That cute crew pictured with me above is my family. They greet me when I get home and smother me in love. I'm a lucky woman.
Recently, Joel said something that made me feel all the things: "In our family we..." This simple statement really struck me.
I've always believed that we make our own paths. Regardless of what our past was like, we have the choice to make our lives what we want them to be. I'm not a fan of the "blame game": "I'm this way because my parents..."; "I do that because this one time in elementary school..."; "I'll never get anywhere because they told me I couldn't..." There's a certain point in our lives where we need to take ownership for who we are and what we do. The good and the bad. A point when we leave everything behind (as best we can) and move forward. Always moving forward. Taking the good, stepping over the bad, and doing our own thing.
Joel and I come from amazing families (and when I say that I actually mean it). They've all taught us so much and helped us build our foundations both as individuals and as a couple. They've given us the tools to construct our own values and figure out how those values fit in to our own little family.
We get to pick and choose what's important to us. Joel may have observed one thing in his family, I may have observed something different in mine, but we have the choice to select what works best for our family. This allows us to move forward with confidence and binds us closer together as we determine what truly is important to us as a family unit.
What a special privilege to have! I can't describe the feelings this realization gives me. Comfort. Pride. LOVE. Among many others. It definitely feels like a next step. Another milestone reached in our marriage and our family. The creation of a set of values that we'll continue to instill in ourselves and our family as it grows.
I'm so excited to find out what "In our family we..." develops into over time. You better believe I'm writing everything down!
When I'm feeling negative, yoga is the answer because I can pinpoint what is dragging me down and release it.
Yoga is such a powerful tool and one I use very often. To me, yoga goes beyond just poses. It's a mindset. It's in my breathing. It's in my movement. It's in the energy I give off. It's in my blood. It is truly a lifestyle.
I have had many interests that have changed over time. I'll be really into something until I burn myself out or think about something for so long without doing anything to pursue the interest that I let the desire subside. That hasn't been the case with yoga. I buy books. I think about sequences. I pay attention to my breathing. I follow the work of my favorite yogis. I practice when I can at work and at home. I see myself doing yoga for the rest of my life and that feels like such a blessing.
Joel has started practicing with me lately. (Hope you're not mad I let the cat out of the bag!) It has been wonderful to take a pose and see him right there with me, trying his hardest. He's a natural yogi because he's not a show off. He takes the time he needs to do the poses and listens to his body. I've learned about patience by watching him in yoga, and in life.
When we finished our practice the other night, we both felt great. I had needed to do yoga because I was in a funk. It was his idea to turn on the video and he picked it out. By the end of practice, I was in tears of release. It felt so good, and even better because Joel was right beside me.
After we had rolled up our mats, I mentioned how important yoga was to me. It's not just exercise, it's not something I do just to say I do it, or do for the sake of getting a cool photo...I need it. It is a basic need for me. My practice is one intangible thing I have that is completely mine. It reaches into the depths of my soul like nothing else ever will and brings me the purest form of joy. It is my religion. It is what I believe in. It gives me life.
I had the pleasure of slipping away with two of my girlfriends to our family cabin in Lansing, IA. We spent five days exploring Northeast Iowa and parts of Wisconsin. From wine tasting, to sun bathing, to tattoos - we lived it up! There was no shortage of laughter and many memories were made.
The beauty of having girlfriends is not lost on me. What a privilege to be supported by other women going through both similar and different journeys. I only see these particular girls once a year and it's amazing how quickly we pick up where we left off, diving into each others' current lives with 100% genuine interest.
We've been friends for over 12 years, so we have many shared memories to smile (and cringe) about. It's always nice to clear the fog and reflect on the times we've spent together over the years.
After our trip, I couldn't help but feel very fortunate that I have so many people in my life that love me for who I am. When I'm having a rough day, the people that I love are the ones that keep me afloat. No matter how I've let myself or others down in my "grown-up roles," when I get home, I've got such a beautiful network of people to lift me up that I don't feel worthy. I can only hope I'm giving them back the same amount of love as they give me.
Thanks to my girls for the wonderful getaway. I love you and am thankful for you every day. Thank you for letting me be myself and for letting me see your true selves. Sending lots of happy vibes your way until next year!