Blissfully Welcoming a New Year

Blissfully Welcoming a New Year

I love new beginnings, fresh starts, how my closet looks after I clean it…

I don’t love being grounded or having my life interrupted. Something that happened to me in 2019. Gastroparesis returned and I had to put off travel plans for a while. What to do, what to do? Put that money in my investment accounts and start a new gratitude list, of course!

Because when life gives you lemons, make a funny face and throw them at someone else to pass on the blessings! And, everything is a blessing. Even if they come disguised as curses.

Blissfully Welcoming a New Year, WinstonSo I found myself ready to adopt a new puppy last fall. He is my joy! Watching Winston, running through our apartment, sliding on his butt just before he crashes into a wall. Life is good.


About a month ago, my little guy got very sick. What are the odds? Winston has Gastroparesis. Fortunately for Winston, I know how to care for this disease. Giving him love and ice cubes when he was thirsty and couldn’t hold anything down. Because I know exactly how he felt.

Thankfully, for dogs — and especially puppies, GP is rarely chronic. So, when Winston was feeling better, we took a ride. To Colorado. After all, my kids and granddaughters needed to experience the happiness Winston brings.

Instead of the 7-day trip we had planned, it was extended to 12 days. Because it is just so difficult to say good-bye to my loved ones.

Moreover, I was able to witness my oldest son’s Chrismation in the Orthodox Church. What a gift to be able to see his spiritual journey in motion. My son let go of the old names and took on the name “Peter”. His reasons were profound. However, that is his story to tell, not mine. I just get to observe…blissfully!


Returning home, I unpacked our bags and spent a few hours cleaning my closet. It was dark by the time I finished. So, I turned on the closet light, sat down and just stared inside my newly organized wardrobe. There is something deeply spiritual about an organized closet…

assorted clothes hanged inside cabinet
Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

A random memory of my brother, Stan practicing his disco moves with me. Making me think, we were practicing our disco moves. This was the only time I felt that I knew how to dance. Disco…one of the finest genres of all!

What is it about welcoming a new year that brings you joy? Talk to me…and stay blissful my friends.

Short Hair & Other Resolutions

We could all use a little change – Smashmouth

My hair is short today. At the beginning of the year, I had long extensions. They were removed in the Spring. My hair was then just past shoulder length. Not a bad length. But then I got obsessive about my gray hairs and decided to have it colored, then highlighted.

Between all the chemicals and heat styling, my hair started dying. Rapidly. So it had to be cut down. Oh, it will grow again. Maybe.

Oh, and the weight gain…caused another back injury. Just as I arrived in Ecuador. Most of my food goes bad because I buy too much anyway. But I continue to wake up in the middle of the night to sneak Oreos from the pantry. Why are there Oreos in my pantry?!!!

Laundry day has become an all-day event, prompting me to buy more clothes?! Am I the only one?

girl-2705518_640Outward Representations

They say the outward is a direct representation of the inward. This year has proven that statement to be quite fair. I have taken a long inventory of the excess in my life as of late. My physical being told a great story.

Weight (This one Really Hurts)

I had a back injury in 2016. In addition to treatment, I was put on a Ketogenic diet to lose 30 lbs. This was a complete success throughout late 2016 and all of 2017. I felt better than I had in years!

But then, I thought I could have a cookie in 2018…Mind you, I had just begun a new relationship with a wonderful man and lost my soulmate (my dog, Chewy). So much emotion – and this will be another topic in the Shedding the Excess Process.

Because emotion plays right into eating habits for me, by the end of  2018 I had gained 15 of those pounds back. Now that doesn’t seem like much but let me tell you, I injured my back again. Additionally, heartburn and burning mouth syndrome have returned.

The solution to this: Find another healthy eating program. One in which I can afford. I decided upon HIITBURN after completing their questionnaire. For $97.00, I get a personal coach. This is extremely helpful since I travel a lot and cannot go into a clinic for weigh-ins.

Frontpet Pet Carriers


Home

My house in Colorado was difficult to give up. So many memories. My son wanted to buy it to raise my granddaughters in the home they knew so well. Unfortunately, he could not come up with the money in time and my ex-husband was wanting his money.

This proved to be a blessing in disguise. The house did hold many moments in time. And it was time to let those moments go. Just as I had said goodbye to Chewy, I needed to say goodbye to the home I raised him within.

Again, this was an emotional process. I had already minimized so much and moved into an RV. But there was more.

How many of us hold on to a cluttered home because we just cannot let go of the dead energy that we know so well. There is safety in the familiar. I had learned this when I got sober. I had learned this when I got divorced.

