Archive | courage RSS feed for this section

Burn-Out and going viral

11 Nov

Last year, I was in definite odds with the position that my church was taking on Prop 8. It was very clear to me that the Prophet of the Mormon church and his fellow (all male) leaders were obscured in clarity on the subject of marriage, discrimination, and what it means to be gay. I understand – these men are human. They feel that their values are threatened by gay people. Their core doctrine rests definitively on the sanctity of marriage.

My husband and I disagreed with their stand. I didn’t like getting political pitches from the pulpit, being handed bumper stickers in the lobby and the conversations about gay people that ensued within the church walls. What was going on, wasn’t in keeping with Christian values, or the stand our church has normally taken on staying out of politics and “voting with your conscience”. Unlike myself, my husband was less than thrilled about wearing his politics on his sleeve. He wasn’t keen on putting a No on 8 sign on the lawn on our very visual and prominent corner lot. He didn’t want a bumper sticker on the car, even if I was the one to be driving. I respected that he felt the matter was private so I held back. He appreciated my pain and winced along with me.

I worked very hard with myself and my frustration. I donated money to No on 8. I decided that church did not have a place for me and mostly stopped going. I did loving-kindness meditations for the prophet and the brethren and myself to work through my negative feelings. I was OK doing my own things and letting the church go their own way. Problem solved.

Then, Elder Ballard gave a talk  and said:

Elder Cook reemphasized Elder Ballard’s encouragement of sharing the gospel through the Internet.

“It is my hope that you will engage. It is my hope that you will go viral,” he said.

I saw all sorts of my sweet Mormon friends who would normally never engage in public politics, posting on their family blogs. I got e-mails from people I haven’t heard from in years. The influence that that Elder Ballard’s speech had on the Mormon community was so influential.

I got angry, except this time – I was observing that anger. That anger and shock wasn’t damaging. It was a wake up call to action. That was it for me. I stopped being quiet. Go viral? Sure, now that’s something I can do! I can speak up for what Jesus taught – peace and love. Sure, I’m just a female in our church and I have no power what-so-ever, but I do have a voice. I will not blindly obey something I know in my heart to be wrong. The leaders of the church are human, they have made mistakes in the past and will make more mistakes in the future. (blacks and the priesthood? fighting the ERA?) I have to live with my own conscience, listen to the spirit in my heart.

On November 2, 2008 I felt something strange. I weird anxiety that I haven’t felt in years. It was a helplessness – I wanted to see Prop 8 fail and I wanted to see a shift in the governing party. (we needed that shift simply for balance and hope) What does a helpless feeling girl do? I impulsively ran down to Supercuts and cut off 10+ inches of my hair! I may not be able to control American politics, but, by DAMN, I can control my hair. Let me start the winds of change by cutting off years of dead weight that I’ve been carrying around.

Two days later the votes were in. My kids were on the couch with me, watching each state’s votes comes in. I’ve never swayed my kids in their politics, and even so, my 8-year old sat on the couch in dismay when the Utah votes came in, “WHAT?!!!! Why did Utah voted for McCain?” I was over-the-moon about having our first black president. (and after the previous 8 years, one that can speak articulately) It was a very sacred moment for me. It was bitter sweet as Prop 8 results came in. My heart just sunk. As I realized the role my church had played in passing the proposition, it made me so sad. I thought of my gay friends and neighbors, those who have been together longer than Dan and I, those who are raising children. I felt so sad that many of my LDS friends do not have these connections and this understanding of equality and looking out for those who are different than us. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve been so disappointed and let-down.

I get all of the e-mails from Mr. Geoff Kors, Equality California. That’s what happens when you write a check. I’ve been deleting them for a year. Bloggers have written insightful pieces on Prop 8 and analyzed the role of the church, the role of the minority vote, etc. I’ve just barely skimmed. I have been in complete and total burn out.

This morning, I read this. Salt Lake City has passed anti-discrimination legislation with support of the LDS church. My response? WHAT?!!!! It’s 2009 and they don’t already have anti-discrimination legislation? Shameful, you highly Christian and moral upstanding community! Isn’t anti-discrimination the very LEAST a community can do to protect their minority population? I remind myself that every journey starts with one step. I’m glad that the church is supporting anti-discrimination for gay people. I’m also a bit saddened that this seems to be a big deal. It’s a very overdue protection for basic human rights.

I know this is a yoga blog for the most part, but I am reminded again of Ballard’s urging, “Go viral”. Suddenly I’m not feeling so burned out any more. The shakti within me has taken on a new resurgence. Here I go again, back into that dance of life called following the spirit as your conscience dictates.



13 Oct

I took Jamie’s Intro to Acro Therapeutics and Thai Massage on Sunday. It felt so good! I knew that it would, but I was so surprised at what happened. I was lucky enough to be partnered with Jamie and Karen and Jamie is so darn stead that I was able to just pop right up in most of the poses. (I learned that it’s a surprising challenge to be the base) About half way through the workshop, I was hanging off of his feet and I heard a pop. Then another one. Then, my shulders started bending in places they haven’t in years. It felt so good. I’ve been draping myself off of the couch, hanging off the swings at the elementary school and working on my drop backs.



I was hanging off of those swings after school with the kids and Drew said, “Oh, this feels relaxable!”

