Vulnerability is Sexy; Life Lessons on Vulnerability from an Imperfect Yogi

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The most sexy way to be is vulnerable. Vulnerability is something I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s scary. Showing people who you are and your messiness is a risk. It also allows people to connect with you in a powerful and meaningful way. It’s heart. Admitting you’ve made mistakes is beautiful. Being honest is awesome. I’m inviting you and yes, even me to look at being vulnerable differently. As a beautiful chance to be honest and then move into a new fresh space. So, here it goes. Vulnerability in it’s most raw form. These are a few of my life lessons and yes, I’m an imperfect yogi.

Speak your mind with courage even if your voice shakes. Vulnerability is sexy, super sexy. I’ve tried being a brick wall, it doesn’t work. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re willing to show your self to someone and nothing is more amazing than that. Softly and powerfully declare your truth with compassion. Compassion melts the pressure to be perfect. The appearance of having it all together is seriously overrated. Instead of trying to keep it all together, be curious, about everything. It’s way more fun than trying to be perfect. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and the world. Darling, you aren’t gonna be perfect ever. Do yourself a favor and make peace with that fact. You’ll make lots of mistakes. Even some straight up bad choices that take you to places you never imagined yourself to be in. Yeah, you will, expect it. What you can do now is learn from them. Realizing what caused you to make those choices works.

Realize that saying yes to something, means saying no to another. It’s ok if you don’t know the answer right now. It’s uncomfortable staying with the question until the answer lands with you. Totally uncomfortable, sometimes I sit there and squirm eager to be out of the question and into the answer already. Then I get an answer and say, “What? Not knowing was better. Can I go back to not knowing? Please?” Once you know you cannot unknown. That’s why speaking your truth with compassion and courage works, because then you can own your truth. Getting to your truth, means getting quiet and being honest. Be courageous my sweet friend. Be compassion, with yourself and others. Do the work of speaking your mind and heart with courage. Be sweet to yourself. Be vulnerable, it’s sexy. It’s a chance for you and others to get to know you on a whole new level. In my experience being a brick wall was exhausting. Being clear and vulnerable works. It’s the easiest way to be in the long run. I lost more than I could have ever imagined by keeping the bricks around my heart. I created connection and intimacy when I was vulnerable. It was amazing! Be vulnerable, it’s totally sexy.

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What a Fast Food Server Taught Me about Being Present and 9/11

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It was 9/11/13 – I walked up to the counter to order my food. The fast food server was a young woman, her name was Kelli. She taught me about being present and 9/11.

Kelli asked for my order so fast my head spun. It’s a good thing I was paying attention to what she was saying or I wouldn’t have heard her at all. The words were spilling out of her mouth as if she was a robot repeating a script programed into her. I could tell she couldn’t see me. Physically her eyes worked just fine, however she didn’t see me. I was another number and another order to process super fast to get to the next person even though there was no one behind me. I lifted my head from searching through my wallet. I looked at her and said laughingly, “Girl it’s a good thing I can listen quickly, because I can barely understand you. You speak at lightning speed. Take a deep breath.” She admitted she was used to the questions she was required to ask. In fact so familiar that she didn’t even think about what she was saying anymore.

Her tiny moment of being present was just that, tiny. She had a momentary blip and was present for a few seconds. Then she dove back into robot mode, asking me a third time if I wanted Salsa and knew where the hot sauce bar was. She fell back asleep to what and who was in front of her and robot-ing her way through her work day. My heart filled with understanding and compassion for her. It also started me thinking about me, if there were times I’d mechanically moved my way through my day.

It also had me think how many of us have robot-ed our way through a whole lifetime. It reminded me 09/11/01 the date 12 years ago in US history that stands as a day when lots of lives ended. Many people I could imagine thought this was going to be a regular work day, just like any other day. However it was their last day. Their last of everything. I can only imagine how many people would love to have their loved ones back. To be able to hug, kiss and laugh with their special people. I can only guess that their message to us would be,  go all in. Be present with every person and moment of your day! Don’t take any moment for granted. You never know when it maybe your last chance. Yes, even if you’re the one behind the counter at a fast food joint. This day, today is a gift.  I think the best way to remember 9/11 and those who lost their lives that day is to live present, awake & alive and vibrant lives. Not to remember the fear that event created or learning to hate those who flew the planes. Let’s remember those people by celebrating who we are and those we love. Celebrating the gifts we were given. Let us live, not just survive.

The Happiness Question – What Makes You Come Alive?