I realized that I did not want the responsibility of a mortgage. I didn’t even want the responsibility of digging in roots anymore. It’s time to travel the world. It’s my time. And, it’s time to own it.

House sold.

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SHOES!!

Okay, I have a love-hate relationship with shoes. But especially boots. I have been stalked by shoes and boots on Facebook. But alas, I have no room for all the shoes that I once owned. Furthermore, I don’t need all of them!

Clothes

When I am in my new landing spot in West Texas, I dread laundry day. Packing for my long-term trips around the world is a nightmare.

I had a flannel shirt for 15 years. It served me well until the holes could no longer be mended. After which, trying to find that perfect flannel again took another 15 years. I remember a conversation with my favorite pair of white pants when I was 16. “Okay, I am giving you one more chance to make it right. I’m going to wash you with bleach and if you are still pink when you come out, it’s off to the Segunda for you!”. They came out white again…

I downsized my wardrobe twice in 2018 and have concluded that I need to do this again. But clothing also has an emotional connection. This item was a gift, this other item was something I wore on a special day. How can I hold on to these memories while letting go of the piece of clothing that means so much to me?

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Yoga Practice

How can one practice Yoga too much? When it starts to lean more on either aspect – the physical/spiritual. Yoga burn-out is real. It happens. It was happening to me. Just after a great year of taking two additional Yoga Teacher Trainings.

It was time to change it up. I had no choice but to do so when I injured my back. Taking a look at the many different practices:

  • Hatha
  • Iyengar
  • Restorative
  • Yin
  • Kundalini

I landed back on Kundalini because, though it can be physical, it is also less stressful on the back for some reason. I found a lovely 40-day Kundalini for weight loss program. What I started to see as a continual topic through this program was “Shedding the Excess”.


This is just a small piece of the pie. (oh, I want pie).  There’s much more excess to cut:


People are flocking to the Minimalist Movement. But do they really know why it is so appealing? Do they understand the philosophy behind this movement? Or is this just another pop-cultural thing to do? Another “Shiny Object” to play with for a while?

For me, it has become a new prana. The only way to truly breathe now. And I realized this when I looked in the mirror and saw that my hair is short today.

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Ayampe, Ecuador

“Are you okay?”, the Native American Healer asks me. Good question. I can hardly reply, so the answer must be “no”. She continues, “Because you look like sh!t. Your energy is f*cked.”

I totally get it. It’s beyond vanity at this point. I have spent quite a few dollars changing my hairstyle, buying pretty flowers for my hair, etc. But there is something going on within and it is extending without.

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I thought I had beaten my battle with sugar.

Unfortunately, this year got the best of me. Gluttony, sugar, smoking…What in the actual? What happened? Sickness, bad teeth and now another back injury have plagued me within the last 6 months.

So, I decided to spend a couple months in South America…alone. Well for the most part.

 


For the first wing of the trip, I flew my daughter and myself out to Ayampe, Ecuador. Ayampe is a lovely little surf town just 3 hours from Guayaquil. This place is off the beaten path. To buy any of the basics, like toothpaste, you will have to get a taxi or bus ride to Puerto Lopez.

We stayed at the beautiful Finca Punta Ayampe hotel. Wonderful staff, gorgeous setting, and delicious meals!  The Staff Manager, Santiago, was extremely helpful in helping us get to our other locations.

 


There were so many stairs to reach our room, and then more stairs to get to the restaurant. This reminded me of my stay in Oia, Santorini Island, Greece. Only, I’m not is as good of shape as I was then. More to work on…

The plan was to spend a week doing Yoga and learning to surf.  Unfortunately, I hurt my back lifting my bag during travel.  Then my daughter got smacked in the mouth with her board. So, we are both in paradise, hurting.

Of course, I push it trying to do Yoga. But after 2 sessions at Otra Ola, I know I need to stop. I know this path all too well. No Yoga flows for at least 5 weeks. But I can probably find some Kundalini Kriyas, which will more than suffice. It’s been too long since I have practiced Kundalini.

Then there are the surfing lessons, which Otra Ola also provides. I did much better than I thought I would. Didn’t think that surfing would make my back worse. It did. Alas, I will probably have to get back to that next year, when I return. Too much risk.  Well, at least we could take advantage of the soothing tea they brew when they are not teaching Yoga.

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I feel I cannot make this trip good enough for my daughter. We take walks along the beach, drink tea, and have some conversations. This was not the “retreat” I had envisioned…

I pull out my chanting books for my daughter and me to practice together. This is something we enjoy doing with one another.


