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Peggy and Teresa have added a second workshop date (Click on "Upcoming Workshops") AND they are now taking registrations for their online course "Change Your Agreements; Change Your World." (Click on "Re-Creating U")

We’ve MOVED!

August 3, 2010

Infinite Yoga and Reiki has moved to a brand new location and our digs are looking quite fine!

You can catch us over here at:

INFINITE YOGA & REIKI

We hope you will join us!

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Don’t Take “IT” Personally (It’s Not About Me; It’s Not About You)

July 26, 2010

Today I’m diving into Don Miguel Ruiz’ second agreement, “Don’t Take It Personally.” I know, that’s easier said than done, but do we must if we are to be, as my friend Wilma Ham says, “Love In Action.”

Has someone said something to you that you took personally? I’m sure you have…I know have…

“I hate you!” screamed my youngest daughter.

“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” she continued.

“You can’t make me….I’ll  go live with dad…” the final nail in the coffin. She might as well have pulled out my heart.

My daughter pushed every button, plucked every string, and sucked me into her turmoil, her dream, her reality. Wasn’t difficult…my reality was full of guilt and she knew exactly how to play me like a Stradivarius. She hated me and I took it personally. She wanted to be left alone and I took it personally. She threatened to move out and live with her dad and I took it personally.

Ruiz states, “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.”

Ouch.

What did I do that was so wrong? Was I such an awful mom? Why was she doing this to ME? Why was she being so mean to ME?

Why oh why did I make the drama all about me?

For three years my daughter and I lived in a twisted relationship made out of brittle, fragile eggshells. We were both hurt people causing hurt to each other.

Ruiz writes that “when we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”

Caught red handed. Yes…that was my daughter trying to impose her painful world on me and that was me trying to impose my painful world on her…except…I was the adult, the parent…and after three years of our very dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, I had to find a way to break free of the pattern.

In hindsight, it’s easy for me to dissect the mess we got ourselves in. I know my daughter was very angry with her father and she was afraid to get angry with him, afraid that he would completely reject her because she saw him completely reject me and our marriage. He left. He walked out. She took her anger out on me and it didn’t help that she was in the throes of her “mean”-ager years. Ah yes, surviving teenage girls between 16-18….It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure (and I can say that, because I was once a mean-ager, I mean teenager…)

Not only was SHE angry but I was holding onto the most gigantic grudge that I’ve ever had in my life and it was polluting both our lives. I took everything my ex-husband said and did during our divorce personally. I took my daughter’s behavior personally. There was so much black magic running amok in my little fractured family that I look back and thank my lucky stars that we made it out alive.

Right after my divorce (and during it) I took just about everything personally and I was angry all the time. I was one of those people, who Eckhart Tolle describes, “as someone always waiting for the next thing to react against, to feel annoyed or angry about.” And it never took me too long to find that next thing to piss me off.

What on earth was I teaching my daughter? Wasn’t she doing the same thing I was?  Just waiting for the next thing to piss her off…take out the trash, clean your room, and scrape off your plate…

If I was confused, lost, and taking everything personally…if I was adrift, un-eased, anxious, restless, and dissatisfied, my daughter and her teenager brain was even more so. She seemed locked in a permanent state of negativity and brutal anger.

We were eating each other’s emotional garbage. At the very least, I was eating hers and her garbage targeted my guilt with pin point accuracy.

Things that started out small became blown way out of proportion. Taking out the trash became World War III.  As the parent, I demanded to be right and make her wrong. As the child she had to have the last word, to be right – and she used manipulative tactics that I well remember as a child of divorce. We both wanted to be right. We both had to make each other WRONG. Neither one of us stopped long enough to just be.  In fact, my daughter and I had a three year agreement to “help each other suffer.”

According to Ruiz, “Humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and we support each other in maintaining these addictions. HUMANS AGREE TO HELP EACH OTHER SUFFER. Can you think of who YOU are helping to suffer? And WHO is helping you suffer?

I am blessed to have the right people enter my life just when I need them the most. During this difficult time with my daughter, two friends wise in Buddhist philosophy taught me “non-reaction.’ And The Four Agreements taught me that my daughter’s behavior was not because of me. She was acting out her issues and they had nothing to do with me. With this awareness, I no longer felt compelled to react to her “I hate you’s” and “I’m moving to Dad’s” as if it was about me.

