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Revival (Breathing Life Back into…Life)

“…so much can be revived. Relationships we’ve given up on, dreams we’ve let go of, things we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t do. Everything can be revived. We just have to breathe life into it.”

-Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl)

When I completed my yoga teacher training, I was over the moon. It was a dream I had manifested since I was 16, and it was another accomplishment completed in such an early time of my life. However, as almost a month has flown by, I have recognized that I really haven’t been making the time to get on the mat, or go to class, or organize some practice time/class planning with my other yogi’s in the community. I haven’t “made progress” on submitting letters of intent, completing CEU’s, getting any personal yoga hours in, and I have to be completely honest on why I haven’t…..I am perpetually EXHAUSTED.

On top of working my regularly scheduled career (which is now changing, because I just got a new job!), I have to come home, make dinner, take care of our pup, water the plants, everything under the sun essentially. While at work (before this new job), I sat at a computer for about eight hours — you would think that sitting on a machine for an entire day wouldn’t be exhausting, but truly, the work was mind numbing enough that I got used to coming home and just laying down for about two hours when I was off the clock.

Mind numbed, perpetually exhausted, and still transitioning into this now career-working-house-having-post-bachelor-grad-woman, has been incredibly tough. I do think, however, it is the life balance that we all seek out, but it’s just in a form that is a lot less wanted and really unexpected.

BUT, these feelings and actions come for a reason, just like all feelings do. Only time will start to surface when we have to start finally unpacking the boxes of tasked-in-the-background emotions, in order to get the rest of our real-life-tasks completed, and with a more, energetic, attitude.

As I have begun to finally unpack my “background tasks,” in order to figure out why I have been in such a lack-of-energy and half-assed motivation state, I came across a post from Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) over instagram:

“Sitting in this little nook we just created in our dining room. We built a big kitchen bench into a corner we normally never used and now, this whole floor of the house is different. This used to be their corner I had to make an effort to reach with the broom; it’s where no one ever sat; where the dogs used to sleep when no one was home. We had a weird little table here that somehow always seemed to collect the things we didn’t know what to do with; bills we’d already paid, half-used up sticks of lip balm, charging cables, boxes of matches. It was a dead corner of the house – we spent no energy here. And then one day I walked by and saw the light come in from the window in a beautiful way I’d never seen before and it hit me: we should put a sofa here. I made the call and got a carpenter over and it’s two weeks later and now I’m sitting here for the first time. The sunlight does flow into this space in a very special way at this time of the morning. It’s gorgeous, actually. I had a rough morning but took a break to sit down and drink my juice and I just realized: there is life here now. I created a space to be where I thought there was none.⁣

It reminds me of the fact that so much can be revived. Relationships we’ve given up on, dreams we’ve let go of, things we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t do. Everything can be revived. We just have to breathe life into it. ⁣My morning has life to it now, just from me taking a moment to sit here and appreciate the light and drink my juice and write this. ⁣

So I guess what I’m trying to say is… Bring light into the forgotten corners of your house, your life, your heart. There is beauty there, too. x”

Her words, shook me to my core as they reminded me that it is our duty to ourselves to live the life worth living, the one that is best for us, our quality of life, the quality of our futures, as well as others that are affected by us, around us. Sometimes, it is just fine to take breaks while in pursuit of that life. It is just fine to say “okay, I am tired, I am drained, and I need to take some time to sit this out and breathe.” AND, it is also NOT a problem to take extended time off from a project, just as long as you aren’t filling your soul with grief over it, or spiraling into other negative mentalities. Some people just need time. At the end of the day, as Rachel mentions, so much can be revived! What a beautiful thought! I believe when times get tough, when relationships seem funky or are in a tough spot, or a once manifested dream starts to trail into just a thought of “yeah that’s what I wanted to do,” it is simply the subconscious parts of us thinking “I have so much on my plate, which bridges do I burn?” When we are stressed, we run. When we are frustrated, we run. When we are uncomfortable, we run. But, that doesn’t ALWAYS mean that the bridge is burned, or that the door is closed. Sometimes people just need time, to catch up with their souls, to catch their breath, and then breathe that life back into whatever it is they need during that time of their life. Energy can neither be created or destroyed, but it can rest, waiting until the right momentum to kick back in. Life is always being lived, of course, but the goals we set are only actively living when we pursue them.

