Haiku – rest in this moment

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Rest in this moment

It just takes a breath or two

Find Your Middle Ground

 

This is what I have to say to you today.

Take a moment to step away from it all.

Breathe in the Prana and goodness from nature and absorb the energy from the sun.

Take care of what you eat so it nourishes your very soul as well as the body.

Gaze upon the beauty around you and those you love.

Touch an other with love and appreciation.

 

This is a time for deep self care to nurture every part of our Being.

Pause and find your middle ground.

Namaste

 

To find out more about finding your middle ground click here

Where Would you Choose to Sit?

Over the past several weeks I have been walking in Chanticleer Gardens, near me in Wayne PA. Every time I venture out I have my iPhone 8 at the ready … and it seems to capture the colors, contours, shadows and perspectives pretty well.

I don’t see myself as a photographer, but I have been taught to have an artistic eye. Recently, I have not only wanted to represent what is before me, but also to appreciate different perspectives, shades, patterns and dynamics that are taking place.

So, these last few visits I have asked myself – where would I like to sit? As I brought new awareness to seats, I noticed so many more in tucked away corners as well as overlooking lovely vistas.

Where would you choose to sit?

 

Inspiration for Hectic Hearts

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

~ John O’Donohue, from “Blessings”

There are some beautiful images and poignant phrases here to guide us to our Middle Ground.

May today be a day for slowing down and noticing the small miracles we rushed through.

Let nature and our senses restore mind, body and spirit.

Namaste

Inspiration – Let it Go

This poem from Danna Faulds really resonated with me this week. Her work is such an inspiration.

let it go

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold: the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations – Let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide. The choice to fight
what is here before you now will 
only result in struggle, fear, and
desperate attempts to flee from
the very energy you long for. Let go.

 Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days whether
you receive it gently or with all your
quills raised to defend against invaders.

 Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks, but
you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

~ Danna Faulds

COVID-19 is changing our society and the globe. It is reaching deep inside every one of us and turning our world upside down. Our dreams are on hold. Our faith is being questioned. We are being asked to let go of what we have thought is “normal”.

In our culture we are conditioned from an early age to expect to shine as an individual;  to make plans and achieve goals; to stand out above others,  pushing to succeed, strategizing to overcome and competing to win. We are also expected to be good consumers in order to achieve status and happiness and to show how successful we are. We thought that the pursuit of material things was the pursuit of happiness.

Many of us have been questioning these old ways for some time, and have come to realize that the wellspring of happiness lies within us, not in the external and material realm.

COVID-19 has changed all that. The old way of being doesn’t work any more. We must come together as a community, rather than compete against each other. We must work together to overcome the challenges that society faces now and in the future. We must embrace our global humanity and support each other, and our planet to sustain us. We must get creative and use our amazing minds for good rather than greed.

When we allow ourselves to fully experience life’s highs and lows,  it becomes clear that happiness doesn’t come from what we acquire or attain. It lies within us.

To find happiness we have to bring our attention into our inner world and let go of trying to control the outcomes of our life.

When we pause we transform.
Create this space for yourself.
Find your Middle Ground

Namaste

Haiku – beyond fear

Inner door to love

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

~

Open doors within

There’s love here beyond the fear

Find your Middle Ground

~

I’d like to add these words by Thich Nhat Hanh:

“In a time of anger or despair, even if we feel overwhelmed, our love is still there. Our capacity to communicate, to forgive, to be compassionate is still there. You have to believe this. We are more than our anger, we are more than our suffering. We must recognize that we do have within us the capacity to love, to understand, to be compassionate, always.”

I read a BBC News article about how Canadians are coming together in FaceBook groups for “caremongering” instead of scaremongering. People are reaching out to help and support those in need and also to connect with old friends, distant relatives and neighbors.

There is a movement of kindness evolving and growing. I lifts my heart. I am so grateful that others can set aside their fear and do something for the good of us all.

While you are home, you can take time to reflect and come inwards, start a project, go for a walk, dance or dress up … and you can also start to think how you can support your local community and the greater good.

You have already started if you are in self isolation. Thank you 🙏

 

More Than Ever – Find Your Middle Ground

nature forest waves trees

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These are such challenging and fast moving times aren’t they. I have been reluctant to post about COVID-19. There have been too many conversations about the threat of the unknown and constant updates in the media.
Last Thursday I stopped teaching classes in public and I lost the structure of my days. I told myself it’s like a “staycation”. What a great time to reconnect with Don and enjoy our lovely home and garden together.
I found myself getting addicted to the need to know what’s happening. I thought this would make me feel more in control, but the opposite happened. I began to feel adrift.
I felt more and more disconnected and anxious, the more I engaged.
Like a stick in a raging river, with no rudder or direction, I felt out of control and scared.
Then I realized, its okay to feel like this. This is the reality right now. When I accepted this, there was an inner shift. I realized that I needed to find my own middle ground. Not just to talk about it for others, but to make it so. Now more than ever.
Today I am now focused on making it so for myself, so I can support others.
There is a lot of inspiration out there. I will share what I come across, as well as delve into my archives to share posts that feel right for these times.
I have also started recording a yoga class from home on Vimeo. I hope you yogis here enjoy this first attempt. It ends abruptly as I ran out of disc space.
Take care of yourself and loved ones.
Take time to pause and reflect on whatever is coming up for you.
Now, more than ever, take time to find your middle ground.
Namaste

Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler

This re-post is dedicated to the people I have the privilege of teaching and mentoring.

ooOoo

As adults we are so used to being competent and knowledgable…. at least in some areas of our lives!
So when we take on a new challenge or want to learn something new it can be difficult.

