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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, interesting reads found on the good ol' internet



valerie d photo
In my quest to become slightly better organized and productive I stumbled across this article titled “13 Things you should give up if you want to be successful” by Zdravko Cvijetic (he goes by Z).(click here to read his article) This was on medium.com, a website that provides what I think to be interesting articles. 

I, like many other people, am hooked by numbers in titles of articles. Apparently there’s been a ton of research done on that and it’s proven to be highly effective in getting people to read articles. You see it on magazine covers all the time, 5 effective ways to get flat abs, 7 habits to get your cakes to rise, 15 celebrities you didn’t know picked their toes, 42 things you should do as part of your morning routine. And we all take the bait and click to read or buy the magazine, just what the marketers want us to do. Well, in this instance I’m glad I clicked. 

His article is very well written. He has his specific points in bold lettering then he expands on them in a few sentences to drive home his point. Not huge long paragraphs expounding the virtues of his idea, just a short explanation of action you could take to actually make the change he is proposing. So of course, I read the next article, “7 Strategies That Will Help You Eliminate Procrastination.” click here to read this article   Again, the bold bullet list titles with supporting action plans. Things that if I choose to implement them are do-able and possibly even sustainable.

I find that to be the biggest hurdle for me. I want to make a change and sometimes would think I have to do it all at once, instead of breaking it down in to smaller steps. It only takes 21 days to form a new habit and if I change one small thing, it’s easier to keep doing it until it becomes a habit.

I also learned something new from this. How to embed a link to another website! Really not that hard because Google makes it so darn easy.


valerie d. photo

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 24, 2017

True devotion will lead to a reveal of the Self. The only way to experience this revelation is to follow the path of true devotion. In doing so, I will come to realize that everything and everyone is connected in this world. My actions are not just about me, there is a ripple effect of action in my surroundings. The only way that I will be able to see this is to practice with true devotion.

I won’t be able to achieve this vision by only doing bits and pieces of practice. If I just read books without asana, or just do asana without meditation, or meditate without taking care of my physical body, I won’t be able to experience the inward vision that leads to the Self.

I must have true devotion with all my heart to my practice, including all facets of practice in order to experience the greatness of my higher power.

This is something I wrote January 11, 2014 as I was taking my Yoga Teacher Training. We were reading through the Bhagavad Gita, “The Song of the Blessed One,” an ancient yogic text that is typical of studying yoga philosophy. We were told to write about what we thought was the heart of the story in Chapter 11, The Cosmic Vision, and that was what I came up with. There must have been a reason in the universe for that to come to my attention at this time. It was buried in the back of my notebook and I stumbled across it while looking for something else.

It’s always interesting to me how these things happen. There’s a whole chain of events that led up to me finding that the other day. First, back in 2014, I found the Thursday evening meditation group. That led me to my first opportunity to teach yoga, at Esperanza Estates. In April, 2016, I had a new student come to class, she turned out to be my Holistic Counselor. Also through the Thursday meditation group, I was introduced to in November, 2015, to a chakra toning group and started attending that regularly. My new student was interested in exploring the chakra toning and I invited her to come with me to a session. She was given a print out that in addition to having the sounds we use, it had the corresponding bija mantra, (Ham,Vam,Ram,Yam, Lam, Om) next to it. She was curious about that and asked me if I knew anything about using those mantras while making the sounds during toning. I recalled that in my teacher training we had discussed those in relation to the chakras, so I started combing through my notes to see if I could find anything. I eventually did, but it didn’t shed any light on using the mantras as part of the toning. But, I did find that piece of writing that brings me to this point.

I am on my right path. Over 3 years ago I made the decision to study yoga, more than just asana practice. I decided I wanted to learn how to teach others to benefit from all that yoga has to offer. I was apprehensive yet determined. I was full of self-doubt, lacking confidence, and fearful. I think more fear of success than of failure because I knew this was what I really wanted to do. With my devotion to my practice, with asana, meditation and study, I have a greater understanding of my higher power. The thing that guides me and continues to support me along my path. 



Which leads now as to how do I define success? How can I remain humble in that success? To know what I know, and to know what I don’t know and to speak only what I do know. 

My success is my increased knowledge of the human body. To be able to teach others about their bodies and to encourage them to explore themselves. I have been offered teaching opportunities, some that I have had to turn down. I have students who keep coming back to my classes. I have people tell me after 4 weeks of practice they have better balance, or more strength in an area they where they felt weak. I have an experienced teacher as my assistant when teaching Yoga for Beginners. I have a whole interconnected community, or sangha as referred by the Buddhists, that supports me as I move along this path. Senior teachers and students alike offer assistance and guidance, always presenting a learning opportunity as long as I can be open to receive it.

That is my success. It’s not about making money or having a 
bunch of stuff (our stuff eventually owns us, we don’t own it). For me it is about sharing my knowledge in a healthy way with others so they can maintain their own well-being. It’s compassion and loving kindness. Strength, happiness and courage.

How do you define your success?


Lokha Samasta Sukhino Bavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two weeks into the New Year

It’s true what my grandfather told me years ago, time goes by faster the older you get. When I was about 10 years old my family was visiting my grandparents in Cashmere, Washington. It was in the summer because it was a hot day, about 90 degrees. Grandpa was out checking on his tomato plants and I was following him around trying to understand what was so important about tomato plants. I was complaining, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do, this day is moving soooo slowly,”  as perhaps you can imagine any 10 year old saying. He told me to cherish this time because when I get older I’ll be very busy and the time will fly by. Then I’ll wonder where all the time went and what did I do during that time.

this morning's sunrise
At least now I am doing what I really want to be doing and not having to go to a job that I don’t like. I don’t have any regrets for my past job or employer. It was a valuable experience and I learned so many things about how a city’s infrastructure works. I earned a good wage, saved money and that all has what has afforded me to do what I am doing now. And when people come to see me at my job now it’s because they want to be there!

