Nature’s Way of Beeing

We discovered last weekend that the second of our three bee colonies had died out. When the queen bee either leaves the hive or dies, the colony will collapse, unless there is a new queen ready to be hatched. Alas, with winter approaching there is no new bee making, and so the colony runs its natural course and dies.

I feel quite sad about it, and also realize it is nature’s way. The average worker bee only lives 35 days, while the queen can live for years. During the winter, their metabolism slows down as the workers surround the queen to keep her warm. That’s what’s happening in the other two hives right now.

In Spring we will take a queen cell from an other hive, and start a new colony.

What a valuable lesson to be present in the highs and lows of life. It brought to mind an earlier post:

Being a bee keeper is a mindfulness practice. 

Be patient.

Respect this space.

Be open to the unknown.

Respect those around me.

(Even when they are busy busy busy and I have no clue what they are doing)

There is an intelligence here that I cannot fathom.

Be curious.

I may not understand but I trust in nature.

Go slowly.

Breathe easily into each moment as it unfolds.

Notice what comes up.

Give it space.

Let it bee.

 

We can bring mindfulness into all sorts of routine behaviors and actions in our daily lives.  There’s no need to sit meditating or roll out a yoga mat to find your Middle Ground.

Take a moment to consider the mindful moments of your day.  When you feel connected with yourself and the world around you. When you are truly present to all that is happening around you and within you.

It’s natures way of beeing.

 

The Natural Life

“The natural life is not
A life without warts.”

~ Wu Hsin Translated by Roy Melvyn from “The Lost Writing of Wu Hsin”

These words brought a smile today.

Ah yes, we may want life to be flowing and “natural”, yet we tend not to accept the very nature of it.

Warts happen.

Embrace the highs and lows of life my friends.

* Inspiration – Like a Giant Tree

giant tree

Photo from teratrees.com

“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow

come and go like the wind.

To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.”

~ The Buddha

Let the winds of change move through your branches.

After all, that is what this season is about.

Namaste

* The Obstacle is the Path

I wrote this some time ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t publish it at the time, because of the uncertainty and tumultuous emotions that came up for us both. The treatments are over now and life is beginning to get back to normal. We are grateful.

When I read this post today, I was moved at the energy in the message.

the obstacle is the path

“Right now I am having a difficult time facing a truth that I don’t like. It is causing me some distress, and I just don’t like it at all. My heart is closed. My ego is determined not to accept the unacceptable. It is very resilient and strong, so taming this battle queen is never easy as long as I resist her.

The Zen proverb “The obstacle is the path” came to me this morning. Often we’re discouraged because of some tough challenge or obstacle in our way. But a shift in mindset from a Zen proverb can change everything: “The obstacle is the path.”

The obstacle isn’t something standing in our way. It’s showing us the way.

Embrace this moment, don’t fight it. Give gratitude for these moments, these challenging moments are what make you come alive as a human being. There is beauty in every step along the journey, gratitude in your experiences. Give thanks for the ability to experience these real raw moments no matter how painful they may be.

They become less daunting, less intimidating, and maybe your attitude towards them can subtly shift from fighting with them, (and getting angry or frustrated or bitter), towards seeing and dealing with them as just another part of the path you’re already on.

This is growth. This expands your circle of compassion and your connection to all living beings. This is putting your heart out, fully open and vulnerable.

Find gratitude as you face this reality.

There is a gift here. Ask yourself, “What is this showing me”?

Be grateful that you can feel so much and allow your heart to open once more … just a little bit.

When there’s an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it or create a strategic plan to beat it, or go into battle for revenge against it.

Go into it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it. Listen to it.  Embrace it.

Feel the everlasting love that is always there beyond the fear. This will carry you forward on your path.”

* Inspiration – change and clouds

“It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long – and so it starts to fall apart again. Forms dissolve; new forms arise. Watch the clouds. They will teach you about the world of form.”

Eckhart Tolle

Whether your world is falling apart or bursting open .. or perhaps somewhere in between, take a moment to pause, breathe and look up to the clouds.

Everything passes.

As you find your middle ground, let your mind rest upon this aspect of life. It can be quite beautiful.

