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.

Haiku – Stranger

~
Feel like a stranger
Living in a foreign land
Miss my family
~
Childhood memories
From a different time and place
Miss my country
~

Thanksgiving didn’t used to be a sad time of year for me, until a couple of years ago. A lot has shifted in these past two years, and I feel more and more disillusioned about living here. Perhaps it’s a sign of growing older, or looking back with nostalgia on my own childhood get togethers.

I am grateful for loving friends and connections, good health, yoga, a past rooted in Scotland…. and America as my adopted home.

Carry on Thanksgiving.

 

# 1000 Post on WordPress

Val's yoga class

I am delighted to share my one thousandth post with you. Gosh, how time flies when you are doing something meaningful and fun!

This is the perfect time to let you know of a gentle shift in my focus and attention here on Find Your Middle Ground.

I am putting to rest my yoga website (www.RelishYoga.com), and will be bringing more yoga specific topics and event announcements here.

Teaching Gentle and Mindful Hatha yoga is now part of my every day, and is no longer a separate “thing that I do”.
In the mornings I look forward to teaching to some amazing groups of people at Watts of Yoga in Media, and Hummingbird Massage and Yoga in Bryn Mawr.
After classes and most afternoons, I have private yoga clients. Together, we work on mindfulness, breathing, physical movement and moving the energy for opening and healing. We laugh a lot too.

Every month, I offer a Restorative Yoga Workshop and Kripalu Yin Yoga Workshop in tune with the Season and the Elements.
Once or twice a year I facilitate Yoga Teacher Mentoring training programs for yoga teachers to hone certain skills, as we come together to become even better teachers.

I am grateful that my passion is my life’s work and dharma, and that I am walking this path with some beautiful human beings and dear friends.

Thank you for being a part of this community.

Namaste

This is a Time for Kind Sight

As we come to the end of the year, its natural to reflect on the year that has gone by, as well as to look forward to the new year ahead. This is a time for “kind sight” once again.looking backBelow are two journalling exercises to explore, now that the rush of the Holidays is over. I like to think of this as a Middle Ground pause. A time for being present, reflecting and allowing your inner wisdom to inspire you for whatever comes next.

Take a few moments to let yourself get settled and comfortable. Start by reflecting with “kind sight”on the past year. “Kind sight” means being kind to yourself, instead of being critical or judging. With “kind sight” we are able to see mistakes as lessons, and life’s challenges as times of resiliency and personal growth. 

Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:

Looking back on 2017…

  • What was a highlight?
  • What was a lowlight?
  • What was a surprise?
  • What do I feel proud of?
  • What do I feel grateful for?
  • What did I learn (or am still learning) from either the highlights or lowlights?

    Some people do a month by month reflection, while others evaluate important areas in their lives. (For example – career, family, health, hobbies, learning, contribution, spirituality, travel, environment, self-care, personal growth)

Once you’ve reflected on 2017, write a Future Gratitude Letter:

letter to myselfThis is a letter to yourself written a year in advance, describing all the things that you are grateful for during the year. Start with the date December 31 2017 and address it to yourself.
Include who you’ve become and what you now have or are moving towards.  Be careful not to include anything that feels like a “have to” goal or something that you “should” achieve.

This is a letter of “kind sight” for the year ahead. The key is in the energy.  If your energy feels uplifted when you think about the things you’re grateful for in a year’s time, then you are tapping into your own passion and inner wisdom.
This can be a revealing and inspiring process, letting the creative juices and intention begin it’s journey.

Inspiration – Gratitude and Yoga

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and yoga students 🙏

Photo from Yoga Journal

Gratitude and yoga go hand-in-hand, and both are essential to well-being.
Yoga teaches us to be grateful for the present moment.
It reveals to us how the union of body, mind and spirit can come together through our breath, postures and meditation.
It allows us to appreciate the full spectrum of life, from pleasure to pain and joy to sorrow.
Through the practice of yoga, the darker moments in our lives allow the lighter times to glow ever more brightly.
When we acknowledge each other with the word Namaste we are expressing our gratitude for the connection that we have with each other and the light that shines within us.

I am grateful for every moment of my life and for sharing the transformative practice of yoga with you.

Namaste

Haiku – joy in your heart

joy
~
Joy lies in your heart
Let it grow and transform you
Find Your Middle Ground
~

Joy and gratitude go hand in hand. It may be ignited by certain people, circumstances or memories, but it is already there. The more grateful we are, the more we realize we have enough, and more.

When we pause and take time to be present, we learn to let go of our conditioning and what we  think we “should” be doing. We begin to notice the little things and let them light up our lives.

We step into the fullness of life.

I call this Finding your Middle Ground.

 

Haiku – joy to be here

terrier in flowers

Google Image

~

What joy to be here

No matter what the season

Find your Middle Ground

~

This photo makes my heart sing! Spring is full of bursting energy and anticipation for the change ahead. What a wonderful feeling after the hibernation of winter.
It takes me back to walks in Scottish woods as a child, small dogs and fields of bulbs.

No matter what the season, we can all pause and find this place of gratitude and love within us all.