Accept my challenge, it’s uncomfortable

It’s a beautiful, crispy Fall day in New England today.  We are not part of the Hurricane area but I wanted to send out love and prayers to those highly affected by the force of Mother Nature.  I believe we can all take a moment to think and/or say a feeling of hope and revival for the communities in the US, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and sadly again Haiti.  I truly am driven in my heart and soul to serve and help others.  There is no better way to get out of your own head and struggles then to aid those in need.  It also let’s your God and the universe know that you get it, we are on this life path to discover why we were placed here, once you figure it out do baby steps and keep on stepping up to serve.

I am a sensitve person and it has been a blessing to discover the beauty of me.  Do you feel that you are connected to more then just yourself or your family?  It can be overwhelming because our sensitivity affects our body, mind, and spirit.  Then our actions affect our loved ones, mostly good but sometimes oops not so good.  One thing my husband told me this past year as we were going through our transformation of me off my wrongly prescribed medicine was looking at what we loved about each others presence.  I’ll never forget when he said, “you have empathy for all. You want to care for everyone which is really beautiful.”.  OK he really gets me.  He stuck around because deep in my abyss all those years is that I always had this path.  It never subsided.

Fast forward to October, now, and I am still teaching the children.  I’m doing a lot of Mindfulness and meditation.  They are begging for it.  I enjoy seeing them get still.  The room is quiet.  We breathe, we discuss the 7 points seat of meditation, and we stop judging.  As I say, “your mat or seat is your island, you are warm, cozy, and most importantly safe.  No one is judging you and nothing leaves this room.”.  Trust is vital to our self care and self beingness to thrive.  Sure you can have shelter, food, warmth, community and feel grateful.  Trust is the love, safety, honor, and foundation of loving kindness.  Trust is the little voice inside you admitting that it does not all have to be done now.  It’s leaving the questions and letting your divine find a way.  I fought and fought for a long time, it’s exhausting, and now I say OK enough let this go for this moment.  As one of my yoga teachers says, “go to sleep.” in her direct yet compassionate Russian accent.

I let go of my “need” to get it all done NOW.  The blog, the updated website, the this and the that and I listened to my God.  I heard him say put it out and just forgive yourself and spend time with your family, dog, and teach the loves.  I did and it has been the best.  Just plain “ahhhhh”.  Now the juices are starting and getting restless in a good way.  I can’t promise perfection, I just don’t roll that way. But, I want to dig in again to seva and purpose. I feel it helps the busy mind and gets all of us in flow with the magic carpet we each use to fly around town.  So, SOS Orphanages are a global community are servers.  Next week I’ll head to Florida for family, self reboot, and service at an orphanage.  Recovery and lots of art and yoga love for these children.  Looking for lap time and hugs, looking for big eyes and wide smiles of youth.  We can listen more and provide hope and comfort daily to our loved ones.  The young are our next leaders and lovers.  There is unrest all over the US now, it’s really painful.  I challenge myself, I challenge you to provide kindness to yourself first because this is where it starts.  “I am worthy. I am a visionary. I am cute……”  Then find a younger person and spend 10 minutes or more and just hold space, listen, and try not to pull your own story out of fear out of your lips.  Let’s lead and change our patterns in thought, word, and action.  My wish is to encourage abundance and positive citizen character in our youth. Can you accept this challenge?

For more tales visit Govindayogaplay on Facebook and Instagram, old tales on Twitter and more coming.  Namaste

Nicaragua

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A month ago I had the privilege to journey to Nicaragua on a Seva/Yoga retreat. Going into the trip I didn’t know what to expect, I was walking into a world that would be completely new to me for the first time, and I was scared.When I landed and looked around two thoughts came into my mind as my worries vastly went away. The first thought was what a beautiful place I was seeing before my eyes, the second thought was that I could not wait to go out and give a helping hand to such a loving beautiful community. I knew with my confidence, my love, and my desire to serve I could help impact those that were around me and I couldn’t wait to begin. The second day was when we were able to meet the children from the local orphanage, this was my favorite day. The children were so eager to be loved and cared for and it brought tears of compassion to my eyes as I saw the impact that a simple “hello” had to them. Bringing my children on this trip with me was the best idea I have ever had, they returned wiser, more empathetic towards others, and eager to help and make a difference in the lives around them. I am so proud to have such loving children and to have had an opportunity like this one that brought us closer and stronger to not only each other but to the world and the potential that we could reach from becoming united with one other. The yoga portion of this retreat was just as remarkable as the rest of it. I studied new poses and new methods as well as being able to really connect with my inner self. I truly believe that yoga brings out the best in people, it is important to honor yourself because that will lead to the true honoring of others. I encourage you all to go out and try to submerse yourself into another culture at one point in your life. I promise you the result is worth the fear. Attached to this post I figured I’d leave some photos from my trip, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Blessings to all of you, Namaste.

