Category: happiness

Oct 22, 2017

Urgency?

Waking up on a weekend morning, with the sun filtering through the shades, taking a moment to roll out of bed, meander to the coffee pot.

There is no sense of rushing, no sense of urgency on such days.

The day in front of you is slower, offering any and all possibilities

Why these mornings feel so lovely, because there is no urgency to them

During the workweek, the pace of life speeds up, the getting up is strewn with anxious feelings, the coffee cannot brew quickly enough

The day is choked with obligations, a sense of urgency

Urgency to get to where you are going, do what you do, eat when you have to eat, get home when you have to get home.

Sometimes this sense of urgency seeps into our weekends as well, when that happens when do you slow down?

What’s the rush?

Most things are not urgent, saving your child’s life as they step off the curb into an oncoming car, is urgent.

Braking the car quickly to prevent an accident, is urgent

Saving people from a fire is urgent.

Most of the day’s activities are not urgent, though we approach them as if they are.

Urgency stems from an uptight society, it is contagious

Consumed by so-called pressing things, meetings that have to be attended to, emails returned, all work related things seem important.

Home life can feel as pressured, homework completed, dinner eaten, dance class and maybe a yoga class, thrown in.

Then it is time to sleep, not the kind of sleep after a leisurely day, the sleep that gets shoe horned in so you can get up to race around again.

Your life does not need to be replete with urgency, since nothing is that critical.

Catch yourself being hurried; your breathing will be a telltale sign

Slow down, breathe deeply and fully and say to yourself “ It is not urgent”, “there is no need to rush”, “If I am late, or don’t finish that thing, what is the worst thing that will happen?”

Urgency is a state of mind that depletes your energy reserves, the energy required for experiencing joy.

Recipe: Breathing away urgency meditation

This meditation can be done anywhere and at anytime

Pause for a moment and place one hand on your chest and one hand just below the belly button

Continue to breathe normally and notice which hand is moving more.

If the top hand is moving and the bottom is not, then you are breathing with urgency or chest breathing.

If the bottom hand moves more, you are relaxed

If two hands move in unison, you are most likely experiencing a relaxed/alert state, especially when the shoulders expand outward rather than upward

Relaxed/alert state is when you are calm and awake, neither lethargic nor too energized.

If you are feeling stressed or urgent simply by changing your breathing pattern from chest breathing to belly or both, your sense of urgency will shift.

It is impossible to feel urgent and belly breathe at the same time

All you need is to pause, shift your breathing to include your belly.

Inhale belly expands, exhale belly retracts

Enjoy life more without urgency.

Sep 24, 2017

Heavy load

heavy load?Heavy load?

Are you carrying a heavy load?

How do you endure it day after day?

Heavy loads come in different shapes and sizes; some large, small, repetitive, niggling whatever the form they drag you down.

Weighing heavy on your shoulders and heart, if carried too long the body personifies the burden through sagging shoulders, head hanging forlornly and the body has lost its swing.

Burdens present in many guises, showing up as incessant worries, self-deprecating beliefs, perfectionism, and an unyielding quest for happiness.

Such afflictions clutch on for dear life.

Heavy loads are part of life, though the ones that remain a burden are the ones that are never offloaded, they drag you down.

Worries preserve their weight by creating new concerns, even when the old one has been resolved.

Self-disparaging thoughts retain their burdensome heaviness until self-awareness creeps in.

Perfectionism, a farcical waste of time, since it is one of those impossible endeavors, though how many people attempt it anyway? What a useless load to carry.

Seeking happiness is another example of silliness, how many times have you sought your so-called ‘happiness’ and when it was within reach it immediately loses its appeal?

Why continue to carry these burdens despite the futility of them?

None of them lighten your life; all they do is add weight.

The first step to lightening your load is to acknowledge its presence and then slowly remove it piece by piece.

Then notice how light you feel.

 

Recipe: Lighten your load Meditation

First, identify the four burdens:

Worries, self-deprecating beliefs, perfectionism, and quest for happiness

Which one is present in you now?

Look at your choice with closed eyes, do not judge or wish it away, simply watch it.

Say silently to yourself which one it is: worry, self-deprecating beliefs, perfectionism or happiness.

