I am grateful to my new mindfulness teacher, Julia, a customer service representative who I will probably never meet, for the loving reminder that we are connected. Thank you, Julia, for the renewed certainty that in every act we take (even when online shopping), we have the power to be more than polite. We can be thoughtful and kind. And that matters greatly.
“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.
At the end of a very full holiday weekend, I had an odd, almost out-of-body experience of remembering discrete, individual moments of my holidays. This was a tremendous gift. Had it not happened, these tiny treasures could easily have been lost in the sweep of busy-ness and resulting exhaustion of a happy Thanksgiving. This experience made sweetly personal yoga philosophy's invitation to experience life as a succession of NOWs to be embraced.
When you mix Thanksgiving’s abundance with the holiday’s emphasis on gratitude, a certain alchemy occurs - thankfulness morphs into generosity. Our trust in the plentifulness of life – knowing that we have everything we need – creates a shift in our outlook. Instead of looking around the world and craving more, we look around us and feel full, sated, cared for. Rather than needy, we feel ready and able to meet the needs of others. This Thanksgiving, and all the days that follow, I wish for you a sense of abundance that comes most beautifully from a grateful heart.
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.