Authentically Speaking

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else”-Judy Garland

Being authentic is being 100% yourself always but it doesn’t always come easy and it takes daily work.. Deep, inner work. Start by stop comparing yourselves to other people. Be the best you ALWAYS and start by choosing yourself. When you start the work you begin to be your truest version of yourself, you will find peace and you will no longer be a second rate version of someone else.

When we speak authentically we begin to live a life of passion, fulfillment and joy.

It’s hard work digging deep to figure out who you really are and speaking your truth. We have all been there. Begin by taking the steps to see who you really are. Are you more like Mrs. Jones next door that you have been keeping up with for years? Or are you super competitive at the office, the gym, yoga studios and other social settings where you will try to do what the others are doing for that recognition? Is this who you are? Are you in an unhealthy/unhappy relationship or marriage, but feel bad speaking your truth? Are you living a lie? Are you leading or following?

Free your mind, set your voice free. It is healing and feels good.

It took me years and I am still digging. Sometimes, I don’t like what I find, but I am a work in progress every day.

When I started teaching yoga three years ago and writing dharmas, Putting my thoughts and stories on paper and sharing with my class felt great. Then the blogging started shortly after, and that was even more healing. Journaling found it’s place in the line up and now I am authentically speaking on my podcast.

Authentically Speaking is another tool for me to share my stories and have people near and far share theirs. Real people, who inspire others, have a story they would like to share to help themselves and help others along the way. Men and Women who are learning, practicing, sharing and teaching.

So far on Authentically Speaking you have listened to ,a writer, traveler, and hopeless romantic share his story about healing after heartbreak through writing and finally speaking it out loud. A teen with type one Diabetes inspiring others how to live with it and not to be ashamed. A Creative Designer who overcame her fears, and loss of her mother at 15 years old and said she is now “FREE” after authentically speaking.

Someone recently asked how I was choosing my guests. I am asking authentic men and women who live their lives authentically, inspire others, who have a story to share that will help people who may be going through similar situations. From divorce to sports. Living with a broken heart or trying to mend one.

The next two months on Authentically Speaking will be inspiring and educational.

A single mom who left her 9 to 5 job to follow her dream.

A resilient, strong, principal, author and LGBTQ Advocate who authentically speaks about being gay, marriage, raising kids and the curricullum that is sitting on the Governor’s desk.

A holistic health coach who authentically speaks about hormone health and helping women all over the country using natures gifts.

A Spiritual Healer who left her corporate job to create beautiful healing tools and sharing her gifts authentically.

A role model for athletes who is so grateful to impact young men on the field and off and building a quality life of his own.

A Doctor with an insatiable thirst for learning and helping those in pain.

A Global Wanderer who is filling pages with stories of seas she has sailed, miles she has walked and the beautiful blue skies she has flown.

A couple who has overcome addiction, cancer, and together making an impact by helping others.

A mom spreading awareness to all the Big Hearts, so the Little Broken Hearts can be mended.

A strong mom with a strong family and supportive community with a SUPER STRONG baby girl who is fighting everyday against Hurlers Syndrome.

This is only a taste of the guest line up.

With so many more topics and genuine people who have inspirational stories to share authentically. Stay tuned as we learn, share and heal as we speak our truth.

Are you learning, sharing, practicing, teaching and inspiring others authentically? Share your story by emailing maribethwoodford@gmail.com to possibly have a chance to be a guest.

A Better Boat

It’s that time of year again but this year I decided not to count the minutes, the days or the months that I have been here on this earth. (But I may do a cute post with a sign that says how many months old I am) ha

Counting just makes it seem that much longer and make the hand on the clock move that much faster. I am learning to try and slow the fuck down. I breathe in, I breathe out.

I started writing this blog a few days before my 47th birthday. For the simple reason of time. It flies by, there is not enough of it, time is precious, of the essence, an illusion, on my side, it heals wounds, time is not wasted if you enjoy doing what you are doing. And that is EXACTLY it. I am enjoying everything that I am doing.

This past year I have learned so much personally and professionally. I have dug deep and looked on the inside on what I needed to work on, what my triggers are and the things I need to fix to continue to evolve. And I have done the same with others. I have felt their energy, sadness and fear, happiness and relief, bitterness and resentment. Authenticity and fake. It was a year of digging, learning and clearing. I have increased awareness to interpret myself and others much deeper than before on so many different levels. And I wanted to share what I have learned during year 46.

