Thursday, January 4, 2018

Calm in the midst of Chaos

Last year one of my personal focuses was on detachment and learning how to let go of expectations and attachment to outcome. That was one of my major focuses as I pursued a meditation and yoga practice and it's application to my daily life.

At the beginning of a new year it seems appropriate to set an intention for my focused practice this year and to observe areas where my life does not quite reflect the message that I speak. For me the area where I need to draw my attention to is finding calm in chaos.

I tend to be a very "busy" person with my mind in many directions and participating in many different things. My schedule is always full, and most days I find it hard to sit down and just take time out. Last year one of the ways I practiced finding calm was scheduling myself down-time and occasionally clearing my schedule for a whole afternoon where I would refuse to do anything except relax. (Of course this often times brought with it the stress of thinking of all the things I "should" be doing). I would often consider it a "tick in the box" if I had done my yoga practice or meditation for the day - "yep, good to go on the relaxation front, I did my 40 min!" haha.....that is hardly living a life of tranquility.

As I look at bringing more calm into my life, I have been reflecting on the un-essential parts of my schedule that could really be discontinued. The things that I spend my time doing that are actually not deserving of that energy.  For me this is a constant re-evaluation and active decision around what I will spend my time and energy on because I am FOREVER piling more and more things into my schedule to fill the voids that I have JUST made! haha....This is my personality.

Having said that, what has been my "personality" in the past does not define me for the rest of my life. I can change who I am. I can cultivate the calm within me, and make living within this calm nature more and more of who I TRULY am. In the Tao Te Ching it says "If you let yourself be blown to and fro, you lose touch with your root". The foundation of who I am and who I want to be is a person of calm and peace. I want to radiate that calm in chaotic moments and for people to feel at ease when they are with me. This is my root and my true nature.

Wayne Dyer has a great book out called Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life and in his book he is constantly showing how it is our choice what we believe about ourselves and what actions we take in our lives. We have the power to choose calm in chaos. We don't have to live frantically just because that's the "way we are"....we can change that. We can choose to stop and take a deep breath and focus our heart and mind on our true nature - our root - our foundation... "assigning blame for your lack of calmness will never bring you to the state of being that you're striving to attain. Self-mastery only blossoms when you practice being aware of, and responsible for, what you're feeling." - Wayne Dyer.

So my challenge as I continue to practice detachment from the emotions that drive my responses (irritation, frustration, excitement, anticipation, love etc.) is not only to detach from these emotions, but also to sit calmly with them. To watch them as an observer knowing that I do not have to react in response to them. I can choose calm. I can choose tranquility and peacefulness. I can choose not to respond to the stimulus around me, and I can choose how much time I spend in quiet calmness each day and what the quality of that time looks like. I take responsibility for my own schedule and how I spend my time, so I can choose how chaotic or how peaceful my life is.

A dear friend of mine had set a mantra for their family last year that they used all year long - #Choose Joy - and I loved that so much...In every day and in every way they were teaching their children to choose joy! For me this was a great example and this year I am setting my mantra - #Choose Calm

What is your intention as you start this new year? You have the power to change your own life, so what thought processes do you need to change to make this happen?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Observer of Life

There is always this battle within me that pulls between goal setting and finding contentment with the present moment - not looking towards tomorrow....On the one hand I see the real value in having ambition and goals to achieve, and on the other hand I can recognize that we are all already enough just as we are.

This time of year does tend to pull my attention towards the goals and plans that I have for the coming year and what things I would like to work into my life/bring into my daily routine etc.

One of the biggest adjustments that I know I desperately need to be making is scheduling more down time. More free time to read and relax, more time for yoga and meditation, and less racing around! I don't know about you, but this is often something that I have to intentionally schedule into my life. This time of year this is me on "repeat" as this tends to be a common theme for me come December! haha....I go through periods of calm and then I go through periods where I forget to rest and relax! Never mind, that's what being an observer is all about.....Observing the current situation and making slight adjustments where needed in order to maintain balance in one's life.

