The Little Things That Aren’t So Little.

Look around you. What do you see? How do you see it? Does it make you happy? Sad? Angry? Indifferent? When you see your life, the environment in which you live, the people around you, and material things in your possession, do you feel grateful?

Last night I had the pleasure of going to dinner with a good friend of mine and this topic was brought up. It was screaming at me so loud that now, I just have to share it with you.

We spend so much of our lives wanting more.

You know how it goes. We want want want and when we finally get it, how do we use it? How do we appreciate it? How do we perceive it? More importantly, how do we use, appreciate, and perceive the things we already have?

Now, I’m not talking about that flat screen TV you waited in line hours for last Black Friday. I’m talking about your ability to clap and cheer at your favorite sporting event. I’m talking about being able to lift your hand to scratch your itchy nose. I’m talking about being able to open your toothpaste and brush your teeth on your own.

How often do you really deeply appreciate those things? It sounds silly, doesn’t it? I’m grateful that I can brush my own teeth. But really, think about how your life would be if you couldn’t.

I go to wrestling events in my town every month and the last few months I’ve been seeing this boy. He is in a complex wheelchair and can not talk, scratch his face, or clap his hands. Each time I’ve seen him there I’ve taken a few moments to watch him. This may sound weird, but he definitely puts my life into perspective each time.

When the crowd would get loud and cheer and clap, this boy would try his hardest to cheer and clap with us even thought he could only manage to make some grunting-like sounds and wave his arms around. He broke my heart because despite all of his “limitations”, he looked like he was enjoying the show and his life so much. He was grateful.

Sometimes I find myself complaining and thinking things like, My life would be so much better if I had a good career and could afford nicer things. In the same breath, I’ll turn around and think, I really wish we didn’t have so much junk cluttering up the house.After witnessing this boy at this month’s show, I went deep inside myself and really saw for the first time in a while how blessed I am.

I can walk. I can talk. I can clap. I can scratch my face. I can type on this computer. I can sit at my desk in my comfy chair. I can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner in my fully functioning and ascetically pleasing kitchen. Not to mention, I can afford to food shop the way I want to (for the most part). I never go without anything I need (except when I run out of paper towels), and I always have exponentially more than the bare necessities in all aspects of my life.

The things is, most of us are like that too. We wake up every day, go to the bathroom, shower and brush our teeth like we are entitled to those things – like they can never be taken away. Truth be told, those things can be ripped away from us in an instant.

Now let’s try this again. Look around you. What do you see? How do you see it?

xoxoAngel Marie

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The Journey WIthin

Last night I was typing up what I thought to be a really great post for all of you. Unfortunately, I pressed the shift key to capitalize my next sentence and the entire post deleted right before my eyes. I was devastated to say the least. After proofing this one, I’m confident that I have delivered to all of you something even better than that last post and I’m so happy to share this with you all.

So without further a due, here it is: The Journey Within.

I wanted to take this time to share a few things with all of you. Yesterday at work I had one hell of a day. I could feel myself in my desk chair ready to snap like a rubber band that has been stretched passed its capacity. To keep it simple, my job has really been taking a toll on me.

During my lunch yesterday I decided to read some of my 40 Days to Personal Revolution book to clam my mind. What I found was not only profound, but completely astounding to me. The “ah-ha” moment happened for sure.

I’d like to share with you now two of the passages that really hit me where I needed to feel it.

“It is simply the willingness to see in full truthfulness what we need to face within ourselves and our lives so that we may get into right alignment.” – Baron Baptiste, 40 Days to Personal Revolution

This hit me harder than when Triple H hit Shawn Michaels in the back with a sledgehammer at the 2002 Summer Slam street-fight match.

Years prior to today, I would try to mask the truth from myself. I couldn’t make a decision about my life to save it. Was the relationship I was in at the time toxic? (Yes!) Was it good for me? (Hell no!) Should I pursue my BA Degree in Journalism? (Yes). Should I go to nursing school even though I hated my career as a Certified Nurses Aid? (Why would you if you already know you don’t like it?) Should I just stay out of school all together? (That’s what your relationship at the time drilled into your head.)

