Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shine Through

The light in your heart is ever burning.  Nothing can snuff it out.

You may be disappointed by people's actions.
You are loved.  Shine Through.

Relationships change; they may even end.
Your heart is whole.  Shine Through.

It may feel like you're climbing uphill and the top is nowhere in sight.
You're moving towards your goal.  Shine Through.

Your commitments may make you feel overextended.
You have choice.  Shine Through.

The bills may mount and expenses unending.
You are safe & secure.  Shine Through.

Your body may hurt and the pain unceasing.
You are healing.  Shine Through.

The thoughts of your mind may bring you down.
You can change them.  Shine Through.

The challenges you face may feel like unmovable walls.
You can climb over.  Shine Through.

Shine through my dear friend.
Shine Through.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You Can... Should You?

It’s a regular phrase of mine during class.  The words so easily roll off the tongue.  Yet here I am faced with the depth of that simple sentence.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

Yep, that’s it.  Seems easy and applicable to the yoga practice.  For example, if you’re physically under the weather you could do a strong yoga practice; however, it may be best to dial it back and explore the softer edge.  Taking it a little bit farther, you could touch your toes in a forward bend but in some cases you shouldn't in order to maintain the length & space in the spine.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

So when faced with the challenges my right hand presented as it healed from my cyst removal and second coming.  (I named them Billy & Bobby.)  I have explored that phrase in my own yoga practice on the mat and even more off.  Billy’s departure leaving me in a cast for a week and a very bruised hand for a month.  I could have taught all of my classes, cooked dinner every night, or responded to every email but I didn't… I shouldn’t.  I needed to rest.

When Bobby popped up, my nervous system remained in a highly active state resulting in more pain.  In an effort to work with my body, I removed all Downward Facing Dog and Plank poses.  I cried at the decision.  I most certainly could do the poses; however, I shouldn’t.  So I didn’t.  In addition to meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, reduction in time commitments and other stress relieving activities, I was able to bring my pain level down and increase my quality of life.  Time commitments… that was tough.  Just because I could go here or do this didn’t mean I should.  With support, I didn’t.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Eight words that have given me pause for the last year.  I’m not perfect and I did not do it every time.  I make mistakes and keep trying.  That’s why it’s a practice.  What are you facing in your life that even though you can, you shouldn’t?  What support can you enlist to put this phrase into practice?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pathways to Prayer

As a holistic yogi, I believe in the balance of mind, body and spirit. With my glowing rock (Himalayan salt   rock lamp), stain glass angel ornament, various stones and angel figurine on my desk at work, I do not shy from sharing my spirituality in the Type A male dominated industry my day job resides.

My spirituality far surpasses the symbols and is a part of my daily life.  I embrace the spiritual practices of many disciplines from meditation to sweat lodges and smudging to laying on of hands.  I believe God is too big to be defined or explained by any one discipline or dogma.  I pray with my voice, my body and my actions.  I pray... meaning I honor and connect with the Divine.

Perhaps the beauty in having many religions is that together they may begin to encompass the vastness of the Divine.  Having worked for a church for seven years and teaching spirituality my entire adult life, I am aware of the challenges others and I face in maintaining a regular spiritual practice.  So I am sharing my own pathways to prayer in hopes that it may inspire your spiritual path.  
  • Song as Meditation - Sometimes my words aren’t there, so I employ those of another.  Choosing a song that resonates with my current experience listening to the lyrics and focusing on my heart or inner voice.  My current Prayer Playlist includes:
    • Shelter Your Name by Danielle Rose
    • Love You More by Matthew West
    • Angel by Sarah McLachlan
    • I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz (more in my blog)
    • Beyond - Buddhist and Christian Prayers (the entire CD)
  • My Daily Prayer - I have found the book Grace, Guidance, and Gifts Sacred Blessings to Light Your Way to be truly perfect for everyday use.  Each piece can be selected at random on any day and includes a Message from Spirit, Morning Prayer or Affirmation, Mantra and Personal Blessing.  With 5-10 minutes I am truly tapped into my higher self and that of the Divine with this beautiful book.
  • Digital Inspiration - I created a Spirit Calendar that contains "events" with reminders to set my intention, pray or connect with my heart.  In the body of the event and email are the details so that I don't have to come up with it during my busy day.  I have most events set on a four day rotation so that I don't get bored.  The magic in the timing of appointments has everything to do with my personal schedule and energy levels during the day. If you have a Google calendar and would like to add this to yours and therefore copy events let me know.  I'd be happy to walk you through that... it's super easy.  
Let us find balance in mind, body and spirit.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ketchup Monsters & the City

Ketchup Monsters & Me 
Imagine this… You’re downtown Des Moines sitting on a fifth story deck as cars hustle by in their morning commute. Every once in a while a screech of tires is heard and dogs bark as their owners quickly tend to their pets’ needs before work. Is this a good place for meditation?

For me… Yes. In meditation we seek to find peace and stillness amid the chaos. I find that we resist our meditation or yoga practice because we don’t have the perfect setting. When any place will truly do.

I mean really, when do you need to be able to tap into that peaceful breath most? It’s when I’m sensing a conflict, uncomfortable conversation or my emotions heat up. I need it when the kiddies are bouncing off the Jason’s Deli booth and ketchup is flying while my sister just laughs at me and my new Heinz stains.

Today my morning meditation was on that fifth story deck. Knowing that a majority of my day would be spent in front of two computer monitors, I took my practice outside to soak in the morning sun and fresh air. To my surprise, the distractions of the city inspired my practice. I found that deep state of peace despite the seemingly, unsettling atmosphere.

You’ve heard me say it… “You choose your focus.” I could have focused on the dogs or the cars and sirens therefore, giving them my peace. Instead, I focused on my breath. I turned my gaze inward allowing the “stuff” to fade. It was still there and I was aware of it but I didn’t lose myself to it. With this continued practice, I hope to keep my cool and not (over)react but choose my response the next time my feelings escalate or the ketchup flies.

May you be embraced by peace wherever you are.