Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
This photo, while a few years "old" now captures the smiles of some of the most important people in the world to me -- my family. The transformative power of a smile may never cease to amaze me and to think that this beautiful gift costs nothing to give, except perhaps the experience of shared happiness, which to me sounds like the perfect price to pay.
Your smile is beautiful, an external presentation of the light radiating from the inside out (of you), so smile big and let the light shine bright. Peace, ૐ.
During the first couple of weekends of yoga teacher training, the instructors spoke about us "finding our voice". To find our voice in teaching means to move away from the scripted dialogue and into our own essence as we lead a class. Confidence in self, trust in our own ability to lead and provide cues that land with those in class does not usually happen overnight, but with practice is there. I quickly found my voice in the yoga teacher training program, as I took a deep breath and trusted that everything would work out, even if I forgot a cue that I wanted to bring to the pose that the class was in. I found my voice, as I shut my eyes to open the class with one Om, one sound of the universe, of peace. This weekend I not only continued to find my voice, but also found my "voice" through touch.
I did this through taking an Assistant Teacher Training Workshop at Metrowest Yoga Inc. in Worcester, MA with two amazing instructors who brought such incredible insight and knowledge to the practice.
I have always believed in the power of touch and there is proof to back up the claim that touch is powerful. Through the action of touch, energy can be transformed, allowing anger to dissipate, sadness to be expressed and worked through, pain to be lessened, love to be deeply felt, calm to resonate through the body... this is all possible through (respectful) touch. Now, as much as I believe in the power of touch, I personally have not always been comfortable receiving or giving touch, within the context of yoga or elsewhere. I know I am not the only one who experiences this as well. At the close of this weekend training though, I shared that I had found my voice through touch. The connection I felt with all those in the room was so beautiful, strong, and compassionate. As an instructor, providing hands-on support in a pose to a student presents a moment of connection and the exchange of peaceful energy as the breath of the instructor and student may even sync up in rhythm one with the other. Hands-on assists may also be provided to stabilize or strengthen one's position in an asana. This connection felt empowering as the student, the one receiving the assist and as the assistant or instructor it felt empowering and deeply humbling, as you get to share in the experience of the student's practice in the asana for a moment. To share in the practice of yoga with another, in this way, through touch, is deeply humbling. I feel so honored to be able to bring hands-on assistants and adjustments into my teaching practice now, as well.
I also feel more confident in my own sense of self and in my body -- and to think that was made possible through the power of positive touch. -- I found my voice in a new way this weekend on the mat and I am thrilled to be have the opportunity to share this.
While driving to work today I was listening to a podcast put out by the Ultimate Health Podcast, this particular episode of the podcast was an interview with Deepak Chopra. I felt myself taking a deep breath and my body calming as I listened to Deepak's voice and heard the reminder to "not take life too seriously". This podcast is one that I will listen to again and recommend to all to take the time to listen to, as well. For now, I want to touch upon one thing that stuck out to me and has been on my mind since I heard Deepak say it. The hosts of the podcast asked Deepak what it is that makes him so happy? His response was not what I expected. I did not have a prepared response in mind, but to hear Deepak say what he did got me thinking ...
Here is what he said (not verbatim, but close to - I do encourage all to listen to the podcast itself too!): "To be happy for a reason gives space for unhappiness, to be happy for no reason, allows happiness to just be and to remain - so I am happy for no reason".
So, here are my thoughts on this: As part of 200 hr. yoga teacher training that I am taking at Metrowest Yoga studios I am reading The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success by Deepak Chopra (which I also highly recommend reading!) ... one of the laws is the law of detachment, in this law lies the wisdom of uncertainty, where the limitless possibilities of life are ever-present. When we let go of things having to go to plan, having to be or look or sound a certain way, than anything may be made possible. So, how does this relate to happiness you might ask?... Simply is my quick answer. But let me expand upon this... You see when our happiness is based upon something, it can become attached to that something, which allows as Deepak stated for happiness to be a thing that may be lost. Now who really wants to not experience happiness? ... I have yet to meet that person and yet had the question "What makes you happy"? been posed to me, I would have had a list of things come to mind that "bring me happiness" ... now I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this. But, Deepak's words really did get me thinking. Why not base my happiness on nothing?... so that in this way, I may always be happy, I may just Be ... in a state of happiness and love, as I detach from the notion that there are things or actions that make me happy, (rather than just Being happy). Now, of course, this is something that I myself will be working on ... a journey of detachment ... a journey of happiness for no real reason at all, except - why not?! ... It would be nice if I could detach at the snap of my fingers, but that is unrealistic, so with that in mind ... I will take the first step towards this way of thinking ... I will take a deep breath, smile and Be -- in this moment, in my breath, in a state of happiness ... for the moment, which as soon as it comes, will be over allowing this state of happiness (my happy) can transcend into the next moment. Peace, smiles and wishes of great happiness to all! ॐ
Allow your body to rest. Allow your heart to ache, to love, to need a moment for pause. Allow your mind to wander every once in a while and allow your mind to still. Allow your breath to be natural and allow your awareness to be centered on nothing more and nothing less than your breath. Allow each inhale to bring peace from the outside in and each exhale to spread serenity and love from the inside out. Allow the tears to come forth when they are ready. Allow space for forgiveness of self and of others. Allow for the imperfections of our humanness to exist without judgement. Allow time to be still in movement and allow time to be busy with movement. Allow the body to feel tired without judgement. Allow yourself to receive love from others and most importantly -- from yourself. Allow yourself to be you, your completely awesome and unique self -- allow this without comparison. Allow for moments of frustration to arise when they do, allow for them without anger towards self or others, for anger is a dark energy, that leads to resistance, rather than providing space for one to allow... whatever there is, whenever it is to be.