Another area of my life which I am very often toying with and experimenting around is my diet and how what I eat affects how I feel and how well my body functions. I have made some significant lifestyle changes over the past six months and gone back to a mostly plant based diet and have recently cut out dairy products as well. I have definitely noticed a significant change in how I feel and will be continuing to pursue this further over the coming months. I am reading again a fantastic book called The China Study which for those who really appreciate scientific evidence, this is a must read!! Another very interesting documentary is Forks Over Knives you can also check out their website if you are interested. They have some stunning testimonials.

I share these brief ideas with you simply because I believe that it can be useful from time to time to act as an "observer" on life. To sit back and just reflect on where you are at and what you would like your life to be. Not in the sense of wishing it were any other way, but simply as a way to take time to be still and NOTICE how it is.

Are there areas of your life that you would like to make adjustments to in order to maintain better balance and tranquility?
"Find gratitude in this present moment for all that life has brought you." ~ Namaste

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Are you living in an un-thinkable present?

This week I turn 35. Birthdays really aren't a big deal to me as I feel like every day is a celebration of life; however, this week I am really reflecting strongly on the many blessings of my life. This morning when I was working out at the gym and running PAIN-FREE on the treadmill, in my mind I was taken back to two years ago where everything in my life felt like such a struggle. I was in a really bad space where I was burnt out and just tired from life.

Coming from this state of pure exhaustion and physical un-wellness, I really believed that this was just my life - that struggling is just what I do...I have never been one to really cry in front of people, but I remember around the month of November two years ago sitting in the doctor's office and crying because I was so tired. I was so burnt out at work and under so much stress and I wasn't sleeping and I was just stretched too thin.

As I look back on that moment this morning I am reminded of where these last two years have brought me from. While this time in my life was certainly not my only time of struggle, it was probably the most recent super low point in my life, and therefore a good place to go back to for reflection. One of the reasons I find keeping a journal so incredibly valuable is because you can flick back over the months or years and see where you have come from and where you are now.

While not everyone reading this blog will share my Christian faith, I speak from my own heart and true nature when I share with you how grateful I am for what God has brought me through. There is an awesome song called Mighty to Save and one of the lyrics is "Savior, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save". I'll tell you that some times it takes YEARS to move those mountains and to bring you through the hard times that you face...but wow, how awesome is it that the mountains CAN BE MOVED!!

A visiting pastor shared on Sunday a beautiful message about how in the dark times in your life when you feel like your present moment is "un-thinkable",  you need to look back to the past and see where God has brought you from and look back to the "un-forgetable". He has been so faithful to provide you with every strength you needed and every ounce of courage it took to keep breathing! If you look back and count your blessings and recall the many ways your life has been touched, you will know that this mountain too can be moved.

So, today I am recalling the hard times and the power of change in my life. I'm looking back to the "un-forgetable" past only so that I can recall the many blessings and ways in which God gave me the courage and strength to carry on. This gives me so much hope and joy for the present moment.

I encourage you, that if you are feeling discouraged or tired, or worn...Recall where you have come from and all the many blessings of your life, and know that He WILL provide you with every strength and courage that you need for this un-thinkable present, and He WILL move the mountains that need to be moved in your life in order that you can live in peace and joy again!

This is a really beautiful song:

Monday, November 6, 2017

To Live Like Water

"Coal Creek Falls" one of my favorite spots.
This week I have been reading some really interesting things about water. There is some fascinating research going on at the moment around water memory and the impact that our words and energy can have on water molecules. (Well, in truth this research has been going on for many years, but it is not often talked about). This research has a huge impact on the validity of homeopathy and really is quite interesting. It's all very controversial, of course, because there is a lot of scepticism surrounding the research and a lot of people stating that some of this research is a hoax etc. (And of course there is no money in healing through words! haha...) Whether it is truth or not, I could not possibly say due to my own lack of knowledge in this area of science. However, I personally do believe that we can influence the body in a very real way based on our thoughts, words, and energy. 