But we meet the Medicine Woman. And we know that everything that has happened on this trip was for this divine appointment. We were meant to meet her this very day.

And the Medicine Woman has a lot to say to both of us. So instead of chanting. We listen.

 

Super Blue Blood Moon – Entering the Spotlight

I am not an astrologist and rarely view my horoscope for anything else besides entertainment. Yet, a few women, whose words I cherish have made a similar statement. One of the Super Blue Blood Moon’s effects will be shining the spotlight on ALL that we are. Be prepared to be exposed, the good and the bad. This will definitely serve its purpose by allowing us to let go of what no longer serves us. Mentally, Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually.

I recently shared my cowardice in being vulnerable with letting a remarkable man know me…really know me. Today, I’m over it. Good timing, since we will be spending next week together.

Today, I welcome the thought of his embrace, the feeling of his breath on my shoulder as we lean in close to one another. He will also know my touch, breathing, noises, weird faces, and (yikes!) ….my scent!

 “Yeah baby, yeah baby, I come to dance with you

Yeah baby, yeah baby, are you ready?” – Kano

I’m ready!


Elysia, how did you arrive here so quickly? I’m glad you asked! In addition to my daily prayers, here three key observations I have made through this process:

A Strong Support System

Being that this is a long-distance relationship, taking some time off was simple. Not easy. Having good friends to lean on, talk to and play completely inappropriate games with is imperative.

While taking some alone time for self-reflection is good, one should avoid loneliness. In addition, being alone for too long makes one take themselves too seriously. What a drag.

Thankfully, I have the best group of friends one could imagine. For better or worse, (and we have seen it all in each other), we stand together and are present for one another.

Mindfulness

Another part of this newfound bravery has been my return to practicing mindfulness. Taking the time to experience my senses; While I’m walking the dogs – feeling the cold breeze on my skin, listening to my footsteps, and smelling the smoke from the neighbor’s chimneys.

Though nature walks can be inspiring, I’ve also applied mindfulness to my work; Listening to the scroll and click of my mouse, the tapping of my keyboard, giving attention to my sitting posture, & the pleasing scent of brewing coffee.

Additionally, housework is a useful activity to practice mindfulness. I learned a lot while residing at the Ashram in Hawaii. Seva (selfless service) is done with minimal talking. We would either listen to Kirtan or chant while working. The goal was not to get as much done in 30 minutes as it was being mindful of our actual work. After the 30-minute bell was rung, we stopped cleaning whether we were finished or not.

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Acknowledging Our Shadows

We all have them. Ignoring our shadows or dark personalities doesn’t make them go away. We can only improve that which we can see.

Fall of 1986: I had just got my paycheck at a job I hated. In addition, my mother and I had a nasty argument right before my shift. So, I quit my job, cashed my check and bought a handle.

I decided to surprise my then boyfriend but he wasn’t home. This did not bother me in the least. One of his friends was hanging outside and we drank together. Platonic juvenile drinking of course. At some point, we decided to go get high. I don’t remember much about how we managed to get to a motel on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

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There I was, with a bunch of men I didn’t know, in a motel room smoking crack. But the God-shot in all of this – Every single man in that room had only one thing on their mind; getting high. Really, these were the most polite and kind crackheads I would ever meet outside of the rooms of recovery. I found myself in the bathroom puking my guts out and they were bringing in water and wet cloths trying to comfort me in between hits.

This could have ended up very badly. I might not be here typing this story. But instead, I made it home alive and safe.

I’ve been to some dark places. These days, my shadows are not as grim. However, they do exist as life evolves. More is always revealed. If I am willing to take an honest look with an open mind.


“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.”

So today, I am ready to enter the spotlight, with courage. Mindfully, no longer hiding my shadows, and knowing I have a good support system in place. The sweetest thing; knowing there is a strong soul of a man who wants to know me inside and out. Just as I am ready to know him.

Welcome the Super Blue Blood Moon to shine on our wholeness and assist our letting go of what no longer serves us.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

PS. I have created a Moonsong Playlist on Spotify which I would love to share with you for your listening pleasure.

Vulnerability is Not A Safe Place

LivingElysian, Yoga, Spirituality, Quality of Life

I’m a coward. At least for today.

A few years ago, Brené Brown’s Rising Strong became an all-consuming topic on social media. The memes continue to be shared by many today. These words were incredibly powerful. I wanted in!

