meditation

Marching Towards our Deepest Intentions

 
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Millions of women are marching today to let their voices of protest be heard.  Marching towards a better, more equal future.  They are turning towards our political reality and confronting the forces in place. How about your inner reality? What do you want to change that may require a turning towards, perhaps with the determination of a march? 

 

After the Holidays and an energetic turning outwards, it is now January and that pushing energy needs a rest.  Again it's the natural time for this - rainy, colder, darker, perfect for slowing down and taking notice of how you are and where your are. Tapping into also what you are hoping for in the future.  A turning towards the interior life and body, both of which could probably use a big dose of self care.  And the future is now. 

 

How do we do this?   Not in the same sense of checking something else off our to do list or even in declaring your New Years resolutions, most of which apparently go unnoticed by February.

 

It's a determined shift in attitude, or a change in perspective, and setting aside the time to internally check in.  It's a time for de-cluttering of home, heart, and mind - time for real conversations, quiet and rest, and time to dig deep below the everyday expectations to find out just how we are and what we want for ourselves this New Year.   And as a protest March relies on the supportive group, this interior work too may need some outside support - friends, family, or professional resources.

 

Taking care of a cold requires lots of orange juice, vitamins, extra rest, all because our bodies tell us that we need extra self care when we get sick.  How about stress?  At times our bodies too are telling us we are stressed and this needs care as well.   I have been known to say "I don't really have much stress in my life."  Recently various external situations changed overnight creating a lot of stress and Bingo all of my chronic issues flared up.  Issues I was sure were not related to stress but turns out stress is a factor, always a factor.  Which is why taking the time to be quiet and honestly turning toward what you really need for yourself is the self care your body has been calling for.  And now is the perfect time!

 

Singhashri, meditation teacher and Breathworks trainer, warns against a brash assessment when turning towards.  Encouraging us to turn towards with an appropriate amount of positivity or else risk slipping into self defeatism or doubt.  The turning towards, yes is choosing to look at what we typically want to ignore and more important, it is creating a space for something else to happen.  

 

So I'm going to be turning towards a fresh sense of self care and wonderment.   How about you -  what would you like to turn toward and how will you do it?  Just as important how will you remember to do it? 

 

Nothing is more intimate than noticing the breath in the body, meditating with no expectations except for coming home to just who this body is and what it needs. On February 12th the San Francisco Buddhist Center will be offering meditation classes again.  I will be co-leading the Mindfulness of Breathing, an age old practice of bringing awareness to your breath and I hope you can join me.  Take advantage of this fresh New Year, naturally a reflective time, and turn towards the things that are calling you and important for your body right now.   

 

March On !  
Shunya
 

What ARE you thinking??

When you begin noticing the signs are everywhere...

When you begin noticing the signs are everywhere...

I know you must have noticed - HeartWisdom has been silent for several months - and I have missed you too!   Life has been just very distracting, or maybe it is my mind, very distracted.  There are reasons, layers of reasons, and this is what I have noticed; that there are those things that are tangibly real and then there's the things that happen in our mind.   And either world can provide you with an atmosphere that is healthy, helpful, a sense that all is well.  Or either world can provide a sense of doom, gloom, or worse.  Sometimes we have little control over what life sends our way yet we can be aware about our mind, and hopefully make choices that have a positive effect and that can ultimately bring some balance.  Choices like physical exercise, fresh healthy meals, meditation, anything that nourishes us while under stress, can bring a balancing shot of clarity.
 
I have been lost in the medical world recently as I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hips and spine.  This is a recent bump in the road for me and instead of a little speed bump it sent me on a detour and I am just now finding my way back.  There was the reality of doctor appointments, tests, physical therapy and then there was my mind. "WTF!  How can this be happening too?  I will never be the same again.  What am I doing wrong? ". A detour into mental negativity, understandably, but still negative and stagnating. 
 
I craved distraction and found it in many ways, as you can probably easily imagine.  And the distractions kept me from facing the stories in my mind which I knew were not true, Ok maybe there was some truth there.  And still there is always an alternative story you can craft for yourself to get you back on the road that will actually take you where it is you want to go.  It's a matter of being aware and consciously choosing to be in the drivers seat - again and again.  It's a matter of developing strategies for your most typical detours.
 
So where do you want to go??  Are you excited by the idea of change but can't bring yourself to turn and take the unknown bumpy, winding road?  Are you desperate to " fix" your pain but can't accept that some of your favorite things may have to take a backseat ?  Are you tired and overwhelmed by the same patterns week after week?  Chances are the story in your mind has ambushed you and you are not going to get to where it is you really want to be without facing these stories and asking " Is this true?"  "What else is true?"  "How often does this story keep me from being the person I want to be?"
 
What is it going to be - another binge on Netflix or some quality time with yourself to reflect, question, dream?  And once you decide to approach this land of awareness would it be helpful to ask for help?  It could be a heart to heart with a trusted friend, it could be a weekend workshop, or maybe some coaching would do the trick?   Whatever will keep you on track, encourage honesty with yourself, and safe from the debilitating stories.  Distraction can be very seductive...I have been on that detour, and the road to being well in both body and mind brings much more contentment and possibility. 

