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“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.” 

Swami Sivananda

What I expected to find in my foray into a monastic lifestyle and 5 am wake ups was a bit of delirium and a lot of discomfort.  This is true, there is no doubt.  But in the process, even 8 days into my 8 week internment into the monastic protocols of my Sivananda yoga teacher training I have also found a teensy bit of peace of mind that seems to, in my brighter moments, more than make up for complete body and mind exhaustion by day’s end.  Here is a bit inside my Sivananda world  and tandum work experience for a bit of insight into this whole endeavor:

Monday :

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

730 (early) to work-4:30pm TRAUMA THERAPY

5-600pm second work ADDICTIONS THERAPY

630pm Home to write some notes and go to sleep

Tuesday:

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

730 (early) to work-5:10pm (late staying and early coming most days because there is not enough time to come home between the two in the am and pm) TRAUMA THERAPY

5:30-6:45pm Yoga class (take or assist in the class)

7-10pm yoga academics class

10:30 Home for sleeps

Wednesday:

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

7:15-8:45am Yoga class

9-10:30am Yoga class (make up for missed class Mondays because of night job)

IF I can 11:00-12:00pm yoga class (make up for missed class on Friday because of night job)

12:30pm-9:00pm TRAUMA THERAPY

9:30pm Home for sleeps

Thursday:

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

730 (early) to work-5:10pm (late staying and early coming most days because there is not enough time to come home between the two in the am and pm) TRAUMA THERAPY

5:30-6:45pm Yoga class (take or assist in the class)

7-10pm yoga academics class

10:30 Home for sleeps

Friday

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

730 (early) to work-4:30pm TRAUMA THERAPY

5-7:30pm second work ADDICTIONS THERAPY

8:00pm Home to write some notes and go to sleep

Saturday

5am rising

6am-715am meditation

745-845am YOGA CLASS  (take or assist)

9-1030am YOGA CLASS (take or assist)

HOME FOR COLLAPSE J

Sunday:

7:45-8:30am Breathing class

8:30-9:00am Karmic yoga (ie: clean up the studio)

9-11:00am ADVANCED YOGA CLASS (take)

5:45-7:15 Meditation

7:15-8:15pm Vegetarian Pot Luck (mental note, must remember to make something each and every week—when I don’t know!)

WEEK 1 of yoga school completed.  WEEK 2 is moving forward–with or without my consciousness!  I am proud to say I have only had an emotional or exhaustion breakdown 1-2 times per day!  Hoping to maintain or improve over the next week!

Well, I had a post all ready to go but life and mild delirium got in the way and I left my power cord for my laptop at work and so I am starting from scratch and the other post will come when I juice back up my computer.  For now, grudgingly plodding away at my husband’s Apple laptop (which is a great machine but for a PC person a bit to figure out), I am going to begin again.  And in this I find a great metaphor for my life path right now.

There is nothing like taking your life and shaking out all the white noise, chemicals and hormones, and waking and “om”-ing at 5 am to make a person feel like they are starting from scratch on the whole.  I feel a bit disoriented, a little big quieter, and a tiny bit more delirious as I step into the last day of my first full week of yoga school.  One week down…seven more to go.

What I have learned so far:

  • I am not as bendy as I thought I SHOULD be but much bendier than I have been before.
  • A graduate degree in Clinical Social Work gives me zero “edge” in this world of quiet mind and intense educational practicum.
  • I find a veggie lifestyle and omission of all the “white noise” of life (radio, television) overall far more satisfactory than I had imagined.
  • Although I am still NOT a morning person I find myself more awake and enlivened with every new 5am waking.
  • It is possible, be it exhausting at moments and delirious often, to immerse yourself in a monastic life even with one full-time job, one part-time job, and a family of husband and dogs (although a little wearing on the quality time).
  • As much as I knew what to expect in this program I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into.
  • That  (above statement) is more a good than a bad thing.
  • Having a yoga teacher who can manifest into a drill Sargent at will is good for my need for structure and stretching (literal and metaphoric).
  • Although my degree is useless in this new professional milieu the ideas of emotion and will and psychology do still come into play as much on the mat as in the world–and therapeutic mindset can be applied to best understand how students come into a class and out of whatever reality they exist in.
  • This one is definitely a “DUH” moment: Taking Yoga Teacher Training means I am being trained fully to be a yoga teacher–I just really got that.  I thought it would be a wonderful tandem piece to learn in my integration of mind/body work and my passion for yoga in the therapeutic context but I guess, duh, it never occurred to me that in the process I would be fully prepared to lead a class myself–I saw myself as a teacher training student in an academic sort of way but never related that to being taught to be a hands-on, in the field yoga teacher.
  • The above realization is both terrifying and exhilarating.
  • While Thursday morning 6am meditations at the beach are messy there is something blissful and wonderful about watching the sun rise one sliver at a time between Sanskrit melodies.
  • The amount I have learned about myself in the last week is astounding…and the prospect of seven more weeks of such an intensive exploration is very exciting and somewhat intimidating.
  • I am finding more and more I love about the nuances and traditions of Sivananda yoga (the tradition I am learning): I will share more on this soon!
  • I am already, of course as I do, found the two follow-up yoga trainings I want to take…but of course cannot afford right now:   Yoga of Recovery for Counselors Training Certification Course (Something new I have discovered created by a Sivananda yoga program director and another teacher)  &  Yoga for Depression and Anxiety with Amy Weintraub (I have heard so much about it I really want to get the training and see for myself)
  • I can’t wait to see what the next week brings…this week brought me effortlessly into wheel and almost into a head stand on my own…that is pretty big for little ol’ me.

