Friday’s Focus—Examining Humility

Autumn is my favorite time of the year and I think a part of that is because I’ve always felt September and October were more like a new year than the actual January 1 New Year’s Day. To me, September is the month of beginnings. Even though I’ve been out of school for many years, I still think of September as the beginning of a new school year and with it new opportunities and adventures. Then there’s the changing of the seasons and temperatures and of course, moving into October, the gorgeous transformation and front row seat to nature’s fashion show.

For the first time though, this year feels different to me. I’ve noticed a deeper awareness of events and an acuteness to the days’ wanderings that feel more heightened than ever before. Maybe it has something to do with how much faster time seems to be going.  So many people I know have said the same thing and how, especially this year, time feels as though it’s speeding up and almost out of control.

No one can avoid growing older and the growing pains and warts that come along with it, but how we view this parade of changes is what can make a world of difference in our experiences of them. One way to do that is through our humility, which can lead to a deeper and richer level of wisdom and acceptance. Humility has its own quiet power in its ability to provide strength in the awareness that each one of us is a part of something else. Contrary to what many believe, the universe doesn’t revolve around us or is holding its breath waiting to make its next move based on our decision. It doesn’t work that way no matter who you are, who you know, how much money you have, or businesses you own. The Earth will still turn and the sun will rise and set in accordance to its own laws, without any help from us.

Practicing humility is not about lowering yourself and having feelings of inadequacy. On the contrary, humility is a quiet power that lies in the sublime modesty of one’s own potential and view of oneself. Some people see humility as a weakness, with feelings of unworthiness and lack of pride, but I prefer to think of it is a strength of being able to see ourselves in context and in right perspective with others, and finding that we are not lesser or better than anyone else.

By embracing humility we can we move into life’s moments with wisdom and grace by giving up the need for vanity and self-righteousness. This Autumn has become a season of deeper reds, more vibrant oranges, and fiery yellows of a changing landscape that is within me as well as around me reflected in nature, and I hope that today’s Focus will deepen your own personal Autumn and be a season of change within and without as we learn more about and practice humility.

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Keep Your Monkey to Yourself

Don’t invite other people’s monkey’s to your circus. In other words, don’t let other people’s attitudes affect your day. I woke up early this morning to get some coffee at a local popular cafe, which at 7:20 a.m. was already filling up with tourists. I exchanged a bit of chitchat with the girls behind the counter and moved on to the next table for the milk and lids.

I stayed near the edge of the wall to keep the majority of the table available to the other patrons. As I searched the canisters for the soy milk, I had no idea that this guy had come up on my right and in the 12 inches of space I left between me and the wall, had put his coffee down. It wasn’t until my elbow made contact and I heard a “grff.” that I realized someone was there.

Startled, I looked over and saw that I had knocked this guy’s hand enough to spill a little of the coffee he had, on the table. I quickly gave him a once-over to make sure nothing was spilled on his light-colored clothing (which, thankfully, was not). As I profusely apologized, I caught the micro-moment of annoyance on his face. That nailed me. He was not very friendly about the mishap but brushed it off saying it was alright and reached beyond me for some napkins. I gathered my things and ducked out of the cafe feeling bad and well, like an idiot.

It was not my fault that this guy found the smallest nook to be able to place his coffee’s down without even saying “excuse me” or anything else to alert me that he was there. What happened was exactly why I chose that end of the table and left the rest of the table open and available.

I came to realize that whatever was behind that micro-moment really had nothing to do with me. I don’t know what was going on with him or what monkey’s were in his circus but I was damned if I was going allow his attitude to ruin my day when I really did nothing wrong. It could have been so easy to let this morning’s exchange fester and turn into a full-blown, “I’m such an idiot, I should have known someone was going to try and squeeze into that space,” but I refuse to take on whatever he was dishing out.

I wanted to share this experience in today’s Focus as a reminder that not everyone’s attitude and annoyance have to do with you. Each one of us has our own story and circus, and it’s enough to deal with our own monkey’s without taking on someone else’s.

#takingitdeeper

Friday’s Focus—Just…

Breathe. You took a breath just reading the word “breathe”, didn’t you? Good.

Now do it again, but sit up a little straighter.

That’s right, lower your shoulders from your ears and let your shoulder blades come together slightly as you lift your chin.

On your next inhale, pay attention to the sound the air makes coming in through your nose. Notice the coolness of the air and observe where that air goes. Does it stop at the top of your lungs? At the middle? Bottom? Does it make your belly rise and your chest expand up and out?

Keep inhaling deep until you think you can’t take in anymore.

Then take in one more.
Yes, you can.

And now, part your lips slightly and purse them as if you were ready to whistle or blow out a candle
and exhale

S

L

O

W

L

Y.

