My daughter is so tender-hearted and loving and brings me joy every day. I have always called her my Lovey.
Kids have loveys, too – stuffed animals, pacifiers or blankets that bring them comfort and soothe them in stressful situations.
But it’s not jut moms and kiddos that have (or even need) loveys! Sometimes having that item of comfort helps us re-center and connect to our deeper self and soothe our soul.
This may sound odd, but if you think about it, you totally know what I’m talking about! Have a favorite sweater? How about your coffee mug? Maybe it’s your pen or special notebook or lap blanket or even a favorite movie you’ve seen a zillion-and-five times. It can also be things like your yoga practice, or running, or taking a long walk by yourself – I LOVE those!
The point is, we find comfort in certain things. And recognizing this is good.
It’s all grey and rainy in Phoenix today. This is a rare thing here in the Valley of the Sun. And it’s wonderful! And, it also makes me want to snuggle up and be comfortable – full of comfort. Today, it’s going to be my ultra-soft fleece jacket. It’s just one simple way to care for myself.
As the rain nurtures the earth, I will take it as a cue to nurture myself. A little extra kindness. A little extra grace. A little extra love.
I love Thanksgiving Day. There’s something wonderful about getting up at 5:00am in the quiet of the morning to wash and prepare the bird. It brings me great joy to offer this work of my hands with love for those who will eat it later in the day. In just a couple of hours the house will be a-bustle with husband and kids up and the rest of the cooking frenzy will begin.
I hear the heating elements in the oven click on and off and the coffee maker percolating. These sounds soothe me in a special way that ushers in the holiday season for me with gentleness and a few quiet moments to pause and be grateful. Grateful for all the lesson of this year – which are many. Some of them learned through laughter and others through tears. Each one immeasurable valuable and precious.
This year has taught me much regarding myself. I have learned how to feel like I belong here on this planet (thank you Brian). I have learned that indeed I DO have something to offer humanity (thank you Kristy). I have learned that I can decide something for myself and that I really am the only person who knows for sure what’s best for me (thank you Peggy). I have learned how to better express my thoughts and emotions (thank you Amanda). I have learned how to facilitate my own personal growth (thank you Ted). I have learned how to ask for help (thank you Joey). I have learned that I am radiant (thank you Suzanne). I have learned there is nothing wrong with me and I am not broken (thank you Panache Desai). I have learned how to speak my truth (thank you to a whole host of people who have helped me with this one!). I have even learned how to cry (thank you self). Which has, in turn, taught me how to laugh (thank you to all those in my life who bring me things to laugh about).
And for each and every one of these things I have learned, I am deeply grateful. The kind of grateful that brings beautiful tears to my eyes. It is my hope that in learning all these lessons, I have more to offer to you, my friends, my family, my readers.
What lessons have you learned this year? For what are you grateful beyond measure? Take a moment to reflect and express gratitude for these things, and if you are so inclined, I would love for you to share them here. So we can all be grateful with you.
Even the word can make us start to get a little nervous.
Want to know what I’m afraid of? Or at least used to be afraid of…well, let me tell you a little story…
This summer my family took a dream vacation to a beautiful island in the Caribbean. We experienced all kinds of cool things that week, but what I want to tell you about today is my first time to go scuba diving.
I must pause here to warn you that I will likely say I was “freaking out” about 34 times in the next paragraphs. Reader – be warned!
The first day was dive training day. We spent most of the day in the diving pool. We learned about the gear, how to get it all set up and put it on. We learned how to breathe with the regulator (the thing you put in your mouth) and each of us went to the bottom of the pool for a few minutes to learn how to take the regulator out, put it back in, clear our mask if/when it filled up with water, and how to adjust our buoyancy so we were neutral in the water – neither sinking nor floating.
When it was my turn, I got all my gear on and was feeling pretty good about everything. That is, until the first time I actually had to GO UNDERWATER and BREATHE! To say that panic set in would be a massive understatement. I began to freak out (for the first of the 34 times)! I could not comprehend any thoughts other than – “breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.”