So, with that being said, breathe life back into yours! Write that book! Make that painting! Walk that dog! Get that job! Pursue that dream! It is all in YOUR hands! OR, if you have been non-stop running, aching for a break, take one! You are allowed to take time for yourself. You are allowed to show up as you are, or not show up at all. However, always be sure to treat yourself with kindness!

(As I mentioned before, I got a new job) This week I am finally coming out of my hiatus by waking up an hour earlier, pressing some juice before work, eating my well thought out meal prepped lunches, going to yoga classes after work or practicing at home, journaling (always journaling), finding venues for some donation-based yoga events, planning for my community yoga class next month, and posting up my business cards I finally ordered when they arrive! What will you do this week to jumpstart a new hobby, dream, or goal?

Happy Sunday ya’ll! Namaste!

The Art of Rituals

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert

So I definitely have been trying to get back to reading, but I really love my nightly decompression of tv series and often The Simpsons (I know, so authentic). I have been thinking about the few conversations I’ve had with friends and family these past few days. Firstly, I am so excited to begin Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a book mentioned to me by a dear friend as a means to find some artistic inspiration and power! Ironically, I have been having a lot of conversations about ritual lately, so when I found this quote I was astonished! Sometimes messages are shown to us in coincidental ways.

Ritual, ritual, ritual, what is it? What does it mean to us? Arbitrarily, I bet most believe only religious/spiritual organizations share that connotation. However, Gilbert speaks the truth in that we are absolutely permitted to make up our own ceremonies!

I had a beautiful, though short, conversation at work today about food and rituals, and food is such a big part of my life. Though I come from no apparent food-lingual descent, and we never really celebrated “roots” and “heritage,” somehow food has always become this ritualistic passion, a ritual of love and life, and offering and receiving.

Currently, and I never thought about this until now, my (to be resumed) morning schedule consists of me waking up before my alarm because my body says “hey, get up before you pee yourself” and then I come back to bed before my alarm goes off, hoping to get an hour or at least a few minutes more rest (my body also says “wait, you’re still exhausted, get back to that bed!”). When I wake up, I go into the kitchen and whether I’ve prepared my juice goodies or not, I chop them up and get the juicer ready. I pull the machine out from the same cabinet it stays in, I pull the external equipment from the cabinets, and without rushing, I juice all the produce I want in the morning.

Often if my partner is up, I start to the coffee process – we LOVE our french press. I grab the kettle, wipe it clean and rinse the old water, and rinse it again, and then fill it. I wipe off the stovetop, and place the kettle on high. It takes only about 10 minutes for the kettle to start singing, meanwhile, I scoop two and a half spoonfuls of coffee. When the kettle sings, it’s game time. I pour the water into the press, let the grounds soak, and place the lid/press and a fork right next to it (you know, always prepared). In about five minutes, I whisk the grounds, grab the lid and gently set the press to just rest on top of the carafe. In 30 seconds, I press the mesh into the carafe, and it’s done – the morning is ready. By the time my partner is out of the shower, we enjoy coffee/juice together, and head off to work around the same time.

These morning rituals, when we can experience them, are so important. Especially when they are shared. Talking about them, inspiring them, manifesting them, they become these joyous occasions that uniquely hold space for us to just stop and be. I can say that even this morning ritual, though I’ve explained in a longer time frame, is short. But, it means the world. It is an effortless effort, it just becomes a part of us.

I also discover ritual comes when we least expect it. I think the other term for that is habit.

Habits become lifestyles, and lifestyles become realties. Same thing as rituals, they are a sacred part of our daily life, just like one would consider going to the gym, or gardening.

We are vessels that create, whether we recognize it as purposeful and meaningful, or as accidental and our normal structures. What space will you hold for yourself and what rituals will you discover?

Retrograde (How to Talk to Humans)

Retrograde – directed or moving backwards.

What an often evil thing, but in reality, it may be a reverse that offers us a chance to be someone new. To discover new things. To change our perspectives. I read a post this week that said “do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.”

I am trying really hard this week to put that thought first. I know better. I am better. I may not always think I am “good,” but damned if I don’t know better. I was given this courageous spirit, this courageous light, and the power of honesty. Damned. If. I. Don’t. Know. Better.

I am currently on another path of reversal in life. Though I don’t try to manifest bad thoughts and actions often, somehow I always end up 20 steps backwards.

With that being said, you know, I don’t think I can fight it anymore. I think this is a part of my life’s journey. I think I just have to accept that no matter the ups, the lows will be mighty low. And they are MY responsibility. And I will hold MYSELF accountable.