My life has significantly changed over the past year and a half based on my own personal experience with changing my thought processes and the personal energy that I project. I have seen in my life in a very real way the impact that changing your thoughts can have on the outcome of our circumstances. I have even set up little personal experiments around it and seen the results. A lot of this was related to meditation and I read an incredible book this summer called "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Joe Dispenza. I highly recommend this as it is a very scientific read around the value and process of meditation. 

One of the other areas of personal change for me was regarding cultivating an attitude centered around gratitude and thanksgiving. Where in the midst of hard times and daily living you stop and take time to be grateful for the smallest of blessings in the present moment. As I was listening to a video yesterday around the impact that our words and thoughts have on water (thereby influencing the human body because we are made up of somewhere between 50-60% water depending on weight/gender etc.). An example given was around Dr. Emoto's research that showed how a jar of water that was spoken over with positive words and uplifting music and had a loving word written on the jar itself would produce a beautiful formation when frozen and then looked at under a microscope...and when harsh words were spoken over another jar of water that had hate or anger  written on the jar this would produce an ugly disjointed frozen form. (It's all rather controversial whether or not his experiment was real or truly scientific....however, in my opinion the lesson is still quite valid regardless). 

I was inspired by the impact that the energy we are projecting can have on the outcome of our circumstances. For example, if you tell yourself every day that you aren't good enough, that you are a failure, that you never make enough money or never hit the mark - then your life will very likely be exactly that. You will very likely live a life full of sadness and despair because that is the energy you are putting out and therefore that is what you are attracting back into your life. On the other hand, if you are constantly living in a state of gratitude, thanksgiving, humility, grace, love etc., then your energy will be projecting positive light out to others and positive things will naturally be attracted to you. This is not to say that life will always be perfect or easy, or anything like that. However, it is to say that even in the midst of hard times you will be at peace (like the lotus flower who thrives and is at ease in muddy water).

These are some interesting ideas to consider as you go about your daily activities. Have a real look at how what you say to yourself and about yourself might be impacting on your health and your daily circumstances. If it were possible to change that simply through your thoughts, attitudes and words...wouldn't you want to give it a try? 

One last thought on water...Another life lesson to be learned through water is the example that we are shown through how water behaves. Water reacts well to a changing environment, it can actually change the environment itself as it moves between rocks and across land. Water will always seek the lowest place to settle and likes to keep moving; becoming stagnate if it stands still too long. Water can mold to any shape and fill any void. Perhaps we should seek to be more like water in our day to day living...

"Let my thoughts and words today speak love and light into my life and into the lives of those who cross my path. May I live like water, ever flowing, flexible, and yet through my actions may I change the lives of those around me." ~ Namaste

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Living an Unconventional Life

Warning - long post to follow:

I have had several conversations in the past week with different people from different age groups and cultures around the topic of "the life we are expected to live" based on how we were raised and what society believes we should be doing with our life. (Super interesting how this topic was important enough to each of them to bring it up in conversation - it obviously sits heavy on the hearts of many).

It is so incredibly interesting how varied these ideas are from country to country and depending on the religious background and values of each person's family. For example, in some cultures women are supposed to work and are encouraged to, yet there are only certain types of jobs that are considered appropriate. Other cultures, of course, do not believe in women in the work place at all and instead believe that women should be at home looking after their children or husband. Some cultures support single women, others force the idea of dating and marriage starting in early adolescence.

One of the women I was talking to waited for years to tell her family that she was a chef because in her culture that was not an acceptable job for a woman. She tells me that even years later her parents still will not mention to any of their friends what it is that their daughter does for work because it is a shameful thing. (So interesting how something that we value so much in our culture here, is considered a shameful thing in another culture.....This conversation is really what inspired this post).

What strikes me as so crazy is the fact that so many people are trying to live within these "expectations" in order to be accepted by their family and those they hold most dear. Of course, then comes the heartbreak when they fall outside of this expected outcome and are left feeling like a failure or worse are rejected completely by their family.

So what does it mean to live an unconventional life exactly? And who defines that? Well, I cracked myself up a little bit when I googled the meaning of unconventional and it's synonyms. (My favorites were "offbeat" and "far-out"!!! haha.....I love that it says far-out.... Furthermore, what sacrifices have to be made in order to live an unconventional life, and are the sacrifices worth it?