Another pause – I’d like to note here that I am something of a “professional” breather. : ) I am a yoga trainer and so I teach all kinds of breathing techniques and practice them ALL THE TIME. I have spent hours upon hours focusing on my breath, breathing, and teaching other people how to teach other people how to breathe. It’s kind of my thing. That’s partly why this whole situation caught me quite off-guard. But anyway…
So, not knowing what he had gotten himself into, our trainer/friend, Ted, thought it might be a nice idea to let me sit on the ledge and just breathe for about 15 minutes. So I did. And it was a full 10 minutes before I was able to even look around the pool. I was seriously disoriented and scared out of my mind. So far, so good, right?
When it was time to go down to the bottom of the pool to practice, it took me about three tries just to get down there and stay down without hitting my jet-pack button to shoot me straight to the top! On the third try, I was able to get over it (kinda) and stay down there long enough to go through the exercises. And surprisingly, it went ok. I felt ok. I WAS ok. I think I can do this! After the rest of the fam had their turns, I had a second turn. Shoot. Same thing – freak out and panic twice, go all the way down on try number three. But this time I felt even more comfortable on the bottom. By the time we were done, I was feeling ready to give it a try the next day in the actual OCEAN.
Little did I know how much WORK it was going to be to get to the place where we would begin the actual dive! We did a beach entry and kicked out a pretty good ways (200 yards-ish) to a buoy to drop down. This was so much harder than I could have imagined! I am a very buoyant person, so I had a LOT of weights on my weight belt which made my hips feel like they weighed about 20 pounds more than they actually do. Also, those air tanks are not light! With the vest and the air tank and all the weights on my belt, I felt like I would most certainly sink if I didn’t kick like my life depended on it. By the time we got to the buoy, I was utterly exhausted! I couldn’t get on top of my breathing, I was taking in salt water like it was going out of style and this is when I started to REALLY freak out.
My friend Ted was with me and he was doing an awesome job with the small talk to keep my mind off the feeling that I was about to drown. But when he stopped and asked how I was doing, I didn’t really know what to say. I wanted to take the vest off and swim to shore and forget the whole thing right then and there. I started to think I wasn’t going to be able to do this after all. But, I REALLY did want to do it! So, trying to be a big girl, I said that I was mostly ok, but having a hard time because I was feeling like I was sinking and I was taking in too much water, and also, I couldn’t breathe so well. He asked me if I had sunk to the bottom yet. Well, no. I guess not. So, you ARE floating then, right? Yes. Ok….I guess that’s true. And then he had a brilliant idea – go ahead and put the regulator in my mouth and start breathing so I could stop swallowing water and maybe calm down a bit. It worked pretty well. I was able to stop freaking out and panicking and felt somewhat better. As a last-ditch-effort to get me to follow through with the whole thing, Ted said he would hold my hand. That sealed the deal for me. I would at least try. Ok. Now to drop down. We descended. About 10-12 feet down, I started freaking out again. Up I went. I fixed my mask, adjusted my vest, regained my composure. Ok. I’m ok. Let’s try again. We went down again and I made it to the bottom, which was only about 20 feet at this point. We stayed there for awhile. I got my bearings. I looked around. I realized it was pretty down there. REALLY pretty. I calmed down. I realized I was breathing just fine. Ok. let’s swim.
I’d love to say that I fully embraced the experience and was able to let go of Ted’s hand and swim freely and…and…and. The truth of the matter is that I held Ted’s hand in a vice grip almost the entire time. I’m not sure if he has fully re-gained the feeling in that hand yet! Most of the dive I was thinking, “You’re ok. Keep breathing. Oooh that’s pretty. You’re ok. Keep breathing. Wow, look at that! Ok. You’re ok. Keep breathing. Hey, this is pretty cool!”
And before I knew it, it was time to head back in to the shore. Wow. I DID IT! I overcame panic and fear and uncertainty and DID IT! I felt so proud of myself! I felt amazing!
We went diving one more time that week. I faced the same fears, the same freaking out. the same panicky feelings, the same uncertainty. BUT, this time, I KNEW I could do it. I relaxed a bit more. I enjoyed it more. I even swam by myself (most of the time)! It truly was an amazing experience.
