Artisan of Living
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"The most invisible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible- without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt- their medium is their being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don't have to draw. They are the artists of being alive." -J. Stone

Even though making art was a common interest between me and my husband when we met, overtime I abandoned my love of creativity because I convinced myself that I was inferior to him in this department.  He's always been very supportive of my creative side but I haven't been.  My inner judge, lack of confidence and comparative side often won out which in turn has caused me a great deal of sadness.  Much of my recent work has been reclaiming the side of me that loves to be creative and expressing myself because it's been hurting too much to hold it in.  Apparently the Universe has heard my call and perhaps that's why I'm swelling with twins right now- the ultimate of creativity happening in my belly!  

Many of us have been judged or harshly judged ourselves on our artistic abilities.  For some of us, we focus more on the outcomes and allow outside or inside critics determine the worth of our creations.  Many of us may have lost the innocence of expression from our childhood and the joy of creating because of an over emphasis on the result rather than valuing the process.

For some it can be difficult to drop the judgements when we or society draw a distinct line between artist and audience or when we mostly consume refined and perfected presentations of the arts.  In some cultures, there's opportunity for people to participate in raw and unrehearsed dance or music as a part of celebration, for community building, for spiritual purposes and/or for emotional and mental processing or release. We don't have to sell a piece of art or be on a stage to consider ourselves an "artist", artistry is an innate part of our being and we are co-creating at all times, however; if having creative outlets make us come more alive, than we better seize them.

Please join me this week in seeing ourselves as part of a holy life cycle of creation and if opportunities arise- dance because only you can bust your own move, sing because you are an instrument of voice, speak up because your words are poetry and/or draw, paint or sculpt if it brings you joy.  May you have a great week.  

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Unlimited supply of creativity
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"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

When I look at the world around me, I see a world that is fertile with diverse and unique expressions and that nature's supply of creative energy is infinite.  I am often in awe and humbled by Nature in all it's forms.  This planet is prolific with life and so interesting and inspiring!  And yet, sometimes I feel creatively blocked or distrustful that I'm creative enough.

For some, creative juices flow like an unstoppable force and many of us find much fulfillment in sharing our creative side.  However; many of us believe that creativity is in limited supply or that a select few got the creative genes and the rest of us were skipped.  Some of us believe that there are those that are artistic and those that aren't.  Some of us deeply long to be creative and/or experience envy over those that freely express themselves.  Some feel fearful in expressing themselves, lack confidence or experience other internal blocks.

No matter our beliefs or relationship with our creative side, we are co-creating our lives moment to moment whether we are aware of it or not.  We can look to nature to observe the abundant supply of creative resources and to help us step more consciously into the co-creative process.  There are so many opportunities we can take at trying our hand at something creative such as cooking, gardening, designing our living space, picking out an outfit, writing, singing, playing an instrument, drawing, crafting etc.  We can focus on the process of creating and let go of the outcome.  We don't have to be perfect and we don't even have to do it well!  

Please join me this week in tapping into the well of creativity within and take opportunities to unleash our creative selves with the attitude that the more we use our creative side, the more we gain!  May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
What makes you come alive?
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"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman

It's likely that many of us would like to spend the hours of our day in a fulfilling way and it's likely that many of us want to leave a legacy of some sort or make this world a better place for future generations.  We may feel an inner call to be of service.  Each of us also posses unique talents and gifts.  When we express or share those gifts, we are nourished while feeding the greater good of us all.

It's ok to look around us to see what the needs are and to ask how we can be of service here and it's ok to check in with ourselves to see what our needs are and what would support or uplift us personally.  They might even end up being the same thing or supporting one another!  It's also ok that not every moment of our life have the instant gratification of fulfillment.  Perhaps we choose to spend time doing less fun tasks in order to free us up, give us the support we need or offer us the opportunity to do other things that enliven us. 

Our values and how we all spend our time differs.  Perhaps for some it's really important to have a fulfilling career while others value having a job that allows them a lifestyle that nurtures them.  We may seek or find fulfillment in the work place, through volunteer work, at home, with the family, amidst friends, in nature or the activities we engage in.  It doesn't matter necessarily where or how we engage our unique light, what's important is that we share it and go out and do what makes us swell with happiness.

