the truth about excess

the truth about excess

I get my inspirations at the oddest times. Today it presented itself during a beautiful ride in my Jeep. All the windows are off. The doors are off. Cool breeze … taking my little one to work. I’m anticipating a leisurely ride back over our island bridge and a gentleman (I use this term loosely) pulls quickly out in front of me, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. I immediately know in my heart he’s on his way to see someone special. At 45 mph (properly spaced 4 car lengths behind (see I remember my drivers ed), I can literally taste his cologne. Taste it!

My dad always told me you should only wear enough of a scent that a person invited into your personal space can smell it. But obviously this gentleman did not have a father like mine.

So I start thinking about excess. The excess of things we have. The excess of things we want. Excess of the things we think we need.

I am an empath. I have a heightened sensitivity to people who talk too much … to bright lights, loud sounds, and all strong smells. You can imagine this man’s cologne was putting me over the edge.

By the time I got home my brow was furrowed, my head was hurting and all I wanted to do was close my door and turn the air conditioner down and sit in the dark.

We rarely think about how our excess affects other people. But even more so how it affects OUR lives. When we have too many choices to choose from, it becomes an overwhelming job just to complete a task.

Think about how many pairs of shoes you have. When it is time to get ready to go out, how many times do you change your shoes? We spend so much time, energy, and effort making choices because of our excess, it robs us of valuable time we could be spending in the moments that we are trying to get to.

Eliminating access is not easy. It was forced upon me last year when I moved from a 3,300 square-foot house into a 1,200 square-foot house. I had five shelves full of books. My tiny little beach house was not gonna hold all this literature. And although it pained me as I sifted through the books, gently caressing the covers remembering every story between the pages, I had to decide what was more important … this home that I always wanted or keeping my treasures gathered around me.

The Majestic Bookstore in Osaka, Japan

So I packed up all my books (I saved one bookshelf of my favorites) and took them to a beautiful little consignment bookstore in Southport. I was prepared to donate all the books hoping that they would find the loving hands of another avid reader. When I brought the boxes of books into the store, they told me that I could actually get store credit for the books I turned in and would be able to purchase more with my credit in the future.

One book at a time.

This cleansing and purging felt so good I actually, with confidence, was able to go through all my pocketbooks and give away all but one in each color. That solved the problem of having to figure out a way to store my many pocketbooks in my tiny new closet. I then went through my shoes, my clothes and even my housewares. I had collected over 12 comforter sets including curtains and rugs over the years. Who needs 12 different comforter sets?

Why do we hang on to the excess? Many people tell me it’s because someone gave them some special thing. They feel like they needed to hang onto a specific item because Aunt Kate or Grandma so and so gave it to them. They feel guilty throwing it away or passing it along.

By releasing the excess that I had, I actually created space for more beautiful things to enter my life.

If we take a moment and try to clear the lens that we are looking through, we may begin to understand that we hold on to memories in our hearts and not the material things people give us. We can still hold these people dear and not be attached to the material things they impart on us.

So take some time to look around your house. What excess do you have that you can release back into the universe?
When we let go …
we make a space for more beautiful things to enter.

Side Note:
The only thing I have not purged is my fingernail polish. Now that’s a whole different story! What can I say? Rainbow toes make my heart happy in Down Dog. 

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the truth about Restraint

the truth about Restraint

I still get amazed at others’ greed, self-centeredness, arrogance, rudeness …

superiority … (feel free to add here).  

I find my center,

I breathe so I don’t throat punch people,

I stretch and release the knots of frustration trapped in my body, 

I fold to humble my rising ego …

I do ALL these things … 

so I can be better …

more peaceful to others. 

My type A and OCD personality is too BIG for many, so I find peace in the storms through my breath and my mat. 

Yet …

I am tossed right back into that sea of churning waves of chaos of others when they present to me (as an entitlement), exactly what I work so hard to shield them from …

in me. 

My pre-yogi nature emerges and says ”what gives you the right?” (and a few other nasty words)

… and then that saying comes back to me …”forgive them, they don’t know any better.” 

That’s hard …

YOU don’t deserve me on my bad days or even moments. I have learned to step back, reflect, soften my heart. 

AND …

I know the pain you hold makes you bitter and mean and unapologetic.  

Even though I KNOW ALL THIS …

when others take my softness, my calmness and accepting nature as weakness …

Well let’s just say 

The urge to kick someone in the spleen reemerges. Like ninja karate style 

So back to my mat I go 

Sigh 

It is a lifelong practice 

A daily practice 

A ritual to protect our souls, our sanity and our rap sheet. 

(I just want to drag some of those jerks to the mat as well.)

