Now Is The Time. The Time Is Now.

 

Before you read any further, consider the following passage by Rainer Maria Rilke.

“Have patience with everything that remains unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves… Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

As you let these words soak in, take a moment to reflect on how they apply to your life. How often do you procrastinate, putting things off until “later”? How often do you tell yourself to wait until “things settle down” before embarking on a new journey in life? How often do you view time as some sort of enemy, something that you lack or have to “beat”, rather than the abundant gift that it really is? How often do you postpone your life until the perfect time arrives for you to start living it?

If we are to be honest with ourselves, most of us must admit that we fall into these traps from time to time. We get caught up in the preparations of life. The moments of hesitation. The anticipation of something better that is just around the corner. We play mind-games with ourselves and allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that we should wait for the answers of life to arrive, rather than living the questions themselves. We sit idly waiting for something to happen, and in doing so, we let the here-and-now pass us by.

Rather than waiting around for the “perfect time” to arrive, I encourage you to shift your perspective and instead embrace the present time. Arrive each day and practice dailines. Aim for reality. Put time to good use, rather than allowing yourself to be used by it and make the most of each day and each moment as it is at this time. Resist the temptation to resist or force life and instead have the courage to live with “what is”. Remember that life, and everything about it, is fluid. It is a dynamic, ongoing, and ever-evolving process, and because of this, nothing is ever really finished or complete. Nor will it ever be. And while this can be frustrating at times, it can also be comforting and encouraging to know that there really is time for everything and everything has its time. So, as Rainer Maria Rilke writes, do not search for the answers.FORD Lambda sensor

Instead, live everything, including the questions themselves.

Things Aren’t Adding Up? Start Subtracting

Quite often, we tend to think that peace may be obtained by adding certain things into our lives. However, it has been my experience, that the act of letting go is equally important. The following list originated from the article entitled, “Eight Things You Must Give Up To Find Peace”, and it describes eight essential things that must be given up in order to manifest peace in one’s life.

  1. Past regrets and excuses.

As most of us well know, we cannot always choose what happens to us. But, we do have the power to choose how we relate to our circumstances and what we choose to do about them. Quite similarly, we also have the choice to forgive ourselves for our misgivings and refuse to define ourselves by the things we have done, or left unfinished.

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  1. The desire to have all the answers.

Learning to accept the unknown in life is a profound lesson, indeed, as uncertainty can be rather frightening. On the other hand, however, uncertainty can also be quite liberating because it means the possibilities are endless.

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  1. The false hope of a pain-free life.

As I am sure you have heard many times, pain is an inevitable part of life, and it comes in many shapes and sizes. Pain accompanies the good in life, just as often as it does the bad. Pain is for the living only, and as long as we are living, we are bound to encounter it now and then. And despite what many of us tend to think, this is a good thing, as pain signifies that our receptors to the world are working. And it signifies that we are indeed alive and interacting with the beautiful world around us.

  1. Ties to insensitive people.

People are extremely difficult to change, and based on my experiences, they rarely do as a result of the efforts of someone else. So, rather than attempting to change people and creating space for hard feelings, opt to invest your energies into other, more worthwhile things.

  1. Obsessing over negative news.

Do your best and try not to obsess over negativity. Like pain, there will be hardship in the world. So rather than allowing it to weigh you down, use it to propel yourself and the rest of the world forward, in a more positive direction.

  1. The belief that fulfillment resides in the end result.

Like peace, fulfillment is not obtained by achieving a specific goal. Rather, fulfillment is obtained by having a sense of purpose and living with authenticity and intention.

  1. Measuring your success by material wealth.

Stuff is, well, stuff. It is of the essence. It can add to various parts of our lives, and it can send a message to those around us. But, like anything of the material world, material wealth does have its limits.

  1. The need to keep everything the same.

Change is an inevitable part of life, as everything is indeed temporary.  And while change can certainly be uncomfortable, it can also be quite beautiful, for it is change that is at the heart of all growth and progression.