Lately, it has been the onion and the mask. Reading, thinking and trying to figure it all out. Let’s remove the first layer of the onion my friends. Take off the mask. Behave and appear the same everyday and everywhere. Stop hiding your authentic self. Although I have seen many “true colors shining through” this last year. Do the inner work!! Once you dig you will realize what a great person you are. Lose the ego. Peel back the layers and be yourself. Stop following the crowds, and show up where you want, when you want and most importantly walk in without a mask. Throw it in the trash. Because guess what? That is exactly where it belongs.. And I don’t give a shit what town or county you live in or what car you drive or how big your house is. You are all amazing, beautiful beings. Show the real you. Thinka bout this...After the mask comes off, begin peeling off all of the layers. What's left?

" I ain't lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone. More than I'd like too. But I'm okay with staying home. My how the last few months have changed. I'm smiling more despite the pain"

Yes!! I am not sure what happened. From extrovert to introvert!! I am actually proud to have this come out of mouth. Most treat introverts as weird  or a personality trait. Some just get physically exhausted by spending a lot of time with other people. I have found that I need alone time to rest and recharge so I can continue to do what I do everyday. I sit and enjoy life without being in constant motion with others. Maybe it's because I am now 100% aware and tapped into those who are authentic and those who are not and I prefer to be around authenticity. I choose wisely.

Happy Hump Day, July 18th. I am back continuing the blog for what I have learned during year 46.There is so much I want to write and it may just be a mish mosh of crap so bare with me.

Let’s go back to 1973. I was two years old and I specifically remember watching The Wizard of Oz belly down with my hands under my chin, close to the big, old school, hand channel changer tv with 2, 4,5, 7, 11 and 13. I buried my head everytime that scary, green faced, screechy wicked witch with those cheesy long ass nails would come on the screen. It didn't take so long for me to stare at the screen and look her straight in the eyes. After 45 years of watching this movie over and over again I always found a new meaning. A deeper meaning. But nothing as deep as this amazing book I discovered just a few months ago. I have shared it in class but feel the need to share it today, on my 47th Birthday. This movie is a part of me. It always was and always will be.

“It is a story we remember, believe, and cherish in our hearts. To each generation, the story rises and blooms anew in the psyche. It is a story invested with all of our potentials and highest ideals, as well as our shadows and terrors.  It speaks to the basic human need for companionship. It is innocent and sincere. As it remembers a golden age in our past, it simultaneously portrays a technological golden age in the immediate future. We find the security of place, the assurance that we have in us a sufficiently of capacities to confront evil and survive, and the ability to trust in our own enormous untapped potentials.  Then, like Dorothy, we can come back and re-green the wasteland, the Kansas of our lives. We are OZ. In any mythic structure we may identify with the hero, but in truth we contain all of the characters. Dorothy might be any one of us. Or we might be the Tin Man in our longing to feel loving connections, the Scarecrow seeking our true intelligence, or the Cowardly Lion seeking courage. We contain the Great and Powerful Wizard. What would happen if we dared to dip into this high and holy magic within ourselves??”-The Wizard of Us.

This movie has so many lessons that so many of us can learn from and The Wizard of Us is one book that I am learning from everyday. It just makes sense to me. I can relate 100%.

For many years on this earth, I cared so much of what others thought of me. The last few, specifically this last I have finally removed that completely out of my head. It no longer exists. Theo Roosevelt said it best “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do” That is character!”

I have taken the time to really figure out who I would like in my life. Those who I value, respect and trust and those who respect and value me just the same. Those who are real, who lead and don’t follow. The people who can understand and accept decisions I have made or need to make and some were harder than others that’s for sure. Each decision has been a true lesson and wake up call that goes back to wearing masks and living a truly authentic life. I have made a commitment to myself to send only love, kindness and sympathy to those who portrayed themselves to be something they are not. I have let go of the situations that have occured. From phony emails and phone calls to cards and letters blowing smoke up my ass saying how much I changed their lives and then once things didn’t go their way; the real people under those masks appeared.

“A balanced individual is free to make the choice to change something if they’re comfortable with feedback that may be unflattering”-Wayne Dyer

Oh boy, did I get feedback. Ha ha.

I will continue to go on a rampage of appreciation rather than discussing the evils of the world and take every opportunity to continue to radiate joy whether you are on my side or not. Today, as I am approaching my 47th birthday I am sending nothing but hug and kisses to the evils of my world and everyday hope that halos are given and pitchforks are thrown in the trash along with the masks. Thank you for the lessons.

Boundaries.