Namaste

 

* Paradox

bird on branch

by Snoron.com

Fear and love seldom
stand, shoulder to shoulder;
Its rare to laugh and
lie in the same breath.

But strength and weakness,
failure and success,
faith and desolation –
they are different ends
of a single stick.

To pick one up
is to receive both poles –
stark contrasts contribute
to a knowledge of the whole.

What is life but growing
wide and deep, so
open from weeping
that opposites, ambiguity,
and a thousand shade
of gray can co-exist
without despair?

Danna Faulds from Go In and In

As we learn to accept it all without despair. ❤️

* Change What You Can …

 

woman alone

We all face difficult situations and emotions that make it hard to come to a decision about some of them. Our analytical brain goes into overdrive and we seem to go round in circles! I’ve written about finding our middle ground, calming our mind, letting go and dealing with incessant thinking.

I have taken inspiration from the Serenity Prayer  all the way to Stephen Covey’s first habit in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Recently I came across a great question from master coach Marshall Goldsmith. It stopped me in my tracks and I saw how valuable it was in moving through the highs and lows of life.

Before jumping to the question, take a moment to consider a situation that you are struggling with:

  • Perhaps you are complaining about your relationship with a family member
  • Perhaps you are struggling with an action of  a colleague
  • Perhaps you didn’t get much sleep last night and are at the end of your rope at work

Now ask yourself this question:

“Am I willing at this time

to make the investment required

to make a positive difference on this topic?”

With thoughtful consideration …

If your answer is Yes – Then it may be that you do have the time, energy, resources and ability to bring about positive change in this area.

If your answer is Not Now –  Then recognize that this is not the best time to deal with it. We often feel we should take action, but don’t have the resources or time. Or sometimes we are unsure if a positive difference is even possible. Put it on the back burner and re-visit it later.

If the answer is No – then let it go. Yes – let me repeat. Let it go!

Read this again and again and you’ll see how each of the 3 parts of this question can bring you to clarity and help you deal with some tough decisions.

* Your Breath is How you Live your Life

Do you know how are you breathing right now?

Take a moment and simply notice your breath. Perhaps place your hand on your navel and the other above your heart.  Notice the movement as you inhale and exhale.

breath awareness

We breathe in and we breathe out. And for the most part we take it completely for granted.
Until something happens such as asthma, a cold, allergies or worse. When we notice it is difficult to breathe we appreciate it so much more.

How we breathe is not only a reflection of the health of our lungs, but also a reflection on how we live our life.

Did you know that our breath is connected to our emotional state?

When we feel:

Panic – It is short, fast, shallow breaths. Trying to get more air in by speeding up.

Anxious – It is shallow breaths seeking more reassuring air.

Tense – We hold onto the inhaled air, pausing at the top of the inhale before we let it be released, sometimes with a sigh.

Anger – It is long forced inhales and exhales. Fueling the flames like a bellows.

Calm – It is slow and steady breaths becoming shallower with relaxation.

Happy – It is long inhalations and long exhalations. Slowing it all down.

Did you also know we can change our emotional state by changing our breath? We can bring mindful awareness to our breath and create the emotional state that we seek.

Practitioners of Meditation and Yoga have done this for millennia – using awareness of the breath to come into the present moment, and bring about a more relaxed and centered state of being.

Science shows that when we slow the breath it signals to the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system that everything is well. No need to be on guard … its okay to relax and restore your natural balance.

So if we want to alleviate stress and become calm, slowing the breath works!

Try counting between 4 to 6 in your mind for each inhale and exhale. It can really make a difference. Why not set aside a few minutes and try it for yourself. It may feel awkward and take some practice but your body, mind and emotions will thank you for it.

Bringing awareness to our breathing is such a valuable guide to how we live our lives in that moment. With awareness of this comes choice. Please click here to explore more about your breath.

If you want to live your life fully then practice breathing fully.

Namaste

* Dealing with Stress and my Inner Teenager

waves of lifeOn Tuesday I had a stressful day. A dip in the highs and lows of life day. It wasn’t surprising. I had some concerning news that took the wind out of my sails, and I developed a pressure cooker of a sinus headache. I was in a trough. I know how my mind and body are connected. My body tells me quite clearly when I have to pay attention to what is happening around me and what I am feeling. The message is clear –  take care of my well being. Pause. Connect to my Self.

