Tag Archives: mindfulness

shining light into the darkness

everything’s going to be okay, I tell myself. this will pass.

I find so much peace in those simple words.

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photo by joniwoq

I have felt sadness more and more of late. It scares me sometimes. I feel it in moments where my work or social experiences are particularly challenging or unfulfilling or in a moment when I sit with an intense emotion like anger, tracing its rapid burn through my chest and belly and feeling the sadness just underneath its hot surface. The sadness comes and goes like any other emotion but it has come for a number of days in a row. I find myself worrying what if it keeps coming back? What if I fall into a deep sadness like I have in the past?

There is no way to know what the future will bring but I trust in the universe. I know that if a deep sadness happens, I will still be okay. It will pass. I am not a super human. I am allowed to experience moments of sadness.

I comfort myself in practices like deep breathing, deep nourishing, deep listening to what lurks underneath the emotion that doesn’t use words — is there a need not being met, am I doing too much, am I not connected to my life’s purpose?

I comfort and release  sadness through my cycle of breath, knowing that although I may feel sadness that I am not my sadness. Breathing in, I am aware of my breath flowing in. I follow its journey through my body and feel its life and energy. I can feel my breath encounter sadness as I breathe in. I shine light into the darkness with my breath: touching sadness with my inhale, releasing it with my exhale.

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photo by llbolek

Deeply nourishing practices I like to utilize:

– I self-soothe with my hand at my chest or belly as a reminder that I am not alone and I will always be there for myself no matter what.

– Be active. Yoga, dance, walks, runs, etc.

– Cook/eat balanced, yummy meals.

– Engage in activities that draw a deep belly laugh. I invite my favorite books and comedies to help with this.

– Be around loving, welcoming people. I can allow myself alone time but it’s really important to be around others as well to avoid getting too caught up in my experience.

– Journal. Write. Express myself. Sing/chant. Be creative. Release.

– A mindfulness practice I have started to engage in is accepting each moment for what it is and bringing a gentle curiosity to each moment. I have started to realize the incredible peace and freedom in befriending each moment  — not just the ones that take my breath away with their joy but the more difficult moments where I feel lonely, scared, or not good enough. Adding a layer of compassion and acceptance to challenging feelings and experiences can make them so much easier to navigate through.

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Writing a piece like this helps tremendously. It helps dissipate my sadness, helps me to feel less isolated and more connected by sharing my experiences with others rather than keeping them a secret. If you feel intense emotions or devastating experiences that leave you weary, I want you to know that you are not alone. You never can be alone. We are all connected. We are holding the space for each other, supporting each other in our collective energy.

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our loving ancestors

3-gogo-and-the-ancestors-marietjie-henningphoto by marietjie hemming

I like to think our ancestors are rooting us on through life.

There’s a mindfulness practice at Blue Cliff Monastery called touching the earth where we place our palms in front of our chests in the shape of a lotus bud and slowly lower ourselves to the ground so that our four limbs and forehead gently press against the floor. We bow deeply and return to the earth and our roots, connecting with our spiritual and blood ancestors. We know that we can never be alone as we are always surrounded by love, by divine beings who only want the best for us, by the earth. We touch the earth and reconnect with each bow to all of that life and recognize that we make up the earth and life and can never be separate. We are all connected.

Breathing in, I breathe in the earth. I breathe in connection. I breathe in life, strength, stability, love, nurturing, protection. Breathing out, I breathe out separation. I breathe out suffering. I breathe out anger, fear, shame, sorrow, grief.

I wonder if each time we engage in a healing practice like meditation or yoga, are we touching our ancestors? In engaging in the practice and connecting deeper with ourselves or transforming an area of suffering, are we also lessening the suffering in that whole ancestry chain? If we release a story steeped in limitation and inadequacy that we used to cling to, do we release suffering in our whole ancestry line? Is our growth a shining light of hope and pride to them?

 

 

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background image by carolyn doe

holding & letting go

2012 8 17 023photo by bernideen

:)

I have a love to garden deep in my roots.
I breathe in flowers sacredly tended to by divine mothers
hoping they blossom throughout this lifetime.

I wake up unexpectedly sometimes
during that late-night, early morning space
where my dreams seem both near and far
and words that don’t speak flow within me
if I just stay awake a little longer
and press my senses gently
against my soul to hear them.

Tonight there was a melody of rain and crickets
just outside my window and I decided to stay
and listen. My hand reached outside the window
to both embrace and release the rain drops in my palm
interchangeably, and I wondered if this is what I should
be doing with each moment here:
both holding and letting go.

 


watch me bloom

image

 

I want to move in the direction of my fears of expressing myself. I have left countless words unsaid — words that are in a landfill somewhere with all the other words that could have been something special but were denied existence because of fear, worry, and doubt. I want to give voice to myself and all that I have to share with the world.

Affirmation: I deserve to express myself fully in the world.

I am working on aspects of full expression each day in my practice. I approach my interactions with others with the intention of being present, available, and authentic in their company, not hiding or holding back out of fear or habit. I observe the moments where I most want to retreat inside of myself and reflect on what need is not being met in those situations and what I can do to make myself feel more safe and secure in those moments. I hit the reset button each morning, preferably each moment, and practice loving kindness to myself if a situation arises where I am not as available as I would like. I begin again and again and again knowing that I have nothing that I have to hide or be ashamed of in sharing myself with the world.