Now this has taken a long time for sure and I am still working on it and the first step has been to practice self-awareness personally and professionally. SUKHA is a place of business and not a free for all. I will no longer allow a student or teacher to dictate or demand how I operate. I am always open to suggestions and there is now a suggestion box in the studio. In the beginning of my journey I have let too much get by. I have had past students drive to my house and threaten me if I raised prices, I have had negative comments thrown at me if I did not come around with oils, etc...Of course we all know people such as these have so much inner work to do. They just don’t seem to get the true meaning of yoga. With that being said, in November of 2017, I had felt like I failed as a teacher. With the number one thing coming to mind-”Did they not listen to ANY of my dharma talks? Holy shit, all the time and preparation and they still don’t get it but that’s okay. I get it now. I now fully understand that not everyone thinks they have healing to do and that many only think of yoga for the physical benefit or a social hour. Some people make situations so easy to walk away from. (Especially when you have a bird chirping in your ear front and center that likes to stir the pot)

I will continue to share even if some don’t fully understand the real reason why I am here

and what I am teaching and sharing. I congratulate everyone of my students who are on their authentic journey and practice yoga for the work-in.

As far as the personal boundaries go, well; I believe I am almost there with certain people that will unfortunately be in my life for a long time.

"I breathe in. I breathe out. What ain't working, what's still hurting. All the things I feel like cussing out."

Always remember, no person, no place, and no thing has any power over you, for you are the only thinker in the situations you create. When you create peace, harmony and balance in your mind you will find it in your life.
 

Competition.

It is only a word. Something I do not want to participate in. When I first opened SUKHA I was expecting peace, love and happiness from all and that was not the case. But again. That’s okay.  When it comes to the “C” word the best thing for me to do is mind my own business and that is exactly how I operate. I still struggle with others stealing Intellectual Property. Everyday I try to now to send peace to those who can’t seem to think for themselves, it’s been challenging, but I’m getting there. I am always flattered, but it still gets me heated. The hours and time brainstorming for someone else to steal? Ugh.

From the bottom of my heart, all yogis are welcome to SUKHA to practice. Not to spy,or have any alternative motive but to practice. And keep in the back of your mind that SUKHA is not only for beginners and we leave egos at the door and continue to keep it real. On the mat and off. On the screen and off. My wish is for yoga instructors all over the world to share this beautiful practice with as many people as possible and from the  heart, I wish you all nothing but the best on this magical, yet challenging venture. Always remember to be yourself. Teach how you want to teach and what feels right to you. Be your authentic self and teach that way. Let go of the script and teach from your heart. Your book and your lessons. Make people smile.

Healing.

Even at this age I am healing every freakin day. Healing from old wounds, present day bruises and learning to accept things that I can’t change.

I am trying to figure myself out and this is just the emotional healing. What I have learned is that any physical problems are caused from emotional issues that we carry and hold on to and I have many. This year I have found the root cause of a few and have found ways to heal through juice, essential oils, and making a change to my diet and letting go and removing blockages caused by people, places, and food.

To end this mish mosh of a blog, I would like to end with this:

I am proud of my flaws and I have so many and I will continue to work on them everyday.

I breathe in. I breathe out.

“We are each responsible for all of our experiences.

Every thought we think is our future.

The point of power is always in the present moment.

Everyone suffers from self-hatred and guilt.

The bottom line for everyone is, “I’m not good enough”.

It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.

We create every so-called illness in our body.

Resentment, criticism, and guilt are the most damaging patterns.

Releasing resentment will dissolve even cancer.

We must release the past and forgive everyone.

We must be willing to begin to learn to love ourselves.

Self-approval and self-acceptance in the now are keys to positive change.

When we really love ourselves, everything in our life works.”-Louise Hay

Thank you for reading, learning, practicing and sharing with me everyday. It’s going to be a great ride and I wouldn’t jump off just yet if I were you. :)

"I think I'm stronger than I was. I breathe in, I breathe out. I got friends to call who let me talk about. What ain't working, what'still hurting. All the things I feel like cussing out. Now and then I let go around the waves I can't control. I'm learning how to build a better boat"-Kenny Chesney

Listen to it here. It's a good one! (Amy may even like it) :)

 

 

Move Mountains

How many of you can honestly say that you are thriving or just surviving? Are you up all night stressing and worrying about things that have not even happened yet? Are you dreading going to work the next day and causing yourself anxiety instead of the falling into a peaceful sleep thinking of happiness, joy and accomplishments that are fueling your fire?

If you are tossing and turning every night with anxiety and stress, chances are you are just surviving and not thriving. What's the difference? To survive means to continue to live or exist, especially during hard times. To thrive means to be fortunate or successful, to grow and flourish.

Unsure? Ask yourself these questions. Write them down if needed.

Do you feel stuck?

Are you constantly complaining and blaming others?

Day after day are you being your authentic self or do you always feel inauthentic?