Tipping my scale and regaining my truth, Ownership!

I returned from our trip to Nicaragua three weeks ago.  We embarked on a family vacation up to Maine a week later.  I was very relaxed and in a great place in my mind and body.  I still am which is a skill that I have worked on for quite some time.  I feel that I have found balance.  There are numerous articles and blogs about balancing your life.  I was so out of whack with my balance that reawakening after the drugs I found myself going to the other extreme to find peace.  I conducted a bit of an experiment this past year.

So, I was very critical of everything and everyone for pretty much my entire life.  I really was not nice to “me”.  Is that something anyone else falls victim to?  It is exhausting.  My experiment hypothesis was this: “Can you find love for your body and mind whether you are in shape or soft and fuller n shape?”  I am here to say yes you can, and yes I did.  I dove into my yoga, vinyasa flow, and I continued to do exercise outside with biking and walking.  I kept up a bit of small weight intervals at home but overall I let go of the fire to be ripped and fire like.  I am a fire like and excitable person when I don’t have balance.  I found that by changing my speed, working on Mindfulness with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach in a Power of Awareness class, and yoga that I stopped the critical, painful judgmental voice in my brain.  I also became empathetic toward myself first and then I was able to step out in my life and honestly have no critical thoughts towards others.  The stories had disappeared in my head and I forgave myself for hanging out with the stories for the past 35 years.  We learn them and they get imprinted.  It is work to rid them.  I can’t even begin to explain how this letting go and balance virtually turned my life around in a very short time once I believed it.  I repeated mantras and thought of positive and loving thoughts to myself and others.  When the critical voice steps in now I stop everything, sit somewhere, and get quiet.  I ask my god to open up to peace.  “Where is this coming from?”  It’s useless pain and I am directed by my path of love and honesty. at my timeframe.  Seriously, the good stuff will come along daily if you only chill out and reset.  Be open to balance and be free.

Now, in August, I’m back to my fitness classes and yoga.  I will probably never return to power weight, crossfit workouts ever again.  It’s too fire like and just makes me anxious.  I love feeling grounded, equalized, and at peace.  My experiment was a success and I am now getting back in shape.  It’s healthy to be fit and I’m sticking around for a long time period.  This is empowering and when you are in flow you are able to pursue your passions. Thank you my husband for never giving up on me.  Thank you to all my teachers, and to all my readers.  I am fueled to serve and I am open to what lies ahead.  Love, Mandy  And….thank you Lexi and Lara, you are my beauties and I am so grateful every moment for you girls.  You are gorgeous inside and out.  Go chase your dreams and serve with love. #daughtersrock!

More on Nicaragua and service to follow soon, promise.

 

Power of Awareness, by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, Fall 2015 online course through Soundstrue.com.

Too young for love you”s at 13.

I’m a little behind the eight ball and I am getting this post out a week late.  If there is one thing that I remind myself daily is try and strive for consistency but family and teen drama is bound to delay me. I always want to post on Friday and last week just did not happen.  My story, I have a 13 and a 14 year old daughters. One is full of love and independent like their Dad and my other if full of love and drama, bit like me. She’s my yogi as well.  This is about my 13 year old. She has a young boy texting her daily and many times a day. They are sending emojis of love and texting “I love you” to each other. We are like What???? Ok I have been following all this lala between the two of them. I have been using my yogic breathing and checking in on my mama bear feelings daily. I’m proud I have not opened my mouth and said much to anger my daughter. I am able to pause, process, and negotiate a lot in my head now. It’s a beautiful reawakening. I can probably get a few people to relate to my concerns after I tell you a little story.

