Spent some beautiful time enjoying the outdoors today walking on the sacred Nova Scotia earth. Tonight we had decided to do some concentrated work on our lower body, strengthening legs and our connection to the earth. This class will concentrate on developing our connection to the earth and the fruits of that connection that manifest as feelings of safety and security. We will continue to develop our ability to be simultaneously engaged and relaxed. This skill may manifest in your moment as being aware of your interiority, body and sensation while also remaining present with external perception, senses and relationships. This is another interpretation of the balance that we achieve by harmonizing mind and body. Even now you can split your attention with 50% internally focussed and 50% concentrated on your external moment. Experiment with your awareness. You will be amazed at your abilities to concentrate and to remain present with whomever you are.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. To reiterate the CASTLE principles of Conscious Leadership as outlined by Lance Secretan in ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership; Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love and today's theme of Effectiveness. Regardless of how deep we enter the silent space inspired by our yoga practice we still must be effective in our area of engagement. Whether we are at home, at the office, with our children or with clients the principles help us to apply the intention of oneness in every moment of our day.
To be ultimately effective in whatever we do we must begin with awareness, simplicity and gratitude. Then, we must show up! The ego is the great obstacle of oneness. At some point we must recognize the important role the ego has played in protecting our heart. Then, in a conscious choice, honor the wisdom of the heart (and body) and wield the instrument of the mind in an effective way.
We will be practicing the art of Oneness at the Milo Boathouse tonight at 7pm.
Well the next step on our Conscious Leadership ladder is Love. It just so happens that today has been a contemplation of the Joy of Love in my own personal practice (related to a series of Mother Teresa prayers a good friend gave me, thank you). We have all heard so much about love and yet it is also full of attachment, conditioning and misunderstanding. One thing we can all agree on is that love is expansive. The experience of love is the opposite of contraction and tension. We often associate love with the pain of losing but the truth is that in the face of love there is only love.
Love is simple and is not a function of the mind. As you may know by now I like to call the yoga I practice and share Beloved Yoga. Hidden in that precious word is BE LOVED. A regular meditation practice may also be coined a self-love practice. Taking time each day to sit and feel unconditional love raining down on you, surrounding you, penetrating every cell until you become so full that for the rest of the day you are spilling over love. My teacher often said, "Love without looking to see who takes". I am so grateful for that example of unconditional love. If that is too tall an order than atleast notice your tendency to look for something in return for your acts of love and be gentle with yourself. We all do it!
In this very moment raise your chest forward and up and let the chin fall gently towards the chest, let the energy of the intelligence of your mind descend into the loving wisdom of the heart. Fall in love with your life and life will love you back...is that conditional? I think what really happens is you just start to notice the love all around you.
Practice loving without looking back. Be radiant because you are THAT!
Hope to love you (I mean see you) at the Boathouse tomorrow morning at 8:45am.
I hope your week is flowing with beauty and presence. As we continue through the Principles of Conscious Leadership we arrive at Truthfulness. This principle, like all of them, has an experience that is internal and an expression that is a bridge to those with whom you live, work and play. We all have moments where honesty is sacrificed out of fear and insecurity and those disempowering moments result in tension which becomes a knot in the mind-body system. This knot then obstructs the flow of energy in the body and also obstructs the quality of the emotional connection we enjoy with ourselves and/or individuals with whom we have been untruthful. On the yoga mat, we practice a deep honesty with our bodies by engaging in compassionate action and maintaining alignment in-spite of the mind's desire to go further and deeper. Patience is also a function of truthfulness.
Commit yourself this day to truthfulness as a path to relaxation and presence. Be vulnerable in your honesty and honest in your vulnerability. Allow others to be in their truth whether or not you agree, that is not the point. As you offer space to others to stand in their truth you too will find the courage, compassion, patience and power to stand in yours. As always, nature is a marvelous demonstration of this principle. Truthfulness is the simplicity of being who you are and yields tremendous freedom. The flower does not try to be anything it is not, it grows, blooms and dies with grace and simplicity. Truthfulness is the essence of your heart. Be in your beauty and you will begin to see that beauty reflected all around.
See you at the Boathouse tonight for yoga at 7pm and meditation at 8pm.
I am writing you after our Beloved Yoga workshop yesterday in Mahone Bay. It was a wonderful day celebrating the body, the breath and the sacredness of life. I can't wait until we can spend a full day together in Yarmouth on Sunday, October 25...mark your calendars!
The third principle of Conscious Leadership (after courage and authenticity) is Service. Karma Yoga is the process of achieving a unitive state through the service of others. Living for ten years in a community dedicated to yoga and to the service of humanity gave me the privilege of meeting many wonderful people who were extraordinarily committed Karma Yogis. One of these special people has worked for 30 years as a palliative care nurse supporting people at the end of their lives and invariably supporting their friends and families in challenging times. She told me each and every day as she walks into her place of care she would say to herself, "It's not about me". She said this was the key to serving others and being joyful in life.
Look for small moments to care for another being today, practice empathy by being intimately aware of the person you are with. Be aware of your breath and theirs, in that order. Often when caring for another person we become emotionally attached and our ability to be unconditional is jeopardized. Take three breaths into your heart and exhale out the top of your head, imagine yourself rising above your thoughts and emotions into an unconditionally radiant space above the head. We call this ancient space, the Chidakash; the heart space above the head or the sky of consciousness.
I will share a series of movements tonight at the boathouse designed to help move us into that sacred sky of consciousness. Love the one your with without condition or expectation....you will realize the great benefit of Karma Yoga.
I have been feeling my heart in a new way and have been noticing how an open heart inspires courage not by battling through fear but by gently rising above it or simply dissolving it in the face of the subtle but profound energy of the heart. The root of the word courage relates to the beautiful French word for the heart, "la coeur". When the heart is opened love and acceptance dissolve fear like the light of a candle dissolves darkness.
As we practice yoga and meditation we become more aware of our interior space, more sensitive to the blossoming of the heart and to its slamming shut in a moment of contraction due to stress and fear. In addition to allowing yourself to become more courageous through a commitment to love and accept yourself, I encourage you...(there is that word again) to inspire courage in others. This doesn't mean trivializing someone else's fear! I learned long ago that you cannot compare one person's fear with another, ever. What you can do with your growing sensitivity is create a loving space of acceptance so another person need not be so courageous because your compassionate presence eliminates the fear.
Practice compassion by breathing into your heart and imagine a space emanating beyond your body and embracing others around you. Be generous with your presence and your space, don't be quick to fill the silence but allow someone else to step into the light of the moment and receive the blessings of your heart space.
We will work on opening our hearts tomorrow morning at the Boathouse, hope to see you there at 8:45am. Oh yeah, and we will get a great workout for the body too!
A quick yoga re-minder on this beautiful Labour Day. I shouldn't have to remind you to relax on a long weekend although sometimes we try so hard to get so many things in that we lose many of the benefits of time off. Just in case you found your long weekend a bit hectic there is one sure-fire way to get some good relaxation in this weekend....Beloved Yoga at the Boathouse.
Hope to see you there. And just in case you can't make it take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed and feel your body connected to the earth. Imagine the vibration of Mother Earth moving through your feet and up your legs traveling through every part of your body and connected with your breath. Feel this wave of relaxation moving through your body and seeking out tension. Feel the blessings and healing quality of relaxation provided by the earth. Be Simple.