On the topic of retrograde, I totally feel in my body and environments that there is something changing. Currently I feel like I have had a hard time receiving, a hard time expressing, and I want isolation. But, I have a job to do, people that need me, and people that I need. It is a strange time of feeling unbalanced.

I thought of this funny title, “How to Talk to Humans,” because I wanted to pose it more as a question – how do you talk to people when you’re trouble with expressing and receiving? I feel like there is no good answer. I guess you just have to be, with others. Sometimes silence is better than saying nothing, just listening.

So, during this retrograde, if anyone is out there feeling the same negative energies I am currently, or experiencing any kind of “20 steps back,” I am sending you the love I can carry. It is not much, but it is something. Do not fight your instincts, if you want to be alone, give yourself space. Hold space for yourself until this awakening is over. I believe in times of retrograde, we are meant to experience drawing back as a device to discovery. We get a chance to learn something new about ourselves, carry that thought with you not just for now, but always.

Expectations Vs. Reality (A Piece on Emotional Baggage/Coping)

What most wisdom filled, blissful, happy yogi’s don’t tell you is that it isn’t always sunshine, green juice, positivity and power.

For instance, my daily life for years (and still some today) was me hardly being able to handle my stress without craving junk, meaning anything from food, to alcohol, to sleeping for unhealthy amounts of hours, to picking a fight, feeling attacked, and essentially overall self-sabotaging my own health and wellness (and sanity) because I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

Sometime the mat is the answer, sometimes it is far from my desires. I am definitely not one to practice when I definitely DON’T want too.

But what I have learned about coming to terms with this reality of my emotions and lifestyle, is that in order to get past the dark and twisty feelings is to either unearth the feelings into some sort of language – whether that is writing, talking to gal pals, my mom, or cooking up a storm of more nutritional foods, the answer is to express your stress in the things that will help you RELEASE.

Now the hardest part is finding the way to articulate this language without going to more extreme measures. For instance, sometimes we work out TOO hard, if the gym is how you release your stress. Sometimes over eating, even with nutritional foods, can be a bad thing. Of course, too much wine can take its toll (even though I am no walk in a park when it comes to drinking a whole bottle even after a great day, haha!). Sometimes our expression in our language and discussions can go TOO far. And sometimes, we don’t take into consideration what others may be going through, and that they may not be able to hold space for YOUR emotional state of being.

There are so many ways to express our stress positively, but when the worst is the worst, of course we are going to consciously exceed the expectations we may have set for ourselves.

I want to say that right now, for instance, I am in a weird place. I recently have been feeling very second best. Oddly self-conscious. Goal-setting, but too depressed/unmotivated to follow through after long weeks of work and the day-to-day running around. Financially I have been in a bind, and it is hard to feel like a free-spirit when I know I have so many more bills to pay. I feel unwanted. I feel frustrated often. Ugly. I take the trips, drive the miles, but sometimes I still feel so empty, and I have my own emotional baggage to thank for all of these things.

I believe like most, I try to blame how strange everything feels on the stars, considering how strange and temporary these feelings last and how often people can share the same feelings. But I don’t believe it is entirely the stars aligning to make me feel so shitty, because come on, that is an even shittier thought, that the universe is hanging some long-term karma over my head only to drop it when I’m finally open enough to receive it.

Going back to the point, however, emotional baggage is such a real thing, even if it is in the most minuscule fashion.

Almost three years ago I suffered the most traumatic change/loss of my life. I won’t go into detail, but it is something I carry now and think of often, but most importantly it effects my immediate reflection when I am tied up by my own stress.

Two years ago, I lost my dad. It was so sudden, painful, unexplained, and still lingers on day-to-day. When you lose a lifeline, a part of you feels broken. When you talk about it, people look at you different. They apologize, or they ask what happened, and I confidently tell them my theories, because I can’t change it so I may as well be like-father-like-daughter and make up the mystery and laugh at how crazy it all seems.

The four years I was in college, the doors closed and opened on and off on a lot of unstable/distant relationships, and I was in place of acceptance regardless of what was/had been. But when I am in my emotional bag, I often realize that the bigger person I am now, is who I should have been all those years ago. I used to talk a lot, I just never acted on my words. I wanted to feel accepted, I wanted friendship, and I sacrificed a lot of my own peace of mind for it.

There was so much – there still is SO much. Coping is hard, and often I look at myself in my early 20’s and think “god damn, is this where I am?”

