When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

Eleven days ago I found out what it’s like when life throws you a curve ball.

Sometimes planning doesn’t pan out

I was poised to leave for a 7 day trip to Australia. Months earlier I had registered for a Women’s Retreat hosted by my Reiki Teacher, Bronwen, in the Blue Mountains north of Sidney. This was my second trip to the same location and I was planning smarter this time. I bought noise reduction headphones to better enjoy the 16 hour trip from San Francisco to Sidney.

I had acquired an international driving license to try my hand at English style driving. All my clothes were gathered together in my closet, carefully planned to deal with the Spring Down Under.

Then the email notification pops up

Less than 24 hours before my drive to the airport, I received an email that the Women’s Retreat had been cancelled.

“Oh no!” I gasped.

The email also offered personal instruction if I still wanted to travel across the globe. My first reaction was absolutely, I’m still going. The next morning when I awoke with a start at 3 am, I realized it was foolish to stay the course. At precisely 3:33 am, I sent an email to Bronwen that I wasn’t coming after all.

What now?

An entire week lay before me with no appointments, no obligations, totally available for spontaneity. What did I do?

Everyday I spent time in solitude and meditation. I also called my trainer to include healthy exercise. I walked at Bok Tower Gardens every other day. The result was a realization how much I’d been neglecting my own needs.

Lessons Learned

Next time when life throws you a curve ball, embrace the possibilities that have just opened up for you. Go with the flow. Practice gratitude every morning and every evening. And always buy travel insurance.

Finding Similarity in Contrast

Yesterday I found similarity in contrast. My trainer brought in boxing gloves in our morning session and I experienced my first restorative yoga class that night.

What are your feelings about boxing?

My first husband loved watching boxing. However, when he turned the channel to catch a championship or Olympic match, I walked out of the room. When I had stayed to watch, I felt every jab, cut, and broken nose as the fighters in the rink fought to annihilate their opponent. It seemed barbaric to want to see something so foreign to me.

What about boxing for exercise?

I have complete confidence in my trainer’s ability to sense my strength and my weakness. He will count off the bicep curls or tricep extensions, watching my form, determination, and sweat dripping from my brow. If there is any hint of going too far, he backs off, ending the reps with a high five. He knows I give 110% and I know he’ll protect me from my enthusiasm.

Shadow boxing stanceBut seeing the boxing gloves in Darrin’s hand, I was curious how the training session would progress. He gave me explicit direction and soon I was completely comfortable in the dance of shadow boxing. Even the roadwork portion had a rhythm that felt easy and natural. In the thirty minute aerobic portion of my workout my opinion of boxing evolved from extreme distaste to curious fascination.

My life yoga experience

Similarly, my experience with yoga has been a love-hate relationship. During my teenage years, I went to Hatha Yoga at a local recreation center and loved it. I bought a mat, found a book with illustrations and practiced on my own, even mastering the headstand pose. My enthusiasm dwindled when the classes stopped. The yoga mat disappeared from my life.

In my fifties, I picked it up again during a lunchtime opportunity at work. Once again, the classes dried up.

Then I found Dahn Yoga in 2015. I really liked the activation of the body’s energy center prior to the actual yoga and shared the techniques with my mother. You know the scenario. I fell out of the practice. But here’s where my mother and I are very different. She still practices Dahn Yoga every day at the age of ninety-one.

Now, yoga has stepped into my life again. During my retreat last month in the Poconos, each morning our classroom was transformed into a yoga studio led by Kristina Coll, one of the retreat leaders. I participated in every session, adjusted the pose to my ability and found it both enjoyable and invigorating. When I heard about the restorative yoga class, I immediately signed up, curious and open-minded about this new-to-me yoga.

What is restorative yoga?

Restorative Yoga is the practice of asanas, each held for longer than in conventional classes, often with the support of props such as folded blankets, to relax the body. During my class with Kelly Andrews I felt a calmness in my body and soul. Now I see how easily her HearthMath system can fit into my existing meditation practice.

My takeaway from yesterday’s similarity in contrast is a reminder that judgement reduces my quality of life. Openness and curiosity lift my mood and elevate my life in all ways. I encourage you to look at new experiences as opportunities to grow.

If you’re in Central Florida on December 15, 2019, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better,  sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.


Taking a Leap of Faith

Have you ever found yourself taking a leap of faith? Or is safety in the shadows more your style? As I have spent more energy and time getting to the essence of my life, journaling, meditating, living in the moment, and listening to my heart, I find I’ve stepped out of the shadows and into the light. Two weeks ago, I spent four days on a woman’s retreat in the Poconos. It was my first visit to the area and I looked forward to a little fall color in addition to the companionship of like minded women.

Highlights of the retreat

Of course, the food was amazing. We had two participants sharing kitchen duty that included a professional chef. The lodge was laid out to accommodate all seventeen of us comfortably. We met with our three leaders from Inner Soul Retreats in the great room for morning restorative yoga, instruction and discussion, and many energy changing techniques designed to open our hearts to the possibilities each of us sought.

A few of us spent an hour hiking along one of the trails in hopes of seeing a waterfall. The dry summer nixed that idea. Instead we came upon the zip line we had heard about. For me, the idea of experiencing a zip line had never been considered due to my lifelong fear of heights. Earlier, when a roommate described her experience on a particularly long zip line in Hawaii, my fear was amplified.

Overcoming a lifelong fear

Imagine my surprise when after a technique shared with four other women, I lost all fear of the idea of the zip line! As the facilitators left to inquire about members of our group taking the tandem zip line plunge, I was right there with my cash, ready to signup.

It never occurred to me I’d need to hike up to the zip line platform. I suppose since all the blood was rushing to my leg muscles as I navigated the steep climb, I didn’t think about the jumping off part. Standing in line, two by two, held a little anxiety, but watching the freedom of letting go exhibited by the young group in front of us helped. I also saw I could hold onto the strap connecting my harness to the metal trolley.

Finally the time had come. We received our instructions again, “The safety line is off. You can sit now. Okay, lift your feet!”

I was actually zip lining, suspended in midair above the rocky terrain, holding onto dear life, my fingers clutching the strap, my eyes wide open taking it all in. Suddenly we connected with the bungee breaking system. Wow, that was startling. I hung in my harness as my partner was first directed to climb the movable staircase enabling the attendant to disconnect her contraption. As I walked up the stairs, I imagined this is how Pinocchio must have felt.

The Second Trip

My companion had opted for a single ride and was busy getting out of her harness. I started my climb up the trail with much more anticipation than my first time. Soon the rest of the second-timers joined me in line for the platform. Now my fear was gone replaced by excitement. I couldn’t wait to go again. This time I planned to let go and dance like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

As my feet left the safety of the platform, my spirit rose and I released my grip. My gyrations probably looked hilarious, but I felt alive and truly free for the first time in my life. Even the braking at the end was fun.

The Effect of Conquering Fear

What was my takeaway from the zip line? Taking a leap of faith I literally stepped into uncharted territory. By conquering one fear, it was so much easier to step into my life. Now my confidence soars and I know I can do anything. There are no limits.


If you’re in Central Florida this December, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better,  sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.