Here’s what I have learned since then. Facing my fears that day transformed me in ways that are still “coming to the surface.” I have more confidence in who I am and in what I can do. I now know that I can stand up to something that is hard or scary or that seems impossible for me and keep going anyway! I learned how to regain my composure even when I’m terrified and think things through and make empowering choices.
I am so glad I didn’t take the vest off and swim to shore. That would have been easier, of course. And no one would have blamed me. Diving can be scary; it’s not for everyone. But I would have missed out. I would have missed beautiful scenery for sure, but I would have missed so much more than that. I would have let fear win and wouldn’t have felt the joy and accomplishment of facing my fear and overcoming it. I would have missed the things I learned about myself down there.
One of the most common things people say to me when they walk into yoga class for the first time is this, “I just want to warn you, I can’t touch my toes.” Or even better, “I shouldn’t really be here, I’m SO inflexible.” I always try to reassure people when they feel unsure. These things just take time.
A few weeks ago, I could have said the same kinds of things in a different arena…
I am learning something new right now.
I am learning how to start a business that is primarily virtual. I’ve had a couple of those party-model businesses (Creative Memories, anyone?) and even a brick-and-mortar type business (yoga studio), but never a business that was pretty much dependent on the world-wide-web (the information super-highway, the internet) for its existence.
But, I didn’t know how to do it at first (and am still learning). As I looked at what it would take to get the thing up and going and making money, I was stumped. So I read a bunch of stuff and talked to some people. Then I realized that I still didn’t really know enough to make it fly. So, I enrolled myself in a course on how to create an online business (with Hibiscus Moon) because I needed some help and some guidance.
On the first day of the course, I wanted to scream (virtually, of course) that “I don’t know what I’m doing! I shouldn’t really be here because this is my first time at online business and I don’t know how to set up my online marketing!”
It’s felt kinda like walking into yoga class and being worried that you can’t touch your toes.
OF COURSE YOU CAN’T TOUCH YOUR TOES THE FIRST TIME YOU WALK INTO YOGA CLASS! (well, actually you can…but that’s another discussion for another day)
It’s kind of funny how we come to class expecting to already know or be able to do what the class is teaching. We expect ourselves to be experts at everything.
I would like to suggest that we be gentle with ourselves. Like the kind of gentleness we would have for our best friend or our child as they try something really hard for the first time. When it’s someone else, we absolutely give them room and permission to fail a million times in the trying. We encourage them and give them helpful advice (if we have any) and know that they will get it!
What if we took that same encouraging spirit and applied to our self the next time we walk into yoga class, or a business training, or trying meditation or whatever it is we want to do? Imagine the freedom we would feel if we knew it was ok to not already know how to do it! Imagine how we wouldn’t feel pressured to perform if we truly believed it was ok to mess up the first zillion times! My goodness, I dare say we might even ENJOY learning something new!
I have learned a ton and know I will learn a ton more. And I am having a GREAT time – with the trying, the failing, the trying again and everything in between.
What new thing is coming up in your world? Where can you show yourself some grace and support as you learn?
It’s time for FALL cleaning! Yes, I said what I meant – FALL cleaning! Here in the Grand Canyon State (Arizona, in case that little bit of info escaped somewhere) summer can be REALLY hot and so we either stay inside to avoid it at all costs or get out there in our bikinis and slather on the (organic) sunscreen and make the most of it. I actually happen to LOVE the temps the hotter they get (strange, but true), but even my desert-loving self doesn’t do a lot of deep cleaning in the summer and certainly NO clutter control. It’s just too darn hot.
Well, fall is here and it’s nice enough to open the windows and enjoy the breeze! So, I have been doing a little fall cleaning. What I notice is that when I clear out the space clutter, it also allow me to do a bit of mental and spiritual clutter.
I know this can be kinda overwhelming sometimes, so I have decided to give a step-by-step of how I do it and maybe something will speak to you. AND…if you have a great fall cleaning tip, I’d LOVE to hear it in the comments so I can learn a little something from YOU!
Step 1: JUST START! Don’t spend too much time THINKING about cleaning, that will guarantee that NOTHING will get done but a trip to the mall!