Keep it there until it begins to dissipate.

Open your eyes and get on with your day.

Repeat until the burdens lighten and their energy reduces to a flicker.

Observe how much lighter you feel.

Be patient.

What is faith?

What is faith?What is faith? The word faith conjures up a variety of mental images of churches, synagogues, mosques, or monasteries, housing religious leaders and followers seeking faith.

Faith tends to get lumped under the guises of religion. Those who are the faithful are the ones believed to be religious; their faith assumed to emanate from a deity.

Is it possible that faith has nothing to do with religion at all, that it is merely a seed lying dormant inside each of us, waiting to propagate?

Faith begins to grow upon conception, faith your mother’s womb will nourish and breathe for you. Once born, faith places the gaze of the eyes and the tears towards the mother to love and care for you. As you grow faith, still relying on parents, but now transfixed with movement, eventually through faith, you begin to walk.

As you mature, faith in God, Allah, Buddha or such is possible, but faith itself, is not a byproduct of religion, faith it is a means of itself, an emotion.

Faith is a powerful emotional energetic force within all of us, which activates our navigational system that propels us into the unknown while trusting that we will arrive safely.

Without faith, the world becomes a dark, frightening place, where unknowns reverberate monstrous images, holding you to ransom, frozen in your tracks, leaving you feeling lost.

With faith, bleakness may remain an active force, though faith grabs your hand and leads you forward, you may trip and weave around obstacles, withstanding life’s greatest afflictions, though faith is the very thing that keeps you moving forward.

Faith is your confidant, soul mate, the love of your life. It provides unwavering trust and the deepest, unconditional love that exists.

Faith has nothing to do with religion; it has everything to do with believing in your Self. You can believe in a God, Buddha, Allah or such, but remember faith came first.

The heart holds the key, the centre of love, energises faith; it is neither a religion nor a non-religion. Faith is unpretentious, but don’t be scathing of its austerity it is one of the most powerful forces in the human body.

Faith’s strength has the capacity to navigate a life well lived if faith retains the vitality of love, yet if faith adheres to a toxic, venomous energy, faith has the power to destroy.

Choosing love over hate, good over evil, acceptance over denial, openness over closeness, non-judgment over judgment, peace over war will steer your life and those around you towards the very place faith draws its energy from.

What is faith?

 

Recipe: Faith meditation

Finding a comfortable seat, close your eyes

Take 3 deep breaths

Allow your body to reach a relaxed state

Place your hand on your heart, breathe into the heart space

Feel the movement of the breath, beating of the heart and repeat the word ‘faith’ silently or out loud to yourself.

Allow yourself to feel the energy that comes from the word ‘faith’

Chances are you will feel soothed and at peace, if not use another word, ‘believe’, ‘trust’ ‘love’… if ‘God’, ‘Allah’, ‘Buddha’ or such repeat those words.

Faith is deeply personal

Allow your faith to grow as a moving, energetic force

Finding your soul mate

finding your soul mateHave you found your soul mate?

First, what is a soul mate?

Is it a person, of course it’s a person. Or is it?

If it is a person then some of us believe we have found our soul mate, some are looking or some have given up.

Why are some the lucky ones and some so very unlucky?

Is it possible, that a soul mate is not a person, but an actual soul?

If we look outside of ourselves for a soul mate, will we always be disappointed?

What if that soul mate, is inside you and has been a part of you all the time? All you need to do is listen closely, be still long enough to hear the whispers from within.

What wasted energy is expended on searching and hoping that one day your soul mate will appear, when it is already here?

Or if your soul mate dies or leaves you, then you are left alone, either searching again or resigning yourself to a life of loneliness.

What if your soul mate never dies or leaves you because it is waiting patiently inside you?

The human brain is ill equipped to grasp things that cannot be touched or seen, anything ethereal is often cast aside as mystical or magical thinking.

A human soul mate, makes perfect sense, as they are physically available, they lay next to you, hold your hand, tell you they love you, as with a spirit soul mate, there are only whispers, nudges in your belly, heart palpitations and flushes.

Now if you are fortunate to have found your human soul mate, it is inevitable they will let you down or a disappointment.

