* Haiku – the ocean

find your middle ground

~

Be like the ocean

Embrace nature’s ebb and flow

Find you Middle Ground.

~

If you are new to this site, welcome!

Click on these links to find out more about finding your middle ground and the steps to take you there.

* 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. ❤️

* Haiku – beneath

peace beneath

~

Find Your Middle Ground

Let fear yield to inner peace

Beneath the surface

~

May we find our way to be like the fish in this image…

If you are new to this site… Welcome!  You can learn more about how to find your middle ground here.

* Everything is Passing

Kripalu dawnAs I stood outside in the misty dawn at Kripalu I noticed the emerging colors of Fall and the ghostly calm that comes at the beginning of a new day.

A thought came to me softly and gently … “Everything is passing”

Like the mist …. my time at Kripalu … the day ahead … the learning to be learned … the sharing and community of sangha… the wonderful people in my life … and my time on earth no matter where I happen to be.

It is always changing and passing from one moment into the next.

So its pointless to try to hold on to our times of joy and pleasure or to resist what is happening when times seem full of struggle and sorrow.

Everything is passing.

Simply be with each moment as it unfolds.

With gratitude and love.

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 ❤

 

* 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”

* Surfing Meditation

Surfing meditation

“When I’m out there on the ocean floating on my board, alone with the wind and the sky I’m excruciatingly aware of how small and insignificant I am in comparison to the awesome power of the water. It would be presumptuous of me to say that I surf the waves – in fact, the waves surf me!

… Well, meditation is like surfing. If you push too hard and try to control your mind, you’ll just end up feeling rigid and tight, and you’ll keep wiping out as the result of your effort. But if you hang back and exert no effort at all, you won’t have the focus or concentration necessary to hold your position as the waves of thought and emotion wash over you.”

Stephan Bodian taken from Yoga Gems edited by Georg Feuerstein

Let go of trying too hard and focusing on the outcome. Find your balance by letting yourself be and let the waves of thought and emotions wash over you.

No surfing required 🙂

* Inspiration – Feeling Miserable

winding roads in ItalyOne day on vacation in Italy things didn’t go as planned.

It wasn’t the morning of the flat tire … or any of the other days of missed turnings. It wasn’t ordering the wrong item on the menu. It was the day I started to feel sick at all the bends in the road. Literally queazy and sick. Trying to navigate while on a roller coaster will do that!

I blamed the roads, the driver, and the need for map reading as the GPS was in some other part of the country with the same name! This blanket of negativity started to wrap itself around me. I felt miserable. I stepped into the self righteousness that comes with being put upon and I embraced it. In doing so I became a miserable person and a miserable passenger to be sure.

On reflection, I can see things so clearly. Here are my insights from this experience.

Life energy, essence or source is always within us and around us.

Yet sometimes we feel miserable and think that life sucks.

It is our thinking that makes it so.

When we feel  hurt, we go into our head and more thoughts take over.

Our hearts become guarded as we lose touch with our own essence and sense of Presence.

We cannot fully connect to ourselves .. or others.

There is interference in the force.

Our life energy is blocked.

We become defensive, judgmental, withdrawn and irritable.

There is no grace or gratitude in this place, because we know – by this pain and sacrifice –  that we are right!

Our heart closes more as our thinking ego casts blame and seeks retribution, and to find any way to end this endless  perceived agony of  discomfort!

We feel miserable and don’t stop to understand. We try to figure it out in our heads but get tangled up in a web of thoughts and further judgments.

And then in a quiet moment we are able to step back …. and  we know.

We know that this is of our own creation.

This is the time to come into the present moment. Step back.  And plug in to our deeper self and inner wisdom.

Let the life energy flow.

Feel what needs to be felt and hear what needs to be heard.

Be with it.

Letting go so we can open our hearts once more.

For me, I got out my yoga mat. Sat in meditation, focusing on my breathing and feeling my sitz bones grounding me. Spine tall. Heart open. Breathing slowly.

The thinking slows. The body relaxes. The witness takes over from “me”.

Then moving into child’s pose until my body feels the same grounding and sense of connection too.

Slowing moving with grace and gratitude in full realization of the highs and lows of this life.

Letting the life energy flow.

We lose touch with our Selves and don’t know it until we realize we feel miserable.  The real lesson for me is to be mindful enough to recognize this as it emerges.

Val x

The Complete Serenity Prayer

The serenity prayer is an inspiring piece for people struggling with life challenges. It helps us become grounded and find our Middle Ground: that place to find serenity, courage and wisdom in the waves  of life.

What most of understand as the serenity prayer is actually the first stanza of an entire prayer written in 1943, most probably by Reinhold Niebuhr.

prayerI have written before about how we can bring the Serenity Prayer to life by asking ourselves certain questions. See my earlier post Are there Missing Words from the Serenity Prayer?

Now I want to bring more meaningful perspectives here by sharing the entire prayer.

The Complete Serenity Prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

What resonates with me, is how I can bring this into my daily life. So I’ve let go of the the language of Christianity and penned my thoughts here.

Let go of trying to control things that are out of my hands.

Find the courage to take control in areas that I can AND should.

Take one day at a time. Enjoy each moment at a time. 

Accept life as it unfolds… both the highs and the lows.

Trust in a higher power that makes life okay.

What resonates with you my friends?

Namaste

 

 

 

* Patience and the General Manager of the Universe

There has been quite a bit written this week about going with the flow and being more patient. Nancy wrote about how she let go of  being the General Manager of the Universe. I love this metaphor Nancy!

God

Someone else wanted to harness patience as if it was something that we can strive to achieve in our lives.

Can you really try harder in order to be more patient?

We are conditioned to think that in order to achieve something we have to focus on it, look at the options and then strive for it. Take action!
Here, the opposite is true. In choosing inaction, releasing and letting go, we experience patience. We try softer instead of harder.

Patience really only has meaning through a lens of impatience. Impatience is wanting things to be how we like it … now!

Its that General Manager of the Universe taking over again. 🙂

resign as general manager of the universe

 

Patience is found in the present moment.

In the sacred pause at the end of an exhale.

No need to rush and gasp for air on the next breath.

Trust that it will happen in a natural flow.

Patience is found in your Middle Ground.

Its like a big long exhale in life 🙂

 

 

 

 

* Life is like … an estuary

I will be away now until May 24, but wanted to share a photo of one of my favorite places in Scotland along with some beautiful reflections from poet and yogini Danna Faulds. Her words bring me to my Middle Ground – that special place of inner peace and connection.

Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth. (Where the River Forth meets the North Sea in Scotland)

Estuary 

There is peace here, where the river

widens to meet the sea. The rapids

are past; the boulders and the rocky

places at last give way to a broad

and sweeping current, flowing

slowly into vastness. The river

moves silently, tastes the salty tide

that marks its demise, and slips

without a backward glance, into

the ocean’s infinite embrace.

This poem seems to be a touching metaphor for life itself as we go through its highs and lows and find peace.

How do these words and this metaphor resonate with you?