What Do You Value?

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To be brutally honest, I am in the middle of a quarter-life crisis.  I have a stable, successful career ahead of me if I continue on my current trajectory – but I have no idea whether or not I want to!  Almost every day I think of some new job or career that sounds fun, so I research the heck out of it, only to find that it is not as ideal as I originally imagined…  I’m so preoccupied with how I should live my life that I’m missing out on living my life!  So I’ve had to take a step back in order to decide, to make a true decision, and purse the career ahead of me.

The step back I took was to figure out my values and after finding them, I can see whether my life aligns with those values.  But how does someone figure out their values?!  For that, I needed a little help.  This help came in the form of a values worksheet which contained a list of 40 common values.  I normally hate these cookie-cutter types or worksheets.  They tend to generalize us humans whereas each of us is so ridiculously unique that no one word can describe ourselves accurately.  But for starters, this worksheet got me brainstorming.

I iteratively perused this worksheet.  First, I went through crossing off the values that definitely did not apply to me, namely: adventure, assertiveness, excitement, intimacy, supportiveness… not that these are bad values, just that they are not what I value most in my life.

I went through again – this time looking at what sort of applied to me.  I circled fairness, health, independence, dedication, humor, honesty, organization, persistence, commitment, skillfulness, loyalty.  Then I brainstormed.  These values definitely applied to me, but they didn’t encompass my whole self.  I thought about the environments I thrived in, I thought about how much success I found in grad school, this purely academic environment.  I thought about the reason I chose to become an engineer: because I love math and science.  I thought about how my best weeks at work are the ones I spend in a class or training rather than in my office.  So I added my own values: knowledge, learning, education, and intelligence.

Okay, so there were my values.  But it didn’t paint a clear picture of who I was.  There was simply too much going on still (which violated one of my top values: organization!).  So it was time to consolidate.

Well, several of my values seemed to be very similar: dedication, persistence, commitment, loyalty.  So I lumped them together under dedication.

Health seemed to be very unique, and nothing could consolidate under it, but it could not be eliminated either.  I highly value health/wellness/fitness.  I spend a huge chunk of everyday working towards excellent health and learning about how to be even healthier.  So health stayed on the list.

Independence was another unique value… but this one didn’t seem to be very present in my current life, and that frustrated me.  When I think of my ideal self, I see a strong, unique, independent woman.  I thought, perhaps this is one of the values I need to bring back in order to get more satisfaction out of my life.  So I kept independence.

Humor was another unique value – and one that I had ignored up until recently.  It is now fully ingrained and highly valued in my current life – which naturally lifts my spirits and helps me feel content from day to day.

Then I came to the values I added myself (which proved that one of my core values was independence/uniqueness): knowledge, learning, education, and intelligence.  I found that these could easily be combined into the broad value of knowledge.

Now I had to narrow down the list further… while I do highly value honesty, organization, commitment, and skillfulness, they just didn’t compare to my other values, so I crossed them out.  What I was left with were my core values:

Knowledge, Health, Dedication, independence, and Humor

I looked at the values and smiled, acknowledging that they felt right for me.  And know that I have a knowledge of my values (ironically reaffirming my value of knowledge), I can pursue my life with purpose.  For each opportunity, I can decide whether or not it aligns with my core values.

If you are in the middle of a life-crisis (no matter where you are in your life!) I would highly encourage you to take a step back and practice this simple exercise of defining your core values.  It’s not easy, but is definitely worth it.

Just keep in mind, this is not a final exercise for figuring out who you are or what life to pursue; it is one of the first steps of your journey.  And you may even have to do this exercise again later in your life, as your priorities and goals shift.  Life is truly a journey.

Resources:

The values worksheet I used can be found at www.actmindfully.com.au

Meet Mindful Moose!

LaLasana Flow has a new team member!  With that comes a new look, feel, and intention – but first, let’s take a moment to meet Mindful Moose…

Mindful Moose is a character that has been in my life for a long time, and I’ve just recently been inspired to share him with the world!  Why a moose?  Because I love moose haha  I’ve been drawing cartoon moose since I was a child, and I never new why until quite recently.  My moose cheer me up and help me express myself.  I draw them literally everywhere!  And whenever I stumble upon one of my creations, seeing them smile back at me with perky antlers always lifts my spirits.  So now, I want the world to see these cute little moose to help lift the spirits of others!

I’ve chosen to share my moose using the character Mindful Moose.  He’s a fun-loving, goofy little moose with the goal of spreading the power of mindfulness (in fun ways, of course!)  You may see Mindful Moose changing appearance periodically – this is because I am not a trained or experienced artist and am experimenting with different ways to express him until I land on the medium that fits Mindful Moose best!

Stay tuned for some goofy antics and life lessons inspired by Mindful Moose!

