the space you hold is sacred

Holding space is one of the greatest responsibilities we have as human beings. Not only do we walk on this earth holding space in the sphere of infinitesimally small particles that make up the atmosphere, displacing and rearranging particles with our mass as we go. We also hold space in many other forms.

We hold space in our minds for the things and notions we believe to be true.

We hold space for our loved ones, carving time out of our ridiculously busy schedules.

We hold space in our hearts–-sometimes waiting for other beings to encamp in our love, other times protecting those slivers of love we are not quite ready to use.

We hold space in our routines, preserving personal rituals and prioritizing our favorite little habits and hobbies.

We hold space for our Self, the center of growth and flourishing, creativity and thriving.

We hold space for strangers without even realizing, every gaze met is space held.

Our role as space-holders is unavoidable. Holding space is what we were designed to do. Still, the space that we hold is always fluctuating, always fluid. The amount of space we are willing to hold ebbs and flows with our lives–our environments, our emotions, our age. How we distribute the space that we are willing to hold also flows on a daily basis–more space for Self, more space for strangers, more space for comfort. The idea is not a perfectly ideal picture of holding enormous space in all areas all the time. The idea is a messy, brilliant exploration of this remarkable responsibility. The idea is consciousness-–realizing how and when and where and why you are holding this space in this moment, every moment–-recognizing how and when and where and why this space where you are right now desperately needs you to hold it, to be present to it. The idea is an act of giving to receive, getting empty to fill up.

Holding space is a practice, really, just as all particularly special and innate responsibilities are a practice. Truly holding space and tuning into what that looks like in each moment is a practice of Grace. It requires a willingness to openness. It fosters humility so rich and so lush that Love shines through in a brand new way.

Holding space often requires listening, and it propels us to accept while allowing all judgement to melt away. Learning to hold space is a radiant skill. As we learn, we become beacons of irresistible light for all creation. We shine Divine. The Grace of holding space rejuvenates; it cleanses and heals and makes us happy. Holding space is a choice-–one that we must make time and time and time again. Wherever we go, that is where we are to be–-to be space-holders, givers, lovers.

Slow down.

Take a full, deep inhale. Even longer exhale.

Drop into this moment.

Listen.

Notice the space you are holding. Notice what it feels like under your breath. Notice the rhythm of your heartbeat as it drives you forward. Notice the urges and impulses that are unexplainable but so so truthful.

Reflect on this practice. Be open to those moments when you are called forth as a shining beacon to hold space for a friend, a stranger, yourself. Be okay with whatever this looks like. Be okay with putting your ‘really important tasks’ to the side. Be okay with silencing your mind and sincerely listening to the person beside you. Be okay with waiting when the cashier is having a difficult time. Be okay with altering your ideals. Be okay with being, giving, holding space.

Notice the sensation, the feeling, that arises. Notice the peace that settles in your chest when you observe the way you do your duty as a space-holder. Notice the love that exudes from your skin. Notice the Grace that showers you. Notice the Grace that showers everyone and everything around you. Hold your space freely and truly. Hold it honest and easy. Hold it pure. This space that you hold is Sacred. It is holy. It is Divine and anointed. Only you can hold this space. Only you.

On B A L A N C E... how to get more of it

Balance...in life, in work, in yoga class...is really quite simple.

Trust me, I hear you... "I don't know, Ruby. I don't think balance is very simple or easy. It seems pretttty complicated, if you ask me. I feel like I'm juggling 376 things on most days, and when am I even supposed to be breathing, much less making time to 'self-care,' cook meals for my family, or make it to a yoga class to practice a tree pose?"

I HEAR YOU. And keep reading...

Balance is a lot less complicated that we make it out to be. I know this to be true mostly because we have a severe tendency to make everything more complicated than it needs to be (another post for another day...).

The same applies to balance. 

First of all, YOU ARE BALANCE IN ACTION. Already. No matter what you think about yourself. No matter what you think about your life. You are, as a living human being, a remarkable example of balance. Elementary school science teaches us that very early on. The inner-workings of your body offer an exceptional picture of what balance is...in short, this is what we all learned in elementary school...