There is no excuse for rudeness or superiority. 

No one has the right to make you feel less than a superhero! 

And if they do … dig down into that uddiyana bandha and surge that solar plexus power right up to your throat chakra and speak your truth! 

Being a yogi 

does 

not 

equate 

to being a doormat! 

Repeat that! 

Let it be your mantra! 

And remember …

It takes control to find restraint! 

IT IS NOT WEAKNESS! 

It is strength! 

Be full of awesome!

This post first appeared on Tree of Life Yoga Studio’s website at www.tolyoga.com and is posted here by permission. Micki is the author of 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth.

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the truth about Patience

the truth about Patience

Mach speed.

I move at no other pace and often get impatient when others aren’t keeping
up with me. It’s been labeled as “controlling” and “bitchy” in the past.

Neither did I fondly adore! But I am a firm believer in messages from the Universe. And although I love that I have the ability to recognize those beneficial doors swinging open for me, I now know that sometimes that gentle, metaphysical nudge I get in the back isn’t always something I want to turn around face.

In the last few months it seems I have had several people say to me, “Yeah Micki, you aren’t really known for your patience.” What me? I was a Elementary classroom teacher. I home schooled a child! If those don’t take absolute and utter patience, I don’t know what does.

But there it was … my dear friends would politely pause as they told a story that excited me so much I had to jump in and ask clarifying questions. They really do love me … An ex-husband who would often say … “well if you would just let me finish.” (Which mind you I would follow up with “by the time you finish your story I will have forgotten the 12 things I wanted to ask you as you told it”.) I always had an excuse for my impatience. Sometimes my thoughts weren’t very kind as I toe tapped waiting for someone to finish something … a task, a story. But I HAD learned to not actually physically take over said project or job. I WAS, of course, a teacher at heart!

After being dubbed “Squirrel ,“ (which I am absolutely positive now was not necessarily a good thing, as once described, when I mentally darted around with all my creative projects, writings and inspirations) I’ve tried to tame my inner chaos by stepping out of my box and painting. My mom always painted. It couldn’t be that hard right?

My first impression …

“Jesus … do people really do this as a form of relaxation?”

I was a ball of nerves even trying to free hand what I had hoped to paint.

Then there is my child who has completed two paint by numbers pieces of art that are absolutely amazing. Although I long for a beautiful piece to adorn my wall, I just shake my head as I walk past her hunched over and constantly offer her more light. I had absolutely zero desire to do one of these intricacies, none! THAT should have been my first clue that my patience needed a little hand holding.

She would sit for hours, completely entranced with brush in hand, earbuds in her ears painting away.

And then one more person commented on my patience …

So I ordered my kit. It had numbers. No creativity required.

Covid entertainment. Torture.

Therapy. The cheapest kind.

So here I sit and amazingly my heartbeat slows down. My monkey mind goes silent. There is no urge to dart from task to task. 

Sometimes we keep busy so we don’t have to listen to our whispers of truth.

Those truths let us see the beauty and sparkles in our lives but they also allow us to reflect and refine our own edges.

Life is a journey.

Keep growing …

and painting!

 

 

 

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the truth about Messiness

the truth about Messiness

We live in a home of artists …

always inspired by our next project before the last one is even done. I find myself at times apologizing to my daughter for my “messes..” Yet she always reassures me that it’s just organized chaos … with a purpose.

I have found my artistic inspiration has taken a great leap out of my metaphorical emotional window this last year. My nature-inspired art can even get a kick start on my beach walks or garden ramblings. I have unfinished projects laying on my outside workbench. A dragonfly doomed to never fly because his missing last wing is an enigma to me. My stacks of shells and rocks mock me every time I walk past them.

My walks, which were once inspiring, now leave with me that familiar voice in my head that says “why even look for anything else … you can’t even finish what you started.”

and sometimes I listen …

and I don’t look.

So my heart stays heavy. I can’t bear to throw out the projects I was once so inspired to share with the world. So my work space stays cluttered and I hang on to the hope that THAT particular inspiration will grace me again.

But I know this isn’t true. Those inspirations came from a place I am no longer in, a space, an emotion that I chose not have anymore. So do I toss it all and start again? How can I do that when there are so few things that inspire me anymore? I am literally cut off from teaching and loving and supporting all those around me. I thrive and fill my cup by being around my tribe until it spills over into art.

But …

I focus on gratitude … for all I have … my messes and all. For the inspirations that once drove those half finished creations even though they are no more. Because in that gratitude I remember the person I am. That everything I see in others is just a reflection of myself.

