Enlightenment

It amazes me how God can, and often does, choose to teach us His truths using whatever method or tool that we are open to at the present moment. In the three decades that I have been a Christian, God has guided me through His Word, His Spirit, and His people teaching and preaching his truths. Through books, magazines, music, strangers, friends and even in business meetings, I have gleaned life changing insights.  First and foremost this is because I choose to put my faith in the person of Jesus Christ and He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I believe that this promise is why He chooses to guide me using any and all methods. The most recent avenue of His guidance has been through the authentic teachings of yoga. I imagine He is utilizing this teaching avenue because He knows all too well that I have closed myself off from many of the traditional models that served me well for many years. I am no longer interested in following anyone who seems to lead with their ego. Men and women who make their decisions through the lens of their emotions, feelings, traditions and the past teachings of previous mentors, while blatantly disregarding God’s Word as the final authority. Leaders that leave their followers questioning if they have any worth when it comes to the ministry or christianity, or in life period, have, in my opinion, failed to recognize Christ’s teachings on leadership. Authority figures that act as if the position Christ has allowed them to fill grants them all power and all insight.  You can discern quickly if you have been asked to follow this type of person. This leader cannot answer the hard questions. In fact, they behave as if you have no right to question them in the first place. They will avoid the question. They will attempt to divert from the question. They will simply ignore the question. But, if all of this fails and you push for an answer they will rely on some version of the response “because I said so”, “because I’m the Pastor” or “because this is my church”.  In my 48 years on this planet, history has proven that when an authority (whether in the secular field or christian) gets to this place, their business or ministry is decaying rapidly. I am not judging these folk. Christ has said that He has sheep “that are not of this fold”, and I am content to leave it with Him. I am not willing to subject myself or loved ones to these people, after witnessing time and again the havoc that they wreak in the lives of the righteous and unrighteous alike.

I seek enlightenment. My Saviour has promised this very thing in His Word. He promises in Matthew 11 that if we come unto Him He will give us comfort. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Enlightenment. To ease the burden. To cease to carry the heaviness that this world has to offer. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yet, many Christians are bent low under the weight of life. Worries, fears, and anxiety does not sound very enlightened to me. I am on a path to enlightenment, but not in a mystical way. Daily I am being taught how to reduce the burdens that I have been carrying. Moment by moment I am learning to be enlightened as Christ is enlightened and many of my lessons are coming through the teachings of authentic yoga.

I invite you on my journey to enlightenment. How great would it be to reduce some(if not all) of the burdens that you now carry? Authentic Yoga is like Christianity in that the principles work for anyone that will apply them. Regardless of your religious affiliation to this point. Regardless of your history. Regardless of how another human being has made you feel.

Today, start by repeating this mantra to yourself:

I HAVE WORTH! I CAN FIND BALANCE! I HAVE AMAZING THINGS TO OFFER OTHER PEOPLE AND THIS WORLD! I CAN BE LIGHTER, AND MORE BALANCED!

Next: Follow my blog below,  and join me on the path to enlightenment.

NAMASTE

 

Limitations

I will never be a 100 pound, blonde hair-blue eyed beauty.  I will never be that girl who can eat whatever she wants and not gain an ounce. I will never be 25 years old again.  Unless, God forbid, cancer strikes and I have to have a double mastectomy, I will never be the girl who can go without a bra under her outfit. I mean, I could, but seriously…..Please understand, I like me. I really do. But before I could get to the place where I was comfortable in my own skin, I had to accept my limitations….Then I had to push past them.

Limitations: an ugly description of our current reality.  Because of our limitations we simply never start.  Our limitations, both real and imagined become the excuse that causes us to accept whatever life throws at us as the inevitable.

I can’t eat healthy, my husband is a meat and potatoes guy.

I can’t exercise, I don’t have the time, the money, the right equipment.

My (insert health issue here) will just not allow me to get healthy.

I can’t volunteer, I don’t have a car.

I can’t  read to improve any area of my life,  because I don’t like to read.

These are just a few of the “limitations” that I have heard given this week. Quick grammar lesson: the root word of limitations is???? That is correct!  Limit.  We are allowing circumstances to set our limits.

My students come to me, and they are worn down and they are frustrated. They have become so focused on their limitations that they simply cannot see anything else.  Some of these “limitations” are very real.  How do I help a homeless man see past his loss of everything?  How do I help a young man who continues to push the people he loves out of his life realize that there is a solution?  How do I help the young woman who just realized her husband is having an affair see past the very, very real limits that she feels have just been placed on her and her children?  How can I help myself, a 47 year old empty nester, to run her first obstacle course? ( I mean, I have age limits, health limits, self confidence limits, BROWN hair and BROWN eyes and finding the right sports bra…lets not even go there!)

