Throw off the mask

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Photo from MaxPixel: https://www.maxpixel.net/Venezia-Italy-Venice-Carnival-Venetian-Mask-Mask-1984724 

What does a yogi look like?

What does a writer look like?

What does a runner look like?

What does a mother look like?

Look in the mirror, and you will see.

We like to tell ourselves stories, don’t we? We strive for something and we think that means we have to be a certain way. If I’m a writer I should write XX minutes/hours a day. If I’m a runner I should run XX minutes/hours a day at XX pace. If I’m a mother, I need to do all the things other mothers are doing. And if I’m a yogi, I need to practice XX minutes/hours a day, I need to get into certain poses, I need to eat a certain way, I need to act a certain way, etc.

If you are living an authentic life, and striving to be your true self in your heart and not wearing any masks, then you are doing perfectly what you set out to do.

I’m in the process of letting go of what I think it means to be a yogi, a writer, a runner. I AM those things right now, in this moment, because I’m doing my best. Of course I need to hold myself accountable if I’m not trying to improve or learn more or am not being true to myself.

I just finished Perfectly Imperfect by Baron Baptiste, and I’ll leave you with his words:

“I see a real yogi as someone who is committed to growth and to being the best version of themselves, and, at the same time, is courageous enough to be fully present and authentic in each moment. Someone who is not afraid to get real about the whole mess of who they are — the good, the bad, and the ugly; someone who can be open and own that they get depressed, stressed out, pissed off; that they sometimes yell at their spouse; that they watch television, drink coffee, eat bacon.”

He goes on: “…hiding behind a mask costs us so much and leaves us with so little. On the surface, we may look polished and ‘perfect,’ but hiding our true self in all its dimensions saps our life energy and robs us of the freedom to express ourselves genuinely, from the heart.”

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Baron Baptiste

My friend, the 24-Hour Bicycle Challenge champion!

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Becky Fjelland Brooks. Photo by Jackson Forderer, Mankato Free Pres. 

Do you want to be inspired? Read on! Otherwise, just skip this.

I’ve known Becky Fjelland (Davis) Brooks for I don’t know…13, 14 years? She’s that type of friend who you don’t even remember first meeting…you just feel like you’ve been friends from birth. I DO know that I started biking with her in 2007 and in that year, she invited me to join her writing group, which had already been meeting for about three years.

This is a woman a generation older than me (she technically could be my mom, though she would have been a very young mom, lol!). However, she could always kick my butt on the bike! Which from Day 1 earned my respect and admiration. Even though she could kick my butt, she didn’t act like it. Becky is a woman that wants ALL women to bike and be active and is the hugest supporter of women and fitness — ZERO competition! I can’t tell you how many times she’s ridden with me WAY more slowly than she could have — but she just wanted to be supportive and have social time!

On Sunday, June 17, this woman won her age group at the National 24-Hour Challenge bike race in Caledonia, Michigan! Did I mention that her age group is 60-64?! Becky rode her bike for 24 hours, only stopping briefly for bathroom breaks and snacks. She completed 349.5 miles during that time to set the age-group record.

Less than three years ago, Becky suffered a brain aneurysm as she was preparing to go out for a December ride. This 24-hour challenge was her goal as she recovered.

“My son and I were kind of joking, ‘In two years, we’ll go back to the 24-hour race.’ It was a joke — but also a carrot,” she told the Mankato Free Press in the June 15 edition.

The one and only time I could keep up with Becky was when I went out with her on her first rides after her aneurysm, in the summer of 2016. I told her, “The only time I can keep up with you is when you’re recovering from a brain explosion!” LOL!

Becky is the ultimate role model. This is precisely what I love about her:

“People write things off when they get to 50, 60 years old and think they’re not going to get back,” she said. “But we can. We can do more than we give ourselves credit for. I made training a priority. I made getting in shape a priority. And it worked.”

I’m training for a fall marathon and Becky is a major inspiration. If she can get on her bike for 24 hours at the age of 61, surely I can run for 5 hours at the age of 43. If she trained hard during a harsh Minnesota winter, I can get out there for training runs during a Minnesota summer.

No excuses. We all have the power to change our lives, to change our level of fitness.

Let Becky lead the way!

Becky is also a super impressive middle-grade/young-adult/essay writer. Read more of her writing here.

 

Meditation for writers

From the wonderful Brevity blog! I’ve recently introduced meditation into my own life, so this is perfect timing. I look forward to using meditation specifically to spark creativity and help me set and achieve writing goals.

By Sweta Srivastava Vikram At the 2014 Academy Awards, Robert De Niro’s intro of the best screenplay nominees caught the attention of many. “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing”, he said, before continuing, “Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” […]

via How Meditation Can Help a Writer — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

Stay tuned!

GMAC class photo

I have some exciting opportunities coming up that combine yoga and writing, two of my passions! The combination of the creative and the physical can spark new ideas and inspiration. I will post information as it becomes available! But I will give you a sneak peek now. This opportunity involves…

* A weekend

* A weekend in a really awesome, beautiful place

* Plenty of time for individual writing and reflection

2018: Spark

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I spent a couple of hours on Sunday, Dec. 31, with fellow yogis and other beautiful women at Melanie Williams‘ house to reflect on 2017 and set intentions for 2018. I’m so grateful for the time to think mindfully about accomplishments, challenges, and what I’d like to do in the new year.

When it came time to draw cards, I drew the one above. Or really, the card drew me. I couldn’t imagine a more meaningful card to set my 2018 intentions.

The text that goes along with the card is as follows:

“You are a clear channel for Divine creativity.

“There is a spark of creativity in you, and you have every reason to move forward with optimism and hope. Open yourself to inspiration and allow life to show you its beauty and your part in co-creating it. This is the perfect time to give birth to an idea, start a new relationship or job, or begin any endeavor. Attraction is high as you connect with others who can co-create joyous experiences and join with you in expressing the finer aspects of life. Watching a spark turn to a flame and stoking that fire is a gratifying activity.”

I spent most of 2017 not being able to work on my own projects. I was stuck in the past and one big project demanded all of my creative attention. I finally wrapped up that project (hopefully, for good) in mid-December and turned my attention to a long essay that’s been percolating for a while. I have missed creating my own things, so I believe that’s why I was drawn to that card.

I’ve only taught a couple of yoga classes so far but the process of creating a sequence feels a lot like writing. What do I want people to take away from a class/essay? How do I build from that core concept? How can I form a sequence (of words, of poses) that will yield the results I want my students/readers to come away with?

The “co-creating joyous experiences” pertains mightily to my yoga teaching. That is exactly what I intend to do in my classes! Please join me in creating joyous experiences for your body and soul!

I’m teaching at Fitness for 10 in Mankato at 6 a.m. Tuesdays/Thursdays.

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Oils, candles, and other good stuff at the center of the room at Melanie’s on New Year’s Eve.