On Letting Go

How do you let go?

I don’t know about you, but I love to hold on to things. Old birthday cards, favorite books, cherished friendships, my stuffed tiger that I’ve had since I was seven years old, old bottles of perfume that still have a couple drops of fragrance left in them, resentment, guilt, self-pity, fear.

Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that I am a Cancer, known for my sensitivity and sentimentality, or maybe it is because I have to experience a lot of pain before I jump into action.

I do my best to keep my side of the street clean and my nose well in my own business but when I am pushed to the limits of my patience and compassion, I let all the icky feelings flood in. The insecurity, the comparison, the jealousy, the wishful thinking, the doubt. All of these feelings are extremely unhelpful and, nine times out of ten, they aren’t even based in truth.

The point is, sometimes people do things and take action that hurt me or threaten me and maybe feel just like being shoved, hard, onto the cold cement. How do I let go of that? How do I forgive someone who threatens my security, balance, or serenity?

I let go.

And letting go is a pain in the butt..

In order to let go, I have to invite faith in. I have to relax into acceptance rather than continuing to struggle in self-will. I write. I pray- over and over again. I also am sure to purge the source of angst from my life to the greatest extent that is within my power.

Letting go is hard. Letting go is annoying.

Letting go is so, so necessary to my survival and growth

Most times I have no say in what people, places and things continue to pop-up in my life that cause me distress, but I do have a say in how I react to them. Do I let it all tank me or do I accept it with dignity? I endeavor to achieve the second option.

The truth is, I simply do not have time to become emotionally crippled by every single slight that comes my way. I am a busy woman living a life that is full to the brim in every single way. A life that I have carefully nurtured and crafted to get to the point that it is at today. I am trying to make moves. I am trying to make a difference. I am trying to grow.

I cannot let distress cause me to falter. I cannot let frustration keep me in place.

My happiness and security and faith comes from inside and nowhere else. No external source can tell me, force me, or convince me to let go. I have to start with me and only me to live my best life possible. I must choose to overcome it. I must do the foot work. I must get over it, no matter how big of a deal or injustice it is. I must believe in myself.

Letting go is choosing faith over fear, trust over doubt, and action over idleness. It’s living in joy rather than in misery. It’s accepting what is. It’s not stewing over the past. It’s not tripping about the future. It’s giving love and understanding and compassion during the times in which I want to be selfish and self-serving. It’s choosing adventure and fresh starts and moving forward.

Whatever you are trying to let go of just remember that, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, you will do it. Practice. The more you practice the easier letting go is. And above all, don’t give up.

You can do it, I believe in you. 

xoxo

Sarah

 

 

A 5k Wrap-Up

We are almost halfway through October, I know I know I’m sorry for reminding you, and I must say that this month has been quite an exciting one so far!

Two Saturdays ago I participated in the Del Mar Mud Run, a 5k featuring off-road obstacle courses, and pics are in! There were mud cannons, mud pits, slip n slides, bouncy houses filled with foam, and hills of dirt to climb up and over. I don’t often share personal photos on my blog, because I try to suppress narcissistic urges and focus on content, but I thought it would be fun to include some from this event. 🙂

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pre-race

me

bows

slipnslide

getfoamy

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after

I know what you are thinking- we don’t look very dirty. Or muddy. And you’re not wrong. Foamy is a much better word to describe the result of this 5k. There was an equal mix of mud obstacles and foam obstacles, which pretty much washed away the evidence of me falling on my face in the first mud pit.

I loved it.

In other news, I have made zero progress on my October Bucketlist. Luckily I still have 17 days to work on that. As for what’s on the agenda for the rest of this week…I am doing a Painting & Vino class on Wednesday evening with some lovely coworkers and then this Saturday I will be attending Country Fest, a country music festival here in San Diego. I am SO excited for it! I also have some exciting news to share with you all about a new project I have in the works, but I will reveal that in a future post. Stay tuned!

I hope that you all enjoyed the pics! Have a wonderful week- get inspired, chase your ambitions, and dream big, beautiful things!

xoxo

Sarah

Week 4 of Self-Care September, That’s a Wrap!

It is officially the last day of September, and thus the end of Self-Care September! Wow, this month has flown by in a heartbeat! There really needs to be more days in the week…my vote is that we insert one in-between Saturday and Sunday, and we shall call it Saunday. Done.