What happened? I stopped taking what my daughter did personally. I stopped reacting to her behavior that made me part of it. In fact, one day in late spring of 2006, when she was 18,  she threatened to move to her dad’s for the last time. I told her to be out by 3PM. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but if we were going to do life differently, it had to start somewhere…and that somewhere was with me.  I was calm, I was at peace, and I was dispassionate in my response. My daughter could no longer pluck my strings the way she used to because I decided to see past her anger and see the light she forgot she had. As Don Miguel says, I had to “trust myself to make responsible choices.” As she was 18, I no longer felt the need to be responsible for her choices. Was it a rude awakening for her? You betcha. And her learning continued as she discovered six months later that what worked for three years with me did NOT work with her dad.

Christina Doing What She Loves….

My daughter and I began our journey to heal our relationship. She is 22 years old now, traveling and working in a different part of the country. She’s responsible for her life and she no longer blames either her dad or me for the collapse of her family bubble when she was 15. It happened. She accepts what is so…and has learned to embrace the new lives her parents have carved out for themselves. She knows that we both love her for what she is, a child of God. And I have learned to not take what my daughter thinks, says, or does personally. I can love her with all my heart and not get caught in the trap of making her issues my issues. And vice versa. We’re no longer caught in the trap of feeding off each other’s suffering.

This article first appeared on my July 14th broadcast of Wise Advice

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Wouldn’t it be cool if you could learn how to stop agreeing to help other people suffer and how to stop agreeing with others to help you suffer? If you live in New England and want to spend a day with me and my workshop co-leader, Teresa Thompson, send us your contact information (name, email, phone number) to infiniteyogaandreiki@gmail.com and you’ll be entered to win a spot at our workshop on August 7, 2010. The lucky winner will be announced on August 2, 2010!

And if you don’t live in our area, we’re launching our online learning center! Our first course starts August 16, 2010 and you can learn more about it at IYR’s Re-Creating U! Just click on our “online course schedule”

Be Impeccable With Your Word ~ Thinking Myself Beautiful

July 20, 2010

Written by Teresa Thompson, Reiki II Practicioner

I was 5 years old when I learned I was fat. I was sitting on the kitchen table watching my father wrap deer antlers from his latest hunting expedition. I used to love to watch my father do things and always sat quietly near him, observing intently as he worked with his hands on whatever project needed their attention. My father’s hands were thin and boney, always tan with many freckles. They were agile and skilled, and they moved with the grace and precision of experience as they created the magic of their task.

My father was an outdoors-man. He grew up hunting and fishing, and deer hunting during bow and arrow season was one of his favorite times of the year. On the walls of our dining room, my father had the heads of two deer, plus, mounted on wooden plaques, the antlers of every buck he’d taken home since being married to my mother. For as long as my five-year-old brain could remember, whenever my father brought home a buck, I would watch him ready the antlers for mounting. To do this, he would take leather strips and wrap them around the piece of bone that held the two antlers together. Once the bone was wrapped, he would hold the antlers up to my forehead and I would pretend to be the buck, rearing and kicking. I would ready myself to charge at my father who would hold his other hand up to his own forehead, spread his fingers wide, and pretend to have his own set of antlers. We would laugh and play like this with the antlers in the dining room until my father decided it was time to mount them onto the wood.

On this particular year, the year I began kindergarten, my father once again was wrapping antlers while I watched intently from the table. This time, as he moved to hold the antlers to my head, he put his hand around my forearm. His attention was immediately called from our game to my arm and he exclaimed loudly, and with shock, “Wow, you’re thick!” He put the antlers down on the table and further examined my arm with a look of disbelief on his face. He then looked directly into my eyes and repeated his affirmation by saying, “You’re really solid.” He squeezed my arm in an uncomfortable grip, shaking me as he did so. Then he made a tisking sound with his breath, shook his head, and chuckled sarcastically.

I was wounded by how my father reacted to me, and as soon as he released my arm, I crawled down off the table in silent shame. Walking away with my head down and tears in my eyes, I made my first negative agreement about my physical self. I believed my father was telling the truth and my appearance was displeasing. I was too thick and solid. I understood from my father’s reaction that I offended him, but at the age of five, I didn’t understand how I was supposed to change in order to please him. As I grew older, I fed my agreement with negative self-talk, and through transference, “thick and solid” became “fat.” My father told me this truth when I was in kindergarten and society confirmed it from that day forward through media images of what pretty girls are supposed to look like. I was not overweight as a child, but at the same time, I was not the tall, slender picture of perfect beauty either.

