pieces

Two nights ago I went restorative Yin Yoga at Shakti before my first day of classes yesterday. During one of the periods of long, extensive stretching I let my mind navigate to the place it wanted to go without my own coercing. During this small period of tabula rasa, I saw a girl trying to move very large puzzle pieces, almost as large as she was. At first I thought that the girl was actually a child and the puzzle pieces were indeed gigantic. Later I decided that the girl was not a child, but that the puzzle pieces were much larger than I had imagined. In this depiction of these large puzzle pieces, I was soon enlightened to find that the pieces were all different. Some of the pieces were people. Some of the pieces were experiences. Some of the pieces were memories. Some were ideas. Some were bright; some were dark. But the girl was trying so hard to put the puzzle pieces together. Fit this one here, put that one there. But she was struggling, for reasons unknown to me.

Until later.

We are boxes of puzzle pieces. My puzzle, the one specially designed for me, holds many different pieces than yours does. Mine is not any less than yours or better; just different. My pieces have my family, the people who have really taught me to grow, taught me to imagine, taught me to live, and most importantly taught me to love. Each piece is a sister, a mother, a father, a cousin, a brother-in-law, an aunt, a grandmother, a grandfather, a nephew, and the list continues seemingly infinitely. Each person has marked me like a sneaky, steady stream erodes the rock. The results are irreversible, good or bad. There are smaller pieces to my puzzle that are acquaintances, friends, and passers-by. Teachers, preachers, and leavers. The point is, each person I have encountered in my life is special to me because they have made me who I am, without me knowing it. It may be scary (and it is) that I really have limited control over whom becomes a new piece to my dynamic and changing puzzle. My experiences, memories, ideas, beliefs, successes, and failures are all essential elements of what makes my puzzle interesting and unique. They were all there, being ran over with the eyes of a girl trying to figure out where they all fit.

What differentiates me from the eggs, milk, chocolate chips, and flour sitting in a bowl? Why am I different than the neutrons, protons, and electrons out in the universe waiting to collide? How are these elements, when in combination with each other made whole, different from me? What makes me different is beautiful. I am different because I am not a bunch of puzzle pieces sitting in a box. I am not even puzzle pieces sporadically laid out on a table. I may sometimes be a girl trying to fit the pieces together in a way that looks satisfying to my own eye. But most profoundly, I am the daughter of the one interfering with my efforts. I am different from the cookies and the atoms because I am being actively formed. I am not just sitting, waiting to be combined or collided. I am a creation. My efforts are useless. My efforts cause me nothing but confusion. One of the major downfalls to my perception of this reality is that I see only a portion of my puzzle; whereas my Maker sees everything. He understands why some really ugly pieces are there. He knows with utter comprehension why a certain undesirable experience occurred. He knows, not because he sees the final picture, but because He created the final picture. He knows where every person will fit, not because He sees where the pieces should fit (this is the mistaken perception I have), but because He created those pieces to fit together. Some may disagree with this philosophy. And if you do, that is fine. But I would love for you to ascertain the idea that I wholeheartedly believe that you, too, are being created with intention and purpose.

So after seeing my obvious difficulties in trying to solve the puzzle, basically blindly, I have surrendered my efforts. I see the pieces, I acknowledge their importance. My Creator will create me. My Maker will make me. My role in this game is the accept the changes. The good ones. The bad ones. I don’t know what my puzzle will look like, and truthfully I don’t want to know. Because I know that God never creates anything less than perfect. And I rest assuredly in that. So God, take my pieces. And make them perfect in You.

 

open #oneword2016

Open.

A trend I stumbled upon on wordpress was this #oneword2016. After reading through a few articles I got the impression that this is a one word “mantra” dedicated to 2016. I started contemplating some of the words that I would like to implement into 2016. Some of the words that came to mind were words like real, strength, imagine. All of these words were fitting for my life, but for some reason I felt inclined to think of word that didn’t “fit” my life. A word that wasn’t something that didn’t just come to the top of my mind. A word I had to search for.

Then I thought of Open. I would like to be more open in 2016.

Open to having coffee with a stranger.

Open to reading books I don’t think I will enjoy.

Open to having meaningful conversations at odd times in the day.

Open to change.

Open to suggestions.

Open to commitment.

Open to challenging myself mentally.

Open to challenging myself physically.

Open to creating novel ideas and writing about them generously.

Open…

I would like to be more open. I dedicate 2016 to the year I step outside of my comfort zone, explore new ideas, learn more about the world, make silly choices, and be a more open person.

