A gift for you!
A gift for you!
This morning I awoke with a bad case of sad. I lingered awhile in it and tried to figure out why I was sad. Nothing significant came to me and then I realized trying to “figure it out” wasn’t the best course of action I could take. I tried to work the sad out in my yoga practice and it still hung on tightly. It wasn’t until I went for my morning walk that things started to clear. I usually call a friend and chat when I walk in the mornings but I knew that this morning I needed to do something different. I changed my regular walk into a breathwalk and that was the magic bullet that shifted my mood.
“In addition to every benefit of aerobic exercise, Breathwalk gives you choice. Choice over mood. Choice over energy level. Choice over mental state.”
I’m glad I remembered this yogic tool. I’m also glad I made the choice to use it. We can have access to all the tools in the world but if we don’t choose to use them . . . 😦
Last night I heard some news that made me very angry. I attempted to think loving thoughts towards the object of my anger but I could only sustain it for a few moments. As I observed my breath I realized I was breathing shallow and ragged. I lengthened and deepened my breath into my belly and that helped me to relax. From that place of relaxation I was able to move into understanding and compassion. That was last night. . .
This morning I am even more angry than before. My anger is only hurting me and not anyone else in this particular situation. I can actually feel it burning in my heart and in my belly. I know there is no accident that the timing of this is happening now so it can heal. I am more aware of my thoughts so am unlikely to hide the uncomfortable ones in the recesses of my mind.
I have held anger towards this person for years. I figured if I didn’t see them or contact them it wasn’t there. Not true. It’s been lurking just under the surface waiting for an opportunity to arise. This anger doesn’t want to be inside me. It is a volcano waiting to erupt. My breath has become shallow again while writing this. I didn’t realize this journey was going to take me towards the road of forgiveness. I am nowhere near there yet but I know that is my soul’s goal for me. I welcome it.
Right now all I can do is remind myself to breath. That is the most kind thing I can do for my body and my mind now. For me, this challenge is not about stopping all unkind thoughts. It’s about noticing the thoughts that are unkind and then choosing a kind thought instead. The power of this gift is in the awareness of my thinking.
Loving Kindness Tip:
Take a long luxurious bubble bath and use your hands to send loving feelings to all parts of your body. When I did this It made me aware of how much I really do admire and appreciate my body. I did have a bit of difficulty when I moved to my belly. In the past I have used the affirmation “I love and accept myself exactly as I am.” That never has worked for me. Last night I was able to call upon the feeling of being kind and send that kind feeling to my belly. That worked!
Thank you to all the people who have decided to join me on this journey. We can change the world through this practice one kind thought and one breath at a time. And please be kind if there is any incoherence in this post as I wrote it at 3:30 in the morning. 🙂
That is what I heard yesterday when our lead trainer (Elizabeth Greathouse) for YogaSoul’s Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training mentioned a beautiful quote from Yogi Bhajan about kindness. The quote was much longer and more eloquent than the one above but that is the only thing I heard. I’d like to say that it was the kindness piece itself that got my attention but what it really was is the idea of more prosperity as a result of kindness that did the trick. It intrigued me and made sense that practicing kindness in all aspects of life could bring prosperity. I had actually never thought about it in that way before. After the training I went home and got ready for bed and thought I’d really like to take the 40 day challenge she offered to be kind to myself in my thoughts and my words and to extend that to all living beings as well.
When I awoke this morning I lay in bed and started to observe my thoughts. When I was consciously thinking kind thoughts about myself and others I felt light and free. As my thoughts started to wander I watched them move towards my belly. I was placing my hands on my belly and noticing all the effects of childbirth still etched on my body. My feeling of lightness turned into a heaviness. My bright light that I had created earlier with my kind thoughts had started to dim with my thoughts of judgement and condemnation.
In that moment of observation I had an epiphany. I was able to know and understand that the reason I am still having some issues with my low back is because of my unkindness to myself and specifically my judgement about my belly.
I am taking this challenge for the next 40 days. I invite you to take this challenge with me. My intention is to write about my journey with this practice. I invite you to share your journey with me here or personally as well. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
During meditation this morning I asked Guidance what message it had for me. I received one word . . Stillness. I asked how was I supposed to attain stillness with so many tasks ahead of me for the day. Guidance said that stillness is an internal experience regardless of what is going on in the external world.
During my Intuitive Yoga class this morning we had an unexpected guest. One of my students brought her 2-year-old boy as this was the last class she was able to attend before she was leaving the country. This child did not want to come into the class room and resisted his mother as only 2 year old’s can. As she was setting themselves up for class I moved on to my normal routine of asking each student what they wanted to focus their practice on today.
By the time we began our practice the boy was still a bit agitated about being in the class. I remembered my Guidance of the morning and invited each student to find their own stillness within themselves. I reminded them that we are constantly being bombarded with noise, technology and busyness and that Stillness comes from that place only we can reach inside. As we went deeper and deeper into our practice the more quiet and peaceful the room became.
It was the most amazing experiences I have ever witnessed. This child was quiet for the entire hour-long class. One student even remarked that they had forgotten that the boy was there. The child was quiet because mom had found her stillness. The whole class contributed to the peace and quiet of that child because they too found their stillness.
I remember when I was a young mother attempting to practice yoga with my 2-year-old in the room. He would immediately crawl over and under me as I began my practice. I would ultimately get frustrated and give up thinking that it was impossible to practice with my son in the same room with me. If I only knew then what I was witness to today. That our children take their cues from us. When we can find the stillness within our self they too can find their own stillness.
I love how Guidance gave me the word Stillness and then brought me the experience as well. We are always given exactly what we need when we need it.
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. ~Soren Kierkegaard
Some days my practice is simply sublime. Today is one of those days. It happens so rarely. Only because my mind is a noisy, riotous thing on most days. I have a hard time settling into my practice in a graceful way. I harbour no ill will about this experience. I accept this as part of my journey to self. I used to judge myself mercilessly for not being able to quiet my mind. When that became too painful I gave it up. Through my yogic studies I learned that the mind thinks a 1,000 thoughts in the blink of an eye. That is the minds job. Once I realized that, I knew that judging my self for thinking was pointless. Thinking is the minds job. The goal is to become the observer of the thoughts. When I can get to that place of shunia I am peace.