For the past 10 years of our married life I would say that my husband and I have lived pretty unconventional lives, but for the first five years of marriage we played the game of doing life as it was expected. We bought the things everyone else bought, we went places everyone else goes, we did the sorts of jobs everyone expected us to do, and we never did anything out of the ordinary. People accepted us and life was "normal". It was only when we started looking into the idea of immigrating to New Zealand that our lives took a real unconventional turn. Something within that idea of moving to a new country inspired us to explore and discover other possible life choices that could be different than the expected. We began to search for our true selves (which was probably due to age as well being that by this point we were in our early twenties). While we awaited our immigration process we decided to move to Alaska and that was definitely a "far-out" thing to do! By making small changes to our way of living we ended up pushing further and further outside the boundaries that we previously believed existed. This journey for us still continues, but more and more we have uncovered who we want to be and the life we want to live, and in that process we have found peace.

I recently had a dear friend of mine break up with me because she could not understand why our lifestyle was so unconventional and she could not cope with how free and unsettled our life appeared to her. It did not fit into the expectation she had for us. This experience lead me to a lot of reflecting on the idea of expectations and why we create them for ourselves and for other people in our lives? Why is it that we feel we should know what is right for someone else? Why are we so quick to judge another person's life choices? (And I, like every other human, am equally guilty of judgement...but through self-reflection this is an area where I am seeking real personal improvement).

My question to you today is what is keeping you from living an unconventional life? Do you struggle to be true to yourself because you fear others will not accept your lifestyle choices? Do you question whether or not you will lose your friends or family in the process of finding your true self? What stands in the way of you being able to live freely?

Over the years I am observing more and more how people move through this process. Some people battle all the way trying to ignore the urge to be their authentic self because it does not follow the same path that is expected of them. Others learn to find happiness in living freely and don't fear rejection or separation from those who don't understand. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice of losing the love and acceptance of those they hold most dear, and for them the question remains of whether that sacrifice was worth it. It is my opinion that in the end, being true to yourself and your Divine nature and who you were created to be is always worth any sacrifices made; for it is only then that you will ever truly live in peace.

So there are some interesting topics for thought and self-reflection here. I do encourage you as you move through the weekend and the coming week to examine the thoughts that you have around other's and their lifestyle choices and look for ways that you can encourage young people and those who may be struggling to be true to themselves. Be the person who is loving and kind and encouraging even when you don't understand. Be the person who heals a heart. Be the person who doesn't hold another to your own standard of living. Allow others to be free to be who they are.

Mantra: "May my actions today reflect my true nature. May I let go of all expectations and live my life fully and freely. May my soul find peace in who I am, because who I am is who I was created to be."~ Namaste

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The topic of purity from a new and unusual perspective

Recently I have gained a new understanding of the word purity and what it actually means. I thought I would briefly share with you what I am learning in the hope that perhaps it might also get you thinking about this topic as well. Think about how it might apply in a new way to your own life and how you choose to live. 

I came across a book a few weeks ago called Yoga Masters: The Living Wisdom Series by Mark Forstater and Jo Manuel. Last week I was reading in this book about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (which any yogi will be quite familiar with at some time or another due to the incredible teachings of Patanjali's eight-limbed approach to yoga - called Ashtanga.) The system is very similar to the Biblical teachings of the Ten Commandments and essential life lessons such as the Golden Rule and other aspects of ethical living.

One of Patanjali's eight-limbs is the idea of "Purity". This falls under the Niyama  category of personal observation where one is to be reflecting on one's life and seeing how you can live in-line with this principle.

So, what does it mean to live a "Pure" life? What does it mean to seek "Purity"? 

The first thought that always came to mind for me was related to modesty and celibacy and all things related to personal behavior such as being truthful and humble and innocent in word and deed. These were my previous ideas of the concept of purity. So when I would hear that we should seek to live a pure life that is what came to mind for me.

