My Manifestation Yoga Workshop at my sister’s studio Hazard County Yoga outside of Atlanta Sep 23, 2012. Set to Fake Empire by the National. My favorite band, besides Snow Patrol of course. It’s a tie 😉
Manifestation Yoga Dance Party!
Fallen Empires by my friends Snow Patrol
The real question is this: Where can you be honest with yourself? Where can you be the most honest you that you have ever been?
Yesterday I rode my bike, along with my dear friend Laura, to Redondo Beach.
From Santa Monica.
Thank God The Redondo Beach Pier had those awesome fish tacos and pints of beer or I wouldn’t have made it back. ( Not joking.) 34 miles is a long haul, folks. A long haul.
I had a lot of time to think. To just be.
Here is my honesty for the day, my second Confession in the Confession Series. (click to read Confession about sucking my thumb.)
I realized I am addicted to likes. To clicks.
I am addicted to Like.
Like the song Addicted To Love. Just change it to Like.
I post a blog. And then I check every few minutes to see how it’s doing. Did they like it? Do they like me? ( Who, in the name of God, are “they”?)
Am I good enough?
I am being honest here, so I am breaking down what it really means.
I have become a slave to my phone and computer, so dialed in and over-connected all the time. Yesterday as I rode all those miles and looked out at the ocean I thought about how great it felt to be off the grid. To not care one way or the other what was going on in the world beyond that moment, there on my bike.
I am being raw and looking deep within the caves of Jennifer that are not to be found on Facebook or Twitter.
It’s not a conscious thing I am talking about. It’s something I realized there on my beach cruiser with the orange basket in front and fishing rod in back; this need for connection and approval to make me feel good about myself.
We all want to be liked. That’s natural.
The reality? Not everyone will like us.
That’s ok. It’s usually not about us anyway, and, even if it is, it doesn’t matter. It’s their opinion to have, whoever they are.
I was with my private client last week and Bruce Springsteen was in the background singing one of my favorites, “My Hometown.” I looked over at him and asked: Are you a Bruce fan?
So I realized that if you plug in your favorite artist or singer or anyone that you think is the best there is, you will always find someone that says: They suck.
How can you not be a Bruce fan? I thought and was truly baffled.
So there will always be someone that doesn’t like Bruce or Snow Patrol or your favorite band or artist. Helps you get over the fact that not all people will like you, right?
So back to the honesty question. Where can you be really honest with yourself?
A confession, if you will.
Mine is: I am an addict.
My last post on one of the many sites I write for got a hundred plus comments but only a thousand “likes.”
Do you know that I actually spent time thinking about this?
Comparing myself to other people? Wondering why more people hadn’t clicked “like” on something that was so personal, so important to me? Something that I had spent so much time on and which I thought was really good? What if the website didn’t publish me anymore? What if it means something, this only a “thousand likes” business?
And you know what? The what if’s, when you spell them out and look them square in the jaw, end up being small little things that get filed under “Irrelevant” in your Life File, along with getting into a “perfect” yoga pose or being the “perfect” weight.
I caught myself in my own trap.
I have become tethered to something that is, in no way, shape, or form: real.
I have allowed it.
I have become a junkie to people validating me.
It’s easy to happen.
Everything has a like button so how can we start to not feel as if it a personal sign we are wearing?
Like me? Please, please click “like”? Vote for me? “Like” me and I will believe I am good enough and if you don’t like me then I will feel worthless.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
So, now what?
I am honest with it, now what? I am looking at it. I am “being with it” as they say. Now what?
So, here’s what: I shut the computer. I go sit with my husband and have a nice meal and a glass of wine. I let go of any notion that my self worth is connected to how many Facebook fans I have, how many likes I have on a post, how many tweets or pinterests or shmiterests. I let myself sit and be like I am on a bike with not a care in the world except how far away the dang Pier is, with it’s fish tacos and beer.
Where can you be honest with yourself? That’s Today’s Daily Manifestation Challenge or DMC. Come on and take it! Answer below. I know it is scary, but it feels so so good.
The Weekend DMC.
You Could Be Happy.
I play this song all the time in my yoga classes. It’s by by friends in the band Snow Patrol, who incidentally make me very happy. (Remember last year they donated a guitar signed by all the band members for my GAMEYoga.org fundraiser? For no other reason than just to be nice!)
I think this song is just a beautiful reminder of those 4 magic words: You Could Be Happy.
I dare you.
This weekend’s DMC is about being happy.
In every moment there is a choice.