Mirror, Mirror

Not long ago I had a very enlightening conversation that I have found myself revisiting from time to time. I do not revisit this conversation because it was a particularly pleasant experience; rather, it was quite the contrary: this conversation was somewhat hurtful and most definitely humbling. Yet, as uncomfortable as it was for me, this conversation was also a positive and insightful experience, because several insightful observations had been brought to my attention that I had not otherwise made on my own. And even while this insight came as somewhat of a jolt to me, it was illuminating nonetheless.

Without getting into the particulars of the conversation, I will suffice it to say that I learned several important things about myself as a result of that uncomfortable exchange. This conversation opened my eyes to patterns in my life that I had been unintentionally, yet actively, perpetuating. I suddenly became more aware of certain bad habits that I have had and the impact they have on my life. And as a result of this awareness, I was also able to finally see the solution to certain problems that have been otherwise quite difficult for me to resolve.

So, even while this conversation was somewhat unpleasant for me, it really was a positive and important experience because of the awareness and potential growth that I had gained as a result.

And so it seems to go for many of us, does it not? Sometimes, it seems, life has a way of holding up a mirror for us to gaze into. And sometimes, looking at ourselves in such a way can be a difficult thing to do, because we may not like everything that we see. We may be startled by a sudden awareness that we had not had before. We may realize that there are hard truths that we must accept and own up to, and doing so is not easy, for there is nothing easy about admitting that we are, quite often, our biggest problem. If you are anything like me, your natural tendency would have been to resist this process and instead become defensive. To explain or excuse yourself. To shut down, to guard your heart, and protect your ego. Yet, if you are able to resist these temptations and instead gaze into that reflection of yourself, and ask yourself what is to be learned, you will grow and you will evolve. Because as difficult, uncomfortable, or unsettling as these experiences may be, they are quite valuable to us, for what we learn about ourselves during these times serve as an important reminder that while we may in fact be our own problem, we are also our solution to our problems.

Ask Yourself This:

We have all heard the saying, “All that we are is a result of what we have thought”, and in my experience, this statement seems to be true. And, on a similar vein, so does the quote, “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”

Whether this is true for everyone or not, I do like the idea that we have control over our thoughts, and therefore our lives. That at any given moment, we can change how we relate to our circumstances, the world around us, and perhaps most importantly, ourselves, by changing the way that we think.

The following list was taken from an article I recently read that challenged readers to change the way they reflect upon their experiences. Parajumpers Long Bear Jakke The article asserts that the questions we ask ourselves each day greatly influences the type of people we are. So, rather than asking such questions as, How can I earn more money? What’s wrong with me? or Am I good enough?, the article suggests the following inquiries:

What did I learn? Each and every day, we are presented with numerous opportunities to learn. Embrace them for what they are and be grateful for the resulting growth.

Who did I love? Love brings out the best in who we are as well as in those we love. As such, it is the greatest gift as well as the greatest reward that we will ever give or receive.

How was I vulnerable? While being vulnerable is certainly uncomfortable, it is truly transformative. It is about being authentic, allowing yourself to be deeply seen, and taking risks that have invaluable rewards.

What am I grateful for? The attitude of gratitude reminds us that we have enough, and, just as importantly, that we are enough.

Who did I listen to? As you well know, we all just need an ear sometimes. No fixing. No advice. No anything besides opening up to share our stories, whatever they may be. Give this gift to someone else and lend an ear.

How was I challenged? Be careful not to equate challenge with struggle, and bear in mind that challenging experiences are often ripe with valuable life lessons.

What made me laugh? Embrace humor. Be tickled. And, lighten up, for laughter is important.

Who did I connect with? Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel understood and valued. Connection is important, as it provides us with a sense of a belonging, and it serves as a reminder that we are never alone.

