Honor is not a word I usually hear throughout the yoga world and in spiritual conversations. It is a word often heard in relationship to the armed services or someone who has won an award. I’m hoping this blog post will shed a light on how honor can shift your perspective and open your heart, as it did mine.
The definition of honor is…
high respect; esteem.
“his portrait hangs in the place of honor”
“the great poet of whom it is my honor to speak tonight”
I have been using this word a lot more in communication with my wedding clients over on my sister business, Hand-Painted Weddings. To be honest, I picked it up from watching way too many episodes of “Fixer Upper”. At the end of each episode when the clients are over-the-moon with how happy they are at the work Joanna and Chip did, Chip always says, “it’s been a real honor to make this house a home for you”, or something along those lines…always with the word “honor”.
A few months ago I read “The Magnolia Story” on audio (highly recommend!) and in Joanna and Chip’s words, it went through the audio biography of their lives, how they became a couple and all the trials and tribulations they went through as entrepreneurs. It was not only inspiring to see what a power couple they are together and the love they share for the process and each other, but what I found the most awe-inspiring was how humbled they were. They truly saw God in it all and gave gratitude to him for all the lessons and blessings.
Through their humbleness and connection to spirit, I now see the word “honor” less as a word for high respect or esteem but as a privilege as it relates to gratitude. When I tell my clients it is an honor to create something for them, I’m sure it feels good to them, but it feels even better to me. It makes me want to put my hand on my heart when I say it. This is because of the feeling of love that radiates from my heart when I recognize the gratitude and privilege it is to serve others and create something that they can use to open their own hearts.
As we start this week off, I want to start it with deep and divine gratitude to be able to create for you, and maybe even inspire you. I am honored to write this message for you today. If this resonates with you, I’d encourage you to try using honor in a sentence to a client or someone you work for, and please let me know if your heart beams a little brighter too.
Recent news of Kate Spade’s suicide and our responsibility to one another
I’m struggling with the recent news of talented accessories designer, Kate Spade’s suicide. I’m definitely not a fashionista, but in college my first brand name bag was a little red Kate Spade handbag, and I’ve always admired the watercolor artwork she uses in her branding.
When anyone passes away in the limelight it sets a ripple effect to an entire population reminding us of how fragile life is and how there are people around us that are truly suffering. I believe it is not in our place to judge the struggles each one of us is going through. Everyone has struggles. It’s how we take them on—it’s how we let them flow through our being—it’s how we relate to them…that makes us the people we are.
We live such busy lives with so many distractions it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the empathy we hold for other people’s struggles. On the other side it is hard to share our own struggles with people and let people in. We all walk around with these invisible barriers. Yoga is a practice that tries to build the body, mind and heart stronger while opening the heart to empathize and connect with others.
Two years ago, I was going through one of those big struggles in my life, and I told as little people as possible. I didn’t even tell my parents for a month until it escalated. My struggles were in my relationship as I found out I was pregnant. That relationship is now over…the struggle was real. I didn’t want to burden people with my issues. My practice of yoga helped me to remain strong inside—where it counted—with my baby, but I still struggled to let people really see me. I had the best distraction in the world. When people would ask me how I was doing, I would talk about the pregnancy. We do that I believe—distract others from the truth. How many people respond with how busy they are at work when asked how they are these days? Yes, but what is happening one layer down. How does that busyness feel?
My hope is while we let the news of Kate Spade’s suicide flow through our consciousness we take this moment to open our eyes. To ask the follow up question to that “busy” answer and ask how that busyness really feels, and take this opportunity to truly connect with one another. We are not here to help people with their struggles, but we are here together to support one another.
Open your eyes. Open your heart.
This blog post was originally posted on the Heart Center Collective.
Pre-natal connection and faith
As I walk out of yoga today, I take a moment to consider my breathing. Despite nearly 8 years of a dedicated yoga practice, shallow breathing continues to be my go-to rather than yoga breathing or belly breathing. I believe my shallow breathing habit probably stems from poor posture growing up hunching, which may be a physical manifestation to protect my sensitive heart. Through yoga, I have uncovered a belief that our bodies hold clues; I believe the shallow breathing and protected heart posture are my clues that this is an area I will be working to open in my life.
The other part of my story is that I am currently 7 1/2 months pregnant with a sweet baby boy. This is my first pregnancy and I have certainly applied what I have learned from yoga into this process because quite frankly, being pregnant takes a lot of faith. Just yesterday I had an ultrasound and have learned that my sweet baby is underweight and they are concerned he isn’t getting the nutrients he needs. Beyond the numerous doctors visits I will now need to attend, the biggest thing I can do is have faith….and to breathe.
But sometimes fear is interlaced with magic. As I lay at the doctor’s office yesterday with an ultrasound technician monitoring my baby’s lungs to make sure he is “breathing” (note: babies in utero simulate breathing but their first breath actually takes place at birth), panic begins to set in as the minutes tick by. The technician tells me that they allow 30 minutes for this activity in order to pass the test—30 minutes! Every minute that goes by, my breathing becomes shallower and harder to control as my worry rises. At the 25 minute mark I lay back and say aloud, “That’s okay baby. I’m not very good at breathing either.”, and he takes that long-awaited breath and passes the test. It is quite magical really. My connection to him is so strong that I just needed to connect to him and he connected back. The other magical part is what can happen when we surrender to our faith.
My breath connection to my baby reminds me that panic and worry can bring my focus outside myself; while surrender and faith will always bring me back. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Note: I gave birth to my beautiful, healthy son 5 days after this post was published. He was premature 6 weeks and 2 days and thanks to the help of the NICU doctors and nurses prospered and grew strong until he was ready to come home.
Insight into my Scattered Mind
As my attention goes from purchasing a dress for an upcoming event to addressing the envelopes for a wedding client of mine to making plans to see a comedy show with friends this coming weekend, I can’t help but get a glimpse of a pattern in my day-to-day life. This pattern appears in the form of multitasking, ambition, and sensory overload. None of these things are particularly harmful, and can be great tools to use in order to accomplish change in life. Where I feel it is becoming harmful to me is when it distracts me from the connections I make with myself and my intuition from within.
I have studied the Myers-Brigg Personality study as well as Jung’s Typology test, and have found great insight into my own personality type, the INFJ. The INFJ, for those that don’t know, stands for Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging. I could write a whole blog post on the intricacies of these four characteristics, but for the sake of this post, I want to focus on the Intuitive characteristic. The personality test I took gave percentage degrees related to each of the characteristics, and my Intuition came in at 98%. Clearly, intuition is a big strength of mine. So this brings me back to my point from earlier…why don’t I let it manifest to its fullest potential in my day-to-day life?
What I’m learning is that even though my intuition is a great gift, it doesn’t mean I don’t need to practice it. Same could be said of olympic gymnasts. It is a rarity to have such physical gifts as a gymnast, but that doesn’t mean that they can simply do gymnastics (and not injure themselves) without practice, and even a trainer to guide them along the way. Sometimes I forget the power of practice. It is so easy to see the accomplishments of others and not see the failures, practice, and work that was laid out prior to the visible accomplishments people market to the world.
One of my intuitions is that Hand-Painted Yoga is my opportunity to connect with myself and others, that is why I have decided to start blogging and sharing more—as a practice of looking within. I don’t believe one of my gifts is writing, so I appreciate your kindness as I start this journey and practice the art of connecting with you. Namaste.
Artwork by Hand-Painted Yoga