I understand that this may sound like a tall order and perhaps it is, but I guarantee that it is worth it. I know because I am on the journey, they journey of allowing myself -- to Be, as I am, in the moment, whatever that moment may be ... doing so allows to me to more mindful in my ways and more present in my thoughts, actions, and spiritual energy, as well as being more present in the here and now.
Earlier this evening, while at a Gentle Restorative Yoga class, I noticed my mind wandering away from my intention of "Gratitude for the Moment" and away from conscious awareness of my breath to thoughts of where I might be living by the end of this year, what I might prep for my meals next week, what new podcast I might choose to listen to on my way to work tomorrow morning, etc. - I noticed my wandering mind and felt frustrated. Almost instantly I became acutely aware of the frustration I was feeling towards myself and of how it was affecting me mentally, physically and spiritually as I sat in meditation ... I did not do well tonight at allowing myself to acknowledge my wandering mind, at labeling my thoughts "thinking" and then returning to my breath without judgement and this hindered my ability to meditate peacefully, it also caused the muscles in my upper back to tighten, as I created stress in my body... And to think, that letting go of judgement towards self... that simply allowing my own imperfections to be OK would have relieved the tension in my mind, body and spirit that came about. After practice, I sat in my car for a moment, closed my eyes, took an exaggerated inhale and sighed it out ... allowing for each moment to be a fresh start ...
Living a life of mindfulness, allowing yourself to be your truest expression of your own self is not always the easiest, but it is the most rewarding.
I invite you now, (of course after you have completed reading this), to find a comfortable position (seated or lying down), to place one hand over your heart and then to place your other hand over the hand that is feeling your heart beat, close your eyes, whisper a kind thought out loud to yourself or perhaps you voice a bit of forgiveness to self, inhale through your nose, taking a moment to notice where the breath is traveling in your body, pause and exhale fully through your nose, again taking a moment to notice the sensation of release as your lungs empty, preparing to fill again with the next inhale. Repeat this as many or as few times as suits you, finding gratitude for self and appreciation in the moment.
Peace everyone ૐ
Love is a state of Being.
The above quote by Eckhart Tolle popped up on my iPhone right when I needed to see it. I have always felt deeply, whatever the emotion or energy, I feel it from deep within. I have also always loved deeply. I provide myself with the chance to be in touch with what I feel, which allows me to express my emotions and caring for a situation and others in the most sincere way. A few years back, someone told me that "I care too much"... I was really stressing out at the time about issues that were taking place in the world, how people were being mistreated and how insignificant I felt in the midst of it all, as I strove to be a force of positivity and light. That comment stuck with me for a while -- "you care too much" -- it did not make sense to me and here is why. I felt and if I am being honest, I still feel this way, that I live in a world where the majority of people do not care enough. I understand how it can be easier to worry about own's one concerns, but seeing as how we members of an existence greater than just ourselves, the thought of only thinking about myself has never sat right with me. So I continued to ponder over the comment made about me, since it still was not sitting right. Then I happened upon this quote --
-- and it all became clear to me. I am aware of the love that I feel. I take the time to be present with my inner self, to be in touch with my love and my emotions ... this is something that not all do and yet it is something that all could benefit from doing. When we take the time to find our love, the love that is deep within us ... our own light grows brighter. The light that is inside each of us, the light that shines forth for all the world to see ... this light too can dim, but it can never leave us. When the forces of our love and our light are honored than each and everyone of us become capable of our own greatness, we become the forces of love and light that this world desperately needs. Our love radiates forth from within us creating positive ripple effects when we choose to tap into the awesomeness that is in us all.
If someone told me that I care too much now, I would smile and say "thank you"! I cannot think of a better compliment. If caring is loving and loving is caring, then that is an energy that I always want to be in touch with.
I invite you all to take a moment, rest your hands one on top of the other on top of your heart... close your eyes... gently drop your chin towards your heart center and breathe. Feel the rhythm of your heartbeat. Feel the beauty of your love. Feel the warmth of your light. Breathe into it, recognize it and honor it, for it is you.
Peace everyone, now and always.
I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion -- and where it isn't, that's where my work lies. -- Ram Dass.
Words to live by. It is easy to show love and compassion to those we can relate to and whom we love and care for. In order to create a world of peace and love though, we must show love and compassion to all those we meet, even those we do not know or what we cannot see eye to eye with.