And today, as I walked by that tree that has been laying on my workbench for six months, an inspiration whispered in my ear. It said Eisha, my soul sister, is coming back to visit soon. So then I followed that thread. Yes, I jumped on that train! This is a distraction I DID need. So I drifted to our past visits and laughter and teasing and tears. The healing and all the sunshine she brings with her on her visits.

As I looked at this tree that was once supposed to cradle wooden hearts from all the places my ex and I would travel to, I realized that often times people travel to my home for healing and love. Then I knew that all those people who graced my home would always have a warm hug (and a room) to come to. So now my tree will hold heart rocks in its branches … the rocks that the universe sends me via the ocean sand and waves … to remind me everything is going to be o.k.

Most of my visitors come to stay because they need a safe place to heal. So now my guest room will have a bowl full of heart rocks that each visitor will choose their own to place on our “family tree” that will hang in that room and then one to place in their pocket to take home. I hope it will remind them that they always have love around them … if only they lift their gaze to find it.

Sometimes our messes don’t need to be thrown out, just transformed by what our heart is speaking. Our truth. Not last year’s or last week’s intentions or inspirations but what moves us in this very moment.

Life is messy. Sometimes we have to change our perspective and see what beauty lies beneath the chaos.

#findyourtruth

Micki Beach, author of 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth

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the truth about Perfection

the truth about Perfection

per·fec·tion: pərˈfekSH(ə)n/: noun

is defined as…

1. the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. 

2. a person or thing perceived as the embodiment of perfection.

the ideal, a paragon, the ne plus ultra, a nonpareil, the crème de la crème, the last word, the ultimate, the best; 

“More the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.”

Who determines our standards of perfection to which we drive ourselves ? 

Are we not all in a constant state of “improvement, betterment, refining, and honing”? 

And if we aren’t … 

we have achieved x, y or z … 

where do we sit, looking outward and basking in this isolated space of perfection?  

There is nowhere to go once we reach a state of (imagined) perfection. 

In our lives, 

on our mats 

or in our outward search for “more.”

My sea walks (with inspired bouts of yoga and photo snaps) have started to lean to a repetitive conversation with my companion. 

We always look for our favorite shells to collect. Slow walks, downcast gazes and easy conversations are had in this magical, cleansing space. 

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“Oh look at this one! 

(Slow pause)…

It would have been perfect if …” 

and we toss it back into the sea. 

“Oh, I wish that one was whole …

or shinier …

or didn’t have that hole.”

The photography of my poses takes on the same tone … 

“oh, the light is strange, 

or 

can you zoom out a bit

or 

my lines aren’t correct …  

we will delete that one.”

We see the shells’ scars and worn edges. Broken pieces, halves with their beautiful patterns, elusive because we can’t imagine it in its whole state. 

We criticize ourselves 

and others 

and our poses 

the same way. 

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Like the shells, my scars are plentiful. 

As are the scars of most people I know. 

We all have a story, a pain, a badge of honor we carry in our pockets that we struggled through … 

a rock we were battered against 

or a wave we were carelessly tossed by. 

What if every scar 

or our tears 

or pains 

were blazoned across our skin? 

Would we be discarded by others as easily as we toss those simple shells back into the sea? 

We search for perfection … 

in a mate

in a job

in a house

in our lives

and especially on our mats. 

We demand it …

we expect it … 

we struggle to attain it. 

But at what cost? 

Maybe, if we turned our souls inside out, we would have much more compassion and gratitude for others. 

If they could see our broken pieces too. Our flaws, 

our dance with our struggles. 

Our scars make us beautiful. Our pains provide opportunity for growth if we walk through them. 

We must share our stories, 

allow ourselves 

and others to heal …

then allow all those broken pieces to evolve into something beautiful. 

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Something that, 

one day, 

someone …

will truly see …

and find the art, 

magic 

and inspiration in. 

Only then do we grow. 

Struggle not towards perfection … 

just growth, 

constant growth …

Walk the path. 

Enjoy the journey! 

Be Yoga ….

Namaste

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the bliss of owning your story

the bliss of owning your story

“He can call you anything he likes. That doesn’t make it true.”

Those words pulled me up short. Spoken by a friend during a really rough time in my life, they drilled deeply into my soul.

Our story is so often conflated with other people’s stories about us that it’s easy to forget we are in charge of how we feel about ourselves, our lives.

I’d been telling myself various versions of other people’s stories about me for years, taking on their criticism and a side order of guilt.

“He can call you anything he likes. That doesn’t make it true.”

It only makes it true if I believe it, if I own it. This idea is one of the reasons why I founded 10 Little Rules … not just to publish my own book, but to give other authors a chance to tell their own story. In their words, not the words of anyone else.

