Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014--The Birth of My Word for the Year

Funny how paralyzing this post has been for me.  For weeks I've been thinking about what direction 2014 should take.  I've read and I've pondered.  I don't know if this post so intimidating to me because I had such a positive, productive and focused 2013, or if the dozens of ideas swirling around in my head will ever become coherent thought. I told myself that I would hit publish on this post by midnight today and then stop stewing about it.  So here is a random jumble of thoughts about 2014:

Heavenly Father loves us as His children, and He loves those qualities we have that make us each uniquely US.  He loves Tucker's penchant for bursting into spontaneous song and Ben's quick wit.  He loves Lily's boundless exuberance and Hyrum's endless art projects.  He loves Heidi's kind heart and Brad's business sense.  He loves Eve's shyness and Micah's need to be in the spotlight.

I've always known He loves me for who I am, but that has led me to falsely believe that He accepts me and my weaknesses and that I can't and shouldn't ever really change because these qualities are just what make me, ME: Strong but sometimes rude.  Independent but sometimes intimidating.  (It took me a LONG time to find these two posts from 2010--independent and strong--because blogger's search engine isn't working for some reason . . . ) Smart but sometimes demeaning.  Confident but sometimes dismissive. 

I've always thought that as long as I work more or push harder or give it my all, I could do anything I wanted; this has been mostly true for much of my life, but I'm 44. I've refused to slow down or accept that I'm getting older, but my body is beginning to tell me that I won't always be able to do everything I want to do.  I won't be able to work all-out for hours in the day every day.  I won't be able to run as far or as fast on every run.  I won't be able to get that pose or twist or bind even if I keep working at it. I'm beginning to see that my life has limitations. And I don't like it at all.  Who will I be then?

I started practicing yoga eighteen months ago, and I liked the changes I saw to my body.  I got stronger, leaner, and more flexible, and I felt great--better than great, I felt invincible.  Looking back now, I can see my mistake, but at the time I kept driving myself harder and farther--just a few more inches and you'll have that bind, just a little more effort and you'll have your spine flat on your legs.  I was missing one of the most important aspects of yoga, and in the process, I made a grave error--I pushed myself too far and injured my shoulder.  I was forced to the doctor, where an x-ray revealed nothing serious in the long-term (I hope) and a cortizone shot relieved much of the pain.  In the meantime, doctor's orders were to take it easy during my yoga practice, let the shot do its job, and then reevaluate in a few weeks.

I was relieved that it wasn't worse than that, but I was reluctant to return to my yoga class and not be able to give my practice 110% like I always had in the past.  My first class back was a challenge and not in the ways I had anticipated.  I couldn't raise my arms over my head for even basic poses like Warrior I, and I didn't drench my mat in sweat the way I always had before.  By the end of savasana, I had arrived somewhere new.  Somehow, through the new limitations of my body, I was able to connect with my mind and see things from a new perspective.  How had I been doing yoga for over a year and completely missed a vital tenet of yoga practice--the benefits of using yoga practice for meditation and reflection? 

Joel Kramer phrased it perfectly when he wrote: 
"Yoga is a dance between control and surrender--between pushing and letting go.  When to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being."

For my entire my life I've been an all-or-nothing person.  This concept of control and surrender/pushing and letting go changed my perspective in a way in which I wasn't fully comfortable.  It took me two weeks to wrap my brain around this concept.

When do you push and when do you let go?  When is letting go acceptable and when is it giving up?  When is pushing a great achievement and when is it ill-advised?  I've always been all about control. And never surrender could be my personal mantra.

Could I do this?


  1. Yes. You can.

    You evolved beautifully last year on your blog.
    It will be fun to see you continue in the same bold and inspiring way you have before.

  2. Sometimes I swear you can see inside my brain, this is the very issue I have been struggling with. I KNOW I need to surrender.....but how? I anxiously await your wisdom :) thanks for writing your thoughts just for me (or at least it feels like that!)--- it helps clarify everything, doesn't it?

  3. You know, I have been very interested in starting yoga. One day I bought a mat, and my daughter pulled up an app on her ipad. I did what she told me to do.....sort of. I'm just glad there were no cameras. Lol. But when I finished, I felt so good! I felt better than if I had gotten a massage! I really want to take a class. I'm living abroad right now, but when we return home, I'm definitely doing it. Your pits reminded me of something a friend wrote on facebook today. She said that instead of setting goals, we should make a one word theme for the year. Decide what we want to be. For example, I was thinking my theme could be "fit" . If that is my theme, I will be focusing on becoming that. I'm going to try it! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm adding you to my follow list. :)

  4. Pits? Lololol. What I really wrote was posts. But I'm sure your pits are nice too. :D. I hate auto correct. Lol

  5. Jenny,

    You are an amazing and inspiring woman. Often I share what I have learned on your blog with my children. One who awaits his mission call and one winding down her senior year.

    Thank you for your learning and sharing. It has helped me become a better person. I have learned a lot from you and have tried to better myself because of it!

  6. I like the question you asked...when is letting go acceptable, and when is it giving up? I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "I give up" recently. I've always associated this with such a negative connotation, but lately I guess I've learned that it sometimes is okay to give up, or let go. Sometimes giving up is the same thing as submission to God's will for us. Sometimes giving up is just becoming more self-aware and more consistently happy with our lives, regardless of outside forces. I guess the only way you know if your attitude is right is through the Spirit, and if you are capable of having peace while you are progressing.

    I don't know if this really makes sense. These are probably the things it takes a lifetime to figure out.

  7. wow. we are a lot alike. I knew I liked you.

    I've missed reading you. Sorry about that.