NAMASTE and Happy Weekend to everyone!  I am looking forward to my Sunday as we start at 7:45 am instead of 6:00am (like the other 6 days of the week) so I get to sleep in till 7!  The tiny pleasures :).

 

1  …My husband’s move to Florida. 

Dog care and maintainance issues aside, I miss him.  I miss shared dinners after a long day of work, I miss taking the dogs out or exploring something new.  I miss watching a movie side-by-side either inside in the warmth and on a couch or shivering amid chilly theatre air.  I am excited to explore Florida together and create new memories under palms and sun.  I am hoping to find time to take a short trip to Marco Island which sounds like a lovely place and I have been hearing great things about it as a place to take a quick reprieve–from what I’m not sure, we do live in Florida, but I would love to explore.

 

 

 Horse and Fog by Claudio Ar

2  …The NARHA 2009 Conference! 

I am beginning an amazing new adventure involving complimentary therapies and horses and I am so excited.  One of the fantastic new avenues that has opened up due to postponing the yoga teacher training by two months is giving me the time to go to a three-day conference for specialized training in the area of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.  I will be beginning my first pilot program in late November and am so excited for where this new path will lead and how I can cross and blend multiple holistic approaches.  I may be incorporating some seated yoga on horseback during programming!  I am very excited about all these prospects.  If only I had a charitable financier to help afford all this here learnin’.  For now I will try to make it work any way I can because I know, somehow and in some deep place, that this new equine arena of study and practice is meant to be part of  a more cohesive therapeutic whole. 

 A Young Teresa Psychotically Happy On Her Horsey

 

 

 

3  …My upcoming speaking engagement at the “Let’s Talk” Adoption Conference at Rutgers University in New Jersey on November 7th. 

I will be speaking on Trauma and Yoga for adoptees, their caregivers, and for social service agencies working with adoptees and foster children.  I am so honored and happy to bring this information on mind/body healing to a large audience of people involved in the care of children who may find such great benefit from yoga.  I have purchased, via my good ol’ pal Amazon both of the following books to put out for attendees to flip through:  Babar’s Yoga For Elephants and My Daddy Is A Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids.

 

 

 Merry Christmas to All my Flickr Friends by duane schoon on flickr

4  …Christmas in Florida. 

My lovely sister will be coming to visit and so I cannot wait to show her my new home state and enjoy the Holiday Season sans dirty soot colored snow.  New memories, new visual delights, and a reason to decorate my home thematically and “hang stockings with care”–just for a moment though because I have a feeling in a three dog household they will be dismantled and removed with very little care and much expediency. 

 

5  …My first wedding anniversary this New Year’s Eve. 

 

6  …Beginning my yoga teacher training program.

Hopefully, I will have cultivated some added manner and method of contemplative practice, meditative mind, and calmed spirit before I even walk through the door on the ever-nerve-wracking First Day of School.  I have, in the spirit of that effort, gone my first week without any television whatsoever.  Now this used to be, once upon a twenty-year-old, a very easy endeavor but I fear I have gotten into the “plopper” practices I discussed earlier this week and have to work my way back to enjoying the silence with nothing surrounding me but the tapping rhythm of puppy nails on wood and crisp pages turning in a good book. 

 

7  …Learning how to let go. 

Let go of the illusion of controls.  Let go of the illusion of “knowing”.  And letting go the self that expects so much but explores so little of the internal space of my own inner spaces–a funny irony for a person who, as a therapist, spends my days delving into the psyches of others and encouraging their self exploration.  No more holding on and holding in–I am giving over to letting go.  Tiny step by tiny step. 

 

8  …I am looking forward to seeing where this writing exploration will lead. 

I feel that all my internal archeology both starts and ends with this writing I am doing.  I have always felt like I explored myself most honestly when I wrote.  This is first time I share that journey in an outward way.  This is the first time I take this inner archeological dig into a public forum.  I am hoping it brings a new ripened and raw dimension to the journey that both enriches my own path of discovery and helps another on their internal and external quests.

 

 

Stairway to Heaven by Lyrical Time Wastrs on flickr

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things   that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Maginfying Glass by athena1970 on flickr

“I discovered that for many of us, the developmental tasks of the second half of life are primarily spiritual.”

Stephen Cope

 

According to author, yogi, and psychotherapist Stephen Cope midlife is a time to find our truer selves, the ones we are shrouding with perceived rich lives that when rattled, crack and required a rebuilding on a more solid internal foundation. 

