Kate's Final Blog

It Really is All About the Journey

On March 31, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. I completed a year long journey. I set an intention on April 1, 2015 to walk each and every day for one year. I did not put any parameters on the daily walks as far as distance or time - just that I would walk each and every day outside. It has been an amazing journey.

I discovered something interesting during this last year. I discovered that, once the decision is made - I am going to walk each day - the hardest part is done. The one thing I can compare it to is a committed relationship. Once you decide to commit to a partner, each and every day isn't necessarily re-deciding to be in the relationship, it's about choosing how to be in the relationship that day. And, each day is different.

Sometimes, your relationship might be simply about not walking out and booking a one way ticket to a deserted island on that particular day - and some days are about being so actively and positively engaged with your partner that you could never imagine being on a deserted island (unless s/he was there with you).

Committing to walking each day was similar. Because I had already made the decision to walk each day, when I awakened in the morning it was simply about when and how, not whether or not. That one decision simplified things immensely. Whether I was walking at 4:30 in the morning due to a particularly busy day or 8:00 at night because of the same reason, the decision was already made to walk, so I did it. Whether it was raining, hailing, snowing, or the sun was blazing brightly, I walked, because the decision had already been made.

I truly did walk in sickness and in health and as death departed my dad from this earthly plane. In that way, this journey has been like a committed relationship also. While I did not make those specific vows, because I had made the decision, the vows were there.

Whether I wore a hat and sunglasses or 3 layers, snow boots, trax, gloves, a hood, and carried an umbrella, I walked - again because of the commitment. I walked different routes depending on how much time I had and what the weather was doing (and, in one case, how close I was to home during a stomach flu incident).

What I discovered is how much we attempt to control our environment - how conditional we make our lives. We will only do this activity if it fits into this time, on this day, and in this way. And, how unlike Nature that truly is. Nature changes every moment of every day and nothing in nature fights against those changes. It is part of life. And I felt part of Nature and part of Life in a different way than I ever have before by not fighting those changes and, most importantly, for not wishing away those changes, because those changes - and our adaptability to those changes - are what strengthen us.

I learned flexibility in my attitude as I walked no matter what the outside conditions. I learned not to procrastinate because as each day matured, I had less and less time to walk. I learned to be more adaptable because I could not change the weather, I could only change my clothes. I learned how often we put the responsibility outside of ourselves when our goals aren't met - and how that is never, actually, the truth.

I found beauty in the snow, and the rain, and the sleet, and the wind, and the sun. And, on those rare perfect-weather days, a breathtaking loveliness that I was simply out walking. I learned that my body was the most amazing thing about these daily walks. My body was infinitely adaptable, even if my mind and emotions weren't always. I learned kindness by being kind to my body - if I was low energy I walked slower or not as long. I learned that there are infinite shades of grey - that a decision doesn't have to be "either or", it can be "both and".

So, it doesn't matter whether or not we can make a particular style of class or go to a particular teacher, what matters is that we are on our mat and, while it might not be our choice overall, for that day it is o.k. As long as we meditate that day it doesn't matter if it is for one minute or for twenty minutes, what matters is that we are sitting still, we are breathing, we are in the moment. The conditions don't matter, the practice does.

We really, truly cannot control the environment, or other people, or the weather. All we have control over is our own reaction to those conditions. When I walked I only had control over what I wore, the route I took, and the time of day I walked. I had no control over someone calling in to work sick at the last moment and I had to teach. I only had control over how long I could walk that day. I had no control over others' understanding why I had to walk each day. I only had control over sticking to my intention. We have so much less control than we really think we do.

Sages tell us that the life is about the journey, not the destination. I've walked approximately 1200 miles this past year to arrive back at my own front door and know that statement is true. My walks weren't about getting to this moment. My walks were about seeing what I was made of and if I could keep a promise. My walks were about "walking my talk" about a personal daily practice. I've arrived at my destination one year after I began to know that I am stronger than I thought and that my life is truly graced. And, what I know to be true (a nod to Oprah), is that each one of you is stronger than you think and that your life is graced - if you give yourself the opportunity for your own conscious journey.

Who wouldn't want to go to Yoga? Me. I just want to sleep.

