Shine Big, Shine Bright: Honoring Sancy Shaw - January 12, 2019

What a day! I am smiling from ear to ear thinking about today and how amazing it was.  I had the privilege and honor of leading ten beautiful women through a one day yoga retreat. I came home invigorated and ready to conquer 2019. I won’t lie, after Sancy’s celebration of life service yesterday I questioned whether I had made the right decision to continue hosting and leading this one day yoga retreat.   I was tired, emotional and not sure I had it in me to stand up in front of a group and lead them through a day of self- discovery in light of the unexpected and tragic death of Sancy Shaw on Christmas Eve.

Saturday morning, I awoke early and felt a fire ignite within me. Sancy’s celebration of life repeatedly reminded us to live in the moment, be passionate, be joyful and live life without regrets.  Her legacy drove me to get out of bed.  I practiced yoga in front of my fire, drank lemon water and knew I was ready for the day ahead.  I practiced the yoga sequence I planned to teach. The sequence starts with finding your breath, noticing your inhale and exhale and then thinking about what you are inviting in on the inhale and what you are releasing on the exhale. What you are inviting in and releasing can be anything – an emotion, a sensation, something abstract, something concrete.  Whatever first comes to mind.  For me, I exhaled fear – fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of not living life to it’s fullest, fear of missing out, fear of everything. I inhaled grace – grace to get through the next couple of months and grace to overcome obstacles that are put in my path (thank you Ganesha!). ‘Fear’ and ‘Grace’ are not words that are usually in my vocabulary so when these words came to me out of nowhere, I was a little taken aback.  But as I told my students, don’t over think, just go with it.   I felt such release as I breathed in and out.

 The yoga retreat was held at my daughter’s school.  We were bathed in sunlight as we practiced yoga.  Surrounded by bright, vibrant art work created by students, the space was filled with energy and positivity. This was the first time I had held a retreat at the school.  I had no idea how it would be.  This was also where Sancy was a teacher.  I had no idea how it was going to feel to be at the school given the circumstances.  Yet, it felt so right to be in the space that she inhabited on a daily basis talking about living to it’s fullest, letting go of the past and inviting in and making space for the new.  I felt like I was honoring her legacy just by being in her space.

Together we practiced yoga, twisting and cleansing our bodies. Together, we exhaled and released whatever we didn’t need and together we inhaled what we wanted.  We asked Ganesha, the Hindu God known as the remover of obstacles, to help us on our journey.   Sometimes you just need a little help. And there is nothing wrong in asking for help.  When we were getting close to our peak poses and most challenging twists, Ganesha mantras suddenly started playing in the background as if he knew we needed a little more help!  This was totally unplanned! It felt great to move and challenge our bodies; to get out of our head and into our bodies.

Then it was time to eat. This might be one of my favorite times of the retreat. Sitting down together to eat, talk and nourish our souls.  I grew up eating every meal together as a family. We never missed a night. I love to cook. Food is how I show my love.  I love cooking for my retreat participants. I love making healthy, creative food that will nourish their souls. So what was on the menu….curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk, curried lentil soup, rainbow quinoa salad (it’s all about the lemon zest and red wine vinaigrette!), vegan fudge,  peanut butter cookie dough balls and chocolate fudge bites (dates and cacao powder!) Yum!  Today made me realize once again how much I love to share my passion for healthy eating. I have been exploring different avenues and ways to share my passion and once again just put it on the back burner. After spending the afternoon visioning, I am recommitting to this vision and will be making this a reality for 2019.  I am not sure what this looks like yet so stay posted!

 Sarah led us through an afternoon of visioning. It was such a treat to listen and partake and not have to do.  Over the years, I have realized that although I am totally able to lead retreats on my own, I prefer to team teach.  Team teaching is so much more rewarding!  I love working with a partner.  Together, we create the vision each bringing our own perspective, styles and knowledge.  Together we nurture our students and provide them with what they need. Together, we hold space for our students and for each other.

We began with the abstract imagining ourselves in five years, feeling and seeing ourselves. Then we were tasked with writing down what we saw and felt, acknowledging obstacles and then thinking about what we needed to do to overcome the obstacles.  We walked away with goals and specifics – which I need as I like to have a list!

I always think it’s a good sign when no-one wants to leave! When you are standing in the parking lot, talking and giving each other hugs and not wanting the day to end.  The sun was still shining and the sky was a brilliant blue.  It was one of those glorious Colorado days when you feel lucky to be alive.  And lucky is exactly how I felt.  Lucky, that I have time. Time to be with my family and friends. Time to share my passion for what I love with my community.   Time to be here on this earth.  As I write this, I realize that the concept of time kept coming up for me today.  I kept saying I didn’t have enough time. Not enough time to read or take care of myself.  Yet in reality I just have change my mindset around time. I have time.  I just have to prioritize how I spend that time.  Tonight I am thankful that I alive. I am thankful that I have time.  I am thankful for this opportunity to figure out how I want to spend the remaining time I have on this earth.  I celebrate and honor Sancy as I commit to living life to it’s fullest, having fun and following my dreams.

My Mat Is...

My mat is a place of refuge always present wherever I am. It can bring me tears and happiness, silence and laughter, stillness and movement. A dance of opposites. It remains splayed out waitingfor me each day. Inviting me in. I come to the mat with no expectations. Just showing up is tough enough. I let the journey begin and embrace it. Always different. Always changing.