Of course, it was easy to live these words in my decision to leave my long-term position at an amazing company to start my own business. Business is an easy place for Elysia to be “Brave”.

Of course, it was easy to live these words in a loveless marriage, where the walls I had spent many years tearing down began their reconstruction.

Of course, it was easy to live these words as I walked away from said loveless marriage and chose to live by myself in an RV down by the river.


“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” – Brené Brown

Sounds good yeah? Well no. Not for me. Vulnerability is not a safe place for me. Not today. Don’t get me wrong. I have complete admiration for Brené Brown. I follow her on Twitter and Facebook. I especially admired a picture she posted of herself with no makeup, no filter. This lead to a personal decision to stop wearing makeup and embracing the gray. Accepting what one looks like is true courage. This too was easy.

But when it comes to Love, true Love…Nothing is ever easy.

Too Soon?

So, I met a guy…Not just any guy. A remarkable man with a strong spirit. Chivalrous, funny, intelligent, brilliant…the list goes on. This was NOT planned. I fell hard and fast. Well, maybe not too fast but exceptionally fast for me.

We are two extremely different people. He is conservative, preppy even. I am this wild woman spirit. He does not partake in my colorful language, does not do Yoga. Yet we connect on so many fundamental levels. And what an incredible writer he is – totally kicks my a$$, I might add. After many months of experiencing zero inspiration, I found myself passionate again about putting words together.

This gift came with distance, he lives on the East Coast and I am here in Colorful Colorado. Safe enough, yeah? No. I frequently found my heart being pulled in the direction of the east. Daydreaming, listening to love songs…and we had only hugged once.

He surprised me by flying out to Hawaii to celebrate my recent Advanced Yoga Teacher Training graduation. It was on now! We embarked on a most passionate love affair, the likes of which I had never known. Soaking in the Big Island experience, we spent 5 days of bliss, laughter, and total comfort with one another.

He was a trooper, staying the first 2 nights with me at a hippy shack I rented in Pahoa (not knowing I would have a guest), before deciding we needed to move on to a bed and breakfast in Captain Cook.

I can’t remember having laughed so much. Corny jokes, silly pet names…what a blast! And so much love. People could see it, often commenting to us how “cute” and “in love” we were.

Has it been the most ideal of romances? No. But just right. Just Elysian. Irregardless 😊 of the distance, he has been present with me at each given moment.

We made plans to see each other when we could. A 5-day visit last week here in Colorado. Hawaii again next month, then the Spring, many different possibilities. Our visit last week was euphoric for the most part, and then…

Vulnerability

Wait, what happened? How did I let myself go this way? This man knows me. He has seen my messy hair, my imperfections. My snoring, drooling, clumsy, cellulite, needing a haircut Elysia. Then there is my inept ability to let my “street” come out every now and then, using “ain’t” and combining words that make absolutely no sense to anyone else but me.

And what do I really know about him? What if he’s a womanizer? If he were, would I still love him? The answer is an unapologetic “Yes”.

I know enough to keep my side of the street clean and to trust someone until that trust has been abused. I also know that expectations are future resentments. I have a past. We all do. So, I choose not to judge what I don’t have 100% knowledge of in any circumstance.

We agreed to take a short break. Then this watery substance starts to flow out of my eyes. Oh hell no.

Trainwreck

I just watched Trainwreck (again) with my daughter last night and found myself admiring the main character in the beginning of the show. “Maybe I should move to New York and be a slut“, I said to my daughter. “There’s no shame in being who you are and accepting it”. To which, my daughter replied, “If that were what you are mom, I would support it. But that’s not you”.

Dammit.

Additionally, I forgot that Trainwreck is not just a comedy but a rom-com. The leading lady meets a man who is so different from her – he is quite conservative. This is sounding all too familiar and when the male lead talks of Norman Rockwell and his love of Billy Joel, my head starts to hurt. “I need to turn this off.”, I say to my daughter. She steals the remote from me.

I’m totally feeling it when the female lead expresses her concerns about vulnerability with her sister. Though she uses a far more colorful analogy than even I would use (can you imagine?). The movie rolls on and the couple breaks up. Now, this makes sense to me. Alas, with every rom-com there is the makeup scene and everyone lives…

This is so not real! Monogamy is not realistic. People do not live happily ever after. Am I bitter? No. More jaded, more careful than anything.

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Vulnerability Part II

The last two years of my marriage were so easy. My ex-husband didn’t love me and I knew where I stood. No questions to ask. Safety.

I have indeed, fought with my monsters. But am I ready to take this journey of vulnerability? Why complicate things by getting lost in emotion? Tomorrow is another day. So for today, I am a coward, comfortable in the safe place of my fear.

