Mindfulness makes us better at what whatever we are doing (reading, gardening, being with a friend, and so on). When we pay attention, we are exponentially more competent than when we do not. But mindfulness offers more. When we are mindfully engaged with or paying attention to whatever is happening, we feel better - calm, comfortable and confident. Feeling this good motivates us to keep us practicing!
“The purpose of gathering stillness is not to enrich the sanctuary or mountaintop but to bring that calm into the motion, the commotion of the world.” My New Year's intention is to create a sense of stillness in my life. In my imagination (after all, it’s only January 3 as I write this, so I’m still exploring and might be for years) the stillness I seek is a slower, more mindful pace. It is a sense of spaciousness in my days. It is an ability to prioritize. It is a freedom from compulsive, anxiety-driven doing. While the stillness I’m describing might manifest more as a mindset, a perspective, and an attitude than anything else, it is quite real. It is tangible. I have felt it and I want more of it. If my quest for stillness resonates with you, read on for some ideas on how I hope to create a little of it every day.
Advent can be a hectic season filled with to-do's lists needing to get done. As we reach the end of Advent, it is good to remember that one of the season's themes - "expectant waiting" - is meaningful all year round. When read through this lens, Advent stories teach us that the un-done in life is as good and valuable as that which is done. You might even say the un-done is the “whole point” as it holds the potential of life yet to be lived and savored.
Asking for help can be surprisingly hard for us to do. It requires us to relinquish control and risk of being seen as needy. But asking for help yoke ourselves to a whole that is far greater than ourselves. This whole is filled with incomprehensible possibilities. Asking for help is a way to tap into the potential of the whole. By doing so, we allow the power of the whole to infuse anything we are doing with more creativity, energy and light than we could ever provide on our own.
Take a walk this fall. Pause in joyful awe as you watch Nature celebrating another ending. Then ask yourself if you could celebrate your next ending with the same wild abandon and confident hope that a(nother) beginning awaits your bold, beautiful self. Because it absolutely does.
We (all of us) experience reactions. No amount of practice – yoga, meditation, prayer, etc. – is going to stop this from happening. Resistance is one of our strongest reactions. Resistance is also (in wise words from Star Trek) futile. In fact, it causes some of our greatest suffering. Read on for one way to unplug the power of your resistance.
Eighty percent of success is showing up, but I would guesstimate that for about eighty percent of us, showing up is the hardest part. So, what are we to do? Ink in an appointment with yourself. Treat it like the most important appointment of your day. Sooner than you can imagine, you will no longer need to make these appointments. Showing up for YOU will have become quite easy.
“If life is a bowl of cherries then what am I doing in the pits?” There seems to be a common human delusion that if we’re “good” and do “good things” that life will respond by being “good” back. This belief creates an innate resistance to life’s challenging or uncomfortable moments. In fact, the most meaningful moments in my life, the times when I’ve learned and grown the most, have sprung from challenging, uncomfortable, and even painful times. I suspect this is true for you as well. Read on to learn how to practice struggling optimistically and gracefully.
My favorite yoga quote is "Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory" mostly because if the way it guides us to live life off our mats. As important as it is to study, to ponder, to cogitate, to process, to synthesize, it is 99 times more important that you, to quote Nike, “just do it.” Participation is the key to living fully. So, whatever it is that has captured your attention - ready, set, go for it!