All of these things and much more would fill my brain as I’d lay awake at night restless and miserable. What I am seeing now is that my head was so clouded with so many things that I couldn’t see my path. I wasn’t ready to accept the truth and see situations for what they were. That was partly because of having so many things jumbled in my brain, but also because I felt the need to make everyone else happy. That was not leading me down a clear path.

The path I was on was covered in shrubs, dead trees, and darkness. I felt I had no light to lead me, nor any clarity on any one thing. It took a long series of events for me to see I was doing it all wrong and now I’m proud to say I am out of that toxic relationship and in a new awesome relationship where my opinions are valued and I am loved. I am pursing my BA Degree in Journalism at a State University and have left the nursing profession all together.

In the last year my life has taken a turn for the better and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now I feel I am on a clear path. The best part of this is, the path is clear only to what is in front of my at the moment. The rest of the path is unknown and I’m more than okay with that. I’m not saying it will always be this way, but for this moment, I’m so happy to have this realization and it brings me even more joy to share it with all of you. I love you all for your endless support and encouragement.

The second and final thing I wanted to share with you is this other quote from Baron’s book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution. It reads: “control freaks are usually insomniacs – they can’t let go.”

Coming from one fellow control freak, that statement is right on the money. My need to constantly try to figure out the next steps and keep everything “the way it should be” was making me lose touch with the present moment. I was forgetting how to be happy with what was. I was losing myself. I feel I’ve come a long way from a year ago, but these are things I still struggle with.

Like I said before, I’m happy on my path right now only seeing what’s in front of me. However, sometimes I do get curious and try to see what’s over the hill and far, far away. Nonetheless, thank the powers that be for this amazing transformation thus far.

What I’m working on now within myself is really learning to let go. I don’t want to be burdened by the past, nor hindered by the future or what I try to predict the future to be. The bottom line is right now is all that matters. It’s all we have. The present moment is the only thing that is true even though it is fleeting.

Like Mike Ness from Social Distortion sings in Reach for the Sky:

“So if you please take this moment,Try if you can make it last
Don’t think about no future and just forget about the past..”

I hope this was as exciting for you all to read as it was for me to write (even the second time around). May the world bring you joy and everything that is good.

Namaste.

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The Power of Words

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A broken castle by the shore. That’s what I feel like right now. I feel like a lump of sand that was once a castle, plopped on the beach all broken and turned to mush.

I think a lot of fathers don’t understand how they affect their daughters. My father and I never got along. There was a time when I really tried, but that is fading fast.

When I was a teenager, maybe thirteen or fourteen, I remember my dad and I getting into a fight about doing the dishes with a sponge. I was looking for a sponge to do them with and he got so mad that I wasn’t doing them yet that he practically lunged over the kitchen table at me. I ran up the stairs and he charged after me. Knowing the upstairs bathroom was the only room upstairs with a door that locked, I scurried into the bathroom and locked the door.

Shaking with tears, the only words I remember from that day are these from my father saying, “I never loved you the way a father should love his daughter.”

I’ll never forget that as long as I live.

Ever.

That must have stuck with me throughout all of my relationships too. Even now that I have a good guy, I still have a hard time believing that he loves me. The sad thing is, I know he does love me with his whole heart. But for some reason I can’t fully believe it. Is it from the relationship I’ve had with my father?

Many psychoanalysts will probably say yes. But I’ve never consulted one and I don’t care to. I don’t see the need to pay someone to tell me why I am the way I am.

Why don’t I agree with men going out without their woman? My dad used to not come home from work and my mom would find his car at ladies houses. Has my dad ever cheated? He claims no, but some would say the proof is in the pudding. He wasn’t the one home with mom when she was crying – my brother and I were though. I saw how he tormented her heart and I’ve tried so hard not to let my heart be tormented by a man like hers was. I see by trying so hard I wound up having it happen anyway. Nonetheless, maybe that’s why I have a hard time believing and trusting people.

