Missed yoga class: 3 Lessons I Learned

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IMG_0083 - Version 2

Have you ever had your heart set on a yoga class?  You did everything right, stomach empty, mat in hand, drove yourself 35 minutes to the next town over for this specific class only to end up thwarted by st. closures for a road race?

That was my morning.  Luckily for me I've been practicing yoga for a while, and though I was disappointed I was able to let the desire for that class go and quickly shifted gears.  I used my yoga and simply let go.  My new Canon Rebel was in the car and I wanted to take myself on an artist's date after yoga class anyway.  Now I'd get to set out a little earlier to use my new toy.

Lesson #1 Let go of your attachments to follow life's flow: If I got frustrated and mad that I couldn't make it to class and had focused on the wasted time and wasted gas I wouldn't have been able to shift gears as quickly as I did.  The ability to let it go and find life's flow can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.  Sometimes interrupted plans are better than plans anyway because they help get your creative juices flowing.

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Lesson #2  Spontaneity is crucial to Creativity There is a lot to be said for routine.  Personally I'm a huge believer in route.  Dedication to goals, putting in hard work to achieve those goals - all of that is important, YES.  And you need to allow enough free time and flexibility in your life in order for creativity to blossom.  I almost had scheduled myself up for the morning.  I almost made a plan for Saturday morning which would have meant no room, no space, no extra time to just be.  That's normally my life. This was a great reminder to leave room for myself so creativity can blossom.  The free time allowed spontaneity to creep in and fuel my creative side.

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I love my state, but I especially love my City...

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All said and done I got lucky to miss class.

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Lesson #3 Feed your creativity Make time for creativity in your life.  It doesn't just happen.  You have to flex that muscle just like any other muscle.  If you don't work it you won't have it.

Speaking of muscles, I may have missed my yoga class this morning, but I think I'm gonna roll out my mat at home now.

xoxox -Alisha

Dancing with Darkness

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There once lived a girl who overflowed with optimism, motivation, personal drive and discipline.  This girl ran miles upon miles, did yoga for hours relishing in the strength and the sweat.  She set goals that were big and scary, and she pushed to make them happen even when it felt like logic was telling her to abandon hope.  She had perseverance.

Then one day darkness came uninvited to take up residence with her.  As if some imaginary door had been blown open just long enough for the darkness to unpack it's bags.  This visit was not like the others she'd had with the cold hearted gloom.  No, not like the others at all because this time the darkness didn't leave after a weekend of giving into it's demands.  She couldn't get it to leave with a week of sticking to her workouts which normally ushers the intruder right out.  As the known stranger began to take hold of her heart she began to find it more difficult to step onto her yoga mat for more than child's pose.  In-fact she began to blow off meditation choosing sleep instead, because in meditation she would have to look at the stranger and stare it's message in the face.  Bedtime started coming earlier in the evening.

Can you relate to this girl?  Have you experienced this place?  What Thomas Moore describes as "A Dark Night of the Soul?".  Sometimes they come.  It's a normal part of life and there are many ways to muddle through what it has to teach us.

This girl in our story is beginning to break through by clinging to the old ways that have worked for her.  Coals of her old drive, and motivation still lay burning in her heart, she could feel sparks of them.  They refused to be snubbed out by this uninvited guest.  Inside her there began a silent war between the coals of light and the stranger that wanted her to surrender fully to it's care.

She is trying to hang onto the embers of motivation that she feels strongest in the morning and nurture it with a strong cup of coffee.  Her beloved morning routine, a french press and a side of morning pages allow her to re-awaken the creative juices even if only for a moment.  Each morning she is able to make the flickers of joy and light last a little longer.

In these small familiar ways she is able to push against the darkness and stoke her internal fires once again.  Sometimes this uninvited visitor will come for longer than expected.  As our girl pushes into the darkness she will realize that she's no longer pushing and has started dancing with him.  She has made the darkness her friend.  She has learned how to crawl inside it's pitch black terrifying abyss.  She has crawled into the forrest of darkness and picked it's flowers, climbed it's treacherous mountains, and learned from it.  She is stronger.  Once she befriended him, he gave her the key so that she could leave as she pleased.  As she closed the door behind her she knew he'd be back again maybe through an open window or a crack in the foundation.  Our girl sighed with relief confident that she has the tools to find her way out again.

