System Upgrade

Last April, I started a yoga teacher training program at my studio, Love Yoga. And so began my love affair with yoga.The training proved to be surprisingly transformative for me in so many ways, and yoga turned out to be a real game changer in my life.

I always knew that yoga was more than simply going through the postures, more than just another physical workout. I knew that yoga also had to do with breath, being conscious of your breath and linking breath with movement. What I didn’t realize is how much yoga happens OFF my mat and outside of the yoga studio. Yoga is a way of living. It’s about how I interact with myself,  my family,  my friends,  strangers and the community as a whole. Yoga is about finding a space of calm, strength and focus within myself, allowing me to listen to my intuition and my heart, and taking action from that inner strength and intuition.  Yoga is about being fully present in the moment and living with acceptance, respect and honesty toward oneself and others. And yoga is a PRACTICE. Every damn day I practice living my yoga off my mat. Some days are better than others, and my family can attest to that. But they can also attest to the fact that I am happier and more at peace — physically, emotionally, mentally — than I have ever been in my life.

As I’ve been diving head first into my yoga practice and yoga teaching, I’ve discovered other helpful personal development tools that so many people do: I meditate. I read a book of daily meditations. I write in a journal. Every night I write down something from the day for which I am grateful.  I’ve become much more mindful with my eating in that I’ve decreased the amount of dairy, meat and bread products I consume, because I discovered that too much of those foods makes my body feel heavy and tired. I’ve learned to listen to my body, acknowledging and honoring how it feels physically from day-t0-day as I participate in different activities.  From that awareness, I discovered that my body feels best when I don’t run as much as I’ve been running in the past. Finally, I read what many people might refer to as “self-help” books. As I scan my bookshelf, these are the titles I see: Being of Power, Journey Into Power, 40 Days to Personal Revolution, Living Your Yoga, Three Simple Steps, Journey to the Heart, Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life, Crazy Sexy Diet, The Heart of Yoga, Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Start Where You Are.

Very recently, I discovered Brene Brown and I’m currently  reading her book called Daring Greatly.  Her research and writing are completely hitting the spot for me right now, so much so that I signed up for  her 6-week e-course called The Gifts of Imperfection. Through reading and interactive art journal explorations, Brene Brown will guide me from the thinking of “What will people think?” to “I’m imperfect and I’m enough.” Despite having very little arts/crafts skills, I’m super excited to start this e-course. I think it will be a very fun process of self-discovery and empowerment, and these days, I’m all about continually improving myself.

So that’s what I’ve been up to during much of 2013, and I look forward to what 2014 will offer. I’ll continue to practice my meditation, my mindfulness…my yoga. I’ll read my self-help books and do journal explorations. I’ll continue to eat less dairy and meat and strive for a more plant based diet. I’ll move my body in ways that make me feel refreshed, energized, strong and calm.  And I’ll continue to work on living and loving fully, in the moment, with courage. All of this has helped me become a happier and more loving mom, wife and friend, and I’ve become more comfortable and confident with who I am. By no means am I saying I’m perfect … But I am a better version of myself. It’s like I got an update…Maggie v. 2.0, just when the system was starting to feel a bit stuck.  I’m still a work in progress, and always finding ways I can improve and grow.

And for the record, even though I’ve been making these slight changes in behavior and thinking, I haven’t changed all that much — I still love a good cheeseburger and fries. I drink wine. I lose my shit in front of my kids. I love trail running. I love watching football. And I love to drop the F-bomb, especially when watching football.  Like tonight…because the Seahawks are going to the f’ing Superbowl!!!! F— Yeah!

Bahnson Archers

I guess this is what happens when you live in the country. I had no idea, but I think it’s pretty cool. 

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For the Love of Africa

One wonderful thing about all my yoga training and teaching that I’ve been doing is that I’ve found a tribe of people who love yoga as much as I do and who believe in the transformative power of yoga, for individuals and for communities.

One such person is my friend Alexa — a strong, intelligent, courageous and inspiring young woman. Alexa plans to travel to Kenya this summer with the Africa Yoga Project.  There she will share her love of yoga and use her skills and passion to help empower individuals and communities through hands-on service projects.

As part of her commitment to the Africa Yoga Project, Alexa is raising money to support the organization and the service projects she will be doing while she is in Kenya. I encourage you to visit her fundraising website and read more about the Africa Yoga Project and how yoga empowers, inspires and connects individuals and communities. You can support Alexa and the Africa Yoga Project by donating directly to her website or by purchasing a t-shirt with the design below. T-shirts are $25 and come in both Mens’ and Womens’ styles. Send me a message if you would like a t-shirt.

Namaste!

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Love

I’m always willing to admit that being a parent is f’ing hard. There are moments/hours/days  when my kids make me want to tear my hair out, scream at the top of my lungs, shed tears of frustration…you know, have an adult tantrum. Thank goodness most of those moments are balanced out by incredibly sweet, touching, heartfelt moments.

One such moment happened this morning while I was dropping off Penelope at school. Rain or shine, her Kindergarten class starts every Tuesday morning with a forest walk, so she was all bundled up in her rain pants, rain jacket, rain boots and knit pumpkin hat, which she insists on wearing inside out so no one knows it’s a pumpkin. As she was talking to her friend by the cubbies, I waved and said, “Goodbye Penelope.” She walked over to me, so I crouched down on my knees to be at her eye level. She picked up my hands and put her beautiful, soft, bright face about 1 inch away from mine.

As she looked into my eyes, she whispered, “Ok, Mommy. Remember. The love I send you? Lock it up right there and keep it safe.” And she pointed to my heart.

I melted. What a wonderful way for Penelope to send me off on my day.

My Favorite Poem

Just before Christmas, bits and pieces of this poem came to mind. I couldn’t quite remember all of the words and I couldn’t think of the name of it. For days, I kept telling myself, “Google that poem. Google the poem.”

Then one day, I was in the bathroom of our local bookstore, having done my business and was washing my hands when I looked up and saw this — my favorite part of the poem:

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It’s a fabulous poem. A friend gave me a copy of it after I had finished grad school and was about to start my job as a 1st grade teacher. I had the poem by my desk and read it nearly every morning before the children arrived at the classroom. Today, the poem makes me think about being present, as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, yoga teacher and friend.

Enjoy…

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

 – William Stafford

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

I know, it’s been ages since I last posted, and what has inspired me to get this blog rolling again is a fabulous smoothie I made with the help of my latest obsession…Tara Stiles of Strala Yoga.

This is a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie — dairy free and delicious!

Ingredients:

-ice

-strawberries

-rolled oats

-1 cup cashews

-1 cup almond milk

-cinammon

-nutmeg

-2 tbs maple syrup

-vanilla extract

Place it all in a blender and voila!

The smoothie got a big thumbs up from Penelope!

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To watch Tara Stiles make the smoothie herself, click here.

Gnomia

Today Cecilia brought home her latest knitting project: a girl gnome that she has named Gnomia. (She plans to make a Gnomeo and a baby Gnomie to go along with Gnomia.)

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It’s intentional that Gnomia has no facial features. This is a technique used to promote more imaginative play. The children can imagine all sorts of facial expressions.

 

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I love the braids and the cape.