This is Bliss - Fall 2005

Happy fall everyone - after a grueling summer we are well-deserving of a lovely fall, abundant in the rich vibrant colors of reds and oranges, the crispness of the air, and of course, cooler weather. This is truly my favorite time of the year. I love the way the air smells – crisp, alive – how it energizes me. I also love that fall is traditionally a time for harvesting. When I was a kid in Cherry Hill there was an apple orchard (you thought I was gonna say cherries didn’t you???) behind my house. The owner of the farm would let us have the apples that had fallen to the ground during harvesting for free. Now it wasn’t much of an apple picking ritual, but there was something special about running through the rows and rows of apple trees and collecting as many apples as possible. What kindness and generosity to allow this privilege of traipsing through the beautiful trees, smelling the fragrance of the apples, and of course delighting in their sweet juiciness. That memory serves me as a reminder that it is also a time for giving thanks. In the past, people may have given thanks for a good harvest that would sustain families through the long winter months.

And for us, yes, it is definitely a time to give thanks for the food that nourishes us. But it is also a time to pause, to take in what is going on right now and appreciate the change of the seasons, the colors and smells of fall, the chill in the air, the warmth of a sweater or a loved one’s arms. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a time to show our gratitude for the people (and animals) who are in our lives; those who teach us every day to live in the present moment, those who have graced and touched our lives, and for their reminder of not taking for granted each moment, each breath. I give thanks to all of you for supporting this chapter of my life and for reading my very first newsletter, this is bliss.

BECOME GRATEFUL

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie

BEST PRACTICES

Give thanks at mealtime

Simply give thanks for the food on your table that is going to nourish you. Offering thanks to those who harvested the food, those who prepared it, those who are sharing that meal with you deepens your connection with all beings, nature, and the universe. Here’s one you can play with or feel free to CREATE one of your own!:

In this plate of food I see the entire universe supporting my existence. (Zen Blessing from Thich Nhat Hanh)

Send Thanksgiving cards or notes

I got this idea from Attitudes of Gratitude by M.J Ryan. It is a great way to let the people in your life know that you care about them, value their impact on your life, and that you are grateful they are a part of your life.

WORDS OF WISDOM

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”
- The Buddha

POSE OF THE SEASON

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Since the fall tends to be a very dry and windy time of year what could be better than Tree Pose? Practicing tree pose can help us experience a sense of groundedness and connection. It can also help refocus us and calm the nervous system so we don’t feel so scattered.

(if you have ankle, knee or low back injuries, please be mindful – as with any physical/ exercise program you should always consult your doctor before trying a new practice)

Stand on two feet (Tadasana). As you breathe in pour your weight into your Left Foot. Draw the Right Knee into your chest. Exhale and open up the Right Hip and plant the sole of the Right Foot either on the inner thigh or inner calf of the Left Leg. Inhale and prayer your hands at your heart center and Balance. Soften your gaze – using your gaze to focus lightly on a non-moving object. Breathe in and out deeply and freely.

Going Deeper

Foundation

  • Spread the toes wide and feel the standing Left Foot lengthen from the heel through the toes and widen from inner foot to outer foot.
  • Root the standing Left Foot into the ground and lengthen the thigh bones and muscles.
  • Press the Right Foot into the Left thigh/calf, letting the Right hip revolve open and press the Left Leg into the Right Foot.

Pelvis/spine

  • Draw the Right Hip down so it is in line with the Left Hip.
  • Reach the tailbone long toward the Left Heel.
  • Draw the navel in and up to lengthen through the spine.
  • Feel the front ribs soften toward the spine.

Arms,shoulder,neck

  • Press the palms together – mirroring the action of the legs drawing in towards one another.
  • Release the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Grow the neck long through the crown of the head.
    • Enjoy the movement of your tree – let your breath become like a gentle breeze blowing through your branches – and if you FALL out of it, no worries, just try it again! And make sure to do both sides for equal time

      Thank you so much for reading the first issue of this is bliss. Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, suggestion, comments. And certainly feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might enjoy reading it. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list, please email and let me know.

      Love and Light,
      Beth

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