Please join me this week dedicating time and energy into what "lights us up".  May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Time to Bloom?
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‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ ~Anais Nin

Springtime is such a lovely time to witness the blossoming of nature and thankfully it doesn't all happen at once. Just like nature, we all blossom in our own timing and in our own ways. Sometimes we are simply not ready to put ourselves out there and that's ok. Though at some point, the pain of holding back, holding in or holding it together just might be too painful of a place to stay anymore.

We don't have to indulge in foolish or self defeating risks though healthy risk taking is a part of life. Maybe we've held ourselves tight due to a lack of self confidence. Perhaps we just need to acknowledge that and move on or we may need to spend some time on building our self esteem. The lack of confidence may be due to a belief that we need to be "perfect" or we're too stuck in shame filled beliefs of right and wrong or good and bad. This black and white thinking keeps us insecure and in a rut and prevents us from fully expressing ourselves. We may be trying to control outcomes and don't want to take that chance unless we are guaranteed success. Our fear of failure may be so strong that we stay stuck.

Please join me this week in evaluating our pain as it relates to a lack of blooming and if the timing is is right, take the chance. May you have a great week! ~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Start somewhere
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“If you don’t start somewhere, you’re gonna go nowhere.” ~Bob Marley

I recently experienced what I believe to have been a small "writer's block".... which is why you didn't get your Weekly Tonic last week. I only just started writing these weekly reflections a short while ago, how could this happen? I realized that I'm actually overwhelmed with ideas and just not sure how to begin or where to focus and I got way too in my head about it all that I just got stuck. I kinda feel the same way about a bunch of house projects presently and things I'd like to get done before I have two new babies in my arms and not much time for anything else. I know I need to start somewhere or nothing will get done!

Sometimes the next step or where to start can be crystal clear. Other times, we may feel overwhelmed, confused or unsure as to how to begin something or where to start. Perhaps our head feels clouded or foggy or maybe we're overthinking something which is causing paralysis and non-action. 

Embodiment practices can help un-stick things at times like this. Getting in the body also helps one get out of the head and can help align one with their intuitive self so that the next right action becomes clear. It might be helpful to do a gentle flowing yoga practice, free form dance in your living room while no one is watching or do a walking meditation in nature to awaken the senses. Maybe we need a little more space to get clear or maybe it's just time to start, even if we have no idea how or where it's going. 

Please join me this week in checking in with any analysis paralysis or clouded thinking, take the time to move the body if necessary and be in nature to enliven the senses to help us return home to our intuitive self. May you have a great week!

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Focus on the potential of what's to come
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"One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain."  - Viktor Frankl

I have something new and very exciting coming into my life.......I'm pregnant....with twins!   This change has prompted me to say no to some things and let go of or set aside some commitments or other dreams I have as well as clearing out material items in my house to make space for a family of five.  Through it all, I've experienced a variety of emotions, though the clarity and deep gratitude I feel for the new direction of growing my family has been my guiding force and has helped make those decisions easier.

We are creatures of habit and holding on to what's familiar can really keep us stuck.  There is so much unknown, so much mystery in opening up to something new.  In the opening, there may be excitement or anticipation that pushes us forward, there may be relief, anger, guilt, sadness or grief and there may be fear or insecurity that triggers us into gripping to what is familiar and comfortable.  

In opening up to something new, we may simply need to release or set aside minor things.  Or perhaps we need to let go of something bigger, like a job, a relationship, items in our home, the location of our home, time commitments, scheduled plans, popularity or approval, other dreams, financial stability etc.  It's ok to feel whatever we feel during the process of letting go and opening up.  

Our attachments can have a powerful grasp on us.  Awareness of any clinging or gripping to the security of what we know can be insightful, however; taking it a step farther by turning our focus to a higher frequency of change, what we'd like to gain or the potential of what may come, can be empowering and make our journey smoother.   