Later this afternoon, Kieran jumped on my feet for a bit of Acro and Drew finally braved it. Now, we’re the fearless flying Gallaghers. I really want to have a workshop at the studio for kids and their yoga moms. Too much fun!

kieran wp

drew wjp

I want one

16 Jul


26 Jun

In case you find yourself in a similar situation of making bad judgments, let me give you a little advice:

1. Never let the youngest in the family know her father is taking “Da Boys” out to see Tranformers – without her.

2. As a consolation, watching Sleeping Beauty – because she doesn’t get enough “girl influence” – is again,  bad judgment.

3. Sleeping Beauty is not a healthy substitute for the violence she would have otherwise seen in Tranformers with Da Boys. Have you seen that wicked Dragon try to slay the lame prince who doesn’t speak? Scary. (And seriously, what does Aurora/Rose see in that man? Yea, he has a great horse. Drew and I talked a lot about the horse.)

4. You will also have to explain WHY the prince has to kiss the protagonist in order to save her. “But why will that wake her up Mommy?… WHY?” “Well, in real life sweetie, she would set her alarm clock all by herself, right? Then she could go help the Prince find his voice and use his words instead of violently slaying that Dragon, and they could all live happily ever after without bloodshed and ignorance…”

5. Fast forward 7 hours to 3AM. I am spooning with Drew in her bunk bed. “Mommy, when I grow up will I be brave like you so I’m not afraid of that Dragon?”

I am SO sending her with Da Boys next time… no more Princess movies for us.

the current

15 Apr

This path of being a yogi in the modern world can be a lonely one. There’s no correlated, prescribed path – just one person at a time attempting to carve their own trail and keep their eyes wide open at the same time. It is an adventure to be sure, and a courageous and playful way to live – but it is not a common approach to life.

Living like a yogi means paying great attention. It means not talking smack about those around you. It means finding the most healthy solutions to your issues in life. It means being willing to listen, willing to be honest in the deepest sense of the word. It means approaching what others view as trials and struggle as the ultimate guru, a playful teaching moment. It means living without optional suffering to the best of our ability. It means learning to be comfortable with discomfort. I value and appreciate the friends and teachers in my life who understand and share this approach to living, and with whom I share this journey. While the universe seems to be taking a turn towards greater consciousness, I still find that for much of the time I feel alone as I try to incorporate living as a yogi with this very material, ego-gripped culture.

I don’t say this because I’m sad feeling alone, necessarily.  It’s just that sometimes I wonder if I’m sane. Add to my questionable sanity, the fact that I was raised Mormon and am linked to the religion in a tribal way forever-more, and things start to get interesting.

Mormonism is like this:

Mormons – for the most part, swim together. It’s like a school of fish that instinctively know which way they’re going, who’s on the inside, who’s on the outside and how to work together for the benefit of the group. There are so many wonderful things about moving in the group, especially when you really like the fish you’re swimming with.

As a Mormon, I used to struggle against the stream, so to speak. I did my best to stay in formation with the group but I often did so begrudgingly. As a yogi embracing the depths of honest living, I’ve had to make some changes in my relationship with the church. I don’t embrace anything begrudgingly anymore. I find myself off on my own more often than not. As challenging as it is, I think I’m becoming a stronger swimmer off on my own.

What was that New Year’s Resolution?

8 Apr

Oh yea. Damn it. Courage. Gotta work through the fear.

Something New

6 Apr

The problem with my life, is that I need something new to do. Something more exciting, more fun, more enriching to come my way. Would somebody ask me to take on some huge monumental project or task please? ‘Cause I really need a way to fill up my time!

Whew! This year has been THE BEST. I am so grateful for everything that has come my way. I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing people, start up some really cool projects, and line myself up even more closely with my life’s purpose. Really, it’s a great position to be in to wake up in the morning and realize that if I’m going to get everything done today, some things will have to come off of the to-do list. (you know that list, the one I can never find and never follow?) The even cooler thing (is cooler a word?) about The List, is that almost everything on that list are things I love doing. Considering that, I find that I don’t want to take things off of it, which creates a bit of a problem from time to time.

The beauty of it is, that I’ve learned to say NO. It’s been a huge lesson for me to just say no to things I don’t feel in alignment with. The hard part about it is that everybody else has an opinion about what I should do or not do! It’s been a huge experience of growth for me to listen to my soul and let that wisest part of myself decide what I will and won’t participate in. When I do listen, it makes saying no the easiest thing in the world.

So now I live in a (mostly) world of Yes’s that seem aligned with my heart. Now I find myself deep in tapas, working to just step out of my own way. My natural humanity seems to be the only obstacle in front of me now.

In the past, my yoga practice has been focused primarily on the limbs of the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama and dhyana. I have to admit that I kind of poo-poo’ed the 5th and 6th limbs of pratyahara (withdrawing the mind from sense perception) and Dharana (concentration) as practices that I would get to later. And, as yoga tends to do, those limbs have organically unfolded themselves at my feet in exactly the right moment.

I’m realizing that in order to get out of my own way, it’s time to embrace withdrawing from sense perception and make love to concentration. What’s an extremely creative/ADD girl like me to do when the universe is calling out for more concentration? Reign it in, baby!

Maybe this will help:

For me reigning it in, structuring it, creating a consistent rhythm in life and staying in synch with THE LIST (cue the scary music) is a yogic practice of great effort. It’s coming along as with most other yogic practices, but for me this particular practice has been a lot more clumsy and a bit less joyful.  I’ll be looking for ways to inject joy into the mystic journey of THE LIST as I go this week. When it’s all said and done, it all has to be done.

Maybe that To Do Tattoo isn’t such a crazy idea after all?