But that is just it – there was so much, there is still so much, and there is going to be MUCH worse, I am sure. The trick is, how am I going to prepare myself now for when the craziness of life happens later, both expected and unexpected?

Emotional baggage is a reality, it is not an expectation for life. Events in life are a reality, not expectations. Life will surprise you, and no matter what place you are in, what age you are, who is and who is not in your life, YOU are responsible for how you cope and how you react, which is also (drumroll please) UNEXPECTED!

The trick on coping and dealing with the stress – do it in your own way, on your own time, and no matter how you cope, find moderation. Our bodies hold onto the history of our stress for lifetimes, and when the stress flairs up, never be afraid to break the box and find your way to be expressive. Never be afraid to find your own language.

So going back to all the basics and the beginning, a yogi won’t often tell you the truth of their pain, they probably won’t be entirely truthful about all the green juice they drink and mat time they get daily. They often may share the wisdom, but it takes much longer even after for themselves to settle with those thoughts, because our minds are ever changing. Our language changes daily. What we desire, what we want, changes daily.

What the biggest practice to have though, is taking that reality, reacting, but without extreme measure. For example, ask yourself if the space you hold for yourself will be enough, not just a temporary fill. Ask others if they can hold space for you when you need someone to talk to/vent too. Break your box, find new ways to take care of yourself even if they seem so far from your normal regimen. Relieve your mind of expectations. This wacky, wild life is full of surprises – take the time for yourself NOW so you can be a little better prepared for the future. Most of all, let the bad feelings come. Don’t hold onto them forever. Like when we get sick and have to take medicine, it will feel a little bit worse before it get’s better. (I am trying my best right now).

Namaste.

Off The Mat – Grateful

Life is unreal at the moment — I am laying in bed after a long day of work. Ahem, a long WEEK of work that is winding down to Friday. For once I am not feeling that excitement for Friday because it is finally a few days to be out of the office, but because I have gone throughout the week feeling excited for work every day and I am consistently motivated to keep busy over the weekend!

What I am grateful for most about this integrative yoga life is that it’s not just the vinyasa’s, the breathing, the Ayurvedic cleanses, the chanting, the soothing chimes and singing bowls. What I am grateful for most about this integrative yoga life is that it has made me discover my ability to FIND yoga in my every day life, off the mat. It has given me the confidence and peace of mind to know that no matter what, tasks will get done. That I can ask for help. That I can ask others if they need help. That I can make mistakes, stumble humiliatingly at times (and I am very often clumsy), but I can always come back stronger, smarter, more resilient, and maybe McGuyver a few things here and there just by the knowledge I already have.

I feel so open, yet again, to new opportunities, growth, change, and everything in-between. I have yoga to thank for that, in all of its phases and forms.

It is week two of my new job, and I am over the moon. I have been at my desk, in the shop, in my boots, training, working with machines, learning how to do tasks I’ve never done before, and every day I get in my truck to come home and I think “how lucky am I to have stumbled across such an amazing company, an amazing opportunity, and an unbreakable spirit through all of its labor!”

This is truly what life is about — finding your niche, finding your crowd, but always expanding into crowds you never thought would accept you. I am never afraid of much, but I always have this lingering doubt that people would ever find me useful after college. Sure, I worked my butt off even then, but what good is an artist, mostly self-taught/committed in everything, good for? What will I be to this world?

I believe it is only human to doubt yourself, especially when the future seems so intangible. You have worked, slept, ate, breathed, and bled for something you love so much and no one can take it away from you, until one day, you walk across a stage and the next day you sigh deeply and say “alright, now what’s next? Who am I going to be now?”

The answer, my friends, is anyone you want to be! Find the work you care about, find things that interest you, and just DIVE IN. It does NOT matter who you were years ago, who you were a day ago, an hour ago, or even this moment. The fact of the matter is, you can do absolutely anything in this world, and if you believe in yourself hard enough, sell yourself, and make it your life, you WILL succeed. You will find your niche. You will always be one step closer to the person you want to be, but most importantly, you will discover who you ARE.

Become the artist, become the yoga teacher, become the cad drafter, become the shop tech, become the friend, befriend all the friends, cherish those around you and see their strengths, be unconditional, be open and flexible to new ideas, new knowledge, new tools, and always find the passion to just be who YOU are.

Namaste!

“Sustaining the Momentum”

I am currently sitting on my couch, listening to a symposium discussion led by a dear friend I made in yoga teacher training, and I am grinning from ear-to-ear.

