not another playground story

A few weeks ago, while at the playground, a little girl pushed my son down the slide. After scooting off, he runs over to me asking me to tell her not to do it again. I didn’t. Part of me, of course, wanted to go over to the little girl (or her parent) and give words. I had to pause and redirect the moment to teach B how to stand up for himself and set boundaries. I realized that he’s growing up in a one-child household. There’s no sibling/s tugging at his shirt, taking his toys, interrupting his speech, or pulling for attention. I grew up in a house, oldest of 5, and learned how to navigate peers and tough situations at home. 
Part of his questioning, rather confusion, about this scenario had to do with why someone would push him down a slide in the first place offering he would never want to hurt someone by pushing them down. And to that, I couldn’t offer an explanation. I could only guide in preparation for the next go ‘round when someone isn’t kind or loving to him. 
I know people say, “ kids will be kids.” Yes, that’s true, but kids also learn from you, their parents/guardians, and everyone around them. I think the thing about parenting is not only to teach but also respect your child. It’s so simple but it often goes missed. As parents, we are pros at tuning out, getting agitated, and sometimes the craze of it all crashes and burns right in the middle of dinner. I’ve definitely been “that mom” having my own melt down at the dinner table. 
This incident, and many more to come, made me realize, how often do we, as adults, not respect our children? When they want to be heard, or stop tickling them, or help them, or ignore their tiredness or hunger, or not to touch his hair (that’s a big one for B). They learn so much when they’re heard, when they feel respected, loved and supported in their own right.
Heck, how often do we, as adults, not teach other adults about our own boundaries? How often have we let people slide, or shrink ourselves, or hide away parts of ourselves? Maybe it’s because we’ve been conditioned our entire lives to be less-than, that our words don’t matter, and respect is considered fluid. 
Unlearn anything unloving. Love now, new.

today in body aches and shakes

Today.
Body aches and shakes. The hum in my ears and fuzz in my head leaves me feeling unstable and out of whack. The sinus pressure has me feeling slightly nauseous as gravity is cementing me to stay low. My son leans in with oatmeal breath, head pats and extended kisses. We will eat in bed. Watch movies. We will patiently wait for his dad to come home to complete the trio and remove the crayoned “X” propped against the front door.
Everyday, our 4 year old scrolls a fresh “X” to mark a reminder for everyone to stay home. Everyday, he asks if it’s a family day. Everyday, we set aside the colorful signage with slight heartbreak calling passions outside the home. Everyday, he reminds us the importance of presence. Everyday, doing what you love takes a tug at his little heart. Everyday, he pulls at one parent or the other to stay home proclaiming we read the signage at the door. Everyday, we do our best to balance. Everyday, he teaches us.
And today becomes a stay-in-and-do-nothing-day. I may have to change the sheets to mask our food crumbs relieving evidence of breaking the no-food-in-the-big-bed rule. With minimal play with movie marathons in days old pajama-wearing. Right now the sun is shining in and I caught the light in my palm. This moment is important. These words serve to remind. 
Everyday, I’m BEing my best, the best I know how. And everyday, you are BEing your best, the best you know how.
Loving is easy. Even when life hands you some hard stuff or when people become hardened, love them anyway. Let it be as simple as that. Let it travel up walls and knock on your neighbor’s door and grace the stranger passing on the street. Love through and through.
Love comes easy, if you let it. 

stephynow

yoga: come from a place of welcoming and less from a place of correction

I like words to captivate what is versus what is not. Our definitions and perceptions are so vast and representative of our lives. Take for example the practice of yoga. There are many lineages, sacred texts, traditions, evolutions, acrobatics, and ways we connect with this practice. Please do say and feel what the yoga is for you, by all means. I think we can get so caught up in pushing the “yoga agenda” from a place what it is versus what it is not. As if we have to prove it from right vs wrong. When this takes place, we begin to lose sight of the importance in offering from a place of love and compassion. I think we do a disservice to others when we come from a place of right vs wrong or when we "should" others in their practices. 
As a teacher, I will not tell you that your connection with this practice is wrong or right, for that matter, because it just is. If you come to sweat bullets, tighten your ass, press your best self forward, move to manipulate your body, challenge the mind, call your spirit, come to heal, chant, unite with the divine, meditate every damn day, whether you breathe through your nose or out your mouth - this is your practice. Yoga shows up in your life exactly the ways it’s supposed to and it may look and feel different from your neighbor. It’s the practice of connection to your highest self.