Recently this idea has radically evolved. Now I am gaining a very different understanding of what it means to live pure. This new and unusual perspective has allowed me to understand purity on a whole new level that actually reaches to every part of our life and includes all aspects of our daily terms of our health, our environment, our homes......

Looking at our health - Are we eating purely? Are we giving our bodies the whole foods that it needs to be sustained healthily? Are we eating free of pesticides and preservatives and all the additives that seem to be causing such harm within the body?...or...Are we taking into our bodies things that we know will cause us long term damage?

The Environment - Are we living sustainably and in ways that promote the healing of our planet? What are our thoughts/actions around trash removal and wastes? What part do we play in our daily lives that allows us to live purely in this world?

Our Homes - Are we living in a home that is pure and free from clutter and needless excess of things?...or...Do we fill our homes out of desire and the need for others to accept us as being wealthy or having great style etc? What is our intention when decorating and setting up a home? Is our intention pure, or are we seeking outside approval?

I love this quote from the book,  
"If we want a healthy world, we need to start by cultivating a healthy mind and body, stable, harmonious, balanced and pure."

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Practice of Non-Attachment

The practice of non-attachment is both a complicated and a very simple concept. The complication comes from a life trained to be attached - we are raised to be goal setters, achievers, always looking to the outcome to judge whether or not we have been successful. The simplicity comes when you realize that life is so much fuller when you let go of all that striving and seeking after things you cannot control.

Some of my personal history involves this training to be a high achiever, always setting goals and ensuring that I hit the mark. Spiritually I was taught that God had a specific purpose for each person and that He would reveal that purpose/identity to the individual....this concept often leads to years and years of long-suffering as one seeks to FIND that purpose/identity. I believe that many religious people follow this path of seeking their "calling" - and there is often a subsequent feeling of short coming or failure when that "calling" is not made clear. Everyone wants to be a Moses and have that "burning bush" experience where God opens the heavens and calls your name clearly to do a certain task.....Realistically this is not something that happens to every individual, and many are left feeling unworthy or "un-called" when that burning bush experience does not come to them.

This is what it looks like spiritually to be attached to an idea of what your life "should" be. I am speaking personally here and I realize that not everyone will have the same life experience that I have had....To me, though, I am learning to see this sort of seeking as a form of attachment to an idea and desire of what you believe your life should look like. I was raised to believe that those "burning bush" moments would come often for the true Christian. Over time I am learning that this is not truth.

I believe that every individual was created for a purpose and that this purpose is multi-faceted. It is not limited to a title or an occupation or a "calling". I am learning to understand that we can bring glory to God in every moment of our life, in the small chores we tend to throughout the day, in the words we speak to strangers and friends alike. While there may come a time in a persons life when there is a "burning bush" experience that takes place, it is only secondary to the daily opportunities of service and worship that we are given. I think too much emphasis has been placed on that special moment, that special calling, and too often people spend their whole lives seeking after that - all the while missing the daily opportunities of service and to live a life that brings glory to God.

All of this attachment to the need to be special, to be recognized as a godly person.....this attachment to outcome and to outward glory is not actually spiritual at all. This is the Ego at work. This is the Ego needing to be recognized as more special than the person next to us.

Over the past few months this thought has been with me around what this idea of attachment looks like in my life. Daily I am working towards living a life of non-attachment. A life that is not seeking outcome. A life that is at peace with the daily tasks of serving others without the need to be given a title or occupation or acknowledgement. This is to live detached from outcome and to truly practice Karma Yoga - the act of doing a task for that tasks sake.

What ideals do you feel attached to today? What do you feel that you are seeking after and striving towards? What areas of dis-content are leaving you feeling overwhelmed or stressed?.....Take some time today to meditate on these areas and allows space in your heart to let them go.

