“You Must Do The Thing Which You Think You Cannot Do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Marin Power Yoga

This past weekend I taught my Power Yoga class and began with 2 questions for my students to reflect on:

  1. What is something in your yoga practice that you have wanted to try or achieve, but you have been held back because of fear?  (For example, fear of falling, fear of not being strong enough, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, fear of embarrassment…)
  2. What is something in your personal life that you have wanted to change but fear has held you back?  (For example, changing jobs, saying no or yes more, apologizing to someone, fixing a bad habit…)

For myself, I also answered those same questions.  In my yoga classes, one area that I struggle with the most as an instructor is sharing about myself and letting students get to know my “story.” I hold back and usually stick to “textbook teaching” of cueing poses and alignment.  It is what I am comfortable doing.  Although teaching makes me seem like an extrovert because I stand in the front of a room full of people, I am truly an introvert and in all other areas of my life, I prefer to be hidden in the back corner of a room, keeping all my thoughts swirling around in my own head, silent to others.

Well, this weekend I decided to face my fear…

At the end of class, I shared about my hair.  My hair has been incredibly long since my teens, so around 25 years.  My hair is my security blanket.  I associate myself with Violet, from Pixar’s, “The Incredibles.”  Violet is the daughter of a superhero family and she uses her hair to hide behind so she won’t stand out. In fact, her superpower is becoming invisible, which is exactly how I relate to my hair – a symbol of something to hide behind!

The Incredibles "Violet"

As some of you know from my previous posts about migraines and attempts to heal my migraines, I have been suffering from migraines all my life and I am desperate for any chance of relief.  My latest theory is… maybe my 25 years of having long, THICK, hair, plus wearing them in high, heavy ponytails for most of that time during gymnastics, cheerleading, and now yoga/fitness classes, causes too much weight on my neck (my migraine pain seems to originate from my C1, where the base of my skull meets the top of the spine).

So in front of my students, (and facing my first challenge of sharing openly about myself…) I pulled out a pair of scissors (oh I wish I could have videotaped the giant gasps and “NOOO” cries in the room… haha!).  My husband and daughter came into the room and helped me to cut off my braid.  I went from shaking uncontrollably from nervousness and fear, to immediately feeling so refreshed and light!  It is just hair… but cutting my braid symbolized so much more.  I am facing my fears.  I am embracing change.  I am free!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Haircut

I will be mailing my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths because someone out there with cancer needs my hair more than I do… sending all my love to everyone out there who has been or is fighting the biggest battle of their lives.  Stay strong and know you are loved!

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Advertisements

10 Little Lessons I’ve Learned From My 2-Year-Old

Vista-Point

So much to see and take in.

Today is my daughter’s 2nd birthday and I brought her on a short coastal walk to Vista Point to see the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.  What I realized during our excursion today is that life is much more interesting from a 2-year-old’s perspective.  I see a wall, and she sees someone’s name carved in it.  I see the bridge, and she sees the bird flying overhead.  I see boats in the water, and she hears the boats.

I look back at pictures of my daughter especially in the past 6 months and find that I have a lot to learn from this little teacher of mine.  Maybe if we all start to see life like she does, we would all be a little bit more appreciative, more happy, and more alive.

Looking-At-The-World-Differently

Taking a different perspective.

Here are 10 Little Lessons I’ve Learned From My 2-Year Old:

1) Stop and Smell the Roses (Literally…)

Smelling-Flowers

At the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA.

This is something that happens quite frequently, whether we’re taking a walk or she’s sitting in the stroller.  Everywhere we go, she notices everything, from the flowers in the tree, to the penny on the floor, to the helicopter flying in the sky, to the “BUG!” (the one crawling on your shirt…).  Next time, just try to notice something beautiful around you, in your neighborhood, during your commute, at school, at work, or maybe even at home.  Be grateful for clean sidewalks, working traffic lights, clear skies, or maybe some falling leaves overhead?

2) Express Your Unique Self

Downward-Dog-No-Hands

Being upside-down is so fascinating!

Where did my daughter learn this?  I’m pretty sure she made it up on her own, at least the no-handed variation of a sort-of downward dog/headstand yoga pose.  As we get older, we tend to fit ourselves into different molds based on jobs or roles we take.  Don’t be afraid to do something differently, and to add your personal flair.  Be unique.  Be creative.  Be yourself, not a toned-down version.

3) That’s So Cool…

Gymboree-Bubbles

Bubbles during music time in Gymboree class.

Who doesn’t love bubbles???  There’s something magical about bubbles and how they float, glow, and disappear!  There’s so many magical things around us that are just plain amazing and we often take these inventions for granted.  Airplanes fly, lights turn on and off, water runs from the shower head, bicycle wheels turn… My car battery died this week, and I am sure you understand the inconvenience that always causes.  As soon as it got fixed and my car was running again, I realized how grateful I am just to have a working car.  There is so much else that could go wrong inside of a car that I don’t understand, so to me, cars are absolutely magical.