"Who Wouldn't Want to go to Yoga? (Me. I really want to sleep)."
-Tessa Osborne

Some of us talked today about the time change being horrible. This is how the time change went for me.

Sunday night my son fell sound asleep around 7:00pm, which was great, because it gave me enough time to try and finish my homework I can't finish when he's awake, because he's a monster. I finally went to bed around 10pm, thinking he would be up around 6 or 7 in the morning.

At 11:30pm, my dog took an enormous shit outside my bedroom door, causing me to wake up from the stench wafting into my once sleeping nose. My husband was, of course, awake, yet didn't notice the dog take the dump, nor notice the smell. Once I cleaned my carpet, that may as well just be a giant stain, I fell back asleep.

At 12:30am, I awoke to the dog scratching at my face and sitting on my head in an effort to make it known that he would like down from the bed and jumping was too stressful. I then noticed my husband, Joshua, had fallen asleep, once again, with the lights and the TV on. So after smacking his arm repeatedly and making him turn it off, I fell back asleep.

At 1:30am, I was woken up by the same husband whose sense of smell must be deadened to not smell the dog dump earlier. He was rolling around after a bad dream. After asking if he was ok (because sometimes I'm a good wife), he informed me how scary it was, rolled back over, and I fell back asleep.

At 2:00am, my son decided he had slept quite enough for one evening, and instead took to laying smack in between Joshua and Myself. I tried to ignore him, and upon doing so, opened my eyes to find his face two inches from my own, and him saying "I can't see your eyeballs." Then he needed water. Then a snack. I did not fall back asleep.

Instead, at 2:30am, my son began to scream that "he wasn't made to sleep" and "he wasn't made to lay down." Realizing I would not convince him otherwise, I tried to re-direct his attention and take him to the living room couch to watch an episode of Little Einsteins (a horribly repetitive show on the Disney Channel about these incredibly creepy children who ride around in a rocket and sing songs).

At 4:45am, we were still awake watching the two hundredth episode of Little Einsteins, when my son decided he preferred to lay on the floor and began to roll off the couch multiple times. I still had not fallen back asleep.

At 5:00am, I took my son to his room and made him lay down, which prompted my now exhausted child to scream at me at the top of his lungs, waking Joshua up. Joshua had no idea what was happening, so stood there confused as all get out for five minutes until I sent him back to bed.

At 5:15am, my son calmed down, and I fed him crackers. Figuring I would never sleep again, I then ate half a loaf of bread and a box of Girl Scout Cookies, because I didn't know what was happening and I was losing my mind.

At 6:30am, I convinced my son to lay back down and shut his eyes, which he did immediately, and five minutes later was snoring. I adjusted the dog (who had taken to laying on my legs on the couch), and moved the now sleeping child over, so I could lay down on the couch too. I huddled under the one blanket I had, and curled into the fetal position to ensure my son didn't kick me and the dog didn't bite me.

At 6:45am, I started to doze off.

At 7:00am, they started the construction behind our house, by running something that was buzzing as loud as a jet engine and when it woke me up, it made me wish said jet engine could run over me.

At 8:00am, my son woke up, clearly refreshed after his night of sleep, and he wanted to play. Realizing I was so tired, my eyes were swollen shut, I half stumbled/half fell into my bedroom to wake up my husband. I fell into bed and wrapped some sort of sheet around my feet and told Joshua it was 8:00, and I had to sleep. I may have said something incoherent, but I don't remember what happened next because I was finally asleep. I got to sleep from 8:00-9:30am, and my son didnt sleep again.

At 10:00am, my son woke me up screaming that he had brought home a bagel for me when him and Joshua went to get breakfast. I still didn't know what was happening, and couldn't feel my head.

At 11:00am, i desperately tried to convince my son (and his bright red and puffy eyes) that laying down to rest is something batman would do (since he was wearing a batman shirt), and that resting keeps him strong to fight the bad guys.

At 1:30pm, Batman finally fell into a much needed sleep. I fell asleep immediately, and remember nothing except waking up in a pile of my own drool with my eyes still completely swollen shut.

At 3:00pm, I tried to convince Batman to watch a movie or to lay still, but that wasn't something that sounded fun to him. Instead, I cried quietly, while stuffing another ten Girl Scout Cookies into my mouth, sure this was how my life ended. Then I did the dishes.