Sorry for the ridiculousness, my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

Self-Care September has been a wonderful experience. I feel like have I accomplished the goals I set of focusing on myself, my wellness, and re-discovering my personal zen. Self-Care September really motivated me to be intentional about making time in my schedule for exercise, more conscious of how I spend my free time, and also reminded me to be kinder to myself.

Sometimes, we just need a reminder to slow down and take it easy. Or, when we find it impossible to slow down, we need a reminder to take a moment and allow ourselves room to be imperfect.

On the yoga front this week, I returned to my favorite Saturday morning spot at Trilogy Sanctuary, where the rooftop setting and ocean breeze always bring me to my happy place. I seriously cannot get enough of this venue- simply walking through the door makes me feel centered and serene.

Yoga

This class ended up being one of my absolute favorites that I have taken at the sanctuary so far. It was Vinyasa-style and led by Josiah, an instructor who’s technique is inspired by athleticism. He focuses on alignment and conscious adjustment to promote physical and spiritual awareness. The session ended up being an awesome combination of core strength training and breath-to-movement, focusing on flexibility and intentional positioning of your body through the poses.

After the class, everything felt lighter, tighter, and more focused.This class had a Zen Factor of 10/10, because I felt it accomplished everything a great yoga class should. I was completely connected throughout the entire session- mentally, physically, and spiritually. Mind, body, and spirit were one and it all just clicked. It was a breakthrough feeling.

In Week 4 of Self-Care September, the good definitely outweighed the bad. My biggest problem was, simply, not having enough time in the day. Shocker.  However, these problems aren’t even really problems. Self-Care September has taught me to focus on what is important, and allowed me to be okay with letting go of what isn’t.

These past 30 days have been all about intentionality, choosing what is healthy to focus on, and putting myself first.

This Week’s Triumphs…

  • 1 awesome yoga class. Come join me at Trilogy Sanctuary on Saturday mornings so you can experience the awesomeness too!
  • My blog turned 1! September 25th marked one whole year of blogging, and I couldn’t be happier at all the progress I have made on it.
  • Oil Change/Brake Replacement.Cause proper car maintenance is important, ya’ll!
  • Friend time. I took full advantage of the few hours of free time I have had lately, and let me tell you, some quality social interaction can be much more replenishing than any old nap. I’m so grateful for my friends and family, because they remind me of what’s important when I feel like I am about to lose it. 🙂

This Week’s Tribulations…

  • No days off. I am smack-dab in the middle of a 20 day work marathon. Lord, give me strength.
  • Inspiring Leadership Class. What’s that? Sorry Coursera, the class content hasn’t been interesting or stimulating enough to hold my dedication. I just don’t have the time.

What did 30 days of self-care teach me? That living with intention is crucial in all areas of life. That whether it is in regards to your exercise regimen, your career, or your relationships, you have to make time for what is important. That the areas you choose to focus on are the ones that will thrive. That yoga really is beneficial, in so many ways. That your dedication will pay off. That some progress, even in the tiniest increments, is better than none at all. And finally, it taught me that…

YouGetBetter

What do you do in order to challenge, to change, and to treat yourself? 

xoxo

Sarah

 

*Top image is also via Pinterest

Week 3 Wrap-Up

Week 3 of Self-Care September was a little less strenuous than Week 2. I finally had one glorious day off on Sunday, and it was perfect. I had brunch on the beach, watched some football, went cliff jumping!!!, and then ended the day sitting on the sand watching the sun go down.

San Diego is the best place to live.

The only imperfect part about Sunday was the yoga. I was all excited because I had gotten a voucher for a free week at a new studio in downtown La Jolla, and had picked out a yoga with weights class. I was up bright and early, ready to seize the day and conquer what I anticipated to be a little bit more challenging of a class.

The class was supposed to start at 8:15am and I arrived at about five till 8. Early enough to register and get settled in before the class began.

One problem: the doors were locked.

I double checked the schedule, which was posted on the door, and also looked online to make sure there weren’t any announcements about the class being cancelled. Nada. I waited around for another ten minutes, but to no avail. No-one showed up, and my big plans for yoga crumbled before my eyes.