"I allow myself to let go of the need to achieve and become something; recognizing that I am already enough just as I am today. Today I allow my focus to be specifically on the people I meet and the tasks I am given; that I might bring joy and peace to those who cross my path."~Namaste

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Concepts of the “Ego”

Those who know me well know that I talk a lot about Ego because it is a concept that I have grown to understand in such a real way over the past year.  I have read many books that helped me gain an understanding of the Ego, but one book in particular that I highly recommend is “Your Sacred Self” by Wayne Dyer. He talks a lot about past false beliefs. I did some work last year in identifying those false beliefs and how strongly they had influenced my life and my behaviors. These false beliefs are often things we are taught by well-meaning family and people in authority over us, but it does not make them TRUTH. I did this work by making an extensive list of all the things I was taught in my life that I “should do” and then a list of all the things that I “should not do”….When you put some of these things on paper is becomes so incredibly clear what false beliefs these are – and yet they completely guide and control the direction of our lives if we continue to let them. (I will not share my list here as it is specific to me and my own upbringing, but I do encourage you to take the time to do this exercise as it really is powerful for making change.) I will share with you, though, some of the things I have learned about the Ego.

Lessons I have learned about the Ego:

1.       Ego presents as the false self – Belief that I am my physical body; Ego pushes one to despise the outward appearance and fights constantly against acceptance. While I know this is true, it is still an area that I struggle with because I still hold onto some of those false beliefs which lead me to judge myself. I am continuing to work on reminding myself that “I am not my body”.
2.       Ego teaches separateness – viewing life as a competitive exercise, always seeking our place in the world, seeking greatness or to be better than everyone else. This separateness also allows for judgement.
3.       Ego convinces you of your “specialness” – believing we are special or more deserving than the next person, which also leads to fear and anxiety that we may NOT be special enough.
4.       Ego is ready to be offended – in living in the ego state I was always offended and felt a constant need to defend myself and my actions. When you are living in Spirit, you do not have an “offend-able” nature.
5.       Ego is cowardly – the Ego beats us down robbing us of our divine nature, constantly causing us to see ourselves as lowly sinners rather than the freed and forgiven soul in which God dwells.
6.       Ego thrives on consumption – trying to fill a void that the ego creates, I often filled my life with meaningless things. The Ego pushes you toward external validation. The Ego tries to keep you facing “outside yourself” for peace and joy. *This was a big one for me when I came to this realization. I had been seeking fulfillment and peace outside myself and it always led to sadness and disappointment. Turning inward and seeking after the higher self which is the Holy Spirit within me changed so much for me.
7.       Ego is insane – it believes it is something it is not and tries to convince others of the same. Sanity, therefore knows that you are one with God and united to all.
Of course, having said all of this, one of the biggest displays of “Ego” is when someone believes they are better than others because they are on a spiritual quest or they have some wisdom greater than others….This is not my belief. I do not believe that having learned about this concept makes me any better than anyone else, I simply share with you what has made such an impact on my life. In humility I recognize that we each have our own path, our own trials, and our own beliefs…neither is better than the other, we are all unified by the Holy Spirit in each of us. ~ Namaste

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga

As I return to this blog after two years of absense, I am acutely aware of how much has changed in my life. I am also so very grateful for every moment and every lesson that I have learned along the way. About a year ago now I began an intense personal journey of self-discovery. I took a break from work and life commitments and began really soul-searching myself and beginning to develop the person who I really wanted to become. During this time I began a daily yoga practice and began to embrace new aspects of meditation, the use of essential oils, and use of a regular massage therapist. I also worked hard to establish a healthy diet and maintain a regular exercise routine. During this time my life has truly been transformed. I cannot atribute this change to any one particular thing, as I believe it is really a combination of healthy lifestyle choices. However, I wanted to share today one of the major contributing factors in my yoga practice that has made such a tremendous difference for me.

I read many books during my journey and there were so many beautiful messages that really hit home for me. The book that has really made the most impact for me though, was Deepak Chopra's book "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga". I began last October doing a quick little daily journal using this system of spiritual laws, and each day I would focus on the law of the day, create a mantra to focus my mind on when my mind became stressed or unfocused, and I also linked this law with the chakras they are associated with and meditated on these and then brought all of this together during my daily yoga practice. I also have linked in specific bible verses to each of these as well. This integration of various systems has brought me so much joy and understanding of how it works together, and has truly become a lifestyle for me. I thought I would very briefly share these laws with you now.