It's Tuesday and I'm still tired.

Kate's Blog #3 - Winter Weather

If you have been reading my recent blogs, you know I am on a year-long journey, committed to walking each and every day - no excuses for weather, illness, laziness, or busyness.  And, I have to be honest - it's getting more and more difficult. It is a good thing I have so many of you now keeping me accountable!

Yesterday, I walked through a wind so severe that just standing still and leaning into it increased my heart rate.  I had my umbrella with me because it was also raining, but every time I attempted to raise it, I was actually blown backward (making that statement about "two steps forward, one step back" literal!)  As I walked in the door 40 minutes later, shaking off the rain, trying to close my umbrella, and saying unrepeatable words (don't worry, I added "asana" to the end of each!), the cats both ran for cover!

This morning, the sidewalks and streets were covered with a thin sheet of ice.  Luckily, I had attached my "shoe chains" (that's what I call them - I don't know what they're really called.  Those of you who know me well know that I have a real problem with "titles".) that my running friend recommend many years ago.  They really serve a dual purpose - they are so noisy that no one on my route needs their alarm and I wake up all the dogs, but they do allow me to walk on (frozen) water!

So, for those of you that are wondering if the storms are keeping me from my daily walk - they aren't.  I seem not to have enough sense to come in from the rain.

Kate's Blog #2 - Under the Dome

Under the Dome

I know I said to watch for my blog on April 2, 2016 as to whether or not I completed my one year of walking each and every day - no excuses. I decided to write now for two reasons:

#1 - Quite frankly, it is getting harder and harder to walk each and every day. Writing about it and posting it on Facebook helps to keep me accountable.

#2 - A friend/student at The Yoga Pearl asked about my journey. So, here it is, Karon, I hope it helps you with your own interior Warrior Woman!

If, by the title, you thought this was going to be a review of either the book or the t.v. series by the same name, I am sorry to disappoint (however, here is my opinion - the first is well worth your time, the second not so much). I titled this "Under the Dome" because that is where I have been on more than one occasion recently when I've walked - under the dome of this cool umbrella I bought for walking, that covers the top half of me and is clear (so I can actually see where I'm going). I have always known I need a lot more gear to walk in inclement weather, which is why I have avoided it up until April 1, 2015! In Nevada, if you wait - a minute or a day or a week - the weather clears up and you don't need as much gear. If you have set that intention to walk each and every day no matter what, you don't have the luxury of waiting.

So, now I am gearing up for my walk (and envying my friend who runs about 15 degrees warmer than do I. I was thinking about her on my walk the other day - she is probably throwing on a just light jacket over her running clothes on this particular morning that I have now put on knee high socks, fleece tights, a long-sleeved base layer, a hoodie, a jacket, boots, and gloves. I remember my cell phone because, if I fall over like that kid in "A Christmas Story" I don't have a big brother to run back and set me up again.) I have to get up a half an hour earlier than I do in the summer just to get ready to walk!

Over the past six weeks, I have had not fewer than 8 doctor, dentist, and lawyer (one of which was in Carson City) appointments, in addition to running the business, teaching my classes, leading two 10 hour Teacher Training weekends, participating in the usual business meetings, ministerial coaching calls, and all of the other tasks (answering e-mails, telephone calls, paying bills, etc) inherent in running a home and a business. I've had personal commitments also - birthday parties and jewelry parties, lunches with friends, watching my nephew and grandson, trick-or-treating (no I didn't dress up - I went with my grandson!), hair cuts, and movies. All things I have chosen for my life.

I've also chosen to walk - for my physical health, for my mental stability (trust me on this), for my emotional peace, to connect spiritually with that Universal Energy - that Prana - in which I truly do live, move, and have my being. And, I have walked each and every day since last I wrote - I'm over halfway to my goal!

It's getting harder, though. This morning it snowed. It's Tuesday, so I can walk after I teach and the sun did come out about 9:00 (it was a wet snow last night and the trees kept dumping their bounty of water on me as it melted off of them and I didn't have my dome, so as I write this I am also drying off). And, tomorrow, I teach 4 classes and have a meeting in between and Book Group after my last class and I have to go back and clean the studio and my grandson is spending the night tonight and will be here in the morning before I go to work. When to walk? When to walk? Anybody care to join me for a midnight stroll?

