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Bridging the Differences

Our posture and carriage say so much about who we are.

We tend to think of that as something that’s completely up to us.  All those folks who told us to stop slouching and stand up/sit up straight sure seemed to think so.

But we don’t live in a vacuum (yay, because, breathing!).  We’re surrounded by other people and their posture and carriage.

And furniture.  Don’t even get me started on the furniture (one size fits all?).

We influence each other’s posture, even when we’re not being excessively complimentary or emotionally abusive.

Just ask someone tall, especially a tall person surrounded by child-sized people.  What are their choices to get closer to eye level?

There’s hunching or stooping.  Lovely for interfering with full breathing or for circulation to that stuff up in the head like, oh, your eyes and ears and BRAIN!

There’s splaying legs wide.  Great for pulling the support right out from underneath you, so you’re propped up, with hips and knees that are going to let you down a whole lot sooner than normal.

Or ask someone surrounded by taller people.  How’s the neck feeling from constant craning?  Circulation issues again, stress on the spine, and a nervous system status of high alert.  Lots of fun.

Then there’s some version of ignoring real connection with others around us (which doesn’t necessarily require a height difference).  Head in the clouds, lost in thought.  Self-involved, only attending to objects or circumstances within “reach”.  Controlling everything so it’s convenient to our needs.

There’s no real answer to coping with the differences we each encounter daily.  Sure, if you’ve got platforms around to talk to your taller friends, rock and roll.  Likewise, good on ya, if you can get down on a knee to chat with the children (actually, good for you in lots of ways).  And, absolutely, find places and ways to meet each other eye to eye, where we are.

My real message is that our posture is going to take some attention, no matter who we are, if we want to continue relating to all the different people in our world.  And one of the simplest ways to do that is to spend 15 minutes a day lying on a firm surface, on your back with your knees bent and feet flat (those of you who are pregnant or who have back issues, check with your health care professional first).  It quickly and easily (with consistency – it’s not quite a magic bullet) realigns your spine and helps your nervous system recognize home base.  That’s why they call it “constructive rest”.

Of course, there’s more possible (and, yes, I can help with that), but don’t you deserve at least 15 minutes of healthy time out daily?  And, tell the truth, don’t you miss kindergarten nap-time, just a little?

Create Life with Love

“Responsibility without love makes us inconsiderate
Power without love makes us cruel
Belief without love makes us fanatics
Intelligence without love makes us dishonest.”
Lao Tse

171224 Create life with love Lao Tse

Engaging with Quality

‘Tis the season for gift-giving frenzy.

Or something like that.

How did our highest aspirations for the bright evolution of the human soul get translated into a desire for more stuff?

I’m going to say that a good deal of it has to do with the way we experience our world.

Rassouli Divine Grace

If we have a sensual experience — one where we’re aware of the spirit that lives in all of what we taste, smell, touch, hear and see – we have quality in our material lives.  We have a relationship with living spirit in all its abundant forms.

Sunrise.  Birds overhead.  The sound of our child crying or, better yet, laughing.  The feel of a balmy breeze or icy wind.  Cookies baking, fresh horse manure or the dog’s breath in our nose.  Those cookies fresh out of the oven, the slippery slice of watermelon, the first morning sip of coffee on our tongue.

If we’re paying attention, there’s meaning and an internal response from us – an interaction with our world.  We allow ourselves to be moved.

If we’re not interacting, if we’re just sensing without awareness of the spirit of what we’re sensing, then we’re lacking the quality that makes us feel any lasting impact.  We’re still feeling hungry.  It’s the Chinese food of experience.  Or the endless dance recital, where only the first sparkle of a new costume or soundtrack wakes us up from our stupor.  We’re still in the same seat we were in at the beginning of the recital.

As the light grows, as the immanent Divine is manifested, as community ties deepen – whatever the central focus of your holidays, may you have a truly sensual experience this season.

Gratitude from the heart, not the habit

‘Tis the season again – that time when giving thanks comes up for reevaluation.  (Thanksgiving again in the United States, my non-US subscribers.  For those of you who don’t know, the traditional meal for the holiday is turkey.  That’ll be important later on.)

I was going to talk about a specific aspect of gratitude but once my pen got moving, I discovered I had something else to say.  So now I’ve got two years of newsletter posts in the bag.  Thank you, whatever muse feeds my writing.

So . . .  what wants to come out is directed toward those of us who say ‘thank you’ way too often, as well as to those of us who dismiss others’ difficulties with a call to find something to be grateful for.

Some of us don’t say ‘good bye’ or ‘see you’ when we finish a call or visit.  We say ‘thank you.’

If we’ve told a friend at least 70 times that we hate framed fluffy kitty pictures (yes, there’s at least one of you out there), we don’t say ‘you forgot that I hate framed fluffy kitty pictures, didn’t you?’ when that friend gives us a framed fluffy kitty picture (okay, I just like saying and picturing framed fluffy kitty pictures).  Instead, we say ‘thank you’.

It’s our go-to phrase.  You’d think it was our ticket to continued existence, the way we use it.

Others of us never met a moment that didn’t include gratitude, and only gratitude.

Your dog died?  So sorry, but aren’t these flowers from the vet lovely? And isn’t it great that your friends are all here?  And isn’t it wonderful that you still have two dogs, 4 cats and a pony in your fur family?  ‘You have so much to be grateful for.’

If a friend has been unsuccessfully looking for work for 6 months and is getting desperate and dispirited, we’re the ones who point out how much worse things could be or remind her that gratitude begets happiness and success.  We could even give her a framed fluffy kitty picture to show how much we care (and then she could say ‘thank you’).

171116 turkey moo

So what’s the matter with acknowledging that someone took the time to visit or thought to give us a gift?  Why wouldn’t that attitude contribute to our recognition of the ongoing gifts from the Universe?

Why wouldn’t we want to help someone out of pain and back into a brighter place?  Why wouldn’t gratitude be the connection to the potential new beginning in every present moment?

A mindless ‘thank you’ doesn’t tap into the gratitude stream the same way an enthusiastic and heartfelt expression of thanks does.  And a thanks for the tiny token underneath a steaming pile of what we hope can be used for fertilizer doesn’t really hold integrity when the pile isn’t acknowledged.

Yes, there is potential for gratitude in every moment.  Yes, the search for that gratitude can put us in touch with elements of our world that could use our recognition.

Sometimes, there are more pressing needs.  Like the need for someone to just be present through our discomfort.  Like the need to recognize our own value or to draw our own boundaries.

So, how about we save gratitude for the times and places we really feel it?  Connect with the Universe with integrity and let it know how you really feel.

May you find much to be truly grateful for this season.

Yoga Thoughts

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