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inspired retouched-crpdSupportive, firm, slightly bumpy

Smooth, almost silky…

Aaah—cool, soft, moist, and soothing

Tickly, scratchy, stroking…

My bare feet delight in the textures they are taking in.

Each step a celebration of impressions.

It’s almost like my feet have little antennae attuned to each touch of the sole of my foot on the ground.

Delight, curiosity, wonder!

What will the next step bring?
Concrete—bumpy, gravelly, smooth?
Grass, clover, weeds?
Marble? (on a sidewalk, leftover from the construction of the State Capitol)
Wet or dry earth?

Each bringing its own impressions, my feet play with each one…

All around me, Summer also delights my eyes with a riot of color and texture.

  • Yellow and orange ruffled marigolds
  • Brilliant spotted and streaked, stately oriental lilies
  • Friendly-faced, simple daisies
  • Soft, pink and purple flowers of all kinds
  • Sunny, yellow primrose and simple stella d’oro lilies
  • Spikey yet gentle beebalm

Everywhere, flowers bloom forth, as if delighting in their own beauty.

And birdsong surrounds me—robins, cardinals, sparrows, finches, and more…

Mother Nature is my playground this morning—
my senses are awakened and aroused as I run and walk through her glory.

Even my body responds, reveling in the invitation to feel the lightness, the delight, the celebration in this summer full moon morning.

  • I jog.
  • I run, limbs flying with wild abandon as my inner child takes over.
  • I prance and leap.
  • I skip.
  • And I slow back down to a walk.

I allow my body to delight and play with life all around me—through my feet, through my eyes, through my ears, through my core.

I read once that play was something we do for recreation only—not for practical purposes. This morning, I set out for practical purposes—to exercise my body and soul—and I discovered play!

So often I forget thisthat playfulness can be part of my everyday life—slipping in to lighten up my serious, hard-working, responsible approach. That I feel happier, lighter, and even get more done when I allow my senses/my bodysoul to play.

If you’d like to explore how to lighten your day with a playful attitude, reveling in summer’s energy of celebration and lush fulfillment, consider joining me on August 2nd for The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat.

Or if you’re craving a deeper exploration of play-time, retreat-time, real contact with other women, beauty, and nourishment, consider joining Sara Avant Stover and a beautiful group of women in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for this year’s SHE Retreat from October 31st to November 7th! I’m happy to say I’ll be there assisting, too! YAY! :)

How do you invite playfulness into your daily life?
What practices or reminders do you have in place to invite delight?

I’d be happy to support you with my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

And enjoy this playful NYC invitation!

This.
This amazing peony.
Right here.
Opening, graceful, present.

peony
How can I not look at it?
How can I not stop and drink it in?

Now, it says.
I look.
Yes, this.
I drink it in.
Come again.
I sink, I dive, I am drawn in.

The beauty.
The simplicity.
The “isness.”

This simple peony.
From my garden.
In a vase.
Sitting on my desk.

Inviting me.
To stop.
To savor.
To be.

Now.

And now.

And, forever, now.

A friend from my SomaYoga Teacher Training shared this from one of her friends in our online homework forum:

Mindfulness asks us to awaken to life (not always pleasant or easy) and self-compassion comes in to help us cherish ourselves during this awakening.

inner buddha

I’m struck that, with the goal of awakening, we’re often taught to empty ourselves, to clear our minds, to become still, silent, vast, spacious. It’s no wonder that some part of us rebels!

Yes, we need this calming of the mind, this inner quiet and emptiness—but it is not the be all and end all of spiritual enlightenment. [Gasp!]

We also need the cherishing, the compassion, the love of Being.

Our True Nature is both. Our lives need both. To be complete and whole, we need both.

We need to live in the world, without believing all the thoughts of our minds, open to spaciousness and clarity.

And we need to LIVE in the world, with our hearts and bodies alive and brimming with juicy passion, desire, authenticity, strength, love, and, oh, so much more!

This is the real measure of our awakening—living our realization with mindful awareness and compassion. With our True Mind and our True Heart online. With the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine guiding us.

When I live from this place, I know what I want, what I love, and I am sweet and compassionate with myself when I can’t have it, or when I behave less than skillfully. I have practices that support Quiet Mind and non-attachment, and I have practices that grow compassion and love. My practice actually affects my life, making me a more real, authentic, compassionate, contactful, clear, and awake human being.