The Yoga Journey, Part Three: The Yoga Diet, by Tessa Miller

Yesterday was the International Day of Yoga, and also the Summer Solstice.  It was also Father’s Day.  And a Sunday, which is my day off from the studio.  I happened to be kid free for the day, and took advantage of that to not do anything. 

I sat on the couch from 7:00 in the morning until 7:00 at night, which would have been kind of okay if I wouldn’t have eaten like I was hoarding food.  I started the day by eating a box of macaroni and cheese.  After devouring the entire box, I moved on to a bag of Cheetos.  Once the Cheetos were officially eaten, I started to munch on some cookies, which were delicious so I decided to eat the entire bag.  After dusting the crumbs off my shirt (which wasn’t a shirt, it was a holey pajama shirt because I didn’t want to get dressed), I took a two hour nap. 

When I woke up from the nap that was probably too short, I decided to eat two vegetarian corn dogs because I needed protein.  The box said they had like 10 grams of protein per corn dog, which sounded like a lot more protein than the Cheetos had, so figured it would be a good idea to eat both corn dogs.  Plus, they have corn in the name, so I assumed there had to be a vegetable somewhere in there.  After that my face felt greasy, so I downed a liter of water.  That made my stomach feel too full, so I laid down and started to fall asleep again.

Around five o’clock I decided that I would go to the outdoor Yoga class the studio was holding that night, but knew it would be a good idea to eat a light snack before going to class, so I ate a pint of Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.  It’s okay, the ice cream was healthy because it had real frozen strawberries in it. I didn’t eat the strawberries because they had a gross texture, so I just pushed them to the side, but at least having them in the ice cream made it healthier.  If fruit touches your food, it has to be a little healthier than if it doesn’t.  Then I drank another liter of water because the ice cream had too much dairy and my mouth felt weird.

I finally hauled my ass off the couch long enough to put some clothes on and pull my hair back, making me look only kind of decent, but at least I didn’t look homeless.  I ended up making it to the Yoga class in the park, but once I got there I kind of just wanted to lay down and go back to sleep.  My stomach was falling over my waistline, and my face felt like I had chipmunk cheeks.  Plus I was really thirsty during class, and every time I drank water, my food baby grew bigger.

I hyperventilated my way through class, even though standing up was proving impossible due to all the ice cream I had consumed before I went, but I still made it all the way through.  It was hard to breathe, though, because my stomach was so big it was pushing into my lungs.  I felt weird after class, which I deduced was extreme hunger, so I ate another small bag of Cheetos, ate another vegetarian Corn dog, and drank a Coke, before I rolled on to my back like a rolie polie and fell asleep.

This morning, when I woke up, my eyes were literally swollen.  My face was greasy, and my fingers were fat from eating all that sodium in the corn dogs that were supposed to be healthy.  Plus I have been so thirsty all day long, and every time I drink water I feel like my stomach is going to explode.  I’m also pretty sure I have a cavity from all those cookies, and I think I smell like macaroni and cheese still, even though I’ve showered.

I know I didn’t eat well yesterday.  I don’t feel well today because of it.  I can’t say I eat healthy every day, because I don’t.  I also don’t believe in following a strict diet.  I haven’t eaten meat in 12 years, but that doesn’t mean I only eat vegetables (which I don’t, because the green ones freak me out).  I’m not perfect, and I really like ice cream.  But I don’t usually eat that kind of junk all in one day, because I don’t like the way it makes me feel.  And I think that’s the most important thing about the Yoga diet.  I’ve read a lot that says yogi’s/yogini’s only eat clean, pure foods.  Or that yogi’s never eat meat.  Or Yogini’s never drink alcohol.  But, I believe in eating what makes you feel good physically and mentally.