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Hi there!  I’m Mindful Moose – I have been placed on this earth to spread peace, love, and joy!

 

Feels Like Home

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I had an extremely fortunate upbringing. I grew up in California and I lived in the same house with the same people for the first 18 years of my life. Life doesn’t get much more stable! However, after I graduated high school, I joined the Air Force, and life changed rapidly.
I moved to Colorado and went immediately to basic training. I spent the next four years there, getting yelled at while working to complete my bachelor’s degree. Life was stressful, to say the least… I was so focused on my academics that I didn’t make time for friends. Those four years flew by and I was left with a prestigious degree and a handful of friends – though, no one that I could trust deeply. Needless to say, I was deprived of the safety and security you feel when you are “home.” They say “home is where the heart is”, but I put my heart into everything I did in Colorado – and it never felt like home.
After that, the Air Force moved me to Ohio where I worked to complete my master’s degree. Ohio was… different. No one was yelling, and the academics somehow came easier. I made time for friends – though, I was starting from scratch since I didn’t make time to develop relationships back in Colorado. Something kind of magical happened… I started making my own little family. There was no “mom” or “dad”, but I had a group of people that I could hang out with during the best of times and during the worst. I could rely on them and they could rely on me. I even developed a deep relationship with a boy there. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We were so happy and content together, we didn’t even think to get married. Then suddenly, the Air Force said that it was time to leave Ohio. My heart had been calling to California, where my biological family lived, and so I asked the Air Force to send me there – the Air Force obliged. Unfortunately, the boy of my dreams was sent to New Mexico… So we moved.
I drove with him to New Mexico, then took a plane to my final destination: California. Something magical happened on that drive… as we crossed the border from Texas to New Mexico, I became overwhelmed with feelings of happiness and gratitude. Tears welled in my eyes, and I couldn’t figure out why. I stayed in New Mexico for a week to help him move into his apartment, and I didn’t want to leave. It felt like… home.
But I made my way to California, because that is where the Air Force agreed to send me. I lived in a beautiful apartment on the beach, just a few hours from my family. I was working my dream job: an astronautical engineer, launching satellites. Yet… something was missing. I would come “home” to my apartment and I would feel… empty. I started to find activities after work to keep me busy and I found yoga. I began teaching, and eventually was teaching 6-9 classes a week, on top of my full time job in the Air Force. I didn’t have time to feel empty. I only had time for work and yoga. But during the quiet times, my heart yearned for New Mexico. I asked the Air Force to move me there, and after a year, the Air Force obliged.
So I set-off for New Mexico. My mom drove with me to Arizona to help ease the transition, but during the last leg, I was alone. I cried – a lot. I was so afraid of the future. What if New Mexico was just like everywhere else: empty? What if I don’t make any friends? My family will be so far away… what if my job is unfulfilling? My mind was filled with doubts – I barely even noticed the drive until suddenly, I was at the driveway of my new “home”. I rang the doorbell and the boy of my dreams answered, shocked that I was there (granted, I didn’t tell him which day I would be moving in). We hugged as I entered the house, and I felt whole again. I felt safe and secure. I didn’t feel the need to go or do anything. I was absolutely content.
We’ve been living in New Mexico together for a bit of time now, and the feelings have not changed. I still get overwhelmed with feelings of happiness, to the point of tears. I feel so grateful to be living here. I don’t understand what I did to deserve such a perfect life. I feel accepted and loved in New Mexico – I feel that I can be my true self. I believe that I have finally found my “home”.
Finding your “home” isn’t easy. It doesn’t involve metrics – it takes intuition (something that most of us tend to ignore…) I hope that everyone is able to find their true “home” at some point in their lives, but I know that it takes a bit of work and a lot of luck. It is a true journey. But when you find “home”, you will know because home is where your heart feels safe. You will feel safe enough to be your true self, safe enough to love deeply, and safe enough to be loved, truly.

Totally Unique

Totally Quirky

Do you ever feel like you are just the strangest person on Earth?  Like there is no one else quite as weird as you?

Well, if you ask me, I think you’re right!  There is absolutely no one else as unique as you – and isn’t that a beautiful thing?

I was driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles yesterday with my friend who is much more adventurous as me.  You know, one of those people that never lets an opportunity pass them by.  Well, A few miles west of Las Vegas, there’s a detour off the highway that takes you to “Seven Magic Mountains.”  It’s basically a modern day Stonehenge.  If I had been by myself, I wouldn’t have taken the time to check out this art, but I am so glad that she made me take the time to view this incredible expression of art!  The “seven mountains” were actually massive boulders stacked on top of each other and painted vibrantly.  Each boulder was taller than a human.  The stark contrast of these colorful boulders was beautiful against the natural, dusty desert background.

