Change

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”– Lao Tzu

Life can change in an instant…. One minute your waltzing through life and the next Bam! something happens and things change. Maybe its a big change, a traumatic change, a death of someone close to you or an injury that will take your life in another direction. In my case it’s been an unexpected illness. So no real trauma, but definitely unexpected. I spent 3 days in the hospital and took almost 3 weeks off from work.

I never take off work.

I rarely cancel classes and clients, as a self employed person taking off from work means money out of my pocket. So it had better be a big deal that keeps away from The Centre.

But heres the thing about change it is inevitable. There will always be changes, little changes and big changes and often we dont have a choice about some of the changes that come our way, but how we handle change is a choice. 

I learned a few things as I recovered over the last few weeks, big things and little things.

I learned that Yes I can just sit here on the couch. Oh but my monkey brain really wanted to ‘get things done’ the body on the other hand needed rest and lots of it. So I listened to what the body needed and I complied. I learned that I can be patient. Patience is not my strong suit, but I learned I do have some if I dig deeply enough.

I learned that food isn’t always a comfort. Yea I said it..! Food is not always what the body needs. I had a very difficult time putting anything, and I mean anything on my stomach. Even just little sips of water could make me nauseous. I pretty much just ate what I lovingly referred to as the maternity diet. Soda crackers and Sprite, with the occasional apple sauce thrown in. So maybe I will use this time to reassess my diet, clean it up a bit. Less fatty foods and more fruit and veggies. So maybe positive changes can come from the unexpected changes too.

 The biggest thing I learned though was about me and my relationship to breath…. 

Breathing is my happy place. Pranayama, breathing practices, are at the heart of my personal yoga practice and at the heart of my teaching. But this illness changed my breathing. I found it difficult to take a full breath, and deep breathing was out of the question. Simple little breaths were all I could managed. I sat in the hospital bed and practiced Sama Vritti. Balanced breathing with a deep mindfulness on relaxing….. well, everything. I am only just now getting to a place where my breathing practices are getting back to ‘normal’. But my awareness and my intention well that has changed.

I have had many students and clients over the years that found ‘breath work’ to be challenging and I have always (at least I hope I did)  approached their concerns with compassion and taught them from that place. But I have to admit that I have practiced Pranayama for so very long that for many years I couldn’t truly relate. I didn’t remember what it was like to not be able to breath deeply, efficiently and with a richness that breath awareness brings. I think I have a better understanding now of how difficult changing your breath must be for those new to yoga.

And the most important thing I think I learned is not to take your good health for granted and if you don’t have ‘good health’ you should try to get some. It’s never too late to start. Find a health coach, a trainer or yoga therapist who can help you. Changes in our health are probably one of the hardest things we do in life. But I give all the credit to my speedy recovery to being in pretty good health to begin with and that credit goes to yoga and to what I call being Wellness Aware and to a consistent movement based practice and to pranayama and meditation.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Wayne Dyer

There is a lot of good advice out there to help you deal with life changes, 

*Know that Change Is Inevitable. …

*Separate Your Feelings from Your Reaction. …

*Practice Mindfulness. …

But for me the simplest  way to accept change that is hard to handle is to try to look at it from a different perspective. Look for something that might be a good outcome from the change. I know, I know…. Looking at something thats well, crappy, in a different way is hard. Who out there remembers the movie Pollyanna? Yea the old Disney version. In the story Pollyanna played a game called the glad game and no matter how disappointed or sad she was she always looked for something to be glad about. She looked for the light. She looked for a something in a bad situation that she could be glad about.

Well folks I am a card carrying Pollyanna. My ex-husband & my oldest son used to call me “Pollyanna” like it was a bad thing. An insult. But its not. Seeing the good in a bad situation makes you resilient, it does not make you an ostrich with its head in the sand. Being able to look ahead and see that this new road maybe taking you in a good or better direction comes from a place of strength. It take courage to look at your current situation, this new normal, and think ‘I can make something good come of it’. And personally I think that makes you more of a realist. Always being fearful of change or resisting it causes pain and keeps you stuck in a present moment that is meant to become a past moment. A memory. 

So remember that change is essential to life, if we always resist changes that life brings, we would never begin new relationships, make new friends and meet new lovers. We wouldn’t take that job we always wanted. We might never go to the new yoga class we heard about…..  Learn to at least welcome change and to meet it somewhere safe, but outside your comfort zone.

Life is all about change and begin open to what comes next. Learn to stay focused on the positives in life. 

Embrace your inner Pollyanna!

Om Shanti

Cheryl

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Happy New Year

 

20160103_171315Let’s talk a moment about your New Year’s Resolution. Do you have one or two? Have you given up the idea of declaring a resolution because buy March or April you’ve given up or even forgotten what it was in the first place. Trust me I feel ya! Setting that resolution and then keeping it so we can make lasting change in our life can be challenging. Let’s see if we can make it a little easier. First let’s change it from a ‘resolution’ to an ‘intention’. Setting an intention encourages us to look a little deeper into the reason for change. So how do you set an intention?

