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7/52: Found this Week

As the weather gets nicer and nicer, my time online gets less and less. Yes! So, here is what I've found recently in the form of books. article-2294483-18BB057C000005DC-927_634x730It's All Good by Gwyenth Paltrow Oh Gwyenth, so much backlash for your conscious uncoupling. But, I am not here to talk about that or how extraordinarily good looking Chris Martin looks in the Magic video! I am here to talk about this awesome cook book, It's All Good. Nate describes this book part awesome looking recipes and part GP modeling (with some awesome looking food). Gluten-dairy-meat-sugar-free goodness. See, you can live without those things and be really happy ... and look really good.

IMG_4873_640You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay Speaking of being really happy and looking really good. Ms. Louise Hay has some really good things to say in this classic book.

Girl-Hunter-Book-Georgia-PellegriniGirl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini This one is getting me even more interested in the pursuit of bow-hunting my food. This book is intelligent, entertaining, poetic, interesting. Will I be a Yogini turned Hunter? Stranger things have happened.

Motivation Behind the 30 Day Meditation Challenge

Motivation Behind the 30 Day Meditation Challenge

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images My personal catalyst for this 30 Day Mediation Challenge was a desire to get to the heart of my own limiting and long-heald beliefs. To cultivate the deep well of me-ness below the negative ideas I have believed about myself. In addition to a daily meditation practice to really cultivate the connection to the deep well, I have been taking a good look as what I am ashamed of. Around what I feel the emotional pain of shame and how it manifests in my behavior. (Resource: Daring Greatly, Brene Brown). So, one night I just began naming/identifying my shame - this exercise continued over the course of the next 36 hours or so … I discovered (pretty personal stuff here, some very surprising, some not so surprising):

  • Shame is needing others.
  • Shame is desperate fear of needing others and being alone.
  • Shame is desperation.
  • Shame is working too hard. Not "working smarter not harder".
  • Shame is not doing something that I would get upset at another for not doing.
  • Shame is thinking my ex thinks I'm crazy.
  • Shame is talking about my ex.
  • Shame is not being about to do what I want due to a limitation.
  • Shame is an unkept house.
  • Shame is insecurity.
  • Shame is not exercising.
  • Shame is not following thru
  • Shame is admitting that I'm afraid.
  • Shame is 'my company' is not good enough and that reflects on me.
  • Shame is admitting I am in pain and can't handle it.
  • Shame (this one is heavy) is being addicted to the negative patterns I've experienced since childhood.
  • and oh, there is more …

I know that I am in a "shame storm" when:

  • I get really angry
  • I start to cry and become inconsolable
  • I feel desperate.

The point is not that the shame is reasonable or rational but that it is named, that I able to bring it to light and build my own resilience to it.

This is what catalyzed my personal commitment to this 30 day challenge. What about you?

Day 1: 30 Day Meditation Challenge

Day 1: 30 Day Meditation Challenge

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UnknownOur 30 Day Meditation Challenge is underway (There is still time to sign up). We have a lovely and large group of meditators so there is lots of support on this journey. Here are some considerations as we get started:

Mediation is a way of developing stillness and peace of mind. You can start by sitting absolutely still - "practicing conscious physical immobility can teach you how to be in the conflict-free, higher-energy, "stillness" state for more of your daily life. You can learn what it feels like to have all your energy perfectly aligned and in harmony." Sounds good, right?

A Technique to Try: Counting Backward*

  • Begin by counting backward from fifty to zero, synchronizing the counting with your breathing.
  • Count the odd numbers as you inhale and the even numbers as you exhale.
  • Sit with your back straight and eyes closed.
  • When you reach 0, stop counting, but stay aware of the natural flow of breath.
  • Sit absolutely still, but don't hold yourself still. Simply be so relaxed that no movement occurs.
  • Be very aware of how you feel: how peaceful, energized, calm, alert, serene, fearless, at ease. Familiarize yourself with this feeling, the feeling-tone of being centered and at peace, and rest here for another few minutes.
  • You are learning not to be in control. You are learning how to get out of the way.