There are a shit-ton of things happening, all at once and in coordination. These shit-ton of systems, organs, functions all trust each other to get the job done. And in order to operate in health and balance, everything is constantly fluctuating, accommodating, working together to keep you alive. [And this is the essence of life itself. It's strikingly awesome, because our bodies teach us so much about how to live this external life.]

The same applies to everything going on in your life...There are a shit-ton of things happening, all at once and in coordination. These shit-ton of people, responsibilities, places-to-be all trust each other to get the job done. And in order to operate in health and balance, everything is constantly fluctuating, accommodating, working together to keep you living in a sustainable way and thriving. 

The trouble usually rears its head not as an actual balance issue, but as an issue of EXPECTATIONS. Really, so much of our stress, so many of our 'issues,' all tie back to expectations.

We expect balance to be still, calm, or something we can finish or accomplish. We expect balance to mean a feeling of floating through your own life. We expect balance to come shiny and packaged, complete with operating instructions and a formula for how to make it work.

But balance doesn't work like that.

Balance is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

Balance is the beauty of the interweaving of our daily lives, each and every aspect of them. It's sometimes eating takeout 3 nights in one week, because shit's crazy at work right now and the project you're so close to finishing is your best work yet. It's afternoon naps because your life is so full of goodness that you wake up at sunrise and have work to do well after dark. It's looking your S.O. straight in the eyes and saying "This week is kicking my ass. I need you today. Will you please help me with ______." It's resting on days that need rest, and running 8 miles on days that need long runs-- without planning for them. It's rearranging your schedule for a happy hour drink with friends. It's doing things that make you happy just because they make you happy. It's falling out of tree pose because you were brave enough to try something new with your gaze or your arms. It's ending your day at peace, knowing well that you took care of yourself and did your best.

It's showing up to your life. Every day. 100%. Present. Willing to listen, fluctuate, accommodate.

The truth is that we can only truly learn what balance is when we grant ourselves permission to fall out of balance, which means giving up on expectations.

[side note: falling out of balance will happen whether we grant the permission or not. Because we set impossible expectations for ourselves. But if we don't grant ourselves that permission, permission to f*ck expectations, more often than not, we get pissed. Angry at ourselves. Angry at the world.]

We learn so much more about balance when we allow ourselves the space to discover and feel what balance *is not* than we do trying to force ourselves into balance via our own limiting, insane expectations. 

Here are some examples... [add to this list. I promise, it's liberating to write your beliefs on paper. You will see your heart spill out in earnest. It may even surprise you.]

Balance is-

knowing what balance is not

fluid

trying new things 

listening

openness

daytime naps

an ebb + flow (aka constant changing / shifting)

.

Balance is not - 

fixed... a single, firm, concrete thing

expectation

rigid

letting myself get hangry

attainable as a goal

perfect

. . .

Come back to your true nature of balance, and figure out what that means for you...

How to get more balance...

1. Try this:

  • Close your eyes. 

  • Take a deeeeeeeep breath in. 

  • Breathe out.

  • In this stillness, FEEL the dynamic life of your breath. FEEL your innate beingness... at its most basic -- breath + heartbeat. 

  • This is balance... the innerworkings of your body, showing you exactly what balance looks like, feels like. In and out. I N and O U T. in and out. I N and O U T. in and out. I N and O U T...

  • Come back to this often (5-10x per day or more)

2. Stop trying so hard. [more on how to master this next time...]

i have you. i hold you. i love you.

xo

Ruby

how to take a compliment

You know the feeling... That awkward moment when someone thinks they're giving you a compliment but it's not really appropriate (or it's not even a compliment at all), and you stand there confused, trying to muster up some sort of coherent response. (This is when you blush, shift from side-to-side, and then quickly change the subject as if nothing was said at all.)

Or... That equally awkward moment when someone gives you a compliment and it catches you off guard. Something about the situation-- either the timing or the person or the location-- does not seem like a proper compliment-giving time. So you, again, stand there confused, trying to muster up some sort of coherent response. Or you do what we have all become so good at, and you deflect the compliment, like accepting their words would somehow serve as a portal to a lion's den, like it's something to be afraid of. (This is when you interject responses like, "No I'm not," "Oh, it's nothing," "*nervous giggle*," "Don't say that," "Not really," and then you avoid eye contact at all costs.)

I have a yoga teacher who once said, "It's only awkward if you make it awkward. It's only weird if you make it weird. So don't make it weird."

Well, our collective 'not-good-enough' complex is making it weird.

...

Real conversation from my weekend:

Person: Oh wow, Ruby. You look so great. What have you been doing?

He quite obviously wants to know what workouts I've been up to, how I count my macros, or some nonsense like this. I know.

Me: Thank you!

Person: Yeah, really. What have you been doing? Anything different?

I told you. I know his angle.

Me: I've been having a lot of fun. I do a lot of stuff because I like to move in lots of different ways each week.

Person: Like what? What do you do?

Me: A little bit of everything. It's good to see you.

This is when I look at my friend (who witnessed this whole encounter), smile, pat him on the shoulder, and walk out of the room.

...

Shit like this happens all the time. And the issue I have is not that people are interested in me. The issue I have is that people are interested in more than me. People are interested in my 'quick fix,' my 'magic potion,' my 'perfect routine.' But guess what... I don't have any of those things. Very literally, I repeat, I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THOSE THINGS. I do not have a quick fix. I do not have a magic potion. I do not even have a relatively consistent routine, much less a perfect one. No one does. (And that is for another blog on another day.)

But because we have each allowed our selves to carry around this desire to be better, stronger, worthy, good enough, we no longer know how to genuinely compliment someone. We only know how to compliment in a way that also comes across as wanting something from that person. As if to say, "Tell me your secret." We are so caught up in our own self-perceptions that we struggle to actually recognize and acknowledge the good in another being simply for what it is. We have such a difficult time allowing differences to be beauties. So before we can even learn how to take a compliment, we should really first know how to take one...

Here's how to give a compliment:

1) Think about the types of compliments you like to receive. The ones that fill your soul and lift your spirit. (Do this first alone, before you ever encounter another person)

I like to be told how intuitive I am or that I carry myself with confidence and happiness.

2) Commit to noticing something in someone that goes deeper than skin deep.

This could be the way someone listens when you talk or remembers your birthday.

3) Candidly tell that person what you observed and admire. 

"You are a remarkable listener. When I talk to you I know I am being seen and heard." or "You are so attentive!"

4) Don't hold back the love.

Let them know how much you appreciate this about them. And as much as you can, do not let them deflect your compliment. Let them know that your compliment is a fact and not a question.

...

Great. Now we have become world-class compliment givers. And what's next? Well, we cannot actually be world-class compliment givers unless we, too, know how to take a compliment. This is actually the hard part, because like I said before, we have conditioned ourselves to deflect any form of compliment thrown our way. Plus, not everyone knows the tips to good compliment giving, so sometimes we have to accept compliments that are shallow or strange or misplaced because we realize that the intentions are good. (This is often.) 

I really believe that when we learn how to give and take compliments, we learn how to unlock connection with people. When we feel seen and show others that we see them, we create the space for everyone to JUST BE.

So... The missing link... 

How to take a compliment:

1) Listen.

Hear her or his words for what they are, knowing that this is their form of a compliment. Look this person in the eyes.

2) Say Thank You.

This is where you will want to break eye contact and say silly things like 'No I'm not.' Don't do that. Resist. You are so much more enough than that. Say Thank You.

...

That's it. It is really that simple. And the best part is that the more genuine and real compliments we give, the more we will start to receive. And the more compliments we allow ourselves to receive, the more enough we will feel. 

You are worthy of a compliment.

...

Another real conversation from my weekend:

Person: Thank you for class, Ruby. That was so great. 

Me: Oh, Thank you!

Person: Really, not that you were a little girl before, but you are so mature and poised. I couldn't help but watch you as you taught.

Me: I really appreciate that. I truly feel like I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing.

Person: I can tell. And something about that class. You made it feel so intimate. You're really special.

Me: This is when I hug her, because if I don't I may start crying.

...

Don't hold back. Create space for realness, for authenticity, for connection. Be a world-class compliment giver and a state-of-the-art compliment receiver. It takes both.

And when you do, you take a stand for who you are and you take a stand for who that person is. You allow yourself to be unashamedly you, and you allow everyone else to be unapologetically themselves. 

