Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Hill

About a week ago I did a triathlon at Square Lake near Stillwater, MN.  This is a race I have done for the past four years.  I'm familiar with the course and know that by the time I get to the run portion of the race there will be a large hill to run up.  The first time I did the race I walked up the hill.  I was convinced I was too tired to run up it.  After I finished the race I was disappointed I wasn't able to run the whole five mile course.

The next year I did the race I told myself I was going to make it up the hill without walking.  I did run for the most part but needed to walk at the top.  Every year seems to get better and better.

So this year's race was another year of thinking about the hill.  I was cold in the race, my feet so cold in the first mile that I felt like I was running on rocks.  Around mile three I was coming to the hill.  It was at that moment I was reminded of something I teach in my yoga class.  Pay attention to your mind but don't let it hold you back.  I could hear my thoughts coming in.  The self talk that told my body I was tired and why should I keep running up such a big hill.  I asked myself why I do this race every year.  I wanted to stop for just a minute.

It was when I started to listen but let go of my mental limitations that the hill became easy to run.  I had been training a lot over the summer.  I was in good physical shape and could run the whole course without stopping.  I made it up the hill and never stopped until the finish line.

So this brings me to every hard moment in life.  I wonder how much could I do if I could control my thoughts.  What could I accomplish if I could tell my self I was strong, able and up for the task?  I think the possibilities are endless.  So pay attention to your thoughts.  Hear what you're telling yourself and believe you can do it.  Watch what can happen.  You will be amazed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I was sewing last week and decided to turn off the television.  It was late at night and everyone was asleep in the house.  The windows were open and a storm was coming.  I could hear the wind blowing through the trees while crickets chirped near the pond behind my house.  It was then that I was reminded of the calming affect silence could have.  It was so peaceful just to sit and listen.

When I teach yoga we think about clearing our minds.  Being surrounded by silence allows us to tune into our internal chatter.  With distracting background noise we can't always hear our inner monologues.  When I am paying attention to the conversations in my mind I can let things go.  I can honor my worries and calm my fears.  I can release tension I am carrying around.  When I leave class not only am I physically tired but I feel renewed with an uncluttered mind.

At school I have a quiet time in my classroom.  Everyone in the room stops and spends some quiet time by themselves either reading, drawing, writing or resting.  It is the time during the day that kids enjoy the most.  Wouldn't it be fabulous to have our own quiet time during our workday?  It would be a time when all phones are off, coworkers have their own quiet time and email and texting are unavailable.

Take time to find silence each day.  Go for a run without an ipod.  Eat dinner with the television off.  Practice yoga without any background music.  Drive somewhere without the car radio on.  Experience silence.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This was my dog, Bruiser, with my son.  About two and a half weeks ago he suddenly passed away, most likely from a heart attack.  He was twelve years old and seemed like he was in good health.  Just the weekend before he had been chasing the vacuum around the house.

The night he died I was surprised and saddened.  I couldn't believe what had happened.  The next day I was working with a group of adults and wanted to share about my dog but was brought to tears when I tried to talk about it.

When I think about Bruiser I want to share everything I loved about him.  His snoring under the bed.  How he laid on my chest with his paws around my neck as a puppy.  The times he would drink so much water his belly would swell up to look like a watermelon.   His love of children and tolerance for any poking and prodding.  I think about how I appreciate every moment he spent with our family.

As a society we can get caught up in negative thoughts, regrets, and guilt.  It was when Bruiser passed that I wanted to focus on what I appreciated about him instead of getting caught in sadness and anger.   Look around you and notice the good happening at this moment.   Appreciate what you have.