I must bring my realization off my mat—whether it be yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer, or any other practice—into my real, lived life.

What practices support you in developing both awakeness and compassion?
What fruits of your practice do you recognize in your lived life?

If you would like some support in integrating your practice into your life, I’m here for you!

This, too.

Practice Loving Kindness

Practice Loving Kindness

Kindness, compassion, unconditional friendliness… What do these words evoke in you?

Of course, it’s good to be kind to others. It’s good to be a compassionate person, to be friendly…that’s what we’re taught, by our parents, at school, in our faith traditions, by our culture. Being a good person, a nice person, an appropriate person includes being kind.

But what is kindness? And what does it mean to be kind?

  • To do kind things for someone?
  • To say kind words?

What if we aren’t feeling or thinking kindness?

There’s something to be said for practicing kindness whether we feel it/think it or not.

  • But if we only practice kindness toward others, we’re missing something.
  • We may never really feel what we’re doing/saying on the outside if we are not also practicing kindness for ourselves on the inside.

This is the place we need to start. With ourselves.

Are you kind to yourself?

  • Think about the last time you did something you wish you hadn’t—it could be something small like unintentionally hurting a friend.
  • How did you treat yourself?
  • Most of us have learned to judge ourselves in some way: “Why did I do that?” “Messed up—again.” “What’s wrong with me?” “I shouldn’t have done that.” Or maybe something much stronger…
  • Is that the way you would treat your friend or a child?
  • Is it kind? Is it compassionate? Is it friendly?

Meditation teacher Tara Brach has a beautiful book called Radical Acceptance in which she describes another possible way of living that includes learning to accept rather than resist (judge, ignore, deny, etc.) our experience.

Accepting our experience is the ultimate act of kindness.

I’ve been playing around recently with one of her practices, which she refers to as “This, too.”

  • When I unintentionally hurt a friend, I breathe and sense my body and heart and say “This, too.”
  • Just by saying “This, too,” instead of moving into a habitual judging or doing response, it gives me a pause.
  • What is this “This”? What is my experience from causing hurt? What is actually happening in my body, in my heart?
  • Perhaps I feel fear or sadness or disappointment…How does that sense in my body? What are the actual sensations and where are they showing up? …This, too.
  • The mind will have a lot of ideas about this and may want to jump in with stories or judgments about me, about what this means, about what to do… I don’t need to try to stop those—that’s futile anyway! I simply keep returning to how I feel in my heart and body when these thoughts arise. …This, too.
  • I might notice that from staying with myself in this way, some feelings of closeness with myself, of welcoming myself, of being friendly with myself arise. …This, too.

This is being kind to myself. This is accepting my experience in the moment. And this is what will organically lead me into heartful, mindful action if needed.

As Tara says, “All that matters on this path of awakening is taking one step at a time, being willing to show up for just this much, touching the ground just this moment.” (p. 324)

As I practice this at various times during my day, I feel softer, gentler, more aware of what is actually going on inside me, creating a sense of intimacy with myself. This, too.

Then when I’m kind to others, this kindness feels congruent. It arises from a place of knowing kindness with myself. My inner and outer experience reflect each other. Kindness is real and truthful. This kindness ripples into the world. This, too.

May we all practice loving kindness.

If you’d like some support practicing kindness, I’d be honored to accompany you:

grounded & growing

Jizo and Scilla-rszdBring it on!!

After a long Winter of inward time, of resting and dreaming, I am READY for the greening, the new life, the new possibilities of Spring!

In my backyard city garden, the lettuce is up, the peas are just beginning to poke their curious heads out of the ground, the chives are gathering together in a clump to stay warm on still chilly nights, and the garlic, having overwintered, is raring to go, shooting upward toward the sun, which will be much less once the trees fully leaf out… I have also planted kale, calendula, and morning glories, all of which can handle some cool nights and even the bit of Spring snow we are getting today!

Spring energy can feel exciting and revivifying, waking up all our senses from a more inward-turned attention. Yet even as I eagerly breathe in Spring’s fresh nourishment, this new energy can also feel overwhelming and challenging to my comfortable (read “habitual”) way of living—my habits, the ways I know myself…

I may need to undertake some Spring cleaning, inside and out. And like the plants emerging from the earth, I must be willing to meet what is in my growth-path, willing to be changed, while at the same time sensing how to stand firm as I emerge into the new light of Spring.

