Recent thoughts on blogging

BeachWalkingBlogging

Perhaps you have noticed that the spaces between my posts get larger and larger? I’ve enjoyed sharing my tricks, tips, and even my life over the years with my blogging readers. I’ve spoken at Blogger 2013 and this past month at ShiftCon 2015. I have blogging friends, Twitter friends, and most recently, Instagram friends. People that I’ve never met in real life but I have shared important times with, and who encourage and inspire me every day.

Sometimes, truthfully, I hang onto the space just so that I won’t lose those friends. I want to say that I’m a blogger because I want to be with them.

But, truthfully.

As you probably know, I recently completed my yoga teacher training. I am in the midst of a study right now about making space in our lives for the divine, for the holy. In order to properly lead meditation, one must meditate.

With three new yoga classes per week and existing 1-2 Lagree classes to teach, where will this space to meditate and dwell come from?

It will not come from more activity. It will not come when the feeling of “I must do this next…” follows me every time I sit down for a moment.

My kids are growing up so fast. Little Sir just entered kindergarten, and Little Lady just cannot wait to join him. This is my last year at home with her. I cannot believe that he is not with us during the day anymore, and he never will be again. As much as I waited for the day when they would both be in school all day, I am already grieving for the time that is ending.

How will I spend this last year? Will I spend it dashing upstairs to get a blog post finished as they finish dinner? Will I spend it trying to drum up business for sponsored posts? Will I attend Twitter parties instead of putting them to bed at night?

No, my friends, I will not. Not because any of those things are wrong – many women with children enjoy them. I don’t. At least, not anymore.

And while the blogging conferences provided plenty of swag at Christmas time, the money for the travel could just as well have gone toward a family weekend.  And if I don’t spend the money at all, I don’t have to earn it through blogging, either.

I read the piece that Dooce published recently about stepping back from her own blogging. It felt a little bit like the end of an era. So many of the bloggers from those early years are stepping back. Gina of The Feminist Breeder, for example. Others have stepped back for a while and returned full force with new passion, like my friend Charmed Valerie.

Maybe I will be one of those who comes back in a few years with renewed vigor, who knows.

In yoga, we use the term “holding the space “. That phrase has been following me around for a few weeks. It describes the idea of sitting in silence (or even within activity around you) and waiting while something grows or becomes clear. It’s a nonjudgmental place, where there is no right or wrong answer. Just waiting to see what will happen, to understand what should happen.

Readers and friends, will you hold the space for me? I may visit now and then with some thoughts. But I am no longer going to promise to blog regularly.

For now, I am still loving Instagram, where you can find me @consciouslyjenny, and my new love is Periscope, where I am, incongruously, still @_conscientious. Please visit me there!
Love & hugs,

 

Jenny

Guest Post: A Holy Yoga Instructor’s Journey

A Holy Yoga Instructor's Journey | Living Consciously Blog As you may know, I have been meditating upon the next step in my yoga journey for the past 6 months or so. Within the last 2 months, I think I have found the right path for me, but it is something I really never expected. Honestly, I laughed when I first heard the words “Holy Yoga”. I thought, “Is this like Testamints or Christian waffle mix?” (Christian waffle mix is really a thing, as insane as it sounds — I deeply regret not taking a picture of it when I saw it in the Lifeway holiday catalogue last fall. OMG. Literally.).

But it is not as weird as it sounds, not at all. I’ve been attending classes sporadically, as my schedule allows, connecting with current Holy Yoga instructors in my area, and following Holy Yoga on Instagram. I stumbled across the blog of Amanda Dean, a Holy Yoga instructor right here in Richardson. She is such a gifted writer that I reached out to her, even though we had never met, to ask her if she would use her gift of words to describe how she felt when she first discovered Holy Yoga. I thought perhaps she could describe to you how I have been feeling about this endeavor more eloquently than I could. AND SHE DID. I teared up when I read this post in my Inbox, because it so accurately describes what I have felt over the years but not been able to put into words. I will let her speak now, please post any questions that you have for me or for Amanda in the comments. I will be following this post with a post next week about my own journey and some FAQ’s.

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About ten years ago, I stepped through studio doors, feeling anxious yet excited.  My first yoga class was about to begin and I had little knowledge of what to expect.  As a former gymnast and dancer, I was familiar with all things pointed toes.  Yoga was a foreign language.

I unrolled my borrowed yoga mat and listened as our instructor walked us through the deep breath.  The “yoga breath” was new and strange.  I noticed right away it was hard to sit still.  (Stillness has a way of inviting all kinds of mental noise doesn’t it?)  As I focused more and more on my breath, the inner clamor began to quiet.  She spoke words I had never before heard.  Sanskrit” she called it.   I watched and did my best to move my body into each asana (posture).  Some felt natural…some not so much. 