Fortunately, I do not have to sit in my fear alone. Having a good group of friends, who love me unconditionally, is my saving grace.

For today, I would rather take a drink than be vulnerable. In fact, the thought of being vulnerable makes me crave a drink. Good thing it is time for a meeting, where I can surround myself in the safety of my GOD.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Owning Your Sh!t

I was guiding a Yoga Class the other day and we found ourselves in Dandasana. Dandasana is the Sanskrit word for Seated Staff Pose. I decided that we would hold this pose for a bit, “Dandasana is commonly used as a transitional pose.” I continued, “But tonight, I think we should take a moment and consider Seated Staff Pose. You see, I cannot do fancy inversions or wrap my leg around my neck. I can, however, do Seated Staff Pose like a boss. Watch me!” “Impressive!”, one of my students exclaimed.

“Well, how do you feel about your Dandasana?”, I asked. I heard crickets. “Come on now,” I pressed, “Own your sh!t”!

You see, whatever we do, whether great or small, we have earned the right to own it! I am not a “great” Yoga instructor. But I give 100% to my students. I cultivate and nurture the memory of each moment I get to spend with them. I feel the same in my other hustles: Virtual Assistant/Blog Writer.

The Benefits of Owning Your Sh!t

  • By owning your sh!t, you get to know the real you. Accepting your darkness as well as your light is pretty damn powerful. Your Darkness – Own it! Your Light – Own it!
  • We get out of our damn way. Most of us eventually find that we are the ones holding ourselves back.
  • You learn, to be honest with yourself and accept other’s honesty.
  • We begin to love ourselves fully, deeply. What’s not to love? You are an effin’ badass! Accept it. Own it.

E – How do I own my sh!t? I am so glad you asked!

Stop Blaming Others

Really, we all succumb to this ridiculous behavior at one time or another. Well, stop that sh!t. When it comes down to it, we make the choices we make. If you felt you were manipulated, guess what? You made the effin’ choice to be manipulated. Own it!

Close the Book

You know that story about your failures that keeps playing in the back of your mind? Tell the narrator to shut the f*ck up! Time to move on to another story. The one that tells you that all people make mistakes. It is part of being human. Replaying that bullsh!t over and over just makes us useless and wastes precious time. Time, you will never get back. Stop playing the victim and step into the victor’s role!

Accept What You Deserve

Yeah, that’s right. You deserve the best friends, relationships, careers, home spaces, and self-love. If you don’t believe that, you’re a voluntary a$$hole! Some people like being a$$holes, I don’t. Do you? Be honest with yourself, because if the answer is yes, you know where you need to start. Go from being an a$$hole to being awesome! It’s your choice – own it!

Recognize Your Good Sh!t

While you are taking a good look at yourself, acknowledge the good sh!t. You know you have some! Pay attention to your actions. Write down a list of what good you have to offer the universe. You know you got one! Do you unconsciously serve coffee to someone every day? That may be a little thing to you. But on the grand scale of things, if you give 100% to that cup of coffee, you are a Java Rock Star! Kind of like my Dandasana pose.

So, Own Your Sh!t…And Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Final Days at Konalani

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Finals Yay!

“I am so over these geckos!” I exclaim to myself as I clean massive gecko poop droppings. These beautiful creatures were so fascinating in the beginning but they have become the biggest nuisance of my life. They poop everywhere, and my bathroom is covered in it. I am in full Pitta mode now. I am trying to find someone at the Ashram to blame for this. “Really?” I ask myself. As if anyone has control of the gastric contents of these reptiles.

I decide that I need to take the Yoga class before our final exams, not caring about any physical limitations today. I need to burn this off and to find some good meditation. Being that it is Independence Day, Satyam has come up with a theme class based on freedom. We start off with a gratitude flower meditation, just what I need.

We each had to randomly select a peak pose for our 15-minute final. This was to be taught to our fellow classmates. Of course, I picked shoulder stand. My back will definitely not allow me to do this so I have JP and Miko on stand bye to step up and demo the pose as I cue it to the class.

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I got bonus kudos from my ratings for this. My key needs for improvement were that I moved too fast and my voice was too low. My key strengths were using breath, my explanations of arms in Salabasana and the foot massage I added to Butterfly pose.

Yet, I still felt defeated. I felt like I got my ass kicked throughout most of my teaching. Though some would say I was too into my head, others would say that I was making so much improvement in getting out of my head. Most said they wanted my story when I taught, rather than the quotes I added throughout my teaching. It’s all good. I didn’t expect to be this awesome teacher at the end. Just a good beginner teacher and I was not sure I had achieved that.