How to do this?

We can remember to turn inward, sitting quietly and breathing into our deep roots of inner contact and ground. We can practice slowing down, listening, receiving our own inner wisdom as a way to ground in ourselves as we meet what is in our path. See this Breathing Practice for support, too.

In this way, we can emerge into Spring confident that the soul roots we continue to grow will support us as we step out into the newly forming world, trusting that we can lean back to connect with our steady ground as needed to keep our balance.

If our seeds have been sheltered wisely and received true nourishment, they are ready to push up and reach out of the dark, cozy holding of the earth, into the growing light and warming air. Life is opening again, in the world around us and within our souls.

Deeply rooted in ourselves, can we meet whatever we encounter along the way with interest and curiosity? With a desire to open to and learn
from the unfolding of this fresh, new life?

To practice grounding and growing, I invite you to join me at my April 26th The Way of the Happy Woman®: Spring Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat. It is almost full! :) I would also be happy to offer you a free Discovery Session to check out if my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching is a fit.

fresh life vision 2013-crpdFeeling musty?
Need to be aired out?

It must be Spring!!

The warmer weather, the buds and birdsong, even the gentle rain (finally!) call us out, outside into the fresh, new air.

It’s time to declutter.

  • Your heart…
  • Your home…
  • Your energy…
  • Your life…

How do I want to feel? What are my core desired feelings? (An invitation from creativity maven Danielle LaPorte.) Brainstorm all the ways you want to feel and then narrow it down to 3-5 core desired feelings. How can you bring more of that into your life? How can you process any anger, fear, or grief to make room to align your life with your core desired feelings? Be simple. Focus on that and don’t get distracted…

How do I want my home-nest to support me? What changes are needed to bring in Spring? How can you freshen, renew, revitalize, clear, and clean? What brings you joy, comfort, and life? Keep that and let go of the rest. Start a giveaway box or a bag in the attic or basement and routinely put things in that you aren’t using and anything that doesn’t contribute to a home that feels supportive and fresh.

How do I want to live? What food will nourish me and make me ready for more outside time, more movement, more energy? What relationships will support my healing, growth, and expansion? What activities will enliven and nourish, my life energy? Be ready to really look at this and choose for you—for your life, your healing, your growth!

It’s Spring! Choose life, choose vibrancy, choose freshness, choose lightness!

Create some open space in your life to invite in the new, the unknown.

Make space for growth.

Make space for newness.

Make space.

Space for Spring to enter in…

I’d love to support you in inviting Spring to enter into your life:

stirrings…

Kuan Yin and snow resizeStirrings.

Urges.

Light slipping through the curtains.

Birdsong.

The familiar undercurrent of other lives.

The vast, unfolding of time.

It’s morning. Morning. Morningtime.

Greeting the day. Entering the day.
•    I choose how I wish to be.
•    I choose how I wish to feel.
•    I choose how I wish to live.

thank you god for most this amazing day… (e.e. cummings)

Waking up this morning I smile, twenty-four brand new hours are before me, I vow to live fully in each moment and look at all beings with eyes of compassion. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

I surrender the day now beginning. May I live in love. May I be in love… (Marianne Williamson and me)

Breath opens.

Body stretches and releases.

Hands land lightly.     On heart.     On belly.

I am here.
•    In this body.
•    In this bed.
•    In this life.

In this morningtime.

Like Spring, morning is a time to begin again.
•    With a new day.
•    With a new chance.
•    With a new perspective.

How will I live into this possibility?
•    With habit?
•    With rushing?
•    With openness?
•    With love?

With awareness.         With curiosity.         With compassion.

I can bring these to any day, no matter how full.
•    A being that is awake.
•    A mind that it interested and open.
•    A heart that is gentle and soft.

Morningtime = Springtime
A chance to begin fresh.
A chance to begin clean.
A chance to begin simple.

A chance to return to what is most true.

You.

Me.

Being here.

Practicing and awakening together.

How can you consciously craft your morningtime to welcome
the possibility of a brand new and fresh day of living?

I’d love to support you in this with my 3-hour The Way of the Happy Woman®: Spring Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat on April 26th and/or with my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

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