As the years passed I became angry with my father. The few words he spoke so long ago were the foundation of a volatile father-daughter relationship that continued for much of my life. My father was prone to negative comments. He used them to make his point in arguments during my teen and adult years. Every time he did this, I made agreements with myself; my father doesn’t like me, he says hurtful things to me on purpose just to make me feel bad, he is a mean, selfish man who hates his family. Over and over again I agreed that my father’s negative statements were true and he said them because he was a horrible person. I agreed there was no other explanation by which to understand what had happened when I was five, or what continued to happen there after. My words, combined with my father’s, became a terrible weapon of destruction that turned the dream of a beautiful father-daughter relationship into a nightmare.

Don Miguel Ruiz quotes in his book, The Four Agreements, that, “The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or it can destroy everything around you.” He goes on to say that, “Depending on how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know.” As a very small child, my world had been beautiful. Everything I believed about myself was good and filled with love. My world and all the words used to describe it had, at one time, been impeccable.

My life changed when my words changed.

The definition of impeccability is to be without sin or blame. A sin is anything that goes against the true nature of your authentic self. When you are impeccable, you are not doing or saying anything hurtful against yourself. If you are not hurting yourself, you have no reason to assign blame. If you are not assigning blame, you are not acknowledging destructive words to be something you value as the truth. When you are impeccable, you have no reason to be negative because you are not experiencing negative emotions.

The first agreement Ruiz introduces in his book is, Be Impeccable With Your Word. In other words, tell the truth. But, what, exactly, is the truth? Who determines, it and how do we know what’s right or what’s wrong? Ruiz explains that all of our truths are based on agreements we make with ourselves. Agreements are taught to us by the interactions we have with parents, teachers, the church, our peers, and the community in which we live. They end up forming a belief system. Ruiz calls this belief system our internal Book of Laws. Ruiz states: Without question, whatever is in that Book of Law, is our truth. We base all of our judgments according to The Book of Law, even if they go against our own inner nature. So, according to Ruiz, the truth is whatever we believe it to be. Therefore, what you agree with becomes your truth.

What you agree with becomes your truth.

For much of my life I agreed with the negative self-talk and dialogue surrounding my relationship with my father. I also agreed with his opinion of my body. In making these agreements and allowing them to be my truth, I helped to perpetuate drama and turmoil for over 30 years. To stop this cycle, I must make new agreements to replace the old, self-defeating ones. My new agreements must be impeccable, thus allowing me to love and honor myself. What a daunting task to change a lifetime of sin, but the reward of freeing myself from a nightmare of negativity is a prize worthy of the effort.

The first agreement I have to change is the way I feel about my body. I no longer agree to be the “thick, solid, fat” little girl on the table who feels shame for the way she looks. Instead, I will replace those words with, “I am a beautiful woman who loves and appreciates my body for what it looks like and for the experiences it has allowed me to embrace!” When I love my body, I acknowledge the gifts I have received by having it. Through my body I am able to dance, walk, swim, hug my children, and make love to my husband. I am able to touch, feel, honor, and celebrate womanhood. Without my body I could never have nurtured and given life to my daughter. My body is beautiful, and therefore, so am I. This is MY truth. This is MY agreement.

Now that I have redefined the truth about myself, I no longer feel the need to assign blame to my father for feeling bad. Because I love myself, I can begin the process of forgiveness, and thus, change my understanding of what the truth is about my father. Did he say mean things to me on purpose just to hurt my feelings? Does he really dislike me? Is he actually a horrible person? The answer to each of these questions is no. My father is not a horrible person who hates me and says mean things on purpose just to hurt me. My father is simply unaware of the power of his word, and he was taught, just as I was, to use his word against himself. Ruiz states, “How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.” My father was unhappy with himself because he did not learn impeccability. He was taught to sin against himself and to assign blame for that sin. He passed this knowledge on to me because it was the only thing he knew how to do.

I have the power to break that cycle. I have the power to become impeccable with my word. I have the power to change every agreement I’ve made throughout my lifetime regarding my father. I have the power to change the nightmare of our relationship back into the dream it once was. Ruiz says, “If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction. If I love you, then you will love me. If I insult you, you will insult me. If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me. If I’m selfish with you, you will be selfish with me.”

When I change my words, I change my world.

*Teresa’s wisdom first appeared on Wise Advice

Yoga At 9,300 Feet

July 14, 2010

Yoga is so much more than the physical practice or asana…that’s just one of the eight limbs…but for the Western world, Asana is the shop window, the doorway, the entry point into a journey that’s far more than what you expect. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.

In May I traveled to southern Utah with my crazy fabulous family. While I do believe heaven on earth is everywhere, I felt it more here than anywhere else. Maybe it’s because I felt I could touch the sky nearly everywhere I went…from Zion National Park to the Transept Trail on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Heaven on earth…and I can’t wait to go back!