You must do something to make the world more beautiful

IMG_4867 Once upon a time there was a little girl named Alice, who lived by the sea so Barbara Cooney's book begins.  Alice wanted to be like her grandfather who traveled the world, and lived by the sea.  He said "That is all fine and good little Alice, but you also must do something to make the world a more beautiful place".

If you want to read an inspiring children's book, with beautiful illustrations and a message that will keep you thinking for a lifetime  this short book is for you.

My mother read this book to me many times as a little girl.  It's had a profound effect on how I pursue goals and dreams.  For a long time I did what Alice did, traveled to different places, saw different things.  I wanted to live by the sea (although I'm not sure I need to live closer than I am now), and I often wonderful if what I'm doing day to day is making the world a more beautiful place.

I'm hoping that my example of pursuing my dream of opening and running a yoga studio will help inspire others to follow their dreams.  It's also a hope that the yoga I teach helps people feel better in their bodies, happy people who feel better in their bodies will also hopefully make the world a better place.  I have a third wish or hope, it's to help coach/mentor/lead women to take action towards their goals.  Today I begin formal coaching to help one creative lady follow her dreams.  My wish is that it helps make the world a more beautiful place.

What will you do to make the world a more beautiful place?  Please leave me a comment below I'd love to hear what you're up to. xoxo -Alisha

Creating Space

20140522-212749-77269631.jpgThe sun has set for the day, the hum of the dryer going round and round is a backdrop to my evening. Max is laying next to my bed and wondering why I'm not asleep yet- never mind that it isn't even 9:30pm.

Tomorrow is Friday, I'm lucky enough to be able to leave work early and have a weekend free of work or studio obligations (this is a dress rehearsal for my upcoming week long vacation in Nevis!).

Tumbleweed and I are heading to his Saluda hide away for some much needed R&R. I'm sure the next few days will be full of rest, cleaning the screens at Tumbleweed's house, running, napping, eating at yummy places like the Admiral, playing in downtown Asheville, picnics, possibly taking a yoga class at the AYC, morning pages, coffee and wine! Fun things, not obligations, not requirements. Activities that fill up the soul! That is a long list of possibilities that will make up a lovely long weekend! The other possibility could be to chuck that entire list and do something completely different like just read or just meditate.

The point is I now have a weekend of space for myself. Space to nurture whatever part of me that needs nurturing. This is very much needed and long over due, but honestly it's just a stopgap until the upcoming full week off. I have not had a week off since 2010. I'm ready. We creative creatures need to find a way to create space for ourselves. It's within the open space that ideas can grow and flourish. I'm working on creating that space now. It took a long time for me to realize that true creativity and productivity often comes from doing less. Trust me, it 's counter intuitive, but true.

Are you taking time this weekend for you? What does "you time" look like?

Happy long weekend friends, -Alisha

A writing prompt from Danielle Laporte: The sound of joy

20140122-163209.jpg Alisha's interpretation of the sound of joy: The sound of joy is a pearl of laughter from a small child.  My dog barking in pleasure at something absurd.  The sound of joy is a sigh of ecstasy or the sound of Om after a yoga class.  The sound of joy is the stillness of the forest as well as it's overwhelming noise.  The sound of joy are the birds outside my window chirping in the early morning while I write morning pages and drink coffee.  The sound of joy is my strong steady breath during a personal yoga class or seated meditation.  The sound of joy is a sweaty yoga class with everyone breathing in unison.  The sound of joy is the Ave Maria at a catholic mass after communion.  The sound of joy is my best friend's voice durning a morning walk or tumbleweed's whispers.  The sound of joy is the wind blowing past your ears on bike ride.  The sound of joy is the thump of your heart beat on a run.  The sound of joy is a still summer afternoon that is so hot and muggy you can only hear stillness.  The sound of joy is champagne bottles popping.  The sound of joy is my grandmother's laugh.  The sound of joy is all around me.