Some of us are stuck in the shallows Where life has a cautious desperate rhythm, punctuated by bursts of pleasure and hurt. There's a loss of connection with the depth of our being. Life has become the soap opera or media that we tune into. The deep is too dangerous to acknowledge, let alone embrace. We cling to the safety of the shallows. We want to feel connection, yet can't let go of controlling and comparing, resisting and resenting. Life is filled with distractions, must-see t.v. and others agreeing this is the way it "should" be. It is the shallow sea of a fearful and protective ego. When you feel caught up like this, take time to pause. Breathe fully and notice what is alive in you. Listen for the vibration from the deep. The untouched part of you that never changes. Finding your Middle Ground is the gateway to a new depth of being and living fully. The current may be strong and the transition may not be easy. It takes courage to be the swimmer you are, to dive in and wake up.
Those of us who see ourselves on a journey of self realization or spirituality, have a sense of awakening. But an awakening to what? I wonder if we all awaken to the same thing, or if we awaken to whatever we are ready to awaken to…
Whatever it is, when we find it we think “This is it!” But it is really so? Is it the final piece of the puzzle or just an other piece along the way that finds its rightful place?
As I reflect on my life there have been moments of awakening, when it seemed like my inner world and outer world launched into a new way of being. Yet, on reflection it is now clear that these have just been pieces of the puzzle.
These pieces connected to each other, yet they revealed only a part of a great unknown picture. Here are my reflections on my journey towards the unknown and the awakenings along the way.
I can only imagine what it must have felt like when I first discovered I was no longer in a dark and nourishing space merged with my mother. This experience is beyond my thinking, but I can imagine how traumatic and profound it must have been becoming separate and in all that bright light!
The next awakening was when I learned who I was in relation to other things and people. My ego developed as I grew into a separate human being with preferences and beliefs. I learned how to get what I wanted, how to be in relationship with others. I created beliefs about who I was as a girl child, daughter, sister etc…
Not long after this revelation came, the waking up to feeling hurt when I didn’t get what I wanted, or when I was not seen in a way that I wanted to be seen, or when I felt abandoned and unloved. I believed that there was something wrong, and it was me. I wasn’t good enough. So I would try to be good and perfect.
This part lasted for quite some time. I continued to learn who I was in this world from those around me, and in the roles I played. I was looking outward for validation and love.
Then as an adult I awakened to the part of me that wanted to express herself fully. To slough off the conditioning and expectations of others. I started to look inward so I could find the real “me”, not through anyone else’s eyes, but through my own… Awakening to myself as a strong individual who mattered… Stepping into my own shoes and expressing myself to the world.
From not being good enough, I realized I was precious, unique and strong. I could make things happen! I took on challenges and overcame my fears. It was a period of tremendous personal growth.
Around then I began training to became a life coach. For the past 20 years I have worked with people to discover who they are as unique human beings who can overcome challenges and be their authentic best in the world.
Yet, this was not the end. From this place of self growth, confidence and expansion, an other kind of awakening started to unfold. One where I started to question who “I” was.
At a time when I was disillusioned with the competitive, self absorbed human beings around me, I fully embraced yoga and took my first yoga teacher training. Unlike a lot of yoga trainings nowadays, our practice was more than postures, sequencing and breath work. We had time for self reflection, we read yoga philosophy, and committed to following the eightfold path of Patanjali.
Through yoga I became aware that my personal “self” was made up of my thoughts and beliefs. The world around me mirrored my own perception of it. I had been creating stories about who “I” (this “small self”) was. I had grown as a person, but had replaced stories of not being good enough, with new stories about all I could achieve and show the world.
A part of me still got caught in patterns of self-doubt, fear and worry. I also had moments of glory and immense satisfaction and had glimpses of the timeless beauty and mystery of being alive.
In yoga I felt drawn to the belief that we are all connected and share the same Source or Conscious Presence. When one says “namaste” in greeting and farewell, it means that one recognizes the light shining within each of us. This inner light is our true spiritual Self. We connect to something more that our human body and thinking mind. Whether we call it God, the Divine, Brahman, Source, Presence or the Universe. There is a part inside of all of us that is connected to an infinite beingness, that words can’t fully describe.
Then something happened. It was like the outer shell cracked and the gloriousness of what was within was revealed. From understanding in my mind, I experienced a overwhelming feeling of love and connection with my fellow human beings, animals and nature. There is a deep sense of oneness that is profound, no matter what is happening in life. It is hard to put into words, because it feels beyond words.
If I were to try to use words, it was be something like a veil had been lifted to reveal what had always been there. It is something that once felt, can always be accessed.
The aum symbol of yoga symbolizes this seeing beyond the veil and embracing an unchanging reality of oneness with spirit or pure consciousness.
Finding Your Middle Ground
Finding your middle ground is the gateway to this awakening. The starting point is when we take time to pause and become self aware. We begin, by simply learning to slow down and noticing what is going on inside: our thoughts, judgments, emotions, body sensations … and al the stories we make up about ourselves and the world around us.
I like to think of it as the phase of personal expansion and growth. Its a place of new perspectives, letting go of the past, and understanding and truly accepting ourselves as imperfect human beings.
We start to explore new aspects of ourselves, our passions and what gives us meaning in life. Taking time to pause and ask ourself the deep questions that we want to know the answers to, allows us to go beyond what we know in our mind and tap init the wisdom in our heart.
From this place of mindful awareness, we can come new insights into who we are beyond our beliefs and conditioning. Beyond our own small separate self.
With more compassionate self awareness, meditation and mindful living, a new way of seeing ourselves and the world unfolds.