I encourage you to find your #oneword2016. Analyze where you could use some remodeling in your life. We all need to rearrange our perspectives sometimes.

Comment your #oneword2016 so I can be a part of your journey to liberation, success, and happiness!

namaste

My own health and fitness journey has been somewhat of a hilly ride. Ups and downs of oscillating between being feeling good and feeling like I’m not good enough. I can definitely say that I have learned a lot about my own body, my own boundaries, and my own ways to balance a healthy life. 2015 was my year of finding this balance. I used to spend hours upon hours in the gym lifting weights, doing squats, doing crunches, and running miles on the treadmill. At the time, I thought I was happy. I thought that I was okay with letting an exterior appearance determine so much of my happiness. But I found myself with a lot of anxiety. I was undoubtedly physically stronger. But my mental strength was on the other end of the continuum. I valued appearing strong, appearing fit, and appearing invincible over the truly invaluable qualities of mental happiness and manifesting a physical health that will help me live a long life that is absent of health complications. Fast forward to May of this year, at a place called Glow Yoga in Gulf Shores, AL.

I am infatuated with cardiovascular medicine. The heart is so amazing to me, and it is even more extraordinary how much control we have over the cardiac complications we can develop. For this reason, living a healthy lifestyle means more to me than looking thin in a dress or being happy with the person I see in the mirror. Health to me means finding strength internally and externally. A healthy lifestyle means I try to make healthy choices daily, but I don’t obsess over eating bad. I try to choose the better option for my body, but I don’t get anxiety if I eat something full of sugar and totally not-healthy.

I took my first yoga class in Gulf Shores. I had been trying to do it at home but I had not been using the best resources. But I wanted to try something new, I had just bought new yoga pants and what better place than the beach? So I attended my first hot yoga session and it was HOT and HARD. Truthfully, I almost passed out because of dehydration (sweating a lot with only one bottle of water in me) and temperatures of around 90 degrees in the humidity of a southern summer. But it was wonderful. It was challenging. It was invigorating. It was refreshing. It made me feel strong and whole. That began my love affair with yoga.

Being a college student is tough. There are a lot of demands; most from academic courses, others from social life, spiritual development, clubs, and trying to stay fit. Yoga is my time during the week to strengthen my body physically (I have lost around 9 pounds in college!) and help my mind pause in the midst of a chaotic life. I would recommend yoga to anyone that is trying to overcome workout-related anxiety, gain mental happiness, become healthier for life, strengthen and elongate muscles, gain stability and control, and essentially anyone just curious about a new workout! I want to include some of the resources I find really useful for yoga at home and yoga beginners!

  1. Podcasts. If you’re interested in doing yoga from home but still want to feel like you’re at a class, podcasts are a wonderful resource. I prefer going to class for the group camaraderie but sometimes staying home is the only option! Some of favorites are 502 Power Yoga : Louisville, KY  and Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga with Kinndli. YouTube videos are also always a great option!
  2. A yoga mat. Yoga is possible without a mat, but it definitely makes it easier! A cute mat makes it that much more enjoyable, too. I got mine from here.
  3. Tight fitting clothes. It is difficult to do yoga when your clothes are flopping around everywhere! Tight pants and a form fitting tank top with a sports bra are usually the best options. I love Lululemon apparel (found here) but for more affordable options look at places like Forever 21 (here).
  4. Hot towel and hand towel. If you’re going to try hot yoga (which I would recommend after you have practiced yoga and feel comfortable with some of the poses!),  you will need a towel. I like mat towels because my mat doesn’t stay dry whenever I sweat a lot. Mat towels and hand towels come in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns. I like Yogitoes by Manduka! Find them here.

Here is a video from Reflexion Yoga on YouTube that explains some of the fundamental poses that are essential to grow your practice.

The new year is a perfect time to begin your decision to choose a healthy life! I have found my balance and peace in doing yoga to maintain a fit life and sound mind. Let me know if I can help you with your practice anytime!

a tree falls in the woods

A tree falls in the woods, and nobody hears it. Did it really fall and make a sound?

The action may have occurred. In fact, the tree most likely fell. But can we prove that it did?