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Friday’s Focus—Muting the Volume

Recently, while watching TV in the evenings, my husband would hit the mute button whenever commercials rolled around. He said he had been feeling bombarded in listening and watching them; almost like an assault on the senses. Commercials seem to have become a larger part of any given TV program, sometimes more so than the TV program itself and unless you’re watching the Superbowl specifically for the commercials and looking to be purposely entertained, the amount of ads on TV have increased.

We are being bombarded with not so subtle messages of “Buy this now,” which ultimately translates into “You’re not one of us and won’t be happy until you buy/wear/smell like/look like/eat like this”. The latest trend is actually products selling experiences, so adding on to “You’re not one of us until…”, is the message “You won’t experience this adventure/joy/family closeness/intimacy…” until you buy this.

Commercials never really bothered me and so I went along with my husband, gently reminding him to unmute when the program came back on because we would usually end up in conversation during the break.

Now, let’s roll forward to a few days later when I was watching TV by myself.  I left the commercials on and I found myself really paying attention to the volume, the colors, and the messages, and I began to understand where my husband was coming from. Out of curiosity and as a personal experiment, I voluntarily started to mute the volume during commercials.

What surprised me the most, was how much I recognized the constant chatter of the commercials as being very much like that constant chatter in my head. My monkey mind was on TV! With the volume off, I felt my body relax and my shoulders drop. With the volume on again, even if for a favorite show, I became acutely aware of  how “tight” my body felt and how my energy shifted into a higher gear.

In no time, I became more aware and conscious of my personal energy and the energy in a room when the TV was on and when it was off. The difference was palpable enough for me to start thinking about the connection on muting the TV volume and muting the chatter of my monkey mind. If only it were so easy to still that voice in our heads and put the busy mind on mute. Of course, it can be done but it’s a constant effort and conscious work in meditation, going inward, and being fully present within ourselves. A lifetime’s work for sure.

Muting the chatter on TV has led to an awareness of my own inner chatter. I have become much more present to the energies and sounds of silence.

So if you’re a TV watcher, I’d like to offer you this experiment. The next time you find yourself in front of the TV, hit the mute button during the commercials and see if you notice any difference in how you feel, physically and emotionally. It may take a few days, but note any energetic changes to your body and the difference in input with the volume on and off, and eventually with the TV on or off.

I know many people who say that they can’t meditate—mainly because they can’t sit still, but I believe a large part is also because of how difficult it can be to turn down our own inner volume, to the point of muting the chatter. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to feel you might not know what to look for, so I think by doing this exercise with the TV is a great way to start to become aware of the subtle energies around us and inside us and get us on our way to putting that monkey mind chatter into cancellation with no new series premier this fall.

Taking it deeper….

Have a great weekend!

Friday’s Focus—Set the Tone

There are few people I know, who jump out of bed each morning with a smile on their face and an eagerness to greet the day.

So for those of us who slap the alarm clock and greet the day with a grunt and an “Ugh, morning already?”, change tactics tomorrow and intentionally set the tone rather than letting the day set it for you.

When you wake up tomorrow, create the space from the first moment you wake for a positive day and that whatever comes, things will work out. (The slapping of the alarm clock is still allowed.)

You can make it happen—it’s possible!

Have a good weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Being in Balance While Counting to Zen

Two weeks into the New Year and I am beginning to feel the realignment of balance and the recognition of coming back to a new normal. A new normal for me.

Each morning, as I sit quietly in the predawn, there is a sense of unfoldment, teasing me in its reveal.

The release of previous holds on me are shifting in ways that are creating a deeper understanding of past patterns and situations. Looking back at them, I see how necessary they were in order to build the ladder to the stars that are now aligning.

I continue to pray and listen to a response as I sit on my mat and count to Zen, riding my breath while it moves in and out of this body I have reclaimed.

It’s not enough to just feed the body.
It’s not enough to just feed the soul.

The soul needs the body to give birth to its dreams and the body needs the soul to live and experience those dreams. The feast is an interconnected ying-yang circle of continual flow. Another relationship where one shouldn’t live without the other is the balance of the head and the heart. I say shouldn’t because many of us only live in one or the other, perhaps too afraid of making the connection or simply not knowing how. No judgement. Just acknowledgment.

There are so many things I already knew up there, but as the dots begin to connect, I now know the same things down there, adding color and texture to the monochrome that lay there before. I can’t help but sigh and drop my shoulders as I relax into this realization of deeper knowing in my heart, and wider understanding in my mind. A brand-new landscape, for sure.

I’m excited at the hints I’m seeing of what’s ahead. A work in progress, that’s me but aren’t we all? We’re just at different stages of the artist’s vision. As the day deepens believe me, the loftiness I start the day with is something that needs constant attention because it’s so easy to be pulled one way or another and before I know it I’m taking another deep breath and counting to Zen. But circles aren’t always perfectly round I remind myself—that’s not the important part. The important part is that there is a circle and that the connection remains.

And tomorrow I will sit again, curious at what will unfold but knowing that whatever it is, I will be adding a new rung to the ladder that I’ll use to climb and reach the stars.