It is inevitable, human soul mates, will fall from grace, but spirit soul mates are steadfast, never leaving you alone, always holding you up, loving you, and reminding you are loved.

So stop looking outside for your soul mate, take a look inside. Once you find your soul mate, that soul mate will be there to help find your human mate. Your soul mate will make sure that person loves you and lifts you up, because he/she wants what is best for you.

First look inside and connect with your soul mate and then your human mate can be found.

Have you found your soul mate?

Look inside, not outside

Your soul mate is waiting.

 

Recipe: Finding your soul mate meditation

Settle into a comfortable seat, with your hands, palms down resting on your knees, arms soft

Take deep breaths

Once you start feeling relaxed and your mind settles down

Take your hands and flip your palms up

Silently or state out loud as you speak to your soul mate.

“I am listening, I am here, and I can feel you”

Pause for a moment and wait.

Notice what is coming up for you, physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, your hands may begin to tingle and become warm.

Sit with all that you are experiencing for 5 – 10 minutes

When ready, gently open your eyes and then get on with your day.

Repeat often and soon you will begin to connect with your soul mate

We are That

We are ThatWe are That

Can you imagine life without worries, no stress, being completely at peace and wholly content?

What if, all it takes is to accept That?

First what does That mean?

That means we are a part of something bigger, greater than just one person, one family or one nation.

That stretches beyond, creed, culture, colour, gender, job status, or whatever differentiates us.

That sweeps past skin and bones and enters deep into the hearts and souls of all.

That is cool, calm, angry, fiery and peaceful.

That loves, desires, holds and kisses.

We are That.

That clears the path for no judgment, unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion, if you remove That, people begin to compete, raise fists, close arms and build walls.

That holds doors open wide, where there are no locks, security cameras or tall spiky fences.

Once That gets forgotten eyes look down, hands no longer reach and people become invisible.

That is always there, it is up to us to lift That up, see That for what it is.

We are That.

Stop trying to do away with That, because That will always be around and at the end of the day we all yearn for That.

Even those people who profess That is not possible, because they are not the same, not one, or are separate, these same people are also part of That, they just can’t or do not choose to see it.

Their minds erect barricades, to maintain an illusion of their power, because if they see That exists, it means that everyone is now worthy, equal and deserving of respect, not just them.

That will free all of us from the sufferings of life; it opens arms to us all and liberates us from being alone.

You have a choice; it is up to you, to embrace or turn your back away from That.

To be part of That is one of the most precious gifts of all

Let us remember,

We are That, already

 

Recipe: I Am That Meditation

Find a quiet, comfortable seat, close your eyes

Take 3 deep breaths, relax body tension and mind wandering

Once you are ready,

Inhale; say silently or out loud ‘I am’

Exhale; say ‘That’

Feel the sensation of bringing the outer world into your body and exhaling your spirit out to the world, creating a union, where there are no barriers, judgments or limits

Repeat for 5 minutes

When finished, take a few minutes to sit with the experience and then get on with your day.

Joy

JoyAre you joy deficient?

Joy is easily found in the eyes of children, but rarely in the eyes of adults.

A child’s eyes twinkle with delight at the slightest thing, adult’s eyes remain fixed and dim.

Of course adults do experience joy, but how often?

Rarely, so infrequently that they remember the details of their handful of joyful moments, while children with soon forget theirs, due to joy overload.

Why are children the fortunate ones to experience joy, not just once in awhile, but all the time?

It does not seem fair.

A childhood lasts for about 12 years, before the temperamental, wacky adolescence.

12 Years!!! Think about that, if our average lifespan is 75 years, 63 of them are spent either joyless or with brief glimpses of joy.

It does not seem fair that children, who incidentally don’t remember a bulk of their childhood, get the privilege of a limitless supply of joy.

What is wrong with this picture?

Let us look at what joy is. We know it feels good; it is one of those pleasant emotions, the ones that make us happy, the kind of feeling that warm our hearts, send blood rushing into our faces, lifting the corners of our mouths and squinting our eyes.

Joy makes us want to dance the jig, skip, run around in circles, scream at the top of our lungs, and laugh raucously so all can hear.

Joy takes you by surprise, it cannot be planned or plotted, and it grabs you when you least expect it.