No. Someone could have chopped the tree down. Someone could have uprooted the tree purposefully. But here we are, immersed in this deciduous forest, and we are all trying to semantically determine the source of the fallen tree. We are all surrounded around the tree, painstakingly and vehemently trying to validate our theories. The tree was knocked down by violent winds. The tree was aged and had fallen due to its worn age. Of course, the qualities of the tree are meaningless. In fact, we have such a lack of care for the tree that we intentionally set it on fire. We, individually, pick at its bark – bark that cannot be replaced – until it is near bare. We see the tree as a great source of profit to our intellectual accounts and spend our time hacking away at its sides, as a miner blindly hacks away at a cave. Except this cave is so magnanimously mysterious. But now there are other theories; the tree was spontaneously uprooted by a theoretically powerful but infinitely improbable force. We all so conscientiously try to put an identification tag on the cause of the fall. We are surrounded around the tree, with blinders on to everything but our own theories. Some theories are substantiated in scientific arguments. While others are rooted in supernatural phenomena. Individually, there are flaws in both. But we would never allow ourselves to hear the views of the other side. We only listen to ourselves. We care only about our own flawed reasoning.

But what if there was a branch that fell off the tree on the way down? Attached to the branch are the punctilious and explicit explanations for the cause of the miraculous fall of the tree. The branch, we know, is most definitely a part of the whole original tree. There are no earthly questions of the authenticity of the branch being a part of the tree. In fact, the branch is the only other existing remnant of the tree. The only other terrestrial evidence that the tree actually exists in a place other than our minds. When the branch is discovered, some people wholeheartedly believe its instructions are pure and divine. The cause of the tree is disclosed in the ink of the pristine instructions.

This is where we are. We are destroying the tree. We are disrespecting the entirety of the causality behind the falling of the tree. We are here not to question whether or not the tree is on the ground; that is not denied. We collectively believe that. But we are out here to determine why it fell. What caused it to fall. Is there significance in the falling of the tree? Are there other trees that will fall in these same ways?

Where are you in this amass of theories, facts, and distorted beliefs? The one hacking away at the tree, disrespecting its origin of death? Are you blind to the branch that is an unquestionable part of the whole? Are your theories based on what the obviously puzzled person in front of you told you? Have you even thought about why the tree fell at all, or are you outside the forest, only believing what those who are running wildly out to tell you? (This is an unsafe place to be)

But the truth is a tree fell in the woods. Someone heard it. We all believe it. Why did it fall?

theories

I want to talk about the theory of relativity.

and compassion. I want to talk about compassion.

The theory of general relativity is honestly one of the most fascinating concepts to me. Over the summer, I read Einstein’s Cosmos by Michio Kaku while I was at the beach. I remember feeling overwhelmed and very, very small as I sat on the beach and glared into the evasive ocean and seemingly limitless aqua blue sky. I remember feelings of awe, and of curiosity of what lies out there. I remember feelings of gratitude and incomprehensible intrigue. I wanted to ask questions. One day, I cannot wait to have my most inquisitive questions answered by the great Creator of all things. I grew an even greater appreciation for Whom I believe made these magical, quintessential concepts. I wish I had the knowledge capacity to explain what the theory of relativity is, but I do not, and I would be lessening the value of the theory if I tried to explain it. I do know, however, that this theory concerns two heavenly objects in reference to each other or each in reference to a certain inertial frame. A subdued example of this is being in a train and looking out the sides. To you, the train is traveling at a fast speed and the trees and grass and sky are all artistically blending together. But if there was a train speeding parallel to you, traveling the same exact speed and you look out the window and see yourself in the other train, you will not be moving at all in that frame of reference. So, although you are moving and the train is moving, according to that inertial frame (where you see yourself) you are still. The term theory of relativity typically questions the earth in reference to other cosmological bodies. Relativity states that time can bend, and warp, and change. Time, on earth, is said to be constant. We have atomic clocks that inherently tell us the precise time. But in space, time changes. Time is warped. Depending on what reference point you are, time may be “normal” to you. It is relative.

I feel that this same concept of relativity can be applied to other areas of our lives. We have to remember that we are not celestial bodies in various frames of reference. We are humans with emotions. We are experiences. We are memories. We must maintain an open heart and be understanding of situations that require our relative frames of minds. Too many times I feel that we as a human race, collectively and individually, make decisions and judgements without being subjective. Every person we meet has an issue, a problem, a disappointment that we know nothing about. Every person we meet is having difficult thoughts that are discouraging. We all have them. Relativity tells us to greet these humans, sensitive and raw people that feel just as we do, with compassionate hearts and open ears relative to their situation. Do not judge. I am a true believer that within every earthly body, that proclaims a religion or not, remains a piece of good. For me, this innately “good” is implanted by a graceful God. For others, this may be a derivative of perceived consciousness. Whatever your greater self may be, look for that in other people. Seek the good. One of my favorite quotes comes from Randy Pausch, “earnest is better than hip.” When I first read this section of his book, I discounted the information in it and thought that quote was dated. But then I really dissected what this means. Being an earnest person, a person with integrity, is cooler and more rewarding than someone who does things and treats people a certain way to fit in. Be relative with people. View them from a personal, compassionate frame of reference. Treat others as if they are walking on the egg shells of life. Love people. Love them generously.