The more familiar you are with the feeling-tone of your own centered being when you are "home" and alone, the more obvious it will be when you move away from it, and the easier it will be to find your way back to center in the midst of your (busy) life." -Erich Schiffman

After today's session, write for a few minutes with no agenda other that to see what is revealed. If you want, share what you discovered with the group.

*from Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffman (YSPMIS ES)

I Dare You

I Dare You

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Screen shot 2011-09-04 at 12.48.58 PMAnn Voskamp has a flair for the dramatic. So much so that the first time I attempted to read One Thousand Gifts, I couldn't get past the first few pages were she recounted the events of her baby sister's death. I had to put the book down and away. So this time, I skipped the first few pages. The premise of the book is the author's spiritual journey to find Joy. Joy through the recognition and gratitude for Gods gifts. A dare to write down 1000 things that she is grateful for. Ann Voskamp is a Mennonite farmer's wife and mother of six living in Ontario, Canada. Her days are filled with all the details (tedious, frustrating, unfulfilling, deep, emotional, rich) of that kind of life. She id deeply spiritual and wrestles with her faith in a way that is inspiringly authentic. Here is an excerpt.

Being a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully enetering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. Nut a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing .. Through all that haste i thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.

I speak to God: I don't really want more time, I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done - yesterday. In the beep and blink of the 21st century, with it "live in the moment" buzz phrase that none of the whirl-weary seem to know how to do.

Who actually knows how to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync? Who actually knows how to take time and live with soul and body and God all in sync?

To have the time to grab the jacket off the hook and time to go out to all air and sky and green and time to wonder at all of them in all this light, this time refracting in prism.

I just want time to do my one life well.  I just want time to do my one life well.

The most important I think I got from this time reading was a challenge to be grateful, to practice gratitude. Because in gratitude lies the spark of Joy - and I want Joy! Do you? I think I'm going to dare myself to write down 1000 gifts ... I will keep you posted.

1. Brendan's giggle 2. Sunshine 3. Fall changes 4. Sitting on "Mommy's wap" 5. The way he says lap

Get One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp or find out more via her website.

Why Yoga?

Why Yoga?

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imagesFor me, yoga is the key that brings my life into harmony. It's the necessary discipline and sacrifice I need to make to keep my life flowing. With out this discipline, I find myself less able to cope, more afraid, more self-critical, and not as happy. Yoga has the same effect a glass of wine has on my dinner and cooking experience, the same effect great sex has on a date with my husband, the same effect laughter has on my child. Yet, yoga is something  that comes from within. The other wonderful experiences are all external, but for yoga all I need is my willingness to be, breath, move and feel. This year, much about my journey (as so applicable for this time of year) is a drawing inward - a movement away from the external roads to happiness and towards a truer, deeper, long-lasting satisfaction. I want to know, once and for all, what true happiness is, and I have everything I need for that journey right now. The following is an excerpt from Erich Schiffman's book Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness.

The first time I saw someone practicing yoga I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I was attracted, there being something profoundly right about what I was seeing. On the other hand there was a mysterious, exotic, and ancient air about it that made me nervous. I had never seen anything like it before. It seemed powerful, almost bizarre. The man I was watching obviously knew what he was doing, and he seemed to have access to a hidden reservoir of energy. Questions like "Why in the world?" and "What for" raced through my mind. Reactions like "so what", "crazy", and "fanatic" filtered through and yet I was deeply impressed. I wanted to know what twisting and bending your body coud have anything remotely to do with God, life, meaning, or happiness. What was yoga all about? What relationship could it possibly have with anything? With my life, my perceived problems, global issues, despair, hopelessness, the alleviation of suffering, making a difference, enlightenment... ? And like many things in life, we can never know in advance the full impact something is going to have on us. Reasons for our initial involvement may pale and lose importance as we move deeper. We change and learn, often in unexpected ways. The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It's relaxing. It's energizing. It's strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don't. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion - which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm of life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being. As you practice yoga and mediation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivation, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life. -Erich Schiffman, Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness