“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” – Eric Butterworth
I find yoga classes at a new studio in town inspiring on many levels. Often the instructor asks you to set an intention for the day. This morning, I wanted to find a connection for today’s blog topic. Tawna, a gifted instructor guided us through a gentle vinyasa while giving insightful messages about yoga, our bodies and life. She talked about our concern with anti-aging. Similar to the seasons, we change and grow. If we let go of physical changes when we age, it allows us to grow our mind and spirit. “Don’t live with regrets, move forward.” Her mature wisdom at a young age is refreshing and impressive.
Oprah asked Michelle Obama why she chose the title: Becoming for her memoir. She told Oprah it’s silly to ask children what they want to be when they grow up because we continue to grow in adulthood. “For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
The physical aspects of aging can be difficult, so I prefer celebrating opportunities to learn more, become a better person, growing older gracefully and graciously.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce
I’m inspired each January to move into a time of new opportunities, less clutter and stress, more healthy practices. Beyond the traditional New Year’s resolution lies the true intent of becoming the best we can be. It’s a time of reflection to evaluate what’s working in our life, what isn’t and ways we can make improvements.
In the height of winter, we tend to hibernate spending more time in our home with loved ones. We can let go of activities, commitments and anxiety of the hectic holiday season. If we allow ourselves time to slow down, rest, read, chill and nourish our bodies with healthy meals, we gain a sense of peace that comes from rejuvenating our spirit.
It gives me renewed energy to adopt new practices like meditating each morning, exercising more, appreciating stillness in nature. Overall, I feel calm and confident finding I’m able to respond instead of reacting to things. It creates a new perspective within which radiates out in all you do.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is Kindness” – Dalai Lama
For the past couple of months, my shoulder and arm have been hurting. I know three other women experiencing shoulder pain which makes me wonder if there is truth in the saying “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”
When we become burdened with pain and challenges, we need relief. I told my physical therapist today she is a miracle worker. With her care, she is mending my arm. Care is what our world needs to heal and help one another.
A week ago I attended a documentary addressing hate in our country today. A few young men were passing out Kindness Matters cards. Their gesture was touching as we gathered for this difficult topic. In a time where we are polarized by politics, we need compassion and consideration to unite us for our common goals: being healthy, staying safe, having freedom.
Kindness matters. Visit the sick, lonely or elderly who may not have family close by, be polite to everyone you meet, let someone ahead of you in line, start your day with gratitude, volunteer for a good cause, give someone a hug, smiles are contagious – pass them on.
“Autumn shows how beautiful it is to let things go.” – Unknown
Last night’s full moon showered us with light during our meditation in a park perched over the ocean. We listened to waves roll into shore as our guide gave blessings to Earth wishing peace for all beings.
I joined this full moon meditation a few times before. September was the first night we were outside in the dark. As we walked to the park I wondered, “would the grass be wet, would there be bugs or dog poo?” Last night, a sea lion kept barking. I worried if it was ok since we have a marine mammal rescue center in town. Each time I reminded myself to just let it go.
Earlier this month we enjoyed a blissful vacation in Maui. Hawaii is one of my favorite places to be because it’s the epitome of exhaling and letting go. The literal meaning of Aloha is “the presence of breath” or the “breath of life.” The beautiful scenery, rainbows and spirit of the islands capture your breath. Worries and stress simply melt away.
These experiences remind me to worry less, meditate more and appreciate autumn’s life lessons.
Click here for the Planetary Meditation for Peace
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” – Sydney J. Harris
At times, I feel over-whelmed with the craziness of unrelenting news stories, an on-going construction project next door and my personal commitments. Our hectic lives make it difficult to catch our breath, slow down and nurture ourselves.
It’s important to incorporate self-care practices in our daily life instead of waiting until we’re on overload. If I wake up anxious about a busy schedule, I remind myself to take a few deep breaths. Focusing on inhaling and exhaling calms our mind. When I begin my day stretching, meditating, or sipping lemon and honey water it starts the day in a positive way before checking Email and to-do lists.
Ultimately, we need to know we don’t have to do everything or be constantly busy. It’s ok and healthy to take time for ourselves. Relaxing with a good book, sitting in nature, taking a walk, enjoying things that soothe our spirit strengthen us so we can keep going.
Here are some other tips and resources:
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu
It’s the last day of July and I realized I haven’t posted this month. I recently got back from a special trip visiting family in England. Here is a collection of memories captured in our hearts:
Anxiety before traveling soothed by precious times with family
Cooking vegetarian meals from around the world together
Dancing to Bob Marley while cooking – “Don’t worry be happy”
Singing to the Beatles bringing back childhood memories
Letting go of worries, embracing family love
Sweet experience of picking Georgie up at school seeing kids run with delight when teachers point to their family
Enjoying a polo match together listening to the thunder of horses’ hooves
Flying paper airplanes with Georgie giving them back to Uncle Gary for reconstruction
Watching Georgie and Uncle Gary walk hand in hand
Feeling comfort from being together
Walking around Stroud taking in its old history and charm
Strolling through a peaceful walk at Rococo Gardens in Painswick
Shooting pool, bowling together, celebrating my birthday on the last night
Pleasure of being in the moment, not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Too many things going on in our personal life combined with pressures of the world can be overwhelming. During these times, I remember the quote of taking one day at a time. The thought behind this principle is to just deal with what’s happening today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, next week … Getting through one day gives us strength and hope to move forward.
It’s like breaking down projects into manageable steps. Tackling one task at a time gives us reward and momentum to accomplish the goal. Inspiration for Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird came from her father’s advice to her brother’s frustration on completing a book project on birds. “Just take it bird by bird, buddy.”
Another important reminder is to not take on too many commitments. Let go of expectations and focus on priorities. When we take time to rest and reflect in between activities, we become more productive and ready to face challenges and the journey ahead.