Pain is like a metronome.

That’s such a weird comparison… but I’m learning that it’s super accurate. Metronomes measure time and pain makes me measure time. How. Long. Until. This. Passes. Why am I rushing through this? Metronomes make my students so uncomfortable. They show them where they are wrong… where they are too fast or too slow or uneven. And those students, they cannot handle being wrong, so they push the button or flip the switch and the incessant clicking stops. Then they are free to keep playing incorrectly in the comfort of not even knowing they are incorrect. This drives me to all kinds of insanity. Every half hour of my work day I ask, “Did you use your metronome?” Almost without fail, I receive this reply, “A little. I tried. It threw me off.” And that’s the good kids. The ones who are less obedient… they don’t even ever push the on button. (Then they try to trick me into thinking they did which is pretty funny, honestly. Harry couldn’t fool Snape when he didn’t practice occlumency. You can’t fool me when you didn’t use your metronome.)
Oh my word, I tell them every day that, if they would just leave the clicking on, time will unravel and remake itself into a cognizant and friendly force that amplifies their skills. The problem is, they have to sit in the discomfort of being wrong and not understanding. They need to be still, listen, and not push the dang button. Only then, only with time, only with patience, only with practice, will time begin to make sense and become the greatest ally in their musical development. Not to mention their character development. Seriously, you guys, slow it on down and let the clicking click.
So, I’m having what I refer to as a “flare-up.” Where the pain that is always present in my joints at a low and manageable level becomes blindingly bad. Where I can’t think and almost cut someone off on the road when I have the yield sign and I don’t see the lanes quite right because of the simple matter of my face splitting open and all. Where I almost drink the water in which I’ve been soaking the reeds that like 40 kids have used… because it’s in a vessel on the same table as my water bottle. Glad I managed to avoid that mistake, y’all. Really, really glad. And oh my word, all I can think about is how. to. make. it. stop. All I can think is, how can I rush this process and round the corner to the place where the pain chills out? This is uncomfortable and feels wrong and I feel all wrong and I just want a pill to make it stop. But, in 8ish years of working through this process, I’ve learned that those pills make everything worse in the long-run because they mask the problem. Popping a pill is like popping the metronome off. I fix the symptoms and I’m comfortable again, but the real problem is lurking beneath the surface and potentially only growing worse. So, I endure. And this is what I’ve learned:

When I’m in pain, I have to cue myself to breathe and this breath feels like victory. And I become grateful to my Creator for a simple breath. My heart grows in gratefulness and my selfishness dies a little and Jesus gets the glory for that breath.

When I’m in pain, I can organize my life into a series of tasks that are both manageable and meditative. I tell myself, “Do the next thing.” And I do it. Then, I do the next one. Then the next. Rather than being stressed about the whole, I have no choice but to break the whole into it’s parts and work each part individually. Oh, what a valuable skill to daily practice.

When I’m in pain, I have the strength to defeat my anxiety. “Carry on, Warrior,” I say to myself. And the strength I have in my body to get out of bed and do my life becomes this thing that I am proud to possess. I see myself more the way God sees me, as victorious. Pain shows me that I am strong and courageous in Jesus and who he made me to be.

When I’m in pain, I’m willing to share my heart because I have to explain why I’m not going all the places and doing all the things. Pain makes me courageous enough to be vulnerable. Pain gives me empathy and compassion and breaks down the walls I put up between me and the world. Pain makes me want to make eye contact with my students and text truth to my friends. Pain makes me live like relationship really is the most important thing.

When I’m in pain, I believe in rest. I have no choice but to be still and trust God. Pain both disarms and arms me. Pain clothes me with strength and dignity. Seeing God’s faithfulness in my pain gives me joy to laugh and be glad and to not fear the future.

When I’m in pain, I’m in pain. I can’t escape it and I can’t fix it. I have learned that it will pass and I will have a lot of good days where it is manageable and life is really close to normal. But I’m this “fixer,” who doesn’t like silence and doesn’t like to be out of control can’t control this one. So that leaves me with no choice but to trust the one who actually is in control.