Satyam explained to me that what I had learned during teacher training was like the first draft of one of my blogs. He wants me to use that and sprinkle my personal finishing touches in a way that everyone would be able to comprehend the published writing. I felt better, knowing I was up to the challenge.

Spirit had made a special lunch for all of us and it was delicious. At the table, Satyam and Abhaya said they could drive us down to the parade if we would like but we would need a ride back if we wanted to watch the fireworks. Most of us just wanted to stay back at the Ashram and have some downtime. So we all gathered in the living room and watched Kung Fu Panda III, per Satyam’s suggestion. It was an enjoyable night of just hanging together. I am glad we chose to do so.

Later that night, I was awoken by the loud fireworks. I headed to the bathroom and it was really dark. Some strange looking animal was coming at me. I thought it might be a young boar, but it turned out to be a bulldog that had wandered onto the Ashram. I was a bit scared at first but he just walked up to me and smiled like a bulldog would smile. Then he followed me everywhere. When I got to the bathroom, he tried to go inside with me but I had to say no. Then he wandered off toward Satyam who was walking around handing out ear plugs.

Satyam said to pay no mind to the dog. I thought the dog must have been scared by the fireworks and felt the good energy of the Ashram. He was gone by morning.

Graduation Day

We started out with meditation, then breakfast. Afterward, we were given an hour to clean and pack. Then we did our final craft assignment. The first being a braided necklace made from some of the plants that grow on the Ashram land. I am not good with my hands so I stopped at the first string and turned it into an earring.

I had better luck with the headband and I just loved it. Satyam wanted us all to get together for a picture and of course, Angela went right into a full headstand. “Angela, unless you can hold one of these branches with your toes, get down and take a picture with us!” I scolded. She laughed and joined us.

After another break to clean up and change for graduation, we each met outside the shrine. “I can’t believe it is over.” Alexa smiled sadly. We hugged. We were then taken into the shrine and organized in a circle. We all sang a song together, then Satyam and Abhaya presented us with our certificates and lovely kukui nut necklaces.

Satyam and Abhaya took turns sharing something about each of us and it was truly a beautiful experience. I am now a certified Yoga Teacher!

Afterward, I was more than ready to spread my wings and fly…or at least take a bus to the next part of my journey: the Hilo side of the island.

My Konalani Ashram experience was over and it was a worthwhile and meaningful part of my story. I will always look back on it with bliss!

emails To The Hubby

6/11/16

Good morning babe. I have come to realize that I will probably learn how to respond and teach my students when they have back pain.

I have already learned so much from April and Rick.

Watch out world! Elysia is in full acceptance! LY -E


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My dearest Brian,

I hope things are well at the homestead and that you are in good mind, body, and spirit.

It has been an extremely busy week of physical, mental and spiritual learnings. There are six of us trainees: Amy and Angela, who live nearby in Kona, Mico from Japan (I named a sequence after her), Alexa from Canada and one male, JP from Oahu.

I am grateful for the camaraderie and the energy each of us brings to the Ashram.

The teaching staff also run the ashram. Satyam and his girlfriend Abhaya. There is also a cook, her name is Spirit and she is from Denver. All have spent time at Shoshoni. The ladies wear no makeup yet they are both beautiful.

It is far too humid to wear makeup anyway. That and the numerous mosquito bites can cure anyone’s vanity issues. We are all natural all day long.

The ashram life begins at 5:30am and ends at 5:30pm. We have breakfast and lunch breaks and a half hour for Seva, which is the service part of yoga. It is done mindfully and does not matter if we have completed all our chores. When the leader rings the bell, we are to stop immediately. This is not as easy as one would think. Especially when I really had my eye on a certain spot.

Twice a week we get to choose between going to the mall to pick up needed items or go to the beach. By the time we get to either place, we have 35 minutes before we have to get in the van and return for lunch.

I got to snorkel for the very first time and swam with a turtle, a school of brilliant yellow fish and some parrot fish! The water felt so good on my back. What I did learn is that even though I was completely in water, the sun is still very strong on my head. I went to bed that night without dinner and missed my homework session.

So after dinner and showers, most of us return to the Yoga deck and do a study session for about another hour and a half. We are all basically in bed and fast asleep by 8:30!