How did I grow? Each and every day provides us with opportunities for growth. Appreciate these moments for what they are, and be content with your progress, no matter how big or how small.

What did I share? Never underestimate your ability to make a difference. Know that you have gifts to offer the world, and do not be afraid to let your light shine.

Yoga and Meditation: December 28th – January 1st

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Join me for Yoga and Meditation this week and welcome the New Year!
 
Monday: 12.28
No class. Stay home! Go play! Have fun!
 
Tuesday: 12.29
Sunrise Yoga: 6.30am.
 
Wednesday: 12.30
Astanga: 5.30pm
 
Thursday: 12.31
New Year’s Eve Intention Setting and Meditation: 5.00pm
Holiday Happy Hour: 5.30pm
 
Friday: 01.01
New Year’s Yoga and Meditation: 12.00pm

Woo-Saah

 

Every now and then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to let go and do nothing. That it is okay to sit in silence and just breathe. To be okay with the fact that I cannot always make sense of my thoughts and feelings, and accept the experience of being uncertain about what it is I should do next. And while these moments may certainly be uncomfortable for me, I do take comfort in knowing that I do not have to have it all figured out just yet. That decisions need not be made at all times, and that I can take the time I require to listen to myself and sort through my thoughts and feelings. To pause and reflect on who and where I am, at this time, and just be in that moment, living, and breathing through it.

Sometimes the best advice that we can give ourselves is to just breathe through the moment that we are, inhaling the good and exhaling the bad. It is quite similar to taking a much needed pause that I have referenced so many times before. Remembering to “just breathe” helps us center our minds and our hearts while also encouraging the body to relax. Research has proven time and time again that the power of the breath has calming and healing properties, much as it does in yoga and other mindfulness practices. And while it might not exactly cure what ails us (though some say that it does), it certainly does help us bring our awareness back to where we are, and what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Mindfully breathing, especially during times of stress, helps turn our awareness into ourselves, slowing our minds, relaxing our bodies, and encouraging them to become one. Taking a moment to breathe, center our minds, and synchronize our bodies is truly mindfulness at its best. It is mindful because it forces us to let go of the noise inside of our heads and bring our awareness to what is going on right now. As we do so, we must let go of what has gone on in the past, no matter how recent, and ignore our thoughts about the future, no matter how near.

Simply stated, we have no choice but to take our minds off of everything except our most immediate experiences as they occur. In essence, as we breathe and turn our awareness inward, we are able to mindfully experience our most immediate internal and external happenings, and open ourselves to clarity, self-awareness, and peace.

So today, if you do nothing else for yourself, at the very least, remember to breathe. Inhale the good. Exhale the bad. Resist the urge to do, and instead, allow yourself to just be.

Stop. Just, stop.

I often come across To-Do Lists that enumerate the things that I must do in, or add to my already very-full life. And while these lists often shine light upon areas of life that are thirsting for attention, I find that incorporating more into my life is not what I need. Rather, what I need is less. The following is a list to things to start

Stop spending time with the wrong people. Life is far too short to spend time with the people that drain your energy. Re-evaluate those that do not fulfill or replenish you in some way.

Stop running from your problems. Know that you cannot change what you do not confront, and know that this is not easy nor instantaneous. But the delayed gratification is indeed worth the effort and the wait.

Stop lying to yourself. Let’s be honest. We aren’t really fooling ourselves anyway, are we?

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. Know the difference between selflessness and self-neglect.

Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Be authentic, or the you that feels most like yourself. And know that this this good

Stop trying to hold onto the past. Let go of the past and instead change your relationship with it Change how it lives within you.

Stop being afraid of mistakes. Mistakes can be inconvenient. But they need be nothing more than that. So, dare, do, and adapt. And use old mistakes propel and guide you, not define you or bring you down.

Stop trying to buy happiness. Happiness does not have a price. Know that your worth is intrinsic, and do not attach a price tag to it.

Stop looking to others for happiness. We cannot offer nor experience what we already do not carry within us.