But then I got thinking… what compelled some person to do this?  Who in their right mind decides “You know what, I’m going to paint a bunch of boulders bright colors, then go stack them in the middle of the desert!”

And what is even crazier is that the mind that created this art formation is just as unique as the mind in each and every one of us – we all have the power inside us to do something totally crazy, wacky, and unique!

Have fun being uniquely you!

🕉~namaste~🕉

Embracing Anxiety

In general, I am a very anxious person.  I’m certainly not proud of this, but recently, I’ve found a way to use my anxiety in order to enhance my life!  And I’m excited to share it with you…

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I have a fairly busy life – my calendar is completely full every day.  I do this to myself on purpose because I haven’t learned how to deal with boredom (I’m hoping that life lesson comes soon!)  But with my busy, frantic schedule comes a lot of anxiety and not a lot of time to deal with the anxiety.  This is okay for now, because I’ve figured out what the anxiety really means.

The uncomfortable feeling of anxiety means I’m about to leave my comfort zone.  I’m about to do something risky.  Was I anxious about sky-diving?  Yes.  Do I get anxious right before I teach yoga? Every time.  Does the idea of going to a social event increase my anxiety?  Definitely.  But what do all these experiences have in common?  They cause my anxiety to increase before the event and they enhance my life after the event.  After each of these situations, I leave with a sense of satisfaction and with new life lessons.  I grow!  

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So lately, I’ve decided to embrace my anxiety.  Rather than run away from the anxious feelings (which tend to be accompanied by fear), I slowly walk toward them.  Like a predator slowly stalking it’s prey, I approach these uncomfortable feelings.  In the end, I know that I am anxious because I am afraid of failure, rejection, or pain.  But how am I supposed to grow unless I address these feelings head-on?

I’d like to challenge you to bring more awareness to your anxious side.  Try to figure out what exactly is making you anxious – what situation is causing the uncomfortable feelings?  This isn’t going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it.  Every time, it will be worth it.  If you confront your negative feelings rather than run from them, you will grow each and every time.  You will become more confident and more content.  I promise.   

🕉~namaste~🕉

Love Your Body!

In case you haven’t gotten the message – it is time to love and appreciate the incredible gift you were born with!  I’m talking about your body, the vessel that you use to navigate through this beautiful world. Here is a free and easy practice to grow your gratitude for your body:

  • Place one hand on your chest – feel your heart beating.  It’s one of the millions of miracles occurring in your body right now.
  • Seal your lips and take a deep breath – the deepest breath you’ve taken all week.  Fill every pocket in your lungs!  Feel this life force filling your body!  Isn’t it wonderful?  There is nothing on earth that is more fulfilling than a full breath.
  • On your next inhale, lift your arms up towards the sky.  Stretch them as high as you can!  Turn your gaze upwards and smile.  Simply smile.

You are so alive right now, thanks to your miraculous body.  Your body is strong in it’s natural state, all you have to do is listen to it.  Sometimes the body needs nourishment – don’t deny it!  Sometimes the body needs movement and sometimes it needs rest – find your balance.  This whole experience of life is a beautiful, miracle-filled process.  It’s worth living and experiencing the good and the bad!  But to experience it fully, we need to love and care for our bodies.

So go forth with a renewed boldness and love for your body!  Your body is so beautiful and perfect – it allows you to live this amazing life, never forget this miracle you have been given.

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I have barely scratched the surface on what it takes to love your body.  For more help, Ramdesh Kaur’s book The Body Temple is a great resource for learning to love your body using yoga and meditation – I highly recommend it to anyone starting the journey towards body acceptance.  The Body Temple is worth every penny!

And stay tuned for more golden nuggets on the journey towards complete self love.

🕉~namaste~🕉

 

Yoga Classes: 30 Jan – 5 Feb 2017

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Class: Vinyasa Flow

Time: 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.

Date: 30 January 2017

Location: Back for Yoga, 255 Main St, El Segundo CA

Check out www.backforyoga.com for more info 🙂

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Class: Power Yoga

Time: 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Date: 31 January 2017

Location: Los Angeles Air Force Base Fitness Center, 483 Aviation Blvd, El Segundo, CA 90245

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Class: Athletic Yoga

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Date: 1 February 2017

Location: Los Angeles Air Force Base Fitness Center, 483 Aviation Blvd, El Segundo, CA 90245

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Class: Vinyasa Flow

Time: 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Date: 4 February 2017

Location: 255 Main St, El Segundo CA

Check out www.backforyoga.com for more info 🕉

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Class: Restorative Yoga

Time: 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Date: 5 February 2017

Location: 23706 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance CA

Check out www.celebratelifepilates.com for more info 🕉

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Class: Restorative Yoga

Time: 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Date: 5 February 2017

Location: 23706 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance CA

Check out www.celebratelifepilates.com for more info 🕉