To be happy or not. And here’s the deal. For those of you that feel that you don’t deserve to be happy, for whatever reason, I am here to tell you: That is BS. You do! You deserve be happy.
And you shall.
And so it is.
By doing things that make you happy. By doing things and being with people that make you feel good.
Are you ready for the ride?
In the comment section below please list all the things that make you happy.
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” Wayne Dyer of course.
And again by him: You cannot get sad enough to make another person happy.
So go on. Get happy and tell us how you got there.
Happiness is the way, Manifesters.
The only way.
Manifest Your Life,
One Laugh at a Time,
PS, My list is long but would start like this….
My happy list: skyping with nephews, watching movies with my husband, having a nice glass of red, a big belly laugh, Modern Family, Snow Patrol, Annie Carpenter’s yoga Class, dancing, when my yoga classes sing and dance, sleeping in, teaching the kinds with special needs yoga, writing, this blog, The Good Wife, getting letters in the mail, giving gifts, photographs, hats, bright sneakers, massages, candles and fireplaces, and on and on.
Last night I went to my friend Mark Hobley’s art show and there was the painting. Yes, the one I am already thanking the universe for because it is hanging in my new house on the wall. It was made for me. Today I am Optimistic. Indeed!
What are you thanking the Universe in advance for? Try waking up and saying Thank You immediately. Before coffee even. Before pulling the covers off. Before the I’m tired! Where’s the snooze button? Whisper it or yell it but say it! Thank You.
What are you optimistic about?
Today I am optimistic:
~that there’s a cure in the near future for Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) and I will contribute to that research with my fundraising via retreats/t-shirts.
~ That miracles will continue to happen in my life and in those lives around me.
~ That I will continue to fearlessly think things I’ve never thought before, say things I’ve never said before, and doing things I’ve never done before.
~ I am optimistic today that I will continue to live in my top 1% (thank you Alissa Finerman for this concept!)
~ That I will continue to remember not to take things personally. That I am not the jerk whisperer.
~That my friends in the band Snow Patrol will rock the world with their newest album “Fallen Empires” and it will be the biggest hit they have ever experienced. And so it is!
~That LOVE like THIS will continue to inspire me and take over the planet. I wept at the video below. The mom in it inspires me. Doesn’t it make you feel optimistic about the human spirit and love? Imagine! And so it is.
~I’m optimistic that I’ll get to take many more vacations where I can do crow on a table in front of the ocean while my nephew watches with joy with or without floaties on his arms. I am optimistic that soon he will be the one on the table!
~Today I am optimistic because I have made it this far despite many many bumps in my road which not only could have thrown me off my horse, but potentially killed me. I am alive! I am very much alive! Indeed. Today I am optimistic.
What are you optimistic about today?
I can’t hear you. Says your yoga teacher.
Well, if I stand really close to you and look at your lips, I can. Or if I bend down as you are in downdog and look at you upside down, maybe I can.
Gary Lightbody, Lead singer of Snow Patrol fittingly said:
” Jennifer is an awesome creature.
I was like four planks of wood
nailed together haphazardly before
I started with her and she has
somehow fashioned rubber from
We’ll, I can touch my toes now
anyway. As patient and delightful
a teacher and person you could hope
for. She’s deaf as a post though
so be prepared for some confusing
discussions whilst in down dog. If
she can fix me she can fix anyone.”
It’s funny, when I tell people that I have a hearing problem, they laugh. They chuckle as if I am pulling their proverbial chain.
And by funny I mean sort of sad. It makes me feel sad and like I want to shake my fist at God and ask Why?!!
I wish I was joking. I know people say things like that a lot in jest. Man, I’m so deaf. I’m so blind. And then there is the ‘R” word that I won’t even write out of respect. After my nephew was diagnosed with a genetic disorder with developmental delays and his best friend has Down’s Syndrome, I won’t even play around with that ‘R’ word. Let’s just say that it is a word people throw around frequently to insinuate stupidity on their or someone else’s behalf. Not a fan of that usage.
I wish I was joking. I wish I didn’t have to put on subtitles when I watch tv. I wish I didn’t have to ask you to translate every line of the movie when you sit next to me in the theatre. I wish I didn’t feel relief when it turns out to be a foreign film simply because there will be subtitles and I can relax. I wish I didn’t have to ask you three times what you just said. It makes me feel sad and alone and like I have to explain that, No, I am not an airhead, I just cannot hear you.
I wish that I didn’t always have to be in the front of the yoga room just to half-hear what the teacher is saying. I wish I didn’t have to keep my eyes open when the rest of the room closes theirs. I wish I could hear you whisper. I wish I didn’t feel like such an outsider most of the time.
