This quote appeared on my Mary Engelbreit page-a-day calendar at just the right time. The encouragement came days after I committed to myself - and the New Beginnings community - that I would learn how to fall.
Our fears can serve to help us avoid certain disaster, but just as often, they keep us grounded when we might otherwise be able to take flight. Consider what scares you. Can you welcome any of your fears as an encouragement to press on toward something great?
March has been a big month in the New Beginnings household. In addition to celebrating my daughter's first year, I celebrated a milestone birthday of my own. And as we edged toward these notable occasions, I began to notice yet another similarity between the two of us: a fear of falling.
Despite being just past her first birthday, my daughter is already proving to be strong, focused, and determined. Pulling herself up on furniture and "cruising" from one end of the room to another came early and easily, much to our amusement and the unfortunate demise of the contents of some yet-to-be-childproofed shelves. But when it came to walking - actually putting one foot in front of another to travel to a specific destination - she had no interest. There were perfectly good alternative modes of transportation that did not involve the threat of tumbling headlong onto a wooden floor thankyouverymuch! Any attempts to persuade her otherwise were met with immediate resistance and the defiant thump of a well-padded bottom onto the floor.
The experience got me thinking: where had my own fear of falling - or failing - held me back? In my yoga practice the answer is easy: handstand. Sure, with a wall or an assist, I am happy to put my hands on the floor and throw my feet in the air, but I have never, ever, attempted the pose without an aid. Despite coaching many a student into the pose successfully as an instructor, I have allowed my fear to keep me from exploring it for myself. There are perfectly lovely inversions I can weave into my practice that do not involve a bruised ego or tailbone thankyouverymuch!
Almost as soon as I recognized the parallel, the babe traversed the room from her father to me - and back again - and again. Her efforts have been full of wobbles, stutter-steps, and falls, but we have made a game of the failures, and she pushes on enthusiastically. If a one-year-old can face her fears, so can I: Handstand, we have a date...
As is so often the case, our yoga practice is simply a metaphor for the rest of our lives. We all face challenges on the mat and off that frighten us or take us out of our comfort zones. If we could simply give ourselves permission to fall, we would realize we are stronger and more steady than we think. If you let go of the fear of falling/failing, what might you discover?
Anyone who knows me is aware of my passion (obsession?) for order and organization. One's closet needn't be color coded and subcategorized by shade, but knowing where to find what you want to wear can shave a few minutes off of your morning routine that could be better spent elsewhere.
When I learned dear friend Beth Sanzone was spearheading a business to help people create a sense of stability and peace through organizing their surroundings, I was sold! Beth is one of a handful of people I have met who can pack for a week-long international adventure in one carry-on bag while somehow embodying an incredible sense of style and managing to have everything she - and her traveling companions - need for whatever may arise.
Organizing is about more than a tidy home - it is knowing what is important, and what you can let go of to create space. Take a look at your closet - or your life. What can you eliminate to create a cleaner and less cluttered existence?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of this new venture has been *meeting* such lovely people and hearing the inspiring stories of how they launched their own New Beginnings. Reader Cindie Wilding reached out to share how she created a life she loves, and I am pleased to present her story in the first Readers Respond edition of our Trailblazers interview series.
Inspired by previous Trailblazer feature Kimberly Wilson, Cindie charted a new course and never looked back. Read on for the tale of her New Beginning...
I know I am not alone in being a creature of habit. Don't get me wrong: I like adventure and new experiences, but I like them even better when they arrive on schedule.
Over the past year, I have been fortunate to witness many miracles: tiny synapses firing into moments of awareness, little hands becoming deft enough to pick up infinitesimally small objects and strong enough to pull a precariously balanced body up to stand. But I am also guilty of letting such moments get lost to the routine of wake, feed, clean, nap; wake, feed, clean, nap; wake, feed, clean, nap.
Our routines all differ slightly - some combination of work, rest, and (hopefully) play - but they nonetheless threaten to lull us into monotony, making us susceptible to losing our appreciation for the unique moments, the small miracles that surround us.