Do you always feel sorry for yourself and telling yourself that "things always go wrong"?

"Thrive Mode is characterized by what psychologist Martin Seligman refers to as PERMA"

  • Positive emotions
  • Engagement and flow
  • Positive relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

The first thing you have to do is admit the mode you are in. Maya Angelou said it best

"My mission in life is not to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style".

Years ago, I did nothing but worry. Many sleepless nights. Then one day, I woke the fuck up. "There is nothing that I can do about this particular situation at 12:30 am, 2:30 am, or 4:00 am and why don't I just chill out and see how it plays out. I began to take one minute and one day at a time with a positive mindset and then it happened.....

I began to "Move Mountains" by changing my mindset, removing toxic people out of my life, and doing what I wanted to do and not listen to others. Granted, there were other things I needed to work on such as setting boundaries with certain people and situations and I am 95%  there.

What is the secret to reaching to where you want to be mentally, physically, spiritually and professionally?

Have small accomplishments every day and start with the inner work first. Our brains record EVERY one of our experiences. The bad, the good, the ugly and the beautiful. Guess what? More often our brains record the positive experiences more than the negative. I know it sounds crazy but it's all about your mindset. The more inner work we do and heal, the more motivation and momentum we have.

Don't worry about huge accomplishments, instead be happy and celebrate the small wins of everyday life. The small wins are the secret to moving mountains and thriving. 

Remember you can't do it alone. 

"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot.

Together we can do great things"-Mother Theresa

Let's do great things together.

This morning I guided my class through a meditation that I would like to share a piece of it with you.

In summer, there’s no snow on the mountain except perhaps for the very peaks. In fall, the mountain may wear a coat of brilliant fire colours. In winter, a blanket of snow and ice. In any season, it may find itself at times enshrouded in clouds or fog or pelted by freezing rain. People may come to see the mountain and comment on how beautiful it is or on how it’s not a good day to see the mountain. None of this matters to the mountain which remains at all times its essential self. Clouds may come, and clouds may go. The mountain’s magnificence and beauty are not changed one bit by the way people see it or not or by the weather. Seen or unseen, in sun or clouds, broiling or frigid, day or night, it just sits, being itself. At times, visited by violent storms, buffeted by snow and rain and winds of unthinkable magnitude. Through it all, the mountain continues to sit unmoved by the weather, by what happens on the surface, by the world of appearances.

And in the same way, as we sit in meditation, we can learn to experience the mountain. We can embody the same unwavering stillness and rootedness in the face of everything that changes in our own lives over seconds, over hours, over years. In our lives and in our meditation practice, we constantly experience the changing nature of mind and body and of the outer world. We have our own periods of light and darkness, our moments of colour and our moments of drabness. Certainly, we experience storms of varying intensity and violence in the outer world and in our own minds and bodies. We endure periods of darkness and pain, as well as the moments of joy. Even our appearance changes constantly, experiencing a weather of its own.

By becoming the mountain in our meditation practice, we can link up with its strength and stability and adopt it for our own. We can use its energies to support our energy to encounter each moment with mindfulness and equanimity and clarity. It may help us to see that our thoughts and feelings, our preoccupations, our emotional storms and crises, even the things that happen to us, are very much like the weather on the mountain. We tend to take it all personally but its strongest characteristic is impersonal. The weather of our own lives is not to be ignored or denied. It is to be encountered, honoured, felt, known for what it is and held in awareness. And in holding it in this way, we come to know a deeper silence, and stillness, and wisdom. Mountains have this to teach us and much more if we can come to listen.

 

 

Perfectly Imperfect

Sunday I shared a blog about being a Imperfect Mother and I feel like I need to take this a step further and share more. Starting this month I will be having a series of blogs, posts and maybe even a  video on" How to embrace our perfect imperfections"- "The Journey of embracing imperfection on and off the mat."

The past few weeks, we discussed how therapeutic it is to write whether in a journal, a blog or a letter to your children.

I would like to offer all of you this opportunity to write, to own your imperfections!! Because your imperfections are your own PERFECT.

The entry can be a few sentences or a few pages. No need to think too hard or stress. JUST WRITE. You do not have to be a practicing yogi or a SUKHA client. This is a great exercise for everyone! It can be funny or serious. Just write. Writing is HEALING.

"Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious"

Please submit your "imperfect' blog to sukhayogaclass@gmail.com

All entries will receive a FREE guest pass to SUKHA and a my newest roller bottle blend "Perfectly Imperfect".

If you request, your name will not be mentioned on social media.

Please continue to stay connected on Facebook and Instagram.