The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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Get outta here, Bear!

bear

I wish I could take credit for the title of this blog post, but it wasn’t I who coined the phrase, it was one of my life lines, Christina Mortti of Good Graces Photography. And she has no idea how much it stuck.

A little background on my dear friend Christina and how the phrase came to be:  Mortti and I have lived together for a total of 3 of the 6 years we’ve known each other.  (Currently, we live a mere 7 minutes apart and try to get together at least once a week.)  She’s someone I used to catch myself envying for her often relaxed view of the world, until I learned how to adopt this view myself.  It’s not that she doesn’t care about things, but Mortti’s got a way of diffusing otherwise intimidating situations to a simple every day occurrence or slight nuisance.

Case in point: A couple of years ago, after visiting her Grandparents in the North Carolina mountains, she told me and a group of our friends how her father had cautioned her against going out for a run by herself in the woods during the visit.  A legitimate concern, he asked “What would you do if you were by yourself and came upon a bear?!” and in true Mortti fashion she replied with a simple “I’d just look at it and say ‘Get outta here, bear!’ and keep going.”

At first when we heard the story, we replied with a few “that’s so Mortti” type comments and went about our way. Crisis adverted, right? Totally. Who wouldn’t simply wave off a bear and keep going about their way?  I’m sure it happens all the time up in the mountains!  But there was something about the phrase that just …. it just stuck with me.

“Get outta here, Bear!” I caught myself saying it at random when any similar situation would come up in conversation.  The phrase has this odd power to dwarf that which seems overwhelming.  The things you get yourself worked up about that probably haven’t even happened yet?  Yea, those are bears.  Fears and anxieties?  Those are bears, too.  Intimidating people or situations?  Bears.  Long training run or race coming up?  Bear.  Mean people?  Bears.  Negative or attack thoughts against yourself? BEARS! BEARS! BEARS!  Borrowed worries from the future? Bears.  Again.

See where I’m going here with this?

I probably say “Get outta here, Bear!” at least every other day.  Sometimes it takes me getting worked up about something before I realize it’s just another bear.  When that happens, I’ll picture the issue or person as a bear standing in front of me, I wave my hand, tell it to get outta here [real talk: sometimes it’s get the f outta here], take a deep breath and boom….I start to see the situation with a bit more clarity.  I’ve done this with fears, anxieties, frustrations, negative and attack thoughts against myself, you name it – I’ve totally “bear’ed” it.

But hey, that’s what you gotta do sometimes.  Look something straight in the face and with a wave of the hand say “Get outta here, Bear!” and keep on walking.  Seriously, it’s like magic.  Try it this week and let me know how it works out for ya.

Thanks, Mortti, for always being yourself and for helping the rest of us make it through the day just a little bit easier.  You help keep the circus running.

Especially when the bears get out of line.  🙂

Until next time, xxo,

jennie b

Eating my Words. Mindfully.

I mentioned in my last post that I’d be discussing one of my top tools for letting go and without further a do, that top and *one of my most favorite* tool is ……

Meditation.

You read that correctly.  Meditation is my favorite tool for helping me to let go.  I’ve come so far since being a Meditation School Drop Out in August of 2010.  <— reading through that post made me laugh so much.

I started my real journey in meditation about 3 1/2 years ago.  I would dabble a little here, return to it after a few days or weeks there.  I’d go solid with daily practices during a few 21 day challenges, maybe even keep it going for a few weeks after.  There were many different phone apps that came in to play and the more I dove into this practice called meditation, the more I actually started seeing the benefits that so many people had talked about.  You guys, they weren’t lying! This stuff is good. Like silent, golden, calm your nerves in wicked bad traffic good!

Last Summer, roughly 4 years after my post about being a Meditation School Drop Out, I made the commitment to myself (and to the benefit of those around me) to go all in on my quest to practice meditation faithfully and daily.  Repetition is key when it comes to sitting in silence, I’ve learned, and the benefits amplify the more disciplined you are in your practices.  I’m happy to say I’ve stuck to that commitment having only missed a handful of days a month, and for a solid 9 month running, that ain’t bad, yo.  In hind sight – holy cannoli – it’s been a HUGE blessing!

You see, through all the craziness of the circus these past few months, there’s been a steady, sometimes whisper silent, calmness that hasn’t left my side.  My thoughts have been clear and I’ve been able to identify when my ego was stepping in to throw me off track.  I’ve been able to sit and allow my thoughts and feelings and emotions to come and go in a judgement free, safe zone.  Imagine sitting on a park bench nestled between sadness and anxiety (or any other highly uncomfortable feeling/emotion/thought) and you’re all just looking back and forth at each other and everyone’s just sitting there and nodding as if to say:

“Yea, we’re here. You should probably just get comfortable with us because we’re gonna be here for a while.”

Then you sit there. And one day they get up and walk away. Sometimes they come back for a bit and that’s ok, too, but then they get up and walk away again and all you have to do is sit there and watch them come and go.  Acknowledge them, allow them a safe space to sit and let them be.  And meditation helps make that possible.  WHO KNEW?!?  Well, clearly a lot of people knew, and I guess somewhere deep down inside, I knew, but now I reaaaaally know. Crazy, right? Ahhh the circus, never a dull moment.

I read through and pour over anything I can get my hands on when it comes to meditation.  I love Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenges, I’m an avid follower of Gabby Bernstein, I rarely turn down the opportunity to snag a little Headspace, and much much more.  Mantras, mudras, malas – I’m a believer!  And as the circus travels along, I’ll fill you in on all of this and more, but before all of that I knew I needed to confess that not only have I re-enrolled in meditation school, I’m practically going for my master’s degree.  And I love it.  I absolutely love it!  And it’s hard for me to imagine where I’d be today with out it.  Literally – haha!

Eating my words? Yes, yes I am. But these days, at least I’m doing so mindfully.

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

ps – Happy Ash Wednesday!! Today marks the start of my most favorite season on the religious calendar, you know. 🙂