some great quotes from Randy Pausch (because The Last Lecture is one of my favorite books) and because I plan on writing about these beautiful concepts soon:

  • “Go and do for others what they have done for you.”
  • “No, the park is open until 8pm.”
  • “If I work hard enough, there will be things I can do tomorrow that I can’t do today.”
  • “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, only how we choose to play.”
  • “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is the most valuable thing you can have.”
  • “Focus on people, not things.”
  • “Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.”

 

 

muddy water

One of my greatest dislikes in someone’s character is simply mediocrity. I don’t care who you are or what circumstances you are under, you are worth more than being mediocre. Falling short to the undeniably gifted talents God has given you is sad to me.. I am not trying to be harsh. I just think it is so important to realize talent and utilize it. It is my belief that we are all unique in personality and we are each responsible for contributing to the world something great. Whether that be someone who can bake cakes, care for children at a daycare, treat the sick, create music, entertain with athleticism, WHATEVER your talent is, it is useful. Don’t be mediocre. Don’t fall victim to society’s relatively low standards of talent recognition. Don’t do something because it’s “easy” or “acceptable”. Do what you are good at it. And do a lot of it. And grow a passion for it.

Ahhh, yes. Passion.

Passion awakens the soul. Passion makes life bright. Passion lies within every harbored and complex mind. Passion is within all of us. Some will choose to feed it and water it and love it and create something amazing with it. Others will let it die. Don’t be the latter person. Develop a passion for something, someone, anything. Just be passionate. This world is full of muddy, polluted water.

Don’t be dirty water.

Don’t be the leftovers. Or the one that is left behind after everything else has been cleaned. Be the fresh, pioneering person that creates rare paths and casts new light on existing institutions. Be the person that thinks differently, acts differently. I don’t care if you have a passion for trading baseball cards. Just don’t be a mediocre baseball card trader. Don’t be a casually involved grandmother, if being a grandmother is your passion. Make footprints that don’t get washed away. If you love music, create music. If you love singing, sing. Follow your passions. Follow the things that keep you awake at night but are also the things that illustrate your dreams. Passion makes doing things that are difficult or challenging or, shall we even say, impossible doable. Passion is as strong as “You’re not good enough.” Passion is stronger than “You can’t do that.” Passion prevails.

When I was a sophomore in high school, a lofty two years ago, I was heavily concerned with the fact that I felt as if I didn’t have any passions. Truly. What inspired me? What made me want to be a better person? What made me want to move forward and pursue something? I have always loved science. I have always loved painting. I have not always loved reading or writing or recognizing beautiful things in everyday life. I realize now in retrospect that I was so concerned with others, with relationships, with ideologies, that I didn’t take time to explore what motivated me or made me feel happy. This is so important!! Try new things. Take existing passions (art, for example) and adventure into different areas related to that to see if you like new things (writing and reading, for example). Be passionate people. It is such a flattering quality to possess!

So don’t be mediocre. Don’t be like the rest of the world, because they are average. You are not average. You are worth ten thousand times more than your average self. You are rare. You hold something that is creative and ready to blossom within you. Go swing a bat, take an art class, babysit a child, shadow a doctor, help the elderly, write some poems, go for a run. Be proactive. Be intriguing. Be passionate 🙂


some of my everyday mantras:

  • you are worth more than this
  • you are more than a body
  • God has so much planned for you
  • the hardest day still only has 24 hours
  • love like Jesus
  • the future is brighter than the brightest moment of the present
  • you are different, but you are unique

redacted poetry fun!

Redacted poetry is beautiful and is currently my favorite form of art.

poem5

poem” Hair with disorder

Her appearance lay abandoned

And dark eyes attempted to claim her

His habit had his eyes streaked with old tears

She gripped tears deep in her chest

It was her time. “

poem1

” Curiosity looked jealous

Of the moment that did not listen

Sometimes to understand everything

You must be lonely. “

I just admire the nostalgic feel of this type of poetry. You are essentially taking something completely finished, putting it in the state of creation again, and creating something new and unique out of it. It’s like rehab for old, abandoned books. And all it takes is a fresh set of eyes, a sharpie, and a book!

I want to see more creations of redacted poetry!

byyeeeee!