In hindsight it is easy to catch, but at the time it may take a bit longer to realize that we are under stress. In this particular occasion it became very clear as I went through emails and started to read updates from fellow bloggers. As I painfully squinted at the screen. I was no longer present, but my inner judge was! “What do they want? … Why bother me with this?… How stupid! How superficial!… They are so self centered!… Don’t they get it?… This is trivial! Who has time for frivolity? Pl-ease get to the point.”

My thinking revealed that Val was not present or in balance. My defensive inner teenager had been Teenage bratunleashed.

Everyone was dumb. They didn’t get it. They didn’t see how much pain I was in. They took advantage of me. They tried to control me. All the unmet needs from the past were right there demanding attention.

Our inner teenager  is challenging and requires some kindness and understanding. Its in pain – emotionally and often physically. It has so many unmet needs and is trying to figure out how to get them met as they move from childhood into independence.  It is our ego at the height of all of its immature defensive glory.

One part of me was determined to be miserable and show the world (?) that I had every right to be. Thankfully the part of me who has learned to be a compassionate observer knew that it was time to unplug. NOW!

You are stressed. Take care of yourself  and find your middle ground. Be gentle and kind. Let things be as they are.

Stones surrounded by rushing waterIt was easier after I had taken half a Sinutab and put on my favorite restorative yoga music. I embraced everything that was coming up. I noticed resistance. I breathed and didn’t push. I found my middle ground and was able to stay there. Healing tears fell softly. I meditated and lost track of time. My husband came and went and let me be. He knows better than me sometimes ❤

I began to feel better and went to watch tv to distract myself … and found I had no appetite for it at all. ZERO. I wanted to stay in solitude. I journaled instead.

The old habits of distractions, shopping, cleaning, entertainment, drinking and eating had lost their pull in that moment. By being fully present and knowing how to ride the wave and find my middle ground helped me center myself.

So I honored the request to be alone and put my teenager to bed early. I woke up as a headache free and stress free adult once more. Ready to approach the day with a sense of curiosity.

Thank you to the makers of Sinutab, yoga and meditation, journaling, my husband and friends who support and nourish me, and to those of you who read this today!

May we all find our middle ground in the waves of life.

❤ Namaste ❤

 

* Off the Path

In the pendulum of life  … when we find ourselves off our path

woman off her path

Remember

every moment is an opportunity to re-commit

Don’t let your thinking get you down and disconnect you from what matters most

Remember

you are not your thinking

and the past is over

Let go of the thoughts and come into the present moment

The only moment is now

Connect with the spark within that is your guide and shining light on the path

girl walking on her path

And keep going – one step at a time.

Hugs

Val

* Inspiration – Your Season

I have been a follower of Ihsan’s poetry over at  iithinks.wordpress.com and was delighted to buy and download his first book of poetry called Finally Back Home.

While he is on vacation I wanted to share a haiku from the book, which really resonated with me and touched my heart and soul.

In the highs and lows of life, this is for  all of us who are awaiting our season.

These words are yours, for you to drink Ihsan. ❤

 

waiting for your season
Your Season

Nature is patient

Surrenders expectations

Wait in gratitude

~

When the time arrives

Flowers blossom in beauty

Your season will come

_/|\_

* Let Yourself Have Your Experience

Inspiring words for those of you experiencing some stormy waves today.

stormy waves

“Just as the depth and stillness of the ocean lie hidden beneath the stormy waves on its surface, so the power of your essential nature lies concealed behind all of your turbulent feelings.

Struggling against your feelings only keeps you tossing around on the stormy surface of yourself, disconnected from the larger being.

Tossing in the waves, keeps you from going beneath them and accessing the power, warmth, and openness of the heart.

calm beneath the sea

Letting yourself have your experience, by contrast, allows you to ride or surf the waves instead of being carried away by them.

In moments of allowing and opening to your experience, you are – you are there for yourself. You are saying yes to yourself as you are, as you are feeling right now.

self love in the waves of life

This is a profound act of self love.”

John Welwood from “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships”