienced a grounded feeling I had never known possible.
THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE NOW
I've tried to keep my mind focused on today, all 190 days of this journey. As much as I want to rejoice in our reunion, I've tried to keep in mind that one day I won't have this much freedom. One day I will be in the midst of slinging baby bottles, school drop offs, and last minute school projects that I'm sure I'll miss this alone time (haha). In all seriousness, I'm sure motherhood is lovely but for right now, being accountable for just myself (and sometimes Kevin ;)) is perfect. I have so much more to learn about myself, so much more to discover about the world that I'm okay with taking everything day by day. Being separated from my better half has taught me an unbelievable amount of patience...that sometimes it's the best thing to hit pause, before you can move forward.
I'm sure my husband can attest to this one, as well. When your thousands of miles away and one of you is in the middle of the ocean, and things don't quite go the way you hoped or expected, there is not a single that you can do. I can specifically remember an issue that arose about half way through. I set expectations on the situation and when they were not met, I was terribly upset at Kevin. A small portion was in his control and then it wasn't. It's rather hard to sustain an argument when you get 1-2 emails every 24 hours. I had two options: unnecessarily argue over a period of days through limited communication OR...let go. Having to separate your actions from your emotions is probably one of the hardest adult lessons I've endured. I'm a rather passionate and sometimes stubborn individual, but let me tell you, surrendering is SO much peaceful. Life is easier when you detach from all that does not serve you.
& last but definitely not least...
THE SMALL THINGS MATTER MOST
One of my first observations during this deployment was that I missed Kevin the most during the mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, ordering take out and having a lazy day in, or even waking up in the middle of the night knowing he was right by my side. Of course I miss doing date nights and having that permanent partner at social events but it's almost surreal that I actually get to do those "boring" things with him again; thinking about it just seems like a treat! I don't think I ever took these things for granted because he's been in the military our entire relationship but it's definitely made me realize how much of a privilege it is to share life with another individual in this way. So really, the small things really aren't that small at all, put together they create your entire life...and I can't wait to have that piece of my life back again. XO
This is a topic that I've wanted to post about for quite some time! In fact, if you've taken a class with me, I touch on this topic a lot. Any seasoned yogi will tell you that the "real" yoga happens off the mat and what they mean is that the "art" or "practice" of yoga has very little to do with attaining a Pinterest-worthy handstand. Before I even began my teacher training, I was 4 years deep into my practice and still thought that I needed to know EVERY pose, because how else would I teach? I also believed I wasn't allowed to eat meat. (I actually did give up meat, but because I wanted to) And last but not least, I believed that I wasn't allowed to go to the gym/do any other workout other than yoga to be a "real" yogi. I had to have to have this lean, chiseled body ALL from a result of my daily yoga practice (LOL) I write these things and I can't help but laugh at myself- they're all completely ridiculous! But silliness aside, I believe a lot of people who are new to yoga or have yet to try it will find themselves with these or other similar beliefs. So I'm here to crush these false notions and list a few things that I've learned in the past year as a yoga teacher.
BREATH or "PRANA"
If you've ever taken any yoga class, there is a lot of emphasis on your breath. In the beginning, I found this concept annoying and almost overwhelming as I tried to master the poses. I had it all backwards, though. Yes, getting into safe and effective poses are important but yoga is a connection to your body and breath, as it is the anchor to NOW. So essentially yoga is a practice of mindfulness, which our entire life benefits from. For more on mindfulness, read my first blog post HERE.
JUST FLOW / BE FLEXIBLE
So beyond the obvious physical flexibility you can gain from a yoga practice, this extends to your mind. I know this might come off as slightly cheesy but one of the greatest thing I've gained from my personal practice is that things are never perfect and that's actually fucking wonderful. Sometimes I plan to come and do the very minimum, but find myself leaving with more energy than I came in with. We can plan and plan all we'd like, but sometimes the universe presents us with other options. If we are rigid and force our bodies, thoughts, or plans to be a certain way, we stand to limit ourselves from some pretty amazing experiences.
There's nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself and working toward goals, but sometimes I think we forget to appreciate how far we have come. For example, in a vinyasa class, we go through a lot of chaturangas (high to low plank). This is a staple pose and it's not as easy as it looks. It requires a lot of upper body and core strength. To me, it's a major accomplishment to successfully land this! However, I see my students get frustrated in other poses, dimming their already existent progress! But truly, it's a privilege in itself to be on the mat; to be healthy enough to experience the transformation that comes with this physical practice. It doesn't matter what you look like, all that matter is that you show up and honor your SELF.
This one's big for me. You, in no way, have to be a certain religion or even praise Buddha to practice. The reality of it is that in your practice, you find centeredness. I've touched on it a few times but yoga is a union of mind, body, soul. The connection of all three creates a new level of consciousness, one where your intuition strengthens, and you are better able to connect to whatever or whoever it is that you believe in. This could be Buddha, but it could also be God, Jesus, even aliens (ha). In my experience, it's almost impossible to not feel this connection. And even if the "after life" or higher power concept is not your thing, guess what? THAT'S OK...but as I said, it's really hard to leave your mat without feeling SOMEthing.
I think that's the point of it, that yoga is to make you feel...the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad. It allows us to uncover our deepest layers, so that when we step off the mat into our lives, we are renewed and a little bit more whole. If you have any other questions about yoga or recommendations of classes or studios to try, feel free to email or comment below. I'm so happy to help!