So, I had to improvise. This was my day off, I didn’t have time to sit around being annoyed!

It was too late to try and find another yoga class in the area, and there was a fun day ahead of me to be had! I have a membership at 24 hour fitness, so I headed there instead. I hopped on the treadmill for cardio, and then did some self-guided yoga in a side room. No, it wasn’t very zen, but it was way better than not doing any at all.

I actually jumped off this!

Sunset Cliffs, the jumping spot!

This Week’s Triumphs…

  • Cliff jumping. Exhilarating. A little bit terrifying. And I can now officially cross this off of my bucketlist!
  • Adios, Living Social Coupon. The restaurant I serve at on the weekends was running a Living Social/Amazon Deals promotion which ended this week. We were slammed on Saturday with everyone coming in to claim it before it expired. Shifts have been stressful and never-ending for the past month. So. Happy. It’s. Done.
  • Another Chargers victory. This will mean excited fans at the stadium for next Sunday’s game…

This Week’s Tribulations…

  • Showing up to yoga class- and it’s cancelled.
  • Realizing I don’t have another day off until Sunday…3 weeks from now.
  • Not meeting my yoga goals. Frustrating, but there’s always Week 4! I have some exciting yoga classes planned.

My goals for Week 4 are: to appreciate the fact that Fall is finally here, maybe give in to the pumpkin spiced latte craze, and to try an aerial yoga class!

I hope that you all have an amazing week full of dreaming big, getting inspired, and living life to the fullest. 🙂

 

And here’s a bonus picture of Salem kickin’ back and hanging out, in case you needed a reminder on how to do life right. At least two of us in the household work hard….

Salem

xoxo

Sarah

Week 2 Wrap-Up

Week 2 of Self-Care September is already over, and I cannot believe how quickly this month is flying by. So much to do, and so little time! However, busy beats bored any day in my book.

Say it with me. Busy beats bored.

Being so over-committed in every area of my life made it difficult for me to bounce around for yoga this week, and I only made it to one class! Eek. However, I did make it back to the gym. TWICE! I think that somewhat balanced only having time for one yoga session, and by the time I got to it on Saturday morning I really needed it. I was tired from the work week, my muscles were sore from the gym sessions, and I was downright grumpy.

The yoga class I attended was interesting. Like usual, I had a new instructor. If you remember, Trilogy offers the free community class on Saturday mornings and has a different teacher each week, so you get lots of variation in the classes. This instructor focused much less on our physical form, and much more heavily on our mental focus. We spent a significant amount of time at the beginning and at the end of the class meditating. The class was great for brand new yogis, because the moves were as basic as you could get and the pace was slow.

The slow pace drove me nuts for a minute. Okay, maybe five. Once I finally settled in, I began to appreciate what this instructor was offering me. She nurtured our spirits, coaxed us on our energy, and made me more aware of my breathing than any other instructor has been able to. Initially, the cynic in me revolted (but only on the inside, while I tried to look the picture of serenity on the outside) to all the mushy stuff and talk of spirit energy. However, I did my best to quit being so judgmental and to allow what she was saying sink in; to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

Yoga is unique in that it doesn’t constantly need to be pushing your body physically in order to challenge you. The mind can get the work out.

This class got a Zen Factor of 9/10. It was a lot slower than I anticipated, and in all honesty I would have preferred it to be more challenging physically, but it definitely brought all the benefits someone practicing yoga could want: acceptance, patience, and inner peace.

The more classes I take, the better my body and I get to know each other. I’d say we understand each other a whole lot better now than we did even two weeks ago. The more classes I take, the less I hate my inflexibility. The more classes I take, I can stretch just a teensy bit deeper. I feel more connected, more adept, and more mold-able to the present moment.

My body is becoming more pliable. More resilient. Stronger. More accepting. And so are my mind and spirit.

This Week’s Triumphs…

  • 1 Yoga class. The format wasn’t what I thought I wanted, but it was just what I needed.
  • 2 gym trips. That’s two more than I’ve done in at least as many months. Go me.
  • Chargers win over the Seahawks. With 70,000 people in attendance and a temperature of 94 degrees in Qualcomm stadium, I had my hands full while working the game. However, we won the home opener! Which is huge. I love football season.  
Some Seahawks warming up (to lose) before Sunday's game.