Joy is felt at first in the heart and emanates throughout the body, expanding to the feet, hands and head. Joy never begins in the head.

Joy is not a thought, it is a feeling, so profound that it is, what gives life its meaning. When you feel joy, you know why you are alive… there are no questions or doubts, it just feels right.

Think of children, they live without questioning the purpose of life, they live in their bodies, they move, jump and shake, laugh without embarrassment. When they feel joy, they feel it, hold it and express it.

Children’s hearts are always open, they are not afraid to be themselves, they have not yet began to close off from the world, hiding behind layers of protective shields. Children just do what they do really well… feel joy.

Let us learn from children, remember when we were children once as well.

Open your hearts, shake like mad, dance as if no ones watching, get out of your head, laugh at yourselves… see life as a continual stream of joy.

To open your heart, you will have to face the ickyness first; the hurt, grief, sadness… then and only then joy can emerge. If you try to side step the painful stuff, then joy will stay put.

But once joy reemerges, fresh and wiped clean, you will know why you are alive.

Joy!

 

Recipe: Opening your Heart Meditation 5 – 10 minutes

This meditation brings you into your emotion centre, the heart.

The area where we feel love… sadness… hope… gratitude…inspiration… grief…compassion… joy…hurt

Though our emotions are experienced in other areas of the body – the heart is the centre

By placing your hand on your heart, feel the rhythm of your heart beating the flow of your breath as it enters your lungs and the release of tension when you empty your lungs

This simple gesture of feeling in can create a deeper intimacy with your inner emotions.

To begin:

Sitting on the floor with your spine straight and eyes closed. If you are unable to sit on the floor, use a chair. Be comfortable. Take a moment and prepare yourself.

Begin by taking 20 deep breaths… placing your hand on your chest… as you inhale breath into your chest and rib cage. Allow the Sternum to rise.

Feel the sensation around the heart… whatever comes up for you…just sit with it… do not judge it or analyze it.

Once completing the 20 breaths.

Then sit still and just be aware of what you are feeling –

When ready:

Gently open your eyes and take a few moments to feel in. Becoming aware of the sensations in your heart centre and a sense of being pleasantly alert and serene.

 

Stand up

Stand upStanding up is far harder than sitting down.

When given a choice, sitting down beats standing up if you want to hide, stay put or not speak up.

Why would you want to stand up when you can sit and watch the world go by?

Sitting amongst the crowd feels safe; where there is little pressure to perform and no risk of being criticized.  Who wouldn’t prefer this?

It all makes sense in the short-term; it feels good to be in a place where anxiety is abated, where you can sit smugly nodding your head until something deep within you begins to squirm; that is your inner voice restlessly trying to be heard.

Have you ever said ‘yes’, when you meant ‘no’, or kept your opinion to yourself because it sounded silly or allowed people to take advantage of you because it seemed easier to keep quiet?

Either way, you are not speaking up for your needs and wants, be aware, there are serious repercussions in the long term you may even forget who you are and what it is you want.

How sad to live a life that is not authentically yours, but one that is about others and avoiding criticism at all costs.

Jeopardizing the most beloved thing of all… You!

What would it mean to stand up?

Standing up means, you speak your truth, despite other’s judgments.

Standing up means you are the captain of your ship.

Standing up means you are being true to yourself.

Standing up means you love and respect yourself.

Standing up means your life is as important as other’s lives.

Standing up means willing to take risks to live authentically.

Standing up means you appreciate other’s speaking their truth as well.

Standing up means you listen to your heart.

The choice is yours.

Sit down or stand up!

 

Recipe: Stand Up Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit, preferably a place with few distractions

Take a moment to settle down, close your eyes and then take 3 deep breaths

Pick one affirmation which resonates with your present situation, repeat for 3 minutes

I have the right to speak my truth

I live an authentic life

I can say no

I am strong

I love and respect myself

I can resolve my challenges

Or create your own.

Devote the next 3 minutes repeating this affirmation out loud or silently to yourself.

The last 2 minutes remain sitting and bring your attention to the warmth and power your body feels.

When ready gently open your eyes and move on with your day.

Repeat several times until you internalize this message.

Trust, you can now stand up.

Who stole your play?

Who sole your play?Who stole your play?