I help them to reframe the question. The question is not What limitations has life placed on me?  The question must be: How do I learn to navigate through and around the limitations that I am currently facing? If you can move or work through and around anything, then it is no longer a limit, what you thought was a limit is really just an obstacle.Whereas a limit says You’re done, you cannot proceed, An obstacle is screaming Figure out a way over, under around or through, just keep going!  (I know about obstacles, because I run obstacle course races regularly…brown hair brown eyes and all.)

Now, if you were paying attention, then we just reframed every limit you feel you are currently facing, we turned them into obstacles.  First, identify the obstacle; then, figure out a way through it or around it, over it or under it, and then let me know how it changes your life!

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Recent Obstacle Course Race…this one I had to go through!

 

 

 

Books, Books, Books

 

As anyone who knows me can attest, God has, on many, many occasions, used not only His Word, but the words of countless others to offer up answers to my seemingly, never ending questions.  To what am I referring?  BOOKS.  BOOKS.  More BOOKS!  Relationship issues, child rearing questions, health concerns, financial planning… the list is truly limitless.  Allow me to share one such example.

In 2002, I found myself in a health crisis.  I was heavier than I had ever been.  I was experiencing chronic shoulder and back pain with daily headaches and pain in my hips so bad that it was everything I could do just to walk from my bedroom to the couch in the living room. Watching my oldest daughter, who was then in about 8th grade, try and run a household while nursing her ailing mom was just too much for this mama’s heart.  My search for answers began.  Space will not allow me to share all the details of trying to save enough money to pay for one blood test (we had no insurance at the time), just to be told that my “blood work looked good,” and that I should come back when I had saved enough money for another test.  I cried all the way to the car.  I just wanted answers. Many tests and heartaches later I  found myself sitting in a Doctor’s office with a diagnosis.  Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  The physician’s recommendation?  Antidepressants.  I informed her that I didn’t think I was depressed, I was just tired and in a lot of pain. I explained that my life was actually quite rewarding, that our family was very busy with life and helping inner-city Chicago kids; she nodded and then wrote out a prescription for an antidepressant…

Then and there I made a choice (the important things in life always come down to a choice).  You see, I wanted that diagnosis.  I wanted to believe that there was a reason I felt so bad. I wanted to grab it and make it my baby and yell, “You  see world, this is what’s been wrong with me!”    That moment is when I knew that if I leaned into the safety of that diagnosis… from then on… that disease would become my identity.

To this day I can’t tell you if I had the disease that the doctor diagnosed.  What I do know is that I decided, have it or not, I was pushing for quality of life.  I would read and study and treat every symptom.  I would not go quietly into the night! I would not go down without a fight…sorry…I got off topic there with a favorite movie quote.  But the truth is, it was an Independence Day for me.

A week later my friend Jennifer and I were walking at a local park  when she handed me a book written by Smokey Santillo. She felt it had some good nutritional information and that could be the next  step toward my healing. I love a new book.  I love the smell, the texture, and the knowledge contained between two pieces of cardboard.  That being said, I gotta tell you, the first chapter of this book left me underwhelmed.  I kept reading through point after point on just how polluted our planet really has become.  Water pollution and air pollution; well, that I could handle.  Next was electro-magnetic pollution.  Yup, that is when Smokey lost me.  I was sitting there thinking, “Now I have to be concerned about the very light bulbs that allow me to read this book?”   I wanted health, but seriously, how much could I be expected to change.

Except…there was one little line that seemed to leap from the page.  Scientific studies had shown that some people are very susceptible to certain electric cycles.  This sensitivity had been known to lead to many ailments including miscarriages in women who were exposed to certain computer monitors for longs periods of time. HMMMmmm…Some folks apparently are even sensitive to things like T.V. consoles and …wait for it….ELECTRIC BLANKETS!!!

(My family had, in 1999, moved from the warm state of Florida to attend college in the very cold state of Indiana.  Would you like to take a guess at what one of the first items we purchased had been?)

I stopped… I thought, “It really couldn’t be that simple.”  I walked to the bedroom, I pulled that electric blanket off the bed, I went to sleep and  I awoke the next day.  Yes… the very next day.  I got up and walked virtually pain free to the kitchen and made breakfast for my kids.

As I said, I cannot honestly tell you whether or not I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.  What I can tell you is I continue to read, I continue to tweak, I continue to reach for a quality of life physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I believe that God can heal all that is broken.  I also believe that he can choose to heal through a book… or perhaps, even a blog…