Seahawks warming up (to lose) before Sunday’s game.

This Week’s Tribulations…

  • Over 60 hours worked between 3 jobs. One foot in front of the other. I’m hitting my goals, and I’m using that as motivation to keep me going. You’re only young once, right? 
  • Totally neglecting my Leadership class. I haven’t been connecting with the course material or format. The most useful part is the required readings. The homework just feels like busy work and not a true representation of our comprehension. Still not giving up. 
  • The heat. San Diego has been in the middle of what seems like a months-long heat wave, which is peaking today. It’s hot. It’s humid. It needs to end. 

Pursue Your Dreams

My goals for Week 3 are: to continue to make it to the gym, try out some new yoga spots, and to basically keep doing what I’m doing! I look forward to a much needed day off on Sunday. Sundays are the best days.

Work hard. Dream big. And never forget- you can do anything you put your mind to. 

xoxo

Sarah

*Top photo and quote are via Pinterest. 

Week 1 Wrap-Up

Week 1 of Self-Care September went beautifully! I have taken a variety of classes so far, including a heated power yoga class. Brave- I know. Each class has taught me something new; whether it be about my body (limitations and breakthroughs), or about my personal yoga preferences and what I am looking for in a particular class.

Most classes were great, some not so great. I found that the instructors made a huge difference in my experience. I thought it would be fun, and helpful, to rate each yoga location I have tried and to include the rating it in my review portion of the classes. I will call this rating the “Zen Factor”, and it goes like this…

Class Ambiance + Instructor Awesomeness = Zen Factor (on a scale of 1 to 10).

In addition to really enjoying the classes I have taken so far, I am beginning to feel improvement in my flexibility and focus. Regularly participating in the practice of yoga makes me feel much more at peace, probably because it literally forces me to sit, be quiet and put effort into stilling my mind. Plus, I am the exact right kind of sore in all the right places. It feels amazing. 

True to my word, all the classes I have taken so far have been completely free! Go me!

I first tried Trilogy Sanctuary, a new rooftop yoga studio located in downtown La Jolla. It is aptly named, offering gorgeous views in a unique and serene setting. I love this place to pieces. Every Saturday morning they offer a free community class suitable for all experience levels, and each class is taught by a different instructor. Varying the instructors offers a fresh perspective each time, giving me a chance to learn something new each time.

trilogy

The Zen Factor was a 10/10. The views were breathtaking, an ocean breeze cools you as you flow through your movements, and I really enjoyed the instructors. I felt connected and at peace each class! The instructors were knowledgeable and moved at a comfortable speed, allowing beginners (like me) the time to transition and offering pose variations to more experienced practitioners.

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Trilogy Sanctuary also features a cafe, where everything on their menu is 100% Organic, Vegan, and gluten free. After my first class, I gave the “Serenity” smoothie a try. It had Acai, blueberry, banana, almond milk, protein and goji berries. Yum. It was a little pricey, but totally worth it.

The cafe features a “Make a Wish” wall, where you can contribute your own wishes to the ones the yogis before you have already put up. I thought this added a creative and personal touch to an already charming atmosphere. I just wanted to hang out there all day!

wish


In addition to Trilogy Sanctuary, I tried out Corepower Yoga. Corepower offers a free, unlimited week to new students. I took a heated power, and a beginner corepower, class.

Corepower is appealing because they have locations everywhere, and the facilities are very accommodating. They give you a complimentary mat and towel to use on your first visit (I didn’t use their mat, I brought my own), and they also provide locks for the women’s locker room. This allows you to keep your purse out of the way, and safe, while you yoga. I definitely appreciated this.

What I didn’t love about Corepower was the generic feel of the studios, and the fact that the foam blocks smelled like sweat. The instructors were decent, but the classes were fast paced. The pace made the instructors seem rushed- which made me feel rushed and didn’t allow me to connect with my form much. Zen Factor was a 3/10.