Let us play with the idea of play.  When was the last time you played?

“What, no answer, you are still thinking?” “You cannot remember?”

Oh, you say, “You are too old to play”.

“You don’t know what to do, playing is for children.”

Who decided that only children are permitted to play?

What happened to you when you stopped playing?

I would guess you lost your spontaneity, creativity, joyful silliness, and your zest for life.

Who stole your play? “’They’ told me to stop playing, you say”.

‘They’, whoever ‘they’ are, decided that play ceases to exist when you reach a certain age, even children’s play life has been getting increasingly shorter.

“What for? Oh yes, to prepare for adulthood.”

It is time to get serious about things, playing has no place in adulthood!

Yet, if we lose play, then what is left?  A bunch of uptight, stressed people, with few outlets to let off steam or find their mojo.

Play is hardwired in all humans, as children, we learn to use play to make sense of a complex world through stories, dolls, blocks, drawing or anything we can get our hands on.

Play teaches us how to solve problems and deal with frustrations that are inevitable. Having to rebuild the Lego castle you smashed because you ran out of the colour red is a great teacher.

Play frees us from worrying about outcomes because play is just playing; there are no expectations or goals to achieve. Play allows us to just be.

“What, you say, you don’t know how to play?”

Adult play is very much like child play, just step into your imagination and see what floats your boat.

But without, the little voice reminding you that you are a crappy artist, or you were laughed at when you sang that song at 10 years old, or that you are not really talented at anything.

Get rid of that voice, the voice that stole your play, the voice that echoes in your head it is time to grow up, get serious, stop the art and music classes, so you can make a “stable” living, and be responsible.

That voice pinched the one thing that made you happy, the thing that gave you the bounce to get out of bed in the morning, to feel alive.

Yes, seriousness and responsibility are qualities not to sneeze at, though they must not replace play. Integrate all three instead.

Without play life loses meaning, in fact, play is the essence of a joyful and mindful life.

All seriousness aside, let’s embrace play; if you have lost it, it has not gone far or stolen, it is still deep within you waiting to be found.

Get out and find your play!

 

Recipe: Finding Your Play Meditation

Sitting in a quiet space with little distractions

Close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths

Recall a time in your life when you played, what were you playing?  What did it feel like? Take a moment and sit with the image and the feelings.

Take another 3 breaths and allow the feelings of play to encircle you, and experience all the sensations that arise, tingling, joy, excitement, where in your body do you feel them, in your pelvis, heart…

Allow your body and mind to remember what it was like to play, without restrictions, without the critical voices.

Now ask yourself, “ What can I do to play?” How can I bring play back into my life?”

Do not answer; see what comes up, either during your meditation or when you go about your day.

With practice, I guarantee you will find your play.

Laying down roots

laying down rootsLaying down roots

Where do I belong?

Where do I feel stable? Secure? Loved?

Am I safe?

Our roots begin with our biological family, whether we like it or not, they are our family.

Some of us are fortunate to have been born into loving families, and some not so.

Our families can be quirky, over protective, quiet or loud… anything is possible.

As we grow into adults our root system is well established, our beliefs and identification with our family are ours as much as theirs.

Why then do we feel like we are rootless, lacking in stability and security?

It could very well be that your roots never travelled deep enough to protect you from the storms of life. Your family might have been there, but you never internalized a sense of security.

Or a parent left the family leaving a hole too big to grip the roots. Perhaps your parents too, had low-lying roots, leaving them without a sense of security, passing on their anxiety on to you.

Your roots may have been splintered by abuse or lack of love; therefore, the roots began to wither and die, leaving no real sense of belonging or trust.

Our roots are what carry and embolden us to rise up in the world, but those roots require depth and nurturing.

You may be the lucky ones whose roots started out strong and robust, yet when you ventured out on your own, you found it difficult to replicate the earlier root system. This left you longing for your old roots, though there was no going back.

Our roots are what provide a sense of security, grounding and stability. Throughout life, roots change, our beliefs change, and family’s change, they are in a constant state of flux.

We know this when; we feel uneasy, depressed, anxious, worried more than usual about finances, your job or where you are going to live.  Until the basics of life are sound, unease becomes the predominant emotion.

