Spring on the prairies - snow, rain, patience. Nature is giving us what we need even though it may not look like what we want. Tulips peeking through wet snow will ultimately appreciate moisture and happily bloom when the sun warms the earth. Birds will shed their parkas and fly freely from feeder to tree, happy in their lightness. It will all be as it should be, in time. Hard to have patience when things aren't developing as we feel they should, waiting is difficult. Frustration is hard to swallow but it serves no good purpose, I find lately. My new mantra is GO WITH IT, whatever 'it' is. Realize that the only control I have is over my reactions. It's snowing...read a book, have a nap, go for a walk, meditate, do something calming. It's raining...relish in the moisture, inhale the wonderful raindrop smell, watch the earth soften as new life emerges. It's sunny and clear...inhale the sunshine and blue sky, listen to the birdsong, feel the bliss and the warmth. A dear friend of mine had the slogan 'Bloom where you are planted' in her shop. It's time to do just that and live in the now, no matter what 'now' looks like. Just be content with whatever is going on. Breathe. Relax. Be. Namaste.
This blog notwithstanding, I am a relatively private person. Things good and bad are filtered before being shared, if shared at all. The odd person here or there but in general, I manage my stuff myself, with a stiff upper lip and an action plan. Oh, and sometimes unlimited amounts of Miss Vicki's original chips, chocolate, lattes and McDonald's cheeseburgers. Recently things happened though that affected me deeply and were bigger than I can handle. My reserve well ran dry. Rock bottom. Empty. Zip, nada, nothing. Breaking my own oversharing rule, I told two friends. They listened, they hugged me, they laughed, they cried, they bought the t-shirt. Amazingly, I felt not only mentally but physically lighter. A shared burden is far less heavy. So I shared with a few more friends. My heart softened and evolved into a beautiful origami of light. My circle of family, friends and colleagues gently coaxed it open. Love rushed in as tension, frustration and sadness poured out. I mean there were serious puddles of oozing greyness everywhere. Inside, I was luminous, light and at peace. "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."(Leonard Cohen, Anthem, The Future, 1992) I guess my everything finally cracked. Oddly, I don't feel broken or shattered. I feel whole and surrounded by light, inside and out, filtered through beautiful stained glass panes created by my loving circle. Thank you for being my light, for the support, understanding, friendship, patience and acceptance. My heart overflows. Namaste.
April is here! The snow is melting, the birds are returning and our hearts (as well as our days!) are lighter. Spring has sprung... I love this time of year. It holds such potential, such promise. All things are new again, second chances to bloom, life renews and we flourish. Winter coats are packed away, boots discarded and winter tires replaced with lighter treads. Lawns are raked, weeds removed and seeds planted. For me, September has always been a month of new starts - probably hearkening back to school days as a kid. April, though, is our true re-birthing, a time to take stock, prune, and plan. Every New Moon, we review and discard what doesn't serve us, set intentions and make an action plan. Each Full Moon, we celebrate victories, remove loose ends and adjust our course where necessary. Our New Moon in April serves a dual purpose because in our Hemisphere, the Earth is also readying itself for growth, for change and for renewal. This is a wonderful time to take stock of what works, what doesn't, what is in your garden, and what you want to add. Reflect, restore, renew and rejoice.
In our busy lives, it's hard to make time for rest, for rejuvenation, for stillness. We go, go go and although we do sleep, I'm not sure we truly rest or recover from our busyness. I think we operate at a sleep deficit and that is not a good thing.
I was drawn to Yoga Nidra because I was intrigued by the concept. Guided meditation, bundled up with blankets and props to basically 'rest' for the length of the class. Yoga Nidra is yogic sleep - but not sleep as an unconscious state but sleep with awareness. An hour of Yoga Nidra is as refreshing and restorative as 4 hours of good sleep. I was skeptical but interested so I attended a few classes.
It was like nothing I had expected and everything I didn't know I needed. Bolsters and blocks cradled me under a soft blanket, a lavender filled eye pillow lay across my closed eyes and the guided meditation was soothing and comforting. For an hour, I was transported to a world deep within myself, connecting with my soul and my inner being, while my physical body rested.
The more you practice Yoga Nidra, the deeper you can go. Sometimes what you find can make you uncomfortable - things you've been avoiding or that are hard for you to reconcile. It's not meant to replace professional help (psychologists or therapists for example) for things that you need help with but more for you to connect with self, becoming aware of what you need, where you are in space, how you feel and who you are. A journey to self.
At the very least, it helps you find stillness, if only for a short time, from your busy life. Time spent just for you, with you, within you.
2019 is here! We get to Begin Again... I don't know about you but every year I make resolutions and have great plans to accomplish x, y and z. And EVERY year, I get down on myself for the ones that don't get done. My own personal score card marked in red and black with a final result in BOLD. Instead of making me feeling happy at what did work, I am more unhappy about what didn't get done. Not sure that's a healthy way to be, at least for me. And I don't think that is how I want to measure my life. There has to be a better way. Don't get me wrong - goals and resolution and intentions are important and integral to keeping our dreams alive and our lives focused. But honestly some of the resolutions have been on my New Year's list for literally decades. For example: 1. Lose weight 2. Write a book Sigh. Weight loss (and gain) has been a struggle for me for thirty (yup, 30) years. I go up and I go down but I NEVER get to where I think I should be. And it is becoming exhausting trying and trying and not achieving. Writing a book has been on my list forever. I have written short stories, articles, taught writing and journaling classes but NOT finished a book that I could submit for publication. Yet year after year, these two items are the main crux of my year's aspirations. Year after year, I don't reach the goals. Year after year, I feel crappy about myself. Am I in essence beating my head against the proverbial wall in my quest? Or am I just looking at it the wrong way? I think the answer is c)both of the above. In yoga, we preach self-acceptance and self-love. By holding myself to a goal that I obviously (for reasons unknown) cannot accomplish, I set myself up for failure. Not a good example of either self-acceptance or self-love. Self-sabotage 101 As for the book, I spend a lot of time on shorter writings, teaching classes and other writing that then uses up energy and time that could have been spend on writing a complete book. Self-sabotage 102 This year I have two goals resolutions intentions. 1. Self-acceptance 2. Self-love And I will achieve these both by BEING what I am right now in this moment and ACCEPTING that as 100% okay. Better than okay, actually. Darn okay. I will continue to eat healthy, teach and practice yoga, kayak, cycle and walk. I will set aside dedicated writing time each day and write whatever I feel like. If it turns into a book, great. If it doesn't, great. It will be what it needs to be and I will be open to the universe to give me what I need. And so I Begin Again....with a fresh breath and a new way of seeing. Namaste!