Please join me this week in honoring our feelings in regards to change and the process of letting go, while keeping a strong focus on the potential of what we have to gain.  May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
The Power to Change Your Direction
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"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." 
~  Lao Tzu

I often hear from others, and find myself saying, how quickly time has flown by!  Time is funny like that; sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday when in reality years have slipped by.  I can get so caught up in the day to day of life that I forget to check in and evaluate if the actions I'm taking are positioning me in a positive direction or holding me in a cycle of dissatisfaction.

At seasons change, it can be a good opportunity to take inventory of ourselves and either establish new routines or let go of something and call in something new.  Sometimes we intentionally take the opportunity to pause and reflect on life and make some choices that affect the path we are on.  Sometimes things come at us from the outside that push us more into a new orientation or knock us aside the head and make us refine our values or really question how we are living.

For many, habitual patterns and behaviors are unconsciously driving our life. Sometimes they are so deep, they are are hard to see or perhaps we've even practiced them for so long that even though we are are aware of them, we have trouble rerouting.  We may catch ourselves complaining about things yet, when we take a good look, we really haven't made the actions to change.  Often lower level desires keep us from seeking that which ultimately sparks and fulfills us.  

Please join me this week in taking time to evaluate the direction we are heading and if we don't like where we are going, make one small action to reroute.  May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Seek Opportunities to Focus on Your Inner Realm
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"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. 
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."
~  Rumi

For me, it can be quite tempting to focus on external matters rather than internal ones. Too much focus on trying to change outer circumstances can cause me to neglect myself and distract and derail me from from what I can most positively effect. I am working to be mindful about where and how I place my attention and spend my time as I have found that the inner work I do is the most impactful and ripples out.

The practices of Yoga and Mediation direct our energy, attention and time more toward the inner realm. It's not because the external doesn't matter. No, quite the opposite. The world around us, our outer environment and issues or concerns in our homes, community and world are all very important; which is why it's even more important to approach the external from our healthiest inner self.

Outside issues can often be used as a distraction from taking responsibility for ourselves. At times it can be easier to look at others and see their fault, look for what's wrong with the situation, blame or try to change anyone and anything other than ourselves. When too much attention moves in this direction, maybe it's time to redirect it.

Please join me this week in observing the direction of our attention and take opportunity to focus on ourselves and our inner realm which, in the end, is more empowering. May you have great a week.

~ Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Cultivating Calm Amidst Life's Chaos

"All great changes are preceded by chaos."
Deepak Chopra

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For me, the chaos of change can feel very uncomfortable and I may get caught up in trying to make things land a certain way.  Yep, I can have control issues too.  Change is especially difficult for me if I haven't been utilizing tools to help me stay centered and internally clear.  I have a lot more influence around my internal state so cultivating an inner environment of calm and steadiness helps me live more peacefully in a world with lots of unknown.  

We live in a creative process and we are co-creating with life itself on a regular basis.  Life is full of beginnings, middles and ends.  We may be in the middle of one thing while another aspect is dying off and at the same time, new things may be starting for us in another area.  The cycle of birth, growth and death are continuous and chaos is a natural part of it.

It can be a lot to juggle life's transitions.   Just because chaos may be happening around us, doesn't mean it needs to happen within us.  Utilizing tools such as meditation and breath practices that create inner calm and steadiness can be and an invaluable support during those times.  

Please join me this week in remembering that we are part of and co-participating with life's creative cycles and that we always have the power to cultivate a healthy inner state no matter what's happening around us.  May you have a great week.  

- Annie Jacob

Annie Jacob
Embracing Change
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“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
~Rumi

My resistance to change shows up the most when the change has not been initiated by myself or when I feel uncomfortable with the changes or I'm not in favor of what's happening. Often the fight against the change costs me precious energy and time. I'm continuing to learn to let go of that which I can't control, to remember to trust in live's flow and to practice being ok with the discomfort of the shifts.

Change can happen slowly over time or can be sudden. Some changes are subtle and others are drastic. Some may spur positive emotions and feelings and others negative. At times we may experience drastic changes and other times we may have little shifting in our lives. We may embrace change at times and at times we may have eversion to them. Changes may effect us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While we may have influence over some changes, others we may need to surrender to.

Our lives are full of changes! It's important that we stay engaged with live's transitions and seek practices and tools that support us in moving mindfully through them.

Please join me this week in watching for energy leaks around change and cultivating trust in the changes that come our way. In addition, let's grow a sense of compassion for ourselves and others as we navigate the many changes in life. May you have a great week.

-Annie Jacob

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Seek Learning Something That Excites You
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"Education is not the filling of a
pail, but the lighting of a fire."
~ WB Yeats

Placing more weight on outside measures of success and outcomes versus focusing on inner measures for success and the process of learning dampens my inner drive to grow. If I get too wrapped up in an end result, I forget the joy I have access to through being in the moment.

The Yogic teachings tell us that our Soul has come into being out of desire. We witness this in babies; from the moment they are born they have a drive to explore the world. Children have a natural curiosity and an inherent drive to learn. We carry this into adulthood with a longing to live a fulfilling life, to be healthy and have the means to live purposely, to find pleasure and joy in life and for spiritual freedom.

Education happens in all sorts of settings, from the classroom to experience, and we all learn in our own time and unique way. It doesn't matter if we are in a formal learning experience or not, what matters is that we stay motivated to keep growing.

Join me this week in claiming our childlike sense of wonder, treasure the process vs. the outcome and seek learning something that excites us. May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

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Learning From Our Mistakes
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"Don't waste a good mistake...learn from it."
~ Robert Kiyosaki

Despite the story being different, I've often found myself needing to learn the same lesson over and over again. I've also found myself not taking a risk, avoiding making a decision or not trying something new as I'm afraid of making a mistake. Yet, experience has shown me that I learn the most by making them!

Fear of failure can be a huge obstacle in the learning and growing process; an inability to learn from mistakes can be even more troublesome. Our learning process is not perfect, and some of the best ways to learn are through messing up. Self-reflective practices help us evaluate if we are placing any self-imposed blocks on our growth, and those practices give us the courage to tackle a good mistake in order to extract the lesson. Through the evaluation process we can take the time to discern and own up to our part and apologize if necessary which helps us step out of the cycle of error.

This week, please join me in seizing mistakes as an opportunity to learn, to take time to reflect on our part in things and evaluate if we are holding ourselves back in anyway out of fear of failure. May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

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LearningAnnie Jacob
Seeking Opportunities to Learn
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“I am still learning.”
~ Michelangelo at age 87

The more I study Yoga, the more I realize I have to learn! I have so much to learn about the practices, the tools and techniques and about the history and science. I have so much more to learn about myself, humanity and the nature of the Universe. I create a huge roadblock for myself when I think otherwise!

I learn the most when I approach my practice and the teachings with a sense of curiosity and willingness to stay in a place of receptivity. As a teacher, I believe I have more to offer when I continually anchor myself in a beginner's mindset, establish myself on an even playing field with my students and continue my journey in learning and studying.

Whether we consider ourselves students of yoga or not or whether we are teachers or not we are all students of living. No one here has all the answers and no one has lived the life we've lived through our lens. We are all trying to figure things out and our lives are a rich field of opportunity to learn, grow and evolve!

This week, please join me in seeking opportunities to learn and offer ourselves the permission to not know everything so that we may be a fertile ground for new growth. May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

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Mindfulness Around What We Model
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“Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

As a parent, I find that the number one way I influence my child is through modeling, though many times I find myself telling my daughter things and forgetting the value of involving, including or showing her. However; I have witnessed that when I exhibit healthy behaviors and practices I'd like her to incorporate in her life and create a culture in the home where "we are in this together", this speaks volumes more and has a much larger impact.

As adults, we are responsible for all our actions and they do have consequences, whether the effects are considered positive, negative or neutral.

Whether we are parents or not, currently parenting or not, we all have a great power to influence and positively effect those around us.

This week, please join me in striving to have mindfulness around what we are modeling and as best as we can create a culture in our home and communities where we move away from "telling" and more towards "including". May you have a great week.

~ Annie Jacob

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LearningAnnie Jacob