It’s universal.
All encompassing.
All worthy.
All practices.
Let us encourage each other in every way. Less coming from a place of correction and more coming from a place of welcoming.
However way we get there. 

stephynow


yoga does not care if you like it.

Yoga does not care if you like it. Yoga is connection. It’s intended to get you to feel yourself. To breathe. To dig into yourself. To examine and challenge every bit of you that comes up. It’s to move you to connect to your deepest, highest, pleasurable, lovable, sometimes seemingly unlovable parts, and beautiful self. When you go here, all the white noise fades. When you go in and say, “this is me, this is who I am today, and I love every bit.” – that is the ultimate connection. To love yourself is not arrogant, it’s necessary. And it’s the most loving act of all and sometimes it surprises me to think of it as a revolution. Love is our natural state. Return to it and you return to yourself.
I used to live in a way to “be good” as if there was a gold star chart of deeds, accomplishments, superficial exchanges, to eat right, don’t do this or that, restrict here, be perfect there, cue this, imitate, separate, and initiate from a place of others.
I had to stop. It vacuumed the “me” out of nearly everything. I was pulled by others; their experience and knowledge created a pedestal relationship. I seeking them/it as the end all - be all in the how-to of life, yoga, teaching, practicing, motherhood, as a creative, and relating to this world. I was so wrapped up in trying to be good, when I really just needed to be me. I had to call back my spirit, my inner teacher. My love. This love. This seeker within. I took back myself, my power, and understood that my highest self uncovers and unlocks and un-tethers herself from anything and everything that forms itself from a place of good from bad or right from wrong. No longer measuring myself to the graphs of imaginary goodness on a scale of commandments that are broken everyday. 
Discover yourself and your zest in everything you do and you’ll be free. This is your connection to yourself. It’s not to be liked or manipulated or seeking pedestals of people or relationships, it’s not to drive you from a place of gold stars or markings in your to-dos. You are your greatest teacher, your greatest power, and your greatest love. Feel-trust-know-love yourself.

stephynow

go inside. go the fuck inside.

your only choice in life is to feel. how long will you run? how long can you hide? when do you stop blaming? when does responsibility step in? are you here to pretend or are you here to get real? be real. it's the feeling-body that shows us to get really-real. fuck that fake shit. 
Go inside.
The moment you begin to judge someone, go inside.
The moment you want to blame someone, go inside.
The moment you want to react toward someone, go inside.
The moment you want to give the stink eye, huff, growl, hair flip, whatever-have-you, go inside.
The moment you begin to feel some density with someone - pissed off, angry, low, flustered, whatever it is, go the fuck inside.
And realize this. 
Your reaction to anyone, anything - especially when it starts to drive a force of judgment, blame, competition, jealousy, anger, or anything that leaves you in a hot, heady, heated space - go inside. This is information. It is tapping you on the shoulder saying, “hey, there is something going on that you need to take a look at.” Life is requesting your attention to notice your thoughts, your patterns, your beliefs, your behaviors, your actions and what you need to dig into - for yourself.
So often we want to blame others or find safety in victim-hood. So often we prefer to numb our ways. The moment we begin to feel, is the moment we want to bow out. It takes place on the yoga mat as much as it takes place in our life. The body wants to move through the heavy shit. It’s the mind, the ego, that wants to knit such heaviness to banter this life and our relationships. When you really go inside with yourself, especially on the mat, you’ll have no choice but to feel. We numb so much in our lives, especially pain. When we numb pain, we numb everything else. You cannot ignore one part of your life, without ignoring all of your life. It is all connected, supported, and woven. 
Often times I will tell students to feel it out, let stuff come up, get shaky, sit in the uncomfortable, feel what is real. If you’re smiling through it, awesome. If you’re hating through it, awesome. If you want to curse at me, I can take it. Because what is true is that everything you feel and all the gooey stuff that comes up has absolutely nothing to do with me (or others). The goal is to feel. My job, as a teacher, is to help you get there and simply guide you to go inside.

 

stephynow