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Posts from the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

Self + Heart, Sacred Space

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

“For one moment, try to not to get to a place. To not busy your mind + self with things to achieve, or decorate your walls. For one moment, try, to arrive with nothing in your pockets, no shoes on your feet, with only your body, + breath to rely.” – Sarah Blondin

We think we have infinite time with finite choices. Flip it. We have finite time with infinite choices. No more yesterdays, only today to grasp, embrace, honor and to set the stage for tomorrow. This moment alone, the fullness, all the colors and awareness of its depth.

Will you see it or will you let it pass you by on the way to somewhere else?

Will you be a spectator or participant?

Will you accept or reject?

Depart for a moment from the minefield of your racing thoughts. Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs. Release and let the pressure dissipate. Awaken all senses to this moment. Let your thoughts go, pausing to bring you back to equilibrium, to center.

Make your life sacred by immersing yourself in moments, suspended in mid-air of possibility, anchored in light. Do not leave this place until you embrace gratitude and feel the magnitude and immensity of being held by God. A holy, reverent reckoning and unexplainable ease.

When you arrive, you have just found grace. Hold onto it long enough to remember that it is always present. Let it soak into your being. It is not reserved for others. It is a gift for all. Given freely. No counting, no comparing, no scorekeeping. A river that flows softly on the surface and powerfully in the current beneath, it remains. A force to be reckoned with when it is recognized.

Suspend and detach from your thoughts, assumptions, judgments, worry, regret and fear to make space for love, forgiveness, joy, trust, gratitude, wonder and awe woven in the sacred ordinary. Take your hands off the wheel of the bike and steer from your core – heart, soul, spirit. Releasing from the mechanics and transactions to the magic and miracle of ordinary days.

“Scale mountains. Revel at the moon. Kneel at the foot of ancient trunks. Seek wisdom. Find kinship + holy teachers. Offer love to both, sour + soft living things. Roll precious stones in your palm. Carry clost to you, the quill of an owl. Burn the threads of flagrant grasses. Do what brings you closest to feeling the weight of goodness pressing up against you. But the most noble thing you can ever do is come to be a student of your own Self + heart.” – Sarah Blondin

Field Trip

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

On our daily trip to the dog park yesterday, the girls and I wandered outside of the fenced area to the open field to wander through the maze of frozen cattails. The girls took off as fast and when they realized that they were out of my sight, they would loop back to check on me and to make sure that they still had permission to take the “field” trip. Permission granted with a smile and wave.

With great abandon, weaving, exploring, dancing, flying, all senses in play and at play.

Today is the first day of the week, the first day of the month and marks the meteorological spring. On the cusp of a new season, change is becoming more apparent. Change is always happening but it takes attention and awareness to see it, to enter it with joy and abandon. Each day is a blank slate, a white canvas to fill with colors.

This morning upon waking, I began writing an email in my head as I planned the activities for the day. After five minutes, I stopped the swirl and returned to the field yesterday with gratitude for a beautiful weekend and plans for a glorious day ahead. When we observe our thoughts, what field trip that they are taking us on and decide if we want to take the trip, we can break old patterns, stale reactions and respond with intention and attention to transformation and metanoia, a change of heart resulting in a change in way of life.

You write your own permission slip daily. Stop asking others for permission. Stop making excuses. No past. No future. Just now. What will you do and where will you go on your field trip today?

“To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance) really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.”― Christos Yannaras, Variations on the Song of Songs

God’s Handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.” – Brene Brown

Listen up
You are enough
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
You are beautiful inside and out

Look around
Take in the beauty of a sunrise, binding heaven to earth
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
The sun remains in front and behind the clouds, unmoved

Head down
Root your feet in this place and time
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
You are where you need to be so find the reason and let it unfold

Journey within
You are worthy
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
You have arrived and will continue to unfold

Step back
Observe as a spectator and absorb only what is necessary to nurture, prune and prepare
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
Seasons, rhythms, cycles promise full bloom, the transformation to butterfly

Enough, worthy and beautiful in this very moment
Return to yourself and allow God to do His work and you do your work
Right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no permission needed
God’s handwriting is within and all around. Let your story be completed by the author of life.

You are enough, worthy and beautiful.

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle

Winter Playground

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

A fresh coat of snow last weekend created the conditions for a winter playground and few turned down the invitation. In the forefront, two broomball games, in the background cross country skiing, snowboarding and sliding on the side hill with blue sky and warm sun filling the horizon. A glorious day!

The purpose of play, for rest, for wandering is to restore, rejuvenate and refuel. When we “schedule” play throughout each day, not just weekends, we keep our “tank” full rather than pushing to empty, exhausted and drained.

Polarity and extremes are on the world stage right now and it begins with individuals. Heal yourself, heal the world. Choose a different path that brings internal and eternal peace through balance, reflection and play. Perhaps if each of us committed to focusing on our own peace, empathy and understanding, we could do our part to heal the world.

Open spaces, quiet, fun, laughter, meditation, music, art, craft, nature all restore our capacity for joy, contentment and flow. Each day, lay down your burdens for a few minutes, recalibrate and balance. Within our burdens are seeds and roots of blessings. When we lay the weight that we carry down if but only for a moment or two, we get a glimpse of abundance and instructions on a new way to live. Exposed long enough to quiet and reflection, our scarcity mindset transforms to abundance.