Last week was the first week of the new ‘quarter,’ the winter session of classes at GVR, (Green Valley Recreation) where I am teaching a Yoga for Beginner’s class. Even though I was warned there would likely be a lot of people signed up, I didn’t expect to have 26! Beginners! It did go well, I didn’t have time to be nervous, I set that aside and focused my attention to them. Then I went on to my 3:00 outdoor class and there were 10 people there when I usually have 5. Tuesday was my private client, Wednesday 3 more classes, (no beginner’s tho), Thursday I assisted at my mentor’s Beginner’s class in Tubac (with only 3 students), and taught one last class Friday morning. The weekend was spent at a 2 day, 5 hours each day, Anatomy of Yoga workshop with an amazing teacher. One would think I would be tired, but I am energized. 

I did get to go on one ride with the gang the previous week. There were 5 machines, as they say, and 7 people. We went to Mt. Hopkins, almost to the top. There’s an observatory up there and you can’t go all the way up without special permission, so we parked on the side of the road for our break. It was chilly up there, at 7,000 feet, with a little snow on the ground. The views were fantastic and we had a nice picnic lunch before heading back down.





Jay keeps busy too while I am doing my yoga thing. He and some of our desert riding friends went to Wellton, Arizona to ride around in a different part of the desert. He was gone three days and had a great time. He was able to get rested up from that adventure and between a few little chores on his honey-do list and appointments, he hooked up with another group of guys who go a little slower and went for a ride on Friday. 

trail boss, Jay


Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017 Organization

The topic for today is organization. As I was thinking about this, I realized that already my vision for the beginning of this year needs some adjusting. Part of my schedule, my organization, is to make the time to write. To share something here with all of my faithful readers. I was going to make it a point to get these musings out here on Mondays. Well, Mondays aren’t going to work. I know, there have only been two of them so far this year, but I am teaching 4 classes on Mondays so making time for this blog on a Monday doesn’t make sense. So I’m going to aim for Tuesdays. Reorganizing. 

Organization is the key. The key to what though? When I did a Google search for this phrase I came up with it being the key to opportunity, the key to happiness, the key to success, the key to efficiency. So it looks like being organized can be pretty helpful. Why does it seem like such a struggle some days to be organized? Just think about that for a moment, what goes on when you wake up in the morning, you’re lying in bed thinking about all the wonderful things you’re going to do today, then at 4:00 in the afternoon you look back and wonder “what happened to my organization for today?”

In my quest to be organized, I do find myself at times making that the project. Especially when working with my creative endeavors such as knitting or sewing. I think that I have to have all of my needles in perfect order, they must be cataloged, sorted and stored in a certain way before I can begin the next project. Or, that all of my thread must be on the right spindle, grouped by color, then I can let go and begin the creative process for the quilt top. Well, I am continually working with letting go of what I feel to be a little extreme in organizing. It is nice to know where things are and what I have for tools that I need for my projects. But it’s also nice to just be able to find the yarn and the fabric and begin the project without being so concerned with everything having to be ‘just so’ before beginning.

A friend of mine reminded me not to make a project of the organizing, keep it simple and let things be. Focus my energy on the creative process, to give myself permission to do what is calling to my heart.

an attempt to organize yoga studies
One thing that does call to me is my yoga practice and sharing that with others. As you can tell by my teaching schedule. I need to remind myself though, to keep that organized and within limits. Part of that is scheduling study time, to not just drift through articles, chapters in books, or videos that look interesting. But to schedule time for those activities so I can be focused on that and be able to absorb the new information in a way I can retain some of it. For me this works, it might not be what works for you. I find if I have an uninterrupted block of time for study, then I remember more and am able to share it with others. At the end of my study time, I can clear my space and allow for the new information to be absorbed. 


And so goes my writing. If I set aside a block of time to write, then I write. No random internet surfing, housecleaning, or playing with the cats. Just writing for that time. Now I’m done writing for today, time to go prep for a private yoga session.

Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2, 2017 A New Year

I found this quote just the other day:

”Somebody once told me the definition of hell:
“On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous



This is the time of year when we reflect on the year that has passed and look at the coming year and typically set ourselves some resolutions as an attempt to make a better version of what we think we are. While I feel that I can always work to make changes, resolutions seem to always be this unattainable goal that sets me up for failure. What if I were to not make resolutions, but instead decide to set a vision of what I would like to see in my future. This way I can pause and look forward to what is happening and see if maybe I am already doing what I need to be doing. 

Instead of fretting over all that I didn’t achieve in a day, and feeling guilty sometimes for taking time out to enjoy something, why not look at what I did accomplish and tell myself, ‘great job! you did a lot today!’? Perhaps if I were to do that I would feel less stress and be able to relax a little more. 

Maybe if we all did this, set aside our need for accomplishment, improvement, of trying harder at something and set a vision for what it is about what we are doing that brings us joy and contentment. If setting a goal and working hard towards that goal doesn’t give you satisfaction or any pleasure in the process is there another way to get there? Maybe what you thought was a good resolution really isn’t what’s in your heart. Or if it truly is, but the process of getting there is causing you to be unhappy, maybe try to find another way to your goal.

I know that I will not be setting any resolutions this year. I haven’t decided on what my vision is yet, but I am taking time to look at what I am doing with my life at this time. Maybe I’ll see that what I am doing is enough. 


Happy New Year!