Thursday, November 24, 2011

Less is more! More peace, more joy, more pleasure...

Life can get crazy around the holidays, with a mountain of extra busy-ness we pull down upon ourselves.  Let's give ourselves the gift of taking a few moments to consider all we do relative to the holidays--does it really need to be done, or done in the way "it has always been done"?  Here are some suggestions: 
1) Clean AFTER a party or a visit by guests, and not so much before. Those folks who would fuss about your cleaning efforts should maybe be dropped from the guest list?  Most folks don't notice or care about such things.
2) Start an investment account for beloved children in your life, rather than giving them meaningless toys or clothes they'll soon grow out of or dislike. Regular contributions build up to an amazing gift in the future, and greatly simplify your gift-giving efforts.
3) Ask for help.  This is an excellent practical and spiritual practice. We are here to be blessings for each other--give someone the opportunity to help you and you both benefit.
4) At least once a week, enjoy a "get to" activity (as opposed to "have to"), such as attending a concert, reading a good book by the fire, or relaxing in a warm, scented bath.  A well-cared-for and relaxed you is much more pleasant to be around.
5) Invite those you celebrate with to consider new ways of doing things. More thinkers mean more creative ideas, such as a new theme for a Christmas feast.  We had "Christmas pizza" for several years, because that was the one food everyone in the family loved. 
We can change, and we can simplify, and we can live a graceful, peaceful December.  Give it some thought!  Merry Christmas!
Love and joy,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Living on Purpose

A quote from Eugene Holden:
"In order for you to be a beneficial presence in the world, you must be disciplined enough to live your purpose and shine your light in the world."
"Living your purpose" is a loaded phrase that seems to cause lots of frustration.  There is a tendency to think that one's purpose has to be some lofty save-the-world thing.  Not so.  It can be a daily thing, for example, "to smile no matter what comes my way today." It can also be broad and open. I consider my purpose to be "bringing people together." That has happened through me in all sorts of joyful ways.  The latest means in this process is the yoga teacher training. Discipline was definitely involved--on many days, it was all I could do just to show up for another 12-hour day. But it was SO worth it, and the 45 lights that have gone out from that training are shining brightly, literally, around the world.
We all have something unique to contribute as "a beneficial presence in the world."  Otherwise we would not be here. You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by hiding your light. Be disciplined, be courageous, be open-hearted, shine brightly!
Love and Blessings,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stop apologizing for your existence!

This is the first in a series of "Lessons Learned in Forrest Yoga Teacher Training."
I spent the month of October in an intensive (to put it mildly!) yoga teacher training in Houston, Texas, with the wonderful yogi, Ana Forrest. The first learning directive I received was "stop apologizing for your existence!" How quickly Ana and her assistants saw through my exterior.   "Apologizing" is a pattern I've operated under since I was a young child. 
The most noticeable way this shows up is automatically saying "Sorry" even when it's not applicable or I don't mean it.  Other examples are saying "Sorry" about something over which I have no control, and for minor mistakes that are common to all and no big deal. Another is apologizing when I feel the need to ask for help. There's nothing wrong with asking for help!
I've found that a good way to become more aware of this tendency in myself is to notice when others say "Sorry," and note whether it's meaningful or simply automatic and unnecessary.  This helps me pay more attention to "Sorry" coming out of my mouth. 
It's an ongoing learning process, to be sure.  And I'm NOT sorry about that :)
Love and joy,