I will tell you this though: I am a healer.
My hearing loss has given me the ability to feel things deeper, to hear with my hands and my eyes and my heart a little more strongly. To quote ‘Avatar’: I see you.
I was in denial for many years. I would not accept that I had a hearing problem. When I was in my 20′s the idea of wearing a hearing aid was equal to me wearing head gear as a teenager: something I wouldn’t be caught dead doing. And yes, I had head gear. I wore it at night. Sometimes. Anyway, I used to say I would rather be deaf than wear a hearing aid. Ego? I’d say so. Now, if I could afford one, I would wear one in a heartbeat. Big or small. I would wear ten of them. ( My friend amazingly started a campaign to get me one since insurance does not cover them and they are ridiculously expensive.)
I miss hearing the wind.
I had trouble with my ears as a child. Chronic ear infections, tubes in my ears, inner ear damage. The doctors told my mother that I would most likely have hearing loss. It has progressively gotten worse. I also have tinnitus. Nonstop ringing and humming and hissing. Nonstop. Never goes away. Ever.
I wrote a poem a little while back.
The Secret Lives of Elephants or On Being Deaf
Maybe elephants can hear mountains.
Maybe each mountain range creates a different sound,
A different tone when the wind blows over it.
A soundscape as vivid as a landscape,
Only visible to an elephant’s ears.
I am like an elephant.
With my tinnitus
I can hear the mountains talking to me.
I can hear the sun and the wind, the sky also
When no one else can.
These phantom sounds have guided me
Through the plains of my life,
From coast to coast.
And I have survived the deafening silences in between
This hissing and humming in my head.
Memories have a voice- high pitched, cricket-like in tenor.
If my eyes are closed I cannot hear the world outside,
Only the world in my head.
I read lips to guide me through the terrain,
And when the lips fail me, I am lost-
Without food or water.
And I die.
I can hear things that you can’t though.
I can feel the warrior in yoga, the curl of the back
The opening of the heart.
Even if I miss the direction.
I can hear the quiet in between the quiet
And the arches of eyebrows, the pursing of lips.
I can hear the music of unspoken gestures
the tick tock of need, the roaring of lust,
and the whining of dissatisfaction.
I can hear the tree frog sound of anger
Even though your mouth moving in circles alludes me.
The mountains enunciate, their serrated ridges open with pleasure
And look me in the eye.
Hearing them is a breeze.
Even if my eyes are closed,
I can hear them with my big deaf elephant ears.
What I have realized lately is that we are all up against something. This has cultivated such a level of new found compassion in me I didn’t know I even possessed. Yes, I am hard of hearing. But my nephew never feels full and has a life of challenges ahead of him. My friend Emily has one leg. My friend is raising a baby on her own. Someone else’s mom just died. Someone else can’t find a job or do a forward fold. Someone lost their home or a loved one because of a devastating earthquake and is trying to start their life over. It’s all relative.
I want to hear you. I do. I won’t lie. It’s hard for me. I feel empowered when I am teaching but when I am in a room where I can’t hear, I feel like an invisible person. A shadow of myself. I want to not feel sorry for myself that I am young and mostly deaf.
But hey, we are all in this journey together. I have realized that this why I am a healer, why I am a teacher.
When I stopped asking why I got clear. When I stopped asking why? Why being the question at the center of the universe. I finally understood that it wasn’t the why I should be waiting for to open it’s jaws and answer. That why would swallow me whole , that I would burst into flames if I looked directly into it. It would eclipse me and never stop telling me all the reasons why.
I had started talking to drown the ringing in my head. I started singing to kill the ocean in my ears. Why was still the land of my birth. The place I hung my hat. Where I called home. I finally got quiet and looked around at everyone else and saw that we are all up against something. We all have some sort of battle.
My fist opened and the why slipped into the sky like it belonged there.
And I watched it hover then float.
And I accepted what I was. A healer.
I started to see that the why didn’t matter.
I know what I am here for. I have recently started a new charity called G.A.M.E. Yoga: Gifts and Miracles Everyday: Free Yoga for Children with Special Needs because well, hey, like I said, we are all up against something.
As a side note:
This is an older piece that I am reposting. I originally wrote it for Elephant Journal. I wanted to share that after one of my students read the original article, she felt so moved that she got me a hearing aid. The other monies that had been donated went to audiologist visits and upkeep. There are no words to express my gratitude. I will continue to pay it forward daily. Thank you. The power of the word is no stranger to me and also, the power of human kindness.