Step 2: Stay with it until it’s clean AND put back together! My tendency is to flit from one room to another and do 1-2 things in each room and then at the end of the day, everything feels KINDA better, but not really. I have learned that I feel SO MUCH BETTER if I just pick a room and do the WHOLE THING until it is done, dusted, and put back together COMPLETELY. My favorite starting place is either my closet or the garage shelves since those two get the least day-to-day attention.
Step 3: Drink WATER! You know how after you get a massage they tell you to drink plenty of water because of all the toxins that just got cleaned out? Well…when we’re fall cleaning, we are ALSO cleaning out all sorts of toxins, so….DRINK WATER (even if you think that sounds totally ridiculous for a reason, and it is admittedly not proven scientifically, drink it anyway. Drinking water is good for you!)
Step 4: When it’s all done, stand back and CELEBRATE! All that work deserves some appreciation! At the very least, take a moment to celebrate by yourself. But I think it makes perfect sense to invite friends and family to take a gander as well!
So, are you ready? Begin with Step 1: JUST START!
I used to have this GREAT job. I worked for a small company that provides resources and consulting for nonprofits. I had the privilege of helping create the company and poured my heart and soul into the thing. My boss (and friend) was the BEST at accommodating my crazy schedule with two kiddos and sporadic travel related to my “side gig” and I couldn’t have asked for better work-mates. I tell ya, I LOVED this job!
You see, I have been on this massive transformational journey that has come to into full-color over the last year. I experienced a dragonfly (check that out here), I went to a YogaFit conference that completely blew me away as I learned even more about stones and oils and meditation, and I had some amazing conversations around a fire pit with this guy and his amazing wife (www.tedbaird.com) that helped me frame and shape all the things I was learning. I have stretched. I have grown. I have struggled. I have wrestled. And…
And, as a result, I have learned and experienced so many new things that I just KNEW could have HUGE impact for other people if I could just carve out enough time to tell the story and create the container for some time and space to explore and grow and learn together. But the truth was I just couldn’t get all that done while I was working at my job, no matter how awesome it was. So I quit.
Since then (late June 2014), I have been working to get this site up and running and learn all kinds of cool new stuff about creating a blog people might actually like to read and how to offer retreats and other stuff that would be appealing as well. This has been a fun journey, too. Full of twists and turns and frustrations and joys (as is all of life, right?).
I am planning my first retreat for the spring in Sedona, AZ (a truly gorgeous place) most likely in March and those details will be coming as soon as all the moving pieces are all settled in place and I truly hope you can come join me. We will have a blast!
Thanks for hanging out. I can hardly wait to meet you in person!
If you’ve been with me since the beginning (two months running now!), some of this will be familiar. But I thought this might be a nice time to share a bit more about myself for those who are just stopping in. An introduction (or reintroduction) of sorts…
Name: Jenn Tarrant
Fun Facts: I love telling stories (with ALL the details), my favorite fall beverage is a Soy Salted Caramel Black and White Mocha with Whip, Caramel Sauce and the Salt Topping (go big or go home, right?), my toenails are painted a minimum of 363 days a year, Disney movie quotes make up a strong 15% of my daily conversation, and I divide my gum in half when I chew it so neither side of my mouth feels left out (I know, there’s help…).
Free Time Activities: reading, taking long walks, coffee with friends, making jewelry
Roots: Born and raised in Oklahoma City, 3 years in Texas, living in Phoenix, AZ for the past 14 years
Favorite Fact About Myself: (I always have about three favorites for anything and everything) – I love to laugh, I am a great teacher, I am a pretty darn good designer!
I have had a wild ride figuring out who I am and why I am the way I am and thought I must surely NOT be the only person who has experienced a journey like this. BUT, I am not sure how many others are sharing their stories and bringing other people along with them. Regardless, no one else has my EXACT story and so, if some find their own path to transformation through me sharing my story, I am super excited to be a part of THAT!
The way I see things, we are ALL on a transformational journey. Some of us embrace it, some of us go to the nearest hide-y hole and wait for this whole thing called life to be over as fast as possible, and a lot of us fall somewhere in between. This blog is for those of us in the middle; particularly those who recognize transformation is a good idea, but for any variety of reasons are apprehensive to jump in or don’t quite know where to start or are unsure if we are truly amazing enough to invest all that effort. I have news for us all – WE ARE BRILLIANT BEYOND MEASURE! (thank you Marianne Williamson for that quote of awesomeness!) Let’s hang out and make our full-color transformations together, okie dokie?