Flowers bloom in hostile territory…

Life isn’t always neat and tidy…sometimes it grows sideways…

Kolab Reservoir: Ice melts when it’s ready…and not a moment before!

My Family at Bryce Canyon (yes, we’re that close to the edge…see, we’re crazy!)

Ok…so there were cliffs nearby…

Only the truly messed up trekked up to 9.300 feet…my brother-in-law Brian and my nephew Tyler…

My mom’s husband Roger, and me…and yes, we had to trek through snow before we reached the end of the road…

where I insisted on a few yoga poses…

My husband doesn’t like this picture too much…he says I’m “too close to the edge…”

and the tree said, “lean a little more to the right…” I think we both have a ways to go to touch the sky, though…

I thought near the edge of a cliff at 9,300 feet above sea level would be  a good place for Warrior I. It also reminds me of the cliff Thelma and Louise drove off of at the end of the movie…

Note to self: when coming out of Triangle pose at 9.300 feet, do so very, very slowly…I got a bad case of dizzy in the thin air!

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Your Moment of Zen…one of my videos of the Grand Canyon taken from the North Rim

The Joy of Nature

July 11, 2010

Last weekend, my husband and I hiked up Arethusa Falls with Katie, Jon, our one year old grand daughter, Olivia, and Jon’s sister, Cassie. It was one of those days that I’ll know we’ll cherish as a warm memory. Being in nature with people you love is one of those “Must Do’s” that bring you love, peace, and joy.

Apologies for the video quality – we’re still learning 🙂

False Evidence Appearing Real

July 8, 2010

“In those few moments, he comprehended everything. He was very excited and his heart was filled with peace. He could hardly wait to tell his people what he discovered. He tried to tell the others, but they could not understand. They could see that he had changed, that something beautiful was radiating from his eyes and his voice. They noticed that he no longer had judgment about anything or anyone.  He was no longer like anyone else.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

In “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz begins by explaining attention, which is “the ability we have to discriminate and to focus ONLY on that which we want to perceive. We literally take in millions of signals on a daily basis (and our subconscious mind never sleeps so it’s always on – imagine if you will, one amazing data storage system) but by using our attention, our conscious mind, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind.

WE CAN HOLD WHATEVER WE WANT TO PERCEIVE IN THE FOREGROUND OF OUR MIND. I remember focusing all my attention on how rotten my ex-husband was for a very long time. I wish I could reclaim all those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months I spent solely focused on his downfall.

Who or what are you holding in the foreground of your mind? Just a question…I don’t expect you to answer right away…give it some thought. Because where thought goes, energy flows. Where are you using your attention? And who’s attention are you trying to get?

According to Ruiz, from the time we are born, “we develop a need for attention which can be very competitive. What situations do you find yourself in that you’re competing for attention?

  • Your family
  • At work
  • With your friends

Everything in the outside world is vying for our attention. The outside world teaches us what to believe and who to believe. When we agree to the information being stored, we believe it. And if you’ve listened to my last two shows on negative self-talk, you remember that we grow up with all this outside programming.

For example: we’re taught that the sky is the color blue. We agree to the information, we believe it, and sky=blue gets stored.

Another example and one that trips up nearly all of us are the words, “should” and “should not.” Simple words, right? But they keep as at war with what is so – let me explain, if I think “my husband should help out more” and I agree to that thought, I then attach myself to that belief  – and it gets stored in my massive data storage unit as “husband must help out more” and that puts me in direct conflict with reality because my internal agreement and belief have no basis in fact.

As humans, we’ve bought into a body of agreements and beliefs. And with this body, there’s a punishment and reward system. Even as I say these words, I know that I’m just as much a part of this system as you are because I punish others by not paying attention to them (my children, for example) and I reward them when they follow the rules by paying attention to them. Talk about having to shine the light on myself and expose my own underbelly!

What happens when we’ve lived this alternate reality our whole lives – when we live in fear of being punished and in fear of not getting the reward, “we start pretending to be what we are NOT, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else.” We do this because we’re afraid of being rejected and as Ruiz so brilliantly points out, “the fear of rejection becomes the fear of not being good enough.”

I know what it feels like to be rejected. I was eight when my parents divorced and I didn’t see my “real” mother until I was 28 with two kids of my own. I was 39 when my first husband walked out on our 19 year marriage for another woman. I was 40 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know what it feels like to be rejected.