Pain makes me remember that I’m an eternal soul. Pain makes me remember that I am a child of God. Pain makes me look toward the eternal and surrender the temporal. Pain teaches me to measure time in patience and stillness. Pain tells me that rushing never worked and won’t work now. Pain whispers to me that this is only light and momentary affliction and that the weight of glory is the real deal and has already come for me. Someday I’ll get to see it more clearly. So, I’ll let the clicking click.

Advertisements

Waiting and Building

Well, y’all, I’m officially a CYT-200! I finished my Certified Yoga Teacher training 2 weeks ago and… yep. I’m back to waiting again. Gosh, I have no idea what my life is going to look like in the future. All my best laid plans have totally not been God’s. And ohhhh am I wrestling with Him. How long have I had TMJD and all that stuff? Since my freshman year of college and I’m 25 now, so 6 years. I haven’t played my clarinet since February. I have NO idea where my professional life will go… if I will be able to play again someday, if I can build my studio into something more sustainable. If I will teach yoga at a studio. If I will buy a house. If Ty’s studio will continue to grow. If one of his recording projects will be a hit. If, if, if, if. I’m SO tired of being in limbo! 

I’m not, though… in limbo, that is. My heart knows it, too. Even though I have all these unanswered questions, even though we live from a place of lack (don’t we all?!), even though I want to KNOW what I’m going to be doing FOR REAL with my life… I guess, I’m already doing my for real life. 

In the She Reads Truth Ruth study, the author writes, “His provision is normally not even the most exciting part of the story.” Y’all, this is good news for my hungry soul. I’m absolutely LONGING for some excitement over here. Life is so much the same thing over and over in and out all the time. And I keep thinking, “Ok. We’ll buy a house and I’ll be filled with excitement. We’ll have a kid and I’ll be filled with excitement. I’ll get some full on, real life yoga clients and I’ll be filled with excitement. Ty’s projects will take off like crazy and I’ll be filled with excitement.” So, um, the grass is always greener much? At least I can *see* my own patterns now. At least he doesn’t leave me to my own discontent devices as I keep trying to force my life into something that makes me feel accepted and important and enviable. Isn’t a place of humility a more beautiful place to be anyway? Jesus, I want to stop wrestling you now. I want to stop, stop, stop. I want to be still in the comfort and beauty of your simple and miraculous provision. I want to actually remember what you tell me about my littlest tasks being guided by you and used for the glory of your kingdom. What could possibly be more exciting than being a daughter of the One True King, living in the middle of a full on war for truth, waiting for Him to return and vanquish His enemies once and for all, being faithful and loyal to him in the face of adversity? It really, really sounds like an Epic. Doesn’t it? It’s our life and it’s MORE REAL than anything we see and touch. 

Awkward segue alert. I’m OBSESSED with Harry Potter. (Why yes, I am a 25 year old married woman and business owner with a college degree and further certification. Why do you ask?) Completely obsessed right now. I cannot get enough of this beautiful story. It’s like the way I have felt about the Chronicles of Narnia in the past… and to some extent, The Lord of the Rings. (Ty wants me to lay down Harry Potter and get with LOTR… It would be seriously more adult of me, wouldn’t it?) This crazy, epic, heroic story of good versus evil where the smallest, most unlikely person has to be the bravest and most sacrificial. Has to face evil with more courage than even the wisest and strongest around him can. The small things of the world become the strongest forces and Love is the only truth that can conquer all. J.K. Rowling didn’t mean for the gospel to end up in her books. I know she didn’t. But- and this is why I LOVE ART- it did. Just like playing Symphony Fantastique and knowing the back story and yet HEARING JESUS WIN. Just like the way Maslanka writes the most MAJESTIC pieces of wind ensemble literature and does so completely apart from Jesus and I DARE YOU to listen to his music and tell me it has not been redeemed by Jesus to preach the gospel. Y’all, they don’t mean to be, but they are vessels because we are all created in the image of a Creator and his TRUTH is SO POWERFUL it breaks through the most selfish hearts and the darkest places and He tells His story no matter what. I want to be part of a story that big. I want to have a place in an Epic. And when I am in pain and teaching clarinet lessons over and over and over and over and over again and doing dishes and sweeping dog hair and just doing everyday life, it starts to feel like life is small. 

