Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength-
“Slow down, you move too fast … Life, I love you, All is groovy.“
Can you recall the last time you were in love, with life? Noticing the subtle – yet profound flowers blossoming from the dormant grass below ?
During lunch with a close friend this past Friday, I struggled to put into words this exact thought: When was the last time you fell in love with life. All of us have become multitasking savants, hastily doing no fewer than three things at once. Making breakfast while texting about the NCAA tournament and updating a post we have been working on for a few weeks. Our minds are literally filled to capacity, overflowing with “things“. When does the Sun rise tomorrow? The Sun does rise – right? Why does Windows take so long to boot? What’s the forecast for this weekend? Am I out of shape? I look bloated! What if I perform poorly in yoga class, my next 5k? This latte is too much, are they stealing my debit card information? Will it snow tomorrow? I need to book an appointment to have my nails did – done – whatever? What time is it, do I have time to workout/run/swim?
Time is flat, circular and restrictive. We continually arrive back at the same point, with a gadget of some sort close by.
Can you recall the last time you went for a leisurely walk after dinner? The “garden of life” variety of walk that didn’t involve a pedometer, taking a selfie or tweeting to the masses the calories you burned, and all the “other” information we vitally need to live.
If you can name the song and artist that set the gentle tone for the post today,without using your Google Machine – You win a prize or something! All, truly is groovy!!!
Only idiots fail to contradict themselves three times a day-
All the talk on the blog-o-sphere and down at the local bodega, is that everyone is “practicing” mindfulness and becoming spiritual folks. Sounds pretty cool to me!
While any sparkly toe dipped in the practice of “spiritual” awareness is beneficial, there is a trend in mindfulness, which will interfere with and obstruct the full power of a gentle mindfulness practice.
Without awareness of this “trend“, we spend years lost, wandering in yet another prison of our ego, another trap of the mind, and as a result; We miss out on the real gifts mindfulness practice so gently brings us. Mindfulness is trendy, it’s hip and its cool. This is fantastic news! Although, we must be careful that like other trends, mindfulness does not get swallowed up in the next stream of CrossFit, Flavor of the month Yoga, Fixie Bikes and enjoying a Gluten Free lifestyle.
This is why I am worried, and writing these pedantic, bloviated posts of late: These new -mindful folks- are becoming yet another form of their already, inflated ego(s). Prideful and Mindful do not play in the sandbox of life together – Kindly.
With mindfulness on the trendy “social media” radar?!? We cannot afford to miss the chance to change what this powerful practice can reveal to us: Who and How we are, and simply … Being.
Embracing mindfulness is a solid step along our paths in life. However, don’t rest quite yet, and don’t congratulate yourself yet either. For there is still much work to be done …
*Part two of this nauseating post will be posted this Friday*
I know you’re tired but come, this is the way-
Moment of unfettered honesty: Writing and discussing the concepts of Seva, Karma Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation are seemingly tedious and self-serving. I acknowledged and respect, that I have ‘turned off’ and alienated many of you taking the time to read today, talking about “New Age” voodoo bullsh!t.
It occurred to me recently, standing in line at Whole Foods, scanning the trendy magazines, as I placed a pound and a half of ground buffalo on the conveyor … How I noticeably cringe at the idea of sounding -New Age- Spiritual – Holistic – Whatever. I noticed how hard I work not to be seen as “Whatever” in any way.
The “thing” is, I know what I dislike about the “Whatever” stereotype(s) – it’s not the practice or the flavor of the month yoga asanas that are being taught – but how they are being presented to us. Take a look around you at the natural foods store.
Why is our culture obsessed with outward actions instead of using “Whatever” as a framework of inward exploration? I recall a conversation before yoga class and hearing a fellow class member saying, “I always wanted to learn how to meditate and now that “society” thinks it’s okay – I’m going to do it.“
These twenty words made me pause and think, how the setting within which we are exposed to “something” can be both deterring and supportive, and the way in which we are exposed plays an important role.
There is “Whatever” for everyone.
Seva, Karma Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation provide a means for myself to investigate my mind, maybe “Whatever” then, is perhaps, something each one of us can benefit from in this “vanity clad” oriented culture we marinate ourselves in.
I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction-
Social Experiment: Arrive 5-10 minutes early to your next yoga class and simply look around the parking lot, take a moment to observe how many people are on their phones – doing whatever – instead of walking inside, setting up their mats and chatting with their fellow students. People can’t even use the restroom anymore without feeling the need to stay connected. A symphony of sounds, beeps and buzzes coming from the people around you … Who does #2 really work for?!?
Last summer I asked myself, aloud, midway through a series of asanas at home one afternoon: Do you need to have your gadget on to feel connected? Can you truly practice mindfulness if you are constantly accessible to the rest of the world?
My intention during this time was to make “exercise” <– whatever that may be … A time to connect with myself, leaving the distractions and stress of my day behind. This so-called “tech curfew” quite literally took my breath away during a long, flowing summer ride and while practicing at home. Less time looking up poses to contort and twist myself into and more time being, me. Riding down hills now, head up, smiling, feeling the cool breeze racing past. I don’t need a computer cluttering up the bars to let me know how fast I am going.
At first you may be uncomfortable with how naked you feel as you go about your everyday activities. Although, after the initial shock withers away, you will be pleasantly surprised as to how liberating it is … Not being connected.
Make today a day worth remembering. Without having to chronicle your adventures on Vine …
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club-
It has taken me 30+ years to discover that there are many paths to happiness available to each and every one of us.
Discovering my path began by asking myself what true happiness means to me, and allowing my answer to lead the way moving forward. Initially, many paths appeared to be a dead-end, until I looked in a different direction, taking notice of the new openings awaiting just around the bend. I started to notice that the “options” available to me came from thinking outside the box, doing “something” different, or simply letting go of past habits and conditions that had clearly outlived their usefulness.
I found that by consciously choosing to think, feel, and act differently in relation to life’s challenges? Made the difference between hope and despair – optimism and frustration. Each “dead-end” I encountered introduced new lessons to be learned and new experiences to be shared.
Empty your heart and soul and simply let the path, come to you.