I walked out of class feeling lighter and just better.  I can’t tell you I fell in love right away, but I found myself back on my borrowed mat the following week.   I explored different styles and instructors, some filling the space with sounds of chanting and Tibetan singing bowls.  Some with the sounds of Sheryl Crow.  Over time, my body began to crave this breath and movement and I settled in with my favorite teachers.

I have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember; I practically grew up on a church pew.  That’s where I met my Savior and have known him ever since.  Truthfully, I wasn’t familiar with the controversy surrounding yoga and Christianity.   I wasn’t afraid to walk into a class because I knew He walked with me.  In fact, it made sense to me, this yoking together of the breath and movement and rest. 

Yoga classes begin with setting an intention.  Some teachers talk about the energy around or within us.  Some speak of the “third eye.”  From the very beginning, Truth rose and resonated from within.  I started dedicating my practice to my Abba early on, trying to breathe Him in with each inhale.  There was never an emptying of the mind as far as I was concerned.  It was actually the opposite.

I remember the first time my practice felt like worship.  I closed my eyes in Warrior 1 and lifted my hands high.  Prayer and praise come from the heart right?  Since my heart was already there, my body simply followed.

When I set out to become a yoga instructor, I tried to find a Christ-centered program.  With little luck, I settled for a secular teacher training called YogaFit and completed my Level One Certification.  I started teaching right away and tried to incorporate scripture and praise music.  It wasn’t until I discovered Holy Yoga almost two years later, and I knew this was what I had been searching for all along.

Holy Yoga is “100% Yoga and 100% Jesus.”  Training culminates in an intensive immersion retreat and that was where I attended my first Holy Yoga class.  It felt like coming home.  Tears poured down my cheeks as I truly experienced the presence of Jesus on my yoga mat.   It was yoga, but it was so much more.  It was grace and freedom in bare feet and yoga pants. 

In Holy Yoga, we invite God into our practice-whatever that looks like.  Whether the practice is gentle or sweaty, we ask Him to meet us where we are.   And my friend, He is always faithful to show up.  I honestly feel that Holy Yoga is a vehicle for more of Him…more of His healing.  More joy.  More peace.  More presence.  And the physical benefits of yoga are just an added bonus. 

Brooke Boon, founder of Holy Yoga says, “It’s not about the yoga.”  She’s right.  It may start out that way, but finding Jesus on your mat leaves your practice forever changed. 

For more about Holy Yoga, please visit www.holyyoga.net

Amanda Dean is a lover of Jesus, yoga, dessert and words.  She is a Registered Holy Yoga Instructor in Richardson, TX.  Amanda has also completed training in Holy Yoga Touch Therapy and is currently enrolled in her Master’s training.  She is a contributing writer to Mindfull Collective and Cedar and Soul  Find her at www.mandajoy.com and www.mandajoyblog.wordpress.com

ConscientiousConfusion.com changing to Living-Consciously.com!

Living-Consciously.com Facebook cover previewI’ve been blogging here at ConscientiousConfusion.com since at least 2007. I loved the name of this blog initially because I have been described many times in my life as “conscientious”, even as young as my report card in the 1st grade! It’s just a word that describes my frame of mind at any given moment. And, of course, the process of being conscientious is nothing if not confusing.

But, let’s face it, it’s hard to spell.

Seriously, no one can spell it.

And it’s difficult for people to find me when they can’t spell the name of the blog.

For years, I have stalked alternative names but none have been available. Just a few weeks ago, I was clicking around on Network Solutions again (what, you don’t do that in YOUR spare time?!) and behold!! Living-Consciously.com was finally available! I was so excited that I bought it right away from my amazing hosting provider, Twenty70Hosting. I love Kelly so much. She is helping me through this URL migration process. Not easy for someone as technically challenged as I can be. If you are a blogger looking for a new host, please take my recommendation and go to Twenty70*!

I love the new name for many reasons, not the least of which is the yoga reference. Yoga is a practice of living inside the space we create to be conscious of our surroundings at all times. Religion is a spiritual process of being conscious of how we live in vertical relationship to God. Nutrition and fitness are functions living consciously inside our bodies, prompting us to treating our bodies with respect. There are so many reasons that this new domain is a great fit.

So, I am moving forward with the domain name migration with so much excitement! You may have noticed that my Facebook page is already looking different. I am so in love with the new cover photo that I have put it at the top of this post. You’ll be seeing the new name in the logo at the top of this page very soon as well.

The best news is: there will be a HUGE giveaway to celebrate the name launch starting next week! Please keep posted on the giveaway so you can win some amazing conscious living products from some wonderful brands by signing up for my blog posts via email. That way you’ll never miss a post!

Get ready to start Living Consciously!

 

 

* I did not get paid anything to recommend my hosting provider. I just love her so much!!

#ShiftHappens: Going to ShiftCon 2014 this week!

