As a young girl, I was absolutely captivated by fantasy creatures, especially the unicorn. A majestic being with a wild and free spirit, found in the enchanted forests around the mythical world. With their sparkling horn as the vortex of their magnificent, unrestrained power and purity, their supernatural qualities are noble in nature. The movie Legend is in my top 5 all time favourites. I just love watching the unicorns gallop through the river as Tom Cruise observed their incredible beauty from behind a bush nearby.
Unicorns are meant to be free and cannot be captured or touched. If this should happen and their horn is removed, they will die. Along with it, all the fair enchantment of their magic will fall and become evil. When I think about what that means, I often compare it to the human desire to tame and become master to wild creatures of this world and their own individual gifts. The desire to capture that which is forbidden brings me back to the very nature of what it means to be human, right down to the story Adam and Eve. To want something that is not to be taken seems to be part of the human condition and has led our species down some slippery slopes in this world. Why is it that we possess this inclination? Why do we allow it to control our behaviours? While I don’t have the answer to these questions, I do have some personal speculations on what they mean.
To me, the unicorn symbolizes the true nature of our own spirit. The fact that we have become unable to see that we already have everything we need inside ourselves and always have makes me feel melancholy. In the very first post I wrote for this blog, I referenced a native creation story about how the human spirit has been hidden within us so that we would not find it until we are prepared to realize our oneness with the divine. The unicorn is a divine being and we are divine beings too. The problem is that we place value on things that we admire or wish to take them for ourselves. Our world is built on the hierarchy of a system of money and power that dictates the value of something as a prize to own, not as an experience of life or a way of existing. That has long been forgotten by the power of greed and social stature in society. These are generalizations as I dare not speak for all of mankind, but they are marked patterns in the operation of the many civilizations of this world, without doubt.
The rush of wonder and admiration I feel when I watch those unicorns running in the forest, that feeling is out of respect and love for the power of the untamed and the unbound. For the and confident and carefree magical beauty of their very existence. We are born into this life with the understanding of our unicorn nature, that knowing. I remember feeling like I could do anything I wanted if I tried hard enough, if I let my creative energy flow, as a child. I would spend hours dancing, making artwork, creating in my own way and felt limitless. I believe we all wish to feel that way our whole lives, to be confident in our capabilities and at the same time know that their worth is really in the experience of creating them. That this experience itself is so powerful in its realization of the interconnected fiery light that joins each of us to one another and then allows it to dance in our passions of life’s purpose.
The greatest artists in the world did not spend painstaking hours on their craft merely for recognition or how others would receive their creations, it was for the process of it. Because they loved it. Fearlessly following the effulgent light burning so deeply into the essence of who they knew they were. At first, they didn’t even know or care if what they created was loved by others at all. We observe people like this with awe and admiration, as if we lack their capability. In reality we need to make a space inside to rediscover that light within and let it guide us on our way.
We are all unicorns! Isn’t that totally awesome! To think when I was little, I used to make a little horn and decorate it with sparkles so a I could run around with it taped to my forehead, lol! I wanted to be one, and now I am working on rediscovering that I already am!
Well my beautiful readers, that is my little philosophical musing for today. Wishing you all the very best week coming! Keep smiling😄
Love is warm, soft and sweetly divine.
Love is vast, blissful and overwhelming at times.
Love is comforting, powerful and without condition.
It is something we search for as part of life’s mission.
Love is supposed to be thoughtful, Love is supposed to be kind, but how can it be those things when sometimes it’s blind?
Is Love our own? Or is it only shared?
How can we have it without another who cares?
Is self Love the same as what we desire from others?
Or do we require the heart of another?
How can Love be free from pain?
Without judgement or sadness, can it be without bane?
Love is vulnerable, it’s soft to the core, how can we enjoy it when it’s attached to much more?
Does Love mean sacrifice? Must we be vulnerable to obtain? These things are not easy and can cause some to abstain.
Is it the human condition that holds us back? From the feeling of Pure Love, our senses may lack.
Freedom in Love is such a beautiful thing, the thought alone makes my little heart sing.
Maybe that’s part of our work in this form,
To unify our souls and let Cosmic Love be reborn.
By: Lisa Michelle ♥️
Over the last few years, I have really gained a confidence in what I know when it comes to yoga. When I first finished my teacher training and met people and teachers with so much experience, I wondered how I could ever feel confident to teach anyone yoga. After years of daily practice, learning from my teachers and even more so from my own trifecta of body, mind and soul, I started to get it. Now I am a yoga teacher and and teach what I know, no more and no less. It feels like this is the way it is meant to be.