Since our roots are instrumental in providing us the foundation to weather the storms and manage the risks of life, it is in your best interest to establish a healthy root system.

How?

Examine your own family system; see what is working and what is not.

What has helped you feel more secure in the past, what is missing now?

Besides your family can you find grounding in a spiritual practice, exercise program or a hobby?

Take a look at your basic needs; food, clothing and shelter, are all these needs getting met?

Explore your beliefs and reoccurring thoughts that sabotage your feelings of security.

Take solace in knowing that when one root system dies, with love and attention another can fill the space.

 

Recipe: Laying Down Roots Meditation

Find a quiet space to sit without distractions.

Close your eyes, or look towards the floor with a soft gaze

Take 3 deep breathes to settle down

Now bring your attention to your feet and your bottom, which are your roots to the earth, especially your feet, when standing.

Feel how the feet and your bottom provide a solid foundation for you to sit up erect. Notice the way the feet touch the ground, wiggle your toes, and feel how the calves and shins contract with this movement.

Continue to take deep breaths to keep you present and calm, while the attention returns to your two stabilizes – feet and bottom.

Now move on to a time you felt unstable, anxious, and insecure. Allow those feelings to rise, without pushing them away or distracting your self. Sit with those feelings.

(Long pause)

Now think of a time you felt secure and safe. Allow those feelings to rise and sit with those feelings. Maybe take your hand and place it on your heart or on your solar plexus (under your breasts) or on your belly.

(Long pause)

Gently begin to deepen the breath and bring your attention back to the feet and your bottom.

Take a few more deep breaths and when ready open your eyes.

This meditation will help you to see that there are times in your life you have felt rootless as times you felt solidly planted to the ground. Despite where you are in your life, your own body has the capacity to ground you and relieve some of the feelings of being rootless.

By being aware of the signs of rootlessness you can begin to take action to create the roots you need at that time.

Circles of change

Circles of changeLet’s face it, change creates much of our anxiety, it disturbs our equilibrium, shakes up our stability.

Change is constant, it surrounds us, we can’t avoid it.

Living without change is an impossible feat, whether we like it or not so why fight it.

Rather than defy change, allow yourself to see change as what it truly is, a movement or a shift that has a purpose; a circular momentum.

Change takes the shape of a circle or series of circles, like a revolving wheel, it takes different forms depending on where you are on the wheel, but always returns full circle where it began.

Once you can grasp that change is not a saboteur, or negative force to feed your suffering, rather the natural rhythm of life, you will unshackle yourself from your anxieties and be free.

Follow me on this journey through the circles of change. 

Full Circle

Summer goes autumn comes

Autumn leaves winter replaces

Winter turns into spring

Spring swaps into summer

Then it begins again

Full circle

Again, again and again

Babies are born and then grow old and die another baby is born

Full circle

A day begins and ends and begins again

Full circle

Monday moves to Tuesday, then to Wednesday until Sunday and then its Monday

Full circle

New moon is hiding, observe the quarter, how dramatic the full moon is, then the other quarter and new again.

Full Circle

Cheerful, elated, melancholic and sad then cheerful again

Full circle

No body, young in body, middle age in body and old in body, no body

Full circle

It is a mindset old and death is sad and young and fresh is happy

Young at heart and mind can remain that way throughout life, beginning and ending young

Full circle

That is your choice to make

Embrace the circle, the steps along the way

Change the mind not the circle

Summer maybe fun, but so is autumn, winter and spring

Change the mind not the circle

Full circle

Recipe: Full Circle – change your mind not the

Start with a single day. You decide on a new approach.

You wake and search for the hidden beauty of the morning,  search for a single item to savour.

Notice the quiet of the morning, the smell of the toast or taste of the cereal.

Then move to the commute to work or if at home the next step.

Move through the day as if you are walking around a circle.

Take each step, or phase and be present with it.

Continue pausing for moments to observe the phases of your day.

The feelings, physical sensations and allow them to occur as they are.

At the end of the day, once in bed, lie there for a second and acknowledge the circle you had followed that day and now you are resting and peaceful.

It is time to sleep

Full circle

You have just embraced changing the mind not the circle.

RJMindbody

RJMindbody