I have a lot going on right now (who doesn’t, right?), but I am probably most excited about launching the Facebook aspect of Iridescent Dragonflies and generating lots of new friends to share this awesome transformational journey! Other than that, I have mostly been working my own transformation like it’s going out of style. I am learning all kinds of things about myself and have found that I actually LIKE me and am excited to be meeting new people who are interested in the same things I am and helping each other out along the way. Living life is pretty stinkin’ exciting right now, I have to say!
Far and away it is this: YOU are worth your own investment. YOU are worth sharing with others. YOU have a message to share that WE need to hear. YOU are too AWESOME to miss! So get with it and start your iridescent transformation already!
Just to clarify right off the bat, I do not now and have not ever been a drug-user. : ) But today, when I went to compulsively check the Facebook feed (don’t pretend I’m the only one, because I know I’m not!), I realized I have a “drug problem.” It’s not a pill I pop in my mouth, but it is my “drug of choice” I “use” to fill the emptiness, to numb the challenging feelings, to escape my reality for a few minutes. So, what’s your “drug of choice”?
I don’t think this is something we have to get all judgmental on ourselves about. But it is great awareness to have. What do I turn to when I think I can’t handle the day? What keeps me from experiencing what’s happening right here, right now? When I was scrolling through that Facebook feed, I came across a friend who posted that she had deleted the FB app off her phone simply because she realized she filled ALL the little gaps in her day with it. So, she got a bigger purse and put a BOOK in there to READ in her spare moments! What a concept! I am so inspired I am considering doing the same thing (thank you Skila, you trend setter)! You can check out other Skila-amazingness here: www.skilatheyoaggirl.com
So, thanks to Skila’s inspiration, I have decided to pause before I reach for my phone, or open my computer, or grab a chocolate, or any of those things that distract me from this moment and ask myself WHY I am doing so. If it’s because I am “using” it to take my attention away from my family or my friends or even my breath? If so, I intend to PUT IT DOWN and choose to simply “be” in this wonderful moment that has been given to me as a beautiful gift.
We have a bit of an obsession in our culture. It’s called overachieving. And we have grown to believe deep, deep down that if we are not OVERachieving, we are not achieving anything at all.
Why do I know this? Because I do it. All. The. Time.
Those closest to me (and probably anyone within a 53 mile radius) can attest to the sad-but-true fact that I cannot seem to slow down EVER. Despite my best efforts and telling myself little-white-lies about how I didn’t really do THAT much today, I am an obsessive over-achiever with the best of ’em.
So, I decided to try something new…UNDERachieving. Yep, for the past six weeks it has been my sole purpose to figure out what it means to be bored. Scheduling as little as possible and even SITTING ON THE COUCH!!!! (Hence the lack of posts here of late…)
Did I do it? Well, yes and no. As I look back, I see days when I have no idea what I did because it was certainly nothing measurable! But I also look back and see that I still did a fair amount of over-scheduling, I went on a whirlwind trip to New Orleans for 5 days, and last week I had something on the schedule – every. single. day.
So, um…why do I say I accomplished the goal? Because I was aware. Because I DID change some of my frenetic habits. Because I spent some of those days releasing clutter from my life (thank you Beth Shaw and YogaLean for the prompt on this one!). Because I returned to my practice of sitting in meditation twice a day. Because I made a concentrated effort to actually experience my experiences (thanks Ron Martoia). And because I came out of denial and owned my overachieving craziness and decided to LOVE MYSELF ANYWAY! And, I think that last little bit on self-love actually released some of my need to overdo it all the time.
Here’s a challenge – try it for yourself. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of taking a six-week trial or don’t want to, but set a time that works for you and explore what it looks and feels like to do less, and sit more, and watch the clouds roll by (it’s called practicing awareness). It’s pretty amazing what we see when we take the time to release the need for achieving. I’d love to hear what happens! Leave a comment below or email me!