Being confident in myself has been a long road in many respects and I have found my greatest teacher of all to be experience. When you speak to people who are getting on in years, they really have something to be respected for without knowing anything else about them. Life experience teaches rhythms, echoes important messages and above all else it removes novelty. It’s sort of funny that when we are young, we seem to think we know everything and much better than our parents because they don’t seem to react the way we do at that age. The truth be known, it is likely because they have been there and done that and know:)
I want to share a story with you that illustrates this novelty because the experience I had was new. The difference is how I managed the situation and how it demonstrates my life experiences and personal wisdom.
Recently I was thinking about going back to work part-time in the dental field which is how I have been trained professionally and worked in for all the years before I had my children. I applied to a place close to home. They were awesome, I did a working interview and we both felt like I was a great fit. But daycare and the odd hours threw up obstacles. I left the place I really felt comfortable leaving my soon to be 3 year old son crying because it wasn’t going to work for us. This was the novelty part- my emotions ruled my demeanour.
The self doubt I began to experience about every aspect of this course of events was overwhelming. I mean, I’m supposed to be able to work with my emotions and calm myself from my daily training and meditation but let’s face it, sometimes life throws a real curve ball and you get tossed down on your ass with your arms and legs flailing around like an upside down ladybug. I was literally losing sleep over my decisions. I didn’t want to lose such an amazing opportunity but once I started to reconnect and regain my ability to decode the messages my heart was delivering to my brain, I knew what was right. I had to let go of the opportunity. The timing wasn’t quite right and I didn’t really know what to expect, going back into the workforce after spending a few years at home.
The dentist and office manager were totally understanding and said that when I am ready, to give them a call and see where they are at. Sweet!! But seriously- it was interesting to observe my behaviour as the situation unfolded. Tension, stress and self doubt filled into my thoughts and feelings. But when you think about it, its okay to experience these feelings and observe how I feel. It is about the realization that this is what is taking place and that ultimately I must fully allow myself to lean into the trust I have on my intuition. It speaks softly, steadily and has never led me down the wrong path. I listen and I let things sink in. Maybe it is age, maybe it is my yoga practice or maybe it’s experience. Who knows? All I know for sure is that I am comfortable with my decision and there are important parts of life that deserve my undivided attention for as long as I am able to do that.
My little boo will only be this tender age once. Though I would like to get back into the work force, waiting a bit longer is the right thing to do. I do want to teach more yoga as well and that is something I can accommodate in my life right now. I can bring the gift of yoga to others and open the door for them to embark on their own journey within, to teach people how to breathe and reconnect with themselves. I have already started to bring this back into my life in a confident way. I am excited to see what is coming and more so to be free from the emotional roller coaster of self doubt I was riding!
Honestly, I hope that each and every one of you is having a fabulous Friday! I truly appreciate you all! I really enjoy reading your comments, please share your thoughts with me! Wishing you smiles, laughs, hugs and happiness always.
I thought I would do something a little different as far as writing goes to try and tap more into my creativity. In doing so I thought I would follow the idea of writing based solely on the inspiration of a word. I have seen blogging groups leave threads open like this and the intention is to help stir this creativity. When I started to think about what word to use, I thought I’d open a dictionary and find one randomly but then suddenly the word tree came into my mind and I went with it…
Leaves fall off randomly as the wind whips the tree’s branches this way and that. The branches give way with ease, flexibly moving with each gust. With each thrash, seeds fly off and if they are lucky enough to land on the forest floor in a spot where rays of the sunlight shine down to, they will likely germinate and grow. It is purely by chance that they are lucky enough to come into existence and once that miracle occurs, and they manage not to be trampled by animals or eaten, they will be around for a long time. They live for centuries and see many events come to pass. Passively listening and moving slowly as they grow towards the light of the sun. Their rings demonstrate the obstacles they must overcome in times of drought or cold. They wear these as insignificantly as the rings that show their strongest and most plentiful years of growth. Like an iceberg, that which we can see above in all its glory is only but a mere glimpse of the immensity and complexity of what lies below. In silence, they quietly breath in the carbon dioxide from the air and in return provide life giving oxygen for the inhabitants of the earth. They are the custodians of our existence, the artists who paint the beautiful blue hues in our atmosphere and are literally responsible for each and every breath that we take.