*Please note that this is my own personal take on Deepak's message, so I do highly recommend you read the book.

Sunday - Law of Pure Potentiality, related to the crown chakra, "Live in the Present Moment" Proverbs 19:14, Ephesians 2:10 and Psalm 84:11-12. - We are created to bring glory to God.

Monday - Law of Giving and Receiving, related to the heart chakra, "Love is Divine Power" Proverbs 31:20, James1:27 - Service to others is our gift back to God.

Tuesday - Law of Karma, related to the root chakra "All is One" Galatians 6:8 - Cause and effect is a universal law.

Wednesday - Law of Least Effort, related to the sacral chakra, "Honor One Another" Proverbs 3:5-6 - Practicing karma yoga where you are doing actions for actions sake, not to "achieve" anything. Bring your focus to the task at hand.

Thursday - Law of Intention and Desire, related to the naval chakra, "Honor One-Self" Matthew 11:29 - Focus on humility and grace and to follow Christ's example of love.

Friday - Law of Detachment, related to the throat chakra, "Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will" Proverbs 27:1 - Let go of all that no longer serves you, making room in your heart for Jesus.

Saturday - Law of Dharma, related to the third eye chakra, "Seek Only The Truth" Romans 8:28, John 13:15, James 1:27 - Knowing that your purpose is to serve and bring glory to God.

And so it goes...Each day I base my entire thought processes for the day on whatever the law is that relates. This adds so much intention and focus on staying present in the moment and doing things intentionally with passion. It has been a great blessing to me personally, so I do encourage you to give it a try as well. While this may seem like a lot, after you create a habit of it, it really is very quick and easy. I spend about 10 minutes each morning setting my intention and doing my journal writing while I have a cup of tea and prepare for the day, so it really isn't that complicated.

"Let whatever you chose to do today involve some act of kindness and compassion." - Namaste

Friday, May 8, 2015

Change Starts With You

I particularly love this quote as I truly believe that you will always be best served by "leading by example". You can never really expect others to follow your advice if you have not firstly taken it yourself. This applies to so many areas of life. It is that whole idea that "if it's so good, why haven't you done it yourself" type of attitude that people have. If you HAVE done it yourself, and they can see the results positively reflected in your life....THEN you have a platform to stand on, and a message worth listening to.

I have become a true believer in mindfulness, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. I believe that until we learn about ourselves, until we can find love and compassion for ourselves, until we can truly understand who we are; we will never truly be able to love or care for others to full capacity. Once we have uncovered who we are, we can see that we are actually all moving through the journey of life. Once we can grasp hold of the concept of shared humanness that we all possess....THEN we can truly make a difference.

Being mindful in our daily lives, being fully present - with no expectation to "be" anything, or "achieve" anything. It is in this space that we can begin to discover who we really are. We can learn to cultivate kindness, generosity, acceptance, willpower, joy, gentleness, peace, and patience. Adapting to those positive character traits allows us to then express in our lives the examples we want to set. We will begin to radiate these experiences in our lives and begin producing understanding, loyalty, confidentiality, commitment, and all the other positive characteristics that we are also seeking in others. By producing it first in ourselves, we pave the way for others to follow.

In setting the example through our actions, through our lives, we surround ourselves with people who begin to pick up on those cues and follow our example. Those positive actions begin to trickle down, and we begin to be the light in the darkness. We begin to ever so subtly change the culture we work and live in. We begin to "be the change" we seek.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reflections for the New Year

It's hard to believe that 2014 is nearly over. One of the things I have really struggled with this year was finding peace in the midst of stress and difficult moments. It is through my relaxation and yoga practice that I am learning to really cultivate a sense of "calm amidst the storm".