As for the heated power yoga…

I was terrified to try it. But, as I learned, it really isn’t so bad! The studio is heated to 98°F, which isn’t scorching like hot yoga is at 105°F. Don’t get me wrong- I was dripping sweat constantly and it wasn’t glamorous, but it was a great workout. I could feel the calories sizzling off of my body! The heat in the room aided in my flexibility, and helped me to move more deeply into difficult positions. The important thing is to stay hydrated and to go at your own pace- I was definitely guilt free every time I stopped to use my towel.

The benefit of Corepower Yoga is that it is more workout oriented, which is great for muscle toning and fitness. I felt I efficiently targeted muscle groups during these classes, and I definitely would go back to get my sweat on. Just don’t walk in there expecting spiritual healing, because Corepower ain’t it.

Overall, week 1 was a huge success! I am proud of myself for pushing through the classes, and for challenging myself to try something new. I also love the progress I can see, and feel. I can’t wait to discover what Week 2 will bring!

ps. You can find out more about Trilogy Sanctuary and Corepower Yoga here and here.

What is your favorite type of yoga class to take, and what do you like to get out of the classes you do take? I would love to hear your input!

xoxo

Sarah

Failure, Progress, and Freedom.

Focus. Breathe. Tighten. Relax. Clear your mind. Tune in to your body. Drop your shoulders. Don’t forget to breathe, again.

I hear a seagull outside. Focus, Sarah.

Okay. Don’t drop your belly. Open up your hips. You’re not breathing, again.

That person next to me is really getting into that open-mouthed exhale…

One more breath in. One more breath out. Lean in.

Wait, did the instructor seriously just tell us to picture our internal organs squeezing and flushing out toxins?! That is disgusting. Great, now I can’t get the picture of my insides out of my mind…

This isn’t going so well.


My third yoga class of Self-Care September wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I had walked in confidently, my yoga mat tucked securely under my arm. As I set up my little zen spot, unrolling my mat on the floor and positioning my water bottle and towel beside me, I pictured how much better I would be in this class. I was ready. Ready to execute the moves a little more accurately, ready to deepen my extension, and ready to start to get the hang of this whole yoga thing.

That’s not how it went.

My body wasn’t responding to my instruction, my mind wasn’t clearing, and all I could think about was how terrible I am at this whole yoga thing. Crap.

The instructor came over to adjust my form. She lightly pressed her hands on my hips and shoulders, gently repositioning me. As soon as her hands dropped away, so did my confidence. I was trying, but it wasn’t working. As I transitioned from one pose to the next, trying my best to breathe and flow through the movements, I couldn’t arrest the thoughts. Anxiety about work, how my day had gone, and what was still left on my to-do list clouded my focus. I pressed on anyway.

Why wasn’t this working? This was my third class of the week! I should be seeing improvement by now!

As my frustration mounted, I took a look around. I realized I wasn’t the only one needing to drop down to my knees, and I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t entirely, 100% focused. I breathed a little easier. I inhaled, then exhaled. Deeply and completely.

That’s when the acceptance set in.

Suddenly, I accepted that my body wasn’t doing miraculous things on my third class of yoga. I acknowledged the tightness in my muscles that I could not fight, the disquiet in my mind I could not rest. I realized that I was holding on to a resentment towards myself for not being where I wanted to be, yet, and I let it go.

Holy crap was that freeing.

I let go of the feelings of inadequacy. I let go of hating the fact that I wasn’t as strong or as sure as some of the other class participants. I let go of these expectations I had for myself, and I settled in. I focused on doing each movement as best as I could, forgetting about the fact that the best I could do wasn’t very good at all, at the moment.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Letting acceptance flow freely in, frustration and self-doubt flow freely out.

Before I knew it, the class was coming to an end. In a seated position, I pressed my hands together in front of my heart and I took the deepest bow I could manage; giving thanks to the class, to my body, and to the experience. I wiped off the sweat, rolled up my mat, and tucked it back up under my arm as I walked out.

I had finished the rest of the class. I didn’t finish it perfectly, not one little bit, but I finished.

So many times I have left a workout feeling defeated. Mad, frustrated, disappointed. This time was different. No, I didn’t love the class and I didn’t love the instructor and I didn’t love my performance. What I did love, even though it felt like I fumbled my way through the entire 60 minutes, was leaving that class feeling like an accomplishment. Somehow, in failing, I had still made progress.

And you know how I felt? I felt light. I felt open. I felt rejuvenated. I felt free.