Because I missed my homework session, I had to wing my morning presentation to my group. It turned out to be my best presentation so far. Go figure…

Today was our day off but we didn’t want to do too much because we have processed a lot in our first week. We started with a half hour meditation, an hour of studying, then a trolley ride into town for lunch and some shopping. We returned and did another hour of study. Whew!

A few key learnings: Keep standing with my core engaged, I need to lose the habit of hyperextending my knees (bending your knees slightly while standing immediately actually brings you in the moment.) And the purpose of asana is to prepare you for meditation.

Well, that is about it for now. I love you, miss you, and appreciate you – E


6/26/16

Hi Babe, 

Sure do miss you. I speak often to my group about the support you have been to me.

We are a week and a half into our Yoga teacher training and have somewhat found our rhythm in the Ashram lifestyle.

One of my favorite practices is selfless service, aka Seva. Seva is to be performed in silence or while chanting. Today, I began chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”, during Selfless service. I found this to be a blissful practice and I plan to implement it in my daily life when I return home.

We were supposed to have our midterm test today, however, Satyam and Abaya said we did so well on our practice tests that we deserved a few hours at the beach instead.

My biggest feedback received is that I do so well when I bring my practice and teach from the heart, yet I often find myself in my head searching for cues. So basically, I need to stop over thinking my sequences.

Hawaii is indeed paradise except for these little demons from hell we call mosquitoes.  You will see more of that in a text soon. Alexa, our Canadian student recorded a video.

Emotions hit a peak the other day and several of the girls were shedding tears. This is normal, as a lot comes up when you have 3 sessions of meditation and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in presenting sequences.  I blogged about it and had Satyam and Abhaya read it before posting.  They loved it! Satyam even said that I am a good writer!

There is so much more I want to share with you. But I will be patient and tell you more when I return home.

I love you and miss you dearly. I’m also attaching some pictures for your viewing pleasure.  – E

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7/3/16

Hi babe,

Hope all is well with you and our babies! It’s hard to believe that we trainees have only two more days. Monday is our final exam and Tuesday, graduation. I’m off to Hilo Wednesday.

Such an amazing journey and we have learned a whole lot. I’m glad there’s only 6 of us. That’s plenty of personalities in one location. 

Tomorrow is our day off but a few of us are staying in to finish our final writing assignments. If there’s time after, we are going to do beach yoga.

Well, just a little more than a week and we will be together again. You might not recognize me, though…

Hey, did you get my text with the video I took by the mango tree?

Love you – E

 

Arrival

Well, I have finally arrived at Konalani Shambhava Ashram in Kona, HI! I shared a cab with a nice young man, who goes by the name of JP.  We are greeted by Satyam and Abhaya, who give us cool wash cloths to wipe off any stickiness from the trip. Then we are presented with leis and freshly squeezed mango juice. Yum!

I will be staying in a tent cabin and at this very moment, I am ready to pass out for a while. There are two semi-outdoor bathrooms for each of us staying in the tents. Since JP is male and I am female, we are in separate tents and he chooses the bathroom at the far end. Our showers are outdoors underneath beautiful bamboo trees.

Satyam has given us the best instructions to keep the geckos and bugs out of our tents and bathrooms as much as possible. The first time I see a gecko, I scream. But I get used to them soon after. The main reason to keep them out of our tents is that they like to poop everywhere. Gross.

There are six of us taking the teacher training. 5 women and 1 man. So far, I think it is a good group. I have always thought of the number 6 as lucky.

Our home for the next 3 weeks is lovely and the view is awesome. We are located in what is known as “The Mango Belt”, and when there is a soft rain, the sweet fragrance is pleasing to the nasal senses. We all get to know each other at the dinner table, sharing about our lives, careers, and goals.

I don’t know if it is the humidity or the pain killers making me nod off. Staying alert during orientation was quite difficult. We must be on the mat at 5:30 am and coffee is ready at 5, so I plan to get up super early to have a cup.

Our schedule is as follows:

5:30 AM               Warm up and practice teaching.

6:30 AM               Meditation and Chanting in the Shrine

(skirts required for women, slacks for men).

7:00 AM               Breakfast

7:30 AM               Seva (Selfless Service)

8:00 AM               Break

8:30 AM               Yoga workshop and lecture

12:30 PM             Lunch

2:00 PM               Meditation/Chanting

2:30 PM               Yoga Workshop

5:00 PM               Dinner


6/15/16

Morning begins at 5AM. Note to self: Make it 4:30 AM…

It’s 5:00 am and I am still in my tent, fidgeting in the dark, trying to find my flashlight app when I hear “Good morning, Mija!” I had inadvertently dialed my mother’s phone. “I am so sorry mom,” I say, “I can’t see. I love you.” Then I hang up and find my way to the bathroom.

