This is Bliss - Winter 2006

QUOTE

 

One way or another, life is a rush. It can be a rush of time flying by us, or it can be a rush of excitement sweeping us up. Time flies on its own. The rush of excitement comes through the actions of people building a life that they love. You have to create it yourself. from Live What You Love, by Bob and Melinda Blanchard

   

I keep coming back to this quote because I know deep down it means something to me, and with the gift of TIME, I hope I’ll figure out exactly what.

 

This year I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary and my 39th birthday, and I thought, oh my…where has the time gone and what have I been doing the last 14 years of my life?!?!?!?!?!

 

Friends around me seem to echo my astonishment. Time is flying and it seems to get faster with each passing year. It’s with this realization that I have the desperate urge to slam on the brakes and slow things down – turn back the clock – do something so that I don’t feel like I’m missing so much of life.

 

While we really can’t slow down time or life, what we can do is try to stay present for each moment, or as many as possible, as they go whizzing by – try to awaken to them and appreciate them.

 

On my wedding day, a friend of mine gave me some advice. She told me to pause just for a minute or two every hour to take something in – to listen to people talking, to see who was dancing, to hear what song was playing, to smell the wonderful food – all this as a way to remember the day so that it wouldn’t become just a blur of kisses and congratulations. I did it then and I still do it now - especially during the holiday season which seems to have picked up pace over the last 10 years. I try to pause and take in 1 thing – the piney smell of the Christmas trees lined up on the streets, the holiday lights strung across 125th Street, the aroma of fresh baked pizzelles in my living room - so that I can try to reconnect and appreciate the moment.

 

By taking that pause, we can reconnect with what’s important to us. So instead of just going with the flow or letting time pass you by, you make more time for the things you love, the things that fulfill and nurture you – whether it be spending time with family and/or friends, doing something creative, reading, practicing yoga, volunteering, even making time for a long warm bath.

 

It’s when we follow our passions and make time for the things that fuel us that we feel most connected, most alive, most in the moment.

 

Stop right now – see what’s going on around you – look out the window and take it in. Decide on one thing you would like to do for yourself today or even this week that you think you don’t have time to do. Write it down as a date and make it happen so it doesn’t feel like time is robbing you of your dreams, desires, passions – or just steamrolling over you so you lose track of what’s important.

 

Happy holidays everyone – may the season be filled with peace, love and the gift of the present!

   

BEST PRACTICES

 

(this is based on a meditation that the monks and nuns at Plum Village in France practice and from a meditation idea in Attitudes of Gratitude by A.J. Ryan)

 

Pick an everyday occurrence – the phone ringing, waiting at a traffic light, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for your coffee or tea to brew. Simply stop whenever that occurrence happens, notice your inhale, notice your exhale, and then remember. What you decide to remember can be simply a message that is important to you: that you are loved, that you matter, that you can handle anything, that you have plenty of time to do what you need to.

   

WORDS OF WISDOM

 

Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh.

   

MEDITATION IDEAS

 

Follow your breath – when you inhale say to yourself, “Breathing In”, when you exhale say to yourself, “Breathing Out.”

 

Thich Nhat Hanh also suggests a lovely mantra:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!

 

To access more meditation ideas, check out www.yogajournal.com

   

POSE OF THE SEASON

 

This busy time of year is truly a great time to practice restorative yoga! When practicing restorative yoga our main focus is on BEING rather than DOING. We are deliberately relaxing ourselves so that we can conserve energy, release tension and stress that accumulate in the body and mind, and restore balance and harmony back into our beings. With support from blankets, pillows, blocks, etc., we are enabling the muscles and the bones to take a break from their everyday jobs of movement and action, thereby encouraging the nervous system to quiet.

 

For restorative yoga you simply need to have some blankets or pillows or both, a quiet space and a little TIME to relax deeply.

 

Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)

 

(if you have low back issues, reflux or are pregnant this may not be the pose for you. As with any physical/exercise program you should always consult your doctor before trying a new practice.)

 
  • Fold 2 blankets, so they each make a rectangular shape about 7 inches wide and 24 inches long.
  • Stack one folded blanket on top of the other.
  • Place the 2 folded and stacked blankets with the long side parallel to the wall and about 6-8 inches away from the wall (your hips will eventually go here).
  • Fold a 3rd blanket the same way and set it up with the short side perpendicular to the 2 stacked blankets, forming a “T” shape (your back and neck will eventually go here).
  • Roll onto your back and onto the blanket set-up so that your legs extend up the wall, your hips are on the blankets parallel to the wall and your spine and neck are on the blanket perpendicular to the wall. (If you notice your hamstrings are stretching, come down and slide the whole set-up further away from the wall. This pose is not about stretching your hamstrings, but about releasing and relaxing.)
    • Make sure your spine and neck are fully supported.
    • Make sure the curve in your low back is fully supported. Your tailbone will gently drop toward the ground into the space between the wall and the blankets – your tailbone should not be not touching the ground, however.
    • our pubic bone and navel will be in the same plane and there will be a slight opening in the front ribs and chest- enjoy the freedom of your breath!!!!!
    • Your arms can either release out to the sides or make a cactus shape.
    • Allow the back of your neck to lengthen by softening the chin towards the throat. This will help activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the more quieting, restful part of our nervous system.
 

Go Deeper

 
  • Notice your legs draining of tension.
  • Feel your thighbones melt into your pelvis.
  • Feel your spine lengthening and releasing with each breath in and each breath out.
  • Watch and enjoy the rise and fall of your breath.
  •  

Lie here and rest anywhere from 5-15 minutes

Thank you so much for reading the Winter 2006 issue of this is bliss. Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or 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.

 

Peace, Love, and BLISS!   Beth

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