Let's all do more of that.

i have you. i hold you. i love you.

xo

Ruby

intention-setting: you are more than a resolution

It's that time again... intention-setting! It's a new year, a fresh start, and although I've never been one for resolutions, I learned something in my yoga teacher training in 2013 that I have applied to my new year rituals ever since. That practice is intention-setting. It's different that a resolution, because a resolution implies there is something to be resolved, fixed, something that is not right needs to be made right. Resolution puts a very sour, very limiting taste in my mouth and makes me want to pitch a toddler fit-- why should I feel like I need to be 'fixed'?

I have found that this intention-setting, however, is a much more graceful approach to becoming a better human each year. When we set an intention, something activates inside. It's almost like our cells begin to recalibrate, and our lives start to reflect that intention that we so desire. It's remarkable.

...

In 2013 my word was LOVE. This was the pivotal time in my life when I really began to give love in an open way. I started choosing love, even when I felt the fear creep up into my chest that told me to be careful. I started to open myself to the possibility of loving without reserve, telling people 'I love you,' allowing intimate, honest and vulnerable relationships with friends, family, acquaintances, and SOs. I began to truly see how to love myself, too.

For 2014, I chose TRUST. This year I finished college, lived in a yoga studio, joined Tinder, got a big girl job, quit my big girl job, led my first women's retreat, and packed my bags for L.A. I think that pretty much sums it up. And yeah, I learned a whole lot about trust...

In 2015 my word was EXPANSIVE and, let's be honest, that shit was for the birds. Just kidding. It was really awesome. I was braver than I ever imagined I could be. I took stand upon stand for my truth. I put myself out there (on the west coast, literally). I made things work. I was all-in for every choice I made. I solidified my core values (Love, Integrity, Relationship, Quality). I saw the distinct power of choice. I yielded to love. I scaled back to give more attention and tenderness to the things that matter most to me. I survived. 2015 taught me about the power of our word choice when we set our intentions. Look out, because what you ask for is coming for you.

Last year I chose JOY. In all things. My intention was to be all-in in 100% of my endeavors and to do so with a joyful heart-- a singing soul, an effervescent spirit. Joy was definitely present in my year, but in many unexpected ways. Like the way I experienced joy was not always what I thought joy was before. I thought I would be carefree and exposed. I thought Joy was like a firecracker. And Joy can be those things, of course, but my Joy in 2016 was different. Joy was a whole lot of gratitude, peace, and strength. Joy was being comfortable in my home, loving the people I surrounded myself with, and choosing powerfully. Joy was cooking for friends multiple times each week and letting myself rest when I needed to. Joy was traveling. Joy was not worrying about things I can't control. Joy was realizing and accepting my own competency. Joy was learning to Trust and lean in. Joy was showing up and figuring it out as I go. Joy was touch and laughter and love.

...

So it's quite simple. Choose a word, and see where it takes you. There is no right or wrong. There is no good or bad words. You can post your word on your refrigerator to see it every day or write it on the last day of your planner so you don't see it again until the year ends. Do tell someone. People love to know what you care about, how you feel, and what you want most. People love to watch you become a bigger version of you, I promise. In fact, I encourage you to comment on this post or on our Facebook page. Tell us your word and why you choose it.

Here's mine...

For 2017 my word is AUDACITY. The willingness to take bold risks. Daring, brave, bold, courageous-- Audacity encompasses a lot of things I want to be this year. I want to be willing to take bold risks in my relationships-- to be boldly vulnerable, honest, and candid. Willing to take bold risks in my own growth-- to get uncomfortable and stay uncomfortable when I feel myself shy away. Willing to take bold risks in my business-- to show up every day at 100%, to be unconventional as I cultivate a Shakti community here in Athens, to be uninhibited and unashamed and to be confident in my business savvy. Willing to take bold risks in love-- to share freely and openly and to say 'I love you' even to the person who may not be a 'say I love you' kind of person. Willing to take bold risks when no one else will and willing to take bold risks with others...So for 2017, I choose Audacity. 

I cannot wait to hear about your 2017 words and watch you bring them to life!

i have you. i hold you. i love you.

xo

Ruby