The two of them were face timing last week and I popped my head in to say hi to our young man. After he grunted at me and I expressed teasingly to him, “hey you better be nice to l*** mom”s.”. He looked at me and said, “you won’t stop us from seeing each other.”. He was bullying me, threatening my role as mom. I couldn’t believe it. I had a little chat with my girl. No no no he stepped beyond his boundaries and was very disrespectful.  Keep breathing mama  keep coming back to kindness.  I don’t have boys and I am surprised at his actions.  I know he treats my daughter well but I also know he is raising his little brother as mom works full time and there is no father in the picture at all.  This happens in our world, children being asked to do adult work.  I just felt slighted and bullied by this young 14 year old boy.  He was trying to test my boundaries.  My daughter and I had a chat and we told my husband, her Dad.  Breath mom, and we told her we love her and that I would be checking in a little to oversee their texting.  I feel like a snoop but she’s my flesh, and yes I’m good at not smothering my girls but I am not thrilled at this young man.  I sat and told our couple therapist this week.  “They are playing house and as long as he is good to her then it’s all part of trying on the hats.”  My husband is smirking and yes this is my story.  Huh, I’m stubborn and a mom so i’m still snooping.  Keep you posted. I have to giggle because a couple days ago my daughter said without my prying, “mom my friends say go kiss him and I’m too young, I am playing hard to get.”  Ok it’s alright and I am now so proud of her.  I remember this “house playing”.  I will gladly exist in this behavior for now.  She’s going into 8th grade, I’m good and all my breathing paid off.  She’s got some good stuff inside her head for decision making.  Thank you school for having some good sex ed this year.  The kids were traumatized. lololol.

I can say it’s good to surrender, own up to your stories, and have faith.  Most importantly keep breathing.  It’s not good to hold your breath.  You gets dizzy and other uncomfortable things.  Yoga and getting uncomfortable in your head go very hand in hand off the mat.  Stay in peace and exhale.

Happy 4th of July!!!!  I take off to Latin America next week.  A little vacation, rest, service work, and yoga.  I’m checking out and off the grid hopefully.  May see a pic or two on social media of us.  Thanks for reading and getting a laugh.  Parenting is entertaining and it is only going to get messier. Namaste for now tribe.

 

 

Take Ownership in the Vast Unknown, it’s scary as …….

It seems like Friday is my writing day.  I get clarity and ideas during the week and poof.  I am thinking that it’s a combination of keeping with my goal and the fact that by Thursday my 13 and 14 year old daughters have enabled me to pour a glass of wine and convince me to run into a little “happy place”.  So here I am yes.

I was jotting things down this week about ownership, taking ownership, of your shiz.  I can say that it is a courageous step to take.  You are realizing something uncomfortable, leaning into it, your ego and pride are bulldozed for a bit, but it’s very freeing.  I compare it to your innards being flipped and exposing themselves to your biggest teacher, your actions.  When I got knocked over by my husband and my kids after coming to terms with my actions after nearly 10 years of being numb on depakote I felt like running under a rock. Anyone know about running to the nearest boulder and going to your happy place?  It is not pleasant and most people stay under the rock and never face their fears.  Through an enlightening process of placing yourself in someone else’s shoes you are taking a giant leap of bravery and eventually it feels safe and kind.  That is the universes way of rewarding us.

After all this mess my husband and I are still trying to recover.  We are in therapy and that’s a pow to endure.  The good therapists get some waves going and it is up to the individual to hang on and hold space for each other.  I have been in therapy a while and it’s been a godsend. You should try it just to get all the sludge out and put some kindness back inside, hanging with friends is the next best option.  We just helped my husband realize that he has a bit of PTSD after all this.  He says I missed out on seven years of my life because of what happened to me.  Hmmmm, ouch and I can’t even remember the past seven years, how do you like them apples.  With ownership comes the ability to seek compassion, or not.  The flip side is blame and that is just a whole lot of suffering.  I feel my husband is grieving that life he thought of as being “normal” and less drama of mental illness.  Why did he get to be the one to carry me?  I remember the boyfriend I could of married, could that person have handled my crisis?  I tap into my faith, renewed faith, and how our lives are already written.  I have to trust that this is part of our path together.  I will say my habits and actions were imprinted in me a long time ago.  These character traits were not born by mental illness, it is your surroundings as you grow.  I am not angry but I am able to recognize a lot more now,  I have forgiven the people that carried me through my youth.  Humans have this ability to make stories in their heads and grip a lot of pain, I was the best story teller ever.  The only way to release the grip is to find a gentle compassion to yourself and send it out.