ShiftCon Media Conference 2014 #ShiftHappens

I am beyond excited to be traveling to LA at the end of this week to finally meet so many of my green/holistic/real food blogger friends in real life at the first annual ShiftCon Media conference!! Here’s a quick summary of what the conference is about:

ShiftCon was born out of the idea that together we can create a profound impact on the world around us. We can literally shift how we eat, raise our families and our impact on the environment. That shift has begun, and now it’s time to come together and leverage our collective influence to accelerate that shift. ShiftCon was created to give wellness and eco-friendly bloggers a place to network, share ideas, learn from experts, empower one another and organize their efforts into activism. This is a one-of-a-kind conference bringing together some amazing people with amazing talents and passions. Shift happens, be part of it.

It’s like Leah read my mind when she organized this conference! The agenda pretty much encompasses everything involved in my blogging journey to live consciously. THIS is why I blog, because we have to shift the paradigm. And better yet, at the conference the food will all be organic, GMO-free, and as conscientious as possible. I’ve been speaking to several other attendees and we are pretty sure we can continue to eat grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free even while at the conference! You know that I have loved my annual giant blogging conference, but there is NO WAY I could have maintained that kind of food purity at that event since I am currently on my liver detox.

At other blogging conferences, I’ve spent half my time in the Expo hall talking to vendors about why they weren’t more environmentally responsible, why they used toxic chemicals, and whether their products contained GMO’s. It will be totally amazing to go to an Expo hall and not be on the defensive!

You can follow me on my journey! I will be live-tweeting from as many of the sessions as I can (follow me on Twitter) and documenting all my amazing blogger friends meetups on Instagram. During the month of October, my Instagram yoga challenge will be #LetsGetFlexy, so be sure to look for yoga poses at the conference — maybe I’ll even incorporate some yogi friends (acro, anyone?)!

There will be some “controversial” speakers like the internet-viral blogger Vani, aka Food Babe. You have to follow me to hear what she says to a group of similarly-minded bloggers!

Feel free to tweet me, leave comments on my Facebook Page, or comment on my Instagram photos with things you’d like me to find out or ask the collective green/holistic/real food bloggers that I know and those that I meet!

2014 To Do List

I don’t do resolutions. I intend to live every day making conscious choices, so whatever I am doing, I have thought about it and already decided to do it or not do it. That is a lifestyle, not a one-time resolve that is going to fade by February.

2014 To Do List | Conscientious Confusion

2014 To Do list

1. Go to the dentist.

Seriously, I need to do this. It was on last year’s list and I never made it. I’m now a little over 3 years since my last visit. My teeth aren’t as white as I’d like them to be. The barrier is that we don’t have dental insurance so I’m going to be buying a Groupon, and I have to find a place that has availability during the hours that my kids are in preschool. It can be done, it just takes lots of calling ahead before buying.

2. Fix the paint in the half bath downstairs.

It’s embarrassing that we paid thousands of dollars for a painter who did stuff like this 2 years ago when we moved in:

bad paint job

I’ve located the paint and I should be able to fix this at some point.

3. Eliminate the part time jobs that do not generate income.

I have a bunch of part time jobs right now, some of which don’t actually pay and some that only pay sometimes (classes based on attendance, for example). I am wasting my energy and taking time away from my kids pointlessly if I am not getting paid. I will not say “yes” to things that do not compensate, and I will attempt to eliminate anything that is currently not profitable. I have a few commitments that I need to see through before this can be completely accomplished, so it might take the better part of the year to do.

4. Try to blog at least 3 times a week.

This year’s NaBloPoMo was much less painful than last year’s. I think I am more comfortable in my blogging niche now than I have been in the past. I have gained a lot of readers and THANK YOU! If I make a priority to blog immediately about the things that are on my mind I tend to a) blog more often and b) produce higher quality content. The barrier is being able to sit down and blog. I’ve tried to blog on the iPad, making it a more portable endeavor, but then I can’t access my pictures from iPhoto, since they are not accessible from outside our home WiFi. When I try to use the “real” computer at home, there are 1 million distractions and I can only get to that computer a few times a week. I’d love to blog while my kids are in preschool but they only go twice a week and one day is completely allocated to kids yoga all week and the other day is my errand day. Need to figure this out.

5. Address my health issues.

I blogged about my 30 days of Macrobiotic Eating here. It is an attempt to clear up my skin and help with my digestive issues. If that does not work to entirely clear things up, I am planning to go back to our naturopath. I tried Western medicine this past year and it was a horrible failure, so on to other things.

6. Keep up or even expand my personal yoga practice.

I have loved getting back into yoga and teaching children. In order to teach, however, we must learn and grow. I cannot teach what I am not learning, myself. So it is important for me to continue my own practice, either at home or at a studio.

It’s a short list this year, but I might add to it as we go along. These last few weeks with the kids at home and all the family here all the time have left me with little to no reflection time, so this list was put together hastily. I hope to reflect more fully on my 2014 intentions and add to this list within the next week.

What are your To Do’s for 2014?