I’m writing this from my bedroom where I’m listening to the birds sing and watching rainbows shimmer on the wall from the crystal that hangs in my window. The crystal is a large ball and above it there is a hummingbird. It’s very meaningful to me as the hummingbird is the symbol that my mother chose as the symbol that she was near prior to her death (we can be an odd family, choosing ahead of time what will signal our spirits closeness, but there’s comfort to it). Rainbows were what my sister chose as her symbol prior to her death 3 short months ago that seems so long.
So when I lay in my bed each Saturday morning to write, this is what I see and it brings ease. It’s comforting on some level. Yes, I’ve created the rainbows and the hummingbird – they aren’t the random occurrence that tells me they are nearby, but they still bring comfort. It’s a very nice way to spend my Saturday morning after an often very busy week.
I have other way that I build ease into my day; taking a deep breath and very purposefully releasing my shoulders. Or being mindful of what’s directly in front of me rather than focussing on what’s ahead all the time. That helps when life gets out of control. And, of course, finding ease in stressful situations. For example, in traffic I can react to everything happening with frustration (and believe me I do sometimes), or I can find the ease of the moment – that I have the time to simply sit attentively and bring awareness to this moment. Awareness of the other people I’m surrounded by, of those walking along the street, of the sky or the water that I’m often driving by too quickly to truly take in. And when I remember to do that rather than focussing on how long it will take to get wherever I am going, I find that sense of ease just the same as if I’m in my bedroom writing. It’s such a simple thing to do, but often not thought of as an alternative. As I become more engaged in my own mindfulness practice I find the shifting of stress. Don’t get my wrong – I’m no spiritual master! Just last weekend (and the week before) while moving I felt so overwhelmed I couldn’t sleep well, I wasn’t eating right for my body and I was exhausted which brought on a whole lot of stress and frustration and sense of discord. But the funny thing about mindfulness, yoga and other spiritual practices is they are just that – practices. We’re not meant to become super humans that sail through life. And mindfulness is not all about finding the pretty moments and just putting our focus there – it’s about dealing with real life, the good, the bad and the ugly, in the moment. When we find the frustrating bits of life and truly look at them we may discover they aren’t that big a deal. On the other hand, if we’re in pain and bring our awareness fully to it, we immerse ourselves into the human condition (although we also likely discover pain comes and goes like a wave).
Find the ease of the moment – every moment. Allow yourself to ride the waves no matter where they take you. Feel – truly feel – whatever is happening with a curious mind. That’s where the ease will be.
I am a goal oriented person. I create personal and business goals and make lists of the steps I need to take to get there. I have my business plan laid out in a document that incorporates all business aspects, meaning what marketing is required, finance required, time frames and on and on. I chip away at it bit by bit knowing what it is I’m trying to create.
When it comes to our lives, not many people have such plans in mind though. Many of us create work related goals, but no real plan for the rest of our lives! It’s kind of shocking when you consider it. I mean, the rest of our lives is pretty important business!
For me, one of the very first, and very important steps to take is to figure out what I truly value. We’re all different. A good example of how some people differ is to look at varying thoughts around security. Some people are strongly driven by a sense of security while others value adventure and risk much more. The same can be said for many of our personal values. There are several exercises that can be done to uncover what you value most (and the results can be surprising).
You can also consider what impact you want to make, what legacy you want to leave behind. One tool for doing this is to write your own obituary. What would you like people to remember about your life? Are you working toward that?
When you give these items deep thought you may uncover your path in life as well. Once you know your values and your desired legacy determine if you will accomplish that in the life you are currently leading. If not, what needs to change to bring your vision about? Are you willing to do that? If not, you may not have dug deep enough to find what your big motivation is; if you aren’t motivated enough, you didn’t find your passionate path; the one you must take because if you don’t you will feel unfulfilled and regretful. Find it!
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A number of people who practice yoga, especially women, develop pain in the sacroiliac (SI) joints. Some of the pain in women is structural – in women only two segments of the sacrum move with the pelvis while in men 3 do. This leads to less stability in the joint itself. Another structural issue for women is that the joint tends to be more flat as opposed to curved so they simply don’t fit together quite as tightly. Being a little further apart can affect the biomechanics in walking as well as other movement.
In yoga practice there is a great deal of twisting. Twisting is very beneficial in terms of digestion, keeping the spine supple, destressing, detoxing and more. And twisting can help to reduce back pain too. But we need to be twisting correctly. There are some principles that need to be followed when moving into a twist whether it be from a standing position, lying on the back or seated:
I just did my morning meditation in which I was using the phrases in the graphic. This was a guided meditation with Kristin Neff . Sometimes, when we find it difficult to still our minds, guided meditations are a wonderful tool. And there are so many on so many different topics to get to the heart of what you are feeling at any particular time. Today I felt I needed a meditation around self love and compassion. This is a running theme in my life. I demand a lot of myself. Likely more than anyone else. And when I don’t perceive I have met my standard I can beat up on myself. It doesn’t happen often anymore (thankfully!), but it does creep up from time to time. And in those moments now I look to the help of a guided meditation, an affirmation to remind me that I don’t need perfection.
We are all having the experience of being human, and to think that any of us are exempt from feeling the full range of emotions is to deny our very humanness. When we allow the emotions to sweep over us, we are able to let the wave pass. And when we feel fully and allow the emotion to subside on its own, we can let it go without the side effects of burying our emotions.
I hope that you all feel safe, you all feel peaceful, that you are kind to yourself and others and that you accept your life exactly as it is.