Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Your Greatest Thief

Before I give report cards to my kids, I give them the schpeel.  (Insert teacher voice) “Avoid sharing and comparing your grades.  Some of you are fast runners, some of you are fast at math facts.  If we were all the same it would be … ?”  And they yell, “Boring.”

Yet it’s so damn hard. As we grow up, we are taught to measure just about everything. And as we enter adulthood, we are told that our goal setting should be measured (I have never met a SMART goal in my life). We measure this and we measure that and soon we are measuring how many Facebook friends we have compared to someone else (or am I the only person who has done this?) We stop looking in the mirror the same way. We stop seeing the person we are.  Instead we see the person we’re not. I am speaking of comparison, folks.  

When we use other people as benchmarks as to where we should (I hate that word) be, we lose. Period.  There is no winner. (Check out Sam in the pic above - rockstar)

I have been doing a lot of this recently. I see young 20-something women starting new businesses, becoming greatly successful, and I still have debt. I see fitness models with 6-packs and I can’t seem to plank for one minute a day. I see people writing, and writing, and writing, and every time I start to do the same, I think, f*%k it, no one wants to read that. I am in the comparison vortex. And it sucks.

When I look back on my life – even in the past year, I am really proud of the things I have accomplished.  And the year ahead is promising too. So why this struggle?  It’s what I am doing with my present (the majority of it) that is sucking me farther in. I am logged into the edited social media world – and I believe it to be real.  It’s not. Or at least it’s not the full monty. It’s all edited.  I am even backspacing and editing right now so that this sounds right – for you.  

So, getting back to what’s real.  Be curious about that.

I challenge you (and myself)  – just for this moment, right now – to drop comparison.  You can do that by telling yourself three things you love about yourself.  If you feel so inclined, share these in the comments.

I am grateful for inspiration (mine, yours, ours), for my body that has carried me this far, and for my ability to paint a bike, a Buddha and a zebra. (Coming soon)

Comparison stinks. So stop doing it.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Great Doesn't Trump Great

I cried for hours on Friday night. Straight, relentless, tears.  They rendered me speechless, unable to form sounds other the choking breaths between syllables.  I haven’t had tears like that in a very long time.  Years in fact. 

I was mad.  I was angry. I pointed fingers.  I justified my position. I buried my head in a pillow.  I cried. 

For a year I have sat patiently on a fundraising dream.  Believing that my school, The American School here in Mexico was the “perfect place” for Africa Yoga Project to thrive, and vice versa. A “perfect project” for the school. 

My perfect wasn't perfect after all.  It was not picked up by the school and I felt winded.  This little dream of fundraising with the kids – over before it ever began.

So. I. Have. Taken. Some. Of. My. Own. Advice.

(and much advice of others, thank you Sam, Amy and Ricardo who caught me at my worst).

Time to get my own voice back.  This is the advice I would give to others … and now I am letting it boomerang right back.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to spring forward

Oh that closed door. That’s all it is, a closed door.  No slap in the face. No people plotting against you. No injustice.  Just a closed door.

Bad days.  If this is your greatest struggle in life, you are very lucky.

This is creativity knocking.  Open the door, get out the paint brush. Make shit, and make shit happen. 

You lost to goodness. One great thing doesn’t trump another.

Cry. Then get up and lift your chin up.  Literally, lift your damn chin, UP.

So. Here I am again.  Onward and upward.  Bringing Africa Yoga Project with me. Everywhere I go.

Cause, it’s in my heart. Not in a school, not in a box, not on a website.  

It's in my heart. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Race Becomes My Practice

This post was originally featured on the Baron Baptiste website

My quads were still in recovery from a trail race, and so the story began. I don’t know if I can even compete. I can’t believe I did that trail race. Why didn’t I opt out at the half-way point. Ego. I raced against my own ego! When Ego fires up, I am reminded to take my seat and listen up. Among the many take aways from my Baptiste training, one that comes up on a regular basis, is to pause pause the story in my head so that real life has a chance to land.
I recently competed in a ½ Ironman: a (1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run in Monterrey Mexico. I signed up back in October and as most goals go, the real pursuit happened along the way. But with close to one hundred races under my belt, I still learn something new at every single event. Before Baptiste training, the race used to be a competition, an exertion for bragging rights; an obstacle to be overcome. But now it’s much more. The attitude and approach that I was left with after Level One and Level Two Trainings have allowed me to embrace the race as much more than mindless motion against time.  Instead now, it’s a platform to grow, to share, to lift and to learn.  Here’s how I’ve taken my training “off the mat” and “into the world” of a ½ Ironman:

1. Fear is a choice. When I toe the water’s edge during a race, I can either feel the swells in my chest, or simply turn down the fear-o-meter. I turn up my breath and open my eyes and ears to the sights and sounds around me. This is one of the most profound moments where my yoga off the mat comes into play. I am full; equal parts excitement and anticipation – normally dwelling in the future until I make the choice to get real and get present. When I’m present, I’m able to smile and enjoy that precious one-minute of race energy before the horn blows.

2. Fighting and Keeping Score Doesn’t Work . The wind is still going to blow no matter how far I lean in. The bike section was gusty. Wind from the side and wind from the front but never wind at our back.  Three hours of biking against the wind can either make or break me. All the while, my Ego has me hunting, and keeping track of points as I pass. When I approach the bike (or life) keeping score, it’s a setup where someone must be cast as the ‘loser.’ And that is a scenario where we all lose.

3. Even though the stone in your shoe was once part of something much bigger, it’s not anymore. Little things are little things. Period. I did have a stone in my shoe on the run and it gnawed away at my big toe until I decided to stop and take a look. I removed the “rock’ (Law number 8: 40 Days to Personal Revolution) and I continued. I dedicated my race to a dear friend who is competing in a greater race. She has just started chemotherapy for an aggressive form of breast cancer. There are so many trivial aspects of life that can be so easily be used to self-sabotage. Sometimes it’s just time, to take your shoe off, and remove that little stone so that you can get to what’s really important in life.

4. Competition is costly. Dollars and cents aside, a mind of competitiveness and comparison can suck away the  happiness and enjoyment. In the race, it’s getting passed or never catching my competition. I race  with my boyfriend.  We are as close as competition can get and last weekend, that meant that I lost by 18 seconds. The best version of me is proud of our accomplishments, and my ego replays the entire race finding pockets of 18 seconds everywhere (the rock-in-shoe-phenomenon).  It is up to me to choose the path of character or ego.

During Baptiste Level Two Teacher Training in Tulum, Mexico, I found myself perplexed with the idea of “giving something up.” I thought that I would be a fraud if that “something” crept its way back in my life. Every so often, the lesson seeps in . Letting go is process. Letting go of fear, letting go of the fight, letting go of the little things and letting go of competition. Experience has taught me that letting go isn’t linear. It is indeed circular; to be practiced, not perfected.

Friday, January 31, 2014


By Christine Martin

“Who created thunder, does not fear it.”

-Bahunde proverb

Somewhere among labeled boxes collecting dust inside garages or stuck within pages of forgotten photo albums. Someplace where scribbled words are losing their identity, and smartphones have taken over time and imaginations. Underneath flat conversations about the economy and award shows and weather speculations. Masked behind the rage against bumper-to-bumper traffic and storytelling with Instagram filters. Lost since the moment it was decided that there was no space for it.
There it is. Rumbling, crescendo-ing, deafening, roaring, echoing, rumbling again. The voice to truths. The jolt toward goals. The sound of fearless creation.
We are all thunder-makers; let’s make some noise.

Shared with love from Christine Martin at Happy Impermanence
You can also like/love her interior design work at Somebody's Home and Decorilla