We realize that we are not separate, but are connected to something so much bigger, and to each other.
We come to know that we are not the master of the universe, but are simply a part of it all.
There is no right or wrong, because we know that it’s our thoughts that make it so. Everything becomes as it is.
We stop resisting life, and begin to let go into its own flow.
We let go of ego and surrender to being small as we connect to the Source of being. From wanting to be somebody, we embrace being nobody.
Wherever we are on life’s path, we can open ourselves to new insights and awaken to a new way of expanded being.
As human beings perhaps our purpose is to awaken to what we are ready for, and to be open to surrendering to the next unknown.
Thank you for joining me on this journey to freedom.
Last Sunday, my friends and I spoke about the gift of learning to observe ourselves impartially. We spoke of using the constantly changing flow of …Pay Attention
Wisdom worth sharing today. 🙏
The obstacle you are facing is a special gift
It is there to bring clarity and new understanding
Instead of finding ways around it or fixing it
And creating stories to make you feel right and in control
Take time to face the challenge
To ask your intuition and heart
“What wants to be known?”
Let the answer reveal itself
There is freedom beyond this pain
When you meet yourself in your heart
Can you simply relax and allow this moment to unfold? Can you let go of evaluation and judgment, and simply accept that this is what is happening?
Remember it is only our resistance to the present moment that causes us to feel any pain.
Acceptance creates the inner freedom and inner peace that we are all yearning for.
So take a deep breath… and then another.
Be easy on yourself and others.
Trust your life and experience that has brought you to this moment.
Instead of wishing things to be different, focus on expressing the love that is within you.
Find gratitude every day.
Get out of your head and open your heart.
“Too much time is squandered on
What was and
What might be
Leaving only table scraps for
Wu Hsin from the Lost Writing of Wu Hsin translated by Roy Melvyn
Table scraps have their uses… yet can’t sustain us.
Pause and take time to Find your Middle Ground.
Embrace each moment fully and nourish your very being.
“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
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.
Why fight against the fading glow of youth?
Why try to freeze a process that can’t be stopped?
You’re clinging too hard, that’s why you’re weary;
your face is lined with tension not with age.
And even if your form has altered a little
even if the surface is a little worn and chaffed
your being is rich and deep
nourished by experience and understanding
and another kind of light is shining from you now:
a full, mellow glow, like autumn sunshine,
that spreads further and touches deeper
than the flashing, dazzling glow of youth.
Why not let that glow shine through
instead of trying to rekindle a faded light?
Change brings decay if you resist it.
But if you accept it and flow with it,
it brings growth and renewal.
~ Steve Taylor, taken from “The Calm Center”
Let us embrace the full mellow glow that touches others deeply and ignites the light of our own Being.
This is a re-blog and a reminder for myself the morning. Peace is within us all. Take time to meditate today.
This is one of my favorite quotes about inner peace from Dr Thynn Thynn . Every time I read it or share it, it makes me see how simple peace of mind can be if we only learn how to access it.
“Peace is a natural mind-state in every one of us. Peace has been there since the day we were born and is going to be there until the day we die. It is our greatest gift; so why do we think we have no peace of mind?
Experiencing peace is like looking at our hands. Usually we see only the fingers – not the spaces in between them.
In a similar manner, when we look at the mind, we are aware of the active states, such as our running thoughts and the one thousand and one feelings that are associated with them, but we tend to overlook the intervals of peace between them.”
When we come to realize that peace of mind is already within us, our journey changes from searching for it, to one of letting go and being present. By letting go of what our thoughts are caught up with, and coming into the present moment, we connect to our inner being.
This is the secret place where peace resides.
I love the idea of shedding and revealing rather than striving for.
If you have a minute or two, why not slow down and join me here in a moment of mindfulness.
Take a moment to notice your hands and the spaces in between your fingers.
Close your eyes and now picture the space between each finger.
Allow your hands to soften.
Notice the warmth in your palms.
Let your hands rest on your thighs with the palms up.
Allow your breath to soften and lengthen.
Relax your jaw and forehead.
Breathing gently ….
Notice the calm in between the thoughts that come up.
Remember that this is always within you. Its up to you how you choose to access it and bring it into your everyday life.
This has been an interesting week, time wise. Two of my watches and a wall clock stopped while I have been teaching yoga classes. I’m curious to know what some of you may think this might be about… Time will tell eh?
I also wanted to share my new purchase of a swatch watch. I’m grateful it’s still ticking away!
I chose the design of a flower and bees because it makes me smile. Every time I look to see what time it is, I smile and think of our hardworking bees emerging from their winter pause.
It gives me pause as well. To stop and appreciate, and to bee in the moment. 😉
It’s like a mini mindful moment during my day.
And so much better than picking up the iPhone and getting caught in the web of distraction.
This is a re-blog from 2015, when I began to notice the tension when trying to get caught up with posts on Word Press. We don’t need to be actively interacting, to know that we are a part of this community. Gratitude and love to you ❤️
The blogs I follow expand with content on Monday mornings.
An avalanche of goodness awaits.
Leading to some feelings of overwhelm and not enough time.
So I take time to notice and pause…
Slowing down and breathing in order to be present for each one.
Letting go of thoughts to hurry through and get it behind me.
This is not a task, its about connection, listening and community.
These feelings are like an echo of how I lived most of my life.
Hurrying up to get things done and get ahead of the present.
Skipping forward towards some goal.
If only I knew then what I know now …
Thank you bloggers for this lesson on mindful presence today
“In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear.
Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go.
Be alert, but not perturbed.
This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The foundation of yoga is to become a silent observer without attachment to the world we create in our minds.
… and then remember not to hold our breath 😊