About the time I was going through my divorce, Don Miguel’s book found me. And when I read his words, “the fear of rejection becomes the fear of not being good enough,” I thought, “What do I have to fear? I’ve already been rejected by my real mother, my first husband and my own body.” I’m still here, I’m still breathing. The sun still rises every day.  And the big blue marble called Earth stays in orbit.  Overtime, it became obvious to me that my fear of being rejected and not being good enough was simply “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

I came to understand that most of the beliefs I had stored in my own super computer were untrue and not very useful. In fact, my false beliefs were keeping me from being my true authentic self and living my life to its fullest potential. As long as I held onto my fears and false beliefs, I was creating my own personal hell. Always doing what others expected me to do. Always being who others expected me to be. Where did it ultimately get me?

Divorced and Dis-eased.

I was far from happy and nowhere close to being at ease.

A life threatening illness was my wake-up call; my own light illuminating moment that if I died, what was my legacy? What dream of bitterness was I leaving my daughters? I prayed to be shown and learn a better way, an easier way, and a more joyful way.

In the seven years since my divorce and the six and half years from my breast cancer diagnosis, I have learned to live my life on my terms, to take care of myself, my needs, to fill my soul with creative projects that make me happy. I learned to live my life from my point of view and not from someone else’s point of view. I no longer fear not being accepted and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am better than good enough – and so are you. I learned a key ingredient to a joyful and content life – self-acceptance and self-love. Accepting me as I am is what allows me to accept others as they are.

As women, we are taught that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We buy into the lie, the myth that we must do and be for others at the expense of our true authentic self and often at the expense of our own physical body. I had to be diagnosed with a life threatening illness and lose my left breast before I. Got. IT.

What will it take for you to get it?

If you haven’t registered for Yoga and Reiki Under the Stars, now is the time! For a limited time you can save $50 with Discount Code IYR0710. Click on over for more information and register today!

Are You the Living Dead?

June 29, 2010

When you are in the grasp of your ego mind, you are living the blame game. Blaming, complaining, playing the victim, and making excuses. I know when I was wraped firmly in the clutches of my ego all that twisting, turning, pointing fingers became an exhausting life. I wasn’t really living. I wasn’t alive. I was the living dead – and if you’re really honest about your own life of blaming, complaining, and making excuses, you’re also part of the living dead.

Oh sure. Your physical body seems to work or does it? Do you breathe deeply? Or is your breath stuck between your shoulder blades? What about your emotional body? Your spiritual body? Are you alive in them? Can you make the connection between your mind, body, and spirit? Or are you disconnected, discombulated, and dis-eased?

The living dead, zombies if you will, live life disconnected. Things look connected: the head bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the back bone, (are you singing along with me?) and so on. Appearances are deceiving.

What happens when we’re zombies living in zombieville? We’re not in touch with who we truly are. We shrink from the light inside us, prefering the the comfortable misery of self-abuse, insecurity, and our greatest fear of being rejected. We become angry, frustrated, fearful zombies masquerading as human beings.

Zombies lash out and blame others in their line of sight for their circumstances. It doesn’t matter who steps in their direction – they’ll eat them for dinner and rip them to pieces for dessert. If you’re in a zombie’s way count on becoming their next scrum-del-i-cious meal.

I can’t think of anyone who’d want to be a zombie’s next meal because that means you’ve set yourself up – on purpose. You chose to engage the living dead. You decided to prove a point. You opted into someone else’s turmoil. I’ve never come out unscathed from my encounters with the living dead, so if you opt in, I do wish you the best of luck.

So you’ve decided to engage – and now that you’re there, you want to feel validated for your decision. You want to enlist an army of sympathizers who will stand by your side and rally to your cause; rattle their sabers; bang on their shields; and twist in the wind alongside you.

Don’t you think you’ve had enough? Think of the wasted time and energy waging war against reality and the way things really are. Think of how many times you’ve engaged in someone else’s pain and turmoil only to find you’ve been sliced and diced, ripped apart, and left for dead. You’ve willingly become daily fodder for the zombie smorgesbord…and before you know it, you’ve become a zombie yourself…lashing out, growling, and attacking anyone who breathes in your direction.

If you like Zombieville, by all means, suit yourself. Build your house of pain. Tend your garden of self-abuse. Water your lawn of hell. Remove your weeds of hope, love, and peace. Become the living dead.

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Are you stuck in old agreements that make you feel as if you are part of the living dead? Are you looking for a way to transform your life and make new, healthy, loving agreements? Register today for Yoga and Reiki Under the Stars and begin your journey towards Wholeness of Mind, Body, and Spirit.