I believe in eating so you wake up the next day and feel clean, not greasy and dehydrated.  I believe in eating so you feel decent, not so full your stomach hurts.  I believe in eating food that makes you feel like you look good, because you feel so good.  I believe in drinking water.  TONS of water, because water makes everything feel better.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t always mean following these crazy diets.  Sometimes it just means listening to your body and giving it what it needs.  And sometimes what you need is a box of macaroni and cheese, a bag of cookies, two bags of Cheetos, three liters of water, Coke, three veggie corn dogs, a pint of ice cream, and a two hour nap.

The Yoga Journey, Part Two: Yoga Class Etiquette, by Tessa Miller

The Yoga Journey, Part Two: Yoga Class Etiquette

My mother has been teaching fitness for a long time.  From the time I was young I would go with her to her various classes, and the older I got would help out with her book work sometimes.  Mainly because I was bored, and felt I was actually doing something useful with my time if I followed her to Yoga like a stalker and sat around at a desk for an hour while she taught class.

When I was in high school, she had a nice woman come to one of her various classes, whose name I will not say.  This lady was rather strange, and kind of frightening, and while I encourage anyone to come to yoga class, I would strongly encourage you to come sober, which this woman did not do.  In fact she had a habit of coming to class completely hammered, which was funny for me because I wasn’t teaching class, and not so funny for my mother, who was.

I would also encourage everyone to come to class clothed, which this woman also did not do.  During one particular evening, I was sitting at the front desk, while my mom was behind me getting set up for class.  There were already a few people there.  I caught the eye of a woman sitting by the front door, and she gave me a look that said “run” as wasted-face walked through the door.  I loved it when wasted-face came to class.  I was fifteen and she was such good entertainment.

Well, that day, this woman simply had no butt to her pants.  The butt part was just gone.  There was just a giant hole where the butt was supposed to be, and underneath the pants-that-were-not-there was her extremely white ass.  While she apparently did not believe in clothes, it was little surprise that she did not believe in any sort of underwear.

I started to laugh so hard I had to leave the room, while mother handled the situation perfectly by encouraging this woman to “maybe find some pants that didn’t have a hole in the butt because she was hanging out the backside.” 

The next time No-Butt-Pants came to class, she told me a nice story about getting rammed into by a semi-truck while riding her bicycle.  She scared me out of ever wanting to ride a bike again, and I simply stared at her wide eyed as she then pulled her pants down to show me her bruise.

So, in an effort to not recreate Hammered Holey Butt’s unfortunate time in Yoga class, I decided to give you some helpful pointers about Yoga Class Etiquette.  You’re welcome.

Number one.  Make sure your pants have butts.  Make sure, also, your pants do not have holes in the crotch-type-area.  It is quite unfortunate for the people in front/behind you when you are doing a downward facing dog if your clothes are holey.  Also, and this advice is quite serious, make sure you wear comfy clothes that are somewhat form fitting.  Nothing is more annoying in Yoga than when your shirt keeps falling in your eyes during inversions, or your pants are falling down around your ankles when you try to stand up.  It’s okay to have form fitting clothes.  Be proud of your body!

Number two.  Do not come to class drunk.  It makes you smell like alcohol, and we can all tell you’ve had a few too many. 

Number three.  Do not come to class late.  Or even right on time.  Aim for at least five minutes early so you can set out your mat, and get comfortable.  When you come in to class during centering or breath work, and trample across the floor like a Buffalo, then whip out your mat, you sound like a five car pile up on the freeway.  It’s kind of loud, and we’re all just trying to relax a little. Just get to class a few minutes early, we will all sincerely thank you.

Number four.  If you do Yoga regularly, or are a certified instructor, please PLEASE do not sit in the front of the class and do your own thing.  If we’re doing Child’s Pose and you do a Headstand, we don’t think you’re awesome, we think it’s weird that we’re all trying to sleep a little and you’re standing on your head.  We want to know that you can be like us, too.  And it hurts our feelings.

Number five.  It’s okay to ask questions.  It’s okay to laugh every now and then.  It’s even okay to fall over. Nobody is judging you. 

Number six.  It’s okay to not do poses.  It’s totally okay to just lay there if that’s what you need.  It’s even okay to fall asleep.  Again, we aren’t judging you.  You need to do what’s right for you.

Number seven.  If ever someone comes in to class with no butt on their pants, and you aren’t sure what to do, just don’t look at it.  And if at all possible, try not to laugh.  But really, just don’t look at it.