Stop being idle. Go and do. Go and be. This is called living

Stop waiting to be ready. More often than not, we will never feel quite “ready”. Know when to act, ready or not.

Stop being in relationships for the wrong reasons. Bad company is not a good substitute for loneliness. Choose wisely, and do not force the process. And remember that all relationships have something good to offer, even if it is a hard lesson learned.

Stop competing, and stop being jealous. There will always been someone “better” and you will always be “better” than someone else.

Stop complaining. You are not a victim, and no one is out to get you. The curveballs of life are meant to shift your direction, not derail you.

Stop holding grudges. Hatred is toxic. Especially to the self. Forgiveness is the anecdote. For both the self and others

Stop letting others bring you down. Take the high road so they have a place to step up to. Show them that there is a better way.

Stop explaining yourself. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you, anyway.

Stop doing the same things over and over. Or you’ll keep getting the same things over and over. Distance yourself from old patterns and learn.

Stop overlooking small moments. They are bigger than you think.

 

Stop striving for perfection. Instead, strive for effective

 

Stop following the path of least resistance. Take the road less traveled by.

 

Stop saying it’s okay when it isn’t. It is okay to be not-okay sometimes. Rather, sometimes, this is exactly what you need to do in order to pick up the pieces and be okay again.

 

Stop blaming others. If you blame others for what goes wrong, who gets credit for what goes right? Own your life.

 

Stop trying to be everything to everyone. This is impossible and it leads to burn out . Narrow your focus and be good at what you do.

 

Stop worrying. Know when to let go and when to transform that energy into action, and watch the world change.

 

Stop focusing on what you don’t want. Invest in positive thinking, and you will attract wonderful l things.

 

Stop being ungrateful. There is always, always something to be grateful for. Always.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

I was recently moved to reflect on the phenomenon that is love, and the transformational, motivational, and influential force that is it is, regardless of the form that it takes or the relationship it takes place in. In my opinion, love is perhaps the most powerful force in the entire universe. Just think of the impact that its presence and absence has had on your life.

…As you reflect on what this means to you personally, you will likely come to the realization that not only is love a feeling, but it is also a behavior.

With this thought in mind, consider the following behaviors of love, and think about how they have been manifested in your own life, remembering that love, like life, is a practice…

Respect: True love, no matter the form in takes, does not exist without respect. This includes honoring and valuing your loved one, treating them as equal, being considerate, and communicating, verbally and nonverbally, with love and respect in mind.

Kindness: Kindness, of course, takes many forms. It includes, but is not limited to, warmth, helpfulness, comfort, and well-wishes. It involves thoughtfulness, reaching out, and extending oneself with another in mind.

Empathy: Empathy involves demonstrating sensitivity and understanding, and showing an attempt to see things from your loved one’s perspective. It does not equate agreeing with them or relating to them, but having the willingness to considering and validating their experience.

Interest/Connection: Taking to connect, inquire, and share interests is important, as it is an act of bonding, and attending to the innermost aspects of an individual.

Compassion: Compassion, like empathy, conveys sensitivity and understanding and the importance of a loved one’s experience. Compassion is supportive, soothing, and helpful.

Self-control: As humans, we may be tempted to act on our emotions, even when it is in the interest of our relationships not to. This involves the avoidance of taking things out on loved ones, controlling behaviors, speaking mindfully, and acting out of love, rather than getting carried away by other temporary feelings.

Appreciation: It is so important to show that we have appreciation and gratitude for those that we love and all that we do.

Tolerance of Differences: We are all different. We like different things. We do things in different ways. This is okay, and as such, it should be tolerated and respected, at the very least. The melding of two different worlds may take tolerance and balance, but it can most certainly be done so without judgment and hard feelings.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a difficult process, as it involves letting go and working through difficult feelings. Yet it is important, as it allows for humility, growth, and progression. Without forgiveness, a relationship is stagnant.