 

According to Carl Jung (whom I have quoted before and Cope references in his book Yoga and The Quest for the True Self) I am now, as I have officially headed into my 30’s, considered to be in midlife.  Now some of that ideaology of midlife can be attributed to the era of Jung and less lengthy lives, but in point of fact I think it rings pretty true–at least relative to myself.

 

I have discussed on this blog some of the moves of my life–uprooting for the wrong and then the right reasons.  I have talked about my history of trauma, told my own story, and talked about the painful journey to get past that and start a life that was whole and real for myself.  I have talked some about the journey that brought me to a trauma therapist from the plight as a survivor and about how I feel professionally and personally imbued with a passion for trauma healing and the avenues of complementary therapies.  I have talked about what got me here, but where is here?

 

It seems to me that Jung and Cope have it right. 

 

I feel like my current path is a very deep and winding ravine.  One that I could not have traversed had I not gone through and overcome many of the obstacles that got me to this point.  I feel at a place professionally where I am established enough to vocalize myself with a dollop passion matched with a dab of authority on what I speak.  I feel like the storms of my life have quieted enough to allow me to take a deeper journey inward and find a depth of self and of life that I did not have the luxury to do before. 

 

I think wherever people are or whatever their life circumstances, the reason Cope and Jung talk about the 30s and 40s as that place of searching for a new meaning is due to those quelled oceans and those calming of life circumstances–perhaps as a result of facing the very worst demons in our lives or in our minds that we could imagine to get to a place where something deeper and more internal has some value. 

 

Lately I find myself pondering more than ever the inner workings of myself.  I said to my husband the other day (on his visit this past weekend for my birthday) how something feels like it aligned for me in this move.  It was not intentional and it did not result from trying to flee something, but it happened spontaneously and with unexpected mysteriousness. 

 

I felt freed from something invisible that I had not known was constraining me–whether it was just the simple stagnation that comes with familiarity of place, state, and life or it was something  bigger than that I cannot be sure. 

 

All I know is that something shifted in my move and for the better. 

 

And maybe it was also a confluence of circumstances leaving me with an abnormal amount of free time to ponder–with only the clicking of doggie toe nails on wood floors to distract me from my thoughts as I sit day after day in a new house, new town, and new life in a solitary kind of routine. 

 

I feel exploratory of my inner self in a playful and simultaneously intense way that leads me to want to explore further. 

 

All of this also leads excellently into beginning a yoga teacher training program.  Initially, I was pretty melancholy over the idea of having to wait two months to really get into the meat of this meatless excursion into self but as I have had time to digest (am I hungry?) the idea I realize that, that too has been a sort of blessing in disguise. 

 

i could be there when you land by harold lloyd on flickr 

 

I am a person with a huge inability to enjoy delayed gratification or wait for anything–I am a “Do it now!” kind of personality, for better or worse.  But in this forced state of expectation I have been able to pause, breathe, and even prepare for this next huge step of full immersion into a monastic training of ancient proportions. 

 

And in truth I think it is an undertaking that deserves this certain pause for a bit of reverence and a lot more preparation than I have been able to give it so far.  Not to mention a lot more required reading that I have been able to muster up to completing thus far.

 

I am doing fairly well on my plan to remove television or distraction (visual or auditory) from my sleep regimen, as well as being able to ease out of meaty delights (really I use meat, mostly, as a mandatory additive to a sandwich, more perfunctory than satiating so I hope this will go smoothly).  But fish and eggs might be harder as I am going to have to learn to live without so many of the staple additives to a meal that just come easily. 

 

The  next is overall distraction and noise.  I need to get out of the habit, that so many of us have, of coming home and switching on the television and just plopping.  I am, as my husband says (usually in reference to mail and clothes) “a plopper”.   I just come home and plop things, including my own body, down wherever they fall and then find it hard to recoup and reorganize, let alone motivate, once I have gone into full plop mode. 

 

I need to work on more intentional living as that seems a core root of a more spiritual and deeper existence.  Putting on a television is usually just a way to distract ourselves from inner self and thoughts and it is an easy solution to a few hours after work and before bed–but essentially unfulfilling.  So I am going to try to, gulp, spend less time plopping and more time focusing on something, anything.  Reading more and playing with my puppies and writing, writing, writing. 

 

I know we all do this.  We live easily more than we do intentionally.  We perceive ourselves superficially rather than below a surface level.  And often it takes a catalyst of some kind to shake us out of our daze and into something much more profound.  A move down some 1200 miles and a home echoing with silence (or NCIS–I know bad habits with the TV!) for me was a great catalyst to an internal state of wonder and self exploration that led to, among so many other adventures of self, writing this blog. 

 

I am excited to see what the next few months will bring and honored to be able to share that journey as it unfolds with whoever ever is willing to log on, click in, and listen. 

 

And, by the way, I find it to be no small coincidence that the man who wrote the quote below was also the same man who explored yoga and psychology and the potential healing effects of this particular moving art. 

 

“Among my patients in the second half of life–that is to say, over thirty-five–there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a spiritual outlook on life…and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his spiritual outlook.”

Carl Jung in Stephen Cope’s Yoga and the Quest for the True Self

 

 the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being by harold lloyd on flickr

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