The trees are akin to our inner seer, our divinity or force of life. We are born with all of the wisdom required to exist in this form, but are without faculties to grasp it and revel in its blissful glory. Our light is forever an observer, waiting for us to realize and bring to fruition the lessons we have to learn within our lives from our biological existence to our transcendental essence itself. The beauty and grace of our inner light is only revealed in tiny drops and when we least expect it. It is those times when we feel the sudden burst of attuned perfection of alignment in our body mind and soul and they vanish as uncontrollably as they may appear. We unknowingly tap into that sacred part of ourselves at times when we are working within our dharma or true purpose in this world. This is what may drive some to become more trained in the learning of how to witness and in essence become yoga. This is the enmeshed existence of life with an acute awareness of our own divinity, something that is to be experienced only by a tiny fraction of the devoted monks and practitioners of spiritual awakenings.
Like the trees, we all wish to know our purpose and give of it freely without attachment. We are jaded by this attachment which is what leads us to lose touch with our effulgent light, to be drawn into the dark. To feel anger, fear, scorn, hatred and jealousy and that is what draws out the evil that will inevitably hold us back forever.
By~ Lisa Michelle♥️
My daughter is in JK and I’m going to be honest, so far she has shown signs of being a bright little light. From the ability to pin a movie title by the first 5 seconds of the intro to picking up on language nuances of sarcasm and analogy at the age of 4 years has struck me. When it comes time to learn words and putting in effort for something that doesn’t come so easily though, she is a natural human. She doesn’t want to do it, she wants to be given the answer. It’s sort of cute how we start to sound out the letters of a word and then she looks at me to give it away. Do I do it. No way! I have explained to her that the only person that can do the actual learning is her and that I can support her but the ultimate effort must come from her own will. She gets it and then we continue on figuring out the words. Or we put them away to come back to another day.
I realize that the very discipline that I have created for myself through my yoga practice is now something I can begin to teach my daughter how to use to cultivate her own skills. It feels sort of surreal because I can already see a few different skill sets that I know she is capable of growing, but the tough part will be to stand back and allow her to decide which of them she will invest herself into. Being a parent has just so many beautiful aspects to enjoy, and also so many lessons to teach me about how to create an environment that will best allow my child to unravel her own gifts in due time and in their own course.
It isn’t easy to help a 4 yr old understand that instinct isn’t all that can be relied upon for success in life, when up until this point, that is what has ultimately guided her. I remember watching an educational tv show about how human beings operate and we unknowingly gravitate towards putting effort into things that we have a natural ability for. An example of not nurturing a skill with no talent for me was math. In university I knew I had no real math skills going in but I went to every tutorial and lecture, read every text chapter and did every exercise for my psychology stats class. By this time in my academic studies, it was too late and I was lucky to finish with a passing mark. Math always seemed like gibberish to me, I just couldn’t visualize it. So I never really pushed myself to succeed because it seemed so difficult. It ended up making any higher education involving complicated mathematics, unavailable. I don’t want to encourage that behaviour in my children. Yes, I want them to enjoy their natural capabilities and support their growth, but I want most to help them nurture their weaknesses so that they will be more well-rounded individuals who are capable in a myriad of circumstances. This will likely make them unhappy with me at first, but later they will understand why I took the time and effort to encourage them to move into these other more uncomfortable aspects of their lives.
One thing that I have learned and continue to recognize with awe is the eternal understanding that life brings not only joy but many other powerful emotions to help us to understand the fragility of life and the importance of enjoying each day for what it has to offer. Some days there is more positivity and others it is more difficult to work through the parts that make us more resilient and capable but they are equally necessary and worthwhile to be mindful of and experience. Our natural tendency to shy away from challenge and discontent is really a guiding light to learn more about ourselves and to condition ourselves to survive in different circumstances. I mean this from a personal and business perspective. Let’s face it- the business perspective is really the jungle that we must navigate through in modern life. It is a skill that must be openly be taught to our offspring. I am not an expert, but I can teach my children how to genuinely and positively navigate their surroundings to respect those around them AND cultivate a level of comfort for themselves and their families to the best of my abilities. For now, we will work on learning how to read:)
What ways do you like to employ to help teach your children about self discipline? I would be interested to hear your ideas and perspectives on this topic. Hope you all have a wonderful week! Much love to you!