This is not to say that anyone should let people walk all over them. It is important to stand up for what you believe in and to ensure that you too are treated with love and compassion. This is to say though, that it is important to take a moment to reflect upon our words before voicing them and to consider the ripple effect of our energy, actions and words. The world is in great need of love and compassion and we have the power to be a force of just that, love and compassion.
At the end of my father's church services every Sunday, he says to the congregation, as he thanks the acolyte for "bringing the light of Christ in and through our sanctuary that morning", that we are to "Be the light in a world in desperate need of light". I love that call to action that my father gives. It is a call of love, of peace, and hope for a better tomorrow. We can all be a part of this, the creation of a more peaceful and loving tomorrow, if we put in the work to add love and compassion to our words, thoughts, and actions where it does not yet lie.
In the words of Harry Connick Jr. --
Let there be peace on earth
Let it begin with each one of us. Let it begin in our own hearts, where it can then extend outward into our homes, our neighborhoods, our counties, our state, our country, and the world... each action like a stone thrown in the water, altering the surface and creating a ripple of effect of change, in the name of love and compassion.
I used to maintain a blog that I wrote anonymously on... this is a post from that blog that I wrote back in September of last year (2016). I feel that today, Valentine's day is a beautiful time to share my musings on this subject again, peace, love and light to you all ૐ.
Having been and continuing to be on a journey of the mind, body and spirit, or as I call the soul – I found that to love myself at the deepest level is to love my soul. My soul, which encapsulates all of my being and transcends my physical body, my soul, which is me – this is the me that I strive to love unconditionally. The body, my person that the soul is displayed through can deceive others, leading them to believe that I am happy, when inside I am not, or that I am mad, when in fact I am simply tired. Deception of the soul by the body comes about when one’s soul and body are not completely in sync, to which mine are becoming. I know this because I lived it. For several years, I experienced moments of clarity, moments where all made sense, regardless of how many details were not determined or how much was still up in the air in my life, sense was present because my soul and body were in sync, my physical mind and my spiritual soul energy were walking alongside one another instead of one in front of the other.
This journey towards connection and understanding of the two, can lead to moments of complete disconnection of the soul and the body, leaving one for a moment without the soul in the body, as the soul takes flight and is “set free” to observe the actions of the body from above. These moments, while rare for me, I am told come to occur more often with practice and understanding, they may be called ‘out of body’ experiences. They are beautiful, providing an increased sense of self-awareness, truly of soul-awareness as the two entities of oneself work in tandem to deeper a person’s understanding of their ‘soul-self’.
I feel that to love my self, truly, fiercely and unconditionally, is to love my soul, to truly honor my soul. So how does one do this, this honoring of the soul?
First, I breathe. I ensure that throughout each day, I take time, whether it be when driving, sipping tea, on a phone call, practicing yoga or at the gym, talking to a friend or stranger, getting ready for a night’s rest – I breathe, intentionally and with love for the body, my body that my soul shines forth through.
Second, I accept my ‘shortcomings’, if I am to call them that. I recite mantras such as, ‘you are whole complete and perfect’, knowing that I have more to learn and skills to improve upon, but that my soul is beautiful and perfect on the journey. I feel the words course through my veins as the breath moves through my body. When I am hurting, be it physically, mentally or emotionally, I then send extra love and attention to those areas of my body by focusing the breath and the mantra chosen for that day on that specific place in need of healing loving energy.
Third, I embrace. I embrace myself, in hug, in loving and forgiving ‘self-talk’, and through the actions I take… I honor myself as I move forward with each day, working to ensure that I foster a peaceful and safe space for my soul to thrive in my body and environment each and everyday. It is true, that some days I fall short. It is true that somedays I do not feel that I know what I am doing. It is true that this may all be easier said than done, but the reward – the act of soul love – had empowered me in a way like nothing else before.
I look in the mirror and I now see beauty radiating from the inside out. I find it hard now to talk negatively about myself, my body or my actions and when I do try those negative ‘self talk’ words on for size, they don’t seem to even fit right, even if just for a moment anymore. I love that. The journey of self love is setting myself free from the limitations that I place upon my being. It allows me to soar to new heights and to fully be without concern of the opinions of others, so long as I honor my true ‘soul-self’. My soul, what does it feel like? It feels like love, so I honor love. I stand in love. I do now and I will continue to moving forward with each day of my life. I do not believe this journey to be without moments of straying off the path, or without trials and tribulations, but with understanding of my soul, I feel those moments to be more manageable …
I invite everyone to try on soul love… dig in deep to who you are, a distinct being from the environment you live within and are a part of – breathe in acceptance of self, breathe out judgement of self. Breathe in love, exhale frustration. I have a hunch that you will find a place of peace, of course I am in the beginning stages of this journey, but trust me – it is already surrounded by beauty!
A spiritual being on a physical journey, striving to make a positive impact on this world through my actions and loving intention. I believe that we are all capable of greatness, it is how we channel this great energy that matters... I choose to express it in the name of -- peace and love.