If you have found a good resource for clarity in mind and body, please share below.  ( It's the little grey bubble after Shunya ! )
 

Chronic - What does that mean again?

Hey - this is a 98 point word !

Recuperating from an injury for weeks now, I am finding this blog difficult to write.  I have been putting it off, feeling my own resistance, knowing it is hard to identify with my chronic illness, but there are just so many online scrabble games you can play in one day.

So here goes...I have lupus, a chronic illness,  and am continuously being reminded of the definition of this word chronic.  Websters definitions: Chronic - continuing or occurring again and again for a long time. And this one - constantly vexing, weakening or troubling. Then there is my definition - the practice of patience, acceptance, and gratitude when everything goes wrong. (That is the nicely worded version)

Anyway chronic; vexing, troubling, reoccurring for a very long time.  It is so cliche to say it is an opportunity, though it does drive me to the depths of understanding that I would not get to on my own. It does soften my heart again and again. It does open doors into connection and humility and has taught me the lesson that I most needed, the lesson of patience.  I have learned that a year is actually not a very long time and that determined force more than likely will not get you what you want ( particularly with the body) and that there is a richness to stepping back away from the hotspot of activity.

How about you? Chronic eating habits, chronic speech patterns, chronic stories that seem to happen over and over again?  There is something for each of us in looking at what this is really trying to tell us, what lies underneath.  And the question is what can we learn this time?  What choices are calling for our attention?  What resources will support us in trying something different or even accepting that this is what is true for us now?  Awareness is the beginning and a chronic condition teaches you the necessity of moving several steps beyond that. Not to belittle awareness, it is powerful and you do have to get over your anger, disappointment, grief, and more to arrive at awareness, quite an accomplishment in and of itself.

But I want more. I want to break the bonds that are causing my suffering. I want to change those deep rutted patterns and I want to be continually open to new possibilities. This is why I have a meditation practice, why I rely on support from alternative holistic practitioners as well as strongly developed relationships with my western doctors. Why I go on retreats and why I am a wellness coach. I want more - not only for myself but for you also.

What do you want? What are your methods of dealing with chronic issues? We are not alone, we are not an isolated island, we are connected by much more than what is on the surface.  Please share with us your challenges and successes and to the side is a resource list that I have started and am hoping you will add to.

New definition for chronic:  Patient, strong, deeply connected

Body Conversations - Can We Talk?

Talk about joy in the moving body !

Talk about joy in the moving body !

Often we hear that our bodies and our minds are one.  But what does that really mean? How do you actually experience it?  We live in the body, breathe in the body, move in the body and for me, I particularly enjoy and benefit from remembering in the body. To fully experience and connect with the body while doing something new or having an Aha! moment is to remember that experience internally, in a way that offers real growth and healing. The body is home to all of our inner wisdom and can be a valuable resource, a trusted friend, in making day to day decisions or responding to major challenges. 

This relationship we form with our body is just like any other relationship - it takes work, and love, and understanding. What if listening and communicating with your body could make a real difference? 

So how do you have a conversation with your body? I connect internally through meditation, dance, walking, feeling the body move and respond and breathe.  The San Francisco Buddhist Center is home for my meditation practice and also I have been fortunate to work with some amazing body gurus who have passed their wisdom onto me and now I will share it with you. Wisdom that is about the body and then so much more! Lizz Roman - "Balance is a place of motion."  Augusta Moore - "The breath is the music in the body."  Marianne DeSassise - "Working with your polar opposites allows transcending the blockages in the body."  

Whoa, there is a lot there!  Balancing life and body is a juggling act and it is the act of juggling that brings us balance whether it is adjusting how we sit in our cars by a 1/4 inch or conintually practicing awareness in noticing what body parts hold our tension. Each calibration, each choice does make a difference.  And the breath as music?  Can we really listen to that tune? Is it flowing, rasta, or somber?  Can we dance with it in this breath that happens every moment of every day? And knowing the extremes of the body, how stretching the left side calls for a responding energetic motion from the right side and what is that central grounded space in the middle? 

This may sound a bit esoteric, so where to start? How about getting out and walking around the block?  Really feeling your muscles and skeleton as they push off from the earth and glide forward, rhythmically coordinated. Or perhaps turning on some music as you make dinner and gently, almost absentmindedly, swaying to the beat, letting the music be the breath, the breath the music. Conversely finding the stillness in meditation and befriending the spaces that the breath moves through, around, and creates. 

Whatever will get you out of your head away from the old patterns and words and into the body space, without judging and without expectations.  Only looking for what is there and how it feels. This experience of really being in the body is the secret for learning and acceptance, and ultimately happiness.  A world where your body is your friend, that imperfect friend that we love so much.

Where do you want to start?  How do you want to redesign this age old relationship between your body and your mind?  And I would love to hear about how you best listen and communicate with your body.  Just hit the comment button below....