I wash my face, take meds, brush teeth, change clothes. (I will later sleep in the clothes I will start my day in and have my bag packed to save more time…) Grab a quick cup of coffee before entering the Yoga deck at 5:25 AM for our personal practice.

The coffee is a welcome joy to my senses. Gazing at the ocean view below us, I couldn’t imagine a better setting for the next three weeks. What a gift! What a life!

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My personal practice consists of a much modified Sun Salute then a Yin Yoga practice. At this point, I realize I should have taken the pain meds. Because they made me dizzy, I thought I didn’t need them anymore. More likely, it just means I need less. I make a mental note to take a half dose at breakfast and see if that works. It does. Why does pain have to be so high maintenance?

After personal practice, we are given a presentation on feedback and suggestions. It is called a “Wish and a Star”. Starting with a wish, which is a suggestion and finished with a star for the positive points. I understand the concept, though, toward the end of our training, some have become accustomed to doing the “Star” first, followed by a “But…” Somehow this disappoints me. Still, a small issue, overruled by the many positive experiences we will share.

We then move on to meditation. Today, learning something new: We don’t just “arrive” at our meditation. We move into it, slowly coming into stillness. Satyam is teaching this and uses a “bobble head” analogy that is quite fun to do. We then move into a small 3-count breath in, 3-count breath out walking meditation in a circle.

Breakfast at 7AM with more coffee! I am enjoying the vegetarian cuisine so far. We had oatmeal with bananas and nuts, Greek yogurt with honey, and mango lassi. Our meals are eaten at the patio table facing the ocean. No phones allowed as we are expected to commune with one another during mealtime. I love this! Today, we get an hour to ourselves and I will be drinking more coffee!

Abhaya gives us a class on anatomy and we take pictures to view our postures. I can see why I might be experiencing back pain.


It is so humbling to have limitations. I had worked so hard with strength training since February and was hoping I could get tips on some complicated poses. For now, I am just grateful for the ability to attend this training.

Time for ego to step aside and let Spirit take over. Nothing short of amazing that this is not too difficult a feat. Even when some of the other ladies go into headstands and splits, I feel content that I CAN bring SOMETHING to the mat.

This recovering addict/alcoholic had never imagined herself here in Hawaii, studying to become a Yoga Teacher. In addition, having the finances to do this very thing, was beyond my wildest dreams. Now is as good a time as ever to be grateful and enjoy the sunset.

view

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Emotional Energy

Emotional Energy

Crying is good for you, it means that you’re alive. If you were dead, you couldn’t cry.

We are a week and a half into our Yoga teacher training at Shambhava Yoga Konalani and have somewhat found our rhythm in the Ashram lifestyle.

One of my favorite practices is selfless service, aka Seva. Seva is to be performed in silence or while chanting. Today, I began chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”, during Selfless service. I found this to be a blissful practice and I plan to implement it in my daily life when I return home.

Yesterday, a few of us hit the wall emotionally. One of my dear fellow students collapsed in my arms, sobbing. We had a nice chat and shared many hugs. I was reminded of the effectiveness of our pranayama training for our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Our cook told me afterward that she, herself had a good crying session.

We all returned to study hall but by that time, my energy was tapped out. I decided to skip dinner and take a nap.

I find all this emotional energy to be quite normal and appropriate at this juncture in our training. Just think about any other form of higher learning and you will find many young women in tears over grades and deadlines.

But our tears are not over mid-terms and finals. At least not yet. There is so much more or maybe just different concerns in Yoga teacher training. We have the meditation, breathing and the Ashram lifestyle. We are partnering up for complex poses, giving each other honest feedback. We experience communal meals and the vulnerability of presenting asanas and sequences.

Whether we like it or not, we have a true connection, psychically, spiritually, and emotionally. I have complete confidence in our training staff and how they address uncomfortable conversations. I also know that we will come out of this part of our individual journeys as effectual, spiritual beings.

I woke up from my nap to a strong rainstorm. It’s as if the sky had great empathy for our group and nature wanted to partake in a good, cleansing cry alongside us.

We’ll, time to get back to memorizing sanskrit:

Vrksasana is a tree.
It starts with the letter V.
Her branches are raised up high,
For all the world to see.
Vrksasana – Tree Pose.

Stay blissful my friends – E

If you liked this,  check out: https://livingelysian.com/2016/11/06/let-go-keep-going-or-start-over/