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On Being Gentle

Sometimes I am amazed by how the universe seems to deliver at just the right moment. When you don’t think you can take anymore and find yourself at your breaking point and then relief finally comes. I have had several people tell me to be “gentle with myself” over the past week. Blog readers, friends and then my yoga teacher. This idea of “gentle” really struck a chord with me and today’s yoga class really brought it home.

Let me set the stage. I’m not hiding the fact that it’s been a tough week for me. I feel like I had taken a big step forward and then Thanksgiving set me many steps back. I’ve felt really up and down this week and was definitely teetering at the breaking point when I made a significant mistake at work this morning. I instantly went into the mindset of blurting four-letter words and beating myself up for being irresponsible and not on top of things. I continued to dwell on the mistake I had made despite reassurance from my amazing and supportive team. I finally left for lunch with plans to go home and just take a nap. I wanted to hide and mope.

I arrived home and got this urge to go to a yoga class instead of going to bed. I ended up taking a power 2 class from a teacher that I rarely practice with and not at my home studio. I was brought to tears on my mat when at the beginning of practice, she spoke to us about the importance of being gentle with ourselves, forgiving mistakes and finding inner strength. She said that we always look to others to support us and make us feel better but our biggest supporter was sitting right there on our mats.

Throughout the challenging and different practice she continued to remind us to look for gentleness and strength in our practice, bodies and minds. After class I explained to the teacher what happened at work that morning and how much I needed her message today. I was a bit of a blubbering mess but when I walked out of that studio my day had totally turned around.

I don’t know what got me to that yoga class today but there is no question that it is exactly where I needed to be. I have a lot of work to do around the idea of gentleness and forgiveness with myself but today was a huge lesson for me about the power of negative self talk and how destructive it is.

How do you practice gentleness with yourself? Is it something you struggle with? 

I arrived back at work feeling lighter and more at peace. I walked in my office and discovered a white box on my desk with this beautiful piece of cake on the inside. Almond cake with vanilla buttercream. A friend dropped it off for me after my disappointing cupcake experience yesterday. I am so lucky to have these people in my life.

Enjoy the weekend.

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • 1
    Bess @ Bess Be Fit November 30, 2012, 8:18 pm

    You’re amazing, Jen. And always an inspiration to me and so many others, so don’t ever forget that! So sweet a friend left that yummy piece of cake. You deserved a delicious treat :) Have a fantastic weekend, lady!

  • 2
    Courtney @ Cookin Up Life November 30, 2012, 8:22 pm

    A great reminder! Thanks for sharing… and oh my goodness girl that cake! It had to be delicious :) Happy weekend!

  • 3
    Laura November 30, 2012, 8:26 pm

    i really wish i got more out of yoga than you always seem to do! the instructors I’ve encountered only talk technique, not the overall experience. so frustrating. I want it to be more like therapy than a workout sometimes! i believe in fate, and yes, for some reason you were meant to take that class today. glad she gave you inspiration. i wish i lived in your area and could take one of your classes. you no doubt provide the same amount of support and inspiration to your yogis that are blessed to have taken your class. never forget that. you definitely pay it forward to your students, as well. stay strong.. every day gets easier :)

  • 4
    Sarah November 30, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Great message, I need this reminder a lot! Glad your day turned around. Keep your head up!

  • 5
    Ruby November 30, 2012, 8:32 pm

    You got just what you needed…. yoga has that effect on people sometimes. Hopefully the cake just cemented the positivity for you!

    p.s. I recently got a garmin and I’m so excited, thanks for the idea!

  • 6
    She Rocks Fitness November 30, 2012, 8:45 pm

    I hope that piece of cake made you smile inside and out! Like you I find so much comfort, balance, and peace in my yoga practice when times are tough. And yes I have taken classes that have brought me to tears and I embrace those classes and just let it all go. I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend and take good care of yourself! xoxo

  • 7
    Paige @ The Balancing Act November 30, 2012, 8:47 pm

    I love the thought that we are our own biggest supporters. I’ll definitely have to keep that in mind next time I need a little pick-me-up.

