21 Day Challenge – Day 9 – Non-negotiable

tan horsey IMG_1790

It’s amazing what happens when you point yourself in a direction with intention and conviction. It’s not that things become easier or that you muscle through them, they just happen. Without having to “think” about options, the healthiest one is just naturally chosen.

I remember talking to a friend recently who was lamenting about his lack of time to do the things he really loved. Among those things were going to the gym, mountain biking, surfing and playing the guitar. He wants to start eating healthier and juicing. He’s been inside, working several jobs to provide for his family and get some financial traction.

He let go of all the things that support his true Self, that make him come alive.

He commented on some of the podcast heroes he listens to. “They’re working out at 4:30 AM. Everyday. Seven days a week. They have all this energy.” One does beget the other. Commitment + exercise + eating healthfully = Energy. And generally the equation stacks up exactly like that. Commitment must come first.

The commitment is not to the exercise and eating healthfully, it is to the result of doing that. Exercise and a good diet is just the stuff you do, not the goal itself. If the goal is to lose weight and get healthy that will only take you so far. It’s not a sustainable plan. There must be a bigger return on your investment. That would be the energy and attitude to accomplish, what? That’s up to each individual.

We all know these 4:30 AM people. We’re in awe of them and wish we could figure how they do it.  It’s not that they don’t have children or a crazy schedule or a ton of responsibility. It’s likely the contrary.   So what sets them apart from us? Their health and energy are non-negotiable. They won’t sleep in because they stayed up too late, The rarely have that extra round of drinks, if they imbibe at all. They’d rather their own stomach lining eat itself before going to a fast food restaurant, of any kind.

They’ve figured it out. It’s not a secret. It’s not even a mystery. It’s well-known and well documented. It’s a choice. They’ve made a conscious, cognizant choice to live their best life. Their enchanted life. Why would anyone settle for anything less? Why indeed.

I have been in optimal health before. I am pretty healthy now. But I let go of the early morning workouts if I don’t sleep well, putting them off until later, which usually translates to never – or at least not that day. Same goes for food. I’ll eat this little bit of chocolate but then I’ll stay on the treadmill an extra 15 minutes tomorrow. I’ve been working really hard, a glass of wine won’t hurt – or two. I’ll put off the project, the planning, the fill in the blank until I have a little more energy to focus.

I negotiate. I justify.

I am negotiating away my power. My valuable time. When I put things off I cannot enjoy the present moment. My energy is now divided between what I am doing – which is an important task like filing paperwork or vacuuming my car – and finishing the energetically heavy task that would allow me the freedom and time to do something creative.

When I do yoga everyday, go to the gym or for a nice long walk, and do yoga nidra, as I have been for 9 days now, I feel energized and alive. And this energy empowers me to make additional positive decisions for myself.  Do the hard thing first, watch less TV, spend more time on creativity, drink more water. It’s as if the flame has been turned up just enough to illuminate the other menu. The one I can’t see or comprehend when deep in sloth and debauchery.

Who is it I am negotiating with anyway? My ego? My evil twin? (I am a Gemini.) My inner sloth? If I am negotiating with a sloth and it wins that’s not saying a whole lot about my personal power. I mean, come on, have you seen a sloth move?

Like attracts like. If I am feeling good and energized and moving in a direction physically, spiritually, emotionally and professionally that looks at least interesting if not down right magical why would I do anything to jeopardize that? Right now I wouldn’t. And every day I say, right now I wouldn’t I reclaim a little bit more power.

I believe it takes a  while to get the non-negotiable rooted cellularly, but until it is I will do my best to place the sloth on the couch with some tasty leaves, put Madagascar on and go to my mat.

[Photo: While leaving a private yoga client’s home this morning I passed two horses in a nearby yard. One was asking me to come pet him while this guy was very involved in getting some sort of snack out of the tree. Side note: Horse represents power in the Native American culture.]

21 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Return of the Dragonflies

pink grass IMG_1600I am being stalked by dragonflies today. I’m not worried. It’s not the first time. At the post office there was one above my car. He looked me in the eye then sped away. I went to the vet to pick up flea medication, when I came out – yep. Maybe it was the same one. At the gas station they beckoned to me from the nearby landscaping. I followed; they flitted and played but would not pose for me. That’s not what this is about.

At the grocery store – all clear. Until I came back out. Another one above my car. As I pulled into my garage I wondered if one would follow me in. Nope. He just hovered over the driveway where he incorrectly suspected I’d be parking.

I would say it was the same one, but I recognize their difference readily now, soon I’ll be naming them.

Once inside my house I opened everything up and let the dogs out. I knew there would be no dragonfly on the dragonfly branch in the back yard. It’s too early in the day, too hot in the sun for stillness. But, as I was walking back inside the shadow of a huge butterfly glanced the slats of the fence leading my eye to…please tell me you know what I’m going to say here.

They are clearly my current animal totem. I used to think I could pick the animal that best fit me. I thought that about men too. Turns out I was wrong about both. For a few years snake medicine served me well, it kept me in line. If I strayed off the path a snake would show up to guide me or scare me back on. In my dreams, in my yard, in the clouds and once in my kitchen.

