Wednesday, October 16, 2013

peace is every step

Every morning you wake up to 24 brand new hours to live. It's a gift. Thich Nhat Hanh says that each moment there is an invitation to come back to the present moment and find peace and joy. There is "peace in every step".

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, here's how:  Smile when you wake up. Begin a practice of smiling. When you smile, you are dwelling in awareness and can approach the day with gentleness and understanding.

Then, practice conscious breathing. Say to yourself, I am breathing in. I am breathing out. Or, In. Out. Breath and mind will become peaceful and gentle.

It's so simple, and yet, I think we forget how much a smile can affect someone else. Try it. Smile at someone, for no reason. They will smile back.

Breathing is autonomic. Without air, you would only live seconds. And, yet we can change the quality of our breathing and our entire mood and posture can be lifted.

Making subtle changes to nourish my awareness each moment.

With gratitude to student and teacher, Yeshe Dolma for the book "Peace is Every Step".

How to stop running: Release your struggle and relax into the world.

“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It's all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don't worry, just be happy. You are already free!” ~ Dan Millman

A friend told me recently to stop running... but I'm not. I'm quite settled, actually. I'm stepping into my self and what I love to do: teaching. That takes me to places some people may or may not ever get to see in their lifetime... and if it looks easy or busy or like I'm running, well, that's perception I suppose. Because life is sometimes hard more often than it is light and easy, I find myself waiting more than anything. Waiting for replies, waiting at airports- waiting more than being busy. I don't run anymore, either. I walk. Early. Because being late just makes me anxious.

There are days where I am shifting through figuring out what my "brand" of yoga is and how I can create a better connection to my students that will spark something transformative in them and still keep me inspired to teach.

On those days, I just keep coming back to myself. And, yes, as my friend told me, you have to learn to quiet the voices in your head that tell you that are you anything less than worthy. What helps quiet those voices are surrounding myself with people who push my buttons but also offer up support in a loving way. And, if you can figure out how to make me laugh and quit taking myself so seriously, bonus points.

“I think the only way to get through this life is laughing hard and constantly, mostly at myself.” ~ Shannon Hale

Our words and thoughts have so much power, don't you think? We can use them to build or destroy. If I have ever used them destructively, as we all do from time to time, it's been in a moment of complete loss of control triggered by fear.

So, thank you, friend, for teaching me that the world and relationships and life is often messy, and we have a choice in how we respond. Sometimes we just have to turn 180 degrees and walk, not run, in the direction of our own self and LIVE for we are already free.

May our hearts release all struggle and be filled with only love for ourselves and one another.


I took a sharp look
I took a long prowl
I questioned the serpent
I questioned the owl
I called up the mayor
I called on the sage
I tried reading Proust
I tried life on the stage
I went into therapy
I went out for sports
I suffered every ailment
from sniffles to warts
I went to the dogs
I went to the Pope
I climbed Annapurna
I fasted on dope
I dug up the desert
I delved in the sea
But nowhere I looked
could I recognize me

So eventually I
had to give up my plan
of escape to Siam
and accept myself here
just as I am

But it wasn’t easy

~ James Broughton

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

your soul senses the world that awaits you.

"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time."
~ T.S. Eliot

For a long time, I've been repeating patterns. Reusing the same phrases and template for love and abundance over and over again only to awaken and find myself in the same damn hole. And, I have the nerve to ask how I got there? 
One day, we just awaken to our lives and realize: my god, what I have been looking for is right in front of me. It's been here all long, why oh why didn't I recognize it? Seize it? Jump on it and run away with it? 
Because what I was looking for requires change within me. Work. Effort. And, to do nothing, while painfully familiar, makes my soul cry out, why me? 
It's easy to do nothing. At least I know it. Nothing is familiar. Comforting, in a bazaar kind of way. It's like my favorite pilling, too small sweater. It gives me warmth but just doesn't quite look right on me. It fits but only because I'm forcing it to do so. 
Time to make radical shifts in my thinking in small increments. Change is cumulative just like compassion and laughter and hope is. One thing builds upon another and then, before you know it, the elephant before you has disappeared. Diminished entirely in the wake of the new habits created day by day by day. 
What needs to be pruned, changed, altered? Everything, I say which of course, isn't true. It just feels that way. Starting small. Just altering one thing at a time. Just one thing. Starting now.
Leaving sadness and sameness behind, my soul is thirsty for more for adventure, more joy. And, the fullness that I have found within me. 

For a New Beginning
In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
~ John O'Donohue