Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What we SAY Does matter: Cultivating Conscious Communication


Empty coffee can, scattered cut out magazine pictures from Seventeen magazine and Tiger Beat, and glue stick in hand, I made my first "I can" can at 8. My mother fed me large doses of Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peal and other motivational speakers on our monthly commutes to my Grandma Walker's in Oklahoma from Dallas. I recall a lot of eye rolling and pretending to be asleep so that my mom would turn the cassette player down in her Mary Kay pink Cadillac. Nothing could dissuade her from playing these talks to her car-captured audience (my older brother and myself). She believed they would replace the "garbage in, garbage out" influences of our youth. 

My "I can" can (made from a spagettios tin can) was a part of Zig's "See You At The Top" simple plan. Place your goals and desires inside, and these would soon become a reality. It seemed to work for Mom. Every 2 years, even as scattered as she was, my gypsy mother won another Mary Kay pink car and earned just enough money and prizes (including "add-a-diamond" rings) to keep our single parent family afloat. 

The power of positive thinking got me through my insecure teen years. And, now 30 years later, I find myself clothed by my mother's words: "have an attitude of gratitude". Let's just say that the words "I can" is the only option my house as a result.

In Judith Lasater’s book, "What We Say Matters", influenced by Marshal Rosenberg's “Non-violent Communication”, she explores the importance of practicing ahimsa, nonharming and satya, truth in our daily speech. Urging that our patterns of speaking are a direct reflection of thoughts and shine a light into our soul. She follows the tenants of Buddha's "right speech" in a very practical, usable way. As I began to implement the simplicity of this form of communication, I found I began to have more genuine connections. This authenticity helped me see speech as spiritual practice. "All spiritual practices are fundamentally about the same thing: being present and living with an open heart. It is the essence of living consciously. But in the hectic business of daily life and the habitual patterns of long relationships, most of us "go unconscious" when our patterns are triggered by our partner or circumstances."



"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts ...with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. " -Buddha

Staying attune to that awareness on a daily basis with the barrage (often mis-understood) emails, texts and at home is challenging. Even with the desire to overhaul my thought process, my “I can” attitude wanes and needs restoration. The timeliness of my next lesson was Divine. While in Thailand, I was introduced to a course called "Conscious Language to Facilitate Conscious Living" by John Schmidt, a Texan retired abroad who has embodied this practice for over 20 years. In the 80's and 90's he facilitated share circles and open discussions in his Austin organic food company, Sunbelt Organics, as a way to transform the consciousness of his business. He weaves the elementary, yet influential phrase "I choose to make this (everything) fun and easy" in his daily life. 

Words and our emotional body contain strength and potential. Our subconscious responds to feeling and is always operating. With our conscious mind, we have the power of choice and by making small adjustments in our subconscious mind, we can choose spoken words that will transform our lives and impact others positively. The most practical, immediate application for me is that I would often say what I choose not to do, rather than what I choose to do. For instance, I would say, "I won't do that again", "I hope this works out this time" or "I'll attempt to be there". These words: "hope, attempt, almost, possibly, perhaps, in process and try" create vagueness and conditions that have to be met. Instead, choose to either do something or not. It's yes or no. Open or close. I choose open, so that my thoughts, words and emotions will create a reality I desire.  I choose: I can. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Morning Meditation in delight of the unexpected



seated in child's pose 
every breath removes any tension I'm holding
softening my jaw, I begin to release the chores of the day  
inhaling, I give them over to the Divine, knowing my best will be Enough
exhaling, I release my "I want this" & "I hope for that" list
inhaling, I believe that all good things will come
all good things have already come
and, I have Enough
as I rise, I stand in awe 
in delight of the unexpected


"Expectations are tricky things. As soon as we get our minds or hearts firmly fixed on something--whether it's a tantalizing menu item that's no longer available, or a choice work opportunity that fails to materialize--we set ourselves up for disappointment. When we decide what is best, we judge anything other than that to be less-than-desirable. But the answer is not to avoid longing, to abandon our endeavor, or to become numb and indifferent to loss. The answer is to hold our expectations loosely, believing that God's surprises--even the most confusing ones--have the deep capacity to delight...and that maybe, just maybe, we don't know best what it is we need most."
--Leigh McLeroy 



