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

Every Step is Holy

naked trees cover by snow

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

Every Step is Holy

By Danna Faulds

The journey from the known
to unknown, from the
unreal to the real, is rarely
revealed in advance.
The potholes, detours,
false starts, and quick retreats
are each honorable,
and even needed in the bigger
scheme, in the forest that can’t
be seen between the trees.

It took years for me to realize
that the very twists and turns
and shadows I labeled “problems”
were really sacred ground
grace disguised as obstacles,
the whole pass a pilgrimage,
mysteries baring themselves
before me all along the way.

 

Grace disguised as obstacles as we step together through our lives of potholes and detours… walking each other home.

Being there for our selves and others on this journey is the ultimate in grace.

Namaste

When You Lose Heart

“The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings”.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

letting go in yin yoga

Reading these wise words I think of poses in yoga, especially Yin, where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up.

Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

Breathe into whatever is occurring …. knowing it will pass.

Let there be no blame, just presence on our mat and in life.

Namaste

There Are No Perfect Human Beings and We Can all be Assholes

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great.

There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen.

And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed.

To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

This reminds me of fellow blogger Ann Koplow’s Asshole song from her debut Fringe show in Edinburgh.

We can all be assholes!

So what?…

So expect others to have their good days and bad days.

So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time, or if you know you have been an asshole.

So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.

Accept that life is a series of highs and lows.

And most importantly – be kind towards the parts of you that are in the dark.

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Hugs to all parts of you.

The asshole in me greets the asshole in you.

Silent Celebration

Free photo 83025747 © creative commons stock photos – Dreamstime.com

A catbird tries to fly
against the wind only
to be blown backward.
I know that feeling –
setting out with certainty
and arriving somewhere
entirely different. When
I respond with acceptance
to my unexpected
destination, the sun
clangs its cymbals of
light in silent celebration.

~ Danna Faulds

Stop trying to fly against the wind and fully embrace where you are in the highs of lows of life. Celebrate the unexpected… and the sunshine today!

 

Inspiration – Accepting the Whole of our Experience

amoebas dividing

“The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger.

The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two.

Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.”

~ Alan Watts

This last line from Alan Watts really hit home. I recall sitting in meditation, and my mind telling me over and over again “I am meditating” rather than embracing the actual experience of what it is to be present.

How many times do we read something, and rather than absorbing its full meaning and the underlying feelings, we simply read words.

When we separate ourselves from the full experience and feeling, we detach ourselves from life itself, and become actors playing out our roles.

Next time, you find yourself detaching (Or splitting yourself into two like and amoeba) pause. Notice what’s  happening while its happening. Then ask “Am I aware of what I am feeling right now?”

Just When you Think You’ve Got it

unseen events

“Forests Edge” Photo by Mike Bizeau at http://www.naturehasnoboss.com

Many of us continue our path into 2019. We are on a journey of curiosity, inner exploration, trying on new ideas, committing to better behaviors, taking care of ourselves … and taking time out to nourish mind, body and spirit.

We see ahead clearly and then something comes along to bring doubt, temptation, discomfort or rejection.

So soon… Really?

The most significant lessons are unexpected. And they often come along just when we were hoping or counting on something else.

Let them be wake up calls rather than obstacles in your mind.

Be alert. Wake up.

The class of your life is in session.

Take time to pause and reflect on the real lesson waiting to be seen.

 

p.s. My thanks to Mike Bizeau for the permission to share this image.

 

No Longer Searching

orange and white seashell on white surface

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Having loved enough and lost enough,
I’m no longer searching
just opening,

no longer trying to make sense of pain
but trying to be a soft and sturdy home
in which real things can land.

These are the irritations that rub into a pearl.*

~ Mark Nepo

 

Beyond searching is opening and acceptance of life and it’s irritations. There is hidden treasure there.

Namaste

 

*Nepo, Mark. The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting (Kindle Locations 1506-1509). Sounds True. Kindle Edition.

Haiku – the whole of life

ow tide

© Cygnusx ID 70068 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

~
Choose the whole of life,
Night and day, bitter and sweet.
Find the key to peace.

~

When we accept that life is a series of highs and lows, and not the honeymoon we were hoping for, we find the key to living life in balance. We realize that what we are experiencing is simply a part of the whole. We can’t slice off the parts that we don’t want.

This whole and fractured life allows us to grow, find courage and meet its challenges. We appreciate the sweetness and find joy where before there was anxiety.
We embrace the freedom to be ourselves, coming from a place of contentment and peace.

We come from a place I call our middle ground.

Namaste

Wanting to Feel Secure in an Insecure World

feeling insecure

Source: WikiHow

“There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.
But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change.

If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure.
To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid.

In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.
To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing.

To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

~ Alan Watts

How are your breathing right now? I’m smiling, because I was holding my breath as I read this.

When we bring awareness to our thoughts, feelings and especially our breath, we set the foundation for finding our middle ground and inner peace.

Holding our breath is a defense mechanism of the human body. It prepares us to react to a threat. However, it increases the tension and stress in the body, rather than bringing it to a state of balance.

In yoga we learn to deepen the breath when sensation increases. We breathe through tension and discomfort and allow the energy to keep flowing, rather than contracting and adding more tension.

Yoga is an invitation to become present in our bodies. We connect mind to body via our breath. It helps us relax, breathe, feel, and where possible let go.
Ultimately this helps us make more skillful, conscious choices and allows us to feel grounded and secure in life.
And it all starts with the breath.

Find out more about yoga breathing by clicking here.