I teach new yoga students and yoga teachers, and see how tough it can be for some to get their heads around being a beginner again.

Learning something new as adults makes us feel vulnerable. It’s a time where old fears about our worthiness surface, self doubt seeps in and egos rush to defend ingrained thinking and old beliefs.

beginner's mind

One way of countering this all too human reaction is to apply the Zen wisdom of Beginner’s Mind. This concept refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level.

Here are some steps to practice:

1. Be open and curious. Beginner’s Mind is about using the spirit of enquiry.  There’s a Zen story about this:
A student visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
“The cup is full!” said the visitor. “No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

2.Take one step at a time and let go of the outcome. Focus on what needs to be studied at each step.

toddler running and falling

3. Be like a toddler. Fall down seven times, get up eight times. Celebrate falling down as well as getting up.

4. Let go of knowing. Embrace “I don’t know” thinking rather than conditioned “I know or I should know” thinking. We only know things up until now. How can we expect to know something beyond our experience?

5. Shake off shoulds. Shoulds are imposed on us. Instead, be the best you can be in that moment and take responsibility for your actions. Own your own life rather than ‘shoulding’ all over it.

6. Use your experience. Keep an open mind on how to apply your experience to each new circumstance. Get creative with what you know and what you are learning.

7. Experience the moment fully. Slow down and pause. Be fully present to what is going on around you and within you.

When you do this your mind quietens and you make space for the new. You find your Middle Ground.

Namaste

Inspiration – Joy

Inspiration is always worth repeating and sharing. I hope you enjoy this one.


“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”. ~ Marianne Williamson

autumn sunshineWe humans have a built in default of negative thinking. Its part of our survival mechanism that the ego has reenforced ever since we were little. As we grew up we became alert to scarcity and threats.

So for many of us, it feels natural to go around looking for what is wrong and criticizing things, other people …  and of course, ourselves. We may not even be aware of it.

Negativity feels acceptable and normal. Being safe becomes our preferred state. Even when it makes us miserable. After all “better the devil you know … ”

When we are in this state, the idea of positive thinking is likely to be rejected as ridiculous and fake. Remember, this inner critic is our ego wanting to protect that ways things are.  If we were to be more positive and less fearful, it would lose its power over our thinking and behavior.

Yet, neuroscience shows us that we can change our thinking by reenforcing new neural circuits in the brain. With practice, our brains are able to grow and change.
We are not hard wired in our thinking but we can be hard headed.

Here are some ideas to inspire you into shifting your thinking and creating new neural pathways:

  • Instead of looking for what’s wrong. Look for what’s right. For example, write a post it note and keep it with you all day as a reminder. Or catch one of your children or an employee doing something right.
  • Take time to look at something ordinary as something to be grateful for. For example, sitting at the table with your family tonight. Or watching the sun shine through the leaves.
  • Before going to sleep reflect on 3 things that you are grateful for.
  • Keep an achievement journal. Write down everything that you accomplish, including the small stuff. We usually filter out our strengths and accomplishments and focus on our losses and weakness. Balance out your thinking by writing down the good times. You will be surprised.

Recognizing these moments will start to transform your neural pathways into ones that recognize how good things really are.

This is where joy lives.

My Garden Center

I am finding so much joy in my garden this Spring. It has been an abundant one for growth and blossoms.

It is my Center.

Luckily I haven’t had to go to many commercial garden centers, as everything seems to know how to magically fill in the space it has and how to express itself.

Such joy to nurture this and share 💛

Have a Curious Day

This morning I woke up and decided I will have a day where I am curious.

agriculture animals baby blur

Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

People who are curious tend to:

  • Engage more in the world and tune into the environment
  • Turn everyday tasks into interesting and find the extraordinary in the ordinary
  • Think from a place of possibilities and openness
  • Have closer relationships with others because we are interested in learning about them
  • Intuitively know that curiosity leads to passion and meaning
  • Seek to learn and build knowledge … and are open to what we don’t know
  •  Play well and add a sense of playfulness to what we are doing
  • Embrace uncertainty and rediscover the pleasure of surprise
  • Be happy with life

To be curious we must pause in the moment.

No longer skipping and skimming our lives into the future or letting ourselves be stuck in the mud of the past.

To be curious brings us to our Middle Ground and we flourish here. It awakens creativity, gratitude and our inner Presence. It is the gateway to transforming all parts of our lives and awakening our spirit.

Why not join me in seeing how curious you can be today? We might surprise ourselves and each other!

Haiku – find your middle ground

space

Photo by Martin Damboldt http://www.pexels.com/

~
Without testing life
We cannot prove anything.
Reach to new limits
~
Live beyond the knowing
Wonder at the unveiling.
Break free from within.
~
Take time for stillness
Seek balance in Yin with Yang.
Find your Middle Ground

 

These words came to me today as I realized that much of our lives are played out in what is known and the expectations of those around us.

How can we live beyond the knowing? By stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting that there are new limits to explore. To embrace the wonder beyond the knowing.

It doesn’t begin with more activity, the setting of goals and targets. These are the Yang aspects of life. It begins with setting aside time to be in stillness. To be with our thoughts and discovering the deeper, hidden parts of our being. This is where Yin resides.

In Yin we find the place beyond thought. The knowing that is within us all, that wants to break free.

Namaste