But it is NOT. He orders the smallest parts of life. He places us exactly where we need to be to do the tasks that will lead to His fame. And though we do not understand and sometimes get really angry that He would ask so much or so (seemingly) little of us, His plan is HUGE and we actually get to play a part. I actually get to be a warrior in His army.

There is a reason why I LOVE practicing my Warrior poses and want to master my Hero pose. It’s because I want to be a warrior and a hero and when I practice those powerful poses, I feel like he really is “training my hands for battle.”

So, here, right here, in this waiting and building time, I’m going to raise my Ebenezer. I used to hate that word because of Scrooge. Haha… But then I found out that “ezer” is the word used to describe God as our MIGHTY helper AND the word God uses to describe what Eve will be. A powerful helper. Eve, woman, created in the image of God our “ezer.” Strong and brave. Eben is “stone” -as in “an altar to the remembrance of God our Helper.” 

All this epic dreaming is the hand of God on my life and I’m not really just waiting… I’m still fighting. He’ll show me where and when to move. 

Freedom

20140315-215031.jpg

So last week I was preparing for another weekend of teacher training and was really struggling with some nasty jaw pain. I went to the gym with Ty so he could work out and I could rest in the sauna and try to get my pain level to chill. There was this crazy chick in the sauna playing loud Latin music and dancing by herself. It was awesome and I totally loved seeing her incredible courage to just be fully herself. All I could think was how much I wanted to be like this stranger- I want to be free to just dance wherever I am if the desire strikes me. At the end of my home yoga practice today, I danced on my mat. All alone, no one watching. Believe it or not that is still a thing for me! Just to dance. Alone. Be weird. And totally free. So, right now I am at a show for Ty’s band and -yet again- these brave ladies who just get up and dance because they want to. These are some of my role models. These ladies know how to be free! With Jesus, how much more free should I be??

Steadfast

In teacher training we have been learning how alignment begins with tadasana. Every posture has one or more elements of tadasana. This is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t even tell you.

The very first time I taught yoga, I invited my friends to set our intention on the word “steadfast.” We are going through the book of James together and as I prepared our yoga practice, I felt the Lord impressing the idea of steadfastness on my heart. 

James 1:12 says,

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” 

As I practice yoga, I wobble and shake and sometimes I fall. And I laugh at myself because I look hilarious. So much strength and so many tumbles and trembles. That’s life right there. Steadfast. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Trials and stumbles come in life just like wobbles and tumbles come in yoga and yet we remain steadfast. Our only hope of this steadfastness comes from the Lord… The Rock of our Salvation. And, as I learned yesterday, our only hope of this steadfastness in yoga comes from Tadasana: Mountain Pose. 

The biggest “rock” is a mountain and the biggest “Rock” is my God. 

Jesus is truly at the center. Press in and you will remain steadfast.

 

THIS is why I <3 teaching the little ones.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, which, by the way, has become a stupid reminder of our stupid consumerist society (to me, anyway), I want to show you why I love teaching Primary Music. Most of my job is really stressful. Balancing insane schedules, hormonal preteens and teens, crazy parents, egos, blah blah blah. I love Primary Music. Love it. Little kids are so wonderful because they are so genuine. They love Valentine’s Day because they love. Not because they love stuff but simply because they love. Life, each other, and apparently they love me. I am sometimes short tempered with them. Often my lesson planning has been rushed and I haven’t thought enough about what to teach them in the 7 days minus and hour since I’ve seen them. They honestly don’t care. They just love class. And I guess they love me, too. And oh my word I love them.

