Acceptance is a loaded word with many possible definitions. “Acceptance” can be defined as freedom from our assumptions about our capacities, and the freedom to be more respectful toward ourselves - just as we are with our dearest, most revered friends. One way that I am working on this in my daily life is by following these simple (yet not always easy) steps in self-observation.
1) To witness what is taking place without judgement. As soon as I judge the situation at hand I have separated myself from it. In this way, I prevent myself from seeing and feeling my behaviour and taking full responsibility for it, owning my behaviour.
2)Without changing what is observed. The moment I am taken by the labelling of behaviour as 'bad/good' then I cease to observe. Now my attention is caught up in the judging of the behaviour rather than the behaviour itself.
3)With attention on bodily sensations and a relaxed body. Some traditions call this 'Self-remembering'. First I witness without judgement, then I do nothing to change the situations at hand, thirdly I find myself in time and space within my body in the present moment. I keep my awareness on the movement of energy throughout my body whether it be the 5 senses, emotions, physical tension, sleepiness etc.
4) Ruthless Self Honesty. To be honest with myself. To see all that is going on within myself simply as it is. To stand in this moment, do nothing, try to change nothing, judging nothing, simply feeling totally without judging it as 'good or bad' 'right or wrong'. The body knows what to do with this energy only if I do not interfere.
These tools are slowly and patiently shifting my experiences. If you would like to learn more please read "Self Observation"-by Red Hawk or send me a reply email with your questions and comments.
A Time for Rebirth This month I'd like to share with you a wonderful source of support. I subscribe to www.thepowerpath.com to receive monthly newsletters outlining the theme of the month and what can be expected personally, business, health and in relationships.
Here is an excerpt from April's newsletter...
The main theme for April is UNSETTLED!This month we are acutely aware that we are in transition. We have mental anxiety about what we might be forgetting or not keeping track of or not keeping up with. Our sleep is interrupted and light at best and non-existent at worst. We feel we might be missing something. It is hard to settle down and easy to get distracted. Even if we manage to cross everything off our to do list, there is a nagging feeling that something has been left undone.
This is the current state of affairs, necessary for change and evolution but extremely uncomfortable for many, especially for those with the “need to know” and a need for security. The Spring Equinox and the eclipses of March have left us in an unsettled place of asking, “what happens next?” We know it is not business as usual but we also cannot see around the bend or trust that what is showing up today will be the same as what shows up tomorrow....
“Wouldn’t it be powerful
if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that
you would do just about anything
if you knew it would make you happy?
This is precisely how much life loves you and
wants you to nurture yourself.
The deeper you love yourself,
the more the universe will affirm your worth.
Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair
that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.”
~ Alan Cohen
The month of March is a time of transition, letting go of winter and transitioning into the season of spring. When the sun shines brighter and warmer we lean in and breathe deep. When the rain falls to cleanse the earth and prepare for rebirth we too have an instinct to peel back some of our winter layers and cleanse from the inside out. This beautiful ritual is a benevolent expression of self-love.
The ability to radically love thyself is not narcissistic! Rather it is the greatest act of compassion we can show ourselves so that we can show up for our partners, children, family and friends... and love them fully.
This month I encourage you to take the time to take care of yourself.
February is our season of love. Loving others, loving ourselves and loving what is. Whatever feelings, thoughts or behaviours we connect with this time of year, may they be greeted with grace, compassion and empathy.
Recently, in my life both my physical practice and my meditation practice have been thwarted into a very long pause. Years ago missing more than a day of practice used to send me into disarray. Present day has beautifully stunned me into present moment. I have been called to slow down,check in with myself, and appreciate how my limited ability 'to do' is allowing the mundane to be a beautiful teaching experience. I treasure the precious moments I have with my partner and children-they are finite, as is all of life. I am marvelling at what my body can do rather than being caught up with what it cannot. The involuntary requirements to slow down eating, walking, and work has created a wonderment as to why these were ever rushed in the past.
With the removal of my usual yoga practice bringing me closer to my sense of self, it has arisen in me the contemplation... 'What is practice?'
What I have learned is to Listen.
Listen for the stir that calls you to move and get connected to your body
Listen to tether that wants to keep you resting in bed on a Sunday
Listen to your partner-and maybe then you will be heard
Listen to when the entire universe is calling you to open your eyes and soak life up
Listen to your children-they are life longing for itself
This month whatever the context, or the situation, bring your love without discrimination. Notice how your listening yields a certain quality of elation, deep within. Let that quality inform your offerings. Commit to an internal experience of love.
The Way Bhakti Works...You Love!
I must admit November is not a month of the year that I embrace too readily. The days are shorter, darker, colder and wetter. It's not quite winter wonderland yet and there is still the fresh longing of the warm vibrant fall days. It's a transition time and with all transitions there is beautiful opportunity for growth and compassion if we are willing to work with the discomfort, pressure and friction rather than resisting against them. This is why our mat practice is so valuable.
Through the practice on our mat we can lean into the depth of our experience and stay clear and present through the transition of poses. There is so much value and potential in that little pregnant pause. Do I think of something else when I am transitioning? Do I rush my transitions so that I can get to the next pose? These little but significant tendencies spill into our subconscious mind and play out in our everyday life. We may find ourselves moving from one thing to the next without allowing time and space for the pause in between to work its magic. So, if we can pause and listen to transitions on our mat we may then begin to pause and listen to transitions in our life.
This month of November has a theme of 'pressure' running through. Let us be reminded of the importance of the highest love for ourselves, and for what's highest within and around us. Here's a poem to support the unfolding of the month.
"The way Bhakti works
Until you and the Beloved become One."
You just trust, until you and the turmoil
can finally be done with one another,
until you call your anger + your fear
your sister + your brother. Finally.
And take good care of those two -- your anger + your fear.
Don't throw them out or shun them; they need your attention,
so you won't be overcome by their presence.
Love them intelligently and outrun them with your integrity.
You just listen, until the quiet of your heart is as loud as any habitual voice,
You just believe - please believe - until sacred possibility is your only choice,
the only portal through which you'll walk today.
You just witness, until you meet your soul directly, with kindness.
And you stay with yourself, closely, until you can find this potent, growing truth
as readily as you can locate the usual criticism or doubt.
Set your alarm if you must, sit quietly in the earliest morning, and let it be fun.
This is Bhakti. You just love until you and the Beloved become One.
Keep Your Feet on the Ground
This past week we experienced a huge charge in the atmosphere. There was the fall equinox, a super moon, and blood moon. It's enough shake rattle and roll just about anyone. When there is a big charge one of two things are being asked of us.
1) The call to put something into action. "If not now then when?". Anything that has been set aside, put on the back burner or just sitting idle needs to be attended to.
2) Get grounded. Anchor your roots a little deeper into the earth so that you can stay on course with your intention.
A yoga practices with low poses, held poses and mediation are very supportive during times of transitions. As we move into the month of October the call for balance resonates even deeper.
If you would like some support on getting grounded here is an online practice for you called Yin/Yang that I filmed through Yoga Netra. In addition this article 'Balancing Tension vs Relaxation.' can offer some perspective on your continuum.