It’s been an incredible journey these past nine years, and today we launch our next book into the world — 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, written by Amy Hege Atwell, owner of The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

On the surface, it’s absolutely delightful. And just like a mermaid, it dives suddenly and gracefully into hidden depths, re-emerging drenched in sparkles.

I’m proud to be associated with this book. It’s fun (and lord knows we could us a bit of fun these days) and it is empowering. As Amy said last week:

“I found myself a little – something – about the combination of all the world wide stuff happening and the timing as it relates a rollout, and quite frankly I have decided this is indeed the time to heavily promote ALL of our books. Not so much because of the hope and sunshine they offer, but the EMPOWERMENT. What better timing to show women in particular what they CAN do to drive strength and change within themselves and therefore the world. “

So today we launch pre-orders on this beautiful, soulful book, and I hope it does help … make you smile, make you think, make you feel a bit stronger about your own story and owning it with pride.

Namaste, Mermaids!

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the truth about Embracement

the truth about Embracement

Time taken on purifying, cleaning, dry brushing, shaving and moisturizing … polishing and doting on ourselves is necessary for the spirit. 

I lovingly take extra time today to be pleasing to the eye, the smell and touch. Painstakingly picking the perfect jeans that hit exactly right on my kick ass new heels … the finishing touch. 

As I sit on the floor and slide the first one on, I notice how pretty my toes look … freshly stone sanded and painted with my favorite color. Then as I wiggle and bend my leg under me in the most unnatural way to buckle those pesky side buckles, I secretly send love and gratitude out for my yoga practice and the ability to torque my leg in such a way without tearing any meniscus. 

As I buckle the first side, I notice the buckle fits best a little tighter than the last time I wore these shoes, evident by the slightly worn hole I was passing up for a tighter fit. 

Multiple flashing thoughts…

“Wow, my ankles are smaller.”

“Maybe they won’t look ‘thick’ anymore.”

( … and here we go … )

I jump on that train … one thought after another … trying to push my way through all these veils enshrouding me, before I suffocate. 

I remember where I was sitting, even the physical sensations of when my father told me I had thick ankles … and in this moment … almost 30 years later … My chest was heavy. My breath quickened. My heart pulsing in my ears. 

Even despite knowing I had beautiful calves … (My dad taught me that as well because they looked just like my mother’s) I never wore dresses to “show them off” because they were attached to my “thick ankles.”.

My past hour of loving self care, doting and pampering myself vanished.

Well, maybe more like vanquished. 

I was so proud to share myself outwardly today. To feel … and be… beautiful. 

“Oh! That’s it. You are too prideful. What gives you the right? Don’t gloat and boast or talk highly of yourself. It makes others uncomfortable. It makes you appear conceited. Your friends won’t like you.”

( … and this is the train … )

We hop on and ride and ride … Long after we KNOW we have missed our stop. 

… and there is the memory now of that junior high friend who always made fun of my “frizzy” hair. 

… and then it goes on and on. 

By the time my date walks in, I am a puddle of tormented memories on the floor … still … yet … with one shoe left to buckle. 

You may have to give me a valium by the time both feet are properly encased! 

Then I notice my hand … the one strapping down that thick ankle. That hand that at 22 years old rested on a table to assist my Kindergarten student with her work … “Ms. Beach” as she lovingly … almost sympathetically … stroked the back of my hand, “your hands look so old.”  

I have thought my hands old ever since … When did we stop teaching children to be kind?

And then my sister, as we grew to young adults, grabs for my hand one day and almost wistfully told me of a fond memory she always had. The memory of me holding her hands … in protection and in love, in a chaotic home. That she always remembered how soft my hands felt to her. 

The thoughts continue to flood in …

… these hands were also strong and supportive for my beautiful child as I held and nurtured her … but they were “old hands.”

This constant tug-of-war with my self-image was so dizzying at times, that I didn’t know up from down. 

Our parents, our peers even our tormenting siblings weave these shrouds over us. Many proclaiming it is for our own good, professing “societal norms” or “acceptable standards.”

The confusion and heart wrenching aches that spawn from those common phrases of “well if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you as well?”  

We are taught to not let anyone influence our “rational” decision making process. We are told to never succumb to peer pressure … but only as long as it fits our parent’s agenda. 

The ones we love most, always think their molding of our identities is best for us … when in fact it is most usually based on their fears, upbringing, values and standards.  

I was trained and ingrained at an early age by everyone around me that my natural, wily locks were not smooth enough, calm enough, styled or polished enough. I bought rubber bands by the pound and kept my hair pulled up and taut and greased. Inevitably, that stray spring curl popped loose … only to cause more harassment and poking fun at. 

