The light within - goodbye home

Last week, we said goodbye to this teeny-tiny house. It was no longer our home since we received notice. The neighborhood is shifting, the new arena built, the storming in of new residents and much higher prices. An out with no choice. They're transforming the neighborhood, they say.

Light from sun up to sun down, much of my healing came from such light. I confided to a friend my reservations about the move, a fear of falling back into dark. I don't need light for photos or a pretty window for practice. Living in the light, I could not close off and go dark. I kept my face towards the sun, wrote ferociously, and loved fiercely in that space. 

Those walls kept by 100 year old rotting wood and bad electrical. What you don't see in photos is a house above an alley with weekly drug deals and human waste. Continuously busted motion lights and midnight hollers that often kept nights restless. The home that held such great light, tucked behind a gated, 3-key entry. This was a home that was in constant unrest; noise and stimulation a part of its order. A place on alert. It would be the place I stopped walking with my son after being harassed and followed. A place where I called the cops more times than I could count. A place where our mail was continuously stolen. It would also be the place that kept us close, warm, and clean. A place for creation. A place that holds favorite memories, like our best friends for neighbors, and chosen family cooking and game nights.

Some say they will miss this space and the stunning window light, maybe I will at times. But when the curtains came down and we began to strip, it no longer held the same light, nor kept our memories and our happy. As I practiced in the space one last time, it seemed so small and dark. My fear no longer kept me here. We made this home a home with our love. We made this home a home with our light. As we carry our love and our light, we will carry it on to the next. This old home held us for a time and I am grateful for that window of time. #lovealltheway

Hey, bossypants, let's talk.

Hey, bossypants, let’s talk.
Somehow-some way, we’ve made it okay to intrude on others. Maybe okay isn’t the word. I think you get what I mean. So many opinions tossing around, so many offensives guarding up. What if we stopped looking around at others in order to form opinions on how other people live. What if we stopping hunting for things and people to be offended by. What if we utilized that energy to feed our own lives and allowed others to live theirs. I’m not saying we can’t have opinions, I’m saying let’s work to keep them to ourselves. Let’s get worked up about our own lives, instead of others. That is what changes the world; changing yourself, loving yourself. Bashing, stepping, or hating on others doesn’t make you stronger, taller, or wiser. The strongest people I know are often the softest, most genuine, and fierce with their love.

Recently, people have mentioned I’ve changed. Some have opined their disproval for various things: teaching, writing, what I share and don’t, from real life to social media, that I’m too light therefore I must not be real anymore, requests to speak on depression, how I’ve posted an ad, their wishes for the old, etc. Listen, I hear you. I see you. I get it. I post about life. I write my mood. I share yoga when I want. I have amazing opportunity gigs that are creative and also keep food on the table. My yoga is in real life, not just a square. My life is constantly changing. This place, social media, is a form of such expression, with integrity. It’s something I’m grateful for, to land and drop off. I aim to connect, give and love here, I don’t count the number ticks. I sometimes cringe when people ask me about it or say instafamous, that’s not my real life. I have felt shame about it, I’ve lost “friendships” and have had finger points, over an app. It's weird to even write about it - and this is life right now. We have apps in our lives. This app, I am grateful for the connections and the love that abounds here. And sometimes, these introductions, pay my bills. I don't know if ya'll know this, but yoga teaching is not the money-maker here. I say this not to host a pity party. It is not why I teach, I would say that most yoga teachers have side gigs or even full-time jobs. Point is - I feel this need to speak on this in hopes that you may understand that my choices are my own, not yours. I hear you, I see you, and I understand you. Truly.
I’m a woman, mother, teacher, writer, feeler, giver, and lover. I am many things, I’m not perfect. Sometimes your opinions hurt, I’m not a robot. Your critiques are not welcome here, unless I ask. Please know this: I love you, anyway. I will certainly not live up to your standards, so please take me down from such great heights and let’s talk, sans bossypants.
With love,

Steph

stephynow

Yoga tidbits: handstand prep

Today’s yoga tidbits and on this afternoon’s menu for my 4:30pm at Solfire: handstand prep, the no kick-up zone. It is about taking it slow, steady, and calling on consistency to balance on those palms.
Take it to the wall, but not by way of kicking up. This is about strengthening, engaging, and steadying yourself facing the wall. I used to practice and teach kicking up to the wall for handstand prep and I’ve taken a firm stance to not do so, for several reasons (not to say it’s not right for you, but for me, it’s just a no-go). My kick-up to the wall, heck, even away from a wall, provided me with quite the banana-back habit. Often bowing out into a backbend. Which works beautifully for many. For me, it became impossible for me to feel my balance and it’s been a hard habit to break. I’ve lessened my deepening back bend practice, in order to strengthen my front and back body. It can start simple, with a fiercely strong plank, I love taking a cat-back plank, for example. One of my favorites, perhaps most challenging and testing of patience to balancing on your palms, is facing the wall, like pictured. Doing so, helps build strength in your front and back body, shoulders, legs, etc. See if you can feel your booty weight and hips up over your head. Palms planted firm. Draw your ribs in and down towards your hips. It’ll feel tricky at first, maybe for some time, since inversions require us to wire our brains from a much different perspective, the world is upside-down, give your body, brain, and the mechanics time. Lots of time and practice.
You can try a variety of phases:
Down-dog facing wall, one leg presses, top left photo.
Bent-knee taps at the wall.
L-stand at the wall.
One-legged L-stand at the wall.
Shift into balance by kissing your ankles together.
As with learning anything new, give yourself a healthy dose of rest at night, yes, SLEEP! You will literally recharge and re-wire your brain to remember the tools for your next application. Whether it’s this yoga thang or studying or savoring memories from a beautiful day with loved ones. Ya’ll need to rest your bones and your brains.
And play every damn day! #yogathang #yogatidbits

stephynow

out of my comfort zone

In this light, I am. Chosen to live so far out of my comfort zone is where I began again with my great love, me. When you live in this way, it’s foreign at first. There’s glimpses of peace and touches of reasoning. Mostly, unnerving requests to bring forth the ugly parts first. Oh, it aches and it ached. Eventually, the ugly turn into beautiful. With its remains. You reside. It’s taken some time, if one is counting on such scales. I am not. Time doesn’t heal. Healing does the healing.
It is a choice, it is an action. There’s nothing subtle or passive about it. It’s like growing roots beneath the surface, rising to the occasion to say now is the time for this. Now is the time to say no, or change, or move, or gently walk away, or perhaps take fire to fields. For yourself. Shame, regret, blame, and lowered standards won’t live here to blind your path, no more, for yourself and the company you keep. Your time and your company, too precious to waste. This is why many that move into light walk alone, at least for a time, until they are graced with others fiercely loving themselves.
Remember, people can only meet you within the capacity to their own evolution. Meaning, their understanding of others is married to their own healing. Contentment for truth and integrity in others, upheld within. Authenticity to witness in another, softly piercing within. Holding space for vulnerability, being seen within. Forgiving others, merely a forgiveness of self.
Surety does not rest in protest, it settles by action. It is your thoughts, beliefs, habits, and actions for yourself and, in turn, for all. Light is not easy, it is necessary. Love is your power. #wordiness #writeyourheartout #writing

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