ImageHave you ever felt dead inside?

Like a machine that’s only clicking it’s way through time without thought or feeling. No meaning to life. Click, click, click…the machine that perpetually moves along. Why are you staying in a space that makes you feel dead? Stop trying to fix and force what isn’t working. It’s time for a new question.

What makes you come alive? 

What makes your toes tap without even thinking about it? When are you smiling ear to ear and don’t even realize it? For me it’s yoga and salsa dancing. When I land warrior II pose, getting deep into my legs and ground into the mat, I feel alive and powerful. When I stretch out my arms and reach, with an energy that shoots out past my fingers, I feel alive. Salsa – oh where do I begin?! The movement touches my soul like nothing else does. It feels like heaven when one smooth turn flows into another. When I’m in synch with my partner – when our hands, arms and feet flow seamlessly. I could dance until my toes are swollen and legs too sore to move the next morning.

This is not about me and what makes me come alive; ultimately, it’s about all of us. The world – each person across our globe doing more of what makes us happy. That’s why asking the happiness question is important. Imagine with me a world where each person smiles every day all day long. Where people are applauded for their craft and what they bring to the world. That happens when each of us are brave enough to fall in love with brings us alive. To practice our craft, to fall in love with it again and again. To play with it and make it ours.

What makes you come alive? Tell me. Now that you know, go do it! Practice it and make it your obsession. We want to experience you when you’re at your best. Share it with us – the world. We want to see you come alive.

How a Homeless Man Helped Me Get Home – Keys to Being Alone & Not Lonely

ImageHave you ever had a mind full? Thoughts whirling through your head like a tornado, round and round? Yeah, that was my mind tonight. Everything from groceries to life changing questions. They wouldn’t go away. Worry, doubt and fear slowly started creeping in. Frustrated and in an effort to clear my head of the thought tornado I decided to go for a run.

Keeping it light the only thing I took with me was my house key tied it to my shoe laces. I chose the scenic route, the river. Peaceful. Nice breeze. Relaxed pace. As my pace quickened my thoughts dropped onto the pavement. With each step my mind was becoming quieter and quieter.

I fell into a pace. Soon all I heard was the pounding of my feet on the pavement. Then the rhythm of my breathing was the only thing I heard. My mind became clearer and clearer. I forgot everything else. It was a dance between my feet and my breath. I was so engrossed in the dance that I didn’t even notice my shoe laces coming loose. Unknowingly they loosen more with each mile until it was too late. Clink! Tripped over my laces and face down in the pavement.

“Perfect timing” I thought to myself, “I don’t where it is and it getting dark”. I searched all over the sidewalk, grass and even the cracks between the sidewalk. No key. Worry began to set in. Woman, alone, in the dark city, without a key and no cell phone. Not a good combo. I kept looking. Now it was dark and still no key. Crouched on the ground nearly eye level with the pavement an older shabbily dressed man on a bike rolled up. His  front basket was full of odd things I couldn’t identify. Dirt was all over his face. I knew instantly the bike was his home. Yet, something inside of me told me it was okay to talk to him. This is how the homeless man helped me get home.

He got off his bike and asked if I was alright. I told him I was looking for my house key. Quickly he joined the sidewalk search. He pulled his head light of his basket of odds and ends and handed it to me. “Here”, he said shoving it in my direction, “a bright light helps in the dark”. Together this man and I searched. Finally between the sidewalk and the grass, I found it!

Happy, I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Thanks! You’re the reason I’m gonna make it home safe tonight.” He told me he was homeless and asked for $1. I would have given him $20 if I’d had some cash on me. Smiling he placed his hand on his heart and said gently, “Young lady I’m glad I helped. Many people have helped me before. I’m just glad to return the favor.” Tipping his hat, he jumped on his bike and took off.

The encounter made me think. I ran alone tonight. I could have let loneliness set it. Being alone and lonely would have been easy. I could have let the fear and doubts from my tornado mind swirl me into feeling lonely. Lonely wants to focus on what you don’t have at the moment. Like I didn’t have a running buddy.

What I know now is that I did have running buddies. I just couldn’t see them, because they were flying next to me. Angels, I must have had angels watching me, because there was no one else around. No cars. No other people walking or even biking. I learned that the key to being alone and not lonely, is to remember that there are unseen forces working for you and with you for your good. To give you help because you’ve helped someone before. I couldn’t have planned this man’s arrival. It was perfect timing!