In the nourishment of play, our dry bones come alive again. We need 8 glasses of water each day to stay hydrated. Create daily rituals to hydrate your spirit and soul as well. Oasis activities of a few minutes of meditation using Insight Timer, journaling, going for a walk, listening to music, reading, sliding down a hill are the “reps” we need to build our joy muscles. Patience, hope, ease, balance, generosity, humor, enthusiasm and energy are the outcomes of oasis practices.

There’s power in play. It’s recess time!

 

A Simple Shift

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?” – E. M. Forster

Change it up. Take a different route. If you always do something at the end of the day, do it in the morning to see it from a different view.

Snowshoeing at sunrise this morning flipped the day. A simple shift can break patterns, create new patterns and connections. Build your capacity for awe in ordinary, daily miracles of a sunrise, of fresh air in your lungs, of the joy of mere being.

Gratitude, optimism and hope are powerful actions accessible to all. Use them early, often and without fail. Allow the sunrise and sunset to enter your life. A simple shift.

Right in Your Own Backyard

“On your journey, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Take time out to notice that you’re alive. You can only live in one day.” – Ray Fearon

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

Last week, I took Abby and Sasha for the first time to a dog park in Hastings when meeting a friend to pick up a Christmas gift that she painted. When we first arrived and I took them off leash, they were perplexed. Surely I made a mistake, they were in open space with other dogs and new territory to explore. Once they acclimated, they absolutely loved it.

Abby chased tennis balls with her usual vigor and delight. Sasha was the social director, introducing herself and making friends with other dogs inviting them to chase her and she would reciprocate. I was so pleasantly surprised and wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner.

There’s a dog park just blocks from my house that I’ve passed for years and never stopped. This week, we went there every day. Each time, they were excited as the first time, meeting new friends and dancing through leaves to hunt balls.

So often, we have places, people and blessings in plain sight, right in our own “backyard.” We miss them going on to the next thing, to the “better” yard, the “other person’s” yard. We pass them each day, not noticing, taking them for granted, as if invisible. In the middle of our ordinary days are extraordinary gifts.

Start noticing and exploring your own “backyard” with gratitude, awe and joy. It’s a beautiful view right outside your window.

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Let Go to Hold On

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The science on meditation and mindfulness shows the real impact on daily living. We get skeptical about adding one more thing to our daily to do list, but meditation is worth the 10-30 minutes a day. In addition to training for a now virtual marathon, journaling every morning since March and daily meditation guided by the Insight Timer app has been worth the effort and investment.

We need to do less so we can experience more. Let go of old stories, hold on to things worthy of our valuable time. Create space for new possibilities, joy and abundance.

Let go of the unnecessary so you can hold on to the necessary. Carve quiet so light can enter and reveal the magic of living.

“Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Do the Work

“I stopped waiting for the world to give me what I wanted; I started giving it to myself.” – Byron Katie

“Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

I always listen to one of three podcasts on my training runs. Cathy Heller’s Don’t Keep Your Day Job, Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic and Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life. Books, music, podcasts pull us out of our own thoughts to explore, question and ponder.

The interview this week on Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Byron Katie, The Work was filled with wonderful insights including four questions to ask yourself to change the narrative you tell yourself and the power to change it to serve you better:

  1. “Is it true?”
  2. “Can I absolutely know this is true?”
  3. “How do I react when I believe this thought?”
  4. “Who would I be without this thought?” Then turn it around and say “What is the opposite?”

A few other takeaways:

  1. You are your own way out. It begins and ends with you.
  2. Don’t feel guilty for believing what you believe.
  3. Freedom and happiness are your birthright.

We choose our own thoughts so we have the power to change our world. Explore abundance, create your days, see the brilliance in the petal of a flower.

Do the work and carve the life you deserve.

Drift and Observe

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Meditation is an attempt to stop rowing and let the water of life go clear, so you can see through to the bottom of things. Let’s try this now. Put down your oars and drift. Center yourself and breathe slowly. Whatever the day holds can wait. The first oar to leave alone is your mind. Inhale and exhale deeply. The second oar to ungrip is the oar of fear and worry. Inhale and exhale slowly. Simply breathe and let the water of your life settle and calm. Let your breathing quiet the ripples. Let the water of all life settle and calm. Look through the calm, not searching for anything, just seeing what’s there.” — The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo

Stop rowing. Let the water settle so you can observe, listen and be present. Our thoughts, opinions, judgments either contract or expand us. When we drift and observe, we choose expansion and mystery.

Dare to be quiet long enough to awaken your senses to see to the bottom of things. Put the paddles down each day to cultivate clarity and joy. We cast light by allowing light in.

Balance Practice

“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.” – Epictetus

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” – Marcus Aurelius

They make balance bikes to get kids to learn how to balance before they start to bike. There are nuances in balancing. It’s both science and art. And when gravity wins and you fall down, get back up to try another run at balance until it strikes.

Watch a child learn to balance so you can relearn it yourself. Because we understand it, we pursue it and we so often forget it.

“Love grounds you. It orients you. Love brings your awareness to others and yourself. Love opens your mind and heart to others and yourself. Love settles you and gives you balance.” – Gary Zukav

Practice balance. Balance practice.

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