Yesterday, I sat on the floor to read them a book about Haydn’s Farewell Symphony. They huddled around me and -though my pain level is EXTREME- right now, I got out of my own head for a minute and gave my heart a second to look around. There were 7-8 year olds around me, standing over me, huddled as close as they good get to me, each other, and the book. Oh my heart. I could live in that place. I love them. Want to see my favorite present I’ve gotten all year? 

 

Image

 

Image

 

I love her too! 

Breath of Life

Teacher training is insane. Even though we only physically meet one weekend per month, we have so much work to do outside of class. One reason why I am reacting like this (stress.) is because I am me. Ha. But seriously, I LOVE having something to learn. However, I am trying to keep up with all my teaching, doctor appointments, homework, and housework. Um, I haven’t had a clean kitchen in a week and a half and let’s not discuss vacuuming the carpet. Gross. 

I am seriously positive that being gluten free has changed my health. Traditional Chinese Medicine is unbelievable and my doctor is so kind. I had a BAD fibro flare today (and yesterday) and I just texted him for advice which he readily gave. I’ve never ever worked with a doctor so willing to help me without charging extra money. His heart is for his patients and I think that is so inspiring.

Quickly going to highlight some yoga stuff:

1. I am definitely experiencing pain relief and emotional strength from regular practice.

2. The religions that practice yoga traditionally are based in self-idolatry and are ABSOLUTELY works-based ladder systems where each step leads to another and you keep climbing higher and higher, out of breath, and out of luck because you are on the wrong ladder and it never ends. I’m facing the struggle, though, of being super attracted to the idea of a “measurement system” where I can earn my own justification… So pray for me as I continue to study, that the grace of Jesus would be revealed in an amazingly clear way and that my heart would be changed.

3. The ONLY way to practice yoga without practicing self-worship or works-based-salvation is to make every breath and every posture an act of actual, physical worship. Yoga for the Christian must be worship of Christ or it becomes worship of self so fast you don’t even recognize it. Be careful, Christian yogi friends. Don’t be led astray by this. I’m facing the struggle and praying for deliverance and protection. I feel called to this job and this practice, but only so that I go deeper into the heart of Jesus Christ. The Enemy is a prowling lion and he has used yoga to convince so many thousands of people of their self-sufficiency… Ugh. 

4. I believe, help my unbelief. 

5. I am not trusting Jesus for healing and am trusting in myself instead. I am asking the Lord to lead me gently into a place of trust in Him. My mantra: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Jesus, make this yoga path straight! I believe your calling and I believe your healing. Help my unbelief! 

5. Make every breath worship. Yoga teaches breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Spirit, body, mind connected for meditation. God breathed His breath of life into some dirt and that’s what made the dirt into a man. So, breathe. Deeply and fully of the breath of God’s life which is your life. Every breath is worship.

I think that is what grace really is. I don’t have to do ANYTHING except breathe. And God looks down at this woman he MADE with his own hands. He created her (me) and he gave her his breath and he watches her breathe and he smiles. “Look at that amazing thing I made! My breath has made her breathe and she’s alive and I made her!” 

Freedom. I smile as I picture God being pleased simply with the breaths I take because he gave them to me from Himself. 

 

The Start of a New Thing: Blogging Through 6 Months of Yoga Teacher Training

I haven’t written in SO long. Sorry, friends. This semester was hard. SO hard. Emotionally, physically, mentally. God is doing a work in my life and that anvil ain’t a comfortable place to hang out for long. I’m so glad He’s good and I can trust Him. 

Here’s what’s new:

I am completely stoked to be (finally) on the path to more education AND a new career that will totally compliment the one I have now. I cannot see myself teaching music at this volume for many years- it is simply too taxing and overwhelming to manage so many different studios in so many locations. I absolutely adore my students. Adore them. But with the body God gave me and my other desires, which include having a family someday and staying home with my own kiddos when the time comes, I have to think creatively about how to continue to help with our income. 

So, starting on Friday the 10th, the weekend that I turn 25, I am beginning yoga teacher training and I am completely, out-of-my-mind excited. And really, really nervous too. Like, really, really. I’m training in hatha yoga and will be studying the Yoga Sutra and other yogic texts. I’ll be learning enough Sanskrit to be fluent in yoga-speak and the anatomy will probably be pretty intense too. The biggest thing is the whole keeping Jesus at the Center deal. Because, to know yoga the way I want to, I’ve got to know where it came from and it was born out of some really intense religious philosophies. Now, I’m no stranger to studying super secular stuff and reclaiming it for Jesus. I mean, come on, some of that classical music is crazy pagan. But, learning another religion intensely does make me nervous… not that I’ll lose my own faith, heck no. Just that I won’t have the strength or courage to be a true, obvious Christ Follower in this environment. Friends, please pray that God will grow my courage and give me the bravery to be His in a dark place! 

What’s really hard for me is that yogis are SO accepting… they are SO kind and SO not judgmental… I mean, they practice such kindness. I just love them. But, I understand why they might get frustrated that I am not “tolerant” of others’ beliefs. (I HATE THE WORD “TOLERANT,” BTW. My students are taught in school that “tolerance” is a character trait. Ha. It’s just a nice word for being a total pansy. I don’t want to just “tolerate” people. I want to LOVE them. Tolerance is a total pansy cop-out. Forget tolerance. How about LOVE? Tolerating something is so much easier than loving someone. Seriously. End Rant.) 

Anyway, I’m nervous about standing out and being firmly rooted in Jesus. Root down in Jesus to rise up in faith. That’s easy among Christians. But among those who practice other beliefs, it makes me feel like an intolerant jerk. (I. hate. that. word.) 

My other fear is that my body will put up a fight. My joints get SO sore when I go too far and too far is pretty easy for me to achieve without realizing it. So, prayers for my wisdom, patience, and to lay down my competitive spirit would be greatly appreciated. 

I’m sitting in a M.E.S.S. right now and need to go do a crazy-butt-load of dishes, clean the refrigerator, sort the laundry, vacuum and clean the carpet, sweep and mop floors… And, I’m writing instead. Here’s the deal: FREEDOM is my word for 2014. Jesus is speaking freedom into my life in every place. Especially the deepest down, scary ones. On the surface, I’m making decisions that display freedom to my own heart and mind, such as finally writing again rather than doing the dishes, which will be there after this post is published. Yesterday, I slept in AND took a nap. Because I go back to work next week and I start teacher training and my body needs me to let it rest when it asks. And, I am free to take a nap because Jesus is my provider and He wants me to enjoy His rest. What a load off, man. For this girl who fights her body every day and refuses to accept its limitations, this is a major big thing. 

Ty joined my gym and we’ve been working out together and it is way fun. Freedom to hang out with husband. Freedom to smile. Freedom to not feel so ridiculous guilty all the time. 

Here’s one: Freedom to admit that I am a sinner. To stop fighting it and accept my Savior and to just admit that I need to be saved by someone who’s qualified to do the saving (read: not me). 

Freedom to live unashamedly in a community. We joined our church as partners this week and I am telling you, I’m terrified. Community means I can’t hide out anymore. These people won’t let me. Light is being shined on my darkest places and I am really uncomfortable about that.

How about this? Freedom to take a clarinet lesson. I did it. I had my first lesson since graduating from Eastman. I have no muscles and can barely play, but my incredible teacher and friend told me to play with no fear of judgement and she told me to be free. She actually told me to release my sound from one note to the next and let it be free. Those words. I told her that I am afraid. I am afraid of what will come out of my instrument. I’m so afraid of every note. She told me, “freedom.” Stop grasping and squeezing and gasping and controlling. Release. Freedom. 

I can’t believe how afraid I am to play my instrument. I can’t believe this fear has squeezed my heart so tight. And I am SO humbled that God is so actively saving me from my fear. He provides people who speak life and tell me my feelings are not shameful and that I CAN be courageous. 

I can be brave. I can be free. 

I’m going to blog through my teacher training experience, so stay tuned!

Love,

Katie