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Changes

Mary Singleton

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There is a lot about money and the relationships we make around it that is very revealing. Getting my finances in order is something I have successfully avoided for most of my life. I avoided it because I knew my relationship with money was unhealthy, unbalanced, and irresponsible.  I knew to take a look at my finances meant I would have to make changes.  When we live each day on every conceivable level trying to maintain balance, healthy or unhealthy, it requires dedication and energy.  Change throws that out of whack. It requires even more.  

But, in no small part to a big injury, the perspective that comes with recovering, and the dedication and loyalty I have for our Yoga Path community, I finally did it.  Yoga Path is one of my duties in this life and a yoga lifestyle applies to the rules of running a business.  The Yamas and Niyamas (ethical principles for how you treat your self and others) is fundamental to getting along with your neighbors, supporting a co-op, creating a center for personal growth, nurturing a compassionate community, honoring debts, being sustainable, providing a good place to work, having integrity…  just to name a few ways this applies.

About 2 months ago, another hit of reality left me feeling stripped of any backbone of a belief system; and its not the first time Ive floated out here. Its the first time it happened while I’m homebound with a broken neck. Without the hustle and bustle of distractions.  This time I was floating in a void of “what the hell is all of this for?”. So, I drew all of my energy in and went into hiding. 

I began a spiritual process of discerning where I will again put my energy, and where I will not. I still don’t know what its all for, but I can sign up for belonging to the masses that have to wake up every morning and go to work and get the job done. I can sign up for belonging to things being way more simple than I have been making them out to be.  That it really is just being in the moment.  

One more thing I recently hooked into was the idea that just because someone else spins out of control or disturbs my calm and balanced efforts, its still just my work.  It doesn’t mean I have to isolate myself from said people.  We are everywhere.  It means I just have to come back to the moment.  Is this easy?  No.  To come back to the moment means I have to be in my body.  I struggle to stay in my body.  I love, love, love to float around in my thoughts. But coming back into the moment with a breath, and moving through the moment with awareness of the breath…it has always, always, brought release and ease to the moment of now. 

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Homeopathic Help For Broken Bones

Mary Singleton

Broken bones. Many of us have had them. And the causes are frequently as simple as slipping while walking to get the mail on a winter morning or carrying laundry down some stairs.

Once a bone breaks, it often must be set in proper alignment and held there in order to heal properly. This process of setting a bone is called "reduction." Setting a bone without surgery is "closed reduction” and most fractures, especially in children, are treated in this fashion. Serious or complex fractures may require open reduction -- repositioning using surgery. And then once a fracture is “set”, the broken part is often immobilized for a period of time to allow the bone to heal through a process called callous formation and then “remodeling” (a process the body uses to return a broken bone to its original shape). The whole process typically takes 6-12 weeks.

How can one help this process with homeopathy?

Aligning with Gratitude

Yoga Path

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Thank you for patience.  Thank you for clarity.  Thank you for the resistance that offers more clarity.  Thank you for the people in my life that help guide me.  Thank you for the gift of hearing and the sounds of birds singing.  Thank for the gift of sight and the ever changing colors of the sky.  Thank you for pain so that I know compassion. Thank you comfort.  Thank you for the ability to taste.  Thank you for so much variety in the taste of food.  Thank you for the strength to evolve.  Thank you for insight.  Thank you for courage.  Thank you for heart.  Thank you for my beautiful boy.   Thank you for an easy breath.  Thank you for forgiveness.  Thank you for truth.  Thank you for the opportunities to receive.  Thank you for the grace that extends beyond the lessons.  

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We will always be your home

Mary Singleton

My aunt gave me a gift.  I wish I could have recorded her words so that I could relay them to you verbatim.  Here’s pretty close…

“It’s the people who have the courage to dig through their own shit to find peace that make this world a better place.  We all take up space in this world and we have an obligation to recognize and heal those parts of us that are toxic.  We all make mistakes and when we realize we keep making the same mistakes, and choose the action that brings us closer to resolving those issues, we become the people that put goodness back into the world.  That is how and why one is seen for their love and strength and resilience.  Its a choice to face your demons.  The strongest of people do.” 

Our beautiful Brittany has decided to leave teaching at the studio so she can continue to create space in her life to follow her calling.  I have had the honor of watching this inspiring, magnetic woman persevere through the challenges of stepping out of the box to do something that makes this world a better place.  She has exploded onto the scene of honoring women and their unique journey.  She has been a friend to me and a kindred spirit from day one.  Yoga Path will always be  better for her being a part of it.  Thank you Brittany for sharing your life with us.  Thank you for always championing me on my path.  You always have a yoga home with us.  

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Dr. Joe Dispenza: Overcoming Trauma

Mary Singleton

Dr. Joe Dispenza is a New York Times bestselling author, researcher and world-renown lecturer. In an exclusive interview with Rewire Me founder Rose Caiola, Dr. Dispenza talks about how he got his start and the tragic accident that changed his life for the better.