Dragonflies are illusion and I’ve been thinking an awful lot about magic lately. The word magic holds a charge for some people – they immediately go to the dark arts. I am talking about everyday magic created by nature, God, the Universe – whatever higher power you would like to credit.

It’s the way perfectly normal looking grass sprouts pinkish red feathers in the fall. It’s the scent of jasmine coming from the neighbor’s yard on a soft breeze after dark. It’s the hand of a loved one reaching for yours for no reason other than to be close. That’s magic.

It’s being followed by dragonflies. I get so immersed in my relationship with them that I actually speak out loud, asking them questions. “What are you trying to tell me?” “Where? Over there? Is that where you want me to go?” “Show me where you want your picture taken.” “Hold still.” “Thank you.” I’m sure I’ve been caught. With any luck at all I’ll develop an eccentric reputation and a cool name like the crazy dragonfly lady.

According to the Medicine Cards dragonfly is asking me to look at the habits I want to change. A bit ironic considering the 21 day challenge I just issued myself. It could be that I haven’t challenged myself enough, but I don’t think that’s it. I think I know exactly why they’re staring me down like a petulant child waiting for the correct answer – which is always permission to do the thing that makes them grow and you let go.

So this thing, this habit I have to change, might be more a belief and that takes some emotional surgery. A belief is an attachment. It is something so strongly identified with that any other way is hard to imagine. It has already been assimilated; it’s snuggled nicely into the DNA. Illusion.

The smoke and mirrors in my life surround money.

My entire adult life I have been in debt. Sometimes magnificently, other times just annoyingly and repetitively, just out of reach of solvency. I have lots of great reasons why. They have not helped me eradicate this “issue.” It is a weight. I play it off, “I’ll take care of it, but I’m not going to stop living just because I owe money on my credit cards.” There is so much truth in that last statement for me that I really can’t see my way around it.

Sitting still, denying myself experiences and working a job I hate feel like death to my spirit. I have done that. It feels completely unhealthy. Maybe being in debt isn’t a bad thing or a big deal. But if I am giving it this much energy and attention, it is a detrimental thing for me.

The option then, if I am truly genetically pre-disposed to indebtedness – and if my actual physical DNA is any indication, then yes, I am – is to make more money. The concept is so simple. I am of an age now where I can see how the income to debt ratio works. Got more money? Spend it. Stay stuck. No, just make more than you spend. Simple. In theory.

Why then am I still in debt? How is staying at this level of “almost there” serving me? Do I feel I owe the world something? Do I feel I don’t deserve to go where I want when I want? Or is it deeper than that? Am I afraid that I will no longer be tethered to this life? Owing money creates a line of energy between me and that entity. If I’m solvent, I’m cut free. If being in debt has been part of my identity for as long as it has, who am I without it?

Here’s the more interesting question. If I were to pay everything off tomorrow – everything, all of it, credit cards, student loan, car – would anyone else see a difference in who they know me to be? I suspect on the face of it the answer is no. But if this act of financial freedom opens me up, then the answer is decidedly a yes. Or is it? Perhaps I project to the world the free Allison. Perhaps you are holding that space for me to move into it and you don’t even know it.

It comes down to fear. Letting go of the illusion of who I am. You and I do not see me the same way. You and I do not see you the same way. We are more than likely much more forgiving of each other. We accept the other as they are; appreciate the differences and intersections in the relationship. So I can’t use you. You can’t fix it. You can’t hurt it. You have nothing to do with it. Never did.

My fear, and I suspect yours as well, is stepping into my own power. It scares the shit out of me. In my mind it’s this huge, big, scary thing. But I think it’s not as big of deal as I make it out to be. It’s the monster under the bed that’s just forgotten clothes. It’s illusion.

Does this resonate? Wherever you see the word “debt” insert your obstacle. The “thing” could just as easily be weight or relationships or a disability or pick an issue. Pick an excuse. This could just as easily be you. Illusion is about seeing beyond the smoke and mirrors. It is identifying that very specific roadblock on the road to the bigger self and healing it. It’s trusting the process and knowing that maybe what has been a solid truth is actually the block. The illusion.

It is stepping into your personal power, my personal power and wearing it like the cape and tiara I deserve. It is owning the essence of me that I believe is hidden. But that’s an illusion too. You can already see it. I can see yours too.

So let’s make an agreement. Let’s continue to recognize that we only see each other because our bigger selves, our powerful selves, recognize each other. It can be no other way. We are all mirrors for each other. My bigger self salutes yours. You are wise and powerful and so I must be too if I see it in you.

So dear dragonflies, thank you for the messages and persistence. Thank you for the reminder that beliefs can be illusions too. I promise to continue the work if you promise to keep following me.

[Photo: You were expecting a dragonfly maybe? Not today, they won’t sit still, so instead I present to you magic grass, also known as Muhly grass. It is native to Florida and grows quite easily and heartily sprouting these magical pink feathers in the fall.]