How incredible it is that I have friends who are authentically themselves, career and future driven, and offer so much wisdom that they WANT to give to others. They want to help others, and they want to take the best steps selflessly that will provide pathways for not only other individuals futures, but for their own. It takes a true leader to selflessly stand up and say “I would not have gotten here if it wasn’t for those who guided me here.”

And with perfect timing, as I get home from my first day of my new job, I am feeling grateful.

I went to school, studied art, focused in Sculpture, and reached so many milestones in the short time I was there. I went into university blind, not knowing what I valued, or what I really valued in myself, and eventually opened up so many doors by just trusting the process of growth, and doing whatever I could to get my foot in the door of the possibilities I saw for myself. Sure, I am not making much art right now, but I never thought that my ART/DESIGN degree would lead into engineering divisions and programs. That’s right, I’m in the engineering field! (It’s scary, but exciting!)

Scary is definitely right about now, but I’ve never really been afraid of challenges. I don’t feel humiliated often, but that is mostly because I can take the pain, laugh it off, and just try again, and again, and again. I believe a lot of this has to do with those who have mentored me as well; the family that loves and supports me, and the school family that believed in me, too. The opportunities I was given and that I took without hesitation. The late nights in the studio offering help and discussion to those who had (not. a. clue) of what they were doing, what they were supposed to be doing, or where to start to get where they wanted to be.

To be completely honest, I owe my life to so many, I have been driven into so many good places because so many have pushed me to be the best I can be, and to dig deeper into what I care about most.

And my mentorships, as my symposium friend was discussing, broke all binaries. I have been mentored by women, men, children, elders….. and at times, dogs (mostly just Moose….), and our mutual relationships have given me the courage to be the future mentor and leader that I plan on (and hope) to be.

They have all given me the courage to sustain MY momentum.

Life is full of infinite possibilities, and everyone, every single person, has something to share with one another. Everyone has value, and it is so important that we continuously share our stories, provide good feedback, ask questions, do the things we WANT to do, and never be afraid to fail. Because we all know that those people we look up to, and share our failures, questions, and dreams with, were also once in the same walks of life we were.

Be a mentor, be a leader, connect, share, believe in yourself, AND DO ALL THE DAMN THINGS! (One day you could be a living, sleeping, dreaming artist, and next thing you know you find yourself wanting to jump into the sea of a field you never thought you would be good enough for!)

Namaste!

New Beginnings

Good morning, all!

As cliche as this will start, I look forward to sharing my stories and daily musings with you all! (Welcome to my blog!)

My name is Shanon Lee, I am 23, a dog mom, current love partner to my wonderful man, an artist, a gardener, sometimes a vegan, sometimes a meat eater, a yogi, a chef, a mechanic, a comedian, a thinker, a problem solver, a friend, and most importantly….a talker.

As I have entered these early years of adulthood, defining myself as a “talker” is both a blessing and a curse. This is an era, not only in my life but I am sure for many others who are ambitious and brave, where all we do is think and talk and think and talk and think and talk about the future, and our plans, and our dreams, and the things we hate, the things we’re searching for, the things we want to try, the things we are unsure about. We talk, about every, single, thing, worth talking about. The hardest part of this era of being, however, is finding a filter (especially when you live life pretty unfiltered most of the time). And by finding a filter, I mean knowing when it is okay to share with others. Knowing how to ask if mentally and emotionally, are those you want to share with in the right headspace for your conversation?

And with this thought in mind, a few days ago I decided it was time to start a blog. A space where I can release this never-ending dialogue built up in my head, but also create a platform for others to share discussion with me on any sorts of topics!

I so look forward to getting to hear you all!

SOOOOOOOO, for starters I bet you’re now thinking “what never-ending dialogue could this crazy chick be wanting to share?” Well, I will tell you that it is probably going to range from yoga, to just about everything else in my daily life. Things I catch, things I miss. New hobbies? Who knows? I believe I will mostly be sharing whatever new journeys I am on and daily I will attempt to post mostly yoga, and the integrative yoga world I live in.

A little bit about my yoga integration — I recently just completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training, as well as a 50 hour yoga teacher training on anatomy. So that makes me a whopping 250 hour CERTIFIED yoga teacher! How exciting! (All I have done so far is make business cards and this blog but I will get into more daily work soon (….hopefully.))

I look forward to promoting this blog for my yoga business, and I again, truly look forward to connecting with you all as I learn what it means to be a talker, thinker, yogi, and now blogger!

Namaste.