I was calm and grateful; grateful for the emotions I had experienced, for the respect I had given my body by showing up, and for the opportunity to learn something more about myself.  I felt ready to do it all again.

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I can’t wait to get back on my mat.

What is your favorite type of yoga to practice? Do you have a favorite class that you take, or have you ever had any difficulties similar to mine? 

xoxo

Sarah

*All photos pictured are via Pinterest.

September is for Self-Care

Hello everyone! I hope that you all had an absolutely fabulous holiday weekend. I know that I did! It is rare for me to get two days off in a row, and I took full advantage of them! I went to the beach, rode bikes along the boardwalk, miraculously avoided a sunburn, cuddled with the pup, and tried out a Kava tea lounge for the first time! It was a spontaneous and relaxing weekend.

Hanging out with one of the roomies on Labor Day. We all need to take a note out of Salem's book on how to relax.
Hanging out with Salem on Labor Day. We all need to take a note out of her book on how to relax.

As nice as it was, a day off always leaves me feeling behind. If I’m being honest, I’ve felt behind for the past six months- and that’s a conservative estimate.

First, there was the new job and the new schedule. There was the adjusting to an exhausting commute that took two hours each way, to and from work, via public transportation. Then, there was the buying of the new car and all the lovely headaches that come along with such a purchase, and the kissing goodbye to every penny of my savings. August was the icing on the cake, culminating in the kickoff of my seasonal job with the San Diego Chargers, a best friend’s wonderful wedding weekend, and the start of an online class.

Whew.

In all of my busy-bee-ness, my fitness regimen has fallen by the wayside. And when I say it has fallen by the wayside, I mean to say that it is completely non-existent.

It is so easy to sacrifice ourselves, our time, and our bodies for something or someone else.

I think it is time for me to get back to the basics and make physical wellness a top priority. I must re-focus on taking care of my body and nurturing my spirit to give myself the attention I’ve been sorely lacking since I got too wrapped up in the whirlwind of life.

You see, I get so distracted with taking care of all the things I think I absolutely must do in each day, I forget to incorporate the things that my body needs to thrive. I’m so busy taking care of everything else, I’ve been forgetting to take care of myself. Without even realizing it, I have let myself become second priority.

But don’t you worry! I have a solution, and the solution is Self-Care September30 days of intentionality, focused on giving my body the attention it so badly needs and deserves. To treat myself with respect, kindness, and more than a little TLC.  I’m determined to find my zen, people! Sorry, that was a little aggressive. See, I need this!

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Practicing yoga is something I have always wanted to do regularly but never really made time for. I attend a class here and there, and I guess I haven’t gotten more into it because my flexibility is a joke.

Publicly demonstrating my lack of grace (I’m not even sure I pull off a convincing Downward Facing Dog) isn’t exactly confidence building. However, yoga is one of the best ways to de-stress, re-center, and improve my aforementioned inflexibility. The practice of yoga isn’t just for the flexible, it’s for the willing. It isn’t about how well you do the moves, it’s about honoring your body, being in the present moment, and personal growth. So, I’m going for it.

After all, I can only improve right? What do I have to lose? Nothing.

getonyourmat

My main goal this month is to yoga my way through San Diego, for free. You heard me- no memberships, no Groupon deals, no money spent whatsoever. I will be taking advantage of every free class and promotional offer I can find. I will chronicle my adventures here for your entertainment, and I will also be including information and links to the classes I take. This way, you can take advantage too!

I am aiming for 2-3 classes per week. Maybe I will make it to more, maybe less. Maybe I’ll even go running more, maybe I won’t. The point is that I’m not letting myself stress about it, because I’ve done enough stressing and squeezing things in to my schedule for one year.

Summer is drawing to a close, Starbucks has already released their Pumpkin Spiced Latte (a little early in my opinion) and the first day of fall is fast approaching. A new season is a great opportunity to start fresh with a whole new set of intentions, and I plan on embracing that to the fullest. September has officially been dedicated to self-care, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I encourage you all to get on your mat and join me! Namaste 🙂

 xoxo

Sarah

*No- those are not my feet, but the photo can be found on Pinterest. Super flexible girl pictured above is also not me, and is also via Pinterest- not that you needed clarification on that.