I had no idea that me loosing my key would remind me that I’m not alone in this world. That there are many people that I’ve helped along their way to finding what they needed to find. This stranger became a friend because he asked a question and helped me when I needed some light. His time and kindness touched my heart. I’m sitting here at my desk. Safe and warm, because he helped me find my key. A man with no home and no place to sleep tonight helped me get home.

~ Sarah Suero

Looking for Happy Pink

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I walked into the salon and requested a manicure/pedicure. The woman helping me asked me what color I wanted, smiling I said, “happy pink”. She turned her head to the side and said, “Happy pink?!” as if I’d just asked her for the moon and she couldn’t process the request. She shot me a look that said, “Ok, whatever you say lady” and pointed her finger to the wall of colors and with force said, “You pick a colla”. I stood for several moments looking at the many shades of pink they had to offer. I decided, pale pink was too soft and Magenta too much purple. Then I found it! Bright, bold, and rich pink happily stood out. I was thrilled to have found my happy pink! It didn’t hit me until several days later when laughing about the encounter with friends that there was a profound lesson in this experience.  I’m the only one who knows what shade my happy pink is.

My color choice is up to me, I think most people would agree. It’s so simple! There isn’t anyone else that knows what shade is right for me. Perhaps this mani/pedi encounter was worth it’s weight in gold. Of course I’m the only one who knows what my happy pink is! Silly me! It’s easy to ask others for their opinion about a choice we need to make, like they know what we need. What shade we want, the depth of the color, or the way that it makes us feel on our fingers. Realizing again that choices in life work a lot like my nail salon experience, brings new meaning to making choices. Life sends us over to the wall and says, “Pick a color”. It’s up to us to listen to that small voice inside leading us to our “happy pink”.

DIY Buttons: Am I Allowed to Push Your Buttons?

We all have buttons. You know it’s that tender spot that when someone pushes it, it hurts down to your core? This is about DIY buttons, being mess-able with, and letting people push your buttons. We all know that we have them. Some are bigger than others out there for the world to see and some are hidden until someone digs their bony finger into it causing a knee jerk reaction. Poking is valuable. It’s not usually comfortable, yet it is always valuable. It shows you your buttons in a new light. Once you see your buttons for what they truly are; anger at a past lover, shame over a dream you gave up, etc. You can now make a choice about either keeping the button or removing it from your life.

When you remove buttons from your life, no one can touch it again. Unless you put it back on and allow them to poke it. No one can can kill your spirit, unless you give them permission to push your buttons. Betty Spruill told me once, “If you don’t have a ‘you can mess with me button’ no one can push it.” People can only mess with you and your beliefs if you let them. It’s still up to you. You are the only one who lets people into your thoughts, actions, and ultimately your beliefs. Do you have a ‘messable with’ button? Do you let people push it all the time?

The Road Trip: Travel Thousands of Miles to Find Your Center

 

Find your center” has become a pop culture phrase within the yoga world; it’s catchy, but largely ineffective. Every time I hear people say, “Find your center”.  I think, “Okay, yeah and how do they do that?”  Catch phrases are catchy, ok great, but how’s it helpful to you after it catches you?  Take a vacation and get away from it all? When you get back from your vacation you bring yourself back with you. It’s your center that you’re looking for anyways, not a martini. Your center ‘gets lost’ (to stick with the terms) because often we listen to and salute what other people say over what we say. Saluting the dress code, language, and even technology of the times is easy. Thinking and living by choice is challenging.  It’s definitely the road less traveled.  You don’t have to take a road trip thousands of miles to find your center, it’s already within you. 

The road trip to finding your center is all about you. I often hear people say, “I can’t seem to find any peace or passion in my life.” Even ancient spiritual teacher/leaders like Buddha and Jesus acknowledged the fact that you don’t have to go away to find your center. They took a road trip to find their center, but realized somewhere along the way that it wasn’t necessary. Sitting quietly became a practice instead. They allowed the noise of the world to melt away so that they could listen. Listen to what was going on within them, without the opinion or noise of other people.  Buddha went away from his family, royalty, and even his own children only to realize that his peace and calling in life was already within him. He was just wrapped up in the daily grind and not listening to his own spirit.  Once he got quiet, his ‘center’ was right there in the stillness. Jesus went away into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. Then he spent countless early morning hours alone in prayer and meditation. They both did ‘go away’, ultimately only to realize that you don’t have to. If you listen to your heart, mind, and soul you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to find your own center, for it is already within you. Have you sat down today? Are you listening to what you have to say?