My desire for 2015 is that I will continue to develop the ability to find peace when things are chaotic around me. I know that this year is going to bring some very difficult and challenging moments with facing another time of separation from my husband, starting a new placement within my job, starting post graduate study which I have to travel long distances for, and then eventually organising our big move at the end of the year. This year is going to bring a lot of challenges (and those are just the ones that I already know about and can mentally prepare for!) Knowing in advance that there will be many challenges to face gives me the advantage of being able to set some healthy coping mechanisms in place....Of which my best means of coping is going to be establishing a really strong pattern for my yoga practice - even if that means only 15 minutes a day. Getting into the routine of daily practice means that I will take at least 15 minutes a day solely to focus on relaxation and grounding.

So that is my first New Year's Resolution - to devote a few minutes every day to yoga

Secondly, as my mantra for the year - I Am Here - I want to ensure that during my yoga practice I am really focusing my energy on grounding. On remembering that even if all else around me feels chaotic and difficult in that moment, I am still here...I am still me....I am still alive and well, and present in this moment. 

The third focus for me this coming year is continuing on my journey towards healthier eating habits. I have started seeing tremendous improvements with my health and my thyroid levels are starting to improve, so it is definitely worth the effort. I struggled this Christmas with making poor food choices and too much sugar over the past week, but I am determined to get back on track and really focus my energy on foods that actually improve my health. 

My biggest fitness goal this year is to keep working towards increasing my running fitness level. I would ideally love to be back running comfortably where it's really enjoyable. Long-term goals for that would be to be running about a 10K by this time next year. 

Those are just some of my goals for the coming year, what are yours? Have you taken the time to reflect on what you would like to achieve for 2015? Have a think about how you will cope with the challenges you might face BEFORE you face them.....Think about what lifestyle changes you might need to make in order to support healthy coping. Think about ways you can increase your fitness and improve your health. 

"If I only get today, I want to make today count. If I only get today, I want those around me to know that I loved them and for those who cross my path to know that they matter. If I only get today, I want to finish it well" ~ Namaste

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Living in the present moment

For many years I have been enthralled by the concept of living in the present moment. I attempt, as best I can, to embrace the here an now....To let go of all that no longer serves me, and to focus my attention on the blessings that are right in front of me.

This is, of course, all very well and good on paper - but it's surprisingly challenging to live it out in your daily life. That is, I guess, why I practice yoga. Because it allows me to focus my mind on the present moment (even if it is but for a moment in my day). I acknowledge my humanness, that I cannot seem to quiet my mind when the stresses of my day surround me.....but at least for a short time in my day I mindfully focus my energy on this moment.

I encourage you, even if it's just for ten minutes of your day, to just stop what you are doing and focus on this moment in time. Focus on the many blessings in which you have (the very breath of life that you breathe) and offer up some gratitude for those gifts. Acknowledge those around you whom you have come in contact with today, and offer loving-kindness towards them and thoughts of wellbeing for their lives.

I do not pretend to walk around in a state of euphoria, being grateful for everything and never stressing over the little things in life....No, this is not me. I acknowledge that I get overburdened, stressed, tired, grouchy - just like everyone else. But what I am saying, is that with the effort that I have, I will attempt every day to strive closer and closer to the place where my mind can come to peace and serenity.....where my mind can rest, and can appreciate all that God has done for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Becoming a caring culture

If I know one truth about life, it is that no matter who you are, you will face hardships and trials at some point along the way. No matter how old or how young you may be. It's simply part of life.

Walking through the valley's allows us to enjoy the mountain-top view all the more when we reach the top.

My curiosity lies in wondering why we cannot seam to recognise this truth in one another. We don't seam to be able to relate to the shared human experience that we all have. When someone is hurting or experiencing a stressful life-event, it absolutely amazes me at the amount of people who turn the other way and shield their eyes from this reality. Not to mention the amount of people who feel the need to HIDE the truth of their struggles from the world, for fear that they will not be accepted or acknowledged.

So, what would happen if we changed these mindsets? What would happen if we created a caring culture in which each of us recognised the shared humanness we each possess? What if we saw in each other our own pain and struggles? I wonder what that world would look like?

This week, I encourage you when you look in the face of those who cross your path, look a bit deeper.....imagine what it must be like to walk in their shoes.....Offer them a word of kindness or encouragement and show them that they are NOT alone!!