So over the last month we have had temperatures as low as -30 degrees and even though the heat is on in the house and I have a space heater, it is difficult to get my yoga practice going in the morning sometimes. I feel almost like the fact that my life has called for some evening practice times has been a godsend even though I am really more of a morning person, lol. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my tried, tested and true motivation methods to get on that mat in the early morning during the dark and cold winter months.
1. When you open your eyes in the morning, drink a large glass of water as soon as your alarm goes off to make you wake up! I keep my water bottle beside my bed so that I pop up and drink it when I turn the alarm off. This helps to get me up, get my digestive tract moving and overall the habit of doing this helps prime me for getting out of bed. It helps that in the next 15 mins, I will need to use the washroom as well, lol!
2. Once you are up, turn the space heater on in your practice space right away so it can start to warm things up from the get-go. I always find that when I do this, I feel happy to step on my mat next to the extra warmth already going. It’s akin to having a car-starter for that morning drive! It just makes things that little bit easier, which actually goes a long way!
3. Wear some extra layers that you can peel off as you warm up. I like to practice in leggings and a sports bra. It isn’t fun to put this on early on a cold day and get to practicing yoga. I wear a long sleeve top and after my surya namaskara, I am usually ready to take it off. Wear whatever makes you feel comfy and able to move without feeling unnecessarily chilly. Even with my space heater, I am acutely aware of the temperature difference as it occilates from left to right.
4. When it’s cold, sometimes I like to try and talk myself out of doing my whole practice. This is actually okay because as you warm up, your mind will change because you will feel that beautiful feeling of your muscles waking up and lengthening as you warm and strengthen. This is one of my favourite parts of practice. As a home practitioner, it is commonplace to have this internal dialogue of doing just standing poses or primary series for me. I relish the end of my practice when I finish the entire thing and actually enjoy doing some of my more difficult poses because I am more aware of how much more fluid and connected I feel as I practice compared to before I started or how I would feel if I didn’t practice. In fact, the memory of this endorphin high is what helps motivate me each time I feel like giving in to my desire to stay in bed. Over time, it has become a serious motivator so that now I am able to get up at 4:30am when I need to start home practice as early as 5am so that I can fit it into my day.
People have gasped in disbelief when I tell them the schedule I have and even more so at the schedule I had before I had children. As a dental hygienist working down in the city, I would have to get up at 3:20am to fit practice in at my shala before heading to work for 7:30am. I know it sounds crazy, but when something changes your life the way practicing yoga has changed mine, it is really a no brainer. The priming of practicing at early times and the feeling in my body after each time I practice continues to serve as a serious motivator for me to continue. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I have had REAL trouble, but knowing that my feeling will return if I push through has allowed me to get past the initial inertia many times.
5. My final tip is to plan for a delicious cup of coffee and breakfast after practice. I often think about what I will do and how I will feel after I am done to motivate me to get out of bed when it is most difficult. I also remind myself how upset I will be if I do give in and stay in bed. There is just too much to gain from getting up and doing my asana and breathing through each pose. It really is such a personal time, to connect and feel into me before I spend the day as open to what the day may hold as possible. It is a way to regroup and collect myself, and each time I am able to will myself onto the mat and do my practice is another proof that I am the master of my destiny. It sounds cliche, but I enjoy the ability I have to help myself be my best self each time I am able to do so. I feel confident, I feel strong, I feel capable and most of all, I feel ME. It is what keeps me motivated, sane even. My practice is one thing I can count on, whether it is only standing because my son wakes up or I’m able to do my whole practice. I am there, everyday, contributing to the betterment of my physical, mental and spiritual health. I am my own master. I am the director of what I am capable of doing and it feels fucking awesome.
So be your master. Kick your butt out of bed for a meditation, a run, yoga, anything that helps you reset yourself and find YOU before you begin your day. It will only bring joy, happiness and confidence and who wouldn’t want that??
Be your best self, hug yourself and look in the mirror today- smile and tell yourself you are amazing because YOU ARE!!
I have written about becoming flexible in the aspects of the physical body and the mental body. But lately I have been thinking more about how to find time to do the things you love and enjoy them without worrying about fitting them into a busy schedule. The reason that I have become sensitive to this particular topic is because I have had some difficulty recently, fitting in my practice time with all of the festivities of the season. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with those I hold dear, but it doesn’t change the fact that my daily rituals of life are affected. I have become accustomed to doing evening practices and hav even perfected the amount of time needed after eating to ensure they are successful. I have actually grown to appreciate the different aspects that an evening practice can offer such as increased strength and flexibility. I do find that sometimes evening practices are marred by racing thoughts but there are no (for the most part) interruptions from my little babes who are sleeping. I suppose there are pros and cons to any time. I have practiced in hotel rooms, hotel gyms and in my bedroom over the last couple of weeks. While none of them are my ideal spot, there were benefits in some cases! In one hotel room, there was a gas fireplace and it got really nice and toasty! I most definitely appreciated that with all the frigid temps we’ve been having lately. The gym spot was not as good, with people working out around me and a low ceiling, it was distracting. But I was able to fit it in!! My gym practice was at 8:30pm, so as a natural morning person, some adaptation is required, lol. What I found a couple of days was that I got half a practice done in the morning and then finished it up in the evening! Seriously, sometimes it’s necessary to become inventive in how to get things done.
The main point of importance during this time was that, even though I had to be even more mentally flexible with my schedule, I was able to succeed in getting some type of practice in. Sometimes it was just primary series and other days I could fit in my entire 1hr 45 min practice in. More and more, the emphasis has become getting some part of a practice in, rather than how much of it gets done. For me, this has taken time to get used to. I’ve had a few years to slowly get comfortable with the need for my increased necessity for mental flexibility as having children already got those wheels turning!
It can be demotivating to have to make changes to fit practice in but over time it really becomes a test as to how badly I really want to do something. Yoga is like breathing to me and since I’d like to stay alive, I suppose I will keep on working it in wherever it is possible!! Hope you we’re able to find time to take care of yourself over the holidays. Looking forward to the regular rhythm of life this week. All the very best until next week, be happy, smile and be you💖
Lisa Michelle xo
It seems that this year, I am so much more aware of the happenings over the last year than in those past. I started this blog this year and in preparing my writings for it, I suppose it has helped me to really put conscious memory into action as I ponder my thoughts and feelings. I have observed a great deal about my little life and noticed some wonderful things and also some places that could use some really overdue attention. I really love writing this blog, by the way;) There is far too much truth in the fact that we mostly, blindly, fail to acknowledge places in our lives that make us uncomfortable. For me, in the past it was a fear of failing to be my best all the time. I have managed to work quite a bit there and feel much better about this work in progress. This year I experienced some dark times in the beginning of it. Out of my control, but they quelled my growing ability to shine forth more confidently. Many steps back, I notice that I must draw attention once again to confidence in the radiance of my being.
In 2018, I will take charge of old patterns rather than let them play out. I will speak from within and hold no expectation of how it will be interpreted by those around me. If I am true, I can’t be mistaken for anything other than the true intention that I really am. If negativity happens, it is not me but a reflection of others. I will be TRUE. I also noticed that I live in a very regimented pattern in my life. Im an ashtangi and it is not difficult to see why I love the practice of Ashtanga yoga so much. It is also very disciplined. However, it impedes my social interactions with people. If time spent doesn’t fit into my comfortable schedule, I can get, well, agitated. I have been aware of this for some time, and have made some progress but it needs more.
I also can’t cook. I don’t like holding meals because food doesn’t inspire me. I am also vegetarian, which doesn’t harmonize with people around me. Food is more of a subsistence of life for me. It seems to create issues for social gatherings because I don’t relate well to others in this way. I am good at doing activities with people or having a coffee and a chat. Evening visits with a glass of wine aren’t too shabby either, lol, right?? But in all seriousness, I want to connect again without fear of judgement. If I don’t fear it, it can’t burden me. I will practice my meditations, affirmations and general thoughts to help create new mental patterns. If you think it enough, it will become real. I know my intentions are to relate to others, to feel them.
The new year isn’t necessarily about changing things or becoming a new person. It is about reflecting on what works and what doesn’t. Realizing what could do with some improvement and what is working better than ever. I like the reset feeling. It reminds me of morning time. I love the feeling of waking up and being out before others. Everything is fresh, untouched by the essence of daytime and I get to see it. That is what the new year is akin to. A time to refresh, reflect and be a better version of me.
I hope you enjoy this time of year and start off in 2018 with your best foot forward. Be fierce, be powerful, be You.
Happy New Year my loves!! Best for the coming year to you!!
Lisa Michelle xo