Monday, October 10, 2011

Warm Love

The hippie love bubble, that's where I am. In the opening of one session, Scott Blossom and his twin brother, Tim along with Acro Yoga co-founder, Jenny Sauer-Klein, lead us a Van Morrison tune, Warm love. Scott's 2 adorable children were bobbing in and around, while we all formed a puddle around his guitar and swayed to the song. Then, he taught us a self massage sequence based on Ayurveda, complimented by a Thai massage in partners. Pure bliss.
Each day has been filled with a morning of inspiring acrobactics and partnering, followed by an afternoon of therapeutics and Thai massage. I feel every muscle in my body speaking to me as if it really weren't alive before now. With careful instructions to be safe, playfulness is the high on the agenda.
"Three is the smallest community." Building on the Acro Yoga tenant that the practice grows you as an individual, builds upon a partnership and brings it all together in community. Flyer, base, spotter. Hanuman, Sita, and Ram. Acrobatics, Therapeutics, Thai massage. Trust, connection, playfulness. It's an infinity circle of 3 that is growing and changing as it's being co-created by the founders and the community that is evolving. My body, heart, soul are overflowing.
"Warm Love. Warm Love. And, it's ever present everwhere"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flying Whale

Travel and teaching. I love it. Thrive on it. It makes me feel alive and by now, it's certainly no surprise to anyone who knows me. However, last week. I teetered on the edge of exhaustion and certainly not for the first time, extreme mommy guilt.
Not able to sleep all night, I tossed and turned and dreamt of 101 ways I could possibly leave the remote Indian Reservation where the Yoga Conference I was attending was held. An all day trek to arrive, it would be even more challenging to leave on a Saturday (airport and rental car places closed on  Saturdays?!). I had a strong intuitive feeling I just needed to be home which I don't get very often. I trust and know that my kids are very well cared for while I'm away teaching and training. The sensation of needing, wanting to be home was stronger than I've ever had. After my sleepless night, I found out son #2 spent the afternoon in the ER after a pillow fight escalated into a crash into the sharp edge of the coffee table. #1 son, at the same age 5 years ago, also had a trip to the ER with 5 stitches above his right eye and a small scar for a souvenir. After what felt like something out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I was able to come home a day early and spend the afternoon and evening with my boys.
Sitting in a coffee shop, getting properly caffeinated by a man in a "who's your sugar daddy" t-shirt, it is another weekend away, and I'm trying to find my inner peace among the inner demons.
My culprit this weekend is not mommy guilt.  The latest perpetuators are: Inadequate, Overdrawn and Scattered.
Inadequate. While all body types are welcome in yoga, there is a definite fine line in Acro Yoga of who wants to work with who based on not only your skill level but your size. Today I feel like a whale. And, when I start to go shopping down that junk food isle for the brain, I tell myself "I am enough." I stood outside this morning looked at the harbor and shouted at my inner demon: Be OK with who you are today, damn it! Even if I just hallucinate it to be so.
Overdrawn. More giving and supporting than receiving makes a girl feel zapped. Some stunning bohemian yogi came up to me after class and said, I'd like to meet you. We chatted about Thailand and her family and life... all while she massaged my hand. I began to cry. I'm usually the one take the hand of the person I'm talking to, a habit I started this summer after my Thai massage course. To tenderly receive from a stranger was moving and sweet. I need more of that in my life.
Scattered. Hands so full of things I needed for the day, I set my coffee cup set upon the roof of the car. Quickly pulling out onto the road, we heard the heard the shattering of the mug. My drug, caffeine, immediately absorbed into the concrete and the shards of porcelain scattered along the road.
Breathing in, I take an hour to journal this morning. And, immediately, those thoughts of inadequacy, being overdrawn and scattered begin to dissolve the cavity they were forming my mind.
I shared with my classes this week, on how yoga allows me to let go of these labels I give myself. No one else is worried about what I think about myself. No one is thinking the same harmful thoughts toward myself that I am. So why do I entertain them?
All that I am, all I desire to become, is beauty. Not outward beauty, because god knows that fades as fast as the sun.
Getting up, walking toward the sunrise, all I feel is Radiant Light.