Integrity: Live in accordance with your values, and you will modellove and everything else that you hold to the highest esteem. When you compromise your integrity, you compromise yourself.

Set yourself aside: Love involves us. But it is not always about us. Rather, it is a melding of individuality and togetherness. As such, it is important to know what is your “me stuff” and what is your “we stuff”. This means checking your ego, insecurities, and hard feelings.

Yoga and Meditation Schedule for the Holiday Season

Join me for Yoga and Meditation as we honor the Winter Solstice, the Full Moon, and the Holiday Season.

Monday: 12.21.2015

Yoga for Kids: After school-5.00pm

Tuesday:  12.22

Sunrise Yoga:  6.30am

Wednesday: 12.23

Astanga/108 Sun Salutations: 5.30pm

Thursday: 12.24

Full Moon Meditation: 5.00pm

Holiday Happy Hour: 5.30pm

Friday: 12.25

No Class.  Merry Christmas!

Monday: 12.28

No class.  Stay home!  Go play! Have fun!

Tuesday: 12.29

Sunrise Yoga:  6.30am.

Wednesday: 12.30

Astanga: 5.30pm

Thursday:  12.31

New Year’s Eve Intention Setting and Meditation: 5.00pm

Holiday Happy Hour: 5.30pm

Friday: 01.01

New Year’s Yoga and Meditation:  12.00pm

What Matters Most

Over the years that I have written this column, I have often spoken to the importance of maintaining “perspective”.

In doing so, I have stated that our perspective on worldly issues has the power to transform, or at the very least, influence our lives in very profound ways. Yet, not surprisingly, maintaining an objective, insightful perspective is often easier said than done.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to find perspective on a life issue, consider the following fifteen questions…

  1. Is this issue going to matter in a year from now? Can you recall your biggest problem one year ago from today? Is it still an issue? More than likely, it is not. If it is, it is obviously important.

  1. What aspects of your current life would you be grateful for had you had them five years ago? Isn’t it interesting how some of the most simple things, such as relationships, loved ones, careers, seem to be the greatest blessings?

  1. Do you care more about this situation, or just how it “makes you look”? When life delivers a blow to our ego, we often get caught up in our heads and fret over the opinions of others, causing more suffering for ourselves than necessary. When we can release this, we are able to see what really matters most to us. And what doesn’t.

  1. Name five things that are basic for your survival that you do not have to think about. Ask yourself if your basic needs are met: Do you have a place to sleep? A meal on the table? Can you pay your rent each month? If not, what things in your life do you need to shift in order to have these things?

  1. What would your life be like if you di not have these things? Take a moment just to imagine what this would be life. And take a moment to be grateful for the things that you do have.

  1. What is a huge life crisis that is no longer a concern? The answers of this question should highlight nor only the temporary nature of things, but also, the evolution of our perspective as we grow.

  1. What compliments have you received lately? Can you even remember? Can you remember the offenses? Embrace the kind words of others and let that highlight your gifts. Discard unkind words, or transform them into something to learn from.

  1. What do you have in this moment that you will never have again? Appreciate the fact that while you might not have everything that you want in this moment, for better or for worse, you do have some things that you will never have again.

  1. If you could say one thing to yourself of five years ago, what would that be? Take that advice and apply it to today.

  1. Do you dislike certain people? What do they have to teach you? And, what do they reflect back to you?

  1. Practicality aside, what would make you happier than anything else? What about the answer to this question can be manifested in your life at this time?

  1. What do you do when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re not trying to be something to someone else? When are you most yourself?

  1. What of the past year do you actually remember? Most likely, you most clearly recall how a few isolated instances outshine the minute-to-minute moments.

14.Can you recall any times in your life when you thought you were at the point of a break down, when really, it was a break-through? Most likely this will happen again. When it does, give life time to explain itself to us as things unfold.

  1. In the grand scheme of it all, does this small instance, this moment, really matter?