By asking yourself why…. a lot.

Grab a pencil and some paper and write down your intention.

Let’s say your intention is to quit smoking or lose weight (the two most common ‘resolutions’) or maybe it’s to spend more time with your family or save more money, whatever your intention is now ask yourself ‘Why’. (write it down)…. Now ask yourself ‘Why do I want to ____________(fill in the blank).

Let’s use giving up smoking as an example. Your answer to Why might be ‘ I know it’s bad for me’. Ok good start, now dig a little deeper, ‘Why is it bad for you?’ Your answer might be… It’s bad for my health, it costs too much money and it makes my hair smell like an ashtray (Had a BF many years ago who told me kissing someone who smoked was like kissing an ashtray, I like kissing… A Lot. So I quit smoking, but I digress)….Now dig deeper…..Ask yourself ‘In what way is it bad for my health?’ …. You get the picture, you keep asking why, and you keep writing them down, usually the answers are the negatives about the behavior you want to change. But now turn the questions around a bit, dig deeper but in a different direction. Ask yourself about the positives, the good things that can come from making a change…How will quitting benefit my life? And write down all the good that can come from making the change.. ‘I will breath better, I will smell better, I’ll save money I’ll have more energy. I will be healthier.’ You can do this with any change you want to make. Remind yourself about the rewards for stepping out on faith.

Another thing you can do is to frame your intention in the here and now. “In this moment I am healthy”. “I am living a smoke free life”. And remind yourself often of your intention. In yoga we call this a Sankalpa, I have written about Sankalpas before. Having a Sankalpa can be a powerful concept.

Here are some other things to keep in mind that will help making change easier .

* Hang out with the right people. Do your best to avoid the places and people that may tempt you, keep good company; in yoga it’s called Satsanga. Spend time with others that are making the same changes as you. There is a reason that groups like AA have such a great success., they are like-minded people coming together to support each other.

* Cultivate what’s good for you. Instead of putting all the focus on what negative thing in your life you’re trying to change, remember the good things you’re doing and cultivate those habits and attitudes.

*Begin a gratitude practice and if you already have one take it one step further and write down the things you are grateful for. Daily! Everyday write down 5 things you are thankful for.

*Meditate. Sit quietly, let the mind be still, give yourself those quiet moments to de-stress, to calm and quiet the mind, the body and the spirit. When we are stressed, when the body, mind and spirit are filled with anxiety then those old habits are often the things we turn to. Like comfort food they calm us but only for a moment and in the long run they cause more turbulence. Taking time every day for meditation gives us clarity and peace.

* Be joyful! Know that you are making your life better not only for you for those around you.

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Change is hard. But when you learn the different techniques you can use then change is not only easier but joyful as well.

Om Shanti!

Cheryl

BTW My intention is to blog more. How am I doing so far 🙂

Happy Tuesday! Start your day with grati

Start each day with gratitude.
When you can be grateful for what you have, what you have becomes enough, when you have enough then you have abundance, when you have abundance you have more than you need, when you have more than you need you have something for giving…So it is from a Grateful heart that Forgiveness flows.
Shanti

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Daily Cup of Gratitude………. Working

I am grateful I have a job (several actually), we live in economically precarious times, as I write that previous bit the little voice in my head ( aaa shud’up, you have one too) pipes in with ‘but havent we always’, and yes I suppose we have, but the situation seems much worse now, economic collapse, high unemployment, retirement funds derailed, wow I have to stop watching the news. But I digress, yes I have several jobs, I teach yoga in a few different places, I train a few private clients and I work part-time at a bank. And I am grateful for each gig.

I am grateful that I am able to work, I know there those, who for one reason or another can’t work, So I am grateful my body is healthy enough to allow me to work.

I am grateful that I love what I do, yep folks I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually LOVE what I do, I love the folks I work with at the bank and the job allows me just enough freedom that I don’t get bored (the kissofdeath for me),  and Iconsider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga and to use what I know to help people get out of pain.

Nothing is perfect, no job is perfect, and no body is perfect. We just have to get up everyday and look for the joy, the laughter and at least some bliss in the things we do. If you have a sense of humor and an attitude of joy, then joy will find its way to you. In all that you do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

PS having said all that I am sharing a very funny ‘Cat in the Hat’ poem about work 🙂 That should make you smile.

Daily cup o’ gratitude………… Sunshine

Grateful for sunshine in January, for even here in the south the winters are usually cold, wet and gray. Winter is the season for reflecting inward quiet meditations, for snuggling, hunkering down and taking things slow.  Winter gives us the opportunity for Sundays spent watching 2 movies back to back, reading a novel in 3 days, baking cookies and making vats of warm soup. For organizing closets, pantry’s and photographs. But….

Oh when the sun shines it reminds us that spring is just around the corner, that soon it will be time to play in the yard, hike in the hills and work in the garden. In that winter sunlight is hope, light and a peace that comes from knowing we can appreciate where we are and where we will be.

Om Shanti

Cheryl