How can you disrupt your routine today? What miracles can you capture?
I returned from our visit to New York to find two hand-written notes in my mailbox from a friend in North Carolina - one for me and one for the babe. Their presence amongst the piles of advertisements and solicitations brought a smile to my face.
In this age of electronic everything, a good old-fashioned letter seems delightfully personal. As I held the notes, I could envision my friend putting pen to paper and felt connected despite the distance.
This seemingly anachronistic gesture requires more effort than an email or text, but it can brighten the day of someone you care about. Can you take time today to bring a smile to someone's face?
I arrived in New York City yesterday and was immediately reminded why this is my favorite place in the world. The familiar sights and sounds energized me the moment I stepped from the train, and I felt my pace - and pulse - immediately quicken. New York is fast. Don't-even-try-if-you-can't-keep-up fast. Don't-stop-now-there-is-too-much-to-see fast. My kind of fast.
But traveling with a one year old creates an entirely new dynamic. Instead of immediately hailing a cab to zip downtown for an afternoon yoga class or glass of wine, I headed straight to the hotel to ensure the crib we reserved was in place. Rather than virtually browsing the menu at the newest "it" restaurant and brainstorming destinations for a nightcap, I reviewed room service dessert options.
And at 2:00pm this afternoon, rather than anticipating the next destination on a packed agenda, I left my folks at Madison Square Garden to enjoy the afternoon game and returned to the room to put the babe down for her afternoon nap.
While the new rhythm lacks a certain glamor I have always associated with the Big Apple, I have no less love for my old friend. The wide sidewalks of midtown are quite ideal for a stroller. And New Yorkers have never seemed more friendly than when smiling at a tiny tourist.
It is amazing what you notice when you walk at a baby's stutter-step pace: a city that couldn't be more familiar or beloved has nooks and crannies I never paused long enough to see - let alone appreciate. Slowing down has value on many levels. What might you see differently if you took your foot off the gas pedal for a moment?
In the days leading up to my baby girl's first birthday on Monday, I found myself feeling more than a little unsettled. One year ago the New Beginnings household was in a state of euphoria as we welcomed our long-awaited and much desired miracle baby into the world. Time stood still as we reveled in the delight of getting to know our daughter and the wonder of this new adventure.
Needless to say, time is no longer standing still - in fact, each day seems to pass more quickly than the last. Despite my sincere desire to experience these fleeting moments and commit them to memory, I find myself constantly distracted by an ever-growing to-do list and overwhelmed by seemingly futile efforts to recreate the order and organization that once gave rhythm to our life.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to new parents. Life is constantly presenting new challenges - and who among us hasn't wished for a "reset button" from time to time?
While it won't magically restore order in your home or erase items from your to-do list, a few moments of intentional breathing can help put your responsibilities into perspective and perhaps create a bit of mental space in which you can pause and enjoy the precious moments before they pass you by.
Next time you find yourself craving balance, try the following technique, known as samavritti (equal breathing):
If you find the practice helpful, let us know in the comments section below.
With a resume including service in Iraq and communications experience in the government and non-profit sectors; an infectious personality; and an uncanny ability to make you think, Jonathan Shradar was well on his way to the top of his field. So why did he uproot his beautiful family and move to the opposite coast to become a student?
I was blessed to meet this fellow Nebraskan through his fiance, now wife, when we worked together in ministry at National Community Church. We miss the Shradars daily, but it is exciting to see how they are making a difference in the lives of others and their new community in Washington state. I am pleased to share the story of Jonathan's New Beginning here...
Whether or not we realize it, the first things we think and do as we begin each morning have a profound influence on how we act and interact with the world around us throughout the day. Many successful people speak of starting each day with intention - whether praying, planning, journaling, or exercising - rather than letting circumstances or the demands of others dictate their schedule.
No matter how busy your day may be or how many obligations are demanding your attention, try spending as little as five minutes tomorrow on a thought or activity that helps you approach the day from a place of balance and intention.
Do you have a morning routine that helps you set the tone for a positive day? Share your experiences and suggestions here!