freeing the heart. #MeditationThoughtMondays

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“Freeing the body leads inevitably to freeing the heart.” -gabriel roth.

 

It’s as simple as that.  When the pain has subsided in your body, you automatically feel free to choose healing and compassion in your heart.

Go.  Find Freedom. Move, run, laugh, talk, breathe, hug, and be free.

-lisa

every day that I face that thing of which I am most afraid, I am grateful.

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gratitude challenge day five: November 11.

“Every day that I face that thing

of which I am most afraid,

I am grateful.” 

Steps to completing the gratitude meditation challenge:

Read.  Breathe.  Smile.  Sit in stillness.  Read again.  Express your gratitude for this moment and for all of the many blessings which bring you joy in this life.

day five

Why gratitude?  Because it’s the only reasonable response to being alive.  Read more here.      

With gratitude,

-lisa

every day that I think a thought and feel my heart stirring, I am grateful.

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gratitude meditation challenge day two: November 8.

“Every day that I think a thought

and feel my heart stirring,

I am grateful.”

Read.  Breathe.  Smile.  Sit in stillness.  Read again.  Express your gratitude for this moment and for all of the many blessings which bring you joy in this life.

day two

Why gratitude?  Because it’s the only reasonable response to being alive.  Read more here.      

With gratitude,

-lisa

what would you do if nothing stood in your way?

what would you do if nothing stood in your way?

I’m always on the lookout for questions like these.  My girlfriends from college are relatively scattered these days, so we communicate every week by group email.  To add to the ‘daily dish’ we share about our families, our jobs, our homes, our stresses, and our successes, I insert a Question of the Day into the email chain and everyone answers as honestly as she can.  Sometimes the questions are really important (i.e. Vampire or Zombie?), sometimes the questions are simply thought-provoking (i.e. what personal success did you experience in the past week?) and sometimes the questions are soul-searching:

what would you do if nothing stood in your way?

I found this question featured on a Lululemon Athletica shopping tote (which I adore, and maybe also hoard to re-use as grocery bags) and it immediately struck me as an integral question for self-evolution.  Self-doubting, questioning, searching, and seeking are all activities of the mind-ego… and believe me, my mind-ego is ripe with activity despite (because of?) years of yoga and meditation.  Yoga is a discipline that gives us the tools for listening to our inner-voice and eavesdropping on our Soul but what we hear isn’t always clear or straightforward.  Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu is attributed with saying: “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”  Meaning the more we learn and utilize tools for self-reflection and inner study the more clarity we gain.  Our soul’s deepest desires are not outside of us.  Our soul’s deepest desires are inherent within us.  So, what would you do if nothing stood in your way?  That’s a literal question, not a hypothetical one.   Go ahead… answer it.

I mean, really, your answer may reveal dreams that you’ve never before had the courage to say out loud.  You may hear in your answer an inner-wisdom, speaking softly.  And you may end up navigating your life experiences to include your answers.

What would I do if nothing stood in my way?

I’d garden.  I’d have an expansive, fertile vegetable garden in my back yard and I’d spend hours tending it.  I’d have enough vegetables to feed two vegetarians.  (Which is not easy, since my Ironman and I eat a boat load of veggies.  Russell Clive is a full-on carnivore, in case you were wondering.  Turns out: dogs eat meat.)

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I’d write.  For no one.  For myself.  For the world.

I’d go on PeaceWalks across the desert campaigning against nuclear weapons and I’d hang out with the Dalai Lama.

I’d travel to San Francisco one morning just to drink Peet’s Coffee, hike in the Berkeley Hills, hug my friends, and take a yoga class.  Then I’d fly home that same day.

I’d read every book in the library.

I’d never let fear of failure hold me back.

I’d live as if each day was my last chance to breathe joy into this world.

What would you do?  Honestly: comment, Facebook, text or email me your answers.  Happy Soul searching.

-lisa

 

 

Earth Day meditation.

Sharing this meditation from my friend and spiritual guide, Katie Harmon-McLaughlin.

Happy Earth Day (which should be EVERY day).

