Live this Day

dawn sunset beach woman

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

This is what I have to say to you. Enjoy today to its fullest.
Rather than making arrangements for tomorrow,
do the wonderful things you have longed for.
Open your heart to the joy that lies in the gift of this day.

How easily we take our days for granted,
until we realize they cannot last forever.

Being in the now is the most exciting time you have ever known.
Live today on the edge of your seat, craning towards the horizon,
ready to meet whatever comes your way.

Changes will surely come one by one.
You are ready when you lift up your heart to meet them.

Namaste

Finding Richness in our Lives

flight landscape nature sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more the good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.

~ Etty Hillesum

This time is one of letting go. Letting go of the expectations we had about how life would unfold.

There is something so much bigger taking place right now. We are entering a new way of living and being, and there is no going back, for every individual, our community, society and the human race.

I feel unease and fear for others who are struggling right now. My heart goes out to the fearful, the angry, the belligerent, and the denyers among us. It will be hard on them. They are resisting a new reality and will suffer.

This time is a time to bring our focus onto life’s unexpected gifts and to be grateful. I’ve noticed that I am more and more grateful for the relationships I have, even when I can’t be with people in the same way.

Gratefulness brings us ease and opens our hearts for connection, kindness and love.

It can’t solve the problems we are experiencing, but it can release our fears and allow us to become centered and calm. It can bring us to our Middle Ground, where new possibilities and inspiration arise from a knowing deep within.

Namaste

 

 

Update – Retreat

photo of white and brown owl perched on a tree branch

Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels.com

A month ago I would have been at Kripalu for a senior yoga teacher training program… but as we all now know, along with so many other plans, it was cancelled. The latest news is that Kripalu will be closed for the rest of 2020.

I have felt sad, with a deep sense of loss. This was a place for community, learning, and more than anything, a retreat where mind, body and soul can be nourished, cared for and restored.

And then I realized … I am on retreat right now.

The pace has slowed down and I have had lots of alone time in the garden and spending time in the woods. There is also a routine of teaching classes via Zoom, and finding connection with my yoga students and community – not to mention taking other yoga classes and dancing along with Kripalu yogis from all over. My WordPress friends are still here, as well as my Words with Friends gamers!

I have attended online conventions and community calls with SAND (Science and Non Duality) and a weekend of celebration and learning with the global Non Violent Communication Community.

There has been a sense of embracing this cocoon and nurturing myself and the relationships with those I care for.

My next venture is taking a writing workshop in July with Roger Housden. I have never thought of myself as a writer or been attracted to write a book, but I am being drawn to flex my wings  and to see where my next flight might take me.

I feel hopeful for a changed world still. Turbulence, pain and chaos are needed before transformation can happen. It was brought home to me this past week, as we faced two powerful flash thunder storms that devastated our neighborhood. We had some damage, but not much compared with some others. The power was off for five days and even the mailman couldn’t navigate through the fallen tress and downed lines. 

The power is now back on and I am grateful to have clean hair and the luxury of hot water and air conditioning. With the internet happily available, I may spend more time back here. 

I have decided to venture out more with some private yoga in people’s gardens and porches. 

Perhaps this butterfly is ready to emerge from her cocoon very soon.

animal insect macro butterfly

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Gratitude, Grace and Celebration

I shared these words from Danna Faulds in yoga class today. Her work feels even more powerful for these times. May it enrich your day today and give you hope for tomorrow.

macro shot photography of tea candles

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

“This is what I have to say to you. Savor the fruits of a lifetime of growth and evolution. I’m not suggesting that you rest on your laurels and declare yourself done. But its time to bask in the sunlight of your soul and let that warmth reach deep inside your bones.

The next stage of your life will rest upon a foundation of gratitude, grace and celebration. Grace simply comes when it comes and isn’t in your control. Gratitude can be nurtured and fertilized by paying attention to the gifts that come your way, saying thank you, internally and externally appreciating your life as often as you remember. Celebration means taking stock of how far you’ve come and letting delight and wonder lead the way.

What you are giving birth to today is bigger than your usual perception of yourself. Its okay that you have no idea what’s coming next. How could you? Just stay open and the universe will do the rest. Gratitude, grace and celebration are the keys.”

~ Danna Faulds taken from “What’s True Here” New Poems and Other Writings

 

 

 

 

Inspiration – Light beyond Dark

green leafed trees

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

“The dark does not destroy the light;

it defines it.

Its our fear of the dark that casts our

joy into the shadows.”

~ Brene Brown

Take a moment to reflect on how this appears in your life right now.

Instead of wishing the dark away, how can we embrace it and uncover our joy?

In this time of crisis, accepting the difficulties, the fear and the rollercoaster of emotions that show up is so important. Only in facing our fear can we allow the light to shine forth.

I have found the light when I shift my focus from anxiety to gratitude.

I am grateful to have the hot water to shower in the morning and wash my hands throughout the day. I am grateful that I can get food at the store. I am grateful for Spring and the changing landscape of colors and textures every day. I am grateful for the feel of sun on my face. I am grateful to have furry and non furry beings who love me. I am grateful for technology that lets me connect with people near and far. I am grateful to be alive and well.

Take a moment and reflect on what you are grateful for….

Notice the inner shift.

From anxiety to gratitude.
From fear to love.

There is a nourishing power here. Find your middle ground.

Namaste

This is a Time for Kind Sight

As we come to the end of the year, it’s 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 2019…

  • 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 2019, 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 2019 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.

Joy and Twinkle Lights

This is a timely re-post for the Holidays. Whenever you see twinkle lights, let your joy in that moment come to life … and share it ✨🙏✨


twinkle

“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.

Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.”

~ Brené Brown

What a lovely reminder to find some twinkle today ✨

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

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.