Affirmation: I reject any attachment to people’s reaction when I express myself.

I do not have to silence or censor myself in an effort to placate others. I am here to live my truth and to share it freely. I am here to be the most authentic version of myself possible. I am here to inhabit the deepest expression of love available to me in each moment and share that with others.

I plant seeds of self-worth, self-love, and acceptance and I see them bloom into flowers rooted from the foundation of my body at my feet and reaching their most open state in my throat chakra. I visualize these flowers when I speak. There is no room for fear with all this life and growth flowing through my essence.

 

 


seeds

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It all starts from within.

This image makes me think of  a mindfulness practice I learned from the monastics at Blue Cliff Monastery. They talked about watering the seeds within us and that we have the opportunity to do this in each day and moment. We have all kinds of seeds within us–seeds of love, seeds of kindness, seeds of compassion, seeds of anger, seeds of indifference, seeds of fear…and it is ultimately up to us which ones we pay the most attention to and give the most water and sustenance to.

I took this image away with me and worked with making a conscious effort to water more of the positive qualities that ultimately made me feel more nourished in life like I had actual flowers growing within me.

What seeds are you watering the most?

 


watering my positivity seed

“Spirituality is facing yourself with a smile when life confronts you.” – Yogi Bhajan

i feel safe. i never thought i would say that, but it permeates every part of my being when i am on my yoga mat. it is my space of nonjudgment. my place where i can simply be and breathe. i don’t have to deal with my boyfriend’s “hates me, loves me, ignores me, wants to marry me” mood swings or for that matter my wallet’s hates me, loves me swings. my insecurities don’t even exist because it is a space of love and ahimsa (nonharming). why would i have anything to feel insecure about if no one including myself is going to judge me?

i love yoga — not just the postures but the meditation, the focus on breath, loving kindness, and intention. it takes me completely within myself and allows me to finally open my eyes to just how beautiful the real me is. why have i spent so much of my life being guarded and hiding so much of myself from others? i can see now that only i have the power to reject myself.

i don’t want to view the troubles in my life as troubles but more so stepping stones to get to a higher form of me. i feel happy more moments than not. i feel like surrendering into the experiences in my life can be the hardest thing to do but without a doubt the way i am able to enjoy life the most. sure, sadness and anxiety are never too far away, but it’s different. they’re not surrounding me. they’re not scuffling around making my chest so tight that only teeny pathetic whimpers of breath can get out. they’re not nagging me with their singsongs of my downfalls so loudly that i get my usual four pm headache. they respect me. or maybe i’m giving them too much credit. they’re giving me space because i have created that space. i have found that point of stillness inside of myself, where i am as kind and forgiving of myself as i am to others. this shift in putting myself first has actually allowed for me to care about others more deeply from a genuine place as opposed to my previous please love me space.

yoga taught me how to create that space. after two years of a solid yoga practice where i had this deep sense of loving kindness in class, i decided that i needed to be this way to myself throughout the day on and off the yoga mat. it’s a growing and budding space inside myself that understands that loving my fears, loving my imperfections, takes all their power away. i’m content with myself and with my life right now. that’s my goal for each moment. it takes so much stress off of me living that way.

–lissa


iyanla quotes


moleskine page
, originally uploaded by girlhula.

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a summary of my favorite iyanla vanzant’s passages:

To love and forgive someone even though your encounters with them has caused you pain does nothing for them and everything for you. Remember, what you give comes back. We forgive for our own evolution, not for the benefit of the other person.

Understanding or accepting other people is difficult because we have not been taught to accept ourselves. As we see it, there is always something to fix, change or do to make others the way we want them to be and ourselves better than we are now. We find the weak spots… and we pick, pick, pick rather than nurturing, strengthening, and allowing time to grow.

-If you make anyone or anything responsible for your happiness, you will never be happy. If you make anyone or anything responsible for what you do or do not do, you will not accomplish much. No one is responsible for you but you.

-Death, I thought to myself, is simple. Stop breathing. Stop living. Very often when we create drama in our lives, we stop breathing. We stop thinking. Our hands become cold. Our senses are dulled. Our mouth becomes dry. It’s called stress.

-Bad family blood means that you do your best to keep the peace even when it means sitting around people, acting like you are comfortable when you are miserable.

-Maya Angelou described how words stick to the walls, the furniture, the curtains, and our clothing. She believes the words in our environment seep into our being and become a part of who we are.

-How many people have you been there for, only to find yourself alone when you need someone? In how many relationships have you given your all only to be left hanging out to dry with your broken heart on your tear-stained sleeve? What you give to others you give to yourself. Translation: If you appreciate what you do for others, their response should be of little consequence to you.

-Wherever you find yourself is exactly where you need to be. Even when you want to be somewhere else, under different circumstances, life knows that you probably could not handle it. Deepak Chopra wrote, ”Whatever relationships you have attracted into life at any given time, are the relationships you need to be in at that time.” When you are ready to do a new thing, in a new way, you will do it, with new people.