My father used to loving stroke my hair then follow with “your hair is so kind, Fats.”

(I won’t even go into the details of what that nickname did to me). 

“Kind of like a dog’s ass” he would say. 

Can. You. Imagine? Speaking to your child this way. 

So …

I paid high dollar for straightening products and tools. Hours spent fighting my tresses to conform to other’s standards. 

For years …

ever since …

Until my peapod came along. There was no more time for me. Thank god for the unexpected popularity of “messy buns”… this I can do! 

I had an enormous collection of baseball caps as well. Anything I could do as to not make others uncomfortable by my presence or rather my frizzy hair. 

My ex-husband constantly avoided or sniffed with an itchy nose and complained of irritation and tickles and annoyance every time my ringlets grazed him. It was best to always be pulled up in intimate moments so as to not spoil the mood. It prevented adequate visibility to him when operating a motor vehicle and turns needed to be made. 

It was never stroked or caressed or smelled or adored. Not braided or played with or occasionally massaged.  

The only time he ever praised a hair on my head was when I shaved it all off donating my hair to child’s cancer research. He stated we would save so much money on hair products! 

I think that may have been a back handed compliment … maybe?

Then it became … you ARE getting older. Shorter hair is more appropriate for your age.  So I kept it short. I was just turning forty after all. 

Everyone was happy. I wasn’t rocking any boats or itching anyone and I fit perfectly into my suburb house with one kid and a dog AND my age. 

Everyone was happy … Except me. 

Caged. Suppressed. Sinking deeper into murky waters without the will to fight for my inner untamed beast. 

I am wild, thoughts scattered and squirrelly in creative moments. My hair is a reflection of my inner self. Was that what everyone was really trying to suppress? 

An energy …

a light that made them uncomfortable? 

 There are moments of clarity …

As the barber took the razor to my head and shaved off my long tresses, my child sat at my feet and cried. When I looked down at her and asked her why she was so sad, she looked at me so innocently and said that “Mama, you won’t be beautiful without your hair.” And that is when I told her that what makes me beautiful is inside my heart not on the outside. The first time I said those words to myself OR anyone else. 

Such a golden moment … a perfect opportunity to empower my daughter.  So much so that two years later she did the same. 

Full. Of. Awesome! 

How can we offer these shining moments to others but can’t afford them to ourselves. 

Or do we offer them? 

Some continue the perpetual degradation generation after generation.  We pass down our insecurities and conditioning to our children.

Find your truth.

Yell it. 

Scream it! 

Someone will hear you and come to trumpet by your side. 

Find your sisters and dance wildly in the moonlight …

… frizzy hair, chunky ankles and all!!

10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth

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the truth about Comfort

the truth about Comfort

We know what we need.

Intuitively…

Yet sometimes the cyclone around us seems so unbearable, we can’t even gather a simple thought, let alone what we really NEED during hardship.

Comforts tranquilize and calm us. They bring us back to our true nature. The anger, frustration, exhaustion, resentment dissipates slowly when we allow ourselves the refreshing reliefs that cradle our hearts and nurture our spirits.

Years ago I stumbled upon the lavender plant …

In one scientific study of Lavender and the Nervous System, lavender was found to reduce “symptoms such as restlessness, disturbed sleep, and somatic complaints and had a beneficial influence on general well-being and quality of life”.

Ask any dirt loving gardener what they grow and they will almost always sing out that at least one lavender plant grows in their garden. Look closely and watch them …. just the mention of this not only beautiful, but truly fragrant plant, will set the stars to twinkling in their eyes. They will parade you through the throngs of bliss amassed in their well manicured yard only to deliver you next to this amazing garden treat and insist you take in its delights.

Whether it is inhaled through essential oils (therapeutic grade is always best) or placed in a sachet in a hot bath or baked or brewed, there is always an easing sense of life’s turmoils when we take time to incorporate this garden beauty into our lives.

Here is a great recipe for you to try that I often make in my own home that is great at relieving fatigue, depression and even tension headaches …

Boil 7 cups of water

Pour 4 cups of the boiled water over 2 tablespoons of lavender buds in a bowl

(Mountain Rose Herbs is a great resource for organic lavender)

Steep covered with a cheese cloth for 10 minutes

Pour the leftover 3 cups of boiling water into a pitcher

Add ½ cup of agave or local honey

Stir until dissolved

Strain lavender “water” with a cheesecloth into your pitcher

(make sure the kids are watching … it is truly magic for the soul)

Add the juice of 3 lemons (about 8 ounces)

Serve over ice

Enjoy your bliss!

Micki

10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth

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