I saw a lot as I grew up between my mom and dad. They never should have stayed together. For various reasons they did and I feel somewhat fucked up because of it. But who knows, maybe I’d be more fucked up if they haven’t. I guess everything happens for a reason. At least I learned that I want to give my future children (if I ever have any) a better family life than what my parents gave me.

I’m not saying it was horrible, because I have great memories with my mom and brother and even a few from dad. I guess I would do it differently.

Today I came home and my dad was in the kitchen. I looked at him and he looked at me. I smiled and laughed trying to make it not so awkward. He just looked at me with his ice blue eyes.

“What?” I said.

He looked at me even colder and replied, “Why don’t you just stay with that kid. You’re nothing but a disturbance here.”

Another line to add to the things I never forget my dad saying to me.

Moral of this post: You never know how powerful words really are.

From Skid Row to Flying Crows: My Experience from the Handstand, Hugs, and Highways Tour 2014 at Mystic Power Yoga

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I was blessed enough to be a part of the Handstand, Hugs, and Highways Tour 2014 with Baptiste affiliate studio, Mystic Power Yoga. My life has been forever changed and I can’t even begin to explain to all of you how. Nonetheless, I will try my best to share with you what has been shared with me.

When I walked into the Mystic Studio I could feel the excitement in the air. I could sense the curiosity of my fellow yogis as the looks on some of their faces was unsure what they were really about to experience. I could see how some were just ready for a good sweaty yoga class. By the end of the two and a half hour experience, everyone was glowing, rid of whatever expression crossed their faces just hours before. Let me share with you my perception of his beautiful night.

Walter and Acha are two young men from Kenya who participate in a program called the African Yoga Project. What it does, is it creates jobs for people in Kenya so they do not have to resort to stealing, prostitution, and other crimes to take care of themselves and their families. When I heard Acha and Walters’ stories of living on the streets, drug use, and theft, my heart broke. I could tell that they both really didn’t want that life – that was the life they were practically forced to live. They both described a hopelessness that they felt during those times in their lives. Just like most of us, they struggled to find hope, peace, and acceptance in life.

They were both introduced to yoga in Kenya and that’s where they began to change their lives. By finding inner peace through yoga, they have been able to travel the world and teach so many people not only their incredible story, but the gift of yoga.

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I have never been more challenged in a yoga class like I was with Acha and Walter. Physically, it was the most demanding class I’ve participated in and mentally and emotionally, the most rewarding. What I have learned from them is a priceless lesson, and that is, we are all connected. We are all one.

They taught me to give something as simple as a smile can change someone’s day.They showed me to share a bit of sweat, growth, and energy is probably the best thing for the soul. They opened my eyes. They opened my eyes to what’s really going on in the world around us. They opened my heart and showed me how to love and care about strangers. They opened my mind to all of the amazing possibilities life can bring. They gave me something I can never thank them enough for – hope.

As this all comes full circle, they gave me hope after receiving hope themselves. Now I feel my mission is to share that hope with all of you. I feel like I’m so blessed and I take many of those blessings for granted every day. After catching a glimpse of what life is like for people in Kenya, I now understand a little bit more how amazingly wonderful and blessed my life really is.

I received many messages from this yoga class, one of which being to let yourself GROW. Growth is essential for change. It may hurt, but it’s worth it. Another message I took from this experience is to accept yourself for yourself, your past and everything that makes you an individual. In turn, accept other for who they are as well.

The last valuable lessons I learned from this class that I wish to share with you at this time, is to love. We are all connected – we are all one. There is not one soul more valuable than another. We are all equal and individually beautiful. Give to the world – give your love to the world and the world will give you love back. Although we are all different, our hearts all beat the same. 

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Thank you to Walter, Acha, and my yoga teacher Michele for making this all possible.

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**All Photos taken by Rebecca Bicking

http://www.mysticyogastudio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mystic-Power-Yoga/261854823846722

http://www.africayogaproject.org/

https://www.facebook.com/africayogaproject