Yoga Thoughts

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If you feel like you’ve seen this before, you’re not dreaming or hallucinating or being delusional.  Since we’ve got déjà vu on flooding around the Gulf, I’m rerunning an earlier post.  The information below the line will all be new.

Sometimes Nature gets really overwhelming and it’s really hard to stay connected.  We’ve had a lot of that lately . . . floods, droughts, wildfires.  All pretty scary stuff.  Even from a distance, and especially when we’re in the midst of it.  Chaos in our climate.

If we look from macrocosm to microcosm, we see things like fevers or tumours or other reactions to the chaos that can develop in our physical systems.  Anxiety.  Debility.  Things that lead us to the fear of the other “D” word.

It can be really tempting to give up and pretend that we can dwell only in the spirit and mind.  We won’t even try to play with the big boys and girls.

Did you notice that word “pretend”?  Sorry to say, when we cut off consciousness to the physical, we’re also cutting off from mind and spirit.  They’re a package deal, folks.  Can you say “delusion”?

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So what do we do when nature/Nature gets that big and scary?

There’s a long and a short version of that story and they’re both spelled “m-e-d-i-t-a-t-i-o-n”.

We’ve got this amazing connector between our various aspects: breath.

The short version is, pay attention to your breathing when you’re confronted with the immensity and chaos of life.  Get all Greek goddess and just do it.

The long version is, pay attention to your breathing.  Really pay attention.  Which nostril is taking in more air at the moment?  What moves when you breathe?  Do you like exhaling more than inhaling?  Which takes longer?  Is every breath the same?  Do you breathe more into one side of the body than the other?  More into the front or back?  Are there sobs or sighs happening on the way in or out?

Look, you’re still alive, so you’ve been breathing “correctly” so far.  The point is not to do it “right”; it’s to be attentive to that basic connection between your body, mind and spirit.

You don’t really have a choice about staying with nature/Nature. Let your breath help you not to lose your mind or spirit as you stay with the difficult times in your body.

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There are a lot of organisations helping in Houston.  Two boots on the ground that could use donations are the Houston Food Bank and the Houston Coalition for the HomelessAll Hands Volunteers is a national organisation specializing in disaster relief and rebuilding.

GreaterGood.org is rescuing people and their animals.  Austin Pets Alive! has been transporting animals from Houston to their no-kill shelter.

Because those who are affected are going to need help for years to come, I will be discounting sessions by 20% through the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018 when you send me proof that you’ve made a donation to one of these organisations.  So, make a donation, have a private session with me, get 20% off.

As our world gets further from our aims and goals, reaching for control is not an option.  I highly recommend daily meditation.  HeartMath has a beautiful meditation that changes monthly and is available any time of day.  Three times a day, you can synchronize your meditation with others around the globe.

Finding the New

Beginning something new is a thing, isn’t it?   Sometimes it’s something simple and exciting, like picking up a new book or trying that new restaurant in town.

Other times it’s more like that blank piece of paper waiting for the first brilliant word or the desire for that first note to break the silence with meaning – daunting, sometimes overwhelming.

Leaving all those expectations aside, what’s beginning really about?  How do we find meaningful beginnings?  How do we find beginnings that will lead to something?

If we want to begin something new, we’re looking for the opportunity to see the world in a different way, to experience ourselves in a new way.  How do we do that?

Well, one way is to just stop and look around.  Even if you haven’t left your house for months, what haven’t you looked at lately?  How often do you look up?  What does the top of the refrigerator look like?  What’s down by the floorboards?

What if you turned yourself upside down to look around?

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We really get set in habits and patterns, don’t we?  So we can support a new beginning by breaking our visual habits.

How about we look at those great expectations?  What if, instead of grandiose plans, we focused on changing habits?  Small ones, even.  Like the small changes you can make in noticing the world around you.

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of the butterfly/tornado story by now.  Just as a reminder, the poetic version of “small changes can have big effects” says that if a butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings, a meteorologist in Texas will have to change his forecast to include a tornado.  Welcome to non-literal chaos theory.

So, if you’re ready to take off into the whirlwind of growth that Spring promises each year, how about making small changes in the way you pay attention to the world around you?  Let a small change in habit be your breakthrough to a new beginning.

