What Matters Most

The other day a friend said, “I hope we don’t forget what’s most important while focusing on what is least important.” I’m still not sure what she was specifically referring to.  But then this weekend I read this article from Bill Phillips about attitude and it fits in with that same sentiment.

Please, while you are on your journey, don’t forget what matters most while focusing on what matters the least. (and I hope you know the difference)

Bill Phillips is awesome btw, he understands the mind/body/spirit connection and uses that teaching to change people’s lives.

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Enlightenment

“Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness” Terry Pratchet

From Cormac comes this quote challenge. (I’m going to play along as long as I can make it “fit” the theme here, not always able to).

So

I’ve got this to say:

One. You know when a bulb burns out and you are lazy and don’t change it for a while? or you get right on it and put in a newer brighter bulb? You know how BRIGHT it suddenly is? you see the cobwebs, the dust, the things you thought would go away if ignored? Well That’s what flamethrowers do, for a minute, then you burn your hand, drop it and move on.

Two. When you shine that bright flamethrower on the darkness? You temporarily blind yourself. As in you do not see clearly.

Three. Examine Your Eyesight. (this comes from a lovely set of Tavis Smiley Empowerment cards, A card a day and woot! you retrain your thoughts. It goes on to say  take your focus off how others see you. Don’t be obsessed with the need to impress. Keep your concern on the vision in the mirror and don’t allow the approval of others to obstruct your view of you.

Four. Own it. The Darkness and the Flamethrower.  Both are means to an end.  Name it. Claim it.

Five. Its not the darkness or the light that will get you in the end. It’s how you react to them. That attitude is the light from inside that cannot be hidden or the darkness that will drag you down.

Sadhana

The act of doing the same thing every day, reverently.

This concept is so much bigger than me.

But I’ve heard it described as simple as the act of lighting a candle everyday and then blowing it out. Just purposing to do this every day, with reverence. It’s been said that the moment you purpose such a thing, all the reasons not to will surface. And its true.

I’d be a super athlete if I had that discipline. And the fact I can’t stick with a plan, probably explains a lot. Physical, mental, spiritual all go hand and hand.  Mind, Body, Spirit. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Hmn.

So this year for Lent I decided to purpose somethings. 1. To give up three not so nice things. (time wasters, vocabulary and continuing to stamp on old bad habits, nothing major) 2. To add in their place, more spirituality. To Wit, Sadhana, getting/waking up early and doing yoga practice and meditation.  And “good works” giving to charity money that I would have spent on something else, and being more mindful of my spirit.

And of course, my self wants the things I gave up, has a million reasons not to wake up early. I’ve spent time counting my blessings and being thankful. I’m balancing a too full plate and all that wants to fit on it.

So far? Waking up early has brought such joy and peace, but I miss my bed, in fact one morning’s meditation was actually snuggling in my nest of pillows and praying.

That was a good day.

Yoga for Weightloss

So someone is always asking, “can you really lose weight doing yoga.” Someone asked that in my Monday night yoga class a couple weeks ago and before the teacher could respond,  a student raised her hand.

“I want to answer that,” she said. “I’ve lost 60 pounds in the last year and yoga has been my only form of exercise. ” Now if you are a body builder who runs 20 miles a week, adding yoga might not get you a 60 pound weight loss. But if you are right now, not working out at all, and you start a 3 or 4 a week yoga routine? yep, you will see results.

My yoga teacher confirmed the woman who had lost 60 pounds by saying in the last several years the only exercise she has gotten is yoga.  And she is firm and tight and in better shape than 4-6 years ago. (yep I’ve been going to that yoga teacher that long)

So, add healthy weight to the benefits of yoga. right up there with healthy spirit I hope.

Silence

Peerless Panther issued a quote challenge last week and its taken me this long to respond. Her quote?
“Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most.” ~ Bob Dylan

And how does that relate to yoga? Well there are many different ways this could go and may end up. But let’s start here.

My yoga teacher training is difficult, and in-depth and challenging. And I love it. But one thing really scared me. The knowledge that before the year was out I would need to spend one day in silence. Alone, just me.  I love people, I need people, interacting with people give’s me energy and makes me happy.   When I first learned about this day of silence, I asked my teacher, “How long is a day?” Would six hours count? Would eight? Would four? Well the answer grasshopper, is that it’s different for everyone. This silence could include a tiny bit of reading to help direct the mind and a tiny bit of music to keep focused on the inner. but. that. is. it.

I’ve decided the time in the car doesn’t count, (six-eight hours alone at least twice a month) because I need to focus on staying awake and driving and I tend to think a lot and if I stopped I might run off the road, etc.  And unless I really focus, the time at home alone doesn’t count. I mean I live alone right? in Silence? right? Well, there is the internet, the phone, books and all sorts of distractions. It’s supposed to be purposeful and intentional and well, silent.

The words of a Pink song, say “Silence scares me cause it screams the truth” And in October I was a bit frightened of that silence, that truth.

I’ve always been the one to fill the silence, with chatter, with stories, with questions. As a journalist, I learned how to use the silence, to draw it out just a bit so people would talk more, tell more, give better interviews.

As a child, a lover, and a friend, I’ve had silence used against me as a weapon, which is probably where my fear of it comes from.  And I’ve learned the companionable feeling of silence with someone when you get to the point where words aren’t necessary.  And I’ve felt the silence, the terrifying silence of having performed, spoken, written something and waited for feedback and gotten

silence.

And in that moment of time silence is terrifying.

But the beauty of choosing your silence? is the beauty of looking forward to it with joy and not fear. It’s the beauty of stepping back and being an observer of self, not a critic. I’ve started playing with silence, a few hours here, a turning off of the phone there, a stopping the inner monologue and what I’ve found isn’t terrifying at all, its actually pure joy and knowing myself better and accepting myself more.

And the more I step into that silence and joy, the more I see I’m not alone.

Yoga for Joy

This past weekend I was at teacher training at Joyflow Yoga in Ridgeland, MS (near Jackson) and I was working so hard and deep and all the sudden I looked up and saw painted on the wall, “Experience Joy” and I burst into a smile as a song filled my heart.

The song?

Joy by the Newsboys

“You give me joy unspeakable and I like it!”

Flash forward to Thursday night. I’m teaching a new class and I’m not sure how its going. Are they “getting it?” how am I doing? After savasana and a time of relaxation, when they sat up I knew! I saw  the joy reflected on their faces! Oh what a feeling! and I know its nothing I did— it was the yoga!

Sometimes our joy,  its in there, its just buried so deep,  joy for life, for love,  for the sunrise, for the breath you take,  it just gets covered up with life. The process of yoga uncovers that inner joy, and I like it!