Tomorrow it will be two years since my brother died. It feels as if these two years have been a compression chamber of sorts. Somehow more life, more emotion, and more growth have been squeezed into these 730 days than in any other 730 days of my life. Sitting here at my keyboard, on the brink of this anniversary that I will never celebrate, but will never not mark, I want to share with you a choice we all must make - to choose to accept grief as the sister of love. We must dive into it and allow it to take us on its journey. This takes courage, gentle determination, and steady patience, but grief can lead us to a heart-space we never dreamed possible.
You and I may not know what to do in the face of the grief, sorrow, pain, and horror that we feel when confronted with the gut-wrenching events that fill our headlines each morning. We may feel powerless, but that is far from true. We each have the power to create beauty in this world. We have the power to act on the love that fills us to overflowing. Each time we share the beauty within us with the world around us, we touch others with love. What gift of beauty will you share today? I promise you, whatever it is, it will matter more than you will ever know.
Yoga philosophy teaches that letting go of extra “stuff” actually frees us. When we step back from our attachment to the stuff we have, the things we have no longer own us. Helping my son clean out his closet reminded me of the power of decluttering and how important it is to the quality of our lives to regularly clean out, pare down and straighten up our spaces, our days, and our minds.
What if you could choose your pace each day? What if you could choose to be calm? What if you could pause and allow hectic thoughts and chaotic feelings to settle? What if you could do all these things and more WHENEVER you felt out of kilter? If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, we’ve got a very good reason to add a few (more) minutes of meditation to our days.
“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.
It's September and the world around us is swinging back into action from its summer lull. As this happens, we too are shifting gears – most of us from low(er) to high(er). You would be far from alone if your reaction to the suggestion that you add a mindfulness practice to your days right now is a resounding, “No way. That is crazy. I don't have time for that.” But I will tell you, quite insistently, that there is no better time for you to practice than when you don’t feel like you have the time to practice.
Why is being emotional seen as a weakness? When we experience our emotions freely – without judgment or attachment – they will flow fluidly through us without impacting our health. It’s the feelings that we don’t feel, the ones we repress or “stuff,” that can cause the most havoc. These unfelt feelings can actually make us sick. All of which is to invite you to allow yourself the freedom to be emotional. Your feelings are a part of how you respond to life. While you may not choose to act on every feeling you feel, give yourself the space to feel them. Letting your feelings flow through you leaves you free to receive and to respond to each moment as it comes. Go ahead. Feel all the feels. It's good for you!
As you move through your day, be on the lookout for moments of coming home – for example, when you come downstairs in the morning, when you come in from an errand, or when you sit down to dinner after a long day of work (even if you, like so many of us, have been working from home). Pause in these moments to savor or even create a deep sense of being welcomed. Really experience your comfort. Take a deep breath and feel a warm, welcoming hug from yourself. These quiet moments of coming home – to a place, but more importantly, to yourself – can fill you with love, happiness, peace, and the confidence to head back out into the big, wide world to live the life you’ve been given to live. Welcome home.
Regular rest is a fundamental part of success, health, and happiness. It helps us exist as human beings rather than "humans doing." Practicing silence, mindfulness, and breathing are three ways to rest that create deep healing, inspire bursts of creativity, and offer clarity.