The Crackle of Courage

Mary Singleton

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One of the things I’ve always struggled with is allowing the good stuff to sink in, and I mean that literally…letting it sink in; experiencing it body, mind, and spirit. Being in a position now where my physical body has healed enough to give me the energy to begin to heal mind and spirit, this struggle has been brought to the forefront…and it’s already losing its hold over me. Opening to all the love, prayers, thoughts, and energy generously sent to me and channeling it into healing was step one.

We fully experience life through our spirit, our life force, and that is woven through all parts of our being. (Yoga philosophy approaches this in many ways; one in particular is the pancha maya kosha model.) The brain can suppress certain ways we acknowledge and feel life, but we still hold it in our being. When we open to working with the integrity of our life forces’s cohesive nature, we can fully heal our whole being.

I have spent so many years struggling with depression/anxiety that I abandoned my body. I fled my own sense of embodiment in order to escape the constant gnawing in my belly, vice grip on my heart, and incessant threat of implosion in my head. In doing so, I blocked my body’s ability to acknowledge the love and support that have been gifted to me daily. What I could register logically I suppressed elsewhere, and thus hid myself from the full experience of life.

Part of any trauma is the effect of PTSD whether mild or intense. As I turn to this very real aftermath, my work ahead shows itself in the haunting reality of the incredible force of impact my body undertook, the struggle in accepting the loss of memory, and the guilt for the trauma and trauma recovery of my son and husband. It also includes knowing surviving my injuries was nothing short of a miracle. I hit my thick skull, just missing C1. I broke C2 in such a way that I did not damage or sever my spinal cord, and the break itself stayed in alignment with the rest of my spine. C1 and C2 spinal injuries almost always result in death or full paralysis.

I am alive and I will have full use of my body.

Everyday I commit to never leaving my body again.

Since this accident there are two comments that have consistently thread their way through the well-wishes and support. One is that my “big smile” or “smiling face” is missed. That makes me smile…big. To be seen for my smile allowed me to wake up and see it too. No one has said, “I miss the way you try to control every outcome with your worrying.” A smile has the profound ability to connect and heal. Worrying? Not so much...

The second comment came from loved ones who felt better for setting eyes on me and in response to my last letter. It was seeing me for my “amazing resilience” or “ unbelievable strength”.

Talk about not letting the good soak in. Validated by a history of depression and anxiety, I have spent many years engaged in therapy confronting my ways of experiencing life. I never saw myself as resilient or strong. Its those comments in particular where the imposter syndrome has always reared its ugly head saying, “if only they knew the real you.” Simply put, this isn’t a matter of resilience or strength for me. Its a matter of “what choice do I have?” Wallowing is for the birds. I’ve been given a second chance. A visit from my aunt was the crack I needed to realize it is precisely that approach to life that is a mark of strength.

Having the courage to step into the truth and the resilience to hang in there until the positive change happens deserves the respect I’ve denied myself for so long. She helped me see how important it is to heal all parts of me. Never deny your voice. We can only hear what we need to when we are ready. Her words were backed by years of the same message, but its the first time they sunk in. I wish I could have recorded her words so that I could relay them to you verbatim. Here’s pretty close…

“It’s the people who have the courage to dig through their own shit to find peace that make this world a better place. We all take up space in this world and we have an obligation to recognize and heal those parts of us that are toxic. We all make mistakes and when we realize we keep making the same mistakes, and choose the action that brings us closer to resolving those issues, we become the people that put goodness back into the world. That is how and why one is seen for their love and strength and resilience. Its a choice to face your demons. The strongest of people do.”

We are all gifted with our truth and our own way of speaking that truth. For the first time I heard. For the first time I recognized my own strength. I am resilient and I will continue to grow and heal into the person I am called to be. I am awakening to an acknowledgement of taking things as they come in their own time and embodying the wide spectrum of experiences they offer. I’m finally seeing that who I am is not a struggle to overcome something lost, but a big smile and a strong, resilient heart.

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On Being

Mary Singleton

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On Being with Krista Tippett

Groundbreaking Peabody Award-winning conversation about the big questions of meaning — spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Hosted by Krista Tippett, new every Thursday.

From Chaos to Calling

Mary Singleton

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Labor Day Weekend found me in Mississippi spending a great couple of days at our camp, lounging by the creek, cooking out, enjoying the last vacation I would have before teacher training kicked in.  Sunday evening I hopped on our ATV and headed to the creek to catch the sunset.  

I have no recollection of an “oh shit” moment when the ATV flipped.  I remember heading back to camp through the woods, happy as can be, wanting to get back before it got dark.  The next moment I’m on my back, actually still in a pretty good mood.  I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t aware of the extent of my injuries, I don’t remember being in pain, (thank you shock)…until I tried to get up.  Cue the “oh shit” moment.  