4) Take On Challenges

Stacking-Blocks

Daddy’s cool way of entertaining and playing with blocks together.

“YEAH!” is the usual reaction we get whenever we propose trying something new or different.  The lack of fear of failure is really refreshing.  Everything is an exciting challenge in my daughter’s eyes and to her, it is fun to keep trying and trying.  As adults who may have failed many times already, that fear of failure is scary.   It can be painful, it can be disappointing, it can be traumatizing.  Do we keep trying to pursue our passions or have we given up?

5) Make New Friends

Dogs-Best-Friend

Every dog is my daughter’s best friend.

This is a classic example of my daughter.  We were walking in a mall and a slightly older girl runs past us.  My daughter?  She immediately starts chasing the girl, giggling and following her everywhere.  The girl notices and begins running faster, circling, hiding, and my daughter is happily chasing her in this self-created game of tag.  Similarly, we go in elevators and my daughter always is the one who pops her head out of the stroller and says, “Hi!” to the stranger.  Maybe she’s on one extreme of super-friendliness, but I’m pretty sure there’s a balance where we can all be a little friendlier too.  Maybe we can start by making more eye-contact or maybe a simple nod to acknowledge someone.  Your friendly gesture just might make someone’s day.

6) Everything Can Be a Playground

Discovery-Bay-Museum-Boat

A boat exhibit at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, CA.

Who needs slides or swings when you have two ropes with bells hanging down?  My daughter is able to turn any object or place into something fun to play on and she doesn’t need much more.  She can find plenty of ways to stay active and healthy.  No treadmill needed!  As adults, many of us tend to choose the less-active option if given a choice.  Sitting versus standing, driving versus walking, elevators versus stairs… we would all be so much healthier if we incorporated more physical activity in our day-to-day schedule like children do!  Why don’t you try the “harder” way next time?

7) The Grass is Green

Chip-In-The-Grass

That’s some pretty green grass.

We all know the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  Adults just complain too much.  It’s understandable.  We have work, errands, projects, deadlines, meetings, appointments, plans, etc.  But we complain about our current situations and think that if circumstances were different, it would be better.  This results in too much stress, worry, frowning, and general unhappiness.  What is it about kids that really make them different from adults?  They are carefree.  There is no worry of future.  It is all about the present moment and making the most of it.  I think there’s something to be learned from that.  The grass you are on right now IS green, really green in fact.  Can you see that?

8) Chores Can Be Fun

Making-Zucchini-Bread

One of the best investments I have made – a $20 Rubbermaid 2-step stool.

This past month, my daughter wants to do everything that I am doing… laundry, cooking, washing dishes… so now I just let her help me.  She takes out the clothes from the dryer and helps to sort them by “Da Da’s pants” vs. “Pants mine.”  She helps me to mix ingredients in bowls, wash vegetables, and move slices from the cutting board to a plate.  And she likes using the sponge to wash her dishes and rinse off the soap.  She even scoops and feeds our dog kibble everyday (sometimes hand-feeding…).  Somehow having her participate in these chores has made it more fun for me too – it’s no longer a chore, but an activity for us to “play” together.

9) Say, “CHEESE!”

Say-Cheese

The more dramatic, the better =)

One of my favorite exhibits that is currently at the Exploratorium in San Francisco is the laughing video.  You sit in a chair in front of a TV that loops a couple seconds of different people laughing hysterically at something.  In just a couple of seconds, the laughing just becomes contagious even though you have no idea what they are laughing about.  I love it, and so does my daughter.  We all need to smile and laugh more, don’t we?  And just like the exhibit, if we laugh, then others around us will too!

10) It’s OK to Make Mistakes

(photo x-rated)

A few weeks ago, I went to get my daughter in the morning as usual, but when I opened the door, she was completely undressed.  She had learned a new skill – taking off her pajamas and taking off her DIAPER!!!  And instead of saying, “Good morning,” she just kept saying, “ALL WET! ALL WET!”  Yes.  Your bed is wet because you took off your diaper and then you went pee-pee.  Of course, who could get mad at that?  Fortunately, it was a one-time occurrence because she understood the consequence of taking off her diaper, and it hasn’t happened since.  That’s ok, we all make mistakes, and what matters is that we learn from them!

And…

I can’t resist posting the picture…

Too memorable to leave out!

No-Diaper

An unusual morning greeting…

Parenting has been hands-down the most challenging task I’ve ever done, and I only have a 2-year-old!  Nothing prepares you to be the perfect parent, and I am constantly learning and changing and trying to be a better mom.  It is a humbling experience, and yet, it is the most rewarding and wonderful gift I could ever ask for.

Thank you, Zaydee, for teaching me to see the world through your eyes.  Happy 2nd Birthday!