Becoming You

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve pondered over philosophical questions such as, “What is the meaning of life,” “What is my purpose,” “Who am I,” or “Am I the sum of my experiences?” Okay, so I didn’t ponder that last question until I was going through my initial 200-hour yoga teacher training program… but I have always thought about deeper matters of life (which kind of made me look weird in the eyes of my fellow classmates in preschool). I’ve been on a spiritual journey of Svadhyahya (Sanskrit for “self-study”) on a deeper level ever since I became a Christian in 1994, and I’ve come to realize that the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know anything to its deepest level. One of the ways I progress in my journey is through Bible sermons.

Yesterday at church, we had the privilege of hearing a sermon from a guest speaker, Daren Overstreet, who is the Lead Evangelist of Seattle Church or Christ in Washington State. The title of his message was, “Eight Words for 2021” and the eight words were, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7). One of the points he made from his sermon — that grabbed my attention — was that, “what you fix your eyes on becomes you.”

My iPhone gives me a report of my phone usage, and yesterday, the breakdown was as follows:

  • Health & Fitness: 3h 9m
  • Social: 1h 28m
  • Productivity & Finance: 54m
  • Information & Reading: 38m
  • Travel: 26m
  • Utilities: 24m
  • Creativity: 15m
  • Shopping & Food: 1m
  • Entertainment: 2s

According to my report, the apps that I spent the most time using was Health & Fitness, and Information & Reading was only 38m; and just 20 minutes of that was reading my Bible. Not that spending time in Health & Fitness apps is wrong, but I really had to ask myself what my eyes are fixed on. What is becoming me?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders…”
Hebrews 12:1a

What is hindering you from becoming the Authentic You?

Several years back, my husband and I went to a festival in Grapevine, TX. I wanted to dress up a bit that day, so I decided to wear a pair of heels with my outfit. Everything was going well until we arrived at the event and realized that the nearby parking lots were full. I wasn’t too worried, since I was used to wearing heels for an extended period of time. But what I didn’t count on was the uphill walking we had to do after we parked the car. By the time we were done at the festival, we started heading back to the car… going downhill, with my heels on! I’m not sure if you’ve seen anyone walk downhill with heels on, but it’s not a pretty sight. Halfway into our walk back, I decided to take my shoes off and walk barefoot. So that day, the hinderance to walking comfortably was my choice in footwear. The smarter thing would have been to wear different shoes, but I did the next smart thing and eventually took my shoes off.

So often, we continue to hold onto things that hinder us from being the best version of ourselves even though throwing those hinderances off would lighten our burdens — all because we don’t want to put in the effort to let them go. It could be our attitudes about politics/current events, obsession to be right on social media, critical attitudes toward others… the list goes on and on.

At the end of the day, we all want to love and be loved. We all want to feel connected. We all want to live a life of freedom from addictions, bitterness, arrogance, and tension. So what will you do in order to become the most authentic YOU that you can be?


With Gratitude,
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COVID-19 Self-Quarantine: Finding Your New Normal

I recently saw a meme of a teenager holding a landline phone and trying to figure out how to use it.  I’m among the last generation that remembers fighting over who gets to use the phone next.  As a Gen-X’er, I used payphones at the mall and mail hand-written letters. I remember when we transitioned from records to cassette tapes, from cassette tapes to CDs, and from CDs to mp3.  With each transition came a new normal… but the transition we’re all facing today in social distancing and self-quarantining has been shoved into our lives.

Just like many people in the service-providing industry, I have been impacted as a yoga teacher and pilates instructor.  As of last week, the facilities that I teach weekly classes at have temporarily closed, so I decided to offer On-Demand (aka live streaming) yoga and meditation classes via Zoom (click here to see my schedule of classes).  Instead of using this time to binge-watch TV shows and movies on Netflix 24/7, I decided to keep myself on a schedule to prevent going into hermit-mode.

There are many benefits to keeping a routine in your schedule:  Mentally, stay disciplined allows our minds to be sharper and have more control over negative thoughts and feelings.  Physically, we’re able to burn more calories and prevent muscular atrophy if we stay on task and active.  Our mental and physical discipline can create a sense of safety for our souls to be still and experience the beauty of the present.

Here are some ideas to consider while you create your new normal:

Set your alarm (then wake up and face the sun).

You don’t necessarily have to wake up at 5 AM (unless you want to), but set your alarm at a reasonable hour.  Once you wake up, get out of bed and do some gentle warm-ups and slow stretches (maybe some Cat/Cow Yoga poses or Table Pose to Child’s Pose flow).  After your stretching and warming up, find a spot in your front porch or backyard (or in your house where you can be in sunlight).  Sit or stand still, close your eyes and enjoy the sunlight on your face as you take some deep diaphragmatic breaths.  When you feel present and calm, slowly open your eyes.

Go for a walk.

I’m generally not an outdoor person because of seasonal allergies during the Spring and Fall, and mosquitoes during the Summer.  But we’ve been having great weather here in North Carolina lately, so my family and I’ve been taking advantage of being outside and going for walks in different neighborhoods.  While keeping our social distance from people, we’ve been able to give them a wave, a smile or even say hello in passing.  I also take “podcast walks.” My favorites are BEMA Discipleship (for a deep-dive into context of The Bible), The Creative Penn (for indie authors), and Yoga Teacher Resource (for — you guessed it — yoga teachers).

Have a Game Night with your family.

My family and I love playing card games and board games.  Our current favorites card games are Rummy, King’s Corner, Idiot (yes, it’s an actual card game).  We also love non-card games like The Settlers of Catan, Mexican Train, and Rummikub.  Having some laughter and silliness can definitely bond a family… Just make sure you keep your competitive nature in check so that no one leaves angry.

Enjoy a Weekly Spa Day at home.

Once a week, block out 1-3 hours (or more) to enjoy some time to yourself with a spa day.  All you need are some candles, a bathtub filled with warm water, a great bathbomb (my favorite ones are from Sweet Home Bath+ Body from Plano, TX.  Free shipping until the end of March!), a sheet face mask, some spa music, a difuser with lavender essential oil and some DIY spa water (slices of cucumber and lemon in purified water is nice a refreshing).  This will be quality time of relaxation that you won’t regret.  If you have young kids, you might want to consider having a spa evening after the kids go to bed.

Read a book (or two, or three).

Most of us have several unread books on our bookshelves (or a drawer); I have over 25 unread books because I seem to buy books faster than I can finish them.  This is a great time to pick up those books and read them.  You many not have another extended stay-at-home time like this, so make the most of the time that you have by filling your brain with some useful knowledge with some non-fiction/self-help/DIY books or immerse yourself in a great fiction book to engage your great imagination.  If you need a new book to read, check out my book on biblical meditation.

Do your spring cleaning now.

In the midst of the current world pandemic, Spring has sprung!  Go from room to room to de-clutter and organize. Donate your gently worn clothes (you can find drop-off stations as well as donation bins throughout the city).  Plant some plants and flowers.  Get rid of expired canned goods and freeze-burned foods.  Whether or not you like to organize and clean, it can prove to be a therapeutic experience as you let go of the things that no longer serve your highest good.

 

 

As we all look forward to the day when we no longer need to keep 6 feet away from each other, let’s make it a goal to be better versions of ourselves than when all this began.

 

With Gratitude,
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