I can’t imagine what it was like for my husband and child to come down that trail and see the ATV laying upside down.  I can only guess how awful it was for Mark to have no choice but to leave our ten year old son with his wife in the woods at night alone, forced to head  back to the camp for phone service to call an ambulance  

Our son, Sawyer, is the bravest kid I know. He knelt down beside me, held my hand, and every time I would squeeze his hand to reassure him I was okay, he would quickly say “No mom, don’t squeeze my hand. I’m okay. I’m taking care of you. You’re going to be okay. Don’t move.”  He never stopped saying “I love you mom.  I love you mom.”  Never.   

Several hours and two hospitals later, my injuries were assessed.  It is nothing short of a miracle that I escaped paralysis, that I escaped death. My baby sister, Annie, is an ICU nurse.  She and my mom were the first to get to us.  My best friend, Susan, was close behind.  My dad flew in and my big sister and niece were right behind him. Before the day was out, I had flowers filling my room and messages from home sending me love and support.   

I mention my sister being an ICU nurse because I believe everyone needs an advocate in that setting;  everyone.  My sister’s help was our saving grace.  She was able to cut through the bureaucratic bullshit, keep the family informed, and me as comfortable as humanly possible in that situation.  She was invaluable to my husband who hadn’t slept in 48 hours, and my son who loves his momma more than life itself.  

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As I started to come around the next day, my mind flew to the studio, the teacher training, the seriousness of my injuries, and the realization my life had taken quite a turn.  Amanda Mays and Beth Zagurski jumped into the helm of the Yoga Path ship and had a whole team of beautiful and amazing teachers jump in beside them.  Their faith in me, in our students, in our outreach, in our vision, allowed me to to focus on my recovery.  To know I can I trust in their strength, intelligence, and seemingly endless energy and love for Yoga Path and its community has been utterly invaluable..  And it didn’t stop there. 

I’m in the loving arms of Terri Hunter and One Heart, my first yoga home from back in the day when Nancy Clark ran it as Anahata.  Red Shoes, Tina, and my yoga mommas, where I first learned to spread my wings as a teacher.  Woman’s Wellness Center, where I am never short of a loving embrace and kind word from women who believe in me.  I’ve heard from friends and family I haven’t spoken to in years, and from people I barely know whose hearts were touched by my circumstance.  We’ve been helped by family and friends in the medical field in scheduling appointments with top-notch doctors, with rock-star treatment and appointment times. We have had food deliveries almost every day.  I can’t say enough how truly protective, gentle, and caring my husband has been every step of the way.   

And then one day last week, something else really amazing happened.  My dear and long time friend, Claire, sent me a podcast to listen to from ON BEING.  It was an interview with Bessel Van Der Kolk.  Here’s a name that has been floating around my periphery for a couple of decades and finally found its time to land.  Van Der Kolk is a pioneer in the study of the somatic experience of trauma.  He’s an advocate for its importance in the healing process.  

As I listened, his words bypassed my thinking mind and I felt an awakening, a cognizance of something deep within me beginning to surface.  It was a connection of dots that in the past have held fear, immobility, confusion, numbness, chaos.  I had a very visceral reaction, a release.  My body shook, my eyes wept.  I started to crack open spiritually and was filled with the recognition of my true voice.  I was shown the next leg of my journey as a teacher, as a healer, as a voice in this world.  

Van Der Kolk’s articulation of trauma was beautiful in and of itself, but his ability to speak to what my body had been screaming way before this accident happened, connected me to my truth.  It left the imprint of gratitude that sparked inspiration and the drive to heal.  

I could finally see how to connect the very physical aspects of yoga therapy with the very energy of spirit, of life force.  This innate intelligence, spirit, truth, opened itself to me not through a dogma of philosophy but through the very realness of being human. I could see its universal relevance and how it enters someone right where they are inclusive of any religious or philosophical backbone. It linked the stepping stones of my teaching journey and showed me the abundance that comes from its integration.  

My uncle Kevin likes to remind me that as a child I would listen incessantly to “It’s a Small World” on my little Fisher Price record player.  That song is my life’s theme song; its the foundation of my vision for Yoga Path.  This experience only solidifies that for me.  There is a resilience and strength of spirit that has emerged through all of this.  It was born from the rock solid love and support of amazing, beautiful, strong  people in my life reminding me of the dignity and boundless love in the splendor of life.  Thank you for walking this path with me. Thank you for helping me heal.  Thank you for being you.  

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Breath as Balance

Mary Singleton

It's a balance between will and surrender.