“Meeting God is not a momentary ‘spiritual’ affair; rather, God is the ether, the reality, the body, the garden in which we live. God is never absent; God is reality (being). Everything that has being derives it from God (we are born and reborn by God). The entire cosmos is born of God, as is each and every creature. We depend on this source of life and its renewal absolutely. We could not live a moment without the gifts of God’s body- air, food, water, and other creatures. This realization is an overwhelming experience of God’s transcendence; it calls forth awe and immense gratitude. Yet, at the same time, as Augustine puts it, God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Where can we go where God is not, since God fills heaven and earth?” -Sallie McFague, A New Climate for Theology

 

Take a few moments to breathe deeply and know that with each breath you are inhaling and exhaling divine love; the unifying, life-giving spirit in all of creation.

Consider how this matters for you now.

Consider your connectedness with all other life.

Consider all that you have done so far today; all that you have eaten, all that you have touched. Pay attention to the fabric of the clothing you wear and think about where it came from. Pay attention to the place where you sit and the materials that surround you. All of these came from the earth.

The gifts of God’s body, the earth, are sustaining your daily existence. Pause in gratitude. 

Some of the things you touch and wear and use today have caused earth destruction. Pray for forgiveness for the ways we sometimes live unaware as though we are disconnected. Pray for greater awareness and compassion in the days ahead.

Become aware of the surrounding air that embraces every part of you, touching your fingertips, resting on your shoulders and head. Know that embracing-stillness as God, holding you in each moment. Know that there is not a place you can go in this world where you will not be in this loving embrace.

There is no distance between you and God.
There is no distance between you and love.
There is no distance between you and the rest of creation because you are part of sacred creation and are daily sustained by this planet.

How will you live this holy connection today?

for more from Katie, visit the Community of Christ Spiritual Formation Center Facebook page.

photo cred HM

yoga habit to yoga blessing.

 habit to blessing.

Yoga is so much more than our Tuesday night 90 minute stretching at our yoga studio.  It has the possibility to be the most important habit that you will ever undertake.  Here’s why:

“Yoga becomes a habit when we realize our body simply feels better after we practice.

It becomes a habit when we return day after day to our mat, yearning for courage and strength in our lives.

It becomes a habit when we yearn for the moment of ease and serenity that we experience after our yoga practice and wish to carry it with us when we leave this place.

It becomes a habit when we yearn for this feeling of all-encompassing grace and delight in the healing it brings to our Spirit.

It becomes a blessing when we yearn for others to experience the same things.”

-lisa

At the beginning of class a few months ago, I challenged you to spend time thinking of all the ways your practice has been a blessing in your life.  I asked you to write these down on a piece of paper and bring it to class the following week.  A few of you smiled, nodded, and then promptly forgot your homework (or ignored my directions? I’m not sure which…).  So, now, here’s your chance.

You know that your yoga practice IS a blessing in your life.  You’ve told me that it  weaned you off your daily Tylenol for back pain. You’ve told me that it reduced insomnia and you can now sleep for six hours a night. You’ve told me that you caught yourself before falling on the icy sidewalk because your balance has improved so dramatically.  You’ve told me that your 10K split time was faster because your open hip flexors allowed a longer stride out.  You’ve told me that you were better able to handle the grief of losing your father to cancer because of your mindful meditation practice.  I want to hear more.

How has your yoga practice been a blessing to you?  Don’t just think about it.  Write it down.  Share it.  Leave a comment, email me, facebook me, text me.  It can be just one word.  It can be an essay.  Stretching our bodies is a good habit.  Appreciating the blessings in our life is an even better habit.

**Giveaway!  Responding in the comment section of this page enters your name into a drawing for a Free Giveaway:  A small book entitled 1,001 Ways to Live in 10001 waysthe Moment  by Barbara Ann Kipfer.

 

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

-lisa

‘clearing away’ colors of emotions.

A little quote of inspiration I’ve shared with my students this week reminded me of this insane article about the colors of emotions actually showing up in our bodies. Yoga reminds us daily that the emotional and physical bodies are linked, but according to this research (follow above link), that connection is actually visible.

Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages.  As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.” 

– yoga teacher, Cybele Tomlinson

This is such a beautiful sentiment.  When I’m teaching, I use this phrase: “Inhale in space and healing, exhale out all the tension, toxins and stress.”  (Now I just need to add on: “For real.”)

Next time you practice: imagine that the space and healing in your inhale is a vibrant color.  Cherish that image and begin to let that color clear away your stress. 

Happy Healing.

-lisa

photo cred HM

photo cred HM