    And speaking of pick-me-ups…THAT. CAKE. :)

  • 8
    Pamela November 30, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Oh Sweetpea, I am so happy you went to that class. That is yoga’s gift to me – the lessons on how to find softness even in bound side angle pose. I am very hard on myself and I self destruct by eating too much or not eating at all. Yoga has helped me so much but this week I was just overwhelmed by life and had to keep reminding myself to soften and breathe. You are still so young and you are already so successful. When I was 29 I was a total mess. No boyfriend, no money, lousy job. 30 was a game changer for me and I met my husband. It all changes on a dime. You had a tough year but it will get better. Om Namah Shivaya!! And prayers to Ganesh:)

    • 9
      Jen November 30, 2012, 9:17 pm

      love you. thank you for those words.

  • 10
    Bonnie November 30, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Thanks for your honesty in posting, Jen – what a great message and hard but beautiful day to live through. We DO support you – and how neat to be reminded that you are your biggest supporter. I personally believe that God orchestrates things for different reasons – and how neat that so many people throughout your week encouraged you in the same vein of thought! This is life – learning and growing through each step like that and I just think you’re amazing for letting us in on that process – we can all relate! Hope you enjoyed that cake and have a great weekend.

  • 11
    Katherine November 30, 2012, 9:35 pm
  • 12
    Sana November 30, 2012, 10:49 pm

    :) You have the most wonderful friends. Even when you want to hide, they will lift you back up.

  • 13
    Megan December 1, 2012, 5:44 am

    I don’t post here often but I do read your blog regularly. I just wanted to tell you that it’s ok to have bad days and feel crappy. I have plenty of those when I work (flight attendant)… but one thing I have learned is that when I feel I am at a breaking point, if I just pay attention to what is around me I will find what I need to get through the day. At work, it’s usually been a random passenger who I start talking with (most likely as they wait in my galley to use the lavatory) who turns out to be an amazing person or has a life changing story. It’s funny how life can give you what you need. Anyways, I relate to what happened to you.
    Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. I believe life is more about how we react to what happens to us than what actually happens. Have a great weekend!

  • 14
    Erica { EricaDHouse.com } December 1, 2012, 6:53 am

    What a very thoughtful (and perfectly timed!) friend :)

    Life does happen precisely how and when it should. It may take a while before we see why we got to the places were in, but I’m confident there is always a bigger picture!

  • 15
    Toni December 1, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Your posts and experiences are inspirational. Do you have any advise to a yoga “virgin” who is looking into getting started? Any ideas on how to find the right studio to experience your first yoga class? I live just outside of NYC and with so many studios I am so confused on how to pick the right one t get started. Do you know of any in NY that you would recommend? Thanks!

  • 16
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 1, 2012, 1:59 pm

    I’m so glad you were able to completely turn around your attitude. I hope today’s going better for ya!

  • 17
    Caroline December 1, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Um, that has to be cake from Edible Art. Am I right? How sad that I can recognize a slice of cake – but seriously, it is THAT good. Hope the rest of your weekend is shaping up nicely. :)

    • 18
      Jen December 1, 2012, 4:25 pm

      yes! best cake ever!

  • 19
    Laura December 3, 2012, 12:06 am

    Jen,
    I love your blog. You are always positive and inspiring!
    I do have one question for you: are you a Christian? I see your comments on the universe, etc and wonder what your spiritual background is, if you don’t mind sharing that is!

    • 20
      Jen December 3, 2012, 3:20 pm

      hey girl! thanks for reading! i was raised in the methodist church but do not regularly attend these days. i try to keep religious/political/hot button social topics off the blog! :)

      • 21
        Laura December 4, 2012, 2:33 pm

        Completely understandable :) Have you decided on a paint color yet for your home? My husband and I went for a grey-ish tone for our kitchen and it turned out to be lavendar/periwinkle! Thank goodness it ended up being a pretty color, regardless of what we had expected! Funny thing is, when we asked our 2 year old little girl what color we should paint the kitchen, she said “puh-pull” aka purple. Looks like she won! :)

  • 22
    Larissa S December 3, 2012, 10:40 pm

    Jen, we are always hardest on ourselves. I read your blog for your honesty, and inspiration on a healthy lifestyle and every post helps me. I know life can throw some real curves, and this means nothing but I am rooting for you. Your an amazing person!

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