The Yoga Journey, Part One: The First Class, by Tessa Miller

Our weekly blog provides insight into different Yoga experiences.  Remember, Yoga is a journey.  It takes patience and practice.  Enjoy reading about Tessa's own Yoga experiences!

The Yoga Journey, part one: The First Class

When I was fourteen I thought I should be on the cover of Vogue.  I looked that good when I got dressed in the morning.  Picture this, a stunning purple velvet "lounge" suit that had a nice satin hem around the bottom of the pants, and a fancy button at the top.  I know what you're thinking, you wish you had owned one.  I know. 

My hair hadn't seen a brush since probably sixth grade, and at the time I was wearing it nice and long, but had no concept of how to do long hair and make it not look like I was homeless.  So on the sides of my head I sported a lovely look of Princess Leia buns, with two, long, straight, pieces of hair just hanging down in front of my face.

Then I wore purple (obviously, the lounge suit was purple) toe socks with blue (I didn’t own purple) flip flops so the toe socks could actually be seen.

We all you know you probably wanted to dress like that, too, so let’s just all deal with the fact that I was a fashion guru.

Also, when I was fourteen, I tried my first Yoga class.  While I was sure I would be able to just float in the air like that guy Special Head on America’s Got Talent (youtube it, you’re welcome), I decided in my fourteen year old mind after my first class that I simply did not like Yoga.  I figured I should stick to fashion instead.

My mother, the Yoga genius we all aspire to, was teaching a class to our youth group at church.  So I strutted my hot little lounge suit into the room thinking I could rock that class because my MOM taught it.  How could I be bad at it?

So we all started to get comfortable in a seated position.  I was so good at it already.  I could sit upright for about ten seconds.  Mom started trying to quiet our minds, and all I could even try and think about was how my hair kept falling out of its buns.  And then my back started to hurt so I needed to smush around on my mat a little to make my back more comfortable.  But then my feet started to fall asleep from being crossed for so long, and I had boney shins so I couldn't possibly cross my legs for that long because my shins were so boney NO WONDER my feet fell asleep.  Then Mom told us to start breathing, but I was too busy trying to wake my feet up and free my back from what I can only assume was an alien trying to burrow into it, to focus on the fact that my lungs felt like fire and I couldn't breathe because I was holding my breath in an effort to sit upright for twenty five years.

When I thought I was for sure dying, Mom made me get up into this pose that was supposed to look like a dog, but all I could think about was how my lounge suit was not at all appropriate wear to have my butt sticking up in the air.  And then I fell over.

My tree pose was more like a tumble weed, and my happy baby was more like pissed off baby, because only cats can get their legs to bend that way.  And let's not even discuss how impossible Mountain pose was.  It's a resting posture, and I was pretty sure RESTING meant LAYING DOWN, because I wasn't resting at all with my chin tucked back to make my neck look fat and my fingers stretched towards the earth in a way that isn't actually physically possible.  Then I fell over again.

By the time we got to lay down in Savasana, my Leia buns were falling out (which was upsetting), and the hair pieces hanging in front of my face had gotten sweaty in my effort to keep breathing (which wasn't even possible).  My lounge suit was half falling off and the velvet had gotten mashed, and my toe socks were starting to slip off.

I swore I was NEVER DOING YOGA AGAIN.  And I didn't for about three years.  I lost the Leia buns, and I think Prince must have asked for my Purple Rain lounge suit back, because I don't have it anymore.  I also walked back into a Yoga class (wearing normal clothes).  I liked it better the second time, it left me feeling good, but it wasn't any easier, so it was better to just not go.  I practiced off and on the next few years, without doing anything steadily.

During that time, I never saw results, and my down dog was still offensive, and I almost always fell over.

But here's the thing.  When I started doing yoga on a regular basis, I actually GOT BETTER.  I got stronger.  I lost fifteen pounds.  My stomach actually had Abs instead of flabby fat.  I could stand on my head.  And down dog is one of my favorite poses now.

The first class is no indication as to how your practice will become.  And neither is the second, third, or fiftieth.  I'm STILL evolving (with Yoga and my fashion sense).  But thinking about that first class gives me hope.  I have come a long way, and that feels good.