I’ve been told all of my youth to relax and chill out; don’t let the actions of others stress you out. I’ve avoided conflict and confrontation as much as I possibly could. It became a quest. I became an artist, and alternative health practitioner because of this I believe.
I remember in a college class auction saving all my chips to buy Inner Peace, while my classmates were bidding on imaginary sport cars, houses and millions of dollars. I had it all figured out – if you had inner peace then who needed all the other stuff. Two things to note here – “INNER” and all the other stuff. I figured a sure and steady route would be to maintain an air of peace outwardly and work on the inside until they met in the middle. I’m sure you can guess how that has turned out. First off the world doesn’t care how peaceful you are – it wants your money and your subservience.
Somewhere along the line that “Inner” thing becomes an issue to others on the outside.
One side of that is that your outward peaceful is counted as indifference to others. Most people are unfamiliar with inner peace you see. This may in fact piss them off more than inspire them to calm down. The other side is people may be doing loads to wreck that peace because all they see is your placid face not freaking out. This signals them that you’re okay with everything happening to and around you. Try maintaining that inner peace then!
What happens is that you keep all that resentment and your truths inside then they come rushing out when there’s no more room and you can’t take it anymore. That is greeted by surprise from those who pissed you off in first place with “Why are you sooo aggressive?” The answer in my head of course is – I’m not. I didn’t shout. I simply wanted to be heard. I got heard alright, but still not sure I got understood.
A very good friend of mine heard me, and respects me enough to tell me what she sees; apparently I lack some boundaries. I’m guessing my acceptance of people and their foibles indicates to the world exactly where my boundaries lie…. I live on Crown Land – everyone is allowed in as long as they don’t poach the wildlife. But even Crown land comes with signs stating the rules. I love my friend, she has given me a clue. I need to make some signs!!!
We live in a world where kindness has become equated with weakness. We are reduced to less than strong if we choose not to fight or quarrel over what in essence are small issues. We may choose to lead by example; by being able to adapt to the shifting emotions of others with a level response hoping that our outward cool and acceptance will foster reciprocal action. The problems occur when a society is deeply entrenched in me first philosophy. Somewhere along the line we translated personal freedom and empowerment into entitlement take what you want, look out for yourself and let everyone else figure it out. we’re constantly given the message that we’re entitled to the whole enchilada. We’ve transmuted inner health into outer bravado. Respect no longer begets respect. Might makes right wrong.
While my “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you” is noble in thought, it is unsuccessful in application in my current incarnation. I am learning how to paint my signs with color, light and indelible ink. I’m still wary of conflict and not too down with confrontation so I’m going to use my “healer” skills for preventative medicine (the most effective kind) instead. My first patient is me.
To be totally honest, we’ve been put through our paces in the past three months. collectively we’ve experienced illnesses, break ups, some financial woes, the passing of a beloved family member and a sudden plethora of puppies! Throughout all the trials we have remained (mostly) positive, supportive and creative in tackling all the hurdles so far. we are a team, and now family.
Every once in while the Universe surprises us with an unexpected bonus. I think of it as incentive to keep on going; a sneak peek of of what zero stress feels like. Yesterday was one of those days. We had an unexpected and thoroughly soul recharging experience. I hooked up with a friend of mine who has studied yoga all over the world last week, and he offered to give us a class a few days later. A couple of us decided during our early morning meeting to go for a walk and scout out a place near the river to have our session. As luck would have it we found the perfect spot on a sandbar. We were so thrilled with our discover that we kept on walking the beach for another hour and a half.
Here’s Kim looking for a heart stones, camera in hand (her third hand)…
Here’s a shot of our Yoga teacher, Brian Dickson. He is a most talented man. I saw his aura that day, it was blue and ringed with gold…
Kim did most of class then snuck around us snapping pics.
We’ve all been dreaming of clear blue skies, and turquoise Caribbean seas.
We had been wondering about yoga by sea and the sound of the waves under a hot tropical sun.
We found all those things in my own backyard, on a whim and a chance circumstance! It is those moments that keep us going.
They are the moments in between our thoughts that our Yogi puts emphasis on during meditation.
When I give it more thought I think that it was more than a carrot to keep us on track .
It was a message to all of us that often what we dream of is right under our noses.
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness consists of cultivating awareness of the mind and body and experiencing life in the here and now. It means being fully aware and present without judgement or filters. Historically mindfulness was associated with meditation connected to the original traditions of Buddhism as a spiritual practice. Today in a hectic and even sometimes chaotic world, mindfulness has expanded far beyond its original spiritual roots and extends to encompass mental and emotional well-being. Today doctors are beginning to prescribe mindfulness practices to help people deal with pain, illness, stress and grief.
Some people believe that mindfulness is completely related to meditation and that it would take precious time from a busy day to practice mindfulness techniques and exercises. Mindfulness is effective for that very same reason, it creates some time to reflect, and give you some space from a particularly stressful situation. Practicing mindfulness also allows us to recognize and correct destructive thoughts or behaviours before or as they occur and effect us.
Rather than take significant chunks of time from your day there are several easy things that we can do during the course of our day to become mindful. In fact author Donald Altman has written a book titled One-Minute Mindfulness: 50 Simple Ways to Find Peace, Clarity, and New Possibilities in a Stressed-Out World. Here are some simple practices that you can employ during the day to increase your mindfulness, reduce stress and increase the positive energy in your life.
1. Find pleasantness at work.
You can find pleasantness in simple things: a song, a sound, a favorite color, a scent or a flower.. All you have to do is scan your surroundings and you’ll find something pleasant. Carry pleasurable items with you or and bring a pleasant object to work – such as a photo of a loved one, a flower, or something meaningful to you. Take time to look at it too, consider its meaning to you and relive the positive feeling the object brings.
2. Perform one small act of kindness you can do for someone.
For instance, in a minute, you can send a sweet email or give a compliment, smile, tell someone you care, help someone in some way. You can also take a minute or two to consider something nice that someone has done for you recently. If you’re working from home or spending your day at home or alone – do something kind for yourself
3. Bring a dose of creativity to your workday.
Try to do one small creative thing at work or in your day. Even a doodle can help you stop and be mindful. If you think that you’re not creative take a minute to say an affirmation. Here are a couple of examples from Altman’s book. “The treasure of creativity is available to me at all times,” or “I let go of expectation and let creativity come to me.”
4. Take time to connect with nature.
Slip off your shoes and stand on the grass barefoot. Feel yourself growing roots and connecting to the Earth. Take time to breathe deeply. In a cool climate try hugging a tree! I cannot stress enough how important it is to BREATHE! Most of us breathe very shallowly. Our body thrives on fresh deep breaths; it slows us down and immediately alleviates pressure and stress.
Just these simple practices will help you connect to the here and now and help your journey to Mindfulness.