It's a balance between will and surrender. I read a cue from the Integral Yoga School that described the exhale as the muscular effort of will. I love that! It gives me somewhere to direct my emotion, my physical tension, my mental chatter. If for just that exhale, I can focus on releasing, I've created space for the possibility of receiving. What am I receiving? Simply, I'm receiving the inhale. If I press through my effort on the exhale, I can relax and soften into the inhale. We soften so much as to surrender. In that softening, we are able to receive more. We receive more breath. So where the exhale is the muscular effort of will, the inhale is the softening into surrender.

 

Yoga sums this up with the words isvara pranidhana. What can we actually control that we spend our energy trying to control? Isvara pranidhana is the practice of letting go so we can receive. When I let go of trying to control the outcome of things, I give myself a little more space to breathe and a little more time to decide how to react. But the act of letting go, surrendering the outcome to the bigger picture, seems too daunting at times.

 

Pranayama, the practice of adaptive breathing techniques, is a tool for just these moments. What's great about sitting still and focusing is learning about your unique breathing patterns, working with the stream of inner dialogue, noticing areas of held tension and ease. When we understand how our body, breath, and mind react to each other we have more choices available to us in how we respond to life around us. Because we practice, we can use what we have learned even when we are not practicing. We can choose a different way to think, to breathe. We can sit still with what we feel. We can do it again when we get triggered. We can do it when we have been overwhelmed with joy. We can do it during times of deep sadness. We can access the fruits of our practice at exactly the moments we need it. There only one thing we have to do... practice.

 

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Svadhyaya

Mary Singleton

Svadhyaya: “Know yourself so well that you will grow into your wholeness and greatness.” - C.L.

 

   Running on empty does not make me a pleasant person to live with. Neither does blaming others for my feeling so run down. I was run down because I was working so hard to keep other people happy (or so I told myself). I was run down because I wanted to make sure others knew, and implicated, the best next step for them to take. Ha!!! Like I was an expert on how someone else should live their own life. By a bucket dump of wisdom from others and the gift of grace, I’ve seen how my attempts to “help” have resulted in the gradual whittling away of their autonomy. At the time, it was easier than looking at my own autonomy, my own path, my own stuff. 
   While I had no problem telling my husband what HE needed to do to make me happy, it was quite unpleasant, to say the least, to realize I couldn’t answer that question for myself. If I take sole responsibility for creating my own happiness, what the heck does that look like? Am I even allowed to give myself space for my own happiness? Don’t I have too much to do to worry about that? 

   I talked with people I trust and I read…A LOT. Taking complete responsibility for my own happiness requires a major shift in perspective. I began collecting my energy and owning the parts of me I was ignoring. Accepting the task of compiling a daily list of desires, I saw my first adversary was myself. It showed up in that critical voice telling me why this “desire was wrong, that one won’t work, I was crazy for even thinking of that one.” However, how can I be happy if I don’t own what that means for me? 

   When I own the rights to my own happiness it doesn’t have to mean that every moment is exalted in joy. It does mean that every moment is precious and I have more time to be in the moment. When I treat myself with loving kindness, I suddenly have an abundance of loving kindness to share. 

   So now when I hear myself say, “if only he/she would…then I would be…,” a big red flag starts flying high. I’m learning to replace it with a new practice. Honor the higher self—in myself and others—and trust that we each have our own ways of meeting this world. I’ve got my own job of taking care of myself. That’s the only way I can really be of help to others. 

   What can you do today to take care of yourself? Anything from enjoying a hot cup of coffee to a walk with a friend, from a good book to a nap…and of course, gotta make the yoga class plug. There is nothing at all wrong with saying what makes you happy. Own it by saying it.

As my husband quoted, “never apologize for the space you take up in this world.”

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Why I love Mary Singleton

Mary Singleton

"One of the greatest (and least discussed) barriers to compassion practice is the fear of setting boundaries..." —Brene Brown

 

When do we decide to hold ourselves accountable?

 

Mary and I have had some very honest conversations about our challenges and triumphs in the boundless world of boundary issues. She is someone who has held me accountable. She has reminded me to honor my heart, believe in my talent, and focus on my dream. She has been a teacher to me in many ways.

 

Mary Singleton, first and foremost, is my friend. She's also been a student, teacher, co-worker, and colleague. She has invited me into her life and let me see what brings her joy and what breaks her heart. She has been a trusted friend who has let me share the same. I've watched her follow her heart and find her path through her undeniable talent and persevering work ethic. She is an amazing artist, excellent web designer, an innovative business thinker, and a solid friend.

 

In honoring her own heart and energy, she has decided to take a hiatus from teaching at Yoga Path. I say hiatus because the door is always open for her to come back. She's good, good people.

 

Boundary struggles don't isolate themselves to one particular area of our life...that's the very nature of a boundary issue. And guess where setting healthy boundaries begins...

 

Thank you, Mary, for keeping it real around here. You are very loved.

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