Robin's Blog

Anger, My Dear Friend


 
 
For a good part of my adult life, I was on high alert: a state of being that I characterize as succumbing to adverse reactive and habitual patterns. The most prominent manifestation of such a state was anger.
 
High-alertness followed me like an obedient pet into parenthood; I yelled at messy rooms, unfinished plates at mealtime, and dilly-dallying during bedtime routines. Each time this state arrived, a residue of regret, shame, and helplessness lingered.
 
Fortunately, yoga and I found each other when our girls were young.  Unbeknownst to me, it would become my first gateway for dismantling the years of accumulated tension that suffocated my musculature and locked me into a cycle of poor choices. Through the additional vehicles of meditation and life coaching, I began to understand that this state of high alert was a necessary form of protection. It kept certain situations, people, and even my own consciousness at bay, affording me time to catch up to the fullness of my being. My slow, devotional route to dissolve my anger eventually led to a wealth of sadness.  I began to realize that the twitches and tears discharged during what seemed like simple stretches early in my yoga practice was alchemy in motion. The door to my sadness continued to open, and I communed with the rawness of it.  At its core, I found a well of primitive energy, the pulse of my inner world. It was an illuminate, flowing river of life.  Now, when anger sweeps in and tries to steal the show, I welcome it as an old friend.
 
Before I was able to meet anger with kindness, I uncovered the root of my reactive patterns. Then, I informed my family so that they would not take my indignation personally.  To transmute the patterns, I promised our girls that I would do three sun salutations before commenting on their messy rooms.  Eventually, this practice became comical: "Mommy is doing her sun salutes now" was followed by giggles and the pitter-patter of feet heading to perform the forgotten chore.
 
Now, when uncomfortable feelings arrive, my work is to refrain from labeling them “good” or “bad” and to regard them as messengers from my highest wisdom. When they come, I don't project or avoid. I ask, "What are you here to teach me?" "How are you helping me?" "How can I transmute this energy to one that serves my highest choices?" 
 
Thank you, high alert,for liberating my family and me by showing us how to choose wisely.
 
 

Ode to My Yoga for Mama Students


















I am blessed to take the month of August off to study, write, reflect, and practice.  In September, we begin our fourth year together.  Before then, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to each of you.

Thank you for sharing your practice with me. Thank you for the privilege of guiding you and allowing me to observe you at your strongest moments and your shakiest moments. I see the stories you hold in your bodies and the strength in your vulnerabilities. I see the tenacity with which you are willing to trust and release. I see the tears and the quivering lips and feel blessed that your yoga is shifting necessary energy to move you closer to your own knowing as a beautiful, inspired being. I also see the smiles and appreciate you playing with me as I move you out of familiar patterns to break the mechanics of the practice and our habits. Most importantly, I see how you move, breathe, and embody our weekly themes for the sake of your families.

As One, we will continue to grow, evolve, and discover more lessons on the mat together. I cannot wait to witness that in September.  Please stay tuned for the schedule.

With the fullest heart,

Robin
 

What is Yoga?




Yoga is life.  It is:

- putting my morning pages down when my daughter comes to talk and I really want to finish my entry
- rubbing our daughter's back when I really want to go to sleep
- hugging my husband longer when I really want to get to my morning meditation
- taking the dogs for their walk when I really want to finish my reading
- making a healing dinner when I really need to get on my yoga mat

Yoga is life.  It is union with the as-isness of life.  All of it - the beautiful moments, the messy moments, the sad moments, the crazy, joyous moments.  Every time I choose with kindness, I am practicing my yoga.

Me to We: A Mothering Journey












Shifting from me – a hierarchical household of “my rules, my house” — to we — a shared partnership — began a new kind of mothering for me.

Top-Down Mothering Through the Generations

I’m the mother of Olivia and Stella, the daughter of Corrine, and the granddaughter of Ramah — a bloodline rich with strong yet soft feminine energy. In our family, mothering was a top-down, a fairly common hierarchical household of “my house, my rules”. I was happy and thrived in my childhood home and carried forward what I’d experienced when it was time to mother my own children without any thought. It wasn’t until I found myself struggling with the constant and intense rebellion of my daughter, Olivia,that I began to think about my mothering.

Whose Behavior Has to Go?

Of course I wanted Olivia’s rebellious behavior to stop. It wasn’t right, I told myself, because this is my house and these are my rules. But nothing seemed to work.

So I started to think about my behavior and for the first time saw my “top down” mothering style. I wondered if my style had been too contracted and limiting for her spirit. Focusing on my behavior was when I grew up as an individual and a mother and everything started to change.

The Importance of Reflection

If I was ever going to truly “hear and see” Olivia, I needed to hear and see myself. So, I spent time reflecting not only on my mothering style, but the other beliefs, behaviors and patterns that I brought to the table. Every disagreement was an opportunity to explore some more. I realized what I inherited unwittingly from my family, what I’d absorbed from our culture, and what I took as truth because friends and people I respected said it was so. Reflecting allowed me to see this and then decide what was true for me.

Self-Care + Personal Boundaries = Freedom

What I found to be true was that my own self-care was the most important gift that I could give as a mother. Taking care of me meant that I had energy to create solid boundaries for myself. Solid boundaries gave me the space to be aware of what I was feeling, to know when old beliefs and patterns were creeping in and then decide if that’s how I wanted to show up as a mother. Interestingly, its my solid boundaries that create space for my daughters to freely explore and discover who they are.

My self-care routine is the pillar of my mothering: yoga, meditation, journaling, prayer, nature walks, and a clean diet. After many years on this path I’ve found that I’m less reactive and often choose more responsible words and actions. I’m softer, more open and more receptive. I still get frustrated and angry at times, but I return to my center more quickly. I apologize on the spot and ask the girls how I can be better for them. I teach my daughters by living what I believe to be true.

Shift from Me to We

It was the shift from me – a hierarchical household of my rules, my house, — to we, a shared household partnership where all of us focus on supporting individual self-care, boundaries and freedom — that began a new kind of mothering for me. One where I see the privilege of serving and honoring another human being’s journey, while still honoring my own.

Around the time of my “growing up” as a mother, I came across this quote that really hit home for how I feel:

“…They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you they belong not to you…”~ Kahlil Gibran

With Gratitude

I bow to my mother, Corrine, whose top-down mothering style worked beautifully for me. And I bow to my daughter, Olivia, whose rebellion has been one of my greatest teachers.

The Power of Words












What words are shaping your mind and home?  I spoke ill about someone to my husband last week, something I hadn't done in over a year.  Earlier that day, I had broken a promise with our daughter, Olivia, causing the regression.  This diminished my vibration and led to a host of negative thoughts and, unfortunately, words.  In the past, these seemingly benign comments would go unnoticed; this time, my body had a visceral reaction.  I missed my authentic self.  I rectified my actions by confessing and forgiving.  I am human, but I do not want to be a human who speaks poorly of others.  

Spiritual Partnerships




My desire is to have a spiritual partnership, not only with myself, but with my spouse and our children.  To me, a spiritual partnership is thriving when we are present, awake, and alive with our loved ones.  Here is how I am practicing this by:
1.  putting electronics away when loved ones are with me
2.  pausing before I speak
3.  listening - feet planted, eyes on them without contemplating a self-righteous reply
4.  seeing their souls more than their personalities
5.  looking for what is right, not wrong
6.  enjoying simple pleasures with them - time in nature, playing with our dogs, eating clean food, praying
7.  daily silence so I can remember the above