Room to Breathe

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The Truth of the Heart

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Updating Meditation

My out-of-work barn cat has been put on a diet.  Just about the time I sit down to meditate, she starts her persistent lobbying for another meal.  And they say meditation always has new levels of challenge.

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Supporting Your Resolutions

Making a resolution really winds up being making a series of mini-resolutions.  The problem is, we usually miss the little ones with our focus on the big end-game.  And that’s why so many of us “fail” at our new year resolutions.

By now, you’ve probably had plenty of time to find “failure”.  Crazy that it only takes a couple of weeks, isn’t it?  You tried to stick to your new movement program and the first cold, dark morning, you rolled over and gave it up.  You held out on the new way of eating and then had a binge fest in front of a screen binge.  You sought to understand alternative points of view for days and then had a verbal slash fest when that last pin dropped on your last nerve.

See, the thing is . . . these aren’t failures.  Not even temporary ones.  They’re the moments that let you know where you need more than a running start to get to the big goal.

It’s just a matter of acknowledging all the little steps along the way to any goal.  You didn’t get to your professional status just through force of will: you got an education, you made contacts, you took the jobs – even the ones you didn’t really want — that contribute to a body of experience that would support the position you now hold.  You didn’t become a “grown up” just by wishing it: you lived a bunch of years that filled in the gaps.  You didn’t just sight read that Faure Elegie at Carnegie Hall: there was a lot of learning and prep time before the concert Catch my drift?

Yes, there are those wonderful windfalls when you wind up at the end of the path straight from the beginning.  Wormholes.  Chutes and Ladders.  But if you’re struggling with your resolution, by definition, that ain’t you right now.

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So, now is when you back up and see what mini-resolutions you need to set to reach your big one.  “I resolve to arrange my day for lunchtime/evening/select-another-option movement when the morning is cold and dark and I don’t want to get out of bed.”  (Just one possibility out of manymanymany.)  “I resolve to have available the biggest tray of popcorn, celery and carrot sticks I’ve ever seen before I sit down to watch 6,000 episodes of Supernatural.”  “I resolve, twice a week, to find a train crossing where I can scream all the things I wanted to say but didn’t.”

And you set a new line-up of mini-resolutions as often as you need to, to support you in working toward the one big one.  Instead of a line of excuses and obstacles, you’ve got a set of stepping stones to reach the new you you’re aiming for.

Grandmother Earth

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Community or Commodity?

Have you ever met someone who refers to herself with the royal “we”?  Actually, he’s not so far off the truth.

All of us together are a community, yes, but each of us individually is a community.  Just try digesting your last pizza and beer without a balance of the trillions of bacteria in your gut.

And nature operates the same way: as a community.  Even a handful of dirt has an insane population density.  That soil has gabizzillions of microbes, all handling their little happy place – capturing carbon, breaking down pesticides, playing microbe accordion (sorry, just checking to see if you were still with me).

Contrast that idea of community with our usual operating mode: commodification.  Land and creatures to be assessed as valuable according to their use?  Check.  Usage of our time assessed according to what it returns to us?  Check.  Body itself treated as a commodity?  Check.

Huh, wait, what??!!  Yeah, well, when was the last time you said you’d get some sleep after you do whatever was on the list?  Or couldn’t take a water or movement break because the project you were in the middle of was too demanding? Or ignored pain or illness with excuses for keeping going?  Sorry, you’re busted: commodification of your body.

And that leads to some harsh truths in our greater world, as well as in our little personal corner.

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Scientists may not have the answers to that problem, but that’s where our work on ourselves comes in.

A great place to start is by training your mindset back from commodification to community.

You already have various levels of community in place for your holidays, I’m sure.  Family celebrations.  Get-togethers with friends.  Community service.  Lots of possibility.  Don’t forget your body system as community, honouring its varied needs.

Where’s one more place where you can shift your relationship with nature – personal and communal (ha! Snuck in community again!) – from commodity to community this holiday season?

May the joys of recognizing your place in the complex and beautiful community of Earth, and the connections it brings you, last well beyond the immediate holidays.

Ineffability

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We tend to toss around words like “God” or “Divine” or “Universe” as if we have any idea what we’re talking about.  There’s a reason some religions don’t even allow us to speak the “name” of God.