Sometimes you have to breakdown to build-up. Please check out my article on week two of becoming a yoga instructor and read about becoming stronger through body and mind on the Art of Living Retreat Center website!
It’s hurricane season, and there is already another hurricane barreling towards us when most are still picking up the pieces from the last hurricane.
That’s life, though. Life presents one storm after another, whether it is in the form of a hurricane, personal illness, family trauma, and the list can go on and on.
We have to learn to live our best life now and not wait for the storm to pass.
Pampering is an essential part of living your best life. You HAVE to take care of yourself.
I used to live in Connecticut years ago. I loved living in Connecticut. It was such a beautiful place to live.
I made many new friends while I lived there. One of my new friends had immense wealth.
One day, I was at her humongous home, and our daughters were playing somewhere in the house, and my new friend was giving me a tour of her home.
I remember her showing me her bathroom, which was fantastic.
Floor to ceiling windows.
Beautiful sunken tub surrounded by ferns.
“I really love this tub, but I have never used it,” she commented to me.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I just don’t have the time?”
While we walked on to the next room, I was stunned over what she had just said.
How can you not have enough time for a bath?
In a tub you love?
How can life be so hectic that you can’t find 10 minutes for a soak?
Living in the idyllic backdrop of New England, I too kept myself busy; although I didn’t have the grand tub to ignore, I did ignore taking time for myself.
Then, I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, which devastated my mind, body, and spirit.
Six months later, I had another miscarriage at 8 weeks, which further weakened me.
You’ll never guess what happened six months after that – I caught Lyme’s disease.
I felt like I was in a boxing ring getting punched in the face and gut over and over again by a prizefighter.
It’s just life, though. I am no different than anyone else.
Life can be one hurricane after another.
After it took months to climb out of the deep hole of lethargy that Lyme’s disease threw me into, I began to rethink the whole “No time for the tub” agenda, and I am hoping if that is your mindset, you will reconsider that too.
If you walk by your tub and think, boy I could use a soak, then take ten minutes out and soak.
Who is it going to hurt?
No one is going to care that you took time out for yourself.
If you have always wanted to take a gardening class, go do it NOW.
Don’t wait until the stars align or someone with higher rank gives you permission.
Go take the class NOW.
If you have always wanted to take yoga or exercise class, or meet your friend out for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, go do it NOW!
The excuses you make to not pamper yourself mean nothing.
When you take your last breath on this earth, I promise you, you will not think, “I lived a good decent life. I’m so glad I didn’t soak in my bathtub for ten minutes.”
You may very well say while at the end of your life, “What the hell was I thinking? My life is nearly over, and I never got a chance to live my best life.”
Taking time out for yourself helps you to live your very best life.
When you make that extra time in your day for yourself, go do what you need to pamper yourself.
None of us have that much time in life to pass up opportunities to be kind to ourselves.
Pamper yourself now because that next hurricane is already on its way.
I have paddle boarded in lakes and oceans by the side of playful dolphins, a curious manatee, and a world of aquatic wonderment both seen and unseen.
Last summer, my daughter and I paddled near a school of feeding tarpon – to this day my daughter swears up and down they were sharks. They weren’t sharks, they were tarpon. Big tarpon, but tarpon!
If you ever get the opportunity to stand up paddle board, you absolutely should. A lot of people call is SUP boarding. Oh, who am I kidding, I just made that up because it reminds me of Crush, the turtle in Finding Nemo.
Honestly, I have heard a few people call it that, so that’s what I’ll call it in this blog.
Here are three reasons why SUP boarding is worth a try (See important safety information at the end of this article please*):
Unlike canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, or other partaking in a sport on other water vessels, you can stand, sit or lie down on a SUP board.
Now you are probably thinking, but hey, wait a second, doesn’t the name of the board suggest that you have to stand up on the board. That’s part of the beauty of SUP boarding. You can rebel against the system and sit down. Dude, you can even lie down. Some boards have built-in chairs so you can fish off your SUP board.
The paddle is adjustable so you can shorten it for those times when you want to just be you and sit on your SUP board.
Stand up and paddle for a few miles if you prefer, and then lie down and take a nap.
It’s all good!
Don’t feel like sitting, lying, or standing? Then, dude, you can kneel in vajrasana. Speaking of vajrasana, you can even do yoga on your SUP board!
SUP boards maintain their balance so you can change your mind on what position you prefer. That creates a much more free feeling that you don’t get in, say, a kayak.
There is no loud motor coughing up the air with a SUP board. The only sound is your paddle dipping quietly into the water.
Maybe there is an occasional curse word if you lose your balance while attempting a headstand on your board. Maybe.
Maybe there is an occasional, “Oh my GOD, MOM, THOSE ARE SHARKS,” coming from your paddle companion. Maybe.
For the most part, it’s just you and nature.
A few weeks back, I was out on the lake paddle boarding with my husband. A great blue heron flew by, and we were able to hear the woosh-woosh of his giant wings as he traveled over us. We breathed in the sound, feeling the energy of his flight.
When you are standing, sitting, kneeling or lying down on your SUP board, there are only a few small inches between you and the water.
You might not be able to walk on water, but with a SUP board, you can stand on water.
When I had the lucky experience a few years ago of paddling beside five dolphins, I was so close to the water that I could feel their massive strength as they swam. Although I wasn’t swimming with them, I had the experience of being one with them.
Once, a manatee’s curiosity with me and my board allowed me to be one with his world. As I paddled, he’d peek his head out of the water and stare at me before submerging his head, body, then his giant tail.
I am pretty sure my daughter wished we were the height of an ocean liner when we encountered the tarpon on a feeding frenzy. Instead, we were inches from the water.
When you are on the water, there’s a whole world below you: a world of aquatic wonderment. Being so close to the water helps you feel connected to that amazing world.
The quiet of the SUP board helps increase your awareness in the present moment.
The ability to just be you on the board adds a sense of freedom to the overall experience.
Go on. Give it a try. Dude, SUP board!
* When possible, don’t SUP board alone. Always bring (or even better, wear) a life jacket. Always carry a bottle of water on your board. Wear sunscreen. Make sure you keep your cell phone and keys in a waterproof container that floats in case you fall while working on your hip hop moves (not that that has ever happened to me). Don’t mess with aquatic animals, just let them be.
With week one and week two under our belt, we moved into our final week of the Sri Sri Teacher Training Course in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina. During week three, our schedule remained the same, and our growth continued.
At the beginning of the third week, everyone in class began to look younger. It doesn’t make sense, does it? After two weeks of lengthy yoga sessions, unpredictable weather, and long days, we should have looked haggard.
But, we didn’t.
We all have those memories of the unbounded joys of childhood. Remember those? Our class collectively began to tap into those old memories of happiness, and the contentment of self that young children have before life gets rough. Tapping into those feelings of happiness made us feel and look younger. That lost eye twinkle was back!
What could challenge that renewed youthful spirit? Well, I’ll tell you what – EXAMS!…
To continue reading, please click the link below to The Art of Living Retreat Center where the article was first published.
Thanks for reading!
Please check out my article on how I became a yoga instructor at age 53 on the Art of Living Retreat Center website!