I know I have worked like a strong oxen warrior to dig inside, I have screamed, cried, laughed and then I have done it again.  My love of yoga and meditation has given me hope, presence, and accountability.  I am not sure my husband can find this courage, he’s very traumatized and it is not his character to feel this discomfort and try to let go.  One more year with my girls at home and the universe will direct us.  It is unknown and I am honoring myself, my husband, and my god.  Namaste!!!  Sorry this is serious after my last blog but I have been revisiting this topic in my head often.

My memory has bought a one way ticket to nonsense

It’s been 18 months since getting off the Depakote overload for eight years.  It probably took a year or so for the meds to flush out of my blood stream, liver, and brain.  Well, not so much my brain, i.e. prefrontal cortex, that little puppy is damaged yes it is.  This is the center of attention, memory, executive function, and emotions to name a few.  Here is the thing, I cannot remember much, it’s true and entertaining until the house burns down.  I’m confessing up, so this morning the four of us were puttering around getting ourselves out the door for school and work.  My 14 year old daughter is looking to be in charge of her own Fortune 500 in some years.  She’s got game, drive, and a routine as well as rigidity and pow.  My 13 year old is compassionate, creative, and will leave the house without her head on and will never know it.  They are fun kids. We live by the slogan, “be yourself and we’ll honor you unless someone draws blood toward another person.”.  And my husband is a calm and patient man, a truly loving kind soul.  Back to this morning, everyone is out the door and I am getting my breakfast ready.  I put my pan on the stove and get distracted, that’s the norm for me, and the smoke alarm goes off.  It’s attached to our alarm system.  The alarm system company usually calls the house immediately after the system goes off.  I fly upstairs to our land line and I miss the call.  I pray nothing will happen because that’s how it has happened in the past.  Today was my lucky day and the fire truck pulls up.  SWEET!!!! Our dog Acadia is thrilled, new friends!!!!

The kindest female firefighter approached me in her uniform.  What a lovely soul, you could see it in her eyes and smile.  I’m smiling and laughing inside as I explain my “burning the butter” story.  A common day occurrence in my life especially on the nights my sleep has been poor.  I get a thumbs up, call my dog, and go back inside to resume cooking my things on the burner again and then my neighbor pops in.  DISTRACTION ALERT!!!  I start catching up and forget about my “cooking butter”.  Yup!!! I’M a keeper.  I run over and turn everything off.  I am happy that once you turn off our alarm it has to be reset again in order to work.  No alarm this time.  The moral to my story today is have someone else without memory issues cook for you daily.  One more confession, this smoke alarm goes off at least once a week.  Oh well, fire insurance is up to date and my secret is out.

Quickly, I’ll let loose on one more thing.  I am absolutely owning my “shiz”.  I laugh at myself and others daily.  It’s what you have to do.  Let go of the anger and inevitable absent minded things we do.  BE KIND FOR GOODNESS SAKE. Don’t be a holier than anyone else kind of person, no one likes a show off.  Hmmm, mental illness sucks and many people suffer.  Get some sleep, get some patience, and do find a good doctor if you or your loved one needs help.  Off to cook again, my family is back home.  Oh the stories they could tell.  Peace, love, and happy vibes tribe.  Now where are my meds…..?

Being present for our kids in times of over sensory input

http://youtu.be/KkHTVCkWkFM

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Here is the last book of my child yoga book series. This is truly a key element in life for all of us.  We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts but the best of all is to be present for ourselves so that we can give our loved ones 100% attention. Let’s be honest none of us are and if you are congratulations. Kudos to you for skipping out on all the distractions we encounter daily.  This is a fun read for you and your child to look at together. It’s a good reminder to let go of all the superficial attachments and stop a listen.

Thank you for taking some time to watch the videos and read the blog. I truly love serving my children and want to inspire everyone to embody the yogic notions presented in each of these books. Much much love and blessings. Namaste 🙏

 

What Does It Mean To Be Global? By Rana DiOrio

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YM3cznv3iEM 

Dear young yogis and loved ones.  I completed book 5 for my video yoga book series last week. I was not feeling well afterwards and I am now finally posting.  In this day and age of honoring our world and honoring our current national election I thought this would be an interesting book to throw in.  We have a lot going on and a lot of different cultures living in our country. I am for preserving our nation and making changes to bringing back our strong economy. As a parent, I am trying to instill a global appreciation of people, places, and things in my children and their friends.  This book represents digging inside and using sense to respectfully live in peace with all people and find a common ground. The world has evolved and our children’s lives are connected to all beings.

 

Family members speak up. Hope has gone wild!!!! Part 2 of Oprah’s mental illness discussion

imageThis is a second chat about mental illness and the hope that is alive to assist loved ones with this very fearful topic. Fear is a theme that all of us come in contact with as living beings. I am thrilled that Oprah Winfrey and her team have started this open conversation about mental illness. In part 2 of her conversation in the month of March she addresses living with a family member that has a mental illness. There is no doubt mental illness is an unknown and scary topic to the majority of individuals. We see and hear about the negative and tragic events that people with mental illness face and manifest on a weekly basis. It’s a real crisis-like problem and our medical world is full of clinicians that over medicate just to make sure a person is safe to themselves and others. Our society is also afraid to speak up for help. It falls on the caregivers to advocate, fear is the number one block. It’s different and unknown, the caregivers are not choosing to “see” the illness, or have most likely distanced themselves from their loved one due to this overwhelming fear.

In my generation of children of the 80’s no one spoke of it. We were all expected to be strong and ignore any feelings of sadness, anger, or manic feelings. It is true that anxiety, depression, bipolar are part of my family history. I will not explain because it is private within my family and the relatives that are affected by it. When I had my breakdown 9 years ago my sister ran like a cheetah. Her children called me scary and I should not have been dragged to our family holiday dinner in my condition. My dear father was only trying to love and help me. How awful it must have been, his wife gone and me gone “crazy” so to speak. My mom was the glue/life force and she too was afraid when I had depression and anxiety in my teen years. It’s a cycle of thoughts and actions that as a family we form and repeat and until it is recognized that it is fear, no one will change. So, this is history now and as I said before I bled after I was removed from the medicine 18 months ago. I chose forgiveness and love instead of anger and pain. It wasn’t easy but love prevailed. I knew I would get ill if I pressed forward in hate. I still visit the pain as I recall it at times. That’s what yoga, mindfulness, forgiveness, therapy, and most important my faith in God has helped to guide me daily.

In the article the reader meets four families that have lived and have been brave and generous to tell their stories. I thank you for your sharing. One woman talks about her aunt and how unstable she was and how terrifying it was to be around her. Her aunt did not receive the correct care. This is a whole topic of its own. A patient needs to receive the correct care and it’s imperative that they follow up and get guidance for themselves. There are organizations to help, i.e. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). Please use this stellar resource it is helping people survive and cope. I have a friend and her son as a teenager had an emotional breakdown and suffered severe anxiety. Many years later after fantastic help he is at Harvard completing his writing degree and working at NAMI with other people suffering like he had. Happy story indeed!!!! Another story featured a parent of a boy that had committed a violent act. She knew something was different about him but never said anything. Gosh, she was frightened and ashamed beyond belief. No one wants to hear it or help you when your loved one is ill. It’s a lonely existence caring for a loved one with mental illness. In general, people exist in their own worlds because that’s the western way. We no longer embrace neighbors and help sick, we push people away out of fear. I truly hope this evolves; it’s a crying shame. I know there is hope and there are people that want to change, let’s keep praying. Lastly, there is a story of a woman that had a sister that had completely turned all their lives inside down with her bipolar episodes. This story broke my heart. It’s a bit close to home as I turned my family’s lives upside down for 8 years. We cannot be angry; it is horrible to live it and to be the person living it with a family member. My wish is for forgiveness and love and a new beginning. Please don’t run. It’s up to caregivers to try and find help. Perhaps it’s too much to ask but I’ll
take a chance. In closing, I’m choosing to find loving kindness and choosing to forgive. It’s a choice to face mental illness and live it to the best of your ability. Many patients cannot choose and many get locked away. For many it is the safest option and many severely mentally ill people benefit from a group like home.

I have transformed and had a renewal. It’s amazing but I do care for ones not as lucky. My husband and I are still getting used to the difference in me. He still needs to witness that I am stable. That I am not going to fly off due to medication and all the bad habits that defined my character for years. I choose to change, I choose to live and love. I choose to stop judging, assuming, and hurting myself by reliving all those exhausting stories and focus on my present. As a take away let’s honor our loved ones where they are and give them and others safety. Try to locate a good doctor and please go to their check ins it’s vital to everyone’s well being. Try and listen to your loved ones, we all need to be heard, even if it may not make absolute sense to you. I say thank you daily to my divine and put it in the hands of the universe to listen to my hopes and desires after my reawakening. Please do